Posts Tagged ‘moonlight’

russian river beer revival 2011

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

it’s hard to believe two years have come and gone here at overcarbed, and what better way to celebrate than by covering the same topic as my first post – the epic russian river beer revival.

  • after missing last year’s festivities, AP and I were ready to rally, and met up with a couple dozen beer connoisseurs after camping out on the riverfront nearby.
  • arriving a little before noon, we endured a half hour line before finally being handed our tasting glass and plate.  the crowd seemed a little more dense than in years past, and after talking to a significant amount of socal visitors it seemed as though word had definitely gotten out about this once-local event.
  • despite the crowds, lines were short, and I never had to wait more than thirty seconds to grab a refill or a rib fresh out of the smoker.  speaking of smokers, many teams held nothing back this year – there were tents packed with big green eggs and webers, and even a massive fifth wheel smoker the size of a short bus.
  • the beer selection was nothing to sneeze at, either – russian river was pouring sanctification all day, moonlight had their killer gruit working for tips and twist of fate on cask, and bear republic killed the competition with offerings of hop bombs on draft every half-hour, including apex, mach 10, racer X, cafe racer 15, and ryevalry, as well as their super tasty cuvee de bubba, poured by none other than bubba himself.  granted, my palate was a little destroyed by the end of the day, but my favorite pour was the cuvee, so I recommend ignoring the mediocre ratings online for this one and grabbing it whenever possible.
  • the best part about the revival (aside from the mindblowing scenery, good friends, and riverfront location) was definitely the crowd – everyone was upbeat, kind, and conversational, and reflected the great local hospitality.  it’s gonna be a long wait until next year!

the new brew setup, yearly reflections

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

tomorrow marks the year anniversary of overcarbed.  to mark the occasion, I wanted to divulge the newly renovated home brewery at overcarbed HQ.

  • as veteran readers remember, a year ago, space constraints limited production means to a 4 gallon stove-top pot that had trouble getting a 3.5 gallon batch of extract/partial mash rolling.  gravity readings were nonexistent, and cooling took place in the bathroom tub using an immersion chiller.  recipes came and went, and friends lamented lost recipes resulting in tasty batches.
  • fast forward a few months, where a 6 gallon aluminum turkey fryer and propane banjo burner replaced the stove and pot, and a 5 gallon cooler conversion provided mash duties for the all-grain evolution.  a refractometer provided easy gravity readings, and beersmith enabled not only recipe formulation but storage as well.
  • and now, on the eve of overcarbed’s first birthday, the new brew setup is finally complete after months of planning and fabrication.  its components include a 2-tier brewstand from pinup brewery, three keggles converted using components from bobby_m and bargainfittings, and a custom sparge head compliments of yours truly.  it is fired with natural gas jet burners (no more tanks!), and a custom pump/cooling rig takes care of the manual fly sparge and instantaneous plate chilling.

in addition to tying up some loose ends with the new brew setup these last few weeks, I also managed to get some beer-related events in, including:

  • two trips to naja’s with the MLs, HL, DP, and of course AP to sample some great brews from craftsman brewing, including favorites like their cabernale (vinous and complex, but infinitely drinkable) and an apparent one-off infected braggot that was tart, smooth, dry, and the best beer naja’s had on tap (which really got my gears turning).  oh yeah, some fantome and consecration got popped too, amongst others.  craftsman’s mark jilg reminds me of moonlight’s brian hunt – they both whip up some amazing one-off beers from a nondescript location and deliver in their own truck.
  • a stroll by hudson house for a couple pours of craftsman 1903 and some quick eats (good food, quick service, OK beer selection – a decent place that humors the beer geek, but their “house ale” is really budweiser?  you’re really gonna pull that shit?)
  • a pilgrimage to stein fillers in long beach for some sacks of grain and vials of yeast (awesome store, better selection than anything in the immediate bay area with great service to match)
  • a trip to the backyard to view the (relative) bounty of hops that is almost ready for harvest.

the past year flew by but saw many great beer events, brew sessions, and beer trips.  I can only hope that another year will bring more of the same!

beer [pop] culture

Friday, March 5th, 2010

you know beer culture is nearing its peak of trendiness when:

  • there is a line snaking out of city beer store longer than one at a nightclub.
  • at 6:30pm.
  • on a thursday.
  • I mean, sure, it was a special dogfish head night (pouring sah’tea, theobroma, and burton baton), but shit, when I saw that line I started thinking that maybe sam himself was in there on the bar spraying people down with 120-minute or something.
  • I was stoked for craig and beth (they always have great beers and prices), but toronado seemed a little more my speed that night.
  • after the usual half hour test of my patience over at rosamunde, I screamed out “never again!” and ran over to memphis minnie’s, where they had me fixed up in a heartbeat.
  • CB, TB, and DW met up, and we conspired regarding rosamunde’s demise over moonlight’s misspent youth, a pale with great aroma, and some ’09 temptation.

taps petaluma

Monday, November 9th, 2009

the bar at taps

after doing some biking and meeting up with my cousin TF up at sonoma state, AP and I dropped by petaluma on our way back to the city.

  • AP had done some research and told me that taps in petaluma looked like a good place to stop by for a brew.
  • I was a little hesitant at first, since we only had time for one stop, and lagunitas was right around the corner.
  • however, as soon as we sided up the the bar, I knew there weren’t going to be any regrets.
  • with a name like taps, you would expect at least a few good offerings on draft here.  true to its name, taps offered an outstanding tap selection, ranging from numerous local kegs to plenty of belgians.  the even had a cask of bourbon ruben and the jets from lagunitas on hand pump!
  • in fact, I was so torn over what to choose first that Ana, the bartender, took it for confusion and quickly poured me up a couple samples she recommended.
  • I finally settled on (surprise!) moonlight’s 40 to life.  Eric, one of the owners (along with his wife, Wendy), told me that it was a one-off keg that Brian made by blending 20 to life and 60 to life to get an appropriate amount of sourness that he felt was appropriate for the crowd.  the beer was outstanding – very drinkable, tart and sour, but well balanced.
  • AP had an anchor small beer on my recommendation.  although this beer doesn’t get much love, I think it’s because it’s not categorized as a small beer and appreciated for what it is.  personally, I love it’s grainy bite and sessionability.  it’s like a modern-day table beer.
  • to finish off, AP and I shared a black xantus, an imperial stout from nectar ales.  I heard hype about this beer for over a month, and it definitely lived up to it – it was very complex, and had great subtle notes of oak, coffee, and roasted malt that all blended perfectly.  in a world of boozy, high gravity imperial stouts, black xantus was a smooth, drinkable alternative (although it still clocked in at 11%!).
  • on a non-beer note, the sausages and dogs at taps are great as well.  my chicago dog was definitely the best I’ve had outside of illinois, probably because, as Eric mentioned, all the ingredients (down to the buns) are brought over from the windy city.
  • overall, taps turned out to be an impreessive establishment with outstanding beers, friendly staff, and good eats.  it is definitely on my must-visit list every time I come near petaluma from now on.
  • more info on taps can be found on this blog post.

ruben and the jets hand pump

40 to life

the beer list and some empty samplers

anchor small beer

black xantus

one of the tap lineups

barley and hops tavern occidental

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

the bar at barley and hops tavern

last weekend AP and I decided to venture north to bodega bay.  after a few stops on the way up, and some disc tossing on the beach, we made our way along coleman valley road over to occidental, where we dropped by barley and hops tavern.

  • the middle of nowhere, the center of everywhere-  situated in an old house near the center of town, barley and hops tavern has great beers available and great food to boot.
  • the tap list was impressive – of the 10 beers on tap, at least half were usually hard to come by.
  • I started off with moonlight’s bony fingers, a black lager with a great roasty flavor and aroma.
  • russian river’s classic pliny the elder and IPA followed, as did another personal favorite, brown shugga from lagunitas, all on draft.  whew, glad I wasn’t driving!
  • the bottle selection was great too, as AP discovered when she ordered up a tire bite kolsch from flying dog, followed by the great 1882 black label geuze from girardin.  I wish more places in the city would follow this lead and get some interesting bottles in!
  • to top it off, the food was great and unique, and everything was fairly priced.  the owner, Noah, and bartender, Tisha were great people and passionate about good beer and food.  hell, even the locals were awesome (whats up Noah!), and they even had live music.  we were there for hours at the bar.
  • for me, this place went from an unknown to the top of my list of favorite bars up north.  I can’t wait to roll up there again soon to shoot it with the Noahs and sample more of the great brew selection.

bony fingers at the bar

live music

pliny with the geuze

moonlight artemis at city beer

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

the lineup at city beer

last weekend AP and I happened to be south of market, so we figured a trip to city beer store was called for.

  • we scored some great seats, whipped out a deck of cards, and scanned the beer list for something interesting on draft.
  • AP decided on schmaltz human blockhead, which was listed as a “sweet, malty lager,” but which maybe used lager yeast but didn’t have any lager characteristics beyond that.  it was definitely sweet and malty, like a sweet barleywine.
  • as usual, the moonlight offering on draft caught my eye.  I ordered up a pour of artemis, a gruit evidently bittered and flavored with mugwort/common wormwood and monarda.
  • when Craig, the proprietor, asked me if “I wasn’t sure I just wanted a taste first,” I knew it was going to be interesting.
  • the beer was very earthy and woodsy.  another guy at the bar turned to me and said, “pretty medicinal, huh?,” and I had to agree.  although the beer was very drinkable, I think one pour was quite enough to satisfy my curiosity (plus homeopathically cure any possible stomach ailments I may have had).
  • all in all, it was just another relaxing afternoon at city beer, with a little surprise thanks to Brian.  keep pushing the boundaries!

artemis and human blockhead

the tap list

one of many beer fridges

wet hop harvest beer night at toronado

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

the perfect combination - toronado and rosamunde

yesterday I remembered that it was wet hop night at toronado, so AP and I met up with CB, TB, and DW over there to enjoy some great brews.

  • toronado really needs no introduction – it is an SF classic, a long-standing beer bar that has supported the craft beer scene for decades.
  • the place was definitely crowded, but not at capacity (unlike their signature event, the annual barleywine festival).  the lone bartender was grinding through over half a dozen patrons at the bar, but it didn’t take long before I had a pint in my hands.
  • we also managed to score a table not too soon thereafter, and when I saw AP enter the room with an armful of heaping plastic trays from rosamunde, I knew the planets were in alignment.
  • between our group, we managed to try a significant number of the available wet hop varieties.  CB and DW had started with moonlight’s greenbud, and from there we moved on to port’s high tide harvest, speakeasy’s wet hop big daddy IPA, dempsey’s 707 harvest, and sierra nevada’s wet hop harvest.
  • all of them were great – port’s offering was the crowd favorite, but I personally preferred the big daddy, it had a little more malt backbone, but the wet hop aroma and mild bitterness held up to it.
  • the kicker? taking a cue from magnolia’s wet hop event, toronado had all wet hop pints at $3.  I felt like I had just popped out of a time machine.
  • I love toronado, especially during events like this, but for a casual visit I recommend going during the early afternoon on a weekend to avoid the crowds.  I also recommend giving memphis minnie’s a shot if you’re not feeling sausages for take out.

the wet hop tap list at toronado

enjoying some brews and sausages

crowded toronado front

a table at toronado - priceless

view from the back room

edinburgh castle

Monday, October 12th, 2009

the bar at edinburgh castle

last week CB and I made a quick pit stop at edinburgh castle for a pint.

  • it had been a while since I last stopped by this place.  in fact, edinburgh castle was one of the first bars I visited in the city before I moved up.
  • the place was a little worse for wear since my last visit (busted windows, etc.), but the bar was just as I remembered – comfortable and dark.
  • speaking of dark, we both went with a classic bay area brew – death and taxes, a pitch-black schwarzbier from moonlight.  this beer has great roasted malt and dark chocolate flavors but also drinks like a session lager – it’s pretty amazing.
  • like the bar, this brew was one of the first local beers I tried as a visitor to the area years back that really opened my eyes to the potential of the beer scene here.
  • in fact, this place is one of the few I know of that consistently has death and taxes on draft, which is reason enough to head out there.

death and taxes at edinburgh castle

russian river beer revival 2009

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009
revival

image courtesy of http://www.stumptown.com/revival/

For the second year in a row we headed out to Guerneville, CA for the 7th Annual Russian River Beer Revival.  As usual, the venue was Stumptown Brewery‘s back lot on the Russian River.  The spot was awesome as usual, with tons of BBQ and beers to be had.  Some notes:

  • high-five for the guys at new belgium. although they didn’t repeat this year with eric’s ale, they cracked some lips of faith bottles (kriek, la folie (now in bombers!)) and gave out some generous pours.
  • even though the event instructions stated that beers started pouring at 1, we got there at 12:30 and it was already going down. however, apparently there was a line going down the block to get in at 12:00, so keep that in mind.
  • biggest bummer for me was russian river brewing, and it wasnt even beer related. vinny was pouring, so i got all stoked and rolled by to say whats up.  homeboy brushed me off like i had a can of coors in my hand or something.  plus, even though they had pliny, hugelarge, and redemption on draft, they only had about a 2l of temptation on ice and when they popped it it was like they were handing out cash behind the pour table, the crowd was enormous. screw that, i’m sippin on la folie watching fools claw their way to a half pour.
  • another high five to moonlight brewing, i couldnt get enough of their “working for tips,” plus brian was way cool.
  • dont drive, parking looked like a pain in the ass, and cops were crawling the place afterwards. we stayed near Johnson’s Beach and walked over.  last year we canoed over, you just park it right on the beachfront.

who's that random chick in the middle?

DSCN2883

DSCN2882

DSCN2888