Thursday, November 29, 2012

Off Kilter 80/-

Eighty slash minus?  It is pronounced “Eighty shilling” and 80/- is a style of beer name like “pale ale” or “stout.”  The Scots had other classifications for their beers as the heavier a beer was brewed, the more ingredients it required(therefore it was taxed higher, 80 shillings was the tax per hogshead of beer).

  1. Light - (60/-) was under 3.5% abv
  2. Heavy - (70/-) was between 3.5% and 4.0% abv
  3. Export - (80/-) was between 4.0% and 5.5% abv
  4. Wee heavy  - (90/-) was over 6.0% abv

I’ve been told that the Scots barely use the terminology anymore and refer to the beers more as “heavy” or “export.”  So This beer could have easily have been called “Off Kilter Scottish-style Export.”  But in America, the term “export” lends more of a cheap designation for lagers that our dads and granddads used to drink.

The name for “Off Kilter 80/-“ came from a Facebook poll of our followers.   We had a lot of great name suggestions, but this one from Shannon Driesen warranted the most “likes.”  The runner up (who only lost by one vote) from Michelle Henninger-Ainscough was called “Thistle-do-nicely 80/-.”

This beer comes in right where I expected at 5.25% and 18 IBU’s, it is dry, refreshing and has a hint of caramel and roasted barley flavors.  The color is a deep amber color and the yeast lends a few fruity esters.  One thing it is lacking from traditional Great Britian beers is a hint of diacetyl.  I like clean beers and this is really hard to control, so I let the beer ferment cleanly and thus “no diacetyl.”   This beer will be released on Friday Dec 7th at 4PM.  Stop on by to help us celebrate a new release on the Amber Tap handle and I can’t promise there won’t be any kilts present.

Prost & Slainte!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Behind the Beers: One Year Anniversary of Jalapeño Lena beer

Last week I was telling the story to somebody about how Jalapeño Lena beer was created and realized it was about a year ago that I made my first batch.  So I looked it up and sure enough, I missed the one year anniversary which was on 10-24-11.  I usually tell people it was made on a “Dare and Bet” and it was named after a really great zydeco song called “Jalapeño Lena".”   Here is the whole story…

In the summer of 2011 I made a Guajillo pepper wheat beer and I painstakingly and diligently removed the pith and seeds so I could taste the peppers but not have any heat to the beer.  The beer turned out well but the most common complaints that I heard was that it was “wussy” and had “no heat.”    So I went into the kitchen, washed about 1/2 lb of jalapenos, chopped them up fine (seeds, pith, meat, stems and all!) and put them into a sanitized cheesecloth bag (called a hopsock by us brewers) and put it in the bottom of a keg.  Then I racked 5 gallons of pilsner on top and let it rest 7 days.

I put the beer on tap and I proudly declared that the beer was hot!  Too hot for Adam Draeger to drink a pint, 3-4 oz was enough for me.  I intended to “shut people up” by releasing this beer that was “barely drinkable” due to the heat.  It backfired.  They loved it!  The transplants from New Mexico (whom I’ve noticed have a larger tolerance for heat than most) said it was like a 5 on a scale of 1 to 10 and it was “just enough heat” to make it good.

I didn’t plan on making more, but since the first keg blew in 3 days, I made another keg and thought, “that would be that.”  After the second keg blew just as fast (maybe faster) I decided to keep making the beer as long as people kept drinking it.   When we had to turn people away that wanted growlers because I didn’t have enough to go around, I knew we were onto something, I started making about 1/2bbl a week, opened it up for growler sales and the demand hasn’t stopped growing since.

The beer has 3lbs peppers per barrel (ppb) and ~5.1%ABV and ~34 IBU’s, I have no clue what the scoville units are (anybody got a connection to help me test this?)  If you haven’t had a pint for awhile, check it out and maybe you’ll appreciate the beer a little more knowing what’s Behind the Beer.  For all those that love the fresh pepper aroma and the heat, here’s to you.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Old Chicago Holiday Mini-tour featuring Chai Milk Stout’ve had our Chai Milk Stout on tap at Old Chicago in the past but never on a mini-tour.  To explain, Old Chicago has a full tour that is completed when you try 110 different beers.   Your name goes on a plaque/barrel and you earn pts and prizes along the way.  They also have seasonal “mini-tours” that are made up of usually 6-12 different beer that match the holiday or season.  St. Paddy’s tour features irish and stouts, Oktoberfest tour features Ofest lagers, and German wheats, etc.   This holiday tour is one of the longer and bigger ones at 12 different beers.  So you’ll see the Yak and Yeti’s beer going head-to-head with other holiday beers like* Breckenridge Brewery’s Christmas Ale, Sierra Nevada’s Celebration Ale, Pyramid’s Snow Cap, Great Divide’s Hibernation Ale, Blue Moon Winter Abbey, Samuel Smith’s Winter Welcome, Alaskan Winter Ale, Avery’s Old Jubilation Ale, Boulder Beer’s Never Summer and Bristol’s Winter Warlock.

Besides the Yak & Yeti, the Chai Milk Stout will only be available at the Old Chicago on Wadsworth and 77th in Arvada, CO during the mini-tour which begins on Wednesday Nov 28th.


*I’m not certain what beers will be selected for their tour, I just gave examples of what beers I could be going head-to-head against.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Porter Wednesdays 2012

The Wednesday Porter Series is set to kickoff on Dec 5th.  Some of the flavors are different than last year but the concept is still the same.  Every Wednesday at 4PM you can try a new flavored version of our Sherpa Porter.  Here is the lineup:

  • Dec 5th – Toasted Coconut Porter
  • Dec 12th – Vanilla Porter
  • Dec 19th – Peppermint Porter
  • Dec 26th – Cherry Porter
  • Jan 2nd – Orange Chocolate Porter
  • Jan 9th – 100% Kona Coffee Porter
  • Jan 16th – Repeat of Favorite
  • Jan 23rd – Repeat of Favorite

I’ll try to blog about these as they come out, but we’ll see how busy/motivated I am in the weeks before Christmas.  Either way, show up every week on Wednesdays and you’ll have your pint club card filled out in no-time flat so you can get one of our new pint glasses.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Behind the Beers: GF Apple Ale

Anybody with a gluten-intolerance or gluten-sensitivity doesn’t need me to explain that “GF” stands for “Gluten-free.”  With all the foods in the grocery store that claim gluten-free, you know there is a large market for such a product.  The Yak & Yeti isn’t using this as ploy to make more money and capitalize on this growing market segment, but really as a service to our gluten-intolerant friends and customers.   So the origins came about when I asked our chef which of our foods on the menu were gluten-free and his response was, “nearly everything.”  Looking into it farther, I suppose our menu is about 85% free of gluten products and you can order just about any menu item made specially gluten-free, with the exception of the naan bread. (sorry!) 

I reflected on our beer offerings and noticed that juxtaposed with the 85% gluten-free menu, we had 100% GLUTEN-filled beers.  That doesn’t jive.   I also began to hear request from patrons for GF beer and when I had nothing to offer them they instead drank water, soda, wine or hard liquor (basically EVERYTHING else in my bar except our beers).   We are brewpub and I always want to deliver a large selection of beers and beer styles to our patrons, so I knew it was the right thing to do to develop a gluten-free beer offering for at least one tap handle. (Our house-made Honey Ginger Soda, isn’t a beer, but is also GF).

Confession: I don’t like gluten-free beer.  Well, I didn’t when others made them trying to emulate a barley-based beer.  (Have you ever had a commercial GF IPA?  yuck!)  I don’t care for soy milk or rice milk either, I like the real thing.   But I can drink Vanilla flavored milk substitutes. Why?  Probably because I’m not comparing it to milk, but more like an ice cream milk shake!  So IMHO the best way to make a GF beer that taste good is to not make it taste like beer, but something else to get your mind off of it.  Which gets us talking about hard cider.

I’ve made a lot of hard cider as a homebrewer; my wife loves it.  When I had a 4-tap kegerator in my previous home, she insisted that I keep one tap handle dedicated to hard cider.  Although homebrewers embrace making meads and ciders, the government has defined these two beverages to be WINE!  So commercially if I am to make cider, I have to get a wine making license, not even sure if that is possible for a brewpub, but it sounds like too much red tape for me.  

So, I decided to make an ale using Sorghum (see photo) as the primary grain, which is known to be gluten-free. Combined with apple cider and hops (one hop pellet in our case), and made with beer yeast, it can’t be disputed that this is truly an ale (or beer).  As a result, this beer tastes awfully like a hard cider. Crisp, tart, refreshing and most of the sorghum flavor, which is ill-favored by most, is covered up by the flavor of the apples!  Some don’t like ciders and dismiss it entirely, but having poured this beer at festivals and over the bar, I am surprised to see both men and women like this beer equally & enthusiastically.  Sure, we still occasionally get the stubborn men with large egos that say, “I don’t drink fruity beers, I only drink IPA’s.”  I usually refrain from telling them that the IPA’s are know for having grapefruit, orange and other strong citrus flavors. ;)

This beer may have been our 2nd best seller during the hot summer months.  I suspect this is because it is our most refreshing beer and at only 4.7-4.9% alcohol, it can be consumed more sessionably.  Do to our beer-loving, but gluten-intolerant friends, we keep this beer on year-round.  If you haven’t had a pint for awhile, check it out and maybe you’ll appreciate the beer a little more knowing what’s Behind the Beer.


Monday, November 12, 2012

Sherpa Porter 2012

The Sherpa Porter was a huge favorite last winter and it returns again on Friday Nov 23rd, 2012, Black Friday!  What better beer to release on this day than a black beer.   This year’s batch turned out to be a little bigger at 5.2% and 34IBU’s.  You can read about last years batch here.  Due to the other bars in the area also wanting this seasonal on tap, I’ll most likely have to make a 2nd batch to keep it on for the majority of the snowy months. 

We’ll have it on tap when we open at 11AM and will have a release party from 4PM-10PM that night.  So when all the early morning specials are done and gone, come by and enjoy a fresh pint of the Sherpa Porter. 


Pumpkin and Spice (and all things nice)

Just in time for Thanksgiving!!!  We’ll be releasing our Pumpkin & Spice on Wed Nov. 21st at 4PM.  This beer won’t make it through the Thanksgiving weekend, so if you want some, show up for the release party or have your Thanksgiving meal at the Yak & Yeti because we’ll be open all day Thursday 22nd.  I myself will probably have a “post-meal, during-digestion” beer at the Yak on that evening.  

Last year this beer was well received and was consumed quite rapidly.  This beer started as a collaboration with some of the KROC homebrewing club members and was heavily requested for the same recipe to return.  I couldn’t coordinate to schedule the same brewers back, but we did the same recipe again.  Read about the original posts here and here.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012


When I was going to school in Chicago the two most popular new styles of beer were Belgian Pales and Belgian IPA’s.   From my recollections, every brewpub had at least one of these on tap and beer bars had several offerings.   My favorite was Zombie Dust from Three Floyds.  (most people know that I love Zombies).  The name drew me in, but the hoppy flavor was great mixed with the other nuances of the Belgian yeast strain that they used I can’t normally get it out here, but they brought some in for GABF, yum.

This isn’t an attempt to clone Zombie Dust, but it is a chance to introduce our customers to another style of beer, especially for those lovers of hoppy beers.   The recipe isn’t all that different from our Himalayan IPA but with two major changes.  1. Fermented with the Belgian-Ardennes strain of yeast and 2. dry-hopped exclusively with Styrian Goldings Bobek hops.  The beer is cloudier due to the less flocculent yeast strain and gives a completely different aroma and flavor due to the hops and yeast.  We hope it is something you will enjoy with a whole new perspective on IPA’s…Belgian IPA’s.

The stats for this beer: 6.1% ABV and ~65 IBU’s. Currently just called Belgo-IPA, but if people really dig it, we’ll name and make it again sometime.  Released at 4PM on Wed Nov 7th at the Brewpub.  See you there.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Behind the Beers: Himalayan IPA

The TTB (Tobacco & Trade Bureau) is what now governs all beer labels (replaced the more familiar ATF).  When I first wanted to start selling kegs of this beer outside our brewpub walls I thought I needed COLA label approval, so I went through the whole online process for submitting my Keg Label Collars.   Woah!  That was a learning experience.  Did you know if we were to bottle our IPA it would have to be renamed?  At the very least it was suggested we’d have to change the name to Himalayan-style IPA because the name misleads the buying into thinking it was “actually made in the Himalayas.”  Turns out I did this whole process for not.  As long as I don’t bottle/can or distribute out of the state, I don’t need label approval to sell my kegs out of house.  So as of now the name is still “Himalayan IPA.”  Not even the Brewer’s Association at the GABF cared about the name when they awarded us a gold medal in 2010 for this beer in the American-style Strong Pale Ale category.

This recipe was another Chris Kennedy creation.  It hasn’t changed since I came on board, but looking back into the history books (the recipe log), Chris tweaked and changed the hopping bill and hopping schedule many times. Rarely did he repeat the exact same recipe.   I think what we have is a rock-solid recipe that needs just consistency from batch to batch on the process side of things, so I don’t change the recipe.

One story I can tell where I experimented with the process was nearly disastrous.  Our IPA is dry-hopped with 3.75lbs of Cascade and Columbus hops (it actually has 3.75lbs of total hops per bbl to be exact!)  Anyways there are two obvious ways to dry-hop a beer, warm and cold.  Let me explain the differences.  If one warmly dry-hops a beer, the oils will more likely dissolve and you get better extraction before cold-crashing the yeast. The issue is that all the hops particles don’t stay in suspension and they also drop out.  Whereas with cold-hopping, you cold-crash first. (this is NOT cold crashing!)  Then the hops stay in contact with the beer much longer without settling (cloudier beer too) but the trade off of longer contact time means the colder temperature won’t dissolve as many of the oils.

The punch line is that I tried cold-hopping instead our usual warm-hopping and our regulars noticed!  They didn’t like the taste change and I reverted back to the warm-hopping.

Other than that, the gold medal, the only other thing I can say about this beer is that it has always been our number one selling beer (summer and winter) and won’t be going away anytime soon, or ever for that matter.  If you haven’t had a pint for awhile, check it out and maybe you’ll appreciate the beer a little more knowing what’s Behind the Beer.