OC Fest of Ales & Beer Run 5K September 21, 2013 +exclusive promo code

As you may know, one of my favorite elements of craft beer is the community. Drinking beer alone is a magical thing, but add in complete strangers, friends or family to the mix and the beverage is elevated to new heights. One of my major goals with this blog is to grow that community by any means necessary. (TLDR discount code on bottom)

Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait approached me at Noble’s 1st anniversary and asked, “how do we get Anaheim on the beer map?” Months later, a beer festival committee was formed with a few beer heads and a die hard group of people that want to see their city succeed. Devon and Shelly Reeves of Downtown Anaheim, various city volunteers, Brad Daniels, Spence Coleman and I brainstormed how to make a fest different, fun and educational. Getting the chance to volunteer for my city…to bring the community together in the name of great beer…is an honor I don’t take lightly. It’s a lot of hard work and I can’t wait to see it all come together on 9/21! Last year, we made it happen in three months…this year, we’ve had time to relax make it something special.

The event supports a local non-profit – the Downtown Anaheim Association. They intern have weekly farmers markets, art crawls and donate their facilities to children’s groups and others. This year it also helps support an 80 year Anaheim tradition – the Halloween Parade and Fall Festival!

I won’t bore you…it’s a beer fest. I hope my passion has compelled some interest!

For my readers, I’m offering a special discount code: GONZO. This will take $10 off!

The fest is a few days away! I hope to see you there! Stop by OCFestofAles.net and get some! Cheers!

Not Your Pep-Pep’s Historic Home Tour!

by Keith Oleson

 

It’s official–On May 26 and 27, the Anaheim Neighborhood Association is presenting their Historic Home, Garden, and Brewery Tour.

And this is not your grandmother’s house tour.

If there’s one thing that those of us lucky (crazy) enough to live in the historic areas of downtown Anaheim know it’s that these historic houses are more than just historic houses. They’re homes. They aren’t relics frozen in time to be looked at like artifacts in a museum. They are unique homes with unique owners, and individually and as a community they have unique stories to tell.

ANA’s Historic Home, Garden And Brewery Tour is about more than just the date a house was built, what kind of siding was used and what light fixtures are original. All that is important, but it’s also about these historic homes creating a living community, an ever-growing group of people who love these old homes and their beautiful gardens and the community they create and who want to share their homes, their gardens, and their stories. And, yes, some of those homes, gardens and stories include a love of home brewing! This tour is a chance to really explore the homes and gardens of the Anaheim Colony Historic District from a refreshing perspective.

The tour will feature homes of a variety of architectural styles scattered throughout the Colony. Trolleys will be provided if you prefer to sit back and enjoy the view while your tour the homes and the neighborhood. What a perfect opportunity to look around, see the neighborhoods, and talk to people who share an interest in historic homes and gardens, check out some home breweries, and end the tour at the Anaheim Brewery. Sounds like a perfect way to spend the day.

The tour is about historic homes, the people who love them, and the unique community that is the result.

Check it out at www.anahometour.com

More information will be posted between now and May 26, but mark the date. This is part of the history of the Anaheim Colony and promises to be a great event.

Keith Oleson is a friend, neighbor, and beer drinker of OCBeerBlog

OC Beer Society Chili Cookoff and Bottle Share!

Picture this: a beer blogger so bloated he has resorted to wearing his wife’s old velour stretchy pregnant pants. My post-holiday gut firmly resting on my lap and my ass imprinting the word “yciuJ” on our Microfiber couch like an ass-stamp. The elastic waist band on these babies can easily hold a 20 pound turkey, a couple yams AND an actual baby!

Why so bloated? Today I participated in the OC Beer Society’s first annual chili cook-off and bottle share at Peace Brewing in Anaheim. Before I succumb into my yearly ten-pound anti-booze hibernation, I wanted to get one last binge in before I shed some un-needed lap-lard. Why not do it with rare beers?!?

Going to a bottle share with a ‘Society’ is bit like a girl going to a dance. What should I wear? What if someone is wearing the same thing? I wander aimlessly inside Total Wine & More, wishing they had a mirror so I could watch myself pose while holding a selection of bottles. Dorkishly I turn the corner while talking to myself as a sales woman approaches, “find everything alright?”, “does this make my ass look fat?” as I hold a beer near my waist. I settle on a Unibroue Trois Pistoles, a very ‘safe’ beer to bring to such an event. I figured the dark label was slimming and the cork & cage seal is always a crowd pleaser. Now, I do actually have some beers slumbering away in a cellar, however my selection of Stone Vertical Epic, Alaskan Smoked Porters and various Bruery beers aren’t near their prime and probably commonplace in this group. I have yet to jump into beer trades at this point in my tenure, but this event will probably change all that.

On the way home I hit the local store for my fixin’s to make chili. I wanted to add a beer element by caramelizing onions in a cedary-pumpkiny milk stout from the Bruery, “Burly Gourd”. I thought the spice element of the beer would work well with the sweetness of caramelized onions. It smelled unbelievable, nearly like a port wine with added spices.

My Chili Recipe: “The Bourly Greg”

  • 1 Pack Charmin Wet Wipes (for day after)
  • 1 lb 93% Ground Turkey (any meat is good)
  • 60oz Tomato Sauce
  • 30oz Kidney Beans
  • 1 can Herndez chili peppers
  • 1 package chili spice, I used McCormick’s Hot Chili Spice. (follow directions on packet, silly!)
  • Onion

The event went super smooth. Someone grabs a bottle and cracks it. Smart phones pop out, everyone Untapp’s it. We have a brief chat and move on to the next.There were five chili’s to choose from, each so different and delicious in their own right! My Chili took fourth with only one vote, which wasn’t that bad considering I voted for the winner: Rico Nolan’s chorizo and steak masterpiece was diabolical. “I treated it like a brew day with additions and such” says Rico. The meat was pleasantly tender and absorbed the delicious chorizo grease for a complex and not overly hot mouthgasm. “I could swim in it” says Scott Bennett of SNB Brewing. Indeed. His serrano chili homebrewed Wit paired extremely well with it, carrying the spice nicely. He was pretty excited at his winnings, but was reluctant to share! Boo!

Beers Consumed:

  • Firestone Walker Abacus, Reserve Porter 07
  • Surly Brewing Surlyfest, Smoke, Furious, Abrasive, Bender (Thanks Scott!)
  • Fifty Fifty Totality (eclipse base beer), Eclipse – Elijia Craig 2011
  • Cigar City Brewing Cubano-Espresso Brown Ale, Maduro Brown Ale
  • Upright Brewing Six
  • Duck Rabbit Milk Stout
  • Three Floyd’s Behemoth 07
  • Alpine Beer Co Pure Hoppyness, Bourbon Barrel Aged Token
  • Goose Island Big John (Favorite)
  • Stoudts Fat Dog Stout
  • Unibroue Trois Pistoles
  • Weyerbacher Brewing Rapture
  • Victory Brewing Dark Intrigue
  • Kuhnhenn 4th D Old Ale
  • New Glarus Brewing Hop Hearty Ale
  • Shorts Brewing Co Bourbon Wizard
  • Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA
  • Sierry Nevada Ruthless Rye
  • Homebrew: SNB Brewing 2010 Holiday Ale; Rico’s Chili Wit.

 

Loquat Wine Recipe

It’s loquat season! I tried four different recipes last year and this is the one turned out great! The process is very similar to making wine from red grapes. Break out your food grade bucket and get picking!

Fruit Picking:

  1. Pick fruit that is past the light orange stage, the fruit will be slightly squishy firm and a darker orange and may contain some sunburn. Discard smaller, bruised fruit.
  2. Wash all fruit in a bucket of water.
  3. Cut fruit in half on the bias and squeeze out the seeds. Remove stems.
  4. Put fruit in sterilized blender.
  5. As fruit fills the blender, blend it coarsely and put in a big freezer ziplock bag. Do 6pounds per bag.
  6. Add crushed campden tablet to each bag and squeeze it around.
  7. Bags of fruit will look brownish real quick like avocados, no worries.
  8. (optional) Put bags in freezer until you are 100% ready to make wine…if you’re waiting for enough fruit, supplies, etc.

Wine making day prep. 6 Gallon Food safe bucket with spigot. Original recipe inspiration: http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/reques9.asp

  •  18Lbs Thawed Fruit (three 6 pound bags of fruit). Use at least 6lbs of fruit per gallon of water if you want to scale back.
  • 16 lbs sugar on hand (don’t dump it all in until you check hydrometer brix. You want to get to 23-25 brix)
  • 4.5 tsp acid blend (do Ph test and get to 3.4)
  • 3 gal spring (unchlorinated) water, if boiled, let cool before adding loquats… you don’t want to cook them.
  • 3 crushed campden tabs (if not already added to fruit bags) Add one more to the six gallon bucket.
  • 2.5 tsp pectic enzyme
  • yeast and nutrient. Make a yeast starter as explained on package. I used a dry white wine yeast packet.
  • 2 tsp grape tannin (optional)

    ready for bottling after 3 months.

Instuctions:

  1. Add fruit bags to the water and stir until mixed and completely thawed.
  2. Take a hydrometer reading and note the brix.
  3. Add sugar until your brix is 23-25. If over, add non-chlorinated cool water. Stir sugar until dissolved.
  4. Add 1 crushed campen tab (4 if you didn’t put it with the fruit with step six above in the fruit picking stage)
  5. Cover with cloth and a big heavy book to prevent cats from jumping in. Must be able to breath.If you brew beer with airlocks, don’t bother. The fermentation is going to go nuts…a cloth is perfect.
  6. After 12 hours, add pectic enzyme and recover. Make your yeast starter now.
  7. After another 12 hours, add wine yeast starter and re-cover.
  8. Stir twice a day, making sure fruit on top gets recycled with juice. If it dries out that’s bad.This is called “punching down the cap”.
  9. Add yeast nutrient once a day (gram/gallon)
  10. Continue stirring daily until the bubbling sound slows, take a hydrometer reading of your brix every few days.
  11. This part is up to you where to finish fermentation. If you like sweeter wine, go for 1-3 brix. If you want dry, go past zero. Google to learn how to crash fermentation on fruit wine. I preferred it dry and let it go.The fridge is a great way to crash fermentation.
  12. Strain through nylon jelly bag and squeeze well to extract as much juice as possible into another bucket or sterilized pot. I used a mesh bag and strainer into a sterilized stock pot. If you homebrew beer and have a mash-tun with a false bottom, use it.
  13. Put wine into sterilized secondary with minimal airspace.
  14. Fit sterilized airlock. Fill airlock with cheap vodka. Check airlocks weekly to ensure enough fluid is in them.
  15. Set a reminder on your phone/calendar to rack. Rack wine monthly until clear. Top off with boiled/cooled spring water. Minimal airspace!
  16. Be sure and taste a bit at each racking and take notes. It will get very smooth as it ages.
  17. If satisfied with sweetness, bottle the wine. If too dry, add stabilizer (sorpistatK) and sweeten to taste, adding up to 1/4 cup sugar dissolved in 1/4 cup water.
  18. This wine can be drank young. Mine won bronze in the 2012 OC Fair after sitting a year. After 6 months it was great.

The best little brewery you can’t go to. (Peace Brewing)

I live in the Anaheim Colony Historic District in an old house. Among the loud trains that go down my street, Walt Disney’s Firework Explosion Annoyance Spectacular, Ghetto Birds flying around, Mexican Banda Musica blaring from car stereos, neighbors that shoot bottle rockets year round, wild parrots that caw at 5AM, constant sirens, gun shots, dogs barking, the ex-trumpet player of No Doubt down the street and the constant smell of burritos, there exists Bradley Daniels of Peace Brewing.

I want a T shirt with that logo.

One can’t just purchase a beer brewed by Peace Brewing. It must be obtained by invitation to one of the coolest old Craftsman houses in the five square miles of the Anaheim Colony. I was lucky enough to meet Brad at one of our neighborhood monthly potlucks, where Brad said “oh my God, YOU are Greg? Man I read your posts on Facebook…you’re a freak!”. Yep, that’s me. I had my invitation. Weeks went by and we met up at Bootleggers Brewery in Fullerton with his lovely smiley wife, Daira. We talked beer, old time Anaheim, good Mexican food, OC Punk Rock of the early 80’s. We drank Bootleggers Golden Chaos aged in Brandy Barrels for a year. Holy shit that beer was like a cherry sour dipped in Brandy! I’ll never forget it. Great company with great beer is always a win-win!

Anaheim Colony residents enjoy Brad and Daira’s backyard at a recent potluck.

Weeks went by and I finally got the chance to check out Peace Brewing at the AHP Brew Club Monthly meeting. It was totally overwhelming of course, meeting some very talented brewers in a personal setting. I got the brewery tour and was in awe. Kind of like the pool scene from Fast Times at Ridgemont High as a twelve year old boy. The brewery exists in a converted garage; it contains a bar, brewing area, four taps, a table, a men’s room with urinal, a temp controlled fermentation room and industrial fridge. My first impression: cozy and functional. The beer is more than just a beverage, I felt like I had been stumbling through a desert for days and found beer tap hanging out of a tree.

“how about an ice cold one, Brad”

Brad quickly burns taps and brews up another batch. Newer brewers use modern technology to help their fermented goods. Brad uses pencil and an old notebook to keep track of recipes, gravity readings etc. There’s something so elemental about it and he makes it look easy. The beers he brews are far from primitive. On my first visit he had ESB, Wheat, IPA and Porter. The porter was served with Nitrogen gas, making it pour similar to Guinness giving it that sexy waterfall look with a pillowy cream head. The ESB and Wheat were outstanding showcases for the styles, and the IPA. Yes, the IPA…weighing in at 8% ABV:  “Doesn’t 8% qualify as a double?” “nah, I don’t think so”. Man, Peace Brewing IPA could be sold in stores. Citrus and pine on the nose, fruity finish, very easy drinking 8%.

Aside from the brewery, Brad and Daira have transformed their back yard into a zen like place to relax with a raised koy pond and deck. A hammock sits off in the distance next to a 10X scale home-made lawn Jenga game. A large angular avocado tree provides shade on a hot day. The interior of their house is typical of an early 1900′s Crafstman with many built in cabinets and storage. They’ve only lived here three years, making everyone feel like huge under-achievers with their place! It looks and feels like its been lived in for decades!

Yes, Lawn Jenga! Manual dexterity and a cold beer are required.

Both Brad and Daira are also two of the nicest and down to earth people I’ve had the pleasure to meet and hang out with in recent years. Brad has a cool old punk rock vibe. If he told me he played stand-up bass in an experimental blues band, I’d believe him. Daira is always adorned with a warm smile and quick to offer up a cold beer. Their cool attitude and stylish home is truly inspiring! I wouldn’t be surprised to see their house featured in Sunset magazine, or a Beer Porn magazine if such a thing existed.

All I have to say is I’m happy to have Brad and Daira as friends so I can enjoy this little bit of paradise in Anaheim!

More Pics here courtesy of the OC Register.

Thee Beer Book Blog: Features very nice photos of the brewery itself.

Brew Day! (maple wheat)

I’ve had the itch to brew some beer since doing a batch of wine a few months ago. Hanging out with brewers I felt left out of the fun! Homebrewer/Neighbor/Friend Brad Daniels of Peace Brewing gave me the skinny on brewing in the OC. (Nice articles on his set up here and here.)

There are a couple options in OC for homebrew supply, and it basically works out like this: North OC hit Addisons Homebrew Provisions (AHP). South OC hit O’Sheas. I think Brewbakers in HB also sells kits. I’ve talked with a few brewers that shop at both AHP and O’Sheas and everyone has extremely positive reviews. Me, being from North OC chose Addisons. You can also purchase everything online, but I highly recommend supporting local business. The other bonus to shopping at a local shop is the ability to join their homebrew club, message boards, and even have people to call with dumb newbie questions.

Wheat Malt Extract, Recipe, and a Cold Beverage. The jar is filled with Whirflock, whatever the hell that is.

I purchased the starter kit, a 7.5 Gallon Brew Kettle and a Wort chiller (optional). One morning I was eating some Cream of Wheat with real maple syrup for breakfast, and decided that was my inspiration for my first brew. A simple Maple Wheat beer! Eric at Addisons whipped up a quick recipe for the base Wheat beer and made a substitution for the Maple Syrup. All I had to buy was the Maple Syrup from Trader Joes.

IKEA stands for "I Kiss Everyone's Ass". A quote from when I worked there twenty years ago. Picked up a scale, measure and a timer.

I don’t have a super good burner so I opted for the one on my BBQ. I figured it scorches the crap out of beans in ten seconds it should do a fine job boiling six gallons of water. It did okay. Most of my brew time was waiting for boil to happen, which is not exciting. While at IKEA I bought a few items as well, a timer, measure, and a digital scale. I also bought a BUTRÄK.

Homebrewing made easy with a Kenmore BBQ! Wort chiller just chillin' and hanging around, ya know, shootin' the breeze.

All in all it went fairly smooth. My only issues were my own retardedness thinking the Arrowhead 2.5 Gallon jugs were 2 Gallons. I was about to add a third jug and the pot was full. Also, my wort chiller leaked into the wort. I had some good fermentation after five hours! The following morning it was bubbling away.

Brewing up the beer. Note the hop sack. "Hop Sack" is my new favorite derogatory term of endearment for fellow homebrewers.

I’ll keep you posted when I bottle it, and drink it, and hopefully not die.