Archive for November, 2009

the kegerator

Monday, November 30th, 2009

front of the kegerator

last week the CO2 tank in my kegerator ran out of gas, so I took some pics during the tank swap.

  • I use a standard converted sanyo 4912 fridge with two front-mounted perlick faucets (here is a great fridge conversion guide)
  • instead of a standard CO2 tank, I use 20 oz. paintball tanks with a paintball tank regulator.
  • I thought paintball tanks would be easier and cheaper to get filled, since I assumed there were more paintball tank filling places than standard tank fillers around.
  • however, it turns out that paintball tanks are being filled with a different type of gas, and as a result, there aren’t many CO2 tank filling spots around anymore.  in fact, I get my tanks filled in san jose since no one in the city fills them!  what a pain in the ass.
  • the only benefit to these smaller tanks is that I can fit 2 corny kegs and the tank in the fridge without any modifications.  plus, I naturally carb my kegs and only use CO2 to serve my brew, so a tank lasts a relatively long time.
  • however, in the future I would love to get something like a 100lb tank with a dedicated CO2 line running to a built-in bar.  I would probably need a fill-up every decade or so…

inside the kegerator

the CO2 tank

the kegs

happy thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 26th, 2009


taking a couple days off for some holiday turkey and brews.

enjoy the holidays and check out some insightful beer advice I came across a couple days back.  the above pic is a hint of posts to come…

maui brewing coconut porter

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

coconut porter in the glass

AP’s go-to beer these days has been maui brewing co.’s coconut porter.

  • we first tried this brew while on oahu a while back and she has been hooked ever since.
  • in AP’s own words, the beer has a smoky, nutty aroma and is chocolately, rich and creamy with a subtle coconut flavor.
  • I only wish I had grabbed her a bottle of aloha plenty, a collab between maui brew co and stone. in fact, I had a chance once at a liquor store in redondo beach, but for some reason the cashier refused to sell it to me.  go figure.

coconut porter can

coconut porter

norton’s vault

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

the bar at norton's vault

last friday I met up with TM, MP, and UD for happy hour downtown at norton’s vault.

  • norton’s vault is a comfortable “tavern” with some interesting history, good bar food, and a pretty decent tap selection.
  • I mean, can I really say anything bad about a place that is relatively clean and has a couple TV’s, good service, and racer 5 and sierra nevada celebration ale on draft?
  • in short, this place isn’t a beer lover’s mecca, but it is a solid choice when meeting up with your financial district buddies for a brew after work.  it gets crowded during happy hour (4-6), so i recommend rolling over a little after 6.

a few pints at norton's vault

thirsty bear

Friday, November 20th, 2009

mash tun and fermentation tank at thirsty bear

yesterday I rolled by thirsty bear in SOMA to catch a couple beers for VG’s birthday.

  • I had gone here about a year ago and wasn’t too impressed with their beer sampler, so I was interested to see if their product had improved.
  • the layout of this place is definitely impressive, with conditioning tanks lining the back of the bar and a couple of mash tuns holding court only a few feet from where we were sitting.
  • their howard street IPA gave me some hope for the night.  it had a solid hop aroma and plenty of lingering bitterness.
  • however, when I ordered their seasonal beer, which was classified as a scotch ale/smoked porter hybrid, I was more than a little disappointed.  the beer was thin and excessive smoked malt overwhelmed any other malt presence that might have been there.  it was definitely reminiscent of my previous visit.
  • also, I was a little bummed out to find a firkin of dry-hopped stout on my way out that the bartender had forgotten to mention.  what’s up with that? (in their defense, it seems like they crack a firkin open tuesdays at 5:30, so the shell could have just been there for show).
  • overall, thirsty bear is a chill, comfortable place to meet up with a group, but I wouldn’t make a pilgrimage over there for the beers.  even though they have a sick brewing setup, it seems like the beers are an afterthought here.

the crowd at thirsty bear

howard st IPA

AH, another IPA fan

the unbalanced seasonal

the lineup at the table

the firkin on the way out

john barleycorn barleywine 2008

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

john barleycorn in the glass

feeling the cold weather rolling in lately, I dug deep into the beer fridge and pulled out a john barleycorn barleywine from mad river brewing.

  • named after the english folksong personifying barley (and performed in one of the greatest albums ever), this brew is a barleywine, one of my favorite styles.
  • this bottle was from 2008 and had been aging in my fridge for over a year since a kind soul graciously dropped it off last winter, so I was excited to see if some age had mellowed out the alcohol these beers are known for.
  • once the beer warmed up a little, I detected a slight alcohol nose, but it was pretty well hidden in the sweet malt.
  • however, the beer was a little thin and had a tangy coating aftertaste which didn’t go down well.  I’m thinking malt extract or oxidation is the culprit.
  • with all the great barleywines/strong beers out there, this one was a bit of a disappointment.  however, it was a good kickoff into strong beer season.
  • check out these sites for more reviews.

john barleycorn

john barleycorn bottle

monteith’s black beer

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

monteith's black in the glass

last week PB and NB hooked me up with the mother lode – a variety pack of beers from city beer store, many of which I had yet to try, including monteith’s black, a black beer/schwarzbier from new zealand.

  • according to monteith’s site, their black beer is brewed “in the heritage of very dark West Coast beers brewed prior to restrictions imposed on beers in New Zealand during World War II.”
  • at 16 IBUs, there was little bitterness, and I could taste a light roasted malt flavor.
  • the beer had a clean, lightly coating mouthfeel adn a mildly astringent aftertaste.  there was also no perceivable aroma.
  • this beer is definitely sessionable, but with such other great alternatives available, I can’t see this as my go-to black beer.

monteith's black

monteith's black bottle

porkslap pale ale

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

porkslap pale in the glass

a while back CB broke out some butternuts beer and ale cans that TG had brought over from the east coast.

  • despite the cornball name, butternuts is evidently very popular on the other side of the country.  I mean, they even have their own facebook page.
  • the first brew we tried from butternuts was the porkslap pale ale, an english pale ale brewed with 2row, english crystal, crystal hops, and ginger.
  • as a hop head, my hop sensitivity may have been dulled, but I found absolutely no hop bitterness or aroma in this brew (unlike other reviewers).
  • in fact, all I can remember about this beer is a lot of sweet maltiness, and what appeared to be extract twang.
  • although this beer wasn’t for me, I can see some malty beer lovers being into it.

porkslap pale can

pivovarský dům prague

Monday, November 16th, 2009

AP and her pick of the litter at pivovarsky dum

this post is a continuation of the brew highlights from last year’s european adventure.

after swinging by pivovarský klub in prague, AP and I decided to visit the source of their house brews, pivovarský dům.

  • pivovarský dům was definitely different from its counterpart.  whereas pivovarský klub was cool and somewhat modern, pivovarský dům was hot and had a funky mixed atmosphere of copper brew equipment and diner-style checkerboard tile.
  • the beers here were different as well – we ordered up a sampler and received a wide variety of their brews, including banana, coffee, cherry, and nettle beers.
  • all the above beers were definitely interesting, but I’m not sure I could down a pint of any of them.  however, their wheat beer and standard lager were very drinkable.
  • overall, this place was an interesting stop, but if I had to do it over again I would probably have skipped it, despite the novelty of their beer selection.

sampler lineup at pivovarsky dum

odds and ends

Friday, November 13th, 2009

great plate in bodega bay

happy friday! here are some miscellaneous pics taken over the last few months that didn’t make it into posts.  check out their descriptions for more info.

hot coppa


bodega bay brews

  • proof that I’m not a complete beer snob:

portrait with bud