Friday, September 5, 2014

Ninkasi Space Program (NSP)

Below is an update from the Ninkasi folks on the Ninkasi Space Program (NSP). Here is the press release that I posted on July 2, about the Ninkasi Space program. Watch the documentary on the  Mission One Launch its really cool.

In July we launched the Ninkasi Space Program (NSP), where we sent 16 strains of brewer’s yeast high into the atmosphere with the hope that the yeast would return safely to Earth and we’d brew a very special batch of space beer with it.

On July 14th, our yeast launched into space aboard an amateur rocket, achieving the highest altitude for any amateur rocket, ever and capturing the first images from an amateur rocket in space. Due to numerous tracking devices shutting down, planes and helicopters were called in to retrieve the payload. It wasn’t until 27 days later that the payload was retrieved in the Black Rock Desert.

In the end, our yeast proved not viable for brewing, but our mission doesn’t stop there! Check out this documentary of the Mission One launch and our announcement of Mission Two!

Stay up to date as we release more information about Mission Two, here:

Fremont Brewing Partners with Pink Boots Society to Offer Apprentice Scholarship

Fremont Brewing is joining up with the Pink Boots Society to offer a 5-week Apprenticeship in Brewing and Beer Production to a qualified female in the brewing industry. The application is live today on the Pink Boots Society website through September. See Press Release.

Press Release:               
Fremont Brewing Partners with Pink Boots Society to Offer Apprentice Scholarship
5-Week Hands-On Experience Plus $2,500 Stipend

SEATTLE -- Fremont Brewing Company is partnering with Pink Boots Society to offer a 5-week Apprenticeship in Brewing and Beer Production to a qualified female in the brewing industry. The apprenticeship will take place at Fremont Brewing in Seattle, WA from February 1st through March 8th, 2015 and will focus on cellar work, the brew house, beer production, lab work, yeast work, QA/QC, sensory analysis, packaging, and an overview of sales and marketing.

In addition to the hands-on, behind the scenes experience, the selected candidate will receive a $2,500 travel and living expense stipend. Half of the stipend will be awarded after the recipient is selected in order to facilitate travel to Seattle, and the second half will be awarded upon successful graduation. The “Final Exam” will take place on International Women’s Collaboration Brew Day and will consist of the scholarship recipient leading the brew at Fremont Brewing.

"Craft brewing is about making the best beer everyday, and that means having the best team brewing the beer. We can't really fulfill that promise until we have the best applicants across all gender lines, and this scholarship is designed to open the door to brewing a little wider to the largest segment of our population, women. Quality beer is the standard and quality applicants for brewing is the goal,” said Matt Lincecum, Founder/Owner of Fremont Brewing Company.

“We also want to offer a friendly challenge to other breweries to pick up the banner and encourage more female applicants for brewing jobs. The Pink Boots Society is leading the call and we have heard the future calling. Have you?"

Candidates must be registered Pink Boots Society members (women anywhere in the world that earn part of their income from beer qualify), employed in the beer industry, and have brewing experience. The application will be open to all qualified candidates from September 5th-30th, and the scholarship recipient will be notified in early November with a public announcement on November 15th.

For more information or to apply, please visit the scholarship page of the Pink Boots Society website.

Pink Boots Society 
Pink Boots Society Twitter
Pink Boots Society Pinterest

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Wild Ride Brewing

After a great Labor Day weekend in Bend hanging with our awesome friends Corey and Heather, imbibing at The Little Woody , and visiting some of our favorite breweries and pubs, we decided to hit one last stop on our way back home: the brand new Redmond,OR Wild Ride Brewing which has only been open since May 10, 2014.

Getting to Wild Ride Brewing is very easy if you're in the Bend/Redmond area, since it's a quick jaunt right off US-97.  As you drive through Redmond, you can't miss Wild Ride's aggressive facade which just pops and pulls you in.

There's plenty of patio seating and a couple food trucks parked outside. When sitting outside, be careful setting your beers down on the tables - there are a few holes in the tabletops that (we found out the hard way) are the exact same size as their taster glasses.  Oops!

Walking inside through huge open garage doors you'll find inside seating either looking towards the bar or towards the 20 barrel brewery.

I've see quite a few breweries and I must say Wild Ride Brewing is impressive. They did it right from the start, rehabbing an old Parr Lumber building with plenty of room to grow, spending the money to buy a good-size 20-barrel brewhouse & 40-barrel fermenters.  They also made the good choice to bring on an experienced, professional brewer ( Paul Bergeman brewed for Kona & Laurelwood).

We opted to get three taster trays so we could try all the beers, minus the Bourbon Barrel Aged Bitch Stout which wasn't available for taster trays.  Since we already tried that (on nitro) at the Little Woody Brewfest, we weren't too sad.  (It was excellent.)

Trying to sort through 12 large samples of beer is a challenge but the four of us made it happen, so we got a good introduction to what Wild Ride is doing currently with their beer. Current Beer Styles run the gamut from Cole's Trickle Lager all the way to the Stand Up Stout.  We were impressed with all the beers, especially since they've only been open 4 months - there don't seem to be many kinks that need to be worked out, and typically there are at this phase of operations.

Standouts for the four of us were, Lager (clean & easy drinker), Float On Saison (addition of the Kaffir Limes was excellent), Hopper Head IPA, Fly P.A., and the Big Booty Golden Ale with the addition of Huckelberries. But all beers were solid and clean and with 12 beers on tap Wild Ride has a beer style for everyone to drink. 

Wild Ride did a great job bringing a quality brewery to Redmond. I'm sure they will have great success. Make sure to visit them if you get the chance.

Wild Ride Brewing Co.
Wild Ride Twitter
Wild Ride Instagram
Wild Ride Facebook
Wild Ride Untappd

Monday, September 1, 2014

Tales from the Trip: Beer Bloggers Conference 2014 - Part 2

We love San Diego

As promised, we're sharing more of our epic beer adventure to San Diego with you all. Last time we told you about the crazy fun pre-conference tour of the up-and-coming LA beer scene; this time we'll tell you about what we learned at the conference proper.

Yes, we actually learned stuff while consuming unfathomably large quantities of excellent craft beer.  We swear that we actually remember (most of) what we learned in conference sessions.

No, we won't bore you senseless (or at least we'll try not to.)  But we figure some of you might be beer bloggers yourselves or might have interest in beer blogging.  And we're nice people, we believe in sharing, so here you go:

Lesson 1: BYOB

While you will be served seemingly never-ending streams of awesome beer, there will be unfortunately-timed beer gaps you'll need to cover.  Bring some of your own favorites and enough to share.  The "dry" periods are during the educational sessions, which we'll talk about below.  Don't get a good buzz going at lunch only to find yourself unprepared and stranded in a 2-hour lecture block with nary a beer in sight.  This is a recipe for disaster.  We're endlessly thankful for our buddy BrewDad who learned this important lesson long ago, and like a Good Samaritan, offered us liquid-aid at our most dire moments.  Bless you BrewDad!
Someone else planned ahead and filled this growler at Societe

Adam and I divided and conquered the sessions, so here are the highlights:

Lesson 2: Ethics for Bloggers are Highly Subjective

Have some.  Ethics, that is.  The guy next to you might have a wildly different take on what's ok and not ok, but that's to be expected. Those differences fueled some fun discussion.

One of the most discussed topics was disclosure of compensation. There's a consideration for norms and scale that plays in here.  For example: Want to accept a paid beer-trip across America from some purveyor of mass-produced American adjunct lager?  Fine, just please disclose it so everyone who's reading your posts can be appropriately skeptical of your claims of quality.  Do you accept free beer-mail from a local craft brewer, or free admission to a brewer's dinner?  Most folks seem cool with this, and agree you don't need to explicitly disclose that you got a freebie because that's kinda the norm.  This is because everyone assumes you got free beer, much like movie critics get free movie admission. 

But bloggers have various policies on this - some do a blanket disclosure, others handle case by case, and others go the assumptive route of "everyone knows I get this stuff free" and don't disclose at all.  We're fans of disclosure, so you'll see us note when we get goodies for free.

We got this delicious beer free from the good folks at Ninkasi - see, disclosure!
The hottest debate centered around whether bloggers should be critically journalistic, or whether it's ok to be nice and "cheerleaders" of the industry.  We heard from experts who said, essentially, don't post if you aren't bettering the beverage with your commentary, with the implication that criticism should be constructive and informed. We heard from others who said they only post about stuff they really like and want to promote, and if they don't like a particular producer they won't give them the free publicity a blog post provides.   Where do we stand? We're all about supporting the craft.  So pretty much, we write about what we like and promote what we love. But we respect that other people have a different approach to their blogging, no worries.

Conclusion: if you're blogging, have some kind of an ethical policy and hold yourself accountable. Do your best to be forthright and transparent, and most of the time you'll be ok.

The ethics panel in progress... where's the beer?
Lesson 3: No Crappy Photography or Blair-Witchy Videography

In today's world, there's no excuse for crappy cell-phone pictures.  With all the tools, equipment, and even apps out there to help improve your image quality, pasting a crap picture is unforgivable and lazy.  We were feeling a little sheepish about this because hey, let's face it, we're not the Ansel Adams of beer.  But, they educated us on what is and isn't good use of images, how to actually take good photos, and even what equipment we might want to (eventually) invest in.  We got some ideas for how we could step it up a notch and post more compelling images with the wordy stuff.  So hopefully you all notice some changes as we get better at this whole photography thing.

This is a crappy photo, and we are ashamed we took it
(but tasting Sour in the Rye from the barrel
was an unparalleled experience) 

This is not a crappy photo (and the beer was amazing)
Lesson 4: Keep the Blog Theme Updated Please

The nice folks giving this talk were from Automattic, the peeps who bring us Wordpress.  We don't use Wordpress (evidently most of the internet does, placing us solidly in the minority) but we still took away some good tidbits.

Most importantly, bloggers need a modern theme so if it hasn't been updated in a couple of years, it might need a replacement.  Sprucing up should include eliminating annoying things like content carousels which almost everyone hates, or including cool plugins that run your twitter feed or a calendar of events, etc.  Our theme's a couple of years old so we may take their advice and do some remodeling soon.  Thanks for the tips, Automattic guys!

Lesson 5: Take Social Media, SEO, and Marketing More Seriously

Evidently, we have a lot to learn to figure out SEO, and click through behaviors, and the importance of links.  We write this blog because we really love drinking beer.  And we were driving our friends nutty group-texting them pictures and descriptions of endless taster trays.  But yes, we would love it if we could reach more people to spread the gospel of delicious craft beer, so there are some technical things we need to learn to do.  On the plus side, we're not hopelessly unprepared.  One of us has an MBA with a marketing focus (though social media didn't exist back when we earned it - damn we're getting old) - so we have a ton to learn on this but figure we can put those marketing smarts to some use here!

This photo's a little crappy, but here we are learning about
brewing industry marketing, with Aubrey Cole from Warsteiner USA and Ben Weiss from The Bruery

So yeah, we learned a lot and think our blog will be shinier and more awesome after we implement some of the tips and tricks we picked up.  We certainly hope you guys will like the upcoming changes!

Next post will be way more beer-y, we promise.

Cheers all!

Gratuitous beer porn from our trip to The Yard House

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