Febrewary Homebrew Crawl 2013 – preparations

A good bunch of my friends (including Me and Dan) like to brew our own beer.

The past two years in February, we had our own home brew competition. We all came together and set up a brew crawl across the town of Lancaster. A majority of the participants live in Lancaster city so it was pretty easy to hop from house to house. Brewers that don’t live in town just match up with someone who does, giving us a lot of brews to taste!

I’ll post some of the past years beers in a few days, but for now I just wanted to share some of this year’s preparations from Dan and Marisa’s House!

We tried to brew a brown ale this year. It turned out to be a not-quite-brown-ale. Brewing got a little interesting as we discovered we did not have a pot large enough to hold this all grain batch. We rigged something up and got it done… we steeped it in the cooler… monk was a little worried about it. I wrote a post about brewing this batch back in November – check it out for the dog biscuit recipe.

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If you have been reading this blog you probably know that I love to make pickles. I’ve been playing with the idea of making pickles with hops in them for a while now. I tried several batches with different hops. I finally found one that is AWESOME! I used cascade hops steeped in the brine.

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I believe they came out quite delicious. I can not wait for the home brew crawlers to try them!

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I will even admit, the cascade hops were so good steeped in the pickle brine that I ate a few right out of the pot. I can not say the same for some of the other varieties of hops.

I also had this idea to pickle some carrots in the hop brine… it was a great idea.

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I ended up with two pickle varieties for the brew crawl:

Cascade Garlic Hop Pickles

Centennial Dill and Garlic Hop Pickles

I haven’t tried the dill batch yet so I hope they are good!

I also made a new soda…

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Wild Huckleberry Honey Ginger Ale

I used wild huckleberry creamed honey that I found at a beautiful winery in California and fresh ginger. I am fermenting it with champagne yeast so it’s nice and bubbly. I know it’s not beer but I really like to experiment and make new things like this… it is fermented so I think it fits… and when else am I going to get to test it out on this many tasters?

I’ll let you know how the 3rd annual home brew crawl goes. I am sure there will be some awesome home brews. There are two ribbons awarded: one chosen by the official judge and one chosen by the voting crawlers.

Walking around town in the crisp febreway air, tasting good beer, all in good company… I think everyone is a winner during this event!

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Beer Taste: Summer Love

Dan really loves beer, which is probably why I really love beer. We are always on the look out to try something new. I am all about tasting new things-  so I never get too disappointed when Dan wants to find local breweries or restaurants with extensive beer lists when we go places. I’m not a beer expert or anything, but I do like what tastes good and I’ll try anything. I’ll be giving you my opinion and some basic info about the beers I feature on here.

Let’s get started…

I’m starting my beer reviews with one of my favorites beers appropriate for the season: Summer Love from Victory Brewing Company. Summer Love was once only available at the brewery in the summer, but it is now conviently available in bottles this year… and often served in my backyard.

I first tried this beer during a brewery visit with a few of my girlfriends. I am pretty lucky because the brewery and brew pub aren’t too far from where I live.  It’s a great spot to catch up with some of my college buddies that live scattered over central PA. I am also pretty lucky that my college girlfriends like great beer.

Summer Love is a light ale with bright and clean flavors. Grassy and Lemony, it’s everything a summer beer should be. It looks like a pilsner when you pour it but it definitely has the bolder flavors of an ale. It’s lightly hopped with American and German whole flower hops. It starts off light and finishes with a little hop kick you can taste at the back of your tongue. The ABV is 5.2%, not terribly high- making it a good beer to choose if you are going to be barbecuing all afternoon.

This beer is part of the “With Love, Philadelphia XOXO” campaign. So if you are from afar and you are visiting Philadelphia, you’ll be able to find it all over the city this summer. Or you can pick up a case! It’s Perfect for summer outdoor gatherings, packing in a cooler, tailgating, baseball games, and beach going.

I am currently planning my wedding right now and I am always on the lookout for food, drinks, and fun things that I could include in the party. I would love to feature this beer at the bar. How often is there a local beer with love in the name that I love to drink? I know it’s a little bit kitschy or cute… but I think this beer will make the cut.