Attention Kansas Homebrewers

The American Homebrewers Association has issued an action alert that impacts Kansas homebrewers.

On Friday, February 8, 2013, House Bill 2223, a bill created to allow Kansas homebrewers to legally share homebrew at club meetings and enter homebrew competitions, will be introduced to the House Committee on Federal and State Affairs.

As many of you already know, Kansas is a bit ass-backwards (to put it nicely) when it comes to its liquor laws. If you’re like me and have wondered how you can help make things better, then this is your chance to have your voice heard. To help, contact the Committee members that will be reviewing this bill. Steve Cook, the President of the KC Bier Meisters homebrew club, put together a list of committee members and their e-mail addresses, which I’ve included below, along with some tips that Steve has outlined.

If you send an e-mail:

  1. Do not send from a government e-mail address (, for example).
  2. Be polite, asking them to support the “Home Brew Bill” because you want to legally transport your home brew to share with others at club meetings and at competitions.
  3. Keep it short. 2 or 3 lines is all you need.
  4. Be sure to have a personalized salutation to each legislator. Do not send a mass mailing to all the members at once. If it is personalized, it will have more of an impact. Thank them at the end of the email for their public service. They work for peanuts and spend much time on our behalf.

List of Committee members:


Per the recommendation of a friend, I’ve included an example of the language that you can use when sending the e-mail. Copy and paste this as the body of your e-mail, or tweak it how you see fit.

Dear <committee member name>,

My name is <your name>, and I’m writing today to encourage you to support House Bill 2223, which authorizes the production and transportation of homemade fermented beverages. As a homebrewer who resides in Kansas, I feel it is important to update current Kansas Statutes to allow me to share my homemade beer with friends, fellow homebrew club members, and enter it into competitions.

Thank you for your time and your service to residents in the state of Kansas.

<your name>

Top 12 Beers of ’12


Oh look, another asshole on the internet giving his opinion about his favorite beers of the past year. Yep, deal with it.

As I reflect back on my past year of beer, I realize that I drank a shitload of great beer. From tasting parties at friends’ houses to my trip to Russian River Brewing Company, it was really difficult to narrow the list down to 12. And, instead of choosing only beers that were newly released in 2012, I choose from beers that were new to me this past year. Below are the 12 beers that really stood out the most for me.

8 Wired Saison Sauvin12) Saison Sauvin by 8 Wired – this was actually my first beer of 2012, and I can still taste those lovely Nelson Sauvin hops. This beer didn’t taste much like a saison, but more like an IPA fermented with saison yeast, and I thought it was delicious.

Odell/Thornbridge Pond Hopper11) Pond Hopper by Odell Brewing and Thornbridge – this Double Extra Pale Ale was made with all English malts and mostly American hops, with the addition of Galaxy hops from New Zealand. At 9.5% ABV, it goes down dangerously smooth and is not overly sweet. The aroma from the hops is fantastic, as is the hop flavor. This was a well-balanced collaboration beer between one of my favorite breweries, Odell, and a brewery from England, Thornbridge.

Hair of the Dog Adam

10) Adam by Hair of the Dog – I had this during my visit to Sonoma. The beer pours dark and the taste is chocolate, dark fruits (think figs and raisins), with a hint of coffee and leather. This was the perfect beer to enjoy by the fireplace in our hotel room on a chilly night in wine country.

Surly Abrasive Ale9) Abrasive Ale by Surly – this beer has become one of my favorite double IPA’s. Unfortunately, it’s a seasonal beer and is only distributed in Minnesota, so I don’t get to drink it very often. It would probably be higher on my list if it was readily available to me, but it’s not, so it isn’t. The tropical notes of the aroma and flavor is what makes this beer so fantastic for me.

Boulevard Love Child No. 28) Love Child No. 2 by Boulevard – I admit it: I’m a homer for all things Kansas City, and Boulevard is my favorite hometown brewery. Really, they are one of the only ones, but that’s besides the point. Love Child No. 2 is Boulevard’s first sour beer that was released to the public, and I thought it was a great first attempt. It was the great combination of funk, fruit and tartness that I really like about this beer. I’m excited to see what comes next in their line of sours. Perhaps a sour double wit aged in chardonnay barrels? Yeah, let’s make that happen.

Firestone Walker Double DBA7) Double DBA by Firestone Walker – I love me some Firestone Walker. So much so that half of my top 12 list could’ve been filled with their beers, but I narrowed it down to two, and Double DBA makes the list first. The taste reminded me of English Toffee, and, goddamn, I love me some English Toffee. It wasn’t too sweet and there was a hint of oak that really worked well in the beer.

4 Hands Divided Sky Rye IPA6) Divided Sky Rye IPA by 4 Hands – the most surprising beer of the year award goes to Divided Sky Rye IPA. I had no expectations of the beer when I ordered it, and I was blown away with how good it was. Now, I’ve only had it once, so it might have been one of those moments where any beer would’ve tasted good, but I doubt it. The spice from the rye really worked well with the citrus and slight piney notes from the hops.

Firestone Walker Wookey Jack5) Wookey Jack by Firestone Walker – I won’t tell you again how much I love this brewery. Oh wait… Anywho, I was looking forward to this beer ever since I heard about it and it did not disappoint. The roast flavor from the dark malts, the spice from the rye, and the citrus from the hops all play together really nicely in this beer. If you haven’t had Wookey Jack yet, and you have access to it, then you need to close your web browser right now and go buy a bottle. Seriously. This, along with Divided Sky, really opened my eyes to how good rye can be in a beer.

Odell Deconstruction4) Deconstruction by Odell Brewing – I first had this on tap at my favorite watering hole, Martin City Brewing Company, and I’ve had it a couple times from the bottle. This Golden Ale is made up of 42% ale aged in wine barrels and 58% fresh ale. This beer has a lot going on. It’s got some tart citrus flavors, like pineapple and sour apples, combined with some funk from the wild yeasts, and oak characteristics from the barrels. This is truly a fantastic beer and I hope Odell continues to produce it. I can’t wait to see how the flavors change with a little bit of aging.

Russian River Temptation3) Temptation by Russian River – I had this at the brewpub in Santa Rosa this past September, and I fell in love at first sip. Russian River makes some of the best sour beers in the country, and I actually enjoyed all of them. Temptation is a sour blonde ale that’s aged in chardonnay barrels. The flavor from the chardonnay barrels is great, but the star of the show is the sourness from the wild yeasts. This baby will make your butt pucker – in a good way. It was a tough choice between Temptation and Consecration, but, to me, Temptation was the winner. Consecration is definitely an honorable mention.

The Bruery Oude Tart2) Oude Tart by The Bruery – this is a phenomenal interpretation of a Flemish Red Ale that tastes of sour cherry, oak, and a touch of leather. I didn’t find the sourness to be overpowering, and thought it was a well-made beer. As you can see from the beers above, I really started getting into sour beers this year, and this is one that I will definitely be seeking out more of in 2013.

Russian River Row 2, Hill 561) Row 2, Hill 56 by Russian River – I want a steady IV drip of this beer to be pumped in my veins at all times, that’s how much I like it. This beer is hopped with 100% Simcoe; it gets its name from the location where it was once an experimental hop. Simcoe hops are high in alpha acids, so one would think that it would be overly bitter. That is not the case with Row 2, Hill 56. Yes, there was some hop bitterness, but it wasn’t overpowering. The hops gave off a pleasant grapefruit and pine aroma that followed through in the flavor. It was super easy drinking and I regret not taking home a growler of this from the brewpub. I got a growler of Pliny the Elder instead, so I didn’t lose out too much.

I also have to throw in a couple of honorable mentions that are too good to be overlooked. They didn’t quite make my top 12, but they are great beers nonetheless.

  • This One Goes to 11 Ale by Bell’s
  • Sculpin IPA by Ballast Point
  • Tasmanian IPA (TIPA) by Schlafly
  • Rayon Vert by Green Flash

Since everybody has different tastes and opinions, I’m sure some of you will disagree with my rankings. If so, good for you. Start your own shitty blog and make your own top beers of the year list.

Cheers and Happy New Year!

Sonoma Wine – Valley of the Moon

Valley of the Moon Winery

If you read my blog (big shout out to all 3 of you), then I’m assuming that you don’t read for my extensive wine expertise. If you do, well sorry, I’m probably not living up to your expectations. If you aren’t a wine drinker, and I’m assuming you aren’t, I hope you will get a thing or two from this post.

Last week, my wife and I went on vacation to Sonoma, CA for our 5-year wedding anniversary. We chose Sonoma for a handful of reasons: Sonoma is wine country, and my wife’s adult beverage of choice is wine; Sonoma Valley is home to some great breweries, and my adult beverage of choice is beer; we heard it was less pretentious than Napa; we hadn’t been on a real vacation in over three years.

In short, Sonoma was great. We visited eight different wineries and three different breweries. I will write about my brewery experiences in another post. For now, I want to talk about the wine.

Coming into this trip, I had little knowledge about wine. Sure, I’d had a glass here and there, but I couldn’t appreciate the difference between a $10

bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon and a $40 bottle of Zinfandel. After this trip, I’m pretty sure that I could. I’m not going to go into detail on every winery that we visited, but I do want to give props to one of them in particular – Valley of the Moon Winery.

Per their website,

“Valley of the Moon Winery, as it exists today, is a testament to both vision and rebirth. The history and old walls remain, but the technology and styling is resolutely modern. This harmonious marriage of past and present provides the perfect environment to craft world-class wines.”

Valley of the Moon Barrel Room

The Barrel Room

I agree with this statement. The winery is beautiful and their wines were absolutely delicious. What’s more, our tasting host, Ryan, was incredibly knowledgeable about every aspect of their wines and the winery itself. He took the time to explain all of the wines in detail and to answer all of my, what I’m assuming were, dumb questions.

I actually learned quite a bit from Ryan, and speaking to him made me appreciate wine makers in the same way I appreciate craft brewers. My preferred adult beverage of choice is still beer, but now I could see myself ordering a glass of wine at a restaurant that may have a below-average beer selection.

If you are planning a trip to Sonoma, I highly recommend stopping by Valley of the Moon Winery. Here are the other wineries that we visited (in no particular order).


  • Chateau St. Jean
  • Paradise Ridge
  • Deerfield Ranch
  • Benziger
  • Imagery
  • B.R. Cohn
  • Korbel

If you are curious about my experience at any of the wineries listed above, feel free to leave me a comment.


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