Archive for the ‘events’ Category

catching up

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

sorry for the lack up updates recently!  here’s a summary of some beer-related happenings that are in the works on my end:

 

I watched the phantom carriage brew area go from this:

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to this:

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I watched my first new crop of cascades go from this:

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to this:

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I made another pilgrimage to the stuffed sandwich to check out some ancient bottles:

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and I kept busy prototyping a bunch of beers for the brewery (rest assured, many are pretty experimental/wild):

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I also managed to sweep the sour category at the pacific brewer’s cup, which had a record number of entries this year:

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we are on the final push with the brewery build-out and should be brewing/serving beer in the near future.  I will post our opening date once it has been determined.  hope to see some of you there!  in the meantime, you can feed your need for content by following my instagram page, which gets updated more frequently with on-the-spot beer (and surf) shots.

 

firestone walker: rough cuts & remixes trip

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

blogger_trip

last weekend I accompanied my fellow LA beer bloggers up to los olivos, buellton, and paso robles for another unforgettable blogger’s weekend held by firestone walker.

  • the event was a follow up to last year’s journey to the center of the barrel, a whirlwind of barrel-aging, winemaking, beer blending, and local-focused fine dining that left me  humble and grateful for the opportunity to participate.  honestly, I felt that last year’s experience was too over-the-top to be matched, much less bested, by any subsequent event.
  • I couldn’t have been more wrong – FW doubled down and pulled out all the stops to create an experience unlike any other.  upon our arrival david walker ushered us to FW’s original grassroots brewing facility, which is now the home of andrew murray vineyards.  andrew himself poured us a glass of his recent harvest and ran through some winemaking 101 before we all headed back to a luxe campsite for some amazing santa maria-style barbeque and some breaking news.
  • the news had to do with my favorite topic – wild beer.  DW and AM were joined by jeffers richardson and “sour jim” crooks from their barrelworks program, who poured samples of their upcoming (and very impressive) bretta rose and let it slip that many future wild projects were in the works.  I was stoked to hear that these projects involved collaborating with andrew murray and aging on both grape juice and pomace – we tried samples of both techniques and I was excited to see the potential for pomace aging (it imparted a vivid strawberry character that was very unique).  later that night I was able to share some bottles of cabrillo, vizcaino, and my kriek while talking shop with the whole crew.
  • the next morning we cruised up to the paso robles facility where head brewer dustin kral gave us a comprehensive tour of FW’s latest developments, including massive fermentation space increases as well as intricate kegging and canning(!) lines, which should help streamline production and make it even easier to get fresh beer in your hands (I’m pumped for the possibility of some canned pivo pils in the future)!  speaking of fresh beer, we also participated in a quality control tasting session, where we saw firsthand how age and warm temps warp fresh, hoppy beer into something less than desirable.  I’ll have to bring the whole QC thing up the next time AP questions the three beer fridges humming along in the basement.
  • the trip ended with a bang over at villicana winery, home to RE:FIND distillery.  alex and monica villicana treated us like family, walking us through their four-run distillation process on their alembic still and talking us through a gin blending session that resulted in one-off custom gin and tonics.  we finished the night with an amazing outdoor dinner provided by FW’s chef that was accompanied by outstanding custom cocktails and FW beers.  before leaving, alex and monica presented us with bottles of writer’s blanc, a white whiskey commemorating the LABB weekend that was made by distilling a massive quantity of FW’s 805 blonde ale.  I was humbled not only by the thoughtfulness and generosity of FW and RE:FIND, but also by the spirit itself – like their brandy, the whisky has wonderful character and body, especially when compared to many white/neutral spirits.  the fact that they re-purpose an otherwise disposable juice cut to make their brandy is icing on the cake.  I cannot overstate how cool this place was to visit.
  • on the ride back to LA my head was spinning (and not because of the parabola JV cracked open to share on the blogger bus).  collaboration, innovation, community pride/support, and local sourcing of high-quality ingredients to create a great product with a local identity are all ideas that FW champions, and those ideas make it easy to stand behind a brewery, regardless of whether they make a world-class product (which FW undoubtedly does).  the weekend left me inspired and motivated to not only continuously strive to improve my own brewing/business processes, but to also appreciate and support an area for what makes it unique.  thanks again for a great weekend!

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happy new year!

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

happy new year!

2013 was full of memorable events:

2014 should be even more exciting – for starters, the phantom carriage brewery/blendery/cafe will be opening in carson, hopefully sooner than later (and with plenty of goodies in store).  hopefully all you blog readers can come check out the facility!

have a great new year!

 

phantom carriage muis release

Friday, June 28th, 2013

taken by bernie at friends of local beer

we finally did it last thursday.

  • muis, a wild blonde I developed based on some homebrew experimentation a while back, appeared for the first time on draft at naja’s place, my favorite socal beer bar.  it was an event that I could have never imagined participating in a few years ago as a simple homebrewer with a penchant for wild brews.  despite an unexpected area-wide power outage during the middle of the event, keg after keg was kicked and the response was overwhelmingly positive (much to my relief).  it was fantastic to see friends, beer geeks, homebrewers, and pro brewers alike converge to check out our project.  check out the great photo set of the event compliments of bernie over at friends of local beer (and thanks to AP for taking the photos below!).  thanks for all your support!

if you are in socal and missed the naja’s event, fret not! we will be having additional release meetups over the course of the next month or so.  the next event will be at city tavern in culver city this sunday 06/30 starting at 6pm.  check out the phantom carriage facebook page for event updates and other info.  see you there!

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firestone walker invitational

Friday, June 7th, 2013

the flood gates

last weekend’s firestone walker invitational was incredible.

  • after reviewing my photos of the event, it became clear to me that the focus of the invitational was on relationships – friendships between brewers, media, and industry representatives, valued business and social ties between producers and consumers, and the intertwining of a brewery and its community.  the majority of my shots were portraits of those involved with and passionate about beer and its associated culture, local to international in scope.  as the day progressed I discussed current events with south bay media, caught up on the latest releases from northern california, the midwest, and the east coast, and swapped beers and stories with brewers from as far away as germany and japan.
  • oh, and then there was the beer.  the available selection at the festival was over-the-top, and included dozens of world-class beers of all styles and gravities, from the palate-assaulting three floyds barrel aged dark lord and cigar city’s brandy barrel hunahpu to the sessionable birrifico italiano tipopils and refreshing barrelworks/mikkeler lil’ mikkel.  those examples were just the tip of the iceberg – the selection was really comprehensive and unique, and was likely the best I’ve ever encountered at an event.
  • my unforgettable barrel journey to paso robles was my first exposure to the passion and generosity of firestone walker, and the fw invitational picked up right where the former left off.  both satisfying and inspiring, this event is one I can’t wait to revisit for many years to come.

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phantom carriage muis, vizcaino bottling, beer paper LA

Monday, May 20th, 2013

     vizcaino II

time for some overdue professional, homebrew, and beer scene updates!

  • a couple of weekends ago the phantom carriage’s first release, muis, made an appearance at the tour of long beach’s craft beer garden.  inspired by my all-brett blonde experiment, muis is an all-brett belgian blonde with terrific mouthfeel, a smooth backing bitterness, and a great earthy tropical fruit aroma.  this batch was keg conditioned instead of being force carbonated, which results in a fine effervescence and great fluffy head.  stay tuned for mainstream release information – this beer will be on LA south bay taps soon!
  • last weekend I kegged and bottled vizcaino II, the latest iteration of my golden strong wild ale.  while my other pipeline wild beers were inspired by commercial brews, vizcaino’s recipe was formulated from scratch, and my first stab at it left me a little disappointed.  however, after reworking the recipe and mash schedule based on my pipeline experience and racking the batch onto a mess of raspberry puree, I ended up with what I can only describe as an “imperial framboise” – a 10.23% (finished at 1.005) brilliant red brew with an intense yet smooth acidity that transitions seamlessly into some serious raspberry flavors.  I can’t wait until this carbs up.
  • on a final note, I want to congratulate beer paper LA on the release of their first physical publication.  I stopped by their release party at beachwood BBQ long beach and was filled with pride for the ever-evolving LA beer scene (kip at bierkast has a great writeup that I completely resonate with).  it’s never been a better time to be a beer drinker in LA!  

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lambic brewday, teaser video

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

TPC

as you might have guessed, the majority of my available brew time over the last few months has been spent working on the phantom carriage project.

  • instead of filling this year’s sour beer pipeline in my basement, I have been starting another, more substantial pipeline by helping develop an ever-growing barrel collection over in torrance based on my own wild lineup.
  • the latest batch destined for the barrel racks was also the first one completed using the phantom carriage’s 3bbl nano system.  although a simple lambic-style recipe (60/40 pils/wheat, low alpha bittering) and a single infusion mash schedule promised a straightforward brew day, snags such as a missing mill, thermometer discrepancies, a wonky burner, and a flawed kettle whirlpool design resulted in long hours and headache for everyone involved.  on the positive side, the mash and sparge went down without a hitch, system efficiency was terrific, and all the other hiccups can easily be addressed during the next brew day.
  • on another note, the phantom carriage facebook page is live – check it out!  MS and I have been working on delivering a steady stream of content for the page, including details on upcoming releases and events.  for example, check out the teaser video I tossed up yesterday, featuring production and a soundtrack by yours truly.  more great developments are on the horizon – stay tuned!

sparge               rolling boil

 

firestone walker journey to the center of the barrel

Saturday, March 9th, 2013

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last weekend I met up with other members of the la beer bloggers to embark on what would turn out to be an unforgettable beer expedition.

  • as guests of firestone walker, we were given an all-access pass to the brewery, barrel houses, and environs in an attempt to experience what sets FW apart from other craft breweries.  after a quick trip up north on a chartered bus (made quicker by a bottle share and a steady supply of 12 oz firestone staples provided by our gracious host), we arrived not at the brewery but windrose farm, a local family farm that provides produce to FW’s restaurant.  bill and barbara, who live on and run the farm, kept everyone educated and entertained with discussions of biodynamic practices and responsible agriculture while we feasted on freshly picked greens and house-raised lamb expertly prepared by FW’s head chef and paired with an intense lineup of FW specialties ranging from bretta weiss to parabola.
  • after hitching a tractor ride back to the bus, we headed over to the brewery, where matt brynildson and dustin kral gave us the VIP tour.  beers in hand, we went from the brewhouse to the lab to the roof of the facility, finally ending up in the barrel house, where dustin grabbed a thief and proceeded to pour everyone a three-barrel flight of a one-off beer aged in straight oak, bourbon, and tequila barrels.  minds already blown, we were then whisked away to herman story wines, where winemaker russell had a full spread and barrel sampling lineup at the ready.  after a few more hours of debauchery we ended the night at FW’s taproom restaurant with some great eats and a homebrew share (punctuated by some on-the-spot homebrew/food pairing suggestions by FW’s head chef).
  • the next morning, having shook the cobwebs out of our heads and limbered up, we headed down to buellton to check out FW’s new barrelworks facility.  “sour jim,” the resident master blender, gave us a tour of the growing barrel stacks and set us up with a wild beer blending session after a fantastic lunch.  after the session, GN sweet-talked jim into supplying us with some sample bags to take home some barrel bugs, and after talking shop for a while (over a full flight of FW one-offs and wild beers) jim snuck us back to the barrel room, where he started pulling nails and let us in on some of his long-term projects.  the trip finished off with a drive down the coast and yet another bottle share.
  • oh, and the kicker? the whole even was hosted by david walker, the co-founder himself.  david was a generous, receptive, and intelligent host who made everyone feel at home in paso robles.  the event left me with not only a great admiration for the care, passion, and innovation FW brings to the craft brew game, but also with a profound respect for all parties involved with the beer scene in paso robles and the surrounding areas.  that sixer of DBA in my fridge never looked so good.

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LA beer bloggers/golden road winter situational; inaugural phantom carriage brewday

Monday, February 4th, 2013

starting the boil

last tuesday AP and I headed up to golden road to participate in their “winter situational” meetup with the LA beer bloggers.

  • the event was at chloe’s, a private club adjacent to the main brewpub.  they had homebrewers/authors drew beechum and john palmer speaking, complimentary drafts pouring, and great food offerings.  I definitely have to hand it to golden road for embracing the blogosphere and throwing an impressive event to foster community and connectivity amongst both brewers and writers.  bierkast’s review can be found HERE, and I uploaded some pics from the event HERE.

in other news, the first batch of phantom carriage beer was pumped out last weekend.

  • 14bbl of wort inspired by banning were racked into two 7bbl fermentors, and will be shortly transferred to barrels for the long haul.  as usual, more details are forthcoming, but there are some awesome projects in the works!

vorlauf               the mash/lauter tun

into the boil kettle

vorlauf               cleaning out the mash tun

draining the last runnings

for the farm               ready and waiting

thats a lotta yeast

apricot lambic shootout

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

pouring fou' foune

after a couple of months in the bottle, it was finally time to try out my apricot lambic.

 

  • cantillon fou’ foune 2008
  • appearance: great carbonation, turbid, white head that quickly fades to lacing
  • aroma: intense, complex, dirty barnyard funk
  • taste: bracing acidity, slight sticky stone fruit evident on finish
  • overall: enjoyable, but the high acid level made this beer far from sessionable.

 

  • house apricot lambic
  • appearance: light straw color, crystal clear, solid carbonation, quickly vanishing head
  • aroma: sweet ripe apricot, lingering funk
  • taste: assertive complex funk with tart apricot and a tangy, dry finish with a fresh, complex acidity.  very drinkable.
  • overall: I can’t think of a tastier beer I’ve made to date, really happy with this one.  I’m excited to take my first solera barrel pull soon to experiment with other local fruit.

 

my apricot lambic

 

another pour               best friends