Wedding Beers

Well, it is summer and with it comes weddings.  This year, one of my good friends, Will got married to his longtime girlfriend Kaylie.  They decided to have a small wedding with family and to have a party to celebrate a little bit later in the summer.  Will has always been a very enthusiastic supporter of the brewery and my dream of opening it.

For their wedding reception, Will and I discussed making a couple beers to help them celebrate.  Will is fond of farmhouse styles, while Kaylie favors hop driven beers.

After spending an afternoon doing our research (aka. drinking a bunch of different beers and pinpointing what flavor profiles we should shoot for) I created some recipes for their wedding beers.

For Will’s beer, I targeted a hybrid of Boulevard’s Tank 7 and Duvel’s Tripel Hop with Citra.  I attempted a to make a grain bill that I thought was similar to what Boulevard does with Tank 7 and used Duvel’s Belgian yeast strain

Will’s Belgian Blonde one the left and Kaylie’s IPA on the right.

to give it a nice banana and light clove flavor.  In combination with a generous Citra dry hop addition, the beer was a nice marriage (pardon the pun) of a Belgian and American beer.

Kaylie is a fan of a big, bitter IPA.  While I am also a fan of these beers, I have been drawn more recently to the big tropical fruit hop profiles and have enjoyed experimenting with those.  So, as a compromise I started with a traditional bittering hop (Magnum) to provide a bitter punch in the beginning and finish, but added large hop additions of Citra and Mosaic in the whirlpool and a huge double dry hop addition of Citra, Mosaic, Amarillo, and Comet to build the tropical fruit notes.

The beers both turned out beautifully.  Additionally, this was Knotted Brewing’s first event for a larger group of people.  The feedback was very positive.  Thank you Will and Kaylie for allowing me to brew some beers to celebrate you two!  It was a fun project.

Next up, we have a lecture for the Knights of Columbus where I brewed a single beer and split the batch to showcase how yeast selection plays a critical role in the finished beer.  More on that later….

To see more pictures of the beer, check us out on Instagram at @knottedbrewing.

Questions?  Comments?  Want to say hello?

wes@knottedbrewing.com

Update on the Pliny Brew Day

 

 

Thanks for stopping back by!

A few weeks ago, I brewed my homage to Pliny the Elder from Russian River Brewing Company.  All went well with the brew day and now I am happy to report the beer is fully fermented and carbonated and resting happily on tap.

The beer came out at a pretty nice 7.09% ABV, which I was good with.  Most of the beers that I keg, I tend to prefer to be in the 7-8% range just because I tend to like to drink a couple beers a night and don’t want to regret the full pint pours the next day.

The beer came out very nicely, although it has some significant differences from Pliny the Elder.  The most notable difference in my opinion is the nose on it.  The pronounced hop character of pine and resin is muted quite a bit on my version.  My best guess on this is because of the hops I was using being different in terms of alpha acids and I did not do the calculations to balance the recipe versus what I had on hand.

I am actually O.K. with the diffences in the beers.  My intent with the beer was to be a nod to Pliny rather than a direct copy.  While I wouldn’t mind drinking Pliny that I brewed straight out of my taps, this is distinctively my beer.  I like the subtle differences.

I will take a better picture when the sun is out one of these days and repost.

Again, thanks for stopping by.  There will be more to come…

This is just a tribute…

In the words of Tenacious D, “This is just a tribute, you gotta believe me…”.

Bordering on a boil

After a recent trip to Sonoma County, my wife and I were lucky enough to get to try Pliny the Younger by Russian River Brewing Company.  Pliny the Younger is one of those holy grail type beers that any hop head vies for.  It did not let me down.  This triple IPA had no sign of alcohol heat and had a mellowness and roundness to it that makes a brewer shake his head.

As we were leaving (well, my wife was leaving and I was staggering) I grabbed a case of Pliny the Elder along with a growler of Apical Dominance and some Blind Pig and Supplication.  Pliny has always been a favorite of mine since the first time I had it.  It is a legend.  Not only is it the first double IPA (Imperial IPA), it is still a gold standard in a category that gets more and more crowded by the day.  The balance that Vinnie has achieved with Pliny the Elder is noteworthy.

As my case of Pliny started to dwindle, I began planning my own Pliny the Elder brew day. Vinny and Russian River have always been very supportive of the homebrew and craft beer community.  So supportive and confident of his skills he is, that he actually publishes the recipe for Pliny and openly shares the golden ticket with anyone who can brew.

Finishing Mash In

So, my brother, David and I woke up early to brew my homage to Russian River.  In an odd way, this brew day had its own challenges as I haven’t followed someone else’s recipe in a very long time.  Recently, my brewing has been recipes that I was making up and trying for the first time.  There is a certain complexity that comes with duplicating a recipe that is tried and true.

The weather cooperated long enough to let us get the beer finished and get a salmon smoked, but had to huddle in the garage and use the heat from the burner to warm us up a bit.

We did manage to have some coffee and a frittata courtesy of my wife.  Additionally, we had a couple samples of my last brew which was a hazy New England IPA with Mosaic, Citra, and Comet.  This one has the feel of a year round beer with a nice rounded mouthfeel and a nice tropical fruit and citrus rind taste and aroma.  It was a dangerous 9.32% ABV and tasted like a 6 percenter.  Color looks on point in this picture.  Shortly after, the keg kicked and I couldn’t get a picture of a full glass, but David’s picture does the color justice.  Below is a pic of my Hazy Double IPA.

Color On Point and Check Out The Haze!

Now the waiting game starts.  In the next 3 weeks, I should have a beautiful homage to Pliny the Elder on tap here at the house.  If you are in Kansas City, come by and have a taste.  If you are a ways away, let me know you want some and next time I will try to get it out to you.

Thanks for stopping by and checking out the site again. Thanks to David for taking a couple pictures as I don’t think about doing it during brew days. More to come…

 

What does coming soonish mean?

This brewery has been an idea since before my very first batch of beer was brewed.  This brewery became a passion for me when I started working at Mikerphone with people who were as passionate about beer and producing a product that was and is getting better batch after batch.  I like hauling grain up stairs, I like graining out.  Most importantly, I love the process of producing something to share with my friends and family that I am proud to say is mine.

Right now, recipe creation is the number one goal for the brewery.  To build a catalog of successful recipes, in my opinion, is an important first step.  While I will always be experimenting with hops, yeast and malt combinations, having a winning starting point helps.  So that means lots of homebrewing.

Most recently, creating a middle coast IPA was a priority for me.  The most recent unnamed double IPA I created met my standards.  I see a middle coast IPA as a nice balance of both West Coast and New England styles.  A subtle but present bitterness with huge dry hop additions (triple dry hopped in this case) and an “expressive” (ie. Hazy) yeast.  The hop combination of Citra and Mosaic is a tried and true winner.  The variant this time was Comet hop additions in the whirlpool and dry hopping stages.  Comet provided a little bit of grapefruit rind like notes in both smell and finish to the beer.  When added in the boil, it tends to impart spice and grassiness which wouldn’t have worked with this beer.  Finished pictures to come soon.

So what does coming soonish mean?  It means that I am starting the process of making product I am proud to share with Kansas City.  The next step in making that happen is getting unbiased opinions.  So, you will see me at beer festivals this summer with my beer in hand.  Stop by and say hello and let me know what you think.

More to come…

 

2017 Beer Under Glass

Me, Mike, and Brant at BUG 2017

Another Chicago Craft Beer Week is in the books.  This year, was my last living in Chicago.  I have always made it a point to attend Beer Under Glass (BUG).  For those unfamiliar with the event, it is the official kickoff of craft beer week.  A fairly large crowd of beer lovers gathers at Garfield Park Conservatory to try special releases from breweries involved with the Chicago Craft Brewer’s Guild.  With the exception of a few standouts, most breweries in the area attend the event and bring beer that was tailor made to impress the thirsty crowds.

This year, I had the privilege to get to pour with Mikerphone Brewing.  I have been working at Mikerphone for over a year and a half now on my days off from my full time gig.   This is the first event I have been able to take the time off to attend with Mike and Kyle and it didn’t disappoint.

At Mikerphone, we brew a variety of beer from Berliner Weisse to Imperial Breakfast Stout (perhaps the most well known Mikerphone beer, Smells Like Bean Spirit).  Of all the beer, the crowds gathering at Mikerphone tend to collect in higher numbers on the New England Style IPA and stout releases.  For BUG we brought 2 examples of each of those styles.  Mikerphone Check 1-2 (Double Dry Hopped New England IPA with Citra Hops), Super Duper Special Sauce (All Mosaic Triple Dry Hopped New England IPA), BUG Beer 2017 (Imperial Stout aged in Journeyman whiskey and honey barrels with blueberry added), and Milk Stout.

All of the beers were well received.  In fact, we were the first brewery to run out of beer.  The event started at 5:30pm for VIP and 6:30pm for general admission.  We had kicked all 4 kegs we had brought by 7:00pm and packed up shop to go enjoy some beers ourselves.

The standouts for me were from tried and true Chicago breweries.  Half Acre brought Galactic Double Daisy Cutter as in years past (including last year when I poured their beer).  The beer is one of the many standouts the brewery releases annually and is always highly anticipated by me.  The addition of Galaxy hops to the already remarkable Double Daisy Cutter recipe takes the beer up a notch by incorporating a tropical fruit smell and additional tropical notes and complexity in the beer.  Galactic Double Daisy is always a standout.

The other 2 breweries I enjoyed this year are sister brewpubs, DryHop Brewers and Corridor Brewery and Provisions.  Both operations are headed by Brant Dubovick.  Brant has always been extremely generous with his time and knowledge in the time I have gotten to get to know Brant over the last few years.  In fact, my gig at Mikerphone can be directly traced to Brant (more on that at a later time).  DryHop and assistant brewer Adrian, brought a fantastic Russian Imperial Stout, called Rocket to Russia, they brewed in collaboration with Piece Brewery and Pizzeria.  The drinkability of the heavy duty stout is remarkable and dangerous at 10% ABV (alcohol by volume).  Corridor, lead by new lead brewer Roger, brought a Simcoe Hopped IPA that was perhaps my favorite of the day.  Simcoe is a divisive hop with what is described as a catty character to the hop.

That’s my 2017 Beer Under Glass.  Thanks for reading.  Maybe I will see you there one of these years coming up.  Come say hi!

Where did that beer gut come from? Where is it going?

While the label currently says “Brewed in Chicago, Illinois”, it won’t for long.  Kansas City is my hometown and I am excited to bring Knotted Brewing to the place that made me who I am.  It has been a long time since I moved away, but Kansas City was always and will always be home.

After receiving my degree from the University of Missouri in 2006, I packed my car and moved to Jacksonville, Florida.  Between now and then, there were several moves.  From Jacksonville, I moved to Tampa (where I fell in love with Cigar City’s Jai Alai) and back to Jacksonville for work.

In July of 2012, I got the opportunity to get closer to my home in Kansas City by moving to Chicago.  Before that happened, during my time in Jacksonville, the city was starting to become a great city for craft beer.  Coincidently, I was experiencing my start on becoming a craft beer fanatic at the same time.

During my time in Jacksonville, a friend of mine decided to open what was the first craft beer focused store in what would become the Jacksonville “Brewery District” in the Riverside area.  Beer:30 was my first real dive into craft beer on a national scale.  Before opening the store, we decided we needed to try as many beers as possible in order to give our impressions of the various beers to customers.

Some early favorites were DogfishHead’s Burton Baton and Ballast Point’s Sculpin.  These two beers, while completely different, both provide an uncommon complexity.  Burton Baton showcases a beautiful distinctive malt bill and wood characteristics.  Balance and flavor are trademarks of a DogfishHead beer and Burton Baton is no exception.  On the complete opposite end of the spectrum of IPA is Sculpin.  While Sculpin does have a malt backbone that is slightly above most “West Coast Style” IPAs, it is light and only serves as a compliment to the hops.  The term “juicy” when describing hops, while slightly overused and vague, is what Sculpin is going for.  Sculpin is a pineapple, mango, clean and concentrated bitter beer.  Regardless of how many beers I drink, a fresh Sculpin is still a memorable experience.

IPA and American Pale Ale (APA) are still favorites of mine, as they are for many people.  These are the beers that I hope to showcase at Knotted Brewing.  I plan on covering everything from West Coast style (light malt body with big hop additions that provide bitterness and aroma) to New England style (“hazy” and flavorful yeast which compliment late hop additions which give an unmatched aroma and “juicy” mouthfeel).  It has been a blast playing with these styles and learning from successes and failures I have had with recipe development.  More on these experiments to come in future posts.

Thanks for taking the time to get to know me a little bit.  Until next time.  Cheers!

 

 

Thanks for stopping by!

Hello!

Thank you for visiting the future online home of Knotted Brewing. I am excited to brew, bottle, keg, distribute, and share my beer with each and every one of you…eventually.  We are a little ways off from that happening. Ok, a lotta ways off.  I believe in putting out the very best beer that I can possibly produce. To ensure that happens, I have a lot of learning to do.

While craft beer and homebrewing has been my passion for years now, I believe that to make the jump to professional brewing and getting a professional product, I should learn from professionals.  Lucky for me, I have a supportive community of friends here in Chicago who are professionals.  Not only that, they are some of the best brewers, working for or owning some of the best breweries I have ever had the opportunity to try.  More on each of them at a later time.

For now, I want to say thank you for your interest.  Keep an eye on this site for more info on my journey.