Astoria, OR

February 8, 2010

This last weekend, I was in Astoria, OR, were life was very kind to my husband and I in the fermenting world.

After going to the Blue Scorcher Bakery and Café for a bowl of homemade soup and a pear and clove bread pudding, we headed over to Shallon Winery for a tasting. He had his dry black berry, cranberry whey, peach, spiced apple, and chocolate orange wines. Upon me producing a business card, he realized that he had read my previous comments about the winery, and informed me that I did have one fact incorrect. He does add sugar to the fruit wines, or else the alcohol level would be too low. Thank you, Mr. VanDerVeldt, for clearing that up for me and for producing great wines!

After purchasing a peach wine and an apple spice wine, we walked back to Fort George Brewery, where my husband had a bourbon barrel stout and I had the wasabi ginger ale. Mine was a bit bland, and I was since told that sometimes the batches are inconsistent. My husband enjoyed his beer, as he was getting ready to add the oak chips that have been soaking in bourbon to his porter back home to make a bourbon barrel porter.

We then joined my father’s cousin for dinner. My parents had told them before Christmas what we were doing, and they said they had some brewing equipment that they hadn’t used in over ten years that we could have. We ended up with three 5 gallon carboys, two bottling buckets, a 90 bottle tree and cleaner, another hydrometer, a bigger wine thief, a few books, and about 100 bottles. The bottles were unique. I think he said they used to have Bud Light in them, but they were like brown 16 oz Burgundy bottles rather than beer bottles with shoulders. This means that if a batch is bottle conditioned for carbonation,  it is harder not to pour what little lees are produced as the neck is not conducive for catching them. There were also some champagne bottles that had the ability to be capped. My husband is thinking about using one of those per his beer batches for occasions like parties.

When we got home, we started scrubbing dust and algae off of things, and sanitizing the equipment. My husband is excited to now brew twice as many beers because he has twice the carboys to do it with!

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