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Home » Brews and News
Table of Contents
President : Festivaled Out
Grow Your Own
This Month in Brews & News
All Hands Beer Bust
Reservations for SunFest
Mead Soars Again!
Beer Style of the Month : Octoberfest/ Marzen / Bock
Mayfaire Best of Show Mead Recipe!
Brewpub Review
Events
Other Information
Competition Calendar
Archives


May 2000, Vol. XXV, Num. 5
Don T. Knott, Editor
Contributors:
Kevin Baranowski, Tom Wolf, Brian Vessa,
Rich Schmittdiel, et al.
Contents Copyright 2000 The Maltose Falcons

Festivaled Out
by President Kevin Baranowski
    I'm sure glad that we are past the festival season for now. Mayfaire was another great party at White Rock Lake Campground on April 15th. It seemed that the attendance was lower than normal, but those 60 or so that did make it out, were treated to a great beer selection, a tasty chicken & steak dinner, and the fabulous sounds of the Maltose Falcons Brews Band. The facilities there work out really nice for us to have events. Joanne, the park owner seems to be happy to have us. The weather was a little cooler this year, but with 29 kegs of antifreeze and our dancing shoes, no one seemed to mind. Vice President John Aitchison presented the Mayfaire Competition awards, and our own Todd Etzel won Best of Show for his agave mead. That's two years in a row now that a Falcon has won the bird. We had a super raffle, and we thank all that donated items.

    May 5, 6, 7th was the Southern California Homebrewers Festival down in Temecula, and we had 26 falcons in attendance. Those that were there Friday night( about 20 ), had our own version of a cinco de mayo party complete with margaritas. It was a RAGER that went late into the night, but left most of us hung over Saturday morning. Unfortunately Drew Beechum and I had to go over early and set up the Falcons Bar and man the booth. Our headaches lasted til midday, but the fest was still alot of fun. Of course the Falcons had some of the best beers, including the Falcons IPA that was well recieved by the fest attendees. We still had 13 beers online at the 9:00 pm closing. The event included some professional speakers, a really long raffle, and an awesome musical performance by the Maltose Falcons Brews Band. I'd like to thank Tom Hamilton, Drew Beechum, MB Cassleman, Brian Vessa, Bruce Brode, Craig Newhouse, and Tom Wolf for providing beer for the bar. I'd also like to thank Drew and Tom Hamilton for helping with setup and tear down of the bar and all the other members that helped out serving in our booth. They kicked me out to take a few breaks throughout the day too.

    Those of you that missed either one or the other of these two events, I encourage you to come out to our events. Not only do we Falcons put on a great party with the best beers, but the family feeling of fellowship, and companionship of being around others that you share something in common with, makes for the best fun.

    The nominations for the next Board positions were opened and posted at Mayfaire. The sheets will be at the Shop for the next three meetings. Be sure to nominate someone that really wants to get involved in club business. Some current Board members are planning to run again. The elections will be held at the July meeting. It's your club, and by volunteering to run for a position means that you want to see our club continue to prosper and grow. Being on the Board has been alot of fun and I encourage our members to think about getting more involved if you have never been on the Board.

    Just to keep reminding everyone, this year's Sunfest Party will be upon us sooner than we expect. . The dates are August 11, 12, 13th, on Catalina Island. More info should be availible at the next meeting.

    I hope to see alot of faces at the Shop for this month's meeting. Our style of the month is Marzen/Oktoberfests. Bring 'em if you got 'em.


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Grow your own
By John Aitchison
I like to grow my own. Hops I mean. Most people think of the Pacific Northwest when it comes to hops. The LA area also is a good place to grow several varieties of hops. Cascade and Nugget grow well, and I've heard you can grow other kinds of Hops this far south. Hops are not only good for your beer, they are an interesting plant and give you privacy. You can landscape with them. They grow up to 20 feet tall if they can. Jack didn't climb a bean stalk, he went up a hop vine. They need to be guided. All you need to do is tie a string from the ground to some point near the top of your roof. Even if you're not a gardener, these things are easy to grow.

Hops are easy to take care of. Hops grow best when they have some sun and shade. A tree or fence that keeps them in the shade in the middle of the day is idea. They come in the Spring, you harvest the whole hop cones in the Summer, and you cut them down in the Fall. They come back up from the roots or rizones in the Winter. They don't need much water or fertilizer. One good plant is all you need. You can buy hop rizomes at the Home Wine and Beer Shop. John has a bunch of varieties.


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This Month in Brews & News
by Don T. Knott
    This month we begin gearing up for the Long Hot Summer. Sunfest in Catalina is sure to be a winner. The Reservation Form is included in this issue.

    Also included is everthing you might want to know about growing your own hops.

    If that weren't enough Bruce Brode gives us a detailed report on the recent Mead tasting, and Mayfaire Best of show Winner Todd Etzel shows us how to make his prize winning Agave Meade.

    In addition your editor steps in for Tom Wolf again(he stills seems to be hors de combat) to provide the beer of the month info along with a thinly veiled commentary on the current state of the brewpub scene, cleverly disguised as a brewpub review. In so doing he tells you where to drink beer in Las Cruces, New Mexico, thereby rendering a trip back to the family farm tax deductable.

    The good folks at Bayhawk Brewing in Irvine also let us know about a little party they are throwing for the Navy folk down that away.

    Anyone who attended Mayfaire or the Southern California Homebrew festival is encouraged to write about it. If you have pictures (the sharper the better) please pass those along too. I'll get them back to you as soon as I've scanned them. Better yet digitize them youself and send them to me on the net.     DTK


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All Hands Beer Bust...Alumni, Parents & Friends
    Navy, Army, Air Force, Parents and Friends...You are all invited to the First Annual Beer Bust at McCormicks & Schmidts on Saturday Evening, 20 May at 1900 (7:00pm) until ???

    This will be a NO-HOST event, with tours of the BayHawk Ales Brewery which is the No. 1 Micro-Brewery in Orange County. Meet the Brewmaster, Karl Zappa, no-host food (order from the menu) and get some samples of some of the finest beer anywhere!!!!!     A great way to spend a Saturday evening....dress..VERY Casual.

    Address: 2000 Main Street, Irvine. Between MacArthur and Von Karmon.

    No reservations required...just show up!

    Bring your friends & neighbors.

    The Pilsner Room at McCormicks & Schmidts is a super place for a great evening! Another Great Event sponsored by the Los Angeles Chapter of the United States Naval Academy Alumni Association.


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Reservation form for SunFest at Two Harbors, Catalina Island - August 11, 12, 13 - 2000
    Reservation Form Here     Includes two nights camping, transportation of gear from boat to the campground, dinner Saturday night, ice & co2 for the beer, the band and much fun! The boat transportation is not included call one of the boat companies to reserve your crossing as soon as you have committed to the trip.

    Call early to reserve your boat trip boats leave from San Pedro, Long Beach & Dana Point. There are two boat companies
        Catalina Express: 310-519-1212 (more expensive, more strict luggage rules, more daily crossings, faster) They probably will not allow beer kegs.
        Catalina Cruises: 800-228-2546 or online sales www.telesails.com (cheaper, not as comfortable, liberal luggage rules, slower.) They allow two wheel hand carts.

    Make sure you go to Two Harbors not Avalon!

    Bring your beer (but do not bring co2!), camping gear, food, money , sunscreen etc, Two Harbors is a small village with a general store, and a snack bar & restaurant. There are a lot of activities around Two Harbors.... Swimming, kayaking, diving and snorkeling, a glass bottom boat, bicycling, hiking etc. You can rent most gear there. This will be a very cool weekend for the whole family, bring other beer lovers and friends. We have the potential for 74 campers.

    Think ahead..........brew some good summer beers for this event!!


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Mead Soars Again!
by Bruce L. Brode
    April 29 saw the convening of our annual Winter-Spring Mead Tasting, the ninth straight year we have done so. A spirited and congenial gathering of 25 or so mead enthusiasts from the Maltose Falcons Home Brewing Society and the Cellarmasters Home Winemaking Club, including a couple of the merely curious, resulted. Regulars and novices alike, by the end of the afternoon, 31 meads later, all agreed it had been an excellent tasting with a great deal of variety and some truly wonderful meads served.

    An accounting of what was brought:

        Scott Albert: Deer Tongue and Mugwort Methleglin.

        Drew Beechum: Orange Blossom Ginger Sparkling Melomel.

        Bruce Brode: Boysenberry Blush Melomel, Cranberry Melomel, 1994 Dry Pyment, Oregon Mint Honey Traditional Mead, "Spruce Goose" Gooseberry and Spruce Essence Mead. Commercial meads procured: Wine Haven Winery Dry and Medium-Dry Honeywines, Honeyrun Winery Melomels: Cranberry, Blackberry.

        Steve Chevalier: Blackberry Melomel, Vanilla/Almond Mead.

        Todd Etzel: Agave Mead.

        Tom and Lois Hamilton: 1994 Ginger Sparkling Melomel, Sweet Orange Melomel, Dry Raspberry Melomel, Sack Traditional Mead.

        David Janss: Mulberry Melomel, Tangelo Melomel.

        David Lustig: Dry Plum Honeywine, Cellarmasters Club-Project Honey Muscat Wine.

        Corinne Pooler: Cranberry-Apple Melomel, Blueberry Melomel, Raspberry-Mint Mead, Mango Melomel, Lemon Melomel.

        David Sherfey: Donated commercial meads: Torrey Ridge Winery (Earle Estate Winery) Indigo Blush Grape/Honey Wine, Brother Adam's Bragget by Atlantic Brewing Company.

        Don Simpson: Dry Sparkling Traditional Mead, Traditional Mead, 'New Zealand' Traditional Mead.

    As is my custom, and due to space limitations, my tasting notes follow for all of the commercial meads and the best of the homemade ones.

    We opened with two mead products from the Wine Haven Winery, Chisago City, Minnesota. Their Dry Table Wine displayed a floral, white-wine aroma with honey aromatics including a touch of phenols; a very pale green-gold color; and a flavor that was fairly dry, acidic and crisp with a lemony aspect and the honey character a bit subdued. The Medium-Dry Table Wine made an interesting comparison, with a fruity, flowery aroma including a touch of spice; a very pale yellow color which was clearer than the Dry one; and a flavor of fruity acidity which was tangy with notes of lemon and apple and controlled sweetness. There was a tiny taste of tannin in the finish as from an apple skin. The Medium-Dry in particular gets a positive rating from us as a well-made and pleasing wine.

    We also tried two melomels from the Honeyrun Winery of Chico, California. The Blackberry was a blend of 23% blackberry wine and 77% honey wine; it displayed a red-wine aroma with a touch of wood; a very deep ruby-purple color which was nearly opaque (impressive extract!); and a rich, concentrated flavor reminiscent of berry jam, both sweet and acidic, which most found to be too concentrated. The Cranberry Melomel had a peculiar hay-like aroma with some fruitiness; a blush pink-orange color; and a sweet-tart flavor which showcased the unique acidity of cranberries (including a touch of oxalic acid if I recall). We found both wines to be quite interesting and anything but bland, but the cranberry was preferable to most of us and got a positive rating from us.

    Donated by former local and now New York State resident and expert home meadmaker David Sherfey was the Indigo Blush Semi-Sweet Wine from Torrey Ridge Winery, produced by the Earle Estate Winery in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. A blend of 65% grape wine and 35% honey wine, this had a distinct Concord grape aroma with some floral honey notes; an orange-red blush color; and a fruity, slightly crisp flavor that was an interesting blend of honey, acid and native American grapes although less purely Concord-like than the aroma suggested. Many comments were elicited; one found it like Gamay Rose. We give this one a positive rating.

    Another of Mr. Sherfey's donations was Brother Adam's Bragget, brewed by the Atlantic Brewing Company in Bar Harbor, Maine. A special bottling from 1998, the label explained that this was essentially a barleywine made from equal portions of honey and malt. The aroma was sweetly malty with the presence of alcohol; it had a lovely medium bronze color; and the flavor was rich and alcoholic with some hop bitterness but seemingly more malty than honeylike in its balance. The finish was tangy, bitter and with some caramel character. Generally we give it a positive rating, and although well made it seems too young and lacking in distinct honey character for best balance at this point.

The best of the homemade meads:

    One of the stars of the show was Todd Etzel's Agave Mead, fresh from its appearance as the Best of Show winner in the Maltose Falcons Mayfaire Competition 2000. The aroma was one of sweet honey, with smoky and 'green' notes contributed by the agave nectar used; decent clarity and a lovely bronze color denoted its appearance; and the flavor was smooth, fruity and rich with a caramel-like finish. It's not hard to understand why this bested more than 160 entries! His recipe was 6 pounds honey, 6 pounds Agave nectar, both of which were dissolved in 2 gallons of warm water, and additional water added to bring the overall volume to 5 gallons; pitched with Cotes de Blanc wine yeast and fermented to conclusion. Amazingly, it was started in September 1999 and was already exceptionally drinkable.

    Another outstanding mead at the tasting was Steve Chevalier's Vanilla/Almond Mead. Made with a distinctive wildflower honey from a home beekeeper in Massachusetts, the aroma was fruity, spicy and a bit phenolic with some almond behind all that; color was pale gold; and the fruity flavor had notes of spice to it with a touch of vanilla. The additions of almond and vanilla proved to be a wonderful match with the spicy, woody character of the honey.

    We also greatly enjoyed the Sweet Orange Melomel brought by Tom and Lois Hamilton. Made with only fresh-squeezed orange juice as the sole liquid content, and orange blossom honey, it was about as orangey as one could get. A perfumed orange blossom aroma seemed to display some orange zest as well; color was a pleasant medium gold; and the flavor was smoothly sweet with citric-acidic notes and lots of orange character. This was part of the largest home mead batch I have heard of: 35 gallons! That's a lot of orange squeezing, for sure. Also good were the Hamiltons' Sack Mead, with caramel-edged honey aroma and a slight soapiness, deep gold color, and richly sweet flavor with a touch of tannins to help dry out the finish a bit in an overall fruity complex; and the Dry Raspberry Melomel, with prominent raspberry aroma of a slightly cooked character with again a touch of soapiness, a nice bronze color, and a crisp lemony flavor with some berry tannins and also a creamy texture.

    Corinne Pooler had several excellent meads, all melomels displaying the intensity of fruit and honey sweetness that is her signature. Particularly good were the Raspberry-Mint, with earthy raspberry aroma and mint behind, a rich orange-red color, and a flavor that was fairly sweet and fruity with balanced acidity; the Cranberry-Apple with a crisply fruity aroma, blush orange color, and rich flavor that was very sweet but with some balancing acidity and a spiciness from the Colorado wildflower honey used that proved an excellent match with the fruit; the Mango with a rich fruity mango aroma, gold-orange color, and very sweet and rich flavor with good mango presence which might handle a bit more acidity for balance; and the Lemon with an intensely lemon-chemical aroma, straight yellow color, and sweetly tangy flavor which was again very rich. While Corinne was afraid the Lemon one wasn't worth serving, I thought it one of her best!

    Providing a nice example of variety was David Lustig's Dry Plum Melomel, made in the manner of a red wine from dark-fleshed Burgundy plums. The aroma was indeed red wine-like; a lovely deep red color furthered the red wine impression; and the flavor was smoothly fruity, proceeding to a crisply acidic finish with some tannins. Although honey was used as the fermentable sugar, its flavor and aroma contributions were subdued. Nonetheless, this was a very well made and appealing wine.

    Drew Beechum's version of the well-known Barkshack Gingermead recipe by Charlie Papazian (a dry sparkling ginger melomel) was deserving of mention for its freshness and intensity. A powerful ginger aroma had some orange blossom honey essence behind it; my sample was a dull yellow color, cloudy from yeast stirred up from the sediment of this bottle-conditioned mead; and the flavor contained the slight sting of carbonation and a fairly dry flavor with a touch of orange and plenty of peppery-fruity ginger root.

    I also found Don Simpson's 'New Zealand' Traditional Mead to be very nice. Named for a trip to New Zealand which was the inspiration for this beverage, the aroma was fruity with floral notes and perhaps a touch of marshmallow and phenol; the color was that of straw; and the flavor was decently balanced with a bit of bitterness, hot alcohol, and fruity and creamy flavors, all providing continual complexity and interest.

    Bruce Brode's Boysenberry Blush Melomel elicited some favorable comments. There was a berry fruit aroma with some honey phenols and some soapiness; a pink-red color; and a fruity flavor that seemed to balance fruit and honey without being overly acidic. There was also a touch of oxidation to it. This was from a 5 gallon batch of two-year-old finished mead, made from sage honey, that had been racked onto two pounds of boysenberries for about a month before bottling; this allowed it to pick up considerable color and fruity flavor and rendered it far more interesting than before.

    Finally, we thank all those who contributed food for our mid-tasting snack. Truly worthy of mention in that regard would be David Janss' mead-marinated mushrooms with garlic and cilantro-really delicious.

    Based on this enjoyable experience, we all look forward to the next tasting. In mazers of mead!


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Beer Style of the Month :May :
Octoberfest/Marzen/Bock
by Don Knott
    (Tom Wolf is traveling in a distant land so your humble editor is attempting to fill his very knowledgeable shoes)

    These are all styles associated with southern Germany and Austria. They tend to express themselves with a malty sweetness. These lagers are easily brewed by homebrewers, the freshness of the homebrewed product allowing it to often surpass the quality of imported varieties which have often suffered from their long journeys.

    Oktoberfest and MŐrzen are rich, amber orange, copper colored lagers. Their aroma is noticeably malty and, balanced by a sharp but not lingering hop bitterness. These styles are traditionally brewed in March and lagered through the summer to be consumed the following fall during Oktoberfest. They tend to be quite strong in alcohol with original gravities in the range of 1.050-1.060. Alcohol by volume is in the range of 4.5 to 6.t percent with bitterness in the low moderate range or20-30 IBU's.

    Bock beer is a rich all malt dark lager brewed to considerable alcoholic strength. German bocks can be either dark or light (Helles) in color. They exhibit a characteristic malty sweetness with a low hop bitterness. Dark malts should not taste roasted or burnt. Traditional Bocks do not have any noticeable flavor or aroma of hops. Original gravities run from 1.066-1.074 with alcohol in the range of 6-7.5 percent. Bitterness runs from 20-30 IBU's.

    Doppelbocks are stronger version of traditional bocks, although not really twice as strong German Doppelbocks are traditionally recognized by the "-ator" suffix on their names.

    Original gravities run from 1.075-1.100 with alcohol in the range from 7.5-14(!) percent. Bitterness runs from 20-40 IBU's.


A Year of Beer. (A complete list of Styles for the year)
by Tom Wolf
February Barley Wine : (Bring your strong beers)
March India Pale Ale (Bring your big hoppy beers)
April American Lagers (Lawnmower beer month)
May Octoberfest/Marzen/Bock (Bring any type of German Lager)
June Lambic (Bring any fruit, specialty, or soured beer)
July American Wheat / Cream Ale (Bring your heat beers or light ales)
August Belgian Abbey Ales (Dubel and Strong Dark Ales) (Bring any big dark ale)
September Scottish and Irish Ales (Bring Bitters and Pale Ales)
October Wheat, Witbier / German Wheat : (Bring some German wheat beers)


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Mayfaire Best of Show Mead Recipe:
Agave Mead
by Todd Etzel
    (Webmaster note : The recipe is located here)




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Brewpub Review
by Don Knott
High Desert Brewing Co. 1201 W Hadley Ave Las Cruces, New Mexico 88005 (505) 525-6752     I was very pleased to discover, on a recent trip back to the ancestral manor, that the rumors of the demise of High Desert Brewing Company of Las Cruces, NM were greatly exaggerated. Located "just west of the railroad tracks down by the cotton gin" the pub opened nearly three years ago, on July 1, 1997, with no food service and a lot of financial pressure to "get brewing."

    Owners Mark Cunningham and Bob Gosselin had both invested their life savings, squirreled away from steady if not greatly remunerative jobs in the academic world, to start the venture. Both had quit said jobs in order to give the business the attention to detail that it required. No weekend warriors they! With all the money spent on equipment, supplies, a liquor license and a building lease the only option was to get to selling beer as quickly as possible. The kitchen was not yet finished, and the required restaurant permits were months away. Customers requiring eats with their beer were encouraged to order take-out from the charming little Mexican restaurant across the street.

    I had first heard of the operation just as it was opening and raced to give it a try. The beers were superb. The hoppy IPA and a rich, malty Dark Bock especially caught my fancy. I figured I had better drink up because conventional wisdom said that, with the business model they were using, they were going to be gone before very long.

    Shortly after that I moved to Southern California and discovered that brewpubs that actually brew beers of distinction are the exception rather than the rule. I scoured the pages of the Celebrator looking for brew pubs that could deliver the goods, but usually found burger and pizza joints with different colors of Sudsweiser on tap. Hops were something that only homebrewers used in any quantity.

    After a short time I noticed that High Desert was no longer being mentioned in the Celebrator's Rocky Mountain Round-Up and felt the sad satisfaction of an "I told You So"

    Upon arriving at the family estate in Southern New Mexico for a holiday visit my eye fell upon a half-gallon growler bearing the High Desert logo, sitting, rinsed and awaiting return, where I had left it two and a half years previously. Things move slower in the desert. "I guess it's too late to return that for the deposit," I remarked to my nephew.

    "Huh"

    "That growler. It's just a collector's item now. A forlorn relic of the folly and idealism of a pair of happy-go-lucky homebrewers." I remembered Mark Cunningham telling me that they had taken their favorite homebrew recipes and cut the hops in half in order to make beers for the public. Even so, you could smell the Hop aroma from across the room when your server began to draw an IPA.

    "Say wha'?" said my nephew.

    I began to hold forth on the sorry state of the brewpub scene. "Oh, they talk a good game, but what do they serve. Wimpy pale ales, designed not to scare the tourists. Insipid, treacly, darks."

    "Whatchoo talkin' bout, Unc?"

    "If the public in America's most progressive and diverse metropolis cannot accept beers of character, what chance does a little two man start-up at the end of a row of cotton gin trailers have. They are gone. Gone! Oh, the pity. Oh, the loss." I hung my head in resignation.

    "Wha's he carryin' on about?" my nephew asked Sandy, his lady companion of some years.

    Sandy looked up from her knitting, (her hands are never idle), and said, "Your uncle is referring to the prevailing consensus that in order to succeed financially a brewpub must be a restaurant that makes beer on site, not a bar that makes its own product, and that further, the beers must be rendered palatable to a mass market that the best demographic sampling data indicates has by and large lost its taste for rich characterful brews of the English and European style. Each house brew must have a clever name and professionally designed graphic image associated with it. Further, the prevailing model indicates that no more than five taps should be dedicated to house brews, and that many only if there are other taps dedicated to heavily advertised mass market premiums and imports. Finally, if he or she wishes to stay in business, the wise brewpub owner must have at least one name brand commercial American (rice mash) lager available for those that won't drink anything else. And Corona for the Yuppies. The location must be amenable the casual walk-in trade. Also a great deal of attention must be paid to interior decor, so that the ladies will feel comfortable.

    "Right, exactly my point. Er, uh, how did you know that?" I asked amazed at the breadth and scope of her knowledge of the industry.

    "I used to waitress at a brewpub in Seattle," she replied.

    "High Desert had none of that," I said. "Food was across the street. The beers were big and bold and unapologetic. There were no 'guest beers', no commercial swill. They had plain tile floors, a plywood bar and no frou-frou, unless you count old license plates nailed to a rafter beam. And they are gone, lost, forgotten by all but me." I sighed the sigh of the long suffering aesthete.

    "That is where you're wrong, Esteemed Uncle ," said Sandy. (she always called me "Esteemed Uncle".) High Desert is open for business and doing well.

    "By Gambrinus," I erupted. "How can this be. No, don't tell me. They were bought out by that national chain with all the brewpubs in the college towns, you know..."

    "Not at all, esteemed Uncle. They got their kitchen open more or less on schedule, and the beers are good and many. They built it and the people came. It's that simple."

    At this point I could restrain myself no further. "We must go there!," I cried. Wept actually. Wept openly, great sobbing tears of gratitude that these humble farm folk (and thirsty college guys) could have shown themselves truer connoisseurs of fine beer than the black clad trendoids of L. A.

    Upon our arrival we were greeted with not five, but eleven house brews out of an annual rotation of over twenty-five styles. There are still no guests on the taps of High Desert Brewing. If commercial swill were to be requested things might get real Western all of a sudden. The license plate montage includes some newer plates and there are some college art student paintings on the walls. So much for interior decor and frou-frou. The place was full but for one open four-top in the corner, which we commandeered.

    The beers on tap this evening had no fancy names or graphic designs accompanying them. The two trays of samples were identified with bold marking pen on the 4 corners of a paper napkin. The last two were brought out in their own turn and set side by side on a similarly labeled napkin. They were:

    1. Wheat Ale. Crisp, moderately hopped with a slightly sweet finish

    2. Peach Wheat. Unrated. (I foolishly declined to sample it. Forgive me . I was back home in New Mexico and my sense of Western Machismo overwhelmed my sense of West Coast Epicurianism)

    3. Amber Ale. An assertive Cascade hop character perfectly balanced by a rich malt profile.

    4. Steam Beer, (I know. What will Fritz say?) Cascade hops, lager yeast from White Labs, ale temperatures. You know the drill. If a tyro should slip and ask for Fritz's product by name he gets the historic explanation and a pint of damn fine beer. And it ain't "California Common" because it was made in New Mexico, so there.

    5. IPA. This is the one I remembered from my visit in the first days. Without giving away any trade secrets I can say that it is hopped with Cascade, Hallertauer, dry hopped with Centennial. Since I wasn't sitting at the bar this time, but at a four-top in the corner of a bustling restaurant, I couldn't testify as to whether the aroma hops could be detected at the tap. From the glass however, it was one continuous gustatory ride from nose to tongue to throat as the various hop notes made themselves known. Magnificent.

    6. ESB. Kent Goldings and Fuggles. Classic British character, yet individual and unique, just as the pub in which it is made.

    7. Brown Ale. This is the American kind, big and hoppy. Cascade. The kind of beer homebrewers appreciate and aspire to.

    8. Dark Bock. Another memory from the past. Rich and malty, yet mellow with only a lightly sweet finish

    9. Porter. Honest Porter. Flavor of roasted malt is present but does not overwhelm. Hops and malts in perfect balance.

    10 Stout. A complex profile of bitter, and roasted flavors combining with the underlying malt. There is a sharp note at the beginning balanced by a lingering bitterness at the end.

    11. Imperial Stout. The Brewers piece de resistance. Richly black, deeply bitter, both of hops and roast malt flavors, the profile is smooth and balanced perfectly by the malt. Satisfying and never cloying or syrupy

    Sampler Trays were $2.50 per. Glass of beer (10 oz.) the same. Pints $3.50. For Bock add $.25. Pitchers (that's a gallon, son) $9.50, $10.50 for Bock. Growlers $7.50, Bock 8.50 plus a $3.00 returnable jug charge.

    The restaurant fare is Southwestern Pub Grub. Hearty, huge portions for absurdly low prices. Nothing on the restaurant menu is higher than $6.95. Hot wings (Large order, I couldn't count 'em, $5.99), the equal of any in the country. Vegetarian and non-Vegie appetizers platters ($3.49 - $5.99), from French fries to jalapeľo poppers (Small order, 6 big jalapeľo peppers, stuffed with cheddar or sour cream and done the right way $2.99).

    And the Nachos. About the Nachos. A medium order ($5.49) arrived sufficient to more than satisfy four.

    These Nachos are piled high on a plate and laden with frijoles refritos, cheese, onions, beef, sour cream. Some of life's greatest blessings arrive in the form of a heart attack on a plate.

    A word to those in need of clarification, specifically any of you trendoid People In Black (hereinafter known as PIB's) back in L. A. "Nacho Platter" on a menu in Southern New Mexico does not mean the same thing it does on Melrose Avenue. Those little cute green rings, those little jalapeľo slices, are NOT MEANT FOR DECORATION ONLY!

    When one combines these nachos with a Pint of High Desert's IPA, one will experience complexities of flavor and oral sensation undreamed of by those who take their hoppy beers with other, less zesty foods.

    Live music three nights a week with a regular rotation of performers running the gamut from acoustic folk to Gypsy flamenco, to jazz trios. In addition to supporting live music, High Desert is also the Official Brewpub of the Las Cruces Maniacs, a 10-11 year-olds soccer team (the coach comes there), and Los Viejos, a softball team for gents 55 and older.

    If you're out rusticating in fly-over country and want to enjoy a real brewpub, High Desert Brewing in Las Cruces, New Mexico is on par with the best brewpubs in the world.

    (c)2000 Donald T. Knott




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Events Calendar Check the big events section
    Sundays, Keg Night at Lucky Baldwins 17 South Raymond Ave. Pasadena. First pint is $4.50, keep the glass, refills are $2.50 until the keg runs dry, for more information call (626) 795-0652.

    First Tuesday, BJ's Beer Appreciation, Brea Every month. From 7:30-9:30 PM. $10, includes 10-11 tasters. Call (714) 990-2095 for reservations and directions.

    First Saturday, BJ's Brewery Tour, Brea Every month. Includes tasters, pizza, and souvenir glass for $14. Call (714) 990-2095 for reservations and directions.

    First Wednesday, BJ's Beer Appreciation, Woodland Hills Hosted by Alex Puchner and David Mathis, time 7:30-9:00 PM. Admission: $14 per person includes all beer samples, handouts and a raffle ticket. The schedule for the next few months is as follows : 11/3 Local Microbrewers Night, 12/1 Domestic Winter Warmers.



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Want to make your own beer at home? Get started on the right foot. Check out the Falcon's sponsoring shop, The Home Beer, Wine, Cheesemaking Shop. John Daume, proprietor, has been serving the home brewing and winemaking needs of Angelenos since 1972, over 30 years! (Falcon Members receive a 10% discount on supplies)
Looking for older Falcons' information?, The Westval Maltose Falcons Webpage (Locally cached) (The Original Falcon's Roost, prior to 1999)
Looking for a home wine making club in the Los Angeles area? Check out our sister club, The Cellarmasters, over 30 and still stomping grapes.