Sunday, September 20, 2009

Let The Hop Harvest Begin!!!

And end.
It only took about a half hour to pick the hops I've been growing all Summer.
But I'm thrilled.
I got about a 1/2 a pound of fresh Cascade hops from the 5 or six bines growing up the small trellis I built in the Spring. I'm not sure if I harvested too early or too late. The cones are not as big as those I have found on-line but they look good and ready for making beer. Since I'm not ready to pay for them to be tested at a lab to determine the alpha acid content I'll estimate it at 6%. Over the years I've purchased Cascade as low as 5.3 percent and as high as 6.7 percent so 6.0 seems like a nice average.
I harvested them while enjoying a nice Ghost River Brown. I picked up a growler on Friday and it did not disappoint.
Anyhow, I put the cones on a cookie sheet and arbitrarily baked them at 170 degrees for a half hour to dry them. The resulting weight was 5 1/2 ounces. I bagged them up, squeezed out the air and put them in the freezer.
They might make a nice west coast style IPA I'm making for the late Fall.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Mike Lee's Belgian Golden Ale

Every year the Great American Beer Festival celebrates home brewers and pro brewers alike by holding a Pro Am competition. Pro brewers all over the country choose a local home brew to be represented in the event. The winning recipe is brewed in the professional brew house and taken to the GABF to be judged against the other winners nationwide.
This year's Memphis winner is Mike Lee. His "Illegally Blonde" Belgian Golden went on tap at Bosco's this weekend. The off-white head did not last long but this beer smells wonderful with lots of nice phenols. From the first sip I got a nice soft sweetness with a bit of clove and a spicy, yet restrained hop character. The beer finished nice and smooth. Our friends at Bosco's did a great job making this delicious ale.
I'm proud to be one of the Bluff City Brewers cheering for Mike and Bosco's to win this year.