Sunday, August 15, 2010

East of Elon is Back from Summer Vacation

We're back and ready to get rolling with another brew season. Tonight, August 15th at 6pm we'll be tapping 2 kegs that were brewed this summer. The first is a Honey Brown Ale which is expected to have a smooth, sweet brown ale tone with excellent refinement. This ale has been aged an extra 2 months to help develop a perfect blend of flavors.

Our second brew to be tapped tonight will be the legendary Saison. This cousin to our very popular Single Hop Best Bitter is lovingly classified as a summer "lawn-mower" beer. That means that it's crisp, clean and slightly bitter taste is perfectly balanced to cool you off and quench your thirst after a hard afternoon of working outside. This brew has also been aged for an extra month, but not for any reason other than that we were on vacation and were not around to tap it sooner.

Finally, tonights culinary features are Jucy Lucy Buffalo Burgers (a unique twist on a Minnesota original, the Jucy Lucy) and fresh local vegetables grilled up in Country Boys Num Num Sauce (produced in Durham, NC). Everyone is welcome to attend tonight at the house starting at 6pm.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Went to a festival and a hoppy game broke out

Land of 10,000 lakes.

The Big Apple

Birthplace of Megan Fox -- Don't know it? That's because Rockwood, Tenn. is still insisting on it's "The Place to Be in Tennessee," moniker.

And that will bring us back to doe... ah hem I mean Asheville or as it has recently been dubbed Beer City USA by Figuring it had the online poll -- which drew votes from 46 countries -- in the bag the Asheville Brewers Alliance (formerly known as the Axis of Level 7 Beer Nerds) decided it needed to mark the occasion with a tapping of epic proportions. 

For the sake of this blog I just manned up and consented to being the right person in the right place at the right time Saturday at Pack Square Park. The glass on the right (4.5 oz) might as well have been made by Herbal Essences because it was rinse and repeat all day as I visited the more than 30 craft brewer tents.

Sure, I had a beer float, more than the recommended dosage of bourbon barrel porters and a vicious run in with a jalapeno-infused ESP (Asheville Pizza & Brewing Company Houdini). But, inspirational and cautionary tales aside, the real takeaway however might end up being Blue Ridge Hops.

This man is living the dream. For the past three years he and the folks at in the Eastern Hops Guild have been part of a growing movement in the Tar Heel State.

Rita Pelezar from Blue Ridge Hops believes that North Carolina is prime for a switch to a new side in the Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms triangle. She admits that this is very much a noble experiment but said that the humble family operated business is stirring up interest from craft brewers and hobbyists alike. 

Interestingly, Rita noted that it took a while for the group to strike upon their initial hop rhizomes clumps because it is so hard to source 100 percent organic stains among today's corporate fields. Translation: these perennials require a lot of tlc and propagate through cuttings so once a batch is fertilized with something from Dow Chemical all future generations will be tainted.

It turns out the Blue Ridge Hops folks were able to convert a plot of land with very acidic piney soil and plant some vines transplanted from the pacific northwest. These plants are all female as I discovered as we use the flowers or cones to bitter up our beer.

They now offer five varieties of hops including my goto fuggle. Aside from offering leaf and pellet products Blue Ridge is making fresh or wet hops available to North Cackalakians. 

Remember your first mater sandwich with mayo and salt? Ok, for us yankees our first cup of Dunkin Donuts Coffee. Think about that first bite or sip compared to the canned or at home version. See where I'm going with this?

Now if only there was a local source of grain... Whole Foods here we come!

Friday, June 4, 2010

We drink porters like this for breakfast

I like my oats and barley flaked, roasted, smothered, covered and scattered all the way. Confused? Well probably less so than Kid Rock who decided the best way to redeem himself following a Waffle House brawl was to start his own beer line. Yeah, let me know how that works out. And they put T.I. in jail? At least the American Bad @ss ended up better off than this guy who couldn't hold his hashbrowns.

At some point in college you knew a guy -- who we'll call Devon -- who resorted to emptying a Keystone into his Cheerios. To that end Sunday we will try our hand at crafting a Breakfast Stout.

The description reads like a Kashi cereal ingredient list. 
"It's a cross between an oatmeal stout (a high proportion of flaked oats creates a silky texture) and a sweet stout (lactose gives sweetness and a full body) with the coffee-like flavor of roasted barley. A buttery note from the yeast completes the impression of a complete meal in a glass."

Got all that? Yes this kit has us adding a pound and a half of oats to the boil. I must admit I was more skeptical of the Oatmeal Brown Sugar Ice Cream I sampled last weekend at Smitty's in Burlington. 

According to our friends at Wikipedia -- you know who you are -- the Stout brewing tradition dates back  to the time of the English Civil War (mid 1600s for us Americans). Somewhere down the line the stouts, which derived their name from being among the strongest beers available, interbred with the Porters, which drew their given name from men on boats, and the pedigree chart went all cross-eyed.

Much blood and beer has seemingly been shed on the relationship between Porters and Stouts but it's important to note that our Breakfast Stout will be more in the spirit of a Porter in that it will take more than a few servings before the Get Fuzzy  cartoon in the Sunday funnies begins to make any sense. It should be a well-balanced beer even for those who are faint of heart and it won't cause you to stroke out the way Jarrod's Wee Heavy promises to. 

Join us as the East of Elon Taproom breaks the seal on the Stouts. Let the countdown begin at 30 days till black and tans...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

And so it begins...

Beer, meet internet. Internet, beer. Ok, so now that we are all acquainted, how 'bout that drink? Welcome to the East of Elon Taproom, your port in the sobering storm otherwise known as Burlington.

Ever had that What am I doing with my life feeling? You know the one that tickles you like a spinal tap when some absent-minded coed publicly mistakes you for a townie.

I am Jack's raging bile duct...

It was then, channeling Tyler Durden (minus Project Mayhem and Bob's bitch tits of course), that the East of Elon Taproom and homebrew co-op formed. We hope this blog will draw others to our cause like a shining beacon. 

Each week we will brew our own beer to our taste. Never again will we settle for the average swill swaddled in limp silver and blue cans. If we want to throw in a sprinkle of coriander or a fifth of bourbon in our batch, well by golly no one is going to stop us. 

Sure, we will have our setbacks. We might even brew a stinker. But it will be our stinker and these things tend to get better with age. 

So, at the risk of going all Bill Pullman during the final showdown with the aliens in Independence Day, I will simply invite you to join us as we figure this whole brewing thing out. It still takes just the same four ingredients our ancestors have been fermenting since they came down from the canopy. 

Did I mention there's free beer...