Stone Brewing brewer Steve Gonzales and Seismic Brewing Company brewer Andy Hooper are both on Brew HaHa Craft Beer Radio on the Drive today w/ Mark Carpenter and Herlinda Heras. Harry Duke is sitting in for Steve Jaxon. Steve Gonzales is up in Sonoma County from San Diego, since he also brews at the Napa Stone Brewery. Andy Hooper is the head brewer for Seismic, and also for Tremor, a brewer that won a Gold Medal at the Great American Beer Festival.
Brew Ha Ha is sponsored by the Santa Rosa branch of Yoga Six located in Coddingtown Center.
Herlinda attended the keg un-tapping of a special Seismic beer, that is the most local beer probably ever done in Sonoma County. Andy tells that Sonoma County grows barley and hops, and in a 12 mile radius there is also a malting facility. So they can do it all in Sonoma County. They brought their entire team to harvest the hops for this beer. It was a fun event in the taproom on Oct 1. They finished off a barrel of that beer.
Their hop harvesting machine at Scott Bice’s Capricopia, is an amazing machine. It’s imported and needs a converter to run on local power. The vines bite, they can give you a rash. There is a Sonoma County company that invented a hop harvester. The company moved to Yakima decades ago, following the growers.
Seismic is a relatively young company dedicated to local sustainably sourced ingredients and water conservation practices. They are the first place you see when you enter the Barlow in Sebastopol. They can’t operate a restaurant in their own facility, but people can order food from any restaurants right nearby, and have the food delivered right to the taproom.
Andy Hooper brought a taste of a limited edition beer. It uses fresh hops, but in order to optimize the flavoring process, instead of using them fresh, they froze them with liquid nitrogen, then shattered them, to break them up and get more surface area on the pieces, to get more of the flavor out. It also didn’t clog the equipment as whole hops can. Then they did half the maturation in Sauvignon Blanc barrels. It’s a beer they can only make once a year.
Herlinda just brought a Seismic beer into a restaurant in Napa, called Tremor. It’s all organic, made with California ingredients, it’s 120 calories a can and sells for $12.99 a 12-pack. It won a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival.
To do an organic beer, you have to get the whole facility certified organic. It was 200 pages of application materials. They look into the origin of all ingredients. They used to make this beer just for themselves, not it is catching on. Tremor California Light Lager.
Stone Brewing’s beer cans are all upside down. Leave no Stone unturned! Stone has been around for 25 years. It has its origins in the music business. One founder was in a band, and was recording in the studio with one of the other founders. They took a class together and recognized each other from the music business. Their headquarters is in San Diego. They have the big brewery in Escondido in north San Diego County, the place in Napa and a brewery in Richmond, VA.
Stone and Seismic also have done a second collaboration. The second one is called Seismic Stone “Ain’t That A Kick In The Red” Red India Pale Lager. Stone makes lots of other beers, like Zubin Pils named after his friend Dan Zubin.
He also brought Enjoy By 10-31. It was supposed to be a one-off, when they had some extra hops. So they make a beer so hoppy that it would only last 35 days.
Tbe Napa Stone brewery is in an old stone mill house right on the river. It’s a BBQ themed restaurant. He also brought Hop Engineer, they are located near a train depot. This uses South African hops, called Southern Star. Southern Tropic and Southern Sublime are two other new ones that are “really awesome” and every time they use it, the brew is sold out in a few weeks. Bitterness used to be what hops were for, but now, aroma is king. There are thousands of little breweries out there looking for the next aromatic hops.