Breakpoint Brewery

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The Hop Report

Well, another Friday night. You know what that means – The Hop Report! But here’s some Requiem’s Rollercoaster with Citrus Ale Marinaded grilled chicken.

Tonight, I went with a little more major brewery beer – Sam Adams Latitude 48 IPA. I still consider this a craft beer and am thankful for Sam Koch’s efforts in revolutionizing the beer scene. While Sam Adams has a considerable lineup of good beers and Latitude 48 IPA is definitely a good beer, there’s just too many better beers. I’m glad I tried it, but I’ll probably pass it up next time around. It has the hop profile of an English IPA, which is perfectly good, but not my cup of tea. I prefer the insanity of an American IPA, such as my Mooney Stars IPA.

This beer is insane. It’s got all of that resin-y hop goodness that I love in an IPA. While it has a considerable amount of bitterness, probably from the FWH, it basically kicks you in the face with citrus-y aroma. I’m hoping the carbonation improves over the next few weeks and hop debris clears from the beer, but right now this beer is awesome! I think the Simpsons Golden Promise creates an ideal malt backbone for something this hop forward.

Well, onto The Hop Report – they are all doing quite well. I have noticed a bit bug infestation as the leaves are eaten up a little bit, but I’d prefer to avoid using chemicals on them so I’m just going to keep a close eye on them. They’re all growing, but it appears that the Zeus and Cascades are having a little trouble climbing the wooden posts. It’s possible that I left a few too many sprouts climb and now they are weighing each other down.

Here they are:

Zeus

Cascade

Centennials

Magnums

Pride of Ringwoods

I’m still trying to figure out if the Pride of Ringwoods are Cascades and the Cascades are Pride of Ringwoods. They appear to have fairly distinct leaves, so I need to do some Google searching to discern which is which.

Well, I hope to get my Wye Oak CD this weekend, but it appears that Monday may be the earliest possible delivery. Based on what I have already heard and the fact that I’m considering an American Brown Ale, I should still be able to fit in a brew day next weekend for this “Mashing with Merge” beer.


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Backroom Bitter

Well, I received my CDs last week. I really enjoy supporting a company that has free shipping. It’s clear they understand that their customer’s are just as passionate about their music as they are. As you can see, I was passionate enough about them to upload them to my brewing computer already. Also, one of the great things about this purchase is that the Superchunk CD came with two digital downloads from Merge – A live CD and demos from Here’s Where the Strings Come In.

While I am brewing a two beers this month, I’m not really going to review Here’s Where The Strings Come In as it’s been around for a while and I can’t really say that it is inspiring my second beer. Instead, I will use the excuse that I am brewing a big, huge American Barleywine in honor of the awesome, strong and long-enduring career of Superchunk (and not that I’m trying to clean out my brew closet of aging ingredients). If I’m so inclined I may even send them a bottle of it (if it’s worth that kind of distribution).

I am, though, utilizing the tunes of East River Pipe’s We Live In Rented Rooms to inspire the other beer that I am brewing this month. With that, I’ll write a little mini-review of this album that no one will read, but it will make me feel better and that’s what this blog is all about…me.

Anyway, enough with the self-pity, though, I will say that We Live In Rented Rooms has an underlying bitter tone to it (this is a bit of foreshadowing for the future beer recipe). The album begins with “Backroom Deals” a sad, yet catchy tune with it’s chorus describing how the world moves forward on underhanded agreements. “Tommy Made a Movie” is a rather eclectic tune reminiscent of an ’80s Duran Duran album and may be the low point of the album, but despite that I find the synthetic loop running in my head. To continue down the eclectic stream of We Live In Rented Rooms, “When You Were Doing Cocaine” has a Billy Joel-esque sound to it – probably the piano tunes and tuneful vocals. “Summer Boy” is a quiet tune, while “Flames Are Coming Back” is my clear favorite of the album with the swells of instrumentation and vivid vocal imagery.  All in all, another solid album from another Merge artist (do they have any bad ones?) and I’ll probably pick up The Gasoline Age (to remind myself of the days when gas was under a dollar).

Anyway, if you have not guessed from the foreshadowing earlier in the post, I’ll be making a bitter for this album. I think it’ll be more in the Best Bitter category as I can’t really bring myself to make something as small as a regular Bitter. As I’m not a huge fan of UK hops and don’t have many British grains on hand, I’m going to make a twist on this as an American Bitter. I’ll be using Centennial hops, some Caramel 60L and 120L, and American Ale yeast (California Ale V yeast – as it’ll be slightly more true to the English yeasts that are typically used in this style). I’m hoping that this beer will be nice and refreshing for those hot summer days.

In other news, Requiem’s Rollercoaster is on tap and should be reviewed in the next few days. It did drop a few more points to 1.014 which is pretty close to what I was expecting. Also, Mooney Stars IPA is ready for the keg, but I need to clean the keg for it


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Mooney Stars IPA

I received Butterglory Crumble a couple weeks ago and have not stopped listening to it since. I love the hooks and melody that they get with their simplistic set up of just a guitar and small drum set. They keep the songs short (not a single song runs longer than 3:30), but they are long enough to catch you singing along to the chorus. The album starts off right with the upbeat and pop-tastic “Waiting On The Guns.”  The Sonic Youth-esque “Summer’s Torn” displays the melodic abilities of Butterglory with the simple drums, Debby’s inaffectual voice and strumming guitar. The real star of this album, in my opinion, is “Jinxed” with it’s melodic guitar and rhythm that matches so well with the singing of Matt Suggs, but then moves into the noise of distortion. It really intertwines the pop hooks with the rock foundation of this album. I’m glad I got this album to complete my Butterglory library because it is my second favorite album of their’s behind Downed.

As I mentioned before, I had already thought about what the recipe would be for this “Mashing with Merge” brew. I decided that since Butterglory can make great music with a simple set up that I should be able to make a great beer with a simple set up. Based on this, I am doing a SMaSH (single malt, single hop) brew. I went with Simpsons Golden Promise malt as my single malt so that I will get some nice malty flavors and aroma. The single hop I chose are Citra because I love the strong citrus and resin-y hoppiness these produce. I said that I was going to put an interesting twist on this simple set and that twist is that I am going to hopburst this beer with 7 ounces of hops going into this brew but all at 15 minutes or later in the boil. The only ounce that is being added before this time is an ounce of first wort hops, but I’m not adding anything in the 60-20 minute time in the boil. This creates a “burst” of hop flavors and aroma with mild bitterness. Between the maltiness of the Golden Promise and the dank hoppiness of the Citra hops bursting through the flavor and aroma is making me really excited to brew this beer. As for the yeast, there really is nothing interesting as I’m just going to use White Labs 001 California Ale yeast. Just as the Pacific Ale yeast was a shout out to M. Ward’s Pacific NW roots, I’m going to claim that California Ale yeast is a shout out to Butterglory’s (well, Matt Suggs) California roots. It also helps that I was looking for a nice neutral yeast that would allow the malt and hops to shine in this beer.

I know I have not updated the progress of Requiem’s Rollercoaster, but it’s kegged – just waiting for a tap to open on the kegerator. It was 1.022 when I transferred it, but I’ve left it in the keg for a few weeks in the basement hoping that it will drop a few more points.

Well, I doubt my “Mooney Stars IPA” will garner as much attention as Requiem’s Rollercoaster did when I posted recipe, but I guess there’s not much post-apocalyptic demise in the “Mooney Stars IPA” name.


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The First Night

You gotta love “2 to 4 week free shipping”…..order the CD on Tuesday, get it on Saturday. Thank you, Merge Records!

Today, we had to run a few errands, so we listened to the CD in the car. I’m trying to update my grain mill because it was kind of jacked. I motorized the mill so that I could dump my grain in and take care of other stuff while it crushes the grain. Unfortunately, I’m not very good working with wood. I can do some basic stuff, but this build involved moving parts. Basically, my idle roller on my grain kept popping off and wouldn’t freely roll during the crush, so I’d have to dump the grain in scoop by scoop until all the grain was crushed. With my grain bills typically around 15 lbs, this would take a while and could easily make me dislike my brew day from the start. So today, I worked on the mill and even with significant preparation and diligent work, it’s only got a slight improvement over the previous version. Basically, I think I should just have bought the base and hopper from Northern Brewer from the start.

Anyway, this post isn’t really about the grain mill. I’ll save that for another time when it’s all nice and pretty, but right now, I need to write some thoughts about my first impression of M. Ward’s Post-War.

I really enjoy the acoustic guitar and rough vocals. It’s a nice subtle record that cruises along with an occassional upbeat number. As far as beer goes, this record reminds me of a balanced beer with a little spunk to it. I’m thinking an American Amber Ale that gets a nice little kick from a late hop addition and a preliminary title of Requiem‘s Rollercoaster Red.

Also, I’m trying out a new beer.

Paw Paw Brewing Company recently opened and has a few beers that are mostly available directly from the brewery. Unfortunately, when I stopped there their heat exchanger had gone out and caused their cold room to fill with smoke. The smokiness was also absorbed by some of their beers.  The guys at the brewery were pretty nice enough and rolled with it, but their beers are definitely not built for this smokey flavor. I’ve got a growler of their 2 Paws IPA, but I’ll wait to review it when I have a non-smokey sample.