Sunday, April 25, 2010

Bottling time!

So it took longer to get around to all of the bottling that was needed than I expected. Mel and I bottled a lot of alcohol yesterday. We started with her first batch of mead, and its looking great. I had a little taste when I was siphoning it into the bottling bucket, and was surprised to find it actually palatable. Normally, I can't stand the taste of mead or even any wine for that matter. It comes in at around 11% alcohol which is right where it should be. It will only be about 6 more months until it is conditioned and ready to drink. I impatiently look forward to it.

Secondly, we bottled my oatmeal stout. This fermented for a little over a month. The stout is very similar to a beer I made about a year ago and loved. This time around I added flaked oats to the mix as well. This should improve the mouth feel and accent the roasted barley a bit more. Hopefully, the oatmeal stout will be ready to drink in a couple weeks. One of the few people to try the original stout from last year was my friend Eric in Oregon. When I called him earlier he flipped out about it. Apparently that was the first beer he had that wasn't of the Bud, Coors, Miller variety. He is only 21 and already becoming a "beer snob," so I suppose I've already managed to make my own small impact in a world consumed by corporate beers.

I find it hard to believe that so many people's taste in beer is of the watered-down, mass produced variety. I preface this by saying "If that is what you really like, than by all means enjoy it." But when there are so many other options out there why not find a local beer. They are most often just a dollar or two more than Bud or Miller or what-have-you.

For example:
I grew up in West Virginia, there wasn't much of a choice there when I was young. Now however, the grocery store has a lot of choices. My favorite being a beer from the state by a brewery called Mountaineer Brewing Company out of Martinsburg, WV. They make some really good brews including an IPA, porter, stout, and so on.

I lived in Chicago for a while and there were so many choices there. Especially if you check out a chain called Binny's. Of coarse there is Goose Island. They make an amazing oatmeal stout and the best wheat beer I've had to date, 312. In fact, a 312 box is still the wallpaper on my phone.

After Chicago I moved to Portland, Oregon. I only stayed there for a year and a half (maybe a little less actually). I still regret not making it to every brewpub in the city, but every little place I found had at least one great beer. Like the Chernobyl Stout at Tug Boat Brewpub, Bridgeport's IPA, the lavender ale from Root's Brewpub, the IPA from Amnesia, or anything at the Rogue brewpub.

I recently moved to New Orleans. I haven't been here long, but I have already found a really good local brewery. NOLA brewery. I've been pestering them for a job since before I got here. In my humble opinion, their IPA is one of the best. Its called "Hopitoulous" which is a play on the name of the street where they are located.

My point is this...
Have some pride in where you are from and what you drink. Personally, I like beer. I don't like beer that tastes like funky alcoholic water. Think of beer like you think of food. Fresher the better right? To me, most local beers are the equivalent of food from a fine dining type place, while Bud, Coors, etcetera are the same as McDonald's or Burger King. Also, If we all start drinking, eating, thinking locally it will go a long way towards many great things like improving the local economy, cutting costs due to fuel, cutting carbon emissions, and just plain improving our day to day lives as well as our earth.

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