January 2014 Meeting Recap

Hosted by Jaclyn & Matt T. Discussed additional details for the club’s Michigan IPA project. Toured Matt T.’s home brewery!

Attending – Matt B., Nick R., Chad U., Tim, Steve, Chris, Dave, Jim, Ken, Al, Matt T., Amy B., Chad B., Jaclyn, Matt O., Liz, Phil, Mike Z.

Beers sampled:

Phil & Liz – Belgian Cherry Surprise II
Matt B. – Holiday (spiced) Stout
Tim – Creme Brulee Clone
Chad B. – Freeze distilled Stout
Jim – Oatmeal Stout w/ bourbon, coffee?
Dave – Bourbon barrel Black IPA
Chris – Walldorff Cobain’s Black IPA
Ken – W.A.T.E.R (Wayne & Ted’s Excellent Retirement) Ale – hooray bourbon!
Matt B. – Citra Golden Ale (for non-beer drinkers)
Al – Night Before Deer Scare Porter – Hill Farmstead Everett clone
Steve – New Holland Beerhive
Ken – Tapistry Brewing Hypnotist
Chad B – Dirty Dominique (all Tomahawk, definitely not Zeus or Columbus, IPA)
Matt O. – 13% Triple Black IPA w/ crown royal
Matt T. – taplist: Pumpkin, Belgian Pumpkin, Spruce Tip, Citra Belgian IPA, Tripel, Rye DIPA

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December 2013 Meeting Recap

On a magical December night, the Brewsquitos returned to Gravel Bottom Brewery in Ada for our monthly club meeting and first ever club competition! On hand from GB were owner/brewer – Matt M., general manager – Jeff, and brewers – Brett & another, more different Nick R. Current or prospective members in attendance included Chad B., Taylor, Nick R., Phil, Nick K., Cole, Jim, Al, Matt T., Matt O., Steve, Chad U., Mike Z., Chris, Mead, and Dave. We received a warm welcome, as usual, from the GB crew with Matt M. offering discounted pints and 5 gallon oak barrels first used for bourbon by FEW Spirits.

We started the night with a technical presentation on brewing water by Nick R. Our hope is to offer this type of detailed presentation once per quarter with rotating topics and presenters. If you would be interested in preparing or helping to prepare a presentation please let me know. Currently planned for Q1 2014 is yeast and fermentation.

While Nick R. was blabbering about ions and residual alkaline batteries or something, the GB staff was busy judging the club member’s entries for our club competition. As a group, we voted on a common condition that all entries must have and the consensus was that the beer must have at least 20% adjunct. GB’s offered prize for the victor was the opportunity to brew the winning recipe on their 3 barrel system and have it served in the taproom! Without further delay, the results were as follows:

1st Place: Jim – CPR, a Pale Ale featuring Citra hops (16% flaked rice & 4% flaked wheat)

2nd Place: Phil – Dr. Funkenstein, a Double IPA featuring a dank hop character (16% rye, 8% rice, & 4% corn sugar)

3rd Place: Steve – Easy Amber, an amber colored IPA featuring approximately 37 adjuncts

Participants: Al – Rye Beet IPA (terrific fruit punch red color from beets), Chad B. – Rye Black IPA, Mike Z. – Oatmeal Stout w/ coffee, Nick R. – Dry hopped Mild Ale, Matt O. – Rye IPA, & Ken – Oatmeal Stout

Congrats again to Jim on the big win! I’m sure the club will be out in full force to sample CPR on tap!

Here are the remaining beers (and mead and graff) that were sampled:

Taylor – 3½ year old Mead

Chris – Spiced Ale

Steve – 2013 Cider

Dave – Black IPA

Mead – Right Brain Firestarter Chipotle Porter (here’s Steve with the correct pronunciation)

Matt T. – Spruce Tip IPA (brewed for Bell’s Homebrew Competition) & Pumpkin Ale w/ 2 different yeast strains

Chad U. – Graff & Brown Ale

Jim – Stout

Mike – SMASH with 2 Row and Belma hops using Conan yeast strain

Chad B – English IPA

Nick K. – Pils (brewed by a relative)

In other news, the club has purchased the http://www.brewsquitos.com domain. Look for exciting stuff to be rolled out there in the next few months. Also, I’m working to find a semi-permanent location near downtown Grand Rapids for monthly meetings. The only lead I have so far is from a friend who manages the Hampton Inn off of Alpine Ave. They can offer to configure a conference room (60 person max) to our preference for $50 per meeting (normal rate is $100-125) as long as we reserve for at least 6 months. This wouldn’t be bad split up among a group of our size, however something free (or close to it) would be ideal. If anyone has a lead or an idea of a space that could hold ~20 people, let me know!

Finally, if you are attending the 2014 National Homebrewer’s Conference and would like to participate with the club, please help us plan by completing the survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Q3C3FPX.

Cheers!

-Phil


November 2013 Meeting Recap

The November club meeting was held at the lovely home of Nick, Jess, and Arden K. in the Ada/Lowell area. There was a lot of hype leading up to this meeting due to hosts offer of homemade corned beef & cabbage and they certainly did not disappoint! Thanks again to Nick & Jess for the excellent meal! Attending members were Matt O., Ken, Nick R., Phil, Liz, Mike Z., Nick K., local corn dog vendor Chad B., Matt T., Steve, and Al. There were also four potential new members on hand, Chad U., Chris, Mead, and Cole. Last, but not least, we were graced with guests, Jaclyn, and Jess.

To kick off the night, our potential new members told us a little bit about themselves and their brewing experience. There wasn’t much new business to discuss. Nick R. and I gave brief updates on our planning progress for NHC projects. Since the meeting we’ve also learned that Siciliano’s Market will be giving us a $400 sponsorship toward our Club Night efforts!

The following beers were sampled:

Homebrews

Matt O – German Pils & Triple Black IPA? ~13%? Yikes!

Nick R – Spiced Graff, Belma Session Black IPA, & Spiced Belgian Dark Strong (it was currants!)

Phil & Liz – Belgian Pale w/ tart cherries

Chad U – Chocolate Stout (no actual chocolate, just a healthy portion of chocolate malt)

Mike Z – Peach infused Cider

Chris – Peanut Butter Porter

Mead – Bourbon! Stout, Caramel Apple Beer, & Summer Blonde

Nick & Jess K. – Cider (honey & ginger? fermented w/ Duvel? yeast)

Chad B – Vanilla Porter (from ’13 NH Homebrewer’s United), & Black Rye IPA (20% rye, centennial, lots of cascade)

Matt & Jaclyn T. – Porter w/ vanilla, coffee & oak (used decaf coffee & vanilla beans soaked in whiskey)

Steve – Breakfast Stout (byo recipe, fbs clone-ish)

Commercial Beers

Ken – Brewery Vivant Plow Horse

Phil & Liz – Bells Cherry Stout

Nick K. – Palisade Brewing Co. Dirty Hippie Dark Wheat

Al – Firestone Walker Walker’s Reserve (Porter)

Matt & Jaclyn T – Niagara College Teaching Brewery Stout

Cole – Great Lakes Christmas Ale

Reminder that the December meeting will be held Monday, December 16th at 6:30pm at Gravel Bottom Brewery in Ada. Nick R. will give an excellent presentation on brewing water and then steward the Gravel Bottom/Brewsquito competition while the rest of us continue with our regular meeting agenda.

Cheers!

-Phil


October 2013 Meeting Recap

The October club meeting was generously hosted by Tim and Jerry G. on a crisp Michigan Fall day in the Standale area (thanks again, Tim!). The following pee funnel advocating members were in attendance: Nick K., Kevin, Al, Matt T., Tim, Chad B., Jim, Steve, Nick R., and Taylor. I was also there.

The first point of discussion was updating the confirmed and potential projects for the 2014 NHC. For our series of all-Michigan ingredient IPAs, we’ve reached an agreement with Pilot Malt House to provide Michigan two row barley and white wheat malt. Additionally, a small portion of light crystal malt will likely come from Michigan Malt Co., as Pilot is currently only making base malt and wheat. Negotiations with a few Michigan hop growers are still ongoing, but we hope to lock that down in the next week or so. Next, a collaborative project was suggested by the collective of West Michigan clubs in which each club would brew a similar recipe to be served at their individual club booths for Club Night and also potentially served together in the Social Well (Hospitality Suite). An early poll looks like it will probably be something in the spirit of KBS, or at least some kind of oak/bourbon’d Imperial Stout. If that’s the case, we’ll need to plan for these beers to be brewed very soon in order to give them enough conditioning time. More details on this soon. If anyone has additional ideas you feel the club should consider, let me know! The last note for NHC is that we’ll need to form a few committees to make sure that we properly plan everything (booth design and dispensing equipment for Club Night, etc.). Okay, I lied about that being the last note on NHC…if you plan on attending the conference and haven’t already done so, you’ll need to become an AHA member. Please use the following link as the club will be reimbursed for each membership purchased through it – http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/pages/grow-your-business/banner-ads/brewsquitos-homebrewing-club. As I previously mentioned, there will be a slight price increase starting January 1st, so get them now!

On a related note, if you want to enter beers into the 2014 National Homebrew Competition, submission dates for the first round are March 10-17. That’s roughly 4 months away, so get brewing those styles that benefit from extra conditioning time!

In other competition news, two of our members recently placed in the top 3 of their respective competitions. Ken finished 3rd in the 1st Annual O’Connor’s Home Brew Supply Competition with his Citra-heavy Black IPA, “Black Dog”. Nick R. nearly went back-to-back in the Bell’s Homebrew Competition, finishing runner up with his Rye Double IPA. Thanks again to Steve, Chad B., and Nick for dropping off everyone’s entries!

For the next order of business, unfortunately one of our newly elected board members will be unable to fulfill his position, but for good reason. John is starting his Master’s degree coursework and simply won’t have time for club activities for the foreseeable future. We’ll miss John, but certainly understand his priorities. Nick, Al, and I will absorb any duties that he may have taken on. Cheers and best of luck, John!

We have received a club offer from Casey at Third Coast Design Works for his carboy brush product. Normally $15.95 each, he is willing to reduce the cost to $12.00 each if we buy five or more. Please contact me by email (or any of the other methods mentioned in last month’s recap) if you’re interested and I’ll arrange the order with Casey. According to Chad B., you’ll most likely emote a flamboyant “yaaaaaaaaaaay!” the first time you get that supple chamois brush in action. You’ll be vigorously pumping the trigger on your drill with so…okay, that got a little out of hand, whew.

Back on task, here’s the list of beers we sampled this month:

Homebrews

Nick K. – Wheatwine & Belgian Dark Strong

Al – India Brown Ale & Belgian Dark Strong

Phil – Scottish Wee Heavy w/ chanterelle mushrooms, maaaaan

Tim – Pumpkin Ale (I was hoping to hog down another big Pen15, but didn’t get the chance)

Chad B. – Rye IPA (primarily Simcoe hops, delicious!) & Stout w/ blackstrap molasses, pepper, cinnamon, allspice, coriander, orange zest, pocket lint, vergina, nacho cheese, and penguin tears

Steve – Cream Ale & Barleywine

Nick R. – Gratzer, Rye DIPA w/ Conan yeast strain, Barleywine, Single Hop Experiment w/ Crystal

Taylor – Southern English Brown

Commercial Beers

Phil – Founders Bolt Cutter

Tim – Founders KBS

Jim – Samuel Smiths Yorkshire Stingo

For the month of November, we currently have two items on the calendar. Saturday, November 16th, will be Mitten Brewing Co.’s 1st Anniversary Party! Nick R., Liz, and I already have our tickets, come join us! A $15 ticket gets you a commemorative tulip glass filled with their celebratory beer (a Triple IPA!) and 5 raffle tickets. You can get them at the pub or service charge free on their website.

Our November club meeting will be held Tuesday, November 19th, at 6:30pm at Nick K’s house in the Ada area. The word on the street is that Nick and his wife are planning to prepare corned beef and cabbage for us! Monthly beer styles are Porter and Stout, but as always, please bring any homebrewed beers that you would like feedback on or any commercial beers within the monthly styles (exceptions made if you have something special to share 😉 ).

One last note, if you don’t have plans for New Year’s Eve and enjoy live bluegrass and folk music, consider joining Jason W. and his wife (Kris), Liz, and me at The Intersection for Greensky Bluegrass and The Crane Wives (whose booking agent, etc., is our own Matt P. of Little Duck Music!).

Cheers!

-Phil


September 2013 Meeting Recap

A swarm of Brewsquitos made their way down to Caledonia for the September club meeting at the exquisite home of Ken & Bri. Attending were Nick R., Matt T., Ken, Bri, Matt O., Phil, Al, Chad B., and guest from Third Coast Design Works, Casey.

We started the night with the announcement of results from our recent board member election. Thank you to everyone that took the time to nominate and vote. Having solid leadership will be key to our successful participation in the 2014 National Homebrewer’s Conference and also toward the continuous improvement of our club. The races for both Vice President and Secretreasurer were both very close. In fact, voting for VP was so close, that I proposed creating a fourth board position to be filled by the runner-up. This was unanimously accepted. So, without further delay, here is the 2013-2014 board:

President – Phil
Vice President – Nick R.
Secretreasurer – John
All Around Badass – Al

Nominations for the 2014-2015 board will begin in August of next year, with the elections to be held again in September.

Next up on the night, our guest, Casey gave a brief presentation of his Clean Bottle Express™ product line geared toward homebrewers and winemakers. All of his products are “designed to fit into any standard cordless drill with 1000 rpm motor.” This includes the carboy brush, wine/beer bottle brush, and wort aerator/wine degasser. Please contact Casey at casey@thirdcoastdesignworks.com with any product inquiries.

We had some brief discussions regarding our club booth design, serving method(s), etc. for Club Night at 2014 NHC. No firm plans are in the works yet, but we will begin forming project teams for that soon. If you are unable to make meetings in the next few months, but are interested in joining one of the project teams, please contact me by any means (ex: email, FB, phone, smoke signal, singing telegram, cans on a string, rock with a letter through my window, skywriting, billboard, urinating in my lawn once in snows).

Once again on the topic of NHC, here’s the monthly plug for AHA memberships: If you plan to purchase an AHA membership, please use the click-through banner on our page here: https://brewsquitos.wordpress.com/aha-membership/. The club will be reimbursed $5 for every 1 year, $6 for every 2 year, and $7 for every 3 year membership purchased through the link.

On to the fun stuff, here are the beers we sampled this month:

Homebrews

Nick R. – Oktoberfest (aka “Rodtoberfest”) – Excellent example of the style! However, Nick felt it was slightly too bitter and plans to bring it down a couple IBU next year. The grain bill was mostly Dark Munich & Vienna malt with 3% Caramunich III. Fermented with WLP833 – German Bock.

Matt T. – Oktoberfest (recipe from Brewing Classic Styles – closer to what most breweries in America are making rather than EU) & Classic American Pils (CAP) – Both very nice beers!

Bri & Ken – Pear Saison – Although they used 9 lbs. of pears, it was tough to pick out the flavor if you didn’t know it was there. They felt that perhaps pre-cooking the pears may have reduced some of the flavor.

Steve – Mocktoberfest – Fermented with an ale yeast (US-05). Despite finishing at 1.012, a point lower than Nick’s, it was not nearly as crisp and dry. Like Matt T.’s, Steve’s was close to the Brewing Classic Styles Oktoberfest recipe, but with a bit of honey malt added.

Matt O. – Saison – Grain bill was Pilsner malt, Wheat, Biscuit malt, and Special B. Fermented with T-58 dry Belgian yeast. While tasty, this beer didn’t finish quite dry enough for a saison and the Special B flavor was a bit too prominent.

Phil – Barrel Aged Stout (aka “Bottom of the Barrel Aged”) – Aged in a Balcones Blue Corn Whiskey barrel. This beer has an interesting whiskey character that is quite different from the typical bourbon barrel aged beers.

Al – Belgian IPA – Bursting with Galaxy & Citra hop flavor. The Belgian yeast in this beer complemented the hop flavor, rather than competing with it, a feat that several commercial examples fail to accomplish. Another top notch beer by Al…he doesn’t miss very often.

Chad – Sweet Potato Ale – Three pounds of sweet potatoes were roasted in the oven at 200 deg. for about 30 minutes and then added for the mash. Fantastic fall beer with balanced spice flavors, and nothing too over-the-top, very nice! Hopefully this will earn Chad a good score at the O’Connor’s Homebrew Competition. He also shared a Scottish 80/- that was this.

Commercial Beers

Nick R. – Warsteiner Oktoberfest, Ayinger Altbairisch Dunkel, Ayinger Oktober Fest/Marzen, and Köstritzer Schwarzbier

Bri & Ken – Abita Strawberry Harvest Lager

Matt T. – Surly Bender & Furious. Delicious beers that will hopefully come to Michigan some day.

Coming up in October there is a cool event at Riverside Park on Thursday, October 17th, starting at 5pm. The Brewer’s Grove Project will be planting trees earlier in the day, followed by a Party in the Park, which includes (BYOB) beer sampling, food truck, meetup with GR area brewers, and finishes with the Grand Rapids premier of the Michigan Beer Film on a large outdoor screen.

We will attempt to keep regular club events on the schedule to ensure that everyone has a chance to participate. In addition to the events, we’ll also be starting monthly casual meetups. We’ll rotate around at the multitude of fantastic GR area pubs. Look for new events and casual meetup dates to be added to our Events page soon!

Our October club meeting will be held on Thursday the 24th at 6:30pm at Tim G’s house. Monthly beer styles are Old Ale, English Barleywine, and American Barleywine, but as always, please bring any homebrewed beers that you would like feedback on or any commercial beers within the monthly styles (exceptions made if you have something special to share ;-)).

Lastly, a quick reminder that if you picked up wort for the Bell’s Homebrew Competition, bottles must be submitted to the Bell’s General Store by 10/26 at 9:00pm. I’ll send an email soon to arrange for a courier if anyone is unable to make it down there by that date.

Cheers!

-Phil


August 2013 Meeting Recap

The August club meeting was politely hosted by Matt & Meg at their new house in the Cascade area. Congrats again to Matt & Meg on their wonderfully designed home! The following members and guest were in attendance: Matt T (new member!), John, Matt B, Meg, Mike Z, Jeremy (guest of Nick R), Nick R, Phil, Matt O, Al, Ken, and Chad B.

We kicked off the night with a short update on our collaboration project for NHC. The basic plan is to partner with both a local malt house (Pilot), and a local hop grower (New Mission Organics and/or Hop Head Farms), to make a series (6 or 7?) of single hop beers all with the same malt bill, roughly same level of IBUs, but using a different hop in each one. Unique/special showcase hops will be key for making the beers interesting. Hopefully we can make the beers from ingredients all grown in Michigan and serve them at Club Night. Recent updates are that New Mission could supply us with Summit, Cascade, Brewer’s Gold, Galena, Chinook, and Columbus. Discussions with Hop Head Farms are ongoing.

On the topic of NHC, here’s the monthly plug for AHA memberships: If you plan to purchase an AHA membership, please use the click-through banner on our page here: https://brewsquitos.wordpress.com/aha-membership/. The club will be reimbursed $5 for every 1 year, $6 for every 2 year, and $7 for every 3 year membership purchased through the link.

Next we made another attempt at getting everyone more objective feedback on their beers, while also improving our ability to put what we taste in beer into descriptive words. The shortened tasting note sheet only allows for brief descriptions for each attribute of a beer: aroma, appearance, flavor, mouthfeel, overall, and off flavors. I think these abbreviated sheets will work well, but it was still too much to do every single beer. In the future we’ll keep it to only the beer(s) that people particularly want feedback on.

Here are the beers that were sampled this month:

Homebrews

Matt T – Belgian Dubbel, Spruce Pils, & Chocolate Beer

John – Belma IPA

Matt & Meg – Cold Coffee Brown, Citra Pale Ale, & Black IPA

Mike Z – Saison (Surly Cynic inspired)

Nick R – Classic American Pils (CAP)

Phil – Saison

Al – Scottish Wee Heavy

Ken – Saison (Sorachi Ace clone) & Black IPA (“Black Dog”)

Chad B. – American Brown (Moose Drool clone), Imperial Stout with coffee, chocolate, bourbon, oak (KBS clone), & Oatmeal Cream Pie Brown

Commercial Beers

Murphy’s Irish Red

Brooklyn Brown Ale

Sierra Nevada Tumbler Autumn Brown Ale

Belhaven Wee Heavy that was skunky as fuck

Looking forward to September, we’ve got an event planned for wort pickup for the Bell’s Homebrew Competition and also their Homebrew Expo on Saturday, September 14th. Signup for wort pickup begins at 11:00am. Further details are here: http://bellsbeer.com/blog/211-Details__date_for_4th_Annual_Bell_s_Homebrew_Competition_are_here. I’ll send out a schedulermajigger soon to nail down the date/time for the September monthly meeting.

One last note, if you haven’t had a chance to enter your nominations for 2013-14 board members, please do so by Friday, September 6th, at the following link: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/BP88PMT.

Cheers!

-Phil


July 2013 Meeting Recap

The following Brewsquitos & guests gathered at Gravel Bottom Brewery in Ada for our July meeting: Phil, Liz, Taylor, Matt O., Ken, John, Jim, Nick R., Nick K., Nick M. (guest), Chad B., Al, Matt B., & Meg. Also joining us from Gravel Bottom were Matt M. (owner & brewer), Jeff (GM), and Brett (homebrew supply manager & brewer).

We started the night with a tour of their brewing facilities and the homebrew supply shop area. Particular items of note were that they are using both HERMS and RIMS systems, and they have a ginormous hop back for a 3 barrel system. Matt is hoping they’ll be open by the end of August! They are also very eager to do more with the club and mentioned that they’d like to host a group brew this Fall, possibly in September. Tuesday is their preferred night for us to have meetings there.

Next, Nick R. gave an update on potential collaborations for the 2014 NHC. Things are looking good as he’s secured a partner for malt in Pilot Malt House and early indications are that New Mission Organics will be on board with donating a variety of hops. Further talk on 2014 NHC included what our plan should be for serving at Club Night. Our current target is a 6 tap setup with 12-20 five gallon kegs. Details on who will brew what and other items like bar design/theme and club costumes 😉 will continue at upcoming meetings. If you have ideas, questions, or concerns, feel free to email me or Nick R. The last item related to NHC was AHA memberships. Per the email you should have received, if you plan to purchase an AHA membership, please use the click-through banner on our page here: https://brewsquitos.wordpress.com/aha-membership/. The club will be reimbursed $5 for every 1 year, $6 for every 2 year, and $7 for every 3 year membership purchased through the link.

The final topic that I had for the evening, but ran out of time for was election of new club board members. Over the past year or so, I’ve been handling most of the club organization with lots of help recently from Nick R. I feel like the club has been headed in the right direction, but we haven’t quite been able to reach a good balance in which monthly meetings are both fun AND informational. As we’ve discussed many times, the reason most of us joined a club was to learn things which would help us become better brewers. We’ve attempted to work both style based and other technical discussions into the meetings, but both take preparation time prior to the meetings, which I don’t always have. With that in mind and 2014 NHC just around the corner, now is the time to get solid leadership in place for the upcoming year. I will first propose board member roles and duties this week and open them for discussion and revision. After the roles are specified, we will take nominations during the month of August. Elections will occur in September.

Here’s a tally of beers that were sampled this month:

Homebrews

Phil & Liz – 2011 & 2012 Peach Baby (soured saison w/ peaches) – 2011 version was nicely complex with good balance, 2012 version was more sour and unbalanced

Taylor – Tripel w/ WY3522 (Ardennes) & Tripel w/ Brett Trois (from Vivant Group Brew) – both were a bit young and some additional maturation should yield two excellent, yet quite different beers

Matt O. – IPA w/ some wheat & hopped w/ Simcoe & Centennial – slight mineral note, Matt to consider water adjustments

Ken – Bri’s orange/honey cream ale – easy drinker for summertime, delicious

Jim – Vivant Brew Dubbel – nice, rich malty beer with good caramel notes and some spicy phenols, would have liked a little more ester complexity and some dark fruit or raisin-like flavors (perhaps up the Special B just a touch?)

Nick R. – Watermelon Wheat – after secondary on juice from watermelon, much of the watermelon flavor was stripped, leaving only a hint which was closer to the flavor of the rind. At that point, Nick prepared samples with a measured amount of watermelon extract and then kegged the beer with the best tasting ratio (I believe it was 1 oz. in 5 gallons). General opinion was that it may have been just a little too much extract, slightly leaning toward a watermelon Jolly Rancher-like perception of sweetness.

Nick K. – Chimay Grand Reserve (Blue) inspired Belgian Strong & Rodenbach inspired Flanders Red (brewed April 2013) – belgian strong was delicious and very complex, a good clone attempt! Flanders was still quite young, nose suggested more acidity than what showed in the flavor.

Chad B. – Braggot (mead/beer hybrid) & Mosaic Single Hop Experiment – the braggot had an interesting flavor that I couldn’t pinpoint, most likely related to the honey and what the bees were feeding on. The Mosaic single hop experiment beer was, in my opinion, the best tasting one we’ve tried yet (Nelson Sauvin, Ella, Falconer’s Flight, and Mosaic thus far). It’s a great new hop if you’re looking for something different to try in a pale or IPA. Here’s a decent write-up from another brewer experimenting with Mosaic.

Al – Belgian Blonde w/ WY3725 (Bier de Garde), Belgian Blonde w/ WLP530 (Abbey Ale – Westmalle), and Belgian Strong Dark (brewed on Christmas Day, lol) – WY3725 version of the blonde was a bit more tart, it seemed like most preferred the WLP530 version. Belgian Strong Dark had big cognac-like notes and some black licorice hints as well, thanks for sacrificing family time to be able to share this beer with us, Al!

Commercial Beers

Nick R. – Short’s Spruce Pilsner, like whoa! Now everyone wants to brew a spruce tip beer!

Nick K. – Verhaeghe Duchesse de Bourgogne (if you haven’t tried many sours, but are curious, grab a bottle of this!), Pauwel Kwak (bananas foster was one descriptor, a fine beer that is almost dessert-like), & Jolly Pumpkin La Parcela (JP’s first pumpkin beer, not much recognizable pumpkin, but an amazingly complex sour like most of their offerings). Thanks again for sharing all of these phenomenal beers, Nick!

Matt & Meg – Jolly Pumpkin Bam Noire – a fairly young bottle with not too much acidity or a ton of barnyard funk, I picked up on some earthy tobacco notes which blended well with the roasted malt

Cheers!

-Phil