So I’m sure you’ve heard the news by now: Lagunitas is suing Sierra Nevada for infringing on their use of the big bold black letters that spell IPA across the front of their bottles. Here are the images for reference.
Really, Lagunitas? I thought we were all friends here. I love seeing Craft Brew Festivals and microbreweries helping each other out. We each other are not the enemy. The BMC makers who taught Americans to drink pisswater are the real enemy. Most small-timers like to help each other out, loaning equipment and facilities when necessary, and even co-sponsoring events. Because in my mind, I want more microbreweries out there. Not fewer. I don’t want to drink only one beer for the rest of my life. I want selection.
Sierra Nevada released a statement on their site basically saying, “Yeah, no, we have no interest in being confused for another beer.” Cheers to that, guys. I am a big fan of Sierra Nevada. Have been for years. Lagunitas? Eh, well, it’s okay. But I just lost a ton of respect for them. I think I’ll be avoiding anything by them from now on. Nothing like a little whining to turn people off.
I haven’t updated in a long time here. But don’t think that means we haven’t been brewing. Just like a trusty network device – when it’s working you never think about it. We’ve been brewing like the big boys lately. In fact, let me tell you what we’ve got in the hopper right now.
Conspiracy: five gallons in secondary
Old Lantern: five gallons in secondary, will keg this weekend
Young Porter: a friend’s batch of porter to bottle this weekend
Ryan’s Chocolate Milk Stout: to bottle this weekend
Greg’s and Dwayne’s English Brown: to bottle this weekend
Pirate Flag: to brew this weekend
To Be Determined: to brew this weekend
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Today was a huge day at the brew house! We racked two beers (Ford’s English Bitter and The King’s Horse English Brown) to the keg, and brewed a fine batch of Conspiracy. This time I used five ounces of Columbus hops. I almost wanted to call this one Thumper, because it’s a going to be a rabbit of a beer.
But all this work meant pretty much all day out in the Brew Station. Which is fine by me! It only got up to 76°, and it was raining all day. This, to me, is perfect brewing weather. I just spent about the last ten hours out there getting all this stuff taken care of. But I know it’s worth it when my buddies all come over on a Friday night and have plenty of home brew to drink. They’re always very grateful.
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Exciting news, friends! I decided I would try growing my own hops. So let me start from the beginning. I got this sudden thought that I could maybe (probably even likely) grow some hops in my back yard. My back yard is almost a third-acre, so I have plenty of room for a hop garden behind the deck. And I’ll still have room for the pool, the tennis court and a small go-cart track. I figured I’d buy a few seeds and just see what happened. I just thought it would be cool to be able to use my own hops in a brew or two.
Well after a few hours of research, I discovered that you don’t want to buy seeds. You’ll get male and female plants from that, and you only want the female ones. And you don’t want the male ones. You’ll get seeds mixed in and they fertilize your females, and you get seeded cones. So you want to buy rhizomes instead. This is the clipping of the root from a healthy plant. You plant that, and after a season, you have a good root system. Then the second year, you start producing hops. So far, so good. And for a twenty-dollar investment, I really had nothing to lose.
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In case you haven’t noticed, all of our beer names are old-worldly type names, having very little to do with technology, the future, or space for that matter. And those haven’t changed. Old Lantern, King’s Horse, Tomahawk… Well I guess the argument could be made that Bear Trap is a modern technology. But seriously, friends. They don’t manufacture bear traps in a space port. So yeah, it was never going to be SpaceBrew.
And it’s not without a lot of thought and anguish and sleepless nights that I came to the decision on the name. I won’t run down the list of alternatives for you. I would rather this name change just slip into the past like a dream on waking. Simply put, I want to move on. I’m finally happy with the name, and I want to start concentrating on brewing again. New recipes. Beer. Equipment. And occasionally, beer.
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That’s right, friends. We’ve officially been brewing for an entire year, as of May 11, 2013. Our first brew, a batch of Pirate Flag, was brewed on May 12 of 2012. The way I look at it, May 12 of this year marks the start of Year Two. May 11 is a Saturday. That means we can get one more BrewDay in, on the last day of Year One. So I guess the big question on everyone’s minds then, is “What will you brew?”
Well, that seems like it should be simple. A batch of Pirate Flag, just the way we did it back then, right? Same recipe, same Kit & Kilo, standing in the kitchen… everything. Well, I initially thought that too. And I actually struggled with it a little bit. But I’ve decided it doesn’t matter what we brew on that day. What matters is what we drink on that day. Well, you know we’ll be drinking cold pints of Ford’s in honor of Doug Adams’s passing. But that’s in the evening. And I can’t conceivably get a batch of Pirate Flag brewed this weekend and ready to drink by the 11th. So indeed, what will we drink?
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Have you noticed that all these beer websites ask you for your birth date before they’ll let you in? I find myself wondering what the point of that is. Is there a growing concern for the number of children and adolescents visiting beer sites and getting drunk? I understand not letting underage peeps into the liquor store. Or not selling them alcohol. But they can’t even look at your site? And if they really want to see it, what keeps them from rolling the year down a few notches? Nothing. It’s a waste of time, and it’s ridiculous. Trying to make your beer or brewery website look responsible like you care about kids is better accomplished by other means. Well, you’ll never see an age block on SpacePort. No way, ho, say!
But we’ve been brewing a lot of beer lately, friends. That’s what good breweries do, right? And with all the new beers and recipes we’re brewing up, I thought we could use a new logo. So I designed a new, more robust and colorful logo set. You can click here to see the new logo in full size. The Untappd page got a modified version, and there’s a small one at the bottom of this page. Let me know what you think!
With the growing popularity of our beers, and the excellent response we’ve gotten on Untappd, we decided to start taking ourselves a little more seriously. Obviously, we’re not that big. Nor do we have visions of being big. At least not yet. The Broken Anchor Pirate’s Pub is the only place you can enjoy our beers, but I’ve upgraded my equipment and refitted my Beer Fridge to hold three kegs instead of two. We’ll be brewing every weekend for a while, and so will be keeping three beers on tap at any given time. There are two slots for the popular beers and one for the brews that move a little more slowly, like Brown-Eyed Girl and Old Lantern. Click here and here to see the new look of the Beer Fridge.
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In honor of Douglas Adams and his massively popular Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, SpacePort has brewed a new beer in the style of an English Bitter. As fans know, this is the style Ford Prefect ordered for Arthur Dent and himself twelve minutes before the world ended. For this reason, the beer is aptly named Ford’s. We hope to do justice to the name with a fine quality ale.
Every year on May 11th, in remembrance of Douglas Adams’s passing, we celebrate Six Pints for Doug night, in which each participant must indulge in three pints of bitter. Our group has expanded somewhat, and now there are a lot more than six pints on the bar, but so long as each fan has three full pints in front him to start, we feel it honors the tradition.
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With all the craft breweries brewing up some form of spiced ale or another, the market is full of selection! These are exciting times for craft beer lovers. It is evident that not only are micro-breweries opening up everywhere, but so are home-breweries. More and more people are learning that there’s really not a whole lot to making good beer. Just look at the price of corny kegs for evidence that the demand is growing. As little as two years ago, you could buy four or five of them for a C-note. Now you can’t get two.
It’s interesting to see the micro-breweries catching our fever though. They’re as excited as we are to try different recipes and run more flavors to the stores. If you’ve ever gone on the brewery tour to Rahr & Sons in Fort Worth, you know they have a lot more flavors there than they sell at the stores. But try going to Kroger and facing west in the beer aisle this weekend. You know, with your back toward the Big Three. You’ll find yourself facing a wall of craft beer with a whole lot of green and red.
So in the spirit of the season, we’ve decided to get into the game as well. We’re brewing up a little Christmas in our special holiday spiced ale. Snowball will be available in bomber bottles on December 23. If you haven’t registered for your free bottle, make sure you do so here. Cinnamon, spice and everything ice! Have a taste of Frosty! Happy holidays, friends.
I am still somewhat new to the homebrewing scene – though I know a lot more about it than I’ve actually experienced. I’ve spent so much time reading and researching and watching videos about how to do all the things you need to do to run a successful home brewery that there’s very little that surprises me. But I do learn something new with every batch I brew.
I’m on somewhere around my 20th batch now, and it’s going well. I’ve finally hammered out my attenuation problems, and all my beers are finishing like they’re supposed to. The trick is treating your yeast with some respect. Unless you’re one of the lucky ones who just has excellent minerals in your water, and a perfectly steady 75° basement, you should never just tear open a dry yeast packet and sprinkle it on your beer. I, personally, have never gotten great results with that. So today I’ll talk about two things I’ve learned for good attenuation.
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