Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The First Four Years: a review

Today I picked up another refrigerator (courtesy of fellow HOPS! member Steve's parents). This refrigerator will live in the garage and serve as my lagering fridge, which is exciting because I will now be able to convert my current lagering fridge into a kegerator (definitely look for more posts on this subject). While sitting on the train heading out to pick up the fridge, it occurred to me that Leah and I have now been brewing for four years. A lot has happened over those four years. I graduated from law school and passed the bar exam. We got a dog (see Ogie, above, guarding our brewing equipment in our old apartment). Leah and I bought a house and had a kid. We got another dog (not pictured; sorry, Blitz!). Leah quit her job to be a full-time mom while I became a full-time lawyer. Gas prices went from under two dollars a gallon to over four. And we brewed a LOT of beer. While I'm too lazy to figure out how many gallons we've brewed to date, here's a list of every beer we've brewed (with a cider thrown in there for good measure):

Step Leader Hefeweizen
F5 Altbier
Dicke Frau German Stout
Snow Squall Christmas Ale (Spiced Belgian Ale)
North Kilttown Scottish Ale
Lake Effect Kölsch-style Ale
None More Black Stout
Cherry Caray Cherry Stout
Cocoa Puffs Stout
Cloud-to-Ground Weizenbock
F6 Sticke Alt
Hoar Frost Oktoberfest
Saison d'Etre (Belgian Saison)
Bear's Cage Schwarzbier
North Pole Export (Spiced Scottish Export)
Dry Line Berliner Weisse
Nimbostratus Munich Dunkel
Gust Front Leipzig-style Wheat (Leipziger Gose)
Snow Squall Christmas Ale (Vanilla Doppelsticke)
Lenticular Export (Dortmunder Export)
Red Line Ale (American Amber)
Paddywhacker Cider
None More Buzzed Coffee Stout
Road House Red (Irish Red Ale)
Winter Lightning Eisweizen
Polar Jet Christmas Bock
White Riot (Gluten-Free Belgian Wit)
Worst Case Scenario (Belgian Dark Ale)
Hail Shaft Pilsner
Smoke Stack Lightning Smoked Hefeweizen

Twenty-nine different beer styles in all (not counting multiple takes on the same style) and one cider. Breaking it down by country, that's fifteen German styles, four Belgian styles, two Scottish, two Irish, one British, and five American or "other" styles. Obviously you can tell where my preferences lie.

Also, while my German-style beers all have weather-related names, my non-German beers face no such restriction. Just for fun, here's a list of pop culture subjects we've referenced in our beer names: the Simpsons, the movies This is Spinal Tap and Road House, the bands the Clash and dEUS, former Chicago Cubs announcer Harry Caray, former Chicago Blackhawks owner Bill Wirtz, and Chicago's elevated train system.

Anyway, I just thought it was interesting to look back on four years of brewing and see all the different things that Leah and I have tried. But enough reminiscing... What does the future hold? Well, hopefully lots more brewing! In the short term, plans include finally brewing a Dampfbier, taking a stab at a black Witbier (the joke being that "Witbier" means white beer in Flemish), and attempting another gluten-free beer (this time using Belgian candi syrup and coffee to make a stout-like creation). And of course we'll have to brew another Christmas beer soon... perhaps another stab at the Vanilla Doppelsticke?

Here's to four years down and (at least) forty years to go! Prost!


Blogger Brian said...

Great idea! I'm tempted to do our 2 years in review now!

What got you into homebrewing originally?


12:34 PM, August 28, 2008  
Blogger Adam said...

Congrats on 4 years of community service :-) That certainly is a list to be proud of.

Hey, this post is kinda inline with the August Fermentation Friday topic.

Your best beer according to others.

1:57 PM, August 28, 2008  
Blogger Russ said...

Short answer for what got me into homebrewing: studying in Germany plus touring the New Belgium brewery. Long answer could be its own post!

Every month I think "I should do Fermentation Friday," and next thing I know it's the first of the month and I missed it. D'oh!

2:13 PM, August 30, 2008  
Blogger Adam said...

Eh..maybe you should host one! :-0

9:32 PM, August 30, 2008  
Blogger Ted Danyluk said...

Nice list of Chibe brews. You make very good beer, and I'm happy to have sampled some. I look forward to reading about and tasting some of your future creations.

Hey, I should be getting frig/freezer soon. I really hope to lager, not just in the most frigid of months. Do the freezers work very well for this?

8:35 AM, August 31, 2008  

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