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Our Company Homebrew Competition

01-12-2015

 

Here at West Side Beer Distributing, we like to get schooled. Beer education plays a huge role as part of our company’s and individual growth, which is why we encourage our sales team to work their way through our beer school, which is designed to provide them with expert knowledge on the making, selling and enjoyment of beer.

 

One aspect of beer school is learning firsthand how much effort, time, expertise and cleaning goes into making a tasty beer. To highlight this, all employees are encouraged to participate in our annual company-wide homebrew competition. This past week our in-house Certified Cicerones, executive team and guest beer experts came together to judge this year’s batch of homebrews from West Side Beer employees. Submissions ranged from Wheat IPAs to Imperial Stouts and from barely drinkable liquids to exceptional and clean brews.

 

 

Key highlights from the judging included the obvious growth of some regular homebrewers, whom have submitted their brews on an annual basis. Tasting the difference and noticing their increased knowledge and skill for beer making proved the educational impact our annual homebrew competition. In addition, everyone clearly enjoyed the homebrew experience, which was evident in the inventive names and unique labels on display. Several brews were presented with wax tips, special six pack cases and memorable names. The biggest takeaway? We are lucky to have some pretty fantastic home brewers working with us and at the end of the day learning (especially about beer) sure is fun.

 

Homebrewing for the First Time

10-15-2013

Homebrewing for the First Time

 

After months of suspense I finally homebrewed. Unsurprisingly, I sucked at it.

 


 

Although the process of brewing is an ancient tradition and typically there are only four ingredients involved, brewing a beer that actually tastes delicious is quite the feat.

 

Luckily, I had some helpful guidance from a coworker and avid brewer who provided equipment and a brewing location. The brewing part ended up being a lot of fun. The air smelled amazing from the brewing beer and I got to sit for a bit and drink a few of my coworker’s homebrews while tending to my own liquid.

 

After transporting the carboy full of my brew back home, I spent the night acting like a brand new mother by checking in on it in the middle of the night and taking way too many photos of the bubbly action. However, I was not a good mother since I forgot to replace the plastic wrap on the top with the air lock. I only realized my mistake when I came home from work to discover the carboy making a loud and scary nose with the plastic wrap about to explode. After a very freaked out phone call to a brewing pal and a bit of clean up later the air lock was on but I started to live in fear of contamination. That is, until I started to neglect my first brewed.

 

I visited my family, work things started to pick up speed and I forgot about my beer baby in the corner. It never got to go through secondary fermentation and instead steeped for a full three weeks before I managed to bottle. After hearing stories about the boring clean up aspect, as well as the tedious labor of bottling I was a bit apprehensive. However, with a couple of beers, a friend and a few hours of my time the beer ended up bottled. 

 

I sampled some during the bottling process and it disappointed me. Although I had every intention of creating a West Coast style pale ale I somehow created a pale amber ale. If I had the supplies to dry hop I may have been able to create something close to deliciousness. Instead, I ended up with a rather unbalanced ale that at least managed to skirt contamination. Hopefully time and bottle conditioning will improve it but if not, or at least until then, I have plenty of fine tasting brews to keep me company. 


Copper Wort Chiller 

 


 


Beer Baby in a Carboy 

 


 


Bottling Station 

 


How to Drink a Beer

10-02-2013

How to Drink Your Beer

The Importance of Glassware

 

Beer drinking experience is a full-sensory experience and one of the first steps to take place in the experience is choosing glassware.

 

Although many a time I’ve drank straight from bottles, cans, Dixie cups and sometimes plastic take-out containers, depending on the level of the desperation, the selection of glassware plays an important role for maximum drinking pleasure.

 

To match a beer style to the proper glass, here’s a rundown on some of the most common glassware options out there.  

 

Mugs and Steins

These squat, handled glasses provide room for a lot of beer while ensuring the hands-off approach keeps the beer cooler for longer.

 

Pilsner

Long and slender with a tapered bottom, this glass is designed to accommodate a larger head and release the aroma.

 

Nonic

A nonic glass is a frequently used glass, often misleadingly referred to simply as a pint glass. It has a slight projection right below the rim that helps create the perfect amount of room for the head.

 

Tulip

Often paired with higher ABV brews, this glass’s stem keeps hands from warming the liquid while the curved shape is designed to allow for a nice foam head while also retaining maximum aroma. 

 


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