Thoughts on beer styles (1)

There are about a bazillion different styles of beer.  Even the big-name beer-competition organizations can’t quite agree on how many, but it’s “a lot”.

So, as our little brewery gets off the ground, people ask how many different kinds of beer we make.

To start, there was one.  Our first beer that got friends & family taste reviews coming back as “hey, this is pretty darned good stuff” was our “Dirty Blonde” ale.  So we worked on perfecting that; it’s pretty good — plenty good to share with others and offer for sale — but there may be additional tweaks as we perfect it.

Sidebar:

There’s a big fad going on in California (the whole West coast?) to make ever-hop-ier beer.  You’ve got your double hopped, your triple hopped, your hop-zilla, your mega-hoptocious, etc.

I like hops, but I’m not a huge fan of this trend, personally.  It reminds me of the “Texas Firehouse Chili” contests where you can’t taste anything but fire.  Maybe that’s enjoyable for some, but it’s not “chili”, in my book.  Same thing with hops & beer.  I like to taste some malt — perhaps a variety of malt flavors — maybe more than one kind of hops, etc.  So we’ll get around to making our version of “betcha never had beer this hoppy before” eventually, but our early focus is going to be on balance.

I mention this because, in an effort to not-over-hop our beers, “Dirty Blonde” Ale — so called because it’s just a little-oontz darker than traditional Blonde Ale — revision “B2” ended up a tad under-bitter.  It’s still actually pretty good, and most people’s comments mention that they like the sweetness and the malt-forward flavor, “…but it doesn’t taste like I expect a Blonde Ale to”, and that’s fair.  So B3 will likely turn the hops-knob back up just a smidge to get things back in-range for the style.  In the mean time, we’re sitting on a few cases & kegs of “tastes a little like a beer/mead mixture” DBA.

Ok, enough of that rant (for now!)…

Then there was our porter.  That was a hit from the start but, with each batch, we kept making small changes and it just kept getting better.  Now it’s in a pretty solid place where I’m quite proud to offer it up as Pretty Purple Porter (#5).  I’ve got one small substitution in mind for the next batch, and my intent/hope is that it turns out tasting pretty much the same, with maybe “…but a tad more-so”.

We also have an American Pale Ale that has undergone a couple of iterations.  It’s not my favorite.  It’s fine beer, just not a style I’d reach for first — especially not if I had some PPP around — but a lot of people like it, and I can see how it might be a decent Summer beer.  There was also an earlier <ahem> “not exactly as intended” — including being not-quite 3% ABV — batch that I was going to dump, but several of my QA team (family & friends taste-testing) said it was actually pretty good, and compared favorably to mega-brewery beers.  (Example comment: “It’s like a Bud Lite, but better.”  While not at all the taste I was going for, I think that’s a compliment, especially since it came from a person who preferentially orders BL. 🙂 )  There’s a tiny bit of that left, which I’m calling our first “session” beer (low ABV intended to be drunk during the work day), but the other — our Jefferson APA — is what we’ll be making more of.  (Jefferson APA came in at just over 5%, btw.)

So that leaves us with about a bazillion minus three more things to try.  I like experimenting, I like making beer, I like trying new things, so we’ll eventually get around to a little of almost everything.  But we’re pretty small, and don’t have a lot of spare storage (or time!), so it’s going to be slow going at first, with our focus on making more high-quality batches of the stuff we already offer, while trying to get some new recipe to the point where we can taste-test it on people and get strong feedback.

And there are a gazillion fads!  Sours are a trendy thing right now.  I’m not a huge fan, but I know a lot of people like them, so we’ll end up making some eventually.  But I’m not going to try to push something that I don’t like, so it’ll take a bit of both recipe tweaking and me developing a taste for the style before we have something ready.  (Later, I’ll do a whole post on sours — I have opinions! <G>)

Anyway, so that’s where we’re at: a decent APA, a pretty solid Blonde and a darned-good Porter, with more to come.

I want to make a super-crisp lager — but that’ll have to age* for a while — and I’m still trying to sort out our first stout recipe.  Plenty of “pretty good”, but I kind of want our first stout to knock people’s socks off.  We’ll see how far we get on that!

More news as is happens.  Stay friendly, my thirsts…!

* “Lager” is from the German for storehouse.  In the context of beer, barrels are set in a cool place to age.

1 thought on “Thoughts on beer styles (1)

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