Sunday, November 16, 2014

Woods Brewing Weekend

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
Friday night, in preparation for our brewday with Woods Brewing, I found out there was an extension/taproom called Woods Polk Station right on my bus line, so I decided to check it out after a long week at work... and it's a nice little place. Very small, but kind enough staff, wasn't jam packed, and the beer was pretty good. Apparently Woods Brewing has found a niche of primarily light ales & lagers, and focusing on unique ingredients and angles to brewing beer. For example, a number of their offerings have yerba mate & various herbs for bittering... and caffeine. That's right... Drew Carey Shows's Buzz Beer is alive and well... but with yerba mate tea providing caffeine instead of coffee or something... but yeah, they have that. They also like to play with coloring beer with various additives... which is odd, because that's exactly what we wanted to do soon with adding Ox Blood Beets into a pale ale for coloring... but more on that later. The beer itself is different... but pretty good, very interesting bittering with the herbs & hops. I highly recommend it. They also have guest taps for porters & other darker beers if that's you thing. Check 'em out!

Saturday morning, the SF Homebrewers Guild (including Izzy & myself) went to Cerveceria de Mateveza / Woods Brewing’s new location in Oakland for a special collaborative brewday with the head brewers to see how homebrew concepts are done on a larger scale professionally. Now, over the past year, Izzy & I have been to a number of these things and helped work on a few with Elevation 66, so we were happy to help, but they seemed to have a system down… but it’s always interesting to see the various setups and styles that each brewery has to offer. They have a three-barrel system (about 93 gallons) located upstairs from their taproom below. Check it out!

Their head brewer Jim Woods was there to walk us through the process. He started a pale ale about two hours before we arrived... and as a parting gift, he made this whole extra three-barrel batch of pale ale so that a number of us could take home a 5-gallon carboy home and experiment with… using different yeast, dry hopping, fermentation temperatures, additions during fermenting, whatever we’d like… and then in a few weeks we’ll share the results at our official “collaboration beer” release party. After discussion with the other guild members, Izzy & I decided that this would be probably the best time for us to use the pale ale to add the Ox Blood Beets she just harvested... and we'd see how it goes with a basic California Ale yeast. So we'll see how it goes in a few weeks at the release party.

Izzy is such a great brewmistress helping out...

Empanadas provided as well for lunch,
thanks Woods Brewing!!!
 Our President thought ahead enough to bring a stroller...

 The Pale Ale is a little darker than expected...
but should still work, it tends to lighten up with fermentation

Jim then started a batch of the pale ale for all of us to see from the beginning... but his twist that he was adding purple yams to give it a distinct color and flavor. Great minds think alike I guess... but it was great to pick his brain on strategies for adding them, though because our systems are drastically different, we had to go with a less recommended method... but more on that later.

 The Pale Ale with purple yams added after the mash...
Another pleasant surprise was a few journalists  & photographers with Liquid Bread Magazine interviewing the guild members and seeing what the appeal was about homebrewing and the culture surrounding it among other things, so we were MORE than happy to help answer all of their questions. It's obviously a booming market & the culture is VERY open & willing to share their "trade secrets" and whatnot... because it's all about establishing relationships & making good beer wherever you go. As the Outreach Chair for the SF Homebrewers Guild, I was more than happy to offer my information & hopefully they'll utilize it, because it sounds like it'll be a great article or series of them. So a great event & a HUGE THANK YOU TO WOODS BREWING for hosting us!!!
Once we got home, we prepared our beets for the addition... by chopping up the beets to increase surface area, boiling them a little in some water, adding a whirfloc tablet to help with clarity, and basically tried to extract the color and some sugars to the wort... and then adding the yeast to get fermentation started.

 You can see the beet addition at the top...
we may not have used enough, but we'll see
as it will hopefully lighten up with fermenation
Later that evening, Izzy & I finished off the last of our Pumpkin Amber Ale and it was time to reuse the keg… so we cleaned the keg as well as cleaned out the lines that we’d been using for the various parties over the last couple of weeks. The keg tap hoses can be a little hard to clean out as you can’t just run water or liquid through it… they’re specifically designed to have liquids forced through them with pressure… or seal up so that there’s no retreating infection. So basically to do that, you have to run a cleaning solution through it as if it were beer on tap… which is cool… and obviously works pretty good…
Then it was time to keg the Pale Ale that we had started on National Learn to Homebrew Day two weeks ago… so that it would be ready for a party with Izzy’s classmates in about a week. It was pretty standard once the keg, hoses & all the fixings were cleaned and the rubber gaskets were replaced…

 PBW is the best for cleaning carboys... period.
So that was basically a busy Saturday... but it wasn't that bad, excited for next weekend with the big Homebrew Share at Pi Bar with the SF Homebrewers Guild. I'll keep you posted. Have a great week everybody!!!

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