Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Help My Brewery!

Well, I'm not sure if anyone still follows this blog, but in case anyone does and ALSO hasn't been following my progress with Ghostfish Brewing Company, here's an update:

We're about two months away from being able to open!  But we're running short on funds, so we launched a Kickstarter in the hopes that gluten-free beer-lovers everywhere might pitch in a little bit and help us elevate the game of brewing beyond barley.

The Kickstarter is here:


Please help us out!  No donation is too small, and any shares are helpful and appreciated!

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Long-Awaited UPDATE

Hello again, gentle readers, I know it has been awhile on my part!  But I can finally reveal the big news I hinted at in the last post:

I am starting my own brewery!

The reason I waited so long to make the announcement is that I wanted our website to be ready so that I had something of substance to attach to my announcement.  So, fellow gluten-freeky homebrewers, let me introduce you to Ghostfish Brewing Company!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Review: Steadfast Sorghum Pale Ale

I'd like to give a warm welcome to the newest member of the gluten-free commercial brewing world: Steadfast Brewing Co.  They're here to bring some craft GF beer to the East Coast, and I think they show a lot of promise.  They made a smart move and went straight to internet distribution of their product, so I was able to order a four-pack of their flagship Sorghum Pale Ale.  My review after the jump!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Big Changes on the Horizon

Gentle readers, I know I have not been keeping up with my blogging duties, but there is a very good (and very BIG) reason for that.  It's still too early to divulge exactly what's been going on, but what I can tell you is this: I am moving to Seattle in September to begin an exciting new endeavor that will be of definite interest to the readers of this blog.  The last few months have involved a lot of preparation for this, and it has required me to do quite a lot of work and travelling.  I'll have more to say on the subject in the coming months!

That said, there is a lot of exciting stuff happening in my homebrewery.  Not least of which is the discovery of a dedicated gluten-free malthouse, Grouse Malting Company.  I have in my pantry almost 40 lbs of sample malts from them that I am going to take for a test run later this week.  Their owner/maltstress, Twila, is a gluten-free homebrewer herself, and that gives me good reason to have confidence in her product.  Expect an entry in a month or two when I taste the first beer made with her malts.  Note that they are currently in the process of expanding and may take quite a bit of time to respond to inquiries—as far as I can tell, it's practically a one-person operation at this point, but Twila says the demand has been tremendous, so I have a good feeling about their future.

In addition, I was in Portland last month, and let me tell you, that city is a gluten-free paradise.  I spent my time there subsisting mostly on paleo food from the Cultured Caveman and delicious smoothies from Kure Juice Bar.  I got my first taste of Reverend Nat's Hard Cider, in the form of the mind-blowingly delicious Hallelujah Hopricot, a dry-hopped apple/apricot cider fermented with Belgian ale yeast (!!!!).  Highly recommend—it is truly cider for craft beer drinkers, and more of a pale ale than some gluten-free pale ales I can think of.  After enjoying a gluten-free burger and a pint of a gluten-free Belgian ale at the Deschutes Brewpub, I went and picked up a case of beer from Harvester Brewing--some IPA #1 and the last of their Dubbel, for $65!  Beats paying ~$100 to have it shipped down to Cali, that's for sure.  I also got to taste some of their R&D beers: a blend of the first and third iterations of hop-monster IPA #2 (which just hit shelves), a single-hop Santiam IPA (which really floored me with its minty and herbal hop flavor), and a version of their Dark Ale brewed with different hopping and some dark candi syrup (which I found to be an improvement over the regular stuff).

Even better, Harvester's James Neumeister was kind enough to share a few drinks with me and chat about his operation and the state of gluten-free beer in general.  He told me that their production has increased 900% this fiscal year, which is awesome and not at all surprising, as they're the best GF beer in the country right now.  I was astonished to learn that he conducts his mashes with only α-amylase—I'm not sure exactly what his secret is, as my attempts at using oats (let alone chestnuts or buckwheat) in a mash with just α-amylase have been pure disaster, but there it is straight from the horses's mouth.  I was much less astonished to learn that for quite a while, prior to the launch of Harvester, he was homebrewing on a DAILY BASIS.  Here I thought I was nuts for brewing once or twice a week!  I also learned that like me, he spent quite a while exploring ideas from Stephen Harrod Buhner's Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers...go figure, eh?  Guess we out-of-the-box brewers think alike!  All in all, it was an awesome chat, and I was mightily impressed with James's craft brewer spirit.  Harvester has a bright future, which is good news for us gluten-free beer drinkers!

Now that I'm back in Cali and back to brewing, I hope I can update this more frequently.  I've got a TON of posts lined up, it's just a matter of typing 'em.  Check back soon, or better yet, become a follower!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Recipe and Evaluation: Black IPA

I'm back with a vengeance!  I know I haven't been updating this blog very frequently, but that's because I've been too busy brewing and going through some major life transitions (finishing grad school, ending a long-term relationship, moving, and preparing for "phase II" of my plan to dominate the world of gluten-free brewing).  I'll be sharing some of my general observations later this summer on my now-considerable experience in brewing with gluten-free grains (both malted and unmalted), but since it's been a while since I posted a recipe and discussed a finished beer, I thought I'd share my black IPA. It was a good first draft for this style, and for once I feel like the malt base is more solid than the hop schedule.  Recipe after the jump!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

How-To: Brewing Better Extract Beers

There isn't a whole lot of info out there on how to make good extract-based gluten-free beers, and let me tell you that just boiling up six pounds of sorghum extract and calling it good will NOT make a great beer.  With over 30 brews under my belt, all of which have been recipes of my own devising, I thought I'd share a bit of my experience in how to make good extract beers (since not everyone wants to fuss with enzymes, decoction mashes, self-malted grains, etc.).  It is perfectly possible to make extract-based gluten-free beers that rival and even exceed the commercially-available stuff!  Check out these tips after the jump.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Reader Requests

Well, I've been keeping this blog up for almost nine months now, and Google analytics tells me I've gotten over 3000 views, which means people outside my immediate social circle are finding this blog.  That's great!  So, I'd like to open the floor to my new readers—how do you like the blog?  Please comment on this post and tell me what you like best about it, what's not working for you, and what would you like to see more or less of.  I have a lot of material in the pipeline, but it's always hard for me to make the executive decision about what deserves a blog post and what doesn't, so I'd love to know what my readers think.  Be honest, brutally honest even!  No criticism is so harsh that a nice cold pint can't take the sting off it.