Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Local Beer Experts' Favorite Barrel-Aged Brews

Local Beer Experts' Favorite Barrel-Aged Brews

Local Beer Experts' Favorite Barrel-Aged Brews
Wooden barrels are usually associated with aging wine and until recently only a few brewers used them and then primarily to inoculate their beer with friendly bacteria to create lambic or other sour styles. But in the ever expanding world of beer flavors, an increasing number of brewers are reusing wine and spirit barrels to add flavors to their beer batches. Bourbon barrels, for example, used to be sawn in half and sold for planters. Now brewers in the US and around the world are snapping them up and using them to age and flavor various beer styles.

Aging beer in a barrel is more art than science. If beer is stored too long in a barrel it risks over oxidizing, or the beer may pick up more flavor from the barrel than the style can successfully complement. We’ve surveyed some local experts to provide us with their barrel-aged favorites.

Rich Higgins - Beer Consultant and Master Cicerone
Allagash Curieux - Curieux is Allagash's great abbey triple ale that's been aged for two months in used Jim Beam bourbon barrels. The fruity, spicy beer is imbued with beautiful hints of oak, vanilla and bourbon.

Rodenbach Grand Cru – This is a sour barrel-aged beer. It's a Flemish red ale that's aged for two years in oak vats. The vats have been used for decades so their oak flavor is neutral, but the porous wood pleasantly oxidizes the beer and the wood contains bacteria cultures (like the ones that make yogurt and pickles) which sour the beer; the result is a caramelly, red ale with hints of cherries, pepper, and Balsamic vinegar.

Eric Cripe - Managing Beer and Spirit Buyer at Jug Shop
High Water Aphotic Baltic Porter – This is my current favorite barrel-aged beer. Steve Altimari ages this beer in both bourbon and brandy barrels creating some serious complexity and a decadent mouth feel that completely balances the roasted malt flavors of the porter.

Cantillon Fou' Foune – This is my all time favorite barrel-aged beer. It’s a blend of 2 year old sour lambic that has had 1200 kilos of hand hulled apricots added to barrel for a 2 month soak. The intense funky lambic nose marries beautifully with the ripe apricot aromas and the resulting flavor is absolute perfection. It's what you wish an apricot would taste like.
Dave Hauslein - Beer Manager at Healthy Spirits

Deschutes Conflux Series #1 – Collage (Hair of the Dog Collaboration) - A blend of barrel-aged Hair of the Dog’s Fred and Adam, and Deschutes' barrel-aged limited releases Dissident and The Stoic. The dry, tart cherry and balsamic vinegar notes of The Dissident play beautifully against the rich blackstrap molasses, bourbon and roasty coffee and bitter chocolate notes provided by the other three beers. It makes a great candidate for the cellar.

Widmer Brothers’ Reserve Kill Devil Brown Ale - This imperial brown ale is brewed with palm sugar and molasses then aged in used rum barrels. It has a rich, pleasant barrel character that’s not cloying. And at 9.5% ABV, it's dangerously drinkable.

Sayre Piotrkowski - Beer Director at St. Vincent Wine Tavern
Pausa Cafe's prison brewery - P.i.L.S. (from in Saluzzo, Italy) - This traditional Bohemian-style Pilsner is lagered for 10 weeks in Slovenian oak barrels. The original Pils(e)ner beers were conditioned in oak but this was an extremely precarious and expensive practice that has long since died out in favor of stainless steel lagering vessels. Since Pausa is a not-for-profit brewery, operated by men with plenty of time on their hands, they can produce this classic Pilsner the "old, slow way." The barrels are treated with the same level of char/toast that provides the smoky notes which characterize many Croatian wines. P.i.L.S. has a clean "pils malt" aroma (think Frosted Mini Wheats) and complimented by the signature peppery spice of Saaz hops. The smoke reveals itself in the mid-palette and finish.

By Scott Mansfield on June 05, 2012 12:15 PM @ 7x7SF

Sunday, March 4, 2012

2012 NAHBS - Blog

 I can not be happier than to hop on my bike and ride my mere 6 miles to volunteer for the North American Handmade Bike Show this year in my hometown of Sacramento, California. I say mere because of the fact that some people rode over 450 miles to arrive here in Sactown. That just shows the impact that NAHBS has had, not only on communities in our country, but on other countries like Japan, UK, and Australia to name only a few.

As a volunteer, I was able to get in the show early, make my laps, grab some swag, check out the new bikes and talk shop with a handful of builders. One builder I had a tough time getting a hold of, but grabbed my chance when he was available, was Mike DeSalvo.

Mike DeSalvo isn't a new comer to the scene, but his inspirations and creativity are fresh with every build. Mike is owner of DeSalvo Custom Cycles from Ashland, Oregon. He has been winning NAHBS awards since 2005, and respectively in 2006, 2008, and 2010. When I was talking with Mike about what he wanted to do different this year than from past years, he humbly stated, "to bring a good product".

Mike brought his "good product" in art forms of steel & titanium cross bike, 29er, road, and dirt road bikes. I also came across one of Mike's cruiser bikes five aisles away from his booth. Some of DeSalvo's inspirations were using early 1970 Porsche color swatches as seen on the dirt road bike. With influences seen in the ventana rear end on the beautiful 29er mountain build. The 29er was new to DeSalvo and I think we can look forward to his excitement of building up another for next year.

Unfortunately, as a small builder/business owner, there's much time spent away from the hands-on weld. Being able to manage your time correctly can get you back into the shop where the love happens. DeSalvo's love & joy is being in the shop building bikes. You can bet, he tries hard to swiftly accommodate the paperwork side of the business so he can get back into the building side of the business.

I asked Mike, "What's unique about your design that sets you apart?".
Mike replied, "You mean, why would someone buy my bike?"

I think we can all agree that the unique style of all the builders here at NAHBS set them apart from one-another. However, in DeSalvo's case the value plays a vital role. Custom builds start at $3000 which is a huge attraction in this market.

I ended my conversation with the infamous "What does the future look like?". "There's more of an awareness now. Buying a bike used to be going to a bike shop. But now you can buy a bike from someone in this country who will make it for you, with your input. The more people are aware of the custom builders the better the builders will do."

This 2012 show is one of the largest shows to date and we can only hope that they will continue to grow with new builders and visions. Once again, the NAHBS is showcasing some of the best talent there is and you can feel the excitement here in Sacramento!

(Sac Bee article:)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

California Craft Brewery Month - Bill SCR66

Follow this link to read the SCR Bill introduced by Senator Corbett!!

Not any mention of the rich history of the first timers here in our fine city of Sacramento, but I'll take it.

Also here is an exerpt from the Sac Bee about Beer Week and a mention to the "bill":

Sacramento City Council to honor local brewers and Sacramento Beer Week

Hear ye, hear ye: It's time to honor beer! That's right, local brewers will be honored at tonight's City Council meeting with a resolution in honor of California Craft Brewer Month and the success of Sacramento Beer Week, which runs through Sunday at pubs and restaurants around the region.

California Craft Brewer Month was passed via SCR 66 in the California State Senate on a 36-0 vote, acknowledging California as the birthplace of the microbrew movement and the emergence of the state's craft beer industry. Tonight's ceremonies at City Council chambers will also recognize the thriving local craft beer industry and Sacramento Beer Week, which has turned into one of the city's most successful and expansive food/drink celebrations since starting just three years ago.

Saturday's Capital Beerfest at Cal Expo, a core event of Sacramento Beer Week, attracted some 80 breweries and about 2,700 attendees.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

2012 Sacramento Beer Week is coming up!

The Third Annual Sacramento

Here are just a few events happening around our fine town that I will not pass up:

  • Beer Judging 101: Tasting and Describing Beer

    Beer Judging 101 is a class for beer appreciators who want to expand their experience and descriptive ability. The only prerequisite is an interest in craft beer and world beer styles, paired with your innate curiosity and a bit of casual tasting experience. This class will help you hone your natural ability to recognize and intelligently discuss various components in beer, including basic beer flavors and aromas. In the process, you’ll learn some of the terms that judges use to describe beer’s many attributes.
    Naturally, the best way to learn is by doing. We’ll sample and compare a number of world class examples, discussing ingredients and learning a bit about the brewing process. We will touch upon some of the major world beer styles, how they developed, and why certain beers fit into style profiles better than others. We will also examine the effects of aging on beer.
    For those interested in taking it a step further, we will also briefly discuss the BJCP: the Beer Judge Certification Program.
    Instructor David Teckam is a Grand Master II level beer judge in the BJCP, and a prominent beer educator.  Assisting with the event is Master level beer judge Brian Cooper.
    Buy tickets here:
    1:00 PM to 2:30 PM (Section 1)
    3:30 PM to 5:00 PM (Section 2)
    The cost of $30 (+ eventbrite fee) per person, for either section — this includes all beers and materials. You must be 21 or older.  The equivalent class for SF Beer Week has consistently sold out, so we recommend that you purchase your tickets as soon as possible to ensure a spot.

  • Dad’s Tentfest and Pig Roast

    • Join Dad’s Kitchen for a mini beerfest with 14 breweries, Two Rivers Cider and a 60 pound patio-roasted pig.
    • 5-9pm   $30 advance/$40 door
    • Breweries include Berryessa, Knee Deep, Ruhstaller, Track 7, American River, Loomis Basin, Boulder, Ale Industries, 21st Amendment, Drake’s, Sutter Buttes, Lost Coast, Linden Street, Auburn Alehouse and Two Rivers Cider.  Several brewers will be in attendance with some of their favorite beers!

See you out and about!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Track 7 Tap Room opens tonight from 5-9!

Sacramento's newest brewing company.
They will have six beers total on draft for the opening, including Alkali Wit, Daylight Amber, Soulman Stout and Big 4 Strong Ale, all of which will be regular releases.  Additionally, they will have two special releases, a Blonde Ale and a Belgian IPA.

I'll edit this post once I get my hands on some of these tasty sounding brews!!!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

North Cal Beer Blog: New Helvetia Brewing Company

North Cal Beer Blog: New Helvetia Brewing Company: New Helvetia Brewing Company will soon be opening up in Feburary 2012 in Sacramento at 1730 Broadway. New Helvetia is a historic term for S...

Monday, November 28, 2011

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale Brew Review

Sierra Nevada Celebration Fresh Hop Ale 2011
from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Chico, CA

ABV 6.80%

This year, I first had this on tap at the Hilltop Tavern in Sacramento, CA. 
I enjoyed this on tap much more than the six pack I bought on my bike ride home the same night. This review is for the bottle.

Appearance - poured a medium blonde/amber color with high carbonation. A great 3/4 inch creamy colored head that dissipated rather quick due to the carbonation and leaving good lacing.
Smell - generous pine aroma with spicy hops.
Taste - I'm growing into the IPA trend here in Ca it seems. I never really liked the hoppy brews until recently. I like the carbonation of this ale and the clean finish. Much lighter on the Winter spices than expected (a good thing in my book), but there's some darker fruity spices involved in this.
Mouthfeel - you get the hop flavors up front and then rolls to the spicy flavors. I was expecting the hop hit at the end like most, but not this one.
Overall - Ok, my secret is I never cared for the OG Sierra Nevada brew. I seems like a crime, however it was too hoppy for me. My roommate at the time drank enough of it for the both of us and local support reasons. With that said, I like this because it's not too complex on the taste for a Winter brew. I'm a big foodie and want my beer to complement my eats, not overwhelm it.

Friday, November 25, 2011

It's the season of the HandleBar Stache!

What started out as "because I can", "it goes with my Halloween costume", "I'm keeping it for the Tweed Bike Ride"......has now been phrased as, "it's for Movember"
which the band Cake supports. Not sure if their Mustache Man song is the anthem for Movember, but fitting nonetheless.
December 2nd will be shave day.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

November Tweed Ride 11/13/11



 Go to the link below for details and the bike route we'll be taking.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Ovila Dubbel Brew Review

Ovila Abbey Dubbel
from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
(in collaboration with The Abbey of New Clairvaux)
ABV 7.50%

I first picked this bottle up while on a wine tasting weekend in Sonoma, Ca. I'm so happy I did.

Appearance - poured a wonderful copper color with a soft cream colored head that dissipated a little quick and slight lacing.
Smell - great spiced fruit & clove hinted aroma, but not overwhelming.
Taste - Great. Cinnamon & mild malty fruit. I was expecting more hops, but was pleasantly surprised how clean this Dubbel finishes.
Mouthfeel - you get the complex flavors up front and rolls to a little dry. I love the high carbonation in this bottle that leaves your palette refreshed and wanting more.
Overall - this is one of my favorite brews right now and I get excited when I know that I will be popping the cork on this bad boy. I've bought more to share with friends and family. Not sure if this is on tap anywhere, but would love to compare the taste (the Saison/Farmhouse sister brew to this one reviewed is on-tap at Pangaea).

Friday, July 1, 2011

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Rapha Amgen Vid

Stage 4 today........."Rightly, much of the talk of Stage 4 is about the climbs of Hamilton and Sierra. However, people should be talking about the descent from Mt. Hamilton. Amazing. Almost impossible to believe that a road that twists, curls, dips and drops like that exists and people want to talk about the climbs?"

Thursday, May 12, 2011


Starts today 5/12/11 at the Crocker Art Museum from 5pm-9pm!
Kick off the Bicycle Film Festival and the Amgen Tour of California. The Crocker's courtyards will come alive with bike art, a bicycle fix-it workshop, and no-host BBQ from the Crocker Cafe. Bicycle valet service will be provided. 7pm will start the viewing of film shorts in the courtyard.
Friday-Sunday, Fremont Park will host the BFF for it's 2nd year in a row and a great kick-off to the AMGEN on Monday.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Sacramento Food Trucks are the talk of the town

Whether you're reading this weeks News & Review, Yelp's group email, both Sac Magazines or just street talk, you probably are sick of hearing/reading about it. That is until you try it....

A new breed of roach coaches is upon us...."gourmet" food trucks! And I love it.

I had two food trucks I used to go to when I was in the area of them: Freeport Taco Truck and the taco truck on Northgate Blvd on the way to a Kings game. But now, it's not just tacos anymore (unless you mean Korean short rib tacos), it's local Five Dot Ranch beef burgers, fresh sandwiches made to order, mac-n-cheese, salads, fresh brewed ice tea.

A few big runners in the area are Mama Kim's, MiniBurger & Drewski's. I've had the chance to try the last two and they do not disappoint. This is food that you would not expect to be coming from an oversized truck rv looking thing, but a cafe or bistro or cool corner shop.
If you feel like you might want to give these trucks a taste of your buds, then you're in luck:  This Saturday the 30th at Fremont Park they will be parked around the perimeter from12-6. And with the networking age upon us, you can track their locations via Twitter or Facebook. Check it out!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

6 Pack Frame Cinch

6 Pack Frame Cinch 6 Pack Frame Cinch (Polo Mallet Holder)
This useful handmade item (and other leather accessories) are made up in Oregon by Geoffrey Franklin @ Walnut Studiolo. Originally a bike polo mallet holder, and now multifunctional. His goal is to make high-quality, beautiful, durable, and most of all functional components for your bicycle.

Check him out-

And don't forget about the Growler!


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sacramento Beer Week - update

All I can say is, "What an AWESOME Beer Week!"

After being dry for over a month, this was a nice way to introduce high quality craft brew into the system. Now it's time to get on my bike and ride to work off a few of those calories.

The wife and I enjoyed ourselves so much that are already wanting this event to be longer. I mean, we all know it's "Beer Year", however maybe a 2 week indulgence would be better? I say this for multiple reasons; I'll share one: I couldn't partake in all the events that were happening around town! This is good for Sactown, not so much for me. Let's spread the beautiful brew wealth a little. Packing it all in to one week is just silly talk.
Moving on....I love appetizers as much as the main plate (and could easily say I like them more). So, I went out to my secret bottle shop that carries the cush brew. The photo below was the three stooges I chose to be the appetizers to Beer Week. All 3 being Cali born and raised.
All three were fantastic and in total different catergories understandably, with Rubicon taking "Best" overall. It's a cross between a Porter and a Stout with great drinkability (6.5%). I think they call it an I.B.A. - India Black Ale. Scott Cramlet makes some damn good beer over there. Stone Brewing Co Double Bastard Ale is not for the weak at heart (11.2%). One of the best Strong Ales I've had. Not too Hoppy, strong Malt & the taste of alcohol lets you know you're drinking a big boy beer. The copper pouring of Hop Stoopid from Petaluma's Lagunitas surprised my taste buds as well. I'm not a huge hoppy drinker, but this one finishes well with subtle fruitness that hides the  8.0%.

I'll update the other brews & foods I attended during last weeks festivities shortly. Good times!