Tag Archives: dry

Piece Brewery Kick the Tires IPA

The Piece Brewpub has been around for a while and serves up absolutely huge pizzas with small-batch beers. Although small batch, the line-up is pretty regular; but not too heavy on the lagers or IPAs, which is unusual for brewpubs like this in the U.S.A.

The brewpub itself is wide open and comfortable with only thirteen flat screen TVs, truly a paucity. All the fancy fermentors are in a side room and friendly bar staff work hard among the banjo music and baseball.

I ordered the only IPA on the menu and it comes sitting in a chilled tulip glass in colours of robust mahogany and copper. Clarity is entire. The aroma is general citrus, caramel malts, very sweet and dangerous. It’s not a big bold bouquet of hops, rather sweet, steady smells of mango and toffee win out. The mouthfeel is medium, delivering a great big dry finish, but one that keeps a little pancake with it, a little malt overtone. It’s very fizzy on the tongue, right through.

The sparkling finish carries over fresh resin hop flavour and a bitter backbone. It’s not quiet East or West Coast IPA but somewhere in between – fitting for a Chicago brew. Drinking this IPA after walking ten kilometres on a warm, wet, windy autumn day, I couldn’t help but be satisfied. It’s a bog standard IPA with a higher than normal ABV, which is fine by me.

I drank this 7.5% ABV draught beer at the Piece Brewery and Pizzeria in Wicker Park, Chicago, Illinois.

Spiteful Brewing Selfies Are For Wieners Double IPA With Honey

This beer comes courtesy of Spiteful Brewing, another outfit that started as the brainchild of two buddy homebrewers. Although it’s a Chicago brewery that started in 2012 I didn’t see them on any taps while I was in the city.

The Double IPA I tried has a really quite ridiculous name. It takes me back to 2006 – officially my “Year of the Selfie”. I took more selfies that year than ever before or ever since.

This beer is golden, quite light for a DIPA, with a seriously thick head. It’s like a growth of mould or something. Permanent.

The smell is very sweet pineapple, layered over warm wet towels, a kind of mildewy note, oddly sour. Weird but not a problem. Upon drinking a real honey punch presents itself first – thoroughly unexpected. Even though the beer says it has honey in it, I can count the number of “honey beers” I have had on one hand that have managed to impart honey character to the actual flavour profile; mostly it just comes through as dryness, or only in the aroma. But this big beer gives slick, almost boiled honey the front row seat somehow. I wonder how they did it.

The malt is hard to diagnose, being mixed in with the honey flavours. For a 9.4% ABV beer it is surprisingly dry; somewhat more expected from a honey beer, but still. 9.4% ABV beers do not tend to be this dry. This is a yum beer, far too easy to drink for its alcohol content. The four-frame comic on the label is also amusing and welcome. Interesting it assumes the drinker is male.

I bought this 9.4% ABV bottled beer from the Liquor Park “neighbourhood brewtique” and drank it at a house in Wicker Park, Chicago, Illinois.

Not So Clean Ale

This is the last beer I brewed before moving to Myanmar, which involved selling the larger part of my brewing gear. Therefore it was kind of a big deal. This beer was also an attempt to use up left over ingredients, mainly my last couple of kilograms of grain. Unfortunately I didn’t have enough fermentables for a 20l batch, so I bought a beer kit for $10 and added that in. This is the first kit brew I’ve done in a while – thankfully it tastes OK. Not great, but good enough. Kinda.

The recipe was an attempt at a basic dry pale ale full of malt and little else.

Not So Clean Ale
1044 OG, 1005 FG. 5.4% bottle ABV. US-05. Canberra water, from tap.

Fermented at 17°C from:

58% :: Coopers Draught Beer Kit
42% :: Ale Malt

40m single infusion mash at 65°C.
20m boil, no hop additions (kit is pre-hopped) but yeast nutrient added at ten minutes.

The beer looks lovely, a rich, beautiful bronze colour with perfect clarity. In fact, I mistook the first bottle for a golden apple cider batch I did previously – it’s that kind of bold bronze. The aroma wafts biscuit, apple and cloves in equal measures; the clove-phenolic presence perniciously detracting from the overall bouquet. The beer’s carbonation is low to medium, with little retention. Typical of a Canberra winter fermentation.

On tasting a clean, full, malty hit disappears quickly with a thin dry finish. Very low bitterness. Malt is pancakes and biscuits, but like the aroma it is beleaguered – this time by fusels. The hot burn brackets the rest of the profile so as to not entirely ruin the beer, rather to simply restrict it from greatness.

So, an eminently drinkable beer held back by some clove and fusels. As it is, a pint at a time I think. Alas!

The fusels and phenols could be coming from anywhere – and given I am in mourning of much of my brewing gear, I don’t want to diagnose. Alas.

Case Swap #14: NTC ESB

This post is part of a series of twenty-three discussing beers brewed by members of the Merri Mashers brewing club for their 2015 case swap celebration.

This beer is labelled as “an ESB variation with an experimental upped hopping schedule”.  It has an OG of 1040, 39IBU, with Windsor yeast and was brewed by Merri Masher Baz Fletcher.

This odd ESB settled in the glass with a bright orange colour under a patchy head that quickly disappeared. Little aroma announced itself, perhaps faint notes of grassy hops, a little non-descript malt – but thoroughly low levels. A medium body carried great peppery notes that controlled the beer’s flavour with fresh spicy hops – that are almost herbal – in second command. The malt contributions are muted and disappeared in the dry, medium-bitter finish.

Good work Baz, this is an interesting take on an ESB.