Thursday, October 22, 2009

New beer haul, plus craft beer craft!

This week, I had the flu, and it cut my beer drinking down a bit. Other than the remaining beers from last weekend's haul, I only drank common beers I've had many times before. That changed yesterday however, with my latest haul from Belmont Station.

I had checked their blog to see if they had any big bottle releases, and it turns out they had just made a tweet about receiving an order of Oskar Blues Ten Fidy. I've heard a lot of great things about this one, and to the best of my knowledge, it's never been available here in Oregon before, so I was really excited to go pick some up. They had a pretty good supply in, so I only picked up one 4-pack for now. After having had two of the cans yesterday afternoon, I know I'll be buying more. This is a fantastic imperial stout, thick and solid black like used motor oil, with a low velvety chocolate brown head. Aroma of chocolate milk with a hit of boozy warmth. The taste was delicious, and unlike the nose, the alcohol was dangerously well masked. The mouthfeel of this beer is fantastic. Smooth, creamy, with the perfect viscosity. Overall, a very drinkable beer, even with it's high ABV, and at $12 for 48 ounces, a great deal too. If availability permits, this will be a regular beer in my fridge from now on.

I also picked up a Southern Tier Creme Brulee. It looks like Belmont Station is starting to carry a much wider selection of Southern Tier beers, and I'm eager to try them all. This will be my third, after having tried the Jahva, and the Oak Aged Unearthly.

Finally, it was brought to my attention that a very special (and limited) batch of Nogne 0/mikkeller came in, and that it probably wouldn't ever be available again after that day. The Tyttebær is a beer brewed with mountain cranberries, fermented with wild strains of yeast and bacteria, aged in vats for 9 months, and bottled and bottle conditioned for an additional 6 months before release. It looked as if they had received one case, and the clerk said that all the employees were taking home a bottle and that would be it for the availability. I'm grateful for the tip, and the chance to try this great sounding beer.

In addition to finding and drinking some great brews this week. I spent several days working on a project in the beer cave that involved my bucket of old beer caps. I had decided that I wanted to make a coffee table for down there, and that I was going to give the old glazed over beer cap thing a try. After several attempts, I found a coffee table that I thought would work well for the project. I took it home, cut out two rectangular sections from the top, attached plywood underneath to create a bottom for the portion I wanted to inlay the caps in, sanded it down, refinished it, glued the caps down, and glazed away. I learned a couple things this time around, and next time it should go a lot more smoothly. First off, I should have glued the plywood to the bottom of the table. I just tacked it on with finishing nails. I was under the impression that the glaze would pour real thick, and that the plywood would be tight enough to contain it. Turns out the glaze is very viscous when you first pour it (makes sense now, thinking about it. It would do a crummy job of settling into everything otherwise), and it slowly ran out along the seam on the bottom until it hardened. Luckily, I didn't lose too much, and what did run out was easy to peel/chip up off the concrete floor once it hardened. I figured it was probably pretty well sealed with epoxy resin from where it had leaked the first time, but I thought I'd be extra safe before the second coat, to I flipped the table and caulked the whole bottom edge. Once that dried, I applied a second layer of the glaze and let that dry, which is the stage I'm in now. It looks really good, and the top is fairly smooth, but I think I'm going to go with one more coat, just to get it a little deeper, and to make sure the surface doesn't have any bumps over caps that might not have been perfectly flat. Overall, I'm very satisfied with the result, and I look forward to putting together more projects like this as space allows. Pictures are below. It's very difficult to see the effect of the glaze in these pictures because it's very clear. In person, it looks like the caps are sitting under water in the table. It's hard to believe the finish isn't still wet, but it's bone dry and solid as a rock. Pretty neat.

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