Friday, February 24, 2012

Fat Tuesday in Prosser

Everyone goes to Prosser Washington for the Columbia Valley Wine, but the Reeds go for the terrific beer. Horse Heaven Hills Brewery is located in down town Prosser, and they make some fine beer. Tomorrow evening we will be on location to celebrate Fat Tuesday. HHHB are bringing in a Reggae band and cooking up some Jambalaya and Po boys. Last time I was in they did not have the Delta Pale Ale, which features Calypso and, my personal favourite hop, Delta.

The review:

We did go with another couple to this event to celebrate Fat Tuesday. We found baby sitting and drove over to Prosser, Hop country. The room was filled to capacity and the friendly wait staff was very accommodating.

The Delta pale ale did not disappoint whatsoever; however, most of the rest did. the Dark Cherry Stout, which is what two in our party had, was not the same nitro dark cherry stout my wife and I had 6 months previous. This version had elements of cough syrup.

There was a terrific band of young white guys doing reggae. I say they are young because they have not yet learned to play to the room; this one is small. They were not playing speed metal and the audience was not in in their early 20's, in fact, I would say the median age of the audience was around 50. Too loud! Way too loud! All of them were good players, but Jesus...

We had dinner, which was Jambalaya or a Po Boy. The Jambalaya I thought was seasoned well, but my portion had two small chunks of chicken and one small chunk of sausage, and it was not Andoullie. It was also very dry. I basically paid $12.00 for a plate of dry tomatoey rice. One in our party had a Po Boy, which was pulled pork on a Hoagie roll, and is also on their regular menu, but is called a pulled pork Hoagie. The food is done by Hogg Heaven BBQ, which is a new addition to HHHB. Someone should probably actually go to Louisiana to understand what it is or what it should be. It's like if I were to brew a golden strong ale without ever having drank a Duvel, how would I know?

After dinner, and the one beer, our party immediately left with ringing ears and a bit let down. We ended up stopping at Whistran Brewing, also in Prosser, for a 7 sample flight, but that is another post.

 I will definitely go back to HHHB soon and have some BBQ while enjoying a Delta Pale Ale. The food is a nice addition to a great brewery, and I'm sure the BBQ is good. I do not think I will go back for another theme night.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Fröhlich Bock and unruly lager yeast

Fröhlich Bock - translates to Happy Billy Goat...

This is a style I happen to really like. There is plenty of flavour and complex Maltiness (not a real word). My absolute favourite are the smoked versions, RauchBier (commercial examples can be purchased locally at the West Richland Beer and Wine Store). I have added smoked malt to this one, but only to add a little character.  12oz of smoked malt in a large beer such as this one is not enough to pick it out. This beer is probably one of my absolute favourites.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Sour is the new bitter!

It's late afternoon in the middle of January, and it is raining. Business as usual for the residents of Vancouver Washington. I'm headed south on I5 to Portland Oregon. I am on my way home, to the east about three and a half hours near the arid Yakima valley, Hop country. Strangely enough, hop country doesn't have much in the way of beer. A person would think a big German style lodge in the middle of hop fields where one could get wiener schnitzel and a saaz'd up Pilsener or perhaps a drunken polka party, but that in no way shape or form exists in America's largest Hop growing region.

The sun is beginning to set and I have to be at work tomorrow 7:00am. I really need to get home. This has been a 'family duty' trip to Vancouver, up and back in one day. There is an exit just over the Columbia river bridge into Portland that takes me East to follow the Columbia River, and into the Eastern Washington and Oregon desert, Or I stay on I5 and follow my keen sense of irresponsibility into Portland. It really pulls on the heart strings of a beer geek to simply 'pass through' Portland knowing the plethora of beer related innovation to be had.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Mohawks make Beer

27 years ago, at the age of 15, I discovered something that dramatically changed my life, Punk Rock. The musical genre was 10 years old at the time. I had missed out on The Clash and Sex Pistols; although, their legacy lived on just as it does today. It was much more than the music. It was a fraternity of sorts, and, because of it, I still have life long friends, and even my wife. What we did, looked like, and listened to back then was not popular and absolutely not accepted as anything legitimate. It was pre-internet, pre-cell phone, and an extremely isolated existence when compared to today's standards.

Being a Punk kid in small town American in the 1980's was self defeating at best. There was little to do outside of the self-made local punk bands and self-made punk shows at grange halls and any place that would allow 50 - 100 kids all dressed like bums running around in circles hitting each other. (it's how I imagine the uninitiated would have interpreted it) The local shows would only happen once a month at best.

When there was no show happening the evening activity usually involved a desolate wooded area and cheap Lucky Lager, while during the day we found ourselves at the local mall. The mall offered all sorts of people of all ages and every walk of life, but we could pick out our friends from great distances through the mass of shoppers. The taller the mohawk, the further away they could be identified. Even if we had never met them before, we knew they were one of us and a friend. The funny haircut and clothes were like a secret handshake or a special ring. Upon meeting up with friends we would proceed to have a peaceful sit-in in the middle of the mall floor. Shoppers would have to walk around us and scowl as they walked by, security would come and shoo us away time and again. The sit-ins always made me uncomfortable and, to this day, I have no idea why it was necessary.

Decades pass I find myself no longer playing in a band, and despising the very thought of walking into a mall.  I have found solace in my family, friends, and home brewing. Home Brewing has the camaraderie element via other members of the local home brew club, and I have found sharing my home brewed beer with friends or winning awards at homebrew competitions offers the gratification and recognition of performing music in front of a live audience. The made from scratch and anything goes nature of home brewing is very much like what I remember of the punk rock scene. The people involved are obsessive, focused, love to share ideas, and typically are very warm and inviting to newcomers. With the exception of the average home brew store clerk who is just as arrogant and snide as the typical independent record store clerk. Not sure why a minimum wage job at a retail store would give anyone an heir of superiority.

Today I was browsing my friends on Facebook and I realized something. There are 50 or more friends whom I have never met or talked to before. Their profile photos do not sport fan mohawks or Billy Idolesque sneers. Instead their profile photos have a pint of home brewed stout in their hand or hops harvested from their backyards. They write interesting posts and money saving tips all related to beer and brewing. I have realized Facebook is the Mall, and home brewing is just like Punk Rock, but with fewer piercings and much better beer.