Posts Tagged ‘The Brewing Network’

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

Monday, 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 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

National Homebrew Conference club night: a few pics from the evening

Monday, June 21st, 2010

beer boardLast Friday night was club night at the NHC convention in Minnesota. The event featured over 40 different homebrew clubs that spanned the 48 states. The majority were clubs in and around the midwest and none of these people dissappointed. From the great themes, to the jovial crowd, the food that was available, and to the massive amount of homebrew. One club in particular, correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe it was the Iowa’s Hombrewers Union, brought over 60 kegs to this event. Even if you averaged 10 kegs per club, you are still talking hundreds of kegs. I would love to hear the actual final numbers on this as I’m sure they are impressive.
With all of that, club night is a bit daunting but his year I did multiple laps around the room, trying to pick up what I missed on the last lap. I was constantly entertained from start till finish. The photo above is a basic idea of what you are up against, a decent size list of brews cross quite a range of styles. Let’s check out the pics (click on them for bigger versions):

the crowd

The crowed near the beginning of the event. There usually a nice amount of room to move around.

pork sliders
Food options at one booth…making sure that your stomach stays topped off.

taps at club night, NHC
Most clubs had very professional taps, again showing the quality that everyone puts into the event.

chili dogs at nhc
More food. This time it was chili dogs.

BN broadcast
Of course the Brewing Network was there doing what they do best: entertaining, building community, and getting the word out.

jockey boxes at NHC

Self serve jockey boxes at the Iowa Brewers Union area.

cheese at NHC
More snacks….

Iowa Brewers Union
Iowa Homebrewers Union taking the prize (the urinal tap) for bringing the most kegs to the event….over 60 kegs. A new record I believe.

urinal tap trophy at NHC
The victory parade and of course you should hook it up and put a beer on! (below).

urinal tap pour

Blending sour beers at The Trappist with Belgain Brewmaster, Sam Quartier

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

Brewmaster Sam Quartier addressing crowd

Yesterday in Oakland, The Trappist saw a visit from Belgain Brewmaster Sam Quartier from Brouwerij Bockor. Sam gave a seminar on blending Flemish sour beers and The Trappist once again provided the venue for a great event.warm up beer: Allagash Curieux The event started at 6pm on St. Patrick’s Day and for a day where ordinaries come out of the closet to swim in Irish beer (or otherwise), I thought it was nice to celebrate the beer portion in an environment with beer lovers who gathered to learn a few things about sours.
Since I was traveling solo, it was good to run into some friends and acquaintances. Present were Justin and Chad from the Brewing Network, Randy and Jessie from, Lee Shephard from the Bay Area Mashers, Beer Chef Bruce Paton, and of course Nicole Erny who was working the event that night. Some of us exchanged buying a coupleunblended lambic from Brouwerij Bockor rounds before the event and I tried Duvel Green for the first time (6.5% non-refermented version of regular Duvel…I like it) and enjoyed an Allagash Curieux, a long time favorite.  I pulled up a stool with a few folks and the seminar got underway with a brief introduction from the Artisanal Imports folks, the carriers for Bockor beers. Then Brewmaster Charles Quartier got started with a history of Belgian beers, his brewery, and other brewery/beer information. The beers we tasted were blends of two beers: a “young beer” (a non-soured wheat beer basically) and a sour version created by cooling the wort on the breweries rooftop….where it gets its wild yeasts. We tried the new beer first (folks who were Cantillon fans said this one was on the sweet side). Then we sampled a blend of that with 25%of the sour beer. Then a 50 50 blend. Then 75 25. With just the sour unblended in the end. During this time Sam was discussing the blends with us and folks asked questions as well. We also talked about the blends amongst ourselves at our table. Great stuff and my idea of fun. The last beer we tried was the sour with a dose malt extract blended in. I enjoyed that one as it had a bit more mouthfeel and maybe some residual sweetness back to a sour that was quite dry (as it should be). The presentation and tastings were worth every bit of the nine bucks I paid at the door.blending new and sour lambic
When the seminar ended and the crowd applauded, we were given the opportunity to try an 85% blend and socialize around.  Got the opportunity to finally meet Brian Hunt from Moonlight Brewing and thank him for all the fine beers he’s produced and I’ve enjoyed. I asked him about “old combine” and he said he has a batch in fermentation right now. Old Combine is a nice grainy lager that has a range of base malts in the mash. Great warmer weather sipper with that nice Moonlight twist to it. I decided to finish off with a Moonlight Bombay by Boat IPA, a little more conversation, and off a few of us went to BART to call it a fairly early night.
Another great event by The Trappist and I look forward to the next one. Like other great events, The Trappist only has to worry about accommodating the bigger and bigger crowds at this point.

Brian Hunt Nicole Erny and Sam Quartier

So Push Eject was up in the Bay Area, briefly….

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

Push with 21st amendment and linden street
It is very easy to say that the great thing about beer is beer itself. Very true but what really adds life to that statement is the great people you meet through beer. This is talked about all the time amongst beer people. Yesterday was a good example.
So I learn about Push Eject through the Brewing Network. Then I find out down the road that we have a lot in common with our day jobs and other things. Then I officially met Push at NHC this last year. Then last week I get a note from him asking for information on upgrading a bunch of their systems at work. After little thought, it made sense to just fly Push up here and have him go straight to the source for his answers and have some fun in the process. So a day or two after I received his note, he had a boarding pass and was on his way up here for a whirlwind work visit. Ok, but this blog isn’t called work obsessed. So let’s move on.Shaun watermelon funk
Even though I could get Push up here on the company’s dime, it is still my duty to show a beer brother a good time. 21st Amendment is quite easily accessible from work so off we went there with some other work folks. Push brought homebrew that we all sampled at the table including his last bottle of a 5 year old barleywine that was damn good and smooth(thank you for that one!). Also a couple versions of his Mrs. P’s porter that were excellent as well(one with hazelnut extract and the other with chocolate nibs…both blended well with the porter). Since Brewmaster Shaun O Sullivan was there, he brought out what I believe was the last can of Watermelon Funk on the planet. We were all honored by this and it was a great beer. Yep Watermelon Wheat covered in horseblanket. A slice of heaven.
Time was already getting tight at this point and I wanted to try and get Push to Beer Revolution in Oakland since neither of us had been there. We went back to the office and finished up our actual business. Time was tight, I brought a 4 year vertical of Bigfoot to try and we only had time for two of them (we liked the ’10 better that the ’07…less bitter if you can believe it and we enjoyed the freshness). So off on BART we went and made to Beer Revolution. Great place, you need to go if you haven’t been there. We walk in and there was Roger and George from Triple Rock, Adam and Carey from Linden St., and Shaun O (Shaun was planned actually). Well heck, if the brewers are hanging out here then you gotta love that! Push got to sample Odonata’s Water Witch and Moonlight’s Misspent Youth. Somehow we talked Shaun into driving him to Oakland airport and that was it. Push made his flight in the nick of time.
So back to my earlier point. I have met a lot of great people and continue to meet new ones through beer. In Push’s case, we were able to help each other out business-wise but we took it one step better and made a fun day out of it as well. That doesn’t happen with your typical client. Leave it to good beers and the friends that come out of them! So to Push and the rest of you. I look forward to sharing more beers with you again in the  in the future.
watermelon funk
push eject watermelon funk

The Brewing Network’s Winterfest a resounding success

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

note: pics were taken well after Winterfest at the Trappist in Oakland. Pretty much the only pics that I got that day. OK, back to it:
Justin Crossley and BadrockLast Saturday, the Brewing Network held their first beer festival at Linden Street Brewing Company in Oakland. I predicted that the BN would firmly establish themselves as a beer fest and they did. Frankly, that was an easy bet. You would understand why by walking around the festival itself. The volunteers were a whos who of Bay Area beer writers/bloggers, homebrewers, and BN faithful. The event promotion didn’t hurt either. Justin Crossley and co., including Nicole Erny headed over to UC Berkeley’s KALX to talk about the Winterfest and SF Beer Week. What was the effect? After I got off at West Oakland BART to walk to the festival I noticed a stream of college age students headed in that Adam Lamoreauxdirection.
The organization of the event was spot on for a first effort as well. Most impressive was walking down the closed side street and seeing a sign that read “if you want beer, start here”. You couldn’t make it any easier. The event featured over 40 beers on tap and had food venders including Sean Paxton who roasted two whole pigs on site. While the crowds were huge, it never took long to get a beer or food. The lines for Sean Paxtons food were long but on the far side was a falafel stand with no line. Quick and easy way to fill the stomach. The Bay Area Mashers had a homebrew stand and the beers there were terrific. There were bands all day and other stands including a custom bicycle company and Oaklandish folks selling their clothing (yes, this native Oaklander was finally able to pick up an Oaklandish shirt).
Adam LamoreauxThe event lasted from 1pm to 8pm, fortunately I stuck it out and was able to grab one of the pig sandwiches in the end and I wasn’t dissapointed. Seeing how I didn’t get the clue to volunteer prior to the event, I was able to lend a hand breaking down the event in the end. The crowds cleared out easily and the running out of beer timing couldn’t have been better. By about 7-ish there were probably one or two beers on tap and the crowd was tapped out anyway. A few gentle yells of “time to go” and the place was empty.
I had the pleasure of catching an after event round of drinks at the Trappist with Justin,  BNer and volunteer extroidinare Adam “badrock” Petramala, Adam of Linden Street, and several others including Adam’s partner (although we had a long great converstion I apologetically can’t remember his name….)and Paul from Bay Area Mashers. I was able to catch a couple shots and my job was done. An all day beer fest and now I had to run to the last BART train. I can only imagine how tired that crew felt.
So was there anything bad about the event? No, but they may need to go to a different venue next year to have room for the even bigger crowds.

Storms over the Bay Area means cozy pubs. Plus other news & events

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

bay area stormWe have been getting our version of winter in the Bay Area lately. Meaning, one rainstorm after another. Outside of some flooding, trees falling, and apartment buildings dropping into the ocean, we actually do  need the water. I think we are still only about 80% of normal. But we can’t suffer anymore because, as you may know, we don’t deal well with “weather” here.

It does make your local pub more cozy and I did want to get a couple of shots up. Bitter Birthday at Triple RockPrior to the storms, Rodger Davis the Brewmaster for Triple Rock celebrated the 20th anniversary of his 20th Birthday. On tap was “Bitter Birthday”, a recipe that originally came from 21st Amendment (Bitter American). I do like this beer but it took some getting used to. Now I feel there should be more beers like it. I suppose you could call it a “session-able west coast IPA”. It is a point or so under 5% ABV and has beautiful hop aroma and flavor. The getting used to part is that you don’t get the body you normally associate with IPA, which actually isn’t a problem and you could drink several as opposed to maybe two full strength IPAs. More session beers please.
Another beer that is wonderful on tap is Blind Pig. Pretty much a Bay Area IPA tradition, I tend to gravitate towards it whenever I see it on the menu. While it is called a DIPA by some the ABV is lighter for that style at about 6.x ABV. I am happy that it is available in bottle as well so I can have it at home.

Other NewsBlind Pig at barclays in Oakland
This Saturday is the Brewing Network’s Winterfest at Linden Street Brewing Company in Oakland. It is their first beer festival but I do expect a couple things to come out of it: This will become an established event right up there with the other big west coast beer events and it will raise the bar on what a beer festival could/should be. Food will be preapared on site by Beer Chef Sean Paxton. The menu is amazing. The event itself is 25 bucks for entrance, a glass, and five drink tokens (more tokens can be purchased). Just remember that that the pours will be 9 ounces and most beers will be high octane. You will get your money’s worth. I would pack up to 50 dollars just in case since Sean’s food I believe will run you 10 dollars for the plate. Visit for more info.
I look forward to meeting new faces and old. Please hit me up for a taste of my mead as I plan on packing some, low key style.

The day before the festival, Cicerone Nicole Erny will debut with her first beer dinner. Cicerone Nicole ErnyThe location is the Lafayette Hotel in Lafayette, CA. Please call the hotel for reservations.
The menu is first class and I believe is five courses total. The beers are all Belgian, culminating with St. Bernardus 12 being served with the main course. I know Nicole worked hard on the menu and if you have ever been to one of her beer schools, you know the depth of her knowledge. It kills me that I won’t be able to make the event but I wish her well and to a very successful event. Mark my words, Nicole is a name to watch in the industry.

SF Beer Week is Feb. 5 – 14
Reminder that SF Beer Week is coming. There are two many events to list. Please go their website: to see the list. I will be at the Opening event on Friday at the Yerba Buena Gardens plus I will also be checking out sour monday at Triple Rock. Hoping to meet folks at both events. I may be at others but have no strong commitments yet.