Category Archives: CravesFood&Drink

Beer School

Brewing Beer

We went to Beer Camp and now we have been to Beer School to learn how to brew beer! I enjoy tasting craft beers and have wanted to get more hands on with the process. Talk about a FUN Experience! I cannot wait to do it again and soon.

The Brewing Process:

  • Brewing the Beer.
  • Cooling and Fermenting.
  • Priming and Bottling.
  • Conditioning and Aging.
  • The BEST Part of the Process – Tasting and Drinking!

Brewing the Beer


Going to the Grain Grinder


The Grain Grinder


The Grinded Grain in a Sock


The Amber Beer Recipe


Getting Ready to Brew


Steeping the Grains


The Grain Sock is attached to the pot & the lid on.


Ready to Brew


Brewing


Grain Sock Comes Out


Sugar Time ( I wanted to start singing the song Sugar by Adam Levine)


Mixing in the Sugar


Sugar Blended and On To the Next Step


Hops


Here are the Hops Out of the Bag (aka Hop Pellets)


Brewing . . .


Brewing . . .

Cooling and Fermenting

The hot brew (aka the wort) is cooled to room temperature and transferred to a fermenter. Once the mixture drops to room temperature, yeast is added to start the fermentation process. The key part of this process is cleanliness and sanitation since the wort can be easily infected by bacteria in this state.


Cooling the Brew


Adding of the Yeast Once Brew is Cooled

Priming and Bottling

Beer Here!

The airlock container used to keep the fermenter sealed is opened after 1 to 2 weeks of fermentation. Again cleanliness and sanitation is key in the bottling process.


Not So Pretty

Priming sugars are mixed with the beer before bottling. I missed this process because I was busy sanitizing bottles.


Much Better – Amber Liquid!

Bottling Beer


Filling One Bottle At A Time . . .

I had my hands full of bottle caps, so was not able to capture that part of the process. The bottle caps are kept in sanitizer. So wet hands and cameras do not mix well together.

Conditioning and Aging


Bottles of Goodness (Photos by RSheridan)

The bottled beer will be stored in a dry, dark space to age for about 2 weeks. You do not want to introduce the bottled beer to sunlight or light during the aging process. During the aging process the yeast will ferment with the priming sugar to create carbon dioxide. Goodbye! Flat Beer and Hello! Carbonated Beer! Also, sediments and proteins will drop out of the beer during aging to enhance the flavor of the beer.

Tasting and Drinking

Pop a few bottles in the fridge and get ready to taste and enjoy! I will follow up with a post on the taste test part of the process. So stay tuned!

Cheers! Prost/Zum wohl! Cin cin! Slainte!

Is There Something You Want To Try To Make? Have You Tried Your Hand Already In Making Something? Love To Hear Your Experiences, Please Share!


Beer Camp

My Very 1st

Beer Camp

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Welcome

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Beautiful Program

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Beer Camp Bus

Okay Everyone – Sing! B-Double E-R C-A-M-P, Beer Camp! Repeat!

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company is GOING THERE! A 7-City Beer Festival Tour with more than 700 Breweries. What an Adventure, What a Journey! The Largest Craft Beer Celebration. Sierra Nevada is making history!

7 Cities

  1. Chico, CA – 7/19/14
  2. San Diego, CA – 7/20/14
  3. Denver, CO – 7/25/14
  4. Chicago, IL – 7/27/14
  5. Portland, ME – 8/1/14
  6. Philly, PA – 8/2/14
  7. Mills River, NC – 8/3/14

More than 100 regional breweries are pouring their beers at each City stop! How cool would it be to go to all 7 Cities! I can dream!

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Beautiful Tasting Glass


Cheers!


Celebration!

Beer Camp Across America Variety 12-Pack

On Tap at every City Stop is the 12 different beers Sierra Nevada brewed with 12 different craft brewers!

  1. Tater Ridge, Scottish Ale – Asheville Brewers Alliance, Asheville, NC
  2. Myron’s Walk, Belgian-Style Pale Ale – Allagash Brewing Company, Portland, ME
  3. Canfusion, Rye Bock – Oskar Blues Brewery, Longmont, CO/Brevard, NC
  4. Yvan The Great, Belgian-Style Blonde – Russian River Brewing Company, Santa Rosa, CA
  5. Maillard’s Odyssey, Imperial Dark Ale – Bell’s Brewery, Inc., Kalamazoo, MI
  6. Alt Route, Altbier – Victory Brewing Company, Dowingtown, PA
  7. Double Latte, Coffee Milk Stout – Ninkasi Brewing Company, Eugene, OR
  8. Yonder Bock, Tropical Maibock – Cigar City Brewing, LLC., Tampa, FL
  9. Electric Ray, India Pale Lager – Ballast Point Brewing Company, San Diego, CA
  10. Chico King, Pale Ale – 3 Floyds Brewing Company, Munster, IN
  11. Torpedo Pilsner, Hoppy Pilsner – Firestone Walker Brewing Company, Paso Robles, CA
  12. There and Back, English-Style Bitter – New Glarus Brewing Company, New Glarus, WI

Photo: Got Mine - SWEET :) :) :)
Cannot Wait To Taste Them All!!!

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A Favorite

Photo: Favorite so far. Happy Weekend :)
A Favorite


Roll Out the Barrels

MarchFourth Marching Band (M4)

MarchFourth Marching Band – Check Out Their Website. From Portland, Oregon.

M4 was AWESOME & AMAZING – So Entertaining!!!! From the Marching Band Themed Costumes to the 5-piece Percussion Corps to the 6-part Brass section to Dancing to Stilt Walking.

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Sierra Nevada’s New Brewery In North Carolina

I have been to their brewery in Chico, CA and would love to go one day and tour their new brewery in North Carolina!


Roll Out the Bottles (Photos by RSheridan)

Cannot Wait To Go To Camp Again!!!


26th Annual Oregon Brewers Festival

At The Beautiful Waterfront Park

July 24, 2013 to July 28, 2013 in Portland, Oregon.

Here’s the AMAZEBALLS to this Event – Done All By VOLUNTEERS (more than 2,200 volunteers)!!! Thank you for making this event what IT IS!


Watch Out for the Beer Warden!!!

OBF is Craft Beer Heaven! 84 different Craft Beers from 12 States! Fruit Beers Galore – I loved that! 85,000 people attended the 26th Annual Oregon Brewers Festival!

Admission: Into the festival grounds is free. To consume beer purchase a souvenir tasting glass (phased out the plastic mug) for $7 and purchase wooden tokens for $1 a piece. 4 tokens for a full glass and 1 token for a taste.

OBF got its start in July 1988 with 4 craft breweries (BridgePort, McMenamins, Portland, and Widmer) and today there are 51 craft breweries!

Interesting Facts:

  • Full Sail started in 1987 in Hood River, OR.
  • Rogue Ales started in 1988 in Ashland, OR and later relocated to Newport, OR.
  • Deschutes started in June 1988 in Bend, OR.
  • “OBF is one of the nation’s longest running, one of the largest and best loved craft beer fesitvals!”
  • July is Oregon Craft Beer Month.
  • “Small and independent craft brewers have grown the number of U.S. breweries from less than 100 to more than 2,000 in 30 years.”

I have developed my palate over the years with wine tasting and now with beer tasting! I enjoy sampling and learning about a variety of craft beer styles throughout the U.S. Plus the 5 day event lets you take your time when it comes to sampling! I love being able to hang out with other craft brew lovers too.

Most Unique Brews

Gigantic Brewing Company – & Juice – Beermosa – IPA with citrus juices added

Burnside Brewing Company – Marionberry Berliner Weisse – Berliner Weiss


Loved Hanging Out at Gigantic’s Tap Room with a Beer in Hand on their Patio!

Photo: Happy Hour continues!!!
Hanging Out at Burnside Having the Oregon Berry Fruit Beer!

Best Named Brews & Tasty Too!

Mt. Shasta Brewing CompanySkip and Go Naked – Strawberry and Ginger Hefeweizen

Old Market Pub & BreweryDilution of Grandeur – Mixed Berry Belgian Lambic

My Favorite Light Ales

Good Life Brewing Company – Evil Sister – Imperial Pacific Ale

Alameda Brewing Company – Huckleberry Hound – Golden Ale

My Favorite Brown and Dark Ales

The Dude’s Brewing Company – Grandma’s Pecan Brown – English Style Brown (kept coming back for more!)

Lompoc Brewing Company – EleventyOne CDA – Cascadian Dark Ale

My Favorite Cream Ales

Fearless Brewing Company – Peaches and Cream Ale – American Style Cream Ale and Peaches

Anderson Valley Brewing Company – Summer Solstice Cerveza Crema – Summer Cream Ale

My Favorite Fruit Beer

Cascade Brewing – Raspberry Wheat – Fruit Beer

My Favorite Fruit Wheat Beer

21st Amendment Brewery – Hell or High Watermelon – Fruit Wheat Beer

My Favorite Hef

Laht Neppur Brewing Company – Peach Hefeweizen – Hefeweizen

My Favorite Saisons

All of them!

Great Divide Brewing Company – Colette Farmhouse Saison – Farmhouse Style Saison

Maui Brewing Company – Lemongrass Saison – Belgian Inspired Saison

Prodigal Son Brewery and Pub – Jackson Sundown – Saison

My Favorite Wit Beer

13 Virtues Brewing Company – Traverse Cherry Wheat – Belgian Wit with Fruit

Entertainment Favorites

#1 That 1 Guy

Mike Silverman aka That 1 Guy and His Magic Pipe, which is an instrument he created! The Magic Pipe has metal, strings and electronics and the sound that comes out of it is nothing I have heard before. I was mesmerized watching him play and perform. A Truly Unique Performance to Watch and Experience!

#2 Blvd Park

Blvd Park was a breath of fresh air with their music originality! A Seattle-based alt-folk band. I loved the harmonies and Brian Ballentine, the frontman, leads with his great vocals. Blvd Park plays and rocks it (folk, rock, Americana, country, and jazz)!


(Photos by RSheridan)

So Going Next Year!!!


17th Annual Boonville Beer Festival

Anderson Valley ROCKS!!!

Saturday, May 4, 2013 – Taps Open 1 pm to 5 pm – Marathon of Brews People!!!

Bringing Back the 80s! I wore my rainbow of colors shirt. I enjoyed checking out what others were wearing too!

1st Time & a Total Newbie! I enjoyed every minute of it though. I had a hard time deciding to taste from breweries that I was familiar with and those that were NEW! to me. I just dove in and went for it!

I loved seeing Barkley (mascot for Anderson Valley Brewing Company) march into the event! Barkley is an AWESOME looking bear with ROCKIN horns!!!

There was a person dressed as Duffman that was drawing a crowd too!

The pours were massive, at least for me! I either savored and enjoyed or took a few sips and moved on. I had to figure it out or be miserable. Certainly need to eat a few times throughout the event and DRINK PLENTY OF WATER!

You receive this landyard to hold your tasting device and let me tell you what happens when you drop your tasting device out of its holder. YOU GET BOO’D BIG TIME!!! I did it not once but twice and every time it is total humiliation. Plus you better know what you want to taste once it is your turn at the tap!

Checked Out

The Familiar

Anderson Valley Brewing Company – Summer Solstice

Bear Republic Brewing Company – Racer 5 IPA

Firestone Walker Brewing Company – Wookey Jack

Great Basin Brewing Company – Witbier & Icky

Knee Deep Brewing – Citra EPA

Mendocino Brewing Company – Red Tail Ale

New Belgium Brewing – Rampant & Shift

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company – Summerfest

Widmer – Hibiscus Gose

The NEW!

Drake’s Brewing Company

High Sierra Brewing Company

Iron Springs Pub & Brewery

Napa Smith Brewery

Ninkasi Brewing Company – Oatis Oatmeal Stout

Russian River Brewing Company – Redemption

Speakeasy – Prohibition

Third Street Aleworks

Too Many Brews & Not Enough Time

The Familiar

Anchor Brewing Company

Bison Organic Beer

Crispin Cider Company (love their Cider!!!)

Gordon Biersch Brewery & Restaurant

Grand Teton Brewing

Lagunitas Brewing Company

North Coast Brewing Company

Pyramid Breweries

Stone Brewing Company

Tap It Brewing Company

The NEW!

101 North Brewing

21st Amendment Brewery

Auburn Alehouse

Berryessa Brewing Company

Eel River Brewing Company

Heretic Brewing

Redwood Curtain Brewing

Rubicon Brewing Company

Stumptown Brewery

Sudwerk Brewing


(Photos by RSheridan)

So Little Time, So Many Tastes to Be Had!!! PACE Yourself!!!


Fifty Fifty Brewing Company

Go Fifty Fifty

Fifty Fifty Brewing Company is located at 11197 Brockway Road in Truckee, California.

Enjoyed a Charlie Brown Ale and a Donner Party Porter – Love the name of the brews!

(Photos by RSheridan)

A Hard Afternoon of Beer Tasting – Ha!


Mixing It Up

Making Great Eats an Experience

Do you make gourmet meals at home instead of going out? This includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. I enjoy the experience. Plus it is way more fun with a partner in crime when it comes to messing up the kitchen. Experimenting in the kitchen is an experience and with practice comes great eats!

I am notrious in burning bread and can even screw up french toast. I can make a mean wallpaper paste out of rice and love lifting the lid on the pot and stirring. I know Shame On Me! I think for the most part I make great eats though, but it comes with patience and practice. Thank Goodness for Peanut Butter; it has my back everytime!

Cooking

I enjoy having a partner in crime when it comes to cooking and it can be a blast if I can just stay out of the way! I love the kitchen gadgets too. The best part of cooking is getting to EAT what you make!

You can take the food experience to the next level by getting into tastings and pairings!

Tastings

I love trying and tasting new foods. Do not forget about the drinks element either; non-alcoholic or alcoholic.

Make the grocery store or your favorite foodie/drink place a part of the experience! Ask the butcher or fishmonger how to prepare and cook meat, fish or seafood. Ask for a sample of cheese and/or meat. Explore the salad bar or olive bar. Ask the bakery for a bread or dessert recommendation. Discover the produce section and seek out lettuces, herbs, veggies, and fruits. I love trolling the frozen treats section to see if anything strikes my fancy too.

How do you know if you like something unless you give it a taste, right!

Pairings

I love experimenting when it comes to pairing eats and drinks. Try a dark beer with a hard, creamy cheese. White or Red wine with fish and seafood. Place some nuts and dark chocolate on the cheese tray. The best part of pairing is sharing, especially with your greatest someone!

Dishware & Glassware

Set the Ambience with a tablecloth and minimal decoration as well as adding in some stylish pieces of dishware and glassware! You do not have to spend a lot and you do not have to have everything matchy matchy either. I feel it adds to the experience and amps it up. Going to make a Gourmet Meal might as well Go All the Way with the Experience, right!

Here’s to Having FUN When It Comes to Messing Up the Kitchen!!!


Island Brewing Company

Island Time

Love Island Brewing Company – My favorite is the Island Blonde! What is great about this place is its location and atmosphere – looks out on the ocean (Carpinteria Beach) and is one of those places you can kick back and have a great time.

Award-winning microbrewery located in Carpinteria, California – open Mon – Fri 2 pm to 9 pm & Sat – Sun 11 am to 9 pm – you can bring in food to have with a beer or two or three.

Beer + Ocean = A Great Time

The Island Blonde is a Kolsch-style ale (includes Czech Saaz hops). Light and refeshing with a great taste from start to finish.

The Tropical Lager which is their lightest beer and brewed with organic malts was a great beer. I was torn between the Blond and the Tropical. Oh the Hard Decisions in Life!

The Paradise Pale Ale is an American-style pale ale – think crisp hoppiness but with a great balanced taste – zings on your palate for sure!

The Blackbird Porter is a unique beer with Cascade & Magnum hops and Roasted Chocolate & Crystal malts – a dark and delicious tasting beer. Interesting Fact:  a portion of the proceeds from the sales of the Blackbird Porter are donated to the Land Trust for Santa Barbara – Good for You and for SB!!!


Island Brewing Company Beers (Photo by RSheridan)

Here’s to Drinking Great Beer Island Style!!!


Firestone Walker Brewing Company

Firestone

While In Paso Robles decided to take a brewery tour at Firestone Walker Brewing Company. In 2001 owners Adam Firestone and David Walker purchased the SLO Brewing Company in Paso Robles, California.

Firestone is truly Craft Beer and they ferment their ales in the Firestone Union oak barrel brewing system, which incorporates 65-gallon, medium and heavy toast American oak barrels.


Firestone Brewing Company (Photo by RSheridan)

Craft Beers

Tasting Room

Tasting Room is open 7 days a week from 12 pm to 7 pm and usually have about 14 beers on tap.


Firestone Brews Menu (Photo by RSheridan)


Firestone’s Solace (Photo by RSheridan)

I am a fan of the Solace at Firestone. The Solace is a Summertime Fusion Wheat Beer with hints of citrus – refreshing, aromatic, great tasting.


High Gravity Snifter of Parabola – Limited Release (Photo by RSheridan)

Let me tell you that you could stand a knife up in the Parabola – thick and creamy! Aromatic with bold bourbon and tobacco with flavors of dark chocolate and charred oak flavor – tasted like a chocolate liquer. We needed a chocolate souffle while tasting the Parabola.

The style of the Parabola is a Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout with 13% abv.

Brewery Tour

Tours of the brew house and cellar are complimentary and first come first serve on Saturdays and Sundays. Arrive 15 minutes before tour time to secure your spot and will need to wear flat, closed toe shoes for the tour.

Tour Hours

Saturday at 12:30pm, 1:30pm, 2:30pm, and 3:30pm

Sundays at 1:30pm and 3:30pm


Brew Deck (Photo by RSheridan)

In a nutshell the brewhouse converts dry malt into a fermentable liquid – a very complex process. Firestone does not pasteurized so cleaniness is important in producing quality craft beers.


Cellar (Photo by RSheridan)

The Cellar is about fermentation and refinement. The Cellar contains multiple stainless steel fermentaters in various sizes.

The Firestone Union is a unique process. Their DBA, Pale 31 & Walker’s Reserve are partially fermented in oak barrels. Basically a portion of the wort is racked to 1 of 42 American oak barrels in the Firestone Union. If I understand it correctly the Firestone Union is taken from the Burton Union sytem, staple in British beer making. Firestone may be the only brewery in the U.S. using this method. This method adds character and complexity to Firestone’s beers – handcrafted quality.

Firestone produces barrel aged limited release beers – “strong beers” due to a higher alcohol content and complexity. These beers spend a certain amount of time in oak barrels – these barrels add the flavors and complexities to the beers. This includes the Parabola as well as Barley Wine, Saucerful of Secrets, Bravo Brown, Velvet Merkin and Sticky Monkey. These beers may become part of the blend that is released each year, their Anniversary series. Our tour guide stated that some of the Paso Robles Winemarkers are invited in to help with the blending of the Anniversary series.


Keg Processing Area (Photo by RSheridan)

The brewery’s keg packaging process is pretty amazing – this baby can sanitize as well as capable of filling 70 kegs per hour – can you say Kegger man!


The Bottling Process (Photo by RSheridan)


The Bottling Process (Photo by RSheridan)


The Bottling Process (Photo by RSheridan)


The Bottling Process (Photo by RSheridan)


The Bottling Process (Photo by RSheridan)

I enjoyed learning about the bottling and packaging process. I started thinking about Laverne & Shirley while the tour guide was talking about this process. Since they do not pasteurize their beers the bottling and packaging process is important to the quality of their beers. Firestone has invested in the best equipment and procedures, especially sanitation and cleaning processes. The brewery uses a Krones bottling line – this baby can produce 300+ 12 oz. bottles per minute – do you hear beer heaven calling?


Firestone Brewery (Photo by RSheridan)

Stop for a Taste and Take in a Tour of the Brewery – A Fun Experience!


Sierra Tap House & Restaurant

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company is located in Chico, California.

A Great Place to Grab a Bite if you are checking out the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company.

The Restaurant is Elegant with Beautiful Woodwork and Details. The Bar has plenty of room for gathering for a brew. There is an outdoor patio too. Be On the Lookout for Bigfoot!

Hours:  (Do not take reservations)

Sunday – Thursday:  11:00 am to 9:00 pm

Friday and Saturday:  11:00 am to 10:00 pm

Great Brews & Eats!!! The restaurant offers fresh locally grown produce, bread baked in house with malted barley (whole-grain rolls and pizza dough), and sauces based on their ales and lagers. Here’s the kicker! Their beef is from their own locally raised herd, which is fed on a special natural diet that includes brewer’s yeast and the nutritious spent grains from the brewery.

Can You Say Attention to Detail!!!


Sierra Nevada Brewing Company

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company is located in Chico, California.


(Photo by RSheridan)

Brewery Tour

Had the BEST Tour Guide, Ryan!!!

Highly Recommend – Make Reservations in Advance! FREE! Tour Desk:  (530) 899-4776

Tour Days and Times

Monday – Thursday:  12:00 pm, 1:00 pm, 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm

Friday and Saturday:  12:00 pm, 1:00 pm, 2:00 pm, 3:00 pm, 4:00 pm and 5:00 pm

Sunday:  12:00 pm, 1:00 pm, 2:00 pm, 3:00 pm and 4:00 pm

Solar Power


The parking lot is covered with solar panels.


More solar panels on the roof. (Photos by RSheridan)

The Basics of Beer Making

The Ingredients:

Barley Malt + Hops + Yeast + Water = Great Brews

Tried Crystal, Caramel and Chocolate Malts! The roasting process of the malt brings out the character, flavor and body of the beer.

Along with a brief history of Sierra Nevada Brewing Company and then the tour began.

Hydrating Malt Mill

This is where the brewing process starts. The malted barley grains are cracked and then sprayed with hot water. This softens the grains before the grains are crushed. This results in a grist that is mixed in the mash tun, which turns the barley’s starches into fermentable sugars.


(Photos by RSheridan)

The Brew House

The Brew House was AMAZING!


(Photo by RSheridan)

Then the process continues in the lauter tun where hot water is run through the mash. This is where the wort comes into play. This process extracts the sugars, color and flavor components into wort. The wort is then boiled with hops in the brew kettles. Actually tried wort for the 1st time!


(Photos by RSheridan)

The Chilled Hop House

You get to check out the hops and get hands on! Sierra Nevada hand selects the finest hop cones from growers around the world (every year). Sierra Nevada also grows their own hops (out by the solar paneled parking lot).


(Photos by RSheridan)

The Yeast Room – The Magic

Did you know that the Yeast in the Kellerweis is what brings out the Banana flavor in the brew! The yeast works its magic on the malt and hops to make flavor packed brews.

Chico Water that is Filtered is used to make the Brews! The brewery’s waste water is treated with their state of the art recycling plant.

Fermentation & Filtration

Basically in fermentation the living yeasts convert the malt sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide. The Magic is Happening Now! Basically I think in terms of appearance, aroma, mouth feel, and flavor profile of the brews. Get Your 5 Senses into the process of beer tasting!

This is Where the Brew is Born!


(Photos by RSheridan)

Hops Everywhere


(Photos by RSheridan)

A Touch of the Unique


Be on the lookout for the unique tiles on the walls! (Photo by RSheridan)

The Hall of Brew Labels


(Photos by RSheridan)

Bottling 


Heading to the Packaging Area

The Bottling Area is Massive!


(Photos by RSheridan)

Tasting

I was amazed to learn that the tasting consisted of 8 brews – WOW! Let the FUN begin!

My Top 3:  Kellerweis, Ovila:  Dubbel & Narwahl

  • Pale Ale
  • Kellerweis
  • Celebration
  • Northern Harvest
  • Torpedo
  • Ovila:  Dubbel
  • Ovila:  Barrel-Aged Quad
  • Narwahl


The Pale Ale


The Kellerweis


The Celebration


The Ovila:  Barrel-Aged Quad (Photos by RSheridan)

These Brews are Meant to Be Sipped and Savored; No CHUGGING Allowed!!!


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