Thursday, December 31, 2009

Anchor Porter

I found a six pack of Anchor Porter at my neighborhood liquor store (the upscale one, not the ghetto one) so I bought one to compare with our Porter.

....and the winner is....


This is not a surprise, but one can always dream.

I did a sequential tasting (one after the other) starting with the Anchor. The Anchor was luscious black velvet with hops. The bitterness was definitely more present, but the mouthfeel was thicker, and the taste was sweeter. Even the head was creamier... I would have liked a little less hops, but it was much, much better than ours. Don't get me wrong, I like our Porter, but I taste a graininess or astringency, and it was our first try at this beer. I recall a similar issue (astringency) with our brown ale, which was one of our first all-grain batches. We entered that beer in the National Homebrew Competition, and received a silver certificate (first round, middle of the pack, labeled as "good", but I don't remember the points it received).

According to John Palmer's book, How to Brew a common cause of graininess or astringencies are from sparging or milling issues. Oversparging or using water that is too hot causes the pH to rise which leaches out tannins and other off flavors. I reject the milling, as it was done on professional equipment at the local homebrew shop. Was this the batch we ran dry too early and ran through some cold water? I felt uneasy about it at the time, and don't know if that constituted oversparging, or caused the flavors I am tasting, but it is my primary suspect.

My brother and I were considering putting this and our West Coast Ale into a local competition in February. It will be interesting to see if they pick up any of the same issues. It will be good to get good feedback.

High Gravity Hi Jinks, update

I racked the Festivus Ale into the secondary today. I waited until I thought the most active fermentation was over. After racking, the fermentation actually picked up its pace again. The Gravity reading was 1.021, which is only 0.003 above the predicted FG. I use a freeware computer program called Qbrew to help calculate such things (if you Google it, I think you can find where to download it). Qbrew is a pretty good program (especially for free), but it has a few quirks in that it does not allow you to customize the gravity or ABV (based on mash temperature, for example) calculations except for setting your efficiency %. Our FG is always a little lower than the predicted, probably as we mash at lower temps during the winter (due to heat loss). At any rate, the fermentation picked back up after racking, but I don't know why.

I have never bothered to rack into a secondary fermentation tank before, but I have never intended to age my beer a while (in oak). There was so much yeast still suspended on top and yeast/trub at the bottom that I was having a hard time keeping the siphon going. The whole experience made me decide that I need some new and longer hoses, and have me wanting to invest in an electric pump.

I can see that with a pump, I am moving towards a semi-professional fixed station brewery (RIMS or HERMS) system where the pump moves water and wort, and even recirculates the wort in the mash system for a more efficient mash and/or a more consistent temperature control. No more lifting hot pots of water, and depending on the set up and location, no more moving 6 gallons of beer in glass carboys (the two most dangerous parts of home brewing). If stainless steel fermenters didn't cost $800 (compared to $45 glass carboys), I would have eliminated the glass a long time ago. Plastic sucks, and I will never go back to that (not even the new plastic conicals). My brother and I share brewing facilities, so if I go to a fixed station, it would still need to be something that disassembles and moves 3 or 4 times a year. I was thinking of using something like the A/V media carts that we used in school to fix hot liquor tank mash tun and kettle into multiple carts. If they can be separated and lifted onto the truck bed, or into a van, then they take up more space, but are easily moved. If I can fix fermenters into a rolling rack as well...that would be much safer. I will put more thought into it and maybe fire up a plan in CAD.

I digress....
I also learned that my brewery maintains a nice 62-64 degree fermentation temperature (perfect for ales, little high for lagers), as the borrowed carboy that I racked into has a temperature strip affixed to it.

The beer will probably finish above 1.015, which means that it will stop fermenting by the end of the holiday weekend. I transferred it early, as I wanted some fermentation to re-establish the Carbon Dioxide oxygen barrier, but I fear that I may have done so too early. I was glad to get the beer away from all of the gunk (yeast, trub, etc.) from three successive brewing sessions, and I can see more of what is going on inside the fermenter. The oak chips are floating on the surface in the newly re-formed krausen (yeasty top). The big question is now, how long should I let it sit before bottling. I was originally thinking of waiting until about February 1st, but I think it probably has more to do with our schedules (when we can get together to finish this). Probably we won't touch it until late January. The beer tasted sweet, but as I had said, it hasn't finished fermenting, so it is unfair to judge it at this point. The cinnemon taste wasn't overwhelming, but again it may assert itself more as the beer dries out (ferments the sweet sugars). It will be good if the beer stays just a little sweet. The color is a nice mahogany red-brown. Who knows how this one will taste in 3-6 months?

I got my new copy of Zymurgy (of which my name and comments appear in the "Ask the Professor" section), and got Charlie Papazian's latest book for Christmas, so I do have some reading to do. I will sit down and enjoy our Porter and catch up with these items this New Year's Eve.

Despite 2009 being such a personally crappy year, I made some fantastic beers (and a few duds) and learned a lot. I just hope that 2010 exceeds both my low personal expectations, and high brewing aspirations.

I realize that I never had discussed my time living in Fort Collins, and have been contemplating another installment of my personal journey.

Monday, December 28, 2009

High Gravity HiJinks

It was our first time brewing a higher gravity beer. I would have bet that before this week, we probably never brewed a beer over 4.5% ABV. Already, I have some insight to report.

We racked the beer directly onto our yeast from our West Coast Red Ale. The day is longer when we bottle a batch and brew on the same day, but somehow more satisfying. You have beer that will be ready to drink by the time this beer will be going into bottles. The real benefit is that you have an extremely quick and vigorous fermentation. This is a blessing (for the beer), but a curse. With a high gravity beer, (our OG was a low 1.067, and were shooting for 1.070) we had a lot of sugar to ferment in our 12 gallon batch. Within an hour, the yeast was overflowing the airlock and spilling onto the floor. I spent a lot of time cleaning yeast and beer off the basement floor. I don't own a large diameter tube to fashion a proper blow off tube, but I rigged one using the airlock and a 1/4" hose and ran that into a glass filled with a bleach solution. In the future, I think we will have to restrict our batch size to 10 gallons (instead of our normal 12), so I don't have so much work.

Also, because this was a "holiday" beer (Festivus if you are asking), we added cinnamon. I was planning on adding 3/4 or one ounce, but my brother at the last minute talked me into the whole 1.5 ounces I had....after reading a tad about it, I fear that I might be sorry about this. Most recipes only add 1-3 teaspoons per 5 gallons (which would be 3-7 for 12 gallons). 1 teaspoon is 0.16 ounces, so we were in the 9 teaspoon range. Perhaps with the blow off and the extended aging we have planned, this will not be such an issue.

After a day and half, fermentation is still vigorous, but I am ready to transfer back to using an airlock again.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Porter Out, West Coast Ale In

I have been threatening to do successive batches of beer for a while now, and finally got around to doing it.

On Saturday, my brother, my brother's friend from work, and I bottled our 12 gallons of porter and brewed another 12 gallons of west coast red ale. For the first time we left the yeast in the bottom of the fermenter from the previous batch and racked the new beer onto it. I like to call this hot bunking the beer. I think hot bunking is a navy term where more than one crew uses the same bed, and may often lie down while the bunk is still warm from the previous user (yuck)....but it works nicely with beer. Within an hour we had a full fermentation going. The pictures shown are after 24 hours, and you can already see some of the fermentation subsiding. I think I may re-use the yeast again when brewing at Christmas. Reusing yeast saves about $7 per batch, or between 10 and 12 percent of the cost of materials on a normal brewing session.

The session went well. We had extra work and extra cleaning with the bottling and brewing on the same day, but we had extra help. My brother's friend had never brewed before, but is an avid BBQ-er (not sure what Barbecue cooks call themselves)...And what goes good with BBQ? Craft beer.
He did a good job, and asked a lot of good questions. I hope I gave good answers, and that he had fun. We did give him a cut of our Porter to take home, and I am sure that he will get some of the
West Coast we brewed from my brother.

I don't have any complaints about our brew day, except we probably should have boiled down the wort a little longer as we ended up with a little more liquid and a slightly low specific gravity than I would have liked. Last time I brewed this beer I was slightly over 1.040, this time slightly under. Our efficiency was 67%, lower than the last west coast red ale (72%), but higher than for our Porter (59%). The minute variables are too numerous to count, but I wonder if the addition of gypsum to the mash last time made (to make water harder) or makes the difference. This doesn't explain why we jumped 8% from the porter, but maybe why we were 5% higher with the last red. The last red's grains were also from a different supplier, and their grind might be more fine. I did re-run some (perhaps half) of the grain through the mill twice, so perhaps this is the major difference.

Anyway, the Porter tasted like what I thought it should, so I am excited to try it after it carbonates. It will be carbonated at Christmas, but might not be good until New Years (but if it was good now, perhaps it will be good in two weeks). Now, I have to come up with a Strong Ale recipe to brew at Christmas. I have been doing my homework, but am wondering if I should do just a strong ale, or add spices to it. Also should I go English or German Alt? Every time I think I have made a decision, I change my mind. I am nervous with the strong ale, as it is a lot of ingredients, and has its own complexities in its strength and aging. I am certain I am going to use some oak for aging.... definitely American Oak.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

More on Austin

I only spent 4 hours in Austin. It really isn't enough time to form a real opinion. For those of you who know me, I was in Texas for a job interview (non beer related). Sadly, the job itself isn't in semi-liberal Austin (which would make it bearable).

I was in the College Station (home of Texas A&M), which is also known as "Aggie Land". It, despite being a full blown college town, is very conservative, very stereotypically Texas. I was looking forward to checking out some breweries in College Station. Through my research, I was able to ascertain the location of two. One, I learned had closed, the other was so far out of town, that I gave up looking for it before I found it. So, zip, no craft beer made in the heart of Texas for me. Ironically, after searching for over an hour for a brewery or someplace cool by the Campus to eat and drink, I stumbled upon an empty beer bar in downtown Bryan two blocks from my hotel. The bar/restaurant had two storefronts, one was an Irish Pub called Murphy's Law, the other a German Irish and German Beer selections, very good.

I am surprised that there is a major college town (except perhaps in Utah) in America without a thriving craft beer industry (meaning at least two breweries or brew pubs), but my luck, I have found it. There are two possible reasons....1. people don't like change in this part of the world, so a craft brewery that can't make an extremely light lager is dead in the water, or 2. The "movement" hasn't reached this corner of the world yet. The fact that the city had two, and now has one or less craft brewery leads me to believe that reason #1 is the predominant factor, with reason #1 thwarting reason #2. This gives me a wild hare of an idea.

I am looking at a possible relocation to this craft beer desert. I brew damn good beer, and my beers tend toward the matly middle of the spectrum (not too bitter, nor too thick) so that light beer drinkers love to drink my beer. Perhaps I can start a nano-brewery in this place.

I need to understand both the community and the Texas State Laws governing breweries before I decide on anything. Can you self distribute as a small brewery in Texas (that would be a huge plus)? Is it a long and expensive process to get licensed in Texas (that would be the biggest road block)?

The next issue is equipment and location. Equipment means capital, which if you know me, you know that I have none of (would I be even thinking about Texas if I did?) Location should be a an easy one, but things are not so cut and dried in this locale. Ideally, you would want a location that was close to the college, but those locations are expensive. Also, college students like quantity over quality which is counter to a craft breweries charter. But you also want a trendy location (not a storage unit in an industrial complex) to at least entice your target clientele (anyone with money that is adventurous with their food and drink experiences) . I found a beer bar in downtown Bryan, which is a sleepy railroad/ag town north of College Station with brick buildings and a vibrant redevelopment effort....perhaps this is the place for a brewery. It depends on the rent (on the fringe of the downtown, which is 1 block away from the central downtown).

So, if I have a location, then I need equipment, which means I need capital. So the central question is, "Who wants to own a Brewery?" The answer for me is you, my constant reader....who of you want to own a brewery?

It is unclear whether I am reading the tea leaves (or hops floating in the wort) right or not, but it would seem that an extremely small test brewery could be set up on the cheap in a town like this. A 1/2 barrel system with computer control could be gotten for less than 15-20 grand (like a Sabco, some stainless steel fermenters, kegs and dispensing equipment and refrigeration). It would be more like a the dream brewery for a homebrewer, but if successful, could allow for a move to more professional set up later. If a failure, one or another of the homebrewers in the investment pool would love to own the equipment (I know I am one of those if I wasn't central to the whole debacle). So failure would be a liquidation of the equipment to those who already made a down payment on it....

So, who is with me? I figure 4-8 investors (you know who you are)at a couple of grand a piece would do the trick. Truthfully, I don't think that this job in Texas is going to be for me, anyway, but if it was, this is a really doable thing in such a location, baring any state regulations or local oppositions.

While in Austin, I went to Uncle Billy's Brew and Q. It was down by the river across from the Downtown, Capital, and University. I enjoyed the atmosphere, it was typical honkytonk, and reminded me of the college bars of Mount Pleasant with more windows. The beers were really good, but I was disappointed in the selection. They had one dark (Coffee Stout, good), one Amber Ale, one hoppy beer (a traditional pale ale, not as hoppy as IPA, but more of what I like), and three light offerings including their Wheat, Keller (that won gold at the GABF, which I would have had if it was warmer), and a blonde ale. I assume that this is the predisposition of breweries in the south toward light beers for maximum drinkability in warm weather and a reluctance of beer drinkers to try new things (they complain about this in the All About Beer magazine). I enjoyed their BBQ, however, choosing their hot links (regular, and jalapeno cheddar)....the stout with it was great (food-beer pairing experts be damned), the Pale Ale was even better.

While there, I learned that my flight was delayed. This gave me the opportunity to hit Lovejoy's Taproom and brewery downtown. The Lovejoy is located on Neches Street between 6th and 7th, and reminds me of the small music venues, such as The Foolery/Rubbles (Mt. Pleasant), Heidelberg, or the Blind Pig (Ann Arbor) of my youth. The difference is that this is at grade level. The interior is painted black. The chairs and stools are made of heavy durable steel and wood, painted black with easily cleaned black vinyl, the bartender (Marcello) has overgrown sideburns and a mustache and is also wearing all black. The difference from my youth is that they have 4 of their own beers on tap and over 100 other selections from throughout the United States rest of the planet (namely, Belgium). I am told by the locals that they shut down 6th street on the weekend nights and 100's of bands can be heard along this stretch of downtown. This is a place I need to visit again. They are very friendly, they know their beer, and they are as unTexas as I have ever encountered. I will make it a point to visit Lovejoy's at next year's GABF.

So, I can't decide if craft brewing is in its infancy in Texas (did I ever tell the story of meeting the owner of the Eola School Brewery during the GABF), and this is an excellent opportunity for the intrepid, or if the society in non-urban Texas is too closed off to allow craft brewing to succeed, and opening a brewery outside of Austin, or Dallas, or Houston is a fool's errand. More research is needed for me to make a decision. Are there any fools out there willing to take a chance? Are there local homebrewers that can further enlighten me?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

initial beer report - Austin

I am just about to get onto an airplane that is two hours late.

I got a chance to check out Austin for the first time, and was able to visit two breweries. The beer was just slightly better than ok, but the people were awesome, and the town....well, lets just say that we need to all meet for a long weekend in Austin. The music scene is fantastic, although I missed it (it being Tuesday and all), but man, this place is unTexas. What is the deal with Texas? Why does Texas save all of their cool for one little spot? I could both live in Austin, and dominate the brewing scene almost anywhere in Texas....Austin has the most competition, however.

I will try to write more later.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Brewery Swag: Where's the Love?

It occurs to me that I love the marketing of beer and especially craft breweries. It is interesting to see the names and graphics that accompany a new brewery or a new beer from an established brewery. I love the magazine ads, the tap handles, the TV commercials (for the big boys), almost everything. I especially love the logos emblazoned on everything from temporary tattoos to t-shirts. For all of this, I have realized that own not one t-shirt or other clothing apparel from any brewery. You would think that for all the hanging around breweries and brewpubs that I have done over the years, someone, somewhere would have pulled a Mean Joe Green (remember the 1970's coke commercial, where he says "Hey Kid!" and throws the kid who gave him a coke his stinky soiled jersey?) and given me at least a t-shirt. Those who know me, know I am cheap and poor, and can't really afford such luxuries as a brewery t-shirt.

In retrospect, there is a very good reason that no one has been so generous. Breweries do a very good business selling their wares. A bad brewery with a good marketing department might even make their profit from the t-shirts and other products, while breaking even on beer. I have no statistics to back it up, but I do know a lot of people who buy t-shirts or glassware or something from every brewery they visit. I also know for a fact that poor design has cost the sale of at least one shirt/glass. My brother wanted to buy a Liberty Street Brewery t-shirt or polo, or glass (maybe more than one), but the shirt didn't include the words "Plymouth, MI" could have been Liberty Street anywhere USA....but my brother felt that the hometown should be displayed on a local brewery's shirt. Definitely, the profit on a $20 t-shirt is much larger than the profit on two or three $4 pints that the person drank while at the brewery.

Still, it would be nice to have one nice t-shirt, and would be nice to get one free for all of the promotion I do for breweries. I am not complaining. Brewers as a group are some of the most generous and giving people in any industry, and after all it is a business with tight margins. I have had many a free taster or pint of beer for just showing an interest in the beer, or conversing with the brewer.

Granted, I am no Michael Jackson (imagine the free swag that guy must have gotten every year). My words and opinion don't command a large audience, but I am no less prolific or insightful. You would think that Brekenridge, Wynkoop, Rock Bottom, or some other local brewery would throw some material love my way. Or offer me a job....any job (even to just shut me up).

Anyway, I like their art work on the outside and the inside of the bottle or glassware, and would wear any decent looking clothing item with pride should one present itself.

What are your favorite craft beer logos and why?

Saturday, November 28, 2009


To say that I have been in a funk lately, would to be putting it mildly. I have not been interested in brewing, and definitely not in the mood to write. My brother and I have been making and breaking loose plans to do our yearly pumpkin beer for well over 2 months. We just could never get the ingredients, or find the time. Most of this was my fault. I don't know if it was the weather changing cooler, the busy time of year with all of the holidays, my over indulgence on various beers during beer week and the Great American Beer Festival in September, or just the general state of mind I have been in, but I considered giving up this blog, and began to wonder if I was entering a dormant period in my brewing.

Finally, I think my brother has had enough. He had long run out of beer, and even the 12 pack of red ale I gave him more recently. He decided he was coming over to brew the day after Thanksgiving, ready or not. This was a good tactic, because it made me at least commit to it. Ordinarily, I put a lot of research into formulating a recipe. I read about the style, and think about what we like commercially and why. This time, not so much. I just didn't have the will or the time to get going on it.

We decided that pumpkin was too complicated and we weren't sure that we could get our hands on pumpkin due to a poor harvest, and that we both wanted to try something new and a little more robust. We settled on Porter. I decided to adapt a clone recipe of Anchor Porter. I used a yeast from Anchor's brewery (Wyeast American II, purportedly used in Anchor Liberty), and modified the chocolate malt to pale chocolate malt on a whim.

Porter is reportedly the first mass produced beer. Common practice in the early 19th Century was to blend new (green), aged, and/or stale beer to get a drinkable beer. The drinkability of the beer was dependent on the bartender's ability to appropriately mix the beers, and the cellar man to rotate and keep the beers stocked and conditioned in the right proportions. Porter was formulated to taste like the blended beer. It was a robust drink compared with the brown or pale ales of the day, and was favored by laborers so much so that it was named after the Porters who loaded and unloaded trains. Stout is a offshoot of Porter and was often referred to as Stout Porter. Nowadays, Porters are classified by the AHA of either Brown Porter or Robust (brown, closer to brown ale, robust closer to stout). Both are of medium alcoholic strength, perhaps 4-6% (more for Robust less for the Brown), medium/full body, dark and malty with little hop flavor or aroma. The dark grains give it that burnt or coffee flavors, and is complemented well with additions of chocolate, coffee, or other aromatic flavorings. Porter's can be made in a export variety of greater strength and bitterness and is either referred to as an Imperial Porter or a Baltic Porter. Baltic Porter was made in England for export to the Baltic nations (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, perhaps Finland and Russia). Anchor Brewing in San Francisco revived the Porter style in the United States in 1975 with the release of their Anchor Porter.

All went smoothly during our brewing process yesterday afternoon (with afternoon temps reaching the 60's and dipping down to the 30's by the time we finished after dark), and we had visible signs of vigorous fermentation within a couple of hours of pitching the yeast. My brewery's fermentation area is doubling as Santa's Workshop (or Warehouse, actually) right now and I need to get the Christmas Lights out today, which will make more room. I will snap pictures of the Porter in the next day or two. The nice thing about Porter is that it will be ready by Christmas and New Year's.

I have already made plans to brew again when my brother in law is in town. I do want to figure out what we are going to brew, and be ready with my normal amount of research and preparation....I do hope that I can get my heart into it by then.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Man I need to get it together

I have been complaining about slacking on this blog. I have. I haven't been in the mood to drink as much beer, and I have been busy.

It is hard to believe that Upslope Brewing in Boulder is having its one year anniversary party tomorrow. I still haven't had the chance to get up to visit them. I did get to sample their beer at the Great American Beer Festival, though.

Also, a new brewery in Fort Collins that I reported on earlier, Horsetooth Brewing is holding a contest to come up with a new name. Apparently, the owner's of Coopersmith brew pub in Fort Collins has their long standing beer Horsetooth Stout. It was decided amongst the two owners that it could cause confusion in the market place. Therefore, Horsetooth Brewery needs a new name. Winner of the contest will win a year of free beer....The contest ends tomorrow, so I need to put in my two cents.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

....snow day....

I have been ignoring my writing lately, and while it is not because I have little to say, I just have not been in the mood to either drink or talk about beer....weird, I know.

The weather getting cooler has been part of this. I have been not wanting my traditional selections of beer in my fridge, but have been wanting a winter warmer or holiday beer, and my Red Ale, while good, has not been on my radar.

Breckenridge Brewery has a nice Autumn Ale that is out now, and a even more robust Christmas Ale that will be coming soon. The Autumn Ale is an Old Ale (German Style Ale, also referred to as an Alt) it is the precursor of and tastes a lot like an Oktoberfest style beer (a German Lager)). It is a style of beer that I have not brewed myself, but after more research, I will give it a try. I don't brew lagers as I don't have temperature control of my fermentation. Once in a while I will do a Steam beer (Lager brewed at ale temperatures).

With two feet of snow on the ground today in Denver, it makes me wonder if the ghetto liquor store that is closest to my house would have the Autumn Ale or something like it. My neighborhood has two liquor stores in it. The ghetto one that is six blocks from my house sells a lot of malt liquor in single cans, and small bottles of booze and has a lot of losers hanging around it all of the time. The other one is a much smaller establishment, a little less than a mile from my house, and has a nice selection, even some hard to get Belgian beers. The beer is more expensive and doesn't carry any malt liquor or cheap booze (but does have some limited selection of cheaper beer) so it is not so crowded at all hours.

I am not likely to leave my property today, as I didn't yesterday, and might not go anywhere tomorrow, either. What's the point if you don't have to go out in the snow? I do have a nice pair of snowshoes, though, if I get desperate.

What are your favorite beers of fall and winter?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

.....If you are in Michigan Today....

If the chance to sample almost 200 hand-crafted, Michigan-made microbrews sounds like your idea of a good time, head to Detroit's Eastern Market from 1 to 6 p.m. Saturday -- rain or shine -- for the inaugural Michigan Harvest Beer Festival. More than 40 microbreweries and brewpubs will participate in what is intended to become a major annual event, says Michigan Brewers Guild executive director Scott Graham. (from

Friday, October 23, 2009

No Bullshit Brewery

Crabtree Brewing Company
Greeley, Colorado

I was up in Greeley, Colorado yesterday to meet a friend for lunch. Greeley is a college town (home of the University of Northern Colorado) of about 75,000 people in Northern Colorado, about 70 miles north of Denver and 30 miles east of Fort Collins. Greeley is known for its livestock processing plants, and associated smells, but mostly, the winds (and smells) are blowing eastward away from town. It is a bad rap Greeley has. Despite living in Fort Collins, I never spent much time in Greeley before, as there has never been much of a reason to. Until now.

Since my lunch meeting with my friend was pushed back to noon, I spent a little time visiting the Crabtree Brewery. The Crabtree Brewery is nestled up against the Railroad tracks (what isn't in Greeley) in an industrial part of town. It is located in a nondescript building that looks like an old mill. The grain silos on site may be because of the brewery, but they looked much older.

The brewery itself has been around for three years, but appears to be in a constant state of construction. It was being run by Juan and Jeff both brewing and serving in the tap room. Jeff is the owner and master brewer, and is another example of a homebrewer gone pro. There was one local regular there, Raul, who informed me that this was the better of the two breweries in town (the other one is a brewpub named Pitchers, that I have never been to, so I with hold my opinion). Raul is from Florida via Seattle, and was a self described beer guy. Raul informed me that the brewery recently expanded their tasting room and the work was being done by the band that often plays in the tap room. In the back they also had a climbing wall in the tasting room and darts in the storage room in back. It looks like they probably have trouble keeping people from literally climbing the walls on a busy night. I didn't ask about it though. It could have been a previous incarnation of the space for all I know.

The brewery itself is a 10 barrel system with rectangular stainless steel fermenters and conditioning tanks, all visible from the tap room. They were busy cleaning kegs and filtering beer while I was there, but were friendly enough to answer questions and chit chat while working. It was kind of nice to be so close to the action. This is a small brewery with a local following, which even had a sign up sheet to help with bottling. The tap room did and does not offer food, which is for me, a plus. I like the brewery atmosphere better than the brewpub experience. It is about the beer. The locations tend to be in industrial areas, the interiors tend to be (like the brewery) focused on functional rather than aesthetic, and the servers know about their product. This is my preference and this describes the Crabtree to the tee.

They had 6 or 7 beers on tap and a few more varieties in bottles in the fridge. They were willing to have me taste all of their current taps to find one I liked, but I chose to taste their Pale Ale, Oatmeal Stout, Deerfield Ale (watermelon and some fruit), and Ginger Bee (Ginger beer). They did not have their brown on tap, but allowed me to have a bottle of it as well. I missed the tapping of their Pumpkin Beer by one day (my bad luck to miss it). I enjoyed the Brown Ale and the Oatmeal Stout the most, but my complaint (a small one) about their beers is that it seemed that none of their beers had a nice head upon pouring and the head it did have completely dissipated within seconds. I like all of my beers to have a nice head that remains through the pint, even if the style doesn't call for it. It is just my thing.

The beer is good, the brewery is a fun place, and the staff were friendly and knowledgeable. Nothing about this establishment is frilly, or pretentious, or expensive. The beer is basic to style stuff, and there is not a whole lot of emphasis on extreme beers, with crazy hop schedules, oak aging, or wine-like alcohol content. It is not to say that they don't do it (they did have a pumpkin beer coming out today and other special beers throughout the year), but it is more egalitarian, more blue-collar, like the town itself. I am not sure that they do lagers or just ales, I think all they had were ales at the time, though. They will take the time to help you find a beer of theirs that you like or suits your mood at the time. Needless to say, this is my kind of local brewery. I highly recommend a visit if you are passing through (on your way, perhaps, to Rocky Mountain National Park), or become a regular if you live there.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Beer Not in My Fridge

Did you ever crave a beer? Sure, when you were thirsty and hot any cheap cold beer would be perfect, and there is nothing better when you get your hands on one. What I am talking about is craving the taste or character of a specific beer.

This morning, I woke up craving a Detroit Dwarf from the Detroit Beer Company, an Alt beer that I had on my trip to Detroit (see my write up on it here). Is it a bad thing to crave a beer when you wake up? I am not sure, but I am pretty sure that it is a bad thing to give in to your craving for beer at breakfast....the Door's song notwithstanding. I am not there, really, I am not. The craving is made doubly interesting since I can't get one anyway.

It got me thinking again about regional and local beers. I like that you can't get everything everywhere, and sometimes lament that although you can get a lot of beers imported from around the world and across the country, you can never be sure of their freshness or be sure that you are tasting the beer the way it was intended to taste. I know from experience that the beer I brew ages, and improves with time. Most of my beer does not get older than 6 months, and is stored at a constant temperature in my basement or at a low temperature in my fridge, preserving it.

Hoppy beers are especially susceptible to change during aging. Any beer with a fresh hop aroma or taste loses that striking feature with age as the distinct hop flavors blend into the beer. It doesn't make the beer taste bad (as long as the beer hasn't been skunked by exposure to heat, sun, or fluorescent light), it just loses its hoppy punch over extended periods. IPA's, Steam Beers, and my Detroit Dwarf would not necessarily satisfy my craving for the fresh beer I know, love, and respect. Stocking up on a beloved beer may not be the answer here.

Of course, there are many beers that are intended to age and improve with time. Like red wines, those beers tend to have a lot of complex flavors from aging on wood (in barrels sometimes), or have specialized yeast strains, or other interesting spices or ingredients. The Biere de Mars from the Jolly Pumpkin that I served at the Rare Beer Tasting is an example. It is a Flemish Sour Brown Ale and was aged in oak for 27 months and aged in the bottle for a year and a half. It had a different taste than the same beer that was aged for 18 months in oak and in the bottle for less time.

So, know your beer. Age the ones intended to age with care, and enjoy the fresh beers directly from the brewery whenever you can. Craving beer you can't get is a good thing. It makes it all that more satisfying when you can get your hands on one. Don't save a beer that isn't intended to be aged. If you have an old beer on your counter or in the back of your fridge, do that beer a favor, and drink it. There is no better reason or special occasion or excuse necessary.

So, I can't get my Dwarf craving satisfied, but I do have some special beer in my fridge that is going to be drunk soon.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Red Ale

Our fresh hopped Red Ale has been getting some great feedback from some of my friends who have had the chance to try it. It is my normal Red Ale recipe with some fresh Cascade hops from a friend of a friend's garden.

The hops give it a Pacific Northwest style ale bend instead of fitting squarely into an Irish Red or American Amber category. I like it a lot, but not sure I like it better than the original recipe. I would call it a tie. I like the creamy head that stays with the entire glass of beer, but I wanted it to be a little deeper red (it is more orangy red). It all tastes the same, but when you create a recipe you have a particular idea of what it should be when it grows up.

I like a little maltier and/or hoppier beer for the fall, and this definitely fits the bill. It isn't a winter warmer, however. I would like to brew a winter warmer (English Old Ale, or perhaps the German Alt) this winter, but next up is our yearly debacle called Pumpkin Ale. For some reason, my brother and I seem to make a major mistake every year (something different each time) on this beer. It is an advanced beer with probability of stuck mashes and low yields, but we also have made a fair amount of bone head mistakes. At least every year the beer is drinkable (more or less), but we have learned a lot from doing it year after year after year. Maybe this year will be the year we nail it.

Right now, the Red Ale is in its prime, and I highly recommend trying it if you can get over to my brewery in the next month.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Update: Do I Have What It Takes?

I know many of you would want to know what ever happened to my application to serve beer at the Tap Room at my local brewery. To answer my question in the title: No, I am sorry, I do not apparently have what it takes.

It came as no surprise to me, really. Although, I believe I would have been good at the job. The long and short of it; I have had no prior serving experience. Actually, a week after I applied, I saw the advertisement for the same job appear on craigslist. This is never a good thing for a prior applicant. In this economy, (and any down economy, in fact) experience most often trumps knowledge, and almost always tops enthusiasm. All I really had going for me was a deep desire to do the job, which is virtually impossible to express.

I later asked the Tap Room manager what happened to my beer. He said he put it into the employee stash. It probably hasn't even been drunk by anyone yet. I hope that who ever there gets to taste it really enjoys it. It won't seem like such a waste to me then.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

All About BEER

While at the Rare Beer Tasting, I got handed a free copy of the latest issue of All About Beer, a magazine "Celebrating the World of Beer Culture". I have never read this publication before, and after getting through about 80% of it, have decided it is a pretty good mag.

I get my by-monthly issue of Zymurgy from the American Homebrewer's Association, which is dedicated to homebrewing, beer styles, and testing and tasting beer. I like getting it, and usually read it cover to cover in about an hour. I think actually, All About Beer is better, except it doesn't convey much brewing information

I have been coming back to All About Beer for about two weeks now, and every article in it has been able to capture my attention, even though I didn't think some of them would. The magazine is published 6 times a year and costs $20. I think I will get a subscription when the economy improves for me. If I am lucky, they will publish in alternating months with my Zymurgy subscription (so I have something new to read every month).

Monday, October 5, 2009

Oh Please, not Another Beer!!!!

Great American Beer Festival, Denver, CO

It has taken over a week to process the experience of the Great American Beer Festival.

I know I should not complain. I know I should not lament. I live here in Denver, so this event is open to me every year. I should feel lucky. Right now, I just feel lost and small.

The Great American Beer Festival event an event that is true to its is Great like the Grand Canyon is Grand. The problem is, like the Grand Canyon, the Great American Beer Festival can not be absorbed or comprehended like Clark Griswold tried to do on the South Rim. It is simply too big, too vast. It also has the same problems as many of the crown jewels of the National Park System. There are too many visitors, and it is being loved to death.

The Brewer's Association has made great strides to make sure that every year runs a little better than the last. In recent years they have added member's only entrances for all of the night sessions, and have a Saturday day session for member's only.

I attended the member's only session for the first time this year, and while just as crowded as any of the night sessions, it wasn't quite as crazy. I appreciated that. I also attended with my brother, which was also a first for me.

We stood in line, got in, got our tasting glasses, and headed to the back of the hall without too much trouble and only an expected delay. This way we avoided a lot of the crowd. We proceeded to taste whatever sounded interesting. I usually try to taste as many of my favorite styles of beer (Brown and Oktoberfest and beers brewed with Pumpkin). Unfortunately, again this year, brown ales are not in favor. Oktoberfest and Pumpkin beers are more popular because the festival is held in the fall, but many of the Pumpkin's were out as of Saturday Afternoon. Almost every brewery had a light beer and at least one offering in the Imperial or Double range. IPAs, of course, were everywhere.

Even so, I had a few beers of just about every style. My favorite beers from my beer stained notes were: Stewart's Old Percolator Coffee Porter (Bear, DE), Shipyard's Sea Dog Pumpkin Ale (Bangor, MA), Barley Island's Dirty Helen Brown, which won the gold medal for American Brown Ales (Noblesville, IN), Left Hand's Oktoberfest (Longmont, CO) which was a ringer that I had at Lagerfest, Drake's Red Glare Red (San Leandro, CA), Buffalo Bill's (Hayward, CA) Pumpkin Ale, Vino's (Little Rock, AR) Oatmeal Brown, and Magnolia's (San Francisco, CA) Porter.

My brother and I tasted until we couldn't taste any thing any more, and we estimated that if we had a 1 oz. taste on average every five minutes (taking trips to the bathroom and a little break for food into account), we sampled over 60-70 oz. of beer each, perhaps only 4-5 pints of beer. That works out to be about $9 per pint for the $45 ticket. Expensive beer. We also did not linger in any of the non-beer booths or events, and I always kick myself afterwards. The problem is, the session is only 4 hours (we stayed only just over 3) and you get hyper focused (and drunk) about trying beer. We just plain forgot to stop and smell the roses. Oh, and I forgot my camera, again!

This event is just too big, too vast. It would be nice to spend perhaps 2 hours each session trying beer, and an hour or two loitering around the other booths, digging the vibe, people watching (not to mention the silent have to see it to understand), but that would be an even more expensive way to experience more of the beer and information offered. I had more fun at my other tasting events this year (Lager Festival, and the Rare Beer Tasting), even though I enjoyed more of the beer I tasted at GABF. The brewers were more accessible, and the servers somewhat more knowledgeable about what they were serving at the smaller events. Too bad you can't camp at the GABF like you can at the Grand Canyon, so you can take more of it in.

Monday, September 28, 2009


Rare Beer Tasting, Denver, CO

On the day I was leaving for my brief visit to Detroit, a message was posted on the American Homebrewer's Association list server that volunteers were needed for the 1st Annual (I hope) Denver Rare Beer Tasting, called Pints for Prostates, benefiting USToo, an organization dedicated to helping prostate cancer survivors, their spouses/partners and their families. The event was organized by Rick Lyke, a prostate cancer survivor himself, and encourages men in a non-threatening way to take charge of their health and get the PSA screening. Next year is my 40th year, and it will be time for me to start getting regular checks myself.

I was lucky that I checked my e-mail while I was at the airport, as I was free on Friday, and there was nothing in the world I would have rather been doing.

So on Friday morning, I headed off to Wynkoop Brewery in Lower Downtown (LoDo) to volunteer. The event was being held in Wynkoop's pool hall on the second floor above the bar/restaurant, and brewery facilities. Now if you have never been to Wynkoop, it is Denver's first brewpub and it was started in 1988 by now Denver Mayor, John Hickenlooper. The pool hall is the entire second floor and is a large, open space with 20 foot ceilings and perhaps 20 tournament sized billiards tables. I can tell you a secret, too. Pool is free in the afternoons, and the beer ain't bad either.

I checked in with Rick Lykes, the event organizer, and was sent to help hang the brewery signs above the serving stations. Not that they really needed my help (they were almost done), but I tried to be as helpful and friendly as I could. After that, I was told to choose a brewery to serve for. As luck would have it, Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales would be serving their 2006 and 2007 vintages of their Biere de Mars. I still felt bad for not going to visit this brewery when I was in the Detroit Area. This was my chance to meet these guys, and try their beer.

When Mike (VP of Sales) and Ron (Brewer/Owner) arrived, Mike recognized my name when I introduced myself. I apologized profusely for canceling my tour with him (he called it "standing him up") and for the rest of the afternoon, he made fun of me for that, as well as discussing Molson on my blog....that's fair. At least he read the blog. Then, disaster was realized.

As I said, Jolly Pumpkin sent two vintages of the same oak aged beer for the tasting. Two things were discovered: 1. not all of their beer arrived at the festival (about 1/2 of it was missing), 2. The ink on the labels that told which vintage was which was printed with water soluble ink. So, they had half of their beer, and they didn't know which they had. #2 was partially my fault, as 1/2 of the beer was on ice when I arrived, and I added (thinking I was being helpful) the other half to the bin. Luckily, they know their beer and were able to determine that most of what had arrived was their 2006 vintage. As a result, we were pouring 1 oz tasters instead of the festival's three ounce limit.

The beer itself is a Biere de Mars, which traditionally is a maltier version of a Biere de Garde, a darker version of the Saison (French for Session). Jolly Pumpkin's version is oak aged and bottle conditioned and utilizes Brettanomyces yeast (often referred to as Brett) to give it a sour taste. It was described to me as more like a Sour Flemish Brown Ale than its Saison roots. The 2006 vintage was oak aged for 27 months and bottle conditioned for a year and a half. It was sour, but very drinkable. I think it was around 7% ABV. Any way you cut it, it was a very special beer indeed.

Most of the festival goers were true beer experts and aficionados, and a few people who didn't know a thing (with more money than sense) about beer. All were very nice, even after we ran out of beer. I was told once and again while I was serving, that Jolly Pumpkin's Biere de Mars was the best beer at the festival. I was hoping that I was representing them well, as I was extremely proud to serve this special beer from my home State of Michigan.

After we ran out, I was free to join the tasters. I got to taste almost everything. I missed Wynkoop's Mead, by only about 1 minute. As I arrived, the were unscrewing the tap handle. I also missed Sam Adams Utopia, and Brooklyn's (Wild 1). I was told that perhaps the wrong beer was sent from Dogfish (Raison d etre, instead of Raison D' Extra), and Brooklyn's beer was very limited (like ours). I especially enjoyed New Glarus' (Wisconsin) Golden Ale. I got to speak directly to New Glarus' Brewmaster, Daniel Carey, a rock star in the craft beer world (in my opinion) about his beer and starting a brewery from scratch. His wife (who runs the brewery) hand labeled the brewer's notes on the bottles. I also liked Allagash's (Portland, Maine) Fluxus (Ale brewed with sweet potatoes and pepper), New Belgium's (Ft. Collins, Colorado) Trip II, and Bison's (Berkeley, CA) Double White. I spoke briefly with Bison's brewer (as I had been in their brewery in 2006), and he said that he was forced out of his location due to zoning violations. He could have used my expertise as my career is dealing with zoning, and my passion beer. He is now brewing in Ukiah at the Mendocino Brewing Company on the south side of town (I have been there, too). Still, no beer was better than "my" Biere de Mars. In my opinion (as with many others), it was the best beer of the festival.

I can't wait until next year, I have already offered to volunteer again, and will do so as long as I am allowed or able. My many thanks to Mike and Ron at Jolly Pumpkin. If you happen to be (or live) in Michigan, check out Jolly Pumpkin's Ales in stores, or at their two brew pubs (on Main in Ann Arbor, or up in beautiful Traverse City). My winter's are better here in Denver, but Jolly Pumpkin makes me want to move back home even more. I hope I paid my penance for skipping Jolly Pumpkin while in Michigan.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Evening at the Joe

Joe Louis Arena and Downtown Detroit, Michigan

We headed down to Joe Louis Arena for a pre-season Hockey game between the Detroit Red Wings and fellow Original Six team the New York Rangers. Before heading down, we hit the Detroit Beer Company.
The Detroit Beer Company is part of a new renaissance in Downtown Detroit. The revival of Downtown Detroit is centered around the new sports complexes, casinos, and the connections via the inter-downtown transit loop (and mayor Colman Young's boondoggle), The People Mover.
Downtown Detroit is still a down-trodden and under utilized place, but the small signs of life have provided access to areas that in my childhood were too dangerous to visit. We actually parked on the s
treet, went to the brewery, and took the People Mover on to the game and back without
any trouble.

It was Friday night and the Brewery was crowded. The brewery is nestled into the basement, and the serving tanks are located above and around the bar on the first floor of the Hartz Building. We sat up on the second floor where there is an additional bar and restaurant area. The waiter was busy, and didn't know all that much about the beers he was serving, but did check for us if there were any brewer's discounts (there weren't any).

My group ordered a number of different beers based and I got to sample them all. I mostly enjoyed the Porter (which Brent got) and the Detroit Dwarf (German Altbier) which I got. The
Detroit Dwarf is named for the legend of the
Nain Rouge, a dwarf with red boots or fur, that appears as a small figure around Detroit, and is thought to be a harbinger of doom for Detroit. That dwarf must stay pretty busy. The beer itself is a strong coppery golden ale that is complex and balanced. It won a gold medal at the GABF in 2006. I had that and their IPA, and was done drinking for the job was that of driver designate.

The Red Wings pulled it out in the third period, which was nice, and we headed back to Liberty Street for the nightcap, but I drank diet coke....despite my desire for a mild ale. A perfect evening, except for my aching feet.

If you go to the Detroit Beer Company, I suggest finding a quieter time to visit, perhaps during the day or on a non-game night for the Lions, Tigers, or Red Wings. Perhaps then you can sit at the bar, and take a little time to enjoy their great offereings.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Walking Washington Street

Downtown Ann Arbor, Michigan

It is rare that you can actually pub crawl from brew pub to brew pub. They are still relatively rare as far as bars go, and often, it makes sense to disperse rather than co-locate breweries as it insures a local following and a "hometown brewery" designation. Even in Denver, while you can pub crawl to 4 or 5 breweries and brewpubs as well as a couple of specialty beer bars, the walk between them can be as short as 2 blocks and as great as 10 depending on your route and destination.

A college town is a perfect place for a brewery, it introduces newly minted beer drinkers to a premium product and establishes brand identification. There are special places where more than 1 brewpub can exist. Ann Arbor, Michigan has 3 brewpubs located within 1 block of Main Street on Washington Street, and another brewery just opened up a shop around the corner on Main.

My brother and I hit Ann Arbor early in the day on a Friday. We wandered around the Quad, and soaked up some nostalgia on our lives in Ann Arbor. Neither of us attended school there, but both spent a lot of time there (I more than my brother). If these breweries existed at the time, we no doubt would have lingered downtown even more. We had an early lunch (without beer) at Cottage Inn Pizza (a local favorite of both of us). I could start a blog on pizza, too, so this is good stuff.

I have to come clean. I have always loved Ann Arbor. It is a vibrant college town, with an active arts and entertainment community, with turn of the century architecture, tree-lined streets, and an educated populace. If I ever find myself moving back to Michigan for a job (now that sounds more funny now that I wrote it with the unemployment rate in Michigan at 15%, but in my house it is 100%, so who knows, right?) I would choose to live in Ann Arbor (or at least the Ann Arbor area including my old hometown of Plymouth). The fact that there are now at least 4 breweries there is icing on the cake. Because the 4 breweries are so close together and all downtown, I believe that there is room for more neighborhood breweries in this town.

In my time allowed, I was able to hit 3 of the 4 breweries. I wanted to hit the Jolly Pumpkin on Main (the newest of the 4), but my palate was ruined after the three, and Jolly Pumpkin is known for their flavorful and artesianal beers. I couldn't fairly taste their beers.

We started on West Washington and worked our way eastward.

Located at the corner of West Washington and Ashley Street, the Grizzly Peak Brewing Company was one Ann Arbor's first breweries, opening its doors in 1995. As I recall, the location was a bar that my friends and I used to frequent prior to its brewpub incarnation. The building itself is a 100-year old building, and the interior is warm and inviting. The bartender was a little rude and short as we inquired about the beers and any possible Brewer's discounts (American Homebrewer's or Brewers Association, none at this location). She warmed up a little later when talking about beer. It was nice that she had (and was willing to share) some knowledge. We tried a number of their beers, the stand outs being their Pale Ale on cask at the time, and their Red Ale (always our safe bet). I didn't keep any notes, but was a little disappointed in more than 1 of the samples I tried.

Their brewery is located up front in their window and looks to be a 5-10 barrel system. Interestingly, their brew kettle was surrounded by brick. I had not seen a system like that (seems like an old school set up), and wonder about utilizing the bricks thermal efficiency. I could imagine that a mash tun would best benefit from the brick, helping to maintain a constant temperature during a long conversion period. In the brew kettle, you want wort to heat up fast and cool down quickly. Perhaps, they move the hot wort out of the kettle and benefit from the thermal efficiency upon moving the next batch in quickly.

The Arbor Brewing Company opened its doors also in 1995 (I am not sure who was first) has a different personality than Grizzly Peak up the street. The Grizzly Peak is polished, feels somehow, more corporate, more intense. It is not to say its bad, but the feel of the Arbor Brewing Company is different, laid back. Maybe the Grizzly Peak caters to the professional crowd, and ABC is more the Birkenstock crowd. I fit in more with the Birkenstockers, especially these days. The Arbor Brewing Company could fit well into downtown Boulder, and reminds me vaguely of the Mountain Sun in Boulder. Grizzly Peak feels more like the Boulder Brewing Company (to be comparative).

Everyone at the Arbor was super nice. The bartender was my favorite of the trip in both knowledge and friendliness. The brewers were setting up outside on the street for their Oktoberfest Celebration, but were nice about me poking my head in for a few pictures (and getting in their way). My favorite beer was their Oktoberfest ('tis the season, after all), but I was a little disappointed
while tasting some of their other offerings. The beer felt thinner then I though the styles they were representing should be. I didn't try everything I would have liked to, and but time and good sense
would not allow it on this trip. I think I would have enjoyed other beers in other contexts, but I think I would enjoy the food the best at Arbor. They have an initiative to produce foods that are natural, organic, and local. This also means that their menu changes to reflect the local harvests. I was hungry again, but my mission on this day was beer.

The brewery is located behind the bar and is a modern looking 7 barrel system. They also have a location in the neighboring college town of Ypsilanti with a 21 barrel system and distribute their beers within the State of Michigan.

We moved up the hill and another block eastward to the Blue Tractor. This is a modern student hang out. The interior was painted black, the serving tanks above the bar gave the outfit a decidedly industrial feel, and everything had that bolted to the floor and easy to hose off feeling of a freshman bar. The bartender was a fun loving gentleman. We also were running out of time, so we didn't stay as long as we would have. We had Wings tickets and had to meet friends and head downtown to the Joe in the evening. I was really getting hungry and the BBQ was smelling delicious (we ate BBQ twice on our way back to Denver....I think Blue Tractor was the reason). Here, I had my favorite beer of the street. It was their Red Ale. It was so close to the Red Ale I brew, so it felt like they brewed just for me. They only had 4 or so offerings, but we didn't get to sample them all. Again, we need to come back for the food and the beer in this fun bar.

The brewery facility is located downstairs (behind a locked door) along with a subterranean lounge that connects with the Mojito Bar next door. The basement is pure Ann Arbor bar and is reminiscent of a prohibition era speakeasy....very cool.

Overall, I had positive impressions of all of the three breweries, but all for different reasons. My brother loved most of the beers he had, and mentioned that he sort of wished we didn't have Red Wings tickets for the evening, as he would have liked to hang out for the Oktoberfest celebration. This is a huge statement. I LOVE (live, breathe, etc.) beer, and like the Detroit Red Wings (and hockey in general). My brother LOVES (lives, breathes) the Detroit Red Wings (and hockey in general), and likes beer. But the vibe of Ann Arbor; the good beer; it felt like we belonged...and we do. No matter who you are, everyone will feel welcome in at least one of the Washington Street Breweries. Perhaps more are on the way in Ann Arbor. I hope so.

Next time, we will hit Jolly Pumpkin, I promise, but I think we will need a day or more to process it and take it all in, and I didn't want to hurry that experience, so we skipped it. I had set up a tour at their facility that I had to cancel as well, and I have been remorseful ever since.