Archive for February, 2010

steam beer results

Friday, February 26th, 2010

so, after I kegged my steam beer clone I was itching to try it out.  the problem was, I already had 2 kegs on at the house and no upcoming events that needed a keg (sad to say).

  • fortunately, when TB and CB had their baby, CB mentioned that his kegerator was currently empty-  it was the perfect excuse to roll a keg over.  who needs a pint more than a new parent after a long day running on fumes?
  • luckily, the keg had carbed up nicely and the first few pours resulted in a nice head.
  • thankfully, my fermentation temps seem to have been kept low, as the beer is smooth and malty without any noticeable phenols.  the beer has a smooth bitter finish much like the beer it’s modeled after.  there some chill haze that affects clarity, but it’s not too bad.
  • overall, I’m pretty happy with how the beer turned out, and will probably whip up another steam beer in the future (this time, however, I will go all-grain, and hopefully use a temp controlled environment).  it was pretty neat making a steam beer using local water and fermenting under ambient temps, similar to how it was done back in the day.

rodenbach grand cru

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

a while back, I was perusing the bevmo shelves (surprise!) when I came across a few offerings from rodenbach that warranted closer inspection.

  • I usually pass over brews labeled as a “grand cru” because the designation is vague and seems to be all-encompassing.  when I grab a bottle I usually end up with a strong, spicy tripel-esque beer that I am usually not fond of.
  • however, after scanning the label of rodenbach’s grand cru, my eyes lit up – this beer was a flanders red, and was 1/3 “new” and 2/3 “old,” the “old” being matured for a couple years in oak vats.
  • since the majority of the beer was old, I figured it would be more dry and tart and less sweet than its counterparts, such as the duchesse, which I personally find a bit too sweet (relatively speaking).
  • when I finally got around to popping this guy, I was happy to find that the above was true.  the beer had a slight vinegar note, and was pleasingly sour, with a little sweetness to back it up.  it was still a little too sweet for my tastes – I could go for an 85/15 blend.
  • the current blend gave the beer a great drinkability, however, and my glass was empty way too fast.  I definitely plan on grabbing future bottles, since at $11 or $12 a pop it sure beats getting a champagne glass pour for $5-6 at toronado.
  • turns out the MJ is a fan of this beer too.

weekend in review 02/20-02/21

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

after noticing that many of my weekend brew activities were too brief to merit an entire post, I decided to start a series of “weekends in review” where I comprise a rehash of last weekend’s beer events.

  • saturday AP and I headed over to CB’s to check out his latest brew session (and new brew gadgets).
  • CB was whipping up an all-grain IPA inspired by none other than my latest IPA.  I had bottled one flip-top of the batch and after getting a whiff of the intense aroma and great balance CB was inspired 😉
  • CB also got to show off his new therminator, as alluded to during his last batch I checked out.  last time I checked, he got 10 gallons from a rolling boil to pitching temps in 10 minutes.
  • sunday AP and I followed a hot tip to toronado, where DH and AF had scored pours of pliny the younger a day earlier.
  • unfortunately, they were out of that grail beer (AP was told they should be tapping another keg of it today).  my consolation prize was a pour of critical hit, a leftover festival barleywine from ninkasi that had a great balance and an intense bitter finish.
  • after running some more errands, we stopped by handy deli, where I hooked up a couple bombers of sculpin IPA for $4.99 each.  I told you this place was good!
  • afterwards, AP and I scooped up CB and rolled over to the bevmo on geary, where we discovered a full stash of ninkasi beers (talk about coincidence).
  • finally, tricerahops in CA!  we grabbed that as well as oatis, their imperial stout, total domination, their IPA, and believer, their double red.  I did a double take when the bombers rang up for $3.99-4.50!

the jug shop russian river night

Saturday, February 20th, 2010

the russian river lineup

last friday AP and I met up with CB and TB over at the jug shop for their russian river night.

  • I had never been to the jug shop before, despite positive reviews from CB.  I had no idea how large it was!
  • I also didn’t expect such an eclectic selection of brews on the shelves – there were many I had never seen before, and some that had disappeared from other spots in the city long ago (atlantic IPA anyone?).  I was impressed.
  • as for the tasting lineup, favorites such as consecration (batches 1-3), temptation (batch 4×3), and my personal favorite, beatification (batch 2), were poured, along with supplication (batch 4×3), damnation (batch 54)/batch 23, and salvation (batches 5 and 9).  oh yeah, and some blind pig and pliny as well.  it was killer.
  • the tasting area was thoroughly packed, so we just ended up tasting the offerings while hanging out in the aisles, where there was plenty of room.  the crowd was jovial and relaxed, and it never took more than a minute to get a pour (thanks AP!).  I liked how the staff announced each new brew as it was popped and made sure everyone had their fill before moving on.
  • although the selection wasn’t as thorough as, say, toronado’s russian river night, the small, fun crowd and great price ($25!) made this event a winner.  plus, any more brews in the lineup probably would have buried me for the night.

artsy fartsy

the crowd

one of the many rounds

sean paxton collaboration beer dinner

Monday, February 15th, 2010

toasting with some of FW's finest

AP and I were free last thursday, so we searched the ol’ couch cushions and came up with enough scratch to meet up with DH and JQ at sean paxton’s collaboration beer dinner.

sean talking about the meal

first round

special delivery

the dessert lineup

lagunitas brewers’ tapas dinner

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

jeremy pouring one up

ahh, lagunitas.

  • for my birthday, AP and I managed to score some tickets to the inaugural brewer’s tapas dinner at lagunitas brewing.
  • I had been to the beer sanctuary and taproom a little while back, but it was AP’s maiden voyage.  after a lunch full of cask ales and british fare at magnolia, we headed out to petaluma for some more debauchery.
  • as anyone who knows me is well aware, I am definitely biased towards lagunitas.  I love their beers, packaging, and overall mentality, and I got a healthy dose of all three at their dinner.
  • their five-course tapas/small plate style dinner was tasty and well-prepared, and was accompanied by lagunitas’ deep lineup, including their IPA, imperial stout, hop stoopid, pils, and hairy eyeball.
  • during the dinner, brewmaster Jeremy Marshal fielded questions from the crowd, while the rest of the brew staff worked the tables and topped off everyone’s glasses.
  • after dinner, everyone headed over to their skybox-style bar overlooking the brewery for some aged brews and beer talk.
  • the highlight of the night for me was talking to one of the owners and the brewers while they doled out generous pours of ’06 gnarlywine, ’06 hairy eyeball, ’08 brown shugga, and many others.
  • topics of conversation ranged from yeast strains to hop extract to the story behind a little sumpin’ sumpin’, and everyone at the brewery was friendly, well-spoken, and informative.
  • I was definitely bummed out when I realized it was time for us to take off, but I was grateful to be a part of this awesome event and was already anticipating my next trip over to the beer sanctuary.  thanks for the great time guys!

aged bottles getting cracked

another pour from one of the brewers

havin a good time

kicking us out

quick glance at the floor

sf beer week opening gala

Monday, February 8th, 2010

getting a pour of the imperial barrel aged common

last friday I was lucky enough to attend the opening gala for sf beer week over at the yerba buena center for the arts.

  • the brewer/beer lineup was great, and I was able to try quite a few brews I had been missing out on, like firestone walker’s lil’ opal and anchor’s humming ale.
  • however, my favorites of the night came from unlikely sources.  drake’s 1500 dry hopped pale really opened my eyes with its great aroma and bitter bite.
  • also, valley brewing’s cuvee d’evil was pretty fantastic.  pomegranate honey and brandy barrels? sign me uuuup.
  • in fact, all of valley’s offerings were memorable – I would have to say they were my favorite booth of the night.
  • it was also great to meet some big names in the SF beer scene.  jay over at brookstonbeerbulletin, jesse over at beer and nosh, and sean the homebrew chef were all very approachable and friendly in spite of the packed house.
  • the gala turned out to be a well-planned (and well-attended) event, and I was glad I had the opportunity to hit it up.  on with beer week!

the first pour of the night

lil' opal pour

the crowd at the gala

strong presentation!

music to go with the brews at the gala

deschutes little buddha, rr consecration at naja’s

Sunday, February 7th, 2010

enjoying the first pour of consecration

last weekend, while conducting some business down in LA, I managed to squeeze in a trip to (surprise!) naja’s place for a couple of brews with OA, SA, and friends.

  • while waiting at the side bar for everyone to arrive, I was poured a taster of little buddha, a sour ale from deschutes.
  • to say that this beer was intense would definitely be an understatement.  it had a strong vinegary aroma and an extremely dry, sour finish with a hint of fruit sweetness.
  • I liked where this beer was going, but was also glad that there were no more than a couple ounces in my glass – a full pour of this would do some damage.
  • after starting off with a sour as wild as little buddha, I had no other option but to grab a bottle of consecration for the table as a follow-up.
  • in my opinion, consecration is a great “eye-opener” beer for those new to sour ales.  it’s balance and drinkability makes it very approachable to the newcomer, and it doesn’t hurt to start someone out with one of the greatest sours california has to offer.  that oaky, fruity tartness really gets me.
  • everyone at the table gave it a pour, and by the end of the session I think they all left a little more curious about where the boundaries of beer really lie.

a sufficient little buddha pour

"what kind of beer did you say this was again?"

papadakis taverna

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

one last brew at the taverna

last sunday marked the end of an era.

  • papadakis taverna closed its doors after 37 years of business in san pedro, CA.
  • my first “date” with AP went down at the taverna more than a decade ago.  hell, JP greeted my mom with a kiss at the front door of the taverna before I was even born.
  • I have many great memories from evenings there, whether I was dressed in a tux or a hoodie and jeans.
  • even though I never did more than clean a couple glasses or arrange some place settings, I felt lucky to be a part of such a great establishment.  despite its wild popularity, the taverna was always inviting and comfortable, and I always felt at home there.  it will definitely be missed.