Archive for October, 2010

three nights in SF

Friday, October 29th, 2010

“what are your favorite SF beer spots?” a tough question to answer.  however, a week or two ago, I flew up to SF for business.  although the days were all work, the nights were a chance to stop by some of my favorite brew sources in the city.  given a limited time (3 nights) and a central location (the embarcadero), these were the places that made the cut.

  • night 1: giordano bros., la trappe, and rogue. going to giordano bros. for a coppa with egg with AF and CB was a no-brainer, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that they now have beer on draft (I grabbed a pour of mangolia’s kalifornia kolsch).
  • afterwards, it was a straight shot to la trappe, where a bottle of drie fonteinen’s oude geuze was popped between AF, CB, and JC.  although la trappe has fallen slightly out of favor with me these days due to their high prices, cramped atmosphere, and spotty beer availability, you would be hard pressed to find many of their offerings elsewhere in the city.
  • we left la trappe for an outside table at rogue, where a pour of lagunitas little sumpin’ wild ended the night perfectly.  although I honestly can’t remember the last time I ordered a rogue beer there…
  • night 2: memphis minnie’s, toronado. as mentioned before, memphis minnie’s is my go-to spot now before toronado.  a pitcher of anchor steam complemented the ‘pulled’ chicken and greens nicely before heading over to toronado.
  • after experiencing the worst bar service I have ever known (even for toronado), I grabbed a cornucopia of brews, from moonlight’s homegrown to some russian river favorites.
  • night 3: healthy spirits and some CB homebrew. with checked bags being included on southwest, I knew I had to take some rarities home with me, so off to I went with CB to see dave over at healthy spirits.  after a half hour of pacing the store, I grabbed some goodies from hanssens, lagunitas, russian river, and drie fonteinen.
  • I then rolled over to CB’s, where we sampled over half a dozen of his homebrews, including a funked saison that was definitely top notch.  we spent a few hours pulling samples from carboys with thick pellicles and finished the night with a 750 of cascade’s the vine, which is a beer that was truly fantastic.  I left satisfied and inspired to be more adventurous with my own brewing .  thanks again CB!

LA beer week kickoff at naja’s

Monday, October 18th, 2010

LA beer week has officially come to a close, and I’m sure many unique and tasty brews were poured and enjoyed.

  • the only event I was able to make was the stone kickoff party at naja’s place.  even though I saw ads for this event in celebrator and other beer publications, I thought that the event would be similar in size to their IPA festival.
  • my hopes for short lines was dashed, however, when AP and turned the corner on the pier and saw a line of people snaking out the door.  ML called from inside and confirmed the worst case scenario: the line was not for entry, but for getting a beer at the bar!
  • overwhelmed with enochlophobia, I staggered away, looking for an alternative.  KEGS, an oft overlooked bar a stone’s throw away, seemed like a decent choice.
  • KEGS would probably thrive in an average commercial environment – they have a solid tap selection and great service, although the place is a little cramped.  the only oversight the KEGS founders made was to set up a small space with a decent tap lineup and live music literally one hundred yards from one of the best beer bars with live music in the world.
  • this spot turned out to be a great place to wait out the crowd at naja’s, with favorites like racer 5 and gordon being poured.  after a couple hours, it was time to head home, but our group made the mistake of walking past naja’s, which was now at half capacity, on the way out.  AP saw the look of longing on my face and crumbled, so we stopped in for a quick peek.
  • darren, jay, and martin were all still in shock from the huge turnout, but luckily they were still pouring some rarities.  after sampling ’07 barrel-aged old guardian (or was it 07.07.07?) and their 9th anniversary ale, I cemented next morning’s headache and took off.
  • note to self – the beer scene has arrived in full in LA.  it was awesome to see so much socal support for a beer bar great.

lambic prep and some housekeeping

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

last friday I finally took some time to develop a lambic mash schedule.

  • lambics/lambic-based beers rate as some of my all-time favorites.  ever since AP and I visited jean van roy over at cantillon, I have been fascinated by these traditional beers and their methods of production.
  • creating these beers at home seemed daunting however, and I put the idea on the back burner until I was better equipped to handle such a task.  with the advent of my new brew setup and the completion of some successful brew sessions, I feel that I am ready to tackle my first (p)lambic.
  • after reviewing wild brews and some great lambic resources, and checking the mad fermentationist’s site to double-check some figures, I came up with this schedule based on a scaled-down version of mike sharp’s description of cantillon’s turbid mash:
    • LAMBIC TURBID MASH SCHEDULE (12-13 gal)
    • 15lb belgian pils (60%)
    • 10lb unmalted white wheat (40%)
    • 1. 12lb/gal = (25lb total grist)/(2.1 gal. @143F) = 113F mash
    • 2. hold 113F mash for 10 min
    • 3. add boiling water to get to 136.4F
    • 4. remove 0.57 gal. to kettle 2, heat to 176F at most
    • 5. add boiling water to get to 149F, hold for 15 min
    • 6. remove 2.27 gal. to kettle 2, keep at 176F at most
    • 7. add boiling water to get to 161.6F, hold for 20 min
    • 8. first runnings (2.83 gal) to boil kettle
    • 9. kettle 2 back into mash tun @ 176F = mash @~167F
    • 10. hold mash @167F for 20 min
    • 11. vorlauf and sparge with 185F water
    • 12. ~end up with 18.5 gal wort~
    • 13. divide wort into keggle (13.5 gal) and turkey fryer (5 gal)
    • 14. add 5.17 oz old/low AA hops to keggle @ start of boil
    • 15. boil down to ~12-13 gals*
    • 16. blend keggle and fryer and cool overnight
    • *take reading @ ~15 gals, see if near desired 1.05 OG (shouldn’t be), then boil down to 12-13 (should be around 1.05).  originally had 12,8lbs of grain, but would have to boil off 8 gallons to get near desired OG (not factoring in lower efficiency here either).
  • I plan on aging the beer for a year, then kegging 5 gallons and bottling the rest.  if all goes well, after doing this for 3 years I will have a 3 year flight of bottles and enough 1, 2, and 3 year lambic in kegs to blend up a tasty geuze.

I also managed to tie up some loose ends around the home brewery.