Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Ketchup for Thanksgiving

Well damn… it’s been a few weeks… you may be wondering what the hell has happened to me since then? Well… here are a few things:
IRON BREWING!!! – As briefly mentioned last entry, Izzy & I are making Extinction Fennel Event for Ferment.Drink.Repeat’s Iron Brewer event… and it’s coming along great so wish us luck next week the judging.
We also started a Cider, kegged the California Common from Big Ben & Lone Cicerone, made a pair of SMASH beers, and FINALLY bottled our 2nd barrel aged Imperial Stout (and it’s very whiskey-y). Here are some pictures of those adventures…

We’ve also had a booth at the Treasure Island Flea Market twice and have had a little weather each time… but overall, a pretty great experience where we made some money & learned things…

… and we also had a booth at the Jack of All Trades festival in Oakland, and going to do it again in just over a week! Here are some pictures of that…

Oh, there was also Halloween (mostly spent at the Flea Market) but we had fun at the Lake Lady’s Going Away Party
There was also the California State Homebrewing Competition Finals at Anchor Brewing… and I was among the top winners, even though I didn’t enter a single beer this year. How you ask? Well, here are some pictures of the event, including some of my winnings from the raffle in which I entered $100 of tickets which include:

·         $50 gift card to Oak Barrel Brewcraft
·         $25 gift card & glass from Barrelhead Brewing
·         4 bottles of Speakeasy Brewing’s Scarface barrel aged Imperial Stout
·         Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest T-shirt
·         9 bottles of Henhouse Brewing’s Saison
·         11 bottles of Freewheel Brewing’s beer (4 different kinds)
·         2 bottles of Almanac Brewing’s Peach de Brettaville
…and then a few things that I got in the Anchor Gift Shop… so a pretty good day!
What else, what else? Oh yeah, one of the worst game show hosts in American history is now the President of the United States… no pictures of that.
We followed that surprise up two days later by watching one of our favorite comedians in the world, Dana Gould, at Punchline SF again. He’s always a treat and an incredible performer. If you don’t listen to his podcast, The Dana Gould Hour (never an hour), then you should absolutely start downloading and listening to it now. He’s just a very interesting & funny man with many layers! He also has great taste as he loved my “I didn’t mean to offend you… that was a bonus!” T-shirt that I was wearing that night. So much so that he liked my photo of him on Instagram which… is basically fantastic.
There was also the San Francisco Homebrewers Guild Annual Brewery Bus Tour which included stops at Uncommon Brewers in Santa Cruz…
Corralitos Brewing in Watsonville
Highway 1 Brewing in Pescadero

… and ended at Beach Chalet Restaurant & Brewery at Ocean Beach. Not quite the turnout of years past but… a great bunch & a great time was had by all on an otherwise pretty dreary& rainy day (which is also awesome).
I also received something unexpected… a 25th Anniversary Letter hand signed by Mr. Bill Marriott himself!!! Yes, I know, I started early… like when I was 10 years old.
This past weekend, Wingman Scott came to visit and spent Thanksgiving with us… and we had a lot of fun hanging out with him, also a surprise visit from C&H&KJ on Black Friday, we had the booth at the Flea Market doing some pretty good business, and then on Sunday Scott & I met up with C for some Tailgating at the Oakland Raiders game

As you can see, I’ve been pretty busy… and I’m trying to keep you

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Grandma Cruise 2016

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
Day 1 – Disneyland
Well, we drove down Thursday night and got to our hotel in Anaheim around 2 AM, taking a quick nap before venturing into the Happiest Spookiest Place on Earth – DISNEYLAND!!! Our first stop was apparently the most popular attraction this time of year… the Haunted Mansion, redone to be Nightmare Before Christmas…
Here are some other pictures from our adventures at Disneyland, we also met up with my brother & his family who had been in town a day earlier…

By the way, did you know that Disney owns Star Wars now? And Marvel? And… I think just about everything that you love?
Day 2 – Knott’s Berry/Scary Farm
The next day, we got a good night’s sleep & headed out to Knott’s Berry Farm, also draped for the spookiest holiday of the year. I love Knott’s, even more than Disneyland. It’s just… well, less ridiculously expensive… but also a lot more rides (yes, I know Disney’s California Adventure has a lot to compare) and just a pretty cool vibe to it. Anyway, here are some pictures…


After the park, we headed back to Anaheim and had a drink at Noble Ale Works… pretty good stuff they’ve got brewing there… I really liked their “The Festbier Ever” and “Irish I Was A Little Bit Taller” selections…
Day 3 – Boarding the Ship
The next day was basically meeting up with about 30 of my closest relatives for a wonderful three-day cruise!!!
Day 4 – Catalina Island
Beautiful morning on the quiet island of Catalina (I assume eerily quiet when there aren’t cruise ships in port)…
Wandering around the main drive, we stopped by Catalina Island Brewhouse for a quick beer (it was close enough to noon, so don’t judge) while we waited for our snorkeling excursion…


Unfortunately the tide was high due to a Supermoon & the waves were pretty choppy, so snorkeling was cancelled… but we saved money with the difference & still were able to catch a Glass Bottomed Boat so we could still see some fishies…
Then it was back to the boat for family time…
Day 5 – Ensenada, Mexico
Our Mexican excursion started with a drive from the port out to their wine country and a stop at Ochentos Pizza & El Chivo Grunon Brewery, which is a pretty awesome place. They’re first & foremost, a popular pizza place that guys from San Diego/Ensenada started on their family’s land… and even started a craft brewery in their grandmother’s former home (it’s pretty small as you’ll see). The guy showing us around had a super hipster moustache… but seemed pretty cool… here are the pictures…
Next stop was a slightly larger brewery called Wendlandt Cerveceria where they had a tap room, distribution channels, and all that stuff… but still pretty little known. We had tasters of all their beers on tap… and they were all pretty good…


Next up was a LEGIT street taco place called Taqueria El Flamazo, where they had some great tacos with Cabeza (head meat) & a giant spit of marinated pork (al pastor) that they just shaved the meat off into the taco & it was just heavenly… here are some pictures…
On the way back on the bus, we took the scenic route to get an overview of Ensenada…
Basically from there we did a little shopping downtown for souvenirs, my cousin Alicia learned about poverty secondhand, and then we made our way back to the ship to celebrate my Grandma’s 80th Birthday Dinner!!!
Day 6 – Day at Sea
The day at sea was pretty low key… and involved Izzy & I taking down a 101 ounce Beer Tube in… about thirty minutes… and we even paced ourselves.
There was a lot of chilling in the sun, eating entirely too much, relaxing in the room, and we spent the evening watching comedy shows & hanging with the family… great times with great peeps!!!
Day 7 – Back on Land
The next morning, Izzy & I went to see the Queen Mary, a former British warship / luxury cruiseliner that Winston Churchill used to transport himself during WWII across the Atlantic… and is now a sunken hotel / museum there at the port. It was incredibly interesting… here are some pictures…


We also had a nice six-hour drive back during a heatwave (100+ in the Central Valley in mid-October) so we headed home… and apparently the heat or something caught up with me & I was sick the next day. It sucked… but it was also on a Friday so, work got pushed back a few days. No complaints there.
We also got a barrel for potting plants
We also brewed our entry for the Iron Brewer Competition that is going on with one of our favorite breweries, Ferment.Drink.Repeat! This competition presents brewers with a  secret ingredient a la Iron Chef… and our secret ingredient is… (whooshing noises from the Chairman’s nephew)… FENNEL!!!!!!! So with that in mind, we brewed… Extinction Fennel Event!!!
Anyway, busy time, I know that I’m not keeping up on this thing… but I’m trying. Blame my job… it’s cuckoo bananas busy… all the time… and they’ll never hire enough people to help… because why would they when they have the greatest employee EVER!!! Have a great day everybody!!!

Where Should I Go Next?