Craft Distilling or just Moonshining?

I am very intrigued with the idea of CCB evolving into distilling. I know it’s still illegal without proper licensing so in the meantime, I have started reading a few books on the subject and I even cracked the old Chemical Engineering Textbooks (Distillation and Separation) for a refresher. I don’t want to moonshine or anything. Just looking for another aspect of the brewing industry and something I think will become more prevalent in the next 3-5 years. Craft Brewers / Brew pubs making their own alcohols. Some are already doing it, some are getting good at it. I think it might be a niche in the Napa Valley to have a micro-distiller who makes all different kinds of alcohol including spirits to fortify wine for the high-end wineries.

What do you guys think? Any suggested reading?

CCB Returns from Hiatus

Lots of changes in CCB over the last 8 months. Personally, I have lost 165 lbs and begun my new life in a smaller body. This includes a fascination with running, cycling, and other athletics pursuits that were beyond my previous bodies capability. CCB Corporate (on the East Coast) has added a new position. Welcome, Heather Waden. Excited by your recent additional to the team. I am going to get back into brewing soon. Maybe focus on simple drinkable beers and avoid the odd crazy boundary pushing flavors and ingredients.

Just the beginning of a new rebirth. Sit back and enjoy the rebirth of Champion City Brewing.

Life happens….

Wow. Its been a while with any sort of update. I guess all I can say is life happens and sometimes I find it hard to sit and collect my thoughts and put finger to keyboard. Its been a busy first half of 2014. My Heres to Beer challenge has fallen in favor of exercise and getting healthy. It makes it hard to be motivated to drink 1000’s of calories of beer when you know how hard it is to burn them off. Of course, my exercise routines have had their speed bumps as well.

Work is good. Recently, I interviewed for my dream job but didn’t get it this time around. I will have to keep working hard and positioning myself for the next opportunity. My project load is ramping up just as I hoped it would when I moved to Fairfield. I still miss the friendships that I built over all of those years in Merrimack but the move has been great. Who can complain about Northern California weather? Sunny and 80-90 every day with no humidity and a nice breeze.

My kids are growing up so fast. Tom starts kindergarten in about a month. He is a trip. I wish I had as much energy as he has and I wish I could help focus him a little more because when focused he does amazing things. Evie turned 2 just a few weeks ago and has such a great attitude (always smiling and giggling) even when her brother is taking her toys.

Things are good but I just an not motivated to make beer. I need your help. I am literally in my garage writing this while staring at my homebrew equipment and for once, I have no idea what I would like to make, try, experiment with. Any thoughts?

Adding a page to the website

As part of a discussion, I had with my wife around Christmas and New Years, I have decided that it is probably time to slowly begin reducing my substantial beer collection down. I figure I am letting perfectly good beers go to waste and if and when we move, having this down to a single box of 24 instead of nearly 300 when we moved would be a good idea. I will try to keep notes and update the page daily / weekly. Its in the top called “Here’s to Beers”.

I need to focus…

As I have attempted to get back on the horse, I am met with many positive and negative to this new inspiration. The positives are that I have been focused enough to fix a few things around the brewery that has frustrated me in recent months (broken shelf on brewstand, clean and rebuild all of my keg couplers and taps, inventory hops and malt). The negatives is I have too many ideas on what to brew. RyePA, crabapple mead, and a Lavender Wit to name a few. I need to find a way to brew one of them soon to satisfy the urge.

CCB East – “Opening Day I.P.A.” Challenge

Anxious to get out to an early lead in the Champion City Brewing “Opening Day I.P.A. Challenge”, CCB East stepped to the plate today with a recipe inspired by some classic East Coast IPAs.

CCBEast_IPA1_1

Top of the order – partial mash, consisted of 2.5# of 2-row American pale malt, 10oz. of caramel 40L and 6.0# of light DME.  Hops, of course.  And White Labs WLP001.  Plus a bit of gypsum added to harden up the water.

CCBEast_IPA1_2

Frozen rope!  Hard line drive to right.  Yeah, sure we had a blizzard yesterday, but hearty New Englanders just shovel out and get busy brewing (and drinking) beer.

CCBEast_IPA1_4

Well-struck, in the gap… This beautiful brew kettle with built-in sight glass was a generous Christmas gift from our friends at CCB West.  (Thanks, Jon!)  Here, we held the milled grain at 153°F for 45min.  Plenty of time to watch and relax with a beer.

CCBEast_IPA1_3

He gives it a ride… After raising the temp to 170°F to mash out, we sparged, added the dry malt extract (DME) and got to the business of boiling and adding hops.

IPA_1_5

Ground ball, one-hopper up the middle… Well, four-hopper, actually: we started with Horizon (for bittering), then Simcoe (for flavor), and then Centennial (for aroma).  We’ll add some Australian Topaz in a few weeks for dry-hop.  60 IBU.

CCBEast_IPA1_9

And, the runner advances… After a quick cool of the wort (using the immersion chiller) and a gentle whirlpool, we ran the wort off into the carboy.

CCBEaat_IPA1_8

Then we aerated the wort for about a half hour.

CCBEast_IPA1_7

We hit our original gravity target (with authority!).  OG 1.064 (16° Plato).  Actually got slightly higher efficiency than I’d anticipated.

CCBEast_IPA1_9

And the payoff pitch… yeast in, now we wait.

So…what about you, CCB West?  Don’t get caught looking!  🙂