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Saturday, September 13, 2008


so due to my increased robustness, i needed 2 new suits.  Why shopping for the suits, I started to ask the salesman about suits made in the US and if there was a discernible quality difference.

After a 20 minute monologue, he said that until this year, all suits made in China were terrible.  The suits made in Italy were a mixed bag, but the suits MADE IN THE USA were always "completed properly."  I learned that term to mean the stitch-work was excellent.  Why bring this up?

Well, local is in the eye of the beholder.  I want local basil to have sprouted within 100 miles. But, I consider a USA made (in my case Rochester, NY & Chicago, IL) suit local.

then all homebrew is local

yeah, that's right. beer is 92+% water and so if you use your tap, then homebrew is LOCAL.

P E S T O - pesto, pesto, pesto!

is it really local when the nuts come from CHINA (hey, even if the package says Italy, bet on China), the cheese from ITALY, the olive oil from SPAIN, & salt from MAINE.

well the basil is from JERSEY.  I would not call pesto localvore.  To me, the end product must be 75% (by weight) local.

Monday, September 8, 2008

home as brewery

It's been awhile since I brewed. And to be honest, my last two beers were not worthy of sharing. I think I'm cleaning the primary fermenter and brew kettle too much. The faint scent of chlorine ends up ringing out in the end product, along with way too much head.

So I returned to the first beer style I ever homebrewed, but raised the ante. It's not the most amazing, dynamic, earth-shattering beer. The batch won't be a Saison Tripel IPA. Just good old-fashioned ALE. I did tweak the aroma hops and tried to give the batch a bit more punch.

The batch should begin active fermentation around this time tomorrow. Until then, my apartment smells sweet like malted barley.

Monday - Solid beer, bad name...

I never understood why Dogfish named their Pumpkin Ale, Punkin' Ale. Doesn't it sound stupid? It does. Disagree? let's hear it. Anyhow, that was the big beverage for Monday.

It's actually delicious. I don't get any brown sugar or pumpkin. I smell a bit of spices, but can't make it out to be cinnamom. But the maltiness and crispness of this beer make it an idea session ale (in the American sense that a 7% ABV could be session-worthy). And it would accompany most meals nicely.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Found what? not a liking for this beer

A friend recently relocated to New Jersey.  Yes, some people do this (from Beer Capital of the Northeast - Williamsburg - Brooklyn).  Anyhow, one perk, maybe the only perk is he has access to Founder's Brewing, from Grand Rapids, MI.  As I know, one of the cult beer makers well sought after throughout the land. 

Anyhow, it's not local to me, but I'm including the Founder's he provided in the big week.  Sunday brought out Red's Rye.  To me, this is an unbalanced beer with a thin, white head.   It's bitter but not bitter enough to make you feel like "wow, this is hoppy bitter."  It's malty, but not a malt bomb that makes you chew on each sip.  Just disappointing.

Saturday - welcome my old friend...

There are two defining beers that brought me to love beer. Sure, I drank plenty during high school and some during college.  By senior year of college, we were fixtures every Thursday at Raleigh's.  One Thursday, they poured Pyramid Hefeweizen.  This is enough years ago that, Pyramid was making excellent, excellent beers.  I was in awe and drank about 10 of these. 

Anyhow, what was does that have to do with Saturday?  I returned to Brooklyner Weisse, which I drink about once per year and is the only Brooklyn "core brand" beer I enjoy.  So...

It pours with an amazing, big, aromatic head.   The flavors open up as is warms a bit - citrus, malt, and just crisp.  Every sip begs more food (local corn with a sandwich) and every bite begs another sip.  Just delicious.  See you next year.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Thursday - What happened.

sadly, there was no ale on Thursday.  i failed you.

Friday - Hopfen Magic!

Brooklyn Brewery and G. Schneider released a collaborative beer for the second straight summer - Hopfen Weisse.  It's a hoppy wheat ale that pours with an amazing head and not too strong of a lemon/citrus nose.  That lemon aroma is what bothers me in many renditions of weisse.  I feel like it's taken over!  

Well, this ale is magic. It went perfectly with leftover pepper+corn chowder.  I enjoyed the last bits - at room temperature - as much as the beginning. The beer has a perfect level of carbonation as well - enough to cleanse the palate but not too much to fill the belly.

Too bad I'm a fast drinker and this 16.9 oz beer is $6!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

roasted bell peppers rule

Is there anything that a roasted bell pepper doesn't improve?  The local bell peppers are in and are fantastic.  Usually, our home is swimming in bell pepper and corn chowder (a vegan dish no less).  But as good as the bell peppers are this year; the corn is pretty terrible.  Our favorite corn farmer stopped coming to the Saturday GAP farmer's market (he couldn't deal with the Greenmarket politics supposedly) and now the only farmer we trust has so little that it's picked over by 9am!  

Anyone got great corn?  Bring it over and we'll make beautiful chowder.  and if you post a comment, you'll get a copy of the recipe - free of charge!  that's right!  hard to believe, no?

Wednesday beer - I'm a what? Marron? Same to you!

Palo Santo is some bizarre and exotic wood from Paraguay.  Sourcing some exotic wood from South America and creating massive brewing vessels is definitely not a localvore best practice.

This is a massive beer. The label says 12%, but I would guess it's higher than that.  I can't quite give you a sense of the flavors here.  To me, it's a bit like someone added smokey bourbon to a nice brown ale (like this one).  I like bourbon and brown ale, not the combination. 

note to self: eat a big meal before consuming this beer
note to self2: it doesn't really help to eat a big meal

Tuesday Beer - Chateau Jiahu ('07)

Jiahu cellared in my basement for twelve months.  At six months, the beer tasted off and cloyingly sweet.  At twelve months, the bottle I consumed was malty, sweet, and Mead-y.  I love a good mead, so that's a positive. But, like so many Dogfish beers, it's just too boozy for me to really enjoy with anything.  The alcohol overwhelmed the green chili I made (with local peppers, onions, chicken and garlic).  I saved a bit to enjoy with local peaches, but that also was a poor pairing.

Monday Beer - SLAM HUH-KEL?

Weyerbacher is bringing some very interesting beers to market.  I've been a fan of the Merry Monks and Quad (the only Trippel/Quadrupel duo I enjoy).

So when news got out about the Slam Dunkel, I asked the co-op beer manager to order a case.  The beer doesn't give a strong WHEAT flavor profile, rather has kind of a sweet, malty taste up-front, followed by a strong, boozy aftertaste.  That sounds bad but it's actually quite appealing, so long as you're not trying to compare to Aventinus.


This week, I'll explore a different local beer each evening and provide some thoughts.  I'm doing this solely for you - the reader.