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

 

 

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Beer and Honey or Honey and Beer

My  daughter Lisa participated in the Island Girl Tri, sprint triathlon, on Galveston Island this past weekend.  Post event, it was rehydrate time and what better place than Galveston Island Brewing. The board was full, 12 beers, so little time and so far to drive! 72.1 miles and about 1 hour  and 28  minutes, depending on traffic. Need to find another excuse to make the drive to the Island.

Lisa asked me to bring some of my honey, honey from my hives, down to the event. A number of her running mates with Team RWB, “Team RWB’s mission is to enrich the lives of America’s veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity.”, were in attendance and were seeking some Raw local honey.  We were well prepared but we failed to make the connections at the event. So, I had plenty of supply when we arrived at the brewery.

http://www.teamrwb.org/

The  Brewery

We were first in the door on this Sunday noon! There was another triathlon participant and her date joining us for the first beers of the day. She, the young lady, was a brewer and prefers stouts and porters. The  crowd began to trickle in and  to our right was a couple, Tanya and Greg. Somehow the conversation got around to raw honey and specifically, creamed honey. Well, we just so happened to have a supply. Tanya and  Greg bought a pound jar of honey and a 3/4 pound jar of the creamed honey – cinnamon flavor.

Charday and  Dave showed up a little later, they had worked the beer stand at the triathlon event down at Moody Gardens. She  was intrigued and bought a jar of the creamed cinnamon honey…….she popped the top off and uttered that Mmmmmmm sound of enjoyment…she couldn’t  wait.

Now – Let’s Talk Beer

Lisa rehydrating with the Citra Mellow  IPA and I had the Blue Ridge Amber Ale.

Lisa rehydrating with the Citra Mellow IPA and I had the Blue Ridge Amber Ale.

Due to our early visit we were treated to a taster of the Amber Ale straight directly from the fermenter after the brewer added wet Mosaic hops….it was very yummy. I need to make a visit in a couple  of weeks when it is finished and kegged.

This is such a friendly place…reminds me of the atmosphere of the little village Gasthaus in the  village I lived in in Germany. Something about drinking beer gives  you automatic admission to the fraternity…Now, to rankle some feathers, I don’t get the same feel in a wine room or wine bar…just saying!

Lisa's Citra Mellow before rehydrating. She followed it with the Oktoberfest.

Lisa’s Citra Mellow before rehydrating. She followed it with the Oktoberfest.

https://www.facebook.com/GalvestonIslandBrewing/info?tab=overview

http://www.galvestonislandbrewing.com/brewery.html

Make the trip!

So, I think it was Beer and Honey, this time….but you never know when opportunities crop up. The lesson for me….I will carry a stash of my honey…great ice breaker to make new friends and maybe, make a little beer money!

Drink Local and  Drink Responsibly

Bishop

Beer and a Bite

i was in Bakersfield CA for a quick consulting job with Chevron Pipeline. I wanted to pop into Lengthwise Brewery Pub for a good local beer and a meal. The Pub location out on Calloway was my intended target but the Rosedale Highway construction and traffic convinced me to go elsewhere. I opted to head to the brewery located out in the Southwest just off of White Lane. 

http://lengthwise.com

The Southwest steak salad paired nicely with the Centennial IPA – for me I am easy, I can pair an IPA with most anything, especially a second one! I went with the Triple Hopped Red Ale for number two! 

  The empty Centennial with the Red Ale and my buddy Gary’s Golden Ale. 

Side note; felt like I was in Houston that evening, a National Weather alert for flash flooding came across the radio and booming thunder flowing the flashes of lightning in the dusk sky. 

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop 

We Made It! Firestone Walker the Pub

I have to give Firestone high marks for the beer and also for the food offerings at the Pub. Here I am trying to balance calories in vs. calories out and fortunately Firestone makes it a doable task. I am not going to order a Coors Light, not a bad beer but, after all, I am at a nationally recognized Brewery so I need to take advantage to the opportunity….a full flavored and FULL calorie beer….Like the “Wookie Jack”. Well since I was there I decided to order a 3 ounce taster of one of the very best Imperial Stouts made in America. I have tasted it before and I agree. Dang it…..not on tap on the night of my visit…..I was tempted to order a “Bomber” – 22 ounces to take with me….12,5 % ABV, complex wonderful flavors….sipped and enjoyed like a fine port…BUT $ 55.00 for a bottle…..now way! I suffered, but not much….The Wookie Jack was superb!

The food pairing for me was a very nice piece of Pacific salmon, wonderful steamed spinach underneath it. Portions were just right….allowed me the opportunity to enjoy a great beer and not bust my calorie budget for the evening! On top of that, the absence of the Imperial Stout, barrel aged for a year was mitigated by the fact that I have in my possession the 2011 bottling of this barrel aged stout….waiting for the right occasion to open and share….as is my bottle of 20-year-old Pappy Van Winkle bourbon! I am accepting bids – contact me if you would like to make an offer on either bottle!

I did branch out and try another local beer, Tap It Breweries IPA. Brewed in San Luis Obispo. I was pleasantly surprised….I need to check out more of their offerings on a future trip. My buddy Gary has decided that Firestone’s 805 Ale fits nicely in his wheelhouse……multiple times. I have to admit…It is a good one but my preferences run toward higher IBU’s……International Bittering Units, i.e., HOPS>>>>>I love hoppy beers.

Not me…..but this is a Hop Head I ran into at the 2011 Humble, TX beer festival.

Copy of JBD_0198

A real, true Hop Head….Literally!

 

Drink Local – Drink Responsibly

Bishop

 

Dry Hopping Dilemma

I should not read any more! If you have been following along I am brewing an “inspiration” IPA based on my mistaken read of the chalkboard at the Lengthwise Brewery Pub out in the Marketplace, Bakersfield, California. The ale is designed to be a “Golden Wheat Red IPA” based o the combined three individual local beers on tap. I failed to report that the bartender had poured a mixed blend for some customers who gave the blend high marks. I just decided to try and brew that blend. Post with recipe located here;

http://wp.me/p1qlvz-ec

So here is my dilemma. I transferred the beer into the secondary carboy with 1 ounce of Amarillo hop pellets sitting on the bottom. Once the beer was transferred, I gave the carboy a nice swirl to get the pellets to settle. I then carried it out to my temperature controlled chest freezer. I now need to decide on a temperature scheme/schedule during the dry hopping phase. From my exploration of the web I find too many choices, schemes, schedules and opinions!

  • Two days at room temperature and then crash to 35 degrees for up to two weeks.
  • Five to seven days at low room temperatures then rack off and package.
  • Five to seven days at room temperature and then crash to 35 degrees for 2 days prior to packaging.
  • And too many variations to list!!!

My choice – the logic I like is; hold the beer at a temperature that will allow the aromatic oils in the Amarillo hops to best express their amazing aroma.  So, five days at 65-67 degrees then crash to 35 degrees for a couple of days to aid in clarifying the beer before I bottle. I am convinced that the beer will be very good!

While racking the beer into the secondary I noted that the fermentation was vigorous – the Krausen was thick and reached the lid of the primary. I guess that I was lucky that it didn’t lift the lid or fill the airlock. Note to self: consider a blow-off tube next time for the early yeast activity!

Transfer from primary fermenter to the secondary and hop pellets floating on top.

Transfer from primary fermenter to the secondary and hop pellets floating on top.

Hop pellets floating on top of the beer - kinda look like the rabbit pellets we fed them!

Hop pellets floating on top of the beer – kinda look like the rabbit pellets we fed them!

 

Evidence of the Krausen on the sides... gotta be a good beer.

Evidence of the Krausen on the sides… gotta be a good beer.

I bet some of you are thinking, is he going to drink that? Yes I am!

Drink Responsibly and Drink Local

Bishop

 

Kannah Creek Brewing Co.

Grand Junction, Colorado is my stopping point for the week. Colorado in general is synonymous with good craft beers. Grand Junction is blessed with 3 local breweries and a couple more in nearby towns.

Kannah Creek brewery was my first stop for lunch on my first day. I ordered the beer sampler expecting to provide some input for the choices. They offer 10 brewed in-house brews. I expected 5 small glasses of beer. I was partially correct. The beers were small, about 4 ounces. The beer count was 10, one of every offering! A man has got to do what man has got to do! (any English majors cringing right now?) Seven everyday brews and 3 seasonals. I worked my way through this daunting task.

The Seasonal pilsner was just ok. Good lace easy to drink beer

ESB Extra Special Bitter It was pleasant with good lace and not overly bitter.

Indian Creek Brown ale like a mellow Newcastle
Island Mesa Blonde was a nice and easy to drink best suited for my wife who likes Blonde Ales.

High Side Hefeweizen is very nice, it puts Bluemoon to shame! Well made beer! Kathy, you would definitely like this one!

Lands End Amber very drinkable beer, feels and tastes more like a session beer with body but not exceptional.

Broken Oar IPA The dry hopping is evident in both the nose and on the tongue! It was one of my two top choices.

Standing Wave Pale The ale was smooth in the mouth, had a nice aroma and was a pretty tasty IPA.

Pigasus Porter I like it. Not over to top with the heavy roasted flavors- subtle flavors of roasted malt and chocolate. I would like another pint of this one!

Black’s Bridge Stout- It was the last beer i sampled. The warming of the beer while I worked my way to it was perfect. Velvety feel in the mouth and the flavors are subtle but distinct. The nitrogen head on this beer lingered well.

Katrina was my waitress and beer guide. Awesome beer knowledge and definitely the free spirit – just back from working the summer in Alaska. Interesting young lady!

Now off to Rockslide Brewery to sample their offerings. I have heard good things about the Ale House so I may have to flip a coin!

20130917-195253.jpg

Drinking Beer in Carpenteria

Travel and work – it certainly can have a negative impact on my beer drinking! It is not all bad, I am in California for work and I have my weekends free. I was in Carpenteria last weekend, a nice beach town between Ventura and Santa Barbara. I am not much for laying on the beach and picking up the color of a well boiled lobster so my daughter Lisa and I walked down to the Island Brewing Company. It is a nice little brewery and tap room next to the tracks and near the Amtrak station.
This isn’t my first rodeo nor my first visit to this brewery. They have a very nice selection of beers, a casual and comfortable taproom and an outside seating area. Oh yes, the prices are very reasonable!!!! They also bottle the beers as well as sell growlers.
The timing was right and the brewery was hosting a tour of the back brewing area. The owner’s daughter was giving the tour. She is very knowledgeable and easy to talk to. While in the taproom I enjoyed the Paradise Ale, a pint of the cask ale – a raspberry wheat beer – a bit sweet but still very tasty and the Jubilee Ale! Not a bad beer in the bunch. Lisa tried the Blonde, the Paradise and a Shandy – half Tropical Lager and Lemonade.

 

I have sampled their Blackbird Porter in the past….a very tasty beer but better suited for the last beer of the evening while sitting at home! It is a wonderful beer!

Lisa says - head this way to find fresh beer.

Lisa says – head this way to find fresh beer.

Here is the tap room…..

The taps and yummy board!

The taps and yummy board!

 

On the walk back to the beach I had to make a pit stop. The picture is a little blurry….iPhones aren’t bad but you have to look close at this one to see the details.

Down near the beach I stepped into the State park lavatory . While standing there killing time I looked up and saw a frustrated sea gull - lost opportunity to bomb me!

Down near the beach I stepped into the State park lavatory . While standing there killing time I looked up and saw a frustrated sea gull – lost opportunity to bomb me!

I hope to have time to visit Anacapa Brewing in Ventura, or Firestone in Paso Robles and if time permits San Luis Brewing in San Luis Obispo. Bakersfield even has beer, yes I know that might surprise you….Lengthwise is my favorite pub and brewery in town. I hope to share a little more over the next week on my California adventures.

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly,

Bishop