I’ve read many brewing books, I’ve eclipsed two full shelves of them, and few excite me anymore. But Brewing Local: American-Grown Beer by Stan Hieronymus stands out as one of the more interesting ones. Most books about brewing are either introductory, very advanced, highly specific, or vague and generic.
Brewing Local stands out from all those by being specific in one unique area and covering a wide variety in that area. Instead of telling you how to make a Saison or just rattling off a list of recipes Hieronymus presents a great deal of flexibility and unique ingredients.
Barrel aging beer is all the rage these days, resulting in some of the most sought after beers in America. But it’s not quite as easy as getting a barrel and dumping beer in it. Luckily, Wood & Beer: A Brewer’s Guide By Dick Cantwell & Peter Bouckaert (buy it on Amazon) is here to walk you through everything, and I mean everything, there is to learn about barrels.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve run a series of posts about the different styles of beer that rise as leaves fall, from a hatred of pumpkin beers to a history of Oktoberfest and an introduction to wet hop beers. I didn’t write the post hating pumpkin beers though I share Brent’s views. I do enjoy a good Oktoberfest beer, and wet hop beers are okay, but only 1 beer gets me really excited for fall. That beer is Great Lakes Nosferatu.
Modern Homebrew Recipes is the book homebrewers have been waiting for. At least it’s the book that this homebrewer has been waiting for! Click that link to go buy it now or keep reading to find out why I think it’s so great.
Stiegl Ferdinand is a new beer from the Stiegl brewery in Salzburg, Austria that’s been brewing beer since Columbus sailed the ocean blue. Damn, and I thought Mt. Carmel had been around a long time. They are moving into the craft market and away from their classic German traditions. Though they’re sticking with some traditions like the Reinheitsgebot, which defines what can go into a beer, but doesn’t say anything about what a beer can go into!
Stiegl brewed Ferdinand brewed in early summer 2014. It then spent 6 weeks of maturing in tanks and 4 more months in Caribbean (Martinique) Rum barrels which were originally used for Cognac.
The marketing folks reached out to me and offered a sample. Once I read the description of the beer I knew I wanted to try it. Then I noticed it was from Stiegl and my first thought was “you mean those radler cans they have in 4-packs at Kroger?” Yes, indeed it’s one in the same. Ok, on to the beer, here’s the marketing blurb:
Copper-colored specialty with wonderful Rum flavors from the first sip well into a long lasting finish. A dense texture with a subtle mousseux and flavors of toffee, coconut, vanilla and caramel. Honey palate with an incredibly well-balanced alcohol aroma.
Whiskey lovers will devour this fresh and comprehensive guide to everything there is to know about the world’s whiskeys, including Scotch and bourbon as well as Tennessee, Irish, Japanese, and Canadian whiskeys. You’ll learn about the types of whiskey and the distilling traditions of the regions where they are made, how to serve and taste whiskeys to best appreciate and savor them, how to collect and age whiskey for great results, and much more. There are even recipes for cocktails and suggestions for food pairings. This is the guide no whiskey drinker will want to be without!
It’s been just over a year since Warped Wing opened their doors. It’s been less than a year since Warped Wing pumped out their first 3 cans. There has been a great variety of draft beers created since those first cans rolled off the line, including a session IPA named Self Starter. It’s been a week since Warped Wing introduced new seasonal IPA cans of Self Starter.
Here’s Warped Wing’s blurb about the beer:
Once, there lived an engineer. Innovator. And indefatigable holder of 186 patents. Who, in 1911, filed U.S. Patent No. 1,150,523. An electric starting device for automobiles. To not a single person’s disparagement, it ended the era of the hand-crank. Fitting, then, that you’ll be holding this. Named as much for the inventor. As for what he invented.
Self Starter. This session India Pale Ale is pale orange in color with copper highlights. Its citrus/fruity aroma and flavors comes from the Amarillo hops that were added during the boil and the dry hopping at the end of fermentation. The malt character is slightly bready or nutty to start. This beer finishes with a patently dry close. Carry on.
Self Starter will be available in the market from April thru August in both draught and cans. The beer will be tapped at the brewery this Thursday and draught and cans will be released to taverns, restaurants, and select retail accounts the following Monday.
ABV: 5.2% IBU: 67
Before we get to the liquid I love the wrap around artwork on these cans.
They also made this rocking video
Ok, that’s all awesome and all, but let’s get to the beer.
I was a little surprised by how little head I got, but there’s enough to get by on. The head is a light white that shrinks down to a skim and a ring pretty quickly. The beverage itself is shockingly hazy with bits floating through an orange amber ocean. Ok, yeah bits floating around is a bit bothersome. It just means they likely didn’t filter it at all, allowing the preservation of as much hop flavor as possible. There’s one other brewery that does this, and it clearly says “DRINK FROM THE CAN” around the rim of Heady Topper for this reason.
Based on the powerful aromas of fresh-cut grass, super grapefruit, and dank ass marijuana I feel it’s safe to say all those floaty bits are hops. All hop heads need to apply themselves to drinking this. This isn’t just a hop bomb though. There are notes of bready and caramel malts hanging around the back.
The flavor kicks a lot more of those malts up front but doesn’t slack off on the hops. Bitterness wise things lean heavily toward the sweet malts. That throws my expectations for a curve ball. IPAs, even session IPAs, always lean to some degree toward the bitter.
Body rocks medium to a slight heavy with low carbonation.
Ok, let’s break the fourth wall for a moment. As I’m typing this review I’m popping to another tab messaging WCPO’s Jesse Folk who is also drinking this beer right now. We didn’t plan this, it just happened. We got to talking about the atypical aspects of the beer when it hit me.
What are we doing thinking about how this beer doesn’t meet what a session IPA is supposed to be. This is a Warped Wing beer. These are the guys who brought us the Belgian Cream Ale! What the hell is a Belgian Cream Ale? That’s totally not a thing at all! Well, it wasn’t till Warped Wing made it. Now it’s an enjoyable thing.
Who am I, or who is anyone, to tell someone what they can or can’t make? This is a good beer. I enjoyed it. You should try it and enjoy it. It’s a hop bomb aroma and a malt bomb flavor. It’s got a good body and a solid sweetness. Bottom line, this is a local beer well worth your money.
FULL DISCLOSURE: My friend who works for Warped Wing surprised me with this can. To our readers, and any companies interested in sending me stuff, giving me free stuff impacts the review in only 2 ways. That I will do my best to review it in a timely fashion and that and I will write a blog post about that review. Giving me free stuff does not guarantee you a favorable review or that I will tell everyone to go buy it.
I have been impatiently dreaming of this day for over a year. I have been eagerly waiting for it for 2 months. I have been loving this day for the past 20 minutes. The following review of MadTree Galaxy High is highly biased. I love this beer. I love that it’s canned. I love that I’m drinking Galaxy High from a can at home.