Sunday, April 10, 2011

Road Brewer is BACK!

Yes, the Road Brewer is back, but just a little. I've got a lot of catching up to do with you and no time to do it! This photo was taken on March 27, 2011 (two weeks ago), and I'll explain it below. Catching up... Spent a year (2008-2009) as a beer clerk at Belmont Station, one of the West Coast's premier bottle shops. When I helped folks find a long-lost beer I felt like a beer detective; When I matched folks to a new beer they loved, I felt like a beer matchmaker. It was a fun job and I adored my fellow beer geeks that I worked with. I not only learned a lot about what customers ask for and look for in a beer on the retail side, I added to my mental beer database: After 20 years as a professional beer judge and thus judging beers blind out of plain glassware, I had no mental connection between a beer's label and it's flavor. At Belmont Station, I finally made the connections via my employee discount. Let's just say most paychecks never made it home in anything but liquid form. Then in June 2009 I crossed over to the supply side of the beer business at Country Malt Group (Great Western Malting). I'm sure many brewers make the sign of the cross and pray they'll never have to go over to the "dark side," but I love it! What other job will pay you to visit breweries and talk about beer? After 19 years as a brewmaster, I'd seen every inch of the inside of my brewpub fishbowls. Being the Road Brewer in 2007 whetted my appetite for brewery adventures and meeting brewers all over the country. And brewing on their systems with them. Somehow all my life experiences have lead up to this point. Plus, when I was brewmaster for Steelhead, and in the thick of hiring and training brewers for the new brewpubs we were opening, I got a taste for teaching brewers, and I loved that too. As a supplier of malt and hops to breweries of all sizes, it is the smallest new breweries who need my expertise and help. Since I get a paycheck already, I don't have to charge consulting fees from our customers. I just give them all the free advice they want. My sales job keeps changing and expanding, and the Pink Boots Society (and Barley's Angels) and my wonderful husband keep me very busy when I'm not at work. However, at some point I hope to have time to revive the Road Brewer Project on a more regular basis. I am definitely visiting brewers and breweries, and I'm taking photos. I just haven't had time to write about them. In the meantime, I hope to toss you a big bone once in a while. For example, right after the Craft Brewers Conference which was held in March in San Francisco, I had the opportunity to brew at Triple Rock as a Guest Brewer. 21 years ago I quit my job as Head Brewer at Triple Rock to go to Steelhead Brewing Company. This year is Triple Rock's 25th anniversary. I was the 2nd Head Brewer in 1989-1990, and the third person to be in charge of operations. Co-owner John Martin had the brilliant idea to invite all of Triple Rock's head brewers back as guest brewers. Current Head Brewer Rodger Davis and I corresponded via email, and Rodger basically allowed me to write a recipe for any beer I wanted. I thought about reviving an old Triple Rock recipe, but decided it would be more fun to stretch my envelope-pushing muscles. So I designed a beer that I believe had not been brewed before: Porcini Porter. Triple Rock's Blog: My photos from Porcini Porter brew day The beer was designed to be malty, but it ended up with lower gravity and therefore much drier than desired. Nevertheless, because I only hopped the beer to 45 IBU, I am hoping that it is still a balanced beer with yummy earthy mushroom character. Since this beer was brewed two weeks ago, it should go on tap at Triple Rock this week. You can call Triple Rock and ask if it is on tap yet: 510-843-2739. So cheers! I'm back. Not often, but if I am lucky enough to find time to guest brew, I will try to post here. Thanks for tuning in! Folks in the Photos top-to-bottom: Teri, Rodger Davis, Todd Ashman, Reid Martin, John Martin.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

It's A Wrap

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." ~Mark Twain

If you're just discovering this blog for the first time, keep in mind that blogs are listed chronologically from bottom to top on each page. If you want to read my roadtrip adventures in order, and you only want to read about the trip and none of the pre-trip plannning, then click on June in the right column, and start reading at the bottom of the page. (There are 29 posts for June, so it's a long page!) Then go on to July, and so on down the list of months.

If you've followed my progress across 12,656 miles traversing the United States and back; if you've vicariously brewed with me at 38 breweries, and visited an additional 33 with me; if you've camped with me in a brewery parking lot next to railroad tracks in Berkeley and inside a beer warehouse in Brooklyn; if you've fought the trailer as it fishtailed on a windy highway and been thankful for a cold beer at the end of the day; then you have taken this trip with me in your imagination.

Thank you for joining me on the journey.

When I began my trip in June, I thought I was leaving on a three-month trip, not a five-month trip. I didn't actually realize how big our nation is, as I had never driven across it before. I was both excited and nervous, knowing I would be driving alone. I felt trepidation at leaving my beloved husband behind, even knowing I had his blessings.

What! Was I nuts?

Maybe I was inspired. I knew the trip would demand my best and would require all the organization and determination I could muster. I had high hopes that I would find the discipline necessary to keep this blog going as long as possible.

You gave me feedback. You loved reading my adventures. You kept me going on the blog, as I felt a responsibility to finish so you would know the entire story. That's better than I had ever done with a trip journal or diary. Previously, once I got home, life resumed and I never finished writing about the last few days of a trip. Somehow your support encouraged me, or at least I felt an obligation to you, my faithful readers.

Now it's your turn. Take the torch and drive with it, as far as you can afford to go. Map out your own road trip. Make your connections, put on your "big boots," and go.

And try to write, so we can enjoy the journey too!

Yours truly,

Teri Fahrendorf
Portland, Oregon

P.S. If you are looking for my website, the link is

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Trip Statistics

“Give me a woman who loves beer and I will conquer the world." ~Kaiser Wilhelm

The watercolor painting at left is one I painted in 1996. The same holds true today – everybody wants beer made with love.

Home safe and sound! Thank you to everyone!

After 19 years as a professional brewer and 17 years as Steelhead's Brewmaster, I quit my job to embark on this 5-month, 13,000 mile road trip of brewing adventure and beer exploration. From Eugene, Oregon to Maine and back in 139 days. (I went the long way - see map at upper right.)

Road Brewer 2007 Trip by the Numbers:
In ascending order...

Number of Accidents: 0
Number of Canadian Provences driven through: 1
Number of countries driven through: 2
Number of miles per gas & auto expense dollar: 2.6
Number of weeks of conjugal visits with husband: 5
Number of miles per gallon: 8.4
Number of pounds gained: 11
Number of women brewers I visited at their brewery: 12
Number of weeks on the road: 20
Number of women brewers and former women brewers I either visited on trip or saw at the GABF: 26
Number of US states driven through: 30
Number of short brewery visits: 33
Number of breweries brew-with or job-shadow: 38
Number of gas tank fills: 68
Number of breweries visited or brewed with, total: 71
Number of days on the road: 139
Number of posts from beginning to end of this blog: 151
Number of business cards handed out: 1,050
Number of gallons of gas: 1,504
Number of dollars spent on gas only: 3,950
Number of dollars spent on gas & auto/trailer expense: 4,787
Number of miles: 12,656
See below for gas & road expense details.

Starting Odometer: 116312
Ending Odometer: 128968
Total Miles: 12,656

Listing of Gas & Road Expenses:
6/04/07 - Departed Eugene with full tank
6/05/07 - $280.00 - Van Rear Shocks
6/06/07 - $75.00 - Gas
6/07/07 - $74.41 - Gas
6/09/07 - $39.75 - Gas
6/10/07 - $ 6.00 - Bridge Toll
6/12/07 - $66.12 - Gas
6/14/07 - $72.12 - Gas
6/17/07 - $66.90 - Gas
6/17/07 - $62.86 - Gas
6/19/07 - $64.60 - Gas
6/20/07 - $42.19 - Gas
6/20/07 - $64.35 - Gas
6/22/07 - $59.23 - Gas
6/22/07 - $67.72 - Gas
6/24/07 - $34.93 - Gas
6/27/07 - $35.99 - Oil Change
6/27/07 - $47.83 - Gas
6/28/07 - $34.86 - Gas
6/28/07 - $51.13 - Gas
6/29/07 - $72.61 - Gas
6/29/07 - $66.27 - Gas
6/30/07 - $65.55 - Gas
6/30/07 - $59.19 - Gas
7/01/07 - $79.17 - Gas
7/03/07 - $64.52 - Gas
7/07/07 - $54.90 - Gas
7/10/07 - $66.24 - Gas
7/14/07 - $53.11 - Taller hitch stinger & side-view trailer mirror
7/18/07 - $76.17 - Gas
7/20/07 - $ 4.98 - Motor Oil
7/18-22 - $16.45 - Illinois Highway Tolls
7/22/07 - $40.44 - Gas
7/24/07 - $73.75 - Gas
7/27/07 - $44.32 - Gas
7/29/07 - $ 6.50 - Toll Bridge to Canada
7/29/07 - $78.02 - Gas
7/30/07 - $62.23 - Gas
7/30-31 - $11.45 - NY Highway Tolls
7/31/07 - $66.30 - Gas
8/02/07 - $46.79 - Gas
8/17/07 - $63.66 - Gas
8/17/07 - $50.00 - (Gas sponsored by Magic Hat)
8/17/07 - $31.95 - Gas
8/21/07 - $19.88 - Oil Change
8/21/07 - $83.99 - Transmission Fluid Change
8/21/07 - $15.00 - Propane tank refill
8/21/07 - $ 2.71 - Trailer tail lights
8/21/07 - $60.84 - Gas
8/21/07 - $43.01 - Gas
8/21/07 - $ 6.95 - ME and NH Turnpike Tolls
8/22/07 - $25.00 - (Gas sponsored by Magic Hat)
8/23/07 - $ 5.00 - Parking in Portland, ME
8/25/07 - $65.91 - Gas
8/22-25 - $ 7.10 - ME Turnpike Tolls
8/22-28 - $ 2.00 - NH Turnpike Tolls
8/30/07 - $61.52 - Gas
9/01/07 - $25.00 - (Gas sponsored by Magic Hat)
9/01/07 - $ 1.45 - MA Turnpike Tolls
9/01/07 - $39.86 - Gas
9/04/07 - $90.00 - Ferry from CT to Long Island, NY
9/08/07 - $ 7.00 - Subway from Brooklyn to Manhattan, NY
9/08/07 - $ 8.50 - NY Turnpike Tolls
9/10/07 - $20.00 - Gas
9/10/07 - $45.00 - Gas
9/10-14 - $ 8.35 - NJ Turnpike Tolls
9/12/07 - $64.20 - Replace 400 Watt 12-Volt Inverter
9/12-14 - $14.50 - PA Turnpike Tolls
9/14/07 - $55.32 - Gas
9/16/07 - $4.50 - Delware Memorial Bridge Toll
9/16-18 - $8.00 - DE Turnpike Tolls
9/18/07 - $54.86 - Gas
9/20/07 - $7.75 - PA Turnpike Tolls
9/20/07 - $57.56 - Gas
9/20/07 - $67.90 - Gas
9/20/07 - $64.04 - Gas
9/23/07 - $47.48 - Gas
9/24/07 - $15.00 - Propane Tank Refill
9/24/07 - $60.26 - Gas
9/25/07 - $55.55 - Gas
9/28/07 - $4.00 - RV wastewater tank dump fee
9/28/07 - $10.50 - KS Turnpike Tolls
9/28/07 - $56.78 - Gas
9/28/07 - $66.86 - Gas
10/01/07 - $46.01 - Gas
10/01/07 - $61.82 - Gas
10/02/07 - $53.47 - Gas
10/02/07 - $70.28 - Gas
10/04/07 - $35.99 - Oil Change
10/05/07 - $52.63 - Gas
10/15/07 - $53.79 - Gas
10/15/07 - $39.68 - Gas
10/15/07 - $31.50 - Gas
10/15/07 - $43.24 - Gas
10/16/07 - $45.70 - Gas
10/16/07 - $34.24 - Gas
10/17/07 - $32.35 - Gas
10/17/07 - $63.22 - Gas
10/18/07 - $58.00 - Gas
10/18/07 - $64.50 - Gas
10/18/07 - $33.00 - Gas
10/20/07 - $42.50 - Gas

Miles driven: 12,656
Gallons of gas: 1,504.266
Gas expense: $3,950.31
Other auto/trailer expense: $836.86
Gas & auto/trailer expense combined: $4,787.17

About 2.6 miles per gas & auto expense dollar
About 8.4 miles per gallon

Additional Costs Not Accounted For Above:
1. Muscle tone.
2. Strength.
3. Stamina.
4. Strong Joints.

Why? I was a van-potato when driving, and a blog-potato the rest of the time. I'm making up for it on the rowing machine now that I'm home.

Just thought you should know the whole truth about the costs of a nearly 5-month road trip like this!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Arrive Home in Eugene, Oregon!

"The discovery of a new dish does more for human happiness than the discovery of a new star." ~Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

October 20: Jon worked this morning, so I occupied myself at the BrewCraft apartment that he and the visiting out-of-town managers shared. BrewCraft USA has a huge reference library and two of the cheese books from it were sitting on the coffee table. I've been curious about cheese making for some time.

Sounds funny considering I am allergic to cheese. (Makes me feel bad but doesn't kill me.) Jon is a great cheese taster, and I can have just that - tastes. What can I say? I love fermenting stuff and cheese is fermented too.

I became entirely engrossed in this book, "Home Cheese Making," by Ricki Carroll (right). I devoured it sitting in my pajamas on the sofa. What else was there to do in a hotel-ish apartment with no TV when it's raining and my van and trailer are over at BrewCraft?

I'm from Wisconsin and I'm definitely making cheese curds soon. No recipe specifically for cheese curds in this book, but I emailed Ricki's staff and I've got a recipe now. I'll be chronicling my cheesey (and other delectables) adventures in my e-newsletter, so if you want the scoop, please sign up for the newsletter.

Note: The first Road Brewer Ramblings went out on November 2nd. If you missed it and want a copy, be sure to sign up for the newsletter, and then email me that you want me to send the first one that you missed. (teri @ roadbrewer . com)

Jon returned at 2:00 pm. We went to the Old Country Sausage Company, (German deli with homemade sausages) for sausages and Franziskaner Hefe Weisse for lunch. Both sausages and bier were great. We got some of their Black Forest Ham to take home. It was excellent and rather dry, more like a prosciutto than our watered-down American ham.

We drove around the NE quadrant of Portland so that we could figure out what neighborhoods we liked. We want to live within easy commute distance for Jon, but not too far away from downtown where my job might be. We liked the Alberta District and Beaumont Village. As we drove around we noticed zero "For Rent" signs. Jon commented that maybe it's illegal to put them up. We found out that Portland is such a tight rental market now, that there are almost no rentals. Here's a link to the Portland Oregonian article on the rental market.

Drove home in a drizzle. I thought it appropriate to end my trip following Jon home in the rain, as he had followed me to Bend in the rain. Bend was the first stop on my trip. Once again I had plenty of "head time" as the radio was broken and it's a two hour drive from Portland. I reflected on now that my trip was ending, my summer vacation as the Road Brewer was also ending.

Being the Road Brewer was such an awesome rush. The sun was always shining and I was some sort of odyssey-roving female brewing quasi-superhero in an adventure story. (Okay the sun was always shining because it was summer.)

But something is different from when I was on my 5-month road trip. In Oregon I'm just another Oregon brewer. Nobody here will think of me as the Road Brewer first. Here I'm just ordinary Teri, formerly of Steelhead. And what's with those pink boots? She never used to wear those!

We got home at dusk and immediately invited our favorite former neighbors, George and Alice, over for Sunday dinner. I hadn't cooked in awhile so I was into the idea, in spite of just walking through the door. I started a loaf of bread dough to rise overnight, and was happy to sleep in my own bed. See website for final numbers and statistics from the trip.

On Sunday morning we quickly unloaded both the van and the trailer as Jon's plan was to drive both back to Portland after dinner Sunday night. We live on a narrow alley and there's no room here for Big Buddy at all. Everything in the van and trailer got chucked in the garage, just piled up on Jon's desk. (See photo at top of page.)

Now, while we were all off enjoying the road trip (you vicariously), Jon switched jobs, started his new job two hours away on September 10th, and found some friends in Eugene that needed a place to live.

When I was home briefly in August, the house was as I'd left it: our home on one side of the duplex, and our offices and a graduate student studying for her masters degree on the other side. (Chelsea is a friend of Jon's mother and is from Jon's home town in Michigan.)

Our other friends and their baby needed a place to rent while their new house is being built.

Thus Jon moved both our offices, our second "project" kitchen (hey if you live on both sides of a duplex, you use both kitchens), 1.5 bathrooms of stuff, all the stuff in that garage, and about a million books over to our side of the duplex. Then our friends and their baby moved into that side.

Lest you think these are large duplexes, this side (the bigger side) is 890 square feet. Jon did a good job of jamming it all in.

Unfortunately there's no place for me to unpack. Until we move to Portland, I am camping at home more than I was when I was on the road. Everything in the house has been rearranged (in order to jam it all in) so I don't know where anything is. Just found some CDs the other day, so for the first time since Denver I have music.

The photo above left is from a small room off the garage. You don't want to see our living space as it's a bit cramped, but I'll describe it. Our small living-dining room now contains two desks (one for the graduate student), a sofa and loveseat, a 36-inch dining room table, four bookcases, a coffee table, four chairs and three rocking chairs. There's not much room to walk and I use the kitchen table for my laptop office.

Now you're thinking we were nuts for inviting our old neighbors over for dinner. At dinner Jon sat at the kitchen counter and George sat on the loveseat which was pushed up to the table. He and Alice don't mind because they know the food and the company will be good. I served fresh bread hot out of the oven, rosemary roasted potatoes (three kinds of potatoes from Idaho brewer Penny Pink's garden), lemon-grapefruit-garlic chicken thighs slow-cooked in the crock pot, and marzipan cake from the German deli for dessert.

After dinner Jon departed for Portland. He took the van but managed to find a business down the street that let him park Big Buddy in their gated lot for a month.

On Monday I faced our crowded house alone after our graduate student left for class. The reality check was this: a small desk in our bedroom covered in bills. Jon paid the bills while I was gone, but it is my job to double check his payment and file the bills into tax-appropriate folders. (Photo at right.)

First you're a sun-shiny superhero, then you're a bill filer.

Thank you for joining me on the journey!

A Visit to BrewCraft USA

"Every man has his gift, and the tools go to him that can use them." ~Charles Kingsley

October 19: Today I spent the day at BrewCraft USA. My husband Jon Graber is the new Operations Manager here. They just moved into a new warehouse near the Portland airport. BrewCraft sells home brewing, winemaking and distilling equipment, ingredients and supplies to homebrew shops all over the country. Above is a photo of Jon standing with some pallets of goodies about to be shipped out.

And let me tell you about the goodies! What a fun place to walk around. It feels like a football stadium full of tall stacks of all the goodies you could want.

Canned grape juice and extracts from all the grape-growing regions of the world for winemaking. Sacks of malted barley, hops and yeast in the cooler for beer making.

Plus little bottles of interesting extracts for making homemade liqueurs for Christmas gifts. Corks, crowns, corkers, crowners, foil cork covers, labels, books and equipment such as grape crushers, malt mills, "water purification" stills, and carboys of all sizes including squat carboys in plastic baskets for winemaking.

Jon's office is in the front of the building, but sometimes he needs to get paperwork to the warehouse guys in the back. (He actually works all over the building.) He found a little bike at Goodwill to speed across the warehouse to take care of business. He can put paperwork or small parts in the basket. I told him he needs silk hop vines to decorate the basket and he agreed.

I spent most of the day looking up rental companies online and checking Craig's List for house rentals. I couldn't update my blog because all my photos are on my laptop and I couldn't plug into BrewCraft's secure network.

I did unload the beer that I've been collecting on my trip. I separated out one bottle of everything to share with Jon once we move to Portland. That makes up about 2/3 of this stash.

Somehow I managed to fit all 14 of these cases shown at right either under one bench seat or under the trailer's table. I collected them from whichever among the 71 breweries I visited that was able or willing to share with me.

I couldn't put any beer in the van because the van got too hot. The trailer stayed a lot cooler because of the vent on top and the high ceiling (compared to a Chevy Astro Van).

About 1/3 of this beer is made up of mix-and-matched six-packs for my continuing brewery visits. I've been dropping off a mixed-six pack at each of my stops. The craft breweries gifted me bottled beer to go so I could spread the wealth, and the brewpubs bought me meals. It's been a very special trip!

I also unloaded the Stranahan Whiskey barrel. We put it in a corner of BrewCraft's warehouse. No sense bringing it home to Eugene just to move it back. Jon plans to enlist Wyeast to brew a Porter into it, in exchange for getting some of the whiskey-aged Porter back. Sounds like a win-win to me.

Tomorrow I will finally be home from my trip: 139 days!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Drive: Baker City, OR to Portland, OR

"We are made to persist. That's how we find out who we are." ~Tobias Wolff
October 18: Tyler made me a cup of tea and we sat in his kitchen and chatted beer. Being able to relax with other brewers and talk shop has been one of the many highlights of my trip. We checked the weather reports on the Internet often as the segment of Highway 84 between La Grand and Pendleton, Oregon, would be one of my toughest driving segments of the trip. Winter has arrived just as my summer vacation is drawing to a close.
There was snow on the side of the highway, and heavy winds plus rain and sleet. Just what I expected. Once I was past Pendleton I could relax a little.

The terrain is more varied here than it has been for most of the drive since I left Denver. I've been putting lots of miles on the van as you can see by the number of gas fills on the trip totals list on my website. At this point I am definitely like the horse that smells the barn at the end of the day and wants to go home.

In the photo at left, you can see a big logging truck moving toward me as my windshield wipers go. Yup, back in Oregon!

A little past Pendleton and Highway 84 hugs the south bank of the mighty Columbia River. In ancient times during the ice age, a glacier blocked the river upstream until a huge lake grew behind the ice dam. When the ice dam broke, such a huge serge of water flowed through the river's original small channel that it carved out the Columbia River Gorge. You can see one of the bluffs on the Oregon side of the river in the photo at right.

Yes I took these photos while driving down the highway. I felt my journey drawing toward a conclusion and I wanted to document some of what I saw from the road.

I arrived at Jon's work, Brewcraft USA at the end of the work day, one day earlier than originally planned. I had a lot of long driving days this week, but I was really ready to get back and see Jon.

BrewCraft USA bought F.H. Steinbarts Wholesale a few years ago, then sold the brewery wholesale side to Brewer Supply Group. Now BrewCraft just wholesales to homebrew shops.
BrewCraft just moved into a new warehouse in August, and a floating manager from out of town, Ginny, has been there to help with the transition. Ginny's husband, Rob, was visiting so Ginny, Rob and Jon & I went to the McMennamin's Edgefield complex for dinner at the Black Rabbit Restaurant.
If you've never been to a McMennamin's establishment, you're in for a visual treat. The McMennamin brothers employ a whole cadre of artists to embellish to their hearts content. As we waited to be seated, I glanced up and noticed this sprite peering down at me from a water pipe elbow up near the ceiling. If you go there and want to see it, stand at the entrance to the Black Rabbit Restaurant, turn around and look back down the hallway and look up to your right.

Rob was quite impressed with Edgefield as most visitors are. I often describe it as "Disneyland for Beer Drinkers." Not only is it visually strange and fantastic, there's also a brewery, a winery and a distillery on site, a movie theatre where you can sip beer while you watch, and many small and unique pubs, taverns, cafes and restaurants, so you can take your pick of where you want to imbibe.

Then it was back to the apartment that Jon has been staying in since he started his new job. We left Big Buddy and the Astro Van parked at BrewCraft tonight.

Monday, October 29, 2007

A Visit to Barley Brown's Brewpub

"The only true happiness comes from squandering ourselves for a purpose." ~William Cowper

October 17: Slept in till 9:00 or so. Penny made me tea and toast while I took a shower. She gifted me a cute little basket of homegrown potatoes from her garden including a mutant russet with three appendages. It was cold, windy and wet out, but we ran out to the brewery equipment boneyard in her driveway so I could assess the equipment that came with her new 4-bbl unitank fermenters.

Idaho has more Mormons per capita than Utah, and Penny said having a 12-foot or so tall copper combi-tank in her driveway had worked well to keep her neighborhood relatively beer-friendly.

The "combi" tank was bizzare. The top half was 2/3 liquor back and 1/3 mash tun. (Divided like pie pieces.) The bottom half was the kettle. I'm not sure how you could add hops, since you couldn't open the side-manway on the kettle without dumping boiling wort all over yourself. It's a steam system and Penny currently doesn't run steam. I wasn't too sure about that piece. I asked Penny if she could crane it into place on her brewery roof and shine spotlights on it so folks would see it like a beacon from the freeway.

The heat exchanger and small plate-and-frame filter showed much more promise. I recommended getting the heat exchanger cleaned and set up first so she could reduce her lengthy brew day by two more hours.

Then I took off west toward Oregon. A lot of southern Idaho is relatively flat, but the section of Idaho and Oregon between Boise and Baker City has huge rolling hills. I drove beneath the storm clouds and Oregon loomed sunny in the distance.

This part of Highway 84 is famous for wild horses. Most of them are dark brown with black mane and tail, and those are the wild horses I've seen before. I saw two mottled lighter colored horses among the dark ones today.

You can usually tell the wild horses because they stand together, often head-to-tail, as if they are looking out for cougar or other predators. Tame horses usually graze alone, either unaware or unconcerned about predators that may be lurking. I saw what looked like several wild herds on my drive today.

Ah, Oregon! The sun shines brighter, the air smells fresher, the music swells... Okay, no music since Colorado as Jon broke my radio antenna while trying to fix it. However, the point is that Oregon is awesome and I was so happy to cross the state line and see cars and trucks with Oregon license plates again. Although now I'm not so special, am I? Since I have Oregon plates too.

Cell service has been mostly non-existent since I left Denver, so luckily for my GPS system, I knew right where to go. I pulled into a vacant store's lot a street back from Barley Brown's, and went to put on a bit of makeup in the trailer.

As I locked the trailer, Barley Brown's Owner, Tyler Brown, walked up with a big smile on his face. He said it would be best to move Big Buddy to his house, so he rode with me the mile it took to drive there. I got a full tour of Tyler's house. Then we walked back to the brewpub.

Barley Brown's has been open for about seven years and Tyler remembers my first visit back then, because I was the first brewer to come and visit him. Baker City is a long way from most Oregon cities. In fact the nearest large airport is in Boise, Idaho. A lot of Oregon brewers didn't realize that Baker City had a brewery for a long time. It didn't help that the Oregon Brewers Guild, of which Barley Brown's is a member, put their "blow-up" map of Portland right over the eastern part of the Oregon map, effectively covering up Baker City and literally knocking Barley Brown's right off the map.

Tyler's parents used to run a Mexican restaurant at this location, but when a real Mexican family came to town and opened a restaurant, that was it for the Browns' Mexican place. Tyler still serves the old Chicken Fajitas recipe, and in fact the Mexican family comes in and orders it almost every Sunday, telling Tyler, "Your chicken fajitas are better than ours."

When the family's Mexican restaurant went under, Tyler, a homebrewer, convinced his parents to sell him the restaurant so he could open a brewpub. He contacted tank manufacturers, but JV Northwest wouldn't even give him a quote, saying, "Baker City is too small. You'll never make it."

That spooked Tyler enough to downgrade his equipment expectations from a 7-bbl system to a 4-bbl system. Elliot Bay manufactured the brewing equipment, and Tyler has proven he's no flash in the pan. He's limited by his small equipment now, and wishes he'd followed through on his original intention to buy a 7-barrel system. He's got a lot of fans in Boise and the distributors there want his beer. I told him, "If you upgrade, I'm pretty sure Penny Pink would be interested in your brewhouse."

It's been fun for me to connect people throughout my trip. Several people have told me that what I am doing is cross-pollinating the industry. The funny thing is that "Teresa," my given name (Teri is short for Teresa) is Greek for "Little Harvester," and somebody once told me that the little harvester is a bee. So I'm a bee, cross-pollinating the brewing industry. I like that!

Tyler keeps the business in perspective to his family life by only opening for dinner. Barley Brown's hours are 4:00-10:00 pm. Having one shift makes the busy restaurant easier to manage.

Tyler's brewer, Shawn Kelso, has a day job across the street at the paint store, so pretty much everybody works nights here. Shawn was in the middle of his work "night" and joined us for photos and beers. At the top of this page, Shawn (L) and Tyler (R) stand in front of the blue tape wall.

Because a lot of the brewery photos for this blog have been taken with everybody lining up on the brewhouse steps, I thought it would be funny if Tyler and Shawn lined up on their brewhouse steps too. As you can see in the photo at right, they only have two steps! The mash tun is in front of them, and the kettle is behind them. You can see the second wall of blue tape behind them.

What are those stripes of blue tape? See photo below left for a close up. At the beginning when Tyler was both brewing and running the restaurant, he wanted to keep track of each beer and which tank it was in. So he wrote the beer name, the date, and the starting gravity on a piece of blue tape and stuck it on the fermenter.

When Tyler transferred the beer to the bright tank, he moved the piece of blue tape too. Once the beer had been kegged off, Tyler wanted to make sure that he wouldn't forget to pay excise taxes, a new experience for a restaurateur, so he stuck the blue tape on the wall. Now there are two walls with blue tape labels on them.

Here is an example if you are trying to read the labels above: the 4th label down on the right is TURMOIL beer, brewed in 2004 and was batch number 246. It happened to be test batch #2 of that beer, and had a starting gravity of 1.066.

Barley Brown's doesn't filter its beers, but they've won a lot of fans. I especially liked their Whiskey Brown Ale, which is made with rye malt and Bamberg rauch malt. Even Paul Shipman of Redhook stopped in and tried the beers. Tyler recalls Paul saying, "I'm going to call my overpaid Brewmaster in Seattle and tell him that a little brewer in 'Podunk' Oregon is kicking his ass." That cracked me up!

One of the signature items on Tyler's food menu is the Mad Pasta. I tried it seven years ago when I visited. It's a curly pasta with chicken and alligator smothered in spicy marinara sauce. You read that right, Alligator. You're wondering where a restaurant in eastern Oregon would source alligator meat? Tyler tells an interesting story about that.

There are natural geothermal springs that feed a few creeks in Idaho. The water is so warm that they farm-raise trout there and the trout grow super fast. Unfortunately the trout create a lot of refuse, so somebody came up with the bright idea that alligators could live in the warm water.

So they put alligators in the geothermal creeks to eat the trout refuse. The idea was to sell the alligator skin for leather goods. The meat is a small byproduct. So, Tyler is buying farm-raised alligator meat from Idaho for $14.99 a pound wholesale. And his customers love it. (I tried it -it has the texture of chicken with a fishy flavor.)

Since I'd already tried the Mad Pasta before, I had the Chicken Fajitas tonight. They were good. After a full round of beers and a full tour of the brewery, Tyler gave me a lift back to his house.

I planned to sleep in my trailer because they have a dog and I'm semi-allergic, but it was so dang cold out I was certain my battery would go dead in the night (and therefore my mattress pad heater) and that I'd move inside anyway. Therefore I slept in the spacious basement guest room that Tyler offered me. He said their old dog never went down there anyway.