Bucket List vs. Surprise Find

If you’re more than a “I’ll have what he’s or she’s having” beer drinker, you most likely have some sort of beer bucket list. Maybe it’s a brewery visit, a specific beer or even a cool bar. Or all of the above, on a multi-tab, color coded spreadsheet divided by how long it would take to get there..it.

What about breweries?

Having knocked out a fair number of my brewery bucket list over the years, I’m often wondering if my perception of how great it would be, really pans out. If my expectations were way too high from the start. Unrealistic?

For as many bucket list breweries I’ve checked off, I would have to imagine I’ve had double or triple the amount of unexpected awesome brewery surprises.

How about you? Is your brewery bucket list really holding up?

Have you been disappointed by an experience at favorite brewery? I know I have, but is that my fault. Is it a brewery’s responsibility to wow me?

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.

ccba_logorefresh_011916_001

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.

0380_j0928_wainwright_1377
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

 

Shed Build-Out Update

Just a quick update, the electrical installation is set to begin.

I hired a electrician to take care of the wiring side, but I will be doing all the grunt work. I’ve been a little scared to measure how far I need to dig the trench for the conduit, but I’m guessing it comes in about 75′ with a little tunneling to get under a small section of sidewalk.

The Details

50 amp sub-panel to provide enough power to run a small AC unit, refrigerator, lights and a handful of outlets.

If all goes well I will be able to move my fridge in soon and plan my first brewday. This will give me more time to plan the rest of the build-out.

Question

What type of material should I use for the interior walls?

4/14/18 Update: the trench for the electrical conduit has been dug. Tomorrow I will break-out the concrete and weather permitting, the wiring goes in on Monday.

January Brings A New Challenge!

2017-08-25 20.13.42 (1)

January starts the new trek for attempting to hit a minimum of 100 different breweries or tasting rooms. This will be the 4th year of this personal challenge and if I’m going to make 100 different brewery stops, I’ve got to start strong. Math tells me I need to hit 8.4 breweries each month to meet my goal. So how did January go?  Well, a little bit of a slow start, but that’s what the rest of the year is for.

#001 – Monk Cellar I really don’t get out here enough.  They are brewing some classic styles beautifully and the food is spot on. My choices for lunch, their take on an American IPA and what might be my favorite, the London Porter. The IPA drank big for a 6.5% IPA. West Coast bitterness with some candy sweetness from the hops. The London Porter is an open-fermented gem that has a smooth chocolate finish while not drinking too heavy. The Scotch Eggs pair with life, don’t leave without trying them.

#002 – New Glory Brewery So, New Glory is an easy “Go-To” for me. Great staff, good vibe (keep the punk rock going) and I’m always impressed with the beer. This stop included Take 5, really superb Session IPA. Do you Even Simcoe, Broh? part of the single hop series. I try not to miss out on any of these.  Lastly, Greenergy, this 8.1% DIPA was drinking the best tonight. I’ve been going away from the higher ABV IPAs, but this one might bring me back in.

#003 – Track 7 Brewing (Curtis Park) is another favorite of mine, and today was no exception. The day started with Haze and Lupuline in Curtis Park, this 10.2% ABV triple IPA is dangerously smooth. Next up, Love and Hoppiness in Vermont. I drink this every time I see it. At 5.1% ABV, this could be a daily hazy for me. Then off to a new one for me, Darkness, Imprisoning Me. Holy hell, this 13.3% ABV Russin Imperial Stout is insanely good.  With an Untappd rating of 4.21, I don’t think I’m the only one who is loving this beer. Lastly, a palette cleanser with Left Eye, Right Eye. It’s just a 9.5% DIPA that is damn good.

#004 – Fieldwork Brewing (Sacramento Tasting Room) January’s stops ended here. I’m a big fan, but I left with mixed reviews today. My flight included Island Time, a fruited sour. Ill-Gotten Grains, a Gose was next up. Stream of Coffee, an English mild. Then to Coffee Town, a Brown Ale.  Finishing up with Sniff Test Bru 1, IPA. I really like Fieldwork, but I was disappointed. The coffee beers didn’t pop with coffee. The IPA didn’t taste up to par with Fieldwork’s IPAs I’m used to. My favorite today was the Gose.  Although it wasn’t a great day for me, I will be back (probably soon).

2017-09-24 17.20.00 (1)

February is off to a great start. More Sacramento area breweries, a trip to Vegas and followed up with a trip to Paso Robles. This month might get me back on track.

What Have You Done?

I’ve been enjoying beer for some time now. In fact, it’s been a passion.

In my 30 years of legal drinking, I’ve gone from “whatever I can get my hands on” to “biggest and hard to get” to “I just want to enjoy my beer”.

I still remember finding those bars and restaurants that actually carried good beer. Sierra Nevada, Sam Adams, Pete’s and Anchor Steam. Occasionally you would even find a Dead Guy or Red Seal Ale. The good old days, right?

And the boom! Microbreweries and nano breweries. Craft and artisanal breweries. Competition, innovation, and growth changed many of these companies from your local brewery to regional powerhouses. Trademark infringements and tap handle wars. Hop shortages, don’t forget about the hop shortages. Are they still a thing?

Buyouts and sellouts! Hazy IPAs and pastry stouts. Bombers and now cans. Giant IPAs in both ABV and bitterness to Session IPAs with huge fruit aromas.

So what does it matter? Now or in the future, it’s going to change. And then go back again. It will always be “what have you done…lately?” Breweries who want to stay relevant have to change. And continue to change.