Turned the ripe young age of 34 this past week, and along with the usual family festivities, I indulged in a few brew related activities during my time off.
My parents, and one of my younger brothers came up from Florida to celebrate our busy month (son, wifey, and my b-day...plus our anniversary). We had been talking about collaborating on a few all-grain batches together, and took this time to do just that.
We brewed both a blood orange imperial Hefe, and Belgian dark-strong ale, consecutive days.
The Hefe was done with large quantity of 2-row and wheat, with a tea of blood orange segments added to the primary. A bit of Munich and oat rounded out the grain bill, with Hallertau and Saaz hops providing a bit of bittering/flavor. Should be interesting, a starting gravity of 1.070 means we should finish up with a 6.5-7% Summer quencher.
During and after the brewing process, we took the chance to taste test some IPA offerings from around the country. My brother is a big hop head, and these were right up his alley.
The Belgian dark-strong was brewed in a fairly traditional manner, with nothing added for additional flavoring. 22 lbs of fermentables made up this behemoth, including: 2-row, Marris Otter, Cara Belg, Biscuit, and dark Belgian candi sugars. With a starting gravity of 1.110, this will make a wonderful Fall warmer later this year.
Brewing was pretty involved, and I slacked on the photos.
On the day of my birth, we opted for a family trip down to Philly, to take in some sights and intake some good eats/drinks.
On the way out of the area, we first stopped at Bethlehem Brew-Works for a quick sampler, and to pick up some newly released Monkey Wrench (seasonal saison).
Was very impressed with their "B9" Belgian style Tripel, very easy drinking.
After some touristy sight seeing of "Old Towne" for my sister-in-law, whom had never been to Philly, we had lunch at the famous Belgian beer bar "Monk's Cafe". As usual the tap list was amazing, with the traditional Belgian rarities, and a variety of Lost Abbey goodies left over from a recent Tomme visit.
Had a Monk's Flemish, and Angels Share along with my vegan cheese steak. Honestly could have spent the rest of the day there, between the tap list, and "beer bible" bottle menu it was a struggle to leave.
While the ladies and children made their way to Reading Terminal Market; my dad, brother, and I wondered over to Nodding Head Brewery a few blocks away.
If you've never been, or even heard of them, they produce some great small batch goodies. They run on a 7 bbl system, utilizing three fermenters, and once wine barrel for all special aged brews. Enjoyed a tasting of their saison, an true cask English mild called "GROG", and an amazing dry-hopped Belgian strong ale called "GUILLOTINE".
Being as we were the only ones at the bar on this Thursday afternoon, we struck up a great conversation with the barkeep about brewing, whom in-turn brought over brew master Gordon Grubb for some additional input. He was a very gracious host, and even took the time to lead the three of us on a private tour of the brew-house, which turned into an hour of social drinking and brewing discussion. A big thanks to him!
With that eating up the rest of our afternoon, we met up with the wives and kids, then headed home where my wonderful wife whipped up some very spur of the moment carrot cupcakes...complete with Storm Trooper garb
Not being a big fan of cake, this was a pleasant final course to the evening.
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Thread: Beer Birthday Bonanza