Monday, August 25, 2008

Check out our poll!

As those of you who know us already know, Carrie is prone to getting some wild-ideas and crazy ass theories, and once she gets them in her head they tend to stay for a while!
We thought we would run with her latest one & put a poll up here to see just how close she is to being correct. Without giving away her theory here is her thinking: men and women have very distinctively different tastes in beer. This is an IN GENERAL and AS A WHOLE type of thing!
So, take a minute and scroll down to the very bottom of this page. There you will see two polls: one for guys & one for gals. Please only vote for the gender that you are! If you don't see the type of beer you prefer or aren't sure, read some of the examples listed and see which one suits you the best or closest.
Thanks for voting!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Harvesting Hops & Rainy Day Pale Ale

In part because of the hop shortage and in part because of our desire to be organic & self-sufficient, we grew hops this year. Or, rather, we tried. Dogs and puppies, when paired with an inexperience in growing hops, managed to leave us with only one vine that produced. We originally plants 2 fuggles, 1 kent golding, 1 magnum, & 1 cascade. The one we got anything from was the cascade, but it did manage to grow the full height of the trellis (with attempts to grow higher), so we were happy. After all, you learn best by trial and error.
On Wednesday the 20th we harvested our first round of cascade buds. We were able to get 1/2 an ounce (dried weight). Not too shabby, since this was from one rhizome and it's 1st year planted. We dried them in the dehydrator and froze them once they were nice and dry. They look good and we are eager to use them in a brew!
We also have decided to enter our 1st competition. This is something we're very excited about, as it is an organic beer competition. The 2008 National Organic Homebrew Challange is being put on by Seven Bridges Cooperative and is being hosted by Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant ( in San Jose, CA.
We had originally wanted to enter a couple different styles, but we all know how the economy is and so with limited finances and a heavy sigh, we settle on one. We decided upon a Pale Ale as our beer to enter. It has been given the name "Rainy Day Pale Ale" because, as you can see in the photo, as soon as we began brewing it began raining! One of the things you have to love about SW VA, late summer "mood swings": if they call for rain, we won't get any; if they call for sunshine, it will rain; if you put off brewing till Friday because there is a 90% chance of rain on Wednesday (& 0% on Friday), you will be hit with a quick-moving, clothes-soaking downpour!! Thankfully, as you can see as well, we have our super handy (albeit weather beaten) porch umbrella! TADA!
We haven't bottled the beer yet, and it finished with a lower O.G. than we had planned on, but it should still come out well. We'll let you know as soon as we do!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

"God D*mn Brewery!"

Ok, before any complaints roll in ... it's a quote from Beerfest, get over it. ;)

The reason for this title is because of an incident that occured on 8/13/08 at our house. We had visited Vintage Cellar up in Blacksburg, Va that day (well worth the visit, as always!!) and picked up a selection of beers for tasting. Brought them home, put them in the fridge, and eagerly awaited till after bed-time for the kids so we could begin our tasting.
We were standing in the kitchen with Justin in front of the fridge, holding a beer, when suddenly the beer exploded. He wasn't trying to open it or anything like that - the damn thing just exploded. Luckily he wasn't badly injured, but it did put a nice little cut in his leg.

Here is a, somewhat, close-up photo of the exploded beer. There were shards of glass across the width of our kitchen, with beer splattered and spilled over 10' in one direction and a good 6' out from the fridge. The beer that blew was a Vanilla Java Porter from Atwater Block Brewing Co. out of Detroit, Michigan.
We immediately called the brewery, though it took a couple days (and several more phone calls) before Mark Reith, the owner, bothered to call us back. He acted barely sympathetic and tried to blame the distributor, Hop & Wine out of Sterling, Va, as well as the store for not having the beers refridgerated (even though they were in a building with AC, and then went into our fridge), and for not rotating product (even though how accurately you could do that since there are no dates of production on the bottles is a good question). I told him I wanted his insurance info so that we could give him the bill from the resulting doctor's visit. He actually tried to tell me that he doubted they (Atwater) would be responsible for the bill, but that IF I wanted to send him a copy he would "make sure it gets forwarded to the proper people."
We have since found out that our incident is far from being an isolated incident (despite Mr. Reith's claims) and that two people were severly injured on Aug. 2, 2008 up in Michigan. This has become a hot-topic on ~ here is the direct link:
While we support small breweries & the entire art of craft-brewed beers, it is the fact that Mr. Reith accepts no responsibilty, even though there is obviously a problem with their brewing & bottling methods, and shows little-to-no concern or care for his customers health and well-being. In doing so he also shows that lack of concern for the trade of craft-brewed beers in general.
To craft brew beer is an act of love. You must love beer, you must love what makes good beer good, you must be willing to show that love and dedicated not only to your beer but to the entire craft/micro-brewed trade. Mr. Reith, where is your love???