Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Introducing Chibebräu Wine! (It's a blog, not actual wine.)

Quick note... Leah and I buy wine from time to time, but don't really know jack shit about it. Unlike beer, where I can tell you pretty much any beer I've ever tried and what I thought about it, I tend to forget about a wine the second the bottle is polished off. In an effort to keep tabs on what I like and what I don't, I've started a new blog, Chibebräu Wine. Like this blog, the ultimate purpose of Chibebräu Wine is for my own record-keeping, but if anybody else is interested, feel free to check it out. As an added bonus, I can guarantee you just about every wine will be under $15, so the reviews will be practical as well as entertaining! Anyway, just thought I'd mention it if anybody wants to see firsthand how ignorant I am when it comes to wine. Cheers!

Monday, July 28, 2008

What to brew next...

So, for whatever reason it seems like we've been brewing more in fits and starts since Dorrie was born. Anyway, we haven't brewed anything since our Rauchweizen which was about two months ago. However, we've got big plans ahead. We have to brew a keg for our homebrew club's Oktoberfest party, another keg for our church's Oktoberfest party, and then four for our own Novemberfest party. As such, we're going to have to start brewing soon.

So I've been thinking of what to brew for these various events. Since we have a 10-gallon system, we'll need to brew three times. One given is that we'll brew an Oktoberfest/Märzen, with one keg going to our church's O-fest party and the other being reserved for our Novemberfest party. Since that's a lager, we'll need to get on that ASAP.

The remaining question is what to brew for the other two beers. We'll want something nice and drinkable for our N-fest party as well as the club's O-fest party. One idea is to brew a Düsseldorf-style Altbier and a Hefeweizen, with one of the Altbiers going to the club's party. That would mean one keg of Oktoberfest, one keg of Altbier, and two Hefes for our Novemberfest party. Another option is to brew a Kölsch and a Dunkelweizen, with one keg of Kölsch going to the O-fest party. The only negative there is then we'll only have one keg of light beer for our party (and for better or for worse the light beers are always popular). Of course, we could always send the keg of Dunkelweizen to the club party. Finally, one thought is to brew a Dampfbier instead of the Hefeweizen, just to make things interesting (after all, how many people have ever tried a Dampfbier?).

Anyway, just thought I'd collect my thoughts here to see if it inspires me to go with any particular selections. And of course, if anybody else out there has an idea let me know. We're definitely brewing the Oktoberfest, so the two other beers I'm looking for would either have to be two ales or an ale and a relatively low-gravity lager. Any other suggestions?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Why does my car smell like beer, you ask?

A cautionary tale...

Yesterday afternoon I attended AleFest in Chicago. I was a little disappointed that more brewers didn't bring rare or unique selections from their cellars, especially at $40 a pop, but I did get to try a few great beers (Doug and Tracy at Metro had an excellent Kölsch and the brewer at Rock Bottom Warrenville was pouring a Roggenbier--a really obscure German style I had never had the pleasure to try before yesterday). Oh, and if the brewer from M.T. Barrel's (I'm blanking out on his name) happens to read this by chance, here's proof that Larry--not Curly--was the Stooge who wasn't brothers with Moe and Shemp.

Anyway, I had to head straight from AleFest to a Chicago Composers Forum barbecue way up on the North Side. We were bringing what was left of our Cocoa Puffs Stout, so Leah threw the corny keg in the back seat next to our daughter (don't worry... she couldn't reach the tap) before picking me up. Once we got to the barbecue, I got Dorrie out of her car seat, handed her to Leah, and then reached over Dorrie's car seat to grab her diaper bag (which was on the same seat as the corny keg). When I walked around the car to grab the corny keg, beer was shooting EVERYWHERE, especially into Dorrie's now-vacated car seat. Turns out, when I grabbed the diaper bag, the strap hooked on the cobra-head tap and actually flipped the plastic lever over. While you ordinarily have to squeeze down the lever to dispense the beer, it turns out if you flip it over the tap stays open. So the end result is that our car reeks of beer, which will be awesome should I get pulled over. Needless to say I didn't drink AT ALL at the barbecue and drove home VERY carefully.

So, moral of the story is, just take the damn tap off all together when you're driving with a corny keg. Well, unless you want your car to smell like beer, I suppose.