Denver- The New Belgium Hub

It seems that I fly through Denver most often to get anywhere I need to go. Once in a great while it is Houston direct to some big city , but more often than not it is Williston, ND, Midland, TX, Bakersfield CA or other locations best served by regional jets. Thank goodness it is rarely on an old turbo prop that makes the ears protest madly. My buddy Gary Carnduff an$ I flew the Toronto to Sarnia bone shaker turbo prop several times!

Today’s flight is Houston – Denver- Bakersfield. Once in Denver the regional jets fly out out the east end and damn……that is where the New Belgium Hub is located. It is Wednesday and apparently a quiet night so it was seat yourself. The bar seats were full but I did find a table for two. Me in one seat, my brief case and big camera bag in the other……I say big, but also heavy. Two Nikon cameras, a D600, a 35mm Nikon F5 with full battery pack and only bringing 4 lenses on the trip but two weigh a ton. The 80-200 f2.8, the 80-400 f4.5, a 50mm f1.4 prime and a wide angle zoom.

Now let’s talk beer…..yum. I started off with a New Belgium Citradelic Tangerine IPA – 6% ABV and a low 50 IBU’s in a bottle. Pleasant, crisp clean and easy to drink.

Then the Smoked Salmon Caesar Salad arrived an I need another beer. On drat was New Belgium’s Hop Avenger. Yum, great head, a bit hazy, great head and deliciously good. ABV comes in at 7.7% and a mild 45 IBU’s. Loaded with some of my favorite hops including; Mosaic, Chinook, Citra and a few more.

Time to kill before my next flight but am pretty well sated, for food and beverage……😜.

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop

Santa Barbara Discovery

I had intended to go to the Santa Barbara Brewing Company on State Street as my wife shopped, hopefully for something on sale! My destination no longer exists. So, plan B.

Gotta love it! Blue sky, trees in bloom and a horrible 66 degrees…..sans humidity. I was dealing with bees in Houston the past week @ 92 degrees and humidity that sucked big time!

Even better, the beers are very nice.

I went big on my first beer with the Vacancy IPA. Poured with a perfect head and the aroma was very pleasant. Kathy went with the Mango Day Dreamin and she enjoyed it.

Next up for me was the Mosaic – Pale Ale. I love Mosaic hops! Very nice….crisp and clean. As I ordered the young lady forced, twisted my arm and shamed me into sampling the 2019 Spring Seasonal-100% Mosaic hops. Wow!!!! I am sure glad I have no will power.

The beautiful clean Mosaic Pale Ale.

Institution Ale Company is based in Camarillo, I need to talk to my son-in-law about hiding this brewery from me for nearly 6 years!

Every beer poured was perfect! Why do I say that? They use a tall pint glass, clearly marking the pint line with very sufficient space for head on the beer. Much of the aroma of the beer is from the head. As those bubbles burst your senses are treated to Hop and malt aromas, my opinion!!!! It also looks great, the aesthetics of the presentation!

We didn’t try the food here but the items passing by our table heading to the lunch crowd visitors looked and smelled amazing. This place is high on my recommended breweries list!!!!

Just an FYI, our go to list in the area includes; Rincon, Island Brewing, and Brew Lab in Carpinteria. We have visited all 3 this week. Santa Barbara choices include Figueroa Mountain, the newly added Institution Ale Company and the Brewhouse.

More to come as we wander north on Highway 101 next week.

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop

Not Quiet Anymore

I have been quiet on this blog since May 29, 2018……I have pent up things to say about beer and more. I am in Kenedy Texas…..Yes, Kenedy with one “n”…..it is a Texas thing, don’t fight it.

Last night my workmate and I pulled into a little place in Kenedy, Texas called 5D Grill and Lounge. Simple but good food and a friendly wait staff. They are a small chain with locations in oilfield towns like Kenedy, Monahans, TX, Carrizo Springs, TX, Yorktown, TX, and soon in La Vernia, TX. I decided I needed a beer last night and was pleasantly surprised. They had Elysian Space Dust IPA in a bottle. I had to say wow! It was wonderful “…..so I had another for dessert”….Thanks Kris Kristofferson for the line and Johnny Cash and Ray Price for making it famous.

Elysian Space Dust – Wow. Chinook hops up front and later on for bitterness and dry hopped with Citra and Amarillo hops. Some of my favorite hops that I use at home. ABV was enough to cut it off after two bottles, 8.2% ABV. Not overly hoppy at 73 IBU’s but it was a great blend and my palate was happy! I am actually a bit surprised that a beer like this would wind up out in a “kinda” remote location and a town 3200 people. It just shows that the buyer must know good beer!

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Just Yummy…..

Link to locator…..yes they serve it all over Houston. Plug your zip code in to see if you get lucky!

In the near future I will post a wine making adventure. Wild Mustang grapes form the woods around Kingwood, TX

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly.

Bishop

The Bakken Makes More Than Oil!

Stonehome Brewing Company in Watford City is cranking out some very good beers. After a late morning, early afternoon photo safari in the northern end of the Teddy Roosevelt National Park, I pulled into the Stonehome for a sampling.

A few of my new friends in North Dakota. I worked up a thirst stalking them for their family portrait.

Heartless is an easy drinking pale ale that even this IPA craving fool can enjoy. Kathy, lovely and sweet wife would really like this one.

Central Perk, that’s right – Perk – Another pale ale, a little higher ABV with a touch of cold pressed coffee. Nicely hopped but not IPA strength. I really did enjoy this one!

Latifrons, Down By The Beach – is an excellent pale ale, nicely hopped, aromatic and comes in at 35 IBU. Latifrons – an extinct predecessor of the modern day Bison that now roam the Teddy Roosevelt National Park.

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Maah Daah Hey – Red Rye IPA – my favorite of the four I selected. IBU up in the 50 range and an ABV of 6.3%. Yum!

The Maah Daah Hey Trail is a 144-mile non-motorized single track trail that runs from USFS Burning Coal Vein Campground 30 miles south of Medora, to the USFS CCC campground 16 miles south of Watford City

Stonehome donates to the Maah Daah Hey trail group for every keg sold. I could definitely put away a keg of this…..not by myself, I would invite a few select friends!

Stonehome hasn’t been around long, established in 2016 by Watford City locals, they have an awesome brewery.

As Arnold said; I’ll be back!

http://www.stonehomebrewing.com

I gotta add something – I have a new favorite IPA! Made by Surly Brewing. Surly Wett, a wet hopped IPA using freshly harvested 2017 Mosaic hops. Absolutely stunning. It is a seasonal brew and once gone, it will only be a pleasant memory! I wonder what hop the Wett for 2018 will feature? I’m sure it will be good!

MALT

Malt: 2-Row, Acidulated, Carafoam

HOPS

Hops: Changes Annually (2017 – 100% Mosaic)

YEAST

Yeast: English Ale

OG

OG: 16.6º Plato

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop

Three in One Day

Gotta love California for a thing or two or three. Yesterday my bride and I drove from Bakersfield to Santa Barbara. It is my birthday weekend and she is intent on spoiling me…..I am always pretty spoiled by her, but this is extra special. 

I loaded up my camera bag and lenses and let her drive the windy route through Maricopa and over the mountains into Ojai. The sky was ugly and hazy and the wild flowers have not yet hit stride. Dang! I could rubber neck and not incurr her wrath!!!! She prefers to drive the windy roads – it solves her motion sickness issues. 

Ojai – Ojai Valley Brewery was first up. Nice selection of beers and we also found a great “small plate”, Buffalo Fried Cauliflower. It will be added to our recipe box. 


Kathy enjoyed the White Pixie and the Ephemera was my favorite of those I sampled. Very slow lazy service for a Friday afternoon but we were not in a hurry, “chill out dude” and enjoy the chauffeured drive. 

Carpentaria – Rincon Brewery, substantial food and good beer. We dropped our bags off at the condo and grabbed a seat outdoors on the street to watch life drift by. I went with a sampler and the Tri-tip sandwich. Kathy had her go to Blonde ale and the Cobb Salad. Fun place, good food(I love the lamb burger slider- next time!) and quality beers. 


We then wandered down the street to Brew lab….it is a small place, they brew in small batches and never repeat! I sent them some money last year for their crowd funded expansion. They fell short but I still got a shirt and a free beer. Last night a talented young musician entertained the crowd. Interesting art work on the walls and I nice crowd. 


I had the Yellow Belly Ale and Kathy was in the role of designated driver, thank you Hun! 

Where shall I drink beer today? Such hard choices and so many options…..gotta love being and old guy, semi-retired and my “Goo” friend John back home feeding my bees…..thank you John! 

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop

Beer, Bees and Bugs in Brenham

On hold and misplaced since mid April”

Actually the bees were the first part of the day.  I was enrolled in a daylong event for beekeepers, 550 of us.  Should have been one more but I somehow failed to get my bride enrolled. The late fee at the registration table was more than we wanted to spend….I actually did learn a lot of useful information and I am already looking forward to the 2017 event. I need some honey production to replace the Honey Blonde that my wife fell in love with and I was too generous handing it out to others!

The previous week we, Kathy and friends Bev and John, were in Brenham visiting the Brazos Valley Brewing Company. Besides enjoying the beers I was also a bit excited knowing that the crawfish boil at the brewery coincided with the Brenham bee school. YEE HAW! Even better the iPhone map indicated a 6 minute drive from the Washington County Fairgrounds would put me in the parking lot at the brewery. The spicy aroma of boiled crawfish was wafting across the parking lot as I arrived. Yum, and cold beer too!

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Bugs, taters, corn and a first for me, mushrooms.

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Another load dumped out onto the table ready for consumption.

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Just about enough for a meal. As they say in Louisiana, “Pinch dem tails and suck dem heads. FYI – there is a good bit of yellow fat in the head. Either suck it out or dig it out with a long finger nail….Don’t give that look…..!

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The day’s offerings. Pretty much love them all, my wife loves the Golden Ale. Say hi to Robert about to exit, stage right.

 

David, one of the brewers, was manning the boil pot and he was just amazing. He kept a steady flow of spicy, but not overly spicy crawfish (mudbugs), coming out of the pot along with corn, potatoes and a first for me, large mushrooms!  Loved the mushrooms!!!!! Robert behind the bar, the guy that does whatever needs to be done and doing  well poured, my flight of beers. I had both brown ales, the Golden and the IPA that was missing from last week’s visit. Can’t say enough about the quality of the beers.

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This is Dave. Say hi to Dave if you go visit.

For a drizzly and misty, rainy night there was a hardy crowd enjoying mud bugs, beer and friends. Sing by and visit. About 8 minutes east of Highway 290 you can discover the charm of the historic downtown Brenham area and indulge in some great beers. Slow down and smell the hops and maybe the malts!

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Not enough drizzle to upset the regulars!

 

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop