Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Upcoming California Trip

Kat and I have talked about a road trip through Northern California for a few years now. We have always wanted to see the giant Redwoods, drive the coast highway, and drink beer at our favorite brewery, Lagunitas. Our long time friend through guiding, Lance, recently met a great gal and quickly decided to tie the knot and chose Lake Tahoe for the location. This gave us a great opportunity to finally take the trip we've always wanted to after spending a few days celebrating with them!

Here's a map I made using Google to illustrate the locations of our scheduled stops:

(click for large picture or here for the rough driving directions)

Day 1: We'll try to cover half the distance to Tahoe on a straight shot south on I-5. We don't have any plans on where to stay, but somewhere around Medford, OR is likely.

Day 2: Arrive in Tahoe(B) at roughly 3pm. This is the earliest we can check in, and we have a scheduled dinner at 5 or so with the wedding party.

Day 3: Wedding day in Tahoe.

Day 4: Wedding Brunch, and then we'll casually make our way to our first camping spot(C), just outside the small town of Foresthill, CA.

Day 5: Rafting on the Middle Fork American River(D)! We're taking the newlyweds with us on this trip as well.

Day 6: A full day of breweries to visit. We'll start for lunch at Moylan's Brewery(E), then tour the Lagunitas Brewery(F) in the afternoon. After setting up camp in Santa Rosa(G), we'll make our way to the town for an evening at Russian River Brewery(H).

Day 7: Assuming we can get wake up in time after yesterday's long day of drinking, We'll head to our first stop in the Redwoods(K), but making stops at either Bear Republic Brewhouse(I), Mendocino Brewing(J) or both.

Day 8: A tour of Mad River Brewing(M) in the afternoon, with a possible stop at Lost Coast Brewing(L) sometime in the day. We'll camp at Prairie Creek Redwood State Park(N).

Day 9: Lay-over day at Prairie Creek to stop and enjoy the forest.

Day 10: We push on up to Oregon along the coastal highway. Camping at Sunset Bay State Park(O).

Day 11: Before arriving at Cape Lookout (R), we will certainly stop at the Pelican Pub and Brewery(Q), and most likely Rogue Alehouse(P) as well.

Day 12: Back home to Seattle.

We didn't originally plan on having a set of structured stops, but once we realized how much we wanted to do and didn't want to waste time finding camping areas it made more sense. We leave a week from tomorrow, June 5th and return on Monday the 16th. We will have a laptop with us throughout the trip, so I'll try to post a quick entry at a brewery or two. We'll also take a ton of pictures, and hopefully some video footage as well. Should be great!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Double Duty Wenatchee Post

Kat Guides Our Raft
We've been east of the Cascades the past two weekends rafting on the Wenatchee River. Since we finally got some spring sunshine and warmth, the snow has started to melt and the rivers are swelling. In my opinion, this is the best time to run the 'snatch, since other local runs are above recommended flows.

Two weeks ago, the temperatures were at near record highs and the Wenatchee was above 15,000cfs on Saturday the 17th. Due to some mismanagement, I ended up on the banks with the dog, as the 96F weather was too much for him to bear on his own. Kat took down 4 of our friends for a huge ride, and I snapped a few pictures instead.

I did get to raft this past weekend, with flows at 11,000-12,000cfs. This is an ideal flow, as the waves become enormous but almost all are runnable. Most of the rapids feature huge standing haystack waves or big meaty holes with recovery time after each. We ended up organizing 3 boats on Saturday and five for Sunday, which is large for us without meeting other WRRR boaters or joining another organized group.

We're inching closer to our California road trip - we leave nine days from today. I'll put up a post with a map and list of our planned destinations sometime this coming week. We don't have any rafting planned this coming weekend, but may try for a day trip if we can make the time.

Blue Sky Boat FlipOur Former Company Cleaning up a Flip

Friday, May 16, 2008

Double Batch Bottled

I just wanted to make a quick post to relay that we had a successful bottling day. We bottled both our third IPA and the wheat ale brewed last weekend. The IPA (which was brewed 5 weeks ago) is doing fantastic, really nice flavor. If it were carbonated, it would be ready to drink now. The Wheat will take a bit longer to mature.

We're headed over to the Wenatchee again this weekend for some big water. Should be some gigantic waves to punch through. See you after this beautiful weekend!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Wenatchee River

We had a great time rafting the Wenatchee River over the weekend with our soon to be married friends Lance and Jacinda. Jacinda has recently been bit by the rafting bug, so we got her out on the river with a chance to guide the boat on her own. She did great on her first real opportunity on the stick - especially after she took her first swim! The river was a decent moderate level, but will probably skyrocket this coming weekend due to the forecasted heat wave. Most likely, we'll be out there again since most of the rivers this side of the mountains will be flowing well above our comfort zone.

Kat and I have been working out the details of our road trip. We've made some reservations at campgrounds, so our itinerary is becoming more structured than we originally thought. I'll put up a post detailing our plans once they are ironed out a bit more.

We'll also be bottling the two batches of beer we still have in fermenters - the IPA 3 and Wheat Ale 1. If we bottle by this weekend, these will be drinkable during the trip. For once, we have an opportunity to bottle two batches on the same day. This is because the wheat ale is not dry-hopped (and therefore not transfered to secondary). It will mean for a long day of washing and sanitizing bottles, but will be nice to knock out two batches.

Here's a couple shots from the weekend:

Jacinda on the stick
Jacinda on the stick

Marc is trippin!
Marc tripping out in the cave

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Middle Middle Snoqualmie Video

Here's a short little video I took at the bottom of the House Rocks rapid on the Middle Fork Snoqualmie today.

Wheat Ale 1

Yep, we went ahead and brewed a Wheat Ale I had been thinking about for the last couple of days. What made this batch more fun is we got to use a brand new piece of brew equipment recently purchased, a wart chiller. This item is simply coiled copper tubing with an attachment for a hose on one end and a outflow hose on the other. This allows the brewer to rapidly cool the beer to the temperature that the yeast should be added. For us, this took just under 15 minutes. For comparison, our last batch which was cooled using the ice bath method took over 75. This should give us better tasting beer, and reduce 'chill haze', which is essentially cloudy beer and is only aesthetic.

The recipe we used is basically our own. We modeled it a bit off a clone recipe, but went ahead and changed several things based on our own experience. This should be a light ale, hopefully very tasty over the upcoming summer months.

We're off to the river this afternoon - the first of the weekly Middle Fork Snoqualmie runs we've attended. This is a quick class III-IV run just outside of North Bend, about 45 minutes out of the city. Now that the weather is finally warming up, we should be able to run this more regularly.

Below are a couple of photos from the Green.
Danger Ahead Andy!
Danger ahead, Quig!

Birrell below Paradise rapid
Me just below paradise rapid.

Jessica's first Nozzle squeeze
Jessica's first time through the Nozzle.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Green River Cleanup

Saturday I joined WRRR for their annual Green River cleanup. There were over 150 people on the river this day to help pitch in and pick up garbage along the river (and also to enjoy a day of boating). Our friends the Quigs and Dave Hogan and his girlfriend Robin joined me for the trip. Kat unfortunately had to stay home as she had woke up with flu symptoms. Dave Hogan is an outstanding photographer so, I handed him our camera to document the trip. Once he's finished with the pictures, I'll post a few up. There is also a good chance of some video surfacing of our run through the Nozzle, the class IV rapid on the Green. Shelly Becker was a the bottom of he rapid with her camcorder and I'm fairly sure she was filming us. Shelly is an outstanding catarafter from WRRR, and has been filming and editing videos for a little while and doing a great job of it. Some of these videos show her and others running some of the toughest whitewater around, I highly recommend checking them out.

Not much happening on the homebrew front. I do have some time this week however, so maybe will finally brew a American Wheat Ale. I'll be sure to post about it if it happens.