March 2001

(541) 757-1190

(541) 753-6538


The next meeting of the Heart of the Valley Homebrew Club will be Wednesday, March 15, at the new location of Corvallis Brewing Supply (Joel's store). The address is 434 SW Madison, across the street from Noah's Bagels. The shop's telephone number is 758-1674. It is easy to find in the heart of downtown Corvallis.


Last month we met at the Oregon Trader Brewery in Albany. The Festival Planning Committee had a business meeting before the main gathering. Mark Kowalski has done an outstanding job of planning the upcoming event, and Beto Zuniga has done a fine job of preparing a flyer for publicity. The planning committee is working hard and we are confident that this year's festival will be the best yet.

The club did not really conduct very much business in our last meeting . . . at least not much that I remember. We had some good beers, both from Oregon Trader and our very able homebrewers. One highlight for me was Lee Smith's fabulous Imperial Stout. Thanks again to Eugene, the owner and brewer at the Oregon Trader, for allowing us the use of the brewpub and for the tour of the brewery.

Check out this cool site:

PUB CRAWL by Scott Caul

The Annual HOTV Pub Crawl will be Saturday, March 18. Here is the unofficial itinerary. All stops are subject to confirmation with owners or managers of these fine establishments. We have a good list of crawlers who have signed up, but there is still room for more. The cost per person is $15 for members and guests; $20 for non-members. E-mail me at if you want to be added to the list. Pub crawlers, please pay Lee Smith at your convenience. You may pay at our next meeting, or as you board the bus. We'll still take you with us if you don't pay, but you may have to walk home. Just kidding.

1 Laidlaw Transit, Corvallis
Depart 10:00 sharp
2 Select Market, Albany (vacant)
Arrive 10:20 Depart 10:30
3 Gustav's Pub and Grill (Clackamas)
Arrive 11:30 Depart 12:30
4 Hair of the Dog Brewing Company
Arrive 1:15 Depart 2:15
5 Mystery Stop
Arrive 2:30 Depart 3:30
6 Alameda Brewhouse
Arrive 3:45 Depart 4:45
7 Portland Brewing Company
Arrive 5:00 Depart 6:00
8 Select Market, Albany
Arrive 7:30 Depart 7:40
9 Laidlaw Transit, Corvallis
Arrive 8:00


Jeff Clawson, brewer at OSU Fermentation Studies, has arranged for Sunday, April 2, to be the day we brew up the batch of beer for the yeast comparison experiment. An exact time will be announced later. The event will be at the OSU Pilot Brewery at Wiegand Hall, and is open to all. Bring your own clean carboy. Please let me know if you plan to participate.

FROM THE PREZ by Scott Caul
Decoction with the Club's RIMS, 1/9/00

I've used the RIMS probably a dozen or so times by now, most with good results. Most problems were my own fault. I guess that is how we learn. Now, I've got an itch to brew a Doppelbock with the traditional decoction method. Where will the RIMS fit into the equation? My friend Joel Rea said, "Why don't you just throw the decoction into the RIMS?" Why didn't I think of that? I'm brewing a 10 to 12 gallon batch; decoctions can take forever; this sounds like a good idea; I'll try it. I'm writing this as my first decoction is coming up to temperature. So far this seems to be working. . .

OK, the triple decoction is done. I'm waiting for the last of the starches to convert to sugars. The RIMS seems to have saved some time. Instead of giving the decoction mashes three rests of 30 minutes each, the RIMS gave a good gradual temperature gain until it reached the set temperature. This may not be exactly traditional, but, hey, I ain't German! Finally, it's time to sparge. . .

Mistake!!! I figured that since the RIMS usually is quite nice to sparge with, I'd use it. Well, being a large beer, and a big batch, there are a lot of grains. About 28 pounds, actually. The RIMS is good up to 22 pounds, so the instructions say. Can you say STUCK MASH?!?! Like I said, the problems are my own fault. Maybe I'll call this Doppelbock "Frustrator" or "Infuriator."

Now it is March 8. As I type this article out, after it has been sitting on my desk for three months,

I'm enjoying a glass of "Frustrator." It was worth the trouble.


I met Glen Tinseth indirectly through my daughter and wife. Some of you "older members" may remember him. Glen was once the brewsletter editor years ago. In that capacity he was given the honor of holding on to the club's archives. After he heard that I had become club president, he said he had something for me: an old binder stuffed with . . . well . . . stuff. I said thanks for storing it.

To my surprise, I found a lot of interesting things in it, including HOTV brewsletters dating back to 1982, old member lists, and so on. I even found the flyer for the "FIRST ANNUAL WILLAMETTE VALLEY HOMEBREW FESTIVAL." Also, there was an article, from the Gazette Times dated October 16, 1982, about the newly founded Heart of the Valley Homebrewers Club.

It is kind of neat to see some history on our club, so I'll bring the binder to the next meeting for anyone to take a look. By the way, does anyone want to hold on to a binder full of stuff for a few years?


Here is still another reminder that the entry forms for the Strangebrew Homebrew Club's annual competition, "Slurp and Burp," are now available at Corvallis Brewing Supply. The event will be April 1st (no fooling) and the drop-off date for entries at CBS will be March 28th. Direct questions to Ted Hausotter at 503-538-9501. I am certain that they need judges. The prize for Best of Show is a 15.5 gallon converted keg mash / lauter tun.


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.

Mid-May Category 17: Wheat Beers ("Weiss Is Nice")
Late August Pale Ales ("Best of Big Brew")
Mid-October Category 9: German Amber Lager ("Best of Fest")


Recently HOTV's own Mark Kowalski won two silver medals at the 7th Annual America's Finest City Homebrew Competition in San Diego, an event featuring 303 entries. Mark's Wee Heavy won second place in the English and Scottish Strong category with an average score of 33; and his American Barleywine won second place in the Barleywines and Imperial Stouts category with an average score of 35. Keep up the good brewing, Mark.

MOVING DAY from Joel Rea

I would like to send out a big, hearty thanks to all of the folks who helped me move my shop on Sunday, February 27. Lee Smith was the first HOTV member to show up at 10:00 and he quickly loaded his truck. By 11:30 all 25 people who came were standing in my new location drinking Oregon Trail IPA, eating pizza, and having a great time. To be rich in friends truly is a great reward. Thank you so much!


We are looking for volunteers to pick up litter on Saturday, March 25. This is one full week following the pub crawl, so everyone should be fully recuperated by then. Start time is 11:00 am at our usual meeting place, Hyack Park on Highway 20. Unless we were really thirsty on the pub crawl, there should be some Anchor Steam available for the crew. See Lee at the meeting to sign up, or e-mail him at


Have you had any good beers lately? Here are some brief reviews of some brews that I have tasted recently. All three were purchased at Shop n' Go in Corvallis.

Eye of the Hawk Special Ale:
This is a wonderful, strong (8.0 percent abv) beer from the Mendicino Brewing Company of Ukiah, California. It is not really a Barleywine; it is more of a super premium Pale Ale, with lots of flavorful malt character and a somewhat subdued hop bitterness. The label is cool, too. This was one of the beers I sampled during last summer's Great California Beer Hunt, with John Lodge and HOTV members Joel Rea and Scott Leonard.

Roland's Red Ale:
This tasty brew is from Chico, California's "other brewery," the Butte Creek Brewery. The brewer and owner once lived in Corvallis and graduated from OSU many years ago before brewing for Sierra Nevada for a number of years. Roland's Red is a fine example of the West Coast Red Ale style. It features plenty of hop character but has a maltiness that is very distinctive. It will not remind you of Sierra Nevada. This is a beautiful beer. I like to support the little guys.

Sweet Betty Classic Blonde Ale:
This is a new offering from the Widmer Brothers in Portland. The beer comes in a very appealing, embossed long-neck bottle that is new for Widmer. I wish I could say that I was as impressed with the beer. Most "Blonde Ales" are pretty bland; this is no exception. It seems to be a crossover beer; it's more interesting than Budweiser but less interesting than McTarnahan's. Here is a slogan they will probably not want to use: Less malt, less hops, less flavor.

If you plan on traveling to distant locales and want tips on what beers to bring back, please contact me. I offer generous rewards for beer hunters.

1 chicken or 8 pieces
1/2 oz of amber beer, lightly hopped
6 green onions, chopped or 1/2 regular onion
1/4 cup soy sauce or 1/2 cup LIGHT soy sauce
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 TBS (packed)  brown sugar
2 TBS chopped peeled fresh ginger
2 cloves  chopped garlic
1 TBS oriental toasted sesame oil
1/2 tsp cayenne or 1 tsp oriental sweet/hot chili sauce

Combine all ingredients in large plastic bag. Refrigerate for 4 hours. Preheat Oven to 375 degrees for 15 minutes.

Place chicken and marinade in 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan, uncovered. Roast chicken until juices run clear, about l hour, 20 minutes dark meat / 40 minutes breast. Baste occasionally.

Transfer chicken to platter. Pour pan juices into medium saucepan; spoon off fat. Boil until sauce is reduced to 1 cup . . . about 6 minutes.

Serve chicken with sauce and rice or oriental noodles (sprinkle cilantro to taste)


Lee Smith will be going to Steinbart's on Thursday, April 6, to deliver entries for the AHA Nationals. He says that he will gladly take members' entries if they can get them to him, properly labeled and documented, by that date.


My Beer Appreciation Classes will be on hold for awhile. I would like to let the interest in them build again before starting up a new round. I am also talking to some different people about a new venue. I will be bringing the classes back sometime this spring, and will be offering them once a month. If any of you have some ideas on what you would like from a Beer Appreciation Class, please let me know. Contact me at 753-6538 or

MILLER BEER GOES INDESTRUCTABLE from the Internet (via Scott Leonard)

Miller Brewing will be the first major U.S. brewer to take the plastic plunge. Miller, which had about a 20% U.S. market share in 1999 . . . second to domestic leader Anheuser-Busch, which boasted more than a 47% stake . . . will sell Miller Lite, Miller Genuine Draft, and Icehouse beers in 16- and 20-ounce plastic bottles, it recently reported today. (Third place, market-share wise, is Adolph Coors, distantly followed by a host of others.)

The word on plastic is that it is easily recycled, lighter than glass, and better at cooling drinks. (And they presumably don't break when you drop them, though I can see them getting slippery.) It is also apparently more expensive, though that would certainly even out with scale.

The near term for Miller and its vast billions of annual sales will probably be minimal because the company expects the bottles to account for no more than 2% of its 2001 sales. Part of that, certainly, is the likelihood that they will be met at first with a combination of indifference, surprise, alarm, aversion, and curiosity.

Miller, though, tested for nearly a year-and-a-half in Southwestern markets. Its competitors have undertaken similar projects, Anheuser-Busch ending a test just over a year ago reportedly because beer drinkers just were not buying. That soured previous test results out of New York that suggested drinkers heading to sporting or other outdoor events might appreciate the lighter, less breakable containers.

What do industry players think? As recent history indicates, there is not a hard-and-fast consensus and Miller's relatively small rollout certainly appears cautious. Rightfully so; they can't have that beer going all skunky. "Will we be in plastic in 10 years? Yes," Adolph Coors Senior Vice President Robert Klugman said at a trade conference last year. "Will we be in five years? Probably. Most of use feel plastic will happen in the beer business. How quickly and how much it will comprise, I don't know." Klugman cited "challenges in terms of recycling and quality and how to retain the character of the beer over time," as points that are stalling the move to plastic.

But the fact remains that beer investors are calling for signs of life from an industry that is congested but also so dominated . . . in terms of sales, brands, and marketing dollars . . . by the biggest players that there is little opportunity left for growth through acquisition.

That means companies like Miller must continually look to squeeze extra sales momentum however it can; shareholders will no doubt appreciate further sales growth, even via packaging gimmicks, with industry numbers trending downward in the last two decades according to Modern Brewery Age figures. Even more striking is the Chronicle of Higher Education's assertion that the number of college freshmen drinking beer has fallen about a third, to approximately half, over the last 20 years.

Although drinking under the age of 21 in the U.S. is, as everyone knows, frowned upon, both anecdotal and statistical evidence suggests youngsters have traditionally bought and consumed a heck of a lot of beer. That is a market contraction macro breweries cannot be happy about and if protracted and verifiable it certainly underscores the need for beer markets to continue working to differentiate themselves with product and better price points.

CRACKDOWN ON FRISKY BEER ADS from the Internet (via Dianna Fisher)

BRASILIA (Reuters) Brazilian beer companies who use bikini-clad women and tongue-in-cheek claims of medical cures to lure consumers to guzzle their brands have agreed to practice self-restraint in their racy advertisements. Major beer producers Skol, Brahma, Antarctica, and Schincariol have agreed with a Brazilian government watchdog to tone down their television advertisements after a deluge of consumer complaints, local media reported on Saturday.

The producers reached an informal agreement with the government to withdraw their most racy ads even though no law obliges them to do so. Efforts to win consumers in this massive beer market have heated up recently amid merger talks between two of the top producers. Consumers have complained about one brand's ads showing a man drinking beer and then immediately being surrounded by bikini-clad women. Another showed a drinker choking as he sipped a competing brand and being recommended by a doctor to drink the advertiser's beer to be "cured."

YOU MIGHT GET BURNED from the Chicago Beer History homepage
(via Kendall Staggs)

(TOKYO) The recent craze for hydrogen beer is at the heart of a three-way lawsuit between unemployed stockbroker Toshira Otoma, the Tike-Take karaoke bar, and the Asaka Beer Corporation. Mr. Otoma is suing the bar and the brewery for selling toxic substances, and is claiming damages for grievous bodily harm leading to the loss of his job. The bar is counter-suing for defamation and loss of customers. The Asaka Beer Corporation brews "Suiso" brand beer, in which the carbon dioxide normally used to add fizz has been replaced by the more environmentally friendly hydrogen gas.

Two side effects of the hydrogen gas have made the beer extremely popular at karaoke sing-along bars and discotheques. First, because hydrogen molecules are lighter than air, sound waves are transmitted more rapidly, so individuals whose lungs are filled with the nontoxic gas can speak with an uncharacteristically high voice. Exploiting this quirk of physics, chic urbanites can now sing soprano parts on karaoke sing-along machines after consuming a big gulp of Suiso beer.

Second, the flammable nature of hydrogen has also become a selling point, though it should be noted that Asaka has not acknowledged that this was a deliberate marketing ploy. The beer has inspired a new fashion of blowing flames from one's mouth using a cigarette as an ignition source. Many new karaoke videos feature singers shooting blue flames in slow motion, while flame contests take place in pubs everywhere.

"Mr. Otoma has no one to blame but himself. If he had not become drunk and disorderly, none of this would have happened. Our security guards undergo the most careful screening and training before they are allowed to deal with customers," said Mr. Takashi Nomura, Manager of the Tike-Take bar.

"Mr. Otoma drank fifteen bottles of hydrogen beer in order to maximize the size of the flames he could belch during the contest. He catapulted balls of fire across the room that Godzilla would be proud of, but this was not enough to win him first prize since the judgment is made on the quality of the flames and the singing, and after fifteen bottles of lager he was badly out of tune. He took exception to the result and hurled blue fireballs at the judge, singeing the front of a female judge's hair and entirely removing her eyebrows and lashes, and ruining the clothes of two nearby customers. None of these people have returned to my bar. When our security staff approached Mr. Otoma, he turned his attentions to them, making it almost impossible to approach him. Our head bouncer had no choice but to hurl himself at Mr. Otoma's knees, knocking his legs from under him."

"The laws of physics are not to be disobeyed, and the force that propelled Mr. Otoma's legs backwards also pivoted around his center of gravity and moved his upper body forward with equal velocity. It was his own fault that he had his mouth open for the next belch, is own fault that he held a lighted cigarette in front of it, and his own fault that he swallowed that cigarette."

"The Tike-Take bar takes no responsibility for the subsequent internal combustion, rupture of his stomach lining, nor the third degree burns to his esophagus, larynx and sinuses as the exploding gases forced their way out of his body. Mr. Otoma's consequential muteness and loss of employment are his own fault."

Mr. Otoma was unavailable for comment. Consider a visit to the Tike-Take bar, Tokyo, Japan. Bar manager, Nomura-San promises a good time for all. Waivers will be signed at the door; fire insurance is available.

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