Monday, May 19, 2014

SFHG Barbecue & Competition

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
Friday, I met up with Jackie D, Supastar, Restless & her boyfriend and we headed over to Church Key in North Beach for a few libations. I like this bar… it typically has a fantastic selection of very different beers from sours to various stouts… and they usually have a few dark beers on draft which is always good. My favorite this adventure was Dark Seas Imperial Stout… and I’ve found that you really can’t go wrong with Imperial anything. They’re just strong, delicious & like a supersized version of the original profile. After a few rounds, we grabbed some pizza slices at Tony’s… and then I was off to pick up Izzy from a day at work via bus. Good times.
Saturday was the San Francisco Homebrewers Guild Tribute to America Beer Competition & Barbecue!!! This was the first event handled by the new leadership group (including myself) and I think it went swimmingly. We set up a 10’ x 10’ tent, plenty of tables, the grills, a few key elements of picnic foods, and viola we had a pretty bitchin’ barbecue with plenty of homebrew to share. Here are some pictures…

Towards the end, we also shared the results of our competition beers (American styles which were submitted a few weeks back). We had entered our Honey Amber Ale… and then soon realized that we were disqualified because we had used honey, which technically makes it a “Specialty” category, which was not part of this competition. Oh well… there was also the People’s Choice Award where everybody could pick their favorite competition beer & non-competition beer that was on display that afternoon. I’m feeling really good because… we basically finished 2nd & 3rd in the People’s Choice with our Honey Amber & what we’re now calling our Oktoberfest-Lite, which everybody enjoyed. We got some great feedback on our beers… tried some others to inspire future brews… and there were some great selections that won the awards… and of course, everybody had a fantastic time… and that’s what’s most important!!! I’m really excited to be working with these guys & gals to make these kinds of events happen.
By the way, if you would like to take part in these kinds of fun events, hit me up & I can let you know how to join the Guild… or even if you want to stop by & check it out. Izzy’s sister, Jackie D & soon Bubbles will be guests at our monthly meetings… and they seem to love them. Holla back!!!
Sunday night, Izzy & I went to The Palace of Fine Arts to watch a live podcast of Adam Carolla with special guest Mike Rowe. That’s right… the Holy Trinity of Manliness was in the same building (including myself). They were basically on stage for just under two hours doing their standard routine… but if you haven’t heard the podcast before, it’s basically a lot of outstanding comedy, social commentary, current events, interviews of special guests… and just a plain good time. This was actually one of the better podcasts that I’ve heard & I was glad that we could be a part of it… and did I mention we were sitting 2nd row? Yeah… cuz we’re awesome like that…

Anyway, so it was a pretty amazing weekend… and this weekend should be even better as my mom flies in on Wednesday & we board for our 10-day cruise to Alaska on Friday. I’m sure you’ll be anxiously awaiting all of our pictures! I’m sure anxious to be spending some time with loved ones instead of working my anus completely off. So yeah, may be a while before you hear from us but… Thanks for reading! Have a great day everybody!!!

Thursday, May 15, 2014


Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
First up, just a real quick news story that I thought was interesting & pointless all at the same time…
Deadbeat Dad Sentenced - An Ohio appeals court has upheld a judge's order that a deadbeat father can't have more kids until he pays his back child support. The decision this week by the 9th District Court of Appeals didn't provide an opinion about whether the judge's order was appropriate (or technically legal, temporary castration?). Instead the appeals court said it didn't have enough information to decide the merits of the case without a copy of the pre-sentence report detailing Asim Taylor's background. In January 2013, Lorain County Probate Judge James Walther said Taylor couldn't have more children while he is on probation for five years. The judge said the order would be lifted if Taylor pays nearly $100,000 in overdue support for his four children. The (Elyria) Chronicle-Telegram reports that Taylor's attorney is arguing that the order violates his right to reproduce… which is obvious… but I was more surprised that he only had four children. I mean… we all know lots of deadbeat dads who have LOTS more children… some of them go Antonio Cromartie when trying to name them all & just forget… but at least he has multiple concussions to blame for that. The topic aroused is… should the “Idiocracy Prophecy” be stopped? Now… I’m sure there’s extenuating circumstances as to why he owes $100,000 in back child support stemming from a combination of lawyers, evil exes & delinquency fees… but the mind boggles at this sentence. Should the courts have this kind of power? How would the order be executed? By which I mean the zygote? Obviously he has some sort of latex allergy that prohibits him from wearing standard condoms… so will his special ordered condoms be covered by the courts? Will somebody be assigned to follow him around for any casual hookups that may result in zygote? If not, will his parole officer be inquiring into his affairs? Is temporary castration the answer? How the f**k is he going to make $100,000 without robbing a bank or winning the lottery? Obviously he’s not raking in the dough… at least on the books. What about deadbeat moms? OH YES!!! They exist… I assure you. What of them? My brother’s ex-crackwhore wife is on child #6 with father #6… and apparently her first five children are with the fathers (except my niece who is with my brother). Should she be restricted from reproducing? Look… it’s a stupid sentence that’ll never fly… but it does raise some questions. Should society pay for unwanted children? That’s obviously a coldhearted way of looking at it… but obviously most REAL parents are having trouble raising their own children… so why should they be further burdened because of others? Is it fair to them? Conversely, is it fair to the children caught in the middle of all of this? “Sorry, mommy was drunk one night & daddy was a rolling stone so… I guess you’ll just have to enjoy a life of neglect & poverty.” Ugh… deadbeats anger me… sometimes I’m glad that I didn’t get laid throughout college so… I’m pretty sure there’s no little me’s running around out there. Hmm… except from sperm bank donations… but obviously those parents are pretty well to do. Anyway, if you ever need a fun topic for discussion at baby showers… you know where to find me, enjoy!
Wednesday night, after probably the hottest day that I’ve ever experienced here in downtown (a scorching 92… yeah, I know… I’m a puss now), I met up with Bubbles & we had a nice little dinner at Little Nepal over on Cortland (really like that area) and caught up on the events in each other’s lives. She’s still growing weary of San Francisco… but not sure where she’d want to move to just yet? I like it here… dare say I love it here… but it’s hella expensive… and it’s not like I need to live here for any particular reason… but yeah, I plan on staying for a while… at least another year… but we shall see. After dinner, I dropped her off at her apartment, headed back home & had four packages waiting for me…
The first contained my PS3 which had been sent off thanks to the “Yellow Light of Death” but hopefully I can copy the files & get a few more years out of it. Yes, it’s one of the originals from 7-8 years ago… but I keep it pretty clean from dust & changed out the hard drive to a 500 GB system a while back… and never had problems with it before it… just decided to stop. Anyway, this company gave it a once-over, changed out a few things that’re usually the problem & hopefully it’ll work out for a little bit longer because… there’s pretty much no way that I’m going to buy a PS4 any time soon. I just… don’t play enough for it to be feasible.
The second was from Amazon… and it contained two new books… “President Me” by Adam Carolla, which is basically things he would change if he were President of the United States… and “Shrinkage” by “Bald” Bryan Bishop, which is essentially a chronicle of the first year of his life after being diagnosed with a brain tumor. Fun subject matter obviously, but apparently he has a well-written, lighthearted & ultimately thankful approach to it… and I like supporting their endeavours… so yeah, I’ll have to give them a read… and hopefully get them signed this Sunday when I see them in person at The Palace of the Fine Arts for a live podcast… with special guest Mike Rowe.


The third contained a large refill of PBW (pretty nifty powder cleaner for brewing supplies) and a quad core kit… which is basically four one-gallon fermenters with the fixings… but essentially it’s a way for us to take a standard five gallon batch of homebrew… and experiment a little bit if we wanted to. For example, if we wanted to test out different yeasts from the same wort to see what might work best in another large batch, we can split them up into the 4-5 fermenters and test them out simultaneously. Another option might be if we do the same primary fermentation… but then in the secondary we want to dry hop… or add fruit… or maybe some bourbon… or vanilla extract… or cold lager as opposed to standard fermentation… and on and on… so that we can find the best recipes possible in the simplest time… and we’re kind of nerds… so that may be awesome. Another options… let’s say that we want to do a lager or bock that requires cold fermentation. Well, it’s difficult to get a full 5-gallon carboy into a fridge, especially with roommates… but if we split it up into one-gallon carboys… then we can put one in the fridge… two in another fridge… and maybe two in another, so there’s a little flexibility there. I’m really excited about the options with these… so I’ll be sure to keep you posted.
The fourth & final package of the day… was actually an envelope… and it contained… the results from the Napa Homebrewers Classic that we entered last month. As you can see… we’re now officially… AWARD-WINNING BREWERS!!!
Yes, we took 3rd place for an American Amber with our Honey Amber recipe… and scored “very good” on the judging with 37 out of 50. Now, the Oktoberfest scored a 27 which was okay… but as mentioned, I thought it tasted watered-down a bit & the judges kind of confirmed my suspicions… but yeah, the Honey Amber turned out amazing & I couldn’t be happier with the results honestly. Eight months into it & we’re already winning fairly prestigious awards! A big wholehearted thank you to all of the judges out there… and we’ll definitely take your feedback to heart. Now, I’m curious to see how we do with the other competitions… including the SF Homebrewer’s Guild competition results that will be announced at the barbecue in Golden Gate Park this weekend. Fingers crossed on that one but there’s plenty of great competition within the Guild.
I also just got back from the SFHG Leadership Meeting to settle everything for the barbecue too... and it's really a great bunch of guys & gals that I get to hang out with... so yeah, really excited about the brewing thing right now... like I've been the past six months but MORE so... cuz now we're award winners.
Anyway, that’ll do it for this evening… and this weekend should be pretty EPIC!!! Last weekend before the cruise includes a night of beer-based exploration with some of my coworkers Friday night… the big barbecue on Saturday… and then attempting to avoid Bay to Breakers before an evening with Izzy, Adam Carolla, Mike Rowe & other badasses. Have a great weekend everybody!!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Auntie Brew Day

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
Saturday, we met up with Izzy’s aunts Nan & Sue for our first shared Brew Day. See… a few years ago (like 7 or 8) they were given a Mr. Beer Brew Kit with a fairly simple two gallon system… but they hadn’t used it. Obviously just about everything in the kit had expired except for the plastic barrel with a spigot, but we picked up fresh malts & hops at the Oak Barrel and started making an attempted clone of one of their favorites… Sierra Nevada’s Torpedo Extra Pale Ale. Was it a completely flawless situation? Of course not. We had just bought a new 11-gallon brewpot for a big batch like this… but their stovetop had a microwave directly over it, so we had to improvise with their 4 gallon pot… and the only problem with that was that it was a LOT of malt sugars for what would ultimately be a 7 gallon batch (5 for us, 2 for them) but we made it work. Here are some pictures…
You can tell they're related... because all
the eyes are closed simultaneously...
After boiling for an hour & adding the hops… lots of them… like a half pound (8 oz) in total for this 7 gallon batch where our previous record was 4 oz by accident with our Honey Amber… we then did a little bit of an odd cool-down process… because we knew we had to add more water, etc anyway… and transport into a larger brew pot (fit in the sink), we sanitized the larger pot (we’ll call him Bayou Billy), put a few bag of ice from the grocery store into the pot, then poured the hot wort directly into the pot with the ice. Not traditional… but the thinking behind this was that the boiling wort would quickly kill any nasties that might be in the ice (made sure that no plastic was involved), it would chill the wort quickly and turn into the water that we were going to add anyway… and then any additional water needed, they had a nice little hose setup on their faucet that we topped it off with. The result: The wort chilled MUCH faster than usual… in fact, there was still some ice floating at the top when we were transferring from the kettle to the fermenters… so we actually had to warm the wort up a bit to room temperature before adding the yeast. So yeah, real good & we’ll see how that method works. Sure beat the wort chiller or our standard methods… but there are variables in there too.

So after the quick cool, we loaded up their two gallon plastic fermentor which they placed in their basement… and we filled up our fermentor, drove about 40 miles across the bay back to my place, & then topped off the fermentor, pitched the yeast and set it up in the dark corner. Overall, I think it was an incredible success… and hopefully we get the ladies a little excited… and then we can set up another brew day in the future if they like the results… or they may just want to see us do it some time. Great ladies… hopefully we can give them something fun to do during their retirement… and two gallons should be small enough for them to move around easily since it’s less than 20 pounds I think.
SF Homebrewing Guild BBQ & our first competition results are on Saturday in Golden Gate Park!!! Also this weekend, Adam Carolla at the Palace of Fine Arts… and we’ve got great tickets for it!!! I'm gonna get these signed...
A week from now, my mom & stepdad are coming to visit for a few days… before we all go on a cruise to Alaska… so yeah, LOTS of fun things going on the next few weeks… but I’ll keep you posted in due time. Have a great day everybody!!!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Motobrewer Big Brew Day

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
Wednesday night, Jackie D & I headed out to AT&T Park (her first time) to watch the San Francisco Giants play a baseball match against the San Diego Fathers… er, Padres. This last day of April was surprisingly hot (like mid-80s?) but we made it… even stopping along the way at Garaje for some decent beers & Mexican food at a decent price. The place looks like an old tune-up shop that was turned into a select-service restaurant/bar kind of hybrid. It was pretty nice for what we wanted… good food, good beer, at a good price (by SF standards). Anyway, we also grabbed a beer at Public House at the stadium (standing room only), enjoyed a few more during the game (at over $1 an ounce, f**k me…) and yes… one more on the way home at some place I don’t recall but they had Mario Kart. As for the game, it was actually a pretty good one… not too long… Giants got out to a 3-0 lead, Padres pulled it back, final score was 3-2. Good times… and the view simply can’t be beat at this stadium…

Thursday night, I took Izzy to Cellarmaker Brewing for the first time and enjoyed their Crazy Eyes Kiwi selection. As probably mentioned before, Cellarmaker specializes in more… unique styles of beer to be distinct from other breweries in the area (since there are so many & they’re on the smaller nanobrewery side). Last time it was selections like their Coffee & Cigarettes Porter (I didn’t care for but they sold out) and the Crazy Eyes Kiwi was another unique entry where it’s essentially an IPA… but with kiwifruit & blood orange mixed into the wort complimented with Simcoe Hops. I thought it was actually pretty delicious. I’m also really excited for next week when they release their Taco Hands collaboration… which is an IPA with things like Cilantro, lime juice, cumin, pasilla chilis & citra hops so… it’s I’m guessing supposed to be more like a street taco beer hybrid? It sounded intriguing & is released on Cinco de Mayo… and coming soon, their barrel aged selections. Like I said, decent beer once you find something for you… I’d say give it a shot. We also headed over to Extreme Pizza afterwards for some delicious slices & watch a little of the NBA playoffs (end of great Nets-Raptors game).
Saturday morning, Izzy & I headed over to Motobrewer’s Big Brew Day celebration sponsored by Paul & his wife Miriam. Essentially Paul has a dream homebrewing system that he’s compiled over the years… essentially a 20 gallon version of what we see at Elevation 66 when we assist, fully enclosed in his normally two-car garage, which is in itself pretty remarkable here in the city. The morning started with a few eager learners there to help out & observe him doing a 20 gallon batch on his system… and of course, pick his brain & partake of some beverages. We even brought a few 22 oz bombers of our Honey Amber & Bourbon Barrel Porter to RAVE reviews. Here are some pictures of the morning…

Around noon, there was also a little presentation of how to do a quick 5 gallon batch by guild board member Chris out in his driveway on this gorgeous afternoon…

There was also a lot of meeting new Guild members, sharing some knowledge, networking, and after sticking around to help clean up… we went our separate ways on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon… a little buzzed… but that’s why I took the bus home (Izzy also spent most of the time at a family wedding in Burlingame). However, she will be able to attend the big SF Homebrewers Guild Barbecue on May 17th in Golden Gate Park. That should be a real hootenanny and we’ll learn the results of our first competition as well. It should be a LOT of beer-related fun!!!
Sunday morning, Izzy & I transferred out ChocoNut Stout from the primary fermenter to the secondary fermenter… you’ve seen the process before… but this is just some gorgeous looking (and smelling) beer… we’ll be kegging this in about 4-5 weeks (probably after our cruise) and then drinking it shortly after chilled. Behold…

Sunday afternoon, Chick’n’Wing & her new boyfriend (that we met last Reno trip when we saw Alice Cooper) came to town so that he could get a new tattoo at Picture Machine Tattoo Parlor… but rather than stick by his side while he bled out… she wanted to run around the city… so I drove her out to the beach… then to Chinatown… then to Union Square to meet up briefly with Izzy for lunch, while just catching up on happenings& going-ons. Great to see her again… and she’s already trying to set up our next trip… but we’ll see how that all works out.

Just something funny I saw at Walgreen's...
Not every day that your bones jump you...
Anyway, that’ll do it for this entry… busy busy few weeks… and then the cruise… so yeah, still busy… but at least there’s plenty of fun stuff in between to report on. Have a great week everybody!!!