Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Use your Mr.Beer® Fermentor for All-Grain Brewing

Use your Mr.Beer® Fermentor for All-Grain Brewing

You got a Mr.Beer® beer making kit, and have brewed a batch of beer or two, and the beer is turning out OK, but where to go next? You want to make the beer "your own" instead of just mixing a can together with warm water and adding yeast. How do the breweries do it? There is a natural "next step" in the hobby of home brewing, and if you have been enjoying it so far, it's time to start brewing like the breweries, but on a much smaller scale. 

What is the difference between Extract brewing (Mr.Beer®) and All-Grain brewing?
Beer is made from grain (specifically the sugar from grain), hops, water, and yeast. The grain (barley, wheat, or rye) is malted by large malting companies like Briess and sold to breweries and homebrewers. Malting companies will also Extract the grain sugars from the Malt kernels and create a syrup, or spray dry the syrup into a powder. These products are called Liquid Malt Extract (LME) and Dry Malt Extract (DME) respectively. LME, and DME are commonly referred to as just "extract" and are used by homebrewers only since they are an easy source of fermentalbles for beer. Some malting companies will go one step further and infuse LME with hop oils to impart the bittering and some flavor from the hops. With hop infused LME all the homebrewer needs to do is add water to dilute the LME and then add yeast and ferment. This is called extract brewing, and it makes beer, but limits the control the brewer has over the beer. In fact, one might call this "beer fermenting" rather than "beer brewing"

Steeping some specialty grain like a tea, and then adding it to LME or DME and boiling it all together with hops is called grain/extract brewing and while this is still not the same process that breweries use to make beer, it is closer than a pure extract fermentation. The brewer is picking from hundreds of kinds of grains, and hundreds of kinds of hops added at different times during the boil to create almost limitless variations of beer. These kinds of recipe kits are the standard for most "stove top brewers". They are easy and create awesome beer. 

All Grain brewing is the process that breweries use to create beer. Instead of paying a malting company to extract the malt sugar into a concentrate, they do it themselves in a process called "mashing", which is just a fancy term for steeping or soaking. When malted grain is held at a certain temperature in water, the natural enzymes in the grain start to convert the starches to fermentable sugar. This is easy to do at home with small batches. You just need a kettle to hold the hot water and a straining bag to hold the grain. For example, a 2 gallon batch will require about 4lbs of grain steeping in at least 1.5 gallons of 150 degree water for 60 minutes. This will create the sugars you need. You can then pull out the bag of grain let it drain and rinse it with more hot water. All that sugary water you collect is the same now as when you add the LME or DME to water to dilute it. Now you just need to boil it with hops to create your "wort". Cool the wort, add it to your 2 gallon fermentor and add yeast. This is the exact same process that breweries use to make beer. You are just using equipment that is cheap and easy to use in your kitchen.

What is needed to start making All Grain beers with the equipment I already have?
Luckily if you have a Mr.Beer® kit, you already have a fermentor, and once your beer is fermenting, the process is no different than you are used to. However, you will need to hold a bunch of water and grain, then do a boil, so a kettle (a large stock pot) is a must. A 5 gallon kettle works great. It will give you some room to spare, and is about the biggest you can go for stove top brewing. You will also want a couple of straining bags. One for the grain and one for the hops. That is it. It isn't a complicated process. it is just a couple more steps in the process than you are used to, but you will have the same control over your beer as a professional brewer, and can make any kind of beer you have ever heard of... in your own home. You can put together your own recipe, find a recipe on the internet and scale it to 2 gallons, or get one that is scaled already at Salt City Brew Supply.


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Grainfather: Review - Justin Field - Salt City Brew Supply

As a home brewer who likes gadgets I often dreamed of building my own automated system. Then the Grainfather came along and ruined that dream because my dream cost way more money and
the design didn't look as sexy.

The Grainfather is an electric PID controlled all grain brewing unit designed and distributed by
Imake Ltd, located in New Zealand. There was a successful kickstarter campaign, yay crowd
funding, and the Grainfather was brought to market. It is advertised as an all-in-one brewing system and is available for $899 which makes it about $800 cheaper than it's closest “equivalent” the Speidel Braumeister.

On February 19th, 2016 I received my tax refund and proudly walked into Salt City Brew Supply to
purchase the Grainfather unit that I spent many a Sunday shift fondling and secretly kissing when
the other employee's had their back turned. One cannot just purchase a Grainfather without an introductory batch of beer and fortunately there was an extra batch sitting in the back of the shop waiting for one of us to take it home. With both items firmly in hand I hurried home to unpack the sexy silver mistress from it's container.

Upon first glance it is a pretty basic machine. Stainless steel and plastic make up the majority of
the parts with a few silicone pieces here and there. There are machining marks on some pieces,
nothing that concerns me. If it ain't ugly, it ain't pretty. It's light, coming in at only 22 lbs and
takes up less space than my old 3 vessel system. It is made up of an 8 gallon outer tank that is both
the boil kettle and the mash tun. There is an inner vessel with a grated bottom and top with an
inner tube to hold the grain during mash. A 6 watt 1800 rpm pump handles all the movement of
liquid, a counter flow wort chiller takes care of cooling, and of course the digital PID controller
than handles temperature regulation. As I began assembly I noticed that the system is put together
with quite a bit of thought, showing a well engineered piece of brewing furniture that does not cost
much more than a homemade three vessel system. One thing I do need to mention is that even
though it is advertised as “all in one,” it still requires the use of a hot liquor tank to heat and
distribute the sparge water (for a 5 gallon batch). That was my one point of hesitance when making the decision to purchase the Grainfather, but decided the benefits outweighed the need for an extra pot. Also I make a lot of fancy stocks so I will put an additional 7 gallon pot to good use. Also I already had a brew kettle. Also it comes in handy later in the Grainfather process.
I am one to rush putting things together without reading the instructions fully. 5 years of working
for Ikea makes me almost an expert at figuring out convoluted systems. I became frustrated when
putting together the Grainfather, but it was my own fault for thinking it was a complex device.
Relax, have a home brew, read the instructions, watch a YouTube video, and if you still can't get
things together a little grain dust or water helps lubricate the seals that are prone to popping off
during assembly.

Once assembly was complete I filled the unit with 4 gallons of water, turned it on, tested the pumps, made sure the controller was calibrated, and timed the various stages of heating and cooling for reference later on. Everything worked swimmingly. I gave things a quick scrub down
with PBW and a rinse and she was ready to get the first batch going! The Grainfather uses special math to calculate mash volumes that's a little different than the well known 1.25 quarts per pound of grain most home brewers use as a starting point. With the help of some 'maths' provided in the manual I determined that my 11.68 pound batch needed 4.8 gallons of mash water, coming to approximately 1.68 quarts per pound. I was curious so I played with some
theoretical batch sizes to see if that was consistent for the purposes of programming Beersmith and determined that no, it was not consistent. I saw a variance of 1.65 to 1.78 quarts per pound dependent upon the total weight of the grain. There is a handy calculator on the Grainfather
website and it doesn't look too difficult to create an excel sheet to determine these numbers. I filled the outer container, decided on a strike temp of 152*F, assembled the grain vessel as described, lowered it into the unit, set the PID controller to the desired temperature, and flicked the appropriate switches. I put the recirculating arm on and turned the pump on as well. The instructions did not specify this but my brain seemed to convince me I would get a more consistent temperature throughout the vessel if I did this. The mash water was at strike temperature within 10 minutes! How exciting!

At first it appeared there wasn't going to be enough water in the grain vessel to successfully dough in the grain. I put my faith in the Grainfather and went ahead with it anyway. While stirring out the dry pockets it seemed a little thicker than I'm used to but everything looked and smelled like it
should. I assumed by recirculating the mash, the grain would stay plenty hydrated during the process. I placed the lid and the recirculation arm on, turned on the pump, and set my timer for 60 minutes. At first the mash was cloudy, but it quickly cleared up as it was filtered through the grain. It was easily the clearest wort I've ever produced. I made one mistake during this step and did not realize that the ball valve under the recirculation arm can be used to control the flow of the wort. The liquid was flowing so fast it was ending up dropping down the overflow tube in the middle of the mash, rather than running through the grain. I'm sure enough of it made it through the grain, but in the future I plan to dial the speed back slightly to encourage more filtering. One thing to get out of the way now, is that the PID controller is not entirely automatic. You must manually change the temperature if you plan to step mash. It's pretty simple and took no more than 10 seconds of my time to set the mash out temperature. Ten minutes later I was successfully mashed out and ready to sparge.

My initial hesitance with purchasing the Grainfather was the fact I needed an additional vessel to
heat and hold sparge water. You can't really claim the title of an “all in one” brewing system if
you need an additional piece of equipment to make total use of it. However, the system and it's
footprint in my one bedroom apartment has far exceeded expectations and the additional pot isn't
even an inconvenience.

To sparge with the grain father one turns off the pump, turns off the heating element, removes the lid and recirculation arm, and lifts the inner vessel slowly out. They include a handy handle that latches to holes on the vessel to aid in lifting. It's a bit of weight on 12lbs of grain so I recommend going slowly. The unit may not be appropriate for folks that cannot lift a lot of weight. As you lift and the wort drains and it gets easier, so just take it slowly. Once you lift the inner vessel to the top, you just turn it 90 degrees and the welded feet rest comfortably on the inner rim to allow the remaining wort to drain. Sparge water is calculated using a formula based on your original volumes so be sure to write those down! I needed 3.5 gallons to sparge this batch. You'll need to use the formula because it's impossible to see inside of the kettle with the grain vessel sitting on top. A fair complaint, but I had hope these guys knew what they were doing. I was too excited to start brewing that I didn't take into account building a rest to keep the sparge kettle above the
Grainfather so I just poured in the water by hand. Sparging went very quick, a byproduct of hand pouring and the huge surface area of the false bottom. After the last of the wort drained, I placed the sparge pot on the floor and put the inner vessel inside of it to catch drips as I began the next step.
Exactly 6.5 gallons of wort in the kettle! That sparge volume formula really worked! I took a gravity reading on my refractometer and I missed my gravity by a mile. Efficiency was calculated at only 53.2%. I damn neared cried. “Why Grainfather?! Why?!” Good thing I take notes! After reading through them I noticed that the loss of efficiency was less about the Grainfather and more about me 1.) Running the mash circulation too quickly, 2.) Sparging WAY too quickly, and 3.) Sparging at too low of a temperature. My sparge thermometer was off by about 10*F. Always make sure your equipment is calibrated!

To boil one only needs to flick the switch to boil. This bypasses the PID and fires the coil at full
power. From 154*F to 204*F(boiling temperature in Salt Lake City) it only took 45 minutes, a
little less time than my stove. I expected it to take a lot longer so I walked away to start typing this
review and came back to a near boil over. It was epically exciting! I used brew on an electric
stove and the strength of the boil was far more than I was used to so I was happy with that. I set
my time and did my hop additions as I had planned them. It was a pretty uneventful, in a good
way, boil.

After the boil comes the cooling stage. The Grainfather comes with a lovely counter flow chiller. It's easy to setup and they include every possible fitting you might need to attach it to a water
source. You place the lid on the unit, the chiller rests on top of that, you feed the outflow tube
back into the Grainfather, and attach the inflow to the pump. Make sure the outflow tube is
partially submerged in the wort, otherwise you risk oxidation of hot wort. Run the hot wort
through the chiller for 5 minutes or so to sanitize it. After five minutes start your cold water flow.
One additional note on cooling:
Do not allow the outflow tube to sit on the
bottom of the kettle, suspend it just
inside the top of the wort.
If it touches the bottom of the kettle
the cold wort settles there tricking the
thermometer into thinking
it has cooled completely,
while the top portion remains hot.

The chiller cools the wort and pumps the cold wort back into the vessel cooling the whole thing down, in a closed system, in about 10 minutes. The controller conveniently displays the temperature and you can watch it drop for fun! It cools so well that when I came back 15 minutes later, I was reading 58*F, way too cold for my yeast. I had to turn the hot water on and recirculate a little longer to bring it back up to temp. When you are ready to transfer, just turn the pump off, move the outflow tube to your fermentation bucket, turn the pump back on, and in 5 minutes later the wort is ready to be pitched. Go Grainfather!  After I made sure the beer was safely tucked away, it was time to clean this beast. Cleaning up after brewing is one thing I really dislike and on my old setup, I would clean at every step ensuring that I was working the entire 4-5 hour brew day. I was amazed at how easy the Grainfather
cleaned up! I dumped the trub out of the unit, removed, rinsed, replaced the pump filter, filled the unit with 3 gallons of water, 1 oz of PBW, and replaced the lid and counter flow chiller. Set the temp to 132*F, turned the pump on and walked away for 5 minutes. I didn't really walk away, I dumped grain out of the inner vessel(easy) and washed it in the sink, took 2 minutes at most. After five minutes I removed the chiller and ran some water through it to remove the cleaner, quickly scrubbed the inside of the unit with a sponge, dumped the water, filled with 3 gallons cold water, and ran the pump through the recirculation arm for 10 minutes, and then dumped it out. Viola! It was clean.

Overall it was an absolute pleasure brewing on the Grainfather! So much so I'm planning to brew again tomorrow. This time I will take my time sparing and make sure my flow settings are proper to see if I can work out some of the efficiency issues. It is easy and intuitive to use, the documentation is detailed and informative, cleaning is simple, engineering and workmanship are apparent, and most importantly it makes beer entirely in the footprint of a 10 gallon Rubbermaid mash tun.

In conclusion The Grainfather is not a Speidel Braumeister, it is not a PicoBrew, it is not a fully
automated all in one brewing system. It is a very affordable, very functional, and very exceptional
BIAB based system that is fun and easy to brew on. It does the job it advertises and it does it for
50% less than it's nearest competitor. I am happy with my purchase and plan to brew often on my
Grainfather system. If you lack brewing space and want to improve the consistency of your beer
then the Grainfather is for you.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Common Homebrewing Myths

There are common misconceptions with homebrewing that persists with many people that have "heard" about the hobby, or "has a friend that does it", and these perceptions keep people away from a fulfilling and fun craft that produces amazing products.
Here are a few myths we at Salt City Brew Supply and Ogden City Brew Supply here quite often,
and we can help put them to rest:

Myth - Brewing Beer Takes Too Much Time
Accuracy - Somewhat True
Truth - Brewing beer takes a few hours to steep/mash grain, boil and add hops, cool down and add yeast. After your brew day, it takes a few weeks to ferment, and clear, followed by an hour or two to bottle your finished beer, and another week or so to carbonate. All in all, you will spend 4-8 hours of labor to get your beer ready to drink and 4-6 weeks of waiting.

Making wine from a kit takes only a total of 2-4 hours of labor to get your wine finished an in bottles, but it takes higher alcohol beverages, such as wine, more time to mature. Depending on the wine you could be waiting 8 weeks to a year for proper aging.

It is certainly quicker to grab a 12 pack of beer or a bottle of wine from the store, but really, you just have to wait for that first batch. Keep a steady rotation fermenting, and you'll find you don't even have to drive to the store, it will already be at your house waiting for you!

Myth - Making your own beer and wine at home can make you sick
Accuracy - False
Truth - Homebrewing beer and wine is safe and easy to do without spoiling you product. Beer and wine are both food products and if not handled properly they can go "bad", but nothing that grows in fermenting beer or wine can hurt you. The worst that can happen is you make something that doesn't taste very good, or you get an infection of acetobacter which will eventually turn your drink to vinegar... but even that can be good... maybe not what you were shooting for... but good none the less.

The fact is, if you keep your equipment clean and sanitized you never have to have a "bad" batch of beer or wine, and there are products available today to make this process as simple as clean, rinse, sanitize! There are no-rinse sanitizers like StarSan, that are harmless to the touch, and break down into yeast food that actually helps your beer and wine ferment. Now getting sick from drinking too much of your delicious beer or wine, is something we just can't help you with. Hangovers, sometimes, are inevitable

Myth - Too Much Homebrew Will Make Me Gain Weight
Accuracy - Oversimplification, but True
Truth - Drinking alcoholic beverages in excess can lead to weight gain. Alcohol = Calories. When the calories consumed are greater than the calories burned, unfortunately we gain weight. Since drinking calories doesn't seem as bad as eating them, it can make it easy to over indulge. This is just a universal truth however, and doesn't have any more bearing on Homebrewed beer or wine than imbibing the same drink from a commercial provider. So if you typically drink a pint of beer or a glass of wine for dinner, then drinking the home brewed version won't have any different affect on your waistline.

Myth - Making Alcohol in Utah is Against the Law
Accuracy - False
Truth - According to House Bill 51 passed in 2009 it is legal to homebrew "(A) 100 gallons in a calendar year, if there is one individual that is 21 years of age or older residing in the household; or (B) 200 gallons in a calendar year, if there are two or more individuals who are 21 years of age or older residing in the household;" This means you can brew your favorite beer, wine or cider without any license. Just don't sell it. And distilling it (heating your alcohol to collect the vapor, then recondensing it for a higher percentage) is Federally illegal, so stick to fermenting, and you will stay well withing the law. The only hard decision now is what kind of beer or wine to make!

There are more Homebrew Myths to come, but if you didn't see your question answered here, feel free to contact us at the stores, follow us on Facebook, or email info@saltcitybrewsupply.com

Monday, October 12, 2015

Winexpert Limited Edition 2015

Here is this year's Limited Edition 2015

A unique collection of five distinguished varietals from some of the world’s most renowned wine-growing regions. Available by pre-order only. Order yours by December 4th, just $25 down.
Pre-orders available at both the Salt City Brew Supply and Ogden City Brew Supply locations, or online!

Gewurztraminer Verdelho Muscat

Mosaic Red

Pinot Grigio Verduzzo


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Top 12 Mistakes New Homebrewers Make - Again

This was one of our first posts here on the SCBS blog, but it is a good one, and with all the new brewers out there that just got a brew kit for Christmas, it is a great time to blow the dust off of it and put it at the top of the blog once again. Here are a dozen things that can help the new home brewer when starting out. These are common issues that can easily be avoided and help make a better beer.

12. Using 5 ounces priming sugar

Your Local Home Brew Store (LHBS) will often sell pre packaged priming sugar for bottling, which is just what you want for a five gallon batch for most beers (1oz/gallon). However, many batches of beer may start as five gallons, but after transferring the beer off the yeast cake, evaporation, samples you take, and any spills that may happen, the final bottling volume of beer may be considerably less than this. If the full 5oz of priming sugar is used, this can create an overly carbonated bottle of beer that could potentially just spew out foam when opened or poured.
11. Relying on Airlock / Not waiting long enoughGetting excited about your first few batches of beer is common, but moving them along too quickly in the process can be a mistake. Getting anxious to bottle your beer before it has fully fermented can result in blown bottles down the road. Relying on just the airlock as an indicator that your beer is done and ready to be bottled is a common mistake. Even after your airlock has stopped is it a good idea to let you beer age for a while. The extra time won’t hurt it. The only way to truly tell that your beer has stopped fermenting is by taking a hydrometer reading a couple days apart to make sure the specific gravity is not changing.
10. Squeezing the bag after steeping
Steeping grain is something you can do to greatly improve an extract only beer. Most ingredient kits are built with a healthy amount of steeping grain and a muslin bag (sock) to hold it all (1-3 pounds). After steeping the bag of grain in some warm water you should pull it out and discard it. However, it is a natural tendency to want to squeeze this bag of grainy goodness to get all the sweet liquid from it, but this is not a good idea. There is a bitterness (and not the good kind you get from hops) that reside in the barley husk, that can be very noticeable in your final beer.

 9.Starting with a complicated beerIt is true, that for many beers the brewing process is very similar, but as a beginner it is easy to get excited and want to go for a complex and high alcohol beer such as an Imperial Stout, Belgian Tripel or Double IPA. These beers can have extra steps or ingredients, or just a bunch of hop additions to keep track of, but the biggest reason not to start with one is time. Big beers need time to age properly and you don’t want to wait 3-6 months to find out you did something wrong. Worse, if you only have one equipment kit, you will be taking up space in your secondary fermenter for three months and not brewing more beer. Start with some beers that will be done in a month or so, if for no other reason than to fill the fridge before you start aging your 10% monster brew.
8. Not following the recipe/Just following the recipe/worrying too much
Some people get stuck doing exactly what the instructions say which leads to some anxiety when the inevitable problem/situation happens that forces them off that course. Others throw caution to the wind and start adding a bunch of extras like 50% more extract or hops than the recipe calls for. Both of these extremes will produce beer, but brewing should both be fun and produce good beer. Getting too worked up about getting everything just right can reduce the amount of fun you have while you are getting into a new hobby, and throwing your beer out of any recognizable style can possibly make the beer something you don’t want to drink. So don’t worry while you are brewing your first beer, just have fun while trying to brew a recipe that is tried and true so you can enjoy the fruits of your labor.
7. Not removing brew pot from heat
You will probably have a boil-over eventually, but there is a really easy way to help keep this from happening. If you remove your kettle from the heat source before you add your extract the slower thermal change will help keep this from happening (at least less violently). There is also the added benefit of not scorching your Liquid Extract as you add it, since there won’t be a direct heat source on it as sits on the bottom of the pot before you get it stirred up and in solution.
6. Not aerating the wort adequately
To make it simple, your yeast needs only a couple of things to sustain a healthy start to fermentation; sugar and oxygen. The only time you should intentionally add Oxygen to your beer is when you are adding (pitching) your yeast. Feel free to shake, aggressively pour, or slosh your wort (unfermented beer) at this point in time, as this will introduce the Oxygen that your yeast needs to reproduce at a healthy rate.
5. Wrong temps
Temperature control is what making beer is all about. It is a little less critical in an extract/grain kit, but controlling the temperature at every stage of brewing is what leads to consistent results and minimal off flavors. Just as a rule of thumb for ales; 155°F (Steeping), Aggressive boil, 70°F (pitching yeast), then 60-70°F (fermentation).
4. Not keeping records
This might not seem as important as some of the other things, but if you don’t keep notes of - what you used in your recipe, how much yeast you added, and what temperature you fermented at and for how long, you could find yourself wishing that you had down the road. These are just some of the notes you need to record per batch so you can dial in your recipe for the best beer the world has ever seen, make the same beer over again... or heaven forbid, help you sort out what went wrong.
3. Chlorine
Many municipal water supplies have a good water profile for making beer. Hard water can be good for some beers, soft can be good for others, but chlorine (or the more stubborn form, chloramine) is not good for any beer. Depending on the amount you get in your finished beer it can lead to a plastic or even band-aid taste, which can be very unpleasant. Using fresh spring water is ideal, but you can also treat your water with campden (metabisulfite) to help the chlorine “gas-out”. Just one campden tablet can treat up to 20 gallons of water.
2. Incorrect pitch rate
Adding yeast to your cooled down wort (pitching) is pretty straightforward, but adding the correct amount is a really easy way to reduce “off flavors”, and unfortunately this is commonly overlooked by the home brewer. There are benefits to having a quick start to your fermentation, and adding correct amount of yeast cells to your batch can make that happen. Your LHBS can give you the long explanation on how to calculate the correct pitch rate, but for a 5 gallon batch of beer over 5% alcohol, you will benefit from either one packet of dry yeast, or two packs (or vials) of liquid yeast. You will need even more than this for even higher alcohol beers, or any lagers.
1. Cleanser vs Sanitizer
Back in the old days of the 1990s and earlier, home brewers would use soap to clean and either iodine or bleach to sanitize, but this combination was hard to deal with and replaced worrying about bacteria to worrying about off flavors from soaps and chemicals. These days home brewers have access to products made specifically for their hobby, but starting out you may get these items confused.  First use a cleanser to clean any organic matter from your equipment such as One Step, or PBW (both brands are cleansers designed for brewing). These products contain what is essentially dry hydrogen peroxide and while some people even use them as sanitizers, they tend to leave a film so rinsing is recommended, and once you rinse something, you are assuming the water you used for rinsing is free of microorganisms. This is where sanitizer comes in. Products like StarSan and iodophor are no rinse sanitizers that will not harm your beer. However, you can’t sanitize something if it isn’t first cleaned, so clean  with a cleanser then sanitize with a sanitizer, and you will greatly minimize the potential for a ruined beer. Some may call this over kill, but it is a small price to pay to avoid dumping 5 gallons of precious beer down the drain.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Limited Edition Wine Kits 2014

A unique collection of five distinguished varietals from some of the world’s most renowned wine-growing regions. Available by pre-order only. Order yours by December 5th, just $25 down.
http://www.saltcitybrewsupply.com/store/catalog/product/gallery/id/2938/image/1621/WINE: German Riesling
Riesling, with its pronounced acidity and ability to mask sweetness, is a grape that is happy in a cooler climate. Its notable flavors of lemon, fresh apple and limestone will encapsulate you with its tangy acidic kick and the soft, gentle sweetness on the finish to tie it all together. This wine loves food, and many sommeliers often reach for Riesling as their wild card. This German example would pair beautifully with schnitzel, white fish, or simply a good book.
Sweet Thai Glazed Shrimp Skewers

Sweetness: Off-Dry
Body: Light-Medium
Alcohol: 10%


January, 2015

WINE: Shiraz Viognier
This Northern Rhône-inspired blend takes the spicy, strong and tannic red grape Shiraz and softens its edge with the voluptuous white grape Viognier. These wines are a beautiful marriage of black cherry, smoky plum, black pepper from the Shiraz and hints of exotic jasmine flower, ripe apricot and juicy peach from the Viognier. Enjoy this full-bodied wine with grilled lamb stuffed with an apricot-mint stuffing or barbecued ribs coated with a sticky sauce. If meat is not on the horizon, then try dishes such as grilled vegetable kebabs or portobello mushroom burgers.

Beef & Mushroom Cottage Pies
Sweetness: Dry
Body: Medium-Full
Alcohol: 14%
January, 2015

WINE: Trio Blanca
The three grapes that make up this blend are distinct characters indeed. Chardonnay is the popular and adaptable friend with apple and melon characteristics. Chenin Blanc reflects the soil well in its chalk and citrus aromatics, while its acidity anchors its structure down on the palate. Finally, lady Muscat with her wildly perfumed nose and distinctive “grapey” flavor gives the blend a refreshingly fun and juicy addition. This wine is sip-worthy on its own, but will also pair well with fuller white meats such as roasted turkey or duck, and exotic flavors like curries and south-Asian cuisine.
Lemon & Sage Flattened Chicken
Sweetness: Dry
Body: Medium
Alcohol: 13.5%
March, 2015
WINE: Triumph
This blend of Bordeaux’s finest; Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot is proof that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” These three friends all work so well together and each contributes their individual strength to the wine. Cabernet Sauvignon, or “King Cab”, brings the structure with his firm tannins and adds complexity with his aromas of cassis and black currant. Cabernet Franc adds spice, with his peppery nose and red fruit undertones. Merlot likes to round things out with his approachable plum and cherry characteristics and his softer, rounder body. Together, they really do create a harmonious blend. Think of dishes that warm your stomach: beef stroganoff in the winter, steak on the barbecue in the summer, or simply aged cheddar for any time of year.
Wild Mushroom and Arugula Ragu
Sweetness: Dry
Body: Medium-Full
Alcohol: 13.5%
February, 2015
WINE: Super Tuscan
Super Tuscans are proof that winemakers are also rebels in their own right. In the appellation of Chianti, where rules limited winemakers to certain grape varietals and practices in order to warrant official status, in the 1970s a few winemakers decided to break the rules and make wines that they decided were of superior quality, and disregarded the limitations. Coined “Super Tuscan”, this full-bodied wine consists of Cabernet Sauvignon and the native Sangiovese, and has firm tannins, notes of cherry and currant and a long finish. Italy is the land of food and wine, so naturally these wines are a perfect match with food. Try spaghetti Bolognese, osso buco or a big wedge of asiago cheese.
Red Wine Braised Lamb Shank With Creamy Polenta
Sweetness: Dry
Body: Full
Alcohol: 14%
April, 2015




Sunday, October 26, 2014

Grand Opening at new location and Learn to Homebrew Day



Just across the street to the North at 723 E Fort Union

In an effort to serve our customers better, we have added a mill room to keep down the dust, 8 feet more grain wall to display more grain, a larger hop freezer to display more hops... and yes, we now have a back room for storage. No more relying on our supplier so heavily to stay in stock with all the ingredients you need to make your next batch.

We are growing our wine selection by 20% as well, and we will be adding cheese making supplies in the near future. 
Our Grand Opening will be this Saturday in conjunction with an AHA sanctioned "Learn to Homebrew Day" event. We will be hosting a Beginning Homebrew Class starting at 1:00 PM. So, come out and join us to see the new location, join the class if you would like to learn to brew, and stay for some prizes.