Sunday, December 28, 2014

Still More @Untappd Badges 18.5

I sort of left you hanging on Still More @Untappd Badges 18. One day, I was drinking beer in my new local brewery, when all of a sudden, I had two badges jump to level 50! Apparently, untappd changed its maximum level on all badges from 10 to 50.

As you may be able to imagine, this allowed me to get quite a few "new" badges that were not really new. They were just higher levels.

Monday, December 22, 2014

One Hundred

If you ever go to the SheppyBrew website to look at my beer recipes, you may have noticed that most of the urls to the recipe pages have a numerical id associated with each of them.

For example, recipe.aspx?id=1 is Eric's Red Ale. Similarly, recipe.aspx?id=2 is Buckwheat's Belgium Pale Ale. So it goes. My 50th recipe page is Pompously Illegitimate Red Ale. My 75th is Helles in a Hand Bock-sket. This is because the website is mostly filled with a simplistic content management system that stores most of its recipe pages in a SQL Server Database table. The primary key on that table is an identity field which increments itself by 1 every time a new page is added.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Premium Geocaching

Exciting news!

I am now a Premium Member on !

If you follow this blog, you've seen some of my posts about my family's GeoCaching adventures.  To me it is a wonderfully fun hobby. If you don't know what geocaching is, check out Geocaching 101

One of the really cool things about the hobby is that you can do it practically for free. You need some sort of hand-held GPS or a smartphone on which to load an app, but other than that, all you need to do is go to the website, sign up for a free account, and start doing your thing.

I think it is an awesome way to add adventure to family hikes. This is especially true if you have kids, but from time to time I will do some searching without the kids.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Still More @Untappd Badges 18

From time to time, I share the untappd badges that I've 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.

Here are some of the badges I've "earned" since Still More @Untappd Badges 17 .

Friday, December 05, 2014


My kids had all of Thanksgiving week off from school. I also took it off from work. On Wednesday, my wife suggested, "Let's go snowshoeing".

When my wife says something like "Let's go snowshoeing" or "Let's go hiking" or "Let's go for a bike ride", she never has an answer when I ask "where". It is one of the things I find amusing about her.

The "usual" place we go snowshoeing, and anyplace relatively close to our house doesn't really have enough snow in November to justify snowshoeing.

This means it was up to me to come up with the "where".

We ended up going just West of Nederland, Colorado into the Indian Peaks wilderness. We could not drive very far up the forest access road, so we ended up hiking up the road itself.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

My Thanksgiving Beer Lineup

Merry Thanksgiving everybody!

Thanksgiving is obviously a big food holiday. For me, it is also a beer holiday. As you may or may not know, beer is a far superior drink with which to pair food than any other alcoholic beverage. Over the course of the day, I am likely to try a few.

In addition to various SheppyBrew beers I have on tap, I also have bottled beers that I'm likely to drink today.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Brewing T.Ra.Sh. Mexican Lager

I brewed my T.Ra.Sh. Mexican Lager today.

To be completely honest, there is nothing particularly "Mexican" about this beer. It does use WLP940, which is White Labs "Mexican Lager Yeast". Its SheppyBrew Label features my father-in-law, and he is of Mexican decent.

But really, when I picture a Mexican Lager, this isn't what I think of.

Stylistically, it is sort of a Vienna Lager, which some of those famous mass produced darker lagers are. It isn't really dark enough, though. It isn't sweet enough either.

It certainly isn't light in color or body to be one of those lighter mass-produced Mexican lagers either. It has too much nobel hop character as well.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Bottling and Kegging Coffee Stout

When I brewed Gnaughty Gnome English Coffee Stout a couple weeks ago, I had wort left over after I filled my big fermenter. It was pretty trub-filled, but I put about a gallon and a half in one of my Mr. Beer fermenters.

Yesterday, I bottled up that "extra" beer before I kegged the "main" batch. I've mentioned before that I dislike bottling (actually I probably used the word "hate"). I never really minded bottling back when I was doing Mr. Beer sized batches. During each bottling session, by the time I was getting sick of the process, the small batch was done.

And this bottling session was even better. I only got a couple of liter bottles, 4 bombers, and 5 12oz bottles. Filling 11 vessels is not bad at all.

The FG was 1.015 on the bottled beers. The sample tasted nice. It was not particularly "coffee-like", but that is OK. I will enjoy drinking these when they are carbonated.

Sunday, November 23, 2014


The Denver Botanical Gardens has been hosting a Chihuly Exhibit. Yesterday, the Sheppy Family headed over there to check it out. It was really cool. There are night-time showings, which would probably be even more awesome, but those are sold out.

So, these daytime pictures will have to do us.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Brewing Gnaughty Gnome English Coffee Stout

Last weekend, in an extended celebration of #StoutDay, the SheppyBrew Gnomes and I brewed a coffee stout.

Sort of.

We brewed a Stout. I took a sample today. It is a good dry(ish) stout. It does not really taste like we went above and beyond on the coffee, though.

Mostly, that is because we didn't. We did not add any coffee to this "coffee stout".

Personally, I like coffee stouts once and awhile. Read that to mean that I don't want to drink a whole 5 gallon keg (minus what I give away) of something that goes too overboard on extra coffee in a stout.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

#StoutDay & #GnomesLikeBeer

As I am sure you know, today is International Stout Day.

Yes it is.

The first Thursday in November always is. It is not as popular as #IPADay, but .... well ... you know.

As a Beer Geek, I was aware of  #StoutDay, and planned ahead. I got myself some Left Hand Milk Stout Nitro. You may remember that in my Colorado 6 pack, I included this beer. Both the Nitro version and the non-Nitro version are delicious. The reason I picked the this beer for my #StoutDay beer was that untappd had another badge specific to the Nitro version "Pour Hard".

Monday, November 03, 2014

Kegging and Bottling

Last weekend I didn't brew, but I did have a pretty busy Sunday.

I bottled and soured my Gruntled Sour Weiße. I also kegged my Falling Leaves Harvest Saison.

For Some reason, this picture says "Gruntled" to me

You may remember that I mentioned that I would be souring my Gruntled Sour Weiße by simply adding Lactic Acid rather than using souring bacteria. Part of the reason I made such a small batch was that I wasn't sure how good the lactic acid souring would be. Billy from The Homebrew Academy did the same thing for a Gose (see Gose Homebrew Recipe). He didn't really give me the idea, but he did remind me of the idea. He also was kind enough to post an amount for me to start with.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

St. Mary's Pictures

Last Saturday, we drove up past Idaho Springs to a spot called St. Mary's Glacier.

Here are some pictures.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Zoo Photos

A couple of weeks ago, my wife and oldest son were away. My youngest and I went to the zoo.

Here are some pictures.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Lagunitas Sucks

It doesn't, you know.

Lagunitas doesn't suck.

There is a story behind Lagunitas Sucks Brown Shugga’ Substitute. Lagunitas has a wildly popular Christmas seasonal called Brown Shugga'. It is a pretty big beer at about 10% abv. In 2011, Lagunitas was going through expansion construction at the brewery, and some brewing equipment was late arriving. As I remember the story, since Brown Shugga' was a such a big beer, it tied up the equipment more than Lagunitas could spare, so they were not able to get it out as a seasonal that year.

But, they had to get some seasonal out, and so they made Lagunitas Sucks to substitute for Brown Shugga'. The name is sort of an apology to fans of their regular seasonal. I don't think anyone actually thought that this was Lagunita's fault. The name was just a joke ... the beer company making fun of itself.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Still More @Untappd Badges 17.5 #GABF Edition

Well, just a few days ago I let you know that I was sick of typing Still More @Untappd Badges 17, so I stopped. I promised that I would follow up with a "special edition of the @Untappd Badges".

So here we go.

Usually, in the past I don't check into very many beers at GABF.  This year, I didn't at the festival either, but when I got home I checked into all the beers that I had written down during the festival (which was a lot).

Obviously, first and foremost, we have ... 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Eric's Red Brew Day

I brewed twice this weekend.

I already told you that I brewed a little batch of Gruntled Sour Weisse on Saturday.

On Sunday, I brewed a regular-sized batch of Eric's Red. I guess you could say that Eric's Red is one of my "flagship" beers. It actually started out as a Mr. Beer recipe later to be converted to my own all-grain formulation. I have been calling it an "Irish Red", although I'm not really convinced it is. This time, I added Citra hops, which certainly isn't very Irish. It is simply a beer that I enjoy.

It doesn't really matter what style it is. Is it simply Eric's Red.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Gruntled Sour Weisse

I'm doing a bit of a brewing experiment. I've decided to brew a Berliner Weisse. I'm going to sour this Berliner Weisse with lactic acid rather than adding souring bugs to the fermentation. I'm not sure how it will turn out, so I decided to brew a small batch.

If you would like to see my recipe, check out on the SheppyBrew website:

Yesterday, my son and I went to the zoo together, and it wasn't until we were on the way home that I decided that I would brew for sure. We stopped by my most local homebrew shop and picked up malts and yeast.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Still More @Untappd Badges 17

From time to time, I share the untappd badges that I've 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.

At this point, I don't seem to be earning very many new badges. Instead I seem to be "leveling" up. For example, to earn "Lager Jack" (see below), I had to drink 5 different lagers. To get to level 2, I had to drink 5 more. Every 5 lagers, I get to "level up". Most of the badges end at 10 levels. Several I have pasted 10 long ago.

Anyhow ...

Here are some of the badges I've "earned" since Still More @Untappd Badges 16 .  Hard to believe that was so far back in August.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Falling Leaves Harvest (Autumn) Saison

 Well, I told you in Seasonal Saisons that I would be brewing my "Autumn" Saison. My "Winter" Saison was black. My "Summer" Saison was yellowish orange. The Autumn Saison is Amber colored, right in the middle of the previous two.

I decided to add pumpkin to this recipe, pretty much so that the "harvest" part of the name . Originally I was going to add several different types gourds and perhaps other types of things that are harvested in the fall, but I decided to simplify.

Before the end of the brew day, I wished I had simplified more by leaving out the pumpkin completely.

I did brew this last Sunday.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Seasonal Saisons

I don't know if you've noticed, but I've stumbled across a pretty cool (at least I think its cool) concept for a series of beers. Seasonal Saisons.

The Saison is a fun style of beer. Its guidelines are pretty wide, open to much interpretation and experimentation. For quite awhile, I avoided Saisons, but recently (in the past 12 months or so), I've really been digging them, and I will almost always try one when I see it on tap somewhere. I am not sure if my pallet has changed or if breweries are starting to nail this style, but I am starting to really love them.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Some Thoughts on #GABF Award Winners

If you've been following this blog, you know that I attended a couple of GABF sessions last weekend (see 2014 #GABF Members Session and Friday Night #GABF). It was an overwhelming spectacle, and awesomely fun.

But, man, is that a lot of beer!

The competition winners were announced pretty early on Saturday, and you can look at the list at GABF Winners.

For what it is worth, California won the most medals at 46. Colorado won the second most at 39. Those two states together won almost a third of the total medals. Half the medals were won by top 5 states (California: 46, Colorado: 39, Oregan: 22, Texas: 16, Pennsyvania: 12).

Friday, October 10, 2014

2014 Q3 SheppyBrew Stats

Here it is already 10 days into the 4th quarter and SheppyBrew Brewery still has not posted its 3rd quarter brewing stats. Lame!

But, I am doing it now, so all is well. If you are ever interested in looking through all these reports, you can see all the quarterly updates (including the one you are reading right now) by following this link: .

Quarters 1 and 2 were light brewing quarters. The 3rd quarter was not. I brewed 7 batches in the first half of the year and 6 in the 3rd quarter alone.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

2014 #GABF Members Session

Yesterday, of course, was the Members'-Only session of the Great American Beer Festival (GABF). Of course, the SheppyBrew Beer Model and I attended. It was, of course, a great time.

The members-only session is my favorite. It is one of the great benefits of being an AHA member. In fact, I know people who became AHA members just so they could buy tickets to this session of the GABF.

We got in line pretty early, but even still, we were about 3/4 of the way around the Convention Center. The line went really quick once the doors opened, though. We were in the festival before 15 after.

Big crowd on the way in.

They let the line spread out sooner before the doors this year. I thought this was going to cause a nightmare mess, but it turned out very well. 

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Friday Night #GABF

The Beer Model and I attended the Great American Beer Festival last night.

Great Festival as always.

You probably remember from yesterday, that we went in with a "plan".

We got there late because of having to drop off the kids and taking a new light-rail route with which we were a bit unfamiliar. The nice thing about getting there late is that the line is practically gone. I didn't really feel like we missed all that much either.

I didn't start off with E16 Russian River Brewing Company, but I did come around to it eventually to check Supplication off my my Best Beers in America List. I got lucky on the line and it only took me 4 minutes to get to the front. I have a feeling that the line would have been longer at the beginning of the night, so for this beer, it was a blessing in disguise to get to the festival late. I do think that Supplication was the best sour that I had all night. And I had several.

Friday, October 03, 2014

2014 #GABF Friday Night Plan

I always go into the Great American Beer Fest with a game plan. I think the main reason is that 600 different breweries in one place is sort of intimidating. Having a plan helps me stay focused and I think it enhances my beer fest enjoyment.

This year, my wife has taken the time to do a "plan" so part of my plan is to go where she wants to go. I guess that is fair considering most years I get to dictate where we go during the fest.

Unfortunately, her plan involves Pumpkin Beers. Berry Beers. Cream Beers. And Peanut Butter Beers.

Can you imagine having to drink several different Pumpkin beers in one night? Yeesh!

So, here is my plan ...

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Getting ready for the 2014 #GABF

It should come as no surprise to you that I am attending this year's Great American Beer Fest. I am, in fact, fortunate enough to have tickets for both myself and my wife to attend Friday Night and Saturday Afternoon (the members-only session).

I don't really have a plan this year. Maybe one will formulate before Friday.

The beers at the festival were released just a couple hours ago. I have not spent a whole lot of time looking at it, but I did check the beers left on my (Zymurgy's) Best Beer in America list. Of the beers that I still need to try on the list, only Russian River Supplication will be served at the festival.

Generally speaking, I tend to stay away from long lines at GABF, and usually Russian River has one of the longest lines. I am trying to decide if it is worth the effort to check off one beer if I have to wait in this long line.

I guess we will have to wait and see what I decide.

Still left on "my" list:

#5. The Alchemist Heady Topper ... Brewery will not be at GABF
#6. Lagunitas Sucks ... Have a bottle at home
#28 Russian River Pliney Younger ... not on the beer list
#30 Russian River Supplication ... The only beer on this list at GABF ... E16
#39 (Tie). Russian River Consecration ... Have a bottle at home
#39 (Tie) Troegs Nugget Nector ... Brewery at U25, but this beer is not on the list
#49 (Tie). Founder's Backwoods Bastard ... Brewery will not be at GABF

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Biking the Beermuda Triangle

So, Denver has lots of breweries.

Take a look at Dave's map on Fermentedly Challenged. Sure looks like a lot. And the number is growing all the time.

I should visit more of these breweries. I've been thinking for some time that it would be a good idea to put together a series of bike-rides to visit sets of breweries. Sort of brewery/biking mini-tours.

One set of breweries that I thought would be perfect, recently started calling themselves the "Beermuda Triangle Coalition". Take a look at Westword's article "West-side brewers form the Beermuda Triangle coalition in the face of increasing competition".

The breweries in this area between Lincoln Street and Federal Boulevard, Alameda and Colfax avenues (really more of a square ... but whatever) are:

I put together a google map to give some perspective: See it by following this hyperlink.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Bottling the 2014 X-Mas Ale

I bottled today SheppyBrew's 2014 X-Mas Ale today.

I hate bottling.

My original plan was to let the X-Mas Ale sit in secondary longer, but when I made that plan, I was forgetting that I need the secondary for adding spices to my pumpkin ale. So, I decided to go ahead and bottle today.

Have I mentioned that I hate bottling? Hate is probably too strong a word. It is mostly that it is just more time-consuming than kegging. It has been a long time that I've bottled a whole batch of beer, and I had almost forgotten how much more time consuming it is. I'm not too sure what the last batch of beer was that I bottled. It might be last year's X-Mas Ale.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Will-o-Wisp Brew Day

Well, this certainly should not surprise anyone. As I mentioned in my last blog post (see Pumpkin Ales), I was going to brew this weekend. And brew I did.

I brewed SheppyBrew's first ever pumpkin ale

I started super early, and was finished before 8:30AM. As a result, all my pictures of this brew day except one are with my crappy camera phone flash. I applogize for the lack of quality photographs. Not that they are all that great most of the time.

Brewing a pumpkin ale was a bit of a learning experience, but everything went great. 

I started out the brew-day by spreading my canned pumpkin onto a cookie sheet and baking it at 350 degrees. While the pumpkin was cooking, I got my mash going. I hit my temperature perfect, which is rare. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Pumpkin Ales

I am brewing a pumpkin ale this weekend. Pumpkin ales are not my favorite, so why am I brewing one? The main reason is that the SheppyBrew Beer Model really likes them, and (let's face it), it is a good idea to keep the Beer Model happy.

Plus, a pumpkin beer is something that I've never brewed before, and it is fun to try new things.

Actually, it is really more surprising that this is the first time I've attempted to brew a pumpkin beer.

You can take a look at my recipe on the SheppyBrew website: Will-o'-Wisp Pumpkin Ale.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

September Camping in RMNP

For quite awhile, we went camping in Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) every year, but over the past few we have not been. Earlier this summer, our youngest child told us that he wanted to go camping there. My wife went online and was unable to get a spot reserved until mid-September, this past weekend.

When you commit yourself to camping in mid-September in Colorado, especially above 8,000 feet,  you are taking a risk. Weather may be awesome that time of year. Weather may be miserable. Last Friday in the Denver area it was miserable. I was worried but the Sheppy family doesn't let a little cloudy cold rain / snow mist affect our weekend plans. We had campsite reservations and we were going.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Hanging Lake

I mentioned in my last blog post (see Pictures Rescued from my Camera) that we spent Labor Day weekend in Glenwood Springs.

We had a great time. The weekend went way too fast. But then, they always do, don't they?

One of the things we did while in the area is that we hiked up to Hanging Lake. If you have never been, it is an absolutely gorgeous spot. You should try to visit if you get a chance, but make sure you get to the trail head early. The parking lot gets full.

Here are some pictures.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Pictures Rescued from my Camera

So, our family camera is not real fancy, but it works for us. Quite often now-a-days we end up leaving it behind and simply using our cell phones to take pictures, but it still seems right to have a "real" digital camera.

I was thinking about moving pictures from the camera SD card onto our computer this morning when I remembered that there were a few photos still "trapped" on the camera's internal memory. To be honest, I'm not sure how this happened since we always have the SD card in, but somehow it did.

I thought I would get those off.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Brewing the 2014 X-Mas Ale

It does seem a bit early in the year, but I decided to brew SheppyBrew's 2014 X-Mas Ale this past Sunday.

Every year since I started brewing way back in 2009, I've done an X-Mas Ale. Each year it has been a little different. The base beer has been pretty consistent, but I always add spices or other flavorings to the beer to give it a festive character.

You can look at all the X-Mas Ales together on the SheppyBrew Website for an idea what spices/flavorings have been used (see X-Mas Ales 2009 - 2014).

Sunday, August 31, 2014

An Update on my Travel Bugs

I am fascinated with Travel Bugs.

You probably know this, but just in case, a Travel Bug is a type of geocaching "trackable". Basically, it is sort of like a game piece. The bug is a tag attached to an object that travels from cache to cache.You can read more about these little hitchhikers at Geocaching 101.

So, it is cool to me that you can easily look and see where a travel bug has gone.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Brew Day for Near-Sighted Swine

So, if you read this blog or follow me  on untappd or follow me on twitter or like SheppyBrew's facebook page, you probably know that I like IPA's.

I don't, however, make a lot of IPA's. Really, it is because I like so many beer styles that I don't get around to it very often.

On #IPA Day, I mentioned that I would be brewing an IPA (see #IPADay Announcement: Near-Sighted-Swine).

My 2012 Zymurgy List included Russian River's Blind Pig IPA, which I figured I would not ever be able to get. Russian River beers are extremely over-hyped .... errrr ... popular and it is very hard to pick any of them up here in Denver. Fortuitously, a local pizza place / craft beer bar had some the very day we ate there (see Blind Pig at Parry's Pizza). That year, there was a Blind Pig clone recipe in Zymurgy. Before finding the beer at Parry's I thought maybe I would make the clone and count that as my taste of the beer.

Monday, August 25, 2014

WY3711, The Real Super Yeast

SheppyBrew's newest beer is Hail Storm Summer Saison.

If you are familiar at all with the Saison style of beer, you know that one of its very critical characteristics is that it should finish very dry. From the great Brewing Classic Styles, "the most common mistake for this style is not getting a dry enough finish. In order to get the beer to finish dry, the recipe must have a considerable amount of simple sugars."

One of the reasons that it took me so long to brew a Saison is that I have heard that many of the Saison yeasts available for homebrewers are very finicky and often stall way before they fully attenuate.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

My First Multi-Cache

If you follow this blog, you know that our family is into geocaching. Usually, it is an activity that I do with the kids, but fairly often I'll go off and do it on my own. I hate to admit that. I'm sure it makes me some sort of geek. It is fun for me, though, and sometimes it is something I do when I am on my own. Judge me if you must. It is just how I am.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Biking and Hiking and Geocaching and Canoeing

Busy day Friday.

We had decided to visit our friends in Breckenridge this weekend, and I took a PTO day.

Early in the morning, sometime before dawn, I grabbed some stuff, put my mountain bike on the back of the minivan, and headed up to Mt. Falcon Open Space Park.

There were a couple geocaches that I thought I would like to pick up. One is a multi-stage cache that I had begun a week or so before.

A.L.S. #IceBucketChallenge

My wife was challenged by her niece (see link on youtube: #IceBucketChallenge Tracy).

Then, she challenged me. (see link on youtube: Eric's #IceBucketChallenge)

And I challenged my son (see link on youtube: Tyler #IceBucketChallenge)

and ... it goes on and on and on and on.

To learn more about the Ice Bucket Challenge, go to: To make a donation go to:

Friday, August 15, 2014

August Backpacking Trip Part 3

Hopefully you've seen August Backpacking Trip Part 1and August Backpacking Trip Part 2. This is the third and final post of this series. Feel free to go back and check out 1 & 2.

I got up earlier than the rest of the family and did some climbing. The views were absolutely spectacular. The light juxtaposed with the shadow of areas where the sun had not cleared the mountains was awesome.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

August Backpacking Trip Part 2

A couple of days ago, I posted August Backpacking Trip Part 1. Now, it is time to continue the story.

We woke up pretty early (but not too early) the next day. The sky was very blue with no clouds. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

August Backpacking Trip Part 1

Not this past weekend, but the before it, we packed stuff on our backs and headed out into the Lost Creek Wilderness. Yes, this is the same place we always go backpacking. You might think it might get boring for us, but we discover new things every time we go, and it continues to be fun.

We do need to find another good spot for our family backpacking trips.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Hiking to Maxwell Falls

A couple of weeks ago, we decided to do a day-hike by Evergreen, CO up to a spot called Maxwell Falls. We did the "Lower Maxwell Falls Hike", the longest of the options on the webpage. Packed up a lunch and made a day of it.

It was really a great hike.

Here are some pictures:

Thursday, August 07, 2014

#IPADay: My Last 6 IPAs

Here I am contributing to the HashTagging of this made-up twitter holiday again.


When I first started homebrewing (way back in 2009), I was not really a fan of IPA's. I started understanding hop bitterness vs. hop flavor vs. hop aroma and how to extract each in the brewing process. It wasn't until I started getting a handle on how hop bitterness balances malt sweetness that I started getting an appreciation for bitterness. It wasn't until I got that appreciation of bitterness that I started to understand and like IPA's.

So, I really have my brewing experience to thank for my appreciation of IPA's.

#IPADay Announcement: Near-Sighted-Swine

I've mentioned this before, but shockingly SheppyBrew Brewery does not brew a lot of IPA's.

SheppyBrew's TommyHawk APA is actually technically an IPA, but I think it might be my only one. And, of course, its name still has "APA" in it as a tribute of where it came from.

I've brewed Black IPA's and West-Coast Reds, but those don't really count.

I think it is about time that I actually design and brew an IPA.

I've decided to call it "Near-Sighted Swine IPA" in honor of Russian River's Blind Pig IPA. It isn't a clone of the beer, just a tribute.

It isn't real high in alcohol or bitterness, but has quite a few late-addition hops and dry hops.

I am planning for this to be the next beer I brew. Stay tuned to read about brew day and how it ends up turning out.

#IPADay: What the hell is a Session IPA?

So, It seems that everyone is making a Session IPA now-a-days.

I'm all for session beers.

I'm all for IPA's.

I am against calling these "new" beers Session IPA's.

To me, that is just too oxymoronic.

Ironically enough, I am fine with the term "Black IPA" (in fact I much prefer Black IPA to Cascadian Dark) ... that is pretty oxymoronic as well. Go figure.

The main problem I have with the term "Session IPA" is that most of them I've seen fall right into a category we already have ... "American Pale Ale".

Yes, these "Session IPA's" are on the lower end of the ABV and OG. They may end up a bit drier than a typical APA, and they are the upper end of the bitterness and hop flavor.

But, in my opinion, they fall in the category none-the-less. "Session IPA's" are nothing more than hoppy American Pale Ales.

#IPADay 2014

Aha. Yes, once again the made-up twitter holiday is upon us.


Merry #IPADay.

I love IPA's.

I won't try to explain #IPADay to you. Check out IPA Day Returns August 7th, and the Beer Wench will do a much better job explaining it than I will.

Whether you love IPA's or hate them, you can't deny that they have become pervasive in the craft beer landscape. Personally, I think it a bit unfortunate that so many people consider IPA's synonymous with Craft Beer. I don't think it is a good thing when so many people tell me things like, "Craft Beer is so bitter" because they think "Craft Beer" means IPA. There are so many wonderful craft beer styles out there that are so very un-IPA-like. I think craft beer education should advocate diversity rather than pushing one beer style upon us all.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

5280 Summer 2014 Six Pack

A few times I have mentioned the 5280 Six Packs. 5280 is a Denver magazine and every so often they put out variety packs of local beers. They just pick 6 beers. I'm not sure what their criteria is. I believe they do it every season, but quite often I miss their release, so I don't know for sure how often they actually do it.

As far as I can tell, they are pretty bad at documenting these on their website, making it even more difficult to know when they come out. 

When I see these six packs, I pick them up.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Still More @Untappd Badges 16

Well, as you probably know if you follow this blog even semi-regularly, I share from time to time which untappd badges I've 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.

As I mentioned last time, I have a few badges that could have been shared at that time, but I decided to share them for the next post (which is now this one).

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Hail Storm Summer Saison

Saisons are an interesting style of beer. Sometimes I really like them. Sometimes I really don't. For the most part, the ones that I really like are a bit lower in alcohol. They are also ones that either don't use non-beer flavors (ie anything other than hops yeast water and malt), or use them sparingly enough that the makes yeast and hops can shine through.

For quite awhile, I've known I wanted to brew a summer Saison. Last summer, i thought the article Billy Brew's Summer Saison was going to be the thing that pushed me to do it. I never got around to a summer Saison last year. I did brew my Arctic Vortex Winter (black) Saison, but never got around to a more tradional Saison.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Pineappling the Wheat

So, you may remember that I brewed the base beer for a pineapple what a few weeks ago. If not, feel free to check out Pineapple Wheat Brew Day . When I make a fruit beer, I add the fruit flavoring after primary fermentation is done in a secondary fermentor.

For this Sunny Pineapple Wheat, I decided to add the fruit by using frozen concentrated pineapple juice.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Killing some more Glutens

I brewed SheppyBrew's Laser Salt Sandy Blonde Ale Sunday. My wife's friend "Gretchen" calls this beer "The Gluten Killer" because eveytime I make it, I add some White Labs Clarity-Ferm to reduce glutens.

Clarity-ferm's purpose is to help clarity in beer by eating away at proteins that can cause a haze. It just so happens that glutens are some of those proteins that get eaten away.

I have fed my beer to brave gluten-sensitive guinea-pigs (including my wife's good friend "Gretchen"). These guinea-pigs say they don't get nasty reactions to my beer, and it tastes much better than typical "real" gluten-free beers.

In my opinion, sorghum beers taste awful. This beer tastes fantastic.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

All Day IPA

Well, if you follow this blog, you probably know about Zymurgy's 2014 Best Beers in America list. When I last blogged about this list, I mentioned:
"To be honest, I picked up another one of these in Florida. I'll "officially" check it off the list after I blog about it."
Here I am blogging about it. The beer I picked up in Florida was Founders All Day IPA.

It sort of sucks that Colorado doesn't get Founders beers, when Florida does. I am not going to complain about it, though. It is what it is, as they say. At least I was able to pick this up.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

BOB .... Brew on Broadway

Last Sunday, after my brew day, I decided to go on an afternoon bike ride.

There is a brewery in Englewood that was celebrating its one year anniversary called "The Brew on Broadway" aka "The B.O.B.". Until a few days ago, I did not realize it existed. Actually, I was probably aware of it at some point, but it was not part of my current consciousness until I saw posts and tweets mentioning its anniversary weekend.

Lately, I've actually been surprised to discover a few new breweries in the South Denver metro area. I used to think I was pretty good at keeping up with new breweries. Lately, I am beginning to think my feeble little mind is having a hard time keeping up just due to the ridiculous (in a good way) number of tiny little local breweries opening up in and around Denver.

Friday, July 11, 2014

2014 Q2 SheppyBrew Stats

As you may know, the Brewery likes to post quarterly updates on how much we have brewed. You can see all these updates (including the one you are reading right now) by following this link: .

2014 continues to be slow going at the brewery. You may remember that in Q1, I brewed only 4 times.  Well, in Q2, I brewed only 3 times, and didn't brew at all in June. Pathetic.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Pineapple Wheat Brew Day

I brewed Sunday. Earlier last week, I had been thinking about doing a Summer Saison, but I never made it to the Local Home Brew Shop (LHBS) with the Saison yeast that I like. Saturday, I dropped by the newer, closer LHBS that I mentioned in Brewing Buckwheat's BPA (again). to pick up grains for the Summer Lovin base beer that I use for most of my fruit beers.

This newer, closer LHBS didn't have honey malt, so I substituted a Crystal 15. Sometimes that is how recipes come to be.... just grab was it available and see what happens.

My plan with this version is to make a pineapple orange beer. Similarly to how I flavored the "Un-Wheat", my plan is to use frozen juice concentrate in a secondary step. This time, I plan to use pineapple orange juice, and I plan to use two cans instead of the one I used on the "Un-Wheat". I think that will give it enough pineapple that you can taste it. Hopefully it doesn't come across as too much.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Jai Alai IPA

Cigar City Brewing doesn't distribute to Colorado. It always has a huge line at GABF. I have a policy of trying to avoid huge lines, so I've never had Cigar City beers there. In fact, when Zymurgy's 2014 Best Beers in America list came out (see my blog post of the same name), I had never had one of their beers at all. Ever.

Cigar City Brewing does appear to be wildly popular. I always felt I should try it some time.

And this year, Cigar City's Jai Alai IPA made the list at #42.

My wife's family gets together every 2 years for a week or so for a family reunion. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you may realize that this is the reunion that inspired the T.Ra.Sh. Mexican Lager. As luck would have it, this year's reunion was in Florida. I'm not a fan of visiting Florida in the summer, but this time it works out for my quest. I was able to pick up and try the Jai Alai.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Zymurgy's 2014 Best Beers in America

Well, I mentioned just a few days ago that Zymurgy’s 2014 Best Beers in America came out. At the time, I had only seen it in the e-Magazine and had not found the web page on the AHA website. Now I have seen the AHA web page.

Here is the link:

I also mentioned that I had not really done much with the 2013 list (see How I ended up on my list). I started out with 11 beers on the list that I had never tried. I still have 6 left. I guess that is ok, but a little disappointing compared to 2012 where I ended up only with 2 on my not-tried list.

Personally, I think the list should be called "Most Popular Beers in America", because it really is a popularity contest. Zymurgy readers get to vote on the list. In fact, if you want to see what I voted for, see My Best Beers in America. Most of mine did not make the final list, but that is ok.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

2014 Great Sand Dune Pictures

A couple of weeks ago, we went camping in the Great Sand Dunes National Park.

This place is awesome. If you've never been there, you really need to check it out. Pictures do not do it justice ...

But ...

Our group campsite

Sand and water and mountains

Thursday, June 19, 2014

How I ended up on my list

Well, Zymurgy's 2014 Best Beers in America list came out yesterday.

I didn't really do much with the 2013 list. When I posted Zymurgy's 2013 Best Beers in America, there were 11 beers on the list that I had never tried.

Now, I still have 6 beers left. Most of them are on the 2014 list as well, and I'm not sure I'll have any better luck getting to them this year than I did last year.

Here are the 2013 beers that I still have not tried:

T9. Lagunitas Sucks (on 2014 list as well)  16. The Alchemist Heady Topper (on 2014 list) T27. Troegs Nugget Nectar. (on 2014 list)  31. Russian River Consecration (on 2014 list)  T32. Russian River Supplication (on 2014 list)          45. Firestone Walker Parabola  

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Saint Patrick's Brewing

I have mentioned Saint Patrick's Brewing Company a couple times on this blog.

If you follow this blog at all, you know that I love the tiny little local breweries. St. Patrick's is so tiny, it makes most of the other tiny little breweries I have mentioned look huge. Their setup is way more of a homebrew-sized system than that of even your smallest "typical" production brewery. Their fermentors are 26 gallon conicals. They use homebrew-sized brew pots. They hand bottle every beer.

Best of all, they make awesome beer.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Another Waterton Bike Ride

Saturday, we loaded our mountain bikes on the back of our mini-van and took them to Waterton Canyon. You may remember Waterton Canyon from such posts as Biking with the Sheep. In fact, I've just realized that I blog about it enough that I might as well have a Sheppy's Blog: Waterton Canyon "label". You can follow that link to see all our adventures in this canyon (including this blog post).

As a reminder, Waterton Canyon is the beginning of the 480 mile Colorado Trail. The canyon is a good place to take the kids riding.  It is off-road, but nice and wide. It is also very scenic, with access to the South Platte river and rocks to climb. It only has a slight elevation gain, so it is pretty easy without being too simple.

The river is certainly up compared to most (probably all) of the pictures you've seen on this blog. We've had a good snowy winter in the mountains plus a pretty wet spring so far.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Still More @Untappd Badges 15

It has been a long time since I've done a report on my untappd badges. Not sure why. I've had enough to do a post. Time just got away from me. I'll give you the next few now and save some for the next one.

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 14, I've earned the following:

Sunday, June 01, 2014

When InBev tries to brew a blueberry beer

So, last weekend my wife bought some beer. Someone had finished up the keg of T.RA.SH. Mexican Lager, there was not really any other beer to take it's place yet, and she figured she would want beer with Sunday dinner.

Usually, I will handle beer purchases, but she was going to be out buying groceries anyway, and we figured she could handle the responsibility.

When she returned, the beer she had picked for herself was an 8% abv Blueberry Lager, "Wild Blue". It was a beer I didn't recognize and I was intrigued. I was little surprised that she had picked out a beer that said 8%, but whatever. In case you didn't know, my wife likes most every blueberry beer she has ever tried.