Friday, July 13, 2012

The purpose of this Blog, Homebrewing, Sunfest and Sexy Betty

Today I decided to start a brewing blog.  Why?  Because it sounds like a good plan for me since I have about nine million ideas that fly through my A.D.D. head every day.  Tons of superior ideas that pretty much blow everything you're thinking about right now out of the water.  I figure I should enlighten everyone about how brilliant I am, and how insanely good my taste is in beer is.....

Well, if you could tell from that previous statement I am a bit of a "confident individual" at times.  I do love what I love, and dislike what I dislike.  This isn't going to be a "beat around the bush" kind of blog.  I am very straight forward and love to talk about things in my own perspective.  I also love to hear others perspectives too.  So one thing I hope people do when they read this, is tell me what they think on any of the subjects I write about.  As right as I might think I am sometimes, I always like to hear others' views.  So definitely leave comments especially if you think I am full of "garbage" about any specific subject or opinion.  Okay then, moving onward:

Since brewing and beer making is a big hobby of mine.  This seemed like the best course of action to enhance my enjoyment of the hobby.  I started this journey far later than most.  I'm 31 years old and I bought my first homebrewing kit last July.  I joined the Railroaders Brew Club last October.  So I have only been a homebrewer for a little over a year.  I have had a ton of hobbies over the years.  Video games, paintball, modeling.  Out of all the nerdy hobbies I have had, nothing challenges me or brings me the enjoyment I get that I do with homebrewing.  I love making beer, I love sharing it with anyone and everyone who wants to try it, and I love talking about it 24/7.  My wife, is a VERY patient woman.  And I thank God every day that she can deal with my obsession.

After some big purchases and about a grand later.  I had a pretty decent setup in my apartment.  The only problem was I had the living room in the apartment absolutely filled with beer.  I had boxes stacked up half way to the ceiling and practically ruined the stove in our apartment from making extract brews.  The day Tiff and I bought a house, she breathed a sigh of relief to have a home and kitchen free of brewing.  She banished me to the garage, which to this day she cannot park in because of my home brewery.  But I think trading a garage and a basement office for an entire house is a fair deal to me.  She gets to decorate and I get to brew.  We're both happy.  (Even though her decorating means I get to hang curtains, shelves and move 400 lb. armoires into the house.  But who's complaining I get to brew!)  I then proceeded to buy more gear for an all grain setup.  Made several beers and attended several events with the Railroaders.  Learned a lot from brewers and breweries in the area.  If there's one thing I can say about Omaha.  It is that homebrewing and beer in general is thriving here.  Tons of new people are enjoying the hobby every day.  And with the resources we have around here, it's not hard to start making good beer in a hurry.  Don't get me wrong.  I have made some awful, TERRIBLE, beer in my day.  I have screwed up Witbiers and over lemoned a lemon shandy to the point of near "cough-syrup" like flavors.  But even after throwing out well over 20 gallons of beer thus far in my career I can confidently make most of what I set out to make and end up with good, tasty, homebrew.  A lot of this is due to clubs like the Railroaders that give homebrewers a place to start learning, and to friendly local professional brewers like Tyson Arp and Sam Riggins.  Who will invite homebrewers to brew with them and answer all of my stupid questions.

If you're a homebrewer looking for a place to start, here's a good resource in Omaha.

As a Railroader.  I can say we welcome any and all local homebrewers with open arms.  We have tons of great events, and we have a TON of fun.  If you want to engage with friendly, like minded homebrewers with the aim to improve while also kicking major I mean brewing good beer, then here you go.  Come out to an event.  Look for me or talk to any one of us in our Railroaders t-shirts and we will be glad to introduce you to homebrewing.  Heck, even if you decide it's not for you the worst that can happen is you get free beer out of the deal.  There is not a single event held by our club that does not include wonderful, shared, free, beautiful, homebrew.  Did I mention our meetings rock?

More on my life of beer nerdvana later.  I want to discuss this weekend.  Jumping forward with an incredibly smooth transition of subject matter.  On Saturday, July 14th Crescent Moon and Beertopia are putting on the Sunfest event in midtown Omaha.  I have made a 4.9% ABV 20 IBU Honey Ale Braggot for this event that I will be tapping for the first time.  I'm stoked to bring this honey beer (AKA braggot, you have to call it that or the purists will attack you with facts.  It happens, true story.) because it is only my 3rd beer I have ever kegged.  I recently purchased a bunch of kegs in a group buy with the Railroaders.  The first two didn't taste right and had some residual "funk."  So we will see if my overbearingly thorough cleaning and replacing of o-rings will make a difference for this brew.  I immediately went into quality control mode last week and washed the living bajeezus out of my kegs to make sure they were sanitary and cleaned to beyond restaurant standards.  There goes my O.C.D.  At least once I have this right I will not have to spend hours bottling anymore.  I hate bottling.  Most of you that brew can relate.  Those that don't yet, get ready for bottling because it's FUN! (sarcasm implied)

I know there are supposed to be about 90 billion breweries at this event.  So even if that number may not be accurate, you should still come out and enjoy in the festivities with me.  I'll be bringing my portable video camera with me and should have some footage to show of the event.  So check out my blog for updates with a new video in the next week or so.

You can check out the event online if you haven't bought your tickets at
I'd add a really awesome picture of the Sunfest logo on here but their website stops you from stealing their images.  So I guess we'll just have to move on from here and talk about something else while we awkwardly don't have their awesome logo sitting on my blog site to help get you stoked about Sunfest.

Lastly, for my very first entry on my blog, I would like to hardcover this book with my review of the new "Sexy Betty" from Nebraska Brewing Company.  Here is what our table looked like at the brewery last night:

As you can see, the bottles themselves are a sight to behold.  Probably some of the coolest labeling I have seen on a beer.  The cutout design and the almost "wine like" appearance made you know right away you were holding on to something really special.  Once you poured the beer from the 22 you can immediately smell the sweetness of the malt and the undertones of the Cognac.  The taste was a perfect balance of the best qualities in the Betty series Imperial Stout mixed with just the right amount of Congac that didn't overpower you.  Definitely something you want to let linger on the palette to fully enjoy.  I would say this beer gets a 8.9/10 for me.  I know this is only my first beer review and this might be a little high to be handing out scores like this right away.  But even with many reviews coming ahead I can confidently say this beer deserves a score like this.  Having Weyerbacher Heresy, Goose Island Bourbon County, and even brewing my own Whiskey Barreled Stout I can appreciate this beer as it hits the nail on the head for not only giving me that warm, happy, distinct feeling that I have when I drink a fantastic beer.  But also for the presentation of the product which is so important to me.  As a Senior Marketing and Communications Specialist I will always be reviewing presentation of beer as much as taste and aroma.  There are plenty of beers that get this part right, and some that don't.  Weyerbacher Heresy is one of these.  Their beer is fantastic, but the label is absolute garbage.  Others like Lucky Bucket Lager really do a superior job with Marketing and presentation.  Yet some of their beers fall short to me.  You can look forward to my honest opinions on this in the future, and leave your own comments as to my conclusions.

But I digress....

This beer was limited to 30 cases in existence and each beer had been aged in 50 year old French Cognac barrels.  I was glad I was able to experience the release party at NBC last night because I would have been upset with myself had I not attended.  Having two bottles in my fridge is a good addition to my "special occasion beer" collection.  The taste was something I will not soon forget.

After drinking some Sexy Betty I proceeded to move on to the cask of Summertime Rye.  This beer was a 4.8% ABV American Pale Ale that had some great drinkability.  I only was able to enjoy one pint of this beer as I didn't want to overdo it last night.  Even though I wasn't driving I have found it's not a good plan to drink too much on a work night.  I can say that this beer was very citrusy and the Citra hops used gave it a very big nose.  The taste was very smooth and I found this to go down very fast.  On a scale of ten I would give this a 6.3/10 as a solid, drinkable pale ale.  I enjoyed it but I am still a huge fan of Cardinal in comparison.  But we'll talk about my love of Cardinal Pale Ale another time.

Well, at the end of this blog I just want to thank you for reading this far.  My mind shoots out plenty of content and I can write stuff like this quicker than I can sometimes complete thoughts.  So if anything doesn't make sense just know I'm not an English major and I hope I didn't make this too unreadable.  As for my opinions and statements.  These are truly my own.  So feel free to leave comments, and change my mind.  It's improbable, but certainly possible.  Have a great weekend.  -Bill


  1. I guess you took what Tyson and Angela said to heart last night. You're off to a good start! :-)