Long Beach – Beers with the Queen Mary

I forgot to bring the battery charger for my newly repaired Nikon J1 so the photos are 3g iPhone quality. My work travels this week took me to Long Beach, California. I decided to suffer a little, leave the Houston heat and humidity behind and struggle with cool ocean breezes, nice scenery (!!!!!!) and some good beers.

At Parkers’ Lighthouse in Long Beach I had a Green Flash IPA – ALC. BY VOL. 7.3% | IBUS: 95 – Brewed in San Diego California….I really liked it and did not find it overly hoppy. The brewer says, “A menagerie of hops is layered throughout the brewing process: Simcoe for unique fruitiness and grapefruit zest, Columbus for strong hop pungency, Centennial for pine and citrus notes and Cascade for floral aroma. A multi-dimensional hop experience.” I do indeed like Cascade and Simcoe hops!!! They blended well with the rest of the hop schedule

The patio offered up a really nice view the evening my work buddy and I visited the Parkers’ Lighthouse restaurant. They have a good solid seafood menu and they also house a steak house on the top floor. Below is the view from the patio sitting under the overhead heater….just enough to take the chill off. Gosh I wish I could be on my patio in Houston …. swatting mosquitoes, wiping sweat off my brow and listening to the sound of the AC units kicking on and off, off and on, on and off………….

Queen Mary from across the water on the patio at the Parkers’ Lighthouse Restaurant.

Another view from the patio at the Parkers’ Lighthouse restaurant – beautiful sunset.

On another evening we dined at the Yard House in Long Beach – they have an overwhelming variety of beers on tap. We found a seat where we could catch a bit of the first game of the World Series – so while in Rome do what the Romans do….we cheered for the Giants. I sampled a couple of California IPA’s, the Speak Easy Double Daddy IPA from San Francisco was first down the hatch and it was – in my opinion – awesome! For my second beer I went south and tried a San Diego offering from Mission Brewery – the Shipwrecked Double IPA. Good beer but my choice between the two would the Double Daddy IPA…The food at the Yard House – typical pub grub.. I had a tasty Halibut but it was a little dry, the beer helped.

I have been good all week, three nights of fish, one night a flank steak salad –  so tonight will be a steak, a real steak….and probably a good beer. I catch the early flight out in the morning from LAX and back to the warm and humid embrace of the lovely  Houston weather.

Drink Local and …

TTFN

Bishop

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Beer Drought in Midland is Nearly Over

Why do I claim that the beer drought in Midland is nearly over? The local HEB supermarket on Wadley has just overwhelmed me with their stock of craft beers. I have visited a couple of the package beverage stores in town and the pickin’s were slim! HEB not only offers variety but they also offer the ability to pick and chose single bottles!!!! They even supply the wine carriers – six-pack style to haul your treasures home. I ran across this mix and match concept this summer in of all places – Biloxi Mississippi! Shown below is a rack, four shelves of very nice choices.

So many choices!!!!

I was in Midland for three nights staying at a Residence Inn with my own little kitchen and refrigerator in the room. I picked up a small selection as shown in the photo below. Two out of three will stay on my play list…. the Alaskan White would be of interest to my wife…it is Blue Moonish/Shock Toppish in flavor.

My selection for the three nights in Midland. The glass held the Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA.

I also found an establishment that is also putting a dent into the Midland beer drought. Double Dave’s Pizza has a cooler full of a nice variety of craft beers….Two thumbs up to the guys at Double Dave’s…. I had a Deschutes Porter – the Black Butte Porter to be precise. It has a nice velvety feel in the mouth with a nice roastiness and with a hint of chocolate. I my brain this phrase resonates –  “I’ll be back” – with an Austrian accent.

Back to HEB – a good selection of the 22 ounce bottles and a selection of Belgium offerings.

Belgian style too boot!

Now, if only they can get some consistent rain the area will be well on its way to recovery!

TTFN

Oh, and Drink Local!

Bishop

 

Oh My – The Choices are Overwhelming!

I was needing a new blog that I just started following and I pulled some category winners from his posting…

84 categories of beer styles, 85 if you count the ProAm category, at this year’s Great American Beer Festival. I need to block some time in my schedule next year to fit this festival in in. What would it cost to sample all of the gold through bronze winners in each category???? That is 255 beers…a little more than enough to get my platter hung on the wall at the Flying Saucer. At say $ 4.00 per beer, that may be a little high, that works out to about $ 1,020 not counting shipping, travel hotels, meals and aspirin! I wonder if I can contact “beerjobber.com” ( http://www.beerjobber.com/ )and set up a weekly delivery to work my way through the 85 categories…that would save on the travel costs…. Hey Hun – what do you think? http://www.greatamericanbeerfestival.com/

I have highlighted a few categories that caught my eye. I am in the research phase of some new homebrew attempts. The “Session Beer” category has caught my eye for my next homebrew. A little lighter and around 4% ABV vs a lot of my brews that are 5+% to nearly 10% for my Imperial Stout. One of my favorite California breweries seems to have done well – Firestone Walker in Paso Robles…Next visit home I may need to get a room at the Courtyard Marriott there and sample, sample, sample!

Category 1: American-Style Wheat Beer, 29 Entries
Gold: Wagon Box Wheat, Black Tooth Brewing Co., Sheridan, WY
Silver: Shredders Wheat, Barley Brown’s Brew Pub, Baker City, OR
Bronze: American Wheat, Gella’s Diner and Lb. Brewing Co., Hays, KS

Category 12: Session Beer, 67 Entries
Gold: Twerp, Pizza Port Carlsbad, Carlsbad, CA
Silver: Dock Street/Thiriez Table Saison, Dock Street Brewery, Philadelphia, PA
Bronze: Bitter American, 21st Amendment Brewery, San Francisco, CA

Category 15: Fresh Hop Ale, 34 Entries
Gold: Estate Homegrown Ale, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Chico, CA
Silver: HopTime Harvest Ale, Russian River Brewing Co., Santa Rosa, CA
Bronze: Colorado IPA Nouveau, Tommyknocker Brewery, Idaho Springs, CO

Category 21: Wood- and Barrel-Aged Beer, , 51 Entries
Gold: Jerry Maker, BJ’s Restaurant & Brewery – Chandler, Chandler, AZ
Silver: Bourbon Barrel Aged Night Sail, Island Brewing Co., Carpinteria, CA
Bronze: Local Species, Blue Mountain Barrel House, Arrington, VA

Category 25: Aged Beer, 24 Entries
Gold: 2010 Old Trainwreck Barleywine, Silver Moon Brewing, Bend, OR
Silver: 2004 Triple Exultation, Eel River Brewing Co., Fortuna, CA
Bronze: Lovely Cherry Baltic Porter, Bend Brewing Co., Bend, OR

Category 44: Golden or Blonde Ale, 67 Entries
Gold: Steelhead Extra Pale Ale, Mad River Brewing Co., Blue Lake, CA
Silver: Firemans #4, Real Ale Brewing Co., Blanco, TX -one of my wife’s favorites
Bronze: TAPS Cream Ale, TAPS Fish House & Brewery, Brea, CA

Category 52: American-Style India Pale Ale, 203 Entries
Gold: IPA, Tap It Brewing Co., San Luis Obispo, CA
Silver: Pallet Jack IPA, Barley Brown’s Brew Pub, Baker City, OR
Bronze: Duet, Alpine Beer Co., Alpine, CA

Category 53: Imperial India Pale Ale, 128 Entries
Gold: 2 X 4, Thai Me Up Brewery, Jackson, WY
Silver: Café Racer 15, Bear Republic Brewing Co. – Healdsburg, Healdsburg, CA
Bronze: Double Jack, Firestone Walker Brewing Co., Paso Robles, CA – one of my favorites!

Category 81: Imperial Stout, 58 Entries
Gold: Anastasia Russian Imperial Stout, Weasel Boy Brewing Co., Zanesville, OH
Silver: Imperial Stout, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Chico, CA
Bronze: Russian Imperial Stout, Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant – Media, Media, PA

2012 Great American Beer Festival Pro-Am Competition
Gold: More Fun Blonde, New Belgium Brewing Co., Fort Collins, CO
Brewmaster: New Belgium Brewing Company, AHA Member: Jay Shambo
Silver: Pointon’s Proper – An English Mild RAM Restaurant and Brewery – Wheeling, Wheeling, IL
Brewmaster: Lanny Fetzer, AHA Member: Scott Pointon
Bronze: Classic American Pilsner, Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery, Minneapolis, MN
Brewmaster: Mike Hoops, AHA Member: Kyle Sisco

The new blog that I am following, check it out at……..

http://bavarianairforce.wordpress.com/2012/10/18/gabf-bling/

TTFN

Drink local and if unavailable drink craft beers!

Bishop

A Bit of Drought Relief

While in Midland this past week I passed on beer drinking pretty much all week. I was being stubborn, a trait rarely seen by those that know me. Thursday night my work partner and I decided to dine at KD’s BBQ in Midland out on the Garden City Highway near I-20. It was one of my favorite lunch spots when I lived in Midland for several reasons – I liked the meat, the building and decorations are a hoot, but most of all, the serving line.

You enter through what feels like the back door to your grandmother’s kitchen. You go up the steps,  open the old wooden screen door and walk up to the row of stove tops. You grab a serving tray, add a sheet of paper and start pointing. I was a bit restrained in my selections. I went for the ribs and brisket. Other offerings include smoked turkey, hot links, regular sausage, jalepeno sausage and pulled pork….see what I mean by restraint. I did add a couple of grilled jalepeno peppers ( in West Texas I think they are called hallapenyas) either way they are tasty and pack a little bite.

I added some coleslaw, sauce and pickles to my tray. All the usual BBQ fixins are available. See my tray and yes it says $21.17…..you pay by the pound! iPhone photo.

Ribs, Brisket, coleslaw, sauce, hot peppers and no it wasn’t sweet tea.

Beer selection was a bit week, I had been craving a good local ale and kept striking out all over town so I just had to settle for unsweetened tea. Then I had a brain…………a brain flash! We took a different route home and tried the Western Beverage package store on Loop 250 and Midkiff. I went in looking for a local beer or at least something brewed in a craft brewery in Texas. I spotted Alamo Golden Ale – the deal was done. I was able to satisfy my need for a good ale to follow up the BBQ.

I dug a little deeper – I also try to find a bit more about the beer, how it  is brewed and any details that the brewer would offer up.  What did I learn? The beer is very nice, great flavor and yes a beautiful golden color. The beer is brewed under contract with Real Brewing Company in Blanco, Texas……it still fits the drink local mantra I try to follow when traveling.  The founder and president for the great beer is pursuing the establishment of a new brewery in San Antonio to expand his offerings.

It seems that a great many hurdles,  not insurmountable but hurdles nonetheless need to be resolved befor the brewery is built in San Antonio…..I just hope that the Golden Ale stays in production and on the shelves.

Alamo Beer Company

Drink Local

TTFN

Bishop

Beer Drought and Other Thoughts

I am up in drought stricken Midland, Texas….and that includes craft beers that are pretty much absent from the landscape!  I have elected to swear off drinking any mass-produced beers this week…..that means pretty much no beer at all this week in Midland. Two hours north in Lubbock Texas there are craft brewers…at least one brewery and a brew pub. Midland needs a pipeline….

I am not ignoring good beer this week! I am reading and learning so I can try something new when brewing my next batch of homebrew. I have been reading a little about hop-bursting techniques. This technique really intrigues me as a way to really showcase your hop choices. I like the scent of the aromatic floral varieties of hops like; Williamette, Kent Golding, Cascade, Fuggle,  Mt. Hood and other low acid hops. These are used toward the end of the boil for aroma purposes as well as a little bittering. The high alpha acid hops usually go in at the front end of the boil and at the end of the boil what’s left behind are the bittering qualities of the hops and a bit of the original aromas. The higher alpha acid hops that have been added early in the boil for bitterness have wonderful aromas….why not keep more of the scent/aroma in the beer…this is where the hop bursting technique comes to bear.  (the list of hops varieties is huge…everyone has their own favorites)

With “hop bursting”, the bittering hops are added with 20 minutes left in the boil rather than at the 60 minute or 90 minute mark, adding some bitterness while retaining more of their aromas – then  the hopping schedule is built from there – the low acid aromatic hops are added at the 10 or 5 minute remaining mark and/or at flame out. Now, I want to be honest I haven’t tried it yet but Saturday the 13th of October I will adjust my recipe for a Honey Blonde and try this technique… I will update all y’all in about 5 weeks or so and let you know how it turns out!

For further reading follow the link.

http://barleypopmaker.info/2010/01/01/hopbursting-3-homebrew-recipes-using-this-method/

The other technique that has entered brewing portion of my pea brain is the Australian No Chill method. It is the result of not wanting to waste all that water used in cooling the beer quickly, as most gurus suggest, and it also make less of a mess – depending on your brewing location. Being in dry West Texas this week I see how this technique makes sense….they are 180 days or less from running out of municipal water supply. Another benefit….the hot wort can add another layer of sanitation protection for the home brewer. Make sure your fermenter can handle the temperature.  My food grade 6 gallon bucket style fermenter can be hot filled up to 180 degrees F. If you have stainless steel fermenters you are not limited to the 180 degree figure. Hun, I need to make another investment!!!!

What else can I learn in my spare time this week? I will share anything that I add to my hard drive!

Hop Flowers and Some Grain

Drink Local

TTFN

Bishop

Beer and Domestic Harmony

I bottled my Imperial Stout yesterday. The sample I took for the gravity reading was very nice. Just a hint of bourbon from the oak and a taste of both coffee and dark chocolate. Can’t wait to see how it matures. While prepping for the bottling exercise I cleaned up the counters and floors to eliminate potential cat hairs from invading the beer and infecting it. I had all of the chairs moved out and mopping when my wife showed up. She was so pleased that I was mopping the floors for her! Her admiration for my efforts was not long-lasting. She quickly spotted the bottle tree, the priming bucket and other paraphernalia. Then she let know exactly what she thought….

“You’re not mopping the floors for me! You are doing it for your beer!” she said and then walked away.

My beer bottle tree = clean and sanitized bottles!

Guys, can we ever win? On Tuesday of this week we were down at the St Arnold’s Brewery and she put me in a tough stop then. We were sitting at a table near the bar. There was a woman near the same age as my wife standing with her back to us. She was wearing fairly snug jeans. Kathy asked me the no win question.

“Hun, does my butt look as big as hers?” – I looked and honestly didn’t think the woman’s butt looked that big and Kathy’s not as wide as the woman’s butt. I replied, “Hun, your butt is shaped much nicer than hers!” Not quite the answer she wanted to hear.

Then she said, “let me go up and stand next her. You use your phone and take a picture for me.” Oh boy, I really can’t win this one…..fortunately she decided against having me take the picture.

I did remop the floor because I did make a bit of a mess……still did not make too many points because as she points out….I will probably just track in more muck. She normally waits for me to go out of town when she mops so the floors stay nicer – longer!

Had a nice lesson in brewing today down at the Backyard Homebrewers Education center in Humble TX – the H is silent!. I learned a few more tips and techniques to improve the brewing of my next batch!

My homemade toasted oak dowels – hand turned in my shop. They were soaked in bourbon for two weeks before being added to the secondary fermenter.

TTFN

Drink Local

Bishop

Imperial Stout- bottling day

Prepared on on iPhone so it is a bit of a challenge. I spent some time yesterday cleaning bottles in order to bottle my stout today. I have a bone to pick with some of the craft brewers out there. Labels and the glue used are the issues.

I give very high marks to two brewers, Back Forty Brewing – Naked Pig, good beer and the label slips off with minimal effort. Pappadecker Brewing, that’s me. My labels purchased from the Defalco supply store in Houston are close to perfect.

Sam Adams – you are a close second. Thank you! You are also a home brewers friend. Abita, y’all are close behind. Keep up the great work crafting gear beers and never, never go to twist off caps!

Now I have a problem with Real Ale bottles. Your labels are a real bitch to remove. Your beers are good and made in Texas but help us cheap guys out. I am trying to save money and recycle your bottles but your glue makes it a challenge!

Craft brewers, please help out your homebrewers as we tend to purchase your products over the mass produced yellow fizzy waters in the stores. We compliment you as well, as we try to emulate your styles so – help us out! Use glue and labels that will release in 20 minutes immersed in water! PS – I hope your ink is nontoxic – the labels go into my compost pile!!!!

One of my labels just sliding cleanly off the bottle! Enjoy and drink local! TTFN – Bishop

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