The Best Beer Event?

What if you could go to a beer event and try amazing beers, find out about industry trends & issues and talk to some of the biggest names in California beer?

I don’t know about you, but this is the kind of beer event that gets me hyped. Having gone to all the previous California Craft Beer Summits, I’m excited about this year’s summit.

3 days of activities including 28+ educational seminars, an expo where you can talk to manufacturers, suppliers, and vendors while sampling beer from all over California. And it’s that’s not enough there are Food and beer pairings and the summit ends with a beer festival on the State Capitol featuring 160 California breweries.

Check it out, I tell me you don’t think it’s a great event. California Craft Beer Summit!

Check out my post from a past summit.

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Fargo, Where Else Would You Spend Your 30th Wedding Anniversary?

It’s a good thing we like each other!

While my wife and I are not new to road trips, the planning can get a bit heated stressful, and this trip planning was not an easy one.

  • 2 – Flights
  • 9 – States
  • 2 – Baseball Games
  • 2655 – Miles of Driving
  • 15 – days of Travel
  • 1 – 30th Anniversary
  • ? Breweries, Distilleries, and Generally Cool Spots

A little backstory; With a big move last year, a new house and a new job, we decided to put our big 30th Anniversary trip on hold and keep our vacation on the low-key side.  The vacation destination(s) were pretty easy to pick. My wife has a goal to visit all 50 States, and she only has 5 left. Although, It would be nice if they were all near each other. Buy hey, more breweries for me. When this trip is complete, she will still have Florida and Louisiana to hit.

We are using Chicago as our hub, both beginning and ending. From there we will be visiting Pennsylvania, West Virginia, North Dakota, Minnesota, and Michigan. There is also a handful of “drive-thru” States we will be seeing in our travels.

l look forward to reporting back. I’m sure there will be at least a few beers along the way.

Saison For The Win!

Every one-year-old needs a beer brewed specifically for their birthday party!

A week or so ago I put a poll question on Facebook, asking what beer I should brew for my grandson’s 1st birthday party. Saison just edged out IPA.

Brewing a Saison as my first batch of homebrew after my move to Sacramento seems to be fitting. Sacramento was once home to one of my favorites, Odonata. And I’m expecting it soon to be home to one of my new favorites from Urban Roots Brewing & Smokehouse.

Strangely (or way too obvious) both come from the same brewer extraordinaire and really nice guy, Peter Hoey.

Now I’ve never seen a clone recipe for the Odonata Saison, it did inspire me to brew a number of Saisons. Including one for my daughter’s wedding that was aged on Brett and peaches.

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This photo was taken by JILL HEWSTON of ALLYSON MAGDA PHOTOGRAPHY

We some time and equipment restrictions (I’m still unpacking my equipment),  I thought I would brew a fairly basic Saison that would come in right around 5% ABV, a perfect beer for summer.

So this is what I’m thinking

Grain Bill

88% Pilsner Malt

6% Munich Malt

5% Wheat Malt

1% Carapils Malt

Hops

I’m going to see what’s available when I hit the homebrew store. The plan is to keep the IBU’s (as if anyone cares anymore) to around or just below 30. I will most likely stick with a 2 hops varieties, with additions at 60 min, 10 min, flame out and dry hop. It might be nice to try using some of the newer varietals for this batch.

Yeast

White Labs WLP568 Saison blend has always worked really well for me. I should probably stick with what works on this batch.

If all goes as planned, this beer will be kegged and on tap just in time for the birthday party.

Here is one of my Saison recipes that I brewed back in 2012.

Batch #2 - Beer Recipe | Brewer's Friend

 

Can We Still Learn From Samuel Adams?

More business, less beer!

Quench Your Own Thirst: Business Lessons Learned Over A Beer Or Two

I get it, Sam Adams (Boston Beer Company) is not the cool beer on the market. But if you’ve been drinking craft beer as long I have, you might have a deeper appreciation for what the Boston Beer Company has brought to the craft beer scene. You may not be drinking their beer, but they still do make some really good beers. I’ve always enjoyed their Octoberfest.

I can still remember being pretty excited when they introduced a new seasonal or even a new style that I wasn’t familiar with. I will admit, there a quite a few beer styles I had never tried, until the Boston Beer Company made the introduction. Do you remember Triple Bock? That maple bomb might have been the beginning of the Pastry Sou…Nope not going there. Cranberry Lambic anyone? Sure it might not be a great example of a sour or funky beer, but I’m pretty certain it’s the first one of that style I ever had. And guess what, good beer or not, it got me looking for and drinking more sour and wild beers.

So what does this have to do with a book that states it’s about business lessons? For me, it meant I was going to cut it a little slack (just being honest) for all the great memories I had trying, drinking, sharing beers from the Boston Beer Company.

The book is presented through the company’s timeline from inspiration to current times. Each chapter is geared towards giving you a business lesson told with some homespun wisdom from Jim Koch.

While I didn’t get a lot of insight from the business side, I did learn a lot about the business. Like the fact that he had a female business partner when the company was launched. Or that he struggled with the sales part of the business, which would seem to contradict his media presence.

The book is really a grouping of short stories about the history of the Boston Beer Company. Koch talks about failures, success, and the challenges of staying relevant. There are even stories about the brewing industry and how breweries like AB (InBev) and Brooklyn Brewing tried to take them down or at least tarnish their reputation.

All in all the book was a fun, quick read. Although it presents it’s as a business book, it really is more of a history lesson through the eyes of Koch. No doubt there is some fluff and maybe a bit of exaggeration, but if you have read anything about Jim Koch you probably won’t be surprised.

1994 Brew Reserve Triple Bock,
1994 Brew Reserve Triple Bock, 8.45 oz Colbalt Blue Bottle, coming in at a massive 17% ABV

So What Does 22 Mean In Beer Years?

Firestone Walker Double Barrel Ale or just DBA is turning 22 & they are celebrating with a beer dinner.

Happy Birthday, DBA!

For those of us old enough to remember drinking beer (legally) before the existence of DBA & Firestone Walker, congratulations on still being able to remember things.

Back before Social Media and second wave of craft beer began, when you discovered a beer it was a major achievement. Now I don’t remember my first DBA. I do remember not knowing anything about the company. Were they new? Established? Related to a tire company? What I did know was that I found a beer and brewery that would change my understanding of beer and what it could be.

I’ve used DBA as a gateway beer for many of my non-craft friends. The expectation of somewhat darker, fuller bodied beer would often scare off the doubters. Inevitably, I got them to take a sip of my DBA…instant perception change. I might not have won them over, but now they were a little more open to experimenting, and straying away from their norm.

While you may think DBA is not cutting edge in today’s beer world, Firestone Walker still holds a patent for their Union System that is used in the fermentation process. And with four golds and one silver at the Great American Beer Festival, this beer has some serious street cred.

The fact that Firestone Walker is celebrating its 22nd year of existence, is as much as a celebration of its longevity as it is a celebration how far craft beer has come.

Do you think we will see DBA in a nitro can this year? I know it would make the Lion happy.

The Menu:

  • Double Barrel Ale: Welcome beer
  • Agrestic with fresh locally sourced fruit & cheese
  • Reginald Brett with an arugula salad with fresh citrus, toasted almonds, & raspberry vinaigrette
  • Rye Double DBA with NY steak potpie with flakey pastry dough, peas, carrots & beef gravy
  • UDBA with Chocolate pretzel brownie with caramelized bananas

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I’m Bringing It Back (until I get lazy). My blog about all things that interest me, and hopefully you.

Why you ask? Because I have many interests and I don’t just want to write about homebrewing.

So what are you going to write about? A little of everything, but beer, wine, spirits, food and travel.  But a lot about beer.

How often are you going to post? That’s a good question. I guess we will see how it goes.

What makes you the expert? I’m not the expert, and I’m not pretending to be. But, I tend to get around and I want to be able to share my experiences.

So what about the name? It dates back to the beginning of my social media life, and it kinda of stuck. Just know that it represents my family and friends (which I consider family), so you just have to deal with it.

So I hope to take the time to read and hopefully enjoy.

Cheers!

-Robert