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Topics - phillamb168

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Beer Travel / Los Angeles
« on: April 18, 2015, 08:17:29 AM »
Hey guys, long time no talk. Been a busy busy busy busy YEAR and a half practically. All is fine, no health problems, but with three kids and a ton of new business coming in with my company I barely have time to sit down these days.

I'm going to be at Drupalcon in LA from Saturday may 8th through the monday after, the 17th. If any of you guys are in the LA area I'd be happy to bring a few interesting French beer bottles and talk beer in general. And if you have suggestions for good bottle shops that'd be much appreciated as well :-)


Events / 2014 GBBF
« on: July 17, 2014, 10:09:20 AM »
So far it's me, Theoman, and Alikocho. Anybody else going? I'll be there from Tuesday through Friday.

The Pub / Great British Beer Festival
« on: February 25, 2014, 02:55:33 PM »
Hi everybody,

I'm planning on going to the GBBF this year. It's from August 12th - 16th (Tues through Sat). I'd like to know if anyone else was planning on attending, and if so if you'd be interested in doing a group apartment rental for the occasion. Price for lodging through airbnb looks to be about 1k euros / 1,300 usd for four nights, so if we can get four people that's $350 per person. This would be right next door to the convention center.

Ticket prices for the event itself are £10/day, and beer prices are typical london, around £3-4 for a pint. I've been once and it was a riot. Lots of interesting people, plenty of good beer, mostly British styles of course but there's an 'imports' section as well. Also going on at the same time (I think) is the London Craft Beer Festival, which is £35 for a ticket, glass, and a free sampling from each of the stands.

Homebrew Clubs / Technical meeting ideas
« on: February 06, 2014, 10:05:45 AM »
We're starting a new technically-focused meeting in two weeks and I'm wondering if any of you have ideas about what form these meetings should take, what should be discussed, etc. Our rough draft is currently: 30 min presentation, 5 min Q&A, 15-30 min BJCP style example discussion, 30 min 'what happened to my beer?' panel and then 30 min -> ??? general discussion.

The Pub / Plywood face frames?
« on: December 15, 2013, 02:55:18 PM »
So originally I was going to be milling all the face frames for our kitchen redo myself, from cherry stock (same for the door rails & stiles). However that precluded getting a table saw, and for the moment I think we're holding off on that purchase.

I am wondering if anyone knows of any reason other than aesthetic that I could not use birch plywood for cabinets, face frames, rails and stiles and panels all together? The cabinets would be getting painted, face frame assembly is with biscuits and pocket hole screws. The face frames on the drawer side will get a 3/16" radius beaded edge, so I will need to be routing the faces of the ply. Should I be concerned about chip out on the router cuts? Is there any reason why I can't get away with 100% ply for the whole kitchen? I am thinking to use 20mm ply for the whole project.

As an FYI/reminder, I'm in France, there are no such things as lumber supply stores, and plywood is $75 a sheet, which is still way cheaper than pre-milled precut hardwoods.

Wood/Casks / Fernet Porter
« on: November 29, 2013, 09:49:38 AM »
I had seen some publicity about Odell's Fernet Porter and decided it would make a great dessert beer for our Thanksgiving party last Saturday.

I still don't have the basement cleaned or organized so I haven't had space to brew for a long while now, but I was able to do something somewhat homebrew-y for Thanksgiving. A friend of mine had a bunch of vanilla porter that he had brewed and was more than happy to sell me some uncarbonated finished beer, he told me it'd be great to have less to bottle.

Anyway I took a 2.5 gallon soda keg and filled 'er up, put it on ~0.25 PSI for a week. A few days before I had taken about a cup and a half of medium toast virgin American oak chips and put them in a glass jar, adding Fernet until the liquid had just covered the chips. I let that sit for three days and then added the whole thing to the keg before pressurizing and had it on wood for a week. Tapped the keg, ran it through a beer engine w/ sparkler (hence the low carb volume) and I am not kidding, that beer was gone in an hour.

The Pub / Au pair?
« on: October 24, 2013, 07:59:24 AM »
We're due for baby #3 in April, and my wife and I have been thinking about hiring an au pair to help out around the house. Do any of you guys know someone (male or female, aged between 17 and 30) who would be interested in coming over between now and May 1st? Pay is typically 300 eur/month, basically pocket money. Work is on a part-time (20 hr/week) basis. Here's a good overview of what is involved:

Anybody have a niece or nephew who is super great with kids and wants to learn French?

Going Pro / Lifestyle
« on: October 14, 2013, 09:37:03 AM »
As mentioned in my other post, the brewery/pub project is picking back up again. The whole process is exciting, as I've been sort of pushing myself into the Paris food and beer scene, I've made a lot of connections and met lots of cool people, and I feel comfortable saying, despite not having yet done a POC/Market test, that a brewpub would work pretty darn well, even if it's in the suburbs.

I am not terribly concerned about income, as the current pub is packed every single weekend and they don't even serve good food, and I'm not terribly concerned about raising money because with a combination of kickstarter, our own funds, and friends helping out, I know we can afford the price he's asking.

My real concern is being able to maintain a healthy lifestyle, one which allows me to be with my kids and wife as much as possible. I'll give you an example of the way it is right now: I am less than enthused with my current job, as I have ~3 hours of commute every day, and my coworkers are annoying and the work is boring. But, the pay is great, and I have my weekends to do whatever I want with the wife & kids, plus evenings can be pretty calm. Pretty standard 8-7 (like 9-5 but with crappy commute) living, really. I make enough to allow my wife to not have to have a job so she can take care of the kids at home, and while we don't have a Mercedes, we have a couple nice cars and I really love our moderately-priced house.

The thing that allows us to live like this is the fact that I am a contract worker with my company based in the US. If I was a salaried employee, I'd be lucky to be making 35,000 a year, and that is _not_ enough to continue our lifestyle. So if we do the pub thing, I'd be taking on part-time contract work to make ends meet, getting up a little earlier and going to bed a little earlier to fit in the hours. I've done it before and it's worked out alright. But my concern is, with the pub, how do I balance work and life? The current owners have made the pub their life, and I don't want to do that. I want to hire good talent and farm out whatever I can, but I also want to have 'creative control' over the enterprise as a whole.

Am I just dreaming, is this even possible? I am willing to accept some sleepless nights and a few days of 'when will this day end,' but I DO NOT want that to be my day-to-day. I want to be able to have two consecutive days off and I want to not have to be in the pub every night until close. I figure this will be much easier to do as I live literally next door to the place, but, oof. So many questions...

How do you guys do it, without giving up on family?

Going Pro / Square footage
« on: October 14, 2013, 09:25:30 AM »
The pub next door has decided to close up shop in the next year or so, and the landlord for whatever reason has taking a liking to me and has offered to sell it to me at a reasonable rate: 350k or so for ~800 square feet of dining space plus an additional 1200 sqf above the dining room that is currently his apartment but could be turned into additional dining/activity space. There are also several outbuildings (more like sheds with stone walls), totaling about 400 square feet. My question is this, will 400 square feet allow me to have a brewing system that will not have me in the brewery every hour of every day? The 400 square feet is not a big open space either, it's more of an L shape, with the larger leg being ~ 280 sqf.

Nice to see the project picking back up, but I wanna be super careful.

The Pub / Madame Figrao
« on: October 11, 2013, 08:43:24 AM »
Here's a video of me in Madame Figaro (it's the French/Le Figaro equivalent of the NY Times' Sunday Magazine) talking about homebrewing... near the end:

Part of it is sponsored by Heineken. I had no idea when they did the filming that the "beer expert" (Bierologue) would be a Heineken shill. He talks about how great Pelforth, Heineken, and Desperados (basically Bud Lite Lime) are. A friend gave me the complement that 'at least there was one guy who knew what he was talking about.'

The Pub / Wire nuts vs. screw terminals
« on: October 04, 2013, 01:07:58 PM »
So I was talking about DIY the other day with a (somewhat of a) know-it-all colleague. He proceeded to tell me that wire nuts were incredibly dangerous because of 'microvibrations' that can cause fires.

The only available option here are these screw terminals:

They're used for everything. In my mind they're super bulky and much less safe because they're so hard to screw down properly (jewler's flathead, for the most part).

I am pretty sure that it's just standard 'my dad told me it was bad 50 years ago, so it must still be the case,' but I'd like some ammo for the discussion.

The Pub / Operation Takeback: The Great Hop Caper
« on: September 24, 2013, 05:56:12 PM »
So here's the deal. We moved house recently - call it good luck, divine providence, what have you, but a friend of a friend's coworker was moving and as the place he was renting was his dad's, he wanted to try to find a tenant to replace them.

For us it was love at first sight - an "American-sized" house, 2500 sq feet, big ol back yard, lots of room to BBQ and to garden, etc.

We moved in, but I forgot - or rather was too bushed to take transplant - our hops that we had planted at the old place. I figured I'd ask the new tenants really nicely if I could come and pick them up, and replace them with any similarly sized planting of their choice. This was necessary because my only source for hop rhizomes (in the US) is no longer shipping to Europe, and I didn't want to have to deal with asking someone to bring over contraband live plant materials.

This would have been a fine plan, were it not for what happened literally weeks after we moved in. While the new tenants of our old place were (thank God) out on vacation, lightning struck the house and burned the attic to cinders and collapsed the second floor. I shudder to think of what would have happened had we still been living there - we never take vacation in the summer and would surely have been there.

Anyway, now the building is temporarily condemned until the structure can be replaced - most buildings here are stone walled with all of the load being carried by the exterior walls and the roof trusses, no internal support to speak of - and so nobody is allowed on the property for insurance reasons.

I want to get my hops back. The work involved in fixing the house up won't be finished for an entire year, and I don't want to wait that long. The hops themselves are in an area far away from the house and if, heaven forbid, the walls came tumbling down, I'd be far enough away to not have any problems.

I am thinking to do this one of these evenings, sometime after midnight. What I need to know is, how should I go about transplanting them? What I was figuring I'd do was follow the vines down to the ground, then dig out as much as possible whatever rhizomes I can, then cut the vine at about 6 feet high, and replant the whole thing in the next few weeks, before first frost. Will this work? Will it be a problem if part of the rhizome is broken in some way? Should be OK, right.

The Pub / Footbeer
« on: September 15, 2013, 07:17:10 PM »
What you do:

Post the game you're watching. Post the beers you're drinking.

SN Liberty ale pregame
2x 50cl Augustinerbrau Helles
1x SN porter
1x Goose Island IPA

All Things Food / pig roast
« on: September 03, 2013, 11:01:39 AM »
This goes with my earlier Oktoberfest thread. It will most likely be easier for me to roast a whole pig, so I'm leaning that direction. A friend of mine has used those 'cajun microwaves' before, I'm wondering what y'all think of them. It's either that or a spit roast. I am leaning towards the spit, because I like to put on a show.

The Pub / Breaking Bad
« on: August 16, 2013, 08:13:11 AM »
I am just now beginning to watch this series. Hank is a homebrewer! Who knew? Well I guess most of you. Would love to get one of those 'Schraderbrau' label images.

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