Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 X-Mas Ale Vertical Tasting

Every year, (since way back in 2009 when I started home-brewing) SheppyBrew brewery brews an X-Mas Ale. Every year (since way back in 2009 when I started home-brewing) I get out a bottle of all the years' X-Mas ales and try them together. Last year, I finished my last 2009 bottle, so this year I could only taste 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013.

The SheppyBrew Beer Model helped me out, but even so, 4 12 ounce beers of 7.9, 7.3, 8.3, and 7.8 abv is a bit much. I might have to rethink the way the vertical tasting works. With 2014 in the mix next year, I will have 5 beers to drink.

Friday, December 20, 2013

A Brunette, a Read Head, and a Blonde

SheppyBrew Brewery currently has more beers kegged and "on tap" than it usually has. I actually have four beers kegged, carbonated, and ready to drink.

Bummer that my keggerator only has room for two kegs, but I am able to compensate by putting picnic taps on the extra two kegs and simply icing them. Since it is winter, I can just put these iced kegs in the garage or the patio and not have to worry about the ice melting away too quickly.

At some point, I need to address the issue of only having a two-keg keggerator. But, for the most part, it has worked out ok. Usually, by the time I need to chill a new beer, one of the old kegs kicks and a spot opens up. This time, I wanted to have 3 beers available for holiday guests to drink, though, and the Boo Berry Wheat is not gone yet.

Anyway, in addition to the blueberry beer, I also have recently brewed a Blonde, an Irish Red, and a Porter. All three are ready to drink.You could say I have a Blonde, a Red Head, and a Brunette.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

I got another email from the Contact Me form on this blog. I've been a little more selective about what I share from those emails. It was getting a little ridiculous. People's definition of what matches the overall theme of this blog were much different than what I thought the overall theme of this blog is.

However, this one fits perfectly. Ironically, I let it sit in my inbox longer than I usually do before posting one of these that I get from Contact Me

Basically, it was a press release for a new (new at the time I got the email) website:

I thought I was going to do a proper analysis of the site and I just never got around to it. I'll just say that I think this is awesome. Basically, it is a website to help beer geeks like me find breweries to visit. As a guy who likes to drink from local breweries ... no matter where I am ... I have quite often wished I had something like this.

I'm Awesome

I like this guy. His songs amuse me.

Note ... these videos contain Crude Language. If you are sensitive to such things, do not watch them.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Resurrecting the Wetta Blonde

My father-in-law is a full-blooded Mexican, and gave my mother-in-law the nickname "Huera", which is apparently Mexican slang for white girl or light-haired girl.

It usually sounds like "Wetta" to my gringo ears, especially when people saying it have been drinking (or maybe the relevant part is that I have been drinking).

Regardless ....

One night, not too long after I started home-brewing, I was sharing beers with my in-laws. Huera went on and on about how she really liked the Classic American Blonde Ale. Of course even at this early stage of my brewing experience, I knew that I would rather do recipes a bit more personalized than that one. I told her that I would make a blonde ale recipe and name the beer after her. I told her I was going to spell her name with a W, although neither my wife nor Huera remembered I had said it months later when I introduced the Wetta Blonde.

Monday, December 02, 2013

November 2013 Blogging

November had its page-view ups and downs but for the most part was pretty strong throughout. It did manage to beat October fairly easily.

The blog posts that got the most attention over the 30 days of November were:

Friday, November 29, 2013

Some Black Friday Beer Motivation

Did y'all have a fabulously wonderful Thanksgiving? I hope so.

Here are some "Motivational" posters that might put a little smile on your face during Black Friday. If you follow the SheppyBrew Brewery Facebook page, you might have already seen them, but I think they are even better together like this.

One thing is for sure ... you won't see me at the malls today.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


A couple weeks ago, I mentioned that I stopped by a tiny little brewery called Saint Patrick's Brewing Company. I do not think I mentioned that I brought home a bomber of their Saison, but I did. I really liked this beer at the "tap" room and wanted to bring one home to enjoy.

Then,  I opened and poured the bomber a couple weekends ago.

The bottle says it is brewed with fresh orange zest, and lightly spiced with vanilla bean and ginger. The citrus and spices are balanced by 11 different malts and six hop varieties. It has 39 IBU. Its SRM is 7,and its ABV is 6.3%.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Still More @Untappd Badges 13

It has only been about a month since I've done a report on my untappd badges, and I already have enough new ones that it is time to do another. Most of these are simply new levels of badges I've previously earned.

I can't imagine why you would want to, but you can look at all the posts (including this one) by going to the "untappd" label on this blog.

Since Still More @Untappd Badges 12, I've earned the following:

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Brewing Eric's Red

I brewed Eric's Irish Red on Sunday. With all the attention I've been paying to new styles (see BJCP goal), I have really not brewed a lot of my old favorites this year. Since all I have left is Category 12 Porter and Category 19 Strong Ale to finish up before the end of the year, I though now would be a good time to brew one of the SheppyBrew flagships.

Eric's Red is one of those recipes that has been around since my Mr. Beer days. It has obviously changed quite a bit over that time, but I really like the all-grain rendition that I have come up with, and the only difference between this time and last time is the yeast selection. This time I used London Ale Yeast harvested from Jolly Morlock Porter, just because the timing was right.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Some Beer Motivation for a Friday

Every once and awhile I'll come across on of those "(De) Motivational Posters" on the internet that amuse me. If you follow the SheppyBrew Brewery Facebook page, you'll see me post them from time-to-time. If you have not already, PLEASE go like the SheppyBrew Brewery Facebook page.

Anyway, it has been awhile since I've assembled these in a blog post, so I thought I would do that today. Let me know if you find these amusing as well by leaving a comment below or on the SheppyBrew Brewery Facebook page.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

What Kind of Beer do You Like?

On my way home from work yesterday, I decided to stop by a tiny little brewery called Saint Patrick's Brewing Company. You may remember that the Beer Model and I came across them at this year's GABF Friday session. They are right on my way home from work. In fact they are right along one of the bike paths I take when I bike to work. I have never been to them because their tap room hours were pretty inconvenient for me. They just recently added Friday night, and last night I decided to stop in.

Anyway, I walked into their tiny little tasting room last night, and asked the guys behind the counter if I could try some of their beers.
"What kind of beer do you like to drink?"
If you know me at all, you probably can guess basically what my answer was.
 "Pretty much everything".
Turns out that "pretty much everything" is what they had, so that was good.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Fall Back ... Brew a Morlock Porter

Until about mid-week I was not planning on brewing today. Between it being the end of Daylight Savings time (giving me an extra brewing hour) and there being no Bears or Broncos football games, I thought it was just too opportune a day not to do it, though. Plus, yesterday was the AHA's Learn to Homebrew Day. I can't not brew on the weekend of Learn to Homebrew Day, can I?

Of course I can't.

So, I quickly put together a porter recipe. As many of you know, one of my 2013 goals was to round out my brewing experience, by making sure I had brewed at least one all-grain batch of all 23 BJCP beer categories (see SheppyBrew Styles). At the beginning of the year, I had brewed just over half, so brewing 11 was not that big of an undertaking. All I had left as of this morning was Category 12 Porter and Category 19 Strong Ale.

Now, I only have the Strong Ale left.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Scary Beer Feminists!

I have not done a post for "The Session" (aka Beer Blogging Friday) since May. Not sure why. Just have not been into it. I did just tell myself that I should get back into the habit. November's topic sneaked up on me, but it just seemed too good to pass up.

Is "sneaked" really the past tense form of "sneak"? I thought it was "snuck", but the FireFox spell-check likes "sneaked" and does not like "snuck". I suppose I could look it up in a real dictionary ....

But I digress ...

This month, November, the topic comes from Nicole (aka Nitch), who does a beer blog called "Tasting Nitch". Her topic is "Women and Beer: Scary Beer Feminists or a Healthy Growing Demographic?" You can read all about it at: The Session #81 Announcement- Scary Beer Feminists!

"Feel free to write about what you want as long as it is beer and woman related!"
 I like women. I like beer. This seems like the perfect topic to get back into the habit of participating in  "The Session".

October 2013 Blogging

October had a very strong mid-month. Thank you #GABF. For awhile it looked like it would blow away August, but it was a very lack-luster end of the month. October still has the new page-view record, but just barely. I hope November picks up from the end of October.

Anyway, in case you are wondering, here are the blog posts that have been the most looked-at over the past 30 days:

Monday, October 28, 2013


My boys and I made big soft pretzels Sunday.

They turned out awesome. They are a little different than your typical soft pretzel in that they use a significant amount of whole wheat flour and honey.

They are really really tasty in my humble opinion.

They pair really well with SheppyBrew's Weizened Doonkle.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Brew Dogs in "Denver"

Have you been watching Brew Dogs?

I have, and I really enjoy the show. The fact that I like it means it probably will not last very long, so you should probably watch it now before it gets cancelled.

The show is about James and Martin from BrewDog Brewery. You know ... of the famed End of History 55% ABV beer. James and Martin travel across the United States exploring craft beer towns. In every episode, they meet up with one iconic brewer and work on brewing a beer that uses local ingredients that capture the essence of the area they are in. If you are a craft beer geek ... especially a home-brewer, I don't think you can help but like this show.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Brewing up some Boo Berry Wheat

I brewed Sunday.

Before the weekend, I actually had not been planning on brewing. However, as I mentioned,  I killed the keg of She Who Must Be Obeyed Wheat. This left the beer choices for the Beer Model sort of limited in the SheppyBrew Brewery. Apparently, I've been giving away too much beer lately. My keg of Sloth Man English Mild is also getting low.

So, anyway, Saturday I decided to go to my Local Homebrew Shop and buy ingredients to make Boo Berry American Wheat. The Beer Model wanted to go too, so we packed ourselves and the Brewing Assistants (aka our kids) into the mini van and headed over to the shop. This is the shop that is closer to my home. I usually get my grains from the Homebrew Shop that is closer to my place of work, so I am not quite as familiar with the layout of this one.

The kids .... er ... I mean the Brewing Assistants helped me find and scoop grain. They also helped me decide which wheat malt and 2 row malt to use. It was sort of fun for them apparently. They actually had a little argument over who was scooping more of the grain. Sometimes those kids fight over the stupidest things.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

More Doonkle than Weizen

Last night, I killed the keg of She Who Must Be Obeyed Wheat. It sort of surprised me as it didn't seem that it had been around very long. As I look back at the bottling date, though, it was in existence for almost a month and a half.

This was a beer that both the Beer Model and I liked. It was sort of Buckwheat's BPA meets Summer Lovin' Wheat. The flavor profile was really unique. It's ester profile along with the malt bill came across a bit nutty. I actually tasted a nice bit of almond, which to me was really pleasant. When both the Beer Model and I like a beer, it generally doesn't last that long, so it should not surprise me that the keg died last night.

I am absolutely going to have to brew this one again.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Still More @Untappd Badges 12

As you may know if you've been following this blog long enough, I've been reporting on the untappd badges I earn. I can't imagine why you would want to, but you can look at all the posts (including this one) by going to the "untappd" label on this blog.

Since Still More @Untappd Badges 11, I've earned the following:

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Thoughts on 2013 #GABF Winners

So, you know the SheppyBrew Beer Model and I attended GABF this weekend. See 2013 #GABF Friday Night  and 2013 #GABF Members Session if you want to read about it.

I didn't really get much of a chance Saturday or Sunday to look through the competition winners. Now that I have looked through, I have some thoughts.

Fair warning ... I'm a bit of a "homer" when it comes to my favorite breweries. I actually make an effort to stay away from local breweries at the festival, because I want to try beers that I might not get as much a chance to otherwise. However, I still am a fan of Drinking Locally.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

2013 #GABF Members Session

After Friday night, (see 2013 #GABF Friday Night), we were not done. We got up Saturday morning ready to head over to the Members Only Session of GABF. This is always the best session to attend in my opinion. Part of the reason is that there are not as many people at this one, but this year it did seem crowded ... especially towards the end.

For the first time, my wife spent the time to mark down breweries that she wanted to visit, so I ended up (for the most part) following her from brewery to brewery. Basically she found pumpkin beers with cool names, and we visited those booths. I didn't have all the pumpkin beers, but every booth had at least one of something else I wanted to try.

I did have more beers during this session that I thought were "just ok" or were even "bad" than I ever recall having at GABF. I don't think that was a function of chasing pumpkin beers, but it might be.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

2013 #GABF Friday Night

I survived my first night of GABF. Not only did I survive, but I think I did pretty well in regards to My Friday Night #GABF Plan. Surprisingly, my wife (aka the SheppyBrew Beer Model) agreed to go separately to the Convention Center. She dropped off the kids and I got into the festival line before the place opened. Now I owe her one.

I think this is actually the first time I got into line before the doors opened. I got sort of antsy not moving. I think it is better just to get there after the line starts to move. You get in a little later, but you don't have to wait as much.

This was not part of the original plan, but my first stop was AC Golden. I know that being owned by Coors, they are not technically considered a Craft Brewery but I like their beers generally and I keep hearing about how wonderful their sours are. There, I had American Wild Ale, which I thought was a fantastic sour ale; Peche, which was a great peach flavored sour; and their IPL, which was also awesome. I also hit Asher Brewing Company, which was right there.

Friday, October 11, 2013

My Friday Night #GABF Plan

If you've been following my blog over the past couple days, you know I've started to formulate a Game Plan for the Great American Beer Festival. In case you have not been following along, you can catch up with #GABF Game Plan Beginnings and #GABF Week (I've been slacking).

Do I need a Game Plan? Probably not, but I like to have one. When you walk into the huge hall at the festival, it is a bit overwhelming, and I find that it helps to have at least some sort of direction to follow. So, at least for the first night I always write down a plan. This is the first year I am not going to the Thursday night session, so this year, Friday Night is the first night I have a plan for.

This year, it looks like dropping the kids off where they need to be is going to introduce complications to the time-line, so the plan depends on when we get to the convention center. If things get too terribly screwed up, we might have to move some of the beer drinking to the Saturday session.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

#GABF Game Plan Beginnings

Soon after I posted, "#GABF Week (I've been slacking)", I got an email from GABF telling me that all the beers are available on their website and on their iPhone and Android apps.

Awesome. One thing that drives me crazy every year is that I never know what beers are going to be at the festival until after I get there Thursday night. Of course, it figures that the one year I don't go Thursday they get those announced before the first session, but I'm not going to complain (much). It still would be nice to get the list of beers (or at least most of them) a little earlier, but at least they are moving in the right direction.

So, now that I know what beers are going to be there, it is easier to start to formulate a game plan.

#GABF Week (I've been slacking)

I've been slacking.

It seems like all the beer blogger in the world (or at least those that show up in my rss feed) have been busy blogging about the Great American Beer Fest and/or the tons of events in and around Denver this week.

Take a look at Denver off the Wagon's beer category and see how many GABF related articles you see. Go ahead ... I'll wait.

Check out the Denver Post's First Drafts blog and browse through the amazing collection of "Scouting GABF 2013" articles. Again .. Go ahead ... I'll wait.

Go peruse Brewtally Insane  for Mark's day-by-day GABF Calendar.

It seems like the guys at The Full Pint have been providing useful GABF information for the past couple months, and certainly have not slowed down now that GABF week is here.

Of course, my buddy Dave at Fermentedly Challenged always has Denver area information, which by default means GABF information this week.

I could go on and on, but my slacking attitude prevents me from listing much more in this post.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Weizened Doonkle

Well, you know I've been working on this SheppyBrew Styles project, right? At the beginning of the year, I decided I was going to try to brew beers in all the BJCP Categories that I had not brewed before. If you follow this blog regularly at all, you know I am close to getting this done.

Sunday was time brew something in 15. German Wheat and Rye Beer. The problem with this particular category is that I am generally not a fan of the German Wheat and Rye Beers that I have had. I've had some HefeWeizens that have been good, but usually they have too much of the phenolic clove flavor for me. I've had one or two Roggenbiers, and really didn't like them enough to want to have to drink 5 gallons of that.

I don't think I've even ever had a Dunkelweizen or a Weizenbock. Just bringing myself to brew something I was unfamiliar with was a bit scarey.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Tribute to #GABF Costumes

One of my favorite parts of the Great American Beer Festival is all the crazy costumes that people wear.

Of course you can see a bunch of them on the photos page of the GABF website.

If you scour this blog, you can see some of the crowd photos at

I did a google image search the other day. Some of them were even ones from this blog. Following are some of my favorite pictures that others have shared.

Thank you to the following for the photos:

Friday, October 04, 2013

2013 Q3 SheppyBrew Stats

It is that time again! It is time to post quarterly updates on how much the SheppyBrew Brewery  has brewed. I've been doing this for quite some time because it is fun for me to go back and look at how the brewery has been doing. Plus, believe it or not, readers have mentioned they enjoy looking at the brewing stats. You can see all of these reports (including the one you are reading right now) by following this link: .

I think the most exciting news in Q3 is that SheppyBrew won another award. Helles in a Hand Bock-sket, my Maibock, won a blue ribbon and got 2nd in the Best of Show in the "Battle of the Homebrews" at the Arapahoe Country Fair. A county fair 1st place isn't nearly as prestigious as Sasquatch Hunter's blue ribbon in the Denver Region of the National Homebrew Competition, but it is still an award. Plus, getting 1st Loser in the Best of Show is awesome (if I do say so myself).

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

September 2013 Blogging

Well, until about 3 days ago, I thought September had an excellent chance of beating August for this blog's all-time page view record. The past 4 days have seen pathetically little traffic, though. I'll have to live with the 3rd all-time behind August and March. It is my own fault, of course. I've only published 2 posts in the last two weeks. I have not really been "feeling" motivated to sit down and blog much.

Regardless ... no one really cares. Heck, I don't even care.

But, as I have been doing for quite awhile, it is now time to share what posts were most viewed this month:

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Beers and the BallPark

A few weeks ago, I was rewarded with 4 Rockies Tickets. I know ... seems more like a punishment, right? The game was this past Sunday. My kids didn't want to go to the game and I didn't feel like forcing them. My wife didn't think we should leave them at home alone. Plus, we had a church thing that at least some us of should be at.

Long story short, I ended up going to the game alone (is that as pathetic as it sounds to me?)

But, as I was going to be without children, I figured I might as well head downtown early and hit a couple of the breweries by Coors Field. What better way is there to prepare for a game than to sample some Denver Beers?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Brewing the 2013 X-Mas Ale

Every year since I started home-brewing, I have brewed a special X-Mas ale for the holidays. Each year, the recipe is different, but so far it has always been pretty dark, malty, and fairly high in alcohol. Each has had special holiday flavoring.

Each year, I try to save 6 (or so) bottles to age and taste them together in the years to come. My 2009 beer is gone, but I have 4 of 2010, 5 of 2011, and 6 of 2012 ready for these vertical tastings.

You can read quite a bit about these X-Mas Ales (including this post) by looking at Sheppy's Blog: X-Mas Ales.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Missing Travel Bug: Guacamole

Have you seen this Travel Bug? He is missing already. If you have him, or know where he is, or even have some idea where he might be, leave a comment on this blog post. Better yet, do it on his geocache page, Guacamole.

Better yet, if you have him .... LOG HIM!

Again, the webpage on which you can leave a comment or log him is:

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Placing Sheppy McShepardSons take 1

My boys ... especially Little Brother have been working on making a geocache to hide.

Do you know what a geocache is? If you follow this blog on a regular basis, you have probably noticed our renewed interest in geocaching (see Sheppy's Blog: Geocache), and probably have either figured it out or don't really care. If not, it is basically a global hide-and-seek game using GPS coordinates.

If you are interested in learning more, take a few minutes and check out "Geocaching in 2 Minutes" and / or  "Geocaching 101". Go ahead ... I'll wait.

So, anyway, we have been FINDING geocaches since November 2008. This is our first attempt to hide a geocache. My youngest pretty much took the lead on this one. He found the container, and convinced Mommy to empty it of its previous contents. He talked his dad into taking him to the store and buying Camo duct tape (weird that we didn't have any already ... right?). He applied the tape, found a log book, assembled the contents, and coordinated getting a little information sheet about geocaching printed out and laminated to put in the cache.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Brewing the Sloth Man English Mild

This past weekend I brewed the next beer in my BJCP Category Project (see SheppyBrew Styles). This one was Category 11 — English Brown Ale, and I decided to brew an English Mild (11A) to satisfy this category.

As always, you can see the recipe on the Sheppy Brew website. See Sloth Man English Mild. I went low alcohol on this one. It should be a 3.7% ABV beer with lots of rich English caramel and biscuity flavors. It is sort of a toned down Gnasty the Gnome ESB, which coincidentally disappeared recently.

I got started pretty early on Sunday. I had some non-beer related issues I ended up having to deal with, though so I didn't really get the mash going until well after 6AM. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

#GABF Events

The GABF is less than a month away. Aren't you excited? I am.

I got an email from the Great American Beer Festival (actually a guy from the Brewer Association named "Spencer", pretending his name was "Great American Beer Festival"). The email announced that the GABF Beer & Food Pavilion Schedule was out.

It is very possible that it has been out for quite awhile, but this is the first I have looked at it. You can see at the GABF Event Schedule along with what is going on at the "Brewers Studio Pavilion" and other GABF events.

You see, GABF is not just about drinking beer. If you are a beer geek (even if you are not) you can attend presentations.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Mt Rushmore Pictures

I have mentioned our family trip to South Dakota a few times on this blog. It is hard to believe that was way back in July. Can't believe it is already September. I am not sure where the summer went.

I told you that my favorite part of the trip was the Badlands National Park (see Badlands National Park Pictures). My kids' favorite part was Mt. Rushmore National Monument. My youngest boy, in particular, wanted to go see it every day. His mean parents made him wait. Every once in awhile during our other adventures, we got a view from afar, which appeased him for awhile, but the day we visited the monument was the highlight of the trip for him.

Monday, September 02, 2013

3 Floyds Dreadnaught

When we went to South Dakota last month, we met my wife's sisters and their families about mid-way through the week. They all live in Illinois, and knowing that they had better access to 3 Floyd's Brewing company, I asked them to try to pick up some Zombie Dust. Zombie dust is one of the beers on the Zymurgy's 2013 Best Beers in America list that I am trying to drink my way through.

My brother in law made a heroic effort, but apparently, they don't live quite close enough to the Chicago Land area to get 3 Floyd's beers by them. He even made a road trip to a good craft beer store in attempts to pick some up.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

August 2013 Blogging

August had more pages views on this blog than March 2013 did. It was not by much, but this makes August the new record holder. Aren't you excited?

Ok. I know you're not.

In case you are wondering, though, here are the blog posts that have been the most looked-at over the past 30 days:

Monday, August 26, 2013

Myrcenary Double India Pale Ale

So, if you follow this blog, you probably remember that I am trying to track down and drink the beers that I have never tasted on the Zymurgy's 2013 Best Beers in America list. Surprisingly, there was a beer this year from Colorado that I have never tasted.

Odell's Myrcenary Double IPA

There are lots of beers I absolutely love from Odell Brewing Company in Ft. Collins, Colorado. In fact their IPA is #1 on my Colorado 6 pack list. I am sure if I had tried Myrcenary before doing that list, I would have seriously considered adding this beer to it.

It is a great beer.

According to the Odell web site, the beer is "named for Myrcene, a component of essential oils in the hop flower" and is "brewed with a blend of hops containing the highest levels of Myrcene".

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Guacamole -- Have Bug. Will Travel

My kids have sort of had a renewed interest in geocaching lately. Here it is two weeks in a row I am able to blog about it. As I mentioned last week, we have gone quite awhile without doing any geocaching. That was too bad, because it really seems like a great way to help enhance the whole outdoor experience with the family.

If you don't know what geocaching is, take a few minutes and check out "Geocaching in 2 Minutes" and / or  "Geocaching 101". Go ahead ... I'll wait.

Anyway, we have just "stepped up our geocaching game". Quite some time ago, I gave my oldest son a couple of Travel Bug tags. We didn't do anything with them and somehow they ended up lost in his room for months. If you have ever seen the normal state of his room, it does not surprise you that these were lost in the chaos.

Friday, August 23, 2013

2nd Family Backpacking trip

A couple of weekends ago I went backpacking for only the 2nd time with the whole family. You may remember our First Family Backpacking Trip last July. My youngest and I have gone a few times together, and my wife and I went quite a bit before we had kids. But, the four of us have now only gone backpacking twice.

We decided to go the same place we went last year (and the same place Connor and I have been on our trips) because big brother wanted to see some of the things little brother got to see last time. Rain prevented big bro from doing that last year.

Trail-head of Goose Creek Trail
Just like last year, I took Friday off and we headed out Thursday night to car-camp close to the wilderness so that we wouldn't waste early Friday driving to the trail-head. I don't have any pictures to share of Thursday night. It rained, and we had fun playing Mad Libs in the minivan while waiting for the storm to pass.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

1st Loser ... Helles in a Hand Bock-sket

If you follow SheppyBrew Brewery on facebook or twitter, you may have already seen this picture:

That is right ... SheppyBrew now officially has two award - winning beers! Helles in a Hand Bock-sket placed first in its category and second in the Best of Show (aka 1st loser) judging in the "Battle of the Homebrews" at the Arapahoe Country Fair. In case you don't remember, Sasquatch Hunter German Altbier won a blue ribbon in the Denver Region of the National Homebrew Competition earlier in the year (see Kind of a Big Deal to refresh your memory).

Monday, August 19, 2013

SWMBO #HomeBrew Brew-Day

I brewed yesterday.

So far, since the first day of Summer, this is only the third batch of beer I've brewed. Things have been busy. It was good to get a brew day in.

I have decided to call the beer I brewed yesterday "She Who Must Be Obeyed Wheat". The SheppyBrew Beer Model (my wife) needs something in the keggerator, but when I asked her what she would like, she basically told me just make something she would like. Not much help. I considered some of the beers that have traditionally been her favorites, but nothing really jumped out at me as ones I necessarily wanted to brew at this time.

So, I came up with a new recipe, which as always you can review at the SheppyBrew Website (see She Who Must Be Obeyed Wheat). The recipe borrowed elements from several of the Beer Model's recent favorites. It is a wheat beer like so many of her favorites ( Summer Lovin' Wheat, Whisky Wife Wit, Apricot Lovin' American Wheat, Boo Berry American Wheat, etc ... ). The rest of the base is Marris Otter like Laser Salt Sandy Blonde Ale. It gets its specialty grain character from Biscuit and Caramunich like Buckwheat's BPA. It uses Tettnang hops  Ello Poppet.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Geocaching up to St Mary's Glacier

When I was typing up my Article about Letterboxing post yesterday, I realized that it had really been a long time since we had been geocaching. We actually tried to go two weekends ago when Grandma and Grandpa Shepard were visiting, but the battery ran out on our GPS right at the beginning of our hike. Since then, I've added a couple of fresh batteries to our Geocaching pack so this would not happen to us again.

Before that attempt, the last time we had been geocaching was way back in April on our Geocaching Bike Ride.

Before that, the last time I blogged about purposely geocaching was back in 2009 with Valley of Fire. We have actually done geocaching that I have not blogged about, but really not that much.

Yesterday, I decided to load up my GPS with a few stops on a hike up to St. Mary's Glacier.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Still More @Untappd Badges 11

Well, yes, I know that very few people care, but I keep sharing the untappd badges I earn on this blog.

I recently reached a milestone. Now I have 100 badges. Pretty exciting. Don't you think?

Despite the fact that the South Dakota beer scene sucks, my trip to South Dakota was pretty good to me badge-wise.

Since Still More @Untappd Badges 10, I have earned the following badges:

Article about Letterboxing

This morning, I got an email from the Contact Me form on this blog.

It was from the author of an article on a website called Part Time Nanny, who thought my readers might enjoy reading about Letter Boxing. As I mentioned just recently, pretty much whenever I get an email asking me to share an article, I do it. I'm pretty easy that way.

The article is:

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Badlands National Park Pictures

I've mentioned a couple times lately that my family went on a road trip to South Dakota a couple weeks ago. The craft beer scene was absolutely awful (see South Dakota Six Pack ... Kinda Sorta Not Really), but we really did a bunch of fun things as a family.

My favorite part of the trip was visiting Badlands National Park. I could have spent several days exploring the geologic formations. It was really awe-inspiring.

The first "trail" area we came to was my favorite. I guess we started at "Door Trail" (see the Hiking page of the National Park website), but once the boardwalk ended, the boys and I just took off in the wide-open space. We explored the various gullies and canyons. Most National Parks want visitors to stay on official maintained trails. Here, we were encouraged to go wherever we wanted. I honestly could have spent all day just in this place (if I had enough water).

If you are ever in the area, I strongly suggest visiting Badlands National Park. Make sure you bring sturdy hiking shoes / boots and lots of water. Also, you'll want sunglasses.

These pictures don't come close to capturing the awesomeness of the park, but here they are none-the-less.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Family Camping Tips

A couple of weeks ago, while the Sheppy family was vacationing in South Dakota, I got an email from the Contact Me form on this blog. It was from someone at telling me about an article they had just posted called 6 Tips for Having a Great Camping Trip With Your Family.

"Please free to feature or mentioning it in your blog"

I'm easy that way ... if you email me asking me to share something, I probably will. Of course, I can't promise it will do you any good, but I'll do it. For sure.

So, do me a favor and visit 

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

July 2013 Blogging

For awhile I thought July had an excellent chance to set a new page-view record on this blog, but the traffic really slowed down in week 3 or so. The month ended up with the 5th most page-views all time. Not all that bad, but considering the strong start, July was a bit of a disappointment.

Here are the 10 most viewed pages of July:

Friday, August 02, 2013

#IPAday after

Well, according to some of the tweets I saw, #IPAday was a success.

It appears that the definition of success is how many #IPAday hash tags were tweeted in a 24 hour period. I don't really know how much that promotes the style as the people tweeting and looking at tweets were already beer geeks who for the most part already loved the style.

But, regardless of what I think ... and as I've said before many times, I don't quite get the whole twitter holiday thing, I will take the experts' word that the day was a success. The number of #IPAday tweets going out sure seemed impressive.


Thursday, August 01, 2013

#IPAday Domination

I like American IPA's, but it amazes me a little bit how they have somehow become so pervasive in the craft beer landscape. Sometimes it feels like public perception is that IPA is the only craft beer style out there. There are so many great beer styles out there, but somehow the IPA gets the most attention.

Case in point ... my list ... Zymurgy's 2013 Best Beers in America. I can't think of a more quintessential group of beer geeks than Zymurgy's readers, and you would think that the 50 best beer list would be representative of all beer styles.

You would be wrong, though.

All 5 of the top 5 on the list are IPA's, and over half are IPA's, double IPA's, or imperial IPA's.

If that is not enough, there are several others that are very IPA-like such as Black IPA's or very hoppy pale ales.

My 2013 #IPADay Choices

This year, I didn't have nearly the selection of IPA's in my fridge that I had last year. However, last night I stopped by the liquor store after working out and did a little impulse buying.

Here is the IPA's and IPA-like beer that I have in my commercial beer fridge right now:

From left to right ....

Merry #IPAday 2013

I'm doing it again.

I'm participating in the made-up twitter holiday. I'm quite certain that the only thing worse than a made-up hallmark holiday is a made-up twitter holiday, but I don't care.

I figure, what the heck. I'm a blogger. I'm a beer geek. I like to drink the IPA style of beer. I should add to the madness.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Got my #GABF tickets again

Image from GABF Facebook Page
Well, Great American Beer Fest tickets sold out again in record time, and once again beer fans are frustrated to the point of anger.

Once again, I used my standing as an AHA member to take part in the members-only presale and was able to get all the tickets I wanted. Everyone that I know in the office who tried also got everything they wanted (including two co-workers who purchased an AHA membership JUST to get GABF tickets).

Lots of members got stuck with the Saturday evening session, though. Personally, if my choice is to go to the Saturday evening session or to not go, I would pick to stay away.

For me personally, things went much smoother than last year (see #GABF #TicketMasterFail), but the TicketMaster process was far from flawless. I got my Friday night tickets no problem, but when I went to try to get the Saturday afternoon tickets, TicketMaster was not recognizing my Membership Number.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

NSFW Brewday

Remember my "Poll: which Belgium Strong Ale should I brew?" The post got 18 votes to tell me what to brew this past weekend.
And the clear winner with 7 votes was 18D. Belgian Golden Strong Ale

I'm glad a winner came out, because for awhile it was looking like the Dubbel and the Golden Strong were going to tie.

Monday, July 29, 2013

South Dakota Six Pack ... Kinda Sorta Not Really

My family and I went on vacation last week to South Dakota. Before I left, knowing that when traveling I like to try different local beers, I tweeted my virtual friend @BryanDRoth asking if he had any South Dakota bloggers in mind for his "Six-Pack Project". I was hoping he had someone I could ask for suggestions on South Dakota local craft beer to try.

He answered that he didn't. He did suggest that I could provide research for South Dakota Beers. Not really what I was after, but I figured I would at least be able to share my beer experiences there.

While in South Dakota, we did all kinds of cool things.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Hennepin Farmhouse Saison

I was in the liquor store last week looking through the beer section when I found a four pack of Ommegang's Hennepin Farmhouse Saison. Knowing that it was tied for 46 on  Zymurgy's 2013 Best Beers in America list, I grabbed it. I tried the beer over the weekend.

Ommegang's Website says that Hennepin Farmhouse Saison is an "ale brewed with grains of paradise, coriander, ginger, sweet orange peel." It is 7.7% ABV and 24 IBU.

My sample was a hazy pale gold with a fluffy white head and lots of carbonation.

The aroma was lots of Belgium farmhouse funk blended with the various spices. I got significant orange (probably from the coriander and orange peel).

It tasted pretty much the same, although I think the orange was a little more lemony. It starts out sweet with spiciness in the middle and does finish off pretty dry (as a saison should).

Monday, July 15, 2013

Poll: which Belgium Strong Ale should I brew?

I have not done a "what should I brew" poll in awhile. The last one I did (see What should I #HomeBrew Next?) got lots of responses, although almost half of them came in after the decision was actually made.

The decision I am currently having trouble with is what Category 18 style should I brew?

If you are a regular reader, you probably know that I am home-brewing through the BJCP Categories. My goal is to have brewed at least one beer in all 23 beer categories of the BJCP Style Guidelines. As I type this post, I have 6 categories left.

One of the categories that is in my to-do list is 18. Belgian Strong Ale. There are 5 styles or subcategories in  Category 18, and I cannot really decide which one I want to brew, so I am letting my blog readers decide for me. Vote early. Vote often. Let me know what kind of beer I should make:

---------- ----------

In case you are wondering what all these sub-categories are ... you can look it up on

Thursday, July 11, 2013

2013 Q2 SheppyBrew Stats

It is that time again! It is time to post quarterly updates on how much the SheppyBrew Brewery  has brewed. I've been doing this for quite some time because it is fun for me to go back and look at how the brewery has been doing. Plus, believe it or not, readers have mentioned they enjoy looking at the brewing stats. You can see all of these reports (including the one you are reading right now) by following this link: .

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Still More @Untappd Badges 10

Earning untappd badges has gotten pretty rare for me. The last time I had enough to report on was mid-May (see Still More @Untappd Badges 9) and before that was mid-February (see Still More @Untappd Badges 8). Back in "the day", I was getting enough pretty much every month to do a new post.

Oh well.

Since last time, I have earned the following badges:

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale

As you probably know, I've started trying to find beers that I have never had from the Zymurgy's 2013 Best Beers in America list.

At the same time I picked up Firestone Walker Wookey Jack, I also got a 4 pack of Boulevard Brewing Company's Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale, tied at number 32 on the Zymurgy list. This past weekend, I gave it a try. With all the IPAs on this list, a saison was a welcome change.

Boulevard Brewing Company is located in Kansas City, MO. Its website says it is Missouri's 2nd largest brewery. According to the Brewer's Association, it is the country's 12th largest craft brewery.

Boulevard distributes to Colorado. It seems odd that I've never had any of their beers. I'm glad the Zymurgy list got me to try Tank 7.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Brewing Gnasty the Gnome ESB

Remember Gnasty the Gnome?

As I've shared with you, I am terrified of Gnomes, but Gnasty is helping me get over my fear. We enjoy the same sorts of beers and of course we both love watching the Chicago Blackhawks. We even brew together. I still don't quite trust him. I am sure that his ultimate plan is to attack me in my sleep, but we have become friends.

As I mentioned back in January, Gnasty and I were going to design a home-brew recipe together. You might have noticed that some time ago we did that and already posted the recipe "Gnasty the Gnome ESB" on the SheppyBrew website.

If you didn't notice, you probably need to start following SheppyBrew Brewery on Facebook. Go ahead and "like" us. It is completely worth it.

Gnasty the Gnome ESB is a Category 8 English Pale Ale, subscategory C Extra Special Bitter. It is, in fact, the Category 8 representative of my initiative to make sure I've brewed everyone BJCP style category (see SheppyBrew Styles).

Sunday, June 30, 2013

June 2013 Blogging

June ended up with the 2nd most page-views all-time on this blog behind March. For the most part, the whole month was pretty consistent. I always thought it looked like it would come in 2nd.

Here are the top 10 viewed posts over the past 30 days:

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Factotum Brewhouse

I got an email through my Contact Me form on this blog from a guy starting a new Denver area brewery. The brewery will be called Factotum Brewhouse.

His concept is a little different than your typical brewery, though. Unique. Brilliant, really. Genius.

Factotum will give home-brewers an opportunity to brew on its system. In fact, it sounds like most of the beer served in its taproom will be brewed by home-brewers.

Read the press release he sent me below. Make sure to check out his kickstarter page. I am thinking about making a donation and I will certainly visit the brewery when it is finished.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Chelsea Dagger 2013

The Blackhawks won last night thanks in part to me and my little Gnome buddy. Obviously, game 6 was on the road so they were not going to be playing Chelsea Dagger in the stadium, but I took it upon myself to play it loud whenever I thought the Blackhawks needed a lift.

It worked.

I was also sure to save some SheppyBrew Blackhawk Black for the final period. You may think that my choice of beverage has little to do with how the hockey team did, but you would be wrong. Tommy Hawk APA helped get them to the finals, and  Blackhawk Black helped push them to the championship.

I waited all my life to see the Blackhawks win a Stanley Cup. I just had to wait 3 years to see them win a 2nd. Hopefully I'll get to see several more.

Go Blackhawks!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Firestone Walker Wookey Jack

Well, after seeing Zymurgy's newest Best Beers in America list, (see Zymurgy's 2013 Best Beers in America), I didn't waste much time looking in my local liquor store to see what I could pick up. Of course, I can't get T9. Lagunitas Sucks until December or January. The next highest ranked beer that I have not tried was #16. The Alchemist Heady Topper is not available in Colorado.

I found a 22oz bomber of the 3rd highest ranked beer I had not tried, though.

#20. Firestone Walker Wookey Jack
Beers from Firestone Walker Brewing Company are very available here in Colorado. In fact, you may remember that I've blogged about both Firestone Walker Union Jack and Firestone Double Jack since both appeared on my 2012 list.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Still More Sexist Beer Labels

Remember my post "Sexist Beer Labels"?

At the time I told you, "I've never bought any of these beers, but if I saw one of these in my liquor store, I would at least consider buying it for the clever labels."

Recently, Clown Shoes started distributing to Colorado, and I had an opportunity to pick up a four pack of Tramp Stamp Belgium India Pale Ale in my local liquor store. I took that opportunity because I wanted to try the beer behind the artwork. I couldn't resist the blogging opportunity.

From the Clown Shoes website:
"Like a stamp on a tramp, this beer is about not so subtle seduction.  Soft but complex malts, Chambly yeast, sweet orange peel, Columbus, Amarillo, and Centennial hops have merged to create a bodacious Belgian IPA."

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Zymurgy's 2013 Best Beers in America

Zymurgy's 2013 Best Beers in America just came out.

None of SheppyBrew Brewery's beers made it this year.

Of course, if you follow this blog, you may know that every year I target this list to make sure I've tried as many of the beers as possible. From last year, I ended up with only 2 that I have not had (or at least that I don't remember ever trying).

The ones I missed from 2012 were:
Not a bad. Not bad at all.

So, now it is time to move on to the 2013 list.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Brewing the Un-Wheat

I was at my brew shop last Wednesday trying to purchase ingredients to make SheppyBrew's world famous Summer Lovin' American Wheat. I was talking to one of the employees there about my win, and scooped out German Pilsner malt instead of the Wheat malt I meant to add to the recipe. By the time I realized my mistake, I had it crushed and blended in a bag with the rest of my malts.


At that moment, I decided to change what I was going to make last weekend. I decided to make Summer Lovin' Un-Wheat instead. Initially, I thought the only difference was going to be the pilsner malt replacing the wheat malt, but since I was changing the beer, I decided to try another thing I had been thinking about. Rather than the orange zest I put in the wheat beer, I am going to add orange juice concentrate after a couple days of fermentation. I also reduced the coriander a bit.

You can look at the whole recipe by following this link to the SheppyBrew website.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Pictures at the Great Sand Dunes

For the third year in a row, my family went camping at the Great Sand Dunes National Park. Just like last year, we camped in a group site with the same people (mostly) that we camped with last year.

You can read all about our adventures in and around the Sand Dunes (including this post) by following this link.

Here are some pictures:

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Another Father and Son Backpacking Trip Part 2

This is part 2 of "Another Father and Son Backpacking Trip". If you have not read Another Father and Son Backpacking Trip Part 1, go back and read it now. In fact, even if you have read it, go back and review it again. Who knows what important detail you may have forgotten. Go ahead, read it. We'll still be here when you are done.

So, it was Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend, and my youngest boy and I had spent a bunch of time exploring rock formations by the "Shaft House". After spending a couple hours up that way, we returned to camp and hung out / collected firewood / explored some more.

Monday, June 03, 2013

Another Father and Son Backpacking Trip Part 1

You may remember that last year, my youngest son and I went on a backpacking trip together over Memorial Day Weekend. If not, see SheppyQuest Lite, Father and Son Backpacking trip Part 1, and Father and Son Backpacking trip Part 2. This year, my wife and older son were gone for the same reason as last year, and we decided to do the same trip.

Like last year, I picked up my little boy right after school. Unlike last year, we were able to just leave straight for the wilderness because I didn't forget my wallet.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

May 2013 Blogging

May did not did not beat the page-view record on this blog, but it did beat April and was second all-time behind March. Some days in May the traffic was pretty strong, some days pathetically light. Colorado 6 pack gave the blog a much-needed boost at the end to make the month finish somewhat respectable.

And ... for your reading enjoyment ... here are the top 10 viewed posts over the past 30 days:

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Blind Pig at Parry's Pizza

I have not talked about it very much since GABF, but you may remember that for the past 3 years I have attempted to find and drink as many of the beers I have not had on Zymurgy's Best Beers in America lists. I started out having already tried most of the 2012 list (see 2012 Best Beers in America, so there has not been very much to report this year.

Last I reported, I had tried all but 3 on the list. I still needed:
  • Troegs Nugget Nectar (#34)
  • Russian River Blind Pig IPA (#37, tied)
  • Russian River Pliny the Younger (#48)
Yesterday, I rode my bike to work and beforehand told my wife and kids that they could come "rescue" me with the mini-van and see my new work-location. Then we could go have pizza at a place we like called "Parry's Pizza".

Parry's has 4 locations. Before last night we had been to the one in Highlands Ranch, but when I bike home I always pass by the one in Greenwood Village, and I've thought to myself it would be nice to check it out.

The reason I like Parry's Pizza is that they have a spectacular selection of craft beer on tap. The Highland's Ranch and Greenwood Village locations each have 50 taps, and all of them are craft beer.

Plus, we all think that the Pizza is great.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Colorado 6 pack

Not too long ago, I got a tweet and then a subsequent email from one of my virtual blogging / brewing buddies, @BryanDRoth at This Is Why I'm Drunk. He had this crazy idea for a blogging collaboration. He wanted to get 6 different bloggers from six different states to each come up with a 6-pack of beers that "best represent your state and/or state's beer culture".

It is actually very similar to Denver's 5280 Magazine's 6 packs that they put out from time to time. Check out Billy Brew's article "What's Your State's Dream Team Six Pack" and you can also read more about the 5280 six packs on my blog.

@BryanDRoth had some rules:
  • Must pick a six-pack of beers that you feel best represent your state and/or state's beer culture
  • Beer must be made in your state, but "gypsy" brewers are acceptable, so long as that beer is brewed with an in-state brewery and sold in your state
  • Any size bottle or can is acceptable to include
  • Current seasonal offerings are fine, but try to keep selections to year-round brews as much as possible. No out-of-season brews preferred. (ideally that could be another post)

Friday, May 24, 2013

3 Balls per Barrel

Remember the whole thing last year around GABF about  Wynkoop's Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout? If not, check out that handy hyperlink I included.

Of course, you remember that my wife and I both tried it at GABF (see 2012 #GABF Friday Night). I didn't taste testicles at all. The Beer Model thought it tasted a little meaty ... almost like a bacon beer. I actually thought it just tasted like a standard Foreign Extra Stout. I didn't taste the 3 BPB at all.

Since GABF, the Wynkoop brewery has actually made more of this beer and even canning it 2-packs (I am not even making that up). I was at my liquor store awhile ago and made an impulse buy of one of those 2-packs.

It is honestly a little weird seeing that sign in a liquor store. The lady who rung up my purchases made a comment about the 2-pack before she realized what the beer was. I just thought it amusing that she commented on the packaging before making a comment about the bull testicles.