We’ve had the pleasure of getting to know many homebrewers, as well as craft brewers, in the past year and a half. Many of them endure the waits at the border to come across for brew supplies, and they are working hard to build a thriving beer scene just south of the border.
Last month I had the honor of walking across the border with Joey from Bine Vine, Ryan from Coronado, and Larry from Firestone Walker (formerly of Home Brew Mart, and also a bit currently of Pizza Port, of I’m not mistaken). Together we comprised the first team of judges to oversee The Tijuana Homebrew Club’s inaugural homebrew competition.
The categories were American and IPAs. The beers themselves resembled the same mix of experience and quality that one would expect from a competition in the states: mostly solid, a few in need of process improvements, and a handful of fantastic examples.
Our hosts were the crew at Beer Box. They treated us to a wonderful meal at the TJ Food Garden. We also had the pleasure of visiting Sospeso Coffee and Baja Craft Beer.
The walk across The border took about 20 minutes.
Certainly looking forward to many more visits to our neighbors in the future. Some photos from this trip are below.
We were promised a wine extract kit from one of our main distributors. They were bragging about the quality you can get with very little practice. We asked for a Malbec and received it the following week.
This was so easy, we managed to produce 5 gallons of wine in between our 45 minute and 10 minute hop additions, and this was with us reading the instructions 3 times over. Future wines will be even quicker. Easiest double brew day ever.
The jury is still out on the taste, but here’s the low down on the day of. Accompanied by one of George’s new favorite things: a collage (he still needs practice).
Wine Collage Action!
1. Clean sanitize fermenter and a funnel.
2. Dissolve bentonite (a clarifier) in quart of warm water and add to fermenter.
3. Add wine extract. The less concentrated the extract, the more expensive the kit.
4. Rinse the emptied extract bag w warm water and add to fermenter.
5. Top off w water to 5 gal mark, stir vigorously, add yeast.
14 days later we added some more clarifiers and racked to secondary. Fred Brophy of a href=”http://Www.mashheads.com”Mash Heads/a recommends racking several times. We’ll probably do one more in a week, and bottle by day 45.
We’ll test it on Molly once it’s ready. And will post our thoughts. We’re thinking temp control on the next fermentation.
span class=”post_sig”From The Homebrewer’s phone. Please excuse any typos… We were focusing on the wort./span
Today we received our packet from the ABC. Included is a checklist of forms to complete, and a nifty sign to post in our window. Essentially we are now in the protest phase of our application. The sign in our window will remain for 30 days, and we are required to send out notifications to nearby residences. The community has 30 days to make any protests. At that point it is up to us to negotiate/explain/placate any and all concerns. It’s an important process designed to empower the community.
So are we so nervous? Well, there is small, and vocal, portion of our community that opposes absolutely every application, forcing applicants to spend money on rent, lawyers, and delayed start dates. We can’t afford much of this.
The SD Police Department is also vocal in this process. As they should be. They are the ones that we all rely on to keep our streets & sidewalks safe, and they are grossly underfunded and overworked. They are likely to impose as many restrictions as they can. We will be reaching out to them in the coming days so that we can begin the dialogue.
For now, we will post below a copy of the letter to our neighbors that we have posted next to our sign. It will answer some basic questions about our goals/vision.
We are excited to announce our plans to begin brewing on the small scale. Our plans for our brewery are a little different than most, so we hope you will take the time to read the Q&A below in order to learn more. Most of all, we are honored to have this opportunity to play a long lasting, sustainable, and positive role in the growth of our beautiful neighborhood.
We invite you to come in and chat with us about our plans. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: What is The Homebrewer?
A: We are a resource center for homebrewers. We provide the equipment, ingredients, and knowledge for those interested in making their own beer at home. Our emphasis is on educating the community about how to make quality, great tasting beer, and how to appreciate the rich history and many styles of beer with respect and responsibility.
Q: Do you intend to become a bar?
A: Absolutely not. Our favorite bars are nearby, and within walking distance of our shop, you should go check them out. We will not serve the quantities or have the operating hours of a bar.
Q: So then why do you need this license?
A: This license will allow us to brew examples of certain styles, showcase specific ingredients, and demonstrate different brewing techniques. This will better enable us to inform/educate all of our customers and the community at large. We hold regular classes about how to brew beer at home, and this will allow us to serve you all better in this regard.
Q: What will the atmosphere be like?
A: Our beer showcase room will feel more like a small winery than a bar/”tasting room.” Our staff will be trained to discuss the different aspects/qualities or beer making, and our goal is to educate and inform the average consumer and the homebrewer of every skill level.
Q: What kind of beer will you produce?
A: We would like to create beers that you can enjoy with your favorite family dinner. This means low to moderate alcohol levels, and flavors that are ideal for food pairing.
Q: What is your ideal customer/transaction?
A: We hope you will come in, try a few examples of different beer styles/brewing techniques. Ask our knowledgeable staff about how those beers were created, what foods they will pair with, and which beers like it you should look out for at nearby establishments. If one of our beers is ideal for your next meal, we hope that you will take a refillable bottle of it home to share with your friends and family.
Q: Are you willing to listen to any concerns?
A: Certainly. Our neighborhood and it’s future is an ongoing community effort that requires the input and consideration of every one of us. We all of have valid points about what our neighborhood should look like in the future, and it is all of our responsibilities to take the time to share our views and listen to the views of others. We want our business to play a positive, long-lasting role in our neighborhood, and we want every individual to feel empowered about the direction we are all taking. We only ask that you keep an open mind to our dreams, vision, ideals, and opinions about how to create sustainable, walk-able, friendly, and economically viable neighborhoods.
The Homebrewer – (George, Molly, Chris, Doug, Francisco, Robby)