June 2001

(541) 757-1190

(541) 753-6538


The Heart of the Valley Homebrew Club meets on the third Wednesday of each month, alternating between Corvallis and Albany. Our next meeting will be Wednesday, June 21, at 7:00 p.m. at the home of Lee and Helen Smith. Their address is 2190 Maier Lane, NW in Albany. Their phone number is 757-1190. Their email address is

Here are directions to Lee's house:

  • From Corvallis: Take Highway 20 to Scenic Drive. Go left to Gibson Hill Road (stop sign). Go right to Skyline Drive. Go right to Maier Lane. Go left to the address sign on the tree (2190). Go right to last house. It is OK to park on the grass.

  • From Albany: Take Highway 20 to North Albany Road. Turn right. North Albany Road curves left and becomes Gibson Hill Road. Go to Skyline Drive and turn left. Turn left at Maier Lane. Go right at the sign on the tree (2190). See above.

    Don't bring too much beer. Remember there will be plenty of leftover homebrew from the festival.

    PRESIDENT'S CORNER by Scott Caul

    Wow! What a festival! Things seemed to go very smoothly this year and we owe our thanks to all who participated. Mark Kowalski did a fantastic job running the show. We'll miss him. Let's start thinking about next year!

    Summer is just about here and it is time to talk PICNIC. We are going to choose the date and place at the next meeting, so if you would like to provide some input, please come. We are going to tone down the picnic a bit this year; we won't have the club games as in the past. We will still have plenty for the kids to do, and of course, there will be FOOD! Oh yeah, and beer too. Lee will do his famous deep fried cajun turkey again, and we will also have beer-boiled bratwurst on the grill. I think corn on the cob has become a regular, as well. The picnic will be some time in August, so don't make any concrete plans, or you'll miss out. This is a great chance to hang out with the club and families and have some fun. Let's have a great turnout this year.

    Once again, a huge thanks to all who helped on the brewfest, and a fond farewell to our friends, Lys Buck and Mark Kowalski. See you all at the next meeting!


    For lists of the first, second, and third-place beers in all the categories at the Oregon Homebrew Festival, held May 20 in Corvallis, go to the HOTV website at

    On a personal note, I wish to second Scott's positive assessment of the Oregon Homebrew Festival. Superb planning and hard work on the part of the volunteers really paid dividends. I stayed busy, and had an opportunity to taste some really good beers. Starting Friday evening and continuing Saturday morning and afternoon, I judged Barley Wines (and Imperial Stouts), Brown Ales, Strong Belgian Ales, and participated in a taste-off for American Pale Ales. It was also my privilege to assist in the Best of Show judging. (Blame me, if you must, for being part of the group that named Curt Hausam's Belgian Strong Golden Ale the Best of Show from the 27 outstanding first-place beers.

    Special thanks go out to Fred Eckhardt, our guest speaker. (I will attempt to post the text of Fred's speech on our website.) Finally, I wish to extend extra special thanks to Mark Kowalski, John Sterner, Herky Gottfried, Lee Smith, Joel Rea, and all the many volunteers for doing such a great job. I cannot imagine a better run homebrew competition anywhere.


    Thanks to Scott Caul for hosting our last meeting at his home in Corvallis. We all had a very good time. One of the highlights of the meeting was the evaluation of sample beers from the White Labs yeast experiment that our club began last winter. Several of our club members wrote down their sensory profile impressions on beers produced from the various yeast strains. We intend to gather more data later, and write up our findings for an article in Zymurgy.

    MILL CREEK CLASSIC by Kendall Staggs and Joel Rea

    In many respects the Mill Creek Classic was more of a duty for me than a good time, especially coming so soon after our own festival. I picked up Joel at 8:00 a.m. and we drove to Salem. The sign-up sheet did not have directions but I managed to find the Cascade Brewery without too much difficulty. We were told to get there by 9:00 a.m., but when we arrived, we were almost the only ones there. Eventually they got the show on the road, and the judging was underway by 10:00 a.m. The Capitol Brewers had a lot of no-shows for various reasons, including sickness, deaths in the family, and other concerns. Cliff Rice was the only Strange Brew member there. Mike Bennett, Joel, and I were the only HOTV members there, until Scott Caul arrived in the middle of the afternoon. No Oregon Brew crew members were present.

    There were about 150 entries total, and all the usual beer styles plus mead and cider were judged. Some of the categories had only three or four entries. Judges were so scarce that all judging was done by pairs only. Mike Bennett and I judged the three fruit Lambics right away. Then I judged 9 beers, mostly Witbiers, in the Belgian and French Ale category. My judging partner was Cliff Rice. Next, Cliff and I judged Barley Wines and Imperial Stouts. Fortunately, there were only five of them. But I judges all of these beers before lunch!

    After a lunch of burger and fries, I judged Altbiers and Kölsches with a novice but solid judge, Kevin Johnson. I was later asked to judge Stouts, but declined, and then was asked to join Joel for Best of Show, but I was not feeling up to it so I begged off. Mike Bennett ended up judging Best of Show finals with Joel.

    By the time judging wound down, the basketball game was on. This was the seventh game of the Lakers-Blazers series. I enjoyed the first 38 minutes of game time, but not the last 10 minutes. Needless to say, there were many howls of disappointment at the Cascade Brewery. The judging ran very long. So did the raffle. I did not win anything. Joel kept winning the same specialty grain that he had donated. All things considered, I had a good time.

    Best of Show went to Tom Berntson, the competition coordinator, for an American Wheat. Second went to Doug Faynor for his Framboise (raspberry lambic), and third went to Ron Thomas for his Doppelbock. One might be suspicious of the Capitol Brewers for sweeping the awards if it were not for the fact that HOTV members did the Best of Show finals judging.

    Congratulations to the following HOTV members for their awards: Dave Benson for first place in the IPA and German Wheat categories; Ingeborg Reed for a third in Belgian Strong Ales; Sean Ross for a first in American Pale Ale, and Joel Rea for seconds in English Bitter, Cider, and Soda.

    As Joel notes, the Mill Creek Classic was much more laid back than our festival, if that is possible. There were not nearly enough judges and the awards were being given out at 7:00 p.m., but it was lots of fun nonetheless. Joel had this to say about seeing an American Wheat Beer win Best of Show: "This just goes to show that it does not have to be a big beer or one with lots of hops—just care and attention."

    OREGON STATE FAIR from Joel Rea

    The State Fair Beer homebrew competition will be July 8 with entries due July 5 at 5:00 p.m. Entries need to be mailed in or delivered to Salem by that deadline, but we can possibly arrange for a group to be delivered. Are there any volunteers to take them to Salem if my store serves as drop off point? I do have entry forms. Dave Miller will be judging and giving a speech at the State Fair.

    CLUB-ONLY COMPETITIONS by Kendall Staggs from Zymurgy

    Here is the upcoming schedule of club-only homebrew competitions. I encourage you to brew one of these in time to enter it so our club can have some winners and tally some points.

    Late August     Pale Ales
                          ("Best of Big Brew")
    Mid-October      Category 9: German Amber Lager
                          ("Best of Fest")
    Early December   Category 24: Historical Beers

    LITTER PICK-UP by Lee Smith

    There will be a litter pick-up on Saturday, June 24, at 11:00 a.m. Volunteers can contact Lee Smith at or sign up at the club meeting at his house on June 21.


    Have you had any good beers lately? Here are some brief reviews of some brews that I have recently tasted. Last month I traveled to Burlingame Grocery in Portland and gobbled up all the remaining bottles of four brands of beer from the renowned Broughton Brewing Company in Peeblshire, in the Scottish Borders. These beers are not normally available in Oregon, but a small, limited time offering arrived at Burlingame from Phoenix Imports of Baltimore.

    Merlin's Ale: This is a golden, well-hopped (by British standards), Pale Ale. It is rather thin-bodied and lacks the rich, malt character of a Scottish Ale. Some of you hopheads out there might like it, but I found it rather one-dimensional. Its alcohol strength is 4.2 percent by volume.

    Kinmount Willie Stout: This is a delicious Oatmeal Stout, reminiscent of Samuel Smith's and Young's. Like Merlin's, it is very English in character. It is silky smooth, but with plenty of roasted aroma and flavor to satisfy Stout lovers. Its alcohol strength is 4.2 percent by volume.

    Black Douglas: This is a rich, ruby-colored, Scottish Export Ale, or 80 Shilling. It is one of my favorite beers on the planet, with all the delicious maltiness of a Strong Scotch Ale but not as overpowering. It features a lot of crystal malt and just a hint of peat smoke malt to intrigue the palate. There is also just enough hop bitterness for balance. Its alcohol strength is 5.2 percent by volume.

    Old Jock: This is a gorgeous, amber-colored Strong Scotch Ale, or Wee Heavy. It is very malty and complex, with definite peat smoked malt in the aroma and flavor. There is also plenty of alcohol warming, but not as much as some examples. Its alcohol strength is 6.7 percent by volume. Lest you get the wrong idea from the name, I quote the label: "For centuries the soldiers of the Highlands of Scotland have been familiarly referred to as the Jocks—powerful fighting men who have enjoyed hearty beers in their off-duty hours."

    Incidentally, these beers come in very attractive bottles embossed with hop plants. Their labels feature great graphics. Last year Mark Kowalksi traveled to Scotland on business and brought back bottles of Black Douglas and Old Jock, plus two other tasty Broughton beers, Greenmantle and The Ghillie. They all were great.

  • BON VOYAGE, MARK AND LYS by Kendall Staggs

    The Heart of the Valley Homebrewers is bidding a fond farewell to Mark Kowalski, who is moving with his family to Massachusetts this summer. Mark has served HOTV in many capacities, most recently as director of the Oregon Homebrew Festival. He also earned the respect of fellow brewers and beer lovers with his many outstanding creations, earning the unofficial title of King of American Brown Ales.

    Lys Buck is moving with her partner Liz and their son Jordan to Milwaukee, Wisconsion, the city that made many brands of American beer famous (and vice-versa). A longtime member of HOTV and a brewer of many great brews, Lys has brought warmth, charm, and humor to our club. Last year she performed a super job as HOTV president. I believe I speak for all the club in saying that Mark and Lys will both be dearly missed. It is my hope that they will keep in touch with us, and will visit us whenever they are able.

    PARTY INVITATION from Lys Buck

    Hi HOTV Friends ! Before Liz, Jordan, and I head to Wisconsin, we are holding one last soiree which you are all invited to attend. You are all invited to a DUMPLING potluck. Bring your favorite stuffed food to share and we'll all stuff ourselves. Some food ideas include egg rolls, spring rolls, tortellini, gyoza, ravioli, empanadas, crepes, pierogies, blintz, dolmas, wontons, tamales, eclairs, pasties, calzones, samosas, cream puffs, cabbage rolls—basically anything that fits the theme. We hope you can make it on Saturday, June 17th starting around 4:30. Our address is 1208 NE Lafayette Street in North Albany.

    Directions: From Corvallis, take Highway 20 and turn left onto Springhill—the light just before the bridge into Albany. Take Springhill between .8 and .9 miles and then turn right onto 13th. Turn left at the stop sign. Turn right onto Lafayette. Call 928-3531 or email with any questions.

    COOKING WITH BEER by Helen Smith

    Tangy beer makes a good match with sweet, briny mussels.
    Here the brew is seasoned with a spice mixture akin to
    that used in a Louisiana-style crab boil.
    Can be prepared in 45 minutes or less.
    a 12-ounce bottle of beer (not dark)
    2 bay leaves
    4 whole cloves
    1 teaspoon coriander seeds
    1 teaspoon mustard seeds
    1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    2 lemon wedges
    36 mussels, preferably cultivated, scrubbed well in
      several changes of water and the beards scraped off
      if necessary minced fresh parsley leaves for garnish
    In a kettle bring the beer to a boil with the bay leaves,
    the cloves, the coriander seeds, the mustard seeds, the
    cayenne, the salt, and the lemon wedges and boil the
    mixture, covered partially, for two minutes. Add the
    mussels, steam them, covered, over moderately high heat, 
    stirring once or twice, for 4 to 7 minutes, or until 
    they are opened, and discard any unopened ones. Serve 
    the mussels sprinkled with the parsley.
    Serves 6 as a first course.

    MICROBREW NEWS by Kendall Staggs

    This year's winner at the Toronado Barley Wine Festival, held February 19 at San Francisco's Toronado Bar, was Beer of the Horn, by the Anderson Valley Brewing Company of Boonville, California. The runner-up was Old Gubbillygotch from the Russian River Brewing Company of Guerneville, California. Forty one beers competed.

    Beer Marketer's Insight, an industry newsletter, reports that in 1999 U.S. beer sales increased 1.6 percent, the largest growth since 1990, with sales rising from 196.6 million barrels to 198.8 million barrels. Anheuser-Busch sold 96.8 million barrels, increasing its share of the American beer market to 47.5 percent. Miller remained in second with a 21.6 percent market share, followed by Coors at 10.7 percent. Pabst, Heineken, and Labatt USA were the leaders in the "all the rest" category.

    BEER AND HEALTH from Scott Leonard

    A study in the May 20, 2001, British Medical Journal announced that the authors had found a protective effect of beer drinking against heart attacks among middle aged men in the Czech Republic. Over 900 men who drank only beer were studied. Those who drank 5 to 9 liters per week were less than half as likely to have a heart attack than those who drank no beer. [Editor's note: Isn't 9 liters per week a hell of a lot of beer?]

    THE BEER CAN's 65th BIRTHDAY by Kendall Staggs

    On June 24, 1935, canned beer was introduced in the United States by the American Can Company and the Krueger Brewing Company of Newark, New Jersey. Uncertain as to the public's reception of this new package for beer, Krueger decided to test market the beer can in Richmond, Virginia, outside its prime marketing territory. To their surprise, the beer can proved to be a hit, and before the end of the year dozens of breweries were selling beer in cans. The first beer can was a familiar 12-ounce flat-top can with elaborate instructions printed on the side concerning the use of the can opener. Within the first year, the rival Continental Can Company was marketing a 12-ounce cone-top can that could be sealed with the same cap as bottles. The flat-top can, however, proved to be more popular and it evolved into the modern beer can. Cans featuring pull tabs were first marketed in 1963, and aluminum cans began to replace steel cans in the 1970s. The distinctive cone-top beer can was used by a few breweries until the 1950s. I collect older beerr cans. If you have questions regarding beer cans, their value, and their history, contact me at .


    >From Kelly Ivors, a postcard from Ireland addressed "H.O.T.V. c/o Joel Rea." [Editor's note: the postcard is of a smiling pint of Guinness with the quip, "Guinness As Usual. Guinness is Good For You."] Kelly writes, "These Irish really put the Guinness away. The pubs have dozens of empty kegs lined up on delivery day. I went to the Guinness Brewery last week and Bushmills today. I put 1050 miles on the rental car. In the Republic of Ireland every 5th business in town is a pub. There are a lot less in Northern Ireland. Day after tomorrow I will be in Scotland."

    Kelly was recently in Belgium presenting a paper on mushrooms (and not the ones you find at your local grocery store—wink, wink).

    BEER WEBSITE OF INTEREST from Mike Bennett

    Check out this interesting beer site from Russia:

    BEER HISTORY by Kendall Staggs

    On May 9, 1785, Joseph Bramah received a British patent for a beer pump that allowed for the mixing of two of the four beers to be dispensed. One of the mixed beers was "Stale Porter," which was aged over a year in order to acquire a "bite" from acetic acid. It was more costly because of the age, but patrons could now choose how much of the extra "bite" they wanted to buy.

    ASSORTED BEER STORIES from Dianna Fisher, via the Internet

    Cheap beer is a leading contributor to the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, according to a government report that says raising the tax on a six-pack by 20 cents could reduce gonorrhea by up to 9 percent. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study compared changes in gonorrhea rates to changes in alcohol policy in all states from 1981 to 1995. In years following beer tax increases, gonorrhea rates usually dropped among young people. The same happened when the drinking age went up—as it did in many states during the 1980s.

    "Alcohol has been linked to risky sexual behavior among youth. It influences a person's judgment and they are more likely to have sex without a condom, with multiple partners or with high-risk partners," said Harrell Chesson, a health economist with the CDC.

    Beer industry lobbyists, however, said recent statistics show young people are already drinking more responsibly, thanks in part to efforts by brewers. "Excise taxes have little or nothing to do with alcohol abuse in society," said Lori Levy of The Beer Institute in Washington. "I think that our members understand the importance of educating young people about how to make responsible choices once they're old enough and they put a lot of money and effort into those programs."

    There are some strange cat laws in America. In Natchez, Mississippi, cats are forbidden to drink beer. In Dallas, Texas, local law requires any cat running on the street after dark to wear a headlight.

    Stechuhr, translated "stopwatch," is a chain of German brewpubs that allows its cutomers to drink all they want in one hour without keeping a tab. For the first hour, men are charged $6.50 and women are charged $3.20, with the price decreasing for additional hours.

    German police arrested a motorist last month with a blood-alcohol content of 4.46 percent after he drove his car into a motorway crash barrier. Police said the alcohol reading was the highest ever registered by the authorities in the southern German town of Karlsruhe. The legal limit is 0.5 percent. The 40-year-old motorist, who suffered only slight injuries, was said to be "completely inebriated" but managed to apologize to the police for his "stupidity." They still took away his driver's licence.

    Now for a story that has nothing to do with beer, but is compelling nevertheless:

    A Canadian farm woman is still shaking after a crazed beaver attacked her two giant Newfoundland dogs named Bonnie and Billy, pinning them against a fence and savagely biting them. "It pinned them. I never though beavers were capable of that," Sam Pshyshlak told Reuters news from her Manitoba farm 60 miles north of Winnipeg. "I've lost all respect for beavers. I never would have imagined this from a beaver," she said of the recent incident. She said the beaver "terrorized" her dogs, which weigh nearly 200 pounds each. "There was definitely something wrong with it," Pshyshlak said. The thick pelts of beavers were once Canada's main export and the flat-tailed animal has long occupied a place of honor on the country's five-cent coin. Most Canadians see them as cute and industrious but farmers often regard them as a nuisance for the dams they build and the flooding they cause.

    Pshyshlak said the beaver that attacked her dogs weighed about 30 pounds and tore at Billy's leg and face. "In the shed, the whole floor was pooled with blood," she said. Pshyshlak said the conservation authorities assured her that they would try to trap the animal, although she said she hasn't seen hide nor hair of the beaver since the attack occurred. [Editor's note: A spokesperson for beavers, when asked if this story were true, replied, "Gnaw."]

    A FINAL BIT OF HUMOR from Dianna Fisher

    A driver was pulled over by a police officer for speeding. As the officer was writing the ticket, she noticed several machetes in the car. "What are those for?" she asked suspiciously. "I'm a juggler," the man replied. "I use those in my act."

    "Well, show me," the officer requested. So he got out the machetes and started juggling them: first three, then four, finally five at one time, overhand, underhand, behind the back, putting on a dazzling show and amazing the officer.

    Another car passed by. The driver did a double take, and said to his wife, "My God! I've got to give up drinking. Look at the test they're giving now."

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