Block Party Brews

What is better than a good, cold beer?  A free, good, cold beer.  And that is exactly what was delivered this past Memorial Day to friends, neighbors and random passersby at our annual block party.  The kegerator was rolled out onto the driveway and onlookers fixed their eyes on that mobile cart of suds like teenage boys to the Swimsuit Issue.  In all it was a huge success and everyone had a great time.  Unlimited beer, sunshine and not being at work on a Monday has a way of doing that.  As previously promised, here is a rundown and review of the 4 beers (plus 1 cider):



Cider - I made this for a few neighbors who aren’t beer fans since it takes about 30 minutes of work (the way I make it) and I had a 2.5 gallon keg free.  It was made with pure apple juice and a bit of cherry juice that didn’t impart much flavor, but it made it a nice pink color.  The wine yeast produced a very tart and dry cider with a bit of a kick at 6.2% abv.  It was fine.  Nothing special.

Pale Lager - This was one of the two beers that got the best reaction.  My personal feeling is that it is a bit too sweet, but the flavor is good.  The small amount of Centennial hops (more typically found in IPAs) in addition to the American-grown Noble hops is definitely working.   As a brewery that is going to focus on lagers, it is rather critical to have solid line up of lagers and this one is getting close.

Amber Lager - This is the beer that was blogged about a few weeks ago.  It turned out very solid but not spectacular.  I didn’t hit the efficiency I was expecting (weaker beer than planned) and that may have been an issue.   It was probably the least popular in terms of beer poured, which I partially attribute to the lack of a sexy name.  If it was called Flaming Tarantula Vomit, the keg would have kicked in an hour.

Hoppy Red - This beer was brewed for Memorial Day last year and was a huge hit. I felt it was a bit too sweet and full-bodied, so the ‘15 version remedied that.  It delivered on hoppiness thanks to a ton of Simcoe and Mosaic hops (the hop equivalent of sapphires and rubies).  The unfortunate reality of hop acquisition for new breweries (large quantities of highly sought-after hops must be purchased via contract often years in advance) means that this beer probably won’t be able to brewed early on at Wild Parrot, at least on a regular basis.

Coffee Stout - This was the other winner of the day and my personal favorite.  It was so, so pretty coming out of the tap.  A few ounces of cold-brewed coffee added to the keg was the perfect amount.  I’m not messing with this recipe any more. 

In previous years, I have woken up at 5am to smoke a pork shoulder for the party, but it has become evident that my meat smoking skills are quite inferior to my beer making skills, so sausage ruled the day.  Hmmm, sausage and beer . . . that’s a nice combo.