Archives for June2014


An Afternoon with the Yeastside Brewers Organization

I am very excited to finally populate this segment of my blog, Homebrewing Homies! I am even more excited to start this segment with an afternoon at a Yeastside Brewers meeting. Early last year, on one of my many solo adventures having some delicious pints, I met my friend Victor, member of the Yeastside Brewers homebrew club. We had great conversations about beer, blogging, music, and homebrewing.

Last September, he invited me to a homebrewer’s dinner where I got to meet more members of the Yeastside Brewers and sample their beers. I didn’t know exactly what to expect; however, I felt privileged to be there. I was very impressed with all that I sampled that evening but more with the beers of the Yeastside Brewers. IMG_3241
Here we are nearly a year later and I’m attending my first Yeastside Brewers meeting at Eagle Rock Brewery. As it was with that homebrewer’s dinner, I didn’t know what to expect. I visited the Yeastside Brewers website so I could learn what they are all about. As stated on their website, Yeastside Brewers are a group of like-minded homebrewers whose primary concerns are the exploration and production of fantastic beers. In my own personal opinion, Yeastside Brewers are an amazing group of homebrewers with a true passion and talent for crafting homebrew.

As I sat waiting for the meeting to start, a couple named Nora and Henry walked into Eagle Rock Brewery for some beers to enjoy with their fresh tamales. Unbeknownst to them, they walked into the homebrew meeting just before it got underway. They sat beside us and as Henry was ordering a beer, Nora leans in toward Gayle Michel, Treasurer of Yeastside Brewers and Co-Owner of Angry Horse Brewing Company, to ask why we were gathered there that afternoon. Simply said, Gayle Michel tells Nora about the homebrew club and explains that the monthly meeting is about to commence. Nora asked how she and Henry could taste their beers. Gayle Michel warmly invites them to be her guests that afternoon and gave them name tags. Just like that, Nora and Henry found themselves in the right place at the right time.

Meeting essentials for the members of Yeastside Brewers are as follows; taster glass (Yeastside Brewers taster glasses available for purchase), homebrew to share, snacks, cash or credit card for purchasing shirts, glassware, and commercial beers. The members checked in with Gayle, they were given a pen and a tag for their beer, and placed it on the table which soon looked like a gift table at a party. As all the members arrived, they congregated around the beer table; the sound of tightly bottled beers opening could be heard. With each bottle opened, the carbonation made its sweet escape as if it were sounding the bell that the meeting had commenced.

From a list of over thirty beers that afternoon, I tried eleven. My overall favorite of the day was the Oak Glen Cider by Jerl Leutz.
Jerhl's Cider
Last October, then President Jerl Leutz organized a cider pressing trip to Snow-line Orchard in Oak Glen. The cider purchased was unpasteurized, preservative-free, and fresh off the press, heirloom apples. Perhaps it is the reason why Jerl’s Cider was so delicious. With each sip I would breathe in the fresh scent of the apples which made it taste exceptionally refreshing, crisp, and sweet.

There were 2 Black IPAs I tried from the list; one was made by Cesar which he added more malt than hops and gave it a nice roast flavor. The second was Josh’s Black IPA which had an even balance of malt and hops.
Cesar's Black IPA

Josh Black IPA
What I enjoyed about both these selections was the slight bitter hop taste that did not linger nor overpower the brew.

My friend Victor made a gruit which I initially tried last September; however, this version had a much earthier flavor and was just as enjoyable. Brewed on a Belgian Dubbel base, Victor’s gruit was made with a total of 9 herbs, no hops and is at 7% abv.
Victor's Gruit

All the beers I sampled that day were fantastic!

Oscar Kolsch

Homebrew leftovers

I sat enjoying the tastes of these homebrews and listened in on the chatter amongst the members. Each member sampling was face to face with the brewer giving feedback on the profile of the beer. There were no snarky remarks or rude comments or gestures, only criticism that was constructive, helpful, encouraging, and appreciative.
Gathering around the booze table

Toward the end of the meeting, David Ochoa, president of Yeastside Brewers made the announcement for upcoming events, thanked everyone for helping out while he was out of town during the last meeting, and spoke about other club business. It was no ordinary club meeting – where minutes are taken and attendance is required. Instead, this was a club gathering of friends: homebrewers that genuinely care about their product and have the ultimate respect for one another.

So where can you try beers from this fantastic homebrew club? Well, it just so happens that on Sunday June 29th, Yeastside Brewers will be serving up their well crafted beers at the 2nd Anniversary of CRAFTED at the Port of LA. With the purchase of admission you get a live homebrew demo, tote bag, and souvenir glassware. If you purchase your ticket before Saturday and use the discount code TASTE, you can get $5.00 off admission price. See the link for details. Crafted

Spending the afternoon with Yeastside Brewers made me want to brew my own beer. I was inspired by the camaraderie and everything I tasted. Homebrewing will be a project in the near future; for now, writing about amazing homebrewers like the members of Yeastside Brewers is what I want to do. If you are interested in learning more about Yeastside Brewers click here Yeastside Brewers
Before I close this blog entry, I would like to thank Yeastside Brewers for the warm welcome. Honorable mentions to the Yeastside Brewers Eleven whose beers I sampled, you are all amazing brewers!

The YeastsideBrewer’s Eleven
Gruit by Victor Macias
Black IPA by Cesar
Smoked Wheat by Jorge
Bow by Eddie
Black IPA by Josh
Kumquat Blonde Farmhouse Ale by Martin # 17
Brown Sour by Christina
Oak Glen Cider by Jerl Leutz
Kolsch by Oscar
Red Ale by Oscar
Black Jax Imperial Stout by Gayle, Luis, and Nathan of Angry Horse Brewing Company

See you Sunday, beer lovers!

Cheers,
Brewja

Powered By Firestone Walker

Last Thursday 5/29, my political science professor informed us that we would not have the luxury of using our books or notes for the final exam today. With that said, I cancelled all social activities I had planned for my weekend to prepare. By the time Wednesday came along I was burnt out. I needed a release and needed one soon because I could not squeeze any more Civil Liberties and Civil Rights discussions in my head. Luckily for me, one of my favorite local hot spots, Beer Belly LA, was hosting a Firestone Walker event last night.

After reading all the reviews from the Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival last weekend, I was craving to have a similar experience. Knowing I had the morning before my final off, I decided to go to Beer Belly LA for a much needed break in my studies. I started off with Firestone Walker’s Pale Ale 31 fw-paleale31 a 4.9% abv California style pale ale. With all this political history fresh in my brain, it was only natural that I choose a California style pale ale. A tribute to California being the 31st state to be added to the union, Pale Ale 31 fittingly represents everything about California. It is a light beer, subtle on the hops with a fresh, crisp finish. It is California weather in a bottle all year round!

With the amazing selection of Firestone Walker beers on tap, I wanted to try something I have not tried before. I stepped it up and went with the Stickee Monkee. fw-stickeemonkee
Firestone Walker refers to the Stickee Monkee, at 13.4% abv as a Central Coast Quad, which is, a Belgian style quad by recipe but aged in spirit barrels. For me, immediately present was the full body texture of the beer with a sweet, sugar and bourbon flavor. It was just what I needed to relax my tightly wound brain.

I chose to end my evening with something in the middle. Not too light and definitely nothing strong. From the chalkboard menu Beer Belly presented I went with Opal.
fw-opal
A dry hopped Saison at 7.5%, at first sip all I could taste was spice with a nice dry finish. Not as fruity as the other Saison’s I have tried however, there was a sweet subtlety to it.

As my evening came to an end, I had a conversation with Jordon and Cindy, two patrons I met at Beer Belly LA. In our conversation, Jordan and Cindy mentioned they spent the day at different restaurants sampling wine as is their job. Both seemed very happy to end their day of restaurant and wine hopping with a nice cold beer in hand. What better way to end the day, whether it was cramming for a final, crunching numbers, or wine tasting all day, than with a nice refreshing beer like Firestone Walker’s Opal.

Cheers!
Brewja