Category Archives: Beer

Beer

Bat Creek Brewery Machine Shed Stout: What a Mouthful…

Machine Shed-dy Goodness

Machine Shed Stout
Bat Creek Brewery
Cream Stout
5.5% ABV
(No rating, yet.  Only 4 of them and one is me…If you’ve had this beer, take a second to rate it on RateBeer)

I love all the new breweries popping up in Missouri.  Urban Chestnut, The Civil Life, Perennial Artisan Ales and now Bat Creek Brewery from Bowling Green, MO.  Although they are in their third year of operations, they are new to St. Louis.  Technically defined as a “nanobrewery” (producing on a less than 4 US Beer Barrel brew system–124 US Gallons) and operating from a machine shed, Bat Creek produces five “year-round brews” and currently only has five locations selling their beer.

I really liked this beer a lot.  The label art is what caught my eye initially–very clean and well thought out.  The taste is what kept me interested.  Very full flavor (chocolate, roasty malts) for such a “small” beer.  At 5.5% ABV, you can have a few of these in a sitting and not worry too much about finding a ride home.  And I mean “small” in a good way.  There are times when I want a beer to knock me on my ass.  This is not that beer–and I appreciate that.

I think that this might be brewery to watch in Missouri.  They certainly caught my eye.

Their paltry review page on RateBeer prompted me to write my very first review for that site.  Check it out below and then head to The Wine and Cheese Place, pick up a bomber and write your own review.

from RateBeer:
I was pleasantly surprised by this beer..picked up a bomber out of curiosity from The Wine and Cheese Place in Creve Couer, MO. The label art caught my eye so I thought I would give it a shot. My first whiff of the beer was very earthy–I could almost see the machine shed in which it was brewed as I poured the pitch black beer into a glass. The color was spot on for the style–black oil with a frothy tan head. The taste was very balanced–not too sweet and incredibly easy to drink…in fact almost too easy 🙂 I could have definitely had a few of these back to back. The beer has a light body without being thin…in other words I did not feel like I was chewing this one, but definitely more substance than a Guinness. Overall, I think I expected very little from this beer, but was pleasantly surprised to find it utterly drinkable and even more than that— “sessionable.” I will be looking for this beer again. 

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Beer U: Beer Re-education in St. Charles

I’m just going to put it to you straight.

As far as culture goes in the STL area, the “bedroom community” (and my hometown) of St. Charles is not known for much.  Unless you count wicker baskets and historical re-enactments as culture.  As far as good beer goes, St. Charles has one “microbrewery” (Trailhead… although no one serious about beer ever really considers Trailhead) and about three “beer bars” (The Old Millstream Inn –awesome, Llywellyn’s Pub –whose beer list is largely AB-InBev products, and R.T. Weiller’s— although it seems people typically go to R.T.’s for the food and discover that they have a decent beer list).  No one comes to St. Charles for beer.  However, that might be changing.

For the past two months, I have been attending what Picasso’s Coffee House owner Chris Schulte has dubbed “Beer U”–an attempt at educating the masses about good beer (Full Disclosure: Beer U was a collaboration between Chris and myself–inasmuch as I begged Chris to do it 🙂)  In a recent conversation, Chris talked about how beer–and specifically craft beer–fits in with his entrepreneurial vision.  He said:

“At Picasso’s, we cater to the connoisseur. This person is looking for a beverage that is out of the ordinary, prepared with great care and skill.  [Our] coffee and espresso beverages are truly unique…Similarly, in offering a beer and wine menu, we are try to cater to that same connoisseur (perhaps at a different time of day)… In tasting these drinks, we are all interested in the preparation or creation of these beverages. We taste them and look for body, finish and unique qualities in the beverage that set it apart from others.”

Beer U is an effort to broaden the horizons of the people who walk in the door.  It attempts to take something that most people view as pedestrian (beer) and elevate it a bit.  Much like what Picasso’s has done with coffee.

I must say that the Beer U events that I have attended (one in February and one in March) have been entertaining and informative.  Representatives from the beer distributors come in and talk about a specific brewery.  In February,  we learned about Abita and in March, Sierra Nevada.  I think wherever you find yourself on the Beer Geek Spectrum, you would definitely get something out of the evening.  If nothing else, it’s a good way to meet like-minded Beer Geek individuals.

Tonight (April 27th, 2011) the featured brewery will be our neighbors to the West, Boulevard Brewing Company.  We will be tasting some of the Smokestack Series (some of Boulevard’s best beers in my opinion).  I even heard a rumor via Facebook that the distributor is bring some Chocolate Ale with him.  Should be a great night.  Come on out and get your Beer U knowledge for the month!

Details:
Beer U
6:30 p.m.
20 bucks gets you tastes of all the beers, appetizers from Frankie Tocco’s Pizzeria, Boulevard SWAG and tickets for three beers of your choice after the tasting is complete.

(Update–  Tonight’s Boulevard beers: Saison Brett Batch 2009, Chocolate Ale, Bourbon Barrel Quad, Seeyoulater Doppelbock 2009, and Dark Truth Stout.  Awesome dark and heavy lineup!)

Picasso’s Coffee House
101 North Main Street
St. Charles, MO 63301-2826
(636) 925-2577

 

Hopshot!: Stone Brewing Total Tap Takeover

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Lucky four day weekend for this beer drinker. And iTap’s Stone release event started it off. I think I counted about 6 or 7 deep at the bar. Waited 30 minutes to unsuccessfully get a (second) beer. Was a little disappointed in the service at iTap, but not in the beer.

Better Thursday: Stone Total Tap Takeover at iTap in Soulard


Yes!  I…sorry Goose…WE (my wife and I) are going to the Stone Brewing Company “Total Tap Takeover” at iTap in Soulard (and the fact that I am off work for Good Friday the next day, makes April 21 Better Thursday).  According to their website, of the 40 taps that iTap has, 24 of them will be dedicated to Stone.  The list:

  1. Stone IPA
  2. Stone Pale Ale
  3. Stone Levitation Ale
  4. Stone Smoked Porter
  5. Arrogant Bastard Ale
  6. OAKED Arrogant Bastard Ale
  7. Stone Cali-Belgique IPA
  8. Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale
  9. Stone Ruination IPA
  10. Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine 2011
  11. Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine 2010
  12. Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine 2009
  13. Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine 2007
  14. Stone Old Guardina BELGO Barley Wine
  15. Stone Imperial Russian Stout 2010
  16. Stone 14th Anniversary Ale
  17. Double Bastard Ale 2010
  18. DDH Stone IPA
  19. DDH Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale
  20. Stone Smoked Porter with Vanilla Bean
  21. Stone Smoked Porter with Chipotle
  22. Stone Smoked Porter Aged in Bourbon Barrels
  23. Arrogant Bastard Ale Aged in Bourbon Barrels
  24. Stone Imperial Russian Stout Aged in Bourbon Barrels 2008
I have only ever had Stone’s Arrogant Bastard Ale, so this is going to be a treat.  My only problem will be deciding which Stone beers to try–I can’t possibly try them all can I?

Help me out… What have you had and what should I try first? 

Hopshot!: Friday Night Beer

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My wife and I are sharing a Barley Island Brass Knuckles Oatmeal Stout from Noblesville, IN tonight. No idea if this is available in STL because I bought it in Illinois. Nice and thick oatmeal stout. Surprisingly good from an an unknown (to me) brewery. Definitely a good pickup if you can find it. 4 of 5 stars.

Vanity Searches and The Twelve Hopostles


So, I was checking out the search terms that bring viewers to this blog.   There are a lot of people looking for good beer bars, Kentucky Breakfast Stout and good mobile beer apps–which can only mean that there aren’t enough of those things out there–I smell a business opportunity.  Anyone?

"goodbeerintheword"? How is that even a search term for anything?

Among the odd one-off nonsensical search terms (“goodbeerintheword”, “breakfast czy breakfasts”, “leave a comment”–I mean who actually searches for these things?) was the number one search term that brings viewers: “hopostle”.  Now, this was kind of weird because I thought I made this term up.  In fact, I thought it was pretty clever.  I found it surprising that not only was I not the only one to coin this term, but also that other people actually have searched for it (well…only seven people ever have, but I think my point still stands).

Why is St. Andrew throwing up the shocker?

So, I thought I would take a look at what pops up when you search for “hopostle” and see if I could tell if people were actually trying to get to my site or somewhere else.  The most interesting thing I found was this thread on Homebrewtalk.com from 2007.  26 year old  homebrewer, Boerderij_Kabouter, from Oconomowoc, Wisconsin (Don’t worry.  I can’t pronounce any of it either) posted his idea for a series of 12 IPAs brewed with  exactly the same ingredients, save the type of hops.  Each IPA is dedicated to showing off a specific hop varietal (similar to and pre-dating Mikeller’s Single Hop Series and the upcoming variety packof Latitude 48 IPA from Sam Adams) and each beer would be named after an Apostle.  He calls his idea “The Twelve Hopostles”.  There are ingredients lists, recipes and label art for each beer, all of which are free for anyone to use.  It was

What's the buzz? Tell me what's a-happening...

really cool to see the level of professional work he put into his concept and made me really want to get back into brewing more.

If I had an extra 12 fermenters laying around (hell…even if I had more than one) I would definitely tackle this project.  It’s a very cool idea and I think really underscores the untapped creativity and passion that lies within the homebrewing community.  How awesome would it be if a major brewer picked up this idea?  A couple of other forum members have made some of the “Twelve Hopostles”, but there hasn’t been any activity since 2009.  Hit the thread link and and check it out.  While you’re there, leave a comment and see if we can spark some interest in this worthy idea.

Is Craft Beer Getting Too Expensive?

HopBombs Away!

My buddy over at The Logo-Mat recently read my post on Kentucky Breakfast Stout and decided to get some for himself.  He seemed to like the beer, but he commented about the fact that it was 19 bucks a four pack (I believe his exact words were that he was worried his “wife would disown” him because of the price).

This is a completely rational reaction.  I have often commented on how expensive craft beer is.  I talked about it with Hopslam.  I talked about it with this recent batch of KBS (I didn’t even buy any KBS last year because I thought it was outrageous).  Even before I started this blog, I wrote a guest post on the Show-Me Beer Blog talking about the high price of Schlafly’s Extra Stout.  I am sympathetic to the wallet, but I also love beer.  And good beer comes at a price–that’s just the way it is.  Here’s how I learned to “Stop Worrying and Love the HopBomb”.

My feeling is that the only reason craft beer seems too expensive is because we are conditioned to the 6 dollar six pack.  When you triple the expected price and lower the quantity (as in the case of KBS’s $19/4 pk.), you get Matt’s reaction (that “ludicrous”) and mine last year (“outrageous”).  But when you forget about your conditioning, the price breakdown is really very simple.  Here’s how I rationalize it:

  • Wine is generally packaged in 750 mL bottles.
  • 750 mL is equal to 25.3 fluid ounces.
  • A four pack of KBS is equal to 48 fl. oz.,
  • This is equal to about 1.8 bottles of wine.
  • If you were to compare the retail price of KBS (18.99/4 pack) to a wine, you’d basically be talking about a $9 bottle of wine (give or take).
  • Sam’s Club sells wine for this much.

If you don’t balk at a $9 bottle of Kendall Jackson Merlot, why would you for KBS?  The comparisons continue:

  • Bud Select is generally about $6 a six pack
  • The ABV of Bud Select is 4.3%
  • The ABV of Kentucky Breakfast Stout  is 11.2%
  • 11.2/4.3= 2.6
  • So, essentially in every bottle KBS you are getting (at least in terms of ABV) 2.6 Bud Selects

When you compare it in the above manner, however, you HAVE to account for taste…otherwise it doesn’t work.

  • When something is more expensive, we generally consider it to be of higher quality (Mercedes-Benz, Apple Computers, organic foods, etc.) –you get what you pay for
  • Bud Select is $1 a bottle and KBS is $4.75

So the question is…Does KBS taste 4.75 times better than Bud Select?  I think if Imperial Stouts are your style (and really even if they aren’t), the answer is unequivocally…yes.  If you ask me, probably way more than 4.75 times better.

    What does this mean?  Probably nothing.  If you are a fan of light lagers and would prefer to spend you hard earned money on other things than beer, you certainly have the ability to do so.  This is simply the rambling rationalization of a self professed beer lover.  This is how I sleep at night.  If you would like to feel more comfortable with your “outrageous” and “ludicrous” beer purchases, I would urge you to adopt the above philosophy and remember, “Good things cost more.  Period.”

    What do you think?  How do you sleep at night?