Monthly Archives: May 2013

Brewing and Shining

It’s been a whirlwind few days! After the obligatory first brewery visits, we headed over to my brother’s house to brew as a family.
am It was my dad’s first time brewing. His request – something dark and intense. We went with a Great Divide Yeti clone.
Screen shot 2013-05-28 at 3.24.08 PM We were a little low on the homebrews to relax with, so my mumsie and I went to the amazingness that is Wilbur’s and picked up a few things.
am1 Wynkoop B3K black lager – 5.5%ABV to start slow on what was to be a surprisingly quick brew day.
am2 American ale yeast and British ale yeast starters!
am3 We knocked out, pitched the two different yeasts and put the carboys into the fermentation room that’s already brimming at the edges.
Screen shot 2013-05-28 at 3.23.57 PM My pops got a new motorcycle. I took the obligatory spin around town on it and exhaled as all the stress in the world melted away as we raced by lakes and Horsetooth Reservoir.
am4 Yesterday I met up with my best friend from elementary school for a girls’ day out.
am5 Pourhouse was the only restaurant open in town for Memorial Day, so we made a pit stop for foods before hitting the breweries.
am6 California pizza with shrimp, smoked gouda and avocado!
am9 After inhaling our food we walked down the street to Loveland Aleworks to split a flight and play Battleship.
am8 am7 I lost at the game, won at the beer. American sour with raspberries? Yes, please!
am15 Today for my last full day here, my mumsie took me up to the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park for lunch.
am10 Cascades is the restaurant nestled in the depths of Stephen King’s inspiration.
am11 It’s a short menu which is a blessing for me, and anyone eating with me, since it takes me hours to decide on a dish.
am12 We started with flash fried shishoto peppers sprinkled with fresh lime juice, salt and pepper flakes and served with aioli. Absolutely delicious, which I never thought I would say about a pepper. I suppose anything that’s fried has potential.
am13 My mumsie is being ridiculously good, healthy and vegan and got the arugula salad topped with blanched almonds, olives and red peppers.
am14 I wasn’t quite as healthy and went for the elk and buffalo meatloaf wrapped in bacon and smothered in a wild mushroom gravy. I don’t regret it.
am16 Afterwards we perused the grounds and enjoyed the slightly chilly weather before heading back home to recuperate after the long weekend.
am17 Back to reality tomorrow. Le sigh.


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Springtime in Colorado

I’m in Colorado again for a wonderful visit with my wonderful family, wonderful breweries and wonderful eateries! I took a well-deserved long weekend and flew in yesterday.
am Noodles and Company was my first stop. While it is a chain, I can’t find it anywhere by me in California! I’ll always have wonderful memories of high school – biking here with friends for a piping hot bowl of Wisconsin Mac & Cheese or something equally unhealthy. This time, peanuts were calling to me.
am1 Indonesian Peanut Saute! Rice noodles with tons of veggies and ridiculously spicy peanut sauce. I forgot to add meat and didn’t even notice. Accidental vegan!
am2 We also had to hit a brewery on the way home. Grimm Brothers has been a local favorite of mine for a few years now.
am3 I’m a huge fan of Snow Drop, but when they add Funkwerks Saison yeast to it… HUGE FAN. Oh, happy days. Their sessionable Willow Wren Erntebier (harvest beer) clocks in at 3.4%ABV with rich cocoa and coffee aroma, but still clean and light enough to enjoy on a hot summer day. I see a growler in my very near future with the 80+ degree heat here this week.
am4 Today was even more rice noodles. Sri Thai is a Thai restaurant I’ve frequented since I was eleven years old. Unfortunately, it’s been less frequent since I moved from Colorado ten years ago, but I make a point to stop by every time I’m in town.
am5 Thai iced tea with soymilk. Avoiding dairy is difficult, but this place is quite vegan friendly. I consumed my Pad Thai with chicken too quickly to photograph… I can only vegan so much in one week.
am6 After lunches I got a haircut, compliments of my wonderful parental unit who spoil me too much, and then headed to Odell Brewing Company.
am8 American Homebrewers Association cards get you $4 off any flight here! I went for one of the new seasonal flights.
am7 One of the standouts here was Press Pale Ale – a pale ale with coffee added. It was extremely strange and wonderful. Light and refreshing graham cracker flavor with a huge coffee aroma and finish, but still crystal clear and pale. I also adored the rye hefeweizen. And all the others on this flight. Since they’re under construction, adding yet another building onto their ever-expanding brewery, there was no Small Batch Revival this year. Le sigh. They promised me next year would happen

The evening was spent at the local golf clubhouse with amazing Good Juju Ginger Ale from Left Hand Brewing out of Longmont paired with spicy wings, and then on the porch of my parental unit’s beautiful home.
fire Elysian’s Avatar Jasmine IPA – this will always be a nostalgic favorite of mine.

Happy spring to all!


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Banjos and Fiddles

American Craft Beer Week finished as a success! In addition to having a delicious craft brew every evening, I also obtained a keg of epic deliciousness that is Schwarz Schaff (schwarzbier) from LAB Brewing Company and got a chance to try some specialty tasters from Ladyface with two of my favorite girls!
AM1 I met Avery and Janelle at Ladyface for a girls’ night and rare beers. Avery abstained for this trip.
AM We each got a flight of the special lineup – Bastille (obsessed with this song, by the way) Imperial Wit, La Cerise Kriek and Ladyface One Year Anniversary. Drool. Everything was epically wonderful.
AM2 With all of my pairing “expertise”, I went for mac and cheese with jalapeno and bacon. I can’t not get this when I go to Ladyface nowadays. Stuck and happy.

The week ended up in a random way.  Brew Chief Joe and I went to the 53rd Topanga Banjo and Fiddle Contest and Folk Festival!
AM3 I cannot believe I’ve never attended before now, let alone knew it existed!
AM4 Held back at Paramount Ranch, this fest goes all day featuring fierce competition in voice, bands and beginners alike, as well as tons of food and western-style arts and crafts.
AM5 AM6 Banjo Joe in his element.
AM9 When at an outdoor festival, one must always find and buy kettlecorn, if possible. Mmmm, breakfast.
AM11 Walking around was like attending a dozen mini-concerts. Rehearsals were everywhere!
AM12 We got to see the Bluegrass Hoppers from UCLA in action. They were awesome. Unfortunately we weren’t able to stay long enough to see who ended up as a finalist, but I’m still hoping they moved on!
AM13 The vocalist competition took place at the train station.
AM19 And the main stage featured 50 different intermediate/advanced competitors. This guy in the overalls played the harmonica and blew. my. mind. He played something in G-minor. Classic, bluesy and mind-boggling. I wish I could describe it better.
AM14 The lineup of competitors was varied. These kids remade Ed Sheeran’s “The A Team” song into a bluegrass style.
AM15 One of them had the best accessory ever. Bluegrass-playing Mohawk. Not something you see everyday, and I loves it.
AM17 We wandered a bit more, enjoying the intense heat that was burning into the back of my legs after just seconds.
AM20 After we found shade, we were greeted by an impromptu jam.
am21 This man and his instrument are my heroes. A bucket, a stick and a string.
am23 Impromptu jam session #23.
am24 Impromptu jam session #48.
am25 #81.
am26 Man in overalls. Just cuz.
am29 Yet another jam session.
am28 And my favorite jam session of the day.
am27 So cute it hurts.

And so ends American Craft Beer Week! I finished up Sunday by rehydrating with Golden Spur Saison and working in the brewery all day. I could not be more content at this very moment.

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Ladies at Ladyface: Two Years!

American Craft Beer Week started off with a huge bang! Ladies at Ladyface: The Fermentables and Comestibles Education and Tippling Society celebrated our two year anniversary!
am I stuck to my latest tradition and started off with mac ‘n cheese with jalapeno and bacon. For a night like we had ahead, food was necessary. As was a warm-up beer…
am2 It was a HOT one out, so I grabbed a nice light Palo Comado XPA.
am1 The week had started off with a high of 100 degrees, so the patio misters were more than welcome as the sun slowly set and the earth finally began to cool.
am3 Our youngest member who was unable to attend either the first meeting or the first anniversary (on account of not being created or born yet) joined us for dinner.
am4 Little Avery lovin’ on her Auntie Michelle!
am5 The theme of the day was “favorites”. We were supposed to bring in our favorite beer… One of my ultimate favorites is aging in my cellar (aka a cardboard box sitting in a cool closet), and I just wasn’tt prepared to be unselfish and share it, so instead I brought six of my other faves. Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier is one of my favorite wheat beers, along with Franziskaner – musty with intense notes of banana and earthy cloves.
am7 Lost Coast Downtown Brown – nothing too fancy about this one. Just a quality brown that’s always a good go-to when you’re looking for a lower alcohol beer with lots of roasty nutty malts and gentle hops.
am10 This was one of the first, if not the first, recipe I made for the blog with beer. Bison Brewing Organic Honey Basil is the heart of my Honey Basil Chicken recipe, which I’m looking forward to grilling again this summer!
am6 Michelle brought in Pilsner Urquell – the original Czech Pilsner.
am8 Nancy Gold of the Maltose Falcons brought in two homebrewed clones of Allagash Curieux – one aged with oak cubes from a rum barrel and one with oak cubes from a bourbon barrel. Droooool.
am9 We were all very fond of both. I think I preferred the toasted rum cubes, myself.
am13 Janelle (I believe this was her donation) brought in Anderson Valley Brother David’s Triple – a deliciously boozy Belgian.
am14 Cyrena brought in a beer she’d gotten overseas at the Westvleteren Trappist brewery (there are only eight Trappist breweries in the world), and was kind enough to share it with us. This beer does taste a little closer to heaven.
am15 We had a handful of other beers – New Belgium’s La Folie was my mother’s donation from afar since she now lives in Colorado and was unable to attend. J.J. brought in Duchesse de Bourgogne which tasted like it was made of sugar cubes after the intense sourness of La Folie.
am12 Ting Su of the Eagle Rock Brewery showed up with some Los Angeles ladies to participate as well!
am16 Ting brought in Deuce – Eagle Rock Brewery’s second anniversary ale which is a super-loaded version of their flagship beer, Solidarity. Toasty and full of chocolate, roast and hints of smoke – scarily drinkable and clocking in at 10%ABV. This could throw you for one if you weren’t aware of the alcohol content.
am18 I capped off the evening with an old favorite – bread pudding!!! I left that night overstuffed and overhappy.
am11 Happy Two Years, ladies! Here’s to two more!


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Golden Road Brewery Tour

I finally got a chance to check out the actual BREWERY instead of just the pub!
AM Of course, beforehand I had to fuel up in said pub. I can’t go on a brewery tour without fuel. I’m not completely insane.
AM1 There was a big group of us and they assigned ordering to me. I closed my eyes and pointed. Roasted potatoes with soy chorizo and vegan ricotta. Surprisingly pleasant, even for someone who lives for bacon!
AM3 Vegan wild mushroom fritters with vegan pimento – for someone who hates mushrooms and loves pig, also surprisingly pleasant. One might even say delicious!
AM2 Pretzel with non-vegan cheese. Two vegan options are more than enough in my opinion, no offense to all my vegan/vegetarian readers out there!
AM4 We topped it off with the charcuterie plate full of cheese, grapes, spicy peanuts and cured meats. Okey, fueled up. Tour time.
AM5 We made our way through Chloe’s – the exclusive club for all those who love beer.
AM6 As you can see, I hadn’t quite gotten my lens repaired/been able to remove the lens yet…
AM7 We made our way into the gigantic offices/cold room. Don’t worry, these are separated. They don’t actually cryogenically freeze the employees. Yet.
AM8 This be a pretty big walk-in. I be pretty jealous. I become pretty chilled…
AM9 That ought to satisfy the LA consumers for a few days…
AM10 Once we got back into the warmth, we were greeted with all these empty cans, waiting to be filled with Wolf Among Weeds.
AM11 And finally, into the brewery!
AM14 They had to remove the roof of this building in order to lower these fermentors in by crane.
AM12 They’re kinda big…
AM13 And finally, a glance at the 50bbl brew system. Fifty. Barrel. Brew. System.
AM16 AM15 am17 They run their wort through the hop dosing system before sending it to the boil kettle.
am18 Instead of filtration, they have a separation tank. This spins the chilled wort around and all of the solids are brought to the center and removed – basically a second whirlpool tank, but faster and cooler looking.
AM20 The canning machine! We didn’t get to see this in action, but that makes for easier pictures anyway. These are spun around, sanitized, purged with CO2, filled and capped/clamped.
AM21 The quality assurance room/lab. If anyone for some reason calls in about their beer having an issue, the Golden Road team is able to come in here and taste that exact same batch to see if it’s a problem based on brewing or by handling. I think I’d be good at this part of the job.
Wolf I’m checking out how good I am at quality assurance right now.
wolf2 In other news – I took my camera in to the repair shop and after a lot of hammering from the backroom and me cringing as I listened to each bone-shattering crack, the shattered cover was removed and my camera is at the ready to take some more awesome pictures!

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The Bruery

I’d like to preface this post with a photo.
amb I haven’t been able to get the UV lens to come off of the camera yet, so unfortunately the pictures I got are quite sad. I was able to go down to Anaheim and got a (blurry) tour of The Bruery by the Sr. Director of Brewing Operations/Everything Else, Tyler King.
am0 The Bruery has three separate buildings – offices and barrel aging space, the actual brewery and a distribution center/warehouse which also hosts more barrels.
am This is their 3bbl pilot system. As you can see, it’s very fuzzy and soft-looking so some of the brewers use it as sleeping quarters… Out, damned crack! Out, I say!
am1 Their old (also unfortunately fuzzy and blurry) fermentors are about to get swapped out for shiny new ones.
am2 They propagate their own yeast on site instead of working through other labs. Their new fancy schmancy lab and lab technician are in full swing!
am3 And here’s where I finally got (some of) the focus under control.
am4 The Bruery is currently distributed in 21 states AND in Europe! After seeing the 15bbl system they work and finding out they have a staff of about 50, my mind was boggled. And impressed. Massively.
am5 Brand new 60bbl fermentors!
am6 Many, many kegs waiting to be filled with golden, amber and ruby deliciousness! And then some more!
am7 One small section of their barrel aging program.
am8 One bigger section of their barrel aging program. The scent of spirits, vanilla and oak swirling around the giant warehouse is intoxicating!
am9 All of their bottle-conditioned beers, packed up and ready to be sent out!
ama And now these await me in my cellar (read: cardboard box in a dark cupboard) while they age out. Luckily I got two (or more) of each, so I should probably try them fresh as well, yes?

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