You know the feeling you get? That uneasy feeling? When you realize that your Homebrewing kegs are getting low? Well tonight it hit me. I opened the kegerator to adjust the serving pressure on my CO2 tank. I had to move a keg of Oktoberfest out of the way to reach the tank and realized how light the weight was. Uh oh…
Fitting end to October nonetheless. Is it “to style” to drink Oktoberfest in November? Anyway, I decided to pick up the IPA keg as well, just to test it out. Same story. Running low. Thankfully I’ve invested in enough equipment to have a homebrew pipeline! It is the bare minimum that you can call a pipeline. I own two 6.5 gallon primary and two 5 gallon secondary fermenters but have decided to avoid secondary fermentation to save some time and effort (and sanitizing). I have two fermenters in the chamber, nearly ready to load into the kegs! One American White and one Double IPA. On my last batch of homebrew I decided that I would hold a brewing session on the night that I tapped the new kegs and foresight has proven worthy.
Running low on tap means that racking to kegs is right around the corner. Get the dry hops ready! What are we brewing next? Have to keep the pipeline full. Have to avoid that familiar uneasy feeling. Keep your pipelines full, my friends.
Las Vegas, NV may be the adult entertainment capital of the world but it is certainly not the capital of Craft Beer. I just spent five solid days in Sin City on a business trip and surprisingly was unable to find a Craft Beer haven among the decadent and lavish resort world of amenities. From the Venetian and Palazzo to Caesars and Fremont Street big beer is king.
I had exchanged pleasantries with several bartenders and cocktail waitresses through the week. “May I get you a drink.” “Sure, do you have any IPA’s?” “What’s an IPA?” “You know, a Pale Ale. A Craft Beer.” “Oh yeah! We have Shock Top and Blue Moon!”
One evening I asked a Bartender for a Craft Beer. He asked me what kind. I tamed it down and asked if he had a Pale Ales. He responded, “No, all we have is Sierra Nevada.” Ugh!!!
Although I was eventually able to stumble upon a Sin City Brewing kiosk is a casino mall (pretty cool to get a plastic cup of Oktoberfest in a food court) and a Lagunitas IPA at a sports bar, Vegas is obviously dominated by high-profit watered down consumer beer products. Craft Beer as we know is a substantial cost difference as opposed to Bud Miller and Coors when purchasing in a retail environment. If I was giving away free beer to gamblers, I would also pick the least offensive cost product as well. But when the casinos are serving top dollar name brand liquor such as Johnny Walker, Cabo Wabo, and Glenfiddich why can’t they splurge and provide a little Craft Brew for the people who enjoy it on the poker tables?
So I wake up this morning and head out on a gorgeous North Carolina Autumn afternoon and what do I see? A nail. In my tire! Low pressure warning on my car’s dashboard. Great! It’s Saturday afternoon in a small town outside of Charlotte. Both local tire/auto service shops are closed. But guess what. I am a AAA member and there is a shop not too far from me. First come, first served on Saturdays. They can’t fit me in. I guess being a member doesn’t have its benefits. Firestone, same story, but they can fit me in! Two-hour wait. But there is another problem…
Firestone employees gave me the bad news. The nail is outside of the “Thumb Rule”. Damage to side walls more than a thumb’s width from the tread can not be repaired. New tire required. Firestone doesn’t carry my brand. Ugh. Off to Tire Kingdom. Again, confirmed, can not be repaired. New tire. And, for a follow-up performance, cars with All-Wheel-Drive must replace ALL FOUR TIRES if you have less than 50% of your original tire tread left on the old set or you risk damage to your transmission system. I have 4mm left of 10mm original. Consult Internet. Confirmed. Luckily for me, Tire Kingdom was running a buy two get two promotion this weekend but at any rate the expected $30 tire plug wound up costing me 25 times that and four hours of my life that I’ll never get back.
You may be wondering why you are reading this on a beer blog. Well, I am so glad you asked. Here I sit, after a long and stressful day, drinking one of my homemade, handcrafted Dirty Goat Oktoberfest beers. You know the kind that we brew at home for a fraction of the cost of buying Craft Beer in the store. No, I’m not going to become a self-made millionaire making my own beer but the cost savings in Home Brewing is substantial over time. There are those that say the cost of the brewing equipment counters any savings that you reap in brewing. Well I have never seen anyone count the cost of their stove, oven, pots and pans when cooking their $1 box of Mac and Cheese!
Speaking of flat tires, that brings me to Fat Tire. New Belgium Brewery’s Fat Tire is a staple in the Craft Beer industry. It has been the catalyst to swing many to the dark (beer) side. Unfortunately, I don’t share the same affection for this brew. I’ve had it twice and sent it back both times. The first time I thought it was skunked. The second time just confirmed that I don’t like it. I lovingly refer to Fat Tire as Flat Tire. No offense to the people at New Belgium. Their Ranger IPA is great and I have a world of respect for a company that can mass produce a Craft Beer that has the power to bring people on board with the anti-big-brew revolution.
So go crack open your own home brew, Fat Tire, or libation of choice and let the worries of the day slip behind you.
October First. What a great time to start blogging about beer. Oktoberfest is in full swing and I’ll be heading out to a local German restaurant to partake in the festivities. Marzen, pretzels, and brats!
Marzen is the unofficial beer of Oktoberfest and after doing a little reading I found that back in the day, Bavarians were not allowed to brew beer between April and September due to fire hazards of the warm, dry, Summer months. The beer was brewed in March, or Marzen in German, and stored underground until Oktoberfest. So, off I go to celebrate tapping the casks and to a new season of brewing.