Sep 272010

The Campfire Brewery is back. We really haven’t gone anywhere, but due to laziness, crazy things going on in our lives, and other assorted doings, we haven’t been brewing. But all that changed last Saturday. Our forgotten member, Bujer, made his return to brewing. The last time he helped out we were still doing extract on the stove, so needless to say this was like his first time brewing again. On our Twitter feed, I posed the question, “Is homebrewing like riding a bike? Will we remember what to do?” Actually, that was two questions. And from the lack of responses, it’s obvious no one gives a shit. However, I found out first hand what it is like to brew after about one year of not brewing. Here is my story.

I put out the good word to the three other members, Clubby, Dave, and Bujer. We must brew! For I have 2.9 ounces of fresh Cascade hops that I harvested from my little hop farm. As I patiently awaited responses, I began formulating a recipe. Going off the ingredients from past brewing sessions I was able to come up with a winner. Our Amber Ale from July 2008. I tweaked only the hops this time around to incorporate our fresh hops. I also figured that this brew came out great, so why not make it again? With Bujer on board, we got together Saturday morning, and began to brew.

I had forgotten how tedious and sucky it is to clean and sanitize equipment, but I was quickly reminded. I think everyone can agree that is the worst part of the brewing process. After an hour of scrubbing pots and mash tuns which had been sitting in a basement for a year collecting dust and dirt, we were ready to brew. Grain was crushed and then we began to boil water. So we waited. Maybe we should start boiling the water first and then crush grain? Jot that little tidbit down for next time. Woohoo, we got the mash started! Let’s boil more water and sit around for an hour or so. Hey, we got time, let’s crack open some beers and order a pizza, which happens to be one of my favorite steps of brewing. So we mashed, waited, spooned, talked, and got ready for the boil. We got our boil going, and then waited some more. Bujer took a nap, and lucky for him I am too lazy to get the picture off my phone. Then we cooled it down, transferred to the fermentation bucket, pitched the yeast, and put it away in the basement where it sat fermenting away until yesterday when we racked into secondary on top of the fresh hops. There you have it. Our brewing experience. Notice anything missing? No missteps. Believe it or not, I remembered how to do everything, and we had no issues. It went smoothly. I couldn’t believe it.

So that comes to the moral of my story. Yes, homebrewing is like riding a bike. I might have stumbled and almost forgotten to do stuff, but I remembered before any mistakes were made. I am now looking forward to brewing more often again.

 Posted by at 12:31 pm
Mar 282010

Hello All! For all of you who don’t know me, I’m the unsung hero of the Campfire here…ok maybe not.  Annnyhow, just thought that this was an interesting article on desserts using beers.  So drink, read, and be merry! Throw in your own ideas, or if you’ve actually tasted any of these brew baked goodies let us know!

 Posted by at 11:27 am
Feb 022010

I like stouts. I like chocolate. I love chocolate stouts. Brewery Ommegang is one of my favorite breweries out there. They make readily available and fairly inexpensive beers that are damn good. I’ve been wanting to try Chocolate Indulgence for a while, and during a trip to the brewery this past October, I picked a bottle up. It’s been sitting in the cellar since, and I’m ready to drink it now. What am I expecting? With a name like Chocolate Indulgence, I want it to be like eating a chocolate bar while drinking a very good stout. I am ready to begin.

Into my pint glass (I have a Chocolate Indulgence chalice, not sure why I didn’t pour it into that) the beer pours a pitch black, with a really nice cascading two finger tan head. Aroma is not really strong, some roasted malts are present. No chocolate. Uh-oh. Unfortunately, chocolate seems to be lacking in the flavor department. Flavor is sweet, with a slight roasted taste.  Other than that, there isn’t much else. Body is medium to full. Carbonation is low.

Overall, the beer itself isn’t bad. I think where Ommegang went wrong is the name and the style. First off, Chocolate Indulgence invokes visions and dreams of delicious chocolate syrup pouring from a bottle. I can’t detect a hint of chocolate. Secondly, I don’t consider this to be a stout. To me, it is more like a porter. It’s not that heavy, it doesn’t have that roasted, burnt flavor often found in stouts. Even on BeerAdvocate it’s listed as a Belgian Strong Dark. It’s a good beer, just change the name. C’mon Ommegang! You guys make great beers, tweak this recipe, give everyone the Chocolate Indulgence they crave and deserve!

 Posted by at 8:50 pm
Jan 272010

I picked up more of the top 100 beers in the world today to add to my cellar. I am slowly whittling the list down, but these California breweries really need to start distributing to New York. These are the beers from left to right:

Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout by North Coast Brewing Company

Trappistes Rochefort 10 by Braserie de Rochefort

Choklat (Imperial Stout) by Southern Tier Brewing Company

Gouden Carolus D’Or-Cuvee Van de Keizer by Brouwerij Het Anker

Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout by Great Divide Brewing Company

Trappistes Rochefort 8 by Braserie de Rochefort

Peche Mortel by Brasserie Dieu du Ciel

Ten Fidy by Oskar Blues Grill & Brewery

The only beer there that I’ve had before is Choklat. For those who have drank the others, what are your opinions? Worthy of being the top beers of the world?

 Posted by at 2:38 pm
Jan 202010

Hello to all my friends. This is Clubby with a review of a brew!

I was going to start off by talking about the Mets being snubbed by an old and fat catcher…Let’s call him Mengie Bolina to prevent outrage by the masses. But, I won’t bore everyone, or one with Mets news because no one seems to care about the Mets. You lucked out Mr. Bolina.

Tonight, I planned on writing a nice review about a nice Belgian Strong Ale. All day long I watched my calories and worked out to prepare for this beer review where, in a perfect world, I would drink the entire 1Pt 9.4 Oz. However, this world is far from perfect… (Insert dramatic gopher music here)

I poured the Pauwel Kwak, by Brouwerij Bosteels into some wine glass because my normal drinkin’ glass went a missin’….Was this an omen?! So, as you see, it had a beautifully huge head and was golden like the wonderfully tasteful jewelry of Mr. T. So far so good. But, as I went in for the first sip it filled my nose with an overly sweet, fruity-alcohol air. It was far from a turn off. However, I was expecting something totally different. The taste was extremely malty, fruity and with some alcohol burn. Not reminiscent of any Belgians I have had. Nice carbonation and tasty but, I was really in the mood for something else. Drinkable, yet I didn’t want to drink it. For now, I think still stick to getting my Belgians out of a great brewery in New York.

Screw you Mengie Bolina! We have better beers than California…Actually, I really like Green Flash….But, you’re still old and fat.

 Posted by at 4:55 pm
Jan 172010

French translation courtesy of Google. Blame them if it’s wrong. Welcome to the second part of the review of Brewery Ommegang’s Three Philosophers. Part 1 can be read here, written by Clubby. At the time, I never thought I was going to review this beer. Tonight, however, I decided, hey, it’s in the fridge, I’m thirsty, I need to review something, let me tell everyone my take on this beer. I’ve had it before. It is wonderful. I can’t wait. But I must, I need to let it warm a bit before I begin to drink. While I am waiting I’d like to tell you a bit about this beer. As you may have read in Clubby’s review, he talked about a painting by Giorgione. While they do share the same name, it is not what the beer was named after. I recently took a trip to Ommegang, and during the tour they said the three silhouettes on the bottle were the current and former brewmasters of Ommegang, and the brewmaster of  Duvel. I think. I could be slightly off, I drank a lot of samples that day. But I am definitely more accurate than Clubby. Three Philosophers is a blend of a quadrupel, which is a full bodied malty Belgian ale, and a Kriek, which is a cherry lambic. The two blended together create a wonderful ale. OK, the beer is a good temperature now. First, the obligatory picture that I haven’t included in a while, then the review.

That’s a big picture! Upon popping the cork, a sweet aroma with cherries emerged. An off white, 1 finger head was present. Color is similar to a Coke, with a reddish tint. Aroma was the same that came from the bottle. Taste is everything that was expected. Very sweet and malty, with a tart cherry flavor. Cherries are more of a background flavor, which is great. The quadruple is allowed to come through as the star. Every sip amazes me how the cherry is not there, but there at the same time. It is definitely full bodied, medium to high carbonation.

Absolutely awesome. What makes this better is the whole 750ml is mine. Like Clubby said in his review, some beers out there overdo it with the cherries. Ommegang found the perfect ratio of quad and Kriek, creating a myriad of flavors in one’s mouth. I must go now, for I have about half of the bottle left. Good night world!

 Posted by at 10:36 pm
Jan 132010

Something for the foodies out there.

It’s a much appreciated burger recipe that I, your resident chef de cuisine, Chef David, have offered to share with all of our visitors.  This recipe is all about following the proper directions because any inconsistency will result in failure.  So, if you’re ready for the tastiest, JUICIEST, and most scrumptious burger you have ever had, please read on.

Serves 4.

1 1/2 lb. 80/20 ground beef.

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1-1 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper (depending on your preference)

1 tablespoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

2 oz. teriyaki sauce


Combine all ingredients just until mixed.  Divide into 4 equal portions.  Form tight 1 inch thick patties.  Now…take your thumb and create a crater into the center of one side of the burger about a 1/2 inch deep.  The burger will widen just a little.  Just tighten it up again by pressing the sides together with both hands.  You should have a nice plump burger, but be sure to keep it as even as possible on the sides surrounding the crater.  Refrigerate for at least 30 mins.

Heat your grill to around 400 degres-425 degrees.  Make sure your grill is clean and oiled.  The key to these burgers is a hot grill.  If using charcoal make sure to spread the coals evenly along the bottom of the grill.  There should only be one layer of coals.

After 30 minutes…time to cook.

Place the burgers evenly spread on the grill, try to avoid total direct heat, but be sure the grill is hot.  If these burgers do not sizzle when you set them on the grill, then it is not hot enough.  Close lid and cook for 5-6 minutes.  Lift lid and flip burgers.  Don’t play around with them.  Just flip and move on.  Close lid.  Cook for another 5-6 minutes for a good medium cooked burger. (add cheese if you want.  recommend muenster cheese or provolone.  these are good melting cheeses)

Now…be careful!  I am telling you.  These burgers have been known to retain all of their tasty juices and explode into your mouth when taking your bites.  I’m serious.  So delicious though. Yum.  Also…I know a lot of you love to put mustard and catsup or ketchup on your burgers.  Trust me…YOU DO NOT NEED TO.  But…to each his own.  I suggest trying the burger before adding any condiments.  Do what ya do partna!

Some beer recommendations:

Black Diamond Belgian Ale

Bridgeport Pintail Ale

Goose Island Blonde

Red Hook Blonde Ale

See the trend?  A nice refreshing ale will compliment this burger nicely and not overpower your pallet when devouring this meaty chunk of love.  Save your IPA’s and Porters for after your burger.

Hope you guys enjoy!

So long, suckers!

 Posted by at 10:40 am
Jan 112010

The “short-beer”,  as it is known to some,  is like a vanilla milkshake in your mouth.  The combination of “Licor 43” (Cuarenta Y Tres), a spanish liqueur flavored with vanilla and various aromatic herbs, and a splash of heavy cream is as much a delight to savor in your mouth as it is to adore visually.

The name short-beer obviously refers to the similiarity of a frothy mug of suds waiting to be guzzled by the burley, hardworking, man’s man. (Not any of us by the way)

There isn’t much to the “shot.” 1 oz. of “43” and approximately 1 tablespoon of heavy cream.  Pours easy and consumed quite easily.  A yummy taste of vanilla heaven.  A sure way to intoxicate your female of choice at the local and non local pub.  A few of these “McShots” and she’s sure to be making you breakfast the next morning. And when I say this I’m referring to the fact that getting laid is quite possible if you play your cards right.  Now…I just want to clarify “playing your cards right.”  C’mon fellas!  You gotta treat these women with the uttermost respect.  That is how you get your pickle tickled.  A gentleman is always sought after.  So, lets review. 4-5 short-beers, gentle, urbane behavior, and of course…MONEY TO PAY FOR THE DRINKS!!!  That, my friends, is the key.

I encourage all of you to sample this delicious shot of vanilla goodness.  But remember…drink your beer and eat you steaks!  So long, suckers!

 Posted by at 10:28 pm
Dec 212009

#23. That’s what this beer is rated in the world. Is this spot deserved? I will tell you. I am drinking Imperial Russian Stout by Stone Brewing Company. The bottle is Spring 2009 release. It’s black, huge, and beautiful. Which is exactly how Clubby likes his men (payback for the grotto facer comment). In the words of my uncle, “REVIEW THE BEER!”

I popped the cap off the 22oz bomber, and was greeted immediately with one of my favorite aromas. Sweet, chocolately goodness. I poured into my snifter, and was entranced by the nice cascading. There wasn’t much head that didn’t last very long, but when it was there it was a tan color. Color is pitch black that doesn’t allow any light through. Smelling it reveals a chocolate, mocha aroma. In my mouth it feels heavenly. Thick, rich, sweet, bitter. Extremely well balanced. It’s got a chocolate taste mixed with an extra bold coffee. It is very smooth and creamy. Alcohol hides behind the rest of the big flavors. Carbonation is very little, which is fine. There’s enough where you don’t feel like you are drinking pure syrup. It’s definitely full bodied.

A fairly short review because I want to enjoy the rest of this beer in quiet solitude. I love stouts, and this is definitely one of the best. It is so well balanced, almost perfect in everything that you would expect in a beer. For 10.5% ABV, it is very deceptive. Aside from the buzz that I am getting, there’s no indication of the alcohol whatsoever. I wish I picked up two bottles so that I can cellar one, but luckily this is easy to find. Go out, buy it, drink it slowly, savor it.

 Posted by at 9:14 pm
Dec 182009


I just drank a beer and I had to tell you people all about it. It was Howl from the Winter ’09 Feast Of Fools Variety pack from Magic Hat. The pack included #9, the Winter’09 Odd Notion, Lucky Kat, and Howl…

Well, first off, the entertaining case stated it included a “hoppy fireside IPA” . I thought, ‘fantastic, something new and possibly delicious’. I was only half correct. It was the same old Lucky Kat I have had many times before. While, this is a wonderful IPA, it is hardly new or anything different. At least to people who have purchased these variety packs before. As for advertising it as a “hoppy fireside IPA”, there is nothing that would make me drink this by a fire, I would enjoy it just as much during a spring or summertime BBQ. Now, as for the wonderfully decorated case, why wouldn’t it just say that it included “Lucky Kat”? It only stated libelous claims of including a “hoppy fireside IPA”.

As for reviewing this “Howl” beer. It had a one finger head that went away quickly. Smelled like almost nothing, and tasted the same. Almost like brown water that you would expect to taste like poop. Without the taste of actual poop. It left a slight lagerish film on the tongue that Greg would most likely describe,  “tastes like peanut butter”. But, I haven’t a clue what Greg is talking about because I taste burnt water and feel on my tongue what I think is phlegm.

I know this is a lager and should be light and refreshing. But, come on, advertising it as a “winter seasonal”? Why the hell would I like to drink this during the winter?? When I think of winter beer, I think of sweet, spicy, full, and warming. This was absolutely none of those.

Now, I love Magic Hat “elixers”. Roxy Rolles is one of my favorite beers. It just seems to me that Magic Hat is more concerned with making interesting labels, and cute sayings on bottle caps, than making good beer, for those who like actual beer, or labeling them seasonally, correctly, or at all on their variety pack.

Bring this crap back during the spring or summer and call it something else. Maybe I’ll have something different to say. Disappointing “winter” beer to say the least.

 Posted by at 3:54 am