Thursday, December 27, 2012

Bruery Smoking Wood

[link to podcast page]
WFMU's Beer Hear! with Bob W. and B.R. from 12/27/2012

A few days before Christmas while at the local good beer shop, I noticed a case of Brooklyn Brewery's Black Ops in 750ml bottles on the floor by the check out. I asked how much they were going for, and was told something like $20. Hmmm... that's a lot for a bottle of beer from across the river. Though a few days later, when shopping for some special brews to enjoy on Christmas day I ended up dropping $28 on bottle of the same size. At least that bottle had to travel from Orange County, CA!
The 2011 label.
The Bruery's Smoking Wood is a 13% abv imperial smoked porter. They describe it thusly:
"Brewed with beachwood and cherrywood smoked malt, and aged in rye whiskey barrels, Smoking Wood is a delicious demonstration of what wood has to offer when it comes to beer. This imperial smoked porter is brewed with a hefty amount of rye malt, contributing to a full body and light spiciness. Toasty oak, caramel and vanilla flavors balance the smokiness, contributing to an intense yet refined flavor profile"
Smoking Wood is an incredibly well put together beer, that has a smoked quality so subtle that it's hard to detect in the aroma, yet gently discernible on first taste, melding with the roasty malty chocolate flavors. It's robust malt flavor profile easily masks the whopping 13% alcohol strength. Hear all the details in this week's podcast!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Hospoda Czech Pub

[link to podcast page]
WFMU's Beer Hear! with Bob W. and B.R. from 12/22/2012

Last October we did a short blog post on Hospoda, the Czech bistro located in the Bohemian National Hall at 321 E. 73rd St., between 1st Ave. and 2nd Ave. The building also houses the General Consulate of the Czech Republic, and hosts many cultural events and activities. But more importantly, the building houses the freshest, tastiest Pilsner Urquell this side of the Atlantic!
Check out the podcast to learn about the four distinctly different ways that they serve Pilsner Urquell -- the flagship beer of Hospoda. Also in the podcast Hospoda manager Filip Trcka explains the newly implemented methods of transport and distribution of Pilsner Urquell (known in Czech as Plzeňský Prazdroj) which ensures the freshest Pilsner in America! (Well, up until when the bar receives the beer -- how they handle it after that determines the beers final condition).
Hospoda manager Filip
The walls of Hospoda feature a wood-cut mural...
created by a Prague graffiti artist Masker.
And now for some trivia and history... it's been estimated that 90% of the beer consumed worldwide owes it's origin to the "original Pilsner." One of the most famous cousins to Pilsner beer, of course, is Anheuser-Bush's Budweiser. And while many know that "Bud" was inspired by Böhmisch Budweis aka Budweiser Budvar aka České Budějovice, many don't know that American Budweiser was originally a contract brew, made for Carl Conrad in 1876. Conrad, who was a liquor importer, discovered Bohemian Pilsner beer while traveling through Europe.

Conrad contracted with his St. Louis business colleague Adolphus Bush to make a similar beer for the American market. Bush had sold brewing supplies prior to becoming a brewer, when he married into the Anheuser family, which operated a brewery. It turned out that cloning Czech Pilsner was an extremely difficult thing to do at the time. Getting a hold of Moravian malt wasn't a cost effective option, and the American two-row barley wasn't exactly perfect for cloning the newly invented beer style. Pilsner was invented in 1842 by Josef Groll, a Bavarian brewer who was contracted by the town of Pilsen to formulate a new high quality beer to replace the dreck that the townspeople rejected in protest in 1840.

The distinct rings mean clean glassware!
 Bush consulted with his brewmaster, experimenting with different ingredients and techniques, and finally hit upon using rice -- by a ratio of 1 lb of rice for every 21 lbs of barley -- as an adjunct to attain the flavor, texture, color, and characteristics that he sought. The beer was decoction mashed, and used a yeast strain imported from Bohemia. And, interestingly enough, at the time it was more expensive to use rice in place of barley -- it was used to provide the light color, body and flavor, not as a means to save money.

A few sips into a Creme or "Hladinka".