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Posts Tagged ‘watermelon’

Make Your Own Pumpkin Keg

October 24, 2012 3 comments

Easy DIY Pumpkin keg pours whatever you put in it, like your favorite pumpkin beer. Or try root beer, butter beer (Harry Potter cookbook) or apple cider for the kiddies! (photo by http://www.celebrations.com)

What better way to serve a pumpkin beer – and a host of other fall beers and beverages – than in your own homemade pumpkin keg.  No fancy brewing equipment or extreme sanitation methods required…I promise!

Celebrations.com came up with this great tutorial for creating your Halloween party masterpiece.


This idea is not limited to just pumpkins.  I can’t wait to try it next summer using a watermelon.  Fill with your favorite watermelon lager, summer beer or beverage.

Serve your favorite summer beer or beverage in a watermelon keg!                                    (photo courtesy of http://www.celebrations.com)

Visit Celebrations.com for the written instructions and for other great party ideas.

Happy Halloween!  

Cheers Beers

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Roy Pitz Brewing Co. – Chambersburg, PA’s Hidden Gem

Since reading an article in the paper about this small time operation, the hubster and I have been itching to visit the Roy Pitz Brewing Company.  Two years later, we finally ventured to Chambersburg, PA to check them out.  Our initial thoughts?  Wow!  Roy Pitz is a name to watch out for.

The Roy Pitz Story

The Brewery is owned and operated by Jesse and Ryan, two grade school friends who grew up in Chambersburg and have since continued their friendship and cultivated a shared passion for craft beer and brewing.  They experimented heavily with homebrewing in college, and their training in professional brewing began with jobs at Victory Brewing Company and Twin Lakes Brewing Company. Upon graduating with business degrees, the duo attended the Siebel Institute of Brewing Technology in Chicago, and Ryan continued on to study at the Doemens Institute in Germany.   He earned an International Degree in Brewing Science and returned to Chambersburg to join forces and open Roy Pitz Brewing Company with Jesse.

Who’s Roy Pitz?

According to an article from Hagerstown Magazine, “the brewery takes its name from the legend of a pair of quarreling conjoined twins local to Chambersburg named Roy and Pitz.”  The two brewers and longtime friends aren’t twins, but metaphorically speaking, they are attached at the hip, personally and professionally.  And so this relationship is conveyed by the conjoined twins represented in their logo.

The Brewery

The Roy Pitz Brewing Company was opened in 2008, has since tripled production and is currently looking to expand distribution into Maryland.  The brewery is housed in an old warehouse located off a remote alley on the edge of downtown Chambersburg.  If you’re not looking for it, you won’t find it.

They currently distribute kegs to about 30+ locations across Pennsylvania, and they only fill growlers at their Chambersburg location.  These guys are small potatoes…for now.  But the word is out in Chambersburg, as parades of locals crossed the parking lot and entered the small tasting room with empty growlers in tote.

Don’t expect sparkle and polish, the tasting room is a small, rustic, cellar-like setup.  It has character and foosball!   Wooden barrels emerge from the walls supporting plain wooden tap handles, and the small room is surrounded by a collection of growlers, memorabelia and merchandise.  Behind a glass wall lies the modest brewing operations filled with stainless steel tanks and a volunteer or two hard at work keeping the place well sanitized.

Liquid Art

One taste and you’ll agree, Roy Pitz’ beer is an art form.  Roy Pitz has coined themselves as “America’s Freshest Brewery”.  These guys brew using the highest quality ingredients, and they keep it local as much as possible, from the water to the produce to the hops produced from their own local hop farm.  There aren’t many breweries that offer customers the opportunity to taste and take home beers that were kegged from their fermenters that very same day.  That’s fresh!

Available beers are displayed in chalk on the overhead board, and the brewery is free and generous with their samples.  But many patrons are regulars who know exactly what they want, and some visit weekly to stock up for the weekend and ensure they don’t miss out on anything new.

Our server/jack-of-all for the day told us that the seasonals are outstanding and worth the trip.  After tasting the lot, I can assure you that the year round brews are every bit as outstanding as the seasonals, and yes, it was worth the trip.

Five beers were available on tap, four of which sold for $10 per growler, and one that sold for $15.  Most are available year round with one or two seasonals thrown in.

Our Two Growler Picks

Lovitz Lager (Watermelon Lager, Seasonal).  This has gotta be one of the best fruit beers I’ve ever had.  The aroma of fresh watermelon is intoxicating, and the fruit flavor permeates the beer.  The warmer the beer, the more fragrant, fresh, and apparent the watermelon flavor.  It’s clearly a well brewed lager, unfiltered, clean, and balanced.  I didn’t even feel compelled to add more watermelon to the beer.  It’s perfect as is.

Our server mentioned that Jesse and Ryan were at a beer festival in Philly pushing the Watermelon Lager as a contender for Best Summer Beer.  Best of luck guys!  It has my vote!

Lugwig’s Revenge (Smoked Lager, Year Round).  This is a smooth, rich, full flavored dark lager with a delicious smokiness that makes this a unique brow-raising experience.  Ludwig’s Revenge is unlike any beer I’ve had before.  Smoked beers can often be overpowering with smoke flavor (sometimes liquid smoke), or they’re watery with barely a hint of smokiness.  The primary flavors in Roy Pitz’s beers permeate without dominating, so the smoked flavor is apparent throughout the beer, but perfectly balanced with the smooth dark malts.  A rare treat of a beer.

We also had the privilege of sampling the Old Jail Ale (English Brown is delicious, mild, malty, flavorful), the Best Blonde Ale (amazingly well done Kolsch style beer with loaded with flavor and refreshingly crisp and citrusy) , and the Daddy Fat Sacks (malt and hops are incredibly well balanced, nice sweetness, full-bodied, full flavored).  Picking two to take home was not an easy task, every single beer was stellar.   Visit their website to find out what will be on tap during your visit.

Beer is Their Priority

Remember the name Roy Pitz and keep a watchful eye out for Jesse and Ryan.  The talent and skill of these two young brewers and their exacting attention to details are clearly reflected in their products.  Ignore their modest surroundings, their priority is the beer.  Our server mentioned an event where they displayed a note to customers apologizing for their lack of merchandise.  Their message read “we put our money into the beer”.   Enough said.

Cheers beers!
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Beer Mixology: Fruitin’ Up the Beer

Beer Fruitology….the artful science of beer and fruit compatibility. Ok, not really a science, but more of a research project that I’ve been playing around with this summer.

Ah yes, I hear the “eews” and the “icks” already.  I agree, this experiment is not for the finicky, and finicky I am not. I am however, a huge lover of fruit, and I consider myself a bit of a beer mixologist.  Since I’ve already waved my freaky beer mixin’ flag with  Waterweizen and Beersicles posts, what the heck, I’ll wave it a little higher and share my fetish for mixing fruit and beer.  Many beers have fruity character anyway…whether they’re made with fruit or not, so it’s really not as far fetched as it sounds.  And I’ve seen a number of bars throw a spoon full of somethin’ somethin’ into a pint of beer…stranger things than fruit, I assure you.  So fruit, my fun beer drinking friends, is just the beginning my beer mixology experiments!

Now, I do give these mixes some thought beforehand, and some are definitely better than others.  I haven’t tried anything with bananas yet, perhaps a nice banana orange clovey heffeweizen would be interesting.  Hmmm, I’ll save that for the winter project.  But I have discovered a few interesting combos. Some look prettier than they taste, and some I thought were exceptionally (even surprisingly) good.

So without further adieu, here’s a visual review of the summer’s beer fruitology findings…


Hubster’s Hopricot Homebrew with Fresh Grapefruit

The beer is a delicious fruity hoppy IPA with great citrus character and apricots thrown in during fermentation. The grapefruit pair perfectly with this beer. The beer brought out the sweetness in the fruit, and the fruit brought out the citrusy hopiness in the beer. A surprising favorite among my research subjects, regardless of its fleshy appearance.


Kiwi Berliner Weiss

Berliner Weiss has to be one on the best light summer beers (another homebrew). Mildly sour, light, crisp, and of course, fruity.  It lends itself so well to beer fruitology.  You can throw just about any kind of fruit into this beer and it’ll work.  Some just work better than others.  The kiwi in this mix isn’t overly sweet or sour and has a very distinct flavor that I wish had blended more with the beer. The flavors worked, but the kiwi was too crunchy and didn’t absorb the liquid, so the mixology part didn’t really happen. If it had, then I think this would’ve been a good combo.  It does make for an interesting photo.


American Strawberry IPA

Sliced strawberries in a full bodied, fruity American IPA homebrew. It looks pretty, but I didn’t get any wow flavor factor from this combo. Again, very separate flavors that remained separate throughout the drink – they weren’t complementary, but they didn’t clash either.  I’m leaning that some fruits might be better crushed first.  Strawberries are one of them. However, IPAs definitely work best with citrus.  Lancaster Brewing Company’s Strawberry Wheat is perhaps an obvious choice for this fruity combo.  But I tend to steer away from the obvious in search of happy accidents.  Much more fun that way.


Blueberry Weizenbock

I used the Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Weizenbock and added a nice scoop of fresh blueberries.  You see this done at a lot at of bars that serve blueberry beers.  But this is a different combo that really works well.  A great beer on its own, the Weizenbock has a nice heavier, malty fruitiness that’s complemented by the more complex, sweet and tart flavor of the blueberries.  Next time I drink this beer, I’ll be sure to have blueberries on hand.

                             

Sweet Bumbleberry Berliner Weiss

Traditionally, sweet woodruff syrup is added to Berliner Weiss’.  Sweet woodruff actually imparts a sweet Lucky Charms marshmallow flavor to the beer.  However, Northern Brewer recommends the addition of blackberry syrup to their Berliner Weiss homebrew kit. I didn’t have blackberries available, but I did have frozen mixed berries on hand. So I made a bumble berry simple syrup.  I suspect you can use this simple syrup recipe for virtually any kind of fruit.

Fruity Simple Syrup – In a small saucepan I brought to a boil equal parts water, sugar, and berries.  Blend the mixture smooth, then strain and discard the seeds and skins.  Allow to cool some, then add 1 tbsp of the syrup to 12 oz beer, or use more or less syrup as desired.

This is a sweet fruity beer, comparable to a wine cooler actually.  If you’re trying to convert someone from wine coolers to beer, this is a great way to start.  Most of the sour characteristics are masked, leaving a mild, smooth, refreshingly pleasant berry flavored drink.

Tip:  Keep the syrup refrigerated and try it in lemonade and some of your favorite cocktail beverages.


Cranberry Water-Lambic

What can I say? Watermelon is my fruit of choice, and Sam Adams’ Cranberry Lambic is my beer of choice.  The two make a great pair.   Tart, sweet, crunchy, melony, and pink with a distinct lambic taste.  Only two problems, watermelon is only available in the summer, and Cranberry Lambic is only available in the winter.  But I managed to keep a few lambics on hand from the several cases that Santa brought me last year.  So excited that Sam Adams finally decided to release the Cranberry Lambic in cases!  If you find yourself without Cranberry Lambics, then no worries, Sierra Nevada’s Pomegranite Wheat and Magic Hat’s Wacko are two worthy substitutes.  Sadly, Smuttynose no longer makes Hanamai, which would be my other choice.  Watermelon works with most light fruity beers, and for me, it’s ideal because the fruit blends well with the beer, and the beer absorbs into the fruit, making it a great drink and good eats!

Cheers beers!

Tis the Season for WaterWeizen

One of my favorite simple summer pleasures is watermelon. Rest assured, if watermelon is in season, then there’s one cut up in my fridge ready for bite-size noshing.  I’ve also been known to throw a scoop or two into my summer beer.  Oh, I hear your moans and groans; but truly, watermelon is a great addition to refreshing, crisp, blonde beers, like a heffeweizen, a Belgian wit or golden, kolsch, or pilsner.

This habit began a few years ago when my homebrew hubster had put a heffeweizen on tap.  Being a self-proclaimed mixer of beers, I decided to add some watermelon.  Think about it… we like lime in our Coronas, Blue Moon is always served with an orange, and a spoonful of blueberries are acceptable additions to blueberry brews.  Why not watermelon?

And so we dubbed my melon-beer concoction the WaterWeizen (intentionally pronounced weezen).  When poured over the melon, the higher gravity beer separates from the fruit juice leaving a pretty pink layer at the bottom of the glass.

Not only is this a great “lawn mower” beverage, but I also like to think of it as a lighter, more healthful option, since:

  1. It has fiber, and
  2. The watermelon is taking up space in my glass, so I’m drinking less beer, but still have a full tasty beverage.

So it fits in well with my wanna-be healthy lifestyle, and it tastes a heck of a lot better than “light” beer.  Not to mention, there’s a sweet tasty beer infused watermelon treat in the end.

Granted, pink beer might be more socially acceptable for us ladies.  But if you’re unafraid to let your freak flag fly, then go on, belly up to the picnic table at your next cookout and add a little water to your weizen.  It just might become a new summer favorite!

Cheers beers!

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