Sunday, December 21, 2014

Point of brew: Davis Beerfest: So many beers so little time


From page A7 | June 05, 2014 |

I have some good advice:
Take it easy! And what could be a better way to relax than drinking a beer or two in the shade on a warm June day? Sound good?
Then please plan to attend the Davis BeerFest. You will be glad you did! The Fest will be held Saturday, June 7, starting at 2 p.m., under the shady overpass by the Sudwerk on Second Street.

Tickets in advance for will-call (do hurry!) are $40 at Davis BeerFest 2014 (via Google), which saves $5 over the price at the door. Ticket includes unlimited tasting of more than 100 beers from 45 breweries, a sausage sandwich, music (three bands), brewery tours, raffle prizes, silent auction and a tasting glass to keep.

Parking is free at Target with a shuttle bus to the site. What a deal!
The event is a fundraiser for Citizens Who Care, a Yolo County charity that offers respite services and time off for the caregivers of elderly folk; this enables them to stay in their own homes longer than otherwise would be the case. It’s a very kind and necessary community service.
I hope to see you there. Say hello!
We shall have many interesting beers at the BeerFest from breweries near and far. These will include a few beers that are not available in California, some beers that are hard to find here because they are in limited distribution and other beers than can only be described as exotic.
Before I tell you about beers that will be at the BeerFest, here is the story of a beer I shall not have present (although I tried to get some!): It’s a beer called Carakale, named for a Middle East wild cat. The brewmaster and owner is a former student of my Master Brewers Program that’s taught at my Sudwerk classroom.

I thought that Yazan Karadsheh would have a rather uphill battle bringing craft-brewed beers to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and, as you can imagine in an Arab county that’s predominantly Muslim, that proved to be the case. It took two years of steady pressure and the influence of friends and well-placed contacts merely to get permission to build the brewery.

Jordanians, before Yazan’s brewery, could enjoy only one kind of beer: the ubiquitous pale lagers available around the world and made in Jordan under license from Amstel (Heineken). His determination to bring craft beers to Jordan was largely driven by his experiences as an engineering student in Colorado, a hotbed of craft brewing, and his early experiments with home-brewing.

That experience and his ambition brought him to my classroom to gain the fundamentals of brewing science that he knew were necessary for the future of his project.
His splendid brewery, owned and operated by the family, is located near the small town of Fuheis, a Christian (mostly Greek Orthodox) area in the Fuheis Canyon, which is part of the Shaab Valley; it is a recreational and tourist area some 20 kilometers outside of the capita city Amman.
The story of Yazan Karadsheh and his brewery was featured in the Los Angeles Times on May 30: ”A beer pioneer launches Jordan’s first microbrewery.” The tale begins with these somewhat ominous words: “Yazan Karadsheh is wary of unannounced visitors. When a car without an appointment arrives in the outer yard of his brewery, seven guard dogs surround it, barking furiously.”

The story goes on to tell of a fascinating struggle to build a brewery and bring a beer to life in a place where it is haram (forbidden).
Not forbidden is the music at our BeerFest; that will doubtless set your toes tapping. And we have the beer to go with it, called Dancing Man; this beer is only available in Wisconsin, but, since the owner brewer Dan Carey is a former student, a case of it graciously found its way to our BeerFest.

Dan is one of those many truly passionate brewers; I like this comment of his that draws a parallel between art and science and creativity: “Some paint, others sing or write or dance — I brew.” Dan has a broad canvas.
We also have a lovely selection of beers from North Coast Brewing (Fort Bragg) including some barrel-aged beers packaged under corks, including Old Rasputin and North Coast Grand Cru in very limited distribution.
Our old friends at Russian River have also sent a generous selection of beers, including some of their most famous labels. We also have two Jeroboam bottles (double magnums or 3 liters) of Supplication Ale that will be in the silent auction, along with a half-case of Dancing Man and the North Coast beers mentioned; some lucky bidder will take these beers home to enjoy with friends.
All in all, from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday promises to be a fun time well spent in support of a worthy cause. I hope to see you there.
— Reach Michael Lewis at Comment on this column at



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