Basic Brewing Interview About Spontaneous Homebrew

posted on October 19, 2011 at 2:05 pm by Ken Valley in Homebrewing

Last week we had the pleasure of joining James Spencer, the host of Basic Brewing Radio, on his weekly podcast (it’s the October 20, 2011 episode) about brewing.  He (and two of his regular guests) interviewed Austin and myself on the ‘spontaneous’ beer I made last October.  We had a lot of fun, and enjoyed the beer on the show.

Check out the episode now!

Building a Keg Totem

posted on October 12, 2011 at 6:38 pm by Ken Valley in Homebrewing

After last year’s tailgating season, my friends and I started brainstorming ways to pay tribute to our game-day homebrew.  Slowly our ideas grew from a tap attached to a board sunk into the ground, to a way to contain the homebrew and dispense the beer.  After the Big Ten college football conference gained a member and divided into two divisions, the Legends (which the Iowa Hawkeyes are in) and the Leaders division, we decided to create a ‘totem’ pole that could hold two homebrew 5 gallon soda kegs, one stacked on top of the other.

Once we decided on our idea, the design was next.  What should we make it from?  How do we engineer it to dispense the homebrew?  After one of our designer friends took the idea and ran with it, we came up with the idea to use 12-inch diameter concrete forms.  Two of the tubes are 8 foot tall, and all it took was some engineering to make it all work.  The bottom tube is secured with 6-inch L-brackets with removable bolts.  The top section has long beams that are secured with bolts, and has a notched hole-less peg board for wings of the top figure.  The bottom section contains two gas lines, one for each keg, and the top section has two beer lines, hooking up to tower-style shanks.  After several months of planning and design, we unveiled the keg totem at opening day weekend!

The Concrete Forms, Before Painting

The Concrete Forms, Before Painting

Full Mockup

Full Mockup

Primed Tubes

Primed Tubes

Applying the First Coat of Paint

Applying the First Coat of Paint

Bottom of the Totem After the First Coat

Bottom of the Totem After the First Coat

Sizing Up the Wings

Sizing Up the Wings

Completed Totem

Completed Totem

Set Up at the Tailgate

Set Up at the Tailgate

The Inaugural Pour

The Inaugural Pour

Northside Octoberfest/Brewfest 2011

posted on October 7, 2011 at 12:01 am by Ken Valley in Craft Beer

Beerfest

Brewfest 2011

This past weekend was the first Iowa City Northside Octoberfest.  This year, Brewfest was combined with the celebration, to expand the audience of the event.  In addition to Brewfest, there was live music, food  vendors, and Sodafest for those who wanted to try different sodas.

At Brewfest, there were almost 90 different beer vendors with over 400 different beers.  Some of my favorites included two new Lips of Faith Beers from New Belgium: Kick and Clutch.  Kick was described as a slightly-sour pumpkin cranberry ale.  The beer had a lot of cranberry flavor, but the pumpkin was very light.  Clutch was a slightly sour brown ale.  It reminded me a bit of New Belgium’s 1554 with a bit of sourness.  Look for both these beers in Iowa soon.

Also, Peace Tree Brewing had several very nice special beers for the festival, including a bourbon-barrel stout (their Belgo-style Black River Gumbo Stout aged in bourbon barrels), a slightly-funky and a bit sour Cornucopia with Brett yeast, and a light and fruity German-style Kolsch.

Did you go to Brewfest 2011?  What were some of your favorite beers?