I’ve already failed you at least three times today.  

For those three, I am forever sorry. For the countless amounts of times that I will continue to fail you in the future I can apologize for those too, right now, but that takes all of the fun out the future. According to most people, I’m allergic to fun but I didn’t think you were so I didn’t want to speak for you.


I can’t dictate a Dutch accent. That is to say: my Irish accent is pretty spot on, my Scottish accent game is also very strong, however, I can not really speak as if I’m a person from the Netherlands speaking in English to the people (you the people).


All I really wanted to do was to wish those of you with heritage within the Netherlands a Happy King’s Day (nee Queens Day AKA Konigsdag) and to let you know that we brought in a keg of La Trappe PUUR (a really lovely Trappist Blonde Ale with wonderful hop character) in order to help you feel like you’re back home in the Netherlands. That would be today. It’s on right now. And, we’ll have some great things to give away/things for you to wear/orange things that’ll help you celebrate. If you’d like to read more about KING’S DAY, please you to be clicking on the link that will take you to the learning.


My other failure is the fact that I’ve never, in my life, ever made a batch of homebrewed beer. Ever.


Ok, once. I had to just to say that I did.


In my past life I was a professional brewer for a decade before I moved here to accept the job of writing these emails once a week and I have to admit that I’ve never been a homebrewer (that is also me completely apologizing to any and all homebrewers out there that may be reading this: no, I never was steeped (pun intended) in making 5 gallon batches at my home for years on end (like most of you do), honing my hobby through fierce passion in order to some day turn that hobby into a profession – I was handed a brewery and asked to make it work – and for those of you that are brewing at your homes I applaud your dedication and well, the only real word for it is either passion or obsession and generally both are applicable).


That all being said there was a homebrewing competition a little while back and two homebrewers came out of the scrum as the ones on top. Since, their recipes have been brewed on a larger scale by 14th Star Brewing and it’s your turn to vote for which one you like the best. We will be tapping BOTH of them at 3 PM this FRIDAY and there’ll be ballots for you to fill out and please don’t draw on them as it doesn’t make it look like you’re taking it seriously when you doodle.


The two finalists are as follows:


  • Casey Leahy’s BALTIC PORTER: what makes a “Baltic” Porter a “Baltic” Porter is the fact that it was fermented with a Lager yeast. Usually, Porters are fermented with Ale yeasts but Baltic Porters are not. There’s a huge history lesson that I could unleash on you right now about why they are called Baltic Porters but I don’t want to bore you with talk about Seas and voyages. I’ll just let you know that it will be dark in color with a smooth body and favorable malt profile. The Alcohol By Volume of this beer is hovering in the 7.5% range.
  • Roland Maheux’s ALTBIER: medium-hued (basically considered “garnet” or “hickory” coloured) with a malty sweetness but crisp finish. Altbiers tend to go through a pretty extensive conditioning phase where the balance between the malts and hops are achieved and I expect that if this beer made it this far Mr. Maheaux took this into consideration and practice.



A little soapbox thought on these entries if I may: it’s interesting that both of the beers that made the biggest splash (PUNS!!!) at a homebrewing competition in Vermont aren’t IPAs or Double IPAs or something extremely hoppy that the state is known for as of late. I think that’s awesome. Also, I told you that I have experience as a professional brewer so that I can tell you (and that you’ll at least take my opinion into consideration as partly factual) that both of these beers take “next level” knowledge of the brewing process(es) and you’ll take my word for it or at least consider it as partly factual. A Baltic Porter or even using a Lager yeast is typically not something that homebrewers will venture into until they get REALLY into it because of the fact that Lager fermentation requires temperature control (all but California Commons or Dampfbiers) and most homebrewers won’t invest in that piece of the technology required. Also, Altbiers are seemingly easier to make than Lagers (Alt yeast is technically an Ale yeast that ferments at a warmer temperature and a little larger range in fermentation temperature) but in order to make a really GOOD one you have to basically make about ten OK ones to get to that good one and even then everything from the weather to your breakfast choice has to be on target. Also, I used to love to make the Altbier that I did at the brewery because the yeast that I employed for that beer allowed for such a dense head on the finished beer. From the tank itself I used to take samples and be able to balance a dollar coin on the top. Achieving balance in an Altbier is equally challenging since you’re supposed to have a certain malt sweetness but you can’t go too far. So, kudos to both of these gentlemen and I can’t wait to try them.


The other things that we need to talk about this week are your grades.






Get back on track. I love you.





Seriously, we should mention that Montbeerlier is next Saturday. Think about that.



We’re psyched. You should be as well.




The teasers will come soon, promise.



Until then (THIS is what I think about whenever anyone says or when I type “until then” and so should you),