Archive for January, 2012

Santa Barbara Big Beer Festival


BEER LIST! (updated Feb 9)

BrewCo: Bourbon Barrel Barleywine, Doppelbock, Scottish 90/- and Belgian IPA.
Firestone Walker: Sucaba (formerly Abacus), Anniversary XV and a firkin of Union Jack.
Sierra Nevada: Bigfoot, Ovila Quad, Ovila Saison.
Heretic: Evil Twin, Evil Cousin, Shallow Grave and Worry.
Telegraph: Rhinocerous.
Anchor: Old Foghorn.
Surf Brewery: South Swell Double IPA.



Last week I got together with a couple of friends for a mini-beer tour of Santa Barbara.  We took the train (well worth the $17 DD fair) from Camarillo and arrived in Santa Barbara just in time for lunch.  Our first stop was Santa Barbara Brewing Company, a short walk up State Street from the train station, where we met up with Kevin Pratt Brewmaster, Grand Master Beer Judge and Cicerone.

Kevin has been the brewmaster at SBBC since last July and has already made his mark.  I have been following his “adventures” on Face book and his daily updates over the past six months read something like a home improvement journal.  He has scoured years of beer stone out of the system, fixed leaks and improved the overall system efficiency by something like 4000 percent!  OK, not quite that much but the improved efficiency led to a new beer detailed below.  The beer names at SBBC are still the same but don’t let that keep you from trying his new beers.  Kevin has completely retooled each recipe and the beers have never tasted better.

Kevin was kind enough to talk us through a tasting starting with the Blond, which is a 4.5% pilsner all the way through a 10% dopplebock.  But the fun didn’t end there, remember that improved efficiency?  Well, the first beer Kevin made (after basically rebuilding the brewhouse) was much stronger than any beer he had planned.  On the fly, Kevin looked through his hop inventory and decided he could salvage the beer by making it a Barleywine that comes in at 13%!  There isn’t much of that one left but don’t worry you can get a taste of that beer at an upcoming Big Beer Festival Kevin is planning in February.  What’s a big beer festival you ask?  Well that means that every one of the beers served will be BIG in aroma, BIG in flavor and BIG in alcohol! See below for details.

SBBC stout and serving tanks.

Big Beer Festival

Date: February 11th

Time: 10 -6

Place: Santa Barbara Brewing Company (Back Lounge), 501 State St., Santa Barbara

Price: $8 for the first sample and commemorative glass, $3 refills

17 big and rare beers from:

BrewCo: Bourbon Barrel Barleywine, Doppelbock, Scottish 90/- and Belgian IPA.
Firestone Walker: Sucaba (formerly Abacus), Anniversary XV and a firkin of Union Jack.
Sierra Nevada: Bigfoot, Ovila Quad, Ovila Saison.
Heretic: Evil Twin, Evil Cousin, Shallow Grave and Worry.
Telegraph: Rhinocerous.
Anchor: Old Foghorn.
Surf Brewery: South Swell Double IPA.


SBBC Serving Tanks filled with liquid goodness!

My favorite SBBC meal, seared ahi wrap.


food.pairing: Koko Brown

Beer: Koko Brown (5.5%)

Brewery: Kona Brewing Company

Style: American Brown

Serving: Pint Glass 40°- 45° 

General Beer Description: American Brown Ales are different from their English counterparts in that they use American ingredients and brewing practices, which in return produce more assertive flavors.  American Brown ales can have a wide range of bitterness but generally they have a noticeable but balanced bitterness that is accentuated by a clean fermentation (none to low fruity flavors) and an elevated carbonation.  American Brown Ales can also have a pronounced nutty, toasty, caramel and/or chocolate flavor.

General Food Pairing Suggestions: Cuisine: Barbecue. Cheese: Earthy or Nutty. Meat: beef. Dessert: Chocolate.

Specific Food Pairing Suggestion: Butternut Squash, goat cheese, sage lasagna

Photo courtesy of Fine Cooking.


This is another great recipe I found in Fine Cooking Magazine for that butternut squash that has been waiting patiently on your countertop. Koko Brown is a unique pairing for this dish because brown ales are usually paired with meat or desert dishes to accentuate toasty or chocolaty flavors. But those toasty and sweet flavors can also be found in this lasagna and that is why this beer pairs so well with this dish.

The sweetness of the butternut squash resonates with the sweet malt and coconut flavors. The toasted coconut (a unique beer ingredient to say the least) used in this beer complements the sweet roasted squash flavors and blends with the butternut squash sweetness to create a brand new flavor combination that is magical.

The “American” part (hops and carbonation) of this brown ale does its part to keep this dish from becoming too sweet or too savory.   The hop bitterness counteracts the sweetness while the carbonation helps to cleanse the palate. If either of these two aspects were subtler then the pairing would be too sweet.

Variations: I didn’t make the fresh pasta (that is just ridiculous;-) but I did use the thin style lasagna noodles.  Also, I didn’t boil the noodles first, there is plenty of sauce to cover the whole dish and bake it until the noodles become soft.  You may want to cover the dish with foil for the first 30-45 minutes but then take the foil off for the last 15 minutes to brown the cheese and re-toast the breadcrumbs on top.

I know this recipe isn’t light by any standards but you may want to try combine this similar lighter recipe from  It had a number of substitutions, some I thought would be outstanding from a taste point of view as well as aesthetically.  I would suggest that if you do combine the recipes you blend the squash instead of leaving it cubed as that enables you to make many thin layers of noodles and sauce.

If you make any lighter variations please share your experiences below in the comments.

Brewery Super Bowl: Brooklyn Brewery v. Sam Adams

Well my NFL beer playoff series has ended and 0f the 10 playoff games my readers predicted 6 of them were correct. Our predictions really took a hit with the late championship game flubs but on the plus side that made for some exciting games.

Over the next two weeks I will be focusing on Super Bowl food pairings to help you “WOW” your friends when they come over to enjoy the big game.  Sam Adams will be representing the Patriots so let me know what your favorite New England food is and I will do my best to pair that with a Sam Adams beer.  Brooklyn Brewery will be representing the Giants so let me now what your favorite New York food is and I will do my best to pair that with a Brooklyn brewery beer.

But now is the time to stand up and vote for your favorite brewery in the Super Bowl.  This poll has nothing to do with the actual athletic merits of either team but solely on the merits of the breweries representing each team.  So throw your team pride to the side and vote for the best beer!  I realize this may take some drinking. . . err, research but consider it training for the big game. Let me know which beer you think will be the MVB in the comments below and I will try to pair that beer with some classic or regional half-time cuisine.

NFL Championship Playoffs

Please excuse the complete lack of commentary but it has been one of those weeks but in a good way thankfully! I would appreciate it if you could share this far and wide as I am away from my work computer and I need your help spreading the word of these polls.
The polls will end when the first game starts this weekend. Thanks for participating, I am sure you will be picking the Super Bowl teams!

AFC Championship Game

NFC Championship Game

homebrew.recipe:Chocolate Thunda

Chocolate Thunda

Type: All Grain

Batch Size (fermenter): 10.00 gal

Boil Size: 14.44 gal

Boil Time: 90 min

End of Boil Volume 11.44 gal

Final Bottling Volume: 9.25 gal

Fermentation: Ale, Single Stage

Date: 01/05/2012 Brewer: Curtis Taylor Asst Brewer: Equipment: Stainless Kegs (10 Gal/37.8 L) – All Grain Brewhouse Efficiency: 72.00 %

Est Mash Efficiency 80.0 % Taste Rating(out of 50): 30.0

Measured Original Gravity: Measured Final Gravity: 1.010 SG Actual Alcohol by Vol: 4.7 % Calories: 151.6 kcal/12oz

Total Grain Weight: 33 lbs 8.0 oz

Grain Temperature: 72.0 F Tun Temperature: 72.0 F Mash PH: 5.20


80.6 % Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)

3.0 %  Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM)

6.0 % Medium Crystal (60.0 SRM)

10.4 %Sugar, Table (Sucrose) (1.0 SRM)

76.7 IBUs Magnum [13.10 %] -Boil 60.0 min

32.9 IBUs 7 c’s [9.90 %] -Boil 20.0 min

Safale American (DCL/Fermentis #US-05) [50.28 ml]

Beer Profile

Est Original Gravity: 1.089 SG Est Final Gravity: 1.012 SG Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 10.2 % Bitterness: 109.7 IBUs

Est Color: 40.2 SRM

Chocolate Thuda PDF

Created with BeerSmith

Predictions: NFL Divisional Playoff Winners

HopHeadSaid fans have picked the winners!

AFC Divisional Games:

Clipper City/High Seas (AKA Baltimore Ravens) will top St. Arnold (AKA Houston Texans)!

Great Divide (AKA Denver Broncos) will top Sam Adams (AKA New England Patriots)!

NFC Divisional Games:

Brooklyn Brewing (AKA New York Giants) will top Titletown (AKA Green Bay Packers)!

21st Amendment (AKA San Francisco 49ers) will top Abita (New Orleans Saints)!


To see the poll results for this week click here

Last week we correctly picked 3 of the 4 games and I have a good feeling about this even though we picked a couple of good upsets!  Now, lets see how these games play out.  Monday I will post the next round and recap these games.

NFL Divisional Playoffs

It’s time to pick this weeks NFL Divisional Playoffs.  Three of the four Wild Card Games were picked correctly last week, not too bad.  The polls will remain open up until the specific game time this weekend.

Vote for your favorite brewery in each NFL playoff matchup but don’t let your team pride stand in the way of picking your favorite brewery! Each week through the Super Bowl the winning teams/breweries will be listed in a bracket and a poll will be posted here for you to vote on another Brewery showdown.

The next two weeks are gonna be busy but take the time to research each brewery (drink their beer) and make your voice heard by voting for your favorite brewery.  Remember to choose your favorite BREWERY.

This will be a great matchup between two really great breweries.  St. Arnold’s representing Houston and Clipper City Brewing will be representing Baltimore.

Another great matchup pitting the small (some may say underdog) Great Divide Brewery against the craft beer giant Boston Beer Company.

NY powerhouse Brooklyn Brewery will be making a road trip to Titletown in another great matchup of highly rated beers.

Abita has their work cut out for them as they travel to San Francisco and take on the most important Amendment the US has ratified. .. … 21st Amendment Brewery