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Featured Microbreweries

Pony Express Brewing Co.

When you think Kansas, you tend to think about K.U. Basketball or maybe Dorothy and her cute little Dog too! You think about driving in a straight line for 8 hours with not much else to contemplate other than whether you're looking at corn or soybeans. Some people think about Bobby Dole and if he really has erectile dysfunction or did go so deep into debt during his run at the presidency that he'll promote what ever's paying best this week!

Whatever you currently think of, we're pretty confident that you'll be adding the Pony Express Brewing Company to the list after sampling this month's featured beers. Founded by Joe Effertz, Jr., the brewery opened in May of 1995 in Olathe, Kansas. First he was a farmer and had a degree in agriculture from the Missouri University, Effertz choose to quit working on the company farm and try something new. After opening a liquor store, Effertz saw a rise in demand of micro brewed beers. He learned craft brewing methods and, keeping with the spirit of the smart farmer, came up with a scheme to launch his microbrewery. He still uses the wheat from his family's farm in his beers and sells the grains to cattle farmers for use as feed.

In 1994, Joe met Ed Nelson and the two combined forces to open up 2 restaurants as well as a brewery in the Overland Park in Kansas. They bought the Olathe structure for the brewery and started working on what would become the very successful Pony Express style. Joe got the breweries name form when he went to the hospital in the back of an ambulance and some person said, "Drive fast like the Pony Express." He now covered the walls of the brewery with pictures of old Pony Express riders who he considered risk takers. The packaging shows a horse and rider, with a different background behind them, which is altered to portray all the unique weather conditions and living conditions that the first riders rode in to deliver the mail.

The brewery originally had draft accounts, but in six months they concluded that they needed to get into packaging the brew. Looking thought North America for brewing tools, Joe and Ed could not locate anything they considered to be quality equipment. They decided to use their associations in Germany and made 2 trips there - the first just to look for equipment and to leave deposits, and the next time they returned with, literally, a suitcase full of tools equal to four truckloads of equipment.

Once the equipment was bought, it was time to locate a brewmaster. After looking, the boys employed brewmaster Stacey Payne, a U.C. Davis alumnus who graduated top of his class. Payne had lots of brewing experience due to working at the Boulevard Brewing Company a perfect choice for the brewery. cooperatively the group created a wide variety of beers that reflect the spirit of the American farmlands. For more information about the brewery and tours, call 913-782-6699 or check our their web site at: www.Ponyex.com.

Pony Express Honey Blond Ale

Pony Express Honey Blond Ale is brewed with a combination of two-row Pale, Vienna, & Caramel malts as well as malted wheat. Stacey hops it with Cascade up front for aroma and Hallertau towards the end of the boil for a slight balancing hop bitterness. If your nose is trained, you should pick up a hint of fresh coriander and honey with underlying citrus notes in the nose of this golden filtered ale. The body is medium and very well balanced. You'll taste the pale malt, some hop spiciness and perhaps a hint of orange peel. Look for a clean, crisp finish in this refreshing summer session beer. It would pair up nicely with just about any meal and just like a fine Chardonnay, it flourishes well on its own.

Serving Temperature: 42-47 F
Original Gravity: 12.8 Plato
Final Gravity: 3.2 Plato
Int'l Bittering Units: 20
Alcohol by Volume: 5.0 %

Pony Express Unfiltered Wheat

The Pony Express Unfiltered Wheat is brewed with a combination of two-row Pale, Vienna, Munich, & Caramel malts as well as malted wheat and unmalted, raw Soft Red Winter Wheat from the Effertz family farm. Stacey hops it up with Willamette for aroma and Hallertau again for a slightly spicy character. Look for some yeast and wheat coming through on the nose as well as a touch of floral hoppiness. The nose and flavor is clean and fresh and tends to remind you of freshly baked bread. We found this dark straw colored, non-filtered ale light-to-medium bodied with a pleasant, yet not overstated hop presence. Note a fairly dry finish. Overall, a fully satisfying wheat beer.

Serving Temperature: 42-47 F
Original Gravity: 12.2 Plato
Final Gravity: 2.4 Plato
Int'l Bittering Units: 18
Alcohol by Volume: 5.2 %

Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Hidden in the lush vineyards of Los Olivos, California, is the Firestone Walker Brewing Company. Adam Firestone, the president of the Firestone Vineyard, and David Walker, combined to bring a literal "pipe dream" into being. Faced with a grape shortage that happened on California's South Central Coast in 1995, Firestone and Walker started an idea, increasing the successful and famous winery to include an age-old beer brewing process.

Adam Firestone says his father was the original one to experiment with brewing a quality nonalcoholic beer in 1987 midst a growing popularity of that product. The elder Firestone bought equipment and changed wine making vessels for beer conditioning and fermenting, but finally determined that selling nonalcoholic beer did not support continuing the operation, so it was let go in 1990. All attempts at the Firestone Vineyard returned back to providing quality wines to keep up with the demand of their customers. It wasn't until the horribly small crop of grapes in 1995 that brewing beer moved into the spotlight.

At first, Walker and Firestone started using some vacant Chardonnay barrels for the purpose of fermentation. The wine creators found that too excessive oxidation and contamination would need a fresh method to make the brew they wanted. Then they hired brewmaster Jeffers Richardson, who recommended that they experiment with using an old method called the Burton Union system, which is not often used today. Connecting a series of new, cleaner American oak barrels in a confined system, Walker and Firestone were capable of adapting the method to make the Firestone Union. The 60-gallon barrel normanly used in wine making were an unexpected advantage, as the lesser volume to surface area maintained a regular temperature.

Firestone Walker starts fermentation in a large fermenter, and at peak yeast growth, transfer a percentage to the Firestone Union at which time fermentation and cleansing occur. All of the beer is then blended in the conditioning vessel. There, the flavors of the oak barrel fermentation combine with the beer from the primary fermenter. More fining and oak aging help stabilize and clarify each brew. This unique "double barrel" process makes Firestone Walker's very satisfying Double Barrel and Windsor Pale ales. Call 805-688-3940 For more information.

Double Barrel Ale

Double Barrel Ale is a double vessel fermented, British Style Ale brewed with a combination of two-row Pale, Munich, Caramel, Dark Caramel, and Floor malted Maris Otter British pale malts. The brewery uses East Kent Golding (England), Styrian Golding (Slovenia) and Magnum (Yakima Valley) hops as one way to balance this beers malty profile. An English Ale Yeast strain is used with Carranza Mesa Groundwater. Immediately note a dark maltiness and fruitiness in the nose. Look for great head retention in this filtered, very amber, medium-bodied beer. Double Barrel Ale starts with dark caramel flavors which carry through to a more roasted and bitter finish. Also note the slight oaky flavor in the background of the finish. Overall, an exceptionally clean, well-balanced and unique interpretation of a British Ale.

Serving Temperature: 42-47 F
Original Gravity: 13.0 Plato
Final Gravity: 3.2 Plato
Int'l Bittering Units: 34
Alcohol by Volume: 5.0 %

Windsor Pale Ale

Windsor Pale Ale is brewed with a combination of two-row Pale, Maris Otter, Caramel, Caramalt malts using the same oak barrel fermentation system used to brew Double Barrel Ale. Jeffers hops this bright golden ale with Horizon, Challenger and Liberty hops. Immediately note a complex nose hinting of orange, vanilla, and a soft smokiness from the oak. You'll find this medium-bodied ale mild well balanced with a subtle hop bitterness complementing a sweet malt profile nicely. Look for it to finish with light toffee notes, a hint of nuts, and a clean brisk bitterness. Overall, very complex, quite refined and truly unusual. We really liked it!

Serving Temperature: 42-47 F
Original Gravity: 12.0 Plato
Final Gravity: 3.0 Plato
Int'l Bittering Units: 30
Alcohol by Volume: 4.6 %

Ask Murl

Dear Murl,

I'm writing to ride you jokers a bit for sending me that damn Mother's Day Promotion Email 15 times over the course of a couple hours last month!!! What's up with that you pesky pooch? Okay, so my mother does drink beer and she loves wine too, but one reminder notice would have been plenty.

Lovin' ya but still just slightly agitated,
James Frank, Portland, OR

Yo Jimmy!

I'm thanking' we should start a Cheese of the Month Club so you can have something to pair up with that nice Whine you got going on! You only got it 15 times? We had some that got it 25 or more! Seriously, James, we owe you and any one else that was on the receiving side of that little episode a big Ole apology and maybe even one of my favorite chewy sticks!

On the heels of the "I love you" virus and in an age where we all receive heaps of unwanted crap pumping anything from a better nose hair trimmer to a facial toning exercise system (no kidding…I just got it today with the subject line posing the question: IS YOUR FACE ALL THAT IT COULD BE?), it would be somewhat understated to say that we really pissed some of our favorite people off in one svelte maneuver.

I can speak for, and often do, the entire gang at Corporate here, when I tell you that we are truly sorry for the screw up. In a nutshell, there was some kind of screw up with our ISP in sending the note. Granted, our marketing guys can be pretty dense at times, but not so thick as to think it a good idea to send the same message repeatedly in a short period of time until we drove our most valued asset (our customers) to the point of writing some downright nasty emails! We hope you accept our apology and once again think warm thoughts of brew and liver treats when you think of us in the future! Gotta Trot! I need to read up on a new and improved hair removal system that was emailed to me last night! Woof! Murl.

Food For Thought...

Pony Express Gorgonzola Ale Soup

2 lb peeled red potatoes 1 kg
3/4 lb peeled and diced yellow onions 375 g
4 cups chicken stock 1 L
1 pt Pony Express Unfiltered Wheat Ale 500 mL
3/4 lb Gorgonzola cheese 375g
1 pt heavy cream 500 mL
1 tbsp salt 15 mL
2 tsp ground white pepper 10 mL
4 tsp cornstarch 20 mL

Boil the potatoes and onions in water until the potatoes become slightly mushy and then drain, Saving the water. Puree the potatoes and onions, adding potato water as necessary until the Mixture becomes smooth. In the meantime, bring the chicken stock and beer to a boil in a large Pot, reduce the heat and gradually add the Gorgonzola cheese, whipping with a whisk to make. The mixture smooth. Next, add the cream and, gradually, the potato mixture, again whipping to make the mixture smooth. Bring the pot to a boil and reduce the heat to simmer before adding the salt and pepper. Dissolve the cornstarch in a little water and slowly add it to the soup, whisking gently. Simmer for at least 10 minutes prior to serving. Serves 8-10 persons, 4 Irish Sheep Herders, or Oliver.

Norm's Corner ...
As spoken by Cheer's Norm

Coach: Beer, Normie?
Norm: Uh, Coach, I dunno, I had one this week. Eh, why not, I'm still young.

Give Your Friends FREE beer, wine and cigars!
Through our Customer Appreciation Program

Your name is worth cold hard cash to your friends, co-workers and family members! Every time a friend, family member, or frankly anyone with a pulse, joins our Beer, Cigar or Wine of the Month Clubs [or gives a gift] for 3 months or longer, we'll give them 50 % off of their first month, but only when they mention your name. And we'll also give you 50 % off your next month too which can either be applied towards your current membership or you can try one of our other Clubs out! (We can add one more month to your order at 50% off for prepaid memberships!)

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Liked it? Gotta have it? Want some more? Malt of the Earth members can re-order their favorite beers at serious discounts. Order a 12-pack of your favorite at $15.95 plus $9.00 for shipping and handling or a full case for just $32.95 plus $17.00 for shipping and handling. (Mixed assortments are available upon request)

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A: Not a problem. Although we want to do everything we can to keep you as a member, we will allow you to cancel your subscription early, however, you will be responsible to pay for the item which was given to you as part of the promotion. . If you received a discount based on a specific term, the amount discounted will be charged to your card.

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