Monday, August 17, 2009

Stumptown Beer Festival

In the northern California town of Guerneville, Stumptown Brewery hosted another great beer festival, the Russian River Beer Revival and BBQ Cook Off, with over 30 breweries present and as many booths dispensing BBQ ribs and chicken. The weather was hot and clear as I made my way around to many of the food booths early on to get my belly full and ready to sample the wide selection of craft beers on hand.

Here's to beer!

Wine dipped BBQ oak chips

One of the BBQ booths that stood out, roasted their meat over oak chips salvaged from a local winery. The chips were used in the conditioning of a red wine and consequently had a dry purple powder coated on the exterior, residue from the process. The chef claimed the chips imparted the flavor of the wine into the cooking meat. I tried a piece and agreed although the flavor was subtle.

The crowd

Head brewer Alec Stefansky for Uncommon Brewers (far right)

Uncommon Brewers and Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing (a couple of my local breweries) were represented serving up Belgian style beers and organic beers respectively. Uncommon Brewers (dispensing from disposable plastic kegs) had a Baltic Porter that was an excellent example.
Nick Campbell, the brewmaster at Blue Frog was pouring a nice red ale and Dempsey's out of Petaluma had a dry, crisp pilsner on tap and of course, Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River Brewing was present with his obligatory 'Pliney the Elder'. Later in the day he poured a
blended sour beer that had the crowd lined up for the limited "Temptation" blond ale that was aged in oak barrels.

Publisher Tom Dolldorf spends a moment with Vinnie Cilurzo

Russian River's Sour Beer

There were other heavy hitters pouring including Bear Republic,Ruth McGowan's, 21st Amendment and Anderson Valley, to name a few. But the brewery that stood in the limelight for me was Speakeasy with their 'Black IPA'. This is an exceptionally tasty west coast style IPA with roasted grain giving the beer the appearance of a porter. I was so impressed with this beer that I had to approach the brewer John Gillooly to ask for the recipe. He was kind enough to give me his email and said he would help me out with reproducing this beer on a homebrew scale. My plan is to brew this at the local county fair where our homebrew club will brew each night of the fair. The day ended too soon but the beer was effecting mysense of purpose so after almost spilling a sample of IPA on Tom Dolldorf's fancy looking camera, I knew it was time to take my leave. We headed back down the central valley towards the smoke ladened hills of Santa Cruz where the wild fires continued to burn out of control.

Ruth McGowan head brewer Glen Uber serves up a 'Monster Brown'

Anderson Valley Brewing serving cans of beer

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