Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Wow, only a couple of hours has gone by since the interview and they already have it posted! Click here if you missed it live today to see me on the air talking about pairing our beers with food!

There is a 30 second ad before the video starts.

Beer on TV: KCRA 3

A little late on this one for you working folks to set your tivo's...sorry about that.

I will be on KCRA 3 today for the Noon News hour in a segment about pairing our beers with food. Check it out, I don't know when it will be on exactly, it is a live show so they said it could air anytime. If they provide streaming video I will post a follow up for those who missed it or live out of the area.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Drinking in a Down Economy

This post started as a comment on Rick Sellers Pacific Brew News Blog and it quickly got too long to be contained in the comments section. Rick observed that some people may be reducing the amount they tip during these times of high gas prices, falling home values and increasing costs at the grocery stores. He brings up one of my favorite drinking etiquette rules from the Modern Drunkard: "If you can't afford to tip, you can't afford to drink in a bar. Go to a liquor store."

I don't go out nearly as much as I would like because I subscribe to the Modern Drunkard ethos whole heartedly. I tip for good service and tip large for great service. I just consider it a cost of dining out. The beer community isn't limited to producers and drinkers, it is these men and women in the service industry that bring the two together. At my regular spots they take great care of me and I take great care of them.

I was just talking with my wife about the fact that so many people have never worked in a restaurant that there is no appreciation for what goes into the job. Many of the places we frequent are staffed by professionals. Service is their job and tips are their primary source of income. How would you like it if every time gas climbed above $4.00 per gallon your boss gave you a 5% pay cut? They are already feeling the pinch by people not dining out as frequently these days, why rub salt in the wound? Most of these folks work hard so you can sit relax and have the luxury of beer and food brought right to you and have the dirty dishes whisked away.

That being said, the choice between going out to a bar or drinking at home is where this tipping tangent came from. Our "to go" beer sales (growlers, kegs, bottles) are strong, in fact they are matching our highest sales ever as a percentage to total sales. The trouble I have with that trend is that a big part of the brewing scene is community and for some reason it feels like something is missing without gathering at a third place instead of hanging out at home with a brew.

The book Bowling Alone by Robert Putnam that examines how our "social capital" has been diminished over the years as in modern society we have fewer and fewer social outlets and are becoming increasingly isolated individuals. If people are increasingly taking beer home to drink because of the costs of going out it can only contribute to our diminished community connections.

I think a compromise is in order that solves both of these problems. Go out with friends, share a pitcher as they are generally cheaper than 4 individual pints. Split a pizza, share an appetizer, or dine during happy hour. If money is tight perhaps you don't order that additional beer or extra course if you can't afford it but don't skimp on the tip!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Summer Brewers Dinner

Our next Brewer's Dinner will be Tuesday, August 26th and will feature 5 courses prepared by our Executive Chef Crescencio Rodriguez and paired with a beer by Brewmaster Peter Hoey. Get your tickets now, they went on sale yesterday and we are already halfway sold out!

Seared Ahi Tuna
Sashimi grade ahi with a mustard curry sauce and asparagus tips
Independence Ale

Squash & Sweet Pea Soup with Fresh Oysters
Puree of yellow squash and fresh sweet peas garnished with a fresh oyster
India Pale Ale

Hearts of Artichoke Salad
Artichoke with baby spring mix, fresh mozzarella and sun dried tomatoes

Filet Mignon Marinated in Scotch Ale
Garnished with foie gras and swiss chard served aside potato ravioli
Scotch Ale

Bananas Royal
Caramelized bananas served with mango ice cream and chocolate

$60 per person. Your payment holds your reservation. Seating begins at 6:30pm at Sacramento Brewing Company, Town and Country location (2713 El Paseo Lane, Sacramento, CA 958212)

Friday, August 15, 2008

I Heart Pork Belly

This is an exciting time for craft beer as in recent years there has been a concerted movement to elevate beer to its proper place at the table. Beer dinners are popping up all over the Bay Area and we are starting to see more around Sacramento. I have always advocated that beer is far superior to wine when it comes to food pairings, especially for Thai, Chineese, and Mexican dishes and it seems as if at least a few people are catching the drift.

Last night Mulvaney's B&L hosted a brewers dinner featuring the beers of the Rubicon. The theme was Pork. Yum. Every course had pork in it, even dessert where in addition to the flourless chocolate cake there was chocolate covered bacon with a light pistachio crust.

My favorite beer and food pairing of the night was a preview of 2008 Rosebud, a Strong ale brewed with 12 different malts with big caramel, malty and fruity flavors. It was paired with "Jamican Bangers and Mash" which was pork sausage with jerk spices and mashed plantines. The sweetness of the beer was great to compliment the heat of the jerk spices.

Patrick Mulvaney is a fantastic chef and all the courses were meticulously prepared including stretching his own mozzarella and curing his own copa for one dish to the wonderful hand passed appetizers that included roasted figs with shaft blue cheese, house smoked salmon on a potato chip, and mini ruben sandwiches with local lamb pastrami. There was also crispy pork belly to go along with a smoked pork shoulder. Yum and yum.

Get down to Mulvaney's if you haven't been before. It is in Midtown Sacramento at 1215 19th Street. The food is fantastic, ingredients are local and house made, the ambiance is relaxing and the service is professional. What more could you ask for?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Beer on the Radio

I along with Bryan Shadden, producer of "On Tap" and JJ Jackson of the Homebrew Outlet were guests on Capital Public Radio's program Insight. We discussed the local beers scene, the science of brewing, and promoted the On Tap premier.

You can download the show here. It is an hour long and we are the last segment if you are looking for the beer content.

The End of Summer

I love the changing of the seasons. For some reason Fall has always been my favorite season and as a brewer I get excited about this time of year. I know a reprieve from the hot weather is on the horizon with that comes all the fall seasonal beers. Granted, it is certainly still summer here in Sacramento, the 101 degree day yesterday was a painful reminder of that. Despite the current hot snap, activity in the brewhouse is starting to feel like Fall.

One last summer brew, our new Brewhouse Lager, is to be released in about three weeks. It is a light lager brewed with domestic Pilsner Malt, German Munich and Carafoam malts finished with Tetnang hops. We are trying a new lager yeast strain in this batch from Augustiner instead of our normal lager yeast so we are excited to see how it tastes compared to our normal pilsner yeast.

Independence Ale is all but gone, there is one keg left at the Oasis that will likely run out this week. Oktoberfest is in the tank and the bigger beers have been brewed for our Great American Beer Festival entries. Smokey's Imperial Red is the beer most people are interested in, especially now that Independence has just about run out. It has been brewed but needs another month or so to age and be dry hopped over and over again. And again. It should make an appearance towards the end of September and will be one of our GABF and Alpha King entries.

B900 is the same recipe we brewed last year for our 900th batch at our original location. It is an ordinary bitter brewed with floor malted Maris Otter malt, English caramel malts and East Kent Golding hops. Very flavorful but low alcohol beer, great for drinking lots of without getting smashed. I am going to brew it next week and it doesn't take long to ferment and condition. Look for it in about three weeks from the date of this post.

We also have a nice selection of some guest beers right now at Town & Country. As I write this we have the last keg of Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA on line and I just tapped a keg of Sierra Nevada Harvest Ale this morning. There are some other treats lined up, keep an eye on the blog for some more special guest beers coming soon!


Friday, August 8, 2008

Action Alert: Trash and Trinkets

There is a serious action alert for all of you California craft beer lovers. AB 1245 or the "Trash and Trinkets" bill is up for a vote on Monday. Anheuser-Busch is currently the ONLY brewery supporting this bill which will increase the gift-to-consumer limit from $0.25 to $5.00 per item. It may seem small but it will make it extremely difficult for us small breweries to compete. Please call your Senator and encourage them to vote no on AB 1245, these phone calls really make a difference. You can find your senator and their contact information here.

If you want to read more about this issue check out what Jay Brooks has to say about it here and here.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

KVIE On Tap Premier

A couple of months ago Sacramento Brewing was selected to be one of the breweries featured in a new program called On Tap. The show is part of the ViewFinder series, a locally produced program for KVIE Channel 6 that covers a variety of local topics from railroads to 1950's vacations.

In addition to visiting our brewery and getting some shots of the pub and me brewing the producers invited some industry veterans to talk about and taste some Sacramento beers. Jay Brooks, Rick Sellers, and JJ Jackson join the program to talk about their selections and discuss the state of the brewing industry. Jay selected our Russian Imperial Stout for the tasting, Rick chose Rubicon IPA, and JJ went with Sudwerk Pilsner. There are also interviews with Sierra Nevada and Anchor Brewing so it is not just limited to Sacramento brews but still has a nice local perspective.

Check it out, the show premiers August 13th at 7:00 on KVIE Channel 6. Tell your friends, the producers want to make this a regular series and we need more shows about the great craft beer being made in this state!