Ben on Beer Episode 13 – Indio Is a No Go

In this episode, we taste test a beer that was sent to Ben. It was Indio. Sorry to say, it didn’t meet our standards and we had to drink something else to get a good taste out of our mouths!  Please note we wrapped up this run of the Ben on Beer show with this 13th episode.  We want to thank Continue reading

Play

Arcade Brewery Launches Its First Label Design Challenge

I received an e-mail from Lance Curran at Arcade Brewery today:

For Immediate Release

Arcade Brewery, a soon-to-open Chicago craft brewery, recently launched their first Public Brew challenge; a crowdsourced beer line. The Public Brew series engages Arcade Brewery’s community to help create aspects of the beer from naming the beer, label design, and even suggestive aspects of recipe formulation. The first Public Brew will be a Scotch Ale.

Arcade Brewery recently polled their community for beer names on their Facebook page. More than 150 submissions were reduced to 7 finalists and over 470 votes determined the Scotch Ale’s future name: William Wallace Wrestle Fest.

Arcade Brewery is now accepting label design submissions for the newly named beer through March 15th, 2013. The artist of the winning design will be awarded $300 and have their design printed as the beer’s label. More information on the label designchallenge can be found at http://www.arcadebrewery.com/forum/design-challenge/

Arcade Brewery will also be launching 6 Pack Stories (a comic across 6 bottles of beer)  his summer. 6 Pack Stories is written by Jason Aaron (Scalped, Thor, Wolverine) and  designed by Tony Moore (The Walking Dead, Venom, Fear Agent, Deadpool)

Please feel free to email info@arcadebrewery.com with questions or for more details on the challenge.

Cheers!

My Own Angry Orchard

As you may be aware from reading a previous post, I made a good hard apple cider recently and bottled it three weeks ago today.  This being my first fruit-based product and containing lots of sugar and active yeast, I was weary of bottling them in glass.  When my babysitter was to arrive this morning, I contemplated moving them to the shed from the kitchen floor where nothing would ruin if one popped or a cap came loose.

“Nah,” I told myself.  “…it’s been three weeks already.  It has to be settled by now.”

At 11:28 this morning, I got a text from the babysitter: “…one of the bottles in the box in the kitchen busted….”  Great.

No one was in the kitchen and no one was injured.  For that I am thankful.

I came home today to find the bottle, expecting to see a bottle broken at the neck with the cap still attached.  I did not find what I expected:

2013-02-18 17.06.12 2013-02-18 17.06.19

They had swept up the rest, including the cap.  There are still glass shards around the inside of the box.  This wasn’t a bottle popping, it was an alcoholic grenade.  I had originally thought they’d be under some pressure, but I guess I was wrong about them being safe after a few weeks.  Now I’m going to keep them outside somewhere they won’t get too much sun for a while and check on them later.  I don’t think I’m comfortable with shipping these quite yet.

I’ll report later if there are more incidents (and start drinking them tonight).  I’m just glad I didn’t give too many away so far – someone could have had a bad day.

Ben on Beer Episode 12 – First Hangout

This episode is the first to be carried out via Google+ Hangout and was a success after some trial and error. We talked about the status of Ben’s cider, some news in Decatur, Georgia, and the prospect Continue reading

Play

Ben on Beer Episode 11 – Hard Cider

In this first episode of 2013, we talk about hard cider and get distracted a lot.  It is a good “first show back,” and we drink Biere de Mars from New Belgium Brewing.  The cider talk stems Continue reading

Play

Hangar 24 Craft Brewery Adds Sacramento and Napa to Northern California Roster

REDLANDS, CALIF. – (Jan. 23, 2013) –Alongside the San Francisco Bay area distribution expansion, Hangar 24 Craft Brewery, one of the top 100 brewers in the U.S., is making its craft beer available in Sacramento and Napa county areas starting the first week of February.  The initial release will include Orange WheatAlt-Bier AleChocolate Porter and Double IPA along with its Seasonal offerings and Local Fields Series.

In its latest Local Fields Series release, Vinaceous, Hangar 24 includes inspiration from California’s famed wineries and vineyards by brewing the English old ale with freshly crushed Mourvedre (red) wine grapes, which also boasts flavors of rich malt, brown sugar, dark berries and a touch of oak.

“As a California based craft brewery, Northern California is extremely important as we expand our distribution,” said Hangar 24 Craft Brewery’s Founder and Master Brewer Ben Cook. “We are happy to be part of this area and we look forward to introducing Northern California’s rich palate to Hangar 24’s unique flavor offerings.”

The expansion into Northern California comes at the same time the craft brewer is adding availability to the San Francisco Bay Area, its largest distribution expansion to date. Hangar 24 also recently completed a physical expansion at its brewery that increased its annual production capacity and added a canning line, making it the first Southern California craft brewery to both can and bottle its beer.

Hangar 24 will be available throughout Sacramento, Napa, Solano, Sutter and parts of Yolo and Yuba counties. The craft brewer has plans to expand outside of California in the next few months.

For a full list of on and off-premise locations carrying Hangar 24 craft beer, please visit www.Hangar24Brewery.com/findbeer.htm. For a full list of California distributors please visit: http://hangar24brewery.com/cal_map.htm. For a complete list of Hangar 24’s craft beer styles and categories, please visit: www.Hangar24Brewery.com/currentofferings.htm or find Hangar 24 on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

About Hangar 24

Hangar 24 Craft Brewery began with a true passion for good beer, the absolute love of flying and the pure enjoyment of being around great friends. Owner and master Brewer Ben Cook and his buddies used to meet at Hangar 24 after an afternoon of flying to trade stories, talk aviation, play music and share a few cold ones that Ben just finished brewing at home. These days, the location where these fine beers are brewed has changed, but the quality time spent enjoying a delicious, handcrafted beer and conversation is the same as ever. Hangar 24 Craft Brewery employs more than 50 team members and its distribution is now spanned throughout Southern California with its addition of another company, Hangar 24 Craft Distribution. Its annual capacity now stands at approximately 40,000 and its Brewery and Distribution Center together employ nearly 100 people.

Batch 22 – Dave’s Caramel Apple Cider

Years ago when I met my friend Bill, he gave me a bottle of apple cider he’d made.  I popped the latch-top on the bottle a few days later and it hissed and popped like I’d just cracked open some champagne.  The cider was crisp and clear, and almost more like champagne than cider.  Still, I was impressed.  I had asked him how he made it and he explained the simple process.

I found a recipe a few months ago at HomeBrewTalk when I was beginning to think about making some cider at home, and the “caramel” in the name got me hooked.  My wife doesn’t like the taste of alcohol or hops, but loves Moscato wine because it’s sweet and has very little bitterness.  She might like a sweet caramel-flavored apple cider, so this is certainly worth a try!

The recipe, roughly, is 5 gallons of apple juice, 2 pounds of dextrose (corn sugar), and Nottingham ale yeast.  Dissolve the dextrose in water on the stove (medium heat) and cool it.  I ended up with about a half-gallon of sugar-water, so it reduced my apple juice quantity by that much.  Combine everything in the fermenter and pitch the yeast.

After fermentation (on bottling day) we’ll add some apple juice concentrate (five 12oz cans) to the volume plus some cinnamon dolce syrup.  We will bottle and wait for conditioning (carbonation) and enjoy!  All credit for this recipe goes to the creator.  I assume his name is Dave.

We’re big fans of the Simply Orange people, and they make all sorts of good juices including apple juice.  There’s an unfiltered, pasteurized Simply Apple that finally went on sale this week, so I jumped at the chance and made a few trips to the store to overcome the quantity limits.

I got the dextrose dissolved, everything sanitized, and rehydrated the yeast:

I pitched this yeast just before the last bottle so I could flush the yeast from this dish and the funnel.  That way I didn’t have any unused or wasted yeast!

I put a bung and airlock on and set it in the corner of my bedroom.  Within two hours it was bubbling to beat the band, which was very encouraging.

I’ll update this post as the process continues and let everyone know how it goes!

Update (01/15/2013): It has slowed to about 1 bubble every two seconds, and I’m obviously going to give it more time.  It seems to have slowed so far due to the dying of the yeast (they’re getting pretty drunk by now) given their activity for the last 9 days or so.  I may have it in the bottle by next week, but who knows?  Everything still looks good and I’m looking forward to tasting this one!

Update (2/4/2013): I bottled this a week ago today.  Even with the additives, it still had a very dry mouthfeel and was quite tart (I always taste on bottling day).  I felt as if needed to check on it; I put a lot of sugar in when bottling – back-sweetening the cider that much could have had negative effects, the most worrisome of which is exploding bottles.  No such event has occurred, and I’m looking forward to the 2-week mark when we can have a taste.  If I can stand to wait that long we’ll have a first assessment on the show for February 22.2013-01-28 20.48.42

Hangar 24 to Touch Down in the Bay Area

The Top 100 Craft Brewery Kicks Off 2013 With One Of The Largest Distribution Expansions Starting In The San Francisco Bay Area

REDLANDS, CALIF. – (Jan. 3, 2013) – Hangar 24 Craft Brewery, one of the top 100 brewers in the U.S., is proud to announce it will launch its craft beer in the San Francisco Bay area starting Jan. 15, 2013.  The initial release will include Orange WheatAlt-Bier AleChocolate Porter and Double IPA along with its Seasonal offerings and Local Fields Series.

The Bay Area marks the Southern California craft brewery’s largest single distribution expansion with plans to roll out in additional markets throughout 2013. Alongside the distribution expansion, the craft brewery is making a larger splash by sponsoring the 2013 SF Beer Week.

“We pride ourselves in creating a craft beer that uses ingredients grown close to the brewery,” said Hangar 24 Craft Brewery’s Founder and Master Brewer Ben Cook. “The Bay Area is our single largest expansion to date and we look forward to serving this culinary rich market and social drinking scene.”

From Feb. 8-17, 2013, the Southern California craft brewery will also be participating in and sponsoring SF Beer Week, one of the biggest craft beer celebrations in San Francisco. The event draws beer lovers from around the country and Hangar 24 plans to participate in several events throughout the Bay Area including the opening gala and closing ceremony.

“We are thrilled to be a contributing member to SF Beer Week and beyond the amazing exposure we can’t wait to ‘cheers’ the Bay Area,” said Cook.

Hangar 24 will be available throughout the Bay Area, including Alameda, Contra Costa. San Mateo, San Francisco, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Lake, Mendocino, Sonoma and Marin counties.

For a full list of on and off-premise locations carrying Hangar 24 craft beer, please visit www.Hangar24Brewery.com/findbeer.htm. For a full list of California distributors please visit: http://hangar24brewery.com/cal_map.htm. For a complete list of Hangar 24’s craft beer styles and categories, please visit: www.Hangar24Brewery.com/currentofferings.htm or find Hangar 24 on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

About Hangar 24

Hangar 24 Craft Brewery began with a true passion for good beer, the absolute love of flying and the pure enjoyment of being around great friends. Owner and master Brewer Ben Cook and his buddies used to meet at Hangar 24 after an afternoon of flying to trade stories, talk aviation, play music and share a few cold ones that Ben just finished brewing at home. These days, the location where these fine beers are brewed has changed, but the quality time spent enjoying a delicious, handcrafted beer and conversation is the same as ever. Hangar 24 Craft Brewery employs more than 50 team members and its distribution is now spanned throughout Southern California with its addition of another company, Hangar 24 Craft Distribution. Its annual capacity now stands at approximately 40,000 and its Brewery and Distribution Center together employ nearly 100 people.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Matt Kovacs                     mkovacs@blazepr.com             (310) 395-5050

Heather Spilsbury         hspilbury@blazepr.com           (310) 395-5050

Ben on Beer Episode 10 – Cocoa Mole and Beta Blockers

In this episode, Ben seems to have shown up having sampled some already, and we talk about random things as we discover and rediscover New Belgium’s Cocoa Mole, a chili beer.  Join us as the show continues to rattle on unscripted and unstructured.  It’s more fun this way!

Continue reading

Play

Marijuana in Home Brewing

Would you like a pale and bitter High-PA?  A Secret Stash Stout?  Those are some corny names I came up with while thinking about beer with THC in it, given the recent passings of bills allowing recreational use of marijuana in Washington and Colorado.  I’m not here to give you instructions on how to infuse your homebrew with ganja, just to talk about the possibility.  While I’m on a roll: Cannabeer.

Disclaimer: I have never tried weed and have no idea what it is to get or be stoned.  Sounds fun though.

I came across an article the other day that made me think about how many home brewers are also potheads (not saying potheads are bad people) and how many of them regularly experiment with this magical mix.  Since I’ve never tried any illegal drug and I’m not regularly exposed to Mary Jane, it just doesn’t come to mind for me.  Apparently now it’s legal to mix tetrahydrocannabinol in homebrew in those states, and likely more folks will be trying that where it’s been allowed.  This new liberty may in fact give rise to the popularity of doing such a thing, leading people to do what they already do with it whenever they want regardless of whether it’s still forbidden.

We could have arguments about legality, morality, the national debt, and the science of it here, but I’m not here to argue about it.  This is purely something I wonder: would the effect be the same as drinking home brew and smoking pot?  Would it be worth the money to add that much weed to a batch (I’ve heard an ounce per gallon)?

From a commercial standpoint, this is a no-brainer: marijuana is still illegal in the United States at the federal level, and they’re just the people that brewers have to work with to distribute their existing product.  The feds even have to approve the bottle/can labels and each change to any label.  I’ve heard it’s quite a pain.  So fundamentally, beer with THC won’t ever make it to market in our lifetimes.  Even caffeine in beer became a no-go back in 2010.  You’ll simply never find beer and marijuana in the same package at the 7-Eleven.

So the questions remain:

Would you try brewing a batch for yourself?  Would you try someone else’s WeedBrew?  Also, what else would you consider cramming in to your kettle or fermenter that might not be on the up-and-up?  Let me know your thoughts (and clever WeedBeer name ideas) in the comments.