Sunday, June 28, 2009

National Homebrew Conference in Oakland Day 3

Hi All,

Welcome to day 3 and final NHC recap. Like I stated in the last post I actually went to bed early the night before so the day started infinitely better the Friday. I was back to almost a 100%. I got up nice and early and made the troubleshooting panel. This was probably my favorite session of the conference. The panel which consisted of some of the brewing worlds rockstar giving tips on homebrewing issues and how to correct them hosted by James Spencer of Basic Brewing Radio. If you don't know Tomme, Vinnie, Ken G, John P then IMHO you don't know beer. After that session I hit the equipment geek presentation and sampled some beer at the hospitality suite. I finished the morning with a hot dog and Italian sausage sandwich from Top Dog and a coffee from peets.

The afternoon consisted of 3 more sessions and more beer sampling. I really enjoyed the Beer and Chocolate session and Tomme's session on ingredients 5-10 (not what you think watch the presentation.) After the last session I went back to my room dropped off my stuff and then got in line for the awards banquet. While in line volunteers made sure our cups were filled with a the conference IPA and Saison. I say it again this is the best conference ever.

The final event of the conference was the dinner. The dinner was designed by the Homebrew Chef Sean Paxton and prepared by the Marriot's banquet staff. All the courses were made and paired with Rogue beers the dinner's sponsor. Everything was awesome.

The first course was a Chinese Chicken salad with a Mom's Hefeweizen Ginger dressing.

The second course was a Charlie's American Amber Ale Marinated Pork Roast with mashed potato and seasonal veggies. This may have been the best pork I have ever had.

The final course was chocolate moose paired with a Russian Imperial Chocolate Stout. I would say the flavors were amazing together but it was a little rich for me. I was only able to handle a few bites but for me that what desert should be.

After dinner there was the awards ceremony for the homebrew competition and then off to The Trapist (a new beer bar a few blocks from the convention center.) Finally, me and my new buddy John hit the hospitality suite one last time and the off to bed about 2am.

This was an amazing conference and if I can swing it I hope to hit the 2010 conference in MN. This will kill 2 birds with one stone. I can visit MN and I can finally see Midwest Supplies the place I buy most of my ingredients for brewing.

Hope you all enjoyed my recap on the NHC 2009 I sure did. I am not kidding this was by far the best conference I have ever attended. If you are a homebrewer this is the place to be.

Matt C.

Friday, June 26, 2009

June Fermentation Friday - Summertime Brewing

Hi All,

Welcome to this months Fermentation Friday hosted by The Brew Dudes. This months topic is summertime brewing. The host asks the question "How do you beat the heat when brewing?" I personally don't feel it is that much different.

I live in Bakersfield,CA where it gets really hot during the summer. The temps are consistently in the high 90's/low 100's. Until a few weeks ago I brewed indoors on a gas stove. I would put my pot over 2 burners and I would go to town. The boil was kind of slow but it did its job. When brewing indoors it doesn't matter if its 50 or if its a 100. The only issue is the amount of time it takes to cool the wort with the wort chiller. When its 50 in the winter I can chill 5 gallons to under 80 degrees in 15 minutes in the summer when its a 100 it takes about 30. I would prefer it be quicker but it isn't too bad. I am thinking about adding in a small chiller in a sink full of ice water but haven't got around to that yet.

A few weeks ago I did my first all grain and garage brew. It wasn't quite a hundred but it was in the high 80's. The worst part of summer brewing was being in the garage when it's hot. The flame from the burner and heat from the air gave me a nice sweaty gleam all day. Other then that everything went well and the only minor issue was the 30 minute wort chill time.

I am really interested in seeing the effect of the summer season on other brewers because it doesn't really effect me much. Maybe I can learn what I should be worried about. Thanks again to the brew dudes for hosting!!

Matt C.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

National Homebrew Conference in Oakland Day 2

Hi All,

Here is the day 2 recap of the NHC Oakland but first I missed something very important in the last post. I mean this is big. I had ramen for lunch in Japanese restaurant across the street from my hotel. It was really good. The broth, the veggies and the noodles made a great soup. I told you it was big!! ;-)

Well on to day 2. Lets just say it started out rather rough from the night before. I overslept through the first session but i made it to the next session part 2 of Randy Moshier's and Ray Daniels advanced brewing techniques. It was rather interesting even with a slight headache and haze. After the session I was beat so I took a 2 hour nap, got some lunch and some advil and attended all 3 of the afternoon sessions. I even managed to try a few beers in the hospitality suite. I came to drink beer and wasn't going to let a slight hangover (ok rather large hangover) stop me from trying homebrews.

Before club night I took another 2 hour nap and went to whet to have dinner at a Thai reseraunt but the hotel sent me to a Cambodian resteraunt instead. It ended up being a very good dinner. I really enjoyed my curry!

Then I hit club night with my new buddies John and Jesse. I was way better tonight in terms of quantity. I tasted and dumped through out the night. I will admit not all of this is by choice. I was only back to 75%. There were some great homebrews and some not so great homebrews but it was a blast. That might have been the best beer fest I have ever attended. Finally I woosed out a little and hit the sac around midnight. I actually wanted to attend the troubleshooting panel the next morning.

Day 2 was a good one stay tuned for day 3.

Matt C.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

National Homebrew Conference in Oakland Day 1

Hi all,

Over the next few days or so I will be doing a quick recap of the NHC. I plan to do 1 for each day so if you care about how it went read up over the next few days!!

Picture this you walk into a hotel lobby ready to register for a conference. You get in line show them your ID and they give you your name badge and a gift bag. Everyone one has done that right, easy to picture! After that everything is different about this conference. Not only do you get the normal stuff but they give you a glass, some small homebrew equipment and some bombers of beer. Sweet right!! It only gets better after that. Your next stop is the hospitality suite where beer will be served non stop (except from 3am-8am)on Thursday till 2am Sunday Morning. The suite is hosted buy the homebrew clubs from around the country. Every club that had a shift in the suite had at least 10 beers on tap to sample. Can you say a lot of beer?

After sampling a few beers I went back to the room to drop off all my things before volunteering to be a steward at the NHC homebrew competition. This was my first experience with a beer judging competition so it was pretty interesting. For about 4 hours I served beer in category 7(Amber Hybrid Beer) of the BJCP style guide. I would love to be a certified judge some day so it was really interesting to see how the beers were described and judged. I also got to meet Ramona who was my lead steward who helped show me the judging ropes. She was really cool and we hung out a few times over the next couple of days. She is a member of HAZE a homebrew club between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe.

I had been up for since 330 am that morning so I was starting to get a little tired so I headed back to room. It was going to be nap time but i decided I was hungry so I went to Pacific Coast Brewing for a quick dinner before Pro-Brewers night. While eating I met my first QUAFF homebrew club(one of the San Diego clubs) member Loren(dude)and we talked beer and homebrew and ate some supper. I never did get in my nap!

Now on to Pro-Brewers night. Pro night is basically a small beer festival. I was walking around and I met 2 more QUAFF members John and Jesse. These are the 2 I hung out with most the rest of the conference. I am not really going to describe how this went lets just say I sampled a lot of beers. I had beers from Russian River, Dogfish Head, Deschutes, Shmaltz, etc. It was a very quick 3 hours but then we decided to hit The Trappist a beer bar down the street(probably wasn't a very good idea now that I think about it). It got till about 2am and i finally hit the sack (or was it passed out). I had been up for almost 24 hours.

Stay tuned for Friday Day 2!!

Matt C.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Food Pairing - German Chocolate Cake and Sam Adams Imperial Stout

Hi All,

I have been doing a lot of reading on food and beer pairing and when my wife said I want German Chocolate Cake I was like I should find a beer to have with this. So I went to the net and I went to She said Wine/He said Beer and both said an Imperial Stout would work well with chocolate cake. The only one I had in the house was the Sam Adams Imperial Stout from their imperial series. So here goes the pairing.

First I took a bite of the cake and it was chocolaty sweet with coconut and pecans. This is just like a german chocolate cake should be.

Second I took a wiff and taste of the Imperial Stout. It was nice and creamy with hints of chocolate, coffee, and roastyness.

Finally I took a bite of the cake and drink of the stout and it went together perfectly. The chocolate in the cake enhanced the chocolate notes in the stout. The coffee notes in the stout worked really well with the chocolate in the cake and the nuts and coconut in the frosting. I think this was a very good pair.

After trying this pair I think I may have to pick up an Old Rasputin stout on the way home from work tomorrow. In my opinion it is a better imperial stout then the Sam Adams. That beer and this cake would be and even better pair.

Let me know what you think of this possible new series. I have never written about pairings before so if any one has any suggestions feel free to let me know.

Matt C.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Beer Review #40 - Avery Maharaja

Hi All,

Welcome to my 40th beer review this year. I thought I would bust out something special and by special I mean hoppy. I am sharing this supposedly hoppy beast with the wife. Lets see how it goes!! On to the review.

Appearance - The Maharaja pours a beautiful golden color. The head is long lasting with a lot of lacing on the glass.

Aroma - The Maharaja hop aroma has hints grapefruit and pine. Smells rather tasty.

Taste - The Maharaja's taste is just what I was expecting after smelling that aroma. This is a major hop bomb. There is great bitterness with tastes of grapefruit,pine, grass, and orange.

Mouthfeel - The Maharaja has a very full mouthfeel. The carbonation carries all the flavors around the palate.

Drinkability - This beer is very drinkable but at 10.25%. I wouldn't drink more then one unless you are chilling at home watching a movie or something. Then have a few.

Thank you for joining me on my 40th review hope to be doing many more.

See you next time!!

Matt C.

Beer Review #39 - Wayne's Hex Nut Ale


Here is my review of my buddy Wayne's Hex Nut Ale. This is my second review of his.

Pour - The HNA's pour was a deep brown with a almond color long lasting head.

Aroma - The malt comes through on the aroma in the HNA. There are hints of chocolate and roast. A small amount of hop flavor is also in the nose.

Taste - The malt comes through on the taste of the HNA but instead of chocolate like in the aroma I get coffee and a little caramel.

Mouthfeel - The HNA has a light mouthfeel with good carbonation.

Drinkability - The HNA is a good drinkable beer. I feel this would be a good transition beer from winter to spring or summer to fall.

My only suggestion would be to maybe give it a little more mouthfeel (thickness) From everything you said you are try to hit style and it may be a little light for a brown ale. I am just being picky cause I really liked it and you wanted suggestions. Keep up the great brewing Wayne!!

Matt C.

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Session #28 - Think and Drink Globally

Hi All,

Welcome to this month The Session hosted by Brian @ Red, White and Brew. This month topic is Think and Drink Globally is an interesting one. And his request to discuss the farthest brewery you have been to was also interest and I may be cheating slightly on my pick but oh well. Well on to the post.

I really like to think and drink globally when it comes to the beers I drink. I always try to find beers from all over the world to try. Whether it be from Germany, China, Australia, or Brazil. If its something I haven't had before then I am going to try it. Drinking an ethnic beer is like a mind vacation. I always try and place myself in that country or region trying to imagine what I would be doing and who I would be hanging with while there. For example a few weeks ago i drank a Xingu Brazilian Black Beer. I imaged chilling on the beach in Rio de Janeiro,in my nice tight speedo of course, checking out the merchandise if you know what I mean. ;-) It was a very relaxing. Another great example of this is every time I drink a German beer it takes me back to my trip to Germany and the great time my wife and I had. That trip got me truly into good beer.

This leads into the farthest brewery I have visited and why it may be a slight cheat. I went to the Spaten brewery but didn't take a tour but I did go to there gift shop. So does that count. If it doesn't then the farthest brewery I attended at the time would be Russian River in Santa Rosa, CA. I was living in FL the first time I went to their brewery/restaurant. You can take your pick pick but i think it should count.

Every trip I take weather it be local or global I try and find the local brew. Its a great way to meet people and to support good craft beer. Also as a home brewer I try to brew globally. I have brewed a British ESB, 2 German Hefeweizens, a Belgian Double, and French/Belgian Saison. I find it very enjoyable to try and brew the beers of different regions. Its a great way to see how the world enjoys and creates their beer.

Thanks again to Brian from hosting this months topic and I am looking forward to reading other peoples adventures in beers.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Beer Review #38 - Dogfish Head Chateau Jiahu

Hi All,

A friend of mine helped me build my mash tun today so it looks like I will try my hand at AG brewing this weekend. I am totally inept at building things so his help was vital to my completing this project. So to celebrate I popped open a Dogfish Head Chateau Jiahu. Which according to the bottle is a malt beverage brewed with honey & hawthorn fruit and fermented with grape concentrate. So on with the review!

Pour - The DFH Chateau Jiahu pours a hazy golden color with a small head that lasts.

Aroma - The DFH Chateau Jiahu has a nice malty scent with hints of honey and hawthorne fruit(just kidding I don't know what hawthorne fruit is). I do get some hints of grapes and citrus.

Taste - The DFH Chateau Jiahu has a nice light fruity taste. I get hits of honey and grape. There are also hints of warming alcohol in the taste.

Mouthfeel - The DFH Chateau Jiahu has a nice full mouthfeel with a low to moderate carbonation level. The beer leaves a light syrupy coating feeling in the month.

Drinkabilty - The DFH Chateau Jiahu is very drinkable. At 8% abv the beer goes down very smoothly.

I don't remember where I picked this up but I am very glad I did. I really enjoy trying unique and interesting beers and if I can find them I will try them. I bet not many people will get to try a 9000 year old recipe. Does anyone out there know anything really unique that I should try. Send me a comment!