May 2001

(541) 757-1190

(541) 753-6538

THIS MONTH'S MEETING Attention members! Normally our club meets on the third Wednesday of each month, alternating between Corvallis and Albany. The May meeting, however, will be one week early because of festival-related activities. The next meeting of the Heart of the Valley Homebrew Club will be Wednesday, May 10, at 7:00 p.m. at the home of Scott Caul. His address is 2930 Mulkey Avenue in Corvallis. Scott's phone number is 757-1190. Here are directions to Scott's house: >From Highway 99W:
  • Take Highway 99W to Circle Boulevard.
  • Go west on Circle to 29th.
  • Go south (left) on 29th to Mulkey.
  • Turn right on Mulkey. Scott's house is a yellow house on the left.
>From Highway 34:
  • After you get to Corvallis, Highway 34 becomes Harrison. Take it until you get to 29th.
  • Turn right on 29th. Continue north past the Dari Mart at Grant and 29th. Mulkey is the second left past Grant.
  • Turn left on Mulkey. Scott's house is a yellow house on the left.


Special thanks to Derek and Sarah Whiteside for hosting our last meeting in their home in Albany. We all had a very good time. Thanks to Werner for his usual fine job with equipment demonstration. Congratulations to Dave Benson for winning the club-only competition for wheat beers, "Weiss Is Nice."

YEAST EXPERIMENT UPDATE by Joel Rea and Kendall Staggs

On the evening of Saturday, April 22, a group of dedicated workers met at the home of Lee Smith and racked the beers involved in our club's monumental yeast experiment from secondary fermenters to 5-gallon cornie kegs. The racking was done with reasonable dispatch and minimal spillage, and we carefully took notes on final gravities for each beer. We also sampled a few of the beers. Everyone, including the "riff-raff," enjoyed some delicious barbecued shrimp and authentic Cajun gumbo, courtesy of the very talented and gracious Helen Smith. It is no surprise, therefore, that the turnout of volunteers was high.

During our upcoming club meeting, OSU Brewer Jeff Clawson will be facilitating a group discussion as we taste and evaluate the finished beers from the various yeasts. Lee and Joel will work on removing 2-liter beer samples from the kegs before the meeting so that they will not have to transport 70 gallons of brew all over the Willamette Valley. For this function, Scott, we will need a fairly large area where small groups can discuss the characteristics of each beer, and we imagine that we will have a larger than normal turnout. Jeff will be bringing a flip chart on which descriptors can be written down and then later compiled into the larger story. Joel will be bringing slop buckets, cups, and water containers so that we don't go through a ton of cups. We should plan on 90 minutes for this exercise. It would also be nice to start this event fairly early in the evening before all of our tongues become numb on Revitalized Fred.


The club grain mill has been motorized! It is now mounted on a small metal table equipped with casters. It even has brakes on two of the casters. The motor is 1/8 horsepower and has a gear reducer that slows the drive to 160 RPM. The mill can tolerate 300 RPM, so we are within range. If you use it, try setting the mill at one notch toward coarse from the center position. This seems to give a good crush without pulverizing the grain.

The latest addition to our list of available equipment is a low-pressure cast iron burner with regulator. Unlike a jet burner, this unit is slower but is much less likely to scorch the bottom of your kettle. Users must provide their own propane bottle.

The RIM system has proven to be much in demand but only by about 10 or 12 of our members. Remember, too, we have a complete CO2 kit, with everything needed to drive most keg-types, an O2 unit (ideal for oxygenating your chilled wort prior to fermentation), a grain mill, a bench capper and a counter-pressure bottle filler. All club equipment is available to current members. Contact Lee Smith at 926-2286 or


This is to remind all HOTV members that we need lots of judges for the Oregon Homebrew Festival, which will be held Saturday, May 20, starting promptly at 9:30 a.m. If you are want to judge but lack experience, you are encouraged to attend the judge training session on Friday, May 19, at 7:00 p.m. I will offer some tips on beer judging and go over some of the dos and don'ts. Those of you who want to help the competition but do not feel like judging are invited to serve as stewards. Both of these jobs are important, and volunteer workers from our club are the keystone to a smooth, well-run competition. Please sign up soon! Also, be sure to check out Beto's cool festival website at


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


Portland, the City of Roses, is a great place to be, to visit, and to search out beer. After all, it is home of the microbrew revolution and the largest number of per capita breweries in the world. OK, Fritz Maytag and San Francisco were ahead of us with the home of the microbrew revolution, but dang it, we were not far behind!

I have some good news and some sad tales to report from Portland. First, the good news. I searched out a new brew pub in Portland that is worth a visit. The Old World Pub and Brewery at 1728 NE 40th (Just off Sandy) has only been in existence for eight months. They have a nice brewpub overlooking the brewing operations, darts, pool, and a fairly good Rueben sammy. I had a taster tray which included a Pilsner, a Cream Ale, an Alt, an Oatmeal Stout, a Bitter, an American Pale, and an IPA. Later, I had a glass each of the Pils and Alt because I felt they were special enough to warrant further investigation. The Oatmeal Stout was to die for, but I felt that with my Rueben the Pils and Alt made for a better lunch combination. The Cream Ale was also well crafted but the Bitter, American Pale, and IPA were just not that different from anybody else's to seek out. The Old World Pub proved to be a very nice destination and the brewer, Christian Ettinger, was very friendly and talkative.

Later in the afternoon, I found myself near Powell's Bookstore which is just a spitting distance from the old Hank's Brewery [editor's note: Joel means the Blitz-Weinhard Brewery]. The ongoing "Brewery Revitalization Project" featured huge demolition cranes and half the brewery split wide open like a chunk of haggis on the plate of a ravenous Scotsman. [editor's note: I could have gone through life without hearing that metaphor] The four levels of holding tanks and fermenters were open to the world with spiral masses of rebar and cement wrapped around them like the limbs of a contortionist. Each one of the tanks had huge holes blasted into them so that the giant crane could grab them and pull them to the ground. When the tanks, as large as two train cars, came crashing down, the earth rumbled as if we were on the set of a Japanese monster movie set. Surrounding skyscrapers seemed to buckle on nervous legs as if to say, "Oh, geez, that isn't so pretty to look at."

Although over the years I have found myself moving away from the pleasure of a Henry's to beers with a greater depth, I couldn't help but feel a bit of pain as a savage blade of sadness ripped into the memories of my joyful youth. I grew up drinking Weinhard's. I would, if only for just a moment, recreate if I could the slow motion joy of a hot summer afternoon, the heat of the pavement and the shock of coming out of an air-conditioned Safeway with a six pack of Hank in each hand, a girl on my arm, a pizza waiting at home, the sound of my VW bus revving strong, and the youthful carefree feeling that nothing will ever change or die. If only for a moment. . .

Good-bye, sniff, Hank!

BEER HUMOR from Kendall Staggs

A mother was reading a book about animals to her three-year-old daughter:
Mother: "What does the cow say?"
Child: "Moo!"
Mother: "Great! What does the cat say?"
Child: "Meow."
Mother: "Oh, you're so smart! What does the frog say?"
And then the little girl said, in her deepest voice, "Bud-Weis-Er."


Uncarbonated Fred from our friends at Hair of the Dog is still available in boxes of six 50-ounce magnums or standard 12-ounce cases, both for $15. Many club members have purchased this product, recarbonated it in soda kegs, and found that it came out just fine. If there is enough demand to justify a trip to Portland, perhaps ten cases or more, Lee will make the run. Contact him for more details.


Have you had any good beers lately? Here are some brief reviews of some brews that I have recently tasted.

Widmer Springfest: This is Widmer's original beer, dating from the opening of the brewery in 1985. It is an Altbier, all done up in one of their fancy new bottles. I always considered this to be Widmer's best brew, and until now it has only been available on tap. The Alt yeast, of course, is the one they use for all their beers, including the best-selling Hefeweizen. This amber ale is very well balanced, with a good malt profile (with a tiny portion of roasted barley) and generous, but not overwhelming portions of American Perle and Tettnang flavor and bittering hops. It is the spring seasonal, and is already disappearing from shelves to make room for its SummerbrŠu, which is a Kšlsch. The alcohol by volume of Widmer Springfest is 4.1 percent.

Bell's Porter: This is one of the mainstays of Michigan's Kalamazoo Brewing Company. Its owner, Larry Bell, a former jazz disc jockey and homebrewer, claims it was the first microbrewery to open east of Boulder, Colorado, in 1985. This is a very satisfying Porter, dark, rich, and roasty, with a tan head and reddish hues. I prefer a little more chocolate flavor to its roastiness, but this is a very good Porter. The alcohol by volume is 5.7 percent.

Bell's Cherry Stout: The Kalamazoo Brewing Company specializes in Stouts; in fact, owner Larry Bell claims that in November the Eccentric CafŽ will have ten different Stouts on tap from Kalamazoo Brewing. This is a strong Stout, with hints of tartness that as the beer warms becomes apparent to be from cherries harvested nearby in Traverse City, Michigan. Like all the Bell's labels, this beer is unfiltered and bottle-conditioned. The alcohol by volume of Cheery Stout is 8.0 percent.

Bell's Expedition Stout: This is a whopper of a beer, an affirmation of Larry Bell's claim that he wants to keep making big, flavorful beers. It is ebony in color with a thick, dark brown head. The aromas are full of roasted malt, chocolate, fruit, and alcohol notes. The flavors are reminiscent of espresso, licorice, and flavor hops. The finish is long. This beer is as viscous as motor oil; it is almost thick enough to eat with a spoon. It is my new favorite Imperial Stout: better than Rogue XS, better than Old Rasputin The original gravity of Bell's Expedition Stout is 1.126 and the alcohol by volume is 11.5 percent.

Special thanks to Ingeborge Reed, who brought the Bell's beers to me all the way from Kalamazoo. 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.

CAVE-AGED BEER from the Official Newsletter of Brewery Ommegang and Vanberg & DeWulf, by way of Joel Rea

"Hennepin Goes Underground Only to Emerge for the Holiday Season." On a freezing day in February, 280 cases of Hennepin were transported 45 minutes east of Cooperstown, New York, to the heart of Cave Country. The beer was lowered 156 feet into the celebrated Howe Caverns. Thus began an unusual experiment, the success of which can be measured next holiday season when CAVE-AGED HENNEPIN is released as the brewery's Christmas Beer. This is the first cave aging of beer on American soil in recent memory. Randy Thiel (brewer) and Don Feinberg (co-owner) expect this to be the smoothest, best tasting Hennepin on record. Howe Caverns is located in Schoharie County in a section of the Allegheny plateau north of Cobleskill, New York. The limestone caves are a popular attraction year round. For more information on and Vanberg & DeWulf's Belgian beers, plus Hennepin, Ommegang, and Brewery Ommegang's newest release, Rare Vos, contact belgianexpertsmail<

BEER AND HEALTH from Kendall Staggs

LONDON (Reuters) Beer could be better for your heart than red wine or spirits, scientists have said. Scientists have long known that red wine helped to protect against heart disease. Now Dutch researchers believe beer--taken in moderation-- may be of benefit, too. Beer contains vitamin B6 which prevents the buildup in the body of a chemical called homocysteine, which is thought to be linked to an increase in the risk of heart disease.

Dr. Henk Hendriks and colleagues from the TNO Nutrition and Food Research Institute studied 111 healthy men who each drank beer, red wine, spirits, and water with their dinner for three weeks. The researchers discovered that homocysteine levels did not increase after beer consumption but rose after the men drank wine and spirits. The researchers, whose findings were published in the Lancet medical magazine Friday, found that beer drinkers had a 30 percent increase of vitamin B6 in their blood plasma. Hendriks told BBC Radio "Moderate alcohol consumption affects many processes in the body, one of which is the significant increase in HDL cholesterol -- the good cholesterol." But he stressed "One should not drink alcohol to become healthy."

"Are Hops Good for Women, Bad for Men?"

Stephen Harrod Buhner, in an article entitled, "The Fall of Gruit and the Rise of Brewer's Droop in England," in American Brewer magazine, v. 15, number 4, argues that gruit, or unhopped ale, "stimulates the mind, creates euphoria, and enhances the sex drive." Hops, Buhner notes, "contain large quantities of estrogenic and soporific compounds." He adds that "The high levels of plant estrogens in hops make hopped beer an extremely good drink for women in menopause but a very bad drink for men. Consumption of large levels of estrogenic compounds can lead to erection problems later in life. In fact, there is a well-known condition in England called "Brewer's Droop," regularly connected to brewers after years of exposure to hopped beers."

Personally, fellow homebrewers of Oregon, I don't think we should accept this propaganda lying down.

MICROBREW NEWS by Kendall Staggs

I know some of you are already fans of Arrogant Bastard Ale, a big, very hoppy (uh-oh) Barley Wine from southern California that last year was released in Oregon. Recently, the Division of Liquor Control in Ohio and the Alcoholic Beverage Commission in Indiana have denied the Stone Brewing Company from introducing the beer in their states. The Ohio authorities called the beer's label "offensive and not in good taste." Indiana authorities claimed that the label violates the legal code that prohibits "obscene or suggestive words or illustrations" on beer labels.

A Stone Brewing Company spokesperson said that the company was appealing the decisions. "I guess this means that if you're born out of wedlock, the state of Ohio thinks you're "offensive and not in good taste," and the state of Indiana thinks you're "obscene and suggestive. What an insult to Arrogant Bastards everywhere."

Meanwhile, the latest niche beer in Massachusetts is called Gay Pride. The idea came to beer company owner Jenn Wolper one night as she sat in a gay bar in Northhampton scanning the beer list. Gay Pride is contract brewed in New Hampshire and retails for $15 a 12-pack. San Francisco also has a beer aimed at the gay market. The Queer Brewing Company sells its Q Pale Ale in the Bay Area market. Another niche beer called Pink Triangle is brewed in Dubuque, Iowa. All three of these beers have statements about how a portion of their proceeds are donated to gay and lesbian causes.

Finally, vampires have there own label, too. Global Specialty Imports has brought in Vamp Beer from Germany's Engel Brauerei. The company says that the beer has "the great taste of German lager" and that its "blood red color" comes from a red root that is added to the brew. Vamp Beer comes in a cone-top style, 16.9 ounce can that retails for about $3. Its label depicts a sexy blonde vampire baring her fangs as well as other assets. No word yet on what the Ohio and Indiana beverage authorities have to say about this one.


Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya

6 to 8 chicken thighs or your choice cut or one whole chicken
flour to coat
1/2 package Polish Kielbasa, sliced
1 bell pepper,
3 stalks celery,
3 large white onions,
2 cloves garlic

3 cups water or stock
1 cup good, lightly hopped homebrew

2 cups white rice
2 tsp  Rosemary
1 tsp  Thyme
a handful of chopped parsley (hard to put too much)
salt to taste (careful, sausage is salty)
lots of cayenne pepper and black pepper

Skin or leave skin on chicken
Dry with paper towel, sprinkle with cayenne pepper,
dust with flour
Fry in canola or olive oil till golden (set aside,
it is not fully cooked)
Fry the sausage rings, add the pepper, celery, onions,
and garlic
Now add the water and beer
Add chicken to the pot -- cover and cook 30 minutes

Now add the herbs and the rice, bring to boil
Return to simmer and cook about 20 minutes up to 
30 minutes
Fluff and add fresh parsley and chives optional and
serve with a green salad and garlic bread.

BEER HISTORY by Kendall Staggs

Chicago, April 25, 1888

Prepared for the possibility of a walkout, Chicago brewery owners had made earlier contingency arrangements with pensioned brewers and workers in Milwaukee to fill positions left by the "streikers," Cots and meals were provided at the Tosetti, Seipp, Keeley, Fortune, and Schoenhofen breweries for these scab workers as production continued in most of the breweries. Although a few breweries had been forced to shut down on the first day of the walkout, beer production was back on-line in all the local breweries by the second day of the strike.

The Chicago Tribune lambasted the "Socialistic working brewers," questioning why the "beer-swilling anarchistic disciples" had gone on strike. The editorial went on to predict a short strike because their "parched throats will soon begin to long for lager and their big stomachs will yearn for their favorite fluid."

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