Greetings All. You’re on this blog site because you’re interested in good beer, and especially good beer from Mac’s Brew. To satisfy your demand for beer knowledge, here’s all the news you need to know (for now). Please read responsibly!
As I mentioned in my last newsletter, I’ve been so busy that brewing here has slowed down to the point that I currently have only three beers on tap (in 2018 I only brewed 8 batches/85 gallons of beer). I know, that’s just not right, but I’m taking steps to correct that problem.
We had a Thanksgiving celebration here, with extended family present. Then on December 15thRosie graduated from Art Center College of Design (in Pasadena). We had a graduation party that night with family and friends in attendance. With these two parties, we emptied 3 out of 6 kegs, which is why we currently have only 3 beers on tap. But, the 3 beers are very good. I brewed an IPA three weeks ago, but it won’t be on tap until February.
In early February Sheila and I are leaving for Santa Rosa. Yes, for the second year in a row, I will be going to Russian River Brewing on a Pliny the Younger quest. Last year there were four people (including me) in our party and we had a great time. This year our party has grown to nine people, and we plan to trek over to another Santa Rosa brewery after having our ration of PTY at Russian River.
I was fortunate to meet three young fellows on Black Tuesday at The Bruery this past October. These men were from Santa Rosa and suggested that I visit three small breweries in town – Plow Brewing, Cooperage Brewing, and Moonlight Brewing. It just so happens that all three of these breweries are close to each other, and just a few miles away from RR. Unfortunately we won’t have time to visit all three, so we’ve chosen to visit Cooperage Brewing.
If you were not aware, Russian River Brewing has opened another facility (brewery and bistro) a few miles up the road from their Santa Rosa location. We are hoping that the new facility (much larger than their SR brewpub) will draw off a significant portion of the crowd from Santa Rosa, resulting in shorter wait times. I’ll let you know how that works out for us. And, by the way, this year Sheila is attending the PTY madness with us at Russian River (last year she went wine tasting while I was beer tasting). She will be the sole female in our group that day, but I have no doubt she will be able to hold her own (and she loves IPAs).
I’m sure you’re all anxious to know what is currently being offered at Mac’s. Here is the current and soon-to-be available beer list.
Maktoberfest: Brewed June 22, 2018. 5.5 ABV, 26 IBU
This is one of my most requested and sought after brews, second only to Goldihops (Honey Blonde Ale). It’s really easy drinking with the low alcohol and bitterness, and Oktoberfest style beers are very popular. I brewed this alone, so I had 10 gallons for consumption at Mac’s Brew Pub, and that’s why it’s still on tap (since the beginning of September 2018). For additional description, see my newsletter of September 17, 2018.
San Andreas Malt: Brewed September 19, 2018. 5.4 on the Richter Scale, 43 IBU.
This is a California Common style lager brewed in collaboration with my friend, Jeff Nash (see Newsletter of September 17, 2018, for additional information on this beer style). This was a new recipe and first time brewed. That usually means tweaking the recipe and process for subsequent batches in order to get the beer I envision. However, this turned out fantastic and I don’t plan on changing anything with future batches. It’s a medium amber color with a slightly malty aroma, but not sweet. The flavor is clean, crisp and hoppy, but with a nice moderately rich malt foundation (bread, toast, caramel and grainy) and dry finish that makes it well balanced (but definitely on the hoppy side). It’s very similar to (but not a clone of) the standard bearer in this style category – Anchor “Steam Beer”. San Andreas Malt is so good it’s shaking my world!
Wide Awake Drunk: Brewed November 7, 2018. 5.0% ABV, 45 IBU.
This is an annual fall brew at Mac’s. It’s an English style oatmeal stout with cold brewed coffee and conditioned with cacao nibs for a nice mocha flavor. It’s dispensed on nitrogen, so it’s creamy smooth with very little carbonation bite. It really tastes like a big stout, even though it’s only 5% ABV. This brew was a collaboration with my young brewing friend, Dave Hollandbeck. [Note: Dave, I need to get you over here to have WAD on nitrogen.]
Reefer Nearness: Brewed January 6, 2019. 7.1% ABV (so far), 127 IBU.
Designed and brewed in collaboration with another young brewing friend, Bryce Lowrance, this is a West Coast style IPA using Nugget hops for bittering, and Azacca and Idaho 7 hops for aroma and flavor. It’s currently dry hopping and in the final stages of conditioning. When I last checked (11 days ago) it was 7.1% ABV, but could possibly go just a bit higher – I’ll know when I keg it on January 31st.
I’m sure you all want to know where the name of this beer (“Reefer Nearness”) comes from, so here’s the story. Is there anyone in this country who hasn’t seen, or at least heard of the movie, “Reefer Madness” (a 1936 propaganda film)? Of course not. What is not so widely known, however, is that hops (Humulus Lupulus) are a close cousin of cannabis. Yes, it’s true (next time you have a chance to smell some hops, note the pungent “skunky” aroma), but of course hops have no THC, the psycho-active component of marijuana. My point is this: hops are very NEAR TO MARIJUANA. Because of this close relationship I’ve always wanted to name an IPA something along the lines of “Reefer Madness”, but of course it’s not actually reefer. Thus, “Reefer Nearness– The Bitter Pill That Makes Life Sweet” was born.
Reefer Nearness is still conditioning, so I have not yet tasted it. I only hope it’s good enough to cause as much of a stir as its namesake (“Reefer Madness”).
I think my next brew will be Goldihops. I plan to brew it in mid-February after returning from Santa Rosa. I need to start looking for a brewing partner for this one.
In 2018 I did not enter any brewing competiions – we were too busy travelling. I plan to enter some of my brews into a couple of competitions this year. The American Homebrewers Association national competition is coming up soon and I think I will enter San Andreas Malt and Maktoberfest. I’m considering Wide Awake Drunk, and I may enter Reefer Nearness, depending on how it turns out. If I can get Goldihops brewed in time, I will also enter that into the national. The Orange County Fair competition is coming up in May, so I have to start thinking about entries for that competition as well.
Well, that’s all I have time for now, and of course, that’s about all you have time to read today (sorry this got so lengthy). Check in again soon, or subscribe to macsbrew.com to get all the latest news and beer reviews.