Homebrew clone kits direct from the brewer: Stove Toppers from Flying Dog

eldoradoOkay, now this is cool. I have seen people try to recreate commercial brewer recipes on a home brew scale (in fact, I have a book of such recipes) and I’ve even seen brewers release their recipe for home brewers to convert, but I’ve never seen a brewer sell the actual ingredients to copy their recipe. But this is what Flying Dog has actually just announced.

Introducing Stove Toppers, a series of all-grain homebrew kits for advanced homebrewers that include our exact ingredients and brewmaster’s recipe, all scaled-down to for your 5-gallon home brewery.

We’re launching one kit per month in 2013 and each kit will be on sale for that month only. Starting tomorrow, Single Hop Imperial IPA with El Dorado will be on sale in our gift shop and the Flying Barrel Homebrew Supply Shop in Frederick, Maryland.

I like that they’re keeping to one kit and changing over to a new one every month. They’ve even released their schedule for 2013:

  • February: Single Hop Imperial IPA with El Dorado
  • March: Raging Bitch Belgian-Style IPA
  • April: Woody Creek Belgian Wit
  • May: Single Hop Imperial IPA with Citra
  • June: Snake Dog IPA
  • July: Dogtoberfest Marzen
  • August: The Fear Imperial Pumpkin Ale
  • September: Single Hop Imperial IPA with Sorachi Ace
  • October: Pearl Necklace Oyster Stout
  • November: Single Hop Imperial IPA with Simcoe
  • December: Barrel-Aged Gonzo Imperial Porter

Heck, this might even be enough to get off my butt and learn how to brew all-grain.

If you brew with one of these kits, let us know how it turned out. (Bonus points if you invite us over for some.)

A Merry and a Happy

It’s snowing here in Western Maryland. I usually stay on top of the weather forecast but this caught me by surprise. Considering the condition of the roads, it apparently caught the highway department by surprise as well.

The wife’s at work (she’s a nurse; she had to go) and the kids are nestled safely in bed. I’ve a winter warmer by my side and a cat in my lap. This is good.

As you look back on 2012, I hope there was more good than bad. (That applies to everything, not just beer.) I hope 2013 is even better. (Again, not just beer.)

What ever holiday(s) you are celebrating this season, I hope they are Merry, Happy, Joyful, and Blessed. And that there’s plenty of good beer, but that probably goes without saying.

Game of Thrones Beers

You may want to look for a good pairing over at the Inn at the Crossroads, a site dedicated to the food and drink found in George RR Martin’s popular series of a Song of Ice and Fire.

I assume Ommegang will stick to their proficiency in Belgian style beers, which are excellent… I plan to collect them all!

Those who watch Game Of Thrones while wishing that there was an accompanying beer they could pound every time Joffrey does something punchable may soon have the officially licensed pathway to alcohol poisoning they so desire. According to a press release, HBO has partnered with New York’s Brewery Ommegang to launch a series of Game Of Thrones-themed beers timed to the March 31 third season premiere, beginning with the first entry, Iron Throne Blonde Ale. The 750ml, $8.50-per-bottle beer—which will presumably feature notes of smug arrogance,

Robert Baratheon ass sweat, and caramel—is the first of four to come that will “directly tie into themes, characters, and nuances” established in the show’s universe. Someday soon you’ll be declaring, “Man, I drank a ton of Varys’ Inscrutable Power Plays Porter and got totally shitfaced on nuance last night.”

via AVClub

Thanksgiving 2012

We hope you’re spending the Thanksgiving holiday with people you love. Or, at least, with beer that you love.

While we’re being thankful for all those craft brewers out there and their wonderful creations, we want to be sure that we’re thankful for the really important things.

Happy Thanksgiving!

p. s. I would be personally thankful for a Dallas Cowboys loss. Just sayin’.

Mug creates head on demand

So, we all know the importance of good head, yes? Pouring “strong” releases the aromas of your beer, gives a creamier mouthfeel, and just improves the beer’s presentation.

Aren’t you bummed when the head drops, leaving you without that layer of foamy goodness?

Well be bummed no more. Now you can get your very own Professional Beer Foam Making Mug!

Without batteries you can create a brand new frothy head on your beer at any time.

As they say:

While you are drinking beer in the middle part, the Beer Foam is gone already, Simply Press the button once, the Professional Beer Foam Appear Again!! Let’s have fun for your Great Time!!

Uh…what?

Anyway, if your beer paraphernalia collection tends to the kitschy side, you can have this technological marvel for less than $25.

(via Boing Boing)

Alcohol may increase cancer risk for some

It sure seems that every time we see a study that gives us some good health news, another one comes along which paints an even more dire picture. As does this one, at least if you’re of Asian descent.

It has long been suspected that alcohol consumption can increase the risk of some types of cancer. This study purports to now have solid proof. (No pun intended.)

First evidence from humans on how alcohol may boost risk of cancer

Silvia Balbo, Ph.D., who led the study, explained that the human body breaks down, or metabolizes, the alcohol in beer, wine and hard liquor. One of the substances formed in that breakdown is acetaldehyde, a substance with a chemical backbone that resembles formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen. Scientists also have known from laboratory experiments that acetaldehyde can cause DNA damage, trigger chromosomal abnormalities in cell cultures and act as an animal carcinogen.

“We now have the first evidence from living human volunteers that acetaldehyde formed after alcohol consumption damages DNA dramatically,” Balbo said. She is a research associate in the laboratory of Stephen Hecht, Ph.D., a noted authority on cancer prevention at the University of Minnesota. “Acetaldehyde attaches to DNA in humans ― to the genetic material that makes up genes – in a way that results in the formation of a ‘DNA adduct.’ It’s acetaldehyde that latches onto DNA and interferes with DNA activity in a way linked to an increased risk of cancer.”

It turns out that about 30% of Asians have a variant of the alcohol dehydrogenase gene so are unable to metabolize alcohol into acetate, and that ultimately translates into an increased risk of esophogeal cancer. Native Americans and native Alaskans have the same variant. That’s over one-and-a-half billion people.

Of course the study used vodka for their tests, and there was no mention in anything I read if there might be a difference between spirits and wine or beer.

As always: Everything in moderation.

Win 2 tickets to the Brunswick Wine & Chocolate Walk

One of the classier events in my adopted hometown of Brunswick, Maryland is the Wine & Chocolate Walk. This year’s event is on September 22.

In 2011, Brunswick Main Street debuted the Wine and Chocolate Walk. Attendees enjoyed fine wine and fair trade chocolates as they strolled through downtown. The 2011 festival featured wine from Black Ankle Vineyards, Fabbioli Cellars, Hiddencroft Vineyards, Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyards, Knob Hall Winery, North Gate Vineyards and Boordy Vineyards.

Main Street decided to grow the festival for 2012 offering 30 beverage and food tastings at 12 venues in the historic downtown.

Of course, Real Women Drink Craft Beer will point out that not all women prefer wine over beer (or, at least, they enjoy both). So last year they set up a tent downtown and gave away barbecue and a selection of (mostly local) craft beers. Since it went over so well, the women behind RWDCB have been asked back to do it again.

Since I’m friends with the RWDCB crew (and, yes, they are Real Women™), I have a pair of tickets to this year’s event to give away.

If you’d like my extra tickets, simply send an e-mail message to contact@hop-talk.com at let us know if you prefer wine, beer, or enjoy both. Please get your message to us by September 19, when we’ll pick one person at random to get the tickets.

You can get details about buying tickets at the WnC site. When you come to the Walk be sure to stop by the beer tent and say hi.

Congratulations Patty Smith! You get our tickets!