A new brewery on the big island of Hawaii

June 1st, 2011

Big Island sunsetAnother beautiful sunset on the big island.

A great trip to the big island of Hawaii is now in the books. Love the weather there and unfortunately it’s not so great here right now in the Bay Area. Oh well, I still have NHC to look forward to.
The other great news about the trip is that the big island now has a third brewery. Armed with only my trusty point and shoot this trip, we went up to Waimea to check it out. The temps are about 10 degrees cooler or so up there in the high country (as in the low 70′s and windy). Actually a little better weather for a variety of beer styles as opposed to only wanting to only slam pilsners on the 85 degree beaches.
The Big Island Brewhaus is hard to miss since it is right on the highway. They mix guest taps with their own beer and mexican food is on the menu.  The beer menu was impressive. Outside of a variety of standard styles, it looks like they also plan to venture into a range of belgian beers and DIPAs. Works for me.
With a plate of tacos, I tried the paniolo pale, the big red, and the IPA. All good beers that I would try again if I had the opportunity, very drinkable. But alas, with tired kids and more things to see, we were out of there and onto others things. I did notice that the brewing equipment was located in a building behind the actual pub. Looked to be standard pub size equipment with a standard amount of fermentors. Two folks were working back there on the latest batch. This place is worth the drive if you are on the big island.

Also, Kona brewpub is still terrific and is worth a stop or two. The lavaman red is fantastic and the IPA is very drinkable as well. Plenty of others on their beer menu including a barleywine. Now if only I could get those guys to can their beers. Would be better for the beach.
I Didn’t make it to Mehana/Hawaii Nui this trip but always a worth it stop as well if you are in Hilo.

See you in San Diego. I’ll be pouring beer at the Bay Area Mashers booth on club night. Come by and say hi and try some of my smoked porter.

big island brewhaus frontThis is what you are looking for in Waimea. Right on the side of the highway in town.

beers on tap at the brewhausGood range of styles along with some home brewed soda and guest taps. I like how the “coming soon” beers have checkboxes for what stage they are at.

the brewing equipment behind the pubThe actual brewery behind the pub.


Northern Brewer concept shots

May 11th, 2011

Please look out for some of my shots in Northern Brewer’s catalog (and other advertising) starting late summer. Great people and great company. I believe this is the start of a great relationship since we share similar ideas and of course mutual love of home brewed beer.
Here are some concepts shots using the glassware they sent out to me. The late summer cover shot is mine but you’ll have to wait to see that one…don’t want to ruin the surprise. Oh, and don’t forget to order some supplies from them!
Click the pics for bigger versions.

Northern Brewer concept shot

Northern Brewer glass

Northern Brewer glass and hat

Brew You Own Beer TV moves into production

March 18th, 2011

Jason Petros and Justin Crossley for BYOB TV
Got an email last week from Justin Crossley (Brewing Network) asking if I’d like to shoot some stills during production of brew your own beer TV. Well hell yes, I’m just as curious about this show as everyone else. So I showed up Sunday morning on site to what looked to be experienced homebrewers setting up their rigs for a typical brew day. Look deeper and you saw these homebrewers had the same t-shirts, some with differents colors (read teams).
I learned a few things about the show that day and I’m excited to see the results. Think homebrewers teamed up and presented with brewing challenges along with twists to those challenges and eventual elimination. I already saw some good possibility for character development and more importantly was impressed with the producer (Mike), who looks to be a veteran of the broadcast industry. Just imagine sitting on the sofa watching a reality show about homebrewing. I’m sure my wife and kids will be thrilled as I throw something at the TV screen and yell, “why the HELL did they put THAT in the boil kettle!” or “oh you idiot, I hope you get eliminated!”.
Cool stuff and I look forward to more news coming up about the show. I hopefully will take more shots for Justin and Co. so look for those in the future here and probably BYOB TV’s facebook page. Until then click on any pic for a bigger version.

Justin and JP getting warmed upSecond day of production and the guys looked to be rested and ready to go.

Contestant Sean on Brew you own Beer TVContestant Sean….will he make the cut?

JP and Justin listening to contestantsJason and Justin making the initial rounds of talking to the homebrew teams.

Justin Crossley interviewing contestantsGetting a sense of what the “blue team” will be up to for this challenge.

Producer Mike working out a shotProducer Mike working out the next shots with the entire group.

BYOB TV show contestantsSome of faces that you will be cheering for and playing armchair homebrewer with. Who will be the good and who will be the nemesis?

BrewingTV episode 32 …and never knowing when that shot will hit.

March 10th, 2011

Brewing TV with Nathan Smith

I love beer and I love photography and it is always great when I can do both at one time. I shot hundreds of photos over the two days I was with Brewing TV and unfortunately I was rusty. My settings were off and I had to do way too much work in post. I was happy to get a few good shots but I’m always surprised by what the best shot ends up being.
The shot above popped out right away when I reviewed photos the following Monday. The weird thing is I never would have believed it at the time I shot it. A hasty lighting setup after BTV shoots their episode, a few shots with a portrait lens, and then “aw hell I’ll try a couple with the wide angle”. I fire off a couple akward shots since the lens was, er, right in Chip’s crotch….and he did remind me of that a couple times. Good lesson here is always try things, you never know. Also, if you are interested in portaits then please consider the wide angle lens. I would say half of my favorite portraits are with a wide angle.
So Brewing TV episode 32 goes live on Friday and Chip Inc. did a great job. Lots of good homebrewing by Nathan Smith and lost of beer drinking and interviewing around the bay (well, Marin, Berkeley, and Oakland anyways…..hey we took our time!). Can’t thank Chip, Michael, and Jake enough for letting me weasel my way in and help out with their trip out here. Most definitely look forward to seeing them at NHC San Diego this year and sharing pints again….and this time I won’t have to DD so look out boys. Some more shots from Nate’s below. Don’t forget to click on any photo for a bigger view.

Time to brew with Nathan SmithThe beginning of the Time to Brew segment for BTV episode 32.Cheese spread ala Nicole ErnyOf course we had Cicerone Nicole Erny there and she did not dissappoint. Thank you Nicole.

Chip Walton in productionThe one problem with content aquisition and beer drinking is you may not always be sober. Chip is a professional through and through.

Jason PetrosGood to see Jason Petros of the Brewing Network. JP solved a major logistics issue for the crew prior to the shoot. Thank you JP.Michael Dawson suited upMichael Dawson suited up for hop additions while Chip cleans his lens with wort steam.

Brewing TV and Nathan SmithHere’s what the portrait lens got me. Brew for all!

Beer and Cheese from the British Isles at the Commonwealth in Oakland

February 16th, 2011

Commonwealth Pub sign
Last Sunday at the Commmonwealth Cafe and Pub in Oakland, Cicerone Nicole Erny held her British Isles beer and cheese pairing event. After a day at Triple Rock sampling sour beers amongst the crowds I was quite happy to get to this event. Seating was limited here and the ambiance was terrific, a great way to relax and get some focus towards pairings. Outside of this, it was also great to see some Bay Area Mashers there (AJ, Lee Shepard, and others) along with Nate Smith (part time masher!) and Chaz Lakip (traveled down Beer and Cheese with Nicole Erny at the Commonwealth Pubfrom Juneau, AK).
After settling up on cost and enjoying some conversation with a pint of 21st Amendment’s very excellent Bitter American (way better than I imagined, can’t wait till it comes out in cans). We were promptly seated and the event began. I won’t go into too much detail but Nicole really does her homework for her events. Along with some history of both the beers and cheese we were tasting, she presented pairings that I wouldn’t have thought doable. You would think some of these cheeses would just overpower the beer but they didn’t. Amazing what the odiferous washed rind cheese brought out in the milk stout or how the stilton treated the Scotch Ale. None of the beers (and one cider) I’ve had before, certainly not the cheese. While I came to learn something, I also had a door opened up in terms of possibilities of what you can come up with. There is a lot going on with pairing beer and cheese, more so than I imagined. Thanks for the head start.
Trust me, you are doing a disservice by missing a Nicole event. Check out the few shots below and clicky on them for a bigger version.
Cheers and don’t forget the cheese with your next beer.

Cicerone Nicole ErnyNicole holding court. She keeps her events on track and gets your attention for every course so you will learn something.

Great cheese and Cider at the Commonwealth Cafe and PubI’m going to take a shot and say that this one was the raw milk cave aged cheese paired with a naturally fermented cider. Makes my mouth water just looking at it again.

Stilton in front of Meantime Scotch AleI’m not much for Meantime but this was an exception. Went very well with the out of focus piece of stilton in front of it.

The lone pint Commonwealth Cafe and Pub in OaklandTill next time…..

Brewing TV lands in the Bay Area for a whirlwind 4 days of production

January 26th, 2011

brewing TV at Golden Gate bridgeDawson and Jake cut an intro at our first stop.

Last Thursday the boys from Brewing TV landed in San Francisco for 4 days of production for future episodes. I was honored to be able to help them out on Thursday and Friday. Our time was well spent, by Friday afternoon, they had already bagged 4 brewer interviews, 2 homebrewer interviews (one who has gone pro), and one distinguished beer writer. Their weekend activities consisted of more interviews with Heretic Brewing, homebrewing with the Brewing Network, and guest appearances on the Sunday Session. Makes me tired reminding myself of all this but great times indeed and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
For now, here are a couple shots of the crew and a couple shots of interviews. There are plenty more photos to post down the road. Keep an eye on brewingtv.com for episodes to start airing sometime in February. I’ll try and post in conjunction.

Quick note: first my apologies for laying low the past few months. I guess after 3 years of posting stuff up here I just ran out of steam. While I thought often about what I should do with this website, I was reminded by my time with the BrewingTV boys on why I do this stuff.
It’s not about the beer. If it was, we would all be sitting in our houses drinking beer by ourselves. It’s about the people you meet through beer. I contemplated this during my time off from posting. I have met a bunch of really great people through this blog, one fine example of this is below and so I return:
jake keeler and jay brooksJake Keeler talking with Jay Brooks at Marin Brewing Co.

chip waltonChip Walton checking mic levels at Triple Rock Brewpub.

adam lamoreauxChip shooting Adam Lamoreaux down at Linden St. Brewing Co.

nathan smith and michael dawsonShooting a Time to Brew segment with Nathan Smith.

The Brewing Network’s Winter Brews Festival Returns January 29 to Berkeley’s Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park

January 17th, 2011

If any of you made it to last year’s event, then you know that this was one of the best beer fests of the year. That first annual event pretty much went off without a hitch. Great food, great beers (including a few one-offs), and well organized. I would say the only difficulty was the sheer number of people that showed up. While it caused backups at food lines and bathrooms, it wasn’t overwelming for the BN crew that ran it. Here is my post on last year’s event.
I’m sure the BN took the experience from last year and are applying that to make for an even better fest this year. Please check out the press release below and remember that your 40 bucks gets you unlimited pours. With all those pours in you, you’ll have an easy time getting to the BART station that is only a block and a half away.
Pre-sale tickets are available at winterbrewsfest.eventbrite.com. See you there.

For release:

(BERKELEY) January 15, 2011 – The East Bay-based craft beer radio company, The Brewing Network, is back for its 2nd Annual Winter Brews Festival to jump-start the local craft beer appreciation season.

With more than 30 world class breweries on tap, visitors will enjoy unlimited tastings from breweries such as the 21st Amendment, Gordon Biersch, Lagunitas, Magnolia, and Triple Rock. This Winter Brews Festival promises to expose beer lovers, new and experienced, to a variety of tasty beers, as well as raise awareness and funding for two local non-profi ts; the Coral Reef Alliance and BAD RAP (Bay Area Doglovers Responsible About Pit bulls).

The 2nd Annual Winter Brews Festival will be held at the Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park in Berkeley on Saturday, January 29, 2011, from 12pm to 4pm. Tastings will feature a wide variety of local brews and unique innovations from some of the best brewers around, many of whom will be pouring their own beers giving visitors an opportunity to learn more about how the beer is made.

Rain or shine, they’ve got you covered. And with the Downtown Berkeley BART station just two blocks away, this afternoon event will be sure to satisfy locals wanting to enjoy some beers for a great cause. Tickets are $35 pre-sale, or $40 at the gate and include unlimited pours and a commemorative glass. For more information on the event, and to purchase tickets, please visit http://thebrewingnetwork.com/ontap.

GABF Pro Am brewday at Triple Rock with Nathan Smith

July 29th, 2010

nate rodger george

Yesterday I made it over to Triple Rock Brewery in time to watch Nathan Smith finish up his Pro Am brewday there. Participating along with him were Brewmaster Rodger Davis and Brewer George Kumparak.
If any of you caught Nate’s facebook posting about this, you know he gave a clue about the beer. He mentioned bringing over some specialty malt and that’s it. So Triple Rock house yeast? Maybe probably. Hopefully we’ll get Nate to comment back with the details since I didn’t exactly ask if I should post the beer. I think folks will be pleasantly surprised as the beer is different than what he has done the past two years (read: session beer). I would suspect it will go on tap at Triple rock in about a month or around the GABF time frame. Look for “Nostalgiaholic Pale Ale” during that time frame.
Hanging with this group is always a pleasure and coincidentally, this is the second year in a row that they brewed their beer on my birthday. That is either luck or a jinx…I guess we’ll find out. During our beer and conversation, Nate the guy that he is, offered to climb in the boil kettle and scrub it down. Rodger offered lots of pointers to him while he was down there…..
Please have a look at the pics and click on any of them for a larger version. I did promise Rodger that I wouldn’t publish any more dumb photos of him so instead I included a dumb photo of myself with them.
Good luck you guys this year at GABF. You deserve a medal!
nate cleaning the boil kettle

Nathan not afraid of hard work….the kettle looked pretty darn clean in the end.

rodger davis and nathan smith
Post clean up…..

nathan smith rodger davis and george kumparak

My apologies to Nate and Rodger for this photo but it is pretty classic. George seems to questions this. Thank you to Nikon for your excellent continuous shoot mode.

nate jon and rodger
That’s all for this year’s brew. Cheers gentlemen. Good luck from the dumb guy in the middle. Nice T shirt BTW.

Beer Obsessed on the road: Cambridge Brewing Co. in Cambridge, MA

July 16th, 2010

cambridge brewing sign

If you are in Boston, you need to get your brewpub hit by taking the T (Boston subway) over to Cambridge and making the quick walk to Cambridge Brewing Co.
Butted up against M.I.T., you get a younger but respectful crowd in there. On this Thursday it was quite crowded but once again, since I was solo, I was able to sneak a seat up at the bar. The first thing that caught me off guard was the beer tube. Not sure what they actually call it there but is a clear tube that holds 100oz of beer. You order it and you receive this tall tube at your table with a tap at the bottom. It clearly makes sense as there were several groups that were six plus people and I don’t think that sized group is unusual here.cambridge brewing pale ale
I wanted to cross the beer menu and I started with the Pale which was very good. I mean real good. Could have stuck with it the rest of the night. Amber was next and that was good too but the pale is still the stand out. With dinner, I had the IPA not bad but the p-a-l-e a-l-e was still on my mind. Dessert was a barrel aged porter that had Brett in it. That was a real sipper.  Interesting beer and would love to try it again in a few months to see how it evolves.
Food is standard pub fare and I went for the fish and chips, heavy on the vinegar to help work with the IPA.
Again, a very worthy pub to hit while in Boston.

cambridge brewing brewsystem
Earlier in the day during the Boston trip, I thought it appropriate to swing by Cheers. I caught a photo of the exterior, which was used for the TV show. There were a few groups there getting pics of themselves next to the sign so catching a good angle was tough (see my photo at bottom of this post). I took a look inside but there isn’t much there to go with the TV show that many love. Just some memoribilia and a very crowded bar with a lot of Sam Adams on tap.

Other:
Other than that, the family and I are off to family camp this weekend for our traditional outing. I am packing some Odonata Saison, Nostrodamus Begian Brown, and some Racer 5. Funny enough, the Safeway in the nearest town has a pretty good beer selection so I won’t be hurting.
Cheers. Oh and more shots below. Clicky any pic for a full size view.

cambridge brewing amber

cambridge brewing fish and chips
cheers sign

Beer Obsessed on the road: The Publick House in Boston, MA

July 9th, 2010

The Publick House

The Publick House was probably one of the first beer places to get jotted down on my “things to do in Boston” list. I believe it was about 2 years ago some important media thing listed this place as one of the top 5 beer bars in the country. Funny enough, while cruising around on yelp, many folks listed Publick House’s mac and cheese as the thing that can’t be missed. Besides loving beer, I love mac and cheese so off I went.
The Publick House if very accessible from the T (Boston’s “subway”). You get off at Washington Square and walk all of about a block. Its location in the Brookline area seems mellow in a Portland Oregon kind of way but that’s just a generalization for a guy who was there for all of one evening. At 7pm on a Tueday, the place was already filling up. It was just me so I was able to easily able to slot myself into a place. drinking Pretty Things field mouses farewell at The Publick House
My focus for the beer part of my trip was on local/regional beers so I ordered a bottle of Pretty Things Field Mouse’s Farewell. A “rustic golden ale” brewed with barley, wheat, rye, and oats. Of the Pretty Things I have tried in the past, I discovered they don’t worry much about keeping to style (not a bad thing). This beer was bright with orange and spice. A clean beer and interesting. Somewhere in here I put in my order for the mac and cheese. The beauty of the dish is you can customize it…so I added broccoli and bacon. publick house mac n cheeseThe dish soon showed up in all of its steaming glory. They use eggshell pasta and they had put it in the oven to get that nice baked on surface. While I was waiting for it to cool down, I ordered a Brooklyn Brewing Brown Ale to go with my meal. The beer was a clean and classic brown. It supported the mac and cheese nicely but ultimately a brown’s roastiness is probably a hard too much for this dish. The mac and cheese? Wow! Completely worth the trip on that meal alone. Here I am in a “top beer bar” and I’m going on about the mac and cheese. That is the beauty of travel I guess.publick house old rasputin on nitro
For my final beer, I broke my own rules and I ordered a North Coast Old Rasputin on nitro. I couldn’t pass this up as I kept seeing this setup around Boston. Man, why haven’t I seen this on the west coast? Old Rasputin + nitro = brilliant. It smoothed out any high octane edginess that the standard version has and envelopes you in a bed of lush creaminess. Fantastic.
You can’t go to The Publick House without walking up the street to their bottle shop. The Publick House Provisions. A nice bottle shop with an incredible selection of glassware on top of it. After making a few laps, I purchased a bottle of Brooklyn Brewing Local 1 publick house provisionsand DIPA that was under the Publick House name. Helping me with the latter beer was Josh, who was working the store that night. A very cool guy and we talked East coast beers and West coast beers and a few other beer things.

Worth the trip? Absolutely but if you are a beer person, you don’t need me to tell you that. What I can tell you is that you should definitely check out the mac and cheese!

josh at the publick house