Friday, August 31, 2007

Drive to Hyannis and Coastal Cape Cod

"What people say you cannot do, you try and find that you can." ~Henry David Thoreau

August 30: Up at 7:15 am, showered and at Allison's kitchen table by 8:00 am blogging away. Former brewer and old friend Jim Pericles stopped over at about 9:30 am with fresh tomatoes from his garden. Jim and I had a great time catching up for an hour, and I forgot to take a photo. Oops! Jim now works in the biotech industry.

Then I blogged, packed, worked on photos and did a load of laundry. Finally at 3:00 pm, Allison said, "You have to leave or you'll never get to Cape Cod by 5:00 pm." So I drove off, a can of diet Dr. Pepper in hand.

Arrived at Cape Cod Beer Company in Hyannis, Massachusetts just as a few dedicated homebrewers were showing up. Owner/Brewers Todd and Beth Marcus had set up a little reception for the local homebrewers and regulars to meet me.

In the photo above, L to R: Beth Marcus, John Brinkerhoff, Teri, Bruce Malin, Carl Layman, Paul Smith, Jim Migliorini and Todd Marcus.

We hung out and talked beer & brewing, drank Cape Cod beer and ate snacks for a couple of hours. Everybody was really nice. It was fun to see my old friend Jim Migliorini who is a also a former professional brewer. Jim is now a school teacher on Cape Cod.

Time was flying as usual on this trip, and as the sun threatened to set we hopped in Beth's car, Todd jumped in their new 20 foot antique Winnebago (affectionately known as "Winny-bagel" or "Brave Little Toaster" or "BTBTA: Brewery To Beach Transit Authority") and drove to the beach at Sandy Neck on Cape Cod.

Here at Sandy Neck, people can drive cars and RVs on the beach. We don't get to do anything like that back in Oregon. Before driving your vehicle on the beach, you have to "Air Down" or deflate the tires to 18 PSI. This keeps the vehicle from getting stuck in the sand, and it keeps the beach ruts from getting too deep. Photo at left and right show the Marcuses and their sons Jake and Harry deflating the tires on the car and the camper.
A second cool thing you can do on the beach at Sandy Neck (besides just driving on it) is that you can park your self-contained RV on the beach Thursday night, and just leave it there for the weekend. That way you get a good parking spot before the place crowds up. After work on Friday you pack up the car, go back to your camper on the beach, and there you are for the weekend.

Another cool thing, which we can actually do on the Oregon coast, is that you can have a bonfire on the beach. The photo at right shows our lovely campfire built in a shallow dug pit.

Everybody set up camp when we got there and Todd fired up the grill. We enjoyed hamburgers and hot dogs as we watched the moon rise over Cape Cod Bay. It rose rather quickly through the long fingers of gray-blue clouds, surrounded by the black star-speckled sky. The moon was just off of full. It's bright sepia color and tall oval shape reminded us of an old-fashioned hot air balloon rising into the darkness. It cast a lot of light over the beach. We could see cars and self-contained campers in both directions.

After the Marcuses dropped me off at my camper at the brewery, I pulled in front of the entrance in order to plug in my extension cord. Not sure why, but I haven't had electrical in the trailer the last several nights.

It was already midnight, but my husband Jon wasn't home from his job at Wyeast Laboratories in Hood River, Oregon, three hours away. I left a message and worked while I waited for his return call. I pulled my printer/scanner off the table under my bunk, moved the stuff that is "stored" on the bench seats while I drive, and tipped the table up sideways. That gave me access to the cases of beer that I have been collecting on this trip. I pulled most of the bottles out of the cases/12-pack carriers as I was a bit short on 6-pack carriers. Then I repacked the beers for future brewery gifts.

I packed one bottle of my Steelhead Root Beer into each 6-pack. I'd bought several cases of it before I quit my job at Steelhead. Then I packed five different beers into each 6-pack carrier. My goal was to set up a bunch of mixed 6-packs. As I travel, I try to gift these mixed 6-packs to breweries in such a way, that the receiving brewery is getting beer they normally can't find in their geographic area, and the giving brewery's beers are "distributed" by me to brewers outside of their distribution area. Very fun for all the brewers and breweries involved.

Finally an hour or so later, my husband called. We worry about each other and talk on the phone at least once a day, and always before bedtime. Tomorrow is a big day for him. Stay tuned for details...

Thank you to Cape Cod Beer for letting me use their Internet to work on blogs and emails.

A Visit to Harpoon and Redbones

"Frugality without creativity is deprivation." ~ Amy Dacyczyn

August 30: Slept in a bit and daydreamed in Allison's luxurious guest bedroom. After lunch Allison and I took off in her car with her little GPS direction finder. I am happy to report that my laptop-driven GPS unit is just as dopey as Allison's small portable unit. They all make a few mistakes and announce the turn just as you're passing it. They're still handy; you just have to go around the block once in a while.

We parked at Harpoon Brewery and walked to Commercial Lobster, a local's fish market and tiny restaurant. Allison bought me lunch. She ordered the coconut shrimp and I had the Clam Strip Roll. It comes with a side dish, fries, cole slaw, or vegetable. The vegetable was steamed beans and that's what I got. We were entertained by a sunburned woman who told herself a lot of jokes and laughed out loud at them. I didn't see any cell phone cord or ear set, so I'm pretty sure she had an invisible companion we just couldn't see.

Walked back to Harpoon where Sales Operations Rep Seth Cohen awaited us. Seth and Quality Control Manager Jaime Schier tag-teamed on giving Allison and me the back-stage tour. Above right is a photo of brewer Charlie Cummings adding hop pellets to the whirlpool.

At left is cellarman Drew Martinez working on his DE filtration. I hadn't seen any contraption like Drew is wearing before, so I asked him about it. Normally a filterman wears a Hepa-filter face mask, but Drew is wearing a motor on his back that pumps filtered air into his face mask, creating a positive displacement of air. That way the DE (diatomaceous earth) cannot get into his mask or his lungs because it is continually blown away by the positive air displacement.

I also found another woman brewer for my Pink Boots Society list of women brewers. Katie Tame was formerly employed in biotech. Like most of us nutty brewers, she took a pay cut to follow her dream and work in a brewery. Katie is mostly employed in the lab now, but I noticed her black rubber boots and asked her about them. She said she is moving slowly toward production. You go girl!

Seth Cohen gifted us a mixed case of Harpoon beer, and then it was off to Redbones for the evening. Redbones BBQ in Somerville is a craft beer institution in the Boston area, and if you are looking to taste a lot of great beer in one place, Redbones is where you should go.
I met owner Robert Gregory back in the early-to-mid 1990's when he was on his history-making beer tour of the Pacific Northwest. (Robert - please tell me the exact year of your first Northwest Beer Festival.)

Back then, I met Robert at Steelhead in Eugene where I was Brewmaster. Robert must have asked to see the Brewmaster or else the bartender just pointed me out as I got off shift. I remember sitting at Steelhead's bar discussing NW beers with him, and he told me of his idea to bring Pacific Northwest craft-brewed beers to his BBQ house in Somerville. I gave him the names of several people who could help him including Larry Bausch of Pink Cadillac Pins & the Pint Post, and John Maier of Rogue. (Yes, I go back a very long way in the brewing industry.)

Larry and his wife Carol, who worked for Redhook at the time, were instrumental in helping Robert set up the logistics to get his NW Beer Festival off the ground. That year Robert was kind enough to fly me to Somerville for the first NW Beer Festival Brewers Dinner. I gave a little speech and met lots of wonderful East Coast brewers who I have remained in contact with ever since, like Will Meyer, Tod Mott, Horst Dornbusch and Jeff Charnick.

Allison and I arrived at Redbones a little after 4:00 pm. I knew that Robert was out of town on vacation (very unfortunate), but bartender Dolly told us that Robert was picking up our tab. How nice of him! Photo below shows Redbones equal-opportunity tap handles. All appear to be hand-carved narrow wooden handles without brand markings. Each beer gets an equal-opportunity masking tape label.
I had hoped that some of the Boston-area brewers and former brewers that Seth and I had emailed (and other Boston-area friends) would be able to join us at Redbones upstairs bar. For the first hour Allison and I had plenty of time to catch up and taste many of Redbones' 24 draft beers. Then Seth Cohen and Jaime Schier bicycled over from Harpoon and we had a really good time. Photo at top of page, L to R: Jaime Schier, Teri and Seth Cohen. Notice the "dial-a-beer" behind us. If you just can't decide which of Redbones' 24 taps to try, just spin the dial!

Allison and I tried the fried oyster appetizer and then a platter of pulled pork, pulled chicken, and jerk beef with four different barbeque sauces. Whew! Watch out for the spicy jerked beef, especially when paired with the extra hot sauce. At about 8:00 pm, we followed the GPS directions back to Hopkinton.
Thank you to Cape Cod Beer Company in Hyannis for use of their Internet connection.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Pink Boots at Portsmouth and Drive to Hopkinton

"I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence, I can reach for; perfection is God's business." ~Michael J. Fox

August 29: Today I brewed at Portsmouth Brewery, the sister brewery to Smuttynose. Tod Mott has been Head Brewer there for four years. I've known Tod ever since I met him at the first Redbone's Northwest Beer Festival, which must be more than 12 or maybe even 15 years ago.
In the photo above, Brewmaster/ Owner Peter Egelston leads a worshipful Teri and Tod in honoring a graduated cylinder and hydrometer full of wort. If ya can't be silly on a blog, where can ya be?

Tod came to Portsmouth with a lot of brewing experience under his belt (and a lot of beer fans who love his beer), so Peter was very happy to bring a brewer of Tod's caliber and reputation on board.

Tod has made some nifty changes to bring Portsmouth Brewery into the modern age.

Portsmouth is a JV Northwest 7-barrel system built and installed in 1991. The brewery is built on two levels, and it's crammed into a pretty tight space. Somehow Tod and his Assistant Brewer, Tyler Jones managed to brew over 1,000 barrels last year, which means four batches per week all summer long.

One of Tod's upgrades is shown below right - a stainless chute for the spent grain. In the photo, recent American Brewers Guild graduate and current Portmouth Intern, Bart Ugorowski, is shown pulling the spent mash.

Photo at left, L to R: Tyler, Bart, Teri and Tod.

Although Portsmouth doesn't have a silo, Tod lessened the heavy grain burden by installing a chain-vey system and lowering the mill half through the floor so the 50-55 lb bags only need to be lifted about knee high. This scenario makes milling and mashing in a lot easier than it used to be.

Still, I say, "Get a silo!" You can read my opinions and dramatization of small efficient (and inefficient) grain handling systems in my 1993 article on Grain Handling here. You'll need Adobe Acrobat to download and read this article.

Portsmouth gifted me a t-shirt and a 22 oz. bottle of Tod's Blueberry Ale, made with real Maine blueberries.

Shortly after lunch I packed up my stuff and followed Tod out to Smuttynose where I revved up the minivan and trailer and followed Tod out to the highway.
Off I drove, heading south toward Hopkinton, Massachusetts, the starting place of the Boston Marathon. That's where my 7th grade friend, Allison lives with her family. Photo above shows Allison and me enjoying her backyard cabana.

Pink Boots at Smuttynose

"Make it a rule of life never to regret and never to look back. Regret is an appalling waste of energy; you can't build on it; it's only for wallowing in." ~Katherine Mansfield

August 27: I followed Tod out to Smuttynose where he loaded up the red pick-up with grain and hops for the week. Everyone here wears a uniform, so I changed into mine.

I worked with Dan Schubert on the brew, J.T. Thompson and Charlie Ireland in the cellar. Judi Keene collected yeast off the 200 barrel IPA fermenters. Executive Brewer Dave Yarrington kept things flowing smoothly. The photo above was taken in front of Smuttynose's colorfully painted horizontal ex-dairy conditioning tanks.

Photo above, L to R: Charlie, J.T., Teri, Judi, Dave and Dan. Missing from photo, Head Brewer
Greg Blanchard.

Dan brewed a couple of batches of Old Brown Dog today. This beer is named after Peter Egelston's beloved dog, Olive, who he got shortly after opening the Portsmouth Brewery. Smuttynose has beautiful photos and artwork on all of their beer labels, which were arranged by the talented JoAnne, Peter's significant other. I didn't get a chance to meet JoAnne, but I sure enjoyed the fruits of her artistic talents.

In the afternoon, when J.T. got off his shift, he joined me in Smutty's tasting room and tasted all their beers with me. I left at about 2:30 pm, in order to blog and go through emails in the afternoon.

This photo at right shows Smutty's employee basketball hoop. I thought it was a clever use for the silo supports.

I've noticed a few trends among breweries in New England so far, but there are plenty of exceptions to these trends: One is that they call 1/6-barrels logs. I like that. In Eugene we call them "one-sixth barrels" or sometimes "cornies." I think calling them "logs" fits the size and shape of these tall, skinny kegs well. Another trend is that many breweries produce predominantly English-style ales instead of lagers like I found in the Midwest, or American-style ales, like we have back home on the West Coast. A third fairly common trend is that New England brewers are less likely to use their own proprietary yeast strain, and more likely to use the Ringwood yeast strain.

Smuttynose gifted me a pink zip hoodie and a 22 oz. bottle of beer.

A Day Off in Portsmouth, NH

"Language exerts hidden power, like a moon on the tides." ~Rita Mae Brown

August 26: Slept in a bit and dug through my load of emails. Found a whole bunch of emails that my computer had sent to my "spam" folder. Oops! Sorry about the late replies.

Met Portsmouth Brewery's Head Brewer, Tod Mott, and his wife Galen in the pub in the afternoon. We tried a bunch of Tod's beers and had some really nice appetizers, including maple and bacon wrapped scallops. (Photo above, L to R: Teri, Tod and Galen.)

Then I followed Tod and Galen in the brewery's red pick-up truck to their home in rural Maine. We sat outside and admired the country twilight and enjoyed cocktails and appetizers. Then we moved to the screened-in porch for a lovely simple dinner of Italian sausages with grilled peppers and onions.

I got lost on the way back to Portsmouth. The country roads in Maine don't always have road signs or names. After several miles I turned around and luckily was able to find Tod and Galen's house again. Then I followed Tod to the highway, and it was all clear sailing from there back to the brewpub.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Drive: Falmouth, ME to Portsmouth, NH

"Vigorous let us be in attaining our ends, and mild in our method of attainment." ~Lord Newborough

August 25: I enjoyed breakfast with the Leavitt family and their friends this morning. Then I blogged until about 4:30 pm. Once my laptop battery ran out of juice in my trailer, I went hunting in Pete's antique empty house to find a 3-prong outlet. Found one upstairs in the boy's bedroom. Sat on a little red step-stool and used a regular-sized stool for my table. Blogged until my butt hurt sitting on the tiny hard wooden step-stool. Then sat on a pillow. Each time I blog, I have to be creative about how I connect to the Internet and where I set up my "desk."

Drove to Portsmouth, New Hampshire to the Smuttynose Brewing Co. Brewmaster/ Owner Peter Egelston met me there and I packed an overnight bag and left my van-trailer behind for three nights.

Peter lent me Smuttynose/Portsmouth Brewing's red pick-up truck and I followed Peter into the picturesque old town section of Portsmouth. Peter is also the Brewmaster/ Owner of Smuttynose's sister brewery, the Portsmouth Brewing Co. The brewery owns the building, and they use the second floor apartment as an office. Lucky for me they have a spare bedroom there that Peter lent to me for three nights.

Photo above shows Peter and me enjoying dinner and a pint at Portsmouth Brewing Co. I was hankering for a hamburger and Peter tried the daily special, which was wild boar chops with a wild mushroom demi-glace and roasted pears. Portsmouth Brewery has a really creative menu.

Afterwards Peter walked with me around town so I could get my bearings. Portsmouth is bordered on the north by a river, and beyond that river is Maine.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Pink Boots at Allagash and Visit to Shipyard

"Creativity is allowing oneself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep." ~Scott Adams
August 24: I arrived at Allagash just as their new 120-barrel fermenter was being moved inside the big roll-up door. I quickly introduced myself to Brewmaster/ Owner Rob Tod and Head Brewer Jason Perkins. I didn't want to miss any of the action so I got myself into a safe position to snap a few photos. Below are four photos of two men on forklifts, one forklift on each end, standing the fermenter up. A big steel red scaffold was attached to aid in manipulation.

Once the excitement of standing up the fermenter was over, Jason gave me a tour of the brewery. Then I worked with brewer Dee Dee Germain as she managed two back-to-back brews of Allagash White, their Belgian-style Wit and most popular summertime beer.
Photo at top of page, L to R: Rob, Teri, Jason and Dee Dee in front of the new tank.

I had fun talking shop with Dee Dee. I've really enjoyed discussing beer and brewing with women brewers on this trip. It's been a great opportunity for me to meet other women brewers, because I only knew a few before this. In the past I think I've been too busy with my responsibilities at conferences or judging events to seek out other women brewers to talk beer and brewing. I hope to partake of more girl-beer-chat in the future.

[Note: If you're a woman brewer (or you know of one), please see if your (her) name is on my list of women brewers, which I am calling the "Pink Boots Society." If not, please email me with your (her) name, brewery, etc., so I can add you (her) to my list. Thanks!]

Because of the tank delivery and installation, it was an untypically light day at Allagash. Rob bought ice cream sandwiches from the ice cream truck for everybody. They tell me Rob does that a lot. It started at their old location next door, which they just moved out of in April, because it got so darn hot over there in the summer.

Allagash has had a very busy year: They have doubled their production from 5,000 to 10,000 barrels per year in the last two years. They are nearly out of space in their new facility, and have to begin planning the next expansion almost immediately. That makes Jason a really busy guy, as his family is expanding and their children will double from 1 to 2 this month!

One of the highlights of my day at Allagash was in the early afternoon when Jason and Dee Dee invited me to join them on a barrel tasting of their three oldest wood-aged beer barrels. Jason drew out the beer with the glass wine-thief, and released a portion into each of our glasses. We tried one batch of the employees' favorite beer, Curieux (pronounced "curio"), and two samples of what is tentatively known as Gargamel; one with Raspberries and one without. Each of the samples was completely unique with Beligan yeast character, sourness and vanilla notes. The Gargamel had been aged in red wine casks from California, and I thought that was a great idea for the flavors and styles of beer that Allagash produces.

Afterwards, Jason opened a bottle of Curieux that had been blended with 20% un-wooded Triple. The dilution gave the beer just the right balance. It was a delightful blend of vanilla wood and Belgian character. I wouldn't have guessed that putting a Belgian Triple into a Jim Beam bourbon barrel would have worked so well. That's why it is wise to experiment.

Jason and Dee Dee gifted me a mixed case of Allagash beer for my collection. The lucky brewers on my route west of Allagash's distribution range will enjoy the benefit.

At about 2:30 I departed for Shipyard Brewing, down in Portland's old marine district, which is very close to where Gritty's is located.
Shipyard is a very big brewery, and it took a little while for the employees to track down Brewmaster/ Owner Alan Pugsley. Alan gave me a full tour of the extensive facilities including the finished beer warehouse expansion they are in the middle of.

Gee, is there any brewery in this country that is not either in the middle of an expansion, planning an expansion, or that has just moved into newly expanded facilities?

Shipyard owns its complex of buildings and a few other buildings nearby. The warehouse expansion is needed because Shipyard sold a portion of their complex to a hotel group that will put up a business-style residence hotel. Alan says Portland's nearby waterfront development has increased the value of Shipyard's land, and it made sense to sell a portion of it to finance further expansion.

Shipyard is the largest Peter Austin Brewing Systems brewery in the U.S. (Alan - please correct me if I am wrong.) In the photo above, Alan is standing in front of his twin 50-barrel brick-clad direct-fire brew kettles. The sweet wort is split up as it is transferred from Shipyard's 100-barrel mash tun.

Alan has several sizes of open-topped fermenters, from 100-barrel to 300-barrel. As we walked through the maze that is the four floors of Shipyard's brewery, Alan showed me two different sets of 300-barrel open-topped fermenters. The 100-barrel fermenters are round/cylindrocal, but the 300-barrel fermenters are square.

The photos below are of the exterior and interior of some of the 300-bbl fermenters. The photo on the right shows one tank, not four. The tank's side walls are supported by crossbeams across the top.
I asked Alan if the tanks have some kind of a CIP (clean in place) system, and he pointed to one of his brewers walking by and said, "There's the CIP system right there." The tanks are scrubbed and sanitized by hand, just like Gritty's tanks are.

I looked for signs of automation in the brewhouse and found a high-low level controller in the grant. Spent grain removal was also automated. I looked at the glycol lines as we walked by a fermenter, and there was a valve cracked open to trickle. I didn't see any thermocontrollers, either digital or analog on any of the fermenters, and I believe Alan when he tells me that Shipyard is basically a giant version of Gritty's extremely manual system.

Most of the automation was reserved for the darkly-lit packaging area, where Alan had recently had a bulk glass depalletizer installed. Hand-bottling is not an option at Shipyard. Ed Stebbins had guessed that Shipyard produces 60 brands of beer. Alan estimated it at 80-100 brands of beer, both in bottles and in kegs. Shipyard contract brews beer for lots of smaller companies. For example, they produce Gritty's 12 oz. bottles. (But not Gritty's 22 oz. bottles or kegs.)

Therefore Shipyard has to dedicate tons of warehouse space to packaging materials for all those brands of beer. Thus the recent addition of the bulk glass depalletizer. They just don't have storage room for 80-100 brands of pre-pack glass!

We wound our way through the maze back to Shipyard's extensive visitor center and gift shop. Alan gifted me a mixed case of his beer and a mixed case of his Capt'n Eli's Soda Pop. I thought the Ginger Beer was excellent. What I liked best about the Capt'n Eli soda I tried (Ginger, Root Beer, Lemon-Lime and Blueberry) was that they were not too sweet.

Shipyard had other soda flavors, but those are the ones I tried. The Lemon-Lime had more lime character. I wonder if it would make a good Marguerita mix? (Who says sodas are only for kids?) Retired to the Leavitt household, where Pete and Marie's Rhode Island friends were also visiting for the night. After our fabulous "lobsta" dinner steamed in ocean water (see August 22 post for photo), the four boys settled down to a movie and the adults settled down with cocktails outside. The weather was great and we all stayed up a bit too late and probably talked a bit too loud. You know how it goes when you're having fun! (Photo above, L to R: Christy, Marie, Pete and Geoff.)

Pink Boots at Gritty McDuffs

“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” ~ Stephen Covey

August 23: Those of you who haven't visited Portland, Maine may have heard of Gritty McDuffs. Those of you who have already been there are on a first name basis with the brewpub. You call it Gritty's.

Brewmaster/Owner Ed Stebbins got me parked and situated in the busy waterfront/ working port area of Portland. As we walked back to Gritty's I noticed the sign in this photo. Every metal sign like this that I saw was bent. I think people want to steal them in a big way. Maybe Gritty's should print up a bunch identical metal signs and sell them in their merchandise area?

Ed handed me off to Assistant Brewer Jon Shaw for the day. Head Brewer Andy Hainer had the day off. Jon mashed in Gritty's popular pale ale, known as Original Pub Style. Gritty's has one of the first Peter Austin brewing equipment systems that Alan Pugsley made famous.

Gritty's brewery was probably the most labor-intensive and least automated brewery I will see on my trip. There are no digital or analog temperature control units on the 7-barrel open-topped fermenters. The brewer draws a sample of beer, takes it's temperature and if the beer is four degrees over target, the brewer cracks open the ball valve on the glycol line and "trickles" in glycol for 60 minutes or until the correct temperature is reached. This process is repeated for each fermenter and conditioning tank. A similar manual check and correction is used for every procedure in the brewing process at Gritty's. You definitely have to stay on your toes in a Peter Austin brewery!

Ed's partner Richard Pfeffer joined us for lunch. In the photo at the top of this page, we are standing in front of Gritty's brick-clad copper brew kettle. Photo, L to R: Ed, Teri, Jon and Richard. Local retired bricklayer Lance Brown popped in looking for Andy during the day. Lance did the brickwork on all the Peter Austin brew kettles installed in New England. The bricks are curved, not straight, so they look very nice encircling the kettle.

Gritty's is losing Jon Shaw in three weeks. He's going back to school for his college degree in business. Jon might rejoin the brewing community after graduation, or he might open a brewpub of his own somewhere. Best wishes, Jon!

After the Original Pub Style ale was tucked safely in its open fermenter, Ed took me to The Great Lost Bear, an institution in Portland since 1979. Mike Dickson is also an institution. Ed told me Mike's been a bartender and cellarmaster at the "Great Lost" for about 25 years. Photo above left shows Mike and me in front of one of Great Lost Bear's banks of tap handles.

While Ed and I sat there enjoying a wide variety of Maine beers, in walked Alan Pugsley of Shipyard Brewing and Peter Austin brewing equipment fame. Alan invited me to see Shipyard, the largest Peter Austin installation in the U.S. When he told me he had 300-barrel open-topped fermenters, I scheduled a visit for the next day. (Photo at right, L to R: Ed, Alan and Teri.)

On the way out the door I almost smacked into Kevin Watson, Brewmaster at Stone Coast Brewing Co. Kevin used to work at Hales Ales in Seattle, and he looked very familiar. I had just tried Kevin's Imperial IPA 840 at the bar, and I thought it tasted like a Pacific Northwest imperial IPA because of it's big malt backbone. We quickly reintroduced ourselves. The Great Lost Bear appears to be a great place for finding lost comrades in good beer!

Drive: Manchester, NH to Falmouth, ME

"Words are like sheepdogs herding ideas.” ~Daniel Dennett

August 22: Spent most of the day in the lobby of the Super 8 Motel in Manchester, New Hampshire using their free wireless Internet connection and updating my blog.

Then drove to Falmouth, Maine, where former brewer Pete Leavitt lives with his family. I arrived in time for a late grilled chicken dinner with Pete, his wife Marie and their two boys. I stayed with the Leavitts for three nights while I visited breweries in nearby Portland.

The above photo is from Friday night, August 24. The Leavitts were visited by their Rhode Island friends, Geoff Greene, Christy Chase and their two boys. (That makes four young boys in the house. Yikes!) As you can see the grown-ups are enjoying a feast of Lobsters that were steamed in ocean water. Pete and Marie know a thing or two about good food! (Photo above, L to R: Geoff, Christy, Pete and Marie.)

Pete was my Assistant Brewer at Triple Rock Brewing Co. way back in 1989-90. After brewing at Triple Rock and its sister brewery Twenty Tank, Pete attended the Siebel Institute. Then he went on to consult and later opened three locations for Sunday River Brewing / Stone Coast Brewing Co in Maine and New Hampshire. He left brewing about ten years ago, spending time in semi-conductors and wholesale gourmet foods.

Now Pete's smack dab in the middle of an exciting new project: He will open a gourmet foods retail store in early October called Leavitt & Sons Specialty Grocery. Pete plans to sell anything delicious that is smoked, cured, fermented, or aged. That includes all my favorite foods like good beers, wines, cheeses, sausages, and imported yummies like truffle paste. I even got to taste some of the samples Pete and Marie are deciding upon. Yum!

After dinner Pete showed me his business plan. On Friday morning he took me to see the building. De-construction of the interior is currently underway, with reconstruction occuring in September.

Pete located Leavitt & Sons in a stand-alone white building at the corner of Route 1 and Depot Road in Falmouth, an upscale neighborhood of Portland. It looks like a great location with lots of drive-by traffic.

The photo at right shows Pete with the "& Sons" part of Leavitt & Sons. Jake (far right) starts First Grade next week and he's very excited to learn math so he can run the cash register. Jake tells me he can't wait to get his new business cards. He's only six years old. I wonder what his title will be? Jimi (in front) is three. Jimi smiles a lot and isn't too concerned about his business cards just yet.

Pete's got great plans for the store including a show kitchen that will prepare take-home gourmet lunches and dinners. If you like high quality food and beverages, get yourself to 37 Depot Road in Falmouth, just outside of Portland, Maine starting in October.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Drive: Bar Harbor, ME to Manchester, NH

"Do something. If it doesn't work, do something else. No idea is too crazy." ~Jim Hightower

August 21: Blogged and worked on photos at Jon's brother's house in the morning while Jon took the van to get the oil and transmission fluid changed and checked the air in the tires. The trip has been a bit fast-paced for me to do that while driving between breweries. Jon picked up big chunky lobster salad sandwiches for lunch on his way home.

After lunch we headed south toward Highway 1 down the Maine coast. The photo at left above shows the new (left) and old (right) bridges over the Penobscot River in Bucksport, Maine. We didn't stop at the observatory because we had a long drive ahead of us.

Drove across bridges in many small Maine towns. Our view often looked like photo below right.
Then we determined we had enough time to stop for a nice dinner at a brewpub, so we pulled off the highway at Portsmouth, New Hampshire and looked for the Portsmouth Brewing Company.

At the beginning of this drive I'd finally set up my laptop facing the driver (Jon), running my DeLorme GPS software that I haven't had much luck running. We used that to find the Portsmouth Brewing Co. That sure helped as we arrived just as it was getting dark.

Portsmouth is a super cute old historic-looking town, so there were not a lot of parking places available. Luckily it was Tuesday and not a weekend, and we finally found two metered parking spots on the street where we could park our van-trailer combo.
At the pub Jon ordered the vegetable salad sandwich and I ordered the beef and chorizo chili, both good. We shared a nine-beer sampler set (photo left) and agreed that our favorite was the IPA. I will be spending a day here with brewer Tod Mott next Tuesday. Tod is a friend of mine and it is no surprise to me that he would make a well-balanced Pacific Northwest-style IPA.

Jon and I wished we could spend more time exploring quaint, cute Portsmouth, but it was dark and we still had to get to the Super 8 Motel in Manchester, New Hampshire. The photo below right was taken with no flash. The church's white tower was all lit up.

We used the GPS software to navigate our way out of town. It's not perfect, but it works OK. Mostly Jon used it to look at where our GPS location was on the plotted line to our destination. We parked the van-trailer in the Super 8 parking lot and brought a bottle of Ommegeddon up to the room to share. This motel is five minutes from Manchester Airport and they have a free airport shuttle, which Jon will take tomorrow morning.

Coastal Maine Cruise on the Andromeda

"There is only one success - to be able to spend your life in your own way." ~Christopher Morley

August 20: During this entire trip, I've been corresponding with lots of folks via email. Some are friends, some are strangers to me but will become friends. Lots of people have helped me out with ideas of what to do and where to go. For most of my trip I have had to forgo the scenic route in favor of the quickest route. I've also had to forgo the sight-seeing and touristy things that most travelers enjoy in favor of sticking to business and visiting only brewers and breweries. Since I am with Jon for a few days visiting his family, we did a little sight-seeing with help from our family and friends.

One of those friends is fellow brewer, Bill Jenkins, Brewmaster at Big Time Brewing Co. in Seattle. You may have noticed a photo of Bill on my post about the Washington Cask Festival last March. Bill grew up in Maine and got me in touch with his parents, Julie and Bill Sr. who live in Southwest Harbor in another part of Mount Desert Island. Jon and I headed to their house on this clear and sunny morning.

The Jenkins took us to Bass Harbor where they dock their 32 foot powerboat. The Andromeda is no ordinary waterski-type powerboat. It is a pleasure cruiser built on a lobster boat hull with sleeping quarters and a "head" below deck. Jon took the photo at the top of this post of Julie, me and Bill.

Bill got out his navigational chart books and his laptop-powered GPS navigational charts. We motored slowly over to Swans Island. Jon is really into boats and powerboats so he kept Bill company in the cabin.

Bill let Jon steer the boat for awhile (photo above right). He even let me steer for awhile. I tried to avoid running over any lobsterpot bouys, but the tide dragged me off course a bit and I ran one over but it wasn't harmed.

Mostly, Julie and I sat in the back of the boat enjoying the fresh air and sunshine. The wind was low and the waves were small. It was the most beautiful day for a pleasure cruise. We saw thousands of lobster bouys and several working lobster boats hauling up their catch. We watched the eider ducks dipping into the waves and one lost butterfly flying in no particular direction. Bill and Julie showed us two lighthouses and we all had a marvelous time.

Jon and I wanted to be back at his brother's house by 2:00 pm, and Bill timed the ride perfectly to be docked back in Bass Harbor by 11:45 am.

Then the Jenkins took us to Bass Harbor's Thurston Lobster Pound for a lobster lunch. (Photo above left.) The lobsters we ate there were probably the freshest either Jon or I had ever eaten. The whole time we were there, we watched the lobster boats arrive to unload their morning's catch. There seemed to be one boat waiting while the previous one unloaded at the dock. We watched five boats unload. How fresh can you get?

On the way back to Bill and Julie's house, we stopped at Southwest Harbor's little liquor store. In Maine they sell beer as well as wine at the liquor stores. Just to the right of the front door was a huge selection of New England, local, and imported beer. Who would have guessed that a seemingly small provincial town like Southwest Harbor would have such an excellent selection of beer? Photo of one of the shelves above right.

Jon and I got lost and found an all-organic market in a tiny old fashioned roadside store and picked up a pint of Maine's famous tiny wild blueberries. They have a much more intense blueberry flavor than Oregon's beautiful but less flavorful giant cultivated blueberries.

My buddy Carolyn came home from YMCA camp and we spent several hours playing games from Aunt Teri's game bin. Joel and Carolyn picked fresh chives and garlic from their garden and Joel cooked up chive-garlic hamburgers for dinner. It was a pretty full day.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Visiting Family in Bar Harbor, Maine

"We don't know who we are until we see what we can do." ~Martha Grimes

August 18-19: We had a fabulous time visiting Jon's brother and his family on Mount Desert Island. On Saturday they took us to the top of Caddilac Mountain, the highest point on the island. It was super windy. My hair flew in my face and I could hardly see where I was walking. Afterwards "Uncle" Jon and Joel went to the Lobster Pound to pick up five softshell lobsters for dinner. Out west we would call it a seafood market or store. In Maine they call it a Lobster Pound. Sounds like you buy your pet lobster there, like the Dog Pound. We had a fabulous dinner with fresh lettuce and tomatoes from the garden.

On Sunday we went to the company picnic for Jackson Laboratories, which is where Joel and Lindsay are genetic research scientists. It was raining, so the picnic was inside the new cafeteria. Some researchers had booths set up demonstrating the part they play in genetic and medical research. We looked at some of the booths and saw lots of specially bred mice: some obese, some naked with no fur, most of them cute, and all of them genetically very unique and special. Then Joel and Lindsay showed us their offices and gave us a tour of the new exercise center and some of the buildings.

After the picnic we changed clothes into something more casual and drove to the mainland and around the bay to Acadia National Park, to Schoodic Scenic Byway and Schoodic Point Park. We spent a good bit of time watching the waves crash as the tide slowly returned. Carolyn, the six year old had a great time digging in puddles and enjoyed the wave spray. It was a lovely sunny day.

Below is a photo of me at the farthest eastern point on my trip. It is interesting to note that only eight days ago I was on the beach in Oregon at one of the farthest points in the continential USA. We can be such jet-setters today without even trying.

On our way home from Schoodic we stopped in at a restaurant facing a quiet little harbor. coastal Maine is full of hardworking seafolk and the boats in the harbor were a picturesque assortment of working lobster boats. In fact there must be one million or more lobster pots attached to bouys along Maine's rugged coast. We saw hundreds of them everywhere we looked.

After a long drive home to Bar Harbor area in the dark, us "grown ups" stayed up to watch "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen," a great fantasy film by Monty Python's Terry Gilliam. I'm a big fan of Terry Gilliam's work, and "The Time Bandits" is one of my top three alltime favorite movies.

Drive: Salisbury, VT to Bar Harbor, ME via Burlington

"Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood...Make big plans, aim high in hope and work." ~Daniel H. Burnham

August 17: Today was a very long driving day. We visited with Steve, Christine, their children and David Sohigian in the morning. Dave showed me how to collect visitor statistics on this blog and my website. Dave is an old Eugene, Oregon brewer. He was the first Brewmaster at Fields Brewing Company. He's a high-tech guy in Portland, Oregon now.

After coffe and tea, Steve gifted me a mixed 6-pack of Otter Creek's beer, and we drove north toward Burlington.

We arrived at American Flatbread just in time for lunch. I showed Jon around the place because I am really into what they do with fire. The most prominent fire-feature is the primitive wood-fired oven that dominates the larger dining room. Photo below shows Jon and I with Owner/Brewmaster Paul Sayler in front of the oven. Paul treated us to salad and a big flatbread, and Jon got to try all of Paul's traditional beers. On the way out the door Paul gifted us with a 22-oz. bottle of Wheatwine brewed by Smuttynose Brewing Co. Talk about spreading the wealth!
Next was a quick stop at the Vermont Pub & Brewery so Jon could see the brewery and pub. Partner Steve Polewacyk loaded us up with Growlers so that we'd have plenty of fresh beer to drink with Jon's family in Bar Harbor.

Then it was off toward Maine. Everyone had advised us to take Hwy 89 south to Manchester, NH, and then head north. However, Jon and I decided that we couldn't really drive very fast on the freeway with the trailer anyway, so we might as well drive the more direct route across Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine on Hwy 2. That's what we did.

The photo at the top of this page (rock-lined highway) was taken in Vermont. The photo below (white birch trees) was taken at a rest stop in New Hampshire.

The photos make it look like the weather was sunny and fabulous, but look carefully at the clouds in Vermont. A huge pelting rain storm caught up with us in the late afternoon and we ended up driving with the storm for the second half of our long drive.
It was a very long drive. The storm slowed us down as we had to pull over twice when we couldn't see the road anymore. We finally arrived in Bar Harbor at about 10:00 pm. Jon's brother Joel, his wife Lindsay and daughter Carolyn live outside of Bar Harbor. We stayed for four days and actually never saw Bar Harbor. I hear we mostly missed a bunch of t-shirt shops and saltwater taffy stands.

We stayed up too late and kept Carolyn up too late, but since it was Friday, we did it.

Practical Brewing Class at the American Brewers Guild

"To tell the truth is revolutionary." ~Antonio Gramsci

August 16: Drove to Salisbury, Vermont where Steve Parkes, Brewmaster at Otter Creek Brewing Company lives and runs his American Brewers Guild course. (At left in photo above.)

Normally Steve's course is a distance learning course (ie: over the Internet and supplemented by DVD-video classes). However, sometimes Steve needs to update his video classes, so this summer he and wife Christine McKeever took on the task of hosting a 5-week live class for about 20 new brewers. Steve invited a bunch of his friends, professional brewers, to teach classes and I scheduled my trip around being there to teach.

I arrived a little after noon. All was quiet as Salisbury is a very small town. I found the electrical outlet in the barn, hooked up my extension cord, attached my laptop to my printer and went to work in my portable office in the trailer, which is the booth-like table beneath my bunkbed. It got hot so I turned on the trailer's air conditioner, which runs only when I'm plugged in via the extension cord. It was awfully quiet outside and I wondered when Steve and his students would return from lunch, or whatever field trip fellow instructor David Sohigian must have brought them on. Hmmm. No time to worry about that. I've got to prepare my class.

I called my class the "Walter Swistowicz Memorial Class in Practical Brewing," in honor of one of my favorite instructors from brewing school. I researched and wrote a biography of "Swiss," so that the students could learn what an incredible brewing career he had. Then I wrote a quick synopsis of my career, and stated that I had pretty big boots to fill!

My class was at 4:00 pm, so once I printed the final draft of my class outline at 3:45 pm, I turned off the noisy air conditioner and went looking for the classroom. It was unnervingly quiet outside. Were the students parked on the other side of the house/building? Hmmm. Where is everybody? I walked around the big house, went into the office, checked out the student's Bier Stube/bar, but only found the family dog. Then I went into a panic.

Because my cell phone service provider is AT&T, I haven't had cell service since I entered Vermont so my cell phone was useless. I used Steve's office phone to call his cell phone. No answer. Greg Noonan had taught a class at 9:00 am so I called him next. Greg told me the course was taught at the Marriott Hotel. Yikes! Nobody mentioned that. Just then Steve called me on his house phone and I answered it. I got directions and Steve poured beer for the students to keep them occupied until I could get there.

Quick! Unplug the trailer. Crank the foot pad down and disconnect the Astro van. Lock up the trailer so nobody steals it. (OK, that probably wouldn't happen in Salisbury, Vermont, but imagine my panic if somebody did steal it.) Quick! Pack all my class props in the van and don't forget the class outline. Anything else? Quick! Drive to Middlebury, Vermont and find the Marriott.

OK, so it didn't happen so quickly. Began my class about an hour late, but I told the students I planned it that way so they'd have a chance to relax and drink beer. Hey, I'm a professional! I can't look flustered in front of the students, at least not too flustered.

My 5-part class was on:

1. Safety,
2. Helpful Gadgets,
3. Show-and-Tell of busted, worn and ready-to-replace parts,
4. Brewing Articles online, and
5. "The future belongs to those who know what they want: Know what you want. Then go get it."

The class laughed at my jokes and seemed to enjoy my Show-and-Tell oriented class. The students were a passionate, curious bunch and I enjoyed teaching them. They told me I was the only instructor to drink a beer during the class. Really? Steve's Otter Creek Wit seemed to go so well with examining rusted and corroded brewery parts.

My husband Jon arrived right after the class ended. He had flown on a red-eye from Portland, Oregon into Manchester, New Hampshire and then rented a car to drive to Salisbury/ Middlebury. After a stop at the ABG office and at Otter Creek Brewery he tracked down the class.

Steve, Christine and Dave Sohigian broke down the classroom and loaded it into Steve's car. Then we went to a pub in Middlebury that had four Otter Creek Beers on tap. Steve and Christine bought us dinner and we followed them back to their house in Salisbury. Rehooked the Chevy Astro van to the trailer then called it a night.

Fly Back to Vermont

"Learn as much by writing as by reading." ~Lord Acton

August 14: There is no direct route from Eugene, Oregon to Burlington, Vermont. It always requires at least two stops along the way. Luckily I didn't have the middle seat on all three flights, so I was able to work on my blog posts on my laptop.

August 15: Spent the whole day blogging. Between yesterday's and today's work I was able to get nine posts up, which is about 15-18 hours worth of work. It was cool and breezy today and felt like Fall, a big change from a week+ ago when I was in Burlington and it was hot and humid.

Greg grilled chicken and asparagus for dinner. He has really been taking care of me. The above photo is of the sunset view over Lake Champlain from his house.