Thursday, December 17, 2009

2009 Imperial Eclipse Stout...release date set!

As I thought about writing this a lot of moments in the past have come to the forefront of my brain. The first time I brewed Eclipse was when I was back at Flossmoor Station in Illinois. It was in 1997 fairly late in the year. We packed the mash tun full of malt well over a thousand pounds of it. Then there were the goodies we put in the kettle to drive up the gravity. Fun stuff.
That beer would later be the first beer that had been aged in a Bourbon Barrel to be given a medal at the Great American Beer Festival and that was in 1998. When they still had the GABF at Currigan Hall. I remember after the awards ceremony that someone had dragged the Beer Hunter Michael Jackson over to taste the beer and have our picture taken together. Pretty neat stuff... We named that beer Imperial Eclipse Stout because on the day it was brewed there was an Eclipse of the moon. It's a name I wanted to keep using today and the folks at Flossmoor Station graciously retired from their lineup.

Fast forward to 2009 and another milestone for Imperial Eclipse Stout will soon occur. Since FiftyFifty opened in 2007 there have been two batches of Eclipse produced...small batches and most of the beer served over the bar. We hand bottled some but that is a daunting task to do even a few hundred bottles. The 2008 vintage got up to about 500 or so bottles and they got around...and by around I mean the entire country. If you look up on the beer rating websites you'll find reviews for Eclipse. Almost every single one a glowing review. Well, the 2009 vintage saw the greatest amount of Imperial Eclipse Stout brewed to date. We aged it in Elijah Craig, Heaven Hill Rye and Jack Daniels barrels. Rather than blend the entire lot we kept the barrels separate so the consumer could compare the barrel treatments if they desired. There is no better way to 'follow the journey of a barrel aged beer' than to taste the nuances left by the barrel itself.

On December 23rd FiftyFifty Brewing Co. is proud to release the 2009 vintage of Imperial Eclipse Stout. The Elijah Craig and Heaven Hill Rye barrel aged versions will be available in wax dipped 22oz bottles. The Jack Daniels barrel aged version is anticipated to be available in the second week of January. At least two versions will be available on draught that day.

Questions? call the Brewery at 530-587-2337 ask for Todd or Kyle

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

What can you do in a day...

Well, that isn't my most snappy opening line but I feel it's works for today.

Kyle and I got four beers added to the draft lineup today. The return of Donner Party Porter and Trifecta Tripel. Both are tasting great with the Tripel really dialed in and I'm very happy with that... A new batch of Concentrated Evil which is also tasting good and the raisin component is there and very drinkable as well. Finally, the last of our tribute beer BART. Bart was the Ashman's pet for 19 years and we blended up our Summit BarleyWine and Roundabout Oatmeal Stout to celebrate Bart's life. Then we aged it in a Jack Daniels barrel. This is the last keg there is and Kyle and I felt it fitting to share it with our guests at FiftyFifty this holiday season. Please come by and try this special's tasting stellar.

To wrap up the day I p/o'd my boss...I'm hoping she'll forgive me...please...



Sunday, November 15, 2009

Imperial Eclipse Stout gets Top Honors at Bistro Barrel Aged Beer Festival

The 4th Bistro Barrel Aged Beer Fest in Hayward, CA is in the books and guess what??? I guess the title gives it away but FiftyFifty got the coveted Peoples Choice award. The only award presented at the festival. The beer was the 2008 Imperial Eclipse Stout aged in Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon barrels. To put it simply this beer is completely dialed in at the moment. The base beer was brewed in May of 2008 and put into barrels for 225 days. Kegged and put into cold storage it emerged from it's slumber just a few weeks ago, we force carbonated just one day before the fest.

There were many great breweries at the fest and over 70 beers entered. We were in great company and when I can track down a full list I'll post it here. If you were lucky enough to be there and got a taste of the 2008 Eclipse you've tasted some of the last of the vintage.

We'll be getting ready to get the 2009 Eclipse ready before long...into bottles and draft at the pub.



Wednesday, September 30, 2009

FiftyFifty Imperial Stout prevails!!!(again)

It's certainly a fun story... The base beer for our Imperial Eclipse Stout has done it again. Bronze for the big beer that could. The 2009 GABF in Denver is in the history books and FiftyFifty Brewing Co. has made it in there yet again. The competition which was huge this year with over 3300 beers entered into 78 categories seems daunting to even the biggest breweries.
Nearly 500 breweries were in the mix this year yet only 45 'small brewpubs' took which we were one. Our medal came from the Other Strong Beer category which pits beers of various types against each other that are made 'bigger' than the recommended style guidelines.
Ours being an 'Imperialized Oatmeal Stout'. Also worthy of noting is we medaled in this category last year as well which is also a notable feat unto itself.

We have a keg of this Stout going on tap soon at the pub as we held it back for just such an occasion.



Sunday, August 16, 2009

Todd on

These guys were great and they got me on audio for about 45 minutes. There is a great gallery in there as well...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Collaborative Evil-2009

Collaborate: to work jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavor.

Collaborative Evil returns...with more breweries and a bit of leeway. In 2008 three brewers decided to create a beer recipe and then brew it at their respective brewhouses. The beer a Strong Dark Belgian inspired Ale brewed with Honey, and spices. Each brew had a unique ingredient distinguishing it from the others. This effort was intended to get the beers to the Great American Beer Festival in Denver so that they could be served at the same time under one roof. Two of the three beers managed to get there and be served to the public, the third alas was there but not able to be judged or served at the time of the festival. The founding brewers Zac Triemert of Lucky Bucket Brewing Co. La Vista, NE, Matt Van Wyk of Flossmoor Station, Flossmoor, IL and Todd Ashman of FiftyFifty Brewing, Truckee, CA.

In 2009 we've brought in six more breweries. The base style for this year is a Belgian inspired Strong Pale. The larger group presented some interesting hurdles and this also proved to be what this collaboration is all about.

Working together but also working within the confines of each respective brewery. We have production breweries and brewpubs involved and some with tight schedules and others with lot's of play in the brewing regimen. We asked each brewer to create a beer based on the style and then make it uniquely their own but within the parameters of the 'Belgian inspired Strong Pale'. This was important because it demonstrates what people think of when you mention a style. Because one of the things we focus on in Collaborative Evil is entering the respective beers in the Great American Beer Festival. Entry guidelines forbid entering the same beer so creating a theme and then allowing each brewer participating in Collaborative Evil to spin-off their own beer based on our base style. Tough but not impossible and the interpretations are very spread out and will be fun for GABF attendees to seek out on the festival floor.

The new participants are: Valley Brewing, Stockton, CA. Steve Altimari, Brewmaster, Sacramento Brewing, Sacramento, CA. Peter Hoey, Brewmaster, Fatheads Brewery and Grill, Cleveland, OH, Matt Cole, Brewmaster, Flossmoor Station, Flossmoor, IL, Bryan Shimkos Brewmaster(New Brewmaster), Oakshire Brewing, Eugene, OR Matt Van Wyk Brewmaster, Silver Peak Brewing, Reno, NV Brandon Wright, Brewmaster, Speakeasy Brewing Co., San Francisco, CA. John Gillooly, Brewmaster.

Look for these beers on the festival floor at the 2009 GABF and at the breweries participating. Production breweries may have limited releases check with your favorite for more details...

Sunday, June 28, 2009

June notables and the GABF timeline....

We got word from the folks that run the California State Fair's Commercial Craft Brewing Competition that FiftyFifty did pretty well. 1 Gold, 5 Silver's and 2 Bronze's. Two beers made 2nd in their categories Blonde #2 in Blonde Ale(which got a Gold...Yay!), Drunk Monk Abbey Dubbel in the Belgian Strong Dark Ale. Imperial Eclipse took 3rd in Smoke and Wood Aged beer and Manifesto Pale Ale got an Honorable Mention. Kyle and I are quite pleased with the results considering what we're working with as well as the fact that 2 years running we've placed in very good company(much bigger breweries with long(er) histories).

Imperial Eclipse Stout should be available at Florians in Truckee now. They got the rest of the 2008 vintage. Look for the 2009 batch to be around in December.

We're entered in the Great American Beer Festival again. We've got ten entries and we're VERY happy with them and the fingers are crossed(no pressure!). As things lead up to the GABF I'll try and be more prudent about posting here. With only two or three beers yet to be brewed it's pretty tense in the brewhouse. Just gotta get the stuff bottled and shipped off to Denver. With just about two months before the beer makes it's journey it always an anxious time for me...

As always thanks for your support of the pub it's always nice to hear that someone reads this stuff so thanks for speaking up!



Friday, May 29, 2009

We're getting distributed!!!

5/29/09- Truckee, CA

Another milestone for FiftyFifty Brewing occurs today at 2pm. The first kegs of Mainfesto Pale Ale are being picked up by our distributor NorCal Beverage of Loomis, CA. These kegs are headed to Tahoe City, CA. To a bar know as Jakes. It's a great day to as I can't think of a greater thing than being able to enjoy a FiftyFifty brew on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe!!!

Keep an eye out as we acquire more handles on the California side of the lake.



Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Rockslide IPA...and Foggy Goggle

Dear IPA Fans-

Rumors have been flying about the IPA situation at the brewery recently. Kyle and I persevere to craft the ultimate IPA and sometimes it takes us to interesting places. Our latest endeavor the EXP IPA takes us to new heights and this brew is a really, really great IPA. Alas, it isn't Rockslide is it...! A new batch of Rockslide is currently in the #2 slot in the brew schedule so it should be in the tank no later than 4/17/09. Ready for drinking about 14-15 days after that.

With the success of Landslide and the very positive response from the EXP IPA we're exploring new (to us) hop products that can deliver a hop wallop of unprecedented measure! These beers of course will have to take a back seat to Rockslide and to quash any rumors of Rockslide's demise as completely unfounded B.S. ...

Foggy Goggle will be back in production soon too. New batches of Trifecta and Concentrated Evil also will be on the brewing agenda...

More news from the brewery soon...


Brewmaster Todd

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Imperial Eclipse Stout earns a Silver Medal Down Under

The Australian International Beer Awards had it's awards ceremony yesterday in Melbourne. The Eclipse was entered in the Hybrid Beer category and the Wood Aged subcategory.
Eclipse was awarded a Silver Medal.

Look for more bottles and draft of this wonderful beer soon. Only at the brewery!



Saturday, March 7, 2009

Belgian 'duo' on tap Saturday 3/7/09

Some of you have been waiting a while for the Tripel to come back and I'm happy to say that it is! Drunk Monk Abbey Dubbel is on as well. This brew is a bit different from the last Dubbel we brewed, and in my humble opinion...right on the money! Here is the 'sell sheet' for the Dubbel.

Our Abbey Dubbel makes it's return well over a year since the last batch. The 2009 version is lighter in color appearing a clear brown with slight reddish hues, is stronger at about 9.8%ABV and has a wonderful clean but distinctively Belgian flavor profile.

Kin to the Trifecta Tripel the Abbey Dubbel is brewed to with Belgian yeasts, fermented at a higher temperature than our other house ales. The benefit of the warmer fermentation temperature is that is creates more yeast derived flavors. The best way to describe these flavors is by the rather spicy aromas and flavors contained in this beer. We used a rather unique sugar in this beer known as Panusta which comes from the Philippines. It is a combination of Cane and Palm sugar which has been slightly caramelized and then packaged for use. Though it's contribution is not immediately apparent it's flavor has melded into the overall flavor profile well. The flavors best to describe the beer are notes of chocolate, mild malt, hints of cinnamon candy, faint banana and alcohol warmth. This is a great beer for any grilled beef, pork and poultry. Also with pasta and fish. A great sipping beer as well.

What makes it a Dubbel... In the Monastic brewing traditions of Belgium the brothers of Trappist Abbeys brewed beers for themselves called Singels or simples, the Dubbels were brewed for customers outside the Abbey walls and Tripels were brewed for special occasions. Our Dubbel and Tripel are brewed to emulate those brewed by the Westmalle Abbey near Antwerp, Belgium.


Brewmaster Todd

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Oregons Brewers Festival 2009

Yes! FiftyFifty Brewing will be pouring Manifesto Pale Ale at this years edition of the Oregon Brewers Festival. Held at Tom McCall Waterfront Park in Downtown Portland, OR.

I always get excited about the OBF because it's just the biggest festival on the year's calendar.
With upwards of 70,000 people attending over the four day event our little brewery gets a lot of exposure...and that's a good thing!!! Of course Portland is the epicenter of the Pacific Northwest brewing scene, so there is a lot of beer to be consumed. There is also a really good 'foodie' scene as well. It goes without saying that it's scenically beautiful as well so I always look forward to heading up there for the event.

We're sending Manifesto Pale Ale to 'represent' our flagship beer and 'sort of' show them how it's done here in the mountains... Fun stuff!

If you want to hang out with me in Portland it's July 23-26.



Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Imperial Eclipse Stout.............

OK, I've got to brag a little bit...right? This weekend Imperial Eclipse Stout pours in Boulder, CO at the Boulder Strong Ale Festival and in Boston, MA at the Extreme Beer Festival's Night of the Barrels. Pretty cool stuff for a tiny little brewery in Truckee wouldn't you say? I'm sure we'll 'hold our own' against much bigger names in the business.

The bottles are back... Kyle and I are bottling hand. Our bottler has proven to be a formidable foe and for now it has won.... We'll get after it again once we've whittled down the current work load... We've got about 20 cases of Eclipse to go for this round. Of course the warm aged stuff is a whole other animal...

The bottle numbering fairy needs to drop by the brewhouse and then the bottles can go on sale.



Wednesday, February 11, 2009

100 batches of beer, 100 batches of beer...

Sometime in April 2007 the first batch of beer brewed at FiftyFifty made it's way through the 10HL(8.5bbl) brewhouse and now is nothing more than a faint memory. Tomorrow, the 12th of February 2009 Kyle and I will brew the 100th batch of beer. That accounts for roughly 850 beer barrels which are 31 gallons each. I won't go into the math but it's a lot of beer over our bar at the brewpub. Sure some goes out to parties and events but most of it is sold at the pub. It's a pretty neat milestone for me as a brewer as I've only hit this mark at one other brewery.

Which beer you ask? It's Manifesto Pale Ale our 'pride and joy' and it's one of the most popular beers at the brewery.

We'll probably have a small celebration amongst the brewing staff and toast our efforts so far.
Of course we'll be toasting to the next hundred brews and beyond as well...


Brewmaster Todd

Saturday, February 7, 2009

SF Beer Week and other stuff

Today well actually yesterday kicked off SF Beer Week. There's lot's of info to be gleaned from Lot's of small events and a few big ones. FiftyFifty is participating today in the Bistro's Double IPA festival. The Bistro is a humble beer bar in Hayward, they've been carving a niche for themselves for a while and have a good following. This event sort of kicks off SF Beer Week so they've expecting about 500 people today.

Why SF Beer Week? I want to chime in on this just to serve up my perspective. Though the craft beer Renaissance started in the SF Bay Area and is known for such, there are people 'out there' that believe places such as Portland, OR, Seattle, WA or San Diego, CA deserve the title of might deserve the 'beer mecca' title. I'm not going to argue this point as there isn't much of one in my opinion. All these places have their merits but San Francisco and the adjoining Bay Area just have too much to offer to compare anywhere else...

Brewery Updates!!!

The bottler is challenging us a bit but should be in a more cooperative mood soon. Kyle, Andy and to a lesser extent myself have all given it a go. We're getting there but someone needs to bring us the magic wand and make it better/work... We'll be packaging soon so continue to watch this space.

Beer wise...

Landslide Double IPA has proved to be a hit. The return of Abbey Dubbel is almost here, as well as Rockslide, a new batch of Porter and more.

New Seasonal.. About this time last year or so we released 'Honey Rye' this year we wanted to take this beer in a slightly different direction. We are looking at substituting the Honey with Agave Nectar. The yet to be named beer should be refreshing, easy drinking and a great way to welcome spring!

All for now!


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

What 2009 has in store for us...

First of all Happy New Year... Yes, we've been busy, distracted, and just all around getting things in order for what's looking like a great year for the brewery. Where to start... The owners at FiftyFifty have enlisted a renowned Sushi Chef and have started the soon to open 'Drunken Monkey' Sushi, tapas and sake. I've seen the menu and it looks great, and the space is looking really good too. We'll be serving some FiftyFifty brews there as well as Japanese beers and course several sakes. The Drunken Monkey is located in the Rock just a few steps from the brewery.

Brewery wise there are many things in the works. The 2008 Imperial Eclispe Stout has already sold out of it's first bottling. There's more of course and we will be announcing the release date of the remainder of the bottles soon. We'll have the 2007 and 2008 version on tap as well...keep an eye on this space.

So far this year we've brewed a new Abbey Dubbel which promises to be a welcome return to the tap line up. The Abbey should be on tap by the end of January. We also made our first foray into brewing 'Double' IPA. We've been kicking around names for this beer and nothing is set yet but it will be 'uber' hoppy. Kyle and I had a heck of a time brewing this one as the amount of hop material in the kettle was making for some anxious moments when we were transferring from kettle to fermenter. Long story short the beer is happily fermenting and we're looking for this to be ready in the first week of February. Our new beer storage cooler is here and that means we're getting closer to distributing. Our draft Manifesto Pale Ale will soon be in select better beer locations. I'll be sure to keep that information updated here. Lastly, our 'bottling machine' is in transit and that means before long we'll have a few of our brands available in 22oz bottles. They will be for sale at the brewery and in the future at select retail outlets.

To close I just wanted to thank all of our friends and guests of the brewery. 2008 was a great year for the brewery and we couldn't do it without you guys! Our beer outlook is good for 2009 and I have a feeling the Imperial Eclipse Stout is going to bring us a lot of attention as the 2008 vintage is stellar and we are getting asked for it from folks across the country. Pretty amazing stuff!


Todd Ashman