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Earl Grey Pale Ale

Oct 12, 07:07 PM · from the mouth of Tyler

As you no doubt have read by now, Andy and Lisa came to visit us in VA over Labor Day weekend, and Andy did me the honor of co-brewing a beer with me. Thank you, Brewmeister Pease!

Well on Wednesday night, after a nice month-long slumber in a 5-gallon carboy, I added the last addition of Earl Grey tea and bottled it. It’ll take another month or so to reach maturity, which means it’ll be ready for us to imbibe when I return for Thanksgiving!

I tasted it while bottling, and must say that I was nearly knocked off my feet by the in-your-face character of the tea. If you’re a fan of Earl Grey, you know that it has a bright citrus flavor, derived from a Mediterranean fruit called the bergamot orange. I used a LOT of tea in this brew and added it at two different times: once with Andy at the end of the brewing process, and once JUST before bottling. The flavor is strong and wonderful. The first sip, you’re like “Holy Earl Grey tea, Batman!” But as you continue to drink it, it becomes less of a novelty, and more of just a really drinkable, medium bodied ale with a pleasant citrusy twist.

So we must plan our tasting party. (By the way, our Pumpkin Ale tasting party was a blast!) Jess, Kieran, and I will be venturing back up to CT on November 16th. We’ll be spending a couple of days in CT, then on to Boston to spend the holiday there. Then that weekend we’ll stop back in CT, before returning home on the 25th. I’ll get our exact schedule planned out soon.

But until then, CHEERS!

Love Ty.


Comment [14]

  1. Andy responds with:

    mmm… that’s a mouth-watering preview. I can’t wait to taste it myself!

    Also, speaking of Pumpkin ales, I haven’t been able to find either dogfish or buffalo bill’s this year – any luck from the rest of you?

    · Oct 16, 05:15 PM
  2. Jim responds with:

    Damn you all!!! Andy, you’re smart, hurry up and devise some type of transporter!

    :: sip :: Kicked a six pack of both already – sorry you’re having no luck Mr. Pease; if it was legal, I’d ship you one. On the other hand, I haven’t been able to find this Imperial Pumpking that you’ve spoken so highly of yet.

    So, after having both the Buffalo Bill’s and the Punkin, I’m torn on which I prefer. The Punkin is excellent, while I think I may agree with TyTy’s assessment that Buffalo Bill’s is a little richer on the actual pumpkin and spices. I think the Punkin’ scored some points for having some serious blood warming and feel good, though. I also picked up some Blue Moon and found it to be very lackluster as Ty indicated. Though I wouldn’t call it bad per se, it’s not something I’m likely to get again.

    Right now I’m sipping a Lakefront Brewery Pumpkin Lager, and I think it’s going to rate above Blue Moon’s, but not up with Buffalo Bill’s or Dogfishhead’s. There’s nothing particularly bad about it, but I’m also not thrilled with it. It has a relatively non-descriptive sweetness, very little spice and a somewhat malty finish.

    There was the space for one more pumpkin brew at the store, so I’m hoping they’ll restock. I’ve already forgotten which one, but I think that one of ya’ll might’ve reviewed it last year, so if I can find it, I’ll offer my own opinions.


    · Oct 16, 11:55 PM
  3. Jim responds with:

    Oh hey—that reminds me of something. On my first proud pumpkin outing to the liquor store, upon which I slapped two six packs and a four pack of pumpkin brews on the counter, the staff provided an interesting idea: they were going to do a “pumpkin bomb”. Their idea was this: drop a shot of Bailey’s or a vanilla liquor into a half pint of the Buffalo Bill’s and put it down car bomb style. Their suspicion that it might be damn good was backed up by solid logic: what do you slather on pumpkin pie? Vanilla ice cream… Though it could also taste like vile, fermented, ass cream, it’d be worth a try – ehh?

    In fact, I might have to give that a try in a few… though it’d be interesting to see what Sarah’s reaction to me pounding a “pumpkin bomb” alone at home would be. :-D

    · Oct 17, 12:08 AM
  4. Andy responds with:

    Dammit Jimmy – how is it that you in Colorado get the Dogfishhead, while I in New York don’t? Isn’t Delaware much closer to NYC than the freaking Rockies? The weirdest thing is that I now do get most of the other Dogfish varieties: Indian Brown, Shelter Pale Ale, 60 minute, even Midas Touch (which is gloriously tasty!). So it perplexes me that the Punkin hasn’t made it here. Buffalo Bills, I can understand, since they’re in California, but not Dogfishhead – why do they let me down? =(

    You’ve gotta try this Pumking, though – it’s amazing! And it messes you up reeeeal nice.

    On another note, it’s picture day at school today. I hear they make a killing (a KILLING!) on these school jobs – maybe that’s a sector that Asante should look into!

    On still another note, I hear the Rockies are in the world series. They’re gonna either go against the Red Sox (my team) or the Indians (Lisa’s team). I might actually watch my first baseball game this year to see what happens.

    · Oct 17, 09:55 AM
  5. Tyler responds with:

    Ahh beer.

    Jimmy, you’ll have to report on the Pumpkin Bomb idea, if you actually follow through with it. Sounds good to me. I think I’d go with the vanilla liqueur idea. Or even brandy, seeing as brandy tends to have a strong natural vanilla essence to it (despite that no real vanilla beans are used… it all comes from the oak). The Pumking has a strong vanilla flavor to it. Actually, what I determined when we had our little tasting party was that the Pumking tastes very much like sweet potato casserole with marshmallows — a southern delicacy! Alas, I can’t find Pumking down here either. :(

    I did find an interesting seasonal ale at Whole Foods the other day… Abita Pecan Ale. Brewed with real Louisiana pecans, this is a malty beer with a nuttiness characteristic of a standard brown ale, but just subtly enhanced by the real pecan flavor. It’s good! I tend not to like maltier beers as much but this had just enough hop bitterness up front to keep me satisfied.

    After a quick web search, I found a ridiculous video the brewery made in honor of their Pecan beer. Click the graphic below to see it.

    Go Red Sox!!

    · Oct 17, 12:59 PM
  6. Jim responds with:

    lol—so, you have to excuse my current hatred of baseball right now, but GRRRrrr to the world series! K, so I’ve never really been a fan in the first place, but I work downtown now – 5 blocks from the stadium. Heaven for a fan, right – HELL for a hater. Thanks to the rockies, if I want to drive in, my commute is frequently tripling and parking has gone up from $5 to F*ING $25!!! per freaking dAY!!!!

    K, got that out of my system. Luckily I take the bus most days and now that thing s are calming with the business, I’ll probably be able to cut that most back to “all”. But things have been so crazy this last month that I’ve had to drive in about 2 x a week and GRRRRRRrrrrrrr!!!!

    Sadly I decided not to try the bomb last night—i was too tired and didn’t feel like putting a whole ‘nother pint down + hard stuff. Maybe this weekend though… :-D

    I’m going to go scout for the pumpking this weekend with how Andy is raving about it. Yeah Mr. Pease—it’s definitely strange that I’m getting it out here and you’re not; I woulda definitely thought it to be the other way. Total Beverage specializes in stocking hard to find beers, though, so it may just be that I’m lucky to have a serious importer within quick driving distance. I think the last stat I heard an employee utter was “1200+ varieties on stock”.

    · Oct 17, 04:06 PM
  7. Tyler responds with:


    So I tried the Earl Grey last night. It had been sitting in the bottle for exactly one week, which is the BARE minimum amount of time you should let it sit before trying it. Boy was I surprised to find that it was fantastic! It had a nice head, was relatively clear (it should continue to gain clarity over the coming weeks and months), and it tasted great! You’ll remember that I mentioned that the first sip nearly knocks you over with Earl Grey flavor, but a week in the bottle has been good to it… It’s actually quite balanced now. Still unmistakably Earl Grey, but not obnoxiously so. Even Jess liked it, and she doesn’t like Earl Grey tea, or most beer for that matter!

    A triumph! And I can’t wait to share it with my Goofy Guys!


    · Oct 19, 11:23 AM
  8. Andy responds with:

    Hooray beer! I look forward to writing my comments about it in the beer journal – including the bit about how I “helped”.

    Slightly tangential, I had another unique beer the other night – Otter Creek 15th Anniversary IPA. It’s another one that only comes in 22 oz. bottles, but there was only one bottle at the store, so I took it. I have great respect for Otter Creek to begin with, and this beer definitely lived up to expectations. Not only was it extremely tasty, with a refreshing sweetness behind it’s mainly hoppy flavor, but it also totally knocked me on my ass. I had the whole bottle with dinner, and was asleep on the couch before I knew what had hit me! I’m pretty sure they somehow packed 9 or 10% alcohol into it, which I couldn’t taste at all. Bravo, Otter Creek!

    · Oct 19, 05:50 PM
  9. Tyler responds with:

    Ahh, yes. Otter Creek is one of my favorites. I love their Stove Pipe Porter, which is arguably THE beer that turned me on to good beer in the first place. I mentioned this to Andy when I saw him earlier this month but I’ll tell the story here as well. When I worked a German restaurant in Rhode Island, they had a number of wonderful beers on tap, all from Europe. Beers like Warsteiner, Leffe, Paulaner, Hoogearden and the like. All very lovely. But they only had one American beer on tap, and it was Otter Creek’s Stove Pipe Porter. Oh my god. Roasty, toasty, hearty, and lovely. This was the beer that got me into beer. This was also the beer that taught me that dark beers are not necessarily heavy and thick, like many “light” beer drinkers believe.

    Otter Creek also has a sister line of beers by the name of Wolaver’s, and all are organic. I appreciate that, as someone reasonably interested in organic food. All the styles that I’ve tried are very nice.

    · Oct 19, 06:54 PM
  10. Andy responds with:

    More on the subject of good beer, from the the brewmaster at Brooklyn Brewery:

    Don’t Fear Big Beer

    · Oct 19, 07:36 PM
  11. Iak responds with:

    The other night I picked up two pumpkin’s to drink during the Sox game (now it’s us versus Jimmy and his Rockies, sorta).

    The first was something called Jack’s Pumpkin something or other and it was pretty bad. I checked the label (since it didn’t seem to be from a smaller brewery) and it said “Bottled by Anheuser-Busch,” which set off alarms while I was at the store. I decided to go out on a limb and buy it anyway, someone will drink it I’m sure. But after the initial, weak pumpkin flavor it quickly dissolves into tasting like a Bud, or Coors, or something. A crappy generic American beer. Terrible aftertaste. Yuck.

    The other was Saranac and it’s much better. I’m not as worldly as Andy and TyTy but it’s definitely tasty. I definitely recommend it over the Jack’s. :)

    Go Sox! ;)

    · Oct 22, 02:14 PM
  12. Tyler responds with:

    I too saw the Jack’s Pumpkin Spice beer when shopping at Whole Foods a couple of weeks ago. I picked it up out of curiosity, but saw the Anheuser-Busch name on there and quickly dropped it in disgust. Thanks Jake for confirming that leaving it there was a good decision!

    Looks like it’s rating with a 78 at Beer Advocate, which seems generous to me. One guy described it as having a “plastic-like surgery-room latex smell.” Mmmmm…

    This means that the big breweries are feeling the crunch of the smaller craft brewers and are feeling the need to compete. I just hope I’ll continue to have a sharp eye and weed out the impostors! It’s already been heading that way with beers like Budweiser Select and Michelob Ultra Amber…. I’ve had both and they both suck. Blue Moon is the only big breweries’ attempt at good beer that I actually like.

    I read that article by the Brooklyn guy too. I’m sure the trend I mentioned above is a result of the big guys taking sharp notice of the little guys.

    Go Sox!!!

    · Oct 22, 04:16 PM
  13. Tyler responds with:

    Ahhhhhhhhh, Cask Conditioned Ales….. Ahhhhhhhhh…...

    The New York Times ran a story today about cask conditioned ales. It made my mouth water. There’s a pub here in Richmond called Capital Ale House that always has at least one or two cask ales on tap. It’s always got a comforting, complex flavor, without as much of the crispness as many of the CO2 injected beers (or even bottle conditioned for that matter).

    Click HERE for the article.

    The photos that accompany the article are enough to make you thirsty. And Andy, the guy mentions lots of New York places to get cask ales. You should go on a couple of field trips and tell us what you thought!

    Just found this... The guy who wrote the above article also has a blog on the NYT site, and he discusses the subject of Cask Ales, or "Real Ale" at greater length. He also provides a bunch of links, including a directory of NY area pubs with cask ales on tap. Check it out here.

    · Oct 24, 01:42 PM
  14. Andy responds with:

    Oh man – the article did, in fact, mention 2 of my favorite bars: The Blind Tiger and the Ginger Man. Anytime any of you guys want to come check them out, let me know – I can vouch for their quality.

    Don’t know much about cask ales, but maybe I’ll do some “research” this weekend. =)

    · Oct 24, 03:31 PM
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