Island Brewing

Just a quickie!

Love this place right next to the tracks and a block and a half from the sandy beach in Carpinteria.

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop

Confirmation – Bees and Beer are Linked

So, how did I arrive at this epiphany? I am certainly one data point. I started brewing beer around 1991 and became a beekeeper 6 years ago. Ok, not a strong link, but I have more that I would like to offer up.

I have a prolific 8 frame hive, already has 3 supers, in the backyard of some friends, Mike an awesome beer brewer and his wife Annette loves his Chocolate Porter. Synergistic relationship I am certain. The beer fridge, with two beers always on tap, is less than 25 feet away from the hive. There has to to bee and beer intersection in the respective auras influencing honey production and quality beers brewed here! A stronger link don’t you agree?

Well, here is the confirmation! A few weeks ago I put out feelers for an apiary location closer to the house to host a few of my hives. Out of the blue came an offer…..just 2 miles outside my parameters but close enough. Several acres, with a nice tall berm that is above the flooding that plagues our area, a pond and…….next to 100 acres of Tallow Tree – the biggest nectar source for SE Texas beekeepers. First move was a swarm that had moved into a newly built top bar hive in my backyard.

The small top bar in place. Room left for two more hives. I have two Langstroth hives that we’re not doing as well as I wanted out at Berry farm just begging to be moved closer. Today I gathered them up and hauled them over to the new and closer location.

I  have a 10 frame and an 8 frames Lang that were picked up Ready to go. They are loaded on the rack and they were set, opened and bees flying by 8:30 AM. Confirmation of the indisputable link between bees and beer happened at approximately 8:45 AM CST. My Goo friend John and I were packing the truck up when Terry, the property owner, asked if we wanted some homemade wine. It was red and sweet so we declined but mentioned beer is preferable. Terry turned and indicated that we should follow him.

There was a nice “Speak Easy” style door off the garage leading the BREWERY. – Yes a brewery…. 5 gallon style brewery, all electric, set up for all grain brewing. Sweet set up…..over to the right was the bar and a double tap. A lager on one, yes he truly brews and lagers his beer, and a nice Bock. John and I behaved ourselves as we had duties but we did sample and agree the Bees and Beer are joined at the hip.

Do you need anymore proof?

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop

My All Grain – Amber Ale is Bottled

I decided to step out and brew something a little different than my usual’s, an American Amber Ale. So what is an American Amber Ale?………….. From Beer Advocate;

American Amber / Red Ale

Description:

Primarily a catch all for any beer less than a Dark Ale in color, ranging from amber (duh) to deep red hues. This style of beer tends to focus on the malts, but hop character can range from low to high. Expect a balanced beer, with toasted malt characters and a light fruitiness in most examples. The range can run from a basic ale, to American brewers who brew faux-Oktoberfest style beers that are actually ales instead of lagers.

Average alcohol by volume (abv) range: 4.0-7.0%  

I have a copy of “BeerSmith 2” loaded on my computer, FYI, I love the program!  I did a search of the recipes in the BeerSmith cloud and found an American Amber Ale that caught my eye…..probably for all the wrong reasons….Uncle Mickey is the brewer’s name. I do need to give him credit for the recipe because, I brewed it step by step, just as he submitted it. I chose to honor his “naming convention” for his beer but, in order to be a little less crass, I translated it into German – “Zucker Zitzen” – Therefore it will be labled “ZZ Amber Ale”.

The beer is in the bottle and now capped with a dark pinkish red cap. I use cap colors to differentiate my beers until they receive a label. The 6 gallon batch filled 54 standard size bottles…12 ounces. I was almost a week late getting it into the bottles but, the sample I pulled for the gravity check was nice, definitely malt forward and a hint of sweetness. I think it will be nice. It is not heavily hopped, 1 ounce of Summit at 60 minutes, 1 ounce of Amarillo Gold at 10 minutes and 1 ounce of Cascade at flame out and I let it sit for about 15 minutes before beginning to chill the wort.  I have 21 days to let it condition and age before the crawfish boil. With my lack of patience, I will most likely have sampled a couple just to be safe before the party. FYI – I worked up a sweat bottling so I enjoyed a bottle of my SMaSH IPA (American Flag cap), while resting before the cleanup began. I think I am down to about a dozen of that batch left……I better be a little stingy and hide a few!

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Five six packs of random shaped bottles, all 12 ounce bottles, but recycled from my broad and diverse drinking habits. ( a six-pack of stubby bottles are hiding below the Sierra Nevada six-pack)

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23 and 2/3 perfectly uniform bottles of “ZZ” American Amber Ale. Yes, 2/3 of a bottle….nothing goes to waste here! Yum……

Now……What is next on my brew list?

  • A clone of Alpha Hive Double IPA from COOP Ale Works in Oklahoma City? It is an amazing beer if you can find it. http://coopaleworks.com/beers/alpha-hive-double-ipa/
  • A session IPA is also something I have threatening to brew for quite some time now? A clone of founders All Day IPA is high on the list!!!!
  • I do have bee hives at a blueberry/blackberry farm so, a fruit wheat ale may taste pretty good?
  • Or another SMaSH IPA with either Simcoe, Citra or Amarillo hops…..????

So many choices and so little time!

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

Inspiration before Perspiration

Sitting on the patio enjoying an almost perfect Houston evening. It is about 74 degrees F or 23 degrees C for the rest of the world, a cold home brew in my hand and chicken on the grill.

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A small glass of my Honey Blonde Ale. My wife confronted me and asked if I was drinking “her beer”. I  had to admit, “Yes dear, I am”. Chill out Hun – it was only 8 ounces! Insert smiley happy face here! I was using a brewery sample glass from Real Ale Brewing Co., Blanco, Texas. Sure was good!

The chicken is smelling very good. @ $ 1.27 per pound!!!!   whole roasting chicken cut in half. Season with Lowry’s and garlic. Yum!

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That describes the inspiration for my next brew, a Session IPA! Target ABV will be 4.6% or so. Hops, this is where I will get my thrills, 7 ounces of Mosaic Hops. Three of the seven will be used to dry hop the beer as it sits in the secondary fermenter. Six and half pounds of domestic two row malt, one pound of Munich malt, one pound of domestic wheat malt and a half pound of 40L crystal malt.

Mashing and hopping schedule will be run through Beersmith and reported out on brew day, possibly tomorrow or the next day. (Wednesday doesn’t look good so it will be Thursday February 18th.)

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly
Bishop

Christmas Advent Calendar-Craft Beer Style

I am blessed with an amazing woman that consented to become my wife over 33 years ago. Among the many things we have in common is a fondness for beer, good beer! My fondness may cross over to an obsession for very good beers. As any good Catholic girl knows, Christmas is a time for Advent Calendars. FYI, Advent Calendars originate with the German Lutherans and has become common among most Christian faiths.

How does an Advent Calendar fit in a beer blog you might ask? It was discovered in my wife’s Pintrest account. I have one but I am not quite that Pintrest savvy – yet! Ok, how is it done? She built a massive book case thing out of oak with little doors for each of the 24 Advent days. Each little door was large enough and deep enough for a 12 ounce bottle of beer lying on it’s side. All hardware was polished brass and finished natural with high gloss Tung Oil. Each little door was built like paneled doors and the edges rounded with a router. SMACK!  Sorry I was dreaming!

Maybe next year! This year she used a shoe holder, 24 pockets that hangs on a door. Each pocket was numbered in Christmas colors. Each mystery bottle was wrapped in tissue and festooned with a ribbon. Isn’t she clever? See below;

Isn't that the coolest idea?

Isn’t that the coolest idea?

Today’s offering was from Lagunitas Brewing Company in Petaluma, CA. Hmmmm 1967 also comes to mind. Why? It is a story for another time, involves lifeguarding, beer, swimming, old friends and rock concerts!

Great beer! Great aroma, near perfect bitterness. Love it!

Great beer! Great aroma, near perfect bitterness. Love it!

What a gal and what a gift!

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly!

Bishop

 

 

The Brewery Tours – Whole Foods Market Houston

I had originally planned on a separate post for each stop but I wanted to keep my promise to the brewers and get the ball rolling.

July 11thWhole Foods Market, yes – Whole Foods Market – they have an awesome brewery in the store. The head brewer, Dave Ohmer, is the creative and driving force behind the efforts. I used the plural to reflect his commitment to continually brewing a new beer, never repeating. You will not find a flagship beer associated with the Brewery. If you find a beer you really like you better campout in the store and drink it until it is gone……because it ain’t coming back.

The day we were there was a bit of a family gathering….and we all lover beer! Daughters, Ashleigh and Lisa, friend of daughter Ashleigh….and she really loves beer…..LOL….Don’t hold it against me Ferrin, I meant it as a compliment, my son and his GF Cheryl Again, another two beer lovers. Last and definitely not least my wife Kathy…..a beer drinker for a very long time…maybe even HS age when her older brothers would stash beer in the bushes in the alley behind the house for her. Hun, the kids are old enough to hear these stories now.

Back to the Whole Foods story. We met for lunch, you can pick something up in the store and consume in the Brewery area or order off a menu. We did a mix of both. The day of our visit they had 12 house brewed beers on tap and a couple of guest beers. They variety and creativity is pretty amazing. A word to beer lovers, if you find one on the menu you like, carve out some time to continue drinking, come back often because once that batch is gone it will be only a memory!

Ten of the twelve Whole Foods beers on tap that day.

Ten of the twelve Whole Foods beers on tap that day.

I got a chance to meet with Dave, the head brewer, and we had a 20-30 minute beer discussion…. We are not beer nerds….I think we are a little beyond being beer nerds and definitely not beer snobs. We have a love for beer, brewing beer, enjoying new and interesting beers and love talking beer. And talk we did….He has a deep background in brewing….from being the clean-up guy all the way to head brewer.

Dave and me talking beer before heading into the back room.

Dave and me talking beer before heading into the back room.

While in the back room on the other side of the glass he let me sample a Belgian made with smoked pears, pears from the store, smoked in the smoker on site in the store and then mashed up and fermented along with the rest of the wort. So danged good. I asked why they won’t have a regular group of beers and then do seasonal’s or trials of others? At this point in time he told me, their plan is to never beer brew the same recipe again….they will produce a similar style but every batch will be unique.

On the other side of the glass....great equipment, amazing brewing knowledge and a very creative guy!

On the other side of the glass….great equipment, amazing brewing knowledge and a very creative guy!

If you are local – head on over. Whole Foods on Post Oak near the Galleria. If you are in for a visit….well some people like to shop at the galleria – and if you are like me, you could hang out a Whole Foods until the other party has finished shopping….if there is such a thing as finished shopping. Be nice Bishop….it could be said that there is a similar feeling about beer sampling!

Four beer sampler....so good!

Four beer sampler….so good!

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop