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homebrewing

Pacific Gravity Monster Brew at Smog City Brewing

On Saturday morning, a few dozen members of the Pacific Gravity Homebrewers Club met at Smog City Brewing Company for the Fourth Pacific Gravity Monster Brew. Smog City co-founder, Brewmaster, and Pacific Gravity member Jonathan Porter, teamed up with Pacific Gravity member Carl Townsend to develop the base wort for this event with an English theme. In keeping with past monster brews, the recipe was made so the base wort could be used for whatever kind of beer the brewer wanted. The hard part was done, and participants brought the wort home to add hops, roasted malts, the yeast of their choice or whatever adjuncts they might want to experiment with.

After everyone got their allotment of wort, there was a barbecue out back for those that wanted some burgers or brats. It was a nice way to start out a Saturday afternoon. Cheers! Continue reading

Beer Label Designs by Brittany

cwris label

Cold War Russian Imperial Stout label

Hopefully you recall that back in August I went to Zymurgy Brew Works & Tasting Room to brew my Cold War Russian Imperial Stout. After a few weeks of fermenting Zymurgy Brew Works founder, Bill Baker, contacted me to let me know that the beer had been bottled and all they were waiting for was the design for my label. I was afraid this might present a problem as I have zero artistic skills beyond the camera and my resident designer and I had just parted ways.

I put it out on my Facebook page that I was looking for someone to design a logo for the beer and it was not long before I heard back from Kim and Brian who have been Craft Beer Guy supporters for quite a while; and coincidentally, Brian is the best friend of one of my brothers. Kim and Brian have a son that has a girlfriend, Brittany, that is a designer and I was told that she would be come up with a label for me. I offered no advice as to what I was looking for, just the name of the beer. You can see the results in the accompanying photos. Continue reading

Photos from the Zymurgy Brew Works Ribbon Cutting

These photos were taken Friday afternoon at the Zymurgy Brew Works & Tasting Room Grand Opening and ribbon cutting. The event was attended by friends and family, as well as Torrance Mayor Pat Furey and council members Mike Griffith and Heidi Ashcraft, several representatives of the Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce and several craft beer aficionados.

Attendees were able to sample beers that have already been brewed at Zymurgy and those that got there early enough were treated to some tasty, gourmet, bacon wrapped hotdogs. If you can get there before 10:00 PM Friday you can take advantage of the $1.00 off pints and flights; and you can book your future brew session for 15% off the regular price.

Zymurgy Brew Works & Tasting Room is located at 22755 Hawthorne Boulevard in Torrance. If you have ever been interested in homebrewing but did not have the space or equipment to do it, this is a great way to try it out. Visit ZymurgyBrewWorks.com to get more information and reserve your kettle. Cheers! Continue reading

Brew Dogs Conquer LA airs August 27

Top 5 bars

LA’s Top 5 Craft Beer Bars

Back in May I was invited out to Golden Road Brewing to cover a taping of Esquire TV’s Brew Dogs, starring James Watt and Martin Dickie. The event was the culmination of a brewing competition between Watt and Dickie, who were paired with a couple local homebrewers, Dana Cordes and Andy Ziskinof the oldest homebrewing club in the country, the Maltose Falcons.
Beachwood BBQ & Brewing

LA’s Top 5 Craft Breweries

I was given access to tonight’s episode which documents the choosing of brewing teams, Dana Cordes and Martin Dickie versus Andy Ziskin and James Watt as well as how the beers and the “local ingredients” were determined. The final brews were judged by three local celebrities: craft brewer Meg Gill of Golden Road Brewing, chef Sang Yoon of Father’s Office, and beer journalist Sarah Bennett of Beer Paper LA. Also included in tonight’s episode are Watt and Dickie’s choices for LA’s Top 5 Craft Beer Bars and Top 5 Craft Breweries. I could tell you who won the brewing competition but you should really watch Brew Dogs tonight on Esquire TV at 9:00/8:00 Central. There will be a viewing tonight at Golden Road Brewing if you would like to watch it there. Cheers!

Home Brew Day: Glacier Summer Ale

I have discussed home brewing here a few times; primarily how much I respect those that do it and how home brewing really isn’t up my alley. I tried a Brooklyn Brewshop Beer Making Kit back in October and came away from the experience with the conclusion that when it comes to production or consumption I am a lot better at the latter. That being said, my son is an excellent home brewer. On Thursday afternoon I headed down to his place to participate in his 12th brew day.

Now it may seem that my son must be a total newbie when it comes to brewing since he “only” has twelve brews under his belt, but I am here to say that while he may be new at this there is no way you would taste his beers and come to that conclusion. I have had several of his brews including an IPA, DIPA, a red ale, a pale ale, his chocolate, vanilla, bourbon porter and most recently, his From Sochi to Stanley Stout and he has never failed to amaze; and that is not just the father in me talking. We both understand that good beer is more important than undeserved compliments. The fact is, I have been to many home brewing events and I would put my son’s brews up against most that I have tried; in fact, he is better than some breweries I have been to.

A couple weeks ago my son and his family went up to Montana to camp and visit places like Glacier National Park. While he was up there his wife came up with the idea of foraging for some items to use in his next brew. If you look closely at the photos you will notice a few things you do not normally find when brewing. The first thing you might notice are the stones in the brewing kettle. He gathered them at Avalanche Creek in Avalanche Gorge and included them throughout the process from beginning with the intent of adding additional minerals. Also included are fresh pine nuts and Forget-Me-Nots which he gathered from the trailhead of Trail of the Cedars and clumps of moss that he gathered from the Avalanche Lake trail. The water you see being added was fresh glacier water that he got from Avalanche Creek; I tasted a little before he added it to his wort and it was as tasty as water can be on its own. Because so many ingredients came from Glacier National Park he is naming this brew Glacier Summer Ale.

The last photo shows the color what the end result should be; which is exactly what he was aiming for. We will have to wait a couple weeks to try this brew but it should be interesting. I cannot wait to report back. Cheers! Continue reading

Homebrewing an Everyday IPA

For some reason a lot of people think that because I enjoy craft beer so much I must also be a home brewer; well, that is not the case. Primarily because when I first got into craft beer it was due to being on the road more than I was home, so I never really considered it. As time progressed to 2013 I knew I would eventually take the step, but it was not a priority and I was doing other things. In July some friends gave me a Brooklyn Brewshop Beer Making Kit. It was decided that I would write an article about the experience as a first time home brewer. Since it was July and they did not build homes with air conditioning around here, I knew I did not want to boil anything in my kitchen for a couple more months. I looked at the box with its five easy steps and figured “How hard can it be?” I would read the instructions a few times, hit up YouTube and breeze right through this. Not exactly. So, this is written from the perspective of a first time home brewer to a first time home brewer. Or should I say, a first time all-grain home brewer.

I might as well address this first; I am not sure that it would change my experience because I had no say in the matter. I am talking about brewing from extract or all-grain. To tell you the truth, people would ask which way I was doing it and I would say it was a kit. I seem to recall they all presumed it was extract; I did not know what the difference was until after I did my first home brew. If you do not know, I will summarize it for you. If you brew from an extract they have essentially made the wort for you and you just add water and boil. Sounds really easy, I could get into that. The other method is all-grain; it is more work but if you know what you are doing you have a lot more control. If your kit came with a bag of fluid, you are brewing from extract; if it comes with a bag of grain you aren’t. So, brewing from extract is fun; brewing from all-grain is almost work, at least for a beginner. For the record, the Everyday IPA is an all-grain mix; it never mentions that fact on the box although it does show you making mash, so they presume you know the difference.

Actually, while my beer is fermenting I have talked to friends that have suggested that Brooklyn Brewshop is presuming a lot of things, which I discovered a little too late in the process, so learn by my mistakes. On the box they do tell you that you are going to need a six quart pot (a second pot is handy), a fine mesh strainer and a funnel. Since all the instructions I have seen hinted that this was “as easy as making oatmeal” and since Tanya, my girlfriend, is pretty handy around the kitchen I was confident that whatever cooking supplies we did not own would not be a problem in obtaining. Continue reading

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