Archive for April, 2009


Twitter and Facebook

   Posted by: BeerMkr    in Uncategorized

Yes I have finally given in and gotten both a twitter and a facebook account.

My twitter address is

and Mike Pensinger on Facebook.



Airlines piss me off!

   Posted by: BeerMkr    in Random Thoughts

So I decided that I wanted to come home a little earlier than I expected.  My ticket was for 2:45 pm and there were flights earlier.  I went to the airport where they told me that I could change my ticket to an earlier flight but it would cost me $150. WTF???!!

Oh but if I wait until the day of the flight it will only be $50. WTFx2??!?!

Why it the hell should it cost anything to change and electronic ticket that has not even be printed to another flight that HAS EMPTY SEATS? 

Cap that off with having to pay $15 per bag to check luggage.  Come on.  This makes everyone carry their bags onto the plan where it creates a cluster in the cabin. Do the airlines honestly believe that people take less with them? Why can we not just set a max weight per passenger including baggage.  Say 350 pounds or so.  If you want to carry more stuff with you then lose weight.  I packed for a week and carried more stuff back with me and the bag still weighed under 50 pounds (and it is loaded with beer!) plus my weight and I am well under 350 pounds. If you go over then you can pay and excess fee. Say $1 per pound. I support this and I expect anyone who has been stuck in a seat beside a fat traveler probably supports it too.

Enough to say airlines can cram it up their hind ends.  I think I will start carrying my roll along on board. Wait a minute. They can check it at the plane… wonder how much that costs?


Craft Brewers Conference – Day 3 & 4

   Posted by: BeerMkr    in CBC 2009

I decided to consolidate these as Day three really was a Trade show day for me.  The seminars available did not really do it for me so I concentrated on new and previous contacts within the industry.

Day 4 includes a number of really good seminars starting with Water and its use in the Brewery. The myriad of variables when it comes to water in the brewing process is quite amazing sometimes.  I have always subscribed to the thought that I want to make beer in a region that is unique to that region so I do not do much more than filter the chlorine and/or cloramines out of it.  I am now interested in whether I can adjust my water to create a much better beer.  Additionally it is interesting to think about the possibilities of creating multiple water profiles so that each beer can be adjusted.

The next seminar was QA/QC for the small brewer.  As some of you know I have fought this battle before and I am determined to not have it rear its ugly head again.  The lecture was informative and highlighted the amazing fact that you can never be sure that everything is clean.  You can only work towards reducing statistical probability that it is bad.  The number of samples that would be required to reduce that number to zero means you are not selling any beer.  It was interesting to see all this charted out and the introduction of a chart that can help you define what your risks are and how to mitigate that risk effectively.

Next up: Increasing Hop Flavor and Aroma through Process Variables.  What a great presentation.  Eye opening to say the least and I can not thank the Rock Bottom organization for allowing its brewers to conduct this experiment. Needless to say I am now looking at how to change some of my new recipes to bring these characteristics forward in the new beers.

The last one was Server Education and Chris Lady from Moon River instilled a number of great ideas that I am hoping to implement in The River Company.  Using the new Cicerone program to educate our servers should be in my opinion the absolute highest priority.  Having a mandatory testing program for them where it concerns beer is also something that we all need to address.

The last day capped with a reception that was nice but a little disappointing. The last CBC I attended included a banquet dinner and while we had some nice small food items I really liked the banquet better.




Craft Brewers Conference – Day 2

   Posted by: BeerMkr    in Uncategorized

A good day today.  Of course it started out with me shaving part of my finger off in the shower this morning but hey, crap happens!

We started with the Welcome and Keynote addresses.  Typical stuff with the growth number son some very boring charts and so on. I did learn that the average brewpub production number is 703bbls per year.  At least I know what I am shooting for now :).

The Keynote address was given by Greg Koch from Stone Brewing.  He centered on the concept of making CRAFT beers and not selling out.  I agree with him on most points but still believe you have to make an “everyperson” beer to please your average customer.  Does it have to be fizzy yellow beer? Nope. just something in the middle of the road. His address was highlighted with his superb use of media within the talk, including twittering a picture as he was speaking.

I attended a few good seminars including the Draught Beer Quality Manual ( and QA/QC for the Small Brewer. 

Lunch happened and I got a chance this morning to visit a number of the trade show exhibitors to talk about kegs for the brewery.  I still think I may go with the plastic kegs but am not sure.  I like the concept but I also am leery due to some peoples experience I have talked to.

I actually spent a while talking to a girl from a VT brewery about the value of Twitter to a brewpub.  I may actually be convinced.  I have to do some more looking at that.

The last session of the day was “Things Every Brewer or Future Brewer Should Know But Doesn’t”. Well given but quite frankly I am not sure why people would not know this information.  A lot of it was VERY basic and unless you were not a brewer of any sort prior you should know this stuff.

The cap for the night was the party at the Boston Beer Company.  I actually went back to the hotel to drop my bag off and took the subway to the brewery.  When I got there I hooked up with  my Quebec friends Fred, Caroline, and Nicholas. We had a few of the free beers and wandered around the brewery for a while and the went to trade our meal ticket in for…. get this… clam chowder, steamed clams, mussels, corn and LOBSTER.  Whole lobsters freshly steamed.  I have to say that the Boston Beer Company puts on a hell of a party!


Craft Brewers Conference – Day 1

   Posted by: BeerMkr    in Uncategorized

Day one of the Craft Brewers Conference is tour day.  I signed up for the conference a little late so the Boston tours were already filled. I picked New Hampshire. Why?  I have never been there. Plus it was Smuttynose Brewery and Redhook.

The day started out with a bus ride to Gloucester MA where we stopped at the Cape Ann Brewery. They brew the Fisherman beers and they were all great.  I tasted the Amber Lager, the Schwartzbier and the Greenhorn IPA. All were very good.  They are shoe horned into a small facility which I took pictures of but will not be able to post them until later (seems someone has borrowed my microSD adapter card).

Next we were on to Smuttynose Brewing just outside of Portsmouth NH.  A nice facility that holds its age well.  The tanks are the best part and again I have picture for later. I had the Belgian Ale, The IPA and the Hopfenwiess. The hopfenwiess was by far my favorite.  Picture a very good IPA with the fluffy qualities of a wiess beer. WOW!!!

We rolled out to visit the RedHook facility and I have to say it was impressive.  The size and the fact that they purpose built the building and it is not you average warehouse makes it a must visit if you are here.  We got a great tour and saw the full deal.  I tried the double red on the nitro tap but I have to say it was a little sweet for me and I was already feeling the earlier samples :). We were fed a nice lunch of sandwiches and clam chowder (yum).

Next stop was the Portsmouth Brewing Company in Portsmouth.  I tried thier Milt Stout on a handpump and it was wonderful.  I am still feeling a little past my prime so I actually missed the brewery tour although I was told they are shoe horned into a space also.

The bus ride back was uneventful and I checked into the conference and made a pre tour of the Expo to see what was there,  Everyone was still setting up so there wasn’t much yet.

Harpoon hosted the welcome reception so I went to that (twist my arm) and tried a few of the beers there.  I had the Sam Adams Double Bock, Harpoon IPA, Harpoon Black, and quite frankly a couple IPA’s and Belgians from some of the smaller breweries that are escaping my mind right now.

I ran into Geoff Logan from AleWerks, Mike McCarthy from Capital City, and Fred and Caroline Tremblay from Microbrasserie Charlevoix (Quebec friends). I heard that a few other Virginia Brewers were here and I hope that we can all get together one night at least.