Tag Archives: Humboldt Homebrewers

Humboldt Homebrew Festival 2013 Live Blog

6 Apr

12:30 Setting up!

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1:00 Brewers hour begins.

1:11 Fazios stuff is dank.

1:18 Wild Golden Ale on Black Currant Aged On Oak. WGAOBCAOO for short.

2:11 Doors open!

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2:25 Competition is tight this year. Phenomenal beers. Everyone trying to outdo the next guy.

2:36 No that pitcher of homebrew is not a dump bucket.

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3:13 The quality of beers this year has surpassed previous years. Currently enjoying Ari Friedman’s 4 year old Kriek. Absolutely amazing.

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3:28 Everyone is taking about Jamie’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout on Nitro and Ari’s WGAOBCAOO.

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4:22 More beer this year but about the same amount of attendees.

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4:34 I’m calling it a day. Epic event.

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The Great Yeast Experiment

3 Dec

It was one of those ideas that a homebrew club lives for.  But it was certainly not a new concept for homebrewers.   We hatched a plan to brew up a bunch of beer, in this case 20 gallons, and dose each gallon with a different yeast.  We didn’t make it to 20 different yeasts but enough to make it interesting.  And in January, we plan on getting together and tasting them all.  One of the primary goals of a homebrew club should be education and this was great education in yeast and how important of a role it plays in beer.

10 brave souls with 13 different yeasts in hand endured one of the worst days of weather in Humboldt in 2012.   But no matter, the testing ground was Heatherdowns Brewery — uber geeky homebrewery approaching nanobrewery owned by uber geeky homebrewer approaching nanobrewer, Jere Cox.

Jere is one of those guys who became introduced into homebrewing with a gift from his wife for Christmas years ago.  Little did she know that he would go nuts and fill their garage with a monster stainless 20 gallon system and externally heated/cooled conical fermenter.  We are ever in her debt for that wonderful gift.

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Over the course of a few weeks, interest spread and people signed up to take part.  Here is a rundown of all the yeasts that were used:

Mad River house yeast (American Ale)
Wyeast 1028 London Ale
Wyeast 1332 Northwest Ale
Wyeast 1450 Dennys Favorite 50
Wyeast 3725 Biere De Garde
Wyeast 3763 Roselare
Wyeast 3724 Belgian Saison
Wyeast 1099 Whitbread
Wyeast 2007 Pilsen Lager
Wyeast 2565 Kolsch
Wyeast 1728 Scottish Ale
Wyeast 3711 French Saison
Wyeast 3538 Leuven Pale Ale

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The base beer was a simple blank slate, which was important in this experiment.  100% pilsener malt, Magnum, Santiam and Tettnanger hops bittered to about 25 IBU’s and an anticipated ABV at just over 5% — but that will vary based on the yeast and fermentation handling by each participant.   The baseline beer was going to be Jere’s made with Mad River Brewing’s house strain which lends itself to crisp and clean finishes.   All other strains will be compared to this.  Each participant agreed to maintain the proper fermentation temperatures to the best of their ability.   Yeasts were pretty well matched to their handlers — from the most demanding yeast going to the most experienced brewer and the most forgiving yeast going to the newest brewer.  Late fall/early winter brings the mildest of mild temperatures to Humboldt, so the timing was well chosen.

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Is your mouth watering in anticipation?  It should be!  Side by side comparisons of one beer with only one variable changed is one of the best ways to train your palate.  It doesn’t matter if you want to be a better brewer or a better taster, this is an experiment for you.  How can one taste them all?  It would be easy to tell you when and where.  Instead, I will send you in the direction of the Humboldt Homebrewers — let your adventure begin there.

Pints For (insert your cause)

7 Jun

I’ve long held the theory that beer is a common denominator for people all over the world. It brings us together. It transcends politics, religion, race, social status, creed or gender. Dear reader, I may not have a single thing in common with you except for love of craft beer, and that is why you are reading this blog. We may be polar opposites on an issue –and not like each other for it– but we can sit at a table, sip the same beer, respect each others opinions about it and repeat the process or part company on better terms. I daresay beer could solve all our problems.

This week saw two charity events hosted by Mad River Brewing Company’s tap room. Craft beer providers do this type of thing all the time for various causes. These two just happened to take place close together and I attended both, so this topic is on my mind. (read: I am a MRB fanboy, just trying not to make it so obvious) June 2nd was “Pints for Tracy”, and June 6th was “Pints for Non-Profits” benefiting the local chapter of Engineers Without Boarders in their efforts at Camoapa, Nicaragua. Each get $1 donated by the brewery for every pint sold but they are two very different causes. One, a small group, the other, a very large group. One effort staying local, the other effort thousands of miles away. But who cares? People everywhere need help for various reasons. Charity should be a regular part of our lives. Where am I going with this? Enjoying craft beer for a cause should be a very easy thing to do!

Tracy Collins is a humble man. An every day man. He has a heart of gold, which is what gave him a bit of trouble in May. I’m not going to get any farther into his situation because that’s not respectful to him and not what this blog post is about. But Tracy and his family were dealt an unexpected crisis away from home and their friends and community rallied together for support.

Knowing what Tracy had gone through, I was absolutely astonished to see him there. I asked him how he was doing. “Still pretty sore”, he acknowledged. Then he commented on the event, stating it was overwhelming. See, humble. You don’t have to be superman for people to look up to you. Perhaps he knows that now.

From left to right, Wendy Collins, John Onstine and Tracy Collins.

There was the typical “Let me know if there is anything I can do for you” being offered and those go a long way. The thing that brought the community together, the thing that got people to stop what they were doing, the thing that was easy for them, was craft beer. I know this for a cold, hard fact because my own wife was there drinking a beer and she hates beer. It was a pink beer, though –Flor De Jamaica– so baby steps. (I’m expecting a plague of locusts and frogs falling from the sky any day now) In attendance were people very young and very old, people of different walks of life, people who may not have liked the band and people who don’t even know Tracy. And that’s what made it a beautiful thing.

Tracy is a member of the Humboldt Homebrewers and a volunteer with the Blue Lake Fire Department. Blue Lake itself is a pretty tight knit community and the fire department is at its core. This effort was headed up by the BLVFD and a group of the firefighters spouses. Being Blue Lake, and being a volunteer organization, this came together naturally. Although its not set in stone as of yet, I believe there is another craft beer related benefit in the works for the Collins family. Tracy was key in the Humboldt Homebrewers holiday party held at BLVFD. I knew I liked Tracy a whole heck of a lot when he spent most of his time entertaining the kids in attendance and showing them the fire trucks rather than enjoying the festivities.

June 6th received a visit by the folks from Engineers Without Borders.  This group was the local chapter of a much larger organization and they are also responsible for the Humboldt Homebrew Festival held in April.  As mentioned before, their work is focused on a city in Nicaragua which is the sister city to Arcata.  Their most recent efforts are on improving the water supply.  After their first trip, they showed the Humboldt Homebrewers a presentation highlighting what they did and what their ongoing project is.  The thing that strikes you the most is we take clean and readily available water for granted.  The people of Camoapa must bring large jugs of water in by truck.

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Pints for Non-Profits events seem to be happening every week at various breweries and craft beer providers.  Most breweries don’t hesitate to donate beer to charity events.   Yes, its a tax write-off for them, but they do it because it is a small community here.  If Humboltians weren’t community minded, we wouldn’t get anything accomplished.  So enjoy your “craft beer for a cause” as often as you can!

P.S. Just prior to publishing this post, I received a press release from Mad River Brewing Co.  This is beer karma for sure.

Mad River Brewing Company Wins Bronze Medal in International Beer Competition

Blue Lake, CA • 6/5/12 — Mad River Brewing Company recently claimed a bronze medal at the 2012 World
Beer Cup®, a global beer competition presented by the Brewers Association (BA) that evaluates beers from
around the world and recognizes the most outstanding brewers and their beers.  Awards in the competition’s 95 beer-style categories were presented May 5, 2012 during the World Beer Cup Gala Awards Dinner at the Town and Country Resort in San Diego, California.

Mad River Brewing Company was awarded a bronze in the Golden and Blonde Ale beer style category for its
flagship Steelhead Extra Pale Ale, a bright golden hued ale of medium body with a spicy floral hop character
and mild bitterness.

“Our brewing team works around the clock crafting our fine ales. It is a great honor for all of our crew to have our
Steelhead Extra Pale Ale recognized as among the best in the world, at the top competition in the world.”” said Dylan Schatz, Brew Master at Mad River Brewing Company.

World Beer Cup winners were selected by an international panel of 211 beer judges from 27 countries. The competition—referred to as the “Olympics of Beer Competition”—saw an impressive field of 3,921 entries from 799 breweries in 54 countries. The 2012 competition drew the largest, most international field of entrants in the history of the World Beer Cup.