Monday, December 10, 2007

Hop Shortage

So I had the pleasure of spending a few hours at the Town Hall Brewery in Minneapolis on Saturday night. I ate their 7 Corners burger with smoked bacon and oatmeal stout BBQ sauce and washed it down with many many beers. I tried their Wee Heavy and Amarillo Amber with dinner, then Black H20 stout, Hope & King Scotch Ale, another Wee Heavy, and another Amarillo Amber while throwing darts.

As we're throwing darts, a guy sitting by the fireplace behind us asks us if we know a guy we work with, turns out he's from the same town. This guy (can't remember the name, a little hazy by that time) turns out to be the bar manager (I think) and we get in a conversation about the brewing operation.

The hop shortage ended up being a pretty big part of the conversation, and he told me that pint prices would be going up by less than a buck on some beers as a result. The thing that struck me though was that despite all the freaking out I've been reading about on various forums, Town Hall is expanding. Again, my memory is hazy, but I'm pretty sure the guy said they were going to be doubling their capacity to keep up with demand. So even though hops may be hard to come by for a while, good beer is still being made.

What are you making or drinking right now?

9 comments:

Bri said...

This is cool Rich. I currently have an Oktoberfest on tap I brewed in Sept and a Fat Tire Ale in the secondary fermenter right now. I'm thinking around New years I may tap that one. I'm starting to plan my next batch. I'm thinking a stout. I'll get to that around christmas. As far as hops go, I recieve the Tyranena weekly eletter which is a local Madison brewery, and the owner just discussed how basically every brewer is currently scrambling to lock in their 2008 hop orders. Some hops are completely unavailable. So brewers may have to modify their recipes to keep a certain beer flowing. I've so far only realy used ingrediant kits put together by the local homebrew store or the brewers best kits. So I've never had a no-hop issue.

jbswart said...

Same here on the use of ingredient kits and not having a problem with the hop issue. I am still working on the porter that I last made and am hoping to get one more beer started before the baby comes. Its been difficult to finish as I have been the only one drinking for the past 9 months. I have really been into the Belgian styles lately and would like to try a dubbel or trippel. Ive also looked into doing a Fresh-hop Ale. We'll see. Thanks for the blog you geek!

rich.tessler said...

Okay, how is it that I'm the geek but you are the one posting at almost midnight on a Tuesday night? What, is your favorite Star Trek site down? haha

When I last ordered from Northern Brewer a month ago they were substituting hops for some kits, although not for the Lefse Blonde kit I got. I was able to pick up an ounce of Cascades for dryhopping my 2IPA, though, which I thought was weird since that's one of the most common hops. I did just read on I think the Northern Brewer forum that they are changing more of their recipes to account for the shortage.

Jeremy, if you're thinking about brewing before the baby comes you better get in gear! Do you have a place in your house that has a fairly stable temperature? I know when Eli came early it threw off my brewing schedule quite a bit. I would pick a big beer that you won't have to babysit and will be okay to sit for a long time. The 2IPA I'm drinking right now was in primary for almost 4 weeks. I used Wyeast 1056 and fermented at about 64 degrees. Something to consider anyway. I've heard that the Belgians really like warmer temps, so maybe a dubbel or tripel wouldn't be a bad idea.

bri said...

Now with a 3yr old that can climb up on the countertop, I will brew early mornings or late at night to avoid interruptions. The other option is to open my wallet and send the wife away to go shopping.

rich.tessler said...

That's why I'm moving my brewing operations outdoors! I can't wait.

bri said...

What size pot are you looking at? I've heard 6 gallon is good if you want to slow boil, but if you really want the flame on all the way, you'll get boil overs. The easy remedy is a 7 gallon. I'm thinking of making the same move. Though I haven't started shopping around yet.

rich.tessler said...

I got a turkey fryer kit from Target for $30 with a 30 quart pot, which is 7.5 gallons. I haven't actually used it yet, so I'm not sure what the risk of boilover will be yet. Now would probably be a good time to look around for clearance turkey fryers. I know Dick's Sporting Goods had one that had a spigot at the bottom of the pot, but that was about $70. I figured for 30 bucks, if it doesn't work great, I can always upgrade and just use this for something else, like frying turkeys maybe?

Bri said...

I'm starting to plan the construction of my fridge tap. I'm curious of other's opinions on which side of the fridge I should drill holes for the taps to come out, front, left or right?

rich.tessler said...

It seems to me that front wouldn't be that great because every time you open it you'd have to fight the tubes. It probably depends on where it is, what's most convenient? If it was me, I would put it on the side away from the door's hinge, just so that if you need to mess with it you can open the door wide and not have it in your way.

I don't know much about refrigerators aside from they keep food cold. Do they have anything in the sides you wouldn't want to cut through?