Showing posts from June, 2017

Love Beer? Volunteer!

Last weekend was the most fun I've ever had at a beer festival. I drank only water.

Am I mad? No, I'm a volunteer. This was the first time I'd been on the other side of the serving table, but it won't be the last.

The Pink Boots Society's 10th Anniversary Festival celebrated women in the beer industry, with event proceeds benefiting a scholarship program to help more women advance their careers. With nearly 40 vendors serving quality brews, there was something for everyone.

But who pours the beer? Well, it's a combination of pros and volunteers. In my case I was paired up with Cat Wiest, brewmaster at Seabright Brewery in Santa Cruz (she's the one talking about her jasmine pale ale in this news clip) and all-around cool person.

We poured for 3 1/2 hours, as appreciative guests stopped by the booth to enjoy Cat's excellent beer and chat with her. I got to learn a little about how festivals work and pick the brain of a professional brewer as time permit…

Homebrew Batch 8: Roll the Bones 1.0

After cutting our teeth on established recipes of several favorite styles (porter, amber, English mild, American brown, Kölsch, and altbier) my wife and I decided to try something different. Inspired by Randy Mosher's excellent Radical Brewing I designed a recipe that nearly defies categorization and which I therefore refer to as American Strong Ale, a delightful catch-all for such awkward situations.

We brew with extract and steeping grains (no all-grain yet, but we'll get there one day), so the concept was to work within Mosher's parameters to create a beer that is easy to design, brew, and drink. The parameters for a 5-gallon batch are 5 lbs pale dry malt extract (DME), 1/2 to 1 1/2 lbs crystal malt (any color), and 4-8 oz high-quality aroma hops (Kent Goldings, Saaz, Hallertauer, Cascade).

Much later in the book there's a cool table of herbs and spices that can be used in brewing. In keeping with the spirit of adventure I perused said table and found something tha…

Great Beer in Hawai'i

The craft beer scene has been slower to pick up in Hawai'i than elsewhere, which makes sense if you think about it. The islands are in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, more than 2,000 miles from the nearest continental land mass. Hops can't be grown there, and shipping ain't cheap. Tourists want fruity cocktails, while locals go for macrobrews.

That being said, in recent years great beers from California and Oregon have surfaced (Breakside and Pelican are two of my favorites that are available in Honolulu but not San Diego). Even better, local breweries are now popping up and embedding themselves in the community.

My wife is from Hawai'i and we still have lots of family over there, so we make one or two trips a year. People always ask what we do there, probably hoping for tales of snorkeling, zip-lining, or whatever it is we're expected to do. But usually we just visit folks, eat tasty local food, and hang out at breweries.

We stay at my brother-in-law's place…