Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Barley's Beer School with Pauwels and Kins

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Please read through all of this to pick up any Boulevard sneak peeks...

Usually I stay away from promoting commercial material on my blog, but I had a great time at Barley's Brewhouse yesterday that I highly suggest signing up for the next event. I will keep everyone posted on the next Beer School. I went to the first event a few weeks ago where Free State brewery from Lawrence spoke about their beers and the technical process of each brew. It was good, but there were so many people there and it was hard to hear. This time they got it right by setting up a p.a. system and toning down the crowd. And for $10 what you get was amazing. The first event was only $5 so you're not going to be breaking your wallet here. It was a little disheartening that I had to miss out on the Founders' tasting at Flying Saucer, but kcworthog was able to go get the scoop over there.

A big thank you to Jake and Mark for donating to my September Drought. I did not pay a penny for all of the beer and food for the night. Also thank you to Randyl and KC Hopps for organizing such events.

The hosts were Steven Pauwels (master brewer at Boulevard) and Carl Kins (International Beer Judge and all around a great beer geek). Also Jeremy and Dustin (brewers from Blvd) came and sat at our table so there was a brewer overload going on. Both guys are from Belgium and the focus was around Belgian beers so I knew I was in for a treat. It was fantastic to hear Carl explain the map of Belgium and get the history of the country instead of diving right into the beer. Before the event started I got myself an Odell IPA which, to me, is an incredible version of that style. Then it was the following for tastings:
1st - Duvel
2nd - La Chouffe
3rd - Urthel Hop-it
4th - Orval
5th - Matilda
6th - Saison-Brett
7th - Sixth Glass
8th - La Folie
First of all, that is a ridiculous line up of decent sized tastings for $10. Second, I was not expecting this and what was to follow. Steven and Carl continued to switch off by explaining the beers and stories that followed them. Also explaining that Jean-Marie Rock from Orval was going to join Steven for the next Beer School at Barley's. Now why would he be coming from Belgium and leaving his Trappist Orval brewery? Well because he's doing a collaboration brew with Steven to be released under Boulevard's name. Man I hope they call this "Rock On Collaboration". I learned this the other day but didn't want to give too much away until Steven announced himself. After the tasting ended I was quite hungry and Markbe, follower of my blog, met up with me and offered me a beer. So we sat down and ordered some food and Tank 7 only to be joined at our table by Steven and Carl. Steven was happy to see we ordered some of his Tank 7 and went to explain that it will be bottled (and I assume) that will replace the Saison. Steven ordered some Seeyoulator and some more Tank 7 along with food so we all were doing 'pretty well' by the end of the evening. We talked about the Wheatwine "Harvest Dance" that will be coming out very soon. I tried the other version of the Wheatwine that had been aged in chardonnay and pinot and liked it very much. We also discussed the smokestack series being packaged in a 4 pack of 330 ml bottles which I had also learned earlier. Now something I can take to lunch at work... kidding.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Humerous GABF Medals

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Results came in from Great American Beer Festival. Boulevard won a Gold for Belgian-Style Wit with their Zon. But let's take a look at some other interesting medals. A big shout out to Coors for winning Gold and Silver with Keystone Ice (a fan favorite). The winner for Rye was named Crazy Jackass Ale. Uncle Billy's Brew won with a beer called Hell in Keller, and in the same category the Silver goes to Natural Born Keller. Miller stepped in and pulled some Silver for Hamm's and High Life which are two beers that I drink and think to myself, "these should really be winning some competitions." A beer called Bloody Beer won a Silver for experimental category and I really don't want to know how their experiment went.

Friday, September 25, 2009

To Microwave or Not to Microwave

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The day started out in the office. I spent the first half of the day trying to convince co-workers to go out for lunch, but no luck. So was it my typical microwave lunch? Jeremy, from Boulevard, would not have it that way. I was invited for the 3rd time to a Boulevard Luncheon and apparently the 3rd time's the charm to where I actually have time to go. Last minute I shot down to the brewery in time for the end of the tour portion of the Luncheon only to find Jeremiah from HopFrog to provide me with some great pictures. J and I sat down across from Payton from Blvd who was great company and later learned that he is in possession of the Muehelbach bottle that I donated to Blvd. Payton has been involved with every bottle label and any aspect of copy or pictures that involve Blvd. He had been old homebrew buddies with John McDonald, owner/founder of the brewery, and had some good stories. The food was prepared by Bluestem.

First up on the menu was a Shrimp Bisque labeled as "Corn Bisque, Rock Shrimp, Fingerling Potatoes, and Braised Berkshire Bacon". Right away I knew I made the right choice in going down to Blvd. The bisque was paired with the Wheat because of the acidity. Interesting. The creamy soup, paired with the rolls, could have been a meal within itself.

Next on the 3 course menu was the main course. Beef short ribs, now we're talkin. This style of ribs was cut to make rib stakes which was kind of a mix between a typical filet and a slow roast. No knife needed. Now this was paired with the rare unblended Rye on Rye. The Rye on Rye (now with a name) is currently set to come out in February of 2010. Now I've already tried this a couple weeks earlier from a bottle Steven Pauwels lended. It was very oaky and will need some blending, but is backed full of flavor. I looked down our table and noticed the slow sipping of the Rye did not go down like the Wheat. More pictures of the Rye on Rye below...

Finally a great treat. Bob's 47 Ice Cream. Bob's is Boulevard's Octoberfest beer and pays homage to a great brewer of the late Muehlebach. 1947 is the year he graduated brewery school. The ice cream was paired with Sixth Glass Quad which Payton decided to make a float out of his dish. Brilliant!

There is one more Luncheon setup and I highly suggest you sign up and try this. I now leave you with some of J's fine photography:

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

New Busch Marketing - Class it up!

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The drunk hunter couldn't find where he set his beer!

I saw a case of this at the grocery store yesterday and didn't have the heart to take a picture of it so I stole this one.

What's next, a Wal-Mart version of Natty?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Tasting Night

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Come all beer geeks! Some friends and I organized a nice little tasting on Saturday night downtown and a thanks to Rian for hosting. I'll give the quick and dirty run down: We started the night off with some wheat home brew and moved into some Missouri beers with the Seeyoulator and Schlafly Tripel. AleSmith's Horny Devil was the next victim. Then a rare brew called "L'Ange Tombé" Fallen Angel brewed once by De Proefbrouwerij for Julios liquor store. At this point I can't remember which order, but we dove into a 120 minute IPA from Dogfish Head which is over 21% abv. This is a love/hate beer and I tend to appreciate the flavor. You can't hide alcohol at that point but the sugars and hop flavor are great. This is basically an overdone American Barleywine and a slow, slow sipper. Of course I had to finish some of the tasters as I was not driving. A Pliny the Elder (no explanation necessary) and then to Smoke From the Oak from Captain Lawrence Brewing in New York. This was extremely sour and not pleasant to me. Matt from the Flying Saucer brought a Stone's '07 Old Gaurdian Barleywine that was probably my favorite of the night. At this point we had to call it a night even though there were several other amazing brews that were brought to the table.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Heard it Through the Grape Vine

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If you follow my blog posts, you'll know that I brewed up an Oatmeal 'Raisin' Stout for the latest KC Irishfest Stout competition. Then I see this picture today. Maybe FCB was reading my blog (probably not):

Not Your Uncle's Back Pocket Chew

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Unfortunately this is not bottled for distribution.
Check out the interesting process of making Chicha from DFH.
Now that's a beer adjucnt!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Boulevard Hop Day gets 9 out of 9

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Today was 9/9/09. A very, very rainy day in Kansas City, but a very fun day for myself. It all started a few days back when KC Worthog met Steven Pauwels (brewmaster) at a Boulevard dinner. He invited her to a special day at Boulevard for wet-hopping the Nutcracker Ale. She was gracious enough to invite me (hophead) along. The Chinook hops were picked just yesterday in the Yakima Valley in Washington. They were overnight shipped (as they have been for years) to Kansas City where Steven and crew quickly get them into the secondary fermentation tanks to dry hop (or wet hop in this case). We showed up promptly at 8 a.m. to meet Steven. He showed us around the brewery from place to place but I think he was just pacing in anticipation for the hops to arrive. 8:30 and still no hops. We made our way to the microbiology lab where we learned about how tasting panels work and the quality control checks in place to test for off-flavors. There was another lab where new equipment is used to measure alcohol content and other consistency issues.

Once we made it to Steven's office he plucked up a couple of extremely rare bottles for us to try. A Rye aged in Templeton Rye Whiskey barrels. I thought it was a nice tribute to our neighboring state, Iowa. This is unblended so should be pretty raw with oak. Also donated was a bottle of trial Wheatwine that was aged with Pinot and Chardonnay. Now this brew also came from a barrel and was primed with grape juice. More on these bottles after the tasting...

Because the hops did not arrive on time, we headed back to our places of work in waiting for a call from Steven. The hops arrived and I darted back over to the brewery during lunch only to find a large crew of beer-loving fellows beginning to bag the hops. Once the door opened up you could smell the lupulin right away. Steven found me a pair of gloves and with my nice work clothes on, I dove right in with my free labor. I found myself stuffing hop bags full of these 2 inch cones and prepping them for the fermentation tanks. This lunch hour was far from some reheated leftovers at my desk.

As time was running out for me, I collected some left over hops from the ground to smell back at work. After it was all over I met up with Jeremy from Boulevard who came to our 3rd Big Brew Day to get a hardy send off back to work. It was a great day that even all the rain could not get me down.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


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Two things I like, beer and Mizzou. Two things I don't like, bad beer and poor marketing. Anheuser-Busch decided to go for a new marketing scheme by offering up Bud Light in college colors to promote "Team Pride". If you take pride in your beer you will not take pride in this terrible decision. This article mentions Purdue, but we all know the black and gold represents the University of Missouri for the St. Louis, MO based company.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

September Drought

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I promised myself to not purchase any alcohol or alcohol related items for the month of September. The reason behind this is my compulsive demeanor to where I see something I want and all of a sudden I have to have it. I could use a month off of collecting bottles, finding rare beers and purchasing brewing equipment. This should give me more time at home and less stress on my wallet. If you'd like to join in with me, I won't be so lonely. I already have one person who is interested.

Now this does not mean I can't drink. It has nothing to do with drinking too much at all. So I have plenty in my fridge to get rid of and if I go out and someone buys me a round I will not complain.

The end and the beginning: Yesterday was the last day to purchase any beer so I went to Barley's in Overland Park where they hosted a Beer School. The good people from Freestate Brewery came out and did a tasting where they spoke about the ingredients and processes used. Most everyone there was a homebrewer so I enjoyed the pace of the class. My only complaint was there were so many people that I could hardly hear what they were saying. Good job though and next month will be Steven Pauwels (and someone else from Belgium) to discuss Belgian beers. You should definitely chip in to allow me to go on my drought month. :) The first day in October will be a glorious comeback as a keg of Canadian Breakfast Stout will be tapped at Flying Saucer. People from all around are sure to show up for this event and I truly hope to be there.