Monday, December 30, 2013

A New Year's Duo of CA-Inspired Craft Beer Cocktails

Whether you're enjoying a warm holiday season in SoCal or a cooler one in NorCal, The Bruery has some CA craft beer cocktail recipes for you to enjoy. As a traveling bartender, our friend Brett has made cocktails & beertended in some of our nation's most scenic spots, but CA is the place he calls home. Have a Happy Brue Year wherever you are with these seasonal cocktail recipes.

These two drinks celebrate The Bruery’s seasonal beers and a new season for me as a transplant from Southern California to an area in San Francisco known for its Italian heritage: North Beach, filled with complex ecopoetics and beer cocktails.

The aim here is to combine both The Bruery’s complex flavors that come via aging with those of italian liqueurs, known for their complexity and recipes that are purportedly hundreds of years old.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Cleaning the Slate -- Beer Issues from 2013

Wow, it’s been a crazy year. Our barrel program has come to life, we’ve released approximately 45 different bottled releases this year, and we are starting to fill the large pair of shoes we have created for ourselves. Part of filling in those shoes is finding our weak spots and fixing them. This year we’ve had five releases that didn’t go as planned -- we want to tell you about them and what we’re doing to avoid this in the future.

Beers That Have Had Issues

As you may recall, earlier in the year we stopped shipments of Ebony & Oak and issued refunds. This beer began souring and building excess carbonation a few weeks after it was released. While bourbon barrels are usually quite stable due to once having bourbon in them, they aren’t immune from causing beer spoilage. However, usually that spoilage happens during the time in the barrel and we catch it before packaging.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Careful Cellaring, Part 4: The Barrel Maintenance Program for Living Beer

We couldn't have a blog series on the intricacies of beer cellaring without addressing the challenges and benefits of having barrel program like ours at The Bruery. In order to produce beer that is up to our quality standards, our wood cellarmen must take utmost care in working with our barrels and beer. To further explain how our barrels are taken care of, our team of wood cellarmen, Cesar Alfaro and Brett Richman, explain the basics and some FAQs.

Here at The Bruery it's the wood cellarmen's duty is to make sure that the beer that comes out of barrels are of best quality and, of course, taste delicious. In order to do so we take a lot of measures to make sure the barrels are in perfect condition before beer goes into them.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Careful Cellaring, Part 3: The Threat of Light

Another factor that can be damaging to you beer cellar is light. Did you know a beer's flavor can change in minutes in direct sunlight? Even unnatural, fluorescent light can harm your beer. The reason this happens is because the hops in beer are very sensitive to UV light. To explain what happens to the chemistry of beer, we turn again to Jess from our lab. 

Ever wonder why "lite" beers in clear bottles taste better with a lime slice and are skunky without one? It's because of a little nasty compound called MBT or as the organic chemist might say 3-methylbut-2-ene-1-thiol.

The odor and flavor of this compound is often reminiscent of skunks but is commonly referred to as the smell and taste of a "lightstruck" beer. The chemistry that goes on to change your delicious hops to skunkiness is well known and shown in the following graph about "The Lightstruck Reaction" (Graham, 2006):

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Careful Cellaring, Part 2: The Importance of Temperature

Cellaring beer properly means paying close attention to the many elements that can make your collection age for the worse. One of the most influential factors that can cause any good beer to go bad is temperature. To best understand how temperature effects beer we've once again turned to Jess, our Quality Specialist, to explain what happens to a living beer when it spends time at less than ideal temperatures.

Why do you keep your milk or yogurt in the fridge? For some of the same reasons you would want to keep a beer in the fridge: it helps keep the beer as fresh as possible.

Too Darn Cold

Cold storage is not to be confused with frozen storage. Besides possibly making a beer-bomb in your freezer, keeping beer at sub-zero temperatures is not preferable. There actually are a few instances where freezing temperatures are used in the brewery:

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Careful Cellaring, Part 1: The Quality Assurance Process for Creating Clean, Living Beer

Before a beer leaves our brewery to go to your cellar, or your bottle share, or your mouth, it has a very busy schedule as it gets approved for its release into the world. We've explained previously how working with sours comes with its own trials and tribulations, but for cellared & aged beer month at The Bruery we think it's time to delve deeper into the steps it takes to produce and release clean, cellarable, living beer.

As many a craft beer lover may know, the brewing process requires a ton of cleaning and serious attention to sanitation. This attention to detail doesn't just apply to a single brew day. To make sure a beer can be sold and consumed as it was intended to taste, every part of every brew endures our quality assurance process. It takes all levels of staff to pull this off, including our brewers, lab ladies, packaging, cellarmen, and managers. We love to make experimental ales, but with each unique experiment comes new challenges for our team to monitor.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

What's in our Bruers' Cellars? Part 5 with Cambria Griffith

We're taking a look at some of our staff's personal beer cellars as we continue our month of celebrating (or cellarbrating?) cellared & aged beer. Today we look into the cellar tucked away in several cabinets in a (hopefully) temperate Long Beach apartment of Cambria Griffith, our Social Media & Marketing Manager.

Ok, yes, I wrote that in third person. Though my cellar might not stack up to some of those wine caves out there, I love getting surprised each time I decide to go ahead and dig in there to open something special. Thanks to this series of blogs on Bruer Cellars, I've been inspired to do a little spring winter cleaning.

Friday, December 13, 2013

What's in our Bruers' Cellars? Part 4 with Andrew Bell

Our brewer and infamous beer collector & trader Andrew Bell had some very thorough points on cellaring. Here's what Andrew has been up to with his beer collection.

I'm going to hold onto ___________ the longest. Probably up to _________ years/months!
I usually don't intentionally plan on aging one of my beers for more than five or six years at the longest (with a few exceptions). As far as ones that might stick around for a while: I have a case of 2011 Tilquin that will probably last another 10 years (if I open one a year), as well as a case each of Pelican's Perfect Storm and Mother of All Storms from a few years ago.

From the remaining bottles that I have of Partridge, at least one of them will last the 12 years. I ended up stocking up on that beer when it was first released and common on shelves out here in SoCal. I wasn't working for The Bruery back then, but I loved the beer fresh and ended up buying a case and a half of it around Christmastime. I still have about half a case yet. I figured that it was pretty affordable, tasty, and with all the craziness that was starting to build around Stone Brewing Co.'s 02.02.02, I figured that Partridge would probably be a good investment.

My most exciting beer opening will be _________ because I plan on opening it at ___________.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

What's in our Bruers' Cellars? Part 3 with Matt Olesh

For the month of December, we're taking a closer look at cellaring & aging beer. So far it sounds like we have some serious gueuze and lambic fans, and given our trip to Belgium earlier this year, it's no wonder the enthusiasm for these beers is spreading among us.

Matt Olesh may be someone you know from previous beer trades or our very own Tasting Room. Here's what he has in his ever-expanding cellar.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

What's in our Bruers' Cellars? Part 2 with Matt Becker

For the month of December, we're taking a closer look at cellaring & aging beer. One of the beautiful things about being able to cellar beer is that you can learn as go continually shrink and expand your cellar.

You might know our brewer Matt Becker is you are a New Brew Thursday fan. Here's what Matt has to say about his beer cellaring experience so far.

Check out the rest of our Bruers' cellars:

Monday, December 9, 2013

What's in our Bruers' Cellars? Part 1 with Benjamin Weiss

For the month of December, we're taking a closer look at cellaring & aging beer. Our staff not only works with beer everyday, we obviously like to drink it too, so some of us have amassed our own beer cellar in the process.  We're opening our cellar doors (or maybe it's just a cabinet or closet door) to share our ups & downs of cellaring.

Check out what Ben, our Director of Marketing, has to say about his cellar. We had him fill out this Mad Lib so he wouldn't get bored with another Q & A asking him about his beer knowledge.

Check out the rest of our Bruers' cellars: