Brewing With Cannabis

Written by Tom Becham

Please note: Neither PGA, the Professor’s staff, nor any of the image providers, condone making “pot beer.” This article is provided as an information only source for those curious regarding past tense use of this federally illegal ingredient in brewing. Any attempts to use this information illegally, well, you’re on your own kid!-PGA

Besides drinking, critiquing and writing about beer, I also occasionally brew my own at home. Inevitably, since I live in California, someone will ask me if it’s possible to brew a beer with cannabis (pot, marijuana, chronic, etc.) in it. More specifically, cannabis in the beer AND retaining the effects cannabis is known for among those who partake of it. For the longest time, I had no clue how to answer that question.

A couple years ago, I got the answer. Continue reading “Brewing With Cannabis”

A Beer Judge’s Diary: Knickerbocker 2017

Judges hard at work in the brewery. If you see the creep with the long blond hair in back that’s me with his back facing Ms. Millie.

The winners…
Doug Schmidt 1st Place 23A: Berliner Weisse, Brett the Berliner 5
Michael Chiltern 2nd Place 16C: Tropical Stout, Branko’s Big Chocolate Stout
Forest Crawford 3rd M3B: Spice/Herb/Vegetable Mead Red Bush

For the rest please go to

By Ken Carman
By Ken Carman
 I’ve done this before. We’ve done this before. This is the 3rd Knickerbocker for me, second for Millie. The others were quite a few moons ago, mostly because, living in Tennessee, we’re rarely up here this late in the year; though that will change once we move back.
 For many years they were at the Pump House in downtown Albany. To be honest it was a noisy venue, but it did have some advantages. This year they had decided to have it at a hotel. When competition organizer John Lee showed up for my competition this year; dragging Michael ClarkPywar behind the car on a chain… yeah, that was a joke, Michael drove… I told him they were lucky. Music City Brewer’s first hotel experience didn’t go well. Continue reading “A Beer Judge’s Diary: Knickerbocker 2017”

Tom Becham on Local Beer

Written by Tom Becham

Recently, I went on a local brewery mini-tour, near my home in Ventura County, California. While the places in question were not in Ventura County, proper, they were still very close.

First was Ladyface Alehouse in Agoura. I have written about them before, and am always pleased with their beer. They have achieved enough success that their beer is now bottled and for sale in local beer specialty stores. They specialize in Belgian styles, but also produce the standard range typically found in a brewpub (IPA, Pale, Porter, etc.). The food offered is also excellent.

This latest visit saw no dropoff in the quality of their beer. In fact, they are now producing genuine cask ale for sale on premises. Cask Ale (or Live or Real Ale, according to our British counterparts), is basically a living creature. It contains live yeast, has very little carbonation and must be kept at a very specific temperature, usually quite different from everything else on tap. It requires a lot of fussing and care, and any brewer selling it has to be both very skilled, and extremely confident in their skills. Ladyface is justifiably confident, as their cask Trebuchet (a wine-barrel aged Golden Sour ale) is excellent from go to whoa. Ladyface has also continued to develop their food menu, with delicious items like poutine (not entirely authentic cheese curd, but still excellent) and braised beef cheeks. Their best beer offerings are probably Picture City Porter (made with coffee), and Trois Filles Belgian Tripel.

In short, Ladyface Alehouse is a beer geek and foodie’s dream. If you are in the Ventura County or Northern Los Angeles County area, do yourself a favor and stop by.

Our next stop was Figueroa Mountain. Fig Mountain (as called by locals) has its main production facility far to the north in Buellton, Santa Barbara County. But they have opened another facility in Westlake Village, California. This one, unlike their production brewery, also sells food, including perhaps one of the ten best burgers I have ever had. But they don’t skimp on quality beer, either.

Figueroa Mountain, like so many craft breweries, displays a light-heartedness about their product insofar as the names of beers. But don’t mistake that for a cavalier attitude toward brewing. Their Lizard’s Mouth Double IPA is one of the best made in Southern California, which is saying something. Likewise, despite the lurid names, offerings like Bust a Nut Brown Ale, and I Dunkeled in My Pants Munich dunkel lager not only are true to style, but really raise the standards for their respective styles. In fact, I would say I haven’t had a Munich dunkel as good as I Dunkeled in My Pants that wasn’t made in Germany. Yes, it’s *that* good.

We had a third stop planned for Dude’s Brewing in Thousand Oaks, but couldn’t manage to get to it in the allotted time. But it’s still on the list, and I will let you all know my impresions when I go.

Tom Becham, esq.This is Tom Becham. He is a great writer. What, you expected us to say more?

A Beer Judge’s Diary: Old Forge BIG Beer and Odd Ale, 2017

Best of Show BIG Beer: Evan Rauch’s Baltijes Rasa 9C Baltic Porter
Best of Show Odd Beer: Adam Kugler’s The Great Grape Ape 34C Experimental
2nd Place: Blair Richardson’s and Marti Richardson’s Sour Brown 28C
3rd Place: Luke Esoposki’s Specialty Wood Aged 25C
Honorable Mention: Dean Wiensch’s Dabling a Bit Part Deux 5C German Helles
People’s Choice: Michael ClarkPywar’s Hint O’ Mint 34C

By Ken Carman
By Ken Carman
  Why do I lose track? Nothing to do with high gravity and general weirdness, one hopes. I think this is the 4th OFBBOA, though the first year the name was different. But it could be the 5th. Maybe being stalked by a bear (part one) one year has
devoured some of my memory capacity, competition specific? I’m here, he didn’t eat me because Mr. Bear had more of an interest in a nearby outhouse. A long story where I REALLY don’t want to know the specifics of what he was doing in there. Continue reading “A Beer Judge’s Diary: Old Forge BIG Beer and Odd Ale, 2017”