7 Questions with Dan Gordon

| November 17th, 2014 | No comments

Dan Gordon is one of the co-founders of Gordon Biersch brewery in San Jose, California. You’ve likely visited one of their restaurants or brewpubs; there’s even a brewery here in Las Vegas, along with an attached restaurant, and a second standalone restaurant.

GB WinterbockWith winter upon us (well, not quite there yet in Vegas; the high is 70º F today), Gordon Biersch has released their winter seasonal, aptly named Winterbock. Lagers in general are under appreciated in the craft beer market here in the US, and of those, bocks are especially so. Bocks of all varieties are some of my favorite lager beers, with special recognition going to doppelbocks. Gordon Biersch’s Winterbock is no exception. The beer has a strong, toasty malt aroma and has the classic, clean lager fermentation profile. The flavor in this beer all comes from the use of dark malts; imparting flavors of plum and raisins, but finishing with a clean, dry finish. The aftertaste has a bit of a warm, alcohol sensation, making this perfect for a cold winter’s night.

I reached out to Dan Gordon to find more out about Winterbock, and the brewery in general. Thank you Dan for taking the time to speak with us, and thank you for brewing a delicious doppelbock! (more…)

Episode 1: Whalez, Ticks, and Untappd

| November 1st, 2014 | No comments

Welcome to Episode 1! Yes, technically this is the second podcast, however the first one was more of a beta test, or something. The audio quality on this episode is much clearer than before, and we planned out a little bit more of an agenda to discuss.

This episode focuses on Untappd, bottle shares, and the “ticking” culture that has exploded in the craft beer community. We’ll probably offend/upset some of you with some of our thoughts (by “we,” I mostly mean “me”), but do keep in mind that our intent wasn’t to bash Untappd or anyone who uses it. We instead just wanted to bring to light how easy it is to forget the reason why any of us drinks beer: to enjoy drinking beer and having fun with friends.

This episode features the beer Monk’s Indiscretion from Sound Brewery in Poulsbo Washington. Read my previous interview with co-founder Mark Hood here.

Please send any and all feedback to us @hookedonhops on twitter, on Facebook.com/hookedonhops, or feel free to email me or Armando at luis@hookedonhops.com or armando@hookedonhops.com. We’d love to continue recording these and if we can make it more enjoyable or interesting, then we’d love to know how.

What The Hell Is An Oktoberfest/ Vienna/ Märzen/ Festbier/ Dortmund Beer?

| October 6th, 2014 | No comments

Ninkasi Oktoberfest CloseAside from the pumpkin beers, fall is typically characterized by Oktoberfest style beers. But does anyone really know what an Oktoberfest beer is? How is this style of beer any different from festbier, Märzen, or the classic Vienna lager? Here in America, we do not have the rich history of lager style beers that Europe, and in particular Germany, has. Oftentimes, we Americans tend to lump most lager styles together, so I thought that in honor of Oktoberfest, I would explore the history of this style.

Prior to the mid 1800’s, beer in Germany primarily consisted of dark styles, like dunkels and bocks. This changed in the early 1800’s when Gabriel Sedlmayr, whose family owned the Spaten brewery, took a trip around Europe to learn other styles of beer production. When Sedlmayr saw that England was using coke to dry malt, allowing the malted barley to be a paler color, he brought this technique back to Germany and shared the idea of using these types of malt to make German style beers.

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Sour Beer: Culturing Wild Lactobacillus

| September 14th, 2014 | 3 comments

Lacto Pellicle

If you’re anything like me, then when you do something for the first time, you like to make it as complicated as possible. Case in point: making a sour beer.

Sour beers get sour by adding bacteria that converts sugars into various acids. Lactic acid is most common in sour beers, providing a clean, lemony taste. However other acids that could be found include malic acid; which tastes like sour apples, acetic acid; which is basically vinegar, and butyric acid; which is similar in aroma to bile. The bacterias and wild yeasts that create these acids (namely lactobacillus, pediococcus, sherry flor, and brettanomyces) can very easily be purchased by a number of yeast labs. But I thought it would be more fun to culture my own lactobacillus.
WARNING: long-winded, microbiology filled post!

Lactobacillus (henceforth known by it’s more common street name: lacto) can be found virtually everywhere, including inside the human body. Lacto is also what’s used to sour milk into yogurt. In fact, I’ve read that you can even use yogurt as a lacto starter to add directly to beer. I decided instead to use a more practical source: malted barley. (more…)

A Sneak Peek at CraftHaus

| September 9th, 2014 | No comments

2014-09-08 16.34.26I had the wonderful pleasure last night of being invited to a sneak peek of Las Vegas’ newest local brewery, CraftHaus. The grand opening is slated for this weekend, and you can find more info on the special event here.

CraftHaus is located in Henderson in The Booze District. For the past year and a half, I’ve been communicating back and forth with owners Dave and Wyndee Forrest, regarding CraftHaus, and its so exciting to finally see it open and brewing beer!

First things first: The beer is fantastic. You’ve likely had some of Dave’s home-brewed batches if you have attended some of the local beer festivals the past couple of years. Now the recipes have been scaled up to 10 barrel batches by head brewer Steph Cope. Steph, the first and only female head brewer in Nevada, did a great job keeping the beers true to Dave’s original recipes, while also fine tuning them to perfection. Evocation Saison in particular was what stood out to me. With only 4.7% alcohol, the beer is very light bodied and dry, but still manages to fit in a lot of Belgian yeast characteristics. I think this beer will be perfect for not only the hot Vegas summers, but the fruity esters, clove phenolics, and dry body would make this perfect to pair with food.

I should also state though that what makes this brewery so exciting isn’t just the beer. Nor is it the clean, modern taproom, filled with board games, a chalkboard, and several cuckoo clocks. It’s the people behind the brewery.

“We don’t want you to think of this as our brewery. We want you to think of this as your brewery.”
-Dave and Wyndee Forrest

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Episode 0: Golden Road Brewing Company

| September 8th, 2014 | No comments

Welcome to the very first episode of the Hooked on Hops podcast! On this episode, we drink beer from Golden Road Brewing Company of Los Angeles and discuss our thoughts on the purpose of beer styles, the subjectivity of taste, how consumers navigate the beer aisle, and how to pronounce pamplemousse. These are fantastic beers that I hope you will seek out and enjoy the next chance that you get. More information can be found at goldenroad.la

Expect to see more episodes trickle in periodically over the next few months!

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CraftHaus Grand Opening!

| September 1st, 2014 | No comments

Everyone, the day is finally here! Having covered much of the progress that Dave and Wyndee made to get this point, I am exceptionally excited and happy for both of them. The entire CraftHaus team has worked very hard to get to this point, and they have some awesome beer to finally share with all of you. As an added bonus, if you are present on Saturday, then you may recognize Big Friendly Corporation singer Melissa Marth from her and Emily’s beer review videos. I hope to see you all there!

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SYNEK Home Draft System

| June 26th, 2014 | No comments

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I received an email about a Kickstarter campaign that just launched for a home draft system. I thought I’d share it here for anyone who may be interested in this sort of thing.

I personally really like the idea. For many people, this is an easier and cheaper option than purchasing a second refrigerator and setting up a standard draft system. The main drawback here though is that the system holds 1 gallon. If you are the type who likes growler fills, this is an awesome alternative: twice as much beer compared to a typical growler and a much better shelf life. However for homebrewers, only being able to package 1 gallon at a time may be too limiting, depending on your batch size.

Ultimately, I would love to see something like this succeed. The more effort that is put into beer packaging technology, the better it will be for consumers in the long run. I think it would be awesome to go grocery shopping and while I’m there, fill up a gallon of beer to have available on draft at home for the next week.

SYNEK has a very lofty goal of raising $250,000 in one month, so if you like the idea of this, be sure to spread the word. Keep in mind that there are still a few final design elements that are yet to be finalized (ie: refrigeration method). This is great, as it allows the backers to help with designing the type of product that they want to own, but it also could mean a delay in the the final product release.

For more information, and to support SYNEK, visit their Kickstarter page here.

Bad Beat Brewing to Open in Henderson July 11th

| June 25th, 2014 | No comments

4uncqO6yVery excited to see Las Vegas’ newest brewery opening up next month. Henderson is looking to be the future of locally produced alcohol in this city, with not only Bad Beat, but also the Las Vegas Distillery, the winemaking business Grape Expectations, and later this year CraftHaus, all located in the same business park; or “The Booze District” as it is being called.

I can say that what makes me personally most excited about Bad Beat, is the hiring of Weston Barkley as their head brewer. I never personally had any of Weston’s homebrew, but I got to enjoy several of his beers while at Joseph James. Magic Sticke was his creation, and I can say that it is my favorite brown ale and I’m excited to see what he does at Bad Beat. Knowing that he prefers to create easy drinking, flavorful, balanced beers, I have no doubt that this will be reflected at Bad Beat, and you will be hard pressed to have any flavorless, fizzy beer.

Congrats on the grand opening. Full press release can be seen below. (more…)

Beer Vs Wine: Firestone Walker and Herman Story

| May 27th, 2014 | No comments

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Contrary to what may be suggested, I do enjoy wine. Typically just the red varieties though. While I am clearly a bit biased, I’ve always believed that beer can pair better with food than wine. That belief mostly stems from my limited knowledge of wine compared to the amount of time that I’ve spent studying beer. Nevertheless, I was very excited to not only attend a wine pairing dinner, but a wine and beer pairing dinner. This allows for a great opportunity to compare differences in how both wine and beer can pair with food.

Last week miX Restaurant, located at the the top of the Mandalay Bay hotel, hosted a dinner with both Firestone Walker Brewing Company and Herman Story Wines. Russell From, owner and winemaker for Herman Story, was present. Russell, along with Mandalay Bay’s Director of Wine, Harley Carbery, represented Team Wine. Team Beer was represented by Matt Brynildson, brewmaster for Firestone Walker, and Mandalay Bay’s Director of Food and Beverage, Sarah Johnson. (more…)