Saturday, February 23, 2008

Tap List 2/23/08

Black Wolf Schwarz bier (4.8% 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.

Bitter Harvest APA
(5.7 % a.b.v.)
A crisp and bitter American Pale Ale that has all of the hops you love but less of the alcoholic strength of our Big IPAs. This of this as an IPA Junior. Full of Summit, Amarillo, and Centennial hops.

Sheol (8.5% a.b.v.)
Sheol is a deep mahogany colored Barleywine. Sheol is the Hebrew word denoting the "abode of the dead"; the "underworld", "grave" or "pit".

current barrel aged beer

On Now:
11 ,De Zuidentrein,

Still coming: 10

Current Guest Tap: Gumballhead, Racer 5

On The Road Again

The call of the open road. Like a band of gypsies we go down the highway. I'm not sure if that's the same or similar to call of beer but Matt and I found ourselves waking at 5 am this past Wednesday to journey on down to St. Louis to see our good friends at Schlafly and figure out a few more pieces of this bottling puzzle.



We arrived right on time to assist a little with setup. On the left there is the Intern, Nick, and Brennan is on the right setting up the machine. Brennan and Stephen are the brewstaff at the Taproom. Brennan does most of the brewing and Stephen is in charge of all things beer. Stephen is also an advocate of utilikilts. (See the commercial: Round2 4th Place: Kegerator)

Once the machine was up and running we started asking every question we could think of.




Kudos to Brennan and Stephen for answering them all to their best ability. Once we got into a rhythm, Stephen let us tag in and run the thing ourselves.







Amazingly enough, we didn't break anything, and by the end of our time bottling, not only did we feel like old pros, but we could troubleshoot the bottler by ourselves. Very Impressive, I know. So after eating lunch and having a few beers we took off to the hotel and tried to contain ourselves. Why you ask? Because the real reason we went to St. Louis was our next stop:



For those of you that follow along on a even semi-regular basis, you should know that BBQ is one of my most serious passions. We stumbled upon this place last time we were in St. Louis for Schlafly's Repeal of Prohibition fest.





There were a dozen cardinals fans to my left that were splitting up a season ticket package. The girl at the counter didn't know that Schlafly was made in St. Louis. Blerg.



Literally two miles away from the source of the beer and she didn't know where it was from.

Anyway the Burnt Ends platter and Rib Tips were very good. I could only eat half of my food I had so much in front of me. Needless to say I took it home.

And because last time we went there we were too full of beer to truly enjoy the place, we checked out Square One in Lafeyette Square. They have an amazing bar.







That is a window down to their cellar, which I thought was very cool. I don't think I would really want people watching me every time I had work to do in the basement, but it was still cool to look at.



I still want to get back to this place in the Summer, because they have a beer garden that looks like it would be a blast to hang out in during warmer weather. That's the moon in partial eclipse if you look really close.

So that was more than enough for one day. Matt and I were both beat. Plus we had to drive up to O'Fallon the next day to check out their bottle rinser set up. When we got back to the hotel the weather report was pretty shitty. Ice, sleet, snow, rain, wind, and more ice.

It made for a really brutal drive around the St. Louis metro area. I'm pretty sure we could have made it to O'Fallon in about 20 minutes but it took us at least an hour to cross town and get up there.





The good news is that even though it took a long time to get up there, their homemade bottle rinser set up looks like it will work very well for us, so it was a worthwhile trip.



Then, since Matt has never been on the AB tour before, we swung by the home of "The Great American Lager" or whatever nonsense they are calling it these days and guess what? NO TOURS DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER. Jerks. Oh well. We took long enough to get home with the awful road conditions that it was probably better that we didn't stay another hour or hour and a half in St. Louis anyway.

I hope this blog post is long enough to tide you over for a while, because we still have a lot to do before bottling starts. I'm writing this on a Saturday. Hopefully by next week we can start tinkering with the machine and seeing if we can't get some beer in a bottle for testing purposes.

On the homefront, Gumballhead is almost out, and Racer 5 from Bear Republic will be up next. 11 is the current barrel aged beer pouring.

When I get a chance I'll put up some ancient beer history that I learned about at the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago last week.

----------------
Now playing: Willie Nelson - On The Road Again
via FoxyTunes

Monday, February 18, 2008

We're Nominated!




We have been nominated as best Chicagoland brewery by Timeout Chicago. Click on the image above to voice your choice for Flossmoor!

Now go vote for us!

Unfulfilled promises

Happy Monday to our beer faithful. I thought I would sit down and catch you up on a few things this morning and make up some excuses for some of you. A long while back we promised to do a better job of keeping you up to date on new beers, new events and other brewhouse plans. Sorry we dropped the ball a bit. A little while back I said we were going to post more regularly for all of you who hate to check the blog just to see a two week old post still lingering. I could say we're too busy and not be far off, and I could say there is no news, but would probably be farther off. So, let's just say, we dropped the ball again. Nevertheless, I vow to do better and it starts today. Here goes:

Flossmoor Beer in Bottles:
Andrew has done a great job providing the links to our new labels and added the first pic of our filler, but let me tell you what else needs to be done before you see our beer in bottles.
What's done:
Filler is in house
Three labels are approved by TTB
UPC codes have been purchased
Bottle guy is ready to print
Distributor is almost all ready and lined up.
Customers are thirsty

Yet to be done:
Go to Schlafly in St. Louis to figure out exactly how this filler works
Go to OFallon in St. Louis to peek at their homemade bottle rinser
Go to Smokin' Al's in St. Louis cuz it is awesome bbq
Buy table to set it on
Buy air compressor to run the air acctuated components
Get CO2 hooked up to unit
Cut a hole in the foundation of basement
Haul grundy/bright tank from three floyds (comes complete with Three year old Dark Lord Sludge inside!!!! ebay here I come :) )
Get bottles from printer
Get crowns for bottles
Buy some extra fittings and hoses for filler
Start bottling and figure out what in the heck we did wrong in setting this unit up.

I tell you all that in the hopes that you realize we have a good bit of work to do before we can fill bottles, BUT the hardest work is done. We promise to get this going as soon as possible. You are sure to see the announcement right back here.

As a quick aside, many wonder how far away from the brewery they will find our beer. The answer is 1) we don't know and 2) not very far. The city is our first priority. Then, north, west, and south suburbs (remember if you live close to us we'd love to sell you the bottles at our pub where you can pick up a growler of our other 9 beers on tap). One of the main goals for this bottling project is marketing. For every new customer we bring into our pub for dinner, is another success for the project. Also, realize this is a REAL small operation. We'll make as much as we can and as much as we can sell, but remember we have a brewpub to run first. As far as downstate is concerned, we have had distributors interested, and we are too, but we have to see how we can supply our immediate area first. We are in a good position because we don't have (and don't want) to send pallets to Ohio, Virginia, overseas, etc. to just get by. (no offense to those states listed-just examples). I think we'll have plenty of sales at the pub and in our close market.

Beer updates:
Andrew updated our CURRENT draft list a few days ago, but here is what's coming.
Killer Kowalski Baltic Porter is lagering away for a March release.
XIPA is being brewed tomorrow also for a March release.
Milky Way Stout is finishing up. We will have this on along with Iron Horse Stout on Paddy's weekend, but full time pour will have to wait a bit for a handle to open up.
As winter turns into spring, we have to wait and see how the increased production of StationMaster, Pullman and IPA affect our brew schedule. We will commit to brewing IPAs and more hoppy beers as much as we can. We know the demand is there for it.

Minorchange in FS draft beer linup!
Miller Lite is gone on draft (YEAH!-but still in bottles). Now we have a line for guest beers. WE tapped into Three Foyd's GumballHead on Friday and have a keg of Bear Republic's Racer 5 coming this wekk. Look for the possibility of big and rare beers filling this tap.

Events:
We have revived the idea of regular brewmasters dinners with the addition of our new chef Eduardo. We are in the planning stages for late April BM dinner.

The Mug club had two breakfast tappings last year and were received very well. We may get the planning going for that again, but also might open it up to the public and see if we can fill the restaurant with eggs and beer!

We'll be serving the traditional corned beef and cabbage the weekend b4 St. Patty's Day (it's on a Monday this year). Come join us for a great meal and a pint of stout or two.

We'll be pouring two or three beers at Chicago Beer Society's Night of the Living Ales MArch 1

We'll be pouring 2 or 3 stouts at the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild StoutFest MArch 17.

We're entering Eight Beers in the Brewers Association World Beer Cup. Flossmoor Station has wone 5 WBC awards, with andrew and I garnering two so far (only one year entered so far).
The Beers are:
Panama Red
Pullman Brown
Milky Way Stout
Killer Kowalski
Black Wolf
Hoppy Little O
De Wilde Zuidentrein
Sarge

Wish us luck!

Until next time-cheers!
Matt

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Our Little Surprise



I was across the street yesterday, storing some things in the basement to make room for the filler. Canada said it should be here on Friday. When I came back there was a freight truck in front of the restaurant. That only means one thing typically. A real heavy wooden crate with my year's salary inside. The bill of lading said it was only 40 lbs, but even if it was 40 kg they were way off. Luckily we had enough hands to get it into the basement. I think people should be required to wrap Christmas presents in nailed closed wooden crates. It would make Christmas was more exciting. Matt and I have been pouring over the manual. Hopefully we can have it up and running before too long. Next week we are slated to check out Schlafly, who run the same filler. Exciting!

Tap List 2/14/08

Black Wolf Schwarz bier (4.8% 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.

Bitter Harvest APA
(5.7 % a.b.v.)
A crisp and bitter American Pale Ale that has all of the hops you love but less of the alcoholic strength of our Big IPAs. This of this as an IPA Junior. Full of Summit, Amarillo, and Centennial hops.

Sheol (8.5% a.b.v.)
Sheol is a deep mahogany colored Barleywine. Sheol is the Hebrew word denoting the "abode of the dead"; the "underworld", "grave" or "pit".

current barrel aged beer

On Now:
De Zuidentrein, Wooden Lubricator

Still coming: 10, and 11!

Monday, February 11, 2008

It begins....



Hit play.

Wait a few seconds.

Click on this link.

Click on this one too.

And this one too. Woo Hoo!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Pete Brown's blog

Ever seen Pete Brown's blog? You should. Have you ever wanted to take a beer road trip? I'll bet you have. Have you ever wanted to grab and IPA and sail it from the UK over to India? He did. Cool! Read about the entire trip, rather than the one post I linked. It's fascinating.

He also had some great thoughts just a few weeks back called "We're all only here for beer". This is the type of writing that I read and say, Yeah! that's what I want to tell people. that guys got it. I just can't say it that way. I guess when my body gives out from brewing, I'll need to do some practicing if I ever want to go down the writing path (why did he go down that path? I've considered it, that's why. Before you laugh, realize they laughed when my profession changed from teacher to brewer. You can do whatever you want people-another post another time!)

Pete offers some insight on the broad topic of taking beer too seriously and moreover the importance of beer in our culture. The post deserves reading, but I like when he said,

Why does beer exert such a powerful hold?

That's the key question. I suspect my answer may be a little different than it is for many beer bloggers, but I hope anyone who cares about beer will at least respect it, even if they don't entirely agree. I'm defensive about it, because it automatically brings up the subject of beer snobbery again.

The people we/I call beer snobs love the amazing variety and intensity of flavour and character they get from lovingly-brewed craft beers. They believe small brewers who are doing what they love make the best of these beers. And they belive that these small brewers, lacking the marketing muscle of the macros, need all the support they can get to make their voices heard. I agree strongly on every point. But for me, the beer world is bigger than this. Beer is more important.

and

The history of beer is the history of ordinary people. Beer brings history alive and makes you realise what it would have been like to be a seventeenth century diarist or thirteenth century pregnant woman, the strong birthing ale on standby for when labour began.


Beer remains the most popular drink in the world. While customs and habits vary, the underlying truth of beer is constant - getting together to relax with friends, in a safe environment, kicking back and being your true self.

and

Beer is a broad church, and I've realised that's what I love most about it.



As they say, Spot on!
Cheers!

Friday, February 01, 2008

The Session #12 Barleywines



This session being sponsored/hosted/thunk up by The Brewsite.

Well, it's been a while since we participated in the Session. Updates on the blog as a whole are a little down too. Sometimes those kinds of things happen because nothing is going on out of the ordinary and there isn't much to talk about. Other times, like the last few weeks, it's because there is a ton of stuff going on and there isn't time to sit in front of the computer and knock it all out. (The few brewers who happen to read this I'm sure are feeling little sympathy. ("The 643 bbl brewpub with two brewers....boohoo right?)) Prep for the bottling project is taking up a lot of our time right now, which is the reason that I'm here full time now and not commuting all over the greater Chicago-land area to clean things. We are trying to work in a trip to St. Louis to Schlafly to see how their bottler works, because we just happen to be getting the same one. In order for the two brewhouse members to take off across state for a day and a half to two days, you need to get your ducks in a row in-house before you walk away.

So what does any of this have to do with Barleywines? Glad you asked, because just this past Tuesday, we were invited over to Three Floyds to participate in their Barleywine and Strong Ale tasting. We brought our Englishy style Sheol to pour and hung out while Barnaby walked the crowd through the list.




It was a particularly nasty night whether wise, with cold winds and sideways snow. A perfect night really for trying a bunch of strong warming beers. There were some very good ones on the list. To the best of my recollection there was Anchor's Old Foghorn, Sierra Nevada's Bigfoot, FFF's Behemoth from last year,FFF's Behemoth from this year, FFF's barrel aged Behemoth with cherries, The FFF/Mikkeller Hvedegoop wheatwine, Mikkeller's Big Worse, Our Sheol, and Bell's Third Coast Old Ale.




And if those beers weren't enough for you the kitchen had plates of outstanding cheeses, grilled bread, radishes and green onions, and locally made sausages that were made with Robert the Bruce. The cheese that really knocked my socks off was the Maytag blue from Maytag Dairy Farms. I had a hard time not eating it by the handfulls. It was salty, incredibly creamy, and paired perfectly with the barleywines we were drinking. Really killer cheese.

I also thought that I would point out that with us brewing Sheol we have filled two Woodford Reserve bourbon barrels to make Wooden Hell again. Wooden Hell is the #16 best barleywine in the world according to Ratebeer.com Take that for what it's worth.

Tap List 2/1/08

Bitter Harvest APA (5.7 % a.b.v.)
A crisp and bitter American Pale Ale that has all of the hops you love but less of the alcoholic strength of our Big IPAs. This of this as an IPA Junior. Full of Summit, Amarillo, and Centennial hops.

Sheol (8.5% a.b.v.)
Sheol is a deep mahogany colored Barleywine. Sheol is the Hebrew word denoting the "abode of the dead"; the "underworld", "grave" or "pit".

current barrel aged beer

On Now:
De Zuidentrein, Wooden Lubricator

Still coming: 10, and 11!