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 4)

Farm Creek Brewing closing and relocating

Tonight Farm Creek Brewing Co. in Walnut Creek rang “last call” and closed it’s doors to the public for the last time.

On Sept. 11th Farm Creek announced the closing:

Farm Creek Friends,

From the beginning, Farm Creek Brewing has always been about family. And community. We’re proud to be part of an amazing community of supporters and friends. But, we’re missing out on time with our families back home in the south. We can always make more beer, but we can’t make more time.

Heather and I have decided that it’s time for us to create the next chapter of the Farm Creek story.

We will be closing the taproom and brewery in Walnut Creek, California and relocating Farm Creek. The Janinda’s are going home.

The taproom will be open during normal business hours until September 23. We’ll begin disassembling the brewery and taproom shortly after that.

This past year has been an adventure for us and we’re glad we could share it with you. Now, come by the taproom and share another beer with us. And be ready to come visit us on the east coast soon!

Cheers!

Randy and Heather

Farm Creek had recently marked it first anniversary. In the year that it was open, the Janindas had turned Farm Creek into a beloved local institution, the epitome of a small, independent, hard-working and all-hands-on-deck family-owned brewery.

It is fair to say that, though we all wish them well as they relocate to Georgia, they shall be missed.

Drake’s Aroma Coma 2x IPA

In July, San Leandro’s Drake’s  Brewing Company released their latest edition of Aroma Coma IPA.  The company sent me a sample bottle, along with a nifty branded glass to drink it in, which I found waiting for me upon my return from Peru.

The 2017 Aroma Coma is double IPA.  The brewery press release indicates that they have added more Citra hops and more rye malt and light caramel malt. The ABV has also been bumped up to 8.0%.

I found Aroma Coma 2x IPA to be intensely hoppy –as befits a double IPA– with citrus notes, particularly grapefruit and a touch of orange. It is malty, which helps balance the hoppiness.  It is a big beer, but not over-the-top in any regard, and is easy to drink. I’ve gotta say, I found it altogether pleasant and a lovely way to treat myself after the workday.

 

Tasty IPA

A little over a week ago 21st Amendment Brewery in San Leandro (CA) released the latest in its “Insurrection” series, an IPA brewed in collaboration with and named after homebrewer Mike McDole, aka “Tasty”.

As explained in the brewery’s press release:

At one point, Mike “Tasty” McDole was just a mild-mannered home brewer who stumbled into the universe of The Brewing Network, the premier multimedia website for brewers and beer lovers. A regular on the Network’s “Session” show, Tasty gained notoriety with advice to listeners that was 50% informative, 35% conversation and the remainder too inappropriate for this paragraph.

Today, Tasty’s legendary status among the craft beer community is trademarked by his award-winning home brew recipes and his signature caricature sticker, which you’ll find affixed at nearly every good beer place around the country. And so with great pleasure, and McDole’s personal sticker of approval, 21st Amendment Brewery presents a delicious collaboration, Tasty IPA, a beer that is rooted in friendship, created for the common love of home brewing and dedicated to the American beer beauty known as Tasty McDole.

Tasty is, of course, a regular at The Hop Grenade tap room and bottle shop in Concord, which is also home to the Brewing Network’s studio.   As it happens, Mike is also a longtime member of my homebrew club, the Diablo Order of Zymiracle Enthusiasts (DOZE), and a friend of mine.  A bunch of us DOZErs met him at the Hop Grenade on Monday night for Tasty IPA’s premiere on draught outside the brewery itself.

Tasty IPA is a 6.8% ABV, straw-colored IPA hopped with CTZ in the boil, and dry-hopped with Citra, Mosaic, and Ekuanot lupulin powder.  The aroma is crisp, with some citrus and pine, while there is some pine and fruits in the flavor.

The word “balanced” maybe gets overused, but in this case its use is warranted I think. Even though Tasty IPA clocks in at 70 IBUs, one would’d never guess it.  The hops don’t smack one in the face.  There is a pronounced bitterness, to be sure, but it plays nicely off the maltiness of the brew. It goes down really easily, believe me.

Tasty IPA is a really nice beer, and a fitting tribute to its namesake.

 

Faction Brewing (Alameda, CA)

Just a few images from my visit to Faction Brewing in Alameda on June 3rd.

Brüehol Brewing (Benicia, CA)

Today I made my way over to Benicia to try the offerings at Brüehol Brewing.

Brüehol Brewing was established in Benicia in 2014 by Mark Keller, Mark Ristow, and Steve Nortcutt, but opened its tap room only three weeks ago. I was eager to get there because Mark R. and Steve used to be homebrewers in the same club as I -the Diablo Order of Zymiracle Enthusiasts (DOZE).  Both of them are highly skilled brewers, and it shows in the beers they are producing at Brüehol.

It is relatively rare for small craft breweries to produce lager beers.  In part it is because of the time involved –while a lager rests -i.e. lagers– it takes up valuable fermenter space that could be turned to producing a couple of ales.  However, it is also because lagers, specially pale lager styles, are unforgiving of mistakes. They don’t have the roasty, malty flavor character or hoppiness to counterbalance any flaws.

It takes a bit of courage to make a lager a part of one’s brewery’s regular line up, and Brüehol offers two of them: a Gold Rush Helles Lager, and Old Capitol Pilsner.

Both beers are very good.  The helles was light and clean, and the pilsner was appropriately malty while maintaining the lightness of body that characterizes the style.  I dare say that they are two of the best craft lagers that I’ve tasted in the area.

The other beer I tried was the 5W-30 Black Ale.  It has hints of caramel or toffee in the nose, and coffee and chocolate in flavor.  Despite its looks, however, it is not a stout, but truly just a black ale.  Like the other beers its name is an homage to Benicia, in this case to its history (and present) as a refinery town.

Currently, Brüehol is producing about 10 barrels a month, running double batches on a 3-barrel brewing system.  Steve told me that in a few months, however, they expect to expand their output by gaining the ability to brew and ferment on a 10-barrel system.  That would also free the guys up to be able to produce more special occasion or one-off brews on their pilot system. There are plans to add a couple of ciders, and several more ales to the taps.

If you’re in Benicia Brüehol is well worth looking up -just be aware that the tap room is not downtown but over on the east end of town.

Brüehol Brewing
4828 East 2nd St
Benicia, CA

www.brueholbrewing.com

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