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Beer party idea: Fill up some kiddie pools!

June 06, 2011 By: mike Category: Oddities

Beer party - kiddie pools!

This past weekend, my brother Mark celebrated his 30th birthday, and we resurrected an idea for a party I helped host a decade ago.

The idea is simple: grab a few kiddie pools and fill ’em with ice. Invite your friends and have them each bring a six-pack of craft or import beer. Chill the beers in the pool and then pick and choose different beers all night.

My roommates and I used to have a beer party like this every summer a decade ago on McLean in Midtown and had a live band and something like 300 people at our house, which always drew the cops. It was nuts.

Turns out the last time we did this my brother was celebrating his 21st birthday. So nine years later, we did it again.

This one was a little more low-key, but it was a lot of fun. I brought a “tacklebox” mixer of 12 beers from Sweet Water Brewing Company, which went pretty quick. The pools had lots of Hefeweizens and summer seasonals and then a mix of other styles.

To whomever brought the Stone IPA and Stone Pale Ale, thank you! I had one of each, and they were delicious.

Beer party - pink poolThe FuzzyBrew crew surrounded the pink pool and claimed all its contents.

Beer party - What's in the poolBeers on ice.

Beer party - blue poolThe blue pool.

Serve an IPA with your venison

December 16, 2010 By: grant Category: Breweries, Cooking with beer, Craft beer, Memphis

A little while back I pulled out of the freezer nearly the last of last year’s bucky — four little morsel steaks. I let them thaw slowly in the fridge for a day or so before I was ready to cook them.

Here we have everything we need for a fantastic meal. If you don’t have a homebrewed IPA, Boscos IPA is awesome. It goes well with rare-cooked venison, as all venison steaks should be cooked.

Venison and IPA

The beginning

This meal would be made mostly on the grill. The exception is that I put the taters in the microwave on high for 8-10 minutes to move things along. I don’t want to waste my time grilling potatoes all night while staring at fresh bucky, not to mention that growler of IPA would be long gone by the time the taters were tender.

I pour some olive oil over the steaks and splash a little worchestershire over them, before chucking a bunch of fresh cayenne from the garden and diced garlic into the mix. I use way too much garlic to fool with fresh. Cover them up and give a shake to coat and leave out at room temperature while you prepare everything else.

The taters should be in the microwave by now. Pull the corn husks back and get rid of the silk. Rub with butter (I was out) or olive oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper and chuck some more garlic in there for good measure. Toss the potatoes on the grill. After a few minutes, put the corn on and turn every 5 minutes for 20 minutes. Move to the outside edges of the grill and put bucky on.

These steaks shouldn’t be on long. You want the outside to be nicely done, but not with too much heat, or your outsides will be tough and the inside too rare. Depending on how thick your steaks are, go for 3-5 minutes each side. Done. Let sit for a few minutes to let the juices recirculate and chow down.

Venison dinner

Now that's a meal

There’s good beer in Nashville grocery stores

November 16, 2010 By: mike Category: Craft beer, Travelin'

Beers bought at Harris Teeter

Just a portion of my haul from Nashville.

If you’re a Memphian who loves beer and you’re ever in Nashville, check out the selection of craft brews in Nashville grocery stores.

When I was there last week on a work trip, I took a side trip to the Harris Teeter grocery at 2201 21st Avenue South near Vanderbilt.

My friend Brad had recommended Harris Teeter as a good place for beer, and it was a total score. I snagged lots of beer you can’t readily find on Memphis shelves.

Here’s what I brought home for me and my fellow FuzzyBrewers:

• four 6-packs of Sweetwater IPA. (For some reason, I can’t find Atlanta’s Sweetwater beer anywhere in Memphis. The IPA is like an explosion of grapefruit. It’s amazing.)

• one 6-pack of Sweetwater 420 Extra Pale Ale.

• one 6-pack of Yuengling Porter. (Since Yuengling is headed to Memphis, I thought I should try more of Yuengling’s offerings. In Memphis, we can only get the Lager and the Black & Tan. I’d still like to try the Lord Chesterfield Ale.)

• one 6-pack of Starr Hill‘s Dark Starr Stout. (Starr Hill is a brewery in Charlottesville, Va., and I totally bought the beer after seeing the Grateful Dead-inspired label. But it’s quite tasty.)

• one 6-pack of Star Hill’s Festie, which is an Oktoberfest lager.

• one 6-pack of Fort Collins Brewery‘s Rocky Mountain IPA. (In Memphis, you can get tons of Fort Collins beer from New Belgium Brewing, i.e., Fat Tire, but not from the Fort Collins Brewery.)

More later from those of us at FuzzyBrew on what we thought about some of these beers.

Happy homebrew bottling fun time

October 25, 2010 By: grant Category: Homebrew, Memphis

Jeff bottles homebrew

Jeff brings the hammer down

FuzzyBrew and friends gathered in my kitchen last week to bottle two of the three batches we brewed a couple weeks ago. Jeff bottled his oatmeal stout last weekend, so we had left to bottle the brown ale and the Magic Hat #9 clone. Early in the day Mike bought another bottling bucket — this was necessary so each brew would have ample time to settle after being racked from the carboy.

This was especially important for the #9 clone — three pounds of apricot puree went into the beer for secondary fermentation and we wanted as little of it as possible ending up in the bottles. Excess apricot can go bad and continue to change the flavor of the beer over time.

We rack our beers from carboys with an autosiphon, an inexpensive little gadget that makes life so much easier. It takes one pump to get started and then will transfer the beer sans-hands. We use a sold-separately clip to hold the siphon in the mouth of the carboy.

We decided to rack the #9 twice — once to another carboy and then again to the bottling bucket. For the first racking, I started the siphon about halfway down the carboy, and as the level of the beer approached the end of the siphon, I would lower it an inch or two.

Essentially, I did this to better control at what level the siphon was pulling beer from. The carboy had a few inches of apricot on the bottom, and I wanted to make damn sure I transferred as little as possible to the second carboy. This worked better than expected. I saw no sediment transfer through the siphon — it’s the most-clear and light beer we’ve brewed yet. After close to three hours we transferred the beer from that carboy to the bottling bucket. We used a hop bag to filter any remaining apricot, but it was completely unnecessary. It tastes like it’s going to be pretty good.

While the #9 sat, we bottled Mike’s brown ale. It’s going to be fantastic. Can’t wait.

We also sampled the first bottle of Jeff’s Sublimely Self-Righteous ale clone, which we bottled a day shy of three weeks ago. Man o man, it’s going to be tasty. It hasn’t really carbonated much yet, but the malt and hops already present are magical.