Lounge One-Eleven

For when you're cold, wet, and alone

Summer of Happy
School has started once again and for a moment it seemed like the good times were coming to an end.  But here we are, end of September, and just had fantastic weather this weekend.  With both kids riding their bikes and the sun we've let them run loose out front to play with the neighbourhood kids.  Great news for me to chill out front with the Kindle and a homebrew.  But all good things must end eventually.  The days are already noticeably shorter and a chill is invading the crisp mornings.  

All in all it has been a good summer, no small feat in Ireland.  We had camping, we had Spain, we had weekend trips, we had Edinburgh for my 40th.   And while it was windy and sometimes wet, all in all the weather didn't get in the way.  Due to all the activities I actually ran out of homebrew and had to turn to commercial.  Unheard of and quickly remedied!

HBC kits are becoming my staple for a guaranteed tasty brew and they have a lot of nice, light varieties which suit the good weather.  With winter looming, it is time to think about my own recipe for a Marzen or Dunkel followed quickly with the next Xmas hooch.  I've got loads of mulled wine spice sachets from last year so hoping those will give my brew that holiday zing.
posted @ 9/21/2014 10:27:33 AM | comments(5)
Dark Days

What started with such promise back in May gave way to the wettest summer in 100 years.  It’s the 1st of September and with school back in session its clear autumn is on the way.  So I have to ask summer, “Was that it?”

Dark days have cursed a few of my brews as well.  My Christmas ale and a few others just didn’t come out as well as they should.  I’m not sure what the problem is and my interest has waned a bit so I'm thinking of doing more kits.

Still summer wasn’t all bad.  Back in May, when the summer had such promise, we took the family back to Spain.  We’ve been in this area a few times before but with the kids older and being able to do more we had the best family holiday so far.  I contented myself with inexpensive bottles of Grimbergen, Judas, and Leffe.  We also had 3 camping trips around Ireland using our new roof box to build a palatial campsite.  After a rainy start at Battlebridge in Leitrim, we had excellent trips and cooperative weather in Westport and Dingle.  The one thing about living in Ireland is when the weather is good, you take advantage of it.  Snatch a bbq or a walk and never waste a sunny day. 

I mentioned the last time and friend and I were to do a tasting of the world’s best beer Westvleteren 12.  We had a great night tasting my favourite Rochefort 10 and my friend’s favourite St. Bernardus 12.  All in all we couldn’t agree on the winner but both agreed the Westvelteren lacked a sophistication which may come with aging.  We both have bottles we’ve put away for a future taste test.

I should also declare a new found appreciation for Affligem Blode ale.  I never knew how seriously to take this beer as it was seemingly being discontinued and inexpensive when I first encountered it.  However, I’ve come to recognize it as being a fantastic Belgian blonde far superior to Leffe Blonde.

Well, that’s it for now.  Enjoy the dry, crisp days of fall as the dark days of winter are upon us.

posted @ 9/1/2012 10:11:23 AM | comments(3)
Spring Has Sprung

And like a trap, so did lent.  Cutting back in brewing and consumption in the New Year thus far.  That said a new season with the promise of sun and fair weather inspires images of bitters in the garden and weiss while camping with the family.  Speaking of weiss, my dunkel got unexpected accolades.  An attempt to recreate with different ingredients lead to a non-wheat porter, also good.  New ingredients to recreate the former have arrived from my new Irish supplier.  Now to just find the time to see if I can recreate the masterpiece.

Speaking of masterpieces, an unusual and expensive opportunity came to obtain the coveted holy grail of beers, Westvleteren 12.  Considered by some the best beer in the world aged bottles are sometimes sold for prices reserved for wine.  The rarity adds to the mystique as these beers are only sold in person at the abbey or at the cafe across the road.  Due to a reconstruction project these Trappist beers are available for a mere €10 a bottle for a limited time.  We are set to do a comparison to Rochefort 10 and St. Bernardus 12.  It should be quite a night!

posted @ 3/4/2012 4:31:30 AM | comments(0)
So.... that was it?

I write this on the last day of August wrapping up what the news calls the coolest summer in 20 years.  There wasn’t exactly a lot of lounging with a bitter on a sunny day in the back garden but there was plenty of camping, activities, and a myriad of things crossed off various lists.  You know you’re having fun if you’re tired.  I’m sad to see summer end but am ready to hibernate for the winter as the cold is already threatening to return. 

And so a day passed and it is now September.  Logan has just had his first day of school.  The forecast for the weekend?  Rain.  Bring on autumn!  Indeed it is time to start planning for a Belgian dubbel with gobs of dark Belgian candi sugar.  I have been meaning to formulate this recipe for ages and I think it's time has come.  This year maybe another porter should be attempted along with my traditional holiday warmer.

Of course it’s not all fun and games with the homebrew.  The Fate of the Crate Disaster saw half a batch crash down on the landing when my crate cracked and fell asunder.  An unmitigated disaster of wasted beer, shards of glass, and fears of a ruined carpet and ceiling below saw a day-long clean up operation.  But the mess was cleared and better crates have been procured from a pub to avoid a repeat.  The brew must go on!

posted @ 9/1/2011 11:49:45 AM | comments(3)
Bring It On

The sun is returning and daylights savings has kicked in meaning longer days and the promise of warm days outdoors ahead.  In preparation I have finally brewed my L1-11 IPA heavily featuring Armarillo hops.  With the sudden rise in price of commercial favourite Duvel I surprised myself when the last batch of Belgian ale ran dry.  I must have been doing something right!

The order has been placed and more malt is on the way as I plan to step up my game in 2011 to beat my measly score of 7 brews last year.  Time is also back on my side so there should be a few more opportunities to brew.  I have finally given my business to an Irish homebrew shop which looks up to competing with my regular UK superstore.  I have high hopes this could be the start of a beautiful relationship allowing me to make smaller orders throughout the year allowing for greater consistency and fresher ingredients.

posted @ 4/17/2011 1:43:24 AM | comments(8)