Welcome to the third installment of Hot Break 2011, The March Edition. The them is progress, and we're making a bunch of it even in just the first quarter of the year. Read on to find out about developments in the club, sponsorships, how you can progress as a brewer and help others progress as well.
|From the President|
By Rob Fullmer
Beer Marches On.
If there is one thing that I have learned as ASH President it's that the longer you hold the office, the harder it is to brew beer. I think past Prezzes Ben, Jeff and Todd will back me up on that. I can say, however, that I will have some entries for Great Arizona Homebrew Competition and NHC 2011 First Round (coming up this month and detailed below). Then there was the Oatmeal Stout that I brewed for a Arizona Beer Week Promo on Channel 10. I also did a TV spot with Four Peak's Andy Ingram. Oh, and Arizona Beer Week! was that not freaking awesome?? Good news! The Arizona Craft Brewers Guild is bringing it back next year. That was decided last Tuesday at the Guild meeting. You read it here first!
If it seems like I've been too busy living the beer celebrity life and nursing an Arizona Beer Week hangover, well, that's only half of the story. In January, I laid out some aggressive goals and so far our board and committee of volunteers have accomplished some pretty important things. We have better by-laws, club general liability insurance with a liquor exemption. We have a new place to meet every day of the week if we so choose (probably beginning in April, read on). We have committees for Technology, Education, Competitions, Spring Fest, Oktoberfest and New Members. Thanks to Ninkasi Sponsor- Four Peaks Brewing and ID Card Sponsor- World Class Beverages we are able to officially kick off our ASH Sponsorship and benefits program. Because of businesses like these (and a few others that you'll be learning about shortly) we're able to keep our dues structure the same as it has been for years. We'll be able to retain our core programs and activities and still pursue the larger long-term goals, such as securing a long-term clubhouse and purchasing club brewing, storing and serving equipment.
In the realm of Beer Karma, we have an exciting announcement to make that required no work on our part. Doug Odell of Odell Brewing has graciously awarded ASH the honor of sending its Oktoberfest Best of Show winner to Ft. Collins to brew with Doug on his famed 5 BBL system. There are a few details to work out on that, but you should talk to Barry or Mike about that story... Or better yet, ask Barry this weekend.
As I write this, we're still trying to fit a few puzzle pieces together. If all goes to plan, we will have new ASH ID cards at the March General Meeting. The front side will be your ID/Nametag and the backside will be your key to continued discounts and donations to the club through homebrew suppliers like What Ale's Ya, Brewers Connection and Brew Your Own Brew and new discounts from breweries and beer bars like Four Peaks, Hungry Monk, Santan, Flanny's and Papago and many others. There are still details to be fleshed out, but know that these participating businesses asked to provide these things to you. They want to support us and all that they ask is you break out your ASH card and let 'em know who you are.
One thing that hasn't happened as quickly as anyone would have like is getting into our new space ready to meet in and so we've had to push back out beer and food pairing meeting to next month at the earliest. We'll have to put in another meeting over at the Womens Club in Tempe for March. We still need lots of help at the new location. Chime in here and find out how you can lend a hand. It's mostly painting and general cleaning. It looks like there is an afternoon shift on Friday, mid day Saturday and Sunday. Bring some beer and make it a fun day.
Deadlines for You and Your Beer
|Ninkasi Winner Tells All|
We sat down for a QandA session with 2010 Ninkasi Award Winner Kevin Masaryk:1) How did you get started brewing and when? I got started in 1995 after a homebrew shop open up near my mom's house in North Phoenix. I went in to check it out one weekend and walked out with my first extract batch and all the basic equipment to get started. I took it back up to Flagstaff, it was my final year at NAU, and created a near-disaster the next weekend. Lets just say 7,000 ft altitude has some unique challenges for boiling wort. Incidentally, the shop I'd gone to was GunnBrew, owned by Paul Gunn who would later go on to found Papago Brewing Co. with Ron Kloth and Bruce McConnell. Paul was very friendly and a great help. He didn't even yell at customers, argue with them, call them names or throw things at them. 2) Describe your transition to All grain. I spent the first seven years or so doing liquid extract batches and then got turned on to DME so I did that for a few years and had much better results. In all, I spent about 10 years doing extract batches. I won some awards and, in general, made beer I enjoyed. I lived in apartments all during this time so space was always the limiting factor for not going all-grain. Once the space finally presented itself and begged for homebrew equipment to fill it, I complied and did just that. Just before this, I'd heard or read about a technique from John Palmer called "no-sparge" brewing which only requires one burner, one kettle and one Igloo-style cooler. This seemed like an easy transition at the time so I went with it. I ended up loving the method so much that I still use it today even though I can do normal batch sparging if I wanted to. I've never considered fly-sparging since the pay off of a little extra efficiency isn't worth the extra effort and risks to me. I get about 75% efficiency now and wouldn't care if it was only 55%; what's important to me is consistency and control. 3) How has ASH added to your brewing experience?I'm continually inspired and motivated by the outstanding and innovative brewers in our club. Probably the most inspiring aspect of ASH members is their insatiable pursuit of brewing knowledge. ASH provides a unique venue for sharing information and the fact that we're not a simple "drinking club" is what keeps me coming back. There's always more to learn.4) Any other sources of inspiration or education?There are plenty of great resources out there...and even more misinformation. I have an extensive library of brewing books but here's my short list:
5) Favorite beer of the moment? This moment and all moments...Westvleteren 12. I went to Europe last year and made a special trip out to the monastery just to pick up and ship back some of this liquid perfection. Unfortunately, Westy doesn't distribute - not even in Belgium - so the only way to get it is to visit the monastery and cafe the monks own across the "street." Even then, you have to have your name on a list and getting on that list was no small feat. Add to that the remote location in the countryside of Belgium and you can see that only the very determined and very lucky make it there and come away with anything other than a buzz. The good news is that St. Bernardus Abt 12 is nearly the same beer; have a look at their website for the story on their connection to Westy. I've done side-by-side tastings with these two beers a couple times now and can assure you of their similarities. I'd also recommend picking up some of the Abt 12 and aging it for a few years. It needs about three years to fully mature.6) Tip for those wanting to follow in your footstepsStop making excuses and get out there and brew..and brew a lot. Try to enter competitions with every beer you brew, the blind feedback is invaluable for troubleshooting issues with your procedures, recipes and ingredients.7) What did you win?A new liver and cool plaque to hang on my brewing wall. 8) How has ASH changed over the years?I've been in the club for about 10 years now and have seen plenty of ups and downs. We're not just on any upswing right now, I'd say it's the strongest upswing I've ever seen with ASH. Membership is surging with people who actually brew, we have an extremely motivated and skilled board and we're more connected to each other than ever which serves to make us all better brewers. As an example of just what this club is capable of, I have an observation to relay. At the beginning of last year (2010), we had record numbers of members showing up to meetings and record amounts of beer they brought with them; However, much of the beer was in need of some improvement. Lot's of freshman level mistakes..easy stuff to fix with a little guidance. Now fast forward to the end of the year. By the November meeting, not only were the brews drinkable (not the case for far too many at the beginning of the year) but many were downright delicious. Clearly, we're doing something right. This is what the club is all about.9) Any other things you want to say?Two things; First, don't underestimate the value of having quality ingredients to work with. Do you know how old the malt your buying is or even who made it? Do you know what year's crop your hops are from? You're only kidding yourself if you think these things don't matter.Second, don't believe everything you hear in podcasts or read on internet forums. Published documents/books (whether online or physical) are generally far better resources.
- New Brewing Lager Beer - Greg Noonan
- How to Brew - John Palmer
- Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation - Dr. Chris White and Jamil Zainasheff
- Zymurgy and BYO
- Julie & Julia - No kidding..seeing it gave me the motivation to actually start brewing every style instead of just the same old ones I'd been doing over and over for the past 15 years. Kind of a "chick flick" but a decent story about Julia Child, none-the-less.
Teaching New Brewers
by Ben Conner
Over the past few weekends I've invited new brewers over to my house so I can give them a hands on look at brewing. I think we can all do something similar to help some new members and also some non-members become permanent members of the homebrewing community. Here are a few tips and thoughts on teaching someone to brew.
For those just looking to get started, the cost of entry into homebrewing can be intimidating at $110 or so for a starter kit. Some people may not want to spend that much to find out whether or not they would be interested in the hobby. I offer up my equipment to give people that chance. The new brewer can pick a recipe, either an all grain or extract, since I have equipment for both. The new brewer can follow the directions for the recipe given to them by the homebrew store, but they have an experienced brewer on hand to guide them through the process. I remember my first beer and the many tense moments I had making it. Having some experienced people on hand can make an intimidating process feel very down to earth.
I have them cook up the beer and I store it in my fermenter and we
make an appointment to get together again in two weeks. Their only assignment is to empty about 55 bottles so we can bottle their new beer.
I find that helping new people brew homes my skills. It give me the
chance to brew at little to no cost, and explaining why you do certain things in brewing helps remind you of some of the technical things you may have forgotten over time.
In teaching someone to brew the only thing I ask in return is to try
the beer when it's done. It also makes a good excuse to meet up again and drink more homebrew.
Editors Note: Tom Tomczyk started a thread on the forum for members interested in teaching others how to homebrew. Check it out and sign up.
|Last but not yeast...|
by Jon Badalamenti
We haven't forgotten (like you probably have) about that survey everyone took at the January ASH meeting. Based on the results it looks like there's an urgent interest among club members in learning more about yeast management. Some of you may know I'm studying microbiology at ASU and so I offered to help plan some educational pieces at meetings this year. I'd say I'm pretty comfortable with the microbiology of beer brewing and yeast management, but I'd hardly call myself an expert. So, ideally we want to invite in a speaker or two this year who really knows the ins and outs of proper yeast handling in the brewery. But before we do, we need some feedback from you!
I just posted a thread on the club website to get ideas about what specific topics regarding yeast management you all want to hear about. We can't promise we'll be able to cover them all, but at least we'll be able to gear the talks towards the topics that have the most interest. So check out the discussion here and tell us what you want to learn about, or any other ideas you have. We also want to fit these in with the competition schedule where we can.
Happy yeast make happy brewers!
|March General Meeting|
The ASH General meeting will be at the Tempe Women's Club again this month and starting at the usual time of 7pm.
Tuesday, March 15, 7pm-9pm
Tempe Woman's Club
1290 S. Mill Ave.
Club Only Competition Entries Due: Bock, BJCP Category 5 styles
Are you looking to enter the world of craft beer as a pro brewer but not sure where to get your start? An opportunity has opened in Flagstaff, AZ, for an assistant brewer at Flagstaff Brewing Company
. Don't have professional experience? Apparently it's not a problem. Get your resume together and good luck!
Either I've had too much cough syrup or not enough because at this point I just can't think of anything witty or insightful to add to finish off this Hot Break. Good thing I had help from Rob, Kevin, Ben and Jon.
Always keep in mind, if you visit a new brewery, find a cool beer spot, had a life-changing brewing epiphany, have a great project your working on, or anything else you'd like to mention on Hot Break, email me; email@example.com
We'll see you at the General Meeting. Till then brew on and RDWHAHB
Your Club Board Members
President - Rob Fullmer
Vice President - Ben Conner
Secretary - Maureen Basenberg
Treasurer - David Schollmeyer
Communications - Tom Boggan
Arizona Society of Homebrewers