FHB's Holiday Spectacular! 2017

Hollie and Brian, our winners!

Hollie and Brian, our winners!

We had a fantastic time yesterday at our first holiday party! Big thanks to the Over the Hill Brass Band for the festive tunes and everyone who donated to support their cause of music education. Our ugly sweater winners were Hollie and Brian Meyer for their handmade beer holder sweaters. Hollie’s even had a crowler holder complete with a FHB crowler. (We are not immune to adorable pandering!) Honorable mention goes to Dawn Siefken who made herself into an amazing holiday fireplace (complete with an elf on the shelf) and Joey Golly who dressed as sad-bunny-Ralphie from A Christmas Story.

Earlier in the day we also hosted a local hand-made gifts fair.  

Pictures of the fair and band and ugly sweater participants below.  

 

Islay Scotch barrel-aged Imperial Porter FAQ, crowler edition

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We've gotten a lot of these questions in the last week so here are all of the answers in one spot.  We're so excited about this beer, as its our first barrel-age release.

Q: Why are these crowlers special?
A: Special size (750 ml), new label, and rare (only 100 were made). Can be enjoyed now or aged.

Q: How long will they last?
A: These crowlers were purged of oxygen and filled from the bottom, meaning they can be aged for several years if they’re stored at cellar temp (65 or lower). We’d recommend trying one now and sticking one in the cellar to see how the flavors develop and round out over the next year. If you’ve never aged beer before, this would be a great one to start with. 

Q: What's an Islay?
A: It's an island off the west cost of Scotland, in a region famous for whisky production. It's pronounced "EYE-luh."

Q: What does this beer taste like again?
A: Boozy heaven
A, Part 2: This colossal porter has been aged in Islay Scotch barrels for 4 long months, imparting a massive amount of the peat-smoked malt and oak flavors used to make the Scotch that spent the last decade or so in there. (10.4% abv - 30 ibu)

Q: How many do you have left?
A: The lion's share was sold last weekend but we have some left! Limit 3 per customer per day.

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Our first wet hop beer

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We are pretty excited about our first ever wet hop beer, which is the Wet Hop Session IPA that is out this week.  We love this beer and are so glad we made it, but have jokingly nickname it the "logistical nightmare beer."

For those of you who don't know, most beer is made with hop pellets or dried cones, which have a long shelf life if stored correctly and are pretty easy to transport and store, but still have that lovely hoppyness that (most everybody) loves.  When a brewer makes a wet hop beer, he or she is using fresh-off-the-bine (hops are grown on bines not vines, fun fact!) hops.  The fresh hops have an extra earthy-citrusy-grassy smell and taste that you don't get with pellet hops.  

Why "logistical nightmare?"  Fresh hops are BULKY and have to be used within 24 hours of picking so that's why wet hop beers are rare  -  there's only one short window each year that you can produce them and transportation is kind of tricky.  You have to find someone willing to go pick up some big-bagged fresh hops for you at exactly the right time.  In our case, this person was FHB co-owner/marketing lady Molly, who had her car in the shop but was able to borrow a sweet green mini van to make the journey to the Iowa Hops farm in Newton to pick up the goods.  This is what a borrowed van of Cascade hops looks like:

28 pounder!

28 pounder!

The hop picking, hops pick-up, and drive time were all coordinated with Jake's brewing day, so at the right time Molly started north and dropped off the hops just in time for them to be thrown in the boil.

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We hope you like the new beer!

Festival of Iowa Beers 2017

We would like to give a big shout-out to the Iowa Brewers Guild and Millstream Brewing for organizing/hosting the Festival of Iowa Beers that was held this past weekend in the Amana Colonies.  It was a gorgeous day for beer drinking and meeting old friends!

(Big group photo in the gallery was stolen from Millstream... thanks guys!)