22 Jan 2016

Welcome to The Grain 2 Glass Series (G2G)

Author: Sudz | Filed under: News

Hello fellow home brewers – Happy 2016 – I’m here to quickly introduce you to a blog series I am planning to do in 2016.

As you can see my last post I’ve upgraded the homebrew gear and now it’s time to put her to use! This year my goals for brewing are:

  1. Brew 3 staple beers I can keep on tap at home.
  2. Enter at least 3 home brew competitions.
  3. Document the journey

So why these 3 goals? Simple, they all support each other. Starting off with #1, I plan to brew at least 10+ batches this year.

Well I am happy to report that I am already on my way! Today, I bottled up my Sunshine State Ale. It’s a pale ale brewed with sweet orange peels. I got this recipe from HomeBrew Talk Forum’s Top 100 Recipes.

(will add a photo here when it’s ready)

As I was bottling the beer, I thought to myself that I REALLY should be doing a better job of recording/journaling each of my brews. To aid with that, I picked up

homebrew journal  beer journal

Highly recommended for anyone looking to improve their brewing. This journal is well organized and (will add more stuff about the journal)

This was the journal that inspired me to go one step further by taking you with me on my journey to hit my 2016 brewing goals. There’s a bit too much catch-up work for me to cover my first beer of 2016 so I will begin with my next.

So now, what will be covered in the G2G series.

G2G will cover:

Planning – Brew Calendar (looking across the year for major events, brewing accordingly)

Planning – Brew Selection (what beers)

Planning – Pre-Brew Day Preparation (recipe, gathering ingredients, gathering equipment, etc)

Brew Day Prep: Equipment Check, organizing, etc.

Brew Day Prep: Developing a brew schedule

Brew Day Prep: Yeast Starter?

Brew Day:



3 Dec 2015

Home Brew Gear Evolved

Author: Sudz | Filed under: News

Let’s cut through the BS – I sat here trying to come up with a clever story about how my home brew gear has evolved from Mr Nub Beer kit to something a bit more serious. Through the trials and tribulations of home brewing, I’ve come to realize just how much I love beer. The science behind beer, the process of brewing, serving and tasting beer. I love it all!

I decided to make a move into electric brewing to 1) reduce equipment foot print. My current set-up, 2 coolers, 1 boil kettle, fermenters was beginning to take up too much space at home.  2) Indoor brewing possibility – The summer months can be brutal in SoCal. Months of 90+ degree weather will keep you locked up indoors with the AC blasting. 3) Simplifying the All Grain brewing process.

After months of extensive research of electric brewing systems, the choice was clear.. The Grain Father electric brewing system was the best bang for my bucks..  Thus far, the Grain Father has proven to be WELL worth the investment.

This thing is S E X Y ! Compact, full featured and best of all, cost. The Grain Father was half the cost of other electric brewing systems and by far, seemed to be the easiest to operate.

Here’s a break down of the Grain Father System



The second piece to my new brewery is my new SS Brew Tech Chronical Fermenter.

I LOVE this product! SOLID, well built, high quality. 1 vessel for both primary and secondary fermentation. SS Brew Tech recently released a Brew Master’s series. Several nice upgrades and additions to the already bad ass 7G fermenter you see here.

Stay tuned for more detailed product reviews! Time to get brewing..



29 Oct 2014

JDRF Ride for a Cure Type 1 Diabetes

Author: Gile | Filed under: News


Fellow beer connoisseurs:

I am doing either the 47 or 107 mile JDRF Ride for a Cure in Tuscon at the end of November to help raise money and bring awareness for Type 1 diabetes. Type 1 used to be a disease that primarily affected young children but now anyone can become Type 1 diabetic and researchers are looking for a cure and we need your help.

I know that this isn’t the best time in our economy but if you can help, it’d be much appreciated!

Here is my JDRF page where you can donate and find out more information. I also have a page on Indiegogo.



Robert Gile

Green Flash Brewing Treasure Chest 2014 San Diego

Green Flash Brewing Treasure Chest 2014 San Diego

12 Oct 2014

Stone Brewing Co. to build Virginia facility

Author: Sigaro | Filed under: News


(Escondido, CA) – San Diego-based Stone Brewing Co. announced it has signed a formal letter of intent with the City of Richmond, Virginia, signifying the company’s interest in building its East Coast facility in the city’s Greater Fulton Community. Subject to local approvals, Stone plans to invest $74 million to construct a production brewery, packaging hall, destination restaurant, retail store and its administrative offices. Construction of the facilities will occur in phases. The brewery is anticipated to be operational in late 2015 or early 2016, with Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens opening a year or two after that. Ultimately, the company will employ more than 288 people.

“The search for our location east of the Mississippi River was no easy endeavor,” said Stone President and Co-founder Steve Wagner. “We received and reviewed hundreds of proposals, visited more than 40 sites, and received quite a bit of attention from communities and craft beer fans. The three finalist cities each provided diverse offerings, however, we decided to begin next-step negotiations with Richmond because of their ability to meet our extensive site requirements, subject to the city’s approval. We also feel that Richmond’s vibrant energy and impressive craft beer culture, along with the uniqueness of the property, will allow us to create a truly memorable Stone experience for our fans. We are honored by the amount of time and effort all the communities that submitted proposals put forth, and we want to specifically thank Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe and Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones for welcoming us.”

Adds Stone CEO and Co-founder Greg Koch, “A facility on the East Coast will allow us to meet demand for our beer, ensure we are providing our fans with the freshest beer possible and also serve as a distribution hub for states located east of the Mississippi. We look forward to becoming an integral part of the lively craft beer community in Richmond, the state of Virginia and the entire eastern U.S.”

Stone anticipates building a 200,000 square-foot production brewery and distribution facility on 14 acres of land. Equipped with a 250-barrel brewhouse, the brewery will produce year-round and special-release beers to be bottled, kegged and distributed, as well as enjoyed on-site. The company also plans to renovate a two-story, 30,000 square-foot building, transforming it into a destination restaurant spanning four acres and highlighting locally grown organic food, complementing the harmonious nature and seasonality of the location’s surroundings. The restaurant will feature beautifully landscaped gardens where visitors will be able to enjoy craft beer, dine and relax in an inviting atmosphere.

“Today’s announcement marks the fruition of months of partnership and aggressive efforts to show Stone Brewing Co. that Virginia is the best state for its new craft beer production and hospitality facility,” said Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. “The company received submissions from more than 20 states, and the Commonwealth of Virginia was selected. This competitive, high-profile project really puts Virginia on the map and cements our standing as a serious player in the craft beer industry. In addition to Stone’s significant investment and more than 288 new jobs, the far-reaching economic benefits of this operation are innumerable. The City of Richmond offers the infrastructure, available site and building, and natural resources that will allow the company to thrive and grow, and we are confident that Stone will benefit from the Commonwealth’s excellent business environment for years to come. Today is an achievement of great magnitude, and we are excited to welcome Stone Brewing Co. to Virginia.”

“We are thrilled about Stone’s decision to choose Richmond as its East Coast production and distribution facility location,” said Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones. “After competing with 20 other states, we are so pleased that Stone has discovered those attributes that make Richmond a great place to do business. The fact that they have chosen a site in the Greater Fulton Community underscores their understanding of the rich history and natural assets that we have to offer. As they bring their unique craft beer and visionary business model here, I look forward to the many opportunities that lay ahead with Stone.”

This is the second expansion announcement Stone has made this year. In July, the company unveiled it will become the first American craft brewer to independently own and operate a brewery in Europe with the opening of Stone Brewing Co. – Berlin.

23 Dec 2013

Merry Christmas with a Tröegs Mad Elf

Author: Gile | Filed under: Beer Reviews

Troegs Mad Elf

Name: Mad Elf Ale

Brewery: Tröegs

Overall Rating: Bad Ass!

Style: Belgian Dark Strong

Serving Style: Bottle 12oz

ABV: A bold 11%

Getting into the Christmas Spirit with the Mad Elf from Tröegs out of Hershey Pennsylvania; yes, the same town where Hershey chocolate is made. Most beers you come across, this one came across me via a co-worker that was traveling home and she sought out the Mad Elf with intentions on bringing it back to Sunny California. I’m glad I made the short list of recipients on this as it is my understanding that they do not distribute this one out here, so this is an extra special treat! 

With the beer, my fellow beer connoisseur provided me with the pouring guidelines aka How to Release Your Inner Elf:
“Hold Chalice &  pour the Med Elf into the bottom center of the glass to create a 2-3 inch robust head. This aggressive pour best releases the Mad Elf’s cherry aroma & distinctive spicy yeast.”

I’m going to full heartedly agree with the brewers on this one. I gave her an aggressive pour into my trusty Chalice and have been rewarded with one beautiful Christmas Ale. Wish I could get this one locally as I wouldn’t mind tossing a case of it in the closet to age or just more to enjoy right now! If you can get your hands on this one and you like Belgians, especially the Christmas variety, then I highly encourage you to grab up as much as you can.


Cheers to all and a I hope you are able to find the right brew that puts you into the Holiday Spirit.



10 Oct 2013

Other Ingredients Besides Hops

Author: Gile | Filed under: Enhance Your Knowledge

I want this to be an open letter to brewers all across the world; more specifically California; even more specifically San Diego County Brewers. There are other ingredients to emphasize in your brews besides the beautiful hop cone. I’m talking about malt mostly but also yeast. When we go shopping for beers; be it liquor store, super market or tap house; it’d be nice to see other styles besides IPAs, IIPAs, West Coast IPAs, Hoppy Reds and any other double, triple, quadrillion hopped varieties.

Don’t get me wrong, I like a good IPA. Recent enjoyments in the hop realm have been the Rogue XS, Stone Enjoy by 10-25-13, Bear Republic Cafe Racer and several others that don’t come to mind immediately. I am hop head at heart, I once purchased an entire case of the Moylan Hopsickle after having it at Stone’s 12th Anniversary Celebration. That IPA as well as the above examples make impressions on me. I love ’em! It’s difficult to branch out into other styles when you go to most pubs and the tap handles are dominated with super hop beers. Same with the store shelves if you can’t get to one of the major resellers like BevMo, Total Wine and More, Holiday Wine Cellar [Escondido, CA] or Texas Wine and Liquor [Carlsbad, CA].

I like IPAs, all I’m saying is brew me a good dunkle or dopplebock for a change.



7 Mar 2013

Road trip! Dogfish does D.C.

Author: Sigaro | Filed under: Events

Dogfish Head Alehouse, Falls Church, VA

More than 5,000 people from the world of craft beer are converging on Washington, D.C., later this month for the Craft Brewers Conference. But if you’re not an industry insider, don’t worry. With a couple of happy hours, an art show and an indie rock concert, there are plenty of opportunities for D.C.’s craft beer fans to get in on the goodness.

  • Smoke & Barrel Happy Hour, 5 p.m. Monday, March 25
    Like barbecue and craft beer? Thought so. This will be one happy Happy Hour, with 12 of Dogfish Head’s off-centered ales on draft, including Firefly Ale, brewed specially for the East Coast’s premier music festival. No tickets necessary for this one. Just show up thirsty. Smoke & Barrel, 2471 18th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 202-319-9353.
  • Dogfish Head Alehouse Happy Hour, Falls Church, 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 26
    Isn’t every hour a Happy Hour at the Dogfish Head Alehouses? For sure, but we’re kicking it up a notch with vintage brews, Firefly Ale and a visit from Dogfish Head Founder and President Sam Calagione. No tickets necessary. Dogfish Head Alehouse, 6220 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA. 703-534-3342. 
  • The Feelies, 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 27, at the 9:30 Club
    What goes best with American craft beer? How about good ol’ American indie rock. The Feelies and Dogfish Head, together for one epic night. We’re so excited we can hardly stand it. Come on down for 60 Minute IPA, Aprihop, Rhizing Bines, 90 Minute IPA, Burton Baton, Sixty-One, Raison D’Etre, Chicory Stout and Midas Touch. Doors open at 7 p.m.Get tickets here9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW, Washington, D.C. 202-265-0930.
  • Amber Waves art show, 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, March 28, District Architecture Center
    Amber Waves is a unique exhibit pairing art and the art of brewing. Hosted by Victory Brewing and Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, it’s a night to indulge your senses. There will be food, beer and original art from two dozen breweries. Attendees also will receive a tasting glass and a ceramic coaster. Details and a limited number of $25 tickets available hereDistrict Architecture Center, 421 7th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 202-347-9403.
  • Brewers Brunch, 11 a.m., Saturday, March 30, RFD
    Close the CBC in style. Join Dogfish Head’s Sam Calagione and Sierra Nevada’s Brian Grossman as they toast the town and the people who made CBC 2013 a reality. You’ll sample new brews, cask selections and Randallized versions of old favorites alongside delicious hors d’oeuvres. Tickets, $60. Only 75 available hereRFD, 810 7th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 202-289-2030.
6 Mar 2013

Misha’s Costa Rica S.H.B. Tarazzu

Author: Sigaro | Filed under: Coffee
Misha's Costa Rican

Misha’s Costa Rican

As many of you know, with great affliction I had to retire from drinking and brewing beer due to a continued focus on my health.  Despite all the excellent health claims in Gile’s “The Case for Beer” post, I can’t continue to watch my waist line  grow while I’m progressing into my mid-30’s. I’ve continued to discuss brewing beer with the CORE crew and last night, where I voiced my tribulation with not being able to post to the CORE blog with Scott.  He suggested I continue posting about brewing…coffee!

There’s a local roaster a few short blocks from my house that I’ve been walking to lately to get my caffeine fix called Misha’s Coffee House.  They roast in-house and produce some of the finest coffee I’ve ever had.

I’m now on my second batch of Costa Rica S.H.B. Tarazzu and find it to be an extremely tasty brew.  They describe it as “A perfectly balanced varietal.  Beautifully fragrant.  Full body and strong acidity.  French Roast.”   I would call it bold and refined!  It really shined with perfect balance when I brewed it with the Connoisseur’s Brewing Ratio rather than the “standard” ratio.  Earthy, volcanic, slightly nutty, and perfect.

I chose the Costa Rican variety since I recently spent two weeks in that country visiting some coffee plantations and fell in love with their beans.  Here are some pictures of my visit to the Doka Estate, a 100-year-old coffee finca (plantation).

Next »