Showing posts with label ape must never kill ape. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ape must never kill ape. Show all posts

Monday, June 18, 2012

Attack of the Clone

Back in May I went to what is probably Washington DC's most famous place for beer, ChurchkKey, a place with something like 50 taps, countless bottles and most importantly 5 beer engines. Other than a solitary pint of Williams Brothers Midnight Sun, I spent the evening downing a reasonable number of Oliver Ales' Ape Must Never Kill Ape, a dark Belgian ale with the ABV and drinkability of a Mild. I loved it, and it is most definitely an early contender for the Fuggled Dark Beer of 2012.

There was only one problem, I wanted more of it and driving a couple of hours to DC for a few Friday night libations is not really something I would do, and Oliver Ales' beers are only available in Baltimore and Northern Virginia as I understand it. What I could do though was brew something vaguely similar in my kitchen. Incidently, my double brewing session yesterday was the last I will be doing in my current flat. We closed on our house on Friday, get the keys today hopefully and start the process of shifting all our stuff to the new place.

The page for Ape Must Never Kill Ape on RateBeer describes the beer thus:

A Belgian inspired dark ale, using english pale malt, dark crystal, chocolate, carafa 3, Belgian biscuit and caramel vienna. Bittered with Kent Goldings and Czech Saaz, finished with Fuggles and German Tenttnanger then fermented with Belgian DeKonick yeast and cold conditioned with vanilla beans

Clearly that gave me the outline of the Belgian Mild I wanted to brew, though I have no plans to age it on vanilla beans. My recipe then was:
  • 66% Golden Promise pale malt
  • 13% Vienna malt
  • 7% Pale Chocolate malt
  • 5% Crystal 20 malt
  • 3% Crisp Amber malt
  • 3% Caramunich I malt
  • 3% Carafa III malt
  • 10 IBU Styrian Goldings for 60 minutes
  • 8.5 IBU Czech Saaz for 15 minutes
  • 0.5 IBU Czech Saaz for 1 minute
  • Wyeast 3944 Belgian Witbier
All of that gave me a very dark beer with a starting gravity of 1.038, 19 IBUs and an estimated colour of 25 SRM, or "Brown to Dark Brown", though to my eye it looks darker than that. As you can see from the picture, the yeast is munching away happily on the sugars, hopefully the beer will have an ABV of 3.9%, a tad higher than Ape Must Never Kill Ape's 3.3%.


Not so much a clone then as a thoroughly shameless homage to the best beer I have had served through a beer engine on this side of the Atlantic. If this turns out well, I am half tempted to take a bottle up to Baltimore with me when I head up there to spend inordinate amounts of time and money with my best friend.

Friday, May 4, 2012

In Excelsis!

As I mentioned on Wednesday, I spent a chunk of this week up in Washington DC at a conference and that I was hoping to find a good pub to while away a few hours after everything work connected was done with for the day. Eventually then a colleague and I jumped in a taxi and headed to Churchkey.

I had heard mention of Churchkey from various sources. Having climbed the stairs and had my ID checked, I stood in wonder at the bar. I barely noticed the 50 something tap handles crowding the wall behind the bar, for there, at the very heart of it all were handpumps, five of them. Yes, you read that correctly 5 handpumps in an American pub. Sure, Charlottesville has a couple of places with a solitary handpump but having a choice of cask ales was magical, perhaps even mythical. I have to admit though that I can only remember 2  of the available beers, because they were the two I drank, Williams Bros Midnight Sun Porter and a beer called Ape Must Never Kill Ape, a 3.3% abv beer from Oliver Breweries up in Baltimore.

I am planning a trip to Baltimore with my best friend in August.He is from the city and when we were flatmates in Prague in 2000 we drank shed loads of beer on the balcony of our flat while he told me that one day he would show me his home town. Suffice to say that the Pratt Street Ale House, home of Oliver Breweries is very much on our list of places to get slaughtered in. Quick side note, sampling dozens of weird and wonderful beers is all good and well, but sitting with your best mate getting totalled is the pinnacle of the drinking world. Anyway, the AMNKA is a session strength Belgian inspired dark ale, which according to the commercial description is made with:

"English pale malt, dark crystal, chocolate, carafa 3, Belgian biscuit and caramel vienna. Bittered with Kent Goldings and Czech Saaz, finished with Fuggles and German Tettnanger then fermented with Belgian DeKonick yeast and cold conditioned with vanilla beans"

Absolutely packed with flavour this beer is, a veritable melange of coffee, chocolate, toffee, grass and so many other flavours that you need a good few pints to really examine it well. I didn't have my note book so I had a good few pints just because it was so damned good. Another silly little aside, the glasses at Churchkey are 16oz nonic kind of things, which just look weird to my proper pint trained eye.

We sat at the bar for a good few hours, watching ice hockey, drinking beer and talking about work and life in general. We chatted with random strangers at the bar, naturally plugging this here blog, and if they come back and read this post then I hope they took the time to learn a bit more about the Scots language.

Churchkey seems to be finding that most elusive of balances, at least in my experience, of being a beer bar which keeps the tickers happy and a pub where regular drinkers feel welcome, and they have simply excellent bar staff. What a great way to waste several hours.

Beyond January

Dry January is over, but my beer fast continues. Well, it continues until Friday. As a general rule I only drink at the weekend, thus my win...

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