Archive for December, 2010

Imperial IPA

December 30, 2010

Nothing like starting out the new year with a big, bold, hoppy beer fermenting in the basement, right? So for the occasion I brewed an Imperial IPA today.

Today’s recipe:
Steeped 12 oz. caramel pils, 4 oz Briess Caramel 120, 1 1/2 gallons 170 degree water for 20 minutes.
Sparged with 1 gallon cold water.
Brought to boil.
12 lbs Pilsen malt syrup boiled for 60 minutes.
1 oz Summit hops, 18.5%, 60 minutes
1 oz Centennial hops, 9.2% 30 minutes
1 oz Cascade hops, 6.1% 10 minutes
1 oz Glacier hops, 5.6%, 2 minutes
1 oz Glacier hops, 5.6%, after boil
Cooled to room temp and brought volume to 5 gallons.
Pitched a 1 quart starter of Wyeast 1056, American ale yeast.
Added 1 tbsp calcium carbonate.
Aerate vigorously to get yeast started.

The finished wort tasted very rich with tons of malt and hop flavor. I think this could be really good. I’ll taste before I put into secondary fermenter and decide whether to add some dry hops or not (most likely will). Here’s to 2011!

Also, I’ve been drinking the IPA I brewed awhile back. I have to say it’s one of my best beers to date–a really well-balanced but intense beer with a fresh hop flavor to it. I’m loving it. Just bottled my dubbel the other day and it is also tasting very promising. It’s a little lighter in body than I’d planned and it’s a little more phenolic than I’d hoped, but it’s still aging. I think a few weeks will soften it and carbonation will help flesh it out–I’m looking forward to it.

Happy 90th Dave Brubeck

December 14, 2010

The Street Parade wants to wish a very happy 90th birthday to jazz giant Dave Brubeck, still young and going strong. Brubeck was born Dec. 6, 1920 in Concord, CA. His most well-known piece, “Take Five” (written by his musical cohort and jazz pioneer saxophonist Paul Desmond) showcased Brubeck’s and Desmond’s interest in experimenting with time signature. “Take Five” was written in 5/4 time, “Pick Up Sticks” is in 6/4, “Unsquare Dance” is in 7/4, and “Blue Rondo a la Turk” is in 9/8.  More importantly than his experimentation with time signatures is Brubeck’s ability to counterpoint different times within a single piece, often having the drums work in one time signature while he played piano in another, creating an idiom that is all his own. He has received well-earned accolades throughout his career, most recently receiving Kennedy Center Honors in 2009, an honorary Doctor of Music Decgree at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 2009, an honorary Doctor of Music Degree from the George Washingt0n University in 2010, and the Miles Davis Award at the Montreaux Jazz Festival in 2010.  Brubeck is still a vital musical force and the Street Parade wishes him many more years of jazz. Here he is in Germany in 1966 playing “40 Days”:

100 Years of Louis Prima

December 10, 2010

In my book of poems Keeping the Tigers Behind Us, there is a villanelle that imagines my death. The poem repeats the line “Play Louis Prima in memory of me.” How sad, then, that the Street Parade failed to commemorate Louis Prima’s 100th birthday a few days ago.  I knew it was his birthday but just didn’t get around to posting anything, and for this I hang my head in shame. Prima’s music has been a constant on the Street Parade playlist and never fails to bring a smile and liven up the room.

Prima, born Dec. 7, 1910 in New Orleans. Over the course of his career, he mixed Dixieland Jazz, Swing, Big Band, and mixed all with an Italian gumbo driven by his bigger-than-life personality. He cut his chops in New Orleans, following in the same lineage as Louis Armstrong, for many years before moving on to NYC, where his jumpin’ and jivin’ music created the ambience that made 52nd street known as “Swing Street.”  His composition “Swing, Swing, Swing,” was his biggest hit, and is perhaps the most covered tune of the swing era–Benny Goodman may have been better known for the tune, but it was that crazy cat Prima who first made it sing. He spent many years as a Vegas act with Keely Smith, and most importantly to the Street Parade’s ears, backed by the great honkin’ tenorman, Sam Butera and his band the Witnesses. The combination of musical personalities was unbeatable and has given us some of our most enduring swing music.

There were many who followed in his footsteps, but there was only one Prima. Here’s to Louis and I’d still say it: Play Lous Prima in memory of me.

Deadheads: A Cautionary Tale

December 2, 2010

Yes, the Street Parade knows you know who you are out there: