Homebrew Contest at 129 Lounge

Saugatuck Brewing Company and 129 Lounge are having a homebrew contest Saturday December 13 starting at 7 pm. The winner will brew on Saugatuck’s brewing system then have their beer on tap at 129 Lounge.
This is a really nice prize with a cash value of over 250 dollars. It would also be nice to get together with other local home brewers. Come on out to share some of your beer and if someone who is passionate about homebrewing pass this event onto them, the more the merrier. Yes, it is short notice but homebrewers also have beer ready to serve this time of year.


Muskrat Mashers’ Beer On Tap at Corner Brewery

There are many things that I love about Corner Brewery but the top of my list is their sense Muskrat Mashersof community. They even let local homebrew clubs come in and brew on their rat pad system so they can show off their beers during their annual Rat Fest. A lot of beer is brewed for this event and even though every ticket is sold there is still beer left over. That is good news for anyone that couldn’t get to Rat Fest in January. Starting February 27 the remaining beer is released every Wednesday night at 6pm. Growlers are available after 9pm if there is beer left.

The Muskrat Mashers, Monroe’s homebrew club’s release party will be on March 6. I would like to invite anyone interested in coming out to join us. It doesn’t matter if you brew or not we would love to share a beer with you.

Here is our beer list…

  • Bourbon Oak Brown Ale: Chocolate, vanilla, hints of oak and bourbon.
  • Chocolate Rye Porter: Delicious chocolate malt flavors with hints of rye spices.
  • Citra Bomb: Crisp grapefruit citrus flavors shine through this India Pale Ale.
  • Cayenne Cherry Rye: Tart, sweet cherry, spicy rye notes with a subtle cayenne heat finish.

Click here for the Rat Pad release dates.  There will be a lot of fantastic beers released during this series. Check it out.




Southeast Michigan homebrew club talents on display at annual Rat Fest

RatFest is Corner Brewery’s way of showing our appreciation for all of the amazing homebrewing talent in Southeast Michigan. Each year we invite multiple hom

ratfest_2013_app-01ebrewing clubs to come to Corner and demonstrate their brewing creativity on our 10 gallon brewing system, affectionately known as The Rat Pad. Clubs are encouraged to brew the most outrageous beers they can think of, for your drinking pleasure! This year’s RatFest has a few changes from past competitions. Each club will be brewing one beer that uses the same grain and yeast, but allows the brewers to get creative with their choice of hopsand additional ingredients. The clubs will also be brewing 3 other beers that they’ve selected from a predetermined list of styles. These new parameters should result in some wildly creative brews, the likes of which have never been seen!

This year we will be featuring beers from the following brew clubs: The Ann Arbor Brewers Guild Hopheads, The Ann Arbor Brewers Guild Yeasters, CraftBeerinMi, Brighton Home Brew Club, Detroit Draft Divas, Motor City Mashers, Muskrat Mashers, The Sons of Liberty, and The Ugly Mug. We will offer 36 brews that will definitely run the creative gamut.

Monroe, MI Muskrat Mashers will have four beers on tap:  

  • Bourbon Oak Brown Ale: Chocolate, vanilla, hints of oak and bourbon.
  • Chocolate Rye Porter: Delicious chocolate malt flavors with hints of rye spices.
  • Citra Bomb: Crisp grapefruit citrus flavors shine through this India Pale Ale.
  • Cayenne Cherry Rye: Tart, sweet cherry, spicy rye notes with a subtle cayenne heat finish.

Rat Fest attendees will be able to vote for their favorite beer, favorite group of beers, along with several other categories. The Rat Pad to receive the most votes will be crowned King or Queen Rat. Due to the popularity of the event, Corner Brewery will be closed to the general public during the duration of the event to provide a relaxed atmosphere for ticket holders to talk with and learn from the home brewers and just kick-back to enjoy their new favorite brew.

This year’s RatFest, held on January 26, will be bigger, better and more mindblowingly awesome than any before. The $30 ticket price includes beer samples, appetizers and a commemorative tasting glass. Tickets sold out in advance last year, so make sure you get your tickets early!

Must be 21 and show valid ID at the door to get in. Tickets are available over the phone or in person at Corner Brewery.

At the time of this post, tickets were limited. See Facebook event page for more info.

Learn to Make Beer Event in Monroe

The Muskrat Mashers are having a “Learn to Make Beer” open to the public event this Thursday, February 9, from 6pm to 9pm at Harbor Inn & Ale. The event hopes to encourage new people to brew by having educational displays, a Q & A session with experienced homebrewers plus one lucky person will be walking away with a brand new starter kit from Adventures in Homebrewing!

Click here for the facebook page. Here is more information about this event from the Muskrat Mashers website.

If you’ve ever kicked around trying to make your own beer, we invite you to stop out to our February gathering. Our plan is to have some equipment set up, some fliers to hand out, and members of the club will be on hand to answer any questions you might have about getting started brewing. Also if you haven’t checked out Harbor Inn and Ale, they have a fantastic lineup of Michigan made beers!

The Muskrat Mashers is an informal homebrew club that meets once a month to discuss one thing: How to make beer. The group isn’t made up of a bunch of chemists or master brewers, we’re just regular people, that get together to enjoy quality beer and talk about how we made it. The club has a mix of people from newbies to seasoned brewers. We love helping new people get started with brewing, because somewhere along the way, someone experienced helped us get started.

Learn to make Beer!Thursday, February 9th 6-9pm @ Harbor Inn & Ale – Monroe, MI (click for map)

Public Welcome! Ever wonder how beer was made? Ever consider making it yourself? Stop out for an evening dedicated to how to brew your own beer. Members of the local homebrew club Muskrat Mashers will be on hand to discuss the basics of making your own beer from buying equipment and choosing a recipe to bottling or kegging the final product.

  • • Equipment and ingredient displays/discussions/handouts
  • • Discussions on how easy it is to make your own beer
  •  • Already brewing? Meet other local homebrewers!

House Bill Will Allow Sharing of Homebrew

We started our homebrew club, The Muskrat Mashers, a little over two years ago and the hardest part has been finding good meeting places to fit our needs. We need to have the ability to share the beer we brew which is illegal to do at busines. We have manage to avoid this by having meetings at the members’ homes but not having it at a public place does make it hard to connect with potential members. House Bill 4061 introduced by State representative Doug Geiss (D- Taylor) will allow homebrew clubs to share their beer amongst members in microbreweries or brew pubs. This will be a great help to homebrew clubs.

For more on this click here to go to the excellent Kalamabrew article. They have also listed the Regulatory Reform Committee Members so if you believe in this cause please contact them. 

Learn To Make Beer

Our homebrew club, Muskrat Mashers, is holding a membership drive/homebrewing demo this Thursday, February 10. Sarah wrote a press release that does a great job of describing the event so I will let her take it from here. 

 The Muskrat Mashers will host an informational session on home brewing on Thursday, Feb. 10 from 6-9 p.m. at Harbor Inn and Ale in Monroe, Michigan.
Have you ever wondered how beer was made?  Have you ever considered making it yourself? Would you like to meet and share ideas and experiences with other home brewers?  If you answered yes to these questions, then stop out for an evening dedicated to home brewing.  Members of the Muskrat Mashers homebrew club in Monroe will be on hand to discuss the basics of home brewing from buying equipment and choosing a recipe to bottling or kegging the final product. This gathering will feature equipment and ingredient displays as well as discussions and handouts on how to begin home brewing. It will also be an excellent opportunity to meet and network with other local home brewers.
“The Muskrat Mashers is an informal homebrew club that meets monthly,” says Muskrat Mashers founder and President Rob Gorczyca. “The group isn’t made up of a bunch of chemists or master brewers. We’re just regular people who get together to enjoy brewing and drinking craft beer. The club has a mix of people from beginners to seasoned brewers. We love helping new people get started with brewing because somewhere along the way someone helped us get started.”
This event is free and open to the public. Harbor Inn and Ale is located at 13993 Laplaisance Road in Monroe, Michigan. For more information about the Muskrat Mashers go to http://muskratmashers.com/

Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=189632501064365

Featured Homebrewer: Fred Rouse

 When we started this blog we talked about highlighting local homebrewers in the hope of encouraging people to get into the hobby.  Four years later,  I realize we haven’t done one since we started the Muskrat Mashers, which is shameful. We now know more homebrewers than ever before. So, I am bringing the feature back in a plan to highlight some of our Mashers.

Fred's Brew House

Sarah and I have met some great people through the Muskrat Mashers, many of whom have become friends. It has also been a true learning experience for me.  It has pushed me to try to be a better brewer in two ways. One is by being encouraged by fellow brewers and the other is by increasing my enthusiasm by learning new tricks. This post features homebrewer Fred Rouse. I have learned so much from him already.  He loves brewing right down to the minutiae, perfecting even the smallest detail that will affect the flavor of his beer and is always looking to make his beer better. Fred is the rare person who knows a lot but is not a know-it-all. I try to prepare my brain to be absorbent when he is around.

I went on long enough it is time to let Fred speak…
How long have you been brewing? 16 yrs.

How much has homebrewing changed in the last 16 years? Everything you needed to homebrew was available. You just had to search a little bit to find it.  Now we have quite a few places within a short drive to get anything and the info you can get from local homebrew stores is excellent now. The shop owners and employees are more knowledgeable today.  I would say the biggest change I’ve noticed is the equipment that’s available. Just about anything a pro brewery uses we can get but on a smaller scale.  But one thing that has stayed the same. Most of the homebrewers I meet build their own systems as much as they can and buy just what they have to.  I think we like to be engineers as much as brewers.

Why did you start brewing? I’ve always had an interest in doing everything from scratch, from raising a garden and putting food up, raising chickens for eggs and meat and anything that took me back to the old way of doing things. I definitely didn’t start brewing because I liked craft beer, I was a die hard Stroh’s fan!  The first time I walked into the local homebrew store, I told them I wanted to make beer and that I needed some barley and hops.  They told me I wasn’t ready to make beer this way and needed to start with an extract kit.  I left the store without anything, but I still wanted to make beer.  Well, at Christmas my wife got me an extract kit and a book, “The Complete Joy of Homebrewing.”  I made the beer and read the book.  The beer was the best beer I had ever tasted at that time. I was hooked.  It wasn’t long after I started brewing that I was at Frankenmuth and a tornado had come through and destroyed the brewery.  They were selling 1/2 barrel kegs for 5 bucks.  I loaded my Ford Aspire with as many as I could fit. I had the material for my all grain brewery!   Over time I upgraded to a 20 gallon system, temp. controlled conical, completely updated 100 yr. old grainery building with restaurant sinks, shelves, prep tables and all the toys.  My wife had no idea what she was starting. Good thing she likes beer.
You brewed professionally. What is your experience? I was an assistant brewer at Grizzly Peak for just over a year and a brewer at Blue Tractor for about 3 months.
How did brewing professionally change your homebrewing? It opened my eyes to open fermentation and repitching yeast.  After seeing beers fermenting like this I bought a food grade 32 gallon Rubbermaid container with a loose fitting lid and ferment beers in this as long as the temp. in the shed doesn’t climb above 60 degrees.  I always repitch yeast from batch to batch as long as the previous batch tastes good.

Favorite batch?  I have 2 favorites.  There used to be a homebrew competition at Rochester Mills Brewing Co. that was pretty big and my pale ale took best of show and ended  up winning the ultimate award, a two tap fridge with 5 gallons of Final Absolution from Dragonmead.  This was the last year they did the competition. I guess this makes me the reigning champion.  The other favorite batch was my first brew at Grizzly Peak.  I started with a smack pack of yeast from wyeast and brewed 20 gallons, I harvested the yeast and pitched it into a 7 bbl. batch of pils and then into my 7bbl. batch of maibock.  This yeast has fermented 31 – 7bbl. batches!

Suggestions to others considering brewing? Do it!  The best hobby ever!  If we could have taken this as a science class in high school we would have all excelled!  The best advice I could give is to pay attention to cleanliness (lots of PBW and Starsan). Join a homebrew club and enjoy the ride. Even the mistakes usually turn out good.

We went out to Fred’s place to sample some of Fred’s beers and to get some pictures of his brewing house. All were excellent, of course, but my personal favorite was his pilsner. It is such a rare treat to be able to drink a flawless classic pilsner that when I get one I really enjoy it. It is a difficult beer to brew but  he hits it out of the park.

Hombrewing is as complicated as you want it to be. You can make good drinkable beers with a small investment in equipment or you can do what Fred has done and make great beers. Homebrewing is a rewarding hobby so in Fred’s words, Do it!

Erie Bread Company and Spent Grains from Local Homebrew Club

<div class=\"postavatar\">Erie Bread Company and Spent Grains from Local Homebrew Club</div>

A new bakery opened up in town and I have gained about ten pounds since the first bread came out of the oven. Not sure if it is causation or just correlation but I am sure that they make some great bread. I love the sourdough olive bread and the pepperoni rolls make a great lunch. Erie Bread Company is the artisan bakery I hoped we would always have in my hometown. And of course the olive bread, did I mention that they have olive bread?

This Saturday, November 27, is Muskrat Mashers day at Erie Bread Company. All card carrying members of the local homebrew club will get 10% off on bread. The bigger news is that they will be selling fresh baked bread using Muskrat Masher’s spent grain from Friday’s brewing sessions.  You do not have to be a member to purchase the bread.

My Black Friday plan is to brew an American wheat and as soon as it hits the boil, bag  up my spent grains and drive it to the bakery. Any Muskies, I am pushing for that as our club’s nickname, that are brewing today can do the same.

Saturday’s plan is to go and buy the spent grain bread. It should go great with chili and aid in the masking of the bitter taste of another Michigan loss to Ohio State. It won’t be the good bitter taste measured in IBUs. It will be the bad bitter taste from the bile trying to escape through your gullet.

Beer brewing demonstrations – May 1st – Harbor Inn & Ale

When:  Saturday May 1st 2009 – 10AM-4PM
Where: Harbor Inn & Ale – Monroe, MI
Info: MuskratMashers.com

In 1988, May 7th was announced before Congress as National Homebrew Day. The American Homebrewers Association created Big Brew as an annual event to celebrate National Homebrew Day not only in the United States, but around the world. Big Brew is held each year on the first Saturday in May. – AHA

Join Monroe, MI local homebrewing club Muskrat Mashers as they brew several batches of beer in the parking lot of Harbor Inn & Ale, located on Laplaisance Road in Monroe, MI. Handouts will be available for anyone interested in learning the hobby, as well as open invitations to future Muskrat Mashers meetings.  Local brewers are welcome to join us – please contact us at the email below for info.

Brewing kicks off at 10AM and will last most of the day. Stay for lunch @ Harbor Inn & Ale and enjoy one of their many Michigan made craft beers on tap.

For more information, see http://muskratmashers.com/ or email muskratmashers@gmail.com

This Week at Original Gravity

There are two events going on this week at Original Gravity. One is a small batch release which should please hopheads.

Here is the information on the small batch release…

Small Batch Release – Amarillo Imperial IPA
Tuesday March 9th @ 6:00pm

The other event is our homebrew club’s, Muskrat Mashers, March meeting. It is on Thursday, 3/11 at 6-8PM. If you are interested in joining our club click here for more information.