12 Oct 2014

Stone Brewing Co. to build Virginia facility

Author: Sigaro | Filed under: News

NewsWire:

(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.

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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.

 

Cheers!

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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.
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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).

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22 Feb 2013

Irish Red Ale – Yeast Starter

Author: skotmigloor | Filed under: Enhance Your Knowledge, Homebrew

It has been a while since I brewed beer and I was feeling quite rusty, but I still wanted to set out to boldly attempt to create something special.. a PREMIUM ale if you will!

All the required equipment used, the flask, Star San sanitizer, the stir plate, a hydrometer to take the gravity readings, and of course the vial of White Labs Irish Ale yeast!

I’ve always been quite fond of the rich malty tones and easy drinking character of the Irish and Scottish style ales, and thought an Irish Red ale sounded perfect for this time of year, just in time for St. Patrick’s Day! So I set out with hopes of crafting a fine beverage. Make that better than fine actually.. if I am going to sacrifice all this effort and time making beer, I sure hope it’s going to taste at least as good if not better than what anyone could run down to the store and purchase on any given day. Let’s face it, when was the last time you had a good Irish Red from a store anyways?

My goal here is to brew an Irish Red that is simply outstanding. A beer that I would proudly encourage others to indulge in, because I know it is something special. One that if a home brewing contest were going on I would not hesitate to enter it in. An ale worthy of sending across the country to friends knowing they will truly enjoy the finished product. An Irish Red that is better than the Jeremiah Red at BJ’s pizza! Ok well you get the picture, I am going to have some fun and enjoy the process but remain focused on the task at hand and try to do everything within my own knowledge and capabilities to create the best beer I possibly can.

The fermentation phase and pitching the proper amount of yeast is a crucial aspect to brewing that can really make or break a beer, so the focus of today’s session is the yeast starter. Which makes sense as this really is the first step to the process of brewing beer, so were basically taking our first steps on our way to crafting that Irish Red.

After plugging in the OG of 1.060 and switching it to “Stir Plate”, mr malty says I need a 1 liter starter.

The yeast starter is simply a small batch of beer without the hops, brewed with the intent to grow enough yeast for your following 5 gallon batch of real beer! At the high level you simply add malts to water, boil, cool it down, then pitch in the yeast. First you need the recipe for the starter though, meaning the proper amounts of malts and water for the beer you are going to brew. This will determine how much yeast you end up with to pitch into your batch of beer the next day. The stronger the beer, the more yeast you’re going to need to ferment all them sugary malts into alcohol. This Irish Red is probably going to end up around the 5.5-6% abv range. So taking the beer’s estimated starting gravity of 1.060 and looking at an online calculator tells me the yeast starter should come in at only just around 1 liter, since I will be using a stir plate to help accelerate yeast growth.

I wanted my yeast starter to mirror my beer by using the same liquid Maris Otter malt extracts. .27lb of the malts with water added to make 1 liter is all it takes for this Irish Red.

This means the starter should be at 1 liter total volume including the malts and water mixed together. For the malts I will be using the same malts I plan to use for the beer itself for a couple of reasons. First I already had the malts for the beer, and there was more than the recipe called for so I had extra to make the starter with. Secondly I think that training the yeast for the malts and temps they will be making the ale at sounds like the perfect way to bring up those little yeasties!

Starter recipe plugged into Beersmith. There are other online calculators available as well.

The target gravity for the starter should always be between 1.030-1.040, as this range promotes the most efficient yeast growth. Plugging the recipe into the Beersmith tells me that .27lb of the liquid malt extract and a volume of 1 liter added to water should yield a 1.036 which falls into range perfectly.

I used my infrared thermometer gun and some tuning with my home thermostat to find the right spot in my house to maintain the 68 degree target temp for the fermentation.

Another critical area for fermentation is the temperature during the fermentation phase, the yeast need the right climate to grow and multiply and live healthy lives to make fine ale. Ultimately this controls the outcome of the finished product having drinking characteristics you crave. So prior to brewing I have been measuring temperatures in every closet, corner, and pantry in my home multiple times per day to find the perfect spot to maintain that perfect climate for the yeast. I have actually used the thermostat in my house to help regulate temperature as well, making fine adjustments attempting to maintain a 66-67 degrees in the “brew closet” where I determined the beer will be fermenting, and also happens to be where I store all my brewing equipment coincidentally. It’s been on the cooler side lately this February, so I just simply use the house heater to keep the temps from dropping too much, so let’s hope it doesn’t get too hot over the next couple of days!

My dedicated brewing equipment storage closet turned out to be the best bet for fermentation temps this time of year. Staying around the mid 60’s at all times lately.

Once I felt comfortable with the consistency of temperature in the closet being right at or very close to the manufacturer (White Labs) recommended temperature for their Irish Ale yeast strain, it was time to move forward with brewing the yeast starter.

Liquid malts and water mixed up in the flask, directly on to the stove.

First I poured some water to the same flask it would be boiled and fermented in, then added the .27lb of malt and the rest of the water to bring it to just over 1 liter. The liquid malts are very sticky and still stuck to the bottom of the flask immediately even though I had added water firstly, and shaking it did not mix it up either. So I then placed the flask on the stove to warm it up just a dash. In just about a minute the beaker was warming up, so I quickly snatched it up with my oven mitt and swirled it up vigorously to dissolve all them malts into the water to keep it from burning on the bottom of the flask. Once it all mixed together and I saw no malt stuck on the bottom, I then placed it onto the burner again to let it get to boiling.

The boil was under control the whole time, no mess to my stove or counter tops!

As soon as the boil started the foam rose rapidly in the cone shaped flask. I then quickly lowered the flame down to a low flicker, just enough to keep the boil going without any overflow. This worked very well, no boil over and did not make a mess at all! Oh yeah, I tossed in the little magnet for the stir plate with 2 minutes to go so it would sanitize too. As a general rule, you always want everything your wort or yeast comes in contact with to be sanitized to prevent any bacterial infections that could ruin your beer.

Chilling in the ice bath, trying to get down to 70 degrees to pitch in the yeast.

After 15 minutes boiling passed the flame was shut down, I grabbed the flask and shook it around a bit and then placed it into an ice bath I prepared in the kitchen sink. I had also sanitized a piece of foil and placed it over the mouth of the flask while it cooled in the ice, again to prevent contamination. I took temps with my infrared gun, aiming at multiple spots on the surface of the flask and sides, and although the temps varied in different spots they were within a few degrees of each other so it gave me a good idea of the temp. As a side note I drained water from the sink as water melted because I noticed the flask would start to float upwards, and I didn’t want it tipping over or breaking. 1 measly liter cooled quite quickly in the ice bath, maybe just 5-10 minutes later and it was around 70 degrees which is just right for pitching yeast for the feast!

The hydrometer in the sample beaker reading right about 1.036.

As stated the target gravity range for a yeast starter is 1.030-1.040 specific gravity, and this is measured with a hydrometer seen above. This is achieved by balancing the right amount of malts with the water to make that 1 liter starter. The rough formula is about 4 ounces of malts to every 1 liter of water to achieve this gravity reading. I took the gravity reading and it came out as expected right at 1.036. I had thoroughly cleaned and sanitized my hydrometer and sample beaker since I had to pour the liquid back into the flask to have the full volume for the starter.

The yeast prior to shaking were all stuck together on one side of the vial.

It was time to add the yeast. I had shaken the WLP004 Irish Ale yeast vial before I opened it to loosen up the little flocculent fellas, and when I went to open it there was a bundle of pressure exploding from the vial! Guess those Irish yeast got real excited when they woke up, and even though I slowly opened the lid to release pressure I could not keep it from over flowing a little bit, and I lost a small line of yeasts that trickled down the back of my hand sadly (moment of silence for those lost). It was a very miniscule amount lost, but in the future maybe I wont shake the vial for this strain, or just shake it up enough to loosen the yeast up and not create too much pressure. Anyhow I didn’t let that slow me down and proceeded to release the rest of the yeast family into their new ecosystem!

The flask placed onto the stir plate and the knob cranked up to get things swirling. This gives the yeast their much needed oxygen supply.

After I added the yeast to the flask I gave it a real good shake to get some initial oxygen mixed in there. Then I proceeded to place the flask on to the stir plate, much to my excitement as this was the first time I had actually used this contraption, which is touted to be the fastest way to grow yeast. It was all placed into the brew closet, where it could ferment for the next 24 hours at around 70-71 degrees (a few degrees or so above ambient temperature). The stir plate constantly stirs the liquid, which gives a much needed continuous supply of oxygen to the yeast. The next day the liquids had become very cloudy and whitish, letting me know there was plenty of healthy active yeast alive and well swimming around in the starter.

At this point I was then fully committed to brewing the very next day, as I wanted to pitch the yeast into the batch of beer while they were highly active and ready to make some PREMIUM beer!

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2 Aug 2012

ELE’s new infographic

Author: Gile | Filed under: News

We all like beer and some of us really like infographs! Well so do our friends over at Easy Lift Equipment who created this beauty:

ELE infographic

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18 Jul 2012

Heretic Shallow Grave

Author: Gile | Filed under: Beer Reviews

Name: Shallow Grave

Heretic - Shallow Grave - Porter

Heretic - Shallow Grave - Porter

Brewery: Heretic Brewing Co., Pittsburg, CA

Overall Rating: A +

Style: Porter

Serving Style: Bottle 220z

ABV: 7%

Price: $6.99 Texas Wine and Liquor

When you take your first sip of the Heretic’s Shallow Grave Porter, be prepared for very full mouthfeel with an abundance of flavor to come pouring into your nostrils. The Shallow Grave pours nicely from the bottle with little effort to provide an ample head that lasts a good bit. Check this one out for yourself!

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