Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Tired Hands!

I haven't made a trip to Tired Hands in forever but finally made up for it last Thursday. I'm going later today too actually but that's unrelated to this post. I arrived a little before five and the downstairs bar was already filling up with a few people sitting at the tables. Seems like they are doing pretty well which is awesome. I'm certainly hoping so as it's just getting better and I can't wait to see how things continue to progress.

I started with one of the newer beers, Slava Oner, a Kvass, which is a style I've never had. I'm unsure how to actually pronounce that style but I just pronounce the K and V and move on with my life. I'm sure that's wrong somehow but whatever.
Heck, here's the description of the style from BeerAdvocate for those of you too lazy to look it up if you don't know (almost all of you, I'm sure.)
Kvass is Russian for "leaven" and is a 16th century beer-like beverage made with grains - wheat, rye, barley, etc - or dark rye bread, and often has additions of sugars, birch sap, berries, fruits; the process is akin to ancient beer brewing. It's basically a fermentation of what's around with a simple bakers yeast. It's low in alcohol and often flavored with herbs or fruits to knock the bitter edge out. A national drink for Russia, but also found throughout Easter Europe.
The description from Tired Hands is even funnier:
Our riff on traditional Russian Kvass. 3.5% brewed with over 25 loaves of our rustic house-made bread and soured for nearly three days. Hopped gently with Cascade. IF YOU LIKED BROTHERS, OUR BERLINER-WEISS, YOU WILL LOVE THIS!
Weird stuff. I'm pretty sure it was also brewed in the past by just fermenting a loaf of bread straight out in some water. Meaning, really old style brewing stuff. It's really rare to see nowadays, at least in the states. There's a brewery out in Western PA called Beaver Brewing (I think) that brews one, but that's all I know.

Lightly sour with a bit of melon fruitiness in the nose. Yum and really smelled like a sourdough bread. Nice body too. Very pleasant initial impression. Basically tasted of sourdough bread with some tartness instead of tanginess. Lightly sour and a little tart with a bunch of bread flavor. Just delicious and cool. This is one of my options for a growler fill tonight.

Great start to my visit, that's for sure. Next I got a glass of Flavor Aroma, a double IPA people have been talking about since it came on draft.
Very bright lemony nose. Inviting and set the scene perfectly. Nice body on this one as well. Tired Hands really gets proper mouthfeel. Lemony citrus started things off with a light sweetness following. Some caramel but also pretty dry. Some light bitterness in the aftertaste but never astringent or sharp, just cleaning things up. Great balance. A really good double IPA.

It may have only been a month or two since my last visit, but the beers were almost on another level even from then. Jean seems to be really settling into his equipment and making some awesome things. The idea that he made a Kvass is awesome since it means he'll make other neat things moving forward. I look forward to many visits to come in the future and can't wait to see how things progress.

Update: As noted in the comments below, Lisa Grimm wrote an entire article about the history of Kvass. You can find it here. She didn't say how it's pronounced though so I'm sticking with what I wrote above.


  1. These guys are just killing it right now. Didn't have the Slava Oner, but FlavorAroma was fantastic. Looking forward to trying the Westy 13 later this week.

  2. Indeed they are. Excited about my visit later today and can't wait to try the Westy 13. Nice meeting you last night!

  3. It's as if you didn't read my kvass article from a few months back - for shame! ;)

  4. hah, guess not Lisa. Really interesting article though. I added it at the bottom of the post so it's clickable.