So it’s been a slow month… Unfortunately I was unable to attend all the Alaska Beer Week festivities in Anchorage, including one of my favorite festivals, The Great Alaska Beer and Barley Wine Festival. It wasn’t a completely terrible beer month for me, as I got to attend another one of my favorites, The Brewing Network‘s Winter Brews Festival!
Due to the Occupy movement, they were unable to secure their Berkeley location this year. I was a little bummed at first as it was a great place for the event, plus it was next to Triple Rock… however, the new Concord location was awesome. The festival grounds had a lot of room to stretch your legs, plus it had a full stage for the live performers:
Purple Haze with Ralph Woodson
Purple Haze was a pretty amazing tribute band, one of the best tribute bands I’ve ever seen. BN Party favorite Big Joe Hurt rocked the place as did the festival closer Forrest Day. But back to beer because let’s face it, the beer was the main focus of the event, and The Brewing Network is no slouch when it comes to festivals. With over 30 breweries pouring at least a couple beers there was plenty to satisfy the crowd, even with the much higher than anticipated attendance which resulted in running out of glassware, then the backup glassware, then plastic cups… While there was commercial craft beer was the majority of the fest, the main attraction was definitely Tasty’s Tasting Room which featured beer provided by homebrewers in the area:
From your IPA’s, Browns, Porters, and Belgians to some wild and experimental beers like an Oatmeal Raisin Cookie beer, it had the longest line once the festival was in full gear and well worth going back to try several awesome homebrews. I was too busy enjoying myself to take more pictures but I also enjoyed quite a few new beers like Heretic‘s Shallow Grave Porter, Black Diamond‘s Grand Cru, Marin‘s E-S-Chi and too many others to list.
On the homebrewing front, I got a new 26 gallon kettle from MoreBeer! It was the Deal of the Day so I got quite the discount on it. Oddly enough today it’s also the Deal of the Day, but will probably quick if if hasn’t already! Looking forward to doing some bigger batches to experiment with different yeasts, dry hopping varieties and more.
Also since I received the kettle I’ve had Dark Angel’s “We Have Arrived” stuck in my head. I’m hoping in the next week I’ll have my controller and everything ready to rig up a temp controlled direct fire recirculating mash so I can get to brewing soon. I probably won’t have anything ready for the first round of the National Homebrew Competition, but who knows… I’m excited to be going to the National Homebrewers Conference in the Seattle area this year though! It was the fastest selling conference yet and I’ll probably bring some beer to share. The Brewing Network Anniversary Party should be a great time as well before the conference starts.
Not much else to report, if I can get some time off work I might swing by for an event or two during SF Beer Week. Sean Paxton (The Homebrew Chef) has a dinner on Wednesday with an amazing sounding menu in collaboration with three breweries (Speakeasy, Shmaltz and Ninkasi) that attendance would be essential if you were in the area. Fingers are crossed.