Two nights ago, William and I dove into 4 of the 5 Kungfu Bicycle brews, some of them the last extant sample. The only we left out, somewhat disappointingly, was batch 0001, “West Coast Pale Ale.” Sure, it’s a generic recipe from HomeBrewMart, and it wasn’t exactly amazing when we tasted it in August of ’07, but it was a landmark for both of us. However, all four of the beers we tried were great.
0002, “Continual Surveillance” – Our first IPA, and our first actual recipe, not exactly special in any particular way, unless dry hopping is special. Oh, except the introduction of our trademark 63 minute hop addition. It got its name from our strict obedience to the HomeBrewMart guide, which advocated keeping an eye on the wort at all times during the brew. Very hoppy, with a very pleasant malt sweetness. It was brewed long before we cared about clarifying, so there was a ton of debris. Still, it was a great beer.
0003, “Toil and Trouble” – This is probably our most storied beer. We brewed it during the Witch Creek fire of 2007 which devastated huge portions of San Diego and threatened to force us out of our apartments (and into God-knows-where). Anyway, we had been wanted to do an imperial stout but with a twist (always with a twist). We went for an 11% monster with huge doses of baker’s chocolate. Something about us standing over a steaming kettle, stirring a viscous black soup, all during a fire called Witch Creek inspired the name. Then, of course, it fermented next to a toilet for 6 weeks, leading to the nickname “Toilet Trouble.” Thanks, Fabio. Anyway, this beer was much better after aging over a year. Carbonation was much, much more solid, and the flavors blended a lot better. Good stuff.
0004, “Excelsior!,” né “Manbearpig” – A totally freestyle recipe. We chose quantities but not specifics, then went to town at the store. The quantities were chosen based on our idea of creating a super offensive beer, large on hops and with aggressive malt character. We ended up with a recipe that tended strongly toward peated malt, which ended up being the dominant flavor. The hops we chose weren’t particularly strong, largely because of our insistance on random selection – that skewed the alpha acids toward the low end. All in all, not very offensive. That’s when we switched to “Excelsior!” (staying with the Al Gore theme, natch). A year later, this beer is really good. The hop character has further softened, turning what was a smoked IPA into a smoked pale. Very drinkable.
0005, “June Gloom” – This one’s only about 6 months old, so it was the least spectacular in terms of change due to age. The most noticable change was a certain amount of dryness. That actually really accentuated the citrus/clove duo that dominates this brew. I still definitely think that this is our best brew by far. Super awesome!