Bunchgrasser’s World

My unique filter on life

Posts Tagged ‘Beer’

Damnation Golden Ale by Russian River Brewing is “Good”

Posted by bunchgrasser on September 4, 2008

I purchased several bottles of beer for a tasting last weekend. Among them was Russian River Brewing Company’s Damnation, which is a Belgian-style golden ale. Although I do brew my own beer on occasion, and consume my fair share – I wouldn’t call myself a connoisseur. I humbly prefer to keep my opinions and comments simple. To me, either the beer was good, or it wasn’t. I suppose there is room for some kind of descriptor in the middle of those two extremes, like “average” or “acceptable”. But come on…who’s going to go buy a brew that has been described that way.

Anyway, the point of this post is simply to provide yet another opinion on whether a beer tasted good or not. In this case, Damnation was indeed good. In fact, I’ll be back in the store buying a few more bottles for myself as soon as possible. I hear this particular brew has been tough to find here in Portland. I’m not sure if that is true, or simply someone trying to artificially create demand by spreading false rumors about limited supply.


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Awesome Gluten-Free Beer Recipe

Posted by bunchgrasser on May 17, 2008

My friends and family know that I’m a homebrewer and homevintner (is that a real word?). I wouldn’t call myself an “experienced” homebrewer, but I have made some very tasty liquid refreshments over the past few years. I’ve been more into winemaking the past couple of years, but I still make time for a few batches of barley pop for special occasions.

I remember stumbling through my very first batch of homebrew many years ago. I had no idea what I was doing, but the wonderful thing about brewing beer – is that it is soooo easy to do. I just bought the basic brewing kit at a local shop, took it home and followed the directions, step by step. Beginners sometimes make mistakes or have “sanitation” issues, but generally the process is easy enough for anyone with some patience to follow. My first batch of ale was a rich caramel color and tasted heavenly – beginners luck perhaps?

Anyway, back to the point of this posting. My dad loves beer, but several years ago he was diagnosed with Celiac disease, which is a severe allergy to gluten. For those not familiar – it means you cannot ingest anything with gluten which is just about everything it seems. Beer, which is made primarily from grains (such as barley), along with hops, yeast and water is an obvious no-no. Or so I thought…

My friend Kevin who runs the local brew shop told me about a gluten-free beer recipe. It uses sorghum extract rather than malt extract, so there is no gluten. I immediately bought the ingredients and headed home to fire up the ole brewpot. For those that are interested, I’ve included the basic recipe and process below. For homebrewers, this will be all you need. But if you’ve never done this before and want to give it a try – I recommend contacting your local brew shop for more detailed instructions and supplies.

 Gluten-free beer recipe

7.5 lbs. sorghum extract
2 cups lightly toasted buckwheat groats (crack with rolling pin)
3 oz. Cascade hops (60-15-10-5 schedule)
1 packet Danstar Windsor brewing yeast

I cooked 6 gallons in 32 quart stainless steel brew pot over propane burner. Soaked buckwheat groats in a grain bag in water and brought it up to 180 degrees. Squeezed out and removed grain bags and then added sorghum extract as it was coming to a boil. Added first batch of hops, then added successive batches as the boil progressed. I saved ½ oz. for dry hopping in secondary but this is optional.

I had to remove the pot a couple of times to keep it from foaming over. I remembered to add an extra gallon of water to compensate for evaporation during boil. I might actually go with 6.5 gallons next time as it still came up a little short. Set brew pot into large plastic tub with water and 2 large bags of ice. Had to add ice several times but it did bring the temp down to 80F pretty quickly. Poured hot wort through strainer into 6 gallon ale pail and took it into the house. Pitched 1 packet of yeast at 80 degrees F and sealed with an airlock. Starting specific gravity was 1.044.


The beer turned out much better than expected and my dad loves it. I’ve drunk a few bottles as well and, although it has a distinctive taste – it is very drinkable and great for quenching your thirst on a hot summer day.





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Deschutes flows in the Pearl

Posted by bunchgrasser on April 21, 2008

For a beer lover, having some of the best craft breweries in the world at your doorstep is, well…dangerous. But it’s also one of the many things that make Portland such a sweet place to reside. In just a few short days, Portlanders can welcome yet another world-class brewery to the area. Deschutes brewery and restaurant is scheduled to open their $5 million pub on May 2nd. Check out John Foyston’s full story here. I’ll see you there for a pint of Armory XPA.


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