Man, it's been a while since I've posted an entry. I've been prioritizing other stuff and just generally blog-lazy. Here's a summary of what's been rolling around in my head lately.
Free State. Now that they have their larger brewhouse open and brewing their stock beers (Ad Astra, Copperhead, etc), they're dedicating their older, smaller brew house to their more specialty stuff. We've headed out to Lawrence more frequently as a result and have not been disappointed. They recently had a Vienna Lager which I highly enjoyed, and may still have their Vortex Red on tap. It's a hoppy American Amber style that reminds me a lot of Rogue's Santa's Private Reserve. Anyway, Free State keeps putting out solid, high-quality beer and I'm excited to see what'll happen to them when their beer becomes available in bottles next year. If you don't get their newsletter, sign up for it now.
Barley's is putting on their last Beer School of the year. It's $15 this time around, but you'll get to hang out with sensory specialist Lauren Salazar (of New Belgium) and hear her talk about, well, sensory analysis of beer.
With all the "Christmas beers" out these days, I've found myself still gravitating toward the Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome just because it's such a good beer. It's an Old Ale, just one of several styles breweries do for their seasonal release. Other breweries may do an American Amber, Scotch Ale, Winter Warmer, or something entirely different like a Belgian IPA. So keep in mind that when you see something labeled as "Winter" or "Christmas", find out what style it is; you may not be getting a beer you expect.
The meads are coming along nicely. The dry mead and braggot are now 4 months old and improving in taste with each month. They are pretty good now, but still taste young. I've learned a few things since my original batches, especially regarding adding nutrients and aerating. While I did the step nutrient additions for all my batches, I've since learned that the timing on them has much less to do with actual timing (e.g., every 24 hours for 3 days after pitching) and everything to do with the progression of alcohol production and what your gravity is relative to both the starting and target final gravity. I'm still figuring out a couple of things but hope to do a post on everything I've learned as I've found the information in a combination of sources.
That's about it for now. I have more on my mind but have to run - life never stops, even when there's beer.