Archive for May, 2007

BUZZ Off Pt1

Monday, May 28th, 2007

So Saturday I dropped off beers at Iron Hill West Chester for the 2007 BUZZ Off Homebrew Competition. Basically I chose to drop off the four beers I had brewed for the Scavenger Hunt: the Oak-Aged C-Hop Pale Ale, the S.A.W. Pale Ale, the Belgian-style Wit, and the Hazelnut Brown.


Not that I am being pessimistic, but I do not have high hopes for these beers. Most of these beers are slightly out of style (per usual) for what I entered them in, but I figured some constructive criticism never hurts. Plus, since the BUZZ Off is a qualifying event for the MCAB lots of people mail in some excellent entries. Hopefully if my schedule allows I will be up there judging for this competition, more on that the closer we get to June 9th.


On a side note, the More Beer competition was also on Saturday (in California). This was the competition where I was invited to compete in the Stainless Brewer event. Two days later and no results are posted yet, weak. They did post that there were eight judges judging the Stainless Brewer event and that there was a unanimous winner. Somehow I’m not feeling it, but still curious. UPDATE: (6/1/07) – The results are in from the More Beer Competition and I did NOT place in the Stainless Brewer Competition. Still waiting some clarification from More Beer on how they were judging this one.

BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #5

Thursday, May 24th, 2007

Finally finished the May issue, the ‘Music Issue’, of BeerAdvocate magazine today on lunch. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, magazines are the perfect material for reading on lunch and on the shitter.


This issue of the magazine followed the same format as the others, which I think is good. Readers can jump to a favorite section, or avoid sections that they typically don’t enjoy. This was the ‘Music Issue’ and basically the overall theme drew on the similarities between the beer world and the music world and in all honesty, I couldn’t agree more. Favorite section AGAIN was the ‘9 Steps to Beerdom’, it just hits right for me for some reason. And of course the cover story, about beer and music, was interesting. The only beer/music group I knew of is The Pain Relievaz, and they freakin’ rock my world no matter how lame some of their beats are sometimes. I actually wrote a song for them at one point, a re-make of the Beastie Boys ‘No Sleep Till Brooklyn’ as ‘No Sleep Till Milton’ – it was real tight and I still hope they bust it out sometime. And OMG, freakin’ 10 pages dedicated to beer reviews, with no advertisements for the whole stretch!?  I can’t stand reading that many random reviews, don’t get me wrong I’ll check out one if I am very interested in the beer like the New Glarus Wisconsin Belgian Red, and I often read the last paragraph of each review where they talk about pairings and an over all statement, but that’s about it for me. Overall it’s still a great magazine, just maybe not the best issue yet. Keep up the good work!

2007 Delaware Digital Scavenger Hunt

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007

On Saturday May 19, 2007 was the 2nd Annual Delaware Digital Scavenger Hunt and I feel as if it were a great success, again! This year we had a strong eight teams competing in the DDSH roaming an area that consisted of New Castle County “Plus”. “Plus” basically meant about a 10 mile radius around NCC was also considered legal territory. The list for the DDSH is listed below, check it out!


First off, the majority of the pictures are now available for your viewing pleasure. I had a problem with Heather & Robert’s and Craig & Alycia’s photos, but hopefully they will be coming. But just click on the link and you should be able to see all of the foolishness: 2007 Delaware Digital Scavenger Hunt Photos. UPDATE: (6/1/07) – ALL of the pictures are now up: Heather & Robert’s, Craig & Alycia’s, and several more added to the After Party section – go and RE-check it out NOW!! (That will be all.)

Overall it was a great time, but a lot of blood, sweat, and tears go into the preparation of this event. This year I made a few mistakes off the bat; I didn’t give myself enough time to fully prepare, I was occupied the two weekends before the event, and my partner/co-moderator was excessively burdened this year. But, I also made some advances; we had more than enough beer this year, not as many teams seemed cranky by the time they got back to the house, and the expenses were more evenly distributed.

This year a new team that participated, Derek & Chad, swept the DDSH! I was really surprised and happy how enthused they seemed about the whole event. They captured 68 of the 100 items, not bad at all in a 9 hour period. The second place team this year was last years winner, Jody & Shawn, with 56 items. And the third place team this year was last years second place team, Wooly & Mitchell, with 53 items. Also, for the other award winners there were Dave & Catherine with Best Picture, Craig & Alycia with most miles driven, and Craig & Alycia for the Weiner Award, for the team with the least amount of items acquired. Unfortunately that was due to an error in reading the rules, better luck next time. Also, this year we had a door prize with a random winner, and the winner was Dave who won a new Cornhole set, themed in the Delaware colors of blue and gold. Again, unfortunately the boards weren’t built yet, so Dave went home with a box full of bean-bags. Trust me, you’ll have fun with the game after you get all the pieces.

One of the highlights for me was after everyone got back to the house watching everyone enjoy the batches of homebrew I made. I have been posting about them for the last couple months, but available that night were the bottled version of the Stainless Pale Ale, draft Oaked C-hop Pale Ale, S.A.W. Pale Ale, and a Belgian-style Wit Bier. Available too was a Hazelnut Brown but we never made it that far, but we did kick 2 of the 3 beers on draft, and there was only three growlers worth of the Wit in the end. The Oaked Pale Ale kicked within an hour and a half of peoples arrival – damn beer drinkers. Also a blast, and basically unplanned, was having Mitchell and Robert play with Dave sitting in for the first set. I wasn’t expecting to have a live band at the party, but it totally made it cool, I think the neighbors probably thought so too!


Here’s the setlist of what the boys played that night:
5/19/07 The Calhoun, Wilmington, DE
Stripper’s Zipper
Flagger’s Lament>
Not Fade Away
The House Of Osiris
Something Good
Piece Of The Pie
All These Words
Baba Dochia
Every Rose Has It’s Thorn

In The Bayou
Wanted Dead Or Alive>
China Cat Sunflower*>
The Humpty Dance>
Permanent Reaction
The Scavenger Hunt Song*

Pepper’s Ghost
Since You’ve Been Gone
Cold Lampin’ With Flavor*+
I Gave Her A Ring, She Gave Me The Finger
Out In The Rain
Runaway Jim>
Runaway Jim
The Scavenger Hunt Song Reprise

all songs with Robert Desjardin on drums, first set with David Moore on bass
*first time played
^w/Dan Woolard on vocals
+w/Drums only

Basically I had a blast and I hope all that participated did also. We’ll have to see, do you think we can pull off another Scavenger Hunt next year, who knows . . . ? If any one has any additioal photos they’d like to contribute, please contact me. Also, I’d love to hear some of your comments about what you thought, what you liked, what you hated, whatever. – B

DDSH 2007

Friday, May 18th, 2007


The New Castle County “Plus” 100

1. ‘5 M to W’ Stone

2. Air Transport Command Restaurant

3. Alapocas Run State Park – Blue Ball Barn

4. Arden Guild Hall

5. Ashland Nature Center

6. Auburn Heights Preserve

7. Battery Park

8. Bayard House Restaurant

9. Baynard Stadium

10. Beck’s Pond

11. Bellevue State Park – Bellevue Mansion

12. Blue Diamond Park

13. Bob Carpenter Center

14. Booth’s Corner Farmers Market

15. Bowlerama

16. Brandywine Battlefield

17. Brandywine Creek State Park – Thomson Bridge Entrance

18. Brandywine River Museum

19. Brandywine River Park – The Bridge

20. Brandywine Springs Park

21. Breck’s Mill from 1814

22. Broad Dyke Marker (sign)

23. Buena Vista House

24. Candlelight Music Dinner Theatre

25. Carousel Park

26. Caufiel House

27. Chaddsford Winery

28. Claymont Stone School

29. Cowtown Rodeo

30. Dayett Mills Historic Area

31. Delaware Art Museum

32. Delaware C&D Canal Wildlife Area

33. Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts

34. Delaware History Museum

35. Delaware National Country Club

36. Delaware Sports Museum and Hall of Fame

37. Delaware Toy and Miniature Museum

38. Delcastle Recreation Area

39. Ebright Azimuth

40. Everett Theater

41. Fair Hill Natural Resource Area

42. Flintwoods Preserve

43. Fort Christiana Park

44. Fort Delaware State Park on Pea Patch Island

45. Fort Mott

46. Fox Point State Park – The Flags

47. Gander Hill Prison

48. George Reed House

49. Grand Opera House

50. Hale-Byrnes House

51. Hoopes Reservoir

52. Hotel DuPont

53. Iron Hill Brewery – Wilmington

54. Jasper Crane Rose Garden

55. Linvilla Orchards

56. Longwood Gardens

57. Lums Pond State Park Campground

58. Marcus Hook Rear Range Lighthouse

59. McKenzie’s Brew Pub

60. Mendenhall Inn

61. Millburn Orchards

62. Mt. Cuba Observatory

63. Mt. Pleasant Meeting House

64. Nemours Musical Tower

65. Newark Country Club

66. Newlin Grist Mill

67. Old Library Museum

68. Old Post Road 1666 Sign

69. Omalanden Firing Range

70. Packett Alley

71. Rittenhouse Park

72. River Road Park

73. Robinson House

74. Rockwood Mansion

75. Ronald McDonald House – Picture with Ronald McDonald

76. Simon Pierce Glass Blowing & Restaurant

77. Site of Bellanca Airfield

78. Smith Bridge Covered-Bridge

79. State Line Liquors

80. Summit North Marina

81. The Big Doctor’s Bag Sculpture

82. The Dive Bell

83. Three Forts Ferry Dock

84. Three Little Bakers Dinner Theater

85. Tri-State Bird Rescue

86. Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park

87. Tweed’s Park / Tweed’s Tavern Location

88. University of Delaware Solar System – The Sun

89. Veterans Cemetery

90. Veterans Memorial Park – Blue Star Memorial

91. Vicmead Hunt Club

92. Vince’s Sports Center

93. WDEL / WSTW Station and Radio Towers

94. White Clay Creek State Park – Nature Center

95. Wiggins Mill Park

96. William Penn Statue

97. Wilmington Drama League

98. Wilson Warner House

99. Woodlawn Wildlife Preserve

100. Woodside Farm Creamery


Thursday, May 17th, 2007

Dude at my work ‘Hey, I here you make some pretty good beer?’
Me “Yeah, I make all sorts of shit.’

Dude ‘I’d like to try some sometime. Can you bring me in a can sometime?’
Me ‘OK, what style do you normally drink’
Dude ‘Oh, just regular, you know Bud.’
Me ‘OK, but I don’t really brew that style. I’ll try to bring you in something lighter that I make that you might like.’
Dude ‘OK because I don’t really like those darker styles like Lager, I just like regular beer.’
Me ‘OK, I’ll try to bring in something you’ll like sometime.’

Guess I’ll never be bringing him a can of my regular homebrew – lunk-head.


Tuesday, May 15th, 2007

This past weekend I had my first trip up to Boston in over 10 years. The last time I was there was for the Phish New Year’s Eve run of 1996 – I have fond memories of wearing Birkenstock sandals in the middle of a blizzard, staying at a relative of a friend with way too many people in such a small place. Ahhh, what a great time.


Fortunately for me, I had a great time this time too, and I actually got to see some of the city this time. This year I went up with the five lovely people above: Jody, Dave, Karen, Heather, and Paul. From what I gather, JDH&P have gone up to Boston annually for the past couple years, I think it was all originally based around going to a Red Sox game at Fenway Stadium. So, this year Karen & I were asked to join the crew on their annual pilgrimage to Boston. We made reservations at the exclusive Omni Parker House right in the middle of downtown. The OPH is a historic building and the originator of the Boston Cream Pie (my favorite). The hotel was very nice, but because of its age the rooms were smaller than I would have preferred. Because of the location of the hotel using the public transportation or walking wherever we went was a snap.

We actually left on Thursday night so we could get the majority of the driving done before the weekend and not waste all of our time driving. Since there were six of us and we wanted to all ride in one vehicle we decided to rent a Toyota Sienna mini-van for the weekend. I must say, the mini-van was dope. We all fit comfortably, it drove like a dream, it had a DVD player (which we never used), and got great gas mileage. I totally think it was a smart thing to do, plus we got hooked up through my buddy Todd because he works at the dealership. So, essentially Thursday was boring driving. We stopped about 30 minutes from Boston in Framingham, I believe.

The next morning we decided to head into Cambridge and get some breakfast and kill some time before going to the hotel, we weren’t sure if we would be able to get an early check in or not. Found a nice little diner and chilled out. After the diner I suggested we look for the Cambridge Brewing Company and grab a beer. We got shitty directions from our waitress and began looking for the CBC. Well, after about 45 minutes we still couldn’t find it, we decided it was time to head into Boston and try to find the hotel. When we did get to the hotel we were able to check-in early and got adjoining rooms. For whatever reason I was kind of out of it by this point and kind of continued to be for the rest of the day.

After checking in we were off again. This time we went for a walk to the open air market area and then to a neat Irish bar called the Black Rose. We only stayed for one beer and I guess I should have gotten a Guinness, but instead I drank another Boston favorite Harpoon. After the Black Rose we walked into the Little Italy area and found a few nice spots to stop and grab another beer and some excellent espresso. After heading back to the hotel and regrouping a little we headed out for dinner at the 21st Amendment, kind of a little hole in the wall bar with maybe 20 seats right on the outskirts of downtown. The beer selection kind-of sucked but the food was better-than-average bar food. After dinner we went for a walk through the ‘rich’ area of town and headed back to the hotel to hang out and have a few beers. While we were chilling, the decision was made to rent and watch Borat around midnight. I must say, it was a lot funnier than I was expecting, plus lead to many quotes for the rest of trip, ‘It’s a nice!’

boston4.jpgSaturday was the day I was looking forward to. We already had dinner reservations at a nice restaurant and essentially the rest of the day was wide open. Dave & Paul headed off to the Red Sox game at about the same time that the girls and I headed off to Harpoon Brewery. We knew that they did free tours on Saturday and wanted to try and get to the early one. The ride out to Harpoon wasn’t too complicated though we almost missed a transition from the train to the bus. The “tour” was pretty cool. Basically they have a little shop where they sell merchandise and beer with a bar set-up in the middle. Pretty much they had like six or seven beers on tap and there tour really consisted of a tasting of all the beers. We also got to go out on the brew platform, but in all honesty it isn’t very exciting. I did wind up picking up four beers from their 100 Barrel Series, so I was stoked about that. I got the Peche, the Refsvindinge Private Stock, the encore series Barleywine, and the encore series of the Smoked Porter.

After Harpoon it was back to the hotel to drop off beers and then to decided to where next. Originally we had planned on going to Sam Adams Brewery and getting a tour and tasting there, but we decided instead to try and find the Publick Houseboston2.jpg and grab a couple beers there instead. It took us a good hour to pull our shit together and get an address, phone number, and directions, and then another good forty-five minutes or so to get there. By this point it was starting to get later than we wanted it to be and we still had not eaten lunch plus had out fancy dinner in a few hours that night. Regardless we all got food and beers. I must say I really liked this place. The closest comparison around here would be Monk’s Cafe in Philadelphia but with more room and less snotty attitude, but with just as great a beer selection. This is the kind of place that would be a do-not-miss kind of place if anyone ever asked me about Boston. I had a nice calamari salad and a glass of St. Bernardus 12 followed by a Founder’s Imperial Stout for dessert. Everything was cool and eclectic, I really enjoyed that break in the day.

After the Publick House it was back to the hotel to chill out and clean up before dinner. The restaurant we made reservations at, Grille 23, is a Boston steak house destination for sure. It was a very nice restaurant where they are listed as being in the 10 best steaks in the country, and have hand selected beef from a private farm, sounds tasty to me. We all got dressed-up pretty and grabbed a cab out to the location. Originally I was a little off put by the volume (noise) of the people inside the restaurant, but that was quickly evaporated as we were lead upstairs to a private little nook that made the place feel boston3.jpgjust right. We enjoyed a bottle of Pinot Noir and a bottle of Cabernet, I don’t remember what brand they were, but I do remember that I was totally blown away by the Cabernet, great wine. Along with the wine I started with a Nantucket Clam Chowder, which was a slightly thinner spicier clam chowder in comparison to a Boston Clam Chowda. Most of the table enjoyed the traditional Wedge Salad, but Grille 23 threw their twist on it by serving the lettuce wedge with an 8th of a small wheel of blue cheese and a large fresh piece of bacon versus the standard blue cheese crumble and chopped bacon – it looked delicious. For my main dish I chose the 10oz Fillet Mignon cooked medium-rare and it was perfect. And in all honesty after looking at all the other meals, mine looked the best, simple but perfect. For dessert the table chose to split a fresh strawberry ice cream cake, it tasted very much like a frozen strawberry shortcake with fresh strawberries, delicious also. After dinner we some how wound up walking back to the hotel, I guess it was closer than I initially realized. That night we just chilled back at the hotel again, which was about all I could have handled.

By the time Sunday morning came around most everyone was ready to be home. We did the slow get ready to go and hit the pike. We decided to wait until we got on the road to stop for breakfast which quickly turned into two hours later and stopping for lunch. The car ride home was mostly unproductive, but we did manage to miss almost all the traffic which was sweet. After getting home and dropping everyone off, we still needed to head to the car rental place and drop off the car. All-in-all it was quite a wearing car ride home, but so totally worth the trip. I hope the six of us get to do something like this again sometime soon.

Second Kegging Experience

Sunday, May 13th, 2007

Last Wednesday was my second time kegging, and that’s without even knowing if the first time was a complete success or not yet, great! Anyway, things seemed like they went off quite easily which I guess is a good sign. I actually cleaned the kegs on Tuesday and sanitized and filled them on Wednesday.


kegwebpt2_2.jpgNot going to have too much to say probably. I have learned that the closer it is to the event that the post goes up the more detailed and excited I typically am while writing the post. Since this was about five days ago now, there is only so much to say. So, basically I kegged the new-style (different recipe than the original-style) Belgian-style Wit bier and the Hazelnut Brown. Again, I stole a 6-pack from both kegs – I sure hope those Cooper’s drops work well.


Per usual when I do this kind of thing, I got to taste my batches to see how they are progressing. These of course were warm and uncarbonated samples, but sometimes that’s how I like it. The Wit was soft and silky on the palate, really nice feel, with a little zinger of a citrus bite. I’m hoping that this cold and carbonated will be a real day-time hit. The Hazelnut smelled fantastic! The hazelnut essence for the Hazelnut Brown was only added at the last moment for kegging/bottling to help retain the most hazelnut aroma, and let me tell you it really smelled great! The flavor seemed to have mixed well with the beer, but it was a little bit more difficult to form an impression of what the final product will be like. I guess I’ll have to wait and see.

Sly Fox Bock Fest & Goat Race

Sunday, May 6th, 2007

Sunday was the Annual Sly Fox Bock Fest & Goat Race. Per usual it was a helluva-good time. Don’t even know where to start except for the fact that we didn’t score a goat for the race, so there was no Grundles McFister Maibock this year. Oh well, beer happens.


It was cool, I wound up going up with Robert this time again and we ran into a few characters. We ran into, Guy, Prague, and Tommy of the Team Fuck-All-Y’all fame, Rick and Natalie from Stewart’s, and Jason from Keystone Homebrew. It’s always cool to run into familiar faces. We unfortunately showed up in time for the final heat of the goat race. So once again I was all pissed-off. They seemed to have run out of food, glasses, and some beer rather quickly – but otherwise it was once again a rather chill cool event. It makes me wonder when they are going to out grow their current facilities?


What I look like through the new “Grundles McFister” Maibock.

First Kegging Experience

Sunday, May 6th, 2007

So, Friday night was my first true kegging experience. Yeah, I got to watch/help Garrett when he gave me my kegging demo, but this was my first time alone, without a net. Sure I could have used the phone-a-friend option if I ran into trouble, but I knew Friday night would be a bad night to call. The only mishap happened in the very beginning when I accidentally tipped over the CO2 tank with the regulator on it and smooshed one of the gauges – I’m hoping I can get that fixed inexpensively.


I probably got started about 7:30. I had already decided I was going to clean, rinse, sanitize, transfer, and carbonate two beers, while simultaneously cleaning, rinsing, and sanitizing the draft box to be used in conjunction with them. Really most of the kegging stuff is pretty simple and pretty boring, just like bottling. But, the good thing with kegging is you only have to do all of those procedures to 1 container instead of 50. Plus once the beer is transfered you are essentially done. Sure you still have to carbonate it, but during bottling you’d still have to fill and cap all 50 bottles.

kegweb3.jpgBasically the night went something like this: 1) Boil 6 gallons of water to add 3 gallons to each keg plus PBW. 2) Let keg sit for 30 minutes both upside-down and upright. 3) Flush hot PBW solution out of keg and through draft box. 4) Rinse each keg with hot water thoroughly, twice. 5) Flush hot rinse water out of keg and through draft box. 6) Fill each keg with cold water and sanitation solution. 7) Let keg sit for 10 minutes both upside-down and upright. 8 ) Flush cold sanitary solution out of keg and through draft box. 9) Now both kegs and draft box are clean, sanitary, and ready to be used. By this point it was magically 10:30 some how. Looks like the night was going to be longer than planned, but at least things were going well.

kegweb2.jpgNext it was time to transfer the beer and then to carbonate it. I guess old habits die hard, because even though I was kegging I was still planning on “stealing” a 6 pack of beer from each keg. Originally I thought I may be able to just set up the siphon with the bottling wand attached to the end and siphon directly to the bottles. Well, that didn’t work. Not that big of a deal, I just siphoned it into a pre-sanitized bottling bucket instead. Of course I didn’t know exactly how much a 6 pack of beer was going to be, so I pulled off like 3/4 of a gallon, which was a bit too much. The other thing I had to figure out was how to prime the bottles for carbonation. Fortunately I had planned ahead and bought a pack of Cooper’s Carbonation Drops. Supposedly these cough drop looking things are the perfect amount of priming sugar for on 12 oz. bottle. I have never used them, nor do I know anyone that has, so we’ll have to see what the results are. They tasted just like rock candy.


After the bottles, I could finally do what I’ve been wanting to do the whole night – actually keg the beer. I think I did everything right and pretty much kept my fingers crossed the whole time. I forgot how much sediment and debris can be left behind from dry-hopping, so whenever those first pints are pulled someone may get a slightly chunkier beer, oh well. The first beer I kegged was the Oaked C-Hop Pale Ale (I know incredibly original name). This was the beer that I had all sorts of trouble with on brew day. It has taken to just recently for it to finally clear and it was brewed back in March. But like I said before, there was a little bit too much beer taken for the bottles so there was enough for me to taste. And let me tell you, I was pleased. It is a very traditional West Coast Pale Ale style beer with a nice little bit of bite and nose from the oak to keep it interesting. I think this one is going to go on first and I bet it will go fast. The other beer I kegged was the SAW Pale Ale (I know another incredibly fascinating name). This beer is almost overwhelmingly over hopped. To me it’s good, to some it may be too much. It has tons of Simcoe, Amarillo, and Warrior hops in it so it’s picking up an intense-mellow bitter back-bone from the Warrior and Simcoe, and crazy flavor (think: orange juice) from the Amarillo and some depth from the Simcoe. I think it may be a hit or miss as far as a crowd pleaser, but I think those that do like it will really like it.

After that it seemed to be easy street. I hooked the CO2 up to both kegs (thanks again, Garrett, for letting me borrow some equipment!), dialed in the regulator, and it was a total set it and forget it moment. Supposedly after three days these bad boys will be already to go and I can start this whole process all over again, this time kegging the Hazelnut Brown and the Wit. After janitorial duties I finally went back upstairs to call it a night. When I looked at the clock it was almost 1AM! How did that happen? I really need to get a clock down in the basement, it’s like freakin’ Vegas down there.

Wit in Secondary

Thursday, May 3rd, 2007

Transfered the Belgian Wit-style beer to its secondary fermenter tonight. It seems to have attenuated well, smelled fine, and tasted pretty good – a little zingy, but refreshing. All of these things helped calm my nerves a little bit, I was worried because of the lovely yeast I was using.


Pretty much the transfer went off without a hitch, which is always good. Now all four beers that I will be kegging are in secondaries and waiting to be transfered. I believe the two pale ales are going to be kegged this weekend, and the hazelnut brown clone and the wit the following week. Doing two at once this weekend will give me a chance to work out some of the kinks plus give me an idea of how long the whole operation  should take.