Monday, July 14, 2014

This Weekend in Funville

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
Okay… I’m going to start off with a  few things that I forgot to mention last weekend… because it was busy. Last Wednesday night was the start of the Rogue Independence Day Garage Sale, where you can usually find some pretty good ideas like cases of 24-12 oz bottles for about $20-25 (take into account a case of reusable bottles for homebrewing, it’s like $10 for beer), dollar pint glasses, discounted T-shirts & other merchandise. Though there have been great deals in the past, this time around it wasn’t much. I got about 30% off on their anniversary ale (which was delicious) and I bought a nice $10 tie-dye T-shirt (which should’ve been free for my birthday according to their original Rogue Nation pitch) but other than there, there really wasn’t anything. Maybe next time…
Also, big announcement everybody… we finished our keg of ChocoNut Stout!!! Yup, in three weeks we went through five gallons of that sweet dark deliciousness… but to be fair, it wasn’t all us. After factoring in growlers that we donated to Izzy’s Aunts, Big Ben & Super Dave, the SF Homebrewers Guild, and other sharing… we maybe got half of it… but it was delicious & we’ll certainly have to do it again. The recipe was pretty easy (once we figured out the basics of kegging) and obviously delicious. We’ll find out soon if it’s award-winning… but at the very least, a decent beer to just have around. What does that mean? We have an empty keg and probably the next thing to go in it will be one of our beers for the family reunion in September. We’re thinking a Pale Ale & our award-winning Honey Amber… but we shall see. We’re still open to suggestions.
Also last week, I mentioned that we decided to put a little wait on the Pale Ale recipe that we were going to try… as the real target date for freshness is early September and we only need about three weeks to do that quick recipe… so instead, we did the California Common. However, I forgot to elaborate on the process of how we came to that decision. You see, leading up to the weekend, I decided to put out on Facebook that we were taking suggestions… and kinda did our first “Crowdsourced” brew. Now, it’s not funded or anything… just taking people’s suggestions… and kinda picking one that sounds good to try. There were some great suggestions ranging from a Caramel & Sea Salt Stout (possible future attempt) to Strawberry Blondes to things involving Cherries… which were all great ideas.
However, when it was all said & done… there was one that sounded like a great summer beverage… and a bit of a challenge. You see, a fellow leader on the SF Homebrewer’s Guild named JJ suggested that we do a California Common, of which she has won MANY prestigious awards for her recipe. I jokingly said “Hmm… if only I had an award-winning recipe to start from…” or something like that… and basically within a few minutes she had sent me her recipe… correction: THE Recipe for a California Common. Well, having tried her version on a few occasions, it’s absolutely delicious… and now, Izzy & I are going to try to see if we can recreate the recipe to these incredible standards, much like we did with Elevation 66’s ChocoNut Stout. We shall find out soon enough… and of course, JJ gets a growler (and more if she wants it… but I’m sure she has plenty of her own at home).

Especially since next weekend, we’re taking part in a 20-gallon Cali Common Brew Day of her recipe at Motobrewer for entry into the Northern California Homebrewers Festival in September. Basically the same recipe that we’re a week into… but on a larger scale to share with fellow homebrewers… and probably take home a ribbon or two… because it’s pretty amazing. More on that next week though…
THIS Saturday morning, we woke up early (for a weekend) to observe a collaboration brew between the SF Homebrewers Guild & FreeWheel Brewing in Redwood City. You may recall from back in December that FreeWheel Brewing specializes in cask conditioned ales… which are typically English milds or stouts with a lower carbonation so they typically have a smoother, richer taste & texture that most beers for easy drinkability (and lower alcohol content as well). The brewmaster & the assistant brewmistress walked through the setup & process on how they were going to brew this next batch… which was a lost recipe for a Ruby Mild that we had found in another guy’s book… but yeah, it sounded very intriguing & should be amazing. Here are some pictures…

After we got things started & more people started showing up, unfortunately their brewery isn’t big (like… maybe 100 square feet of moving around space in there) so we kinda took turns between observing… and enjoying some of their brews on tap in their dining area. They also have some great, non-pretentious food there to go along with it. Here are more pictures…

A few minutes in the World Cup 3rd place game, we headed out to Orangevale (near Sacramento) to pick up some beer at Heretic (cuz it’s amazing) and meet up with some of Izzy’s friends… but first, we stopped by Orangevale Meats to get some exotic burger patties (boar, buffalo, kangaroo, elk, venison, etc) and sausages. We got some Hunter’s Sausage & Bockwurst. We also stopped by a grocery store called WinCo to get some bulk goods. Afterwards, Izzy took me to a nice Mongolian BBQ place & we hid from the 100+ degree temps outside. Good eats all around.
Then as the sun started to go down, we met up with her friends at the taproom Final Gravity for their 2nd Anniversary Barrel Aged Celebration, complete with a list of 10+% ABV beverages and birthday cake. We were there for a few hours (don’t worry, I was hella responsible since we drove back around midnight) and just had a good time catching up & tasting various brews. If you’re in the Sacramento area, definitely check it out.
Sunday, we met up with some of Izzy’s other friends at Little Star Pizza in the part of SF known as the Western Addition (?) over by Alamo Square… and we tried some of their highly-regarded pizza that often listed as Top 5 in SF. Well, yes, the pizza was great… we had both thin crust & their deep dish to try out… but the service was hella slow (like well over an hour wait & yes, I know we ordered deep dish… but they had time for a mulligan & we were the first ones there before the post-World Cup final rush) and… yeah, it was the post-World Cup rush… and there was a group of drunken douches (male and female) who were just as load as they could possibly be. Hell, we even yelled our conversation at some point to emphasize it & they were too f**king stupid to realize it… we’ll blame it on culture I guess… but yeah, not the setting for loud-mouthed douchery… so maybe get the pizza to go? Anyway, we then walked off the pizza by Alamo Square…

Then had a few drinks at Mini Bar before heading over to Barrel Head Brewing a few blocks away. Now, this place is fairly new… and let’s be honest, they have a few fermenters that made their three in-house selections (Black Kolsch, nitro-carbonated Rye & a Saison that I didn’t care for) but they’re essentially a taproom for other breweries while making some of their own. Overall, a great place with decent service… and the beer is pretty good, especially if you know what you like.

Anyway, that was the weekend… next week, Big Brewday at Motobrewer in preparation for the NCHF… and also, a trip out to Truckee to hang in the mountains with Izzy’s Aunts and introduce you all to one of my favorite breweries… Fifty Fifty!!! Have a great day everybody!!!

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