Beer Blog

Hangin with a Smoken Home Brewer on Canada Day Weekend

Posted by Neil Bamford, July 1st, 2013 | 0 Comments

We are open most holiday weekends so that our customers who run short on supplies dont have to wait until after the holiday to complete a fermentation, brewing or packaging project. As I cant really entertain or get away for the long weekend I stay close to home. Most home brewers see long weekends as a chance to get some extra brewing done so I can usually find a buddy who is ready to quaff a few brews about the time I get off work
Another passion of mine is smoking food. I own a fancy digitally controlled Bradley Smoker that makes everything easy and hard to screw up. In the past I have tried to freestlye with a charcol grill but had mixed results. Moving into a condo gave me an excuse to move to the digital smoker as charcol grills were not allowed. Needless to say when my buddy Corey Clayton offered to have me and Mrs Beer Geek over for some home brew and smoked chicken I jumped at the chance.
You see Corey does it old school. His dad build him a barrel smoker with a side firebox for indirect cooking. Corey has been doing a lot of practice on it the past couple of years and has become quite good and consistient. The trick to doing good BBQ is low and slow so that the smoke has time to be absorbed and the juices dont boil out. Just like in brewing quality fresh ingredients and temperature control are key to making an amazing product.
Corey started with a Hutteritte Chicken (the big ones that are about 7lbs) then brined it for a while before washing it down, seasoning it and then putting it in the smoker with indirect heat. No need to baste thanks to the brining process and by the time I showed up it was ready to go as you can see from the picture. Cooked to 170 degress F this bird was smokey and juicy.
Ok this is supposed to be a beer blog so I better get to that part. Corey aslo happens to be one of Calgarys better all grain home brewers. When he took up home brewer only a few years back he entered the Calgary Yeast Wranglers competition to get some feedback only to end up winning Best of Show and Brewer of the Year. Corey aslo did well in other competitions that he entered and just to be sure he followed up the next year with a Brewer of the Year title. Corey has also won a covetted Masters Championship of Ametur Brewing medal, an elite contest where there is only one qualifying event in Canada and you have to win a Gold to enter. It really is the Best of the Best competition.
Now to the beers I sampled. I started with a small sample of his Belgian Pale ale. It was getting down to the bottom of the keg but was still quite tasty with good firm bitterness and that classic Belgian yeast complexity. I followed that one up with his APA. Corey makes a classic APA that I can drink anytime. In the past I have had his Cascade single hop addition that was my favorite until now. This particular keg was done with Falconers Flight 7C's which is a blend of american hops that begin with the letter "C". I like to call this the most complex single hop beer I have had but as you know that is just not true but it sure is tasty. Mrs Beer Geek opted to start with the Brown Ale. This is an American stlye with fairly robust malt body but loaded with plenty of hop flavor and aroma. Not as big as a Tastys Janets Brown which makes it very drinkable on a hot evening at a BBQ. That was followed up with a Pilsner which was nice and dry with crisp bitterness and a slightly spicy nose. It paired very well with the smoked Chicken.
Originally we were going to have a Big Rock Rosmarius with the chicken but somewhere we forgot that on so I will save that until I smoke a chicken or a hunk of lamb and blog about it at that time. I will probably use it as a marinade or brine as well in that adventure. We finished the night with a Alley Kat McDougall Scottish Export Ale that I had got as a prize in the Edmonton Homebrewers competition. It was a fine example of a scottish export that was then aged in a Scotch Whisky Barrel. My guess is that it was an Islay barrel as there were definate hints of smoke and whisky and the oak played very well with the sweetness of the malt. My understanding is that the base beer is the Darn Tarten which is a good beer in its own right. This is a very easy drinker on a hot summer night and would love to see something similar in the fall or winter with a wee heavy as the base beer.
All in all a great night with great food, beer and friends. Corey is a member of the Cowtown Yeast Wranglers and loves to share his experience. When I start all Grain brewing 3 years ago Corey invited me over to his buddy Fezzs place to see first hand how it is done. Join the club, find out when he is brewing and learn from a master.


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