Golem was a strong concept, suffered a major oopsie, and managed to be a decent beverage even though it wasn’t what I was going for.
Henry had been baking us a bunch of sourdough bread during spring 2021 quarantine—we each have a passion for yeast, it just expresses itself differently. He made a rye bread that didn’t really express itself as a rye; when he made a second loaf with caraway seeds, he got that real Jewish deli character.
I had used rye malt in Peanutgator Porter to try to get some bite, but I wasn’t sure I had gotten that much. The lightbulb went off: why not put caraway into a rye beer? Perfect to eat with a Langer’s #19. Go up to 50% rye malt. And do it as a lager to get a really clean fermentation so there’s not much to compete with that anise flavor from the caraway.
So that was the idea. The oopsie was that I ordered crystal rye malt rather than light rye malt—so rather than a light pilsner character, this shows up as much more of a brown ale. I tried a judicious hand with the caraway seed so it wouldn’t overpower the beer, but the crystal malt ends up overpowering everything else.
The final beer is tasty—moderately refreshing—but it’s much further away from a pils than I wanted it to be, and I think it could have been something special. Notes for the next brew.
The Czech republic has a storied brewing tradition and is of course the home of the Pilsner. In 2017 I had an opportunity to do a Prague pub crawl, including a trip to U Fleků, purportedly the oldest continually operating brewery in the country (since 1499). Since I was looking for a monstrous rye bite on a Pilsner, why not name this beer after a famous Czech monster, the Golem of Prague? The fact that this was a Jewish monster stuck the landing. Laura brought it home with her painterly illustration of the monster running amok in a bakery.
How does Bob Dylan shake himself awake every 10 years or so to deliver a masterpiece? Dude’s like a songwriting cicada. This is an objectively funny song: “I’ll take the Scarface Pacino and the Godfather Brando—mix it up in a tank and get a robot commando.”