Monthly Archive for February, 2008

A sad prediction for 08

I’ve got plenty of beer on tap, but tonight I felt like something hoppy. I went next door to the store and picked up the bargain IPAs. I’m not sure if this is happening everywhere, but at my grocer, prices on beer have already jumped to “hop crisis” costs. I’m not certain if these are prices determined by the brewer, distributor or the grocer, but they seem to have jumped the gun. So my prediction is this:

Thousands of bottles of beer will age to the point of spoiling because the price has been raised beyond what consumers are willing to pay.

This is a loss/loss. I love beer and the craft of brewing, but if I’m going to pay the equivalent of $10 a six pack for something I’d paid $6-$7 just 2 months ago, I’d rather spend it on draft beer. Or homebrewing ingredients. I think this coming year my dollars spent on commercially produced beer are going to go to my local brewers only. Sorry Belgium. Sorry California. Sorry Colorado.

The reason I came to this prediction is that I just spent $8 on two 22oz beers, each of which is clearly past their prime. This is not going to be a happy year for brewers. But the waste? No one wins in that situation. If I didn’t know how good Elysian’s Immortal IPA was, I’d think their product stunk. I suppose the grocer has some interest in preventing aged bottles from shipping, but the pain isn’t necessarily theirs so much as it is for the brewer. This is kind of like triple jeopardy year for brewers. So many years of wonderful grown and birth of new brewers, and now this. Maybe the “Craft Brewing Alliance” cum merger between Redhook and Widmer is just a sign of things to come.

So pour one out for your local brewers, especially if it tastes like mothballs and grass clippings. We’ve got a long year ahead of us.

Smokey and Oaky

I’ve tapped the keg of Red Oak, and though it hasn’t yet carbonated, it’s a rather intestesting beer. First of all, it really kept the bourbon flavor, probably owing to the accidental introduction of bourbon that the oak chips were soaking in. Second, I used too many smoked chips, i think, for a milder beer like an amber. Third, despite the first two, it’s not bad. I think I may try it again using un-toasted chips in the future, but its not bad.

#1 Gas Tank

The homebrew shop I used to live by wouldn’t refill gas tanks, they’d swap empty tanks for full tanks. This worked OK, but they charged way too much for the service. Each time I went, the cost seems like it had gone up. I started the process with a brand new aluminum tank (5#) that I got with my kegging setup. The last time I swapped tanks, it cost something like $20 and I got a POS steel tank that everyone else makes fun of. Sure, it’s old, ugly and heavy, but it also has “Blitz Weinhard #1” etched in to it, and while it’s probably just a fluke, I like to believe that it had done a stint in the now defunct brewery.

Blitz Weinhard C02 tank

Anyway, it needs refilled, and I’ve been lugging it around a lot, so I’m going to try and swap it once more, hopefully getting an aluminum tank instead. What it may lack in imagined history, it’ll make up for in “not ghetto-ness.” Besides, I imagine its time for it to be serviced, and if I’m paying $20 to have it swapped, I’d better be paying for some safety.

This tank has pushed beer for 2 weddings, at least 2 birthdays, and many batches of beer. Once I stopped using the crank-and-shake method of carbonating, I stopped needing as many refills. We’ll see if the swap happens.