Learn To Brew Day – where were you, ay? (with photos)

In spite of the ever-so-slightly inclement weather the day before, Saturday morning greeted us with about as clear a sky as you’re likely to see in a metropolis such as our own.  Learn To Brew Day, hosted by the ever-generous Neil Saund at his palatial duplex , would go on.  Carl arrived just before I did and was unloading a stripped-down version of his all-grain system – sorry kids – no thermosiphon reboiler.  I followed suit and in no-time, water was on the fire.  Neil was already set up, and we were soon joined by the brewing trio of Dave, Kurt, and Anthony.  Rives Borland, our resident double-agent, arrived a bit later and got going right out.  It’s OK, Rives – only a matter of time – just ask Dan!  On tap was Neil’s “Norm-influenced” hoppy Amber ale, and a while later, our host’s amazingly-aged Imperial Stout with lots of residual nitro made its presence known – and boy, did it.

Carl brewed an all-grain Amber ale, Neil made a giant vat of “Teach Wheat”, I cranked out an extract Dunkelweizen, the 3 Brewsketeers suffered through a partial-mash-process Porter as a base for adding vanilla later, and Rives, if I’m not mistaken, brewed a low-gravity base beer which will grow up to be a Jolly Pumpkin Bam Biere clone.  Audrey reprised her role as Grill-Mistress and satiated the brewing masses with sausages and hot dogs.

In the days leading up to the brew, Carl and I had discussed toasting LA “good beer bar” pioneer Dave Farnworth, co-founder of Lucky Baldwins.  So we gathered everyone up, silenced the boombox, and raised some fine Belgian beers high in his memory.  It bears repeating that without Dave, Los Angeles’ beer bars might’ve taken a lot longer to escape the post-prohibition dark ages, continuing to serve megaswill to the unenlightened and indifferent hordes.

Although “learner” turnout was low, from a “Big Brew” standpoint, the ratio of brewers to attendees was quite high, so chalk-up another successful PG multiple-brewer session.  Collectively, we brewed about 40 gallons, and some of those gallons will be enjoyed by the membership at our upcoming Holiday Party on December 10th.  Thanks again to Neil for hosting us and to Audrey for organizing the event.

Here are a few pics from the occasion (courtesy Audrey and yours truly):

Our gracious host Neil, in chill-mode.

Carl and his brewing rig.

Awaiting the inevitable Big-Brew-boilover with my imaginary squirt gun.

Kurt, Dave, and Anthony - the 3 Brewsketeers.

Some serious learnin' goin' on here.

Neil enjoys the breakfast of champions.

"What the heck is Mauceli doing?"

Ken and I are Wyeast's new spokesmen. You wanna buy some yeast?

Neil enjoys a good round of "peek-a-boo".

Some of the Belgians consumed in Dave Farnworth's honor. That's right - a '99 Chimay Blue. Again I say - where were you?

Tim assists Carl as he utilizes another of his mad scientist gadgets - the PVC Racking Tubery.

Rives brought a selection of Jolly Pumpkin 750s and the sour pours just kept comin'. Thanks Rives!

I'm Neil Saund, and I approve of this Learn To Brew Day!