Tag Archives: Mad River Brewing Co.

Humboldt: Serious Reppin’ At GABF 2012

13 Oct

Short post. The results speak for themselves.

Eel River Brewing Company — Silver in Aged Beer category for 2004 Triple Exultation. (24 entries)

Mad River Brewing Company — Gold in Golden or Blonde Ale category for Steelhead Extra Pale Ale. (67 entries)

Support your local brewery. It means everything.

Complete list of categories and winners

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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.

Saison Du Humboldt Release

16 May

May 14th was a highly anticipated day for me and 4:00 couldn’t come soon enough. It was the earliest date and time to get a taste of Saison Du Humboldt and the only place to get it was Humboldt Brews.

I staked my real estate claim at the bar just before 4PM and asked for a pint of Saison Du Humboldt. I was expecting to be told no because it wasn’t time yet. But the bartender happily obliged and the gentleman next to me, who I quickly named “Stranger #1” in my head, followed suit. Both were delivered at the same time and Stranger #1 asked, “Are you waiting until four?” I replied, “Hell no!” then we clinked glasses and drank.

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The keg had just arrived and didn’t have time to settle.  So the pour was from a pitcher because it was too foamy.  It was cloudy, and Saisons should be cloudy, but this was really cloudy, again due to the recent transport.  The aroma I got was estery orange, some clove and a little banana.  That’s all typical and it was what I was hoping for.  There was a lot to think about in the taste.  It was bright and lemony and a spice I couldn’t quite put my finger on but I learned later what that was.

Saison, or farmhouse ale, has its origins in French Belgium and is meant to be brewed in such a way that it could last the warm summer months.  This is all before common refrigeration and there was nothing special about it that “made it last” through the summer months –there were no more preservative ingredients than any other beer– but the typical ingredients found in a Saison gave some abilities in covering up some of the funk and twang that can come with an old beer that has been stored too warm for too long.  (funny, we aim for that now with many styles!)  Common Saison can have spices, acid malt, be phenolic and estery and are hopped a little bit more than usual in a Belgian beer.  And all that varied based on the farmhouse.  Each could bring not only their own recipe, but their own regional funk and method.  So if all that geek speak goes over your head, just remember in the end its meant to be a refreshing quaff on a hot day and that’s all you need to know!

Curious about the ABV, I asked the bartender if she could tell me anything about it.  (this episode, and others like it are a continuing inquiry of mine and will be a later blog post)  She couldn’t, but I don’t blame her for not being informed because it probably wasn’t shared.  Her answer to my question was to pull off a piece of paper from the wall and hand it to me.  “This is a write up”, she said and I was looking at my blog post that originally announced Saison Du Humboldt.  And in all fairness, that was just a press release so I cheated on that one.

Your intrepid reporter did his homework however, and tracked down these stats:

  • O.G. 1.070
  • F.G. 1.012
  • ABV 7.68%
  • IBU 32.5
  • SRM 4

In geek speak translation, the first two numbers you have to know to get the third, which tells us the alcohol content for the beer. The IBU is about what you would find in a pale ale and the last is a measurement on the color, which is very light.  Your lesson is now over, go drink it.

Continuing with an experiment I’ve been doing lately, I struck up a conversation with a total stranger.  I’ve been getting amazing results and this was no different.  Stranger #1 turned out to be Dan, who was the original artist for the Humboldt Brewery logo and artwork.  “You see that?”, he asked, pointing at the artwork on the wall, “The hummingbirds shadow on the rock is in the shape of an eagle.”  There was my first payoff in my conversation with Dan.  That was new to me.

Eel River Brewing’s head brewer, Matt Vivatson arrived and began chatting with who I think was his girlfriend (Stranger #2) and after a while, I rudely butted in to ask him some questions about the beer.  Matt happily obliged to answer some questions.

I began by asking him, “How did you decide on a saison?”

“That was between ‘Los (Carlos Sanchez) and Dylan (Schatz) and Meredith (Ripley), and I think it might have been Meredith who threw out the idea of a saison.  I wasn’t here personally for the meeting that they chose it on.”

“You were there for the brewing, right?”

“Yes.”

“How was it with five of you, it was more like nine really….”

“We took two shifts….the morning shift was myself and the Six Rivers guys and Dylan and the night shift, Lost Coast and Redwood Curtain.”

“So there wasn’t a problem with too many cooks in the kitchen, no disagreements on recipe?”

“No it was fun.  We talked that stuff through at the beginning.  Everybody that was there we’ve known each other for years.  It was more just like hanging out doing the brew.”

“So would you do it again?”

“Collaboration?  Totally, it was fun.”

“Annual for Craft Beer Week?”

“Possibly.  That’s up to everybody.  It was an enjoyable experience.”

The next day I caught up with Dylan Schatz, head brewer at Mad River Brewing Company.   He took a few minutes out of his brew day to sit down and talk with me.

“So how did this all come about?  You and ‘Los did the thing about four or five months ago with the wee heavy and I know that was the impedes of that….”

“That kind of started it.  We did that and it went over well and we were at GABF last fall and we all sat around talking about that and figured we should try and get everybody to do a collaboration.”

“And everybody was really cool with that?”

“Yeah, I mean, we kind of forgot about it for a while (laughs), and actually Meredith was the one who got us all together finally.  It was a couple months ago when we actually sat down.”

“So when did you do the brew?”

“It was about a month ago.  It was four weeks in the tank.”

“How did you guys decide on a saison?”

“When we first got together we just started figuring out what we wanted to do and Redwood Curtain already had that thought in their mind, so did Six Rivers and I said ‘Sure, lets go for it’….that one was easy for us.”

“So can you share the recipe at all?”

“Yeah, it was….pilsner, the rest made up with two row… rye….wheat, Styrian Goldings….. US Goldings….. and Sterling…..   We also threw some spices at it…grains of paradise and curacao orange.”

I asked Dylan if he minded if the recipe went public.  He declined, citing that he was really just one of the collaborators so it wasn’t up to him.  I honored his request and intentionally left out some key information in repeating the recipe here.

“So would you do it again?”

“I would, yeah.”

“Annual Craft Beer Week brew?”

“We were talking about it last night maybe more specifically for Humboldt Beer Week.  It seemed more appropriate.”

So the history making collaborative brew has hit the rough and tumble streets of Humboldt County.  Every participating brewery is serving it, as well as The Local Beer Bar and Blondies Food and Drink.  (as reported by the press release) It has also been learned since then its at Big Petes Pizzeria and they now have $2 pint nights on Wednesday.  Get it while it lasts and start dreaming of the next collaborative brew of the Six Mad Lost Red Eels.

Six Mad Lost Red Eels Saison Du Humboldt

27 Apr

All Five Humboldt County Breweries Come Together for First-time Beer Collaboration

HUMBOLDT, CA–For the first time, all five Humboldt County breweries recently came together to create a collaborative beer: Saison Du Humboldt. The beer was crafted by brewers from: Eel River Brewing Company, Lost Coast Brewery, Mad River Brewing Company, Redwood Curtain Brewing Company, and Six Rivers Brewery. It will be unveiled at HumBrews in Arcata on Monday, May 14, to celebrate the kick-off of American Craft Beer Week.

The idea for the collaboration was born when Meredith Ripley, co-owner of Six Rivers Brewery, was with Mad River Brewing Company’s Brewmaster, Dylan Schatz, and Sales and Marketing Coordinator, Tera Spohr, at the Great American Beer Festival shortly after the two breweries released Wee Heavy Ale collaboratively, in honor of Mad River Brewing Company’s anniversary.

“We were talking about how fun it would be to get all the breweries together and brew a great beer in honor of American Craft Beer Week, which runs May 14-20. I put the idea out to the rest of the beer gang in Humboldt and everyone quickly agreed,” said Ripley.

Next, all the brewers met to discuss the style of beer to make and formulate a recipe. They decided on Saison Du Humboldt, based on the Saison style of a sometimes slightly sour, refreshing, and somewhat strong summer ale (5 to 8 percent ABV).

“As far as we know, this is the first time such a brew has been collaborated on by five separate breweries. The brew day was quite an event and meeting of the minds among five brewers, each doing their part. I hope it brings the same joy and merriment to all as it did for all of us,” said Carlos Sanchez, brewmaster of Six Rivers Brewery.

The brewing group has fondly dubbed themselves the Six Mad Lost Red Eels to incorporate the name of each brewery and hopes to make the collaboration an annual event.

“I personally would look forward to making a Humboldt Collaboration brew an annual event for American Craft Beer Week, with each edition being a different style every year. This project was great fun and very inspirational to all who participated. We have an amazingly brilliant collection of brewing minds in our area, and it has been a true pleasure to work together with everyone involved,” said Schatz.

Saison Du Humboldt, a one-time edition, limited production run, will be on draught at Humbrews starting Monday, May 14, for the kickoff of American Craft Beer Week which started in 2006 as a national celebration of America’s small and independent craft brewers and their impact on American culture. Saison Du Humboldt will also be available while it lasts at each participating brewery, Blondie’s Food and Drink in Arcata and The Local in Eureka.

PHOTO: The Six Mad Lost Red Eels (L to R): Drake Mollberg (Redwood Curtain), Matt Walsh (Lost Coast), Mike Lisignoli (Six Rivers), Carlos Sanchez (Six Rivers), Dylan Schatz (Mad River), Matt Vivaston (Eel River), Jon Hill (Six Rivers), Briar Bush (Lost Coast).

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