Thursday, March 24, 2005

Gravity Head Journal: Third Thursday report from the front.

One facet of Gravity Head that never changes is that no matter how I try to plan the progression of beers, inevitably it turns out that we're short of certain types of tavern heads (the keg connectors).

All the American kegs were assumed to use everyday Sankeys, but the five-year-old Rogue Old Crustacean required a Golden Gate, i.e., different fittings for CO2 at the top of the keg and the beer line on the bottom. Luckily I found these in the bin, and with Chris's help, got them working.

I thought all the Belgians would be Euro Sankeys (longer probes), but more turned out to be German sliders than I'd imagined. Because I'd loaned out a German slider and couldn't find a part for another, there are only three on line, limiting what can be tapped when a keg is blown.

It's the same story every year. At some point, everything I need will be present and workable.

This year's scratches are Rogue Fresh Hop (never made it in with the rest of the shipment) and the Three Floyds "mystery beer," which turned out to be Brian Boru, a red ale that doesn't fit the Gravity Head profile but is perfectly good in its own right.

This means that as of today, we're 30 or 31 beers into 43, meaning that there are 14 on tap, 16 or 17 (can't remember which) gone, and the rest remaining to be tapped. That's a good depletion rate for 11 business days.

In personal terms, after two weeks I'm finally able to muster enough sensory capacity to actually taste the Gravity Head beers. Today's sips were of Hitachino Japanese Classic Ale and BBC Bearded Pat's Barley Wine (2002).

In keeping with the rice "sake" legacy of the brewery, the Hitachino is eposed to cedar during conditioning, and it is strong in the nose. It's a fairly well hopped ale, supposedly based on the old British IPA recipes, and the cedar enhances the hops. All in all, I was pleasantly surprised.

Of course, Bearded Pat's is a longtime area favorite. The 2002 is a wee bit oxidized, but in a very positive way. A very mellow barley wine in every respect, with malt and hop in lovely harmony. While wishing that I could have tasted the 2000 Old Crusty for the sake of comparison, I'm happy that David Pierce made the vintage Bearded Pat's available to us for Gravity Head.

1 comment:

edward parish said...

Had the new version of Bob's 15b on Thursday evening and went home very happy and with a growler of it as well. Smooth vanilla/bourbon taste makes Cap's porter even better.