"Beer in Colorado" is dedicated to that divine elixir born of the marriage of water, malt, hops, and yeast as interpreted
by those living in Colorado. Follow the author as he visits every brewery in the state, creates experimental homebrews,
attends beer festivals, tries interesting beers from around the world, and spreads the good word of beer. Prost!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Converting the Non-Believers

You can lead a parent to craft beer but you can’t make them drink.  Unless you insist. 

This Presidents Day weekend Nicole, my parents, my younger sister, and I found ourselves on the slopes of Steamboat Ski & Resort dodging Texans, jibbers, and other assorted gapers.  For every jean-bedecked shit-kicker we managed to evade there was a toolbox with baggy snow-pants and a bandana over his face or a stream of knee-high ski-schoolers to contend with.  We were Super G all-stars racing through moving gates. 

My favorite way to counteract a day of fighting ski-and-board riding baboons on corny snow is to kick back with some of Colorado’s finest ales.  While Steamboat is home to one microbrewery—Mahogany Ridge Brewery & Grill—it didn’t fit into our dinner and griping-about-gapers plans.  We aren’t strangers to Mahogany Ridge, though; Nicole and I were there a little over a year ago.  It’s one of the classier breweries in the state, one where business casual rather than wort-stained jeans and a t-shirt is the proper attire.  I scarcely remember what beer I had but I do remember the brewmaster being impressed with our beer journal and having a sit with us.  We talked industry news a bit and informed us that they’d be releasing a seasonal cherry beer in about a year i.e. a few months ago.  Nicole is a fan of New Belgium Brewing Company’s discontinued (or otherwise extremely difficult to find) Old Cherry and was excited to hear about the new brew.  Unfortunately, Mahogany Ridge does not distribute outside the walls of the brewery thus one has to travel to Steamboat Springs (and time the trip in harmony with the seasonal release) if one wishes to partake in their cherry beer.  We’ve yet to accomplish this.

In lieu of Steamboat’s brewery, we drank copiously of Colorado’s most famous: Coors Brewing Company.  Obviously, the beer snob in me was put-out by the inferior product but the part of me that isn’t a pretentious prick managed to enjoy it for what it was: yellow water that makes you feel good when you drink enough of it.  It is function over form.  However, as content with my current station as I was, I packed Golden Saison and Hop Strike! Black Rye IPA from our latest visit to the Tommyknocker Brewery.  I had to have something to subdue the inner nerd that persistently claws himself to the surface to raise a stink when not properly sated with craft beer.

Now, know this: my family—extended family included—likes beer.  Blame it on the German heritage but whenever there are two or more family members in the same place at the same time, beer is involved: weddings, birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, graduations, Fourth of July, baptisms, Columbus Day—you name it.  No wine, no liquor, just beer.  For the most part, however, the family prefers to drink a lot of low-in-ABV domestics in contrast to my penchant for a few (or a lot), sip-worthy craft beers.  I know exactly what my relatives like and I know exactly what I like and I know they don’t exactly mesh.  Still, I like to share my beer and I always hold out hope that I’ll convert general-drinkers to the light that is a regional brew. 

I poured Golden Saison into several, small juice glasses and passed them out.  Sweet and floral aromas abounded.  Clove was also present in both the bouquet and flavor.  I heard one person say that the beer reminded them of dessert.  Hoping to get my parents in on the assessment, I asked, to nobody in particular, how one would describe the color.  I heard the usual golden, honey, and rich amber but Dad’s take was the most colorful and most accurate: it’s the color of a distance runner’s piss after a big race.  Despite this uncouth evaluation, everybody (including Dad), enjoyed Golden Saison’s ripe, smooth flavor. 

Golden Saison

I wasn’t too surprised that everybody liked Golden Saison; saisons are not quite so offensive to the unaccustomed palate.  I held out less hope for Hop Strike.  Hop Strike, when held to a light, is a very deep red all the way through.  It has no highlights, the redness penetrates even to the very center.  The hops are of the piney variety and, for the avid IPA drinker, light on the palate.  I rather enjoyed Hop Strike.  I’d go as far as to say it’s one of the better IPAs I’ve ever experienced.  Maybe it’s not in the top five but perhaps in the top fifteen.  Mom, never the IPA fan, even admitted to liking Hop Strike a little.  It was the sleeper hit of the evening.

Hop Strike
So, did I turn the rest of my family into manic beer buffs?  Nah, probably not; Budweiser and Coors will likely remain their drink of choice.  And, I’m okay with that.  It is not necessarily my goal to change opinions—just to offer alternatives and see what sticks.  Besides, I now know I can continue to bring my mixer-sixer of random beers to any family function and not worry about wayward relatives sniping my product.




Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Bride of the Blog

Something old,
something new,
nothing borrowed,
something brewed.            

Something Old:  Nicole and I are ever pressing on in our quest to visit every brewery in the state but one mustn’t forget that even an already-conquered brewery can still offer up a surprise to the beer nerd in the know.  Whilst unabashedly propagandizing this blog on Facebook, a friend of a friend asked why The Bull & Bush Pub and Brewery in Denver wasn’t receiving its well deserved attention.  I explained that, at the inception of this blog, I had already visited over 60 breweries and to retroactively write about all of those places would cause me more frustration than a blind man reading the zits on Justin Bieber’s face.  Then again, I didn’t have much else going for me on a Friday night so Nicole and I loaded up and visited Bull & Bush for a second time.

This was only our second time at Bull & Bush but I have become well acquainted with their beers through the festival circuit.  A free poster I picked up at the Telluride Blues & Brews Festival of Bull & Bush’s somewhat pedophilial logo of two babies examining their “bull” and “bush” is tacked on the wall four feet away from where I write.  The physical brewery, much like Parker’s Elk Mountain Brewing, is an exercise in contradiction: an English pub with a Tudor-style façade amidst the glass and steel canyons of suburban office buildings.  These yuppie enclosures aren’t exactly the haunted moors one usually associates with old-timey public houses.  Ignoring the incongruities of its surroundings, Bull & Bush pushes the theme further with its interior design: iron lanterns, brazen lion heads, random knick-knacks, and images of fox hunts plastered on the wall.  Bull & Bush is an Olde English Applebee’s. 
Bull & Bush's logo/kiddie porn
Discrepant furnishings aside, we came for the beer.  I ordered a Bear Skin Rug (6% ABV)—a spiced winter lager with a clear, coppery orange hue.  There is a very light hop aroma on the nose but the prevailing fragrance is that of sour, orange citrus with hints of wheat beer.  The beer leans towards malty while the hop flavor takes the backseat.  Orange, cinnamon, and pretzel are all present on the palate.  Despite the complex flavor and my proclivity for beer additives, I wasn’t exactly electrified by this brew.  Perhaps it was the sourness or the wheatiness.  As extensive as my beer “likes” are, I still have a number of “dislikes” and sour and wheat make that list.  It could also be that I wasn’t enthused with this beer because the flavors were too subtle; when I order a winter spice beer I want to taste a tsunami of Christmas cheer.  Bear Skin Rug made me hunt for the spices.  Nonetheless, I wasn’t completely turned-off.  I neither hated it nor loved it.  However, that’s the worst feeling a beer can give its drinker: indifference.  Like good art, good beer should incite a strong emotion whether it be positive or negative.
The author with his Bear Skin Rug
Keeping with the idea of clashing thematic detail, I ordered a giant burrito. As a result, we were sitting at Bull & Bush for some time and had the opportunity to be seated amongst some interesting characters.  The first was a German couple that seemed to be in the middle of a fight (then again, everything sounds hostile in German).  They left and were replaced by two regulars: a married couple that has been in the beer snob business a lot longer than I.  It was through these fine folks that I learned of Bull & Bush’s vintage beer list—a fairly extensive list of cellared beers from around the world.  Come to think of it, maybe I shouldn’t be writing about this because the waitress lightly admonished the other couple for letting loose the “secret” of the list’s existence.  Then again, they also have advertisements for their vintage beers posted over the urinals so, if you take a piss, you know about the list.  Thus, I don’t exactly feel like I’m giving away the positions of key agents in the French underground by letting you know about this opportunity to experience some of the best beer you can hope to have. 

Beer and wine are similar in that some styles are better when they’re older.  Bull & Bush has stockpiled a number of these cellar-worthy beers and sells them—at a price reflecting the aged quality—to the true beer enthusiasts.  I have recently started cellaring my homebrews as well as a few commercial bombers but I’ve never had the occasion to actually taste a matured beer.  I couldn’t pass on the opportunity and ordered Avery Brewing Co.’s barleywine, Samael (15.53% ABV), from April, 2008. 
Avery's Samael
 When Samael is poured into a glass, the sediment becomes suspended mid-vessel like an astronaut floating through space.  Even when the glass is twirled, the floating particles make no discernable movement in the reddish, orange/copper liquid.  As Samael is brewed with oak chips, it possesses that vanilla aroma and taste common with oak-aged beers.  Hypocritically, I enjoyed this beer’s sour aroma.  I can’t explain why the sourness in Bear Skin Rug turns me off and why I find the sourness in Samael to be an asset.  I suppose the difference in style and the quality of aged beers makes the difference.  Like Avery’s Rumpkin, Samael warms the whole body when it creeps down your esophagus and sparks a fire in your core.    
Due to the high price and the inconvenience of waiting several years for the nuanced flavors to present themselves, your average beer geek cannot enjoy a cellared beer on a regular basis.  However, when the opportunity presents itself—take it.  Your pocket will be lighter and you’ll be considerably drunker but all beer geeks should treat themselves to a vintage beer at least once before they die.  
Something New:  Boulder breweries don’t come any newer than Crystal Springs Brewing Company.  New though it may be Crystal Springs is already eking out a considerable niche in the local and seemingly saturated beer scene.  Amidst numerous and prestigious competition, this brewery manages to hold their own by supplying liquor stores both in Boulder and in Denver, supplying a handful of local bars with kegged beer, and by brewing a special beer exclusive to local eatery The Kitchen.  Having only been open since May of 2010, the exponential growth of Crystal Springs would be impressive if it were a hip-to-college-kids brewpub located on Pearl Street.  Alas, Crystal Springs does not fit that bill.  It’s not a happening college bar complete with skankily-adorned CU students bringing in lucrative frat brother dollars.  Crystal Springs’s success is even more impressive when you realize the brewery in its entirety exists in brewmaster Tom Horst’s detached garage. 
Crystal Springs Brewing Company (no, I'm not kidding)
 Nicole and I take our mission very seriously; It’s not good enough to just drink a beer from every brewery. No, we must drink a beer at the brewery.  Crystal Springs presented an interesting dilemma.  Obviously, there is no public tasting room at Crystal Springs and we’re steadfast to a fault in our self-imposed rules.  I floated an e-mail to Tom explaining our predicament and asked if there would ever be a time when he would have a public tasting room.  Of course, I wasn’t expecting any groundbreaking news on the groundbreaking of a visitor’s center.  I was just asking so I could sleep at night knowing I pursued every possibility.  Unfortunately, I was correct—partially.  To paraphrase Tom’s reply: “We have no plans to open a tasting room anytime in the near future.  But, what the heck?  You seem like passionate beer folk, why don’t you just come over for a few beers on the house?”
I did not see that coming.
We arrived at Tom’s house—tucked away in a canyon outside of Boulder—at noon on Saturday.  As expected, there was no insignia to mark the presence of the brewery: just an unassuming light-blue house complete with matching garage accentuated by 1980’s era ATVs and a Fisher Price playhouse.  Magellan wouldn’t have been able to find this brewery.
Tom met us at the “brewhouse” door and welcomed us into the heart of the operation.  Sam Calagione likes to brag that, when it first began operation, Dogfish Head was the smallest brewery in America.  Now, I wasn’t there for the christening of Dogfish Head but I can say with some confidence that Sam’s first brewing system was in all probability monolithic compared to Tom’s.  Tom doesn’t even use the entire garage, just the back quarter.  He has three, racked pots for brewing, a closet-sized fermenting room, and a closet-sized cold-storage room.  He doesn’t even have a sink, he pumps water in through a water-purified garden hose.  The rest of the space is filled with the usual chotskies found in American garages: bikes, old furniture, and, in this case, beer paraphernalia including vintage bottles (these ones were empty), bottle-cap magnets, and stickers.
Brewmaster Tom Horst with pretty much everything that is the Crystal Springs Brewery

The Crystal Springs water supply
Tom cleared off an antique table with checkerboard inlay, rustled up a few seats from the jumble of storage, and set out a few flutes of Summertime Ale (4.7-4.9% ABV).  As we imbibed the highly-carbonated, champagne-colored beer, Tom fiddled with a troublesome bottle-labeling machine and talked about the legal and pragmatic obstacles of opening a small business.  I’ve read Calagione’s Brewing Up a Business and, while I learned a lot, listening to Tom talk over a beer has educated me as well as any how-to book.
Summertime Ale
When we finished our Summertime Ales, Tom brought out some snifters of Stagehouse 1899, a black IPA with a tan head and dark, brown-highlighted body.  Stagehouse 1899 has a hoppy aroma that is juxtaposed with roasted coffee flavor.  Both of the beers we had were very good but, seeing how IPAs are my favorite, I liked Stagehouse 1899 better.
Stagehouse 1899
I cannot thank Tom enough for being an accommodating host.  I urge you, the reader, to pick up a pack of Crystal Springs’ beer as soon as you can.  I don’t care if you’re broke, pregnant, or a recovering alcoholic, just buy the beer.  Tom is an abundantly friendly man with a knack for making quality beer and he deserves your business.   
Something Brewed: We had re-conquered the Boulder breweries and set back to Denver feeling rightfully triumphant.  However, our adventure in beer had yet to reach its terminus.  Nicole and I haven’t made our propensity for beer a secret and, by means of months of interjecting our beer-lust into any given conversation, we eventually convinced a few of our friends to take up the hobby of homebrewing.  Although they had pre-ordered a kit in advance, these budding brewers were forced to use our equipment because adverse weather prevented the supplies from shipping.  It was of no consequence to us, we just like brewing and we don’t care whose equipment it is.  We all traveled to Stomp Them Grapes, a nearby home winery/brew shop, to pick up ingredients for their virgin batch.  Since the beer would be ready to drink by the time warm weather arrived, we got what we needed for a pilsener-esque orange blossom honey beer (the “esque” meaning we used a Belgian ale yeast rather than the traditional lager yeast.  The grains and hops, however, were all pilsenser). 
There really isn’t anything quite like brewing some sure-to-be damn fine beer whilst simultaneously enjoying craft beer from established breweries.  I had some West Coast IPA from Green Flash Brewing in Vista, CA as well as a bomber of Deschute’s Hop Henge IPA, Nicole had her first taste of her homebrewed chai porter, and New Belgium and Alaskan Brewing beers were also circulating throughout the house.  It was a good time to be alive.
I wish my friends happy and hoppy times in their new venture and I look forward to possibly starting an informal amateur brewing club with them i.e. everybody bring what you’ve brewed and we’ll all get drunk on it. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Fat Girl at the Prom

Where does one turn when the weather is colder than Nancy Grace’s panties?  The classic beverage of choice when faced with unrelenting frigidness is usually brandy, scotch, or some other throat-tingling liquor.  Beer so rarely makes the list.  Beer, to the general public, is seen as a warm weather drink—something to drink at the ball game or at a barbeque.  While certain styles of beer are best enjoyed in the sunshine, other styles are best suited for sub-zero nights.

It was just such a night last night in Denver when Nicole and I attended our first Big Beer Crawl (Denver’s premier beer-worshipping club) event at the Colt & Gray.  It’s hard to pinpoint one reason why we’ve yet to attend one of Big Beer Crawl’s events because there are a myriad of reasons: out of town, night classes, prior plans, what have you.  In fact, we were going to miss this event had Snowgar—a heathen god of my creation—not smiled upon us and cancelled my night-class by means of nipple-hardening bitterness.  The event centered around the tapping of Avery Brewing Co.’s Rumpkin (13.80% ABV).

I like to think myself a pretty clever guy when it comes to word play which is why I felt dumb for not realizing until well into the beer that the name of this particular offering is derived from the fact that it is a pumpkin-style beer aged in rum barrels.  I was trying to put my finger on the unique flavor when Nicole looked it up on her Blackberry.  As if magnetically attracted, my open palm found my forehead.  Rumpkin, like Odell’s Avant Pêche, is a specialized fruit beer with hardly any detectable fruit flavor; the rum and spices are so overpowering.  If I went into this beer even more ignorant than I was, I’d say the beer was brewed with cherries because it had such a tart, burning, pucker quality.  That can be attributed to the rum.  However, as the beer warmed (Don’t worry, a beer such as this will warm before you’re done.  Don’t expect to chug-a-lug with a high-in-ABV Rumpkin or you’ll find yourself admiring the craftsmanship of the ceiling as your buddies drag your prone body out the door and into the gutter.  Each sip was as shiver-inducing as a shot of hard liquor), I finally started tasting pumpkin.  Rumpkin is warm and tingly kind of beer that is perfect for the intense cold that Denver is currently experiencing.  Forgo the brandy and grab some of this when you’re sitting by a crackling fire and wriggling your toes in a bearskin rug.

Unfortunately, I did not make any new beer contacts at this event.  Big Beer Crawl seems to be a close-knit clique which makes it difficult for the newcomer.  Then again, it’s not like I did anything to put myself out there, either.  That’s partially due to my embarrassment over my attire.  Nobody told me Colt & Gray was such a fancy place; I came in wearing my Tui (New Zealand beer) t-shirt and an Odell trucker cap.  Everybody else came in sweaters, vests, and sweater vests.  Come on people, this is a beer lover’s gathering not a country club mixer. The other reason I was unable to interject myself in the group was because I had recently and shamelessly plugged this very blog on Big Beer Crawl’s Facebook page.  Although I’m sure they didn’t read a lick of it they still complimented me on the blog’s quality and then promptly removed my post.  They were very nice about it but I’m still self-conscious about the affair.  I’ll give them another go, though.  This is a great organization and these people know where the good stuff is.  I’m a sucker for any beer-related event.

Keep warm, Colorado.  Rumpkin can help in those regards.



Rumpkin.  Please excuse the shoddy picture--Colt & Gray was very dark.  If you can't tell, Rumpkin is a dark orange/red.
Like Chris, I was excited to attend this event knowing that another “cold day” was on deck and I didn’t have to go to work. I first tasted a pumpkin beer last year when we visited the Rock Yard Brewery in Castle Rock. I was hooked by their Plymouth Rock Pumpkin Ale with its creamy mouthfeel and pumpkin pie flavor. I even brewed my own pumpkin pie beer with pumpkins from my parents’ garden.   I was ready to try another pumpkin inspired beer. The Rumpkin was offered in 2, 6 and 12 ounce servings. I went with the 2 ounce taster which turned out to be a wise choice. At 13% ABV, even 2 ounces was enough for me to feel its effect. I savored every sip of this beverage, noting the hints of cinnamon and then feeling the punch of the rum. The beer tasting was an educational experience as was the people-watching. Colt & Gray was filled with interesting conversations, attire, and drink requests (some guy ordered a Green Point, something the bartender hadn’t even heard of). As I watched argyle sweaters mingle with suit coats, Chris and I talked about the flavors, aromas, and colors of the beer. I thought this was a beer tasting event for beer geeks like us but I was wrong. I felt so out of place in this crowd compared to the sense of belonging that I feel when I show up to a brewery with our beer journal in hand. At least the bartender was friendly and willing to chat about her “home-made” liquors and other concoctions that sat on the shelves behind the bar. As I left the stinging cold feeling of the gathering and walked out into the frigid cold, Chris urged me that we should attend another event and give it a second chance. I comforted myself by visiting the Irish Snug to play some Geeks Who Drink trivia with some good friends where we chatted about joining together to brew something this weekend.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

You Got Peanut Butter in My Beer! You Got Beer in My Peanut Butter!

I’ve been to over half of Colorado’s breweries but my favorite so far is located about thirty feet from where I’m typing.

I feel it prudent to give you the rundown on my homebrewing operation because I plan on blogging a lot about my concoctions and it’s best if you understand the context from which my beers are born.  In brief, I keep it very simple: some plastic buckets, a handful of tubing, and an electric stovetop.  It aint pretty but it gets the job done just as well as the more expensive equipment.  I’m sure I’ll evolve to a point where I’ll purchase more professional brew-ware but, right now, what I have is convenient for me; face it, cleaning and filling a glass carboy is a pain in the ass.

I currently use hop pellets but I will soon be using whole-leaf.  I recently ordered some Cascade rhizomes from The Brew Hut (homebrew store run by the folks at Dry Dock Brewing, Co.) in Aurora and as soon as I start getting some production out of those I’ll be using them in my beer.   

I’m currently straddling the line between malt extract and all-grain recipes.  I understand the argument for all-grain—it brings out more nuanced flavors, it’s cheaper, and it’s the traditional way—but I mainly use extract.  This is for a couple of reasons.  One is, again, convenience; I’ve tried brewing with both styles and extract is like riding a merry-go-round horse as opposed to all-grain’s rabid bronco.  It's just easier.  The other reason is because my beers are brewed with people like me in mind: non-tasters.  I prefer, nay, demand that my foods have strong flavors.  If it’s a spicy dish then it better set my tongue on fire.  If it’s a sour treat then it better make me pucker up so that I can kiss the inside of the back of my skull.  I’m the same with my beers; hoppy beers should be hoppy, fruity beers should be fruity…etc.  Keeping with the theme of wacky and strong flavors, people tasting my beer get the whole marketplace because I almost always include some sort of additive that isn’t traditionally associated with beer.  The subtleties of the grains aren’t going to come through in my beers because they’ll be overpowered by jalapeños, chai tea, lemons, or some other eccentric ingredient.  I don’t do subtle, I do punches to the palate.  Nevertheless, the day will come when I will forgo the extract and be exclusively all-grain because it’s pretty much the only way to be taken seriously in the domain of the homebrewers.

I had the pleasure of revealing my latest creation this past Saturday at the Geek Bowl V victory party (“victory party” being a misnomer as nobody at the party got anywhere near the top.  Our team’s greatest achievement was acing the two-part question I’ll name an IPA, you name the brewery: Raging Bitch and Long Hammer.   The answers were, of course, Flying Dog and Red Hook, respectively).  The beer unveiled that night had the simple and accurate appellation of Peanut Butter Porter.  The recipe is as follows:

·         Bring 1.5 gallons to 160 degrees F.  Remove from heat.
·         Soak 0.5 pound of black patent malt/ 0.5 pound of crystal malt 20 for 30 min.
·         Place grains in strainer.  Pour 1.5 gallons over grains.  Discard grains.
·         Bring to boil then remove from heat.
·         Add 7 pounds of dark malt extract, 26 ounces of natural peanut butter.
·         Boil for 30 min.
·         Add 1 ounce of Cascade hops.
·         Boil 30 min.
·         Add 0.5 cup cocoa powder and 1 ounce Cascade hops.
·         Boil 5 min.
·         Cool to below 80 degrees F.
·         Add 2 gallons.
·         Add Pacific Ale yeast.
·         Ferment 2 weeks.
·         Boil 40 ounces of honey in 0.5 gallons.  Add to fermenter.
·         Ferment additional 1 week.
·         Bottle with ¾ cup priming sugar.
·         Bottle condition for 4 weeks.

At first, I was wary of this beer but not because of the kooky ingredients.  No, I was worried that it hadn’t carbonated correctly because, when I shook a bottle, a head would form but quickly dissolve.  I compared that to a beer that was bottled more recently and, even though it was more immature, it had better head retention.  Not a good sign.  Thankfully, my fears were alleviated on the night of the party albeit in a spectacularly disastrous fashion.

I suppose it should me mentioned that, amongst this particular group of friends, I have a reputation for creating party fouls.  A pint glass nudged off a ledge here and there will give one that status.  My image was tarnished even further when I brought a Mt. Elbert-sized swing-top bottle of PB porter.  I flipped open the top and was thrilled to hear that reassuring POP.  The batch wasn’t a total waste!  I was so excited that I momentarily let my guard down.  The horror set in as Mt. Elbert turned into Mt. Vesuvius and, like a dope, I stood in shock as cold, brown lava Old Faithful’d from the bottle neck, over my hands, and onto the floor creating a man-sized quagmire on the linoleum.  My brain functions came back to me and I thought surely, only a little bit from the top will come out but when it reached the halfway mark I finally put the bottle over the sink.  It was both fortunate and unfortunate that I brought such a gigantic bottle; unfortunate because it meant more of a mess to clean and fortunate because, even though 2/3 of the bottle spewed forth, there was still enough left to share with everybody who wanted a taste.  I was pleased with the reviews.  Although I’m further in the hole when it comes to party fowls, I’m still building a case for being an awesome homebrewer. 

PB Porter is a deep, rich brown with a very fizzy, brown head.  Just as it was in the bottle, the foam is fleeting.  I chalk that up to the oils found in natural peanut butter.  The old pub trick says to rub your nose and stick your finger in the head and your body oils will kill the foam.  I can only assume that bodily oils and peanut butter oil have the same effect on beer.  Although the head retention is finite, PB porter is very tingly on the tongue—like champagne.  It’s the fizziest beer I’ve ever made.  The scent of peanut butter is much stronger than the flavor.  While I added what I thought was an abundance of peanut butter, only a hint of it can be detected in the mouth.  The roasty porter flavor is the dominate flavor.  I only used two ounces of hops but they were Cascade hops so they were strong enough to make themselves known in the aftertaste.

 There are a few things I’d do differently should I brew this beer again.  For one, I’ll strain it with a little more diligence.  As it is, there are tiny floaties that linger near the bottom of the glass when first poured.  The good news is that they quickly dissolve and contribute to the fizz.  Nonetheless, they don’t look very appetizing.  I’ll also add lactose next time because the mouthfeel is much too light for this type of beer; this brew needs to be thicker than molasses.  Despite these flaws, I’m still quite pleased with PB Porter.  It’s not the best beer I’ve ever created but it’s good enough that I’ll be drinking more than I give away.     

Peanut Butter Porter