Archive for September, 2009

Just For Fun

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

from theweeklybrew

I know I haven’t been consistent lately, or even posting great posts, but there are reasons. I’ll give you those reasons later though. For now I’m curious. If you could build a brewery from the ground up, without cost being an issue, what would you brew?

Would you go with the 80’s/90’s brewpub model with a basic lineup of IPA/brown/stout?

Would you build an eco friendly brewery that was concerned about production impacts (hey it seems to be a trend), or would you go all out (best equipment, methods, and ingredients)?

Would you release consistent seasonals? Or change things up every year?

Would you have a special brewers reserve line of great unique beers? Or would you only produce great unique beers?

Go hog wild and dream up your favorite brewery, then let me know what it would look like.

Future Brewery??

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

So in case you haven’t heard (really not many have) Venti’s is going to be in a movie. Very few people who saw this picture of the following beer on Leslies Facebook though knew of the movie.


JR has a whole post on the movie at Venti’s, although if you read it you may walk away wondering if Venti’s really is a brewery.

Leslie assured me when she first let me in on this that Venti’s doesn’t have a secret brewery, but that it’s a possibility in the future (the brewery, not the secret part). This is why I’ve been asking those questions about what people in Salem are looking for in a brewery.

Things Beer Geeks Like

Friday, September 25th, 2009

from theweeklybrew



For the 306 million Americans who don’t know what those letters mean I’ll explain. GABF stands for Great American Beer Festival.

For beer geeks the GABF is like Comi-Con. It is our Mecah, our Star Trek Convention. It is the holliest event in beer geekdom. 46,000 beer snobs come out of the wood work to get their pictures taken with rockstar brewers, sample unique one off beers, and generally act…. Well, geeky.

The GABF was founded in the 80’s by Charlie Papazian. It was a small festival back then with only 22 breweries participating. Back then it was like many of our smaller festivals today. Now though it is a behemoth that causes beer geeks to cream their jeans. With over 490 brewers at this years clan gathering, and the numbers going pretty much up every year.

As a beer geek I find it hard to be snarky and critical of this event. While it’s easy to laugh at the way we act during brewery tours, it’s another thing to mock the GABF. It’s like a Catholic mocking the Virgin Mary.

Still though there is a dark side to the GABF for beer geeks. The reality is they really do let just about anyone into this festival. There are booths for Blue Moon, In-Bev, PBR…. Also many of the smaller brewers aren’t necessarily making great beers. Still though Beer Geeks speak of this event in hushed tones, and anyone who dares to bring up the fact that there are mediocre beers at this festival is bound to be excommunicated.

I guess I should just be happy we don’t dress up in costumes at our festival….


Pic from The Beer Here

Everyone Has Guinness On The Brain

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

from theweeklybrew


I spent my morning getting drug tested and buying brewing supplies, so I am just now getting to posting. Luckily my boss lets me do stuff like this 🙂

Anyway, Guinness is had a worldwide toast today to their 250th year brewing (although according to an Irish blogger the true date of the lease signing is 9 weeks away). The thing is though everyone is posting about this. So what’s the point in me giving the history? Why should you read my thoughts when Jeff has a great post about how Guinness was brewing back when Americans were trading slaves and before we were mean to the poor helpless Indians. Or why try to hold your attention when Sara is giving away her Guinness 250 care package she received to the 25th commenter?

Anyway as you can see it’s pointless to talk about Guinness when everyone else is. The only unique thing I could bring to the table is posting about how mediocre it is, but even that niche has been filled. Instead here are some links to Guinness 250 articles.

Sarah is giving away a Guinness 250 care package here

Jeff works in a few guilty America comments here

Reuters has an article that sounds like you could substitute Guinness for Bud and black stuff for pale stuff and it would then be about Bud

Anti ArthurPost from Beernut, a blogger from Dublin I believe.

Another anti Guiness bit this time from a letter sent to The Irish Times

Or you could always head to Guinness to get the official press

Building a Beerscape

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

Salem is ripe for another attempt at building it’s beer culture, and many people have noticed as much. The interesting part is listening to the people who are shaping, or planning to shape, that landscape, and hearing where they’d like to see it go.

In recent years Salem has seen a reshaping of it’s downtown culture. It’s no longer being aimed primarily at teens and young 20 somethings. Salems food culture is a good example of this. We’ve always had a decent selection of restaurants downtown,  but the variety and style is changing. More and more Salems downtown culture seems to be shifting in a Portland direction. The question I have is should Salem follow the Portland model in terms of beer?

Portland has earned the nickname Beervana and has consistently been ranked in the top beer cities of the US. More and more though Oregon’s best beers are coming from outside of Portland. This is because Portland seems to be built on the brewpub/brewery model that came out of the 80’s and 90’s. Every brewery seems to have a selection of the same beers. No matter where you go in Portland you can get an IPA, or a stout. Because of this pubs spend more time trying to steal more market share from each other then on being unique. More and more it’s limited release beers, and a diversity of styles that are defining Oregon’s beerscape. But what does each new brewery bring to table? Just their versions of the same beers?

Should Salem build it’s beer culture on this pub platform? Do we really need more places like Boons or the RAM? Places where you can get pub food and their versions of the same beers. Salem has a chance to set off in a different direction. Salem has a chance to be different then Portland. I love diversity in beer, but the Portland model doesn’t have that, it just has lot’s of beer. Is there a way to preserve what makes Salem unique and at the same time build a unique beer culture?

Sudsy Beer Is Good??

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

from theweeklybrew


So I’ve already gone through something like 4 or 5 imperial pints of my Gooseberry and Yarrow Farmhouse Ale (name needs work) in the last two days, and boy is it good. The interesting thing is each one has a soap bubble character when poored from the bottle, yet in the glass looks, and tastes, fine.

I’ve already diagnosed the problem. In fact this is the easiest problem I’ve had to diagnose to date. When I made up my batch of StarSan to sanitize my bottles and equipment I made it up per the directions on the bottle. I have since learned that the directions are a little heavy handed. I should have realized it sooner though when I was fretting over the coating that was left after draining the sanitizer from the bottles. Instead of doing something though I let them dry, sitting down I might add (don’t have a drying rack). The end result was a slight StarSan film was left in the bottom. This is what caused soap like bubbles to appear in the bottle.

Despite this though my beer is great. The head is thick and fluffy, the flavor is almost spot on (could be slightly drier), even the aroma is good. It’s just the soap bubbles in the bottle preventing me from calling it great. Then again I’m at like 80 oz of this stuff, so I can’t very well call it bad.

Anyone else had this issue with StarSan?

Brewers Dinner In Salem

Monday, September 21st, 2009

from theweeklybrew

vtweetUsually I don’t get to excited about brewers dinners. They’re usually way overblown affairs where you eat courses made with beer as an ingredient, and served that beer as a beverage to accompany the course. Not an unusual idea. Heck, go to a Packers game and they’ll serve you the same BMC as the sausage was boiled in. It’ll also be cheaper at a Packers game. The fare is usually top notch, unlike tailgate food, but for the prices charged I’d rather stay at home and dine with family and friends.

All that to say Venti’s is hosting a brewers dinner on October 18. The brewery is Ft George, and the price is $40. If your interested here’s what’s being dished up.

  • Appetizer: Braised tornado of lamb and grilled salmon mousseline, paired with Vortex IPA
  • Salad: Frisee, radicchio, watercress, & arugula, tomato with salt pork lardons and fresh croutons with a Divinity Ale vinagrette, paired with Divinity Ale
  • Entree: Duck Fat braised short ribs with a lamb and stout beer demi & celery root puree, paired with Cavatica Stout
  • Dessert: Chocolate Torte paired with Coffee Girl Espresso Stout

There are only 40 spots available, so if you want in call Venti’s or stop by. Ticket sales for it start September 23

325 Court St NE
Salem, OR
tel. 503-399-8733

To Early For Winter?

Saturday, September 19th, 2009

from theweeklybrew


Currently I’m suffering from what I’m thinking is a sinus infection. This means I need meds to clear my head and get through work. Anyway, I was in Albertsons grabbing meds today and noticed Jubelale is already on the shelf. Is it really the time for winter seasonals? Keep in mind I’m looking forward to winter beers. I even did a post on the ones I’m waiting for. My question though is is it to early for Deschutes to release Jubelale?

Jubelale has become the defining winter seasonal in Oregon. When it hits the shelves is when winter beer is “officially” ok to drink. It’s disappearance is also the defining moment of the start of spring beers. So what on earth is it doing on store shelves in September????

The Brew Sitedescribes it as “hot and green” which is to be expected.  After all, this beer needs age to round out it’s flavors. So why isn’t Deschutes holding back the release for a few months to give their product  a more typical winter flavor? Could this actually hurt them as a company? For an iconic beer like Jubelale serving it up early and green could harm it’s reputation with non beer geeks and beer geek wannabe who enjoy it.

Things Beer Geeks Like

Friday, September 18th, 2009

from theweeklybrew

Rockstar Brewers

No, I’m not refering to Badass Beer, Kid Rocks attempt at using his name to market a beer using his fame. What I’m refering to is a comment made by Greg Koch that has now spawned the phrase rockstar brewer. At least Gregs keynote speech is the first time I remember hearing it. Ironically Greg himself is one of these self proclaimed rockstars. Kinda funny since Greg is Stone Brewings CEO, and not it’s head brewer. This doesn’t stop him or other rockstars from parading around with all the pomp that the phrase emplies they would have.

To be fair these guys really are rockstars. Instead of shredding a guitar they work in a brewery. Like a rockstar they don’t always write their own music. They just recycle the same old beer styles and recipes from everywhere and put a little of their own spin on it. Occasionally they will colaborate with other rockstars of the brewing world to bestow a mythic brew upon us lowely peasants. One primary difference is instead of being followed by swooning girls who hang on their every world they’re followed by guys with beer guts who act like said girls. They write books, slap their brand on tshirts, and hand out advice as if theirs is the only way. Heck, they even spend most of their free time supporting causes and rallying their fans to stick it to the man, just like real rockstars.

So who are these rockstars? Well there is no be all end all list. Just like a Rolling Stone top 100 list their is always dispute over some of the smaller “indie” artists, and big name headliners who deserve recognition. There is however a basic list of 4 that no one disputes.

  • Greg Koch – Stone Brewing Co

  • Peter Bouckaert – New Belgium Brewing Company

  • Sam Calagione – Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

  • Vinnie Cilurzo – Russian River Brewing Company

These 4 are the subject of every beer geeks wet dreams. They covet and hord special releases of their beers. Whenever a new beer is released it skyrockets to the top of the Beeradvocate rating lists without fail. Nevermind that many of these beers released haven’t even seen the minimum aging before the geeks buy them up and suck them down. Nevermind that they never match up to the hype. They are the Gods of beer and we are not worthy.

Farewell Yarrow

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

from theweeklybrew


This last year was full of discovery in terms of herbal beers. I brewed my first gruit with yarrow in the spring, and instantly fell in love with the herb. I followed that up with adding yarrow to other beers in a random fashion, not caring if it enhanced or detracted from the flavor. Well, I think I have burned out on yarrow because of it.

Yarrow is purportedly a healing herb with it’s use going back past the middle ages. It’s not a beautiful plant like a hop vine, it kinda reminds me of Queen Anne’s Lace in fact. For smell and aroma you can’t beat it. This stuff is amazing…. and strong. It has a sweet, grassy, herbal flavor, with some slight bittering. and the nose is very floral and grassy. This stuff really is a trip in beer because you don’t expect it.

Here I am singing it’s praises though after saying I’m burnt out. The reason I’m burnt out is because of my beer that just finished carbing. Recently I brewed a roggenbier with some modifications. The first mod was I amped the rye malt and barley malt up without increasing the hops. This worked better then I planned, the beer tastes like liquid bread. It’s thick and yummy, but it’s def a beer you only have one of. The second mod I did was I tossed in some left over heather tips and yarrow…. Ya, now I’m not certain what to think of the beer. It’s not bad, but the herbal taste just over runs the beer. I’m hoping my yarrow saison doesn’t have this overpowering quality…. Especially since I used much more yarrow in it then I did the roggenbier.

After this experience though I think I’ll lay off the yarrow for a bit.