Thursday, July 24, 2008

New Blog Location

Hi guys,

I know its been a while since I posted on this blog but I have been spending time creating and posting to my new blog "A World of Brews". I am going to keep this job active to discuss non beer related things such as travel, food, and events. So please come over to a world of brews and sign up for the Feed or daily EMail.

Talk to you all soon!!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Session 17 - Going Against the Grain Bill: Solstice Edition

Hi all,

First I would like to thank Rob at Pfiff!! for hosting this months session. I never really thought about this topic before this year. Do I have a seasonal preferences in beer? I first had a discussion with a few people in my running club and they all said they loved IPA's in the summer and Imperial Stouts in the winter. I said I didn't really care I was more interested in trying different styles and brands of craft brews. So far this summer. I have had everything from Barleywines to Imperial Stouts. When I get done with the lawn or coming back from the store I look whats in my fridge and I think about what sounds good or looks interesting. I will say that most of the time summer or winter it is a hoppy IPA or DIPA. That is my favorite style and every season is IPA time. I also do enjoy other "summer time" beers all year around. This includes Kolsch, Hefeweizen, and Pilzners.

I guess I am a rebel doing my own thing. Kind of like a chunky James Dean. ;-) I guess after really thinking about it I do lean towards lighter beers in the summer but I am not sure its because of the heat but it may be who knows. I say don't think seasons think good beer and drink what sounds good to you.

Peace out until next month!!! Thanks again Rob!!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

June - Fermentation Friday

Hi all,

Welcome to Fermentation Friday!! I would like to start off by saying thanks to Travis at CNYBrew for hosting this month. This months topic "What is the craziest concoction you ever came up with, on the fly or prepped, to brew with" was a rather difficult one for me as I don’t have much to say on this topic but I wanted to stay involved and participate. I haven’t been brewing that long so I haven’t been that wild in my brewing. I have been rather conservative. So far the 2 wildest brews out of 6 total have been a Blood Orange Hefeweizen and a Honey Amber Ale. The Hefe recipe I got from Extreme Brewing (the book) and the Honey Amber was a kit from Midwest Supplies. I know wild an already created recipe and a kit. What can I say I am still learning!!

Over the last few days I have been thinking about what would be cool to brew with and I came up with ginger. I think a ginger IPA or a ginger wheat would be awesome. After my next two planned beers I think I am going to try and use ginger in my beer. For those that are wondering my next 2 planned beers will be and ESB and Winter Warmer. The warmer will be a little wild as I will be brewing with cinnamon, clove, and coriander. I am looking forward to playing with these spices.

I am really looking forward to reading all the wild brewing posts. Hopefully it will give me some ideas on what I can do next or use it as a springboard to other wild ingredients. Thanks again to Travis at CNYBrew.com for hosting this month’s Fermentation Friday. There should be some good reading. Talk to you next month.

Matt

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Session 16 Beer Festivals

Hi All,

Thanks to Thomas at Geistbear Brewing Blog for host this much session. I happen to love beer festivals. I have already been to one this year in Bakersfield, CA called beerfest and it was a blast. I do have to say that it is very difficult for me not to get slightly (or alot) inebriated at these things. So many good beers so little time. I just love going with friends and sampling all the great microbrews and beers that I usually don't have access too. What I do find funny is there is always a line at the Macrobrew tables. Don't people realize that they should experience the unfamiliar. You can get Bud, Coors and Miller any time but I am not sure why you would want to. My goal at these events is to try as many different beers as I can. So I always try and avoid trying things I have had before unless of coarse it is a great beer.

I am not really sure where to go with this topic. I guess I will start of by listing the beer fests I have attend.

1. Universal Studios Orlando Beer Fest - This beer festival is awesome. There must be 50 breweries and a few hundred different kinds of beer.
2. The Downtown Orlando Beer Fest - This was a smaller beer fest but the music was awesome and the had some breweries I hadn't tried before.
3. Active 20-30 Beerfest (Bakersfield,CA) - This beerfest was rather small also but it was really cool as alot of west coast micros were available for tasting.
4. Disney World Food and Wine Fest - I know it says food and wine fest but my favorite part of this fest are the international beers. Most of the countries at the Epcot World Showcase had there county's beers available.

I have not had a bad time at a beer fest and I don't know how you can with great beers and people. I am going to finish up with a funny little store from my first beerfest experience at Universal Orlando. Picture walking up to a table to get your ticket, fest info, and glass and getting this tiny little 3 oz plastic glass to taste with. Me and my wife were pissed we had paid like $25 and we get this tiny little glass. We thought it was going to suck. So we start going from table to table trying little 2oz samples. Within about an hour I can see my wife getting a little buzzed and we both looked at each other an said "Now I see why we get little glasses" and laughed. So we keep going from table to table and the next thing we know it is like 9 at night and we had been sampling since like 3. We were both pretty hammered and were wondering how we were going to get home. I suggested we go see a movie. We ended up going to see 2.5 (on an all evening pass) ;-) before were were able to get home. I learned after that first time to arrange for a ride or bring a DD.

****TIP****
Always bring a DD or arrange for a ride. If you do the fest properly you shouldn't be driving.
************

Thanks again to Thomas for hosting this months session. Talk to you all next month!!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Homebrew Blogging Day #1 (I remember when I started homebrewing)

Hi All,

First off I would like to thank Adam for starting the Homebrew Blogging day. I think that this is a great idea. I would like to see be a great learning tool to grow in the awesome hobby of home brewing.

This months topic "I remember when I started homebrewing" is a good way to start HB blogging day. I am really interested in reading about how and why everyone started home brewing. For me it was actually a 2 part process. About 5 years ago I found a Mr. Beer kit at a garage sale and I was so excited to try and brew beer. Lets just say it didn't turn out very well and I gave up on it before I really got started. Over the next few years I sort of got away from beer and wine had become my drink of choice. I never really thought I would homebrew again. I was in a wine tasting phase where I just want to try as many wines as I could and beer just fell to the wayside.

Fast forward to Oct. 05 and our trip to Europe (Italy,Germany, and France). I was figuring on tasting some of awesome wines and maybe a few beers in Germany but that is not how it happened. I had re found beer with the first beer I tried in Munich through the last beer I had in Paris. I now wanted to try any and all beers I could get my hands on. So over the next few years I probably have tried a few hundred different beers in many different styles and beer had become my passion. So what could I do to expand and learn more about my passion. Make it myself.

On Jan. 19th 2008, using a really beer kit that I got for Christmas, I made my first beer an all extract Amber Ale. I was so worried when I started that I was going to fail again but it turned out awesome. I had done it I had made my own beer. I was so psyched that I went out and got an IPA kit (this time with specialty grains) and again it turned out great. I was turning in to a home brewer. Since Jan. I have brewed 5 batches and have 2 more in the works. Home brewing has allowed me to learn so much more about beer then I could every really know then by just drinking it. I am learning how different hops taste, how yeast affects beer character, and how to be really meticulous at cleaning and sanitizing. It has opened up a whole new world for me in my passion for beer. Everytime I try a new style of beer I try and think about what is in it and if I can make something like it. I know I will be brewing for a very long time and I can't wait to brew many more batches and learn many more techniques.

See you all next month!!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Portland Birthday Trip

Hi all,

Its been a few days since I posted and I did have one big thing happen. My birthday trip to Portland,OR. My wife took me to the so called craft brew capitol of the US and with a nickname of Beervana I wasn't disappointed. Over the 4 day trip we hit 12 breweries and I must have tasted at least 75 different beers. I will admit my goal this trip was to try as many beers as a I could so I didn't really take tasting notes. I just sampled and said if I liked it or not.

The breweries we visited were:

Deschutes Brewing and Public House
Rogue Distillery and Public House
Bridgeport Brewing Company
Full Sail
Widmer Brothers Brewing
Amnesia
Old New Lampoc
Roots Organic Brewing Company
Lucky Labrador Brewing Company
Clinton Street Brewing
McMenamins Kennedy School Concordia Brewing
Laurelwood Brewing Company

Stay tuned tomorrow for the likes and dislikes!!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Session 15 - how did it all start for you?

Hi All,

First off I would like to thank Boak and Bailey for hosting this months session. I think that this is a great topic and I am looking forward to discussing where "Real Beer" started for me.

To be honest I don't really know where it all started. I have a few ideas. One revolves around beer fests in my early 20's and my other is my trip to the Napa Valley in my mid 20's and finally my trip to Europe. When I was 18 I moved to Florida from NY for my first job out of school and I would drink the normal macro beers and be happy with it. Then I started to go to various beer fests around the Orlando area. These fest included the downtown beer fest, the International Food and Wine Fest at Epcot and Universal Studio's Annual Beer Fest. Every one of these fests had one thing in common beers that actually had flavor. I would go from table to table or booth to booth and try samples of beers I never had before. Each one of these beers were so different and good or bad (I shouldn't say bad I should say not to my liking) in there own way. I loved that and after these fests I have always tried to try as many different beers as possible. I even changed what I would purchase for my normal drinking. I would try to avoid getting the same six pack because I had seen there have been so much out there to try. I feel that this was the start but I was still mostly wine person. Most of my wife and I's vacations would revolve around wine.
Fast forward a few years to fall of 2004. My wife and I went to Napa and Sonoma to hit the wine capitol of the US. Like I said it was our passion and what we did. So we went wine tasting for a few days and my palate started to get wined out. I wanted something different so I asked the concierge if there was a good beer bar in Sonoma. He told me yes Russian River Brewing is right down the road so we went there for dinner. I will admit that I did get kind of plastered so I don't remember it all. I asked for a sampler of every beer they had. I didn't know that they would bring a dozen or so. Well the only one I really remember is there was this IPA that was out of this world. I am guessing that it was the Blind Pig IPA but I can't be sure I didn't really pay attention to names back then. It was more to taste the beer then a hobby/passion back then. After that trip and that beer I knew that I wanted to try more micro's and that good beer was going to be important if I was going to drink beer but it still wasn't the moment that hit me.
As I am typing this I am remembering where it all came together. It was the following fall when my wife and I went on our trip to Europe. We went to Italy,Germany, and France to taste the wines and see the site on our dream vacation. Well we did all that but the wine and the sites didn't make it memorable. It was the beer in Germany. We started in Munich where I tried some awesome wheats and some bocks. Then we went to Berlin where they had this beer bar that had hundreds of beers. I tried beers that had 3% alc all the way up to 20%. I know the alcohol doesn't matter but I fell in love with the really big beers that day. I had realized that the world of beer is huge. From that day on my goal has been to try as many beers as possible. Every trip since then I have tried to find a local brew pub or a local beer to try and have been pretty successful with that. I have started brewing my own beer so that I can learn about the science and flavor profiles of the different styles. Beer has kind of become a way of life for me.
I am about to turn 30 next week and for the last 2 years I have tried many many beers all with there own unique flavors and styles and I still want to try many more. I can't really say when it started but I do know when the power of good beer hit me like a ton of bricks and I wouldn't change it for the world.

PS:
Remember 1 good beer is much better then many bad beers in all cases.

Thanks again to Boak and Bailey and I am looking forward to next months topic what ever it may be.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Beer Fest - Festival of Beers

Hi All,

On Saturday, Kara, Misty, Eric, and I went to the Festival of Beers at Stramler Park. There were about 175 beer and food samples, music, and a BBQ lunch. We had a great time. My only issue was they ran out of rolls for the pulled pork sandwiches. I love pulled pork but it has to be a sandwich not a plate full of meat. I have no idea how many of the beers I sampled but I drank enough to feel it. When I go to these events I usually only drink the beers that are not routinely available. My favorite beers of the day were the Alaskan Amber, the Sierra Nevada Porter, and the Red Tail Ale. I could list another dozen or so beers that I really enjoyed but I don't want to bore you.

The weather was really nice. Mid 80's with a slight breeze. We did have to hang in the shade some but you can't really complain about that. I personally love events like this and when you go with some good people its even better. Already looking forward to Brews in the Village.

Honey Amber Ale - Update

Hi All,

Well it looks like everything is going to be ok. After posting a question on some brewing forums everyone guessed that it fermented really quickly and I just missed it. They said I should just open the lid and see if there was a ring krausen (sludge that gets created by the fermentation process) around the side and there was. The next day I racked the beer to my secondary fermenter to clear it up and I will bottle it in a few weeks.

So for anyone that was worried don't been anymore. Its all good!! Relax and have a homebrew!!

Matt

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Honey Amber Ale

Well it has been 3 days since I brewed my forth batch of beer and I am a little worried. I don't see any bubbles after 3 days. The recipe I followed said it can take 3 days and to be patient as beers with honey take longer to start fermenting. If it doesn't start by tomorrow night I think I am going to throw in another pack of yeast in case the yeast got killed off some how. We will see what happens.

Matt

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Capital City Brewing Company

Hi all,

Well last Friday after a very long plane flight which I will talk about in a minute I was able to do my favorite thing when I go to a city I don't frequent. Visit the local brewpub. In this case it was Capital City Brewing in Washington DC. Lets start out with the trip there.

I was scheduled to fly from Bakersfield,CA on a red-eye at 10pm on 4-16 with a very short 25 minute layover in Las Vegas and then on to Washington,DC (BWI). I was really worried about the lay over but before it even got to that point my plane was delayed until 11pm which is 30 minutes after my connection was supposed to leave. So before I even left the house I rescheduled my flight to arrive at 430pm instead. The problem was with the times of the new flight I had to sleep in an airport (there would only be enough time to sleep 3 hours and I didn't feel that was worth it). Luckily the USAir lady hooked me up with a pillow and blanket and told me of a dark and quiet place in the airport to get a few hours of sleep. Did you know those annoying annoucement run all night? I loved hearing "This is a no smoking airport" at 2am. Other then that it was a normal trip but when I arrieved at 330(it got in an hour early) I needed a shower and a beer. I took the metrobus to the hotel, met up with a friend, took a shower and and headed off the brewpub.

Now that that is done lets get on to the important stuff the beer. Capital City had a wide range of beers ranging from a Kolsch to a Stout. All in all I tasted 7 beers and they were all very good.

The list of beer are as follows:
1. Capital Kolsch
2. Irish Red
3. Amber Waves Ale
4. Pale Rider Ale
5. Nut Brown Ale
6. IPA
7. Dry Stout

I am not going to go through them all but I will tell you my 3 favorites.

Surprisingly my favorite was the Kolsch. It was really light and golden in color. It had a nice hop bitterness and a slight citrus note and it went down really smooth. It just goes to show you that light beers can have flavor.

My next favorite was the Amber Waves Ale. It was medium bodied, nice amber color, with a nice floral character. It is a beer I would drink as a normal everyday not too heavy not too light. If you like Amber Ales then I think you would like this one.

Finally I liked the Dry Stout. It was nice and black with a very slight hint of coffee and chocolate. It wasn't too smokey and it was rather smooth. Another just goes to show you keep trying all beers even if its a style you normally don't care for you may find one you like.

I think that if I lived in DC this would be a place I would hang out. It had a great atmosphere, good food, and great beer. Remember visit the local brewpubs in a city you visit. It is a great way to get a taste of the city and get some great beer.

Later!!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Karaoke and Homebrew Night 4-5-2008

Whats up all,

When I brew beer I like to share it with my friends for 2 reasons.
1. I don't like to drink alone (most of the time)
2. I don't have the storage space to keep mass quantities of beer and I love the process of making beer so I have to share it so that I have more bottles and space to store the new creations.

Well this day was thought up by one of my new friends Courtney. She said she had a karaoke machine and I had the homebrew. It sounded like a match made in heaven. I invited about 10 people over and we sang and drank the night away. It was a blast. My personal favorite type of music to sing is 80's big hair ballads and there were 2 whole CD worth of them. I was in my element. We sang solo's, duets, and group songs. I was even able to get Misty in front of the mic. If you ever want a great night of fun get a karaoke machine, some good friends, and of course some great homebrew. I hope to do this again soon and I am sure my friends will come over for more good homebrew and some bad (you can take that which ever way you want) singing.

See you all later,
Matt

Monday, April 14, 2008

Behind on Posts and Orange Hefeweizen Update

Hi all,

I was away all weekend in DC at a Bachelor party and I didn't bring my computer. Do you know how tough that is to be computer less for like 3 days. It's rough but I made it. Over the next few days you will get the following posts.

1. Karaoke/Homebrew night
2. Capital City Brewing Review
3. DC trip overview view.

So stay tuned!

Beer Update!!!

Well I bottled last Wednesday and I was very happy with the precarbonated beer. It had a light orange taste and it tasted like a hefeweizen. I am looking forward to how it will taste in another week or so when carbonation has been added. I think it is going to be good.

See you all over the next day or two.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Session #14 Beer People

Hi all,

Happy First Friday of the Month. I would like to thank Stonch for being this months host and I am looking forward to see what everyone has to say about beer people. I am currently having a dopplebock with my wife while writing this post. I don't really consider her good beer people these days she is more in to wine have to convince her to split 24oz with me on week nights. It seems to be the easiest way to get different styles of beer. For this post about good beer people I am going to give a short post about the Hash House Harriers of Bakersfield (www.bhhh.org).

First lets give a little background. I moved to Bakersfield,CA about 2 years ago for a job with the city fro Kissimmee ,Fl where I lived for about 5.5 years. In Kissimmee I had some good friends who I could do things with and drink some beer (and wine) for some good times. Then I moved to Bakersfield. The only people I ever really hung out with were people from work for almost all of the 2 years. This isn't a bad thing at all but most are not the going out type. Most of our hanging out was theme cooking nights at peoples houses. Then one of my staff members convinced me to go to here running club for her birthday run. She explained that her club runs and drinks PBR (Pabst's Blue Ribbon) or the like. Let me tell you it took many months and a lot of convincing to get me to go for 2 reasons. One I don't run and two I don't drink macro American Lagers. So I caved and I went to her birthday run. I actually had a pretty good time so I went back the next week and have been going ever sense.
Let me tell you it has been one of the best things that I have done since I moved to Bakersfield. I have met so many cool people who are into some of the same things I am. I have been out more in the last 3 months then I have been in the last few years. Some of the times have have included the Monday runs, trip to some local bars and brewpubs and some live music shows. It has been great. Who would of thought the Hash (a world wide club) with the the motto a "Drinking Club With A Running Problem" would be the source of my drinking buddies, friends, and entertainment. I still don't like the PBR or the macro brews (I will get ripped if anyone from the club reads this) but drinking them with friends and companionship is worth the bad taste. Not to mention after the run we go out for dinner and I am able to get some good beer.
I know that this post isn't about one person its about a group but I don't think you can get a better bunch of good beer people. So if you like beer and you like to run (or like to get out of the house) then I suggest you look for a local Hash House Harriers club. It will get you a little exercise, some good beer people, and a good time.

Thanks you again Stonch for hosting this months session and I am looking forward to the next one on what ever topic that may be.

Short and sweet beer update

I looks like the bubbles have stopped so on wednesday I hope to bottle and then in 2 weeks I will have my first hefewiezen. If you are lucky some of you may get to try it. I guess my lesson for this brew so far is slow and steady wins the race.

Matt

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Brew Day - Blood Orange Hefeweizen

Hi all,

Well today was brew day for the 3rd batch of beer a Blood Orange Hefeweizen. I got the recipe from Extreme Brewing and decided to try it cause it looked really good hopefully it will taste as good at it looked. I am a little leery as think I might have pitched the yeast at a little 2 high of a temperature so I really hope I didn't kill the yeast. Worst comes to worse I just throw a packet of dry yeast in if I don't get any bubbles in the airlock by Monday. If that is the case i will have more or an Orange Pale Ale then a hefe but it should still be drinkable. We will see what happens.

Matt

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Las Vegas Trip

What's up all,

Well I went to Sin City for Easter. Where else would a good Christian boy like me spend Easter. Some of my friends from college had never been to Vegas before and I only live a few hours away so we decided to meet up for a few days. Alajandro (Matt B), Maria, John, Jenny, Kara and me set our sites on taking over the town. We started out each day Sat-Mon chilling at the pool at Mandalay Bay. Let me tell you it is an awesome pool but man was it crowded. I don't understand why everyone would like to chill at a pool when it was about 80 and really sunny. Even though we had problems finding lounge chairs we had an awesome time. Riding (or attempting to ride) the waves of the wave pool was fun. The lazy river rocks as usual and the hot tub warmed us up from the chilly water. It doesn't get much better then that.
Around 6 every evening we hit the town. The first day we had dinner at the Monte Carlo Brew Pub. We had some really good food everything from burgers to pretzel bites to wings and a really large tube of wheat beer that contained 9 glasses. Then we went to the Cirque du Soleil Love at the Mirage. Everyone loved it except for me. I enjoyed the first hour and then I fell asleep. I felt they just kept doing the same thing with a different Beatles song. As long as everyone else liked it I am happy. After the show we walked around a few casinos did a little gambling and then went back to our rooms.
The second night we started off by hitting New York New York and MGM. Then we did what I always do when I go out of town. We hit a local brewpub The Sin City Brewing Company. I wasn't really enamored with any of the beers but all of 4 were ok. My favorite were the Amber Ale and the Hefe. Remember my philosophy always try local beer.
After the beer we went to the Bellagio where I go to have the best Pina Colada in the world and a dinner that ranked in the top 5 of all time. Todd English's Olives resteraunt. It was awesome. We started off with a chicken sausage flat bread and for entrees I had the Duck Lasagna, Kara, Al, and Maria had the pork tenderloin, Jenny had the ravioli, and john had the NY Strip(I think). We finished off the meal with a warm chocolate lava cake. All I can say is Yummy!! Then we hit another casino or 2 and went to sleep.
The last day we didn't do much at all except the the Buffet and drive home. Kara and I were so full. Let me give you a piece of advice. Try to avoid eating a buffet dinner before driving 5 hours. The food was really good and we at too much other then that it is tough to describe a buffet in vegas. Picture anything you could possibly want and a lot of it. After dinner I said my goodbyes and we hit the road. The cool thing about my friends from college and I everytime we ge together is seems like we never really left. Good friends, good beer, and good fun = Good Times in my book.

I am going to finish this off with a picture of the crew. Later all!!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Next Batch of Homebrew

Hi all,

Well I am hoping to brew my next batch tomorrow and I can't decide if I should do it or not. The reason for this is timing. I have some things I have to do next week and won't have time to do anything with the beer until the following weekend. I have 4 options available to me. First I can brew tomorrow and bottle on Friday (basically did this for my fist batch and it turned out well). Second I can brew tomorrow and leave it in the primary fermenter for 2 weeks and bottle on March 29th. Third I can brew tomorrow and then rack(transfer) to secondary on Friday and then wait another 1-2 weeks before bottling(tasted and smelled awesome while flat still haven't tried it with carbonation). Finally I can wait two weeks to brew and be on a normal schedule. I am leaning towards option 2 as its the only one I haven't tried yet and it is the easiest option. My only concern is the massive contradicting statements on how long to stay in the primary fermentation vessel. I have seen everywhere from 5 days to a month before you may get some off flavors. I think it is worth the risk. I love making beer but anything I can do to be a little lazy with my hobby is always a good thing. It will also help me learn what options are available to me if I have time constraints. The only thing I know for sure is that option 3 is the best option if i have a little time when i start but I won't have time to bottle for a while. It is said that people have left beer in the secondary fermenter for up to a year and still had great tasting beer.

What do you all think?

Matt

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Session #13 - Organic Beers


Hi All,

Happy first Friday in March. This is my first posting for use in the session hosted by The Beer Advocate Chris O'Brien. Thank you for doing this it should be a good month. This months topic for the session is organic beer. I went to a BevMo (I think anyway) and looked through the shelves and picked a Golden Pale Ale called Scarecrow from Wychwood Brewery in Whiney,Oxfordshire, England.

The label has the USDA Organic seal and the description on the bottle states that it is brewed using organically grown Plumage Archer barley malt and Target hops to create a refreshing tasting beer of exceptional flavour & character. Ingredients grown to organic standards prohibits the use of synthetic pesticides & fertilizers. Sounds organic to me and I love that they tell me it has exceptional flavor and character. I guess I don't really need to review it. I guess I will anyway.

Well here it goes:

Sound - After the pop of the cap I heard the the traditional Pssst! Sounds good to me!

Pour - The Scarecrow pours a really nice golden blonde color, clear, with a nice foaming head. After waiting a minute to see head retention the head was gone. I really like the color but I prefer a longer lasting head.

Smell - I am not professional but it smells like beer. ;-) Just kidding it had a nice light floral smell. You also could small a hint of malt. Based on smell I am assuming this is going to be a nice light balanced beer.

Taste - Well I was wrong. Based on the smell I was thinking this was going to be a very smooth flavored beer with nice balance between hops and malt and bitterness and sweetness. This beer is a lot more bitter then I was expecting. It is actually pretty good. I can taste both the hops and the malt and the slight bitter linger at the finish. I wouldn't call this my favorite beer I ever tried but it isn't bad. If I was brewing this beer I think I would balance the bitterness a little more.

After trying an organic beer I honestly can't tell you if there is much difference in an organic and non-organic beer. I think if the ingredients are good and the recipe is formulated properly then you can get a good beer. Not to mention this beer was a $1 more then non organic beers of the same style. Not that I am cheap but I like bang for my buck and I don't think that organic beer(I have tried it 1 other time)is worth the extra cost. Don't get me wrong if an organic beer is available and it looks interesting then I will give it a try but I won't go out of my way to get it.

Hope you all enjoyed my review of Scarecrow Pale Ale and I am looking forward to the next session what ever they may be. Please see all the other session posts at http://beeractivist.wordpress.com/

Later

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

2nd Batch Bottling Day

Hi all,

Today I bottled my second batch and I am very excited it tasted awesome and it was clear, very aromatic and tasted awesome. In a few weeks after it gets some carbonation I feel it is going to be awesome.

Later

Saturday, March 1, 2008

2nd Batch Update

Hi all,

Well I did the second fermentation and I am going to be bottling on Tuesday. Then 2 weeks after that I should have a nicely carbonated Double IPA. I can hardly wait. I have also purchased the ingredients for my next to brews. My next batch will be my first foray into mead making. That will take about 1 month to go through primary fermentation and then it can take 2-6 months in secondary firmentation before it even goes into a bottle. The I think I will bottle carbonate half the batch and leave the other batch still. I predict this will be really nice to drink around Thanksgiving. Then right after the mead gets gets racked into secondary I will be brewing a honey amber ale. My wife chose this one so hopefully it will be good.

Later!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Fermenter is going crazy

We can say I got bubbles. I walked into the house today and I heard a major rattle and was wondering what it was. So I followed the sounds and it was the airlock rattling away. This means that fermentation is taking place and all the yeast are getting there fill of all the fermentable sugars in the wort. In a few days probably Saturday or Sunday I am going to try something I have never tried before secondary fermentation and dry hopping. This involves transferring the fermented wort to another carboy where the beer will sit for another 2 weeks to clear up and chill. I don't forsee this being a big deal. I have racked the beer into the bottling bucket last time and it is the same process. I can't wait to try this it smells so good already.

Later

Monday, February 18, 2008

Friday Night - Skating Show

Hi All,

I probably shouldn't tell this story but oh well I am secure enough with my man hood. Well on Friday after work I had a few people over for dinner and for the first real drinking of my home brew. It turned out really well and everyone really liked both the food and the beer. Its always good when people go for seconds. Then we went to the Smucker's Stars on Ice Show at the Rabobank. It was fun when the music was fast and upbeat but the slow stuff was really boring. It was something to do but it's not what i would do very often. My friend always used to say its not what you do its who your with. I would have to say thats true.

Later!!

Second Beer Batch

Hi All,

I brewed my second batch of beer today and I am right back to where I started last time. I hope I did it right. I am hoping after a few batches I won't worry so much but I really want this to work. I started off by trying to make a yeast starter using liquid yeast and I think I killed the yeast so I didn't even try to use it as there was no foam and all the yeast looked like the dead yeast at the bottom of a bottle of home brew. Don't worry I had dry yeast as a backup so I think it will be all good. So this morning I wake up and start the cleaning and sanitation process. I am trying to use I/O star (an Iodine based sanitzer) and it stained my plastic equipment light brown/orange but I read that it won't have any issue on this beer or any future brews its just discolored. So thats cool and it is a lot easier to use then bleach and it doesn't smell. So as long as I don't taste any off flavors in the the beer and I don't get any infection in the beer i will keep using it. Other then that everything seemed to go pretty smoothly. I will know after a few days if I get bubbles in the airlock.

That's all for today!

Later!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Sacramento Trip - BrewPub 3

What's up all,

Well the 3rd and final BrewPub I went to was the Hoppy Brewing Company. Of the three Brew Pubs I went to this was right in the middle in terms of the beer. I liked most of them but there were only a few i really liked. I also had a really good Jerk Chicken Sandwich on Ciabatta bread.

My favorite beers here are:

1. Hoppy Face Amber Ale - This was a really good amber ale with a great hoppy flavor. There was also a good balance between malt and hops but the hops were definitely what made this beer.

2. Stony Face Red Ale - This is normally not what I like in a beer and it basically the exact opposite of the Hoppy Face. It had a great malt flavor but there was also very good balance between the hops and the malt. I feel the malt maded this beer really good. It used both a dark roast malt and a chocolate flavored malt.

3. Heff-a's-weizen - There wasn't anything special about this beer but it was a very nice classic hefeweizen beer.

4. Hoppy Face/Stony Face mix - The bartender mixed these 2 at a 50/50 split and told me to try it. Let me tell you it worked. It was the perfect balance between malt and hops.

I highly recommend that you try this place if you are ever in Sac. It has a great atmosphere, good food and good beer.

As you can see I had a pretty good trip to Cali's capitol. Always remember if you are ever in a new place try the local Brew Pub scene you won't be sorry.

Peace Out!!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Sacramento Trip - BrewPub 2

Hi All,

The second Brew Pub I went to was called Rubicon Brewing Company. I will have to say this was my least favorite of the 3 places I attended (in terms of beer) but it did have the best food of the three and it had by far my favorite beer of the trip the Winter Wheat Wine. The reason that I called it my least favorite was there were only 2 others that I really liked and there were 2 that I didn't like at all. I will never say don't go try some place because everybody palate is different and things I dislike you may love. I would recommend this place on the 3 beers and the food I liked.

The 3 beers I really liked were the:

1. Winter Wheat Wine - This beer was my favorite of the trip. It was very smooth and had good balance between the hops and malt. It provided a nice warmth as you sip it. This is definitely a sipping beer. Think of a cold winter day sitting by the fire and this is what you should be drinking in your dreams. If you read the description this brew was a mistake by the brewer. I sure hope I can messup like this someday.

2. Irish Red - It has a nice red color with a nice balance between hops and malt. This would be a good drinking beer.

3. IPA - This is what I call a beer. It has a golden orange color with nice and smooth hop flavor throughout. It finishes with an extra bite of hoppiness at the finish.

http://www.rubiconbrewing.com/

Peace out!!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sacramento Trip

Hi All,

I had to go out of town for work this week to a attend a conference and give a presentation. I had been to Sac once before but it was before my big interest in the craftbrew/brewpub industry. So since I went by myself and didn't really know anyone what better place to go an hang out over the evening but to hit the local brewpubs get some dinner and have a few good brew samplers. Well I got there on Tuesday evening around 7 so I decided to go the the closest one one to my hotel which was the Sacramento Brewing Company. This actually ended up being the favorite of the 3 I visited. I actually liked most of the beer I tasted.

Sacramento Brewing Company Favorites:
1. Sprockets Pilsner - This was actually the lightest of the bunch and over the past year or so I have been shying away from the really light colored beers. I guess what I have been shying away from is the mass produced light colored beers like bud, coors and miller. This was a well balanced flavorful pilsner. It even tasted pretty good after it warmed slightly.

2. Celtic Amber Ale - Nice balanced flavor with a nice red color. I think this tasted like a classic amber.

3. Red Otter British Pale Ale - This was my favorite or second favorite of the bunch it had a great hop flavor that wasn't overpowering. It had a really nice amber color and it kept a nice head. I would highly recommend this beer.

4. Red Horse Ale - This was the other beer that i couldn't decide if it was my favorite or not. This beer a perfect reddish brown color a strong hop finish. This is what I call a beer

5. IPA - This was a classic IPA with great hop flavor from start to finish. This is another beer that I can call a real beer.


There were a few others that I tried and most we pretty good even the porter and the stout were rather tasty. Also the food at this place is good. So if you are in the area look up this place I think you will be pretty happy you did.

Check back later today or tomorrow for Rubicon Brewing and Hoppy Brewing Company.

Later

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Fresno Trip

Hi all,

Well this has turned out to be a really good weekend. It started out on Friday where I took a half day and my wife and I went to Fresno to see a the George Strait concert. I had gotten the tickets for my wife for Christmas. That started out kind of rocky but turn out to be a "Good Times". We got to Fresno and had dinner at DiCicco's a family own italian resteraunt where we had a nice meal. Then we figured that we would have a little time to head over to the BevMo to pick up some unique beers for me to try. I picked up some pretty cool beers that I heard about. I will try and let you know how they were in coming posts. We we get there and have about 30 minutes to get the arena which was supposed to be about 10 minutes away. It ended up taking almost and hour and 45 minutes and there was not reason for this. My favorite part of this was there were about 10 cops directing traffic in the parking lot and none on the street. I have worked events from a security standpoints at arenas and stadium 3 times the size of the savemart center and there were less traffic issues. I think that the city of Fresno needs to teach the police how and where to direct traffic. I could give them a lesson if need be. Sorry enough about that. So I let my wife out of the car about a half mile from the stadium we missed the opening act (didn't really care never heard of her) and I missed part of the second act (Josh Turner and from what i did get ot see I wished I had heard the rest. He was awesome). George Strait was awesome but his singing style didn't work very well with the acoustics of the savemart center but it still worked. So then we leave the concert and it take about an hour to get out of the parking lot because there was no one directing traffic. Oh well we got back to the hotel and went to bed.

On Saturday we got up and walked around the tower district and checked out some of the stores there. Its not a bad area but it wasn't what I expected. Its still a little run down and old looking but it was still pretty cool. For lunch we went to the Sequoia Brewing Company for some beer tasting and some good food. For an appitizer we had the fried dill pickles. Let me tell you they were awesome. They were crisp, salty, dilly and had this great mustard ranch sauce to dip in. I highly recommend them. For the meal we split a club sandwich nothing special but good. Now on to the important stuff the beer. I as usually ordered the sampler and tasted 8 beers. I am not going to go into detail about each beer if you would like to read the official description please read there site. http://www.sequoiabrewing.com/beers.htm. I am just going to tell you what I like and don't like about each beer.

1. Del Oro - Mexican Style Light Ale - Surprisingly it was pretty good for a light ale. It was kind of like a corona but it had some flavor and it was missing some of the skunky flavor that I feel most corona's have.

2. Sequoia Gold - German Kolsch - This was a really nice drinking beer it was light and refreshing but again it had the flavor of hops and didn't taste like water as I feel most light colored pilsners do.

3. Blossom Trail Ale - Honey Wheat Beer - At first I thought it was a little wheaty and fruity but as it warmed and got some air it melloed out and ended up being a nice beer. I would compare it to a light Hefeweizen.

4. Moto Brew - American Pale Ale - This was my wife's favorite but I thought it had a little too much dark malt. This causes a little to much smoke which I felt over powered the hops. It wasn't bad but it wasn't my favorite.

5. Mineral King IPA - India Pale Ale - This as you would expect from my current taste in beer was my favorite. It had a great bitter hoppy flavor that I could drink all day. MMM... IPA

6. Thunderhead - American Amber Ale - This was my second favorite of the bunch. It had a really full balanced flavor with a nice light hop finish. I think this would be a good table beer. In other words if it was available in bottles I would keep this around if I just wanted to grab a beer.

7. Black Oak Porter - English Porter - I don't explain these very well because they are not my preference. As far as porters go it was fine for me.

8. Seasonal Stout - See number 7!

After lunch we headed home and I chilled one of my homebrews and gave it a try. It was good but I think it will be even better next week.

Peace Out!!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Beer Brewing Update!!

Hi all,

I got beer!! I tried it today after only a week. I was supposed to wait 2 but I couldn't . It tasted good with some hoppiness in the swallow where I was expecting more on the front end but its all good. I am thinking it may taste a little different after letting it mello out for another few weeks but if this is how it ends up I will be very happy with my first batch. I am already looking forward to starting my next batch in a few weeks.

Piece out!!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Bottling Day

Well I have officially made beer. Well atleast flat beer beer. It gets its carbonation in bottling phase. The yeast use the priming sugar to create CO2 and a little more alcohol. So in about 2 weeks I should have a drinkable brew. I tried a little of the flat beer and it was rather strong and hoppy so hopefully the few weeks in the bottle will melo it some. I will like it as is but I think most people would like it to be a little smoother. Now the only thing that I have to worry about it bottles blowing up and if I capped them properly. I think I did and there were no leaks in the cap area so I think I will be ok.

Now the waiting begins. I am probably going to try it in about a week and see how it is coming along and then I will try it a week after that. If it is good then I am going to have to plan a first release party. If its not I may any way. I will need the bottles for my next attempt and I don't just want to dump it. ;-)


Talk to you all later. I will also have a beer trip to Fresno next weekend. We are going to see George Strait for my wife's Chirstmas present.

L8er

Sunday, January 20, 2008

I got bubbles!!!

Hi all,

I am very excited. I have bubbles. I am not out of the water yet but in the next 24-48 hours the air lock should be rattling like crazy. I really hope this works. I tried brewing beer with mister beer a about 5 years ago and it was a major disaster. The beer tasted horrible it didn't carbonate and I don't think it ever really fermented. Well I am going to make this work if it takes a bunch of batches. If you haven't figures this out from past posts beer is one of my few passions. What better way to kick up you passion then to do it yourself.

I will keep you up to date on the progress. Next weekend I should be able to bottle. Then 2-3 weeks after that I should have a good homemade homebrew.

Matt

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Making the Big Leap

Hi all,

Well I took the big leap today. I started brewing my own beer. Over the last week or so I was getting packages from a few different brewing supplies stores. I don't get many packages so its always nice to get packages even though I paid for most of it. I chose to brew and amber ale for my first beer. It is currently in the primary fermenter and I should know in 24 hours if i did everything correctly and that fermentation is taking place. I will let you know tomorrow what is going on. If everything goes according to plan i should have the first release of my beer in about 4 weeks.

Matt

Saturday, January 5, 2008

My Favorite Day of the Trip!!

Hi All,

Well my favorite day of the week on vacation was Christmas day but not for the reason you think. Don't get my wrong I got some nice gifts and the money I needed to get my beer brewing kit but because of food and beer. We started out with a brunch that included my mom's lasagna, her meatballs and sausage, and a nice salad. I think my mom's lasagna might be my favorite dish of hers. Also NY seems to be the only place that I can get really good Italian sausage. So I was really happy with brunch.

At 7pm was the event of the week for me. It was the beer lovers dinner. They usually cap it at 25-30 people and it was supposed to be full but there ended up being only 6 people. This worked out really well for the people there. The Beer Sommelier (Beer Guru) was able to actually sit at our table and eat and drink with us. We had the whole 2.5 hours to ask him questions, learn and here some of his beer stories. There beer dinner was a 5 course gormet dinner with a different beer for each course.

The first course was a smoked chicken quesadilla with a chipotle aiole dipping sauce paired with a Rogue Dead Guy Ale. This was an awesome match. The slight spiciness went well with the refreshing lightly hopped beer.

The second course was a Caribbean Pepper Potato Soup paired with a Stella Artois. I don't really know how to describe this pair other then it works. The soup was awesome I could have easily had another bowl and I hope I can find a similar recipe to make at home. The Stella is just a good smooth drinking beer. For me there isn't any major characteristic to describe. I say try this one it is available nationally at a lot of places.

The third course was a sliced fennel, red onion with an orange vinaigrette paired with a Star Hill's The Love Wheat Beer. This was an amazing match. The sweetness of the fennel, the citrus flavor of the orange, and onion flavor match perfectly with the smoothness and the natural citrus flavor of the beer. It was like these two were made for each other. Also the beer guru was a guest brewer at Star Hill and he actually produced this.

The fourth course was a Seared Medallions of Pork with Porcini Sabayon paired with the Heavy Seas Loose Cannon. This was another amazing match. The pork was perfectly cooked and the mushroom sauce went really well with it. The beer was everything I ask for in a beer nice and hoppy. This a triple hopped beer with emence flavor. Nice and spicy. I liked this beer so much that I got a growler of it and brought it home. If you can find and handle a real beer then I say try and get this beer.

The final course was Cream Puffs with Chocolate Sauce paired with the Star Hill Dark Starr Stout. As you may have read before I am not a big fan of the stouts or porters but this was really good. Think of eating cream puffs with a mocha latte. It was a great ending to a great evening.

If you ever get a chance to do a beer pairing dinner you should do it. It is so much fun and informational. Also remember there are local microbrews almost everywhere so if you are on vacation and like beer stop at a local brewpub or go to a grocery store and pick up some local brews. I think you will enjoy adding this to all your vacations. You need to to eat and drink don't you??

See you all later!!!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Overall Trip Summary!!

Hi All,

I am not really in the mood to post today so this is going to be short and sweet and just be a summary of my trip to the Mid Atlantic. I will then do the details over the next couple of days.

We left Cali on the 22nd and flew to BWI (Baltimore/Washington) and then drove to Massanutten Resort near Harrisonburg, VA. My mom, wife and I were the last to arrive so we stopped at The Cracker Barrel for dinner. I actually had breakfast. They make the best cheesy hashbrown casserole. I so wish the Cracker Barrel was in Cali. Then we got to the Condo and had some wine.

On Sunday we just chilled and relaxed as everyone had a busy travel day on Saturday. We had some wine and beer of course.

On Monday we had a Christmas eve dinner of ham, baked potatoes and some veggies. It was pretty good.

On Tuesday Christmas we had lasgna and sausage and meatballs for brunch and then my favorite meal of the week the beer lovers pairing dinner.

On Wendsday the girls went shopping and I slept in.

On Thursday we went to a Virginia Wine Lovers Dinner that was ok.

On Friday we went to a Brew pub for some appetizers and beer tasting.

On Saturday we left the resort and headed to my cousins to visit and then on to my college friends house in Maryland.

Satuday - New Years day I hung out, played video and board games ,drank and ate with a bunch of my friends.

Tuesday New Years day traveled home and did some beer sampling at the Denver Airport.

Overall it was a great trip and I was able to see my friends and family,drink some good beer and wine and eat some great food.

Talk to you tomorrow,
Matt

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Happy New Year!!!!!

Hi all my avid readers out there,

I hope you all had a great Holiday Season. I know I did. I spent 10 days in the VA/MD area visiting family and friends. Knowing me I am sure you all know that I did have some beer and wine. Over the next few days I will catch you all up with everything I did. So stay tuned and check back frequently!!!

Happy New Year!!!

Matt