Book Review:  The Brew Your Own Big Book of Clone Recipes

The Brew Your Own Big Book of Clone Recipes – and a homebrew, of course!

Have you ever tried a beer from one of your favorite breweries and said to yourself, “I’d love to try to brew this beer at home?”  If so, The Brew Your Own Big Book of Clone Recipes may be exactly what you are looking for.  Released on May 1, 2018, this book is a compilation of 20 years of recipes from Brew Your Own Magazine, featuring over 300 homebrew recipes of well-known beers, including favorites such as Lawson’s Finest Liquids’ “Double Sunshine IPA,” Trillium Brewing Company’s “Fort Point Pale Ale,” Founder’s Brewing Company’s “Breakfast Stout,” and New Holland Brewing Company’s “Dragon’s Milk Stout.”

This book is a fantastic reference for both all-grain and extract homebrewers; each recipe includes both versions.  The selection of breweries is also impressive – as a native of Pennsylvania, I was excited to find recipes for Troegs Brewing Company’s “Nugget Nectar,” Victory Brewing Company’s “Storm King Imperial Stout,” Round Guys Brewing Company’s “Russian Messenger Stout,” Weyebacher Brewing Company’s “Fifteen,” and even a recipe for good old 33, “Rolling Rock Extra Pale.” 

I would strongly recommend this recipe book for homebrewers who have ironed out their processes and are ready to try their hands at taking their brewing to the next level.  The recipes are written in a concise yet easily understandable manner for intermediate to advanced homebrewers.  After reading it I was left with the immediate urge to place an order with my favorite homebrew supply store!  The Brew Your Own Big Book of Clone Recipes is published by Voyageur Press and is available online on Amazon for around $25. 

Cheers – and happy brewing!

The Brewholder

Copyright 2018 – all rights reserved 

Against All Hops – A Distinctively Refreshing Brew Recipe Book

Against All Hops by Butch Heilshorn

In the midst of the electronic onslaught of blog posts, tweets, and visual inundation of digital photos on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat, every once in a while it is refreshing to just sit and read a physical book while enjoying a well-crafted beer. My most recent foray into physical media was “Against All Hops – Techniques and Philosophy for Creating Extraordinary Botanical Beers,” by Butch Heilshorn, the co-founder of Earth Eagle Brewings located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Against All Hops at its core is a recipe book for some of the brews that Butch and his team have created at their brewery. At the outset, be warned – the recipes are for advanced brewers and the book does not get into introductory methods of brewing, cleaning, or sanitization. The book is a fantastic read because, if you are not familiar with Earth Eagle Brewings, their brews use more than just hops in their beers. Butch has embraced the use of locally foraged herbs and plants in his beer, with the help and knowledge of his herbalist wife April.

While the book contains recipes for their interpretation of standard styles (IPA, Stout, Pale Ale), generally Earth Eagle Brewings beer can be described as “gruit,” an ancient ale that did not use hops as the bittering agent. Instead, all manner of herbs, flowers, and other plant matter are used to create new and interesting tastes. Each recipe is prefaced with a enlightening discussion on the history, tastes, and medicinal qualities of the herbs used in the brew. Along with high-quality photographs of the plants, it makes for an extremely enjoyable read.

In addition to the recipes, Butch explains his philosophy on brewing, which is most definitely on the artistic side of the brewing spectrum (as compared to the technical, scientific side where large, industrial breweries necessarily reside). His concept of humanity’s connection to Earth is well presented, without being judgmental or overbearing, and is clearly reflected in the recipes for his beer.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Against All Hops, especially in the cold of December and January when thoughts of foraging for locally harvested herbs and plants seem to warm you from the inside. While the book is meant for brewers, anyone who has an appreciation for creative and well-crafted beer would probably enjoy reading the narratives between the recipes. As a home brewer, after reading Against All Hops, I am truly looking forward to trying my hand at a gruit with some home grown herbs this Spring – and maybe a trip to New Hampshire this year to try these recipes for myself!

Against All Hops is available on Amazon in paperback for $12.91 and on Kindle for $9.99.

Cheers!

The Brewholder

Copyright 2018 – all rights reserved

‘Ray Bucknell – 3 Cheers to Beer

Bucknell University – which I am proud to call my alma mater – publishes a quarterly magazine called “Bucknell Magazine.”  This summer’s issue had a fantastic article about food production and sustainability, and a side piece about Bucknellians involved in the wine industry.   Sadly, it was devoid of any mention of our craft beer industry, and the Bucknell grads entrenched in it.   So I voiced my opinion about it – check out the Letters section on page 3!

Cheers!

The Brewholder

Copyright 2017 – all rights reserved

The Day I Interviewed the original “Most Interesting Man In the World”

“Stay Interesting” available now in bookstores and on Amazon. Photo courtesy of Brian Pollack.

Every once and a while an opportunity presents itself that you just need to embrace.  Recently, I had the opportunity to interview Jonathan Goldsmith, the actor who became famous for portraying Dos Equis’ original “Most Interesting Man in the World.”  His new book, “Stay Interesting:  I Don’t Always Tell Stories About My Life, but When I Do They’re True and Amazing” was released on June 13, so I thought – because of his experience with Dos Equis – he would have some stories to tell about beer.

I had the chance to talk to Goldsmith on a phone interview, to find out a little more about the original “Most Interesting Man in the World.”  I learned that long before he became uber-interesting, Goldsmith began his acting career in Western movies and portrayed many characters in a distinguished list of 1980s television shows including Dallas, MacGyver, The A-Team, Knight Rider, and Magnum P.I. among many other iconic shows of the decade.  He explained that he decided to put the book together after a charity trip to Viet Nam.  “A reporter interviewed me about my career, and when we were done he said, ‘With the stories you have, you should write a book!’  I had already been saving things for my children and grandchildren, but I decided that a book would be a great way to pass along my stories to them.”

Goldsmith told me about his role as a villain in John Wayne’s last movie – The Shootist; his character came to his demise by being shot in the head by The Duke.  The scene needed multiple takes and the blood packets left welts on his face each time.  The producer felt so bad for him that Goldsmith was paid double in the end.  “Stay Interesting” also documents Goldsmith’s audition for Dos Equis in which he was asked to create a story with the last line “…and that’s how I arm-wrestled Fidel Castro.”  Goldsmith explained, “I channelled my friend (and fellow actor) Fernando Lamas, including his accent” and created a story that wow-ed the casting directors and landed him the spot.

The stories in “Stay Interesting” are focused on Goldsmith’s acting career and his interactions with other actors and actresses, including Tina Louise (Ginger from Gilligan’s Island); but the man who was the face of Dos Equis beer for almost a decade admitted that there are no tales in the book that involve beer.  In fact, since leaving Dos Equis, Goldsmith has become associated with Astral Tequila and even makes a brief appearance in a video on the website in which he says, “I told you – I don’t always drink beer.”  Even though “Stay Interesting” does not discuss any interesting beers, it was clear from his stories during the interview that the book will be a fantastic read, especially for anyone who has an appreciation for the Hollywood scene from the 1960s through the 1980s.

Cheers!

The Brewholder

Copyright 2017 – all rights reserved

Craft Beer Memories Relived: What Is Your Groundhog Day?

In my recent article in Ticket to Entertainment, I asked several people in the craft beer industry to describe a day that they could relive over and over again (beer related of course!), as Bill Murray did in the 1993 movie “Groundhog Day.”  Due to space limitations, I had to edit their responses – so below are their full, unedited responses!  Cheers!

Bill Covaleski, Victory Brewing Company, Jan. 17, 2017

“This is a great question that everyone should answer because, hopefully, it rewards a person with a backwards winding movie off all of the moments of their lives in which the experienced great fulfillment. For me there were many candidates for this honor, but one offered great clarity so I’ll go with this…

Years ago Greg Koch (Stone Brewing) had invited Sam Calagione (Dogfish Head) and I to participate in a big way in the opening of Stone Berlin, with a special version of our Saison du BUFF to be brewed there. Time went by and the day arrived, September 20, 2016. I walked to Sam’s hotel and there he was, as planned, with bikes for us to make the 45 minute trek. Greg rolled up at our arranged meeting point, Brandenburg Gate, a historic spot indeed that added some gravity to what was feeling like a very exciting day. I have to admit, the importance of this American craft beer flag that Stone had so boldly planted in Germany was thrilling me, a student of German brewing school (Doemens, 1993) whose earliest flavorful beers were German imports. I could not wait to experience it.

Along the bike path the folks from BRLO Brewery were starting another busy day of construction on their brewery built into shipping containers so we stopped in to meet them, Greg being the friendly neighbor he is rather than the American beer icon. A sense of anonymity and freedom were a big part of the blissful experience that day. The peak of which may have happened as we rode the quiet path. Just three anonymous friends sharing the path with pensioners and their pets, off to a great, secret adventure like grade school pals skipping school. The sense of promise and place were rich and immediate.

Stone Berlin exudes a calm confidence. It is impossible not to be impressed with the way grand spaces lead to cozy nooks and interesting views, all designed to enrich the experience of flavor and conversation. The artist in me found delight in the facility at every turn. We were joined that day by friends and guests from the UK and America and eventually got to work sorting the rosemary, sage, lemon thyme and parsley that make this winning collaboration beer so delicious. The staff were wide-eyed as well, only one week into the brewpub’s operation. All around was sense of promise, and risk, an intoxicating combination that we entrepreneurs can’t get enough of. Speaking of risk, I recall that the menacing traffic at more than one intersection nearly claimed Sam though we laughed right through it with shouts of encouragement.

Similar to the Stone staff an incredible and close-knit bunch of beer lovers gathered throughout the day, culminating with magnificent beer dinner in which a commemorative boot of Saison du BUFF was passed around and enjoyed by each dinner guest in a somewhat irreverent take on a highly codified German beer drinking tradition.

We shook ourselves from this dream to remount our bikes, this time a larger group including friends and family. At one point I dashed ahead into the darkness to live a moment within my own thoughts. I wondered what force brings busy friends, competitors some might insist, together to a foreign place to add vitality to the vision of a friend It is friendship itself, and the promising energy that flows from a group on the same mission. That’s how you should drink beer, with friends on a mission of discovery. Doing so will make each day different, better and memorable.”

Sam Calagione, Greg Koch and Bill Covaleski celebrate after brewing Saison du BUFF in Stone’s new brewpub in Berlin, September 20, 2016. Photo courtesy of Bill Covaleski.

Julius Facenda, The Brick & Barrel, Jan. 21, 2017:

“Something I’d love to relive every day….One of my most enjoyable beer experiences:  When I started working at Iron Abbey, I had a lot of friends that were judgmental to craft beer scene at the time – it was fancy for them.  And I was getting into it because we had 36 lines on and 300 bottles – so I’m tasting 40 different liquids every day – sour, hoppy, imperial stout, all this crazy stuff.  The boss plans a trip to Sly Fox Bock Fest.  Bock Fest is at Sly Fox, in the parking lot of a shopping center.  We took a bus there – we had 5 cases of Sly Fox “113 IPA” and a good selection of the Sly Fox cans (this is before cans were cool, too!)  So we’re on the bus with a whole bunch of people and I brought a bunch of my non-craft friends – cause they like to party.  Everyone is singing on the bus, and we pull up to Sly Fox and there’s 1000 people in the parking lot – it maxed out at 5000 people!  There’s busses from all kinds of bars and god knows – just random people!

There’s trailers and people with their goats for the goat races.  When we get off the bus, the first interaction we have is with a bunch of goats who are just standing around with no one watching them!   We look at the goats, and one comes out and head butts my leg!  Not vicious, a black goat with huge horns – my friends start laughing;  they are not used to drinking this stronger beer, so they are starting to have a good time.  We came across this beer called EisBock – I was not aware of it prior to that day.  I went into the brewpub – they served the Eisbock in 5 oz servings – so I ordered a few for me and my friends.  It’s different but it’s good – I think it was 14% ABV.

I remember there were people in the trees watching the goat races; I was sitting on a bench with some regulars from Iron Abbey.  Meanwhile, I’m sipping this 14% beer – and my boss comes up and says, “Let’s go – you’re racing this goat!”  I said “I’m drunk bro – I’m not doing that.”  But I chugged the beer and went to get the goat.  It was cool because I have a little salt and pepper in my beard and I got a goat that was salt and pepper too!  One of the guys that worked at Na Brasa also got a goat, and before the race began, the goat took off on him.  He chased it down and finally got the goat back.  I was in the second heat, and I was watching the first heat.  I learned  after the fact – there’s a trick to racing goats – you can’t get in front of your goat, because if you do your goat stops.  Whichever goat wins, that name is used for that year’s bock beer.  Peggy was a three legged goat that may have won a few years in a row and was racing the year I was there.

It was an amazing time – and it wasn’t just all about craft beer.  It was more about the camaraderie with my friends between the beer, the event – Bock fest – being an old german festival.  And my friends were really into this idea because they were partying but there were still people drinking PBR cans.  As I was waiting for my turn in the second heat of the goat race, I look over and my friends are standing next to some random guy with a cooler of PBR cans and they are waving PBR cans! On the way home on the bus the whole bus was singing.  It was such a cool event because it brought non-craft beer drinkers to the real craft beer world where its like every one was just enjoying the time together.  And it was one of my first beer events, to tell you the truth!

Daniel Endicott, Forest & Main Brewing, Jan, 22, 2017

In January of 2009 I traveled to England to study brewing at the University of Sunderland. After a long over night flight and a day of exhausting traveling I arrived in York, where I would spend a few days before classes began. After a quick nap I set out to enjoy the history and beauty of York. I wound up in the Minister Inn, a little bar that makes our bar look enormous. Over pints of bitter I made friends with the locals. Over pints of bitter I watched the inauguration of Barack Obama. It was a momentous time, both for my country and myself. It was a night full of optimism, joy, and pride… and some of the best beer I’d ever had. I returned to the Minister Inn the next night and enjoyed more pints with my new friends, it was one of the most welcoming pubs I’ve ever set foot in. If I could relive one beer related day of my life I think I would choose that one.  It was a big inspiration for our pub.

John Remington, Founder, Conshohocken Brewing Company, Jan. 22, 2017

“This is an easy question for me!  May 2016 – when we won the Silver at the World Beer Cup right here in our backyard in Philadelphia for our ‘Puddlers Row ESB.’  It was amazing to win at the world level, but to do it in Philadelphia made it that much more special to us.  The festivities afterward got a bit hazy after hitting several of our favorite Philly local spots into the early morning.  Definitely worth reliving a few times!”

Jim Carter, Ambler Beverage Exchange, Jan. 22, 2017

“Hahahaha….the one day I’d relive over and over is when I went to Monks Cafe for the 1st time…I could live with doing that for the rest of life…hahaha.  The beers that I had were unbelievable …each one was better than the next ( can’t even remember how what they were but definitely Belgian) the food was spot on and the atmosphere was perfect…I would do it everyday if I could…”

* * *

As Covaleski said, “This is a great question that everyone should answer because, hopefully, it rewards a person with a backwards winding movie of all of the moments of their lives in which they experienced great fulfillment.”  And truly, the question helps one recognize the real value of beer; it should not just be a liquid consumed in a vacuum, but a vital part of a social experience that becomes inexorably intertwined with our life experiences.

Cheers!

The Brewholder

Copyright 2017 – all rights reserved

Wait – is it 2017?

Apparently I enjoyed the holidays with my friends and family a bit too much – no activity on this website since November?  Tsk, tsk.  Well, if you haven’t been following along on Facebook or Instagram, here’s a short recap of what The Brewholder’s been up to:

Lazaris straight from the tank!

I visited Boneshire Brewworks – a few miles down the road from Troegs – before their grand opening and I liked what I tasted!  Read about my trip on Philly Beer Scene’s Online Exclusives

I checked out the new menu at The California Pizza Kitchen for Philly Beer Scene – that was a tasty visit!

Prism Brewing moved to Lansdale – here’s my article about it in Ticket.  It’s a great space with lots of potential!

My Elfs on the shelf – yum!

Christmas was helped along with several elfs on my shelfs – read about them in Ticket.

I recapped 2016 in the Beer Year in review article in Ticket

I announced my favorite new beer of the year – Braddock-Pennsylvania, based The Brew Gentlemen General Braddock Pale Ale.  I first ran into this brew at the Meeting of the Malts in March, and then again at the Craft Brewers Conference in May.  Needless to say, a road trip to Braddock in high on my list for 2017!

Goose Island “Sofie” and Karamoor wines during the Chrysos release event in December.

And today you can read about local winery Karamoor Estate’s collaboration with Goose Island Beer Company – “Chrysos” – essentially Goose Island‘s “Sofie” aged for 3 and a half months in Karamoor wine barrels.  Pretty cool that a small winery from the Philly area would be approached by a big brewery like Goose Island.  But don’t get your hopes up – most of the Chrysos is probably gone by this point – only about 4 beer barrels of the brew was made, and it is exclusively served at the Vetri restaurants.  We were told that they are going to keep a keg or two for future events, so keep your eyes open and maybe you’ll be able to try it….Philly Beer Week perhaps?

So now we’re all caught up.  But stayed tuned – 2017 looks to be another great beer year for me, with visits scheduled to Ft. Lauderdale (Funky Buddha, anyone?); St. Petersburg / Tampa, Florida (Cigar City, Angry Chair, Coppertail Brewing); Denver (Do I really need to drop names here?); and Seattle (mic drop)…

Cheers!

The Brewholder

Copyright 2017 – all rights reserved

Oktoberfests in the region – Prost!

prost1
Oktoberfest is upon us again, with the official dates in Germany from September 17 – October 3.  Check out my list of Oktoberfests in our area on Ticket to Entertainment:

Lift ein Mass and sing Ein Prosit – it’s Oktoberfest!

And for you who subscribe to Comcast / Xfinity TV – the “Sounds of the Seasons” channel is all Oktoberfest music, all the time!  Ja!

Cheers!

The Brewholder

Copyright 2016 – all rights reserved

 

Wrap-up: Craft Brewers Conference 2016 in Philadelphia

Holy cow!  In case you missed it, last week the Brewers Association held its 2016 Craft Brewers Conference right here in Philadelphia.  My preview was in Ticket to Entertainment last week – read it here.

Check back soon for a summary of my experience during #CBC2016 – from the first tasting of the Brotherly Suds 7 “Rye Bock Lager” to my interview of Greg Koch, founder of Stone Brewing Company, to the GEA event at XFinity Live! to the winners of the World Beer Cup…and everything in between!

It was truly an amazing experience for a beer fan, that is for sure!

Cheers!

The Brewholder

Copyright 2016 – all rights reserved