30 June 2009

Some thoughts

Recently, Congress proposed a tax increase on beer to pay for universal health care. No mention was made of an increase on wine taxes, and that's likely because of the perception that wine drinkers are more sophisticated and intelligent than beer drinkers. After all, we hear a lot about "Joe Sixpack" and how hard it is to inform him about anything. We never hear about "Joe MD20/20" who drinks a whole bottle of cheap, fortified wine at the end of the day.

I don't know why this perception has arisen. Anyone can make wine. The grape wants to ferment. That waxy coating on the grape on the vine has yeast in it. Just smash it and it will ferment.

But barley doesn't want to ferment. It wants to make more barley. Someone has to take the barley and malt it. Then someone has to soak the barley in hot water, drain it and boil it and then add yeast. And to do that, you need a people that isn't transient. The first cities grew up around the grain fields, not the vineyards.

I think it's time we ask the government to stop assuming that people who drink beer are stupid, uninformed rednecks who would rather drink and inbreed more than participate in government.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 06:59 0 comments links to this post

28 June 2009

Belgian Bombshell

Fired up after NHC, and itchy to brew for the first time in a month, I went to Austin Friday and bought ingredients for Belgian Bombshell. The recipe is in the May/June 1009 Zymurgy.

Belgian Bombshell
11# Belgian Pilsner
.5# CaraPils
.5# Munich Malt
.5# Flaked Wheat
1 oz Magnum 14.4%/60 min
.25 oz Saaz 5.8%/5 min
.5 oz coriander seed
1 cardemom pod, crushed
1/2 tsp Irish Moss
WLP 550 Belgian Ale
Mash at 152° F for 60 minutes. Sparge. Bring to a boil and add the Magnum hops. Boil 45 minutes and add the Irish moss. Boil ten minutes more and add the Saaz and the spices. Boil five minutes, then cool. Pitch yeast.

The heat here in Paradise has been a little on the brutal side, and I don't have a dedicated fermentation fridge. I will ferment this in the coolest room in the house at 75 F.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 06:43 3 comments links to this post

25 June 2009

I'm Back

The problem with NHC is that the days leading up to the event are filled with travelling, the days there are filled with sessions and beer tasting, and the days back are filled with travelling. So I pre-wrote all the entries from the 14th on. I edited where I had time.

I will say this: this year's conference was great. Particularly the social nights. They were held in a huge hall, so there was enough room for everyone to mill around without standing shoulder to shoulder the whole night.

Which brings up a gripe: next time you are at a festival, it is permissible to get your drink from the bar and step more than two steps away from the bar. That way other people will be able to get beer, too.

Things will be back to normal tomorrow, and follow the usual, every-other-day schedule until something comes up.


posted by Jeff Holt at 07:32 0 comments links to this post

21 June 2009

2009 Mission From God - Texas Bound and Flying

We left Oakland at 8 am on Sunday and drove to Sacramento to shop at a BevMo. We found some Alaskan smoked porter for one of our friends, but no Pliny the Elder. So we hopped in the car and headed for Reno and Silver Peak Brewery for lunch. After another stop at a liquor store, we hauled ass for Salt Lake City. Let me tell you something, if you have never driven into SLC from the west, you aren't missing anything. I wish we could have arrived early, to see the city against the mountains.

We checked into the Peery hotel, across the street from Squatter's Pub. The Peery was amazing! Squatters even more so. Despite the hours on the door saying they closed at 10:30 pm, they kept seating people until we left at 11:30 pm.

Next morning, off to Grand Junction and Kennah Creek Brewpub for a late lunch. On the way out of town towards Durango, we stopped at a large liquor store and picked up some Pliny the Elder and some Colorado beers. We drove through the mountains to Durango and had dinner at Steamworks Brewpub. Then we discovered there were no rooms in town. So we went to Farmington and snapped up the last room in that town. Good thing, too. Otherwise we would have had to go on to Albuquerque.

On Tuesday, we drove straight through to Midland, stopping for lunch in Roswell. I did see some aliens outside Roswell. The Border Patrol had pulled them out of the car and was searching the vehicle for drugs. We got into Midland about 7 pm, and each had a Pliny before collapsing into bed.

On Wednesday I drove home, and unloaded the car, wishing I was back in the Bay Area, because it is damned hot here.


posted by Jeff Holt at 08:14 0 comments links to this post

18 June 2009

2009 Mission From God-Day Five

My FLICKR Account.

We registered early, and hit the hospitality room as soon as it opened. Last year, we managed to spend the whole first day in the hospitality room, and didn't attend a single session. We wanted to correct that, and attend as many sessions as we could today, to free up time on Friday and Saturday. (The Thursday sessions are repeated on those days.)


posted by Jeff Holt at 16:14 0 comments links to this post

16 June 2009

2009 Mission From God - Day Three: BNA4

My FLICKR Account.

Satan and I were of two minds regarding Wednesday in Oakland. Option one was to play tourist across the Bay and visit Chinatown and Fisherman's Wharf. Then we heard the Brewing Network would have a brewery tour and Anniversary party, and so we decided to do that.

I am an avid fan of the BN (I go by the handle Dirk McLargeHuge there) and wouldn't have missed this for the world. In the weeks leading up to the event, BN Army members who live in the Bay Area would generously post horror stories about the crime in Oakland, making us fear for our lives. Fortunately, Satan is a trained killer, being retired Army. I just stood next to him all night.


posted by Jeff Holt at 11:05 0 comments links to this post

15 June 2009

2009 Mission From God - Day Two: West Bound and Down

My FLICKR Account.

Day two our goal is somewhere around Bakersfield, California. We planned a trip to Santa Rosa and Russian River Brewing Company before heading to Oakland to check-in. We want to park the car, and head for The Trappist, or The Twenty-First Amendment.

We wound up in Bakersfield a little ahead of schedule, so we went to Lengthwise Brewing. It's tucked in a little office park, and doesn't look much like a restaurant, but is an excellent place. After a couple of beers and some fish and chips, we decided not to push on a couple more hours, but to get some rest for the bit push tomorrow!


posted by Jeff Holt at 10:59 0 comments links to this post

14 June 2009

2009 Mission From God-Day One: West Bound and Down

My FLICKR Account.

DAY ONE - Albuquerque to Flagstaff

We decided to drive to Oakland. At the time it seemed like a good idea. So the plan was to leave Midland early on Sunday morning and haul ass to Flagstaff. The goal would be to have a meal in Albuquerque at Chama River Brewing Company, walk around a bit, and then get to Williams, Arizona by 10 pm, after a meal at Grand Canyon Brewery (WARNING: This site plays annoying music you can't turn off! Heathens!).

However, our plans changed when I was able to get away a day early son went to Albuquerque and had dinner at Chama River. Awesome food. Great beer. The Centennial Pale Ale was outstanding.

We are about to leave the hotel for breakfast at Cecilia's Café. Then we're off the the Grand Canyon before stopping for the night in Flagstaff.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 08:44 0 comments links to this post

13 June 2009

And So It Begins!

As you read this, Satan and I are off to the National Homebrewers Conference, where we will participate in BNA4, and meet up with our Aussie friend, Peter. We will meet all our other friends from previous years. Hopefully, we'll make some new friends as well. If you're at the conference, say hello!

We had originally planned to head out to Flagstaff tomorrow, but thanks to some schedule swapping with a co-worker, I was able to leave a day earlier. Satan and I decided to head out and get as far as we could. So I got up early this morning and headed to Midland. Our goal is Kelly's Brew Pub in Albuquerque, and breakfast at Cecilia's Café before we head out to Flagstaff tomorrow.

We picked Cecilia's Café thanks to Diners Drive-ins and Dives on the Food Network. A couple of years ago, we took Rachel Ray's advice in Santa Fe. Hopefully, this will be a bit cheaper!

Since this leg of the trip will knock seven hours off the next leg, we will visit the Grand Canyon tomorrow, knocking three to four hours off the third leg.

Follow me on Twitter (my user name is hiikeeba), or on Facebook, and on Flickr. And stay tuned here for regular updates (WiFi permitting)!

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posted by Jeff Holt at 12:35 0 comments links to this post

12 June 2009

2009 Mission From God

Our 2009 Mission from God T-shirts can be purchased here! Buy two!

Beginning tomorrow: The 2009 Mission from God!

See you in Oakland!

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posted by Jeff Holt at 06:22 0 comments links to this post

10 June 2009

Saison Ete Kegging Day

One last chore before NHC: Keg the Saison Eté Satan and I brewed on Memorial Day weekend. It was a pretty active fermentation, often popping the lid off the fermenter. The OG was 1.066, the FG was 1.010. The sample was dry, with strong orange flavor in the finish, with a hint of spice. This will be awesome when I get back from Oakland!

Gotta go pack!

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posted by Jeff Holt at 10:20 0 comments links to this post

08 June 2009

Bugeater's Rye Cream Ale Kegging Day

Well, just as a tip for the future, don't taste cream ale while drinking Longshot Double IPA. Hard to tell what the beer tastes like. It is a bit fruity, but maybe with some refrigeration and carbonation it might be okay. OG was 1048 and FG was 1008. At this point, it doesn't taste like the one that went through the unsanitized wort chiller. And by that, I mean worse.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 07:39 0 comments links to this post

06 June 2009

British Stinging Nettle Beer

Um. I don't think I would do it. You?


British - Stinging Nettle Beer - More DIY How To Projects

posted by Jeff Holt at 08:31 1 comments links to this post

04 June 2009

Aud's No Scufflin' Ale 2 kegging day

In order to get everything secured before leaving for nationals, I kegged the barley wine I brewed in March. The OG was 1.089 and the FG at kegging was 1.016. I think it's going to be a pretty good beer around Christmas-time!

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posted by Jeff Holt at 04:58 0 comments links to this post

02 June 2009

Buddy's Amber NHC Scores

I had high hopes for this one, which were shot down.

This beer scored a 39 in the first round of Bluebonnet, and a 24.5 in the second. At Nationals, it scored a 17. Both judges said it was acidic. One said it was too carbonated and that may be why it was acidic.

Well, Hell. Now I have no reason to go to the banquet on Saturday night at NHC. Anyone wanna hang out at the Trappist with me?

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posted by Jeff Holt at 04:55 0 comments links to this post