Archives for the month of: May, 2013

Hanson, the blonde band of brothers who brought us “MMMBop” in the late-90s, have ventured into the brewing business.

Wondering why I hadn’t heard about this before, I did some Googling and found this Washington Post article from 2011. However, the reason this news is gaining momentum now can be attributed to yesterday’s release of Hangover 3, as this BeerPulse article details.

In any case, their signature beer is an IPA and it is appropriately named, ‘Mmmhops.’ I have this strange fascination with “punny” beer names, specifically IPAs, and this just tickled my fancy.

As the article suggests, the brothers are serious craft beer enthusiasts and it’s always neat to hear about celebrities’ activities outside of what they’re known for. Now the question remains: is it any good? And if so, when and where will it be available to the general public?

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I mentioned in an earlier post that Nick entered two beers for this year’s Great American Beer Festival Pro-Am Competition. Well, today he was declared the winner of our local competition and I couldn’t be happier/more excited for him! You can read about the details of his win over at local beer blog, FuzzyBrew, as well as read the details of last year’s winner’s experience.

This is the first time Nick’s won something for his homebrew, so needless to say, he’s very excited about what’s to come. I’m equally as excited for him and I will be there at Boscos to document the big brew day which will be quite a change from our little backyard brew sessions. I also can’t wait to see ‘Extracurricular Hoptivity‘ on the Boscos menu and order it from the bar! And lastly, I’m looking forward to accompanying Nick to the GABF in October — especially since we didn’t think we’d make it to that festival until we moved that way!

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Hops for our DFH 90 Minute clone
January 2013

So, this article popped up today and to summarize, the author (a self-proclaimed lover of hops) makes the point that hoppy beers and the craft beer industry’s infatuation with them is hurting the industry rather than helping it — noting that, the different hops can’t even be tasted after a certain extent. The author also notes that “there is some truth in the stereotype that craft beer is hoppy.” Well, that’s one opinion.

Disclaimer: I also love IPAs, so I might be a little biased.

I understand why the aforementioned stereotype exists, but that doesn’t mean there’s any truth behind it. If craft beer drinkers only introduce non-craft beer drinkers to these kind of beers and the non-drinkers don’t enjoy them, then sure, they might be left with a bitter taste in their mouth (literally and figuratively) about craft beer overall. However, I think that people with this mentality that all craft beer is hoppy are actively trying to taste hops in every beer they try — even if the beer they are trying isn’t known for its hops.

Now granted, it is an acquired taste and if you try to introduce a skeptic to the craft beer scene with an imperial IPA, you (and they) are gonna have a bad time. But there are so many different types of beers and breweries are constantly coming out with new collaborations, unique recipes, etc. that it’s rather old and tired to continue to stereotype craft beer as hoppy beer. As the author mentions, hops give brewers an “easy creative outlet.” But hops aren’t the only thing one can get creative with. From a homebrewing perspective, just this year Nick has used blood oranges and dried chamomile in two different wheat beers. And last fall, we brewed a pumpkin ale and a mint chocolate stout.

So, the question, “Are hoppy beers alienating non-craft beer drinkers?” In my opinion, no. I think people let hoppy beers alienate them. For example, my mum is an occasional beer drinker, but she has always insisted that she absolutely does not like that “hop flavor.” While I was visiting her and my dad this past Christmas, I bought a six-pack of Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA and while I was pouring a glass, she asked if she could have one. I didn’t tell her anything about the beer knowing that she might dismiss it due to the hops but, ironically enough, she thoroughly enjoyed it!

Again, this is just my opinion and you can agree or disagree. So let’s put aside our differences and go have a beer — cheers!

It’s been a hot minute since my last post, but life finally slowed down a bit for me to get back at it! Now where to start…

The first inaugural Memphis Beer Week kicked off on April 21 and Nick and I headed to the Flying Saucer for the Sour Hour event. Memphis doesn’t have a great variety of sour beers, so this was one event we definitely weren’t going to miss. And boy am I glad we didn’t. Not only were given samples for five delicious sours – all varying in age and style – but each beer was paired with a tasty dessert. All the beers were delicious, but my favorite of the night was the 2009 Rodenbach — it was the perfect blend of sour sweet and it paired perfectly with a nice chocolate brownie. My second favorite pairing was the Rufus with the NY cheesecake. Rufus is the collaboration beer from Yazoo and New Belgium and it was brewed exclusively for Memphis Beer Week.

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Sour Hour @ Flying Saucer
April 21, 2013
(bottom left) 2009 Rodenbach; (top left) New Belgium La Folie; (center) Yazoo-NB Rufus; (bottom right) Yazoo Rye Saison; (top right) Wayan Flemish Sour

On April 23, we made our way to Bosco’s for the annual Brewmasters Dinner and once again, it did not disappoint. Aside from the good beer, it’s always nice because the menu offered includes dishes that are not normally served at the restaurant. We also lucked out this night because the cask for the night was Olde Fool, an English Strong Ale and as you can tell from the picture below (it’s in the top left of each), it was definitely a slow drinker for me as it is strong, strong, strong.

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Brewmasters Dinner @ Bosco’s
April 23, 2013

Although we had planned on going to glass night at the Saucer on the 24th, we decided to sit Wednesday night out and instead, go to Young Avenue Deli on the 25th for New Belgium Firkin Night. The firkin this night was their Rampant Imperial IPA and as an IPA gal, this is one at the top of my list of favorite IPAs — those Centennial hops are oh so tasty.

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New Belgium Firkin Night @ Young Avenue Deli
April 25, 2013

And lastly, the 4th annual Memphis Brewfest at AutoZone Park rounded out Memphis Beer Week on Saturday, April 27. Normally, Nick and I would be part of the general festival-goers; however, as I mentioned in an earlier post, Nick brewed an IPA for this fest so we got to be on the other side this year. And I must say, I rather enjoyed being on the “staff” side. Even though we had to get to the park four hours early, that also meant we got to start sampling beers early ;) Our club had twelve different beers on tap and there was never a slow moment at our table! Festival-goers wanted to know where the beer was available to buy and they were bummed when we told them it’s only available at each brewer’s respective home. But once they learned it was homebrew, they wanted to know more about the process, etc. and the guys are always up for sharing the joy of homebrewing with inquiring minds! Also, I’m happy to announce that Nick’s ‘Extracurricular Hoptivity‘ was the first of our club’s kegs to float! It was a nice feeling knowing so many people enjoyed his beer.

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Memphis Brewfest @ AutoZone Park
April 27, 2013
(left to right): sampler mug; pre-fest; our local homebrew club; Nick serving his ‘Extracurricular Hoptivity’ IPA

Once Memphis Beer Week was over, it was time to move into our house! Nick and I took off work the first few days of May and got all of our furniture and belongings moved in with the help of his parents. We had only been in our place for two nights before it was time to head to Nashville for two nights of Widespread Panic! Despite the cold, rain, and mud, those were two of the best shows I’ve ever been to.

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Widespread Panic @ The Woods Amphitheater at Fontanel
Nashville, Tennessee
May 3-4, 2013

And in other beer news:

  • Nick received the judging sheets on the beer he submitted to the AHA National Homebrew Competition and although none of his beers advanced to the second round, he was thrilled to find out that his saison received the highest score of the five he submitted. This was his first time submitting his beers in any competition and there will be plenty of more opportunities to come!
  • Homebrewing is now legal in all 50 states! With the help of organizations like Right to Brew, Free the Hops, and the Alabama Homebrewers Guild, Alabama’s homebrewing bill successfully made its way through the legislature and was signed by Governor Bentley last Thursday. So cheers to that, for sure!

Next up on our plate: our first brew day at the new house, Memphis in May BBQ Fest, and planning MemphisGPO events!