Thursday, January 17, 2008

On Tap at Porterhouse

House Brews:

Skye Dew - Mild Scotch Ale; brewed with peated malt, round and smokey

Browne Mild
- English Dark Mild; brewed with brown malt, nice and roasty

Dark Wheat
- Weird, dark, red wheat beer; a real phenol bomb

Thug - A dry Irish stout malt bill fermented with a Belgian yeast; starts like an Irish stout and finishes with a Belgian tang.

Guest Taps:
Dales Pale Ale
Stone IPA
Ommegang Witte
Sly Fox Pikeland Pils
Another Brew Session - North Lager

This brew continues my pursuit of the perfect (in my mind) dark lager at Porterhouse. Before they were acquired by a Canadian mega-brewer about 3 years ago; Creemore Springs brewery in Ontario brewed an exceptional lager. It's still good but it's lost something. The current version is not as malty; not as hoppy; not quite as inspiring. The original brewer actually skipped out of Creemore and landed with a tiny brewery in Burlington Ontario (west of Toronto) called Nickel Brook. I spoke to both the owner of Nickel Brook and the brewer whilst buying a stack of their beer. They probably would have shared the recipe with me but where's the fun in that?

Any-who; this round of North Lager is a perfect dark copper color (lighter than the last batch); with a load more aroma hops. I should start lagering this batch in another four days of fermentation. It'll go on tap some time around March.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Thug on Tap

Thug stout is now on tap at the P-House Pub. I don't like to brew stouts very often; so when I do, I want them to be special. This one is put together like a typical Irish stout but I knocked it around a wee bit and fermented it using my house Belgian Ale yeast.

The result?

It's dark as a northern Canadian winter night; it's got a load of roasted malt bitterness, a Belgian nose, and a sour finish. My kind of "stout". I'd bet a pint that it'll go great with any one of the P-House's signature burgers too.

Check it out for yer-self.


Friday, January 04, 2008

Wee Yeasty Buggers

I'm finally getting around to posting an update about our yeast trials. It's been a fun experiment and well worth while - even though we ended up selecting the strain that we (John, Josh, and I) felt would be most suitable from the start. There is a load of good information out there about the fermentation characteristics of different yeast stains. What we ultimately proved to ourselves was that you can trust the descriptions provided by the yeast lab folks - we're using BSI.

To re-cap; we brewed up a recipe that will be the basis for Rowhouse Ale using my brewhouse up at Porterhouse Pub. (that was a lot of 'houses' for one sentence eh?) BSI kindly provided us with 5 gallon pitchable samples of four different Belgian yeasts: Westmalle, La Chouffe, Celis wit, and the Forbidden Fruit strain from Hoegaarden. We fermented each yeast in 5 gallons of Rowhouse, kegged them up and ran blind taste tastes with our extended PBC family. Forbidden Fruit and La Chouffe overwelmingly garnered the most praise from our PBC menagerie.

Forbidden Fruit actually got most of the votes for flavor and aroma but this yeast likes to work long and steady. A fact that may present problems for us in the initial phases of getting our brews up and running. In the end we may go with a blend of the two.

We still have more trials to run, but we hope to have beer ready for sale in February!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Welcome 2008!!

Well, it's 2008 and that means that we've got our brewery back! We're in the very final throws of our licensing process and our recipes are coming together nicely.

2007 was a long, often difficult and tedious year; I guess that's to be expected. After all, we traded away a brand that we all put our hearts and backs into and spent over eight years out of our lives building. On the other hand; now we get a fresh start - no baggage and no history to fight. The only real legacy that we need to deal with is the equipment design which is a hangover from the previous brand. We've made good beer on this setup before, in spite of the design; we'll do it again until we are able to rectify its faults.

A bunch of us greeted 2008 from the roof of our newly reclaimed Kensington brewery building. As we entered the building, we were greeted by a lingering odor of mold and what can only be described as stale, sweaty socks. This odor had become resident during the transition time during which we had been locked out of the brewery. It may seem strange but to me this was the smell of a new day. This would be the last time that our brewery would smell this way.

We all climbed up onto the roof of our brewhouse to watch the fireworks; champange and beer in hand. It seemed almost affirming that the individual neighborhood fireworks going off all around us dwarfed the city's display out over the Delaware river.

Cheers to you and yours; it's going to be a good year.