Brewfus Beer Cellar

So, I've been buying a lot of beer lately. A lot. Buying, along with trades, and people just being kind and giving me beer have really put a dent in my fridge. Or a lack of a dent, really. I couldn't fit a damn thing in there. And I kept buying and buying. Soon, the the vegetable crisper s were full. BEER EVERYWHERE. Now, without a second fridge and no real place to put one, I had to come up with a plan. That plan included glue sticks, a box of crayons, an empty soup can, a bunch of beers, and a dark, cool, creepy basement.





Sounds like a fun Friday night, huh?

Actually, what the plan was, was to age some of my beers I have. It's something I've always been interested in trying, but never had the will power. I hit the interwebs and did some research to find out what I had in my fridge that would be a good candidate. I read that beers with a high ABV are great candidates, because the alcohol mellows out over time and other flavors kind of bloom. Also, hoppy beers are a no-go. More hop forward beers are something you want a bit more fresh. So I took those two basic rules and set to my fridge to find what would be going into my cellar. Here is what made the cut:


Right to left: Rodenbach 2007 Vintage, De Proef Flemish Primitive Wild Ale,
The Bruery Otiose, Goose Island Bourbon Country Coffee Stout, DuClaw Divine
Retribution #2, Smuttynose Zinneke, Clown Shoes Chocolate Sombrero,
Cambridge Brewing Sgt. Pepper, and Stone Brewing Vertical Epic 12.12.12.
Not Pictured: Boulavard Brewing Daark Truth Stout, Perfect Crime Smoking Gun,
and New England Brewing 668 Neighbor of the Beast

Not bad, right?

Once I made the decision, It was time to get to work. I did a bit more research into finding out the best way to make them last the year that I was planning on giving them. A lot of results ended up being wax. You know, like Makers Mark, or higher end beers. It supposedly helps reduce the oxidizing. But it absolutely looks awesome.Wanting to keep my projects as DIY as possible, I found there is a way to make your own wax at home involving the creepy products I mentioned earlier. Let's have a gander at our tools for today's project, and see what they are for!


Twist ties
Pull tab! Brilliant!




















First thing I did was cut a bunch of strips about 3" long and looped them around the top to fashion a pull tab of sorts.



Glue sticks, crayons, and an empty soup can
Waxy goop!




















Ok, so I initially started with a ratio of 10 glue sticks (4" long and about 1/4" diameter) to 7 crayons. On a low heat, I combined the two in an empty soup can and stirred using a disposable skewer. After about 10-15 minutes, I had a nice consistency that I was happy with. I wasn't happy with the quantity though, so I added 6 more glue sticks, and 5 more crayons. I was ready to rock and roll inside of 20 minutes total.



Before
After













\






Dipping the end of each bottle right into wax, I let a majority of the excess drip off before I flipped the bottle.  Doing science looked like a lot of fun, so Anna got in on it and dipped a few bottles herself. The bottles looked great, and silly me, had a lot of mix left over. I probably could have gotten away with the original mix ration of 10 glue sticks to 7 crayons. But no big deal. The only thing I noticed was some of the bottles had some cracking in the wax. I used the end of my mixing skewer, dipped it into the remaining goop, and "glued" the cracks up. I'm a little curious what would help them not crack. I think perhaps more of an even glue to crayon ratio. Either way, I was mostly happy.

I logged my newly created beer cellar in my Moleskin Beer Journal, hauled the beers into my basement, and called it a day.

And thus began my first aging project.



See you next year, kids!


There are other important things that go into aging, especially temperature I didn't mention them, but you can find more about this project and the rules I followed here:
Beer Advocate How To Store Beer
Homebrewtalk.com Hot Glue Bottle Wax Experiment 

6 comments:

#30 Maine Beer Co. Mo - Two Girls, One Beer Guest Post

Good evening. My name is Kristie and I write for Two Girls, One Beer. "Where is Hipster Brewfus?", you shout, tearing at your hair. Relax, gentle reader. Hipster has graciously allowed me to co-opt his blog for the day so I can share with you an East Coast beer gem.

From out of the back country of Maine, where pterodactyls still fly free, where the lion lays with the lamb, is Maine Beer Company; a small brewing operation producing some of the finest beers in the area. You can always recognize their bottles, which feature a very minimalistic design approach and the slogan "Do what's right".




This is MO, an American Pale Ale. It pours an absolutely gorgeous shade of orangey-amber, with a frothy white head that lasted throughout most of the beer. There is a yeasty haze (possible band name, I think so), and it left behind tons of lacing.

The aroma is packed with citrus (grapefruit, light tropical fruits), a great fresh hop smell, little bit of pine, and a light help malt to help support the resinous hops. Judging by appearance and aroma alone, this seems like an incredibly fresh brew.





MO starts with a caramel sweetness and a toasty/bready malt character before moving into a very interesting hop profile. Warrior and Simcoe hops provide a blend of both fruity and piny notes. Flavors of orange peel, grapefruit, and apricot slowly become more earthy and floral as the beer warms.

This is a medium-bodied ale, 6% alc/vol. It has the same perfect malt/hop balance that I look for in a pale ale or IPA. The hops aren't hindered in any way by the malts. It finishes light and crisp, with a sticky hop bitterness that lingers on the sweeter side of things. This would definitely pair well with pretty much any type of food.





What I love about this beer and this brewery in general, is that they're making basic styles exciting again. I can't remember a time when I felt this much joy from a pale ale
.
Maine Beer Co. is only available in the Northeast, so if you're ever out this way, ya know, getting Dunkin Donuts or whatever, I highly suggest buying everything this brewery puts out because it is all gold.

Thanks again to Jake for letting me post and check out Two Girls, One Beer for other New England beer reviews from myself and my beer life partner Ashleigh.

And to stick with Hipster's music theme, this beer pairs well with The Dead Milkmen - The Thing That Only Eats Hippies



10 comments:

Press Release: Arcade Brewery Label Design Challenge



I'm proud to announce, my first ever press release (holy crap, I'm famous)! Read below, this is great and fun news!

Arcade Brewery, a soon-to-open Chicago craft brewery, recently launched their first Public Brew Challenge; a crowd-sourced beer line. The Public Brew series engages Arcade Brewery's community to help create aspects of the beer from naming the beer, label design, and even suggestive aspects of recipe formulation. The first Public Brew will be a Scotch Ale.

Arcade Brewery recently polled their community for beer names on their Facebook page. More than 150 submission were reduced to 7 finalists and over 470 votes determined the Scotch Ale's future name: William Wallace Wrestle Fest.


Arcade Brewery is now accepting label design submissions for the newly named beer through March 15th, 2013. The artist of the winning design will be awarded $300 and have their design printed as the beer's label. more information on the label design challenge can be found at http://www.arcadebrewery.com/forum/design-challenge/


Arcade Brewery will also be launching 6 Pack Stories (a comic across 6 bottles of beer) this summer. 6 Pack Stories is written by Jason Aaron (Scalped, Thor, Wolverine) and designed by Tony moore (The Walking Dead, Venom, Fear Agent, Deadpool)


Please feel free to e-mail info@arcadebrewery.com with questions or for more details on the challange.


Cheers!



0 comments:

Happy Place: Victoria Gastro Pub

There is a funny little ditty about when I found Victoria's. I drove past it one day, coming back to the office from having lunch with my boss. The name "Gastro Pub" really stuck with me. In my plebeian mind, I was only able to connect "gastro" with "gastrointestinal" and my mind was a mess of a whole lot of "what the hell??"

I'm very dumb. It's painfully obvious, thank you.

So I got home and brought it up to fiancee, telling her about the word connection I had made in my mind. Well, you can only imagine how much laughter that idea was met with. And that was the night I learned what a "Gastro Pub" is (they aren't really a thing in my old stomping grounds, at least, not by that name).  That was also the first night I went to Victoria Gastro Pub. I've been there quite a few times since, bringing co-workers for lunch, attending business meetings, date nights with my lady, and sometimes just to go on my own for some "Brewfus alone time."




Located in Columbia, Maryland, Victoria is nestled among a growing complex of businesses. I'm lucky, its only about a 15 minute drive from my office in Hanover! The brick structure is nice, featuring a large covered patio section to the left. You walk in and you're greeted by the hostess, and the rather large bar area. The bar is beautiful, and there is about a dozen or so tables along side it. If you don't want to sit at the bar, there is a full seating area, partitioned off into a few different sections. The lighting is low and cozy, and the atmosphere is conducive to a nice, calm, relaxing night out. Or day out. Last time I was there, I brought my book with me, parked my ass down and read, ate, and drank to my hearts content. The walls aren't loaded with crap, nothing to distract you from the experience  I'd have taken pictures, but I'm still weirded out a little about taking pictures for my blog out in public, so I often err to the side of not doing it.

The Food

I've been to places with much larger menus, so at first I was a little thrown off. But quality over quantity, any day of the week. Each time I go there, I get something different. And each time my meal has been superb. They really have a little bit of everything. Here's a sampling of some of the dishes I've had:

"Cheese Plate:
A selection of artisanal  cheese,
house made pickles, grain mustard,
red grapes, grilled baguette"
Beer: Elysian Torrent Pale Beet Bock

"American Dip:
Roasted Angus rib eye, Vermont cheddar,
horseradish sauce, porter beef jus"

"Victoria Fish and Chips:
Allagash White beer battered cod,  crab remoullade"

Chili with pork. It wasn't on the menu. But
it was fantastic (not as good as mine though, Ha).
"Baugher's Farm Apple Grilled Cheese:
Vermont cheddar, walnut vinaigrette"





















Now, I'm no food blogger, nor am I even close to amateurish in my photography  SO please forgive me if my photos make the food look less than appetizing. I promise you its quite the opposite. The burgers are top notch, too. And no matter what, you have to, HAVE TO get their duck fat fries. Holygoodgod they are amazing.

The Beer

Ah yes, the beer. The whole reason why you're here, Right? Well, they have an ever changing tap list of about two dozen different brews from all over. A lot of them are local, which makes me happy to see. Aside from that, there is an even larger list of bottles. The beer menu is full size, and very thick, with pages and pages of beer from all over the world. They break it down by country, and for the brews here in the states, they break them down by state. It's extensive, it's slightly overwhelming, and it is heaven.

On top of there being a ridiculous amount of beer to choose form, you have the option of joining their Beer Club. I wont try to explain it, as it's a lot to talk about, but I will provide you the link so you can read about it yourself. You can read about it here. It's a fun road fraught with beer and prizes!


Sierra Nevada/Russian River Brux
New Belgium Lips of Faith Brett Beer



Wicked classy beer flight:
The Bruery Rugbrod
Unibroue La Terrible
Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous
Southern Tier Choklat
North Coast Old Rasputin (nitro)

I'm on a big sour, and dark beer kick as of late, obviously.

So this is another one of my happy places, where the staff makes me feel more than welcome, the food and drink are always great, and I just always have a great time. They host beer dinners, and always seem to have some sort of beer related event happening. I just regret that I've been unable to attend one yet. Some day! I could go on and on about this place, but I wont. Instead, you can check them out online, or better yet, you can actually go there and see for yourself. I'd tell you to tell them Brewfus sent you, but they have no idea who I am, and that would be kind of awkward.

Find Victoria Gastro Pub online:

Website: http://victoriagastropub.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/victoriagastropub
Twitter: https://twitter.com/VictoriaGPub

And if you plan on going after reading this, let me help you find your way there!


View Larger Map

2 comments:

#29 Four in Hand IPA

I tend to shy away from reviewing IPAs. I mean, lets be real, they are EVERYWHERE. IPAs have saturated the market. That's not saying I don't enjoy them, I really do, but reviewing them? Meh. I'll leave it to other people, and I'll drink a bunch of other different styles and blather on about them to you.

For some reason, I felt the urge to write about Four in Hand IPA, and then I didn't. It was a struggle. It was something I picked up in one of the build your own 6 packs. I was sold on the bottle art, because it's totally bitchin'. Now, I get to share my thoughts and musings with you.


Looks cool, right? Yeah, well...


It poured a clear copper. No hazyness or anything. Just clean and clear. There was an obnoxiously large, fluffy head. It really stuck around around throughout drinking it. Speaking of which, ever see those people that use oils from their nose to get rid of the head? How disgusting is that??





















Anyway, after a few sips, I was able to get my nose in their enough to get a smell of it. It really wasn't worth the wait. It's a bitter smell, almost astringent-like. I don't like my beer to smell like it would leave my tub and windows, clean and streak free. The taste? Well it's a barely average IPA. It's hoppy and piney. Sure, some citrus here and there. It's more malty than anything, so I'd call this just a Pale Ale before I called it an IPA. It's not bad, per se. It's just dreadfully boring and lacking. The body of it is paper thin, and the taste leaves a lot to be desired.


What it did leave though...was some nice lacing.

I really did judge this book by its cover. Label art is awesome.

Four in Hand is just an average beer in a beautiful decor. I did some research about the brewer, and didn't come up with too much in my initial search. I found out it's supplied by a company called World Brews (or Winery Exchange, I really don't know.) who actually have taken home a few medals. While that may be so, the general public consensus rides along the same lines as mine. More power to them, I guess.

Four in Hand is online, sort of: http://www.fourinhandbrews.com/


Four in Hand IPA

Smell: 1/5
Appearance: 3/5
Taste: 2/5
Feel: 2/5

Overall: 2/5

This beer pairs well with: Chevelle - Well Enough Alone






0 comments:

The Letspour.com Experience

Have you ever been experienced? Well I have, now.

Thought Id take a break after all those reviews and share a pretty awesome experience that I had with Letspour.com.

Buying beer online was an idea I had, once. I forget what site I tried, but I remember (and this was several years ago) building up my cart with several bottles of things I couldn't get in Connecticut at the time. I got what I thought was awesome and respectable list of beers, and went to check out. Shipping was astronomical. I cant remember the exact dollar amount, but it was about $50, give or take a couple bucks. Do you know how much beer I could buy locally for $50? A lot. So I quickly closed the hell out of that window, but I was still feeling slightly optimistic as I continued to Google online beer sellers. It took me  another try with another retailer before I gave up completely. I'm a glutton for punishment.

Now is a new time for me, and I'm much more active in the community and far more open to ideas from others. So one day, I was fooling around on the Beer Advocate and someone mentioned Letspour.com, so I figured I'd head over and check it out. There were two things that enticed me. Well, three things.


  • They have a really fun roulette flash game to win money off your order, or store credit, what have you. I won $10 off my first order. It's aptly named "Spin the Bottle."

  • They offer free shipping after 6 bottles. That is really what sold me, completely. Free shipping? Hell yeah!

  • They have a good selection of a lot of different breweries from all over.


Now im sure at this point you're thinking "Damnit Brewfus, just show us what you got already!" Well, calm your horses, dear reader. While I just highlighted some of the positive aspects, there are a few things more along the negative line, that you should be aware of.


  • The first is you are timed to make your purchase. They gave me about 15 minutes to pick my brews. Now, When I'm at my local bottle shop, sometimes I'll scan the aisles and bottles for 20 to 30 minutes. Being forced to pick from a batch of beers I've never had before in an unfamiliar setting, in a short amount of time? That was stressful. Next time, I'll pick out the beers I want before hand.

  • It was two weeks between me placing my order and me actually picking up my order. With that said, they DO state that it will take 3-5 business days for shipping. I ordered on a Sunday, didn't get my shipping notice until the following Saturday, and picked up my package from UPS the NEXT Friday. This isn't so bad, but I'm also really impatient. So while it was annoying to me, maybe it won't be so bad for you. Also, you must be there to sign for the package, and be 21. I opted to just pick up my package from UPS, so I didn't have to fret about being home on time.

  • Quite a few of the bottles I saw on the site, that I can buy locally, were easily 3 or 4 dollars more than  what I can pick them up at locally. That kind of put me off a bit. It' was only some though, and not all (I don't think). I still find the service handy for all the bottles I cant get here.

So If none of those are deal breakers, then I highly recommend giving them a shot. Alright, so lets open these bad boys!




The packaging was awesome. If you've received bottle from me, you know that I tend to go a bit...batshit crazy with the bubble wrap. There wasn't a bubble to be found in this box. Instead they use these neat cardboard things with bottle-shaped cavities. For a trip from Washington to Maryland, they arrived in perfect shape, albeit a bit dusty.


Here is the total haul! 6 bottles out the door for about $50. Not bad!

Sam Adams
New World

Justice Brewing
White & Nerdier

Bear Republic Brewing
Race 5 IPA

Full Sail Brewing
LTD Series 06

Left Coast Brewing Co.
Hop Juice
Left Hand Brewing
Fade to Black Vol 4


So there we have it, my first experience with buying beer online. It was more or less painless, and I got some great beer. Have you ever gone through letspour.com? Do you have a website that's different? Let me know your experiences!

4 comments: