Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I mean, it's the blog title

I made out like a bandit on Christmas. Check it:

Glass Goodies
- Dallas Cowboys Mugs
- Set of Beer Glassware
- 4 Pilsner Glasses
- NXNW Growler

- Brew Chem 101
- Yeast
- Beers of the World
- He Said Beer, She Said Wine

Other Goodies
- Subscription to a "Craft Beer of the Month" Mailing List; a 12-pack every month!
- A chalkboard tap handle

I guess I should get good at making beer now.

Today I was right on, thematically speaking. There was strength stuff and there was beer stuff.

375x1 10 lb. PR

260x1 5 lb. PR

Barbell Good Mornings

Weighted Dips
45x10, 10, 9

Felt really great to break through on two lifts that have stalled for a while. I haven't mentioned it previously, but my current training is being programmed by Matt Vincent, a former LSU track and field standout and current pro highland games thrower. Matt and I got to know each other back when I was running a previous website. Since I have taken to the highland games, he asked me to be a guinea pig for a training program tailor-made for throwers. It's simple but effective, and I can feel that the gains I'm getting are going to translate to longer throws.

As much as I feel like I know about programming, I have to admit now that I'm not ready or able to do it for myself. Matt knows his shit, so I'm doing what he says.

After training, I picked up the little man from daycare and started a brew day. I am doing my own take on a Scottish Ale this time around. Partial mash yet again, as I bought the ingredients before I got my 20 qt. brew pot for all-grain.

If you live in Central Texas and haven't picked up a bottle of what I'm drinking in the last pic, you are missing out. It's Real Ale's Coffee Porter. Great cold weather brew.

The brew session went ok. I didn't have Ashley there to help, and I really missed the extra brain and hands. She's nice to look at, too. The only two problems were a slight sanitation slip up (tip of garden hose in cooled wort) and the wort temperature being too low at yeast pitching because how cold the damn ground water is now. Still, hoping to see bubbles soon.

The biggest change I made to the Scottish Ale was the addition of .25 oz Saaz hops for aroma. I had some leftover from a failed lager, so I thought it might rein in some of the hoppiness from the Kent Gold hops. Kent Gold were 5.8% alpha acid and the Saaz was 3.5% or so. I figured by splitting the final .5 oz of hops between the two, I could mellow it out and show some malt while adding a little "USA, USA" feel to it.

I also finished the keg of cranberry ale. RIP.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Tasting Tuesday - NXNW Holiday Ale

If you follow me on Twitter, it's no secret that I'm a big fan of North by Northwest. They are a brewpub with excellent cuisine and an ambitious and creative beer selection, and a true Austin original. Plus, they are on my side of town, so I visit regularly. I thought it would only be appropriate that I include one of their current seasonals in a Tasting Tuesday.

Holiday Ale
North by Northwest Brewpub - Austin, TX, USA
Style: English Barleywine
ABV: 8~9%
IBUs: Unknown

Appearance: Pours a fairly clear mahogany. Thin head with decent retention for such high ABV.

Aroma: Light and sweet, barley is definitely at the forefront.

Taste: Rich, warm barley sweetness with a significant nose and mouthful of alcohol. Gasoline notes appear a bit on the breathe-out.

Mouthfeel: A little thinner than your average ale, but it fits perfectly with the barleywine style. Fairly low carbonation really lets the malt sit on your palate and work its magic.

Overall: This is my first experience with any ale that is a self-proclaimed 'barleywine' and I have to say I enjoyed it thoroughly. Based on the style I was honestly expecting the warmth from the alcohol to be the feature. However, I was pleasantly surprised with how forward the malt was and how NXNW really let it define the character. The alcohol is muted enough to keep it drinkable, but also compliments the spiciness in the ale.

I liked it so much, I got a fancy NXNW growler-full: