Easing the Pain of Loss

A beer and bee story, bittersweet, poignant yet ends on a comforting note!

I went off to one of my bee yards to add a couple of supers as the nectar flow is on. One hive is swollen up and really needed some room so adding the super was the perfect thing to do. The bees immediately crawled up into the new space – Yee Haw!

Unfortunately the hive next to it…very active two weeks ago, was void of activity…..no need to add a super to it. Pulled the top off and no signs of bee life. As I dug in deeper I was amazed at how clean the girls left the house. I got there just in time, no small hive beetle larva present and no evidence of wax moths!

Here is the, glass half full, view. I now have 20 deep frames, fully drawn out and 10 medium frames, also fully drawn out! I now have some deep frames to help accelerate the growth of the swarms I have been catching and some medium frames to add to supers, ready to be filled with liquid gold. All 30 frames are in the freezer to kill any eggs and/or critters lingering. My smile is beginning!

Loaded the truck feeling a bit let down but knowing I still have some great opportunities for growing my apiary. I decided to swing by the beer store on the way to my “Goo” friend John’s house. They usually have a great selection and I scored big time!

Wow, this beer is amazing! Made with Northern California orange blossom honey. Wanna know more? https://coopaleworks.com/our-beers/

It is a double IPA so I need to be both selfish and carefulūüėú. This beer is so smooth. I bought 3 – 4 packs, one 4 pack left at John’s house, minus the two beers as we consumed to help sooth my wounds over the loss of a hive!

It helps!

So now this gray bearded old man is a bit happier and now making plans on where to use these nicely drawn out frames! FYI- this is what a drawn frame looks like.

It really helps the bees. It takes 8 pounds of honey to make 1 pound of wax.

PS, I have two 4- packs of Alpha Hive in my fridge if you are interested and I may be willing to share. Yes, 9.7% ABV beer warms the soul and makes me smile.

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly



Wife‚Äôs Wit Beer – Another Opportunity to Mop the Floor

This is a Belgian Wit beer and made for my wife!!! It is very similar to a Blue Moon made by one of those “evil giant conglomerate brewing companies”. A key difference with this batch is the absence of coriander. It does contain the zest of a grapefruit, locally grown, zest of lemon off of my tree and the zest of a store bought blood orange. Preliminary tastings while racking and checking the gravity have been very nice. Gotta wait 3-4 weeks to let it condition properly.

The all grain beer recipe;

The original gravity was dead on target and the final gravity looked good at 1.013.

This batch will be bottled – I wanted to use my 6 liter Tap-a-Draft small kegs but they are out of business and I need parts! Dang! I added 3.6 ounces of corn sugar to carbonate at around 2.4 volumes. Bottling is tedious and sometimes a little messy, so, I will most likely mop the floor again. I do hope it passes inspection!

Important decision before I start bottling – what should I drink to aid in the bottling process, my SMaSH IPA? A stout? No, too heavy. And the winner is……..

Yum…….. just one – Double IPA’s can sneak up on an unwitting and inexperienced beer drinker. I definitely have the experience part down several times over. Unwitting, well, I know the issue but sometimes that third or fourth IPA can cloud a persons judgement. The bottles have been sanitized and placed in a handy drying rack.

I hope I counted correctly! Yes Haw – I had two bottles left over and about 6 ounces for a little taster. It definitely passes muster. I don’t always label my bottles, I distinguish them by the color or type of cap. I asked Kathy which one she would prefer but she deferred to me. My choice! Gotta love Ben Franklin!

Waste not want not! I use recycled bottles, many consumed by me but I do get a little help from my friends. My supply is getting a bit depleted so I will need to gather up some before the next batch. I even recycle the 6 pack carriers. A couple of my favorites represented here.

Bell’s Two Hearted Ale is awesome but their Hopslam is amazing!

I was rushing and trying to get too much done before “Leaving on a Jet Plane”……. Peter, Paul and Mary was playing that song in my headphones just as that song popped up. I need to make a folk singer playlist…….. I know, this doesn’t have anything to do with beer brewing or consuming, but that is how brain works, or according to some, doesn’t work! The rush also translated into riling up my bees during inspection and adding a few supers earlier that afternoon. I took a couple of stings through the gloves and at the next stop I took two in my left bicep……looks awesome! Makes a nice peak when I flex. I mopped half the kitchen and left a few 5 gallon buckets drying on the counter. I hope my wife knows where I keep them!

Get back on track now! Next, I think I will brew a double IPA or maybe a Pliny the Elder clone??? Maybe if I score some really good fresh hops a Hopslam kind of creation that is heavily dry hopped. Stay tuned I will get around to it in April …….. possibly.

Finishing up a few days in Teddy Roosevelt National Park. There is a nice little brewery in Watford City called Stonehollow. Awesome beers!

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly.


Bakersfield Does Craft Beer

I was back to Bakersfield California for a few days of paying work and some family time! In an attempt to manage my belt, I cannot and will not take every evening meal at the Lengthwise brewery or one of the two Lengthwise Pubs! As much as I want to continue my education into local craft beers I am restricting my intake.

I love hoppy IPA’s and just had to try the Lengthwise offering ,Double Centennial Ale. From the Lengthwise web page.(“This double IPA is generously kettle hopped and dry hopped with Australian grown Galaxy hops.¬† Galaxy hops add gentle citrus and passion fruit aromas and tastes.¬† Unlike most DIPAs this beer finishes a little dryer which helps showcase the hop flavor.”)

Yummy and hoppy but with a crisp clean aftertaste! I took notes and this maybe the model fo my next “all grain” batch for an IPA. I haven’t brewed with Galaxy hops but I just may have to give it a shot!


Yummy.....around 9% ABV so drinkers must use care, caution and portion control!

Yummy…..around 9% ABV so drinkers must use care, caution and portion control!


Drink Local and Drink Responsibly!!!!!!!!!


Billings Montana – Beer; Part 2 of 3

Part 2 of 3 is being finished up Sunday morning, very early ,still dark,¬†at the local Starbucks. As¬†is¬†my morning ritual, I ride my bicycle down to Starbuck, enjoying the mostly “quietness in the air”¬†at this time of day. This morning was “lovely”….. the cold front had passed through yesterday and it is 64 degrees Fahrenheit! Don’t laugh, in Texas that is indeed a cold front! I enjoyed it. I didn’t start sweating as soon as I lifted my leg to climb on the bike. In fact I may not even approach a sweat even on the ride home….just a little over a mile each way.

Part 2

So, after a long day in the training class that I delivered on Thursday, I was ready to chill out and see what my research on the local brewing scene would produce. I visited with a few of the attendees and they gave high marks to Carters and Angry Hanks, both of which were on my list and both easy walks from the hotel. Two of the young engineers in the class, Cris and Cody, were heading off to Carters later that evening and I told them that I may see them  there.

The walk down to Hanks on North First Street was interesting. The walk took me by the local Greyhound Bus Depot. Now that is a different slice of life hanging out in the alley behind the building. It brough back memories of Bakersfield, California’s Greyhound depot. When the three black and white channels on the tv set were not worth watching, mom would load us up into the station wagon and we would go down to the depot and – she called it. do a little¬†people watching! She would have loved the ring side seat here in Billings.

I arrived at Angry Hanks, a converted service station with a fenced in patio section. The folks that I followed in were bringing “take-out” food in. It seems that is the norm here at Hanks. Get off work, grab a few boxes of hot-wings or whatever your fancy is and enjoy a couple of cold ones. Hanks is a tap-room and not a pub or restaurant. Which means they can only be open from 4 PM to – well last beer poured by 8 PM and everyone out before 9 PM. Limit is 3 pints per person. Three pints of good craft beer is plenty – they range from 5% ABV to 8 or 9%¬† for some of the stouts.

Unfortunately I did not haul my Nikon along to Hanks so you will have to view the iPhone perspective. Note the Growlers along the back wall – left. You can fill your Growler but it is sealed…consumed elsewhere.

This is comfortable and incredibly laid back place. I sampled just two pints, just because! I had the double IPA. It was officially called the Head Trauma India Pale Ale. I am a fan of IPA’s and this one did not disappoint me. Very nice aroma and taste.¬† Next in my hand was a pint of Street Fighter Imperial Red Ale. Mr. Tim Mohr, owner and brewer,¬†knows how to brew. This indeed a microbrewery – from what I understand, 90% of the beer brewed here is consumed on site…I suppose the other 10% goes out in the growlers.

While doing my research I ran across a site where customers can leave their opinions, ratings and thoughts. Lots of 3 out of 3 ratings. There was one that I will mention that gave¬†it a zero¬†and called it “skanky” – My opinion on his label….he probably did not belong in Angry Hanks in the first place, probably sported a manicure, wore something from Ralph Lauren – clothes and the smelly stuff too. He should have sampled his beers¬†over at Walkers Grill – linens, waiters, menus and someone to kiss¬†his behind!

My description of Hanks and the crowd……I am smiling just thinking about it. Lots of locals, European tourists (3), fly fishermen and women, river rafters, bikers, a young lady in a 50’s dress, fish net stockings platform heels and a wonderful smile. There was purple hair, red hair – like crayon red, piercings, tattoos, leather and a young family with three bright-eyed kids sitting up on the tall stools. I liked the place and I liked the beer. Mr. Mohr has a creative touch. I wish Texas would get around to voting on the law changes that would allow craft brewers this type of outlet…..time will tell!

The line-up and ya gotta love it – blue painters tape with hand written descriptions! Again – sorry for the iPhone lack of picture quality – Hun, I think I need a new one!



Part 3 is almost ready…. coming soon.