Saturday, July 3, 2010

It hurts to set you free

This is the end
Beautiful friend
This is the end
My only friend, the end
Of our elaborate plans, the end
Of everything that stands, the end

- The Doors, The End

I'm sorry to report that Mattingly Brewing Company has closed its doors, the sting is made all the worse after my last post. I have the tragic duty of both informing our loyal followers and mothballing the equimpent in the hopes that it can find a productive second life in the service of some other brewrey, winery, cidery or meadery.
The fate of the beer in the cellar is currently unknown. I encourage the fans of the beers at Mattingly Brewing Company to seek out the beers I have brewed for Schlafly. Two are available at the Bottleworks at the moment, Burn Ward Wheat on draft and the Culinaria Holiday Ale in bottles (the Old Ale my wife and I made to celebrate our wedding).
What is next? Nobody is sure just yet...

My only friend, the end
It hurts to set you free
This is the end

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Ad Astra Per Aspera

The state motto of Kansas reads: Ad Astra Per Aspera, meaning "To the Stars through Adversity". This phrase is one of my favorites, as while the message is simple, it is enduring, inspiring and full of truth.
As a Kansas native, I hardly paid the phrase any attention in my childhood there. However, the further down the road I have travelled, the more significant it has become.
Our good friends at the Lawrence, KS brewery, FreeState just recently began bottling their fantastic beers out of a new production facility. They have been brewing their flagship, Ad Astra Ale, and many others, at their brewpub for over two decades. In October of 2008, with their new facility nearly operation, it was ravaged by a fire, destroying their raw ingredients and damaging most of the equipment. Still, they stuck with it, rebuilt and pushed onward. Ad Astra Per Aspera.
My wife and I got married last winter, and have been putting up with the 'little love bird' type comments since the engagement, over a year ago. Truthfully, we've had our trials, our hardship. After spending our senior year of college together she had to go to grad school and could only afford to do it with in state tuition, and live at home, so she moved 700 miles away. I chose to stay, as my prospects in the brewing industry were better here. But we survived the two years apart, full of short weekends phone calls and red-eye flights, and just importantly, another year together, afterwards, and then decided to get married. She loves her career, and so do I. Oh, and we're still fine with each other, too. Ad Astra Per Aspera.
When we took our honeymoon I brought along some Kurt Vonnegut to read, including The Sirens of Titan. Kurt made it through his mother's suicide, the firebombing of Dresden as a POW and years of studying mechanical engineering to become one of most influential authors of his generation. His novel, The Sirens of Titan, chronicles the adventures (misadventures?) of Malachi Constant, the (formerly) richest man in the world, and Winston Niles Rumfoord, a wealthy explorer who is displace in space-time (as happens to Vonnegut's characters) by an encounter with a chrono-synclastic infudibulum. A Martian invasion of Earth and more ensues. Key moments in the book are marked with the phrase: Ad Astra Per Aspera.
MBC has been open for about two years now, and brewing for almost a year and half. Despite our cobbled together system, inefficiencies of scale and other limitations we continue to innovate. Releasing St. Louis' first sour ale, winning Riverfront Times Best Beer 2009 and crafting the hoppy, malty, smoky, spicy and interesting ales and lagers has kept us on the cutting edge of the Midwest's brewing revolution. In honor of our perseverance, Kurt's, and that of our friends at FreeState, this Memorial Day weekend we are brewing Per Aspera Pilsner. We grew up our own lager yeast, the hard way and are conducting a tradition step mash of Pilsner, Vienna and Melanoidin malts and adding plenty of Magnum, Hallertau Mittlefruh and Celeia hops. This complex but refreshing lager will help us bear what looks to be severly hot summer. Ad Astra Per Aspera.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

You down with OPB?

Well, Pinball Blizzard has been brewed and based on tastes from the fermenter, it will be exactly what I am aiming for. An AIPA with hopping rates at the very heights of the DIPA range, but still with some balance.
How is this possible? Well, instead of merely shooting for IBUs (International Bitterness Units) by loading up the bittering additions in the quest of a higher number, my philosophy has been to focus on creating hop flavor and aroma and simply letting the IBUs come along with those hopping techniques.
However, all of this flavor and aroma are difficult things to quantify, unlike IBUs (which, get mangled and misinterpreted, as many statistics do). I believe the time has come for a new unit to measure hoppiness.
I hereby propose the 'OPB' or Ounces of hops Per Barrel of beer. For instance, our Homeward Brown has 16.4 OsPB and 30 IBUs, 1984 Golden Ale has 13.5 OsPB and 25 IBUs, HOPtimal APA has 48 OsPB and 45 IBUs. The IBU is still a useful unit for relaying relative bitterness. Both the 1984 and Homeward Brown are blanced beers and their OsPB:IBU ratio falls near 1:2. Unlike the very hoppy HOPtimal APA whose ratio approaches 1:1.
Now, let us take a look at Pinball Blizzard. While HOPtimal APA tips the scales at 3lbs of hops per barrel, Pinball Blizzard is way off the scale at 6 lbs per barrel, giving it 96 OsPB, but it only racks up an IBU rating of 66. The ratio has swung the other way and approaches 3:2.
Here is a glimpse at Double IPA at the very top end of its style, Pliny the Elder from Russian River Brewing Company. Based on the homebrew recipes provided by Vinnie Cilurzo, RRBC's Head Brewer and creator of Pliny the Elder (and arguably the entire DIPA genre), PtE also packs the massive hop whallop of 6 pounds per barrel. However, those 96 OsPB are shifted more towards the bittering addition, yielding a proclaimed 92 IBUs for a ratio approaching 1:1.
Where the OsPB come from can shed further light on the hoppiness of a brew.
Here is a breakdown of Pinball Blizzard Rye IPA:
10.37 OsPB - First Wort Hops
0.74 OsPB - Bittering addition
11.11 OsPB - Flavor additions
51 OsPB - End of Boil and Hopback
23.7 OsPB - Dry Hopping

Hopefully this new methodology for quantifying hoppiness will shed some light on the brews to which they are applied. Additionally, brewers wishing to express hoppiness in terms other than mere bitterness are welcome to adopt the new unit as they see fit. I will continue to use it as long as I brew aromatic and flavorful hoppy beers!
Now...lets get to dry hopping!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Hoppy Holidays

There is lots of news to report from Mattingly Brewing Company. The restaurant is now under new Managment.
Jerid and his wife Beckie had their first child on Thanksgiving.
And, two days later Julie and I tied the knot in Dallas, TX.
The ceremony was great, if a little 'fainty'. The reception was a blast, Texas BBQ, beers and mead from my dad and I and a great band.
The honeymoon, while lacking the beer department, was great. Excellence Riviera Cancun is a fantastic resort. The food was exceptional and while on the beer hiatus I did get to enjoy some very good Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon, rums and scotch.
We are back and hard at work in the cellar. I'm brewing up a fresh batch of Homeward Brown today. Tastings have told us that the Old Harbinger American Barleywine is ready for a January 20th release and that Bourbon Oak American Stout and Black Forest Maple Imperial Stout are close on its heels. Jerid has brewed up a Wheatwine and has suitably demented plans for it. I finally have all the ingredients I want, so later this month I'll finally brew up the Pinball Blizzard Rye IPA, it'll be a hop storm, I tell ya!
All for now, time to add some more hops and mash in another batch.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Smoke Rises

Funky Friday the 13th's first release was huge success. We are overjoyed with how the beer came out, and Friday, August 13th, 2010 can't come fast enough.
We are in the midst of a long day in the cellar so that tomorrow I can brew up our Holiday offering, a Smoked Imperial Brown Ale. We plan to use the new cherry wood smoked malt from Briess, blackstrap molasses, several other malts, and three hop varieties.
We also plan to brew an Anniversary Ale, to celebrate the brewery's first year in operation. It will be a Belgian Dark Strong Ale. Both beers will be in the 8% range.
Well, back to kegging and cleaning...

Monday, October 26, 2009


Surprise! I'm back. This summer was a bit crazy and the Blog got left in the dust, but here I am to pick up the dregs.
Well, what has happened since the end of May? Lots, and even more.
We now have an assistant brewer, Jerid Saffell, he has taken charge on several Peeks and has made great progress in the cellar and will take some brewhouse responsibilities.
I have moved from the Schlafly Taproom to the Bottleworks and been brewing on the complete opposite kind of system that we have at MBC. Our MBC brewhouse is a 1.5 bbl, two vessel system of the most manual nature imaginable (other than having to chop wood to fire the kettle). While at the Bottleworks it a 6 vessel, 22-30 bbl variable capacity, computer controlled operation.
A big distraction (or is that inspiration?) is the now immenent wedding. I'll be tying the knot next month and Jerid's wife is due to deliver shortly thereafter. So we are trying to pack the place to the rafters with beer...just in case.
We have released several new beers: Gemutlich Keller Oktoberfest, Pooka Pumpkin Ale and Hop Seeker Fresh Hop American Strong Ale, and I'm very proud of how they all turned out.
We attended the St. Louis Brewers' Heritage Festival, St. Louis Microfest, Augusta Bottoms Beer Festival, Parkville Brewers' Festival and the first Schlafly Fresh Hop Festival.
MBC has won two awards, in the Sauce Magazine Readers' Choice Poll we snagged an Honorable Mention and we took the title of 'Best Beer' in the Riverfront Times Best of St. Louis edition for our Black Sky Stout Porter.
Halloween is coming soon and while we've released plenty of treats already, there are more to come, like Autumnal Blaze Strong Amber Wit on 10/28, Jerid's Hop Goddess IIPA on 11/4, Jerid's Evil Pumpkin Imperial Porter on 11/11 and Funky Friday's first appearance on 11/13.
Well, time to go check on the mash of this American Barleywine. Its gonna me a monster!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Drew's Favorites Volume 2

Ahh...Flossmoor Station, how I want a Pullman Brown, Killer Kapowski or is it Kowalski? whatever, I want one of those Baltic Porters, no, better make it a case. Or two. Flossmoor Station from outside of Chicago has not only put out two of my favorite dark beers brewed in the midwest, but the even produce and amazing series of American IPAs and a very nice American Wheat, a style I will defend from other beer geeks for all of my days.
Pullman Brown is a work of art, and a true show of complexity for another style brushed aside by many in the search of the latest and greatest. Nutty, toasty malt, toffee sweetness, a bit of chocolate and layering of earthy hops tied together with their fruity house ale yeast makes for a brown of startling depth. The use of toasted oats and molasses really puts it over the top.
The Baltic Porter is classic representation of one of my favorite styles. Loads of malt in all its fat glory adorned with dark, dried fruits, figs and raisins all dusted in cocoa powder and coffee. Clean, devastatingly smooth and strong enough to make you a little sleepy.
Vishnu's Vice and Lady Columbia were both excllent bottled IPAs I had the pleasure of consuming, and the Wooden Hell Barleywine was no slouch, either.
Even though Matt Van Wyk has left Flossmoor Behind to head out Oregon way, Bryan Shimkos has stepped into his boots (not literally...eww) and will take Flossmoor into the future. I wish him the best of luck!