January 1999 Fermental Order of Renaissance Draughtsmen Vol. 7 - No. 1

In this issue:

December's Meeting
Rich Byrnes

Well, our last meeting of the year was a well attended one for sure. I believe the masses showed up to see Pat Babcock's first meeting as president. It was nice to see such a big turnout and Pat handled himself marvelously (although many people noted he needs a bigger mouth, like the last guy!)

We had a special guest at the meeting, Ken Schramm from the AABG, to talk about the annual Mazer Cup Mead Competition. Pat Babcock mentions more about this event later in this newsletter.

Pat started the meeting by introducing the new officers: Pat Babcock, Jim Racine, Mike Arend, Chris Frey and Rich Byrnes. He then thanked the outgoing staff for all their hard work, dedication and assistance to the club. Doug Geiss has volunteered for the Business Manager position again this year, Tyler Barber has volunteered for the Equipment Manager again and there is an “pening” or the exalted position of Special Events Coordinator. Please contact Pat Babcock or Rich Byrnes if interested. Johanne Wilson and Jim Rice are the judging coordinators for the year.

Pat also took a minute to thank all our retailers who gave us a discount the past year: Brew & Grow, Brew it Yourself, Cuomo Hardware, the HomeBrewery, Merchants Fine Wine in Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Royal Oak, Mt. Clemens Hardware and Wine Barrel Plus.

One of the highlights of the evening was introducing the 1998 Homebrewer of the year, Tyler Barber. Jim Rice (1997 Homebrewer of the year) and myself got to present the plaque and engraved mug to Tyler. Congratulations to Tyler who has challenged all brewers to try and beat him this year. Jim Racine was awfully close in club points to Tyler this year but Tyler had the edge with some other competitions.

Pat mentioned that the December issue of Midwest Beer Notes had a big article about Michigan beer and breweries.

The 50/50 raffle will be brought back to help defray costs. This month there were prizes thrown in the raffle and the full pot ($82) goes towards helping sponsor the Mazer Cup.

The next meeting will again be held at Sisko's in Taylor on Wednesday, January 27th. Sisko's is located on Monroe (between Telegraph and Southfield), just south of Vanborn. Their address is 5855 Monroe and their phone number is 313-278-5340. Sisko's also has a website at http://www.siskos.com/. The competition for this month is Specialty & Experimental Beers. As usual, the thirsty hard-core who want dinner will start arriving around five, people will drift in for an hour or so, and by 6:00ish, we will start our meeting.

Pat Babcock

Happy New Year!

December's meeting started a bit late (my fault ;-). We shared in a brief discussion with Ken Schramm of the AABG regarding the Mazer Cup - the premier all-mead competition. Ken discussed tasting events to be held on the 2nd Friday in January and February in order to prepare those who would like to participate in the execution of the competition. It is my hope that some of our membership can get involved to not only help out the Mazer Cup, but to bolster the mead-awareness amongst our members. Scott Henry and I dabbled in mead a couple of years ago ourselves. Scott really enjoyed his whilst mine still languishes in a fermenter. For further information about the Mazer Cup, Ken can be reached at 734-334-1305 during business hours and via e-mail at schramk@wcresa.k12.mi.us or you can contact Dan McConnell at 734-663-4845 and via e-mail at danmcc@umich.edu. More info on the Mazer Cup can also be found at their website at http://hbd.org/mazercup.

Ken also gave mention to an effort to bring the 2000 AHA National Convention to Detroit. This is a worthy effort - one that we will definitely add our voices to! Not only does this afford us the exposure that hosting clubs are afforded, but it also will allow those of us (and local homebrewers) to actually attend one of these beasties with out spending an arm and a leg. And why shouldn't the Convention come here? Michigan is now enjoying great growth in the brewpub industry, and sports several microbreweries as well! And it makes sense that FORD should be involved in this as one of the metro area's largest homebrew clubs. As this effort picks up steam, I'll keep you informed of our progress (and likely drum up a "lobbying" and/or "organizing" volunteer, too). This plays right into my evil plans to have FORD host a national-level competition - a subject also touched on during the meeting.

Finally, Uncle Rich Byrnes read us all the ever classic "A Home Brewer's Night Before Christmas". Sigh! What would the season be without our favorite Christams story?!

I enjoyed December's meeting, as, I think, I will each meeting this year! I particularly look forward to working with everyone on the proposed projects for this year. We've got a lot of great things in mind, and a vast pool of talent from which to draw! Let's have at it!

PS: Dues are due...

New Treasurer Mouths Off
Chris Frey

Ah, a new year, a new position as a F.O.R.D. officer. I have been librarian, secretary, and now I get to handle the dough. In the past I have been pretty easy going with both the library and the newsletter. But now I will let a little of my German shine through (lineage, not language).

All 1999 dues need to be paid by 3/1/99! In the past we have let this date drag on and on and on. However, it is not fair to those who pay on time (and we even have a few who have paid early!), and it really is a great deal! Here is the dues schedule:

Annual Dues

Q- So, Crispy, what benefit do I derive from paying my dues?

A- You get:

  • The Newsletter!
  • The ability to show up to meetings without feeling guilty!

    Q- Big deal! I can get the newsletter off the Internet and what do I care if I show up and I haven't paid? I go to my college reunions and I never paid off my student loans. Ya gotta do better than that!

    A- OK, along with the pocket fisherman, you also get:

  • Access to our great library!
  • Access to our expansive brewing and bartending equipment!
  • Your info updated when it changes so other brewers can find you!
  • Invitation to the Beer-B-Que!

    Q- Yeah, so what. My brewing library is extensive, I have all the equipment I need, I've meet the people I wanted to meet and I don't need no stinking Beer-B-Que! Besides, I'll probably be at some stupid vehicle launch in Edison or some other god-forsaken area away from Michigan!

    A- Geez, Pat, you're a tough cookie. OK, along with the Ginsu knives, I can sweeten this deal just a little bit more. Pay by March 1st and you will also receive:

  • A new club member discount at participating homebrew supply locations AND...
  • Me off your back.

    So, make your check out to either me, Chris Frey, or to F.O.R.D. and deliver it to me at the next meeting or mail it to me at my home address:
    275 South Ann Arbor Rd.
    Saline, MI 48176

    Retailer News
    Rich Byrnes

    The Mt. Clemens Hardware store has closed down and the homebrew section has moved to an Aco store on Hall Road at Romeo Plank Road. The new homebrew section is called the Cap-n-Cork. Art welcomes all F.O.R.D. members to stop by and say hi . Art is glad to be back behind the counter helping homebrewers find quality ingredients at a great price. Art has 5 gallon cornelies kegs (coke, I believe) for $17. Call Art Baarck at 810-286-5202 for more info.

    There's A New Brew In Town
    Michael K. Nowlin, Bay City Times

    The best quote I've heard this year was uttered recently by Bay City's "Jumpin" Johnny Klein, owner of Steamers Pub on the West Side and Steamers Pub South in Saginaw. "Beer," he remarked, "is a lot like sex. It's all good, but some is better than others." No argument here, and Klein's discovered a sure way to achieve liquid ecstasy. Taste the delightful nectar of the gods made by Dragonmead microbrewery in Warren.

    His Steamers pubs are the only bars north of Detroit that have Dragonmead on tap, which in the Tri-Cities is kind of like having a monopoly on a commodity as essential to the good life as blue jeans and bowling balls.

    At $4 a pint, Klein admits it's the "highest priced microbeer in the state. But it's worth it. The complexity of the flavor profile, the robust body and the clear finish - Dragonmead's beers don't taste like any other beer you can compare it to. It's so awesome it's scary."

    Klein's not bragging. It's true. Dragonmead is the best beer made in Michigan that you've never heard of. I would recommend Dragonmead even to people who don't enjoy beer.

    Credit Steamers Pub South bartender Konrad Anderson for introducing discerning mid-Michigan swillers like myself to Dragonmead. "Anderson," explained Klein, "is an avid beer connoisseur, and he heard about these guys in Warren doing something unique. He came back after sampling some at their microbrewery and told me, 'This beer is incredible! You've got to go there.'"

    "So I went down there," Klein said. "Everything he said was right on."

    "Microbrewers in Michigan are making some of the finest beers available on the market today, but these guys are taking it a step further. Dragonmead is making beers that your average microbrewery is not making." A key difference between Dragonmead and other Michigan microbreweries is the creation process. Most use "generational" yeast - the same batch of yeast is used and re-used as a blend for several varieties of lagers, ales and wheat beers.

    Not Dragonmead. Owners Larry Channell, Earl Scherbarth and Bill Wrobel only use original yeast batches once for each specific style of beverage. "They take no shortcuts at all. For anybody who knows anything about making beer, that's incredibly painstaking," Klein said. "That's taking the extra step to ensure quality."

    Some history. Dragonmead opened in May, but the trio began making home brews six years ago after Scherbarth received a kit for Christmas. He and son-in-law Wrobel soon began challenging each other to devise better beer recipes, and the result became Dragonmead's "True Brew" Brewery guide.

    They've developed 26 separate beer recipes, including five American-style ales, eight English-style ales, three German-style ales, a German-style lager, six Belgian-style ales, two Scottish-style ales, and a Russian-style ale. Each beer is crafted using the grain from the country in which the style originated, what Scherbarth calls their "True Brew."

    The Camelot Bronze Belgian Ale, for example, consists of sweet orange blossom honey combined with imported Belgian two-row malted barley and Munich malt. "The only thing not from Belgium in that beer is the Warren water, and our water is pretty good," he quipped.

    Word about Dragonmead's magic is spreading, though they only make 18 barrels weekly and won't reach full capacity at their hospital- clean 5,200-square-foot factory until spring 1999. Detroit celebrity chef Jimmy Schmidt stocks Dragonmead at his Kercheval on the Hill in Grosse Pointe, as do such swank joints as the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club, the Pointe Bar-B-Q in Detroit, and Ashley's in Ann Arbor.

    Klein orders Dragonmead shipments one flavor at a time for his Steamers Taverns. He's served Squire Pilsen Ale and the Camelot ale, and he's now selling draughts of 90 Shilling Export Ale. Scherbarth warns that many of Dragonmead's wares contain higher-than-average alcohol contents, with several ranging from 7-10 percent instead of the 4-4.5 industry standard. That's sound advice. And take my advice - the perfect Yule gift this season is to treat yourself to Dragonmead for a guaranteed happy holiday.

    * Dragonmead Microbrewery in Warren is located at 14600 East Eleven Mile Road. For more info, call (810) 776-9428.

    Competition Results
    Jim Racine

    A big thanks to Mike Arend, Chris Frey, Mark Hansen, Tony Tantillo, Doug Geiss, Kathy Loftus, Don Parisot and Bryce Grevemeyer for judging. There were 12 entries for Pale Ales and 5 for Barleywine/Holiday Beers. And the winners are:

    Pale Ales Barleywine/Holiday Beers
    Place Name Style Points Place Name Points
    1 Chris Frey & Doug Geiss American Pale Ale 40/50 1 Tony Tantillo 40/50
    2 Mark Hansen American Pale Ale 38/50 2 Mark Hansen 37/50
    3 Kerry Havener American Pale Ale 36/50 3 Dan Riling 36/50
    3 Chris Frey & Doug Geiss American Pale Ale 36/50

    This month's competition will be Specialty & Experimental Beers (AHA), Category 23 a & b. The judging will be held on Monday, February 1st at Jim Racine's house. All are welcome. We'll start about 6pm. Call Jim at 313-277-5516 for directions or additional information.

    Entries for the 1999 National Homebrew Competition must be turned in March 29th - April 9th. If you need an entry form/instructions see Jim Racine at the next meeting.

    Pub Crawl

    Tyler Barber and Jim Rice are trying to organize several pub crawls throughout the year to cover many different brewpubs in the Metro Detroit area. If this is something that you would be interested in, please contact Tyler or Jim.

    Sue Merritt

    1998 Homebrewer of the Year... Tyler Barber! Another first place ribbon for Don Parisot...

    Beer Events, Meetings & Competitions
    Gabrielle Palmer

    Bigger Is Better!
    Terry Soloman from

  • Old Nick Barley Wine (Bottle) - Young's Brewery, London, England - If you're looking for Santa, forget it. This "Old Nick" has a red devil on the label and is devilishly delicious. This classic English barleywine is dark and full bodied (7.5 percent ABV). Old Nick is the perfect barleywine for first timers, very malty and fruity with hints of banana and perhaps a little anise. While the beer is full in body, the mouth feel is very soft, and exceedingly smooth on the palate.

  • Old Foghorn Barleywine Style Ale (Draught) - Anchor Brewing, San Francisco, CA - This beer is a true American classic. The beer is mahogany in color with ruby tints. It has a spicy bouquet and an intensely fruity aroma. The sweet caramel and toffee flavors blend with fruit and alcohol notes, before being perfectly balanced by a generous helping of hops. Full bodied and very rich (8 percent ABV). Fortunately, Old Foghorn has become a little less rare on the East Coast.

  • 1996 Big Foot Barley Wine (Draught) - Sierra Nevada Brewing, Chico, CA - This brew is a hop lover's dream come true. A huge floral bouquet arrives at the nose just ahead of the earthy malt and fruit aromas. Big Foot is creamy and full bodied, with rich malt and pineapple notes that give way to an extremely long and dry hop finish. At 12 percent alcohol by volume, this Big Foot was among the strongest beers ever brewed in America.

  • 1995 Samuel Adams Triple Bock (Bottle) - Boston Beer Co., Boston, MA - Don't let the name throw you, Sammy's "Triple Bock" is indeed a barleywine. Fermented with champagne yeast and matured for more than three months in charred Tennessee whisky barrels, this brew (17.5 percent ABV!) is more like a sherry than a beer. The sweet maple syrup and vanilla aromas are accented by strong alcohol notes, as are the flavors. Thick and distinctive on the palate, this beer is an acquired taste and will shock beer neophytes. Pour an inch into a brandy snifter and sip it slowly. Look for charcoal, vanilla, maple syrup, nut and alcohol tones. The beer has a sweet candy-like finish that is moderated somewhat by the dry alcohol tones that are also present in the finish.

  • 1997 Old Crustacean Barley Wine (Bottle) - Rogue Brewing, Newport, OR - Fruity and alcoholic (11 percent ABV), Old Crustacean comes in a small 6.4 ounce bottle. It's a good thing, because this ale tastes good and goes down very easily. The beer's sweet apple, pear and herbal aromas are balanced by a big spicy hop presence (120 IBU). A rich and creamy mouth feel compliments the complex fruit, vanilla, caramel, and alcohol flavors. The finish is smooth, hoppy and moderately dry.

    Ye Olde Brew News
    published by the F.O.R.D. Homebrew Club
    Gabrielle Palmer

    Pat Babcock
    Rich Byrnes
    Chris Frey
    Michael Nowlin
    Gabrielle Palmer
    Jim Racine
    Terry Soloman

    Club Officers:
    Pat Babcock, President
    Jim Racine, Vice President
    Rich Byrnes, Secretary
    Chris Frey, Treasurer
    Gabrielle Palmer, Newsletter Editor/Webmaster
    Sue Merritt, Photographer/Historian/Beer Mooch
    Mike Arend, Librarian
    Jim Bazzy, Special Events Coordinator
    Tyler Barber, Equipment Manager
    Doug Geiss, Business Manager

    F.O.R.D. is a private, non-profit organization of homebrewers. The main goal of this club is to promote awareness and appreciation of the quality and variety of beer; to share information regarding technique, equipment and skill required to brew quality homemade beer; and to encourage responsible use of beer as an alcohol-containing beverage.

    Correspondence should be directed to:
    Rich Byrnes
    30972 Cousino
    Warren, MI 48092

    Work: 313-390-9369
    Home: 810-558-9844

    (w) rbyrnes2@gw.ford.com
    (h) RByrnesJr@aol.com

    Visit our website at: http://www.be.ford.com/brewers/
    or external to Ford at: http://hbd.org/ford/

    current circulation... 125