Draft Punk Release Party Details – Monday, May 16th 6:00pm

We got tired of all this text so we decided to make a video to announce the release party for our collaboration beer! If you’re not a reader, just skip the rest of this and watch the video below. If reading is your thing, then here’s the deal:

We’re kicking off American Craft Beer Week with the release of our collaboration beer, “Draft Punk,” brewed with Oliver Ales in Baltimore! To celebrate, we will be offering $3 pints, souvenir glassware, and 20% off of all food from 6:00pm – 10:00pm on Monday, May 16th.  We will be tapping traditional kegs as well as a firkin for this event.

The recipe for “Draft Punk” was created by Brewmaster Steve Jones of Oliver Ales in collaboration with David McCabe, one of the owners of Punk’s Backyard Grill.  The final product is a 7.0% ABV American IPA that was bittered with Chinook hops and finished with whole leaf Cascade hops.  It was then dry hopped in the conditioning tank with additional whole leaf Cascades.

It’s going to be delicious.  Trust us. And we had a blast brewing with Steve, so a big shout out to the Oliver Ales crew and all the kind folks at the Pratt St. Ale House.  Now watch the video!

Photos From Our Reserve Stash Beer Dinner!

Well, the Reserve Stash beer dinner is in the books and what a blast it was.  I think its fair to say that people had a pretty good time. The beer was flowing and Chef Dean put together and executed a pretty stellar menu.  We had fun, that’s for sure.  No word yet on when the next beer dinner is going to be, but rest assured that if you folks keep coming out in packs like you have for the past two dinners, there will be plenty more in your future.

A big thanks needs to go out to Chef Dean and the good folks at Dawson’s Liquors for their help in making this happen.  Check out some photos below.

How to Brew Beer – Collaboration Brew with Oliver Ales

Well, first and foremost we have to give a big shout out to Steve from Oliver Ales for agreeing to work with us on this brew and for letting us crash his brew day.  Man, that was lots of fun.  They make some amazing beers up there and every time you find yourself in Baltimore the Pratt Street Ale House should be your first stop.

On to the brew day!  Our name for this beer is “Draft Punk”.  We entered the brewery a little before 7:00am to the sounds of Daft Punk playing on the stereo with Steve and Derek prepping for the brew. We had determined that the beer was going to be an American IPA, around 6.5% abv and dry hopped with whole leaf cascade hops. Steve’s recipe had a healthy dose of pale ale malt, some wheat for head retention, and a bit of crystal malt for color.  Altogether a whopping 480 lbs of grain!  That makes your homebrew seem like small potatoes!

We started in the grain room, preparing the grain to run through the mill. We used a combination of Canadian and English malt. We chopped open the bags and loaded up the grain mill. This was the first of many instances of heavy lifting and hard work throughout our day.  For those of you out there that think brewing is all fun and games, think again!

After we loaded the mill with grains, we went down to the brew floor and prepared the mash tun by starting to run some hot water into the tank.  The grain is then milled and dumped directly into the mash tun along with hot liquor (water).  It smelled like delicious bread baking or sweet oatmeal.  We were all getting pretty hungry!  You can see Dave mixing the grains and liquor.

The mash then sat for 60 minutes, covered, to start the starch and enzyme conversion.  Our target mash temperature was 153 degrees and master brewer Steve had no problem hitting that temp.  After an hour, we recirculated the wort and then began draining it into the brew kettle.  While the wort drained into the brew kettle, we sparged with more hot water to rinse any additional sugars and extracts off of the grain.

The water is drained into the brew kettle at approximately the same rate that the sparge water in sprayed into the mash tun.  This provides a nice even flow and doesn’t disrupt the grain bed.  The total sparge process took about three hours, so patience (and a few pints) were key here. But the wait is well worth it.  Here’s a look at their boil kettle.  Good looking, huh?!

At this point, the brew kettle is fired up, and once the wort starts to boil, the first hop addition is dropped in.  The first hop addition adds bitterness to the beer.  To make a long and complicated process short and easy, the bitter compounds and oils in the hop plant need 45 minutes to an hour to be extracted. So if you want bitterness, you need to add your hops early on in the boil process. You can see Dave adding Chinook pellet hops to the kettle in the picture below.

We waited 30 minutes and then added the second hop addition.  The second batch of hops, which usually comes in around the 30 minute mark, adds hop flavor.  Thirty minutes is enough time to extract the flavor of the hop, but not enough time to extract too much bitterness.  The goal here was to have Cascade hops provide the predominate hop flavor in the beer. Cascades are best known for their use in Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.  Mmmmmmm.  Look at how nice those look!

After 60 minutes in the boil kettle, the wort is circulated, then run through the hopback with some more fresh hops.  The hopback is basically just a large stainless steel tank full of fresh, whole leaf hops.  The process of running the wort through these fresh hops really allows you to extract a lot of the hop aromas.

It provides a really fresh and fragrant addition to the beer.  After making its way through the hopback, the wort moves into the fermentation tanks.

The yeast is pitched and within the next 24 hours, fermentation will begin! Fermentation will continue for 3 -5 days, after which the beer will sit in the tanks for conditioning for another few days. During the conditioning period, we’ll add a few more pounds of cascade hops for “dry hopping” that will continue to increase the hop aroma.

Finally, the beer will be transferred to a different tank, carbonated, and filled into kegs.

So there you have it! Thanks again to Steve, the force behind Oliver Ales, and his assistant brewer, Derek, for brewing with us and letting us bother them all day.  Stay tuned for details on our May 16th release party.

“Reserve Stash” Beer Dinner Menu and Pairings

Tickets are now on sale for the Punk’s/Dawsons beer dinner on Thursday, May 5th.  The fun begins at 7pm with a cocktail style reception (with beer, of course) followed by five plated courses and five more beers.  The menu was created by Punk’s executive chef Dean Maupin and the beers were picked by the good folks at Dawson’s Liquors in conjunction with Dave and Sheila from Punk’s.

There are some real gems in the mix here, including Deviant Dale’s from Oscar Blues which has never made it to the state of Maryland before.  These are beers that you need to try, paired with food that will put you over the edge.  To reserve, get your credit card ready and call us at the restaurant at 410-571-7744.  Cost is $50 per person including tax and tip.  And now, for your viewing pleasure…

SAVE THE DATE: May 5th Beer Dinner at Punk’s Backyard Grill

We’ve started planning our next beer dinner at Punk’s, so mark your calendars for Thursday, May 5th! Everyone had a blast at the last dinner and we fully intend to make this one even better.  New menu and new beers, more people and more fun.  We’re finalizing the menu and the beer list this week, so stay tuned for details in the very near future.  We’ll be focusing on reserve stash and limited release beers, so don’t expect to see anything run of the mill at this party.

Tickets will be $50 per person again and we’ll be starting with a “cocktail hour” type gathering followed by five courses, for a grand total of six courses and six beers.  Think you can handle it?

Once again we’ll be teaming up with the good folks over at Dawson’s Liquors and we’re expecting a full house.  You’ll need tickets in advance so if you’re interested give us a call at 410-571-7744 or stop by the restaurant.

And just to get you excited, here are a few pics from Dave’s personal stash :)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Collaboration Beer with Oliver Ales and Pratt St. Ale House

If you haven’t yet heard, we are officially working with Oliver Ales and Pratt St. Ale House in Baltimore on a collaboration brew! We’re going to get together and brew a 7 bbl batch of a special beer that will be exclusive to Punk’s, Pratt St., and a few other select spots in the area.  We’ll be releasing this batch in both keg format and cask format for all of you “real ale” folks out there.

The plan is to do an American style IPA around 6.5% abv.  It will be bittered with Chinook and Cascade hops, then finished and dry hopped with whole leaf Cascade hops.  Cascade hops are best known from their use in Sierra Nevada Pale ale and they’ll give our beer a great hop aroma and flavor.

Our collective goal is to have this beer ready for consumption by mid May and we’ll be throwing a bad ass release party at Punk’s with a dry hopped cask, some cool giveaways, and happy hour prices all night! You can’t beat that. Stay tuned for more details and some pictures from brew day when it arrives.

Here is a nice shot of some Cascade hops on the vine.

Wheat Beer Class

Springtime is upon us, and it is time to shift our focus away from hearty winter brews and towards delicious warm weather grains.  To us, nothing says warm weather like an unfiltered wheat beer…except maybe an unfiltered wheat beer and a burger outside.   To celebrate the changing of the season, we’re holding a wheat beer class at Punk’s! We’ll be tasting variety of different styles of wheat beers from five different producers.  Different brewers and different cultures use wheat in vastly different ways and the five beers that we’ll be tasting will display variety in character, flavor and complexity.

More details are below this picture of delicious wheat.

What: Wheat Beer Class

Where: Punk’s Backyard Grill, 2188 Annapolis Mall, Annapolis, MD 21401

When: Sunday, March 27th at 5:00pm EST

Details:  The world of white beers is vast and delicious. Break away from the Blue Moon, and experience the refreshing wheaty, yeasty flavors of fantastic white beers known as Hefeweizen, Weisse, Witbier, and Belgian White. Learn about the history of white beers and the brewing process while tasting five different styles of white beers with Punk’s co-owners and beer-lovers, Dave and Sheila.

Cost: $30 per person, includes tasting of five beers and snacks.

RSVP: To reserve your spot, call the restaurant at 410-571-7744.  Space is limited and classes sell out, so a credit card is required to hold the reservation.

Upcoming Beer and Cocktail Classes

We did some planning ahead and we’ve come up with a schedule of beer and cocktail classes for the next few months.  We’ll be rotating months, doing a cocktail class next, then a beer class, then cocktail, etc.  If you’d like to rsvp, call us at the restaurant at 410-571-7744.  Have a credit card handy to reserve your spot (don’t worry, we won’t charge it until the day of the class).

The full list will always be on the right hand side of this blog, about halfway down, in case you need a reminder.  All classes are $30 per person and include drinks and snacks. We’ll be tasting three (3) cocktails in each cocktail class and five (5) beers in each beer class.  When you attend the cocktail classes, you go home with at least three recipes.

February 20, 2011 : Vodka Cocktails - Often under appreciated but delicious when done right.

March 27, 2011 : Wheat Beers - Explore many different styles of wheat beers just in time for spring.

April 17, 2011 : Classic Cocktails - Brush up on the classic pre-prohibition favorites.

May 29, 2011 : Hops and IPAs - Who doesn’t like a hop-bomb now and then?  Explore East and West coast favorites.

June 19, 2011 : Tiki Cocktails and Rum Drinks - Throwback to a finer time.  When an umbrella in your drink was hip.

July 17, 2011 : Lagers - Summertime session beers.  Not Bud Light, real lagers.

August 14, 2011 : Champagne Cocktails - Bubbly always makes the party a party.  Now you can make it even better.

September 18, 2011 : Malts - Sample many different types of malts and taste beers made from a staggering variety.

October 16, 2011 : Fall Cocktails - Explore the flavors, herbs and produce of fall.  Brown liquors encouraged.

November 13, 2011 : Stouts and Porters - Get roasty before the snow comes.  Contrary to popular belief, not that heavy.

December 11, 2011 : Holiday Cocktails - Ready for your Christmas party? Not yet…