Home Brewing

SpringFling with Blackball Brewing

These photos were taken Saturday afternoon in Redondo Beach, where Blackball Brewing Company held their SpringFling 2019; an afternoon of beer, barbecue, and hanging out with old friends while making some new ones.

I am confident a majority of you have never heard of Blackball Brewing, and a good portion of you that have heard of them are only familiar with them because you have seen me, or someone else walking around town with the very recognizable Blackball logo. Personally, I never heard of them before March 13, 2018; and I met the guys behind Blackball for the first time on Saturday.

If it seems odd that I would know the exact date that I became aware of them; you can thank Instagram, as I know I where I was given it, and I posted a photo of the beer I was drinking at the time; a Fresh Squeezed by Deschutes. Continue reading

2nd Cold War Brewing at Zymurgy Brew Works

These photos were taken Thursday evening at Zymurgy Brew Works & Tasting Room in Torrance; the only do-it-yourself, brew-it-yourself brewery in Los Angeles. I was there to brew my Cold War Russian Imperial Stout for the second time; this time I would be assisted by Zymurgy brewer, Keith Edie. I got the recipe from my son who used it to brew his Sochi to Stanley Stout, modified slightly. Buddy and I were joined by our friends Dan, who took photos that I obviously didn’t, and Phil and Deborah who brought a picnic to share during the boils.

Long time readers may recall that I was the first person to brew at Zymurgy almost three years ago. I was there to help them learn their new system, and yes, there were a couple hiccups, but the end result was outstanding. I have one bottle left and it has only gotten better with time. I know there are a couple more bottles floating around out there; I also know their owners are going to be in for a treat when they finally crack them open. Continue reading

Zymurgy Brew Works Brewing Class: Hazy IPA

These photos were taken Thursday evening at Zymurgy Brew Works & Tasting Room in Torrance, where they held another in their series of “every once in a while” brewing classes. Thursday’s class was to learn how to brew a hazy IPA using all grain and was led by Zymurgy Brew Works brewer Richard Wirsing. Each of the attendees will receive one 22oz bottle of the beer they brewed at a later date.

Wirsing explained the brewing process, complete with the Brewers Association newly defined description of the “hazy IPA”. Wirsing even went so far as to pass around bags of various hop varieties so the class participants could have some say as to the hop profile of their IPA. Continue reading

Zymurgy Brew Works Guest Brewer Night with Graham Strong

These photos were taken Tuesday evening at Zymurgy Brew Works & Tasting Room in Torrance as they continued their series of guest brewer nights; this time featuring Graham Strong, an assistant brewer at Brouwerij West in San Pedro.

While the previous guest brewer nights I have attended brewed different versions of IPAs, last night we brewed Brouwerij West’s Saison. While IPAs may be “all about the hops”, Brouwerij West’s Saison is more about the grain bill and the yeast. A definite example of brewers make the wort, yeast makes the beer.

While there may have been a few people that were at Zymurgy for the first time, it seemed that almost everyone was a homebrewer with some experience; but that did not stop anyone from wanting to participate in the process, from adding the grain to stirring or adding the hops. In the dead time we were able to sample a finished example of the Brouwerij West Saison as well as their new IPA, Picnic Lightning. Continue reading

2nd Annual Jeff Sanders Memorial Homebrew Competition

These photos were taken at the 2nd Annual Jeff Sanders Memorial Homebrew Competition which was held Saturday at the Robert Gennaria Memorial Odd Fellows Hall in Redondo Beach. The event was put on by the Strand Brewers Club and was sponsored by South Bay Brewing Supply, King Harbor Brewing Company, Naja’s Place, Smog City Brewing Company, and Strand Brewing Company.

There were 47 entries judged, all of which were limited the Jeff’s favorite styles, which meant there were lots of barleywines, English-style ales, porters and such.

As of this writing, the winners had not been announced, so check the Strand Brewers Club website or Facebook page over the next few days for the announcement. Cheers! Continue reading

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

Zymurgy Brew Works Guest Brewer Night with Phil McDaniel

These photos are from Wednesday evening at Zymurgy Brew Works & Tasting Room, when they held the third in a series of “Learn to Brew” guest brewer nights. Wednesday’s guest brewer was Phil McDaniel, the head brewer at King Harbor Brewing Company (KHBC) in Redondo Beach; the beer being brewed is one of my personal favorites from KHBC, Tiki Hut IPA.

About 15 people attended with a pretty even mix of homebrewers and those that had never tried brewing before; this was also the first time visiting Zymurgy for some with a few people that had yet to visit KHBC. This made for some interesting questions and McDaniel was more than willing to provide valuable answers; covering such subjects as various grain bills and their affect on a beer, as well how he decided on what hops to use.

McDaniel gave us a little background story on his brewing pedigree; including the fact that he started off by volunteering at Bootleggers Brewery (with about two hours notice), before moving on to such prestigious breweries as The Bruery and Stone Brewing Company. Continue reading

Zymurgy Brew Works Guest Brewer Night with Patrick Schulz

These photos were taken Wednesday evening at Zymurgy Brew Works & Tasting Room when they held their second in a series of “Learn to Brew” guest brewer nights; this time featuring Patrick Schulz, a co-founder and head brewer for Scholb Premium Ales, located in Torrance. Patrick would be showing the group how to brew his Dad’s IPA.

As I missed the first guest brewer event, I was not entirely sure how the event would be completed in the scheduled three hours; but like a TV talk show that has a cooking segment, they had that worked out by doing two brews. One brew had already had the grain added by the time I got there, and the second kettle was in the process of heating the water. When everyone arrived they started by adding grain to the second kettle and after sparging the grain in the first kettle, the hop additions began. 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

Cold War Brewing at Zymurgy Brew Works & Tasting Room

On Wednesday evening, Tanya and I headed over to Zymurgy Brew Works & Tasting Room where we met up with co-founder Bill Baker to try out their new Do-It-Yourself craft brewery which is slated to begin their soft-open on September 10, 2016. My brew would not only add some beer to my collection, but it would give Zymurgy an opportunity to dial in their system and it would provide samples for future brewers to enjoy during subsequent brews. I opted to brew a recipe my son has for his Sochi to Stanley Stout; a delicious Russian Imperial Stout. The reason for this was primarily because I did not want to power drink five gallons of an IPA; I would much rather open one bomber every few months and this beer would be just perfect for that.

I had sent the recipe to Baker ahead of time in order to ensure that all the ingredients or applicable substitutes were available. One substitute was replacing the pound of Special B malt with a pound a Crystal 120 which was presented to me as C-120; I thought that sounded like an explosive so I changed the name of the beer to Cold War Russian Imperial Stout. Homebrewers will acknowledge that a Russian Imperial Stout is a pretty ambitious beer for the average homebrewer; Zymurgy was excited to do it as it was a pretty safe bet that this would be one of the biggest beers they will brew there. Continue reading

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