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Author Archives: beerandmusic

Here Comes the Sun Belgian Wit

Today we are brewing a Belgian Wit that will be heavy on the coriander (i.e., 1 tsp). We’re looking forward to drinking this beer around the summer solstice. Wit beer seems just right for porch drinking, right?

  • 3 lbs pilsner
  • 1 lb torrified wheat
  • 4 oz white wheat malt
  • 3 lbs 4.8 oz wheat liquid extract
  • 1 oz Celeia hops (2.8%)
  • .4 oz bitter orange peel
  • 1 pkg Belgian Wit ale yeast (WLP400)

We are using distilled water and a new aerator for the wort. Should be about 4.6% abv.

Our friends at Beerology helped us with the recipe.

Since the last time we made beer, Erin and I have traveled to: Israel, Jordan, Russia, Florida, Belgium, France, Luxembourg, and Cuba, and Erin also went to work for 3 weeks in the Netherlands and to Austria.

This beer was partly inspired by an homage to the Beatles we saw from the bus in Santa Clara, Cuba. We missed the John Lennon statue in Havana, but caught a glimpse of the street corner below.

Image result for Santa Clara Cuba beatles

Additionally, in thinking about how this beer will be ready on the summer solstice, we figured “Here Comes the Sun” was an apt name for this beer, to be infused with sunshine and yellow happiness.

My friend Dana Allen once asked my favorite Indigo Girls album. I decided that my favorite wasn’t their best, and feel the same about Abbey Road. Although my favorite Beatles album is Revolver, I think Abbey Road is their best. And on some days this is my favorite album. Fun fact: The entirety of the lyrics of “Octopus’s Garden” are in my dissertation, to highlight a theme about sense of belonging at a camp for kids with HIV/AIDS.

Boy, I am all over the place on this blog post. Thanks for hanging in there.

“Here Comes the Sun” is a brilliant piece by George Harrison and was recorded in 1969. John Lennon (my favorite Beatle) did not play on this one.

Harrison states in his autobiography, I, Me, Mine:

“Here Comes the Sun” was written at the time when Apple was getting like school, where we had to go and be businessmen: ‘Sign this’ and ‘sign that.’ Anyway, it seems as if winter in England goes on forever, by the time spring comes you really deserve it. So one day I decided I was going to sag off Apple and I went over to Eric Clapton‘s house. The relief of not having to go see all those dopey accountants was wonderful, and I walked around the garden with one of Eric’s acoustic guitars and wrote “Here Comes the Sun”.

More facts from Wikipedia:

When interviewed in the Martin Scorsese documentary George Harrison: Living in the Material World, Clapton said he believed the month was April. Data from two meteorological stations in the London area show that April 1969 set a record for sunlight hours for the 1960s. The Greenwich station recorded 189 hours for April, a high that was not beaten until 1984. The Greenwich data also show that February and March were much colder than the norm for the 1960s, which would account for Harrison’s reference to a “long, cold, lonely winter”.

Here is George performing the song acoustically and with Spanish subtitles. RIP, George Harrison.

 
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Posted by on May 14, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Cure For Pain Dry Black Stout

This cold breezy day we are brewing a dry black stout. When we were in Oslo, Norway in June, we visited the Schouskjelleren Mikrobryggeri where I had All Black. I gave it a 4.75 on Untappd, and it’s one of 3 beers I’ve given that score to (others were Pliny the Elder and Heady Topper). In my notes, I wrote “Dry. My favorite stout ever. Must clone.” We’re finally getting around to that today.

Today is also the first day that we went to Beerology to get our supplies. Beerology is a new store in Northampton that has beer making supplies, classes, and a super fun software program where one can choose different ingredients and see what difference that makes to bitterness, color, etc. So fun! We based our recipe on an Irish stout.

  • Chocolate malt – 12oz
  • Roasted barley – 8oz
  • Pilsen light liquid extract – 6 lbs
  • Fuggle hops – 3 oz, split
  • English ale yeast WLP002

Skal!

As Erin and I were discussing the music to go along with this beer, inspiration bubbled up from deep in my brain. At first I could only think: “Bass. Drums. Sax. Band name begins with an M and has 2 syllables.” You guessed it: Morphine. I don’t believe I’ve thought of Morphine in many years, but there they emerged to guide the taste of this beer. Perfect, perfect.

I propose a toast to my self-control.

RIP Mark Sandman (singer who died of a heart attack on stage in 1999).

 
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Posted by on December 3, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Cascade Double IPA

Edit 12/3/16: Well, this was not so double, not so IPA. Very weak hop taste. Nice ale, but definitely not an IPA. Oh well!

hops

This sunny autumn day we are brewing a double IPA with our Cascade hops grown all this dry summer. It’s a single hop so we can focus on the terroir of State Street, and a double IPA because we like those. A lot. We’re also using a Trappist yeast because we love that. There will be a dry hopping maneuver later in the process when we rack it.

  • 7 lbs malt extract + 2lbs DME
  • 8 oz pale malt grain
  • 8 oz amber malt grain
  • 10 oz Munich malt
  • 4 oz medium UK crystal malt
  • White Labs Abbey ale WLP530

Perhaps Erin is exhausted from canning tomatoes and I’m exhausted from kayaking, but the musical accompaniment to this beer is the song “Cascade” by the Garden Verge. Garden Verge was Girlyman before Nate joined the band, and they wrote a few good songs, including “Cascade,” which always makes me want to go hiking with someone cute, like Erin. In fact, the day Erin and I figured out we *liked* each other involved a hike! ❤

In looking up Cascade Mountain, I JUST NOW realized this is a song about Cascade Mountain near Lake Placid in NY, not the Cascades in the Pacific Northwest. Whoa! Paradigm has shifted. But of course – they are from the East coast. This is good because now this song is even more foundational to the Northeast and our beer. Yay!

Upon further research for this blog post, it turns out Girlyman broke up in 2013 but several members are doing other projects. Thanks, Indigo Girls, for having Girlyman open for you many years ago and introducing me to their music and precursor band!

And upon either further research, it turns out there is no video of this song to include in this post! Grrr! Ok then, I will transcribe the lyrics:

Let's take the path to the top of Cascade
Let the world below us fade from view
That’s all I ever wanted to do
You know the way
So I’ll take your hand
For today
We can lean on the land
 
Nothing is said for 2 hours or more
I forget what this walking is for
How did you even find it up here?
You’re a city girl and I was born in the south
Raised under such sheltering skies
I follow you lightly
You come and you go
I don’t know why

So let me lead you
Let’s take the path to the top of Cascade
‘Cause the view up there was made for you
You
This is our time, these are ours to question
We will see, we will sing for as long as we’re alive
Meet me at the bottom
Where the light of yours
Will be the coolest view on the hottest day in July

 

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Computer Camp Rhubarb Saison

CSA-Rhubarb

In honor of all of the camps happening at this point in the summer, we proudly present to you Computer Camp Rhubarb Saison. We had this idea in Norway, realizing that the rhubarb season at home would soon come to an end and that it was time to make new beer.

Thanks to the good folks at Northampton Beer and Wine supply, we got a Yankee Brewer recipe for Meadow City Saison and adapted it. Here is what we did:

  1. 3.3 lbs LME + 2 lbs DME
  2. 1 oz chocolate malt
  3. 1 lb Belgian Pale Ale malt grain (cracked)
  4. 8 oz torrefied wheat
  5. 4 oz medium Belgian crystal grain (cracked)
  6. 1.5 oz. Hallertauer hops (bittering)
  7. .5 oz Goldings hops (aroma)
  8. Belgian saison I WLP 565 yeast
  9. 1 cup white sugar
  10. .5 oz coriander seeds (aroma)
  11. 2 lbs rhubarb (1 after boil and 1 during secondary fermentation)

On to the music….

We had an admittedly tough time thinking of music to go with a rhubarb saison, so if YOU think of something, please let us know 😉

But, we felt there surely must be music beyond A-ha that comes from Norway, and a quick search revealed Datarock. After hearing one of their songs in 2008, it was clear that “Computer Camp Love” would be just the right song for this beer. Did you know Datarock means computer in Norwegian? ME NEITHER! Whoa.

Also, Datarock’s thing is dressing in red track suits for performances, which makes them look like rhubarb stalks…

Also, “She’s not that kind of a girl, booger!” Hee-heee!

This is a cute song because it references the musical Grease. Erin ridiculously asked me if I got the reference. I sure did, because I live in America and have been around the block. But did Erin know that I once danced in a performance piece for a Columbia College Chicago’s art student’s senior project, dressed up in a silver bustier and fishnets to look like a paintbrush, all to “Beauty School Dropout”? I bet NOT. But now YOU do.

 

 
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Posted by on July 3, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Jill Scott-ch Honey Ale

“I don’t know whether to sing or to rhyme.”

We are brewing a scotch ale with honey, hoping for something malty warm, sweet, and yummy. This recipe comes from Yankee Brewer’s 90 Shilling Scotch Ale, which allegedly has a background character of peated malt. We will also add a background of honey to fill out this beer.

6lbs light malt extract

2 lbs amber dry malt

Malt grains: 1 lb Scottish pale ale, 2 oz Scottish peated, 8 oz dark UK crystal, 8 oz special roast toasted

2 oz Challenger hop pellets

Safale s-04 English ale yeast

2 lbs honey

We added 1 lb of honey at the end of the boil and will add the other pound before racking. The honey comes from Erin’s hive of 10,000 Italian lady bees who hung around for 2015 but flew the coop/hive in October for parts unknown. Thankfully, they left us several gallons to last us a long time. We’re hoping to pare down the supply through this beer!

So…Jill Scott. Her voice like honey – sweet, strong, fluid, mellow. Her song “Honey Molasses” is a sultry, sensual song of insecurity after a night of electrical magic. Bonus points for the old-school R&B method of including an answering machine message. We are feeling more and more secure about how tasty this beer will taste.

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Sentimental Journey British Mild Ale

Today we are brewing a one-gallon batch of Ron Pattison’s Once Upon a Time: 1945 Mild. This recipe comes to us from a book given to us by the Solstice Fairy by way of our friend Kris: Make Some Beer: Small Batch Recipes from Brooklyn to Bamburg. The story about this beer is from p. 132 in the book:

We often hear stories in America of the greatest generations: our grandparents who went off to fight in World War II as well as those who held down the homestead, stretching rations just a little further. This beer, a re-creation of a British mild from 1945, is the product of six years of English war rationing. It’s low in everything, including hops, malt, and alcohol. A beer made the century prior, in 1838, by the same brewery under the same name, was more than twice as alcoholic and much hoppier. We try to keep the recipe as true to the original brew sheet as possible, with the exception of maple syrup for bottling, which is clearly an extravagance on our part.

Erin has been reading many of her grandfather’s letters to her grandmother while he was stationed in Palau and Okinawa during World War II. This recipe reflects the rationing that happened during that time.

Grandpa Gus in WWII

Cheers, Grandpa Gus!

WWII rations

Aunt Eleanor (occupation: Baby) was the child of Gus and Alice (Yiayia), in Gary IN. Alice saved this ration book while she was waiting for Gus to return home from the war.

This is our first attempt at an all-grain beer, which is possible because it’s only one gallon, which we can handle on our stove.

.25 lb English Mild malt

.25 lb English Pale malt

.25 lb American 2-row malt

.11 lb flaked barley

.10 lb Amber malt

.07 lb Crystal 55 malt

.25 oz Fuggle hops

.12 lb granulated sugar

Safale s-04 dry ale yeast

3 T maple syrup for bottling

 

The Billboard number 1 hit from June through August 1945 was “Sentimental Journey” by Doris Day and the Les Brown Band. My mom used to play this on the upright piano in our basement. I think it might have been the only song she knew on the piano, so my brother and I got an earful of this song back in the day. It’s nice to hear now, I guess. We are like children “in wild anticipation” and our hearts are so “yearny” for this beer 😉

 
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Posted by on January 3, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Mocktoberfest

Today we are brewing Mocktoberfest – our answer to the raft of fall beers coming out right now. Most Oktober beers are lagers and we are only set up for ales, hence we are making a mockery of traditional lagers. But we hope there will be nothing fake about the deliciousness!

We’re using our Mt. Hood hops that grew on our porch all summer. The general guideline for using whole hops instead of pellets is to increase whole hops by about 10%.

  • 3.3 lbs pale malt extract + 3 lbs DME
  • 16 oz German Munich malt grain (cracked)
  • 8 oz. dark German crystal (cracked)
  • 8 oz. light German crystal (cracked)
  • 4 oz. flaked wheat malt (cracked)
  • 2 oz 100% dextrin powder for added body
  • German ale/kolsch yeast (WLP029)

What music mocks? The Beastie Boys’ “Fight for Your Right to Party” sure did. Now, I can’t diss this song too much because it was my gateway to their other music and the start of a lifetime of love for them, but man, this song sucks. It turns out it was a joke song. The Beastie Boys wrote the lyrics to make fun of dumb rock songs, Rick Rubin added the music, then they made a silly video (which mocked Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Animal House). All the fratboys this song and video parodied didn’t get that this was a joke on them, and frankly I didn’t either until I listened to Paul’s Boutique and realized the fantastic talent of the Beastie Boys. For more good background about this song, see here.

So, in the spirit of mockery, we’re going to fight for our right to drink Oktoberfest beers.

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2015 in Uncategorized