So this is basically heaven. I am currently at the National Homebrewers Conference at the Oakland Marriott. A whole bunch of homebrewers, commercial brewers, and overall beer people at a conference together drinking beer and talking about everything from what yeast variates to use (and why you would use them) or how to make ridiculously expensive beers (like with so many different malts it is just insane or with exotic ingredients like cloud berries) that taste amazing.
I have been to two sessions so far. The first was Extreme Fermentables by the always fun to listen to Sam Calagione, and the other one was Beer Alchemy: Pre and Post Flavor Ideas by Sean Paxton the homebrew chef. Wow, both were great. Sam is very good at telling a story with humor and showing what his little company is all about. He showed a 20 min video that watches Palo Santo Marron go from concept, being tested on the small brew system in the pub, and then on to the big brewery for production. It was interesting to hear that he never brews on the big system – he leaves that to Bryan Selder the head brewer and others at Dogfish Head.
And then there was Sean Paxton. I knew I was going to like this one but it blew me away. He was talking fast to get everything in, but the ideas he put forth about working with the flavor of your beer at all stages of the process threw even me for a loop. Sean’s brain is constantly running through ideas and boy has he tried a lot of them (Irish car bomb pie – whisky in the crust! Hop infused vodka cheese cake – OMG!). And the whole section on elixirs was all new to me.
This conference couldn’t come at a better time for me. Just popped my first homebrew last night – a west coast style pale ale – named “Cata-Luke” – and ya know what? It was pretty good.
Well, I will post more about the sessions later – but my power is about to go so this is all I can do for now. Ken Grossman is up next for the keynote.
Here are some pictures: