Archive for September, 2009

2009 Dogfish Dash 10K

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

So Sunday (9.27.09) was the 4th Annual Dogfish Dash 5K/10K and Robert’s and my 4th year participating in the 10K.


There were a few changes this year. First was the name (see shirt above), it has it listed as the Off-Centered Dogfish Dash, umm, ok, was that necessary, whatever :). And while I’m on the shirt, what’s up with the chicken in the logo instead of the dogfish? Seriously we asked a couple people that worked there and they all were like “dunno”. So, anyway, back to the real changes, first off it was in Milton this year versus Rehoboth the past three. Milton is an odd little town, but it was nice to take a run through it. Also, it was big, capped at 1,000 people and sold out, though supposedly about 25% of the people didn’t show because of the rain. Also, the food was all cold food versus hot food and cold food at the pub, understandable though since there is no pub at the brewery. But the biggest change was the lack of flow of fine fine Dogfish Head beer. Basically they had one jockey-box set-up with four handles, they couldn’t pour the beer fast enough plus it was pouring over 50% foam, ugh. It seriously took us over 20 minutes to get one beer, our ONLY beer from the jockey-box. They later brought out about 10 cases of Festina Peche which they blew through in like 30 minutes to help alleviate the jockey-box scenario. And later we found the tasting tent, which was way off to the side, where they were pouring about 6oz servings of Palo Santo, 90 Minute, Punkin, and Midas Touch – at least that tent had some flow. I know DFH is already aware of this “problem” and I guarantee it will be fixed for next year.

BUT, besides the changes, which sounds like bitching, it was a good time! We got lucky with the rain. I woke up about 5AM (about and hour and a half before I had to wake up) to the sound of rain pouring on the roof of my dad’s place. When we got to the brewery about 7:30AM it was still drizzling. By 8AM for the start it had stopped. By the time we wrapped up our 10K about 9AM it still wasn’t raining. But within, say 15 minutes, it rained for over the next hour as we all tried to enjoy beer, yogurt, and cereal. Oh, and no coffee, WTF!?

And, in case anyone was wondering, both Robert and I were running about 80%+. If I would have had 2 Advil, another 30 minutes, and a large coffee before the run I would have been 100% easy. Much better than last year, where we both were like 10-20%, yuck. So, kind of regardless, we’ll be back again next year! Thanks Dogfish Head, thanks Matt.

2009 Dogfish Head Bocce Tournament

Sunday, September 27th, 2009

OK, so last Saturday (09.19.09) I was down at Dogfish Head Brewery in Milton, DE for the 5th Annual Intergalactic Bocce Tournament, and it was just as bizarro as ever!

2009 Dogfish Head Bocce Tournament

If you want to see the rest of the pictures click here.

So once again the Erik Mitchell Band was invited back as the “Bocce Band” to play everyone’s favorite show of the year, the Dogfish Head Intergalactic Bocce Tournament. Fortunately for me, for this gig in particular, I have been dubbed essentially an honorary member of the band. My main “duty” as being in the band is to hopefully be able to borrow the van from work (which I was able to), help set-up and break-down equipment, and take pictures to document the day. All while enjoying several refreshing Dogfish Head beers and hanging out with the freaks. I think I can handle that! From the bands perspective this is quite a “big” gig in the sense of the amount of time they play and the amount of songs they play. This year they started roughly around 1:30PM and finished roughly around 8:00PM, so like 6.5 hours. They played 4 sets, with at least 12 songs per set, except for maybe the fourth set. Each set was roughly 1.5 hours long, so in the whole time frame they really only took less than an hour break spread throughout. So, if you’re interested here is a copy of the 2009 Dogfish Head Bocce Tournament Set List from the show, enjoy.

Besides the band, there was so much else going on! This tournament is a total freak fest in the best way possible. When DFH talks about doing things for Off-Centered People, these are their people. We ran into lots of familiar faces like Tom and Eric from Punkin Drublic with a crazy new Amish theme, Jim and John from Midas Touch My Balls who were the old guys last year and this year they were the old guys widows (with obituaries and everything), John Deere Flava Flav, T-Pain, and Shawty Pimp from the Pallino Pimps rockin out their nautical “I’m On A Boat” theme, Lee (Nacho Libre) and the rest of the Alpha Males kickin a construction theme with man hole … covers, and of course last years champs Bonsai Bocce running with the same theme as last year in their Karate Kid gear, plus Real Fake Tits and his crew from Mama’s Roast Beef were rolling with a German beer girl theme, and Sam and his peeps were crazy cross-dressing bocce lovers … anyone else in the freak show? Oh yeah, Motley Brue with Nikki Fuckin’ Six Pack were back after being gone last year and being Motley Jue the year before that, so they were kicking their 80’s glam rock gear, Knights of the Malted Balls (2009 champs!) had there same knight gear on, Beer Junta (I think that’s their names) had a Mad Scientist type thing going on (sorry if I’m mixing two teams together), the Bocce Beer Monks were there again but by the time Saturday rolled around their team was basically out of costume just relaxing, also Jebus was back again with the Holy Rollers rocking out a baby Jebus and the three wise men type theme this year, and Cat Bird Ass Brewery switched things up and were bikers this year, I think they changed their name too, but I can’t remember to what, and of course the winning team from Arizona from the DFH West Bocce Tournament these guys had full size fabric Dogfish Head bottles for costumes, they looked pretty cool, and I think the last team was a group of architects and/or engineers who have been working with Dogfish Head to redo the exterior of the brewery, look at the pictures to see what I mean.

MTMBs Ladies MRBs Ho-sin EMBs bocce PPs On A Boat

I spent a lot of my time hanging out with the different teams that weren’t actively playing, and hanging out with some of the Dogfish Head staff, so big hey to Audrey, Marissa, Matt, and John. I also tried to take a bunch of pictures and actually filmed a couple short videos of the band too. With the pictures I originally was going to borrow Karen’s camera, but when she lent it to me we realized the LCD screen on the back was cracked, and with a digital camera that makes it much more difficult to see what you’re actually shooting. So I instead I used Erik’s camera, which worked out just fine. He also brought the video camera but the battery wasn’t fully charged. So I think (Erik has the camera so I am not sure) we have about 20-40 minutes of each the second, third, and fourth sets from the show. I actually can’t wait to see them no matter how poor the quality or short they are. The food I thought was also superior this year in my opinion. They again had it catered and lunch was cold sandwiches, wraps, chips, fruit, that kind of stuff and it was pretty good, and dinner was more hot food with a BBQ flair, ribs, pork sandwiches, all sorts of sides – yeah dinner was real good. It was actually smart for DFH to do dinner at Milton instead of Rehoboth in my opinion because it freed up their upstairs from all the freaks and didn’t overwhelm their kitchen with like an extra 60+ orders on a Saturday night. They also did the awards ceremony at Milton this year, which I assume went well, but the band was packing up their equipment during it as to not hold things up because we were already behind schedule with the buses.

All in all it was a great time, from the Friday night party before the party, or Bocce Eve as we have dubbed it, which we determined has the feeling of Christmas Eve and Mischief Night rolled into one – hyper anticipation, to breakfast at Timmy D’s (that’s for you Carson), to the ridiculous bus ride home (how often do you look forward to a bus ride?), all the way through the Saturday night mayhem. Yeah, that’s the cool part, just because bocce is over and we’re no longer in Milton doesn’t mean the fun stops. This year Erik announced during the show that we’d be showing our 3rd place winning movie from the Dogfish Head Film Fest  “World Wide Clout” back at our hotel room and essentially invited everyone back. Fortunately we only had like 15 people show up, people from all sorts of teams, the architects, the pimps, the old ladies, and I think the construction guys. Then after the WWC showing and hanging it was time to raid the Dogfish Head brew pub again, so we were down there enjoying ourselves for a while. And of all things bizarro we ran into a couple from Austin, TX who also had entered the Film Fest who happen to be at the pub and recognized Robert and I. I swear, with how crazy everything was that day it seriously felt like we imagined them there, the timing was just crazy. Oh, he also announced about our silly shaving bet with Robert, so hopefully that sparked some interest there too.

So, not to make this post any longer, I’ll leave you with a couple links to even MORE pictures if you are so inclined to look at more drunk cross dressing people playing bocce :). First are pictures from Jimmy Balls from MTBM here. Next are the pictures from the “unofficial” Dogfish Head photographer, Jess Daleiden,  for the bocce tournament, you can find Friday’s pictures here (which is the day we were not there) and Saturday’s pictures here. If anyone wants more just ask, there’s always more from this event. And in case your interested, re-caps of the past: 2008, 2007, & 2006 (sorry no 2005).

Harvest Ale 2009

Sunday, September 13th, 2009

So yesterday my buddy Garrett and I brewed a beer that’s been dubbed the Harvest Ale, a Pale Ale brewed with all fresh hops!

Harvest Ale 02

We decided on doing a 10 gallon batch as this was TOTALLY an experiment, and 10 gallons would give us each 5 gallons at the end of the day. This was a total experiment because neither one of us had ever used fresh hops, there was no way of telling what the estimated alpha acids or IBUs from the hops would be, and hell, we didn’t even know if we were going to have enough hops for the experiment in the first place. In all honesty we could have basically made a “lawn clipping” beer by accident.

And let me just tell you, these hops were F-R-E-S-H-! Literally Garrett cut down the bines an hour before I arrived and filled a utility wagon and we began picking right away. Of course it had been raining all morning and we were a little unprepared for the excess water on the cones so Garrett came up with the idea of laying all of the hops on a screen with a fan on them to help surface dry the hops, nice. Our recipe called for a total of 20 ounces of fresh hops which we think translated to about 4 to 5 ounces of dry hops, which for a 10 gallon batch seems about right for a non-super hoppy beer.

Harvest Ale 01 Harvest Ale 03

So, why all the fuss with the fresh hops? Well, fresh hops are literally only available (in the northern hemisphere) once a year, so this could only happen when it happen, that alone makes it special. Also, the longer hops are handled and aged the less potent they and you lose the sensitive volatile oils that can’t hold up to it. So, there hops were literally like three hours old when they hit the kettle, they were picked by hand (versus machine) and were used in every aspect of the recipe. By using them throughout we know we destroyed any delicate compounds with a 90 minute boil trying to achieve our estimated bitterness level, but we mostly late hopped which will help preserve the sensitive material.

One funny thing that happened during the brew day was we WAY over shot our OG some how. We were aiming for 1.055 and hit 1.066, huge difference. Not that I’m concerned, though the hop profile may appear diminished, it just is big, it’s like 85%+ efficiency, and that’s pretty much even if I accidentally over weighed the grain by a pound or so. Anyway, this should be a pretty exciting beer to keep your eyes on to try and grab a taste when it is on the kegerator. Even compared to commercial versions, there is nothing else like this available, this is the freshy-fresh!

Everything but the …

Saturday, September 5th, 2009

Yup … Kitchen Sink :). So today I brewed a beer dubbed the Fool Circle Kitchen Sink Dark, I know, super descriptive and right to BJCP style guidelines.

Kitchen Sink

So in the last post I talked about brewing the Kitchen Sink Amber, well today I brewed the Kitchen Sink Dark. Both of these batches were intended to use up all of my ingredients and still make drinkable beer, though not stylistically accurate. They did their job, the only ingredients I have left right now are about 90 pounds of base malt, 2 pounds of malted rye (which was ordered in “extra” for the R3 and never used), and 1 ounce of Cascade hops for dry hopping the KS Amber. So now it is time to re-up for some freshy-fresh batches, maybe say, … 6 batches worth, so again if you have suggestions let me know, I’ll be ordering soon.

Anyway, today’s brew day went pretty good. I was finished in about 5.5 hours without any major set backs but a few minor glitches. For example, I ran out of propane after collecting the wort but prior to achieving a proper boil, no problem that’s what the spare tank is for. I also couldn’t cool the wort below 80 degrees, again not too big of a deal, did the wet towel/fan trick the last two batched and it worked out marvelously. I suppose the biggest problem, which had nothing to do with making beer, is I have determined I am not a plumber. This is the second or third time I have tried to solder copper tubing for different brewing applications and I have never done a good job. It always takes me two or three attempts, it looks sloppy afterward, and typically I am unhappy with the outcome. Well today I was trying to put together some copper for inside the HLT to help siphon the water out without me having to tip it, a pick-up tube essentially. First my soldering sucked and second, I didn’t have enough pieces (realized after the fact) to make it work properly. Guess what that means? Another $5-10 bucks on stupid copper fittings and another hour of me struggling with the torch and solder. Oh well, I suppose that’s how we learn things.

Also, sorry about the lack of pictures for the KS Amber and Dark and the cleaned up brew room etc, I let Robert borrow my camera for a little bit so that we can document his hairy life here: Roby vs. the Razor. I actually had forgotten, but there was a similar bet in the movie Knocked Up where his roommates bet that he couldn’t shave or cut his hair for a year and the loser pays the other roommates rent for a year, now that’s a hefty bet!