Saturday, April 26, 2008

Home Brew Mart

Picking up some grain and hops today at my local brew shop. The shop also doubles as Ballast Point Brewing's brewery and tasting room. They give a 10% discount to QUAFF members and have fair prices. With the discount, brew ingredients are cheaper than ordering online. I always get a taster while I'm here. Tried their bourbon barrel porter today, very tasty! They were closing when the pic was taken but there were lots of peops at the tasting counter minutes ago. You can see their grain bins. Small buckets for specialty grains while the larger cans and barrels are base malts. Next time, I'll take some more photos!
Sent from my mobile phone.

Friday, April 18, 2008

2004 Quivira Sauvignon Blanc

After moving the kegerator back to its home and reorganizing the brewing storage area, we decided to quench our thirst with a sauvignon blanc. Quivira did an awesome job with their 2004 fig tree vineyard sauvignon blanc! The fruit, acid, and wood combo are very nice. The fruit stands out from the rest of the sav blanc crowd.
Sent from my mobile phone.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Cellar at Hi Times

They have some wine here!
Sent from my mobile phone.

Hi Times Wine Cellar

Hi Times in Costa Mesa (Orange County) has an awesome selection of beer, wine, and spirits.
Sent from my mobile phone.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Brewing Delay

Prepare yourself for a bit of a college story (though I thought these days were over)!
University living has its plus (cheap rent) and minus (rules). We've been a happy brewing household until quite recently. University housing services perform an annual safety inspection. They give residents notice that they will be entering your apartment for a safety inspection. I'm not even sure if this is entirely legal but I suppose we probably signed something that allows them to enter with warning. In our experience, they never make safety comments, but they do utilize the opportunity to tell you to sweep leaves off your balcony or to let you know that your surfboard and wetsuit is not an appropriate decoration. Until now, they've never called us out on the kegerator.
The kegerator has been a center for rejoice rather than a repulsion. We receive lots of comments and of course, everyone appreciates a homebrew. We even entertained the cable guy until we had free premium channels (years later, its still free!). The FNG housing director showed up last week for the annual inspection and left a kind letter for us (cc: file). Essentially, FNG cited the housing handbook stating kegs and tap systems were prohibited.
He gave us 7 days. Yesterday he returned to inspect our apartment to confirm that it has been removed.
The residential handbook is not really written for graduate housing. It applies more to the crazed (but justified - I was once there too) undergraduates across campus. The kegerator, after all, should be the least of his worries. The fact that I make beer here should probably be more of a concern. I'm sure he noticed the 60 bottle wine fridge filled and the liquor shelf (good thing he didn't see the other cabinets filled with libations!). Anyway, graduate student housing is distinctly different than undergrad housing and dorms. This kegerator serves BEER. An equivalent tap system on the other side of campus would serve fizzy yellow stuff. Our file does not show raging parties or unusual heavy traffic. This kegerator is a vessel of art and craft; likely unfamiliar to FNG housing director and chief safety inspector.
After the official letter, I felt I needed to comply, at least for FNG's satisfation. It did state that tap systems were prohibited inside the apartment and that he would inspect our living room in one week to ensure that it has been removed.
I opted to move the kegerator to our outdoor storage cabinet. After careful measurement, it would fit in the small outdoor storage area and would be an unlikely area for inspection. I figure if this guy takes a glove around the apartment, at least I can say that one week was not enough time to find a good home!
As a brewer, this outdoor storage area is filled with my all grain system, grain bins, and other brewing equipment. After a couple of hours of moving around boxes and bins, we finally squeezed the entire kegerator in this tiny outdoor storage closet.
At the same time, I was curious if FNG would look around the rest of the apartment for the kegerator. I closed our second bedroom door during the morning of inspection and placed a strategic piece of scotch tape to know the seal was broken. I know, this doesn't get me anywhere, but I really wanted to know how anal this kid was.
FNG inspected and left us a note to thank us for compliance. The note also said he planned leaving a note in our file that we complied with the request (like we care what the file has in it!). The seal to the bedroom was broken. I knew FNG would peek around the rest of the apartment (really, is this legal? I feel like he violated my 5th amendment right). The balcony access was very casual and it doesn't seem like the outdoor storage closet would fit the kegerator. Oh, I also "sealed" the sliding glass door just to see if he would inspect everything.
We'd pull the kegerator back out of the storage closet and put it in its rightful place but we just received another notice: fire alarm inspections! Can you believe that!? I'm sure FNG is also the fire marshal! Hopefully, the kegerator will be reinstated next week (after another damn inspection) and I'll have my brewing closet back for business.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Homebrew Internet Searches

Occasionally, I search the internet for new resources and typically find quite a bit of sites and media related to the homebrewing of beer. Increasingly, this is not the case. Go ahead, try it out for yourself: Also, do an image search and you'll find mostly images of home-built computers and other electronic contraptions.
As of today, ranked number 1 in a google search is the Wikipedia article related to homebrew video games. I'm not sure when the term homebrew was adopted by game and game system DIYers but it seems like they need another name! How 'bout "homedev" to describe consumers developing games and system mods. Brew should be related to liquid concoctions such as beer, tea, and halloween potions.
Looks like the homebrewing BEER community needs to take back our word but it will not be an easy fight. Those game and electronic geeks are tagging the word "homebrew" hundreds of times per second (just a guess, of course)! Beer homebrewers unite! Get that meta data rolling and start labeling, tagging, and digging so that once again we can peacefully taste homebrew.