Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Putting that apron on!

It has been decided that this summer I will make at LEAST 4 different batches of beer, hopefully. If all goes according to plan, a new brew will be in my fridge at the end of each month. I have a new partner in the speakeasy business, Greg. He shares my intense love for beer and the brewing process. We have come across some carboys which will allow us to brew larger quantities. But the question still remains, what shall we make? Advice has been thrown around that I should brew a sweet stout, which to me sounds pretty interesting. But a stout isn't exactly on my radar for a spring/summer brew(s). I mean don't get me wrong, stouts are by far one of my favorite beers, but I would like to brew something that captures the lightness, the freshness, the crispness that is the warmer months in Northern California. My tastes for the next few batches lean towards lighter ales, maybe something with a fruity hint to it. But the problem with fruit beers is that the fruit that is added can over power the beer, leading to a  very processed, almost medicine like taste. A sip of my beer is supposed to transport you to the Norcal coast or the Russian River, not to flashbacks of choking down cough syrup. I have never brewed a full fruit beer before, such as a beer made with fresh blueberries for example, but I have always wanted to try. Third Street Ale Works, (Santa Rosa CA), made a delicious fruit beer with sour cherries. The name of the beer had me at hello, "Cherry Springer". A lighter beer with a sweet honey like finish, the aroma smelled almost like Mom's cherry pie, but the taste was rather crisp, with just the hint of cherry with a maroon red color. It was a delightful seasonal beer and I'm sad its not on tap anymore. But Cherry Springer was the perfect example, at least for me personally, on how a fruit beer should be. Not an over powering fruit flavor, just a hint and a strong contrasting beer taste and smell to compliment the fruit chosen. I hope if I decide to go the fruit beer route, I can meet those standards in my first attempt.

It's almost summer and if your from Sonoma County, you know what that means! Stumptown Brewery (Guerneville, CA) holds its annual Beer Revial and BBQ Cook Off! A full day on the Russian River filled with great beer, great BBQ, and great music all on the beautiful Russian River. Tickets are going on sale in June, so hurry up ASAP cause they sell out fast. I know I will be buying mine the moment they go on sale.

I hope April was a great month for you and May is even better. <3

Friday, April 1, 2011

Sun is shining and the weather is sweet

I'm sorry on the late review of Battle of the Brews 2011, been swamped with family, friends and school. But enough with excuses, it's finally spring! Which for me means beer on the beautiful Russian River and enjoying the sun until my pale skin makes me seek shade. Spring in Northern California, which is where I'm VERY blessed to live in, means all the microbreweries whip out special seasonal beers with nice crisp flavors that compliment the sweet weather that is spring. Spring also means I need to be brewery hopping all along the coast trying all those said delicious seasonal beers.

Battle of the Brews was sad to say a slight let down. Since this was my first year I was legally allowed to attend, I had high hopes. Rumor had it that it was the largest beer tasting festival in the North Bay, but to be honest the beer selection was less then to be expected. Lagunitas Brewing Company came strong with a great selection, including my two favorite, their Cappuccino Stout and A lil Sumpin' Sumpin' Ale. Lost Coast brewery brought a rather small selection, as did the normally heavy hitter Sierra Nevada with only 4 beers. I came in with high hopes to see wall to wall booths of frothy delight that is beer, but instead what my eyes beheld was a few tables, greatly spaced apart, and a lot of open empty space. The pluses were the fact that all the beer that was served was delicious and you could taste the hard work each individual company put into their beers, but most booths ran out well before the closing hour and the food was in very short supply. What made the whole event actually worth while was the company I had, amazing friends and my mother. And now before you laugh at me saying "You brought your mother to Battle of the Brews? LOSER" you have no idea how sick my mom is. First, she bought all our tickets, Gregs, Olivias and mine! Second, my mom knows beer. Its a lovely genetic trait she passed onto me. We Andrus/Eshom women know beer. I have high hopes for next years Battle of the Brews, hoping that maybe Sonoma County will actually come through with a raging beer festival.

On a note about Northern California beerfests, I heard from a very tall bird (Greg) that Fort Brag's beerfest was actually larger then Battle of the Brews. Hearing that news, I'm sad that I missed it. But 2012 better watch out!

Now that the sun is out I recommend EVERYONE who loves beer, sun and a very chill atmosphere to check out Stumpton Brewery in Guerneville CA. It is an amazing Brewery right on the beach of the Russian River. Their selection of beer is on point and the outdoor seating is amazing. Try their Rat Bastard Pale Ale, a nice hoppy with a very slight citrus flavor. Along with great beer, they offer a lawn to play frisbee, volleyball, or swim in the river. Stumpton is hands down my favorite brewery in the warm spring and summer months. No fancy labels or rich suits present, just friendly local faces and cold pints, a 100% don't miss.

Enjoy the sun, and if your anything like me, PLENTY of sunscreen!