Hail to the (red) King, baby

As I sit here staring at the next two experimental batches of Le Roi Rouge Imperial Red – willing them to ferment faster before they get dryhopped for the next couple weeks – I can’t help but smile. This is what I love doing. I’m all giddy at sending out the next sample bottles to the six lucky GrassHoppers for their feedback. I can't wait to host the next tasting event at my place as soon as these suckers get kegged. I’m so eager to brew test batches 4 and 5 of Le Roi Rouge. Even though GrassLands isn’t off the ground yet, I consider myself lucky to be embarking on such a journey.

Truth be told, this is an exciting time for me. And even though I’m out in uncharted territory (as far as I’m concerned), it’s definitely great to have the support of others as I learn to become an entrepreneur.

Geez, enough with the sappy crap, eh?

GrassLands recently hosted the “First Ever Tasting Shindig” at my house this past weekend and it was a total blast. 25 of you came out and that blows my mind. I’m thinking we’ll do even better next time and we'll make it a night party. I had a kegs Red Panda Rye and Le Roi Rouge Imperial Red #1 on tap and they both lasted a good 2 hours before kicking. Here are a few things I learned:

  • The Local GrassHoppers can put back a few and then some!
  • Le Roi Rouge #1 was very drinkable for an 8% ABV beer, however, just not quite what I’m looking for (needs more hops and more balance)
  • People REALLY liked Red Panda Rye
  • You guys can’t wait until the next two batches are ready to taste
  • @WadeFeltman likes Army of Darkness wayyy too much
  • People aren't too fond of the French pronunciation of Le Roi Rouge - so everyone bestowed it a new nickname: "LeeRoy". :) I can dig it
  • I’m not the only one excited about where GrassLands is heading
  • ...and, a bunch of you want GrassLands in Florida

Feedback from the out-of-town GrassHoppers has been steadily trickling in as well. I was recently sent this diddy from GrassHopper reviewer @JBeaverton, who turned his review into a YouTube clip:

I guess he liked it? :) Wait till you get to try the next versions, James! They're only going to get better!

I also promised I’d provide you guys with information regarding the Secale Cereale Saison Gold Medal. Here's the obligatory celebratory medal-biting picture:

Just kidding. :) Anyways, on to the what made Secale Cereale a winner in Jacksonville. Ironically enough, this didn’t garner the 38-40 score it received in previous competitions. It actually scored several points lower. Which just further proves the point that competitions can sometimes be subjective. What was interesting in this scenario was how the judges were torn between how good it tasted vs. its lack of traditional “saison” attributes. In the end, they felt that it was extremely good, but the rye somewhat masked those saison flavors – just not enough to not put it into the medal round. Secale Cereale did its thing in the 2nd round and here we are! Most likely, I'm done tweaking this flagship ale. VIVA LA SECALE CEREALE!!!

The Citrus Meyeri Wit landed a 34 – which wasn’t too surprising as wheat beers tend to age poorly. I love the Citrus Meyeri Wit, but I feel that its place in GrassLands’ future lineup will have to be limited to a seasonal selection.

And so we reach the end of yet another week on this journey. Things appear to be flying by at a mile a minute! GrassLands' better half will be attending a "Girls-Only" brewing seminar this Sunday hosted by the awesome brewers at Momo's Brewpub. I'm totally stoked for her! She'll be assisting on the next GrassLands' brew, potentially in three weeks. Branding/Identity/Logo stuff coming in the very near future!

Now enjoy your weekend, dear readers - you deserve it!