Beer, Beer & something…oh yeah, More Beer.

posted on January 3, 2009 in beerventure, homebrewing

I made my pilgrammage to MoreBeer today.  Again, like RRBC, MoreBeer is sort of a beerlover’s mecca - with a face only a homebrewer could love.  That’s because B3 is tucked in a remote corner at the end of “Detroit Ave” in Concord, CA, amonst a bunch of warehouses.  I don’t think I could come up with a more ghetto sounding location if I tried.  However, once you walk in, you’re greeted by a bunch of happy beer geeks, which is about the friendliest atmosphere in the world.  MoreBeer isn’t much bigger than the Home Brew Outlet I went to in Sac, but it was staffed with four times the amount of people, who were each about 10 times more helpful.

Beyond the knowledgeable, friendly staff, B3 also purports a variety of goods beer enthusiasts are into, such a rotating list of several different craft brews (which I wish I had written down - still a little new at this whole blog-reporting thing) you can buy by the keg.  Call them to ask.  As you can tell by the website, their equipment and ingredient inventory is about as extensive as you’ll find anywhere - they boast that they are “The World’s largest single-source provider” of anything you need to make your own beer, wine or coffee…a pretty remarkable accomplishment considering they were started from a garage in 1995 (according to the first ever Sunday Session podcast on the Brewing Network, from 2005, OMG so long ago).

My mission to B3 held 4 main objectives:

1. Purchase a refractometer

2.  Purchase a wort chiller

3.  Purchase a California Common beer kit

4.  Have a general looksee (1.), and get an idea of what I’ll be spending more money on in the upcoming years.

accessorizer1

The Ultimate Accessorizer

As for the first two objectives, it’s a bit ambitious for a second-time brewer, and one who still uses a 6 gallon kettle on her stove in her small apartment kitchen to brew, to buy what some might consider more advanced toys such as a refractometer and a wort chiller.  And in fact, it did cross my mind that I might be in danger of becoming what my brother, Seth, describes as an “accessorizer”, i.e. one who gets into a hobby more for the accessories than for the actual activity.  Still, seeing as how I am on a path to get my masters in brewing sciences, I figured it was safe to invest in this hobby.  And unlike when I tried to lock myself into the law school path by signing up for the LSAT, I feel much better about taking a plunge in this direction.

austin_powers_mike_myers_as_dr_evil

Your faucet is pretty standard, really.

I ended up purchasing the cheapest refractometer - they range from about $60 to $115, so I guess I could have gotten even more committed (a true accessorizer would have gone for the $115 USA-made Fender of refractometers).  I felt the wort chiller was a useful purchase for any brewer - or at least, Palmer made me think so; I also had to buy a faucet adaptor because my apartment doesn’t have a hose.  I didn’t even think about this before I left so I had to hope I bought the right kind of adapter and wouldn’t you know it, it actually fit.

As for the beer kit, I’ve decided my next homebrew will be a California Common, in the style of the ever popular Anchor Steam.  I chose this style for a few reasons: by the time it’s ready it will be February, too late for holiday ales, too early for wheat or lighter color ales, I’m still not ready for real lagers but this beer, because it uses a lager yeast is unique, and it still is a warm enough beer for colder temperatures.  I could’ve gone with an IPA, but I sort of felt that that was a little cliche given their ridiculous popularity out here.  But honoring my move to California by brewing the type of beer the state was first known for somehow seemed less cliche.  I’ve also decided I’m going to attempt to brew this guy all on my own, without the help of my mentor.  Again: plunge.  Things could get interesting.  Stay tuned.

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