Fate Brewing Brings Innovation To Arizona Craft Beer Scene

Written by Alex Sipes

Perched casually on the intersection of Scottsdale and Shea roads in Scottsdale, Arizona, Fate Brewing Company has made a lasting impression among locals as the spot to go for quality craft beer and oven-baked pizza. We were drawn to the brewery by its ever-changing selection of beers.

As we walked in, we were welcomed by a gentleman named Travis Pack, who led us on a tour around the taproom and introduced us to the staff that day. Among those present was Adam Schmeichel, Fate’s master brewer. Adam graduated from the Culinary School of America in Hyde Park, New York, and was soon drawn to brewing.

Fate Brewing tour

“I was interested in brewing so I got a job at a brewery in Michigan and ran their café. I eventually stopped cooking and started brewing,” he explained, standing next to several barrels of aging beer. Adam takes creative control of all of Fate’s beer and brews each batch with passion and precision.

Fermenters

Being only a seven barrel system, the brewery is limited on how much beer that can be brewed at a time. Because Adam can only brew in smaller batches, the brewery is able to keep a wider variety of beers on tap. I was deeply impressed by how much Adam is able to do with such a modest setup. The brewery itself can be seen from every angle of the taproom, as it is contained in a glass room towards the middle of the building. I felt that this really brought the room together. As I sat at the bar, I realized I was literally surrounded by great beer.

Because of his experience at Fate Brewing Co., Travis has been “exposed to a lot of new beers and experimental stuff like brewing with cucumbers.” Travis was referring to Fate’s own Cucumber Single Hop Sour, one of the most unique and enjoyable beers I’ve ever stumbled across.

Beer Flight at Fate Brewing Co

We sampled a total of five beers; the Single Hop Sour, Infringement Pilsner, Double Oatmeal IPA, Imperial Coffee Milk Porter, and Fate’s flagship American Pale Ale. I quite enjoyed the Infringement Pilsner and was surprised at its ‘heavier-than-expected, but not too heavy’ body. While the Double Oatmeal IPA scores high in IBUs, the hops weren’t overpowering and actually complemented the malt flavors quite harmoniously. Being a fan of heavier stouts and porters, I found myself going back to the Imperial Coffee Milk Porter, which is brewed using coffee from Cartel Coffee Lab in Tempe.

Alex of Adventures in Brew crew

I couldn’t get this far and not mention Fate Brewing’s unique seasonal beers, their most ubiquitous being their Candy Bar Milk Stout, which will be released on Halloween this year. The brewery occasionally holds what they call a Fate Tap Takeover, where all 12 taps feature Fate beers, and Fate Fest, marking their anniversary. The brewery, which gets its name from the owner, Steve McFate, will be celebrating two years of Scottsdale craft brewing goodness in November.

As if Adam wasn’t busy enough brewing these unique beers, Fate Brewing has also collaborated with Ten Fifty-Five Brewing in Tucson, to release their Sour Stout, which is on tap as of July 16.

Fate Brewing is a fine example of what any craft beer enthusiast will appreciate; a healthy combination of innovation and modesty presented in a no-nonsense package. I will certainly be there for Fate Fest this November.

Check out Fate Brewing Company online: www.fatebrewing.com..

Adventures In Brew Announces An Exciting, New Partnership With Pub Trivia Nerds

 

Pub Trivia Nerds

 

‘Pub Trivia Nerds’ Keeps Customers Entertained With Weekly Trivia Night While They Knock ‘Em Back At Their Favorite Pub

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Scott Kelly, Black Dog Promotions

scott@blackdogpromotions.com 480-206-3435

 

Phoenix – July 14, 2014 – Craft beer blog and video series, Adventures In Brew is excited to announce their partnership with bar trivia company, Pub Trivia Nerds, in efforts to provide more opportunities for local pubs in hosting weekly trivia night and becoming involved in craft beer events with the Adventures In Brew crew.

“Pub Trivia Nerds entertaining platform and our network of craft beer fans provide a great opportunity to fill bars and restaurants with happy customers. We look forward to bringing this concept to Phoenix and the rest of the country,” said Scott Kelly, Producer of Adventures In Brew.

“We’re excited to partner with Adventures In Brew and grow our fun brand of 90-minute trivia in the Phoenix area,“ said Jason Hofsess, Founder of Pub Trivia Nerds.

What can you expect from an evening with Pub Trivia Nerds? They offer a variety of intelligent, quirky employees ranging from travel buffs, social mavens, beer snobs, public transit riders, PhDers, and, of course, nerds, to host trivia night at local pubs. These guys write, eat and sleep trivia. So, test out your trivia skills and Knock ‘Em Back at your favorite bar with Pub Trivia Nerds and the Adventures In Brew crew!

It’s a known fact that most pubs have a certain night that draws in slower business. Call in the Pub Trivia Nerds to help fill your barstools and keep customers happy and entertained at your restaurant for hours, as they order drinks, food and play free trivia to win prizes.

It’s not rocket science. Your pub has a slow night. Your pub hires Pub Trivia Nerds. We create incredible trivia. We promote. Your pub promotes. Seats get filled. Customers buy beer and food. Customers play 7 rounds of trivia. Some customers win prizes – usually gift certificates from your pub. Customers are happy. Your pub is happy. Repeat.”

Pub owners don’t need to provide much, just their great hospitality!

Contact Scott Kelly at 480-206-3435, to find out how you can host Pub Trivia Night with Adventures In Brew at your pub this week.

About Adventures In Brew:

Adventures In Brew is a Craft Beer Blog and Video series about the wonderful world of craft beer! In each episode count on us to deliver interviews with the hottest new brew masters locally and nationally plus brewery tours, Beer Crazy Challenges from the editor in chief, reviews of all the newest brews plus fun, games and of course more beer!

We will be on location at many of your favorite places and promise to deliver the goods when it comes to everyone’s Favorite Frosty Beverage! KNOCK ‘EM BACK with Adventures In Brew! www.adventuresinbrew.com

Adventures In Brew is owned by media firm, Black Dog Promotions (www.BlackDogPromotions.com).

About Pub Trivia Nerds:

The Pub Trivia Nerds is based in Berkeley, Calif, but our nation-wide consortium is comprised of a Jeopardy contestant, crossfitters, top tier law school graduates, college students, travel buffs, social mavens, beer snobs, public transit riders, tostado eaters, PhDers, and, of course, nerds!

Our staff writes, eats and sleeps trivia. We know what works. PTN and your pub both promote the event. Seats get filled. Customers buy beer and food while playing seven rounds of trivia. Everyone is happy.

Pub owners don’t need to provide much for a successful trivia night, just their great hospitality! We’d also like for our pubs to provide some great prizes for our PTN winners, cool things like gift certificates or a free entree will show our trivia nerds how much we appreciate them taking part in this great event. www.pubtrivianerds.com

###

.

My First Beer and Brewery

Written by Shirin Ahmadpour

I just turned 21, and to the surprise of many, I really did not drink before this milestone birthday. I celebrated with the typical nightlife clubbing and sipping on mixed drinks ordeal, but sooner or later I knew I’d wander into a brewery. On a road trip to Mount Rushmore with my dad, an avid beer connoisseur, I figured we should check out my first brewery together.

aib4

Asking the locals and doing some online research I found that two breweries dominated the social scenes of Rapid City, SD: Firehouse Brewing Co. and Independent Ale House. Located in Downtown Rapid City, where lights dangle throughout the restaurants, shopping filled streets and bronze statues of presidents that greet walkers on every corner, I picked Firehouse Brewing Co., after all, that meant we’d get to spend time in Rapid City’s first firehouse that was built in 1915.

Interested by the fact that they have hand crafted so many of their own drinks, I ordered a flight of their house beers: 9 for $12.

aib

As a straight A student, I found it ironic that my favorite beer happened to be called Teacher’s Pet. I couldn’t help it; it was sweet, light and tasted like apples. It was a baby beer drinker’s delight.

My dad enjoyed the darkest beer in the house. So special, it’s not even on the menu: King Bee Honey Porter. He also enjoyed the Semper Fi Amber, so suiting for my military dad.

aib8

When you order their flight you receive six menu items and three special off menu drinks:

Rubia Cremosa – This Mexican influenced beer is a combination of corn and rice.

Firehouse Red (Irish Red) – Ooooh caramel crispness.

Wilderness Wheat – They say that one sip of this and you’ll feel like you’re at Oktoberfest. I guess now I’ll just have to hop on over to Germany and find out for myself one of these days.

Blue Eyed Girl – This was my second favorite. It smelled amazing and had a splash of lemon in it. A drink I could handle.

Teacher’s Pet – Two thumbs up from me!

Semper Fi Amber – Not my cup of tea. This strong amber ale is dedicated to all those who have served our country.

King Bee Honey Porter – Dark and strong; safe to say my dad handled that one.

Sluice Box Ale – This gingery off menu drink was the happy medium of the entire flight.

McGullycuddy Ale – I described this one as light but giving you a kick in the throat. I wasn’t prepared for it’s sharpness but it wasn’t bad. Looks can be deceiving.

aib5

I enjoyed my flight with the best boneless barbeque chicken wings I’ve ever had. The service was great; lots of youthful and smiling employees. Overall, my first experience at a brewery was definitely unique. From the location itself, to my first time trying beer, I finally got to learn what the “Keep Calm and Get Hoppy” meme means. We walked out with our complimentary firemen hats and called it a night.

aib2.

Half Moon Bay Brewery

I had been hearing about Half Moon Bay Brewery for months it seems. One of my friends is a regular and spends quite a few afternoons there working and having a beer. I don’t know about you, but I am always a little bit more creative with a beer in hand! So while I was in the San Francisco Bay area I made my out to Half Moon Bay to finally Visit the Half Moon Bay Brewery.

The brewery sits back a little bit from the water and has an amazing patio to watch the sun go down. It is right next door to a popular area for surfers too! This world-famous surfing spot is what their beers are named after – Mavericks Beers & Ales. As you can see, they have quite a selection of craft beers. They are also continually trying new recipes and doing special releases of seasonal ales, porters, and my favorite, stouts!

AIB - HMB Brewery List

When you are not sure what you will like at a brewery, order a beer flight and try a few that speak to you. I went ahead with Bock Bock Easter bunny – holy yumminess Batman, the Russian Imperial Stout, and the Bootlegger’s brown Ale.

AIB - HMB Brewery Beers

Their Maverick’s Amber Ale was a Bronze Winner in the 2010 World Beer Cup. It was back in the bottling area ready for the batch to finish brewing so it could be sent out all over the US for thirsty ale drinkers.

AIB - HMB Amber Ale

It was a busy day in the brewery and I was lucky to have a few minutes to talk to BrewMaster James Costa. He has been brewing for most of his life and can’t imagine doing anything else. I asked him what beer he would have if he couldn’t have his own, and we had another nod to Ballast Point. He is a big hops guy and he loves the flavor of Mosaic hops right now. James and I talked about the upcoming craft brewers beer festival in Boonville and what I should expect there. Let me tell you, Boonville was amazing and I had the chance to talk to James a bit more – he is an awesome brewmaster, but more importantly, an great guy!

AIB - HMB Brewery Tanks & James Costa

While tasting the beers that day, I had the privilege of talking with a couple of the investors, Ken Pearlman and his wife, and also Christine Mendonca. Ken has been working on improving the wine list at HMB Brewery (my other love!). Christine and I had a great discussion about how men and women taste beer differently. Most women taste on the top of their tongue and tend to like things sweeter. Men on the other hand, taste first on the sides of their tongue and can handle beer a little more bitter. Who knew, right?

They both suggested I not go anywhere until I tried their Chocolate Porter Float made with the Pit Stop Porter. Who am I to argue? Can I just say, that was utterly delicious. I had to refrain from ordering another!

I had a really great afternoon hanging out at Half Moon Brewery. I’m looking forward to going back and tasting their seasonal beers, having more of their delicious food, and watch the surfers in the bay.

AIB - HMB Stout Float.jpg

 

 .

Deschutes Brewery, Deliciously Received at McDowell Mountain Music Festival

McDowell Mountain Music Festival

The 2014 McDowell Mountain Music Festival (MMMF) attracted music lovers and fans of craft beer alike to a 3-day weekend of good spirited fun and festivities on March 28-30, at Hance Park in downtown Phoenix.

Deschutes Brewery, family-owned from Bend, Ore., provided the beer garden, pouring for the second year in a row at MMMF. Proceeds from the beer sales went to support local charities Phoenix Children’s Hospital and UMOM.

Deschutes Beer Garden at MMMF

The beers offered by Deschutes included their Mirror Pond Pale Ale, Deschutes River Ale, Chainbreaker White IPA, Black Butte Porter and the highly enjoyable Fresh Squeezed IPA to the 21 and over crowd and all seemed very pleased with the beer selection.

The Fresh Squeezed IPA is best described as a mouthwateringly delicious IPA that gets its flavor from a heavy helping of citra and mosaic hops. Don’t worry, no fruit was harmed in the making of this beer, but it sure is tasty!

Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA

“The brewery here is so good. The Chainbreaker White IPA was awesome and we’ve had a lot of fun at MMMF over the weekend,” said attendee Nathan Nahouraii.

Deschutes Merchandise Manager Colby Nightingale said, “We’ve been really well received here. People really loved the beer and we’ve taught many people about the brewing process and the ingredients used in our beer.”

The beer garden held an open format throughout the park so attendees were free to explore the festival and hear the bands play while enjoying a beer at the same time. There were several beer trucks lined up serving cold craft beers, as well as “Woody”, the Deschutes traveling bar that often accompanies the Deschutes Brewery staff to events like this.

Chelsea at MMMF at Deschutes Woody Bar

Field Marketing & Events Manager, Angela Jasus said, ”We love to meet and work with people face-to-face to share our stories with them at events. It’s fun to be out talking to people about our beer and how it was made.”

We felt very welcomed by everyone at Deschutes and we hung out at the Deschutes tent and talked about craft beer and upcoming beer events for hours.

Deschutes Brewery Tent at MMMF

“Our mission statement is to create extraordinary experiences, as well as introduce new people to our beer. It’s been a lot of fun this weekend at MMMF and everyone seems to really like our beer,” said Nightingale.

Playing beer games with Deschutes Brewery at MMMF

We suggest if you liked Deschutes beer at MMMF, look for them on the shelves of your local grocery or liquor store and introduce your friends to a new and delicious craft beer. To find the closest possible Deschutes beer in your zip code, use this nifty beer finder tool at www.deschutesbrewery.com/find!

Stay tuned because Deschutes has plans for more events in Arizona this fall!

Deschutes Brewery University

Join them in Tucson this October, for Deschutes Brewery University (DBU), where the brewery sets up a “Base Camp for Beer Fanatics” for a week, holding activities for beer lovers like tap takeovers, brewer’s classes and tips on how to taste beer.

We’ll make sure to keep you posted with more details on DBU as the event draws closer and we hope to see you there!

Check out the Deschutes Brewery website for more information on their delicious brews! www.deschutesbrewery.com

Deschutes Brewery

.

Adventures In Brew Visits Black Diamond Brewery

Black Diamond Brewery

Black Diamond_3

 

Black Diamond Brewery welcomed me with open arms on my way through San Francisco. They are located just north of the city in Concord, CA in an industrial park. I’ve noticed a few breweries doing production in industrial parks lately, kind of awesome really. Their beautiful tasting room was not in a traditional bar-type building or a strip mall and you would have never know from the outside the awesomeness that awaits when you walk through those doors. I walked in on the night of their annual pig roast and was greeted by over 500 people enjoying craft beer and having one helluva good time.

Black Diamond Pig Roast edited

At first I was a little nervous of going to a big event on a Friday night solo. That quickly changed when I met Mike Pierce, their National Sales Manager in the bathroom line! We had been going back and forth for weeks and neither of us were supposed to make it to the pig roast. Love how things work out just the way they should!

Black Diamon - Mike Pierce edited

Mike poured me the Whiteout Wheat which was just about perfect after a long day of writing. It was smooth, had a very slight bitter taste but evened out by the sweet orange taste. I also picked up coriander which I love to taste in a wheat beer. THis is the beer you grab on a hot summer day for a quick refreshing taste. Yumm-ee!!

4-18-14 Black Diamond Brewery

Before Mike took off for the night he introduced me to Black Diamond Brewery’s head Brew Master Paul Mallory. To say I was stunned by how young Paul was would be an understatement. At 27, he had been doing home brews for just seven years and loved to make beers he could relax with at the end of a long day. When he was made the head brew master last year, he increased the brand’s value and started to create some stellar beers. Paul has a taste for what works well together and I for one am looking forward to see what he comes up with in the coming years!

Paul’s Fave Beer: Black Diamond Mosaic IPA
Pauls’s Go To Beer: 
Sculpin from Ballast Point
Collaborate: Sierra Nevada for a hop-forward with new exciting hops
Wet Hops: One beer every year that has four different types of wet hops that are local to California. It is a fun challenge as their systems aren’t designed for it so they must get creative.
Quirky fact: Paul puts plants up throughout the brewery for a zen-like feel and for air purification – need more plants there, Paul!

Black Diamond Brew Master edited

I came back the following week to tour the brewery and to ask a few questions. I got the guys in the middle of brewing their stellar IPA and this is a picture of the hops with steam boiling up over creating an amazing scent. They need to bottle that up and sell it as cologne as it is enticing!

Black Diamond Hop Shoot_02

The Story of Peak 15: Originally it was an illustration  art of Tenzig Norway who was the first Sherpa to stand on top of Mt. Everest. The first 22 0z Bomber by Black Diamond was an Imperial Porter and was going to be called Tenzig. They later found out that Tenzig was a celebrity and his estate wanted a $100,000 for the image rights! They couldn’t come up with a cost that would work and make the beer affordable. They changed the image and renamed the beer to Peek 15, which was the original name to Mt Everest and now the image is no longer Tenzig, but just a Sherpa. I loved this story – so very cool in my honest opinion.

Black Diamond Peak 15

The infamous barrel room… barrel aged beers are all the rage these days. I am personally a BIG FAN. I had their Bourbon Barrel Aged Peak XV which was mind-blowingly awesome. I might have took home a growler of this bad boy. I don’t think I want to share it either! That good!

Black Diamond Barrel Room_1

A Black Diamond selfie with the crew after a hard day’s work. These guys are personable, down-to-earth, and have great friendships between them. The Black Diamond crew is a lot of fun to hang out with.

Black Diamond Crew edited

They are hard at work tasting beers. It is a tough job, but somebody has to do it!

Black Diamond Guys edited

I love Black Diamond’s stainless steal growlers especially this one that is filled with my favorite Bourbon Barrel Aged Peak. I am one lucky girl!

Black Diamond_2

.

Stone Brewery – Bring on the Hops

Stone Brewery – Bring on the Hops

Heading out onto the open road to interview breweries is a dream come true. I’ve been a beer and wine blogger for years and started talking about beers when I noticed I had a different palate than most. Like a lot of women, I don’t like overly hoppy beers and prefer something more sweet and robust like what you find in stouts and porters.

One of the first breweries I had the chance to go and visit for Adventures in Brew was Stone Brewing Company in San Diego, California. They are known for being one of the most hoppy beers on the market! I’ve tasted their beers before and new I loved their Imperial Russian Stout and was curious to taste more of their beers.

Fun Stone Brewery Facts

  • Started in 1996 by Greg Koch and Steve Wagner
  • 10th largest craft brewery in the US
  • 213,277 barrels of beer brewed in 2013
  • Most popular beers: Stone IPA at 103,000 barrels, Arrogant Bastard Ale at 63,900 barrels, and Stone Ruination IPA
  • Keg line creates 145 kegs an hour
  • There is a time capsule that is buried on the property that has Stone artifacts in it. They are opening it in 50 years.

01_Stone Brewery

 

When I first arrived at Stone I was amazed by the sheer size of their facility. It was no joke, one of the largest craft breweries I had ever seen. There was also no sign on the door or anywhere for that manner to let you know you had found the place. It was tucked into an industrial area and the hunt of finding it was half the fun. The grounds have beautiful edible gardens throughout and a huge bistro and outdoor area. When you first walk in though you are greeted by this awesome growler fill station. Fill mine up too, please!

02_Stone Brewery

I went on the tour with Nickie Pena, the Media Coordinator for Stone and she decided we should do it backwards. First stop was the bottling and keg room! I will admit, I am fascinated by the whole bottling and canning assembly lines that go on in breweries. Just look at all that Stone IPA ready to come to a store near you!

 

04_Stone Brewery

 

In the back, those are all empty cases that will get filled up in a week! They are brewing beer all week long and distributing it not only in California but throughout the US and seven other countries as well.

 

03_Stone Brewery

Stacks and stacks of kegs just waiting for their turn to hold some stellar beer. I couldn’t believe that they fill 145 kegs on a hour on a 2-belt system. That is a lot of beer! Of course it gets refrigerated right away and shipped out as soon as those trucks back on in to the warehouse. This operation was a well-oiled machine. Everything was super clean and everything it seemed had its place. I wish I was that organized!

05_Stone Brewery

Sprockets Beer was this year’s winner of the Employee Internal Brew Contest created by Rick Blankemeier.

Rick Blankemeier, Stone’s Quality Control Manager, took a moment out of his day to answer some questions for me. He told me about this contest that Stone has every year where the employees come up with a new beer – and these aren’t necessarily the brewmasters. His team won with a Black Rye Colt as they didn’t want to make another IPA and wanted something that they could easily drink a lot of in case they lost. No worries there as they won with Sprockets Beer! It is slightly hoppy but nowhere near the hoppiness level of other Stone beers. If you want to try this beer you need to grab it quick as it is a super limited production and once it’s gone, it’s gone.

Rick’s favorite stone beer is the Go To IPA and his honest opinion is that is is easily a 12 on a scale of 1 to 10 on hoppiness! If you love hops, you will love this beer.  If he is not drinking Stone, Rick reaches for a Sculpin from Ballast Point or a Swartz Beer and is always up for trying new beers.

06_Stone Brewery

Picking out just the right barley, malt, hops, and other secret ingredients is what makes Stone beer so dang popular these days. With the recent trend in craft beer leaning heavily towards IPAs, Stone Brewing Company is positioned to be a strong contender and at the top of the wave of this ride.

Why is Stone so hoppy? Steve Wagner early on developed a fondness for hopps. Every year the Anniversary Brew is an IPA and the first one was Stone IPA and one later on was Ruination. The founders of Stone knew they were onto something with setting themselves a part with going with full flavor and full bitterness in their beers. They don’t tend to do a full balanced beer and understood early on that people were searching for hoppier beers. I think they definitely surpassed their goals and made an awesome hoppy beer!

 

07_Stone Brewery

  Steve Wagner and Kristi Trimmer, his first selfie!

 

 

4-14-14 Stone Brewery

 

I tried all of their beers and my hands down favorite was their Imperial Russian Stout. Dark, rich, creamy was just what this beer lover wanted. My second fave was Arrogant Bastard which was perfect on this warm Spring day.

Stone’s Beer Benefit Program is off the hook! If you take advantage of ALL of these crazy beer benefits, that is about 28-29 gallons of beer per month! My jaw dropped open at that news.

–          Half barrel Keg a month or three 6-barrel kegs

–          Case of beer a month of the core styles

–          Special Beers on your anniversary

–          2 Shift Beers per shift

–          1 Growler fill at end of your shift

–          Half priced beer at the Bistro

 .

Kristi Trimmer New Correspondent for Adventures In Brew

 

By Charissa Heckard

KristiTrim

 

Good beer is a way of life, a good craft beer is a necessity.”

We are happy to announce Kristi Trimmer will now be the spokesperson for Adventures in Brew. Kristi will be touring breweries in the United States and will be tasting all kinds of beer and speaking with brewers.

Kristi has been a lover of craft beer for a while now. When she was younger she didn’t understand how people would drink the lager American beers that were sold by the caseload. Her family thought she was the weird one when she would only drink dark beers.

KristiTrimmerKristi enjoys a good stout, a creamy porter, and admits to a deep love affair with ciders. She can’t stay away from Witbiers or Hefes. She says IPAs are not her current favorites but that might always change!

Kristi is a full-time travel blogger and last year would pull the map out and travel to the closest brewery. She enjoys seeing behind the scenes during brewery tours and sharing little known facts about the beer with her community.

“I’m excited about going all over the US to taste different beers and ask the brew masters why they brew what they do and find out the back story on the beer,” Kristi said.

Some breweries on her list are Stone Brewery, Deschutes Brewery, Fort George Brewery and Hilcrest Brewery.

“I think my first stop will be Stone Brewery and I will be visiting San Diego soon so I will stop by breweries out there,” said Kristi. “I am going to be a busy little bee!”

Follow Kristi on her journey by adding her on Facebook and follow her twitter!

adv_in_brew_trans3.

Father and Son, a Home Brewing Duo

By Charissa Heckard

Alex's Homemade MeadMark and Alex Sipes are a father-son home brewing team making mead and beer in Phoenix! Alex started making mead three years ago next to his father who brews the beer. They started out when Alex’s mother gave him a five gallon carboy and they made a batch of hard apple cider and evolved from there. Alex is constantly trying to improve his original mead recipe after his first batch was very successful. They make beer brewing a family activity, brewing on Saturday mornings, the smell fills the house.

“I find it to be a very constructive activity for my family, especially since we can all taste our beer a few weeks later and enjoy our hard and careful work,” Alex said.

While Alex focuses on mead, his father brews the beer.  Mark has been brewing beer for a little over a year now, and also makes the occasional batch of hard cider and turns into more of an “apple wine” than a low-ABV cider. Drawing on his Bavarian heritage, Mark brews with German recipes, taking elements from Austrian, Czech, and Scottish recipes to create his own unique brew.

“The best batches he’s produced happen to be his Vanilla Porter and his Pumpkin Porter, recipes of his own that I’m confident could win brewers’ contests,” Alex said.

Mark Pitching Yeast

Method

Alex sticks to traditional mead-making methods; one long primary for the mead, six months to a year depending on the type, and isinglass as a fining agent before bottling. He incorporates locally harvested honey and locally grown fruits into the recipe and uses two different types of yeast during different stages of the fermentation, giving it a distinct, well-refined flavor. Alex then design and prints his own labels, and bottles the mead in 375ml mini bottles to make the packaging more distinct.

“I’ve found mead is relatively cheap to produce, and the long fermenting and aging processes play nicely with the fact that I’m very busy with school and work,” Alex said.  

Alex and his father brew in the kitchen and use a small closet in the center of their house for fermenting and storing the beer and mead. They use a simple setup with the basic equipment such as a six gallon kettle for brewing up beer wort, a few buckets and carboys for fermenting, and a plethora of one gallon glass jugs for his mead.

“It would be nice to have an elaborate setup like what more serious home brewers have, but right now we’re pretty happy with what we can do with what we’ve got,” said Alex. “After all, a quality brew is all about good ingredients and processes, not how expensive your equipment is.”

 

Home Brewing Hiccups  

Alex and his father had one hiccup with brewing beer, where they added the wrong kind of hops into the boil at the wrong time, which resulted in a hoppier beer. It tasted good so they wrote it in the logbook and laughed about it. As far as mead goes, Alex had batches simply stop fermenting before, which is difficult to notice because the fermentation is subtle. He introduced more yeast and the batch recovered in a few months.

“I remember that batch actually tasting particularly good, and sometimes it’s fun to introduce a new kind of yeast halfway through the fermentation to change the character of the final product,” Alex said.

Mark's Recent Brews

 .

How To Taste Beer

By: Dan Radak

Beer tasting

Preparing beer for tasting is of the same importance as choosing the right lager, ale or stout for your picky tongue buds. To make sure that your beer is completely ready for use and that your tongue and mind are at the same frequency, you need to take care of the temperature at which you keep the beer, the food that you eat before consuming your favourite beer, the glass that beer will be served in and many other details.

Mind the temperature.

It makes a difference what part of the fridge you leave your beer in and not to mention how important it is to adjust the temperature of the fridge to the right degree. Basically, you have to be careful about the type of beer you are going to consume. Lagers are usually served colder, while ales and stouts should be kept at lower temperatures, since their flavours and tastes are richer and you do not want your fridge to kill all the nice smells and tastes of your dark beer. So, when it comes to lagers, the optimal temperature is 40°-45°F and ales should be kept at the temperature between 45°-50°F. Also, pay attention to the glasses that your beer is poured into. If the glasses have been at room temperature, the beer will very soon reach the same temperature. In order to preserve the coolness of darker beers, it is a good idea to put the glasses to the fridge for a while, but not to close to the icy areas.

Avoid spices to enjoy the beer.

Many people eat various snacks when drinking beer. The most popular ones are definitely peanuts and chips. However, if you overdo with spicy snacks, you will not be able to enjoy your beer to the full extent. If you are about to have lager, then mild snacks can come into consideration. However, consuming stouts and various flavoured beer (with roast coffee or malt) should be drunk without eating any richly spiced snacks or any other sort of chili-inspired meals.

No cigarettes before drinking beer.

Although, we see many people smoke tobacco and drink beer at the same time, that should be avoided when it comes to fully enjoying your beer. Tobacco and nicotine both have a very strong taste and smell. Since you engage all your senses when tasting beer (except for hearing), you could actually kill a lot of positive vibrations that beer might be emitting while drinking. So as to prevent suffocating your senses, avoid smoking and having beer at the same time. However, if you are drinking only a third-class lager, you can smoke whatever you want. In that case, the tobacco will help you in the beer drinking process. Also, some cigars match perfectly some dark beers, since their aromas fit each other.

The light matters.

Speaking of senses, tasting beer includes smell, (mouth) taste and sight. We all like to watch beer while we are drinking it. It comes from the fact that people naturally check what they are going to put into their mouths. When it comes to beers, eyes simply enjoy observing the colour and texture of the beer that is about to be poured down the throat. And just think of all the bubbles dancing up the glass. They certainly have possess some sort of hypnotizing power. That is why adequate lighting is also one of the preconditions for full pleasure when tasting beer.

Author’s bio: Dan Radak is passionate beer lover, especially home grown beer, he is also a web writer and co-author on several websites. In his free time he’s digging through the web in search for the best home brew supplies..