August 2009 Club Meeting – Thursday, August 20th

After a month off for the summer party, we’re back to our regularly scheduled monthly club meetings.  The August club meeting will be this Thursday, August 20th from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. at Culver City Home Brewing Supply. Specialty Beverages (i.e. Meads, Ciders, Specialty Beers) will be our style of the month and as always we’ll have some homebrewed beers on tap to complement our monthly commercial style tasting (volunteer kegs welcome).  Nathalie Balandran will be guiding us on a tour of Specialty Beverages for our style tasting and is certain to provide some interesting examples.

Special guest, Dallas Byerley of New Belgium Brewing will be joining us to sample their new seasonal release, Hoptober.  Please remember to bring some of your homebrew to share with us.  While you’re at it, bring some of your friends and maybe some new members.  As always we’ll be giving away lots of club swag and beer/brewing related goodies in our monthly raffle.  Your donations to the raffle are always welcome and needed.

With several club events and competitions upcoming, including the Stone Anniversary Road Trip and the Pacific Brewers Cup, we’ll have a number of sign ups and details to finalize. Of course we’ll also have the latest info on all upcoming club events, plan on joining us…

Mead Day a Sweet Success!

Saturday August 8, Pacific Gravity joined brewers around the world in celebrating American Homebrewer’s Association’s Mead Day.  (Ok, there was only one site out of the USA, some meadsters in Russia joined in on the fun.)

37 sites were registered and 19 sites have reported in for a total of 231 gallons of mead in 52 batches and 302 people participating. Our site had 20 people participate and 4 people made meads.  To watch for a final total of AHA Mead Day, go to http://www.beertown.org/events/meadday/celebrate.html
Since mead is so easy to brew, we had a leisurely start time of 12:00 noon.  In no time at all we had 5 batches completed, totaling 8 gallons.  I made an experimental batch of agave nectar mead using only agave (is that still a mead?).  We’ll have to wait until next year to try it.

There was plenty of mead to sample and sample we did.  Thanks to all who brought samples of their mead, we had quite a few examples.  We sampled the mead that was made last year on Mead Day, and we tasted the mead I added apricots from Ian Fraser’s backyard, as well as the batch I added black walnut to.  We also made a special drink of the afternoon, meadjitos!  I blended a mix of fresh squeezed lime juice with mint and honey and we served it mixed with mead, crushed ice and sparkling water.  Perfect for a sunny afternoon of meadmaking.

Michael Steinburg made us some quesadillas on the BBQ, and several people brought munchies to share.  Of course we weren’t limited to mead and the homebrew flowed freely.

After the mead was made we had a fun time in the Carriage House Tap Room, playing darts and enjoying mead and homebrew.

I’m already looking forward to next year’s Mead Day!

Ask the Brewmaster: My Homebrew Smells Like Rotten Eggs and Corn!

This Month’s Question:  My beer sometimes has a corn-like sulfury smell.    What can I do about it?

Answer:  A corn-like smell is usually due to a specific chemical compound called dimethylsulfide, or DMS for short.  DMS forms in the malting process and in the boiling process while brewing any beer.  It is the result of a thermal degradation of sulfur-containing amino acid in the grain called s-methylmethionine.   This amino acid is present in all malts.  Hence, all beers have some amount of DMS.

DMS is a highly volatile compound.  This makes it an easily detectable compound in aroma, even in trace quantities.  Fortunately, the volatility makes it fairly easy to scrub out of your beer.

DMS-scrubbing-by-co2

The amount of DMS in your finished beer depends on a number of factors.  First of all is the amount of s-methylmethionine in the grain.  High protein malts such as six-row have higher amounts, hence more DMS.  Some of the DMS is driven off by heat in the kilning process.  Hence, the paler malts kilned at lower temperature have more.  These two factors combined contribute to the fact that pale lagers (made from pale six-row malt), often have high levels of DMS.  Not surprisingly, corn also contains a lot of s-methylmethionine.  These characteristics are a hallmark of lager beers.  A lager without DMS tastes rather bland.

The second factor that affects the amount of DMS is how much is removed from the wort during the boil.  Every bubble of steam that comes out of the kettle will carry some DMS with it.  Hence, longer boiling times and a more vigorous boil tend to reduce DMS levels.  For best results, you want to keep the boil rolling for the whole time.  Don’t simmer your beer! Read more

August First Friday – Richmond Bar and Grill in El Segundo

Join us this Friday, August 7th for our monthly First Friday pub visit.  We will be heading south to the Richmond Bar and Grill in El Segundo this month. We’ve reserved their back room.  So if you walk into the bar and don’t see anyone, keep going back, all the way past the patio, and into the separate building as far back as you can go.  They’ll have a few special beers on tap for us along with their regular selection.  We will be starting at the ususal time of 7:00 p.m.

The Richmond Bar & Grill is located at :
145 Richmond Street
El Segundo, CA
(310) 322-7397

Note, this is a cash-only place, Credit/debit cards are not accepted, so plan accordingly.

New Club Website

August marks the official rollout of our new club website.  We’ve moved to blog style website which will allow us to have a more up-to-date and active website.  We’ll be posting all of our newsletter and email announcement content to the website on a periodic basis.   The new website will allow member interaction via comments and much more.

The new club website also marks the demise of our monthly newsletter and periodic email announcements.  In the interest of reducing overhead and duplication of effort, the website will become the club’s primary method of communications and will essentially replace the newsletter and emails.  The monthly newsletter will evolve into a monthly flyer promoting that months events with the rest of its monthly content  moving to the website.  The email announcements will be replaced with notifications from the website when articles are posted.

Since we’ll no longer be sending newsletters or email announcements, you’ll need to subscribe to the new website to stay in the loop with news and up-coming events.  The club website provides two ways to subscribe to it: via email or via RSS feeds.  To subscribe via email, enter your preferred email address in the text box in the upper left corner of the club web page and click the subscribe button below.  Once you’ve subscribed via email, you’ll receive an email whenever a new article is posted on the website.  To subscribe via an RSS feed, click the subscribe link in the upper right corner and follow the instructions to add it to your favorite news reader.  Once subscribed via an RSS feed, you’ll get a summary in your news reader of all articles posted on the club website.   If you don’t subscribe, you’ll have to manually check the website for the latest info.  So subscribe now and stay in the loop…

August Club Events

  • Thursday, August 20th @ 7:30 pm – August Club Meeting @ Culver City Home Brewing Supply
    • – Specialty Beers / Beverages are style of month – keg volunteers welcome
    • – Special guest – New Belgium Brewing will be sampling their new Hoptober seasonal beer
  • Saturday, August 22nd – Road Trip to Stone Brewing’s 13th Anniversary Celebration and Beer Festival
    • – tickets (1st session) at: http://www.stonebrew.com/13th/
    • – charter bus – $30 per rider
    • – limited space, reserve your seat now online at club website.
    • – DEADLINE to sign up is Friday, Aug 7th!
  • Saturday, August 29th – First Friday @ Daily Pint in Santa Monica
    • special Saturday afternoon/evening edition
    • featuring BBQ out back

Online and subscribe-able club calendar available at: http://ical.me.com/cgcorley/PacificGravityEvents

For more info on upcoming events, check for related articles herein or contact [email protected]

Pacific Gravity’s Summer ‘Party Gras’: Who Needs a Bayou When You Got Beer?

IMG_1445Ooh-wee, baby, ooh-wee. The good times rolled and the great beer flowed at Pacific Gravity’s 13th annual Summer Party on July 18, which brought a bit of New Orleans revelry to the Pacific Palisades plantation estate of club member Dean Sussman (right), the site of the celebration for seven years running.

Bedecked in strands of Mardi Gras beads, over 275 club members, guests, families and friends got their Creole on for this homebrew fais do-do, grooving to iPod mixes of N’awlins funk, Cajun zydeco, swamp rock and Dixieland jazz, noshing on Louisiana-styled eats, and swilling down a wide variety beer –– both homemade and commercial –– and sodas. And the perennial “Home Brew Club Summer Party Band” reformed once again to contribute a couple sets of booty-shakin’ blues rock. Think Fat Tuesday during Mardi Gras –– except nobody had to give anything up the next day!

Special guests at the party, all of whom were among the many who donated gifts for the party raffle, included Larry James of Wine Warehouse distributors (who brought along a four-year-old keg of Echte Kriek!), former club member Michael Bowe of Angel City (who tapped kegs of his Vitzen and IPL – India Pale Lager), Paige Reilly of Shmaltz Brewing, Brian Lenzo of Blue Palms Brew House, Ryan Sweeney and Brandon Bradford of Verdugo Bar and BoHo, and Billie Anderson of Lucky Devils. Also, beer-blogger Sean Inman was in the house, and covered the party for the Food GPS blog.

Club master chef Ian Fraser came out of semi-retirement to oversee and help prepare the massive New Orleans-influenced feast, Read more

Mead Day

Meadday-header

Did you know that Saturday August 1 is the American Homebrewer’s Association National Mead Day?  It is, and Pacific Gravity will be having a Mead Day Celebration at the home of Dan Hakes (that’s me!).  We will be brewing, tasting and talking about mead.  Last year Mead Day was held at my house and we put some black walnut and fresh apricot in two separate batches of two-year-old mead.  We will be sampling these on Saturday.  We can also sample the mead we made last year and see how it’s coming along.  I have a few others sitting around and you never know what I might find in the cellar.  If you have some mead to share, bring it along.

Michael Steinberg will be bringing snacks, and the Carriage House Taproom will be open.  Drop by, socialize, and watch how easy it is to make mead!

Also on mead day, we will be selecting the Club’s next entry for the AHA Club-only competition.   The next competition is for Amber Hybrid beers, BJCP category 7.  We will judge them at Dan Hakes’ place.   Please bring 3 bottles for each entry, and please fill out the entry forms which you can download from the AHA website at:http://www.beertown.org/homebrewing/pdf/entry_recipe.pdf.  The club picks up the entry fees and shipping for this one, so it is free to you.

Saturday August 1st
12:00 noon

2379 W 21st Street, Los Angeles, CA 90018
323-730-1003

Road Trip to Stone 13th Anniversary Fest

Stone 13th AnniversaryThis year’s event will take place Saturday, August 22, on the campus of Cal State University San Marcos in North County San Diego. And for the fourth time, Pacific Gravity will be chartering a beer bus to shuttle thirsty club members from Culver City to the first session (only) of the fest, which lasts from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

How do you get on board? It’s easy.

BUY YOUR FESTIVAL TICKET

First, buy your own ticket to the Stone Fest’s morning Session A (only; the PG bus will NOT be traveling to the afternoon Session B). Tickets are $35 per person and are available now.

Order your tickets ASAP. Not only does the first session always sell out, but on August 15, the ticket price rises to $40. The price buys you entrance to the event, a 13th anniversary tasting glass and 10 taster pours from over three dozen breweries. And don’t forget to bring your ID. Yes, they check.

ONCE YOU HAVE YOUR STONE TICKET, BUY YOUR BUS TICKET

Then, reserve a space on the PG bus, by paying $30 per person ($31 if using PayPal). You can use the “PAY NOW” button below or drop your payment off at Culver City Homebrew Supply, or sign up for the road trip and pay at the Summer Party on July 18. Don’t delay in reserving a space on the bus either; it has sold out in previous years. Rest assured, beer drinking IS allowed on the bus –– and there will be a working bathroom on board as well!

The bus will leave from Culver City Homebrew Supply at 8:00 a.m. sharp on Saturday, August 22. Do not be late or you will be outta luck. A lunch stop (probably at one of the Pizza Port brewpubs) will be made en route home, and we should arrive back at the homebrew shop by 6:00 p.m.

By the way, Stone’s 13th Anniversary Ale, due to hit store June 29,
is an Imperial Red hop monster at 9.5% abv.

Don’t miss out on the club’s most popular road trip of the year!