Ommegang did it for Game of Thrones… And I’ve done it for my friend, Blake Hausladen’s new novel Native Silver— which releases this Memorial Day Weekend!
What am I talking about, you ask? Brewing Beer!
No, really. I know it’s been awhile since I brewed, but I actually made BEER. The last two Minnesota winters were BRUTAL– giving us snow through April. (May, the year before!) It’s Memorial Weekend and the trees still don’t fully have their leaves. Ridiculous, right? Since I use the garden hose/outside water for the wort chiller, I kind of needed there to be no snow on the ground and/or the temps a little warmer– especially if I’m going to stand outside all day and brew… But enough excuses. On to the beer!
Native Silver features 3 beers:
1. A millet/summer wheat table beer
2. A lager
3. A creamy dark beer.
Dealing with millet seemed like more of an ordeal than I wanted to undertake– and there was no way I was going to try to make a lager. Lagers are a bit high maintenance– needing to be temperature controlled throughout the brewing process. I don’t have the proper facilities for that, nor did I desire the fuss– which left me with the creamy dark beer.
I decided to do another extract kit for this beer… I would love to say I’ve progressed to recipes and all grains in the year I’ve been brewing but since I’ve only brewed twice, I don’t think I’ll be ready for that adventure anytime soon. The guys at Northern Brewer helped me find a great kit. (When I asked them what came to mind when I said creamy and dark, they said chocolate milk stout.)
I am not a huge fan of dark beer but a chocolate milk stout seemed like it could be my speed. (I mean, chocolate? Come on!) The kit contains real cacao nibs (which I snacked on a little) and smelled like a bit of heaven while I was steeping the grains.
The beer process went as expected, though I wasn’t sure it was going to ferment properly– as I had some technical difficulty with the yeast packet. (Only half of it ‘popped’.) Once again, laziness prevailed in my house– and what should have been bottled in 6-8 weeks took nearly 3 months to keg… And nearly as long to actually bottle.
After two weeks of forced carbonation, I tapped the keg. I must say this may be the best beer I have made in quite some time. Nice and dark with good head retention, this brew smelled like awesomeness and tasted even better with dark chocolate notes. Also, it was unexpectedly light bodied for a stout– which meant I drank the first half pitcher by myself fairly easily.
The beer was a hit at the party! In addition to the Chocolate Milk Stout, I served some local brews and my homemade cider– and what I had left of my pumpkin ale. We planned the party just right— not a single bottle remained at the end.
Check out both books in the Vesteal Series on Blake’s website. They are available here!
Next on Tap: Drink Local – Kansas City!