August 1998 Newsletter

ISSUE #29 AUGUST, 1998

[Editor: This marks the first distribution of the newsletter via our new (free) Internet listserver service. Please, feel free to mail me your feedback, comments, suggestions, etc. at paleales@a….]


(Reminder – meetings are held on the last Monday of each month)


Call her the diva of micro-organisms, the fermentation guru. Any way you look at it, Dr. Sonia Narvas-Quiason knows more about fermentation than anyone you’ll ever meet, brewers included. She will be speaking to us about fermentation with regard to beer, wine, and other comestibles.

Dr. Sonia Narvas-Quiason is Professor of Food Microbiology at the University of the Philippines. She holds a patent for Rice Beer making (different from sake, rice wine), and has delivered scientific papers in international conferences worldwide. She is the author of a book entitled “Indigenous Fermentations Theory and Practice”, and will be publishing shortly a second book on indigenous foods and drugs. She is a holder of several master degrees as a pharmaceutical chemist, botanist, and microbiologist.

Narvas-Quiason will speak and answer questions on various fermentation topics including:

  • Classification of the different fermentation processes
  • Discussion of the different microorganisms involved in fermentation
  • Different fermentation processes found in different countries
  • Unorthodox Beers
  • Entrepreneurial Aspects (how to make money)


In other news, the club is gearing up for the upcoming AHA competition we will sponsor this coming December. Things are coming together rapidly, and we are looking for members to help out with judging, organization, processing entries, and many other necessary tasks.

No kidding, this was one of the largest competitions on the East Coast last year, in terms of prizes and entries (over 300). This is probably the single biggest undertaking for our club the entire year. Volunteer and be part of an exceptional experience – not to mention the fact you get to taste some great beer in the process!


Last month’s meeting was a double-header, with both a beer tasting panel and Adam Rechnitz, owner of Triumph brewpub, as a featured speaker.

The beer tasting panel was done in a very informal format, which many members seemed to like. Labeled beers were randomly laid out on the table and sampled, with the tasters sharing their impressions with the brewer, and vice versa. Personally, I sampled many good beers from various styles. Two standouts in my mind were a bock and rye bock.

Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, giving and receiving feedback on the process we all love (and sometimes hate) so well – making beer. One member made a good suggestion about possibly reserving some space in the walk-in freezer for lagers next time – as the serving temperature was a wee bit warm for some beers.

After the tasting session, Adam Rechnitz, owner of Triumph spoke on the trials, tribulations, and realities of owning a brewpub. (Main complaint about owning a brewpub – “I never get to actually brew the beer anymore.” Adam also provided many free pitchers of beer. I particularly liked the hefe-weizen and the IPA was especially good this batch (loaded with Northwestern hop goodness!).

Afterwards, Adam took interested parties on a behind the scenes tour of the brewery, which was quite informative. All in all a good meeting, many agreed.


A special congratulations to members Kent Brehm & Bruce Hammell, who won a gold medal for their Robust Porter in the AHA championships. Word is that their beer will be brewed at Poor Henry’s brewpub in Phila. In fact, the club may plan a field trip there to see how they make it.

Lastly, a tip of the hat to those PALE ALES members who made it into the finals – you have every reason to be proud as well. In addition, apologies if we’ve missed anyone who made it into the competition – please let us know.

BEER BOOT CAMP A Special Report from David Corbishley

As past readers may remember I attended the American Brewers Guild’s Advanced Homebrewers Weekend last May. In July I attended a new offering by the ABG, the Homebrewers Fantasy Camp which they describe as the ultimate 4-day homebrew experience. I’d have to say they aren’t far off in this claim!

While my memories of the “Weekend” are of the more technical aspects of brewing (math!), this class really fills in the parts that I had wanted after the first offering, hands-on brewing!

We divided the class into three teams and over three days we each brewed a typical homebrew full grain batch (10 gallons), a brew pub batch (10 barrels), and spent a half day in the lab counting yeast cells and doing other test that a brew pub or microbrewer might use. Besides the two ABG full-time instructors, Steve Parkes and David Sohigian, we were aided in the brewing sessions with two brewers; Luke DiMichelle from River City Brewing in Sacramento and Darren Whitcher of the Brew Brothers, Eldorado Hotel, Reno. The knowledge and experience of these four brewers was excellent and really made the class interesting.

The class included plenty of time for developing ones sensory skills through both structured tasting for common defects, a pub crawl to local brew pubs in Sacramento, and a half day tour with tasting at the Sierra Nevada Brewery with the brew master Steve Dressler.

Sierra Nevada really gave a great no-holds-barred tour, including their recent expansion. I’ll bring the pictures to the next meeting if you missed them last month. This is really a highlight of the class; even the professional brewers were excited to take part in the tour. Steve was kind enough to stay after the tour and have dinner with us at Sierra’s brewpub.

I especially want to mention one of the last sessions, led by Steve Parkes, on cask conditioned ales. He has a lot of professional experience with cask conditioned ales and he made a pale ale in both cask and stainless steel conditioned. This included a tasting of the two methods that was very satisfying to the palate!

The class was made of a wide mix of students, two owned homebrew stores, two were women new to brewing but are planning a brew pub in Idaho, others were full grain with expensive brewing rigs ($1200 for a stainless steel 10 gallon cylindriconical fermentor), to partial grain brewers like myself using plastic buckets. We were encouraged to bring our beers for a GABF judge tasting and some of the beers were excellent. One guy made a Garlic Stout as his first batch as a brewer and it was very good (thankfully you just smelled the garlic, not tasted it).

I had plenty of opportunity to talk with the other participants about their homebrew clubs; we were the only one to have speakers on a regular basis. Most just met at a home brew shop and tasted each other’s efforts (not so bad as we found out at our last meeting).

Overall the class was excellent. I had a chance to see some parts of brewing I have never done before and really learned a lot. I’ve already invested $35 in a cooler-based mash tun that should really help me. While not inexpensive when you add in travel to California, it is a great experience for those really interested in brewing.

The American Brewers Guild is reachable at


PALE ALES is now featured in the clubhouse section of The “clubhouse” is an online discussion group for our club (and interested parties) to participate in. The full address for the clubhouse is – you can also type “Pale Ales” in the Search edit box, and you will be brought to the Pale Ales clubhouse. Log on, and as the slogan says “Let’s talk beer…”

In related news, we are currently working on revamping and updating our web site. Keep your eyes peeled for it!


SEPT. 12, 3rd Dayton Beerfest, AHA Sanctioned Competition, Dayton, Ohio. Sponsored by DRAFT. Entries due 9/4/98 with a $5/entry fee.
Contact Robert Bateman at (937) 845-0572, e-mail: batman@e….

SEPT. 19,Barley Literate Octoberfest, AHA Sanctioned Competition, San Marcos, Calif. Entries due 9/12/98 with a $5/entry fee. Contact Don
Bennett at (760)740-8684 (h) or (619) 233-4755 (w), e-mail: dbenman@h….

SEPT 19, A Firkin Festival, AHA Sanctioned Competition, Williamston, Mich. Sponsored by Firkin Homerackers Guild. Entries due 9/8/98 to
9/15/98. Contact Fred Clinton at (517) 623-6073 or (517) 655-6701.

SEPT 19, West Hundred Open, AHA Sanctioned Competition, Chester, VA. Entries due 9/11/98 with a $6 fee 1st entry, $5 each add’l entry.
Contact Brian Dueweke at (804) 276-4669 (h), e-mail: wkendbr@e….

SEPT 26, Derby Brew Club 5th Annual Homebrew Competition, AHA Sanctioned Competition, Derby, Kan. Entries due 9/11/98 with a
$5/entry fee. Contact Chuck Stiner at (316) 488-2659, e-mail: cnstiner@f….

SEPT. 29, Mid South Fair Oenology and Beer Making Competition, AHA Sanctioned Competition, Memphis, Tenn. Entries due 9/23/98. Contact
Jim Malone at (901) 758-1794 (h) or (901) 795-0065 (w), e-mail: Jiminmem@j….

OCT. 10, Oktobersbest, Cincinatti, OH. Sponsored by Zinzinatti Homebrew Competition. Entries due 10/1/98 with a $5/1st entry fee, $3/ ea.
add’l. Contact Jeff Seeley at (513) 231-6062 (h) or (513) 627-5005 (w), e-mail: seeley.ja@p…

*Secretary/Newsletter Editor, Kevin Trayner
*President, Roland Pena *Vice President, Dave Corbishely *Treasurer, Al Boccardo


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Princeton and Local Environs Ale and Lager Enthusiast Society