Thursday, August 30, 2007

Yes, my name is Michael Jackson, but I don't drink cola, I drink beer


(Ray Daniels (r) on stage with Michael Jackson (l) and a representative from Rogue (m) at GABF in 2005 )

If you haven't read yet, Michael Jackson, "The Beer Hunter," has passed away. Nothing that I can write here will be as eloquent as what others have already said today, so I will give you lots of links to catch up. I will however share my beer hunter story.

Lew Bryson wrote a really nice piece.

Here is Michael's last article at All About Beer magazine's site.

Tomme Arthur also writes. He says this which also stuck me as I was reading MJ's last article, "As I was reading, I was struck by his voice in my head narrating that story. It was his very distinguished British voice that sticks with me." The only other person that this happens with for me is Garrison Keillor.

I have seen the Beer Hunter videos countless times. My dad started homebrewing when I was about two years old and we watched those VHS's a lot. I always hoped there would be more, updated just like his quintessential beer guides. There is word that his final manuscript just went to the publisher a week ago. The Beer Lexicon looks like it might be Michael's final written contribution to the beer world, but his lifetime of contributions will be felt for generations.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Knowledge Dump

Here is some catch up.

Schwarz is on. I think it's tasting good, we'll see what the judges have to say about it in Denver.

Our batch 500 beer is busily fermenting away. -More details will follow when we feel that you can handle it.

Today we made the beer for my wedding. It's going to be a Belgiany style wit with corriander and blood orange. Here is a picture of me adding some of the corriander to the kettle. The wedding is on the 6th of October, so look for Meg's Bride-ale shortly after that.



Still in the pipes is Oktoberfest, which is lagering in our cellar. Expect that out mid Septemberish along with some kind of Oktoberfest party to happen at Flossmoor. Matt's lederhosen are being tailored as we speak.



Flossmoor Fest is coming September 8th, and we will be pouring beers outside.


And most importantly (aside from the wedding) is that I just found out that I will be attending the Siebel Institute of Technology Concise Course in Brewing Technology this fall. I have no formal brewing education apart from reading a lot of books so this will be a rewarding experience that can only make me a better brewer.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Tap List 8/28/07

Black Wolf Schwarz bier (5.0% a.b.v.)
The best schwarz bier in the U.S. according to the 2006 Great American Beer Festival. Lager body and finish with a touch of roasty aroma and body. A distinct but not overpowering black beer that just may change your idea about what a "dark beer" is.

Rot Geist
(6% a.b.v.)
We set out to create a deliciously hoppy American wheat beer that wasn't as burly as our normal I.P.A.s but still satiated the hophead inside of us. What came out was Rot Geist (Red Ghost) American Red Wheat. It's a reddish hued American Wheat made with Summit, Centennial, and Amarillo hops with an additional dry hopping of 1lb/bbl Amarillo for aroma.

Black Moon Rye-sin
(5.5% abv)
An American Stout with the addition of Rye. Roasty and chocolaty aroma with a slightly hoppy background. It's a full bodied stout that has coffee and roast flavors in all the right places with a lingering bitter finish from the hops.

ZikadeWeiss
(4.5% abv)
No Cicadas were harmed in the making of this beer, but we did have to fight them off while brewing this. Crisp, light, citrusy, and very refreshing. Except for pulling cicadas out of your lady's hair, nothing says summer like a Hefeweizen.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Rise from your Grave



From the dusty ashes of a crappy antique store comes one of the best places in all of Illinois to buy craft beer. And only craft beer. No wine, no liquor, just really good beer. And maybe cheese.

I've invited Tom to start posting on the blog but the man is busy with t-squares, levels, and a head full of ideas. For now let me give you a little pictorial idea of what we have been up to.








This coming week should see some new walls being built. We'll keep you updated.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Social Lubricator

We are pouring one keg of Social Lubricator Doppelbock that we held back. Get it while it lasts!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Inagural Festiv-Ale: Benefiting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation




Greater Illinois Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation





Thursday, September 6th from 7-10 pm


VIP reception from 6-7 pm


STATE Restaurant & Cafe- 935 W. Webster (Webster & Bissell)



Tickets are $40 prior to the event ($50 at the door),
VIP tickets are $65 per person


(for tickets call: (312) 236-4491)



All guests get heavy appetizers throughout the evening and beer samples from all vendors. Guests must be 21 and older and attire is business casual.



Auction Items:
Autographed Walter Payton Football in Glass Case with Certificate of Authenticity


Signed Framed Victoria Fuller "Back Bunny" painting


Jeremy Roenick Autographed Jersey and Stick


Richard Dent MVP Bears CapPoker Table Top and Dealer Set




We will be there pouring ZikadeweiƟ hefeweizen and Black Moon Rye-Sin stout
Also appearing will be Walter Payton's Roundhouse, Flatlanders, and Goose Island.
For more details follow the link.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Special Visitors

This past Sunday, on their way back to Warren, Michigan we had Eric and Brett Kuhnhenn, Erin Goryl, (all from Kuhnhenn Brewery) and Dan Rogers from Big Rock Chop House stop by.


(From Left to Right: Dan, Bret, Eric, and Erin)

I thought that driving back to Flossmoor from Madison after a liver punishing weekend was a pain, I can only imagine what making your way all the way back to north of Detroit is like. But they said that after Flossmoor they made a stop at Dark Horse for dinner. That would make things a bit nicer.


And since there are almost never any photos of me on this thing, here is the picture that Erin took of us.



Don't I look excited! In my defense, it was Sunday after Madison and the surprise visit was a respite from cleaning up from the fest. We are always happy when other brewers come by.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Great Taste 07 recap

Damn, it was hot and humid. Easily the hottest year in recent memory. Anyway, here's what we did over the weekend.

Friday Night

Started at Capitol for a dinner by the Museum of Beer and Brewing honoring Charlie Papazian with the Karl Strauss Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Beer & Brewing Industry. If you don't know who Charlie Papazian is, just do a simple google search. He's been talked about a lot because he's done a lot.




Unfortunately however, Capitol double booked the room we were supposed to eat in and instead we ate in their warehouse. It had to be at least 97 degrees in their which made dinner a bit less pleasant. But the beer was cold and we did our best to stay cool. After dinner we got to look around the brewery, which I had never seen.


(The biggest Hoff-Stevens Keg ever!)


(Kirby, Capitol's Brewmaster)




(Matt Drinking Autumnal Fire off the Lagering tank)

We headed over to the new Great Dane in Hilldale after that and saw a lot of familiar faces. By that time I had drank plenty and I didn't bring my camera. Matt pried us away from the new Dane and we went to Maduro, a cigar bar near the capitol that was serving all Bell's beers. But I don't think I even finished half a beer. By that point I was done in.

Saturday







We poured through a lot of beer and everyone seemed to have nice things to say. Highlights for me were from The Livery in Benton Harbor, who not only had great beers but are great people. And also New Albanian in New Albany, Indiana. They had a rauch-schwarz beer that was aged in a port barrel and I bought my new favorite t-shirt from them. I'll try to get a picture of it up on here soon.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

What are we taking to Madison?


get excited!


Barrel Aged Killer Kowalski
Barrel Aged Man Skirt Wee Heavy
Rot Geist American Red Wheat Beer
11
Ella's Reserve!
X-IPA
Killer Kowalski
Wooden Hell
Hoppy Little Gnome

See you in Wisconsin


Tap List 8/7/07

Rot Geist (6% a.b.v.)
We set out to create a deliciously hoppy American wheat beer that wasn't as burly as our normal I.P.A.s but still satiated the hophead inside of us. What came out was Rot Geist (Red Ghost) American Red Wheat. It's a reddish hued American Wheat made with Summit, Centennial, and Amarillo hops with an additional dry hopping of 1lb/bbl Amarillo for aroma.

X-IPA
(7.5% abv)
Our doubly delicious double I.P.A. made with 100% Amarillo hops. Dry hopped at a generous pound/bbl, X-IPA is a citrus bomb that will send you to grapefruit heaven.


Black Moon Rye-sin
(5.5% abv)
An American Stout with the addition of Rye. Roasty and chocolaty aroma with a slightly hoppy background. It's a full bodied stout that has coffee and roast flavors in all the right places with a lingering bitter finish from the hops.

ZikadeWeiss
(4.5% abv)
No Cicadas were harmed in the making of this beer, but we did have to fight them off while brewing this. Crisp, light, citrusy, and very refreshing. Except for pulling cicadas out of your lady's hair, nothing says summer like a Hefeweizen.

Replicale Red (5.5% abv)
This year's Illinois Craft Brewer's Guild replicale project, where all participating breweries make the same beer, using the same recipe, same ingredients, and all end up tasting different. This year's beer is a west coast amber ale that is hoppy and crisp but well balanced against caramel malts to create a very quaffable reddish pale ale.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Batch 500!

What is Batch 500 going to be?
Answer on the right in our new Poll.

If Batch 500 seems like a really low number to some of you remember that we aren't Bells who probably brews 24 hours a day 7 days a week. I think they just released batch 50 million by the way. Consider that Flossmoor Station has been around for 11 years this summer and typically makes 45-55 batches of beer per year. Some years are more and some are less but Batch 500 is coming and Matt and I are both excited about it.

Session #6 - Fruit Beers



Beer, Beats, and Bites were on deck this month for the Session.

I love fruit beers. Kind of. I love some fruit beers and I really loathe others. We have two "fruit" beers on year round, one of which I like and one of which I hate. If I had my druthers I probably wouldn't have either one on, but the public demands it! Some people really like the cough-syrup flavored beers that were all the rage in American brewpubs in past years.

The fruit beers that we make that I love are entirely different from the syrup added variety. Two of them are national and internationally award winning. De Zuidentrein Frambozenbier is a Belgian style brown ale that we age in a wine barrel that has fresh raspberries in it. It picks up some vinous character from the barrel and has lots of raspberry flavor and aroma. It isn't one of those syrupy sweet raspberry beers though. Let's look at some of the reviews from one of the popular beer rating websites:

2.8 / 5
Aroma 7/10
Appearance 3/5
Flavor 5/10
Palate 2/5
Overall 11/20

Tap @ GTMW. Clear ruby brown in color with a dusty, swirling grey head. Ripe strawberry and raspberry aroma with hints of scotch and a cedar component. Thin and watery on the palate, met with a bourbon with a splash or raspberry liqueur. Not very well balanced and pretty boring.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3 / 5
Aroma 8/10
Appearance 3/5
Flavor 5/10
Palate 2/5
Overall 12/20
sampled at barrel-aged brewfest. terrible. raspberry megasou aroma. red toffee color. some head. flavor profile is short with a clear, unfulfilling finish. SO thin. SO watered down. miserable. god, that was an unforgiving review.
This is the beer that in 2005 was awarded a bronze medal at the Great American Beer Festival.
BreweryBeerStateMedalsCategory
Anheuser-Busch, Inc.9th Street Market Tuscan OrangeMOSilver Fruit and Vegetable Beer
Flossmoor Station Brewing Co.De Zuidentrein FrambozenbierILBronze Fruit and Vegetable Beer
New Glarus Brewing Co.Belgian RedWIGold Fruit and Vegetable Beer

Does that mean that the reviews are wrong? I don't think so, because you can't really say that someone's opinion about a beer is "wrong." It's what they thought after they tried the beer and what they perceived. I'm not really sure where a Scotch component comes from out of a beer with fruit that has been in french oak, but people are all different and everyone finds something else. To me what it does say is that unless they had a sample that was terribly tainted or were drinking out of a dirty boot (let's assume that they weren't) that these two people probably don't get it. "It" being fruit beers. They were probably expecting something more along the lines of that '05 GABF perennial Gold medal winner, New Glarus Belgian Red.

Now what I really find interesting is that the very same beer secondarily fermented with two different strains of wild Belgian yeast, Brettanomyces bruxellensis and Brettanomyces lambicus, then blended to please our ultra sophisticated pallets, hand bottled, and aged, went on to win a Silver medal at the '06 World Beer Cup in the Belgian Style Sour Ale category. What was the Gold? Rodenbach Grad Cru, a beer that I think is incredible.

Category: 43 Belgian-Style Sour Ale -
22 Entries
Gold: Rodenbach Grand Cru, Palm Breweries Belgium Site Brewery Rodenbach, Roeselare, Belgium
Silver: De Wilde Zuidentrein, Flossmoor Station Restaurant & Brewery, Flossmoor, IL
Bronze: Festina Lente, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton, DE

And some other brewery won a bronze.


So what's the difference between the two? Well Loads! That yeast took the beer from the realm of dry tartness to mouth puckering but refreshing sourness. By the way the reviews for De Wilde Zuidentrein on that same beer review site are all very positive, which I attribute to the fact that the only people who have had a chance to drink it understand the painstaking work that went into the beer and the ludicrously small amounts that are available to consume. (And I'm sure that while they were drinking it we reminded them more than once that they were drinking the second best sour Belgian ale in the world. That might have tainted their opinions.)

In other fruit beer news, my wedding beer is going to be a light bodied Belgian style wit beer made with blood oranges. I have high hopes for it. Stay Tuned.