Archive for the ‘amber ale’ Category

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

Friday, 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 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

Some Chicago brewing brothers send beer to the west coast

Monday, January 19th, 2009
mighty brew neck label

Mighty Brew neck label

I saw photos of these homebrews through my friend Brian a little while ago. I have to tell you these guys are near and dear to my heart as not only do they love homebrew but they love image, broadcast, and web design.
Do you get as excited about adjustment layers masks as you do about mash temps? How about alpha acid levels and addEventListeners? or yeast starters and div class? wait one more….how about original gravity and motion tracking. Ahhh, now I’m there!
Much to our excitement, MightyBrew beers arrived to the west coast to much fanfare. After getting the text from Brian, I showed up at his door step with Nikon in hand. These guys are true to form and there deisgn work shows it. I think the best marriage between beer and design is the Evil Tween beer….a clear reference to Alesmith’s Evil Twin recipe that is all over the web and the act of tweening in Adobe Flash (note: Alesmith’s beer is actually called Evil Dead Red….Evil Twin is based on a recipe by Jamil Zainasheff). Nice work. If for some reason our family ends up in Chicago, the first resume I send out will going to them.

mighty brew labels

The range of Mighty Brew beers

Review? I’d love to but Brian has a newborn and that mixed up which beer we were trying with googoogaga-ing the baby. Interestingly, we noticed a phenol spiciness in the beers but the label does reference the addition of some spice. It would be great to sit down and do something a little more formal but I never seem to be capable of doing that these days while on the run….when you become a parent yourself, you start heavily multi-tasking everything in your life. We definitely had a favorite but I can’t remember if that was the Amber or the Evil Tween. I’m not sure if the Pale Ale was supposed to be that phenol or not. However, the bottom line is Mighty Brew needs to keep the brewing happening. In fact I would recommend that they brew at work. There is plenty of time to brew while stuff is rendering out and vice versa, there is time to tweak keyframes while you are mashing.


Ted Vivitson, Founder and President of Eel River Brewing Co. Audio Interview now posted.

Monday, December 1st, 2008

Ted Vivitson of Eel River Brewing Co.We arrived at the Eel River brewpub in Fortuna on a Sunday at noon. That gave us about one hour before Ted showed up. I had both the blonde and the amber which I enjoyed. Both beers are certified organic as are most other at the brewpub.
When Ted arrived, we were put at ease right away as he is an easy going guy. He loves life in Humboldt county and when he isn’t working hard he likes to have a good time. In most cases that means getting in his fishing boat and heading out into the pacific ocean for some serious fishing. If you aren’t talkning beer with Ted, you might talk fishing…one of his other passions.
For the interview, Ted suggested we all top off our beers and go out into the beer garden as the sun had just opened up. We had a great conversation and hit a few different topics in the interview. After this we went to the brew house portion of the brewery (we topped off our beers on the way). The conversation carried on for a while after the interview and we talked about growing up in the east bay (Ted was born and raised in Danville) and his experiences with the the show Project Green, where his beers were featured in an episode and Ted was in the show as well.
I certainly hope to meet up with Ted again at some point for more conversations and beer. I like his style and his idea of fun. Perhaps a follow up interview at his production brewery in Scotia. We’ll see.

for a photo gallery of the interview click here.

Speakeasy White Lightning hits store shelves

Thursday, August 7th, 2008

Last month when I was at Speakeasy, I noticed a few pallets of the imperial wheat beer, White Lightning. Interesting and very cool since this used to be a tap beer only. Earlier this week, I saw six packs in Bevmo.

If you don’t know about Speakeasy beer then you should put them on your list. Their current bottled selections include: Big Daddy IPA, Prohibition Amber, Untouchable Pale Ale, Double Daddy DIPA, and Old Godfather Barleywine. All of these are excellent beers.

If you do know about Speakeasy then you may know of a few extra they have on tap at their brewery and select bars around the bay. There is Bootlegger Black (schwarzbier-ish), Hunters Point porter (damn fine), and White lightning. I spoke with Forest Gray, President of Speakeasy, and he said we may be seeing other new offerings in bottles soon! I asked him what made his Imperial Wheat stand out. He mentioned a sour mash process where they take out the mash and let it sit for 24 hours (I think I have that right). Works for me. Besides bringing out more beers in bottles, Forest mentioned other improvements being made around the brewery: new bottling line coming (probably a hint there…) and some new folks on staff.

If you haven’t tried White Lightning, I highly recommend going out and getting a six pack for yourself…and keep an eye out for new offerings from Speakeasy!

West Coast Nut Brown

Monday, June 30th, 2008

So funny enough, I’m up in the mountains this last weekend and on the way, I had a chance to stop at a store to check out the beer selection. It was pretty good one and I grabbed a six pack of Double Nut Brown Ale from Mammoth Brewing Company out of Mammoth California. Not only a new beer for me but it’s from a California brewery that I have never tried. So we get to our desintation and I pour one into a glass and wow, it has many similarities to the Full Sail Nut Brown that I tried below.

So this is interesting. While some folks online knocked the Full Sail nut brown for not being to style, turns out someone else is swaying from guidelines in a similar fashion. I agree that it is not to style but I also enjoyed it. It had the particular Nut Brown grain bill…..but turned up a notch and then throw in some roast. OK worked for me. Call it a west coast Nut Brown?

So back to the Double Nut brown, I didn’t right down any notes but it certainly had the amplified grain bill and the roast. One brewery does it, call it peculiar (or a miss if you are stuck on style), but when two do it and you might have something. I will have to keep it in my head to try and find yet another example of “west coast nut brown”.


Hits and Misses for the weekend.


So as I mentioned, I was up in the mountains this last weekend where we were staying at a friend’s cabin. The temperature was in the low 90s, so crisp, clean lager was the way to go for me. I don’t really care for adjuncts or standouts when I am drinking in hot weather. It seems to upset the already over boiling body. I need something I can put down quickly!



Sierra Nevada Summerfest Lager. Fits the bill. Crisp and clean pilsner taste with some saaz hop character. Just the way I like it. Easy drinking, clean, fresh beer that you can throw back quickly.



Full Sail LTD series (bottling 01 and 02). I bought these Lagers which had some copy on the label about its malt (including a “malt-o-meter”). OK, sounded like a nice lager with some good malt presence. Didn’t work for me. There was malt, but too much in an amber/caramel sort of way. It seemed to muddy up the taste. Again, after a hike in hot weather, I want to throw down a couple beers that are cold, clean, and crisp. Not there. It seemed to marketed as a warm weather beer but I guess next time I should try the full sail “session”.

Brew day: American Amber Ale

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

Decided that I need to start using my stash of magnum and cascade so I took JZ’s recipe, changed out the hops (calculated ~35 IBUs) and then converted to mini-mash. I figured the mini-mash would only add another half-hour to my day since the little amount of water will come to temp quickly and I batch sparged. I used light DME to make up the difference in gravity (….4.25 pounds worth).
I didn’t hit my projected OG of 1.052 and ended up with 1.056 instead. No biggy, but the seemingly wanton nature of my refractometer readings is bothering me. Supposedly the thing has auto temp control….and I cool the wort on top of it. Not sure why my readings seem to be all over the place. In the end, I know my kettle pretty well and with the immersion chiller in the pot, I need to have the water level at about 6.5 gallons. So I got close to the OG I needed…by eyeballing it.
Due to water restrictions I am now cutting over to ice water recirculation at 120 degrees (instead of 90 degrees) when chilling the wort. This saved many gallons of water and didn’t really call for too much more ice.
Since we are having warmer weather in Berkeley, I worried about whether I would need to cool the ferment or not. The basement ranges between 66-75 degrees now, so I cooled the wort to 65 degrees, got it in the carboy and let it settle. Since the carboy is sitting on concrete and I put a wet t-shirt around it, it held at 66 degrees for pitching.
Come morning the t-shirt was still moist and the yeast had started up to the tune of about a ¼ inch of kreusen. Temp was still 66 degrees. Figure I’ll check tonight when the yeast is producing the most energy. If I am still 66 degrees, I’ll move to a heat wrap and do a warm temp control when necessary, to get it to, and keep at 67 degrees. If it has moved in temp up to 68 or higher, I’ll leave it on cool temp control, which will trigger a fan that is positioned to blow on the carboy. I can also add a pump to pump water over the carboy if necessary.
UPDATE: temp was holding at 66 with an air temp of 76… I put on the heat temp control with a dry shirt around it. Now happily fermenting at 67 degrees.

double pot for warming mash without scorching