Thursday, August 29, 2013

GNBF Awesomeness, Nebraska State Fair, Beer Trading, Brewing, Reading Books, Football!

The Stone 06 Vertical Epic!
So last weekend was Great Nebraska Beerfest.  It was an excellent event, and everyone in the brew club had a great time.  I brought my Scottish Export 80 and plenty of people were drinking it.  The other guys brought a ton of different styles from IPAs, IIPAs, Wheat Beers, Brown Ales, some Sours and even a Berlinerweisse-Radler that Tom made.  Turned out pretty tasty.  The day was full of great new beers to enjoy.  I had some really incredible beers from Goldenrod (Saison IPA was awesome), Infusion (Brown Ale was incredible), Plowshare, Stone, Empyrean, Schlafly (best pumpkin beer I have ever had), Deschutes, Nebraska Brewing Company (love having Melange on tap!), Heretic (Evil Cousin and Grammarye!), Grimm Brothers, Cigar City (Oktoberfest was great!), Upstream, Lucky Bucket (yes they actually had a really nice beer there I liked called Sahti), Zipline, Blue Blood (their Imperial Amber was good) and many others.  One highlight of the day was getting to meet Dr. Bill Syzak and do a video interview with him.  I haven't had much time to edit video on my own but I'm hoping Sunday I can do that and get something up here next week.  I also took some video of the event and the people enjoying the event.  So get ready for another GNBF video.  This year was rough for sound though.  The generators and bands were very loud.  I found myself having to yell to people next to me just to hear sometimes.  So getting interviews was harder than last year because of the volume.  But I still managed to get a couple.
One of the coolest beers I was able to enjoy at GNBF was the 06 Stone Vertical Epic.  Man that beer was so incredible.  It made me want to hi-five the world.  Just the perfection of the roasty notes, the mild bitterness and the age smoothing everything out.  Man that was good.
Heretic Evil Cousin down the hatch
This week we all found out the results for the Nebraska State Fair Homebrewing Competition.  I sent in six beers (Amber, Cream Ale, Saison, American Brown, Dusseldorf Alt, and Scottish 80.)  All of the links above are to my recipes for the beers I entered.  The only recipe that was not my own was the Brown Ale I entered which was Mike McDole's "Janet's Brown Ale" recipe.  Which can be found here.  Turns out that the Railroaders faired extremely well in the competition.  Overall we had 27 awards in different categories.  Tom Malowski won Best of Show for mixed styles and Jeff Conrad won Best of Show for Lagers.  I even came away with a first place ribbon for the American Brown I entered and a second place for my Cream Ale.  Not bad at all.  Now it's time to gear up for River City Roundup which should be registering entries soon.  For a full list of results click here.
Last week I started doing some serious beer trading online.  I'm looking forward to trying a lot of different beers I have not had before from around the United States and even outside of the U.S.  I'm buying stuff I can get around here and making some trades with a few out of towners on the west coast and east coast.  I plan on sending out some of my homebrew with each trade too.  So far the people I have talked to and sent beer to have been fairly stoked to have my homebrew as an added extra in with their beers.  I figure homebrew should be shared freely.  So why not make people happy with extra surprises.
I love NBC beers. them.
A few weeks ago I brewed an ESB and some New Zealand IPA.  Both of those beers are in kegs now and they are very, very tasty.  I am really excited for the ESB as it is the first time I have had an ESB turn out the way I wanted it to.  Love the style, and this beer is just about the best example I have created that meets my expectations.  Super stoked to enjoy this beer on tap and send it out for a few comps.  The Marris Otter malt I used as a base really comes through and the hop bitterness and English style is there with all the flavors you would expect.  The New Zealand IPA smells incredible and drinks way too easy.  The Motueka and Nelson Sauvin dry hop I did adds so much flavor and aroma.  I'm in love with this beer and now that I have ten gallons of it in my basement I am sure I will need to give some away to friends before it ages too much.  I think it's just about at the perfect age to start drinking it and enjoying it.
I acquired the Mitch Steele IPA book recently.  And man am I enjoying it.  IPA is probably my most favorite style of beer.  I love hops, love growing hops, love learning about hop varieties, breeds, bitterness, aroma, Lupulin glands, bines, cones, madness!  Heheh.  Just a little bit of a hophead.  But this book so far has a lot of great information in it.  If you don't already own it I would highly recommend picking it up.
Lastly I wanted to leave you this week with an amazingly happy thought.  Tonight is the first night of College Football.  I'll be putting beers on tap and having friends over to enjoy my beer on the kegerator while we watch South Carolina play North Carolina.  What an amazing hobby we have.  Something that lets you create something you can enjoy and share with friends.  Isn't that the best part of life?  Creating and sharing.  I think so.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Nebraska Brewing Company New Brewery Tour, Goldenrod Brewing Company, Stone Brewing Invades Nebraska, GNBF!

Having a great time at NBC's Brewery Tour
This week is an exciting one.  Everything about Great Nebraska Beerfest week this year has got to be the most exhilarating it has ever been for everyone involved.  Nebraska is breaking through new boundaries in craft beer.  There are more breweries being built now in Nebraska than ever before.  And more and more expansion is taking place.  I was able to go to the Ale Nation Members Only tour of Nebraska Brewing Company's new brewing facility last Sunday.  It was a big celebration for all of the fans of NBC, and the new space is incredible.  I was able to get some pictures and video of the event and I have an exclusive tour for everyone who didn't get to go.  Just check out the video below.
Nebraska Brewing Company is clearly one of my favorite breweries in Nebraska.  They have the best beer, the best people, and the best fans.  I think that this is the beginning of something great for Nebraska and will only help other breweries to thrive and expand as well.  Among the new breweries in Nebraska I'm also very excited about Infusion Brewing Company in Benson and the new Goldenrod Brewing Company which will be downtown on Farnam street.  Check out Infusion "here" and Goldenrod on Facebook "here."
Goldenrod Brewing Company
Here is what Goldenrod's Facebook has to say about their brewery which has me very stoked.  "Goldenrod Brewing Company is a brewpub in planning with an estimated opening date of early 2014 to be located in Midtown Omaha at 3568 Farnam St. We will specialize in producing artisanal farmhouse ales and barrel aged beers and will offer a diverse food menu made with locally-sourced ingredients and beer-infused creations. The tap room will be set up to serve as a community gathering spot and we will actively support the community by hosting frequent events."
Their brewers are members of the "South Omaha Brewers" or "S.O.B.'s."  They are really good people and always have great beers at local events.  I have always had great conversations with Phil Doerr who is a brewer for Goldenrod.  He has made some very impressive beers over the years and I'm excited to see what he will come up with next!  I'm especially excited to see what they do with their barrel aged beers.
NBC's dock at the new brewery
Tonight is the first night in Nebraska where we'll be able to enjoy beers from STONE!  After work I'm headed over to the Crescent Moon to take part in their tap takeover and enjoy some great Stone beers.  After that tomorrow I will be working at The Lauter Tun pouring Stone Beers for their own Tap Takeover event!  Check out both events "here" for the Crescent Moon and "here" for the Lauter Tun.
So GREAT NEBRASKA BEERFEST is this weekend.  In case you didn't know.  And man oh man am I excited for this.  The culmination of the week and so many excellent beers from breweries around the United States.  Is everyone ready?  I know I am!

Here's the video I threw together for the Nebraska Brewing Company Tour.  I tried to keep things short and sweet but the footage still came out to about 13 minutes.  If you are interested in having Brew Like A Boss out to an event in the future let me know.  I am glad to be a part of brewery openings, tours, and getting the word out there about your beer related event!  Have a great week and weekend everyone!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Guesting on "Brewing With Style", Domain Registration, T-Shirt Ideas, Railroaders Patio Brew Day

Pic of the BN I picked up on Google
Image not taken by me
Tuesday night I was called up by the Brewing Network to discuss my "American Amber Ale" on the Jamil Show.  It was really cool getting to talk to Jamil and Tasty and the guys about my beer.  To hear their thoughts on one of my favorite beers I make was pretty cool.  I'm definitely going to keep brewing it and maybe making a few slight adjustments based on their input will make it that much better.  Once the American Amber episode airs I'll put a link up here so everyone can check it out.  I'm not going to give too many spoilers other than the fact that I was really nervous and probably sounded like a complete dork.  I am a dork anyway so I guess it doesn't matter or phase me that much.  Hopefully one day they'll come to Omaha or I can get out to their neck of the woods because it'd be really cool to meet those guys in person.  Also John Palmer.  Because he's a genius.  They said they were going to send me some swag and signed stuff.  I'll post up pictures once they arrive in the mail.
The Oktoberfest I brewed last week fermented like a champ and is just about ready for a rest at room temps I'm going to unplug it tonight and let it slowly rise in temperature for a day.  Then give it another day at room temps before I crash it down to 32 degrees for clarification.  Then it's lagering time!
Oktoberfest is doing great
Today I decided to get serious and I registered "" to forward to this blog site.  I figured if I was going to keep my name for the website and make sure nobody snatches it up I should register it sooner rather than later.  Especially if I'm planning on making t-shirts.  Which brings me to my next subject....
I'm planning on printing t-shirts.  Not just because the name of my blog is awesome and should be on a t-shirt, but because I want to get the word out about my blog, and I think with a cool enough shirt design there are plenty of excellent individuals out there willing to be walking billboards for my website.  (Lets not beat around the bush)  I'm thinking that I may host a t-shirt design competition.  Winner gets a free t-shirt and their name as "official artist and designer of the official Brew Like A Boss t-shirt."  I don't know if that title is braggable, but it could be yours!  All I need is a few individuals eager for competition and the thrill of graphic design victory.  Submissions for this contest start now.  If you have any cool ideas contact me on facebook, Google+ or email.  Plenty of easy ways to get a proof to me.  I'll post up the top three on here.  The best one wins and the other two out of the top 3 will get some other swag I'm getting printed.
Lastly in my short "end of the week" post I would like to point your attention to the Railroaders Brew Club website found here.  We are having a Patio Brew Day at Nebraska Brewing Company on September 29th for new members and non-members to learn how to brew extract and all-grain homebrew.  We'll be bringing out all of the equipment, all you need to do is show up and give us as many questions as you can muster.  We'll do our best to answer them and even let you participate in the brewing process.  Pretty cool right?  Hope to see you there!
Sunday Sunday Sunday!  BE THERE!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Cream Ale, Brewing Oktoberfest, FATHEAD, Lauter Tun and Extra Special Bill

My Cream Ale, Looking Good!
First things first.  Check out how cool my Cream Ale looks.  It's clear and tastes awesome!  I think when I enter this baby in some competitions soon it will be a really great example of the style and should do well.  I had my friend/coworker Chad Rozniecki taste it last week and he gave it high marks.  He even filled out a BJCP sheet for it and rated it for me.  Now does one opinion mean it's the be all end all of cream ales?  No.  But it makes me amped about brewing because I am really happy with this beer and others are noticing it's good too.

This last week/weekend was great.  A lot happened and I brewed two beers.  After taking the Noble Pils off of the yeast and kegging it, I brewed up an Oktoberfest and pitched it right on top of the yeast cake from the Pilsner.  It is now taking off at an alarming rate.  I have no doubts it will be a successful fermentation.  The yeast is really going to town.  The recipe I used was straight from Brewing Classic Styles and can be seen here.  It's fairly simple, but will work out just great for a very easy drinking Oktoberfest lager.  As you can see in the pictures it was a very nice clear amber coming out of the mash tun.  Oktoberfest is pretty much the beer style that made me want to brew in the first place.  And I have yet to even make one that wasn't a "mocktoberfest" ale.  Now that I have temperature control and the ability to work with plenty of lager yeast I'm able to make a true Oktoberfest.  I'm really looking forward to the results.  One of my favorite beers to enjoy in the fall is Sam Adam's Octoberfest.  Which I originally started drinking during my college years and it is probably the beer that broke me through from plain old domestic beer and into the craft beer foray.  So once this beer is ready it will be really special to me.  I can't wait to have it on tap in my basement for a Husker game.  After finishing the Oktoberfest I realized I had the whole day off Saturday and my wife wouldn't be home until later that night.  So I decided to brew a second beer.  I made a beer called "Extra Special Bill."  It can be seen here.  I used plenty of Maris and EKGs to give it English flavor and I'm hoping that the late hopping additions will give it a nice hop aroma.  I'm a huge fan of Empyrean's "Luna Sea" ESB and it says that they use a little bit of biscuit malt in their ESB.  So I decided to add some to mine and see how it turned out.
US Open Gold Winner
Lets back up a little bit and talk about last Thursday.  My friend Vinie and I went to Nebraska Brewing Company to enjoy the release of the new Saison from the Wort Transformation Competition.  (Which was mighty tasty I might add)  After having a couple of beers and dinner, I decided to pick up a bottle of Fathead to save for a bottle share in the near future.  I wanted to get a bottle from this batch because they won the 2013 US Open Beer Championship in the "Barleywine" category with it.  So it must be pretty awesome!  I can't wait to enjoy it.  (Check out the US Open Website here to see what I'm talking
about)  Thanks to Master Chef Chad Waters for his suggestion.   I have had almost every different barrel aged beer that NBC makes.  But have not yet had the opportunity to drink Fathead.  I have a feeling sharing this is the best way to go because of the high ABV.  Although I love barrel aged Hop God and that's 10% so maybe I could take care of this beer on my own.  I'd probably rather share it though so I don't end up taking a nap right afterwards.
Warp back to Friday (I'm taking you guys on a time travel adventure this week) and this may have been one of the best beer weekends I have had in a while.  Not only are my beers maturing in the kegerator to the point where I'm really excited to enter them in the next few competitions.  But for whatever reason, this weekend involved all sorts of beer goodness that began with my shift on Friday at Lauter Tun.  Now I just started working at Lauter Tun as a Barback/Bartender in Training.  I have plenty of knowledge in the beer area, and I'm actually very happy and proud of the bar because they have an excellent tap selection which can all be enjoyed from the proper beer glassware!  But I'm not the most knowledgeable person as of yet on all of the mixed drinks.  I'm learning them and I can make a killer Old Fashioned or Moscow Mule.  Start throwing some crazy named drinks at me though and I'll be asking for backup!  Check out the Lauter Tun website here.  If you're in Omaha and want to check out a great craft beer bar.  This is my usual watering hole.
Heady Topper
Kevin who works with me there brought in a bottle of Pliny The Elder the other day, which was something I haven't enjoyed since I was in Oregon two years ago.  So that was a treat.  Then a regular brings in some Heady Topper that night too.  I could tell it was going to be a good weekend.
Zombie Dust
During the brew day the next day my friend Kyle hooked me up with some Zombie Dust and some G'Night from Oskar Blues.  I was officially marking my calendar so this day would be remembered throughout history.  Well maybe that's a bit overboard.  But it was definitely shaping up to be a good weekend.
Last night I watched Breaking Bad with the wife and enjoyed a couple brews.  I picked up some Paulaner Oktoberfest/Marzen to get myself psyched for my Oktoberfest that was fermenting right next door in my office.  I also drank some of my Dusseldorf Altbier and enjoyed how much the beer had progressed during lagering.  It has really cleared up and has a great malty taste now.  I can't wait to enter it in the Nebraska State Fair this week.  I'll let everyone know how that goes and any results.  As of last weekend I received a call about the Sioux Falls Empire Fair and that my Oatmeal Stout was in the top 16 entries.  I haven't heard anything other than that.  Once I see a full list I'll post it up and see how everything else the fair.  Yeah.  Alright have a great week everyone.  Thanks for reading.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Brewing a Noble Hopped Pilsner, Sending my beer to the Jamil Show, IPA Day, UNTAPPD.

Goes down too easy
If you know me then it's no secret that Sam Adams Noble Pils is my most favorite of all of their beers.  (I love their Oktoberfest as well.  But Noble Pils takes the crown)  I have been gearing up to do a Pilsner for a while now.  And I wanted to make sure it was about as simple as you can get.  So I went all out and made up a recipe using all Pilsner, a touch of Carapils and tons of Noble Saaz, Tettnang and Hallertau.  The result is the "Noble Donkey Pils." (check it out here)  I kept thinking about the movie Shrek when I heard the word "noble" since donkey always wanted to be a "noble steed" in the movie even though he was just a donkey.  So that's what I'm trying for.  A good homebrewed beer that wants to be as great as the commercial counterpart.
Out with the DMS!
The brew day went great.  I mash hopped again because I wanted to try it on one of my own recipes.  Probably did very little to nothing to the beer.  I think it added 2 IBUs or something ridiculous like that.  But I love Saaz and that hop does magic to beer so why not.  Ended up doing a solid 90 minute boil to get rid of DMS and chilled the wort overnight to get it down to 50 degrees before pitching a healthy amount of yeast.  It has been bubbling away since last Wednesday.  I'm going to give this beer a solid two weeks in the primary to make sure it does the job.  Then give it a rest at room temp for a day, keg it and start lagering.  I am going to ultimately wait one month before this beer makes it to the glass.  I want it to be clear, and ready.  It's best to forget about it for a while once it hits the keg.
Last week I sent my beer to the Brewing Network to have my American Garage Amber Ale (recipe here) reviewed and tasted by Jamil and Tasty.  I'm a little worried about the beer since it's going all the way to California and it's my first time shipping.  I read up on what to do and even listened to a Brew Strong episode on competition brewing to make sure I packed the box to the exact specifications needed.  I even added a printed recipe and BJCP labels to my bottles as if they were going out for a competition.  Just to make extra sure I was treating it with seriousness and providing the best information I could about my beer.  It's a simple beer but it has some great flavor and just the right amount of hop flavor (in my opinion.)  I have brewed it twice now and I'm most likely going to keep making it until the world is depleted of grain and hops!  We shall see if my beer actually makes it on the show.  If it does I'll probably do a dance like this.
Celebrating IPA Day at the Library
August 1st was International IPA Day.  My buddy Vinie and I went down to the local pub called "The Library" which has 40 taps of craft beer on the ready.  It used to be kind of a dive with awful bathrooms but they just renovated the place and added the bay next door.  So now it's twice as big and they have new clean bathrooms.  Plus, how cool is it to tell your wife you went to "The Library" when you were actually out having a few beers?  Pretty cool if you ask me.  In honor of IPA day (and in honor of having a DD) I went with the IPA flight.  I had quite a few great beers that night.  Honorable mentions being the Weyerbacher Last Chance IPA, Green Flash's Citra Session, and the Goose Island "The Illinios."  All were tasty and went down too easy.  One of the beers, Left Coast's Hop Juice must have been a bad keg or was just not a good batch.  Because it tasted like stale butterscotch and had little to no actual hop flavor.  (A bit of aroma, but still, very surprising it was not present in the beer taste itself.)  I will definitely have to give it another try sometime because I was very underwhelmed by that keg of it anyway.  I'd like to give them the benefit of the doubt for sure though.
My last little note for today is that I registered my home "brewery" on UNTAPPD.  If you don't know what this app is you must be living under a rock.  Probably the best phone app for beer since man discovered fire.  (If that makes any sense whatsoever...check their website here!)   I have added a link to my brewery "Browar Harvat" on the right hand side of my blog.  So at any time you can log a beer there (if you are lucky enough to try my beer...or unfortunate enough depending on how you feel about my beer) or just see how others are enjoying/hating it.  Thanks for reading.  I'll be back again with more soon.  This week at some point I'll be brewing an ESB using New Zealand Motueka.  It's going to be weird, and awesome.