Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Upcoming Jersey City Oktoberfest events

I've been unable to locate any info on the Oktoberfest "parade" on Grove Street in JC, but in the meantime, here are a couple of things going on:

Through 10/27, Zeppelin Hall will be celebrating Oktoberfest with oompah bands, dancing, food, beers, etc... Haven't made it down there to see how often they're actually doing it up, but it's a nice space and worth checking out. It's pretty reasonable and the beers have been in good shape each time we've been down there.

From this Thursday, the 24th through Saturday, the 26th, Iron Monkey will have some Oktoberfest and pumpkin beers on tap with a six pour sampler available. The Monkey's a pretty cool spot, though definitely much smaller and more upscale than Zeppelin if you're looking to chow down.

And for some non-JC Oktoberfest news that completely blew my mind up, check out what's going on at the Milford Oyster House. This is a pretty serious hike from JC, but sounds freaking awesome. Oysters and a pig? And Oktoberfest beers? Ate here with R a few months back and it was excellent, so I would completely advocate checking this out if you have the chance.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Awesome new yeast strain

I haven't posted anything in a while because nothing terribly exciting has been going on. Although today I'm patiently awaiting a FedEx package with two unique White Labs vials inside.

Poking around on the White Labs site last week I noticed the High Pressure lager yeast (WLP925) that's listed by them as a professional strain. According to their instructions, you can use this yeast to produce clean lagers by fermenting the whole time under 15psi. Primary for one week between 62F and 68F, secondary for 3-5 days at 35F. Of course I got all hot and bothered when I read this and set about scouring the internet to find out how to get my hands on it.

Even though it's a professional only strain according to White Labs, I found it for sale at Midwest. So it's on its way today. When I'm ready to do another lager, I'll build up a starter and ferment in a corny keg with a shortened dip tube. This will allow me to maintain the 15psi necessary and leave the yeast and trub behind in the keg when I rack to the secondary (serving keg).

I've heard that some of the mega brewers are able to turn lagers around faster by fermenting warmer under pressure. When yeast are in a pressurized environment they produce fewer esters. We'll see how this experiment goes. If this turns out to be "the one", it could be a game-changer.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Who owns lime?

I've seen a few articles in the past couple of days about a lawsuit filed by A-B/InBev/Labatt and friends against a Canada's Brick Brewing Company over their Red Baron Lime product. There's no question that Bud Light Lime has been the greatest success story for A-B to hang their hat on in recent years - probably bigger for them than Blue Moon has been for Coors. In their terms they'd probably say that they're protecting their brand and their share of the market place. But make no mistake. This is a shot across the bow, definitely intended to scare any of the little guys out there who try to fuck with their shit (sorry for the language, I've been watching a lot of Kenny Powers clips lately).

The plaintiff's claims are twofold - that Brick is ripping off their label and design, and that their product is inferior and will somehow damage the reputation of Bud Light Lime. The latter is just ridiculous and really warrants no real consideration. People aren't stupid. They don't look at the shelf and think that A-B is responsible for every product they see (even though A-B would certainly love for that to be the case). Just like I can buy two different jars of salsa and decide to keep buying the one that I think tastes best, I can pick out which of the two lime flavored beers is superior. Or I can just keep moving - but that's another story.

As far as the design goes, as much as I hate to say it, maybe A-B has a case here:

It's definitely not blatant, but I have a hard time believing that the similarities are coincidental. And when you compare Brick's Laker Lager label and marketing designs to Labatt Blue, I think there's precedent.

You see, they're McDonalds, I'm McDowell's. They got the golden arches, mine is the golden arcs...