So Dylan and I have a long standing tradition of picking on each other. So today, when I took his photo for the blog, I got this picture and a series of ten pictures of him moving too fast. It may be a bit hard to tell what he is doing here but I can tell you he isn’t flashing a gang sign. Nope. - Jake
Okay, well Dylan didn’t write his third post. It may be because he forgot. It may be because he is a dad and raising a kid apparently takes time. It may because I keep asking him to do a lot around the brewery. It may be because he can't stop watching sci-fi after work. It may even be because he went shopping and bought this new shirt. Actually, that wouldn’t be true as Joline bought this shirt for him.
So if you have been reading my blog and Dylan’s, you definitely have been wasting too much time and you may also have come to realize that Dylan and I are always trying to pull one over on the other. It most definitely started with me and since I am the only one that updates the internet, I thought I would write to you about him failing on his third blog update. This will only be up until he reads it (UPDATE: HE FOUND OUT HAD A GOOD LAUGH AND I DECIDED TO KEEP THE POST UP A BIT LONGER.) He is then going to call me immediately (UPDATED: HE WAITED UNTIL HE SAW ME) and probably send me a blog post (UPDATED: NO BLOG POST EITHER...SEE TITLE AT TOP OF PAGE). Which will probably give me trouble about something... which I will nicely delete and then post the cleaned up version on this site. I will probably add a few glowing things about myself as well.
Regardless, he may have taken the role of worst blogger ever from me. But he has done a bang up job at brewing our first beers with Mike. If you haven’t had the chance to taste the American Brown, it may be time to come down and visit us. The German wheat, the rye, the bitter and the best have all been doing very well. Maybe when you are down here you will see Dylan and try to take his picture because a guy like this should be famous and not like famous on a milk carton famous. He most certainly will pose very nicely for you without trying to conjure of the spirit of the bloods and the crypts.
Cheers to Dylan, he means no harm. In fact, he only means good. Drink his beer. Please. The more people that drink his beer directly relates to how many new shirts Joline can buy for him. What’s up with this new shirt not being plaid anyway.
Besides, it’s not like he really has anything on me. My mom bought my last new shirt for me.
Well, Jake has his 'hundred days' and as such he's going to be blogging a lot. So I says to myself, 'self'- 'you probably should blog more'. And so in a fit of very ill advised promising I'm going to commit myself to a new and exciting blog project that I'm calling "XtremeCivility" where I will be blogging 3 days in a row.
Perhaps you think me insane.
The first and most difficult task when blogging is to figure out what the heck your topic is. In my case the topic is simple- Beer. And yet in simplicity lies complexity; and in complexity - simplicity. Or so would say the Sphinx. So there you have it. Beer is simple and complex. But these are mere abstractions for philosophers and meta-bloggers. What I'm all about is much more plaid than all that. And to that end I'd like to answer a question that has been put to me a lot over the last 5 weeks and that is "which beer (Civil Life's) is your favorite?" Surely a handsome blogger such as me can answer such fine a question.
But you know what? I can never do it. Its a really hard question since I find beer so relevant to the moment and normally when asked I'm on the clock and counting those precious minutes before I can partake of the barley goodness. Usually what happens is this.... as we're winding down the shift and I've picked my trusty mug, I amble (I'm fantastic at ambling) over to the taps and a split second later I make my choice - and that choice is really automatic. I do the 'my mother told me to pick the very best one and you are it!' thing and poof! I'm drinking! And then I'm thinking - is this beer where it needs to be- flavor wise?
So far we've been moving through beer so fast that the answer to that is a resounding 'yes' and I can rest easy. I try to have a sip of everything to ensure all is well and then I sometimes take a growler home. AHHHH HA! So Mr. Mosley! You take a Growler HOME DO YOU! That sounds like a FAVORITE to ME! Ok. You got me.
I do actually think that things you take home must be favorites otherwise why would you take them? Well I have an easy out on that one too! Joline usually requests something and I take that home. Last time it was the Wheat and before that it was the Bitter.
But as a final note, and promise you won't tell- its between you, me, and the internet, that Brown beer is pretty good.
Picture taken on our parade route as we made the final turn down Holt street. (Thanks to Justin at Stlhops.com.)
Ha! You didn't think I could do it did you!? Well, its here. Blog II. Day II. And now, for the hard part. A topic. Well, lucky for me Jake has given me that!
Today we (me) will tackle the underbelly of what we learned jumping from home brewing to the big top. The joes to the pros. The Pet Rock to Mount Rushmore.
Firstly we learned that homebrewing is cheap and professional brewing is darned expensive. Actually, expensive isn't really the right word, (neither is 'darned') more like "financially crippling". But everything worth doing takes some effort so we'll not dwell on that. The phrase 'it takes money to make money' applies....
Anyway, Homebrewing is as awesome as Big Time Brewing, but there really are some big differences other than scale....as we have found out over the past year. We brewed in my basement on a 10 gallon system made by Sabco, which is a keg servicing company out of Toledo Ohio. Our Homebrew rig was (and is) very fancy and made some pretty good beer. It would normally take about 20-26 lbs of grain per batch, a few ounces of yeast, and depending on the beer around 8-12 ounces of hops as well. Brew day was about 6 hours and included either a trip to Mom's Deli (up the street from my house) or some grilling in the yard while refereeing our dogs. Oh, and many games of Risk and Darts. This is what homebrewing is all about.
Brewing down at The Civil Life is pretty different despite the fact that the processes really are largely the same. We still use the same products from the same companies but the difference in quality seems to have taken a step up. Why? Well, as a homebrewer we'd usually have lots of open bags of malt around soaking up ambient humidity, hops fending off freezer burn, yeast vials that were fresh but small and therefore often barely up to the task, and a water filter that would filter 12 gallons of water in about the same amount of time that it takes my 1984 Volkswagon to warm up in the winter. On top of that, its kinda easy to say 'I'll do it tomorrow' when you don't really want to go back down to your crappy basement. Now don't get me wrong- our homebrew really did turn out well and it was a lot of fun, but man I'll tell you what its awfully nice having bigger fancier equipment that will make 600 gallons of beer in the same amount of time....
And to that effect, what we've experienced at The Civil Life has been overwhelmingly positive. Our grain mill zaps our malt into perfectly milled grist wicked fast (no more noodle arm!), our auger takes it to the mash tun without Mike flinging dust in my face, our Mash tun has an automatic rake (ok, it still needs some work) that mixes our malt and hot water, our boil kettle gets a raging boil and our Fermenters maintain exact temperature. When you add in that we are using malt super fast, our yeast is shipped overnight, and we have a food saver for our hop pellets we have nearly perfect brewing opportunities.
Now I'm not poo-pooing homebrew at all. In fact you really can make world class beer in your basement. The big difference between our homebrew escapades and our wading into the realm of professional brewing is that now we have our processes better managed, our tools are more up to the task, our ingredients are at an all time high, and we don't have 3 dogs doing the hokey pokey during knockout.
All of this is to say that I'm really excited about our new brewing venture. We are finally able to take our recipes and get the most out of them and share them with you proudly. Our equipment provider Premier Stainless really did a great job with our equipment, and Adler did a great job showing me and Mike the ropes. I kept asking where the "make beer" button was during installation.... somehow it never got a laugh.
Sarachi Ace hop thingys swimming in the wort.
In the immortal words of Jim Anchower, "Hola, Amigos. Its been a long time since I rapped at ya". This is an understatement. So lets find out whats been going down at the Civil Life....
Well, I'm pleased to announce that we've brewed two new beers which will be pouring at a tap near you (if you live near the brewery) in the next couple of weeks. The first is a one-off for the Fresh Hop fest at Schlafly coming up on Oct 22. The hop this year was Sorachi Ace which according to my computer was developed by Sapporo as a bittering hop. Also according to my computer Sorachi Ace is misspelled. What does it know. It was decreed by the beer gods that we brew a Black Beer with said hops and there was much rejoicing.
What’s Black Beer you say?
And I say, Black Beer is not a stout, and its not a porter, and yet it has a lot in common with both. Its a little subjective, but when you taste it I hope you'll get my drift. We used a new malt on this one too, Caramel Rye, which is a pretty neat malt from one of my all time fave Maltsters - Thomas Fawcett. I'm really looking forward to this beer and despite the fact that it won't be brewed again it was nice to have this one in the books because we now have a bit more of a base line when we brew our Stout.
The second brew was a Scottish Style Ale which should end up with a pretty solid hop aroma which is not the norm for the style. We've worked on this beer a lot over the past couple of years and its really satisfying to get at it in the brewery! I'm getting a lot of mileage out of the fact that our highest abv beer is our German Wheat, and our Scottish Ale is one of our hoppiest.
Oh, and we re-brewed the American Brown and the German Wheat as they are getting scarce around our cooler and not having these beers around would put a dent in my drinking style.
Here's to drinking our beer! Thanks a lot!
Dylan Mosley is the Civil Life’s Brewer. He is also responsible for changing out the pirate flag every 8 months. His annual compensation package here is directly related to the amount of time his beard is a minimum of two inches long.