Bees & SMaSH IPA

I made a run to my two most distant Apiaries today. One in Splendora and the other in Grangerland – also known as the “berry farm”. I needed to add a deep box to one of my new hives in Splendora and poked my nose into see if the supers were filling with honey on the other three hives. They look promising but still a few weeks away from being ready for extracting.

Out at the berry farm I pulled 5 nicely filled frames. Would love to have had more Ready but – it will be a very good season based on the activity I saw today. The weather – 90 degrees F and 57% humidity made for a warm day. The bees were bearded up on the outside to keep the inside temperatures under control.

FYI- I am not feeding the bees, just haven’t removed the feeder yet! It was hot and I couldn’t beard up! I just had to sweat my ass off! For whatever reason, and they won’t tell you, the girls in the 8 frame hive were a little defensive today – Therefore, full gear and lots of sweat!

Upon return home and before unloading the truck – oh yes, and setting up in the garage to extract honey – I treated myself to my excellent SMaSH IPA! How can I tell what I’m drinking as in, I don’t put labels on my bottles? I use a bottle cap code. The SMaSH is a patriotic beer!

A hint of honey money in upper left background of the photo…… yes, I sell honey.

Ah, there is the box needing extraction! Now, I was interrupted at about 2/3 finished with my beer by my phone ringing. My friend and fellow Home brewer, Mike H, severely twisted my arm and forced me to delay extracting honey- Beer was the reason. “Meet me at Hop Stop in Humble”, more of a statement than a request.

Every Thursday they offer a rotating sampler and….. good folks, good conversation and a good place to drink beer. Traffic was crap, especially on the return trip, but it was well worth the trip….thanks Mike!

Still managed to extract and clean up. Lovely amber honey from the berry farm- “Blakelock’s Berries”. Check them out on Facebook.

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop

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An IPA Start to my Birthday

Maybe I should have waited! Oops

My SMaSH Mosaic IPA. First beer to start the evening. Then an Odell’s Fresh Grind IPA…. Wow! Then a Sierra Nevada Hop Hunter with distilled Hop oil. Gotta love a Texas Backyard Birthday!

Then a nice slab of salmon with pesto butter!

And what a great treat- the family searched far and wide and found 5 – six packs of Hopslam! I am in heaven. Gotta find a cold and secret place to store them.

Thanks Lisa for a card that made me cry!

Dessert? Carrot cake and –

Very yummy!

It is not so bad to be two years beyond Medicare age!

Maybe a Hopslam night cap?????

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop

Christmas Advent Calendar-Craft Beer Style

I am blessed with an amazing woman that consented to become my wife over 33 years ago. Among the many things we have in common is a fondness for beer, good beer! My fondness may cross over to an obsession for very good beers. As any good Catholic girl knows, Christmas is a time for Advent Calendars. FYI, Advent Calendars originate with the German Lutherans and has become common among most Christian faiths.

How does an Advent Calendar fit in a beer blog you might ask? It was discovered in my wife’s Pintrest account. I have one but I am not quite that Pintrest savvy – yet! Ok, how is it done? She built a massive book case thing out of oak with little doors for each of the 24 Advent days. Each little door was large enough and deep enough for a 12 ounce bottle of beer lying on it’s side. All hardware was polished brass and finished natural with high gloss Tung Oil. Each little door was built like paneled doors and the edges rounded with a router. SMACK!  Sorry I was dreaming!

Maybe next year! This year she used a shoe holder, 24 pockets that hangs on a door. Each pocket was numbered in Christmas colors. Each mystery bottle was wrapped in tissue and festooned with a ribbon. Isn’t she clever? See below;

Isn't that the coolest idea?

Isn’t that the coolest idea?

Today’s offering was from Lagunitas Brewing Company in Petaluma, CA. Hmmmm 1967 also comes to mind. Why? It is a story for another time, involves lifeguarding, beer, swimming, old friends and rock concerts!

Great beer! Great aroma, near perfect bitterness. Love it!

Great beer! Great aroma, near perfect bitterness. Love it!

What a gal and what a gift!

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly!

Bishop

 

 

Beer and Honey or Honey and Beer

My  daughter Lisa participated in the Island Girl Tri, sprint triathlon, on Galveston Island this past weekend.  Post event, it was rehydrate time and what better place than Galveston Island Brewing. The board was full, 12 beers, so little time and so far to drive! 72.1 miles and about 1 hour  and 28  minutes, depending on traffic. Need to find another excuse to make the drive to the Island.

Lisa asked me to bring some of my honey, honey from my hives, down to the event. A number of her running mates with Team RWB, “Team RWB’s mission is to enrich the lives of America’s veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity.”, were in attendance and were seeking some Raw local honey.  We were well prepared but we failed to make the connections at the event. So, I had plenty of supply when we arrived at the brewery.

http://www.teamrwb.org/

The  Brewery

We were first in the door on this Sunday noon! There was another triathlon participant and her date joining us for the first beers of the day. She, the young lady, was a brewer and prefers stouts and porters. The  crowd began to trickle in and  to our right was a couple, Tanya and Greg. Somehow the conversation got around to raw honey and specifically, creamed honey. Well, we just so happened to have a supply. Tanya and  Greg bought a pound jar of honey and a 3/4 pound jar of the creamed honey – cinnamon flavor.

Charday and  Dave showed up a little later, they had worked the beer stand at the triathlon event down at Moody Gardens. She  was intrigued and bought a jar of the creamed cinnamon honey…….she popped the top off and uttered that Mmmmmmm sound of enjoyment…she couldn’t  wait.

Now – Let’s Talk Beer

Lisa rehydrating with the Citra Mellow  IPA and I had the Blue Ridge Amber Ale.

Lisa rehydrating with the Citra Mellow IPA and I had the Blue Ridge Amber Ale.

Due to our early visit we were treated to a taster of the Amber Ale straight directly from the fermenter after the brewer added wet Mosaic hops….it was very yummy. I need to make a visit in a couple  of weeks when it is finished and kegged.

This is such a friendly place…reminds me of the atmosphere of the little village Gasthaus in the  village I lived in in Germany. Something about drinking beer gives  you automatic admission to the fraternity…Now, to rankle some feathers, I don’t get the same feel in a wine room or wine bar…just saying!

Lisa's Citra Mellow before rehydrating. She followed it with the Oktoberfest.

Lisa’s Citra Mellow before rehydrating. She followed it with the Oktoberfest.

https://www.facebook.com/GalvestonIslandBrewing/info?tab=overview

http://www.galvestonislandbrewing.com/brewery.html

Make the trip!

So, I think it was Beer and Honey, this time….but you never know when opportunities crop up. The lesson for me….I will carry a stash of my honey…great ice breaker to make new friends and maybe, make a little beer money!

Drink Local and  Drink Responsibly

Bishop

Beer and a Bite

i was in Bakersfield CA for a quick consulting job with Chevron Pipeline. I wanted to pop into Lengthwise Brewery Pub for a good local beer and a meal. The Pub location out on Calloway was my intended target but the Rosedale Highway construction and traffic convinced me to go elsewhere. I opted to head to the brewery located out in the Southwest just off of White Lane. 

http://lengthwise.com

The Southwest steak salad paired nicely with the Centennial IPA – for me I am easy, I can pair an IPA with most anything, especially a second one! I went with the Triple Hopped Red Ale for number two! 

  The empty Centennial with the Red Ale and my buddy Gary’s Golden Ale. 

Side note; felt like I was in Houston that evening, a National Weather alert for flash flooding came across the radio and booming thunder flowing the flashes of lightning in the dusk sky. 

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop 

We Made It! Firestone Walker the Pub

I have to give Firestone high marks for the beer and also for the food offerings at the Pub. Here I am trying to balance calories in vs. calories out and fortunately Firestone makes it a doable task. I am not going to order a Coors Light, not a bad beer but, after all, I am at a nationally recognized Brewery so I need to take advantage to the opportunity….a full flavored and FULL calorie beer….Like the “Wookie Jack”. Well since I was there I decided to order a 3 ounce taster of one of the very best Imperial Stouts made in America. I have tasted it before and I agree. Dang it…..not on tap on the night of my visit…..I was tempted to order a “Bomber” – 22 ounces to take with me….12,5 % ABV, complex wonderful flavors….sipped and enjoyed like a fine port…BUT $ 55.00 for a bottle…..now way! I suffered, but not much….The Wookie Jack was superb!

The food pairing for me was a very nice piece of Pacific salmon, wonderful steamed spinach underneath it. Portions were just right….allowed me the opportunity to enjoy a great beer and not bust my calorie budget for the evening! On top of that, the absence of the Imperial Stout, barrel aged for a year was mitigated by the fact that I have in my possession the 2011 bottling of this barrel aged stout….waiting for the right occasion to open and share….as is my bottle of 20-year-old Pappy Van Winkle bourbon! I am accepting bids – contact me if you would like to make an offer on either bottle!

I did branch out and try another local beer, Tap It Breweries IPA. Brewed in San Luis Obispo. I was pleasantly surprised….I need to check out more of their offerings on a future trip. My buddy Gary has decided that Firestone’s 805 Ale fits nicely in his wheelhouse……multiple times. I have to admit…It is a good one but my preferences run toward higher IBU’s……International Bittering Units, i.e., HOPS>>>>>I love hoppy beers.

Not me…..but this is a Hop Head I ran into at the 2011 Humble, TX beer festival.

Copy of JBD_0198

A real, true Hop Head….Literally!

 

Drink Local – Drink Responsibly

Bishop

 

Dry Hopping Dilemma

I should not read any more! If you have been following along I am brewing an “inspiration” IPA based on my mistaken read of the chalkboard at the Lengthwise Brewery Pub out in the Marketplace, Bakersfield, California. The ale is designed to be a “Golden Wheat Red IPA” based o the combined three individual local beers on tap. I failed to report that the bartender had poured a mixed blend for some customers who gave the blend high marks. I just decided to try and brew that blend. Post with recipe located here;

http://wp.me/p1qlvz-ec

So here is my dilemma. I transferred the beer into the secondary carboy with 1 ounce of Amarillo hop pellets sitting on the bottom. Once the beer was transferred, I gave the carboy a nice swirl to get the pellets to settle. I then carried it out to my temperature controlled chest freezer. I now need to decide on a temperature scheme/schedule during the dry hopping phase. From my exploration of the web I find too many choices, schemes, schedules and opinions!

  • Two days at room temperature and then crash to 35 degrees for up to two weeks.
  • Five to seven days at low room temperatures then rack off and package.
  • Five to seven days at room temperature and then crash to 35 degrees for 2 days prior to packaging.
  • And too many variations to list!!!

My choice – the logic I like is; hold the beer at a temperature that will allow the aromatic oils in the Amarillo hops to best express their amazing aroma.  So, five days at 65-67 degrees then crash to 35 degrees for a couple of days to aid in clarifying the beer before I bottle. I am convinced that the beer will be very good!

While racking the beer into the secondary I noted that the fermentation was vigorous – the Krausen was thick and reached the lid of the primary. I guess that I was lucky that it didn’t lift the lid or fill the airlock. Note to self: consider a blow-off tube next time for the early yeast activity!

Transfer from primary fermenter to the secondary and hop pellets floating on top.

Transfer from primary fermenter to the secondary and hop pellets floating on top.

Hop pellets floating on top of the beer - kinda look like the rabbit pellets we fed them!

Hop pellets floating on top of the beer – kinda look like the rabbit pellets we fed them!

 

Evidence of the Krausen on the sides... gotta be a good beer.

Evidence of the Krausen on the sides… gotta be a good beer.

I bet some of you are thinking, is he going to drink that? Yes I am!

Drink Responsibly and Drink Local

Bishop