Posts Tagged ‘beer’

A new brewery on the big island of Hawaii

Wednesday, 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.

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

Thursday, 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

Wednesday, 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…..

GABF Pro Am brewday at Triple Rock with Nathan Smith

Thursday, 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.

Humbled by a simple mead….my personal lesson.

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

1 gallon of orange meadThe hours I have spent studying yeast. The worry that fermentation has caused me. The overall stress that this has all caused in order to brew as perfect a hombrewed beverage (mead or beer) as possible.
If it wasn’t worth than I wouldn’t do it. The benefits are many and I do love researching my hobbies. The problem is I ran across a mead recipe that uses Fleischmann’s bread yeast and instructions that state “don’t stir the yeast, don’t shake the carboy…just pour the yeast in, put the carboy in a dark closet and don’t look at it for two months. You’ll have a delicious beverage in the end”. OK.
I did just that and I ended up with….a delicious beverage. So good that most of gallon got swallowed up at work. I had to hide the rest so that I could bottle off a little (got 2 – 22oz’ers in the end).
So what the hell? No propagation or culturing, no worrying, no shaking, no nothing? Perhaps I have been stressing a little too much about yeast. I certainly think the basics are in order for any beer or wine culture: sanitation, temperature, oxygen, pitching rate, and nutrients but I also realize I don’t need to go past that really.yeast on a mead
I suppose the bread yeast is a fairly robust yeast strain and the oranges and cinnamon also probably help to hide any flaws the yeast may cause. Given that, I will probably try pitching bread yeast in just honey to see what exactly I do get left with besides alcohol.
I had originally called this recipe ‘hooch’ but I think that is a little unfair at this point. I now have two fresh batches going that should be ready in time for the holidays. I added cranberries to one of them for that extra Xmas touch. If you are bored, look up ‘JAO’ on the internet.


turns out Oskar Blues cans are out there

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009
oskar blues cans

these beauties are local and waiting for you to pop their top!

Somtimes I get out of the loop on things. I guess it happens when you are a parent. The last thing I heard about Oskar Blues being on the west coast was from Bill Brand (RIP) a couple/few months back when he mentioned that they were now distributing to Sacramento County. Well I don’t have the news that says what changed since then and why  it is in Alameda County but I suppose it doesn’t matter. We have it. I guess the deal went out beyond Sacramento.
I received emails and a comment below that Oskar Blues cans are out there. Comment from Brian:
“just had an Oskar Blues Gordon Ale…good stuff and beer of the month selection at Plumb Jack in San Francisco.”
The same source told me that he has also seen them at Star Market in Oakland.

From an email that was sent to me:
“Also the liquor store closest to my house Lincoln Square liquors has recently changed management. He’s now selling Ol’ Chub and their pale ale. Which I bought for the super bowl and was fantastic.”
Lincoln Square I believe is located off of Highway 13 at Redwood Rd. ….on the east side of the freeway is the shopping area.

And then there was my experience listed in the entry right below. On top of that, I visited Ledgers Liquors in Berkeley (first time in a while) and they had all three flavors of Oskar Blues in the can. I purchased what I could.

My quick notes:
Dale’s Pale Ale – A bold pale ale with a hop and stong malt aroma. The malt didn’t carry into the taste or perhaps was overtaken by the assertive hop bitterness that carries thorugh into the aftertaste. Drinkable and great for hop heads.
Old Chub – My favorite so far. My first can was great and I enjoyed all of its malt bomb glory from aroma to aftertaste. My second can (on a later date), I caught a lot of fruity esters and thought I was drinking a Belgian for a second. Hmmmm. My third can Brought me back to Scotch ale land as I started to detect some soil/earthiness to the taste telling that yes this is a scotch ale. Really looking forward to a fourth can so that I can either reaffirm any of the above or come up with some new tastes…whatever, I will be trying it again.
Gordon – what can you say to a 8.7 ABV beer that is in the can? Hell yeah. I didn’t get a lot out of this beer aroma or taste-wise (my assumption was that there would be a lot given the ABV). To be honest, I had a cold and I needed a night cap. I look forward to trying this one again so that I can give it a fair review.

Overall, very happy to see more beers available in cans!

Pierre Celis “signature edition” Grotten Brown not doing so well? Imagine that….

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008

Let me start off by saying that I have much respect for Pierre Celis and this post has nothing to do with him personally. My point here is that part of me has been put off lately by very high priced “signature edition”, “anniversary edition”, “special barrel edition”, etc etc beers. Some of this has to do with the current recession but really what bothers me is what pretty much boils down to an oxymoron: the peoples drink, built and priced for the connoisseur. I also understand that barrel aging, bigger malt/hop bills, adjunct additions, storing, and aging all cost more money to make a beer. I am not trying to stop a certain market or beer business in general….if a brewery sees an opportunity than by all means, make the beer. However, this is an issue that has been on my mind lately and seems like a pretty good topic of conversation.
As with the big renewed interest in beer, the marketing opporunities abound. When I read Sam Calagione’s autobiography, I understood that marketing was his forte. I was one of the many that was very excited to see his beers return to the west coast this year. Sam handbuilt the excitement. However, I was also in a bit of shock when I saw 90 minute IPA in four packs with a price of around 12 – 14 dollars. Again, this is not a knock to the brewer, I have nothing but respect for Sam and all he does for the industry. At the heart, I suppose all I’m doing here is exposing who I am as a beer drinker.Pierre Celis signature edition Grotten Brown lower
There are plenty of bombers available for 3 or 4 bucks each (New Begium 1554 for 2.99, Boont Amber for 3.49, Ballast Point IPA for 3.59 etc etc) and then last month an anniversary ale debuted for 20 dollars….I believe they sold out as well. I saw the price and it was too rich for my blood, I walked on by. Have any of these breweries thought to put out a low cost, great drinking beer for the times? The only one I have heard of was this one.
Are these beers bad? of course not. I wanted to dislike the Dissident after shelling out a bunch for that bomber but I couldn’t believe what I was drinking. What a fantastic beer and a highlite of the year for me. Sour but not too sour, a bit of horse and a bunch of cherry. So for discloser, I did end up buying about three more of them (only one is left). I was able to buy a single of the recent Bourbon County Stout and I’m glad I did…only buy a single. I wasn’t much for it. I split it between three friends and we all felt the same way. Way to sweet and oily. I’m not sure it should be called beer. In the wine world, you have port. We should probably have a style in the beer world that is similiar…Pierre Celis signature edition Grotten Brown cheaper
So getting back to Pierre Celis and his signature edition Grotten Brown. I did try one last summer but unfortunately it was a small sip in the middle of a birthday party so I don’t remember too well. I remember it being not what I expected….but then again, I shouldn’t have had any expectations I suppose. I remember it being very Belgian fruity/estery but certainly no flaws. I remember seeing the beer at a local store on prominent display for about 12.99 a bottle (I guess that’s nothing compared to the high priced beers that came out in the past couple months). I almost felt it should be in the wine section since that was the vibe I got when I saw the fancy display and the “signature edition” on the label. Then recently, I felt a bit sad. As you can see from the photos, it has had a couple of price drops to where it sites now huddled between the fosters and some other imports for 6.99. Was this beer too much for others as well? Is it a victim of the times? I wonder if some of my feelings about high end beers are the same feelings that others are having. Maybe the beer market has still yet to define how much is too much.
Now go buy some beer.

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.

Ukiah Brewing Company interview posted

Friday, September 5th, 2008

To hear the interview, please go to the Take it to the Brewer page.

Thanks to Bret Cooperrider for taking the time to do the interview and for his hospitality in general. Bret is a great guy and spending time with him at the brewery was a lot of fun.

The shots below can be clicked on for a bigger image and they may help to put the interview into a visual context.  The last shot was scribbled on the bathroom wall in front of the urinal and I couldn’t resist.


ukiah brewing companyukiah brewing company signage

ukiah brewing company fermentation tanksukiah brewing co's brew systemukiah brewing canning system

brent cooperrider pouring his doppelbockukiah brewing emancipator doppelbockBrent Cooperrider and Ilsd

Ukiah Brewing Co. interview comfirmed…

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

OK, all six interviews are now confirmed. I spoke with Bret Cooperrider earlier today and we will be meeting him tomorrow. Ukiah Brewing Company is the first ceritified organic brewpub in the U.S. We’ll learn about Bret’s background not only in brewing but in conservation…and how the two work together in the world of organic brewing.
I’ll post next week with some initial photos from all the interviews (or I may do it in chuncks…), along with some quick thoughts and reviews of the entire trip.
We’re off!