Friday, December 10, 2010

Revitalization my ass!

Congratulations, Downtown Revitalization Committee, you've done it again. What have you done? Well, you've given a fairly sure impression that you are actually working to revitalize downtown Fresno (my current residence, in California). However, the case is not so. Prohibitive rents and lack of usable space will leave downtown wanting and barren. Why? Because every space is an office! How many independent consulting services can we really need? Every space that is not an office is a retail outlet! People only have so much money to spend. How about: 1)Subsidizing rent for businesses, especially emerging ones, 2)Encouraging development of spaces that could be used for purposes other than offices, like, maybe a brewery! Seriously, how am I supposed to bring my business downtown if I can't even afford the rent to live near a workplace. Forget the fact that I would have to make initial and ongoing investments to keep up a business; I need a place to sleep, first. I have no problem fitting a very small capacity brewery into a small space, I'm only 5'7" and lean, after all. But getting a permit to brew, not to mention proper sewage and disposal facilities, in the midst of a bunch of suits and cellphones, will not just be next to impossible, it'll be almost overlapping impossible.

I'm glad that developers are putting some effort into making downtown nice again, but their heads aren't in the right places. They still need grocers, restaurants, and better breweries. There is only one brewery that actually is downtown, the other is slightly north, and the former has very mixed reviews, mostly of the bad kind. How about a theater, too? I mean, like a regular movie theater, not a performing arts theater.

In case you couldn't guess from the previous two paragraphs of rant, I'm looking into starting a brewery. Most likely, it would be of "nano" capacity, but I don't mind starting small. However, it's extremely disappointing to find that the downtown revitalization effort has little to no bite. It's all bark. My dad told me they've been trying to revitalize that place for the past 30 some-odd years.

On another note, tasted the brew club's coffee porter just before bottling. Once it conditions, it's gonna be real nice.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Newscastle Summer Ale, and a bombardment of Torpedoes

Tried Newcastle Summer Ale last night. Not bad, and I'm glad Newcastle finally put something in a brown bottle, not one of those light-inflicted clear ones. Honestly, can't really say I'd buy it again, except that it was 4.99 for the six pack. Refreshing, light bodied, almost a citrus zest quality to it. Basically, everything you'd expect from a summer ale, but still with a weird hint of their standard brown in there. Maybe it has something to do with the malt, or the yeast strain.

After the Newcastle, moved on to a few Sierra Nevada Torpedoes. For a long time I've been saying they are my go-to IPA, and they still are, but you gotta be real careful with them. Dangerously delicious, at 7% abv they can sneak up on you. Oh well, I think without a few of these the new Clash of the Titans may not have been as bearable.

Next on the table, brewing club-brewed coffee porter (my recipe), and maybe I'll finally get off my ass and brew something for myself!

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Citra hops are my new favorite. What flavors and aromas did I get from the IPA I just tapped? Well, the list goes something like: Pineapple, mango, lychee, citrus (lemon and orange). Yep. It's very nice, honestly. Not quite what I was going for, but I learned some things along the way.

The good: Great aroma, very fresh/wet hoppy in flavor. Light-med body, very drinkable.

The bad: Not as dry as I was going for. Not as bitter as I was going for. A lot of perceived hoppiness due to generous dry hopping, but bitterness in the taste is not as high as I would like. I think I need a different calculation for estimating IBUs.

It's all about learning, anyway. Now I know. If I could only change one thing I would add another hal ounce of bittering hops. Next one I brew is gonna kill.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

America is the Berst

Yep, berst. I meant best, but decided I liked how it sounded. Why is America the Berst? Because we know how to use, and sometimes lovingly and tastily abuse, hops. Some might say my palate has been indoctrinated. To them I say, at least they did it deliciously.

So what's the occasion? Well, glad you asked. My IPA is cold crashing right now, soon to be kegged and carbed, then tapped. Calculations say it should be in the vicinity of 90 IBU, and with plenty of Citra hops and generous dry hopping it should be a hop bomb of delicious proportions. Excited, I sure am.

Cheers, beery siblings, and good luck finding the Great Pumpkin.

P.S. If you want to read some interesting stuff, check out a separate, and unrelated, post I've started. Just a warning: most people probably won't understand. If you do, then subscribe, comment, or just enjoy.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Boring, boring, boring

Everything is boring. I'm a hop-head, and almost every "IPA" I try is boring. Not hoppy. Maybe a hint of bitterness, maybe even 70-80 something IBU's, but way too much malt to balance it. Come on! This isn't England brewing for Imperial India, this is the West Coast brewing for...their own taste buds. And I am disappointed. What happened to aggressively hopped beers? Did you all get too old to recognize that you still love those things that push the boundaries? I haven't. That's why my new IPA recipe, if it doesn't change, is as follows:

10 lbs 2 row pale
1.0 lb Munich
0.5 lb Crystal 20

1.10 oz Columbus @60
0.5 oz Centennial @45
1.5 oz Centennial @15
1.0 or 1.5 oz Citra @5
0.5 oz Centennial dry-hopped
0.5 oz Citra dry-hopped

Beer Alchemy predicts a OG of 1.060 and FG 1.014 with ABV 6.2%, and 107 IBU.

I think that's hoppy enough. Screw balance.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The World is MY apple

Ok, so maybe not. But it almost feels like it. I was called by a classmate of mine last night. His name is Chris. He heads up the Enology Society at California State University, Fresno. According to Chris, there is sufficient interest to start a Brewing Club. Guess who he called first to head the brewing club? Damn Straight! Me! To be honest, I was caught off guard. Up until now there has only been a muddled, beaten down, inexplicably hopeful interest in a brewing club. And thanks to Chris, it may happen. I am now in the process of brainstorming with a personally nominated co-head as to what exactly we will do. And, to top things off, Tioga-Sequioa Brewing Company, formerly just Sequioa, is willing to work with us and potentially let us USE THEIR EQUIPMENT! Seriously. Professional brewery. That thing I want to own/run some day. Me. Pressing buttons, boiling stuff. Making stuff. With super awesome equipment. If I weren't so skeptical of everything, I'd probably crap my pants. Just got to work out the details. It's a good thing I didn't quit school just yet.

Other than that, some other friends from school liked my Maibock (take that, Germany!) and I like Port Brewing's Wipeout IPA.

Cheers, and don't give up, friends.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Money grubbing bastards!

Seriously, what kind of ass puts on a beer event with unlimited pours? They must just be trying to steal my money, because, wait...unlimited pours? Oh. Well...

Let's just say I'm glad I went to Sudz in the City, Fresno's only beer event (at least that I know of). As with limited pour events, I suspected it of being all about making money and very little to do with beer. I was very, very skeptical. As my sister told me, last year the entrance fee garnered eight tickets, and that's all. None available for purchase after that. Eight pours. At least twenty brewers. Eight pours. Are you kidding? I was so reluctant I almost didn't go. But this year they changed to unlimited pours, and had at least thirty brewers signed up. I'd say twenty showed up, but hey, thirty confirmed isn't half bad. And the music was worth is. Motel Drive, a favorite of ours, kicked off the event, and we celebrated with some OK beers after that.

Highlights of Sudz were...well...Orcutt Brewing Co Pale Ale. Just kinda nice, in a well balanced, unoffensively hoppy sort of way(for a normal pale, that is). Mostly 2 row pale with a little C40 for slight color and body. I'd actually like to see more pale-colored pales out there. It leaves room for the hops to shine without outshining the malt, if you do it right. The guy currently brews with a homebrew system on steroids. I can definately appreciate that. And, he uses White Labs yeast, so I actually know what the heck he's talking about when he says WLP-001.

Other highlight includes discovering a great eats place downtown. Austins. Phenomenal food. Slow service, but worth every penny. Burger cooked medium-rare, as ordered, and smothered with a house-made bleu cheese dressing almost worth dying for. And sweet potato fries, shoestring cut, crispy and sweet to boot. No dressing or sauce necessary.

All in all, a great night. Had some decent beers, heard some good music, ate some good food, and made some new friends.

Friday, April 16, 2010

In all its glory

Here's the maibock, in all its tasty goodness, becoming...tastier. Honestly, I was pleasantly surprised wen I racked it into the keg. Not saying it could win awards. Doubt it really qualifies as a maibock, either, but I don't give a damn. It's gonna provide a few great hours of refreshment when the time comes. That time being the 14th AVBC beer festival. Gonna be epic. Always is. In case you're wondering: Secondary conditioning in the keg, gonna re-keg into the 3 gallon and take that to the fest, bottling the remainder.

Also, just in case you're especially curious, that's a bottle of Sierra Nevada's 30th Anniversary Stout. Waiting for a decently special occasion to open that one. And a glass of Nikansi Total Domination IPA. Very nice, with a bit of the citrusy aromas that I love so dearly, and just enough caramel malts.

P.S. I love my fridge...when it's not icing up on the ceiling, that is. Next step is to tap the door and put a pretty faucet on it.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


I'm a bit bored. And a bit needy. Also a bit full of myself when it comes to beer knowledge. So I pose this Q&A session.

Q1: Is IPA, in it's current incarnations (American West Coast, American East Coast, English, etc) better than the "original"? Or has it's multifaceted glory become an abomination to the style, and should subsequently be renamed?

Homework: Ask me a question. Anything semi beer related. I have the ability to talk for hours about this stuff, if I have an interested party, which has led myself to believe I am very knowledgeable. So test me. Anything piquing you're curiosity right now? I will help you solve it.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Maibock here I come!

Finally, I've gotten a fridge so I can do cold fermentation and extended cold conditioning. Just bought it, and it will hold two of my 5 gallon cornies. That means up to two beers on tap. Or three, if I utilize the 3 gallon cornie. Stoked? You bet.

Also, just opened a Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout. Had to stop pouring it to check the label. The stuff looked like syrup, and with good reason. You gotta have a REAL strong malt profile to back up a 10%abv beer. Smell: Roasted barley, all the way. Taste: Chocolate, and a little figgy, plummy, deep dark fruit. Pure deliciousness. It's amazing how drinking nothing but IPA's for the past couple weeks can make you appreciate something like a stout so much more.

Now all that's left to do is get off my ass and brew. Got AVBC's festival coming up, and I need that Maibock ready to rock. No time, no time. Maybe I'll just skip class. It would be for "research" purposes anyway, right? Right?

Cheers, brothers and sisters, and happy beering!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A New Adventure!

As of Feb. 18th, I will officially live in a new location. A location that does not allow barbeques, except in designated areas, which suck. Add to this the fact that my brewing system has a way higher output than a normal bbq, and also a small leakage/backdraft/blowup problem, and you have eviction. So, what's the solution? Brew at mom and dad's house, of course! But that's 20 minutes away...well, I'll do one batch over there. An American take on Maibock. It's for AVBC's festival. Then, if that turns out to be too much of a pain in my ass, I'll just hold off for the term of the six month lease. And in the meantime...Sake!!! That's right, sake. Rice "wine". Delicious stuff. And surprisingly easy to make, in theory. I'll give it a go, because I love sake, and it requires no distillation, which scares me to the point of interest.

Cheers, and say hello to your mothers for me.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

What Happened to Hip-Hops?

Seriously, I liked what they wrote, and the places/beers they wrote about. They haven't written since August 13th. Anyone know what's going on? Did they switch to a new site, or just quit?

Oh, and on a disappointing side note, I bottled my Winter Warmer. Didn't turn out as I had hoped. A little too sweet, not spicy enough. Next time maybe no cinnamon. And no chocolate malt; that stuff is powerful in the color department. Went from an amber in my mind to a brown in reality. Alright to drink, but nothing special. Bottled about 18 twelve ouncers, dumped the rest. Gonna see how it does with some age, but not expecting much.

On a much happier side note, I got a 3 gallon keg! I'm super stoked, cause now I can keg most of a batch, and bottle the rest to see how it ages. Man, I love aging! Of beers, that is. Aging of myself just sucks. I'm already sure I won't be able to move my knee within the next year. I need a robot joint.

Next up: An American Maibock In...America!

Cheers, everyone, and hoppy brewing(I made a pun!)

P.S. If you know what happened to Hip-Hops, or just want to share another worthy blog, leave a comment. I like comments, they make me feel good.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Of new years, great beer, and the "R" word.

First beers of 2010: Sierra Nevada Torpedo (last night), and Green Flash West Coast IPA (today). A good start, I'd say. The GFWCIPA (nice initials, huh?) is very nice; substantial bitterness, with a nice pungency to it, and a great floral nose.

I'd like to say I have some major resoultions. In fact, I do. Are they appropriate for this atmoshpere? The only one I can think of is to brew more often. But that started last year, really. So, I'm already on track, right? Time to celebrate.

Maibock scheduled to start as soon as I finish the Winter Ale and get the Porter moved through. Couple months of conditioning, with a nice little yeast strain called WLP-810, San Francisco Lager yeast. I'm pretty sure it's gonna be delicious. A bit of an American take on Maibock, with less Munich malt and more hops than normal.

One last thing: Winemaking sucks. Boring, uninteresting, and the industry is just barely starting to get rid of its snobbery. Do you know how much it sucks to go to school for something you never plan on doing? It blows. Jesus, it blows so much...well, you know.

Cheers, brothers, and maybe sisters, say hi to your mother for me, and happy beering!