Mittwoch, 13. Dezember 2017

Soiree hosted by Fermenthings Brussels, December 9, 2017





































Donnerstag, 30. November 2017

The Place and The Beer Part 5: Other Half Brewing, NYC, USA


Other Half Brewing Company

195 Centre St, Brooklyn, NY 11231, USA


After staying for a while in Europe, today we move back to USA. After 1 hour subway ride from the upper Manhattan to Bronx I have visited the Other Half brewery. This place is quite far from any tourist attraction but apparently a “must see” for a beer geek.

Other Half Brewing (OH) is considered to be the hottest brewery in New York. Appraised, loved, recognized – this is a very high bar, especially for an American brewery. It is very difficult to get this level of recognition at this amazingly strong craft beer market.

Just to tell you how amazing OH is – since recently, they were chosen to be the official beer of the Wall Street. Yes, that Wall Street. People used to say that the Wall Street Bankers do choose the beers that are big, bold and brash. Well, it fits to the description of the Other Half as well.

Clearly, I was curious, but also not prepared to what I have seen. I have arrived just 2 minutes after opening of their tap room and this was already almost full! OK, the room is small, but I have seen bigger rooms being empty on good days. The queue for the first round was still OK, the second was worse; finally, I had to wait outside to get the last beer.







Actually, the taproom itself is quite original place – full of stuff from different
epochs and styles. I would dare to call it rustically, it clearly has some atmosphere. Also, the tap, or rather taps are nothing I have seen before. Especially the wall with the taps. I want to have one at home.


Now, the great moment is coming. Look at this Beer Menu. They almost only brew IPAs! Double dry hopped. Triple dry hopped. It was some IPA madness. I got vertigo after just reading a half of the list, the second half caused me to quiver uncontrollably.


Seeing all this IPAs, I have decided to start with a Pils. Good decision, get rid of the bad stuff first. My suggestion to Other Half is to stay with IPAs.
But the rest of the afternoon was like the never-ending IPA party. And what was crazy, they were all at the very high level. Very thick body, low carbonation, many single hopped IPAs made in the amazing way that really makes you to realize the difference between hops used. That was like a dream.

Also, there I have tried my first beer with Lupulin ever – to be frank, in comparison to other beers of the evening that one was quite average. I had a conversation about it few weeks later with a different brewer, and he told me that the problem I s the process of production. Don’t get me wrong, it was not bad IPA, just in comparison it was not outstanding.

Just to put a cherry on a cake, I have decided to finalize the evening with the collaboration brew from Other Half, Monkish and Trillium. A triple dry hopped IIPA called Fully Loaded Baked Potato. Some mad genius has mixed here mosaic, denali, galaxy and kohatu hops. And then brew it up to 10% of alcohol.
It is important to say that I am not a great fan of triple IPAs. In my experience so fa, IIPAs are dense, and heavy and the aroma and flavor never live up to the “triple” expectations.

So far, because the Fully Loaded Baked Potato is just the opposite. The aroma burnt my nose and the flavor have killed my taste buds. Tropical fruits, mango, pine, orange aroma and flavor. Full body, good bitterness. Soft carbonation and almost no alcohol. No IPA will ever taste the same after this experience. Simply the best.

Montag, 27. November 2017

Soiree Italia: Bibibir & La Tana, hosted by Fermenthings Brussels, November 24, 2017

Fermenthings
Pierre Timmermansstraat 28A, 1090 Jette - Brussel



Today, I continue my quest in getting more likes on Facebook and entries on the blog.

No, different start.

Today I continue my effort of trying to get recognition by a local beer scene in publishing reports from small events that are interesting for craft beer, and nobody except me gives a damn to write about them.

Not wrong, but maybe wrong start.
Let’s try like that:

Today, I visit a new shop in Brussels. Fermenthings (www.fermenthngs.be) dedicated to beer… STOP… fermentation. It is fair to assume that beer brewing is the highest form of fermentation, but these people are really interested in all fermented things. Yoghurt, kombucha, they have it all. and will help you to do one at home. I have visited the shop once in our quest to get the live kefir and kombucha cultures and found out that they also organize Beer and Food evenings. The closest one was dedicated to Italian beer. Or, to be precise to a beer from Bibibir. Interesting, since I have never tried this brewery before. I have gathered an international pack of 3 Italians, complemented with French and Portuguese colleagues and there we were on Friday evening.

Overall, the shop is a nice place to be. Well renovated, neat and tidy. Very good selection of Brussel beers and beers from the north of Belgium. Real craft. No Jupiler. Some sitting places, enough standing space with tables. Everybody speaks English.
Entry price is OK.

And then the surprise of the week – the organizers have managed to invite the brewers from Bibibir to join the evening and bring even more of their beers. No, the Italians didn’t come because it was so important to be there (I hope it may be in the future), they have come to visit Vine, Beers, Rebels 2017 in Brussels. Still, the fact the Fermenthing had them there is a plus. Less OK, was the fact that the tap has failed to work. But this one can be forgiven, as Bibibir brought two additional beers to taste.

What was not OK is the amount of food, when I hear – you pay for the beer and the food is there. Then I mean that the food is there. Don’t get me wrong, I am willing to pay for my food, but I need to know in advance that it’s the case. Btw.: they have promised that the Polish evening will be better fed. I hope so.

Now the beer. Or rather Bibibir.

I would like to start with the negative beer of the evening – double IPA (Zero Sei). You really waste your time trying that one. Technically it may be the right style, but if you expect that it will hit any of your sensed with aroma or taste, you are wrong.

Then the good average: Belgian ale, American ale, triple and the wit were OK. You can go for them if you like. No harm will be taken and you can even enjoy.



VEDO QUADRUPLO

First positive out layer is the Peated Quadrupel. Vedo Quadruplo is a bit unusual with its light smoked character, but for me it adds a positive twist on top on its typical, quad like raisin, caramel and honey sweetness character. Another plus – no alcohol detectable. Very smooth to drink.  









WHITE SHOCK

The beer of the evening is the white IPA called White Shock. Amazing aroma of citrus and grass complemented with some sweet, malty notes. Body is a bit low and carbonation could be a tad lower for my taste, but the flavor of citrus and some bitterness make that one crazy drinkable and highly enjoyable. World class. Chapeau bas. 





Overall, it was a great evening with beer and friends. Thanks to Fermenthings!









Donnerstag, 23. November 2017

The Place and The Beer Part 4: Oedipus Brewery, Amsterdam






























Oedipus Brewing

Gedempt Hamerkanaal 85, 
1021 KP Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam is a popular place to get sex, drugs and rock’n’roll (not to forget that some people visit this city for business). But, in the life of every tourist/businessman there is a moment when all the above is boring and he just wants to get the beer.

Luckily, Amsterdam has a lot of to offer. Today for your after hours I propose the Oedipus Brewing (www.oedipus.com). Some of you may remember that Oedipus was a tragic hero from the Greek mythology that, because of the twist of fate killed his father and married his own mother. Sad story that left me wondered what does it have to do with the beer.

If you find the name interesting, then the will love the brewery. First, as a pedestrian, you need to take a water tram to visit it. I suggest nice sunny day; the trip is lovely and the tram is free. Then the interior of the taproom. Looks weird, may be a mix of Amazons jungle with the 70’s. Very unusual, not everybody’s case. But local people seem to like it. On top, there is a music – during an hour here I have heard some of the weirdest, psychedelic music in my life. Trust me, I mean it – really weird, Pink Floyd looks like a main stream in comparison to some of the leads.
If you still don't believe me that they are psychodelic – look at their website and beer labels.

Overall very unusual experience, but clearly interesting and positive. If you are bored with visiting just another brewery go to Oedipus.




The beer of the day is a Thai Thai Belgian Triple.



Thai Thai is another step in my search for an interesting interpretation of traditional Belgian style. This time I would even dare to call it wacky. Deep gold, strong foam. Spicy aroma of pepper and vanilla. Belgian yeast. Taste is a mix of grass, orange, grapefruit and some chili-like spiciness. Very, very unusual. Bit crazy. Interesting, worth trying. Maybe a bit over te top, as not much is left from the original Triple taste.

Give it a try if you can.





Mittwoch, 22. November 2017

The Place and The Beer Part 3: Browarium Sklepy Piwne, Slupsk, Poland



BROWARIUM - SKLEPY PIWNE

ul. Plac Dąbrowskiego 3, 76-200 Słupsk



Today a very special visit.

I have collaborated with Browarium since I have moved to Belgium and honestly, I couldn’t imagine a better partner. Professional, well connected and having access to rare beers – yes, I have got Imperium Prunum (second edition). Sadly, our communication so far has been restricted to email and Facebook. Therefore, coming back from holidays, I have decided that it is time to meet the owners in persona. Słupsk is on the way from 3City to Belgium, therefore no excuses.

The story of Browarium is a success story: Natalia and Krystian have started with their own pub in 2010, that have developed into a first craft beer bottle shop in Słupsk (2011). They have convinced the local community that beer is more than a light company lager. The growth is enormous: starting with the old location and 300 beers they have recently moved to a newer bigger place and are having over 1000 various beers from Poland and more on sale.

Impressive.

Clearly, they have been recognized by the community, Browarium have won Ratebeer award for the best beer shop in Poland in 2016.

Congratulations.
And I hope all the best for you guys.

Enough introduction. The shop is impressive, maybe not from the outside, but inside is the wet dream of any craft beer lover. Beer, more beer and even more beer. Local breweries, craft breweries around Poland and the rest of the world. Glassware, T-shirts you name it. What is more important both owners know what they are selling and doing. They both are beer lovers and will offer professional help if you need it. They also have a great website (www.ebrowarium.pl) and will be happy to help all you folks living abroad and interested in Polish craft.






The beer of the day is Bloody Belfegor from Szałpiw (https://www.facebook.com/szalpiw). Why it is connected to the shop? First: it is a present I got from Natalia when visiting. Second: the beer is as impressive as the shop. Bloody Belfegor is blackcurrant Belgian dark strong ale.  Dark-brown, low carbonation, aroma of blackcurrant, malt and Belgian yeast. Well balanced sour-malt taste. Clear Belgium but with a twist. 9% Alcohol is well composed and not detectable. Very, very good beer.  


Freitag, 17. November 2017

The Place and The Beer Part 2: World of Beer, Cambridge, MA, USA



WORLD OF BEER
100 Cambridgeside Pl, Cambridge, MA 02141, USA




Thanks to the combined efforts of heavy storm over Iceland and Icelandicair being unable to properly take care for the clients I have arrived at Cambridge with a small 26 hours delay.

And I was hungry.

Therefore, the first question to the guy at the reception desk was “where is the food?”.

Well, you know, everything is closed, but in the close shopping mall they have a place called World of Beer that is opened until 1 am; and they have burgers as well.

Honestly, the moment he said something about beer he has lost my attention and I was on the way.

Holly cow. What a nice place. 

And it has a multitap with 50 different beers…(more photos at the end).





And they have bottles as well.

And the kitchen is closed.

And who cares.

Let’s get a beer.

Before I go to the beer. I just must finish the introduction – so World of Beers is a huge chain of bars around the USA. 55 locations in 16 states. Whereas usually I am a bit allergic to chain food (burgers, pizza), but this could be the first one I promote. Very nice bar. Stylish, wood&brick interior. Amazing tap. And the barman knows his job and his beers. I have asked something and have heard some other folks asking and getting very professional and appropriate answers.

One point of criticism are the TV screens all around. But, in the USA they are everywhere. I haven't seen a single bar that wouldn't have them all around the place. For me horrible. For Americans normal. 


Enough, back to the beer.


If I cannot get a food I will get a cake - Clown Shoes Space Cake a double/Imperial IPA with a very high ranking on Ratebeer. Never had one before but it looked like a good start of the travel. Being on the east coast I have expected something in a style, but Space Cake is clearly a west coast-tropical-fruit-grassy-aromatic-blast-killer. 

This beer takes no prisoners.

This is a beer for IPA lovers who like it clear cut aromatic and bitter. Citrus and resin. It just has everything what you expect from a very good imperial IPA. A must try.

















For all multitap lovers...





Donnerstag, 16. November 2017

The Place and The Beer Part 1: Lamplighter Brewing Co, Cambridge, MA, USA

LAMPLIGHTER BREWING CO.
284 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA



I have made a sad realization that I am not able to write a proper story about all the places I visit and all the beers I taste. But, most of those places deserve at least a short note. Therefore, I have stated a new series called The Place and The Beer. Rather short stories, lot of photos and a /the beer.
Today we end up in Cambridge Massachussets in USA. I have visited the Lamplighter Brewing in the second week of November. It is Tuesday at 9 pm. The brewery is in a walking distance from the Kendall Square being the center of the town. Typical American building, well preserved and clean.  Inside is also very typical modern style brewhouse, solid tap/party-room and a huge glass wall so that everybody can appreciate the brewery and barrel aging beer. Nice but not ass kicking.
Clearly it was a party night. We should have been checking earlier. Music was deafening. Live DJ, doing quiz. Simply horrible if you come to get a beer and talk.

But the beer, as in the most American breweries was worth the effort – I have tried an imperial stout brewed with vanilla and maple syrup called After Midnight. But they really brew something for everybody: IPA, gose, sour, wheat, saison, brett. They have it, I strongly believe that this is one of the powers of American Craft – we are eclectic, we will not concentrate on a few local beers – we are taking everything what is interesting from the world and do this better. Impressive.

So was the After Minding. Pitch dark with appealing head and nice lacing. Aroma is chocolate, malt, clear maple syrup and roasted coffee. Intensive and complex flavor, thick texture of drinking chocolate and vanilla. Surprisingly it is not sweet, it could almost be considered dry. Maybe a bit on the too much side, but clearly you would not mix that one with any other beer. For me this a a huge plus and After Midnight was the best medication to cure my jet lag.