Homebrewing Homies


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

My Summer Beer Adventures Pt. 1

When I think of summer, I think of several different things. I think of summer concerts, movies at Hollywood Forever Cemetery and Exposition Park, summer romances or flings if that’s your style, family bbq’s and good beer! For me, this summer was filled with many of those adventures and more. The following blog entry is a recap of how I spent my summer.

June

The first few weeks of June, I spent them preparing for a 10k plus a half marathon I had coming up in September over the Labor Day Weekend. Consequently, training for such an endeavor requires much dedication to the running program and less to the social program. Still, there was one event I could not miss, the Women’s Beer Forum at Eagle Rock Brewery.
The topic of discussion was Wheat beers and I am so glad I attended. I invited my friend Dolores aka Eastside Chela to join me since Wheat beers are one of her favorites styles of beers. An impressive flight list and an informative discussion, my favorites were the Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier Dunkel and the Bootlegger’s Brewery Wildfire Wheat. The Dunkel, a dark version of a wheat beer, had a wonderful taste of cloves and caramel. In our discussion, Ting Su, host and co-owner, mentioned that the flavors of this amazing beer come from the fermentation process. After learning this, my appreciation for these styles of beers deepened.

Wildfire Wheat from Bootlegger’s Brewery was a whole different blast of flavor. As mentioned, when I think of summer, I think outdoor bbq’s. Wildfire Wheat from Bootlegger’s Brewery was a smokey goodness that made my palate think it was at a family bbq. Between the notes of the cloves and the smoke, it was as if I was drinking a beer and eating something with bacon. In the not so distant future, I pick up this gem of a beer for a picnic I prepared and enjoyed it with some Ranch Style Potato Salad. All the flavors of the smoke and the taste of bacon from the potato salad had my palate in smokey heaven. Summer was off to a good start.

July

In July, I stepped out of my comfort zone with many things in my life one of which was beer. I tried my first homebrew and went on a first date after a long hiatus from the dating world. I enjoyed my first one night stand, and attended my first tap-takeover at City Tavern Culver City. All of these events were significant in placing me where I am today, blogging about beer. The original concept for a beer blog was my friend Ellie’s idea and I signed up to be one of her writers along with my friend Dolores. I was just excited to be writing outside of school, moreover, about something I loved, beer. I immediately started doing some research and signed up last November for any upcoming events with local breweries.

I met my friend Victor in January at Golden Road Brewery’s Winter Situation. Victor’s name along with a few others won a special drawing for a bag of hops provided by Golden Road Brewery. These select winners were chosen to brew with the Golden Road hops for a chance to have their beer submitted into the Pro Am competition. From those hops, Victor made an amazing dry-hopped Belgian Style Wit bier that was inspired by Deschutes Chain breaker with more of a Belgian interpretation than American. I actually shared the bottle he gave me with my boss and a few coworkers while working late one evening. We were all very impressed with the flavors that presented themselves. Crisp, refreshing; with a citrusy taste that lingered beautifully on the palate. It was hard to believe this beer was a homebrew because all of those flavors, one would think it was something that had been done and bottled for years. Victor’s beer made it to the final round, though; Golden Road Brewery went with a different style. Even so, that homebrew left a lasting impression.

I took the summer off from college so that I had time to continue my half marathon training without the daily stresses of homework, pop quizzes, mid-terms and finals. Since I had so much time, I thought it would be a perfect time to start writing down ideas for the blog and attending as many events as possible for material. I even incorporated my upcoming date with a guy to meet me at City Tavern in Culver City because I had heard they had an excellent selection of craft beer and an amazing grilled cheese. It was my best idea yet because nothing takes the edge off first date jitters like a good craft beer and some grilled cheese. My date Tony wasn’t much of a beer drinker, he was more into spirits. That was until he met me. As soon as we sat down at the table, I reached for the beer list and quickly scanned the menu. From their tap list, two beers immediately caught my eye; Ballast Point Thai Chili Lime Wheat and LA Ale Works Karma Kolsch. The waitress came to take our order and I asked for the Ballast Point Thai Chili Lime to start. She recommended I get the taster size which is a 4oz serving because of its powerful spicy kick. I thought carefully and went with a pint of LA Ale Works Karma Kolsch. Curious about the beer, my date ordered the 4oz Thai Chili Lime and a pint of the Karma Kolsch as well. The Karma Kolsch by LA Ale Works was so refreshing for as hot as that day was. It was my first time ever having a Kolsch and what I admired the most about the beer was its spice notes which I gather came from the Thai tea. As the date went on, I shared my stories about beer and talked about the blog which at that point was still in the brewing process. We also shared the Thai Chili Lime taster and wow! The waitress was not kidding when she said it packed a punch. My lips were on fire but still it was very hard to pull away from what you would taste after the sting subsides. Crisp with a hint of citrus and wow that sweet, sweet burn from the Thai Chili. As the date ended, we walked out toward the back end of City Tavern and walked by a line of kegs from all different sorts of breweries. I stopped to admire the beautiful stacks and pointed to the ones I absolutely love. My date laughed and said that I looked like a wide eyed girl at a diamond store. It’s true, except, it’s not a diamond I dream about, it’s beer.

A couple of weeks later, Tony met me for a One Night Stand. The good kind, not the one you regret the next day ha-ha. Craftsman beers have definitely captured my taste buds and what better place to enjoy them than at Beer Belly LA. Good quality beer with some Death by Duck and some Mac N Cheese!! Oh my, my, my! It was a good one night stand indeed. I was enjoying my 1903 lager and Tony had the Curiosity Saison when my friend Ellie and Dolores joined us. Our one night stand turned into a party! I enjoyed the 1903 Pre-Prohibition Lager, but the beer that captured me that evening was the Craftsman Cabernale. Not much of a wine drinker, this bold beauty took me by surprise! Rich in all its flavor of a Cabernet with the crisp clean finish of an ale. This beer would definitely be one to share with my friends that swear beer comes in only one flavor, bitter. With each sip of this deep red, sweet grape essence, glass of perfection, it made my long black hair shine and my ruby red lips pucker with delight. It was a sexy little minx! Much like me!

To be continued…

Cheers!
Brewja