Archive for the ‘beer’ Category

Beer #2: Oktoberfest

My second batch of beer came out right on target. The box originally given to me at Christmas by my parents with the rest of the starting equipment, I chose to brew this more valuable kit after I had my cheaper first batch done.

I replaced the included Ale yeast with a Safelager packet as my temperatures were in the lager range, and it bubbled away happily for almost two weeks. the result is a full 4% clear amber and full flavored lager. Taste is a bit of citrus and bread, and very drinkable. Very enjoyable to drink the first bottle on this unusually warm sunny day!


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First Batch of Beer

For Christmas, I asked for a beer brewing kit, and brewed my first batch in January. It’s just about finished off now and I’m ready to start batch two soon, but I took photos of the fun and simple process.

I chose a simple (and cheaper, in case I screwed it up) Scottish Ale kit for my first batch. Here you see all the ingredients aside from the five gallons of water. Canned and powdered malt make up most of the homebrew. All those grains get steeped like tea. Hops for balance, sugar for carbonating the bottles, and most importantly the animal that makes all liquid and solid bread happen, a packet of yeast.

Five gallons of water need to boil for an hour. I killed two birds with one stone and saved some money, getting a turkey fryer kit instead of an expensive kettle heating slowly on the stove. The 20-degree temperatures outside were no match for the propane burner…in fact it heated so quickly I had to cut the flame to give the grain enough time to steep before burning it.

The two feet of snow were also convenient when it came to cool the wort down to room temperature. Actually even banking the snow around the pot, it still took over an hour. I’ll use a proper chiller next time. The wort was then siphoned into the fermenter with airlock on top, and left to ferment for a week. Unfortunately the room was a bit on the cold side and I only got one day of bubbling even after adding extra yeast, and from that point on I was worried I wouldn’t have beer.

With fermenting (long) over, next was bottling. A bit of work here, cleaning and sanitizing all bottles and equipment. The filling was pretty painless though with the simple siphoning and bottle-filling gadgets included in the brewing kit.

Another week or two for bottle conditioning and carbonation, and the beer was ready to drink. And to my surprise, it was good! Specific gravity measurements put it around only 3% ABV, but that was only slightly less than the target 3.5. In other words, my first beer was light in alcohol and body, but definitely not in taste or color, with a full smokey malt flavor. I really enjoyed the process, and the sense of accomplishment of a caveman inventing fire, and look forward to making more interesting brews in the future. Cheers!

Posted from Medford, Massachusetts, United States.

Where Wachussett is born

Reminds me of the end of Strange Brew

Gansett Time

Flatbread Pizza Co in Davis

Last night we finally went to the new Flatbread Pizza Company in Davis Square. It took over the divey Sacco’s Bowl Haven but with a bit of brilliance, left the ten lanes of candlestick bowling untouched. I didn’t get a chance to bowl, but it certainly made a much more interesting backdrop to the bar than your typical wall of TVs.

I was here for the pizza. We have probably hundreds of pizza places within a few miles, but time and again I’m not impressed. Most are greek style take-out, the italian ones always seem to miss the mark, and in the end I keep on trying new places in search of perfection. Upon entering the door, I was hit with the strong tomato sauce aroma that you might find in only the best italian or pizza restaurants. Turning the corner, there are two giant clay pizza ovens, and wood stacked everywhere. That wood was burning underneath those ovens, as well as a giant cauldron cooking up fresh tomato sauce. I don’t think I’ve seen that before.

We didn’t have to wait long for a seat at what must be the longest bar in the area, and greeted by a familiar ex-Redbones bartender who just added to our already positive experience when she recognized us. I was then quickly impressed with the beer selection, which is not to say extensive, but more choicefully picked; plenty of local and national craft beers and a cheap Gansett as well. In fact I believe it’s the only place I’ve seen Watch City on tap other than the brewery; the Red Ale was spectacular.

We decided to try as much as possible and gorged on three small pizzas. I’ll always order a plain cheese (“Jay’s Heart”), and we also went for a Homemade Sausage, and the Carne special which included homemade meatballs, peppers and onions. I was most disappointed with the sausage, I could not even taste the meat, and we forgot to order it without mushrooms which it was smothered with. Apparently it reads well though, because not only did it fool us, but was the most common pizza we noticed served. Every week they have a veggie and carne special, and ours was good, although again I could not really taste the thinly sliced meatballs; the fresh peppers and onions reminded me of my favorite greek pizza flavor but on a much much better crust.

The Jay’s Heart plain cheese is what impressed me the most. Usually gourmet pizza places can’t do that right at all. It must be their made-in-house sauce and of course the excellent crust, but I think I can say this might just be the best plain pizza this side of the North End. I can’t wait to go back and order a large. We were full of great pizza and beer, but couldn’t resist ordering the awesome brownie sundae, warmed in the pizza oven and served with ice cream and maple whipped cream.

The restaurant just fits with the Davis Square vibe. Gourmet, all-natural food, craft beer, retro bowling. I just hope its tucked-back location keeps it from being discovered by the college kids when they return next week.

Posted from Medford, Massachusetts, United States.