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09-12-04

St. Arnold Brewing Company Texas Wheat

09-12-04My wife has been on a wheat beer kick for a little while now and we saw St. Arnold Texas Wheat at the store last week so we decided to test it out. I’ve heard some good things about St. Arnold Brewing Company so I wasn’t too scared of what I might be drinking. I’ve also been trying to add to my collection of Texas beers since I don’t plan on living here too long.

It twisted off the top to see what awaited me. The first impression I got from the beer was that it was surprisingly clear to be a wheat. Clear to the point that there was almost no haze and you could see though it easily. Not what I expected from a wheat beer what what can I do? It was golden in color with minimal head and looked more like a Pilsner than a wheat.

09-12-03The smells emanating from the glass where sweat, lemon, and some grass. I was kind of expecting all of those but I was also hoping for some wheat/bready smells that just did not happen. On the first taste I had trouble picking up much of the flavor. There were no hops and some lemon on the back. The beer almost tasted stale. All of the bright flavors seemed to have been taken away from it. The mouthfeel was light and washed off of the tongue quickly. The only strange thing about this beer is that it is brewed with a Kölsch yeast.

I don’t have much more to say on the beer. It wasn’t very drinkable; cat piss comes to mind. I just did not enjoy it. My wife did not either nor our friends who we tried to pawn it off on. From what I have read since we bought the beer, it is apparently the worst of their beers. Awesome. (more…)

07-30-01

Portland Breweries: Full Sail Brewing Company

07-30-01On my visit to Texas last year I saw a few six packs of Full Sail beer at the store, but decided to go with some Fat Tire instead. On my honeymoon I got to discover what I missed all that time ago. Smalls and I decided that Full Sail was one of the many breweries that we would visit during our stay. There are a ton of breweries in Portland, and Oregon for that matter. So many in fact that our hotel gave us a brewery guide to Oregon. It was like eight pages long!

Getting back to Full Sail, we hoped on the Portland Street Car (still in fairless square) and took it down to one of the last free stops. Went towards the river and found Full Sail’s tasting room in Portland. The full brewery is located about an hour outside of the city. The tasting room is also attached to a resturant that was pretty pricy, but the beer was not.

We obviously got a sampler from their many beers and made sure to get their three main brews: Amber, IPA, and Pale Ale. They had a wheat beer, a stout, a porter, and a few other IPAs. I really wanted to try their barleywine, but they were out, darn.

I’m not going to get into all of the beers becasue they tasted as they should. Very good and stuck to the standards very nicely. I did get the stout on cask as well and it was excellent. Stouts might be my favorite beer to have in a cask. The flavors combine so nicey and the warm temperature brings out a lot of hidden flavors. They also had a Pilsner which was excellent. Really crisp and light but packed with flavor.

I would visit Full Sail again the next time I get out to Portland.

07-20-01

Portland Breweries: Rock Bottom

07-20-01Coming from the Philadelphia area I have heard of Rock Bottom Brewery before. RBB is the first brewpub chain to my knowledge and they have been pretty successful at it with 35 locations at last count. My previous most local one was in King of Prussia, PA, but I never visited. I heard a bunch of mixed reviews about the beer and Victory always seemed to win out if I wanted to make a little drive from home.

Smalls and I wondered around Portland our first night there and caught the MAX light rail (free in the majority of the city by the way) to the river. Almost immediatly we spotted Rock Bottom and decided to make it our choice for dinner. They have a nice coner location and have plenty of indoor, outdoor, and bar seating. We looked over the menu before going in just to make sure it wasn’t out of this world and also to make sure they had food that we liked. Prices check. Food check. Seat please!

07-20-02Our waiter came by and we ordered two glasses of water and a sampler. Their beers included a lager, wheat, IPA, stout, porter, and an amber. For another 79 cents a sample glass you could try the two beers on cask which I don’t remember what they were. The lager, Swan Island Lager, was pretty darn good, nice and light with tons of flavor. My parents would hate it as it was a lighter lager with more flavor than water.

The wheat beer, Volksweizen, had what you expect from a beer with that name. Lots of ginger and corriander with a decent amount of balance. Not the best I’ve had, but not the worst. Sunny Day IPA was on the piney side for me, so I wasn’t too big of a fan, but if you like that taste, you might dig it. The Maltnomah Porter, named for the Multnomah Falls located about a half hour outside of the city was excellent. By far the best beer we had there. Tons of flavor, great after taste, and was a bit more complex than your typical porter.

Morrison Street Stout switches by the season. In the summer they have a cream stout which was pretty typical. If you say cream stout on CO2, you can expect to taste this beer. The final beer that I remember (the other two were on cask) was the Oregonic Amber. It was good, just a bit misbalanced with too much hops and not enough malt, and the pine was back.

Overall it was a decent place, but not somewhere that I would drive to go to. A free train ride five minutes away sure, but nothing more. The food was excellent and I would visit again just based on that. Sorry I didn’t grab any pictures, it was too much of a hassle to bring the camera out everywhere and look like more of a tourist than I already did.

SB Birthday Beer

09-02-16-01One of my dear friends is turning 21 soon and she asked if I could make a homemade beer for her. Naturally I was thrilled that someone other than my roommate and I wanted to drink my beer, so I accepted the challenge. She is a big tea freak and wanted some tea flavor in the beer. I decided that a wheat beer would be ideal for a tea flavored beer. Wheat beers carry a lot of complex flavors that I thought would compliment the beer nicely.

I made a trip out to my homebrew store last week and got all of the necessary supplies. Below is a list of everything I picked up:

  • 3 pounds American 2-Row Pale malt
  • 3 pounds Wheat malt
  • 1 pound 60 Crystal malt
  • 1 oz Saaz hops (3.6%)
  • 1 tube liquid American Hefeweizen Ale yeast

I know that most wheat beers generally have a 50% wheat grain bill, but I wanted to make this an amber colored wheat beer and the homebrew store was running a bit low on wheat malt. This is supposed to make about 4 gallons worth of beer. I started my mash trying to get the grains to 110 degrees for 15 minutes, then 125 degrees for 15 minutes, and then finally 153 degrees for 45 minutes. All of these different temperatures are an attempt to release different characteristics from the wheat.

I boiled for the normal 60 with a half ounce of the Saaz going for the full boil and the other half ounce going for the last 15. I took the beer off the burner and put two teabags into wort leaving them there for only a minute or so. the  Everything went well and I cooled down the wort and pitched the yeast. The next day I took a look at my airlock and bubbles were firing away.

09-02-17-02I was unsure of the tea she wanted to use when I got my supplies. The day before brew day she gave me Chi Tea. I’m not a big tea guy so I made up a cup and found it to be very gingery. Not something I would put with a wheat beer with hefeweizen yeast. That’s the reason for such a short time in wort. I think the Chi would of gone great with a winter warmer type beer as the flavors are those I typically taste in a winter beer. At first glance I achieved an effieceny of 75% from my batch sparge and we are looking at an ABV of 4.3%. I’m pretty happy with that and I’m looking forward to trying this beer as it ages through and finally is ready to drink out of a bottle on her birthday in March.