Beer 511

Exploring the Craft Beer and Homebrew Scenes in Peru (Country Code 51) and the USA (Country Code 1)

Category: Bay Area Beer (Page 1 of 6)

Opening: Ghost Town Brewing (Oakland, CA)

Ghost Town Brewing opens the doors to its taproom and brewery to the public tonight after a long wait and many hurdles.

I had the opportunity to visit last night at its soft opening event, and I must say the place is very nice indeed.   It is located in a large warehouse space, split roughly down the middle between the shiny 15-bbl brewhouse and assorted fermentation tanks, and the serving and public areas of the house.

Care was given to making sure the small details were not overlooked, down to having sleeves with the brewery’s logo wrapping around the table supports and coffin-shaped bike posts in one corner.  (Both, incidentally, were sourced locally from a steelworks just a couple of blocks away.)

With plenty of room at the bar, lots of seating, and a corn-hole court, the taproom is the kind of place that makes you just want to hang out. Hang out and drink beer.

As to the beers -crafted by Justin Burdt, recently of the now-closed Black Diamond Brewing Co.- are all excellent.  I tasted a fair selection of what they had on offer and there was not one that would quibble with, but I would particularly recommend asking for Lecherous Haze, a 6% NE IPA;  Melmac, a 5.5% pale ale; or Old Trepanner,  10.7% barley wine.

 

Ghost Town Brewing
1960 Adeline St (corner of Adeline and 21st St)
Oakland, CA

Danville Brewing at Øl

Just a few images from Thursday night’s Meet-the-Brewer event at Øl Beercafe & Bottleshop in Walnut Creek, featuring Danville Brewing Company and their award-winning head brewer, my friend, Matt Sager …

Top left: DBC’s Oatmeal Raisin Cookie beer; Top right: DBC’s Tres Diablos Triple IPA; Bottom, from L to R: Matt and Orlando, DBC’s brewing team, and I

 

The Rake (Alameda, CA)

The Rake is Admiral Maltings‘ own taproom, attached to the malt house in Alameda.

The Rake has the distinction of serving only beers made by local breweries using Admiral Maltings’ own malts.  And, for the cherry on top, it is one of the very few beer bars –probably the only one, in fact– which overlooks the very malting floor where that malt is produced!

 

The Rake
651A W Tower Ave
Alameda, California 94501

http://admiralmaltings.com/#rake

Admiral Maltings’ “Open Malthouse Day”

On February 10th, I attended Admiral Malting‘s “Open Malthouse Day”, hosted by Admiral’s founders, Ron Silberstein (of ThirstyBear Brewing) and Dave McLean (of Magnolia Brewing), as part of San Francisco Beer Week.

Guests were taken on thirty- to forty-minute behind-the-scenes of the malthouse, where we were able to learn about and observe the full production process. Both farmers and brewers were also on hand to experience the tour and to share their stories and speak about their experiences with Admiral’s malt.

Ron Silberstein, co-founder of Admiral Maltings, explains the malting process, accompanied by UC Davis biologist, Lynn Gallagher (at center), who developed the strain of barley used in Gallagher’s Best malt, and Bob Schaupp, a barley farmer, here enjoying his first glass of beer brewed from his crop.

 

Today, industrial malting is typically done in what is referred to as the “compartment process”, in which grain is passed through large, stainless-steel tanks able to accommodate tens, or even hundreds, of tons of grain. The grain is agitated with auger and aerated with large fans, as it passes through a series of alternating wet and dry stages, before being kilned.

Floor malting, on the other hand, is a more traditional, slower and more labor-intensive method, which is said to produce superior malt with deeper, richer flavor.  Upon opening in July of last year in an old dry-goods storage facility on the former Alameda Naval Air Station, Admiral Maltings became the first commercial floor malting facility in California since before Prohibition, and California’s first maltster with a California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) certification.

On my tour Silberstein explained that the barley spends 38-42 hrs steeping in the hydration tanks, then 4-5 days germinating on the malting floor, before being sent into the drying kiln for 24 hrs.

The malt is then passed through another machine which removes the rootlets before it is bagged.  A ton of rootlets are removed from each 10 ton batch of barley. With the addition to husks and other debris that is removed, there is a 20% loss, per weight, in the malting process, such that each 10-ton batch of barley results in 8 tons of finished malt. Currently, Admiral is approaching ten batches per month, but are looking into some material improvements which would enable them to attain fourteen batches per month.

With the Bay Area being a hub of the growing farm-to-table (or in this case, farm-to-glass) movement, the opportunity to avail themselves of locally-produced, small-batch, and certified organic, malt has generated a great deal of interest among local brewers.  Enough so that Admiral has been able to outfit it’s own taproom exclusively serving beers brewed using its malts.

The tour ended with tastings of Admiral malts and of beers made with those malts, guided by the brewers who made them.  On hand were brewers from Harmonic Brewing Co. (serving Prague Rock, made with Admiral Pils malt), Armistice Brewing Co. (serving Berthday Beer English Golden Ale, made with Feldblume malt), Social Kitchen & Brewery (serving California Grown Lager, made with Gallagher’s Best malt), and Independent Brewing Co. (serving Escaped the Island Blonde Ale, made with Maiden malt).

Eddie Gobbo, co-founder and head brewer of San Francisco’s Harmonic Brewing Company, talks bout his experience brewing with Admiral’s malts and leads a tasting of his Prague Rock Pilsner (brewed with Admiral Pils malt).

SF Beer Week

It’s February, and February in the Bay Area means SF Beer Week!

SF Beer Week is California’s premier beer festival.  Over the course of a week it features hundreds of official beer-centered events (623 at last count for this year!) and dozens of unofficial and “warm up” events, throughout the nine Bay Area counties, and beyond.

This year’s Opening Gala –which officially opens Beer Week on February 9th– alone has more than 12o breweries confirmed to pour their best, most special, and rarest beers.

With this being it’s 10th anniversary, the organizers predict that this will be the most epic Beer Week thus far.

For full schedule of events click HERE or visit  sfbeerweek.org

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