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.

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!!


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.


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.


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,

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.