From the Brewmaster
You are cordially invited to join us for the release of our newest limited release offering here at the Pearl Street Brewery! We will open up at 4:00 and the Brewmaster will preform the tapping at 5:00. Show up early and get a seat! We’ll be doing it up Pearl Street Brewery style with live music, food, laughter, prizes, much fanfare & some shenanegins.
The Smokin’ Hemp Porter is an original creation from Brewmaster Joe, who combines smoked barley malt, and toasted Canadian hemp seed to create a truly delicious masterpiece! Can’t wait! While your here, make sure to take full advantage of the free pint glass deal – Buy a pint of the Smokin’ Hemp Porter in a special addition pint glass for$5 and you keep the S.H.P. pint glass!!! That will, undoubtedly be a handsome addition to your collection at home. AND, if that’s not already cool enough, fill up your growler, and you will also get a chance to win a free Pearl Street hoodie. You win that and you’ll be struttin’ around lookin’ good at the Bandit County Fair!
Evil Doppleganger Double Mai Bock. “Evil Doppleganger”, (“evil twin” in German) is the Brewmaster’s latest creation! The Maibock style is a pale version of a traditional bock. It is a fairly recent development compared to other styles of bock beers, frequently associated with springtime and the month of May. Typically, the alcohol content in maibocks ranges from 6.3% to 7.4% by volume. Since “Evil D” is technically a dopple – or double – maibock, it’s alcohol content is 8%. The flavor is malty, and is slightly hoppier than a maibock, but still has a relatively low hop flavor, with a mild spicy or peppery quality from the hops. It is a clear lager, deep gold in color, with a large, creamy, white head.
This LIMITED Release is MAY 1ST.
Stop down to The Tasting Room 12-7 and try it. Dox Phonic will be playing LIVE for your enjoyment. Available for ONE DAY ONLY – The Big Package Deal. Buy a growler fill of the Evil Doppleganger and a pint and get a souvenir pint glass for keeps.
Every day when I arrive or depart from the brewery, I check out the hops that grow up on the front porch each summer. They sprout from the ground and day-by-day, wind up on to the deck and over the railing. They bud out and begin to flower in the hot summer sun. Today, they are starting to mature. The cones are elongating, the bracts have turned a pale green and the lupulin glands are a daffodil yellow. The delicious aroma is beginning to waft through the air.
Hops are a small genus of flowering plants native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. The female flowers (often called “cones”) of Humulus lupulus are known as hops, and are used as a flavoring and stabilizer in the brewing of beer, but also in culinary instances, mainly due to the medicinal properties of the plant. Hops are used in herbal medicine as a treatment for anxiety, restlessness, and insomnia. A pillow filled with hops is a popular folk remedy for sleeplessness. The hop is one of the two members of the family Cannabaceae, which also includes the genus Cannabis (hemp).
The first recorded reference to hops was by Pliny the Elder in his Naturalis Historia. The first documented instance of hop cultivation was in 736 (yes, the year 736 A.D.), in the Hallertau region of present-day Germany, although the first mention of the use of hops in brewing in that country was 1079. Hops quickly replaced a wide variety of other spices and herbs that were being used in brewing. Today, and for hundreds of years now, virtually every beer made on Earth is brewed with hops. Beer without hops is like pizza without the cheese. It’s like the Doors without Morrison or like Harold Melvin without the Blue Notes.
Hops are native to many parts of the northern hemisphere on each of the continents. Separate cultures that have never even crossed paths or spoken the same language have somehow independently come to the conclusion that hops are the sole plant to be used to “spice” beer. Nobody anywhere is arguing this essential truism. The Germans even made it a law. The question that I often ponder is “why hops?” I mean, why did hops become the plant used to brew beer? Why not sage or basil or lemongrass? It’s true that hops have a preservative or antiseptic quality, but so do a wide array of other common plants like cloves and ginger.
What is it about this plant that has drawn in so many cultures over so many centuries? I mean the other basic ingredient in beer (besides water) is often barley. Such is the case here at the PSB. But, any and every grain known to man has without a doubt been used to brew beer. Corn, rice, wheat and rye are just a few that are very commonly used in beer production today and throughout history. To each their own, if it makes good beer then brew with it is the attitude towards grain. Yet beer must have hops.
I think the intrinsic value of hops can’t be measured by any tool of modern man. Hops’ closest relative, cannabis sativa, has also been used throughout history for medicinal and spiritual purposes. This is a major clue. It’s certainly no small coincidence. Do hops possess spiritual healing powers?
Perhaps we can discover the spiritual powers of hops by looking at its only true relative on this planet: cannabis.
Let’s take a look at the word cannabis. Ever wonder what it means? Cannabis is a Greek word, though its root is African. In Greek, canna means ‘canine’ or ‘dog’ and bis or bi is the number two. So cannabis is the two dog plant! That in itself is interesting. But there’s more….much more.
There is a tribe in Mali, West Africa called the Dogon tribe. A fairly well-documented group, the Dogons were first documented by Herodotus, a Greek travel writer, around 300 BC. He was fortunate enough to have visited the Dogons during a year-long celebration that took place every 50 years. When he asked these people why they were celebrating, the Dogons pointed to the brightest star in the winter sky, Sirius, and said it was the ‘Two-Dog Star’ and explained that it was the home of the ‘two-dog plant’, cannabis. The two-dog plant, they said, was brought to our planet from the Goddess from the Two Dog Star. Their year-long celebration was in honor of the Two-dog Star.
All of this would be easy to dismiss as if not for the fact the Dogons possessed specific knowledge about the Sirian system for thousands of years before scientists with modern telescopes and equipment could catch up and prove them right. The Dogons had specific knowledge about Sirius B, a white dwarf star, which they call Po Tolo. They knew that it was white, that it was extremely small, and that its the heaviest star in its grouping. They were able to describe its elliptical orbit with Sirius A, its 50 year orbital period, and the fact that the star rotated on its own axis. Sirius B is invisible to the naked eye and is so difficult to observe, even through a telescope, that no pictures were taken of it until 1970.
They also described a third star in the Sirius system, which they called Emme Ya. In 1995, when two French astronomers published the results of a multi-year study that was apparently a small, red dwarf star within the Sirius star system, the Dogon idea of there being a Sirius C, aka Emme Ya, was suddenly taken much more seriously. If the Dogons were correct in all of their other knowledge about Sirius, why would they not be dead on with their claims of cannabis being from Sirius. It is, after all, named after that “Two-Dog Star’
The Dog Star was revered in ancient Mesopotamia, where its old Akkadian name was Mil-lik-ud (Dog Star of the Sun) and in ancient Babylonia, where it was called Kakkab-lik-ku (Star of the Dog). The Assyrians called Sirius Kal-bu-sa mas (the Dog of the Sun) and in Chaldea, it was known as Kak-shisha (The Dog Star That Leads)
So what does this all have to do with hops? Well, as I mentioned, hops are not only related to cannabis, but the two sister plants have no other relatives on the planet. Some say the Hackberry is related to hops, but that is a stretch since it is a tree. Most families of plants on Earth have many, even hundreds of siblings in the family. That is very curious. Perhaps the Dogons folks are right. Perhaps hops are a direct descendant of a plant brought to us from another planet. How can you argue with people that have a year-long party?
I think it’s time to ponder this over another Pale Ale.
Bock beer is an ancient Germanic beer style. The original Bocks were dark beers, brewed from high-colored malts. Modern Bocks can be dark, amber or pale in color. Bock was traditionally brewed for special occasions, often religious festivals such as Easter or Lent. Traditional bock was a favorite for the Roman Catholic monks during lent. Bock beer also means that Springtime is right around the corner! Bock beer has morphed into many variations over the millenia. One favorite of mine is the Mai Bock, or May Bock. This version is lighter in color and slightly drier, or less malty than a traditional bock. The beer now resting in my fermenter is a Mai Bock, or more like a Double Mai Bock, as I decided not to skimp on the crystal malts and that delicious maltiness that comes with them. It comes in at 7.5% ABV. For hops, I used German Perle for bittering and finished with French Strisselspalt.
The name? Evil Doppleganger!
Join us Friday, May First at the Tasting Room and see how this year’s Spring seasonal turned out! Come taste the Evil Doppleganger! We open at 4:00. Since there will only be a few kegs, this limited release beer will only be on tap at the brewery. Prost!
…and the weather is nice! You may have heard, we have brewed up a special beer to celebrate the season. Oktoberfest Harvest Ale is now on tap at the brewery! See the last blog….we picked fresh, raw hops from the porch to use in this beer. We also used some tasty malted barley. Allie will be here servin’ with a smile today and Saturday at Noon. Bring your out of town friend s to see the brewery.
The Fest grounds will be rockin’ hard all weekend. PSB is on tap with DTB, Pale and Lucky Logger Lager out in the beer garden. Entertainment is good this year at the Fest -check out the schedule.
We are working on a new interactive website where our beloved friends can share their PSB-related experiences and photos right on our ‘site!! Randy, our webmaster is working on that. Can’t wait.
That’s all I got. I’m gonna go enjoy a Harvest Ale and hit the Fest grounds, once again, to make sure all is well down there. Cheers! Here’s to another great Oktoberfest!
Yesterday just goes to prove that some days are better than others. Any day that I get to brew some beer on the Mini Mejo is usually a pretty good one. Here’s a picture of four of us brewing the Oktoberfest Harvest Ale ’08. Over on the right is Terr tea-baggin’ the kettle with a sack of raw Cascade hops. This was a fun beer to brew, since we used our very own freshly-harvested hops from off the front porch at the brewery! It was Shawgo, Mike and myself. We milled in and began to mash late morning. The brew went smoothly. We were sippin’ on some bottles of another batch brewed on the Mini Mejo, Belgian Golden Ale done about eight months ago. Very tasty. Terr is the brewery’s not-so-in-house chemist. He helped me do some water calculations for the brew. Terr walked in about 5:00 and helped us to drink some beer and, of course, he came to do some tea-baggin’. Brewed with fresh Wisconsin Crystal Malts, and boiled over an open flame, this robust beer is a tribute to our Oktoberfest here in La Crosse and to the harvesting of our own fresh hops here at the brewery. Bursting with flavor, this limited release beer is only brewed once a year on our tiny, “Mini Mejo” pilot brewing system and is wet-hopped with sun-ripened hops picked fresh and quickly added to the brewing kettle. The Harvest Ale Is a blend of American Pale Ale malt, some medium crystal malts for flavor and color and a chunk of Gambrinus Honey Malt for body. We hopped it with some dried and some wet hop flowers. All Cascades with just a smidge of Galena. I will also be dry-hopping this beer in the fermenter, mainly cause I’m freaky like that. It should attenuate very well and turn out to be a fine beer. We’re real excited about this one. It should be ready just before Oktoberfest and you will find it on tap at the Tasting Room and I have also reserved a keg for Craft Beer Night at Oktoberfest (on Wednesday). Git some.
The days have begun to shorten and the temperature is slowly coming down from the sweaty 90′s to the warm70′s. This means the hops are beginning to ripen on the vine outside the brewery. September is hop harvest season. Mike and Allie have already started picking the ripe ones while Cliff and I have built a custom made hop drying rack out of recycled Footware stuff. As the hops ripen, we will pick them and soon be brewing up a delicious, wet-hopped Harvest Ale!
Wet hopping (sometimes also referred to as fresh hopping or green hopping) is where freshly-harvested wet hops are used directly in the brewing process skipping the drying process. This imparts much stronger, and different, flavour and aroma qualities to the beer than what dried hops would do.
If you would like to see what fresh hops look like and want to enjoy a delicious beer while doing so, come on down to the Tasting Room and check it out! If you want to pick some hops for use in our Harvest Ale we will not only let you but we will pay you in beer! Pick a pound of fresh hops and we will buy you a pint! How cool is that?
Summer is whizzing by! So much has happened in and around the brewery. Our openings here at the brewer have been filled. We have a new Beer Ambassador, Allie Mader who you can find working at the Tasting Room from Tuesday through Saturday. She is an artist and quite a good conversationalist, so come on down and see her! We also have a new delivery driver you may have seen around town hauling kegs like a mad man. His name Is Dillon aka Big D, but around here we just call him The Meat.
The homebrew conest Randy Hughes (Brewmaster at City Brewery) and myself judged at 95.7 The Rock was a blast. Lots of good beers More on that under the What’s Brewing section here on the site.
On another note, some person stole the 7 foot tall Brett Favre Fathead out of the men’s bathroom at the brewery on Wednesday evening, July 30th. The brewery is offering $100 reward to information leading up to catching the perpetrator of this shameful crime. Please stop in or call if you have any information. Brett’s throwing arm was left on the wall, so if you’ve seen this armless Favre Fathead come forward with the info.
Three members of the PSB team were featured in local satire newspaper The Second Supper over the last three consecutive weeks as part of their Social Networking column. The column is sort of a “get to know this person” thing and Allie, myself and Tami all revealed a little about ourselves.
The PSB has won yet another contest! A people’s choice contest at the Thirsty Duck Tavern featured a number of beers including three PSB brews and over the course of the month all member of their beer club voted PSB’s That’s What I’m Talkin’ ’bout Organic Rolled Oat Stout as the best overall beer!! Our fine Stout beat out a number of beers including Capital Brewery’s US Pale, Flying Dog’s Doggy Style, Moon Dog ESB from Great Lakes Brewing Company, Grand Teton’s Teton Ale and their Blonde, Breckenridge Brewery’s Avalanch Ale and Ambergeddon from the Ale Asylum. We are so proud of our li’l Stout. Must be all those Organic Rolled Oats. The Stout Also Beat out our very own DTB and Lucky Logger Lager, too. That’s OK, because the runner up was DTB!! Each month, the runner up rolls over and gets included in the following month’s contest. The Thirsty Duck Tavern out in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin is possibly our farthest-reaching account lying some 150 miles from here. Hell of a beer selection.