May 28, 2009

Single Minded Pale Ale

Yep, I've gone and done it. Months ago I decided to start homebrewing, mainly to further appreciate how good the pros are. That's still the case, but the first time I had a single-hopped beer--Bear Republic's IPA brewed with Simcoe--it got me thinking about hop varieties.

While it's only my 3rd batch, I'm committed to doing a series of American Pale Ales; same grain bill, but altering the hops each time. I started with a moderately aggressive hop: Centennial. Gimme a month to let y'all know how it turns out.

I also heard somewhere along the way that instead of just composting my spent grains, I could bake them into bread. So I did. The result? I'll be composting it in the morning.

Lastly, if you're in the Bay Area and interested in single hop beers, there just so happens to be a tasting of Mikkeller single-hopped IPAs. The tasting is this Friday and here's the info.

May 25, 2009

The coldest beer I ever drank was a Summer Ale in San Francisco

It's seriously in the chilly-50s and cloudy and doesn't feel like the holiday in which we usher in summer. But if we drink like we're Irish on St. Patty's Day, let's drink like it's summer in The City.

Don't forget to subscribe to this blog, and equally if not more important, my SF Craft Beer Examiner page.

Happy Memorial Day.

May 21, 2009

SF Craft Beer Examiner's 1st post

Whether is boiling or freezing this summer in San Francisco, it's the perfect weather for a beer fest. Or several. Check out a list I compiled here.

If you or anyone you know is putting on beer-related events in the Bay Area or have an idea for something beery and local, email me and I'll see if it's Examiner-appropriate.

Update: Thanks to hamachi for bringing this to my attn. Moylan's Breast Fest on 7/18 in Novato.

May 19, 2009

This Bud's for 15M of You

I just read this CNN story about pot. I learned many interesting things beyond the fact that there's a government weed lab akin to the Ft. Knox of dope or, since that was used in the story, I'll come up with my own: The Garden of Weed'n. Take this:

Although street marijuana in the early 1980s had an average strength of 4 percent tetrahydrocannabinol -- the drug's primary psychoactive ingredient -- the average was 10.1 percent last year, the government announced.

That sounds a lot like beer. When Prohibition was repealed, beer was mandated to be 3.2% alcohol by weight. Some states still restrict sales to "three-two beer." But 3.2% alc. by weight equals 4% alc. by volume (ABV). In the early '80s, when there were fewer than 4 dozen brewing companies in the US, beer had very little flavor, so it's no wonder Americans started drinking beer with fewer calories and less flavor, ie: Lite beer.

So whereas Bud Light is 4% ABV, it's increasingly popular to find beers brewed to 10% ABV or over such as Pliny the Younger, an uber-hoppy Imperial IPA. It is perhaps no small coincidence that cannabis (pot) and humulus (hop) are cousins within the cannabaceae family.

The article also mentioned that the DEA believes almost 15 million Americans toke up. Frankly, I think that's a low-ball number, but maybe because I walk around in San Francisco. It also stated that some confiscated weed clocked in at over 30% THC, (that tetrahydrocannib-something-or-other). Sam Adams Utopias boasts an impressive 25% ABV. Coincidence?

May 17, 2009

Well, Well, Well

I finally figured out the URL that I can share that doesn't require membership. Starting last Wednesday, I've been participating in a 2-week long online discussion about Red, White, and Brew. It's hosted by The Well and it's fun, informative, and I'm enjoying the reader participation. Not that you can't ask me any old question about beer, or otherwise, any old time, but why not chime in here.

**Update: here's an easy short URL to send around: 
(nevermind Yaeger is misspelled.)


Today is Bay 2 Breakers, akin to Halloween in San Francisco, minus the trick-or-treating, kids, and bouts of sobriety. It's basically a 12k "race" across town in costume, if wearing anything at all. Half Pint and I live right across the street from the route through Golden Gate Park, so we played some Backgammon and took in the spectacle. While open containers are allowed, bottles are not, so I refreshed myself with the only canned beer I had--someone's remnants from a recent bbq--Tecate. One young man derided me for drinking Mexican beer and thereby not helping the American economy.
Forget for a moment that said whippersnapper was carrying a Hannah Montana ball made in China and wore a T-shirt for a German bong manufacturer touting its outlet stores in Amsterdam, Tokyo, etc. When I informed this patriotic beer-o-phile that the Coors Light he was drinking is, in fact, Canadian, I think I figuratively pissed on his parade.

May 7, 2009

Sam Adams Headache

During the interim phase of my beer drinking career between finding the cheapest way to get drunk and finding the best tasting beers regardless of cost, I occasionally ordered Sam Adams. There may have been more than one beer from the Boston Beer Co. out there, but all I knew was Boston Lager. But I'd more often than not opt for Grolsch (fun latch-top) or Moosehead (everything from Canada is fun). I found myself telling people "Sam Adams gives me an expensive headache."

I rarely imbibe Grolsch or Mooshead anymore. No Scarcely a good beer pours forth from green bottles. But I rarely drink Sammy either, mostly because while I respect what Jim's doing, I think there are always better examples of his styles.

So when I popped into BevMo (what? it's right next to the post office and I needed to buy Mother's Day cards in a hurry! Yes, they even had ones for my grandmas!) I walked out with the Sam Adams Long Shot mixed pack to try Tasty's DIPA, Alex's Bock, and the Cranberry Wit. I also got the Imperial Series' White and Stout since I've never had an imperial white and I love imperial stouts.

With dinner, Half Pint & I shared one bottle of the Cranberry Wit then a bottle of the Imperial White. Altogether, I had one full bottle.

I woke up in the middle of the night with a raging headache as if I'd consumed my entire haul.

After several Google searches for things like "Sam Adams, headache" and "whenever I drink Sam Adams I get a headache" I discovered I'm not the only one in this boat.

Is there some secret ingredient I'm allergic to even though I don't have any known allergies? Is it merely psychological? Does Jim Koch have a vendetta against me (even though I nominated him for the Mt. Rushmore of Beer in my book)? If anyone has any answers or theories, I'd love to hear 'em.

May 4, 2009

The Session #28: Think/Drink Globally

No doubt we're all big advocates of supporting your local brewery. It's the right thing to do and a tasty way to do it. Since it is my pleasure to host this month's Session, I nearly had us blog about our local breweries, but after doing my homework by going through all the past topics of The Session, I noticed that Gastronomic Fight Club covered that exactly 2 years ago.

American Craft Beer Week is May 11-17. But us beer bloggers know that craft beer is to be supported year-round, and that it doesn't just come from America. So, in honor of Global Craft Beer Forever, I pose everyone writes about the farthest brewery (including brewpubs) you have visited and specifically the best beer you had there. Again, not your favorite or any old brewery you've been to, but the one that is the longest haul away, be it by airplane, car, ferry, rickshaw, whatever. (If you blog about beer but have never been to a House of Brewing, get on it!)

Then, the last part, since this exercise gives us an excuse to drink beer, do one of the following:
  • if you brought home a bottle while visiting the brewery and have it secreted away, crack it open.
  • if you don't have any left from that visit but the particular beer is available where you live (or if not your fave from said brewery, another brand from it), go get one.
  • otherwise, find a local beer of the same style and do a little compare and contrast.
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