Sunday, August 31, 2008


Saturday August 30th I was fortunate enough to join a few beer enthusiast friends in picking the first annual Hop Harvest at the Jordan Family Farms in Penryn California. Here are a few photos of what took place.....

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Owl Club was Torpedoed

We regular patrons of the Owl Clubs Thursday Pint Night in Old Town Roseville were grandly rewarded for our loyalty this week when new Owl owner Bianca brought us in a keg of Sierra Nevada's seasonal IPA 'Torpedo'. The Torpedo is named after the device used in brewing that infuses additional hop flavor and aroma into the beer at it travels from the fermentor to the bright tank. A torpedo shaped unit filled with hops? What could possibly be more cool than that I ask you.

I would like to say I had a bit of a hand in lighting the fire that started the simmering blaze that got the Torpedo rolling....and certainly my good buddy and Pacific Brew News partner Rick truly DID get the deal signed off on.......but I still want to recognise that the proper credit should go to Bianca who has been listening to all our beer blather these last few months and has done a real good job resurrecting the great tradition of the Owl Club Thursday Pint night.

After a summer of hit and miss offerings that included several big brewers like Sapporo, Amstel Light and Moosehead it finally felt like the Owl Club of old, filled virtually to capacity with all the happy Pint Nighters consuming copious amounts of Sierra Nevada's fresh seasonal nectar.

It was the third time this summer I was lucky enough to encounter this nicely hopped IPA that occasionally sends reminders through my palate that one of the worlds greatest beers ...the SD Celebration Ale is just around the corner. This IPA is not quite as big as the Celebration but just really hits the spot as a nice summer hop head delight. This is definitely an IPA session beer...which was proven last night by a number of people. (Really good to see you Pierre!)

In fact even before the Celebration Ale hits the stores later this year there should be a batch of the Harvest Ale available...and if I'm not mistaken this years batch will be brewed with hops grown on Sierra Nevada's grounds in Chico.

Hopefully our Thursday Nights the rest of the year will be dotted with these outstanding Sierra Nevada offerings. I can't wait.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Day Three - The Rhino Deck

Day three dawned perfect with a high Montana sky as blue as Paul Newman's eyes; Who's birthday is oddly the same as my father-in-laws . . . William A. Bohn . . . or as he would become know on the Ramp project as "Inspector Detector".


We managed to get a good nights sleep, a nice breakfast from my mother-in-law Maude and a fairly early start digging holes for the post footing piers. That's her in the background pulling weeds on Rhino's 'Front Yard'. I also had to spend a bit of time in the early morning at Rhino's laptop trying to create a simple yet effective ramp design. Seeing as how I'd never built one and really hadn't built much of anything in the past few years aside from a nice closet full of XXX-Beer Fest T-shirts.

As you can see from the photo I'm finally figuring out that these boards are just not going to cut themselves. Once I got my mind wrapped around that obvious reality the project took off like a drunk turtle with arthritis. I sighted the treated 2x8's, broke out a few tools, mumbled to no one in particular and checked my cell phone for word of lunch. By the time lunch finally did roll around I'd already consumed so many 'preventative' Advil's that when I shuffled around the ground digging holes for the piers I sounded like a box of Hot Tamales and my liver was silently screaming to be laid to rest with alcohol instead of America's finest cheap pharmaceuticals.
Fortunately I was able to find a flat piece of uncluttered garage floor to layout the 5x5 ramp landing on. Rhino came out in his wheel chair and after I cut a piece of plywood and attached it to his furniture dolly he moved onto that and finished fastening the landing pieces together whilst I wandered around the ramp site looking at my pencil and tape measure pretending that I was putting together my next plan of attack. Is it lunch time yet?
Once I got the basic landing screwed together my outstanding wife/helper Terri and Inspector detector assisted me in moving the frame to a position in front of the existing porch. It was at about this time in the proceedings that I noticed a shadow lurking over my shoulder at almost every turn. Although he rarely voiced an opinion either way the inspector continuing to monitor my progress as apparently he had done since the beginning.

I was just now becoming acutely aware of it. Although my pace was fairly slow and undoubtedly inspired very little confidence he seemed content to stay just out of way....yet offering any help that I might require along the way.
On we rolled through the afternoon, cutting board three times and still they ended up too short. In reality we did OK as the day changed from morning to afternoon although I was trying not to run the Skil-saw too much because it was disturbing Rhino and Maude's naps. That loud ass tool also panicked a doe that had wandered into the thicket next to the driveway. Although somewhat spooked the bitch appeared so relatively tame that she only jumped and moved maybe 20 feet before she resumed her previous munching posture. I reminded myself that this was indeed Montana and I took a little Advil break to enjoy the local Fauna.
I suppose by now the photos of the inspector have clued you into what I was enjoying all day. At one time I'd wished I'd remembered my official looking 3 compartment aluminum clip board to give him to carry around...but then WAIT...I did remember to bring it.......but no way I'm taking all my brewery notes out of it at this point in the journey. After all he was doing a great job of making me check my work over and over and over.
The inspectors esteemed bride Terri is enjoying the ramp progress in the next shot...or perhaps just out in the yard wondering why I have the camera in my hand instead of my hammer or the screw gun.
After awhile I eventualy got up the nerve to cut the 48" long scarf cuts on the joists and amazingly they were "good enough for who it's for" right off the bat
so I cleaned up the pattern and cut all five of them.
After working most of the day we decided we'd made enough progress for the day and retired to the porch and a nicely chilled six pack of Missoula's own Big Sky Brewing IPA. It was very welcomed and soon gave way to one of the Flat Head Lake growlers of Roy's Imperial. We wrestled with the notion of burning one of the Roy's earmarked for a return to Roseville but figured it was just too important to sample some at that moment. Of course we could always fill it up was only about 35 miles away after all. After a nearly 1200 mile drive just to get here it didn't really seem that far away at all. Nope...not that far at all. Terri and I slept in Rhino's office on the floor on our new airbeds and it was a welcome sight after a day in perfect Montana weather.