Monday, October 7, 2013

Oktoberfest 2013

Lowell Brewing Co. held a little event this past weekend. We threw an Oktoberfest party and wow, what a great time it was. 50 lbs. of home-smoked meats, 20 gallons of LBC beer, about 100 people, and a bouncy castle for the kiddos. Yep, that's right, a bouncy castle. We also raised some money for the Love for Lyons fund which is helping the people of Lyons after the flooding. It was a really great time in the backyard! Thanks everyone for showing up.

On another note, the Great American Beer Festival is coming up this weekend! Let's all root for Wampum Porter to bring home a medal. I won't be able to make it this year due to a planned trip, but my beer will be poured at the Pro-Am booth on Thursday if anyone is planning on attending that evening. I had a bottle of it this weekend and it is tasting great! Fingers crossed...

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Infinity IBU IPA

I had some hops that were a couple of years old that I wasn't why not put them into an Imperial IPA?!! Here is the hop bill that I ended up with

Summit 19oz
Bravo 17 oz
Centennial 10 oz
Crystal 6 oz
Cascade 4 oz. 
Magnum 4 oz. 

Dry Hop
Columbus 3 oz. 
Centennial 3 oz
Crystal 3 oz
Cascade 2 oz. 

That is over 4 lbs. of hops! The wort turned into green slurry immediately and it was a little difficult to separate the wort from the hops into the fermentor. I started with 8 gallons of wort and ended up with only 4 gallons into the fermentor! This one will definitely be for the hopheads.

Hops anyone?

Monday, July 22, 2013

Wampum Porter is All Grown Up

I brewed Wampum Baltic Porter up at C.B. & Potts in Fort Collins this past Friday and it went great. This is my 2013 Great American Beer Festival ProAm entry. We hit all of the numbers for my recipe. Kirk and Eric were great to work with up there and I appreciated their attention to detail with every aspect of my recipe from start to finish. We brewed 15 barrels of my beer, which equates to almost 500 gallons! We used a little over 1200 lbs. of grain. It was huge. If the fermentation goes as planned, we should be sitting at around 8.7% ABV. For those of you that don't know, a Baltic Porter is a higher strength porter brewed with a lager yeast. Therefore, it turns out to be dangerously drinkable!

The brewery. 15 bbl brewhouse with 2x30 bbl fermentors and 2x15 bbl fermentors

Milling a small portion of the 1200 lb grain bill
Mashing In
Row, row, row the mash....

1st runnings from the mash tun into the kettle, yum
Shoveling out the mash tun

Getting ready for the 2nd hop addition.  I missed out on jumping inside the hot mash tun to clean it...oh well

Into the kettle with the Sterling hops

It was a great day of brewing and I'll keep everyone posted about when the beer will be ready for consumption!

On a smaller note, I'll be brewing my Oktoberfest beer this weekend at home to be ready by the end of September. I'll be using an Augustiner lager yeast for fermentation. The guys at C.B. & Potts were nice enough to give me some of the same yeast out of the fermentor cone that is being used to ferment my Wampum Baltic Porter! Perfect. I will also be brewing a Double IPA with all of my older will be crazy. I am shooting for an 8.5% ABV beer with about 3 lbs. of hops in it. I was sick of looking at the hops that I never use, so why not try to use them all at once! How about Infinty IBU IPA for a name?

Sandbox American Wheat is conditioning in the kegs and Cottonwood Abbey is finishing up in the fermentor.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Suggestions for Summer Beers?

The taps are drying up quickly and I'm looking for suggestions for my next 3-4 brews. Not looking to make any dark ales...nice, crisp refreshing summer beers would be nice. IPA? IIPA? Belgian Pale Ale? Wheat? Kolsch? Belgian Blond?

What's you favorite style of beer to drink when it is 80 degrees outside or when the sun is setting after a hot day?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Heading Back to the Great American Beer Festival!!!

I had a handful of beers entered into a home brew competition that was held a couple of weeks ago in Fort Collins and I won some medals. I won two gold medals for my Western Slope Peach Saison and Wampum Baltic Porter. I also won two silver medals for Micah's Blonde Ale and Pebonkas Imperial Stout. It was a pretty rewarding experience to hear my name called for all of the beers with my family there with me. Better than the medals was the fact that one of the local breweries chose my beer to brew for the 2013 Great American Beer Festival! This is now the 2nd time that this has happened in two years and it is incredible. C.B. & Potts (a brewpub chain) chose to brew my Wampum Baltic Porter at a commercial scale for entry into the ProAm competition. Before they announced this, another professional brewer came up to me and told me that they also wanted to brew my Western Slope Peach Saison at their brewery for the competition. Unfortunately, only one ProAm entry is allowed per amateur brewer! The two brewers flipped a coin for the entry and CB&P won. Learning about that from the other brewer was very rewarding. There were 600 beers in the competition, so I feel really good about how mine fared. 

To find out more about the Great American Beer Festival and the ProAm competition, check out this website: . With 50,000 people and 700's a big deal.

I'll keep everyone posted on the brew date and how the beer turns out. A date has not been decided for the brew day yet, but hopefully it will be in the next couple of months. Once again, this is an exciting opportunity and this year I'm hoping to medal with the big boys on a national stage!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

American Craft Beer Week

It's coming!
May 13th-19th

Go out there and support your local craft brewers. I feel this is much like Valentine's don't love someone more on that day than any other day, but it is a good reminder of what you have. You may already support your local craft brewers on a regular basis, but next week is an opportunity for you to truly appreciate what they have to offer and maybe introduce someone else to their delicious beers. Be on the lookout for events in you neck of the woods. 

Craft Beer Nation

Monday, May 6, 2013


Micah is graduating! My good friend is graduating from his MBA program at CU. It's been a busy couple of years for him and there is reason to celebrate! We brewed a couple of beers for his graduation party that is coming up soon. He wanted easy-drinking beers for his guests. We decided on a blonde ale and a pale ale. The blonde ale is called Micah's Blonde Ale (MBA)...clever. We haven't decided on a name for the pale ale, though Micah is suggesting Pale Buns Pale Ale, thoughts? I've been calling it Picker's hop picker.

Both beers came in around 6% ABV.  MBA is a very light colored ale, almost straw colored, with a hint of pilsner maltiness and a nice floral and spicy hop flavor. It's a good summertime beer. Micah also wanted a hoppier ale with hops that give the beer a citrus and dank flavor, so we brewed the pale ale. We chose mostly Centennial hops, with some Columbus in the hopback.  Both beers taste really good right now and I can't wait to tap them at the party. Congrats again, Micah! A job well done.

Olivia is helping with the hop additions!
Micah was on foam-over duty...he did good, real good
I think he was talking trash to the foam

Monday, March 4, 2013

Colorado Craft Beer Week

Don't forget! Colorado Craft Beer Week is coming up. Check out the website for a list of events in your area. Try and make a point to visit some of the new breweries in your town and support your local Colorado craft breweries. Have fun!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

House Bill 1178 Killed!

State Representative Kevin Priola (R) killed his bill to expand full-strength beer sales in Colorado to grocery and convenience store in multiple locations. The bill would have allowed grocery and convenience stores to sell full-strength beer made by a brewer that produces 6 million barrels or fewer each year, mirroring the commonly accepted definition of a craft brewery. It also would have allowed companies to get as many as five full liquor licenses. At this point, a liquor store owner is only allowed one license in the state of Colorado. Therefore, one person cannot open multiple liquor stores in the state.

Full-strength Beer Bill Goes Flat in the Legislature

Colorado state Rep. Kevin Priola, R-Henderson
Rep. Kevin Priola
Ignorant, in my opinion
While this might seem like a great bill at first, it really could have been detrimental to our Colorado craft brewers. Why wouldn't we want the convenience of picking up our favorite craft brewed six-pack at the grocery/convenience store when we are already there getting our food?

Well, here's the thing. Do you think the big box (Kroger, Safeway, etc.) grocery stores or convenience stores would have carried that favorite craft-brewed six pack of yours? Most of the shelf space in the stores would have  been reserved for the big beer guys and the smaller guys would most likely get squeezed out. How many hoops do you think the craft brewers would have to jump through to get their beer on these shelves, as opposed to just walking into the local liquor store and talking turkey with the local owner? It would have been a cascading effect from there. The local, privately-owned liquor stores would begin to go out of business because their craft beer sales would decrease and therefore the only other outlet for the small craft brewers would have been the grocery and convenience stores, where they may or may not have been able to display their beer. If the small craft brewers cannot sell their beer, they too would soon be forced to shutter. I know this sounds like an extreme result, but it is more possible and realistic than you might think. Therefore, it all goes on down the line and affects more segments of the industry than you think. Now, is all this worth the five minutes you might save picking up beer on aisle 15 as opposed to walking next door to the independent, locally-owned liquor store?

I took some of this from a previous post that I had made in the past because this issue has come up every year for the past 5 years in the legislature, so it is an ongoing topic. Maybe this directive will finally be squashed for good!

Here in Colorado, we have a very special craft brewing segment and we need to preserve that as best we can. We are becoming one of  the craft beer leaders in the country and it is important to our economy and our beer drinkers' freedom to maintain this trend. Hell, Boulder just opened its 19th a town of less than 100,000 people! That's amazing and speaks to the local, artisan culture that we are creating as brewers and beer drinkers alike.

It also amazes me that Rep. Priola is so ignorant and blind to the damage this bill would have caused to Colorado's local economy. The fact that he would rather support large big box companies that base none of their headquarters in the state as opposed to supporting local small businesses is dumbfounding. How can someone like this stay in office? Hopefully, everyone recognizes his ignorance at the next election.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Oh, the humanity!

This past weekend I brewed the Belgian Trippel and the Rye Pale Ale. The brew day went well...just loooong. I ended up going from 5am-6pm. Most of the time (of course) is cleaning. I had to disassemble 6 kegs and clean them all. In cleaning those kegs, I also dumped 10 gallons of beer down the road! The Country Livin' Stout and the Oaked Pops Ale traveled to far off places in the storm drain. The neighborhood smelled great for a little while! Always sad to dump beer, but it had to be done....nobody was going to drink this stuff, nobody. 

A couple of weeks ago, I also made some new chalkboard tap handles. Friends were confused about the labeling of the tap handles on the chalkboard front, so I tried to make it even more clear. I can now write the name of the beer right on the handle. I like them and the stain job came out great. Here are some recent pictures of the keezer, also including the taster trays that I made from oak barrel staves. This is where the magic happens! 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Where did it go????

Time or Beer? In this case, the beer is disappearing! Some from drinking...some from unfavorable results. I bottled up the rest of Jacked O' Lantern and Pebonkas Stout (will wax and label these). The Oaked Pops Ale tasted atrocious after 9 months in the barrel and the Country Livin' Stout was a maple bomb (not good)...both dumped. All that remains is one lonely keg of Western Slope Saison waiting for seven of his friends.

Planning on brewing a Rye Pale Ale which will be the second version of Ryse of the Phoenix from this past summer. I'm thinking some fruity/citrus hops would be good. How about a Amarillo/Citra/Cascade combo?  I also upped the Rye grain from 29% to 33% of the grist. I'm hoping the spiciness of the Rye and the fruitiness involved in the Amarillo and Citra will be real nice.

The second beer of the brew day will be a Belgian Trippel, which I have never attempted. It will be slightly different than a traditional Trippel in that it will have more than Pilsner malt and sugar as fermentables. I have added some caravienne and biscuit malt to the grist, as well as flaked oats for a creamy mouthfeel to the beer. I am also going to attempt to not add sugar and mash at a low temperature instead. It will be lower in alcohol as well, at around 7%. I will use Sterling and Styrian Goldings for hops. When I go out for a beer now, I have been leaning towards Trippels, so why not just brew my own!

I have a few other projects going on that I'll fill you in on next time!