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).