Friday, November 5, 2010

Silly blogger navel-gazing + actual beer news

I try to stay away from tedious discussions of blogging and what it all means. A quick exception today as this guy has started a tempest-in-a-sampler-glass with a broadside on the value of beer blogging (posted to his beer blog, of course).

Yawn. Blog if you enjoy it, quit if you don't. Don't blog and expect to be compensated monetarily. I'm a professional journalist, and I certainly understand and appreciate the concept of being paid for one's work. But that involves writing for a publication conceived, owned and edited by someone else.

For most beer bloggers, their site is a chance to write something that is entirely their own. That has enormous value, even if it doesn't help one's bank account.

Now on to actual beer news:

Steamworks Brewing Co. has released their Spruce Goose Ale, a wonderful beer using spruce tips from forest land north of Durango. It's best when fresh, as the spruce tips give a delicious raspberry-like taste that recedes with time. It's also an expensive beer, especially in bottles, but entirely worth it. Spruce Goose is one of the very best beers brewed in Durango.

Steamworks also reports via Facebook that it is tapping a new beer today. Wanna Git Rye? is a rye pale ale that comes in at 6.5 percent ABV and 40 IBUs.

It sounds promising. To my taste buds, 40 IBUs is about the sweet spot when it comes to hopping pale ales. I'm eager to try this new beer and my old favorite, Spruce Goose.

Steamworks also will have a cherry vanilla stout on cask tonight.

Finally, Ska Brewing Co. has just put into barrels a new sour beer, according to its Facebook page (I sense a trend). Ska says:

"Our 3rd sour project is underway! 20 degree plato wort fermenting entirely in the barrels, 3 brett strains, 2 ale strains, lacto and pedio. To be blended and hopefully available in 2012 in time to toast the End of Days."

It sounds like an interesting experiment, to say the least. I think the danger in these types of beers lies in trying to do too much. The handiest example is Durango Brewing Co.'s 20th Anniversary Ale, which tried to be a Belgian golden, or a Brettanomyces-soured saison, or something. It ended up being muddled and indistinct.

Ska went the other way with Dementia, simply aging its dark, piney Euphoria, a heavy winter "pale" ale that is not at all pale, in bourbon barrels for a few months. It was then dry-hopped with Simcoes, and voila, out came Dementia. That was it. In my view, it's the best beer Ska has made in at least five years and quite possibly ever.

A final thought: I did not like Ska's first sour beer (cleverly named Ska Sour) because it was hopped to hell and back, and I thought the hops clashed nastily with the souring yeasts. Perhaps that's just one man's opinion, but I hope they dialed the Lupulin back a bit on this one.

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