Archive for April, 2010

weekend in review 04/23-04/25 (homegrown hops)

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

smoking 22 lbs. of pork butt took up a significant portion of the weekend, but I managed to get in some beer time nonetheless.

  • I tried out a bottle or two of new belgium’s ranger IPA on saturday.  it had a pretty good aroma and was quite drinkable, but didn’t stand out much (maybe I was desensitized after last week’s IPA fest).
  • I also noticed that my hop plants were starting to take off, so i rigged up trellis systems for all four new growth pots.  the cascade and mt. hood varieties have been showing the most aggressive growth, but luckily all rhizomes from this year have been showing potential.
  • on the other hand, my second year zeus and vojvodina popped out and grew a primary set of leaves months ago, but never took off.  I snipped off all but a couple sets in hopes of stimulating growth.

second annual IPA festival at naja’s place

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

naja’s place just had their second annual IPA festival, and it was pretty epic.

  • I was impressed not only by the beer selection, but also by the organization of the event and the friendliness of everyone involved.
  • AP and I rolled up early (4:15ish) to find a line to the door about 15 people long.  I think we hit the wait apex, however, since the line dissolved in about five minutes (thank god) and never reappeared from what I could see.
  • in general, the whole LA beer scene feels pretty relaxed when compared to the capacity crowd events happening in SF these days.  case in point – my buddy ML stopped by a few hours into the event and was still able to snag a pour of coveted pliny the younger.  in fact, I don’t think any keg kicked before I left at around 7.
  • this keg longevity was facilitated by the fact that festival glasses held only a few ounces.  this turned out to be a great idea, as it allowed for tastings of a wide variety of beers, instead of getting burned out on a full pour of some 10% hop bomb.
  • between AP, AP, ML, and myself, we managed to try a pretty wide variety of beers: avery’s maharaja ’08, ballast point’s tongue buckler and dry-hopped sculpin cask, bootlegger’s knuckle sandwich, firestone walker’s double jack, flying dog’s double dog and raging bitch, marin’s brass knuckle, russian river’s pliny the younger, tustin’s death by hops, and strand brewing’s double dry hopped 24th st. pale.  phew!
  • standouts for me were the cask sculpin, which had a great aroma and finish, even after half a dozen pours; and marin’s brass knuckle, which had a unique finish that I can only compare to instant iced tea.  weird, but good.  bootlegger’s knuckle sandwich was pretty intense, with a strong malt back that was refreshingly different.
  • yeah, younger was good too, and was well-balanced, but I expected a little less alcohol heat on the finish.  maybe a fresher sample would have enough hop aroma to tackle that.
  • overall, this was one of the best beer events I have been to.  I don’t think I waited longer than a minute to get any of my pours, there was plenty of water available, and the bathroom line was nonexistent.  we got a table with zero effort, and had pretzels and other snacks on constant refill.  I felt like I had won the beer lottery.

weekend in review 04/16-04/18

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

this past weekend I got back into brewing shape and got around to picking up some interesting bottles.

  • I swung by my new (and surprisingly well-stocked) bevmo in torrance for some goodies and walked out with more than I had anticipated.
  • they had all the new goose island brews, a good lost abbey selection (including angel’s share ’09), and even had the ever-elusive aloha plenty for a pretty decent price (6 or 7 bucks).  to think that i was kicking myself for passing up a bottle at some bootleg redondo liquor store for $12…
  • I brought the goose island sofie and a bomber of lagunitas’ wilco tango foxtrot to PR’s byob bday. I immediately fell for sofie – it had a great complexity, finish, and effervescence.  WTF was great too, it reminded me of stone 13, one of my all time favorites.
  • on sunday I decided to dust off the homebrew gear and whip up a quick batch of kolsch for some upcoming BBQs/get-togethers.
  • I stuck with my usual extract recipe but did my first full-wort boil in a turkey fryer outside.  getting to a boil was a piece of cake but cooling a full 5 gallons with my immersion chiller was an exercise in patience to say the least, especially after seeing CB’s therminator in action.
  • I gave it a minute of O2 at 75F and tossed my starter in, and the airlock was chugging away by the end of the night.

  • oh, and AP and I adopted a new brew assistant – meet the captain, supervising the brew premises:

weekend in review 04/09 – 04/11

Monday, April 12th, 2010

after a long week of desk jockeying, the weekend couldn’t come up fast enough.

  • after getting a little more settled in our new spot, AP and I rolled over to naja’s to meet up with AP, PP, and DP.
  • I can’t overemphasize the great atmosphere at naja’s – no pretention and a laid back attitude, right on the water!
  • not to mention great selection – I grabbed  a pour of goose island’s matilda, which was very earthy and refreshing.  AP grabbed her staple – eric’s ale.
  • once everyone showed up, the really good stuff got cracked.  first, we pulled a great bottle of fantome saison for everyone to try.
  • I also ordered up a fantastic saison that (if I remember correctly) was from brasserie d’achouffe (the tap handle was complicated and it was listed as “saison” on the board – I’ll have to get back with the name since it was pretty great).
  • there was also a north/south tasting debate going on (if only in my head) as both carlsbad’s green flash west coast IPA and healdsburg’s bear republic racer 5 were poured.  such a tough call between those two…
  • later during the weekend I tended to my fresh hop plants – in addition to last years’ vojvodina and zeus, I picked up some chinook, cascade, mt hood, and sterling varieties.
  • I got the rhizomes from freshops, and couldn’t be happier – they came fast, had noticeable buds on arrival and sprouted within a week.  however, CB had different results, however, as state agricultural problems and questionable customer service almost ruined his (sizable) order.
  • also, it will be interesting to see the yield of my second-year established plants.  I kept all my hops potted due to limited time, but if the yield is low I might reconsider next year.  fingers crossed…

weekend in review 04/02-04/04

Monday, April 5th, 2010

AP and I moved down to LA recently, which explains the dire lack of blog updates.  what it does mean, however, is lots more LA beer scene content!

  • friday AP and I met up with some old friends at naja’s.  they had eric’s ale on draft (which was a little less tart and more sessionable this time around), along with cuvee des jacobins rouge, a great flanders red with a lot of sour complexity.
  • for the stout fans, naja’s was pouring ’08 abyss among a few others.
  • hop heads should make a point to check out naja’s IPA festival starting 04/21.  I hear a lot of goodies are gonna be dropped, from pliny the younger to a port brewing mystery selection…
  • on sunday AP and I rolled out to pasadena for the annual greek easter picnic, and someone managed to smuggle in a half keg of my IPA to celebrate our return to socal.  my camera was still packed up, so TP generously snapped off a few great shots for the overcarbed cause.  thanks again!