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Tenaya Creek Tour


Beer Diary,

A while back I did a beer review on Tenaya Creek Brewery, which led me to an interview with their GM Karl, which led to an open invite to check out the brewery whenever I was in Vegas. Well a few weeks back I was in Vegas so I took them up on the invite. They started up in 1999 and started bottling in 2008, they are a great bunch of guys. I did a post on them in November so you can read about them and some of their beers in more detail here or on their website

Karl was out sick that day 😦 , but he gave Anthony the brew master a heads up so he showed me around and we had a nice chat. We talked about the state of the Reno and Las Vegas craft beer scene, the fall of Buckbean, off flavor trouble shooting, a number of breweries, Tenaya Creeks Barleywine and a bunch of other beer geek topics. Anthony could not have been a nicer guy, he showed me all around, sampled beers with me and sent me home with their barleywine, hell ya! Side note Tenaya Creek is back in Northern Nevada, I saw them at Aloha in Carson this weekend and I am sure they are in most Ben’s liquors and Total Wines in the Reno/Carson area, check them out!

Old Jackalope Barleywine

It was funny because in my MGT 480 class the week before I had got in a debate with my teacher about how I don’t feel like I need to “kill my competition” when I own a brewery. My point was the reason why I picked the industry was because of the people and community involved in it. I like the fact that my fellow brewers are willing to sit down with an aspiring brewery owner to offer advice and war stories for the journey. I plan on doing the same when I am in a similar position.

I headed home for the long drive back to home with a restored focus and energy towards the goal of starting a brewery. Which led me to this post, it was the clear choice for my first post back from my hiatus from the blog. I finish college in a few weeks and for the first time the path towards the goal is not decided. Before it was always working towards finishing school, now I am seeking the other opportunities (jobs, contacts etc.) that will better prepare me for opening my own brewery, I can not enroll in hands on experience 101 thus the path is less clear, it is exciting and scary at the same time.  So I have decided to add a topic that my blog will cover, the journey towards the brewery, journalizing my search for a job in the industry and the stories along the way.



Better Late than Never Nevada Day Porter Brew Day


Last Nevada day I was part of an epic brew of a beer we dubbed Nevada Day Porter. This year we wanted to brew it again but Andy my friend and world’s best  graphic designer couldn’t make it up for this year’s brew on Nevada day. It just didn’t feel right brewing it without him so we waited till Thanksgiving weekend to brew it so he could be here.


Chocolate Malt Weighed and Ready

The beer is a porter with a heavy hop aroma, is well balance between the sweetness of the malt and bitterness of the hops and dark grains. We use the nice clean American Ale yeast from Wyeast. The idea is to brew it with ingredients only from Nevada. Maybe one day juniper, mountain sage, and pine nuts. For now the spirit of this brew is the environment it is brewed in is one of drunken, lovingly talking shit to one another, reminiscing about past times where we got drunk and lovingly talked shit to each other, and talk about our future plans to conquer the beer world. This beer represents everything I love about brewing, enhancing beers with non-traditional ingredients, community of brewing brings, drinking great beer, having fun with friends and family, and developing a new beer.

The system


We also got to crack open the two remaining bottles of the original Nevada Day Porter that were aged for over a year. The beer had defiantly changed over the time it lost most of its aroma which was expected. But it matured very well it was like a bourbon barrel aged beer without the harsh whiskey flavor, it was smooth to drink, it still came through with its dark malt soul. It was interesting to see how it aged, usually our beer gets drank up in a matter of weeks or even days. It makes me eager to try develop a  beer meant for aging.

The Cracking

The cheers and drinking

I can’t help but to think/hope this is genesis of our future brewery. Building traditions early and starting so cliche in our garage. We are scared enough of normal jobs, crazy enough to think it will work, think we are creative enough to stand out,  have a plan and vision the only thing left is to continue execute it. Going for the gusto. Thanks for the photos Andy!

Jeff my Brother Cleaning up

Top 7 Drinking Songs


Get ready to rock your socks off! I have complied a list of my top 7 drinking songs. You think I missed a gem? Let me know if I think it’s better I’ll put it on the charts.

7. Drunken Lullabies – Flogging Molly

6. Corn Liquor – Buck Owens

5. Beer – Reel Big Fish

4. My Drinkin Problem – Hank III

3. Irish Drinking Song – Buck O Nine

2. You Drink You Drive You Spill – NOFX

1. Chug-A-Lug – Roger Miller


Reno trying to become a USBG chapter city


Through the magic of Twitter I got wind that Reno was trying to become a chapter city of the USBG. What is the USBG? It is the United States Bartenders Guild and their mission statement goes like this:

The United States Bartenders’ Guild is an organization of beverage service professionals dedicated to the continued refinement of our craft. Such refinement is achieved through advanced product education; original hand crafted cocktail competitions; and aggressive involvement with other professionals in the beverage industry throughout the country and internationally. It is our intention, desire and main focus to become the most skilled, knowledgeable and professional group of bartenders in the industry.

I thought this idea was rad and worth reporting on so I got in touch with the fine young lady leading the charge to make Reno a chapter city, Nicole Barker is the Reno Chapter President and she was gracious enough to grant me an interview.

Why should Reno be excited to be a chapter city of USBG?

Reno should be excited to have a chapter of the USBG because the organization is a valuable asset to our community. It offers great networking and educational opportunities that can potentially put individuals, bars and our city on the map. USBG offers support in nationally recognized events, accrediting and competitions. USBG will potentially bring more industry based tourism to Reno. As well as aid in raising the local bar. Tourists and locals alike will benefit from a higher level of service, greater product knowledge and more passionate members of the service industry.

Say I am looking into becoming a bartender or I am out of work bartender why would joining USBG help me get a job?

Members of the Service industry will benefit from becoming members by advancing their education, product knowledge, by building a stronger industry network and showcasing themselves to a relevant market. If you are looking to break into the service industry or to trade up for a better position, being a guild member can only help. You will be introduced to many other service industry members who share your passion, building a sense of comradery. You will have the opportunity to better yourself in a rapidly expanding market, thus making yourself a commodity. We can all learn from one another and benefit from each other’s contacts and experiences.

Does it cost anything to join?

The Reno Chapter is in the process of becoming official. Upon joining USBG, you will be joining a national membership. Dues are $100 per year. These dues give you access to the nation membership network, competitions, health insurance and local events. We host at least one event per month and are always looking for subject suggestions and new ideas. We also host competitions, tastings and seminars. We are diligently working to create a substantial local basis of industry members to support an official local chapter. You can visit for more information and to become a member.

I am a beer man, so what kind of training and events will the Reno chapter be putting on that involves beer? Where can I find out more about them?

Beer is a rapidly expanding interest. USBG is on par with this genre of the bar. We spend an equal amount of time focusing on as many aspects of the bar industry. Beer is no exception. Currently we are putting an event together called Bourbon & Beer. This event will feature both bourbon and beer as well as cocktails involving the two. This event is scheduled in January. Specific date and time TBA.

Nicole Barker doin work at the Reno Usbg kick off event

What is your favorite: Beer, whiskey, vodka, gin and rum?

I thoroughly enjoy a variety of spirits in each genre… And my tastes are constantly changing an adapting.
Recently, I have had the pleasure of drinking a bourbon barrel aged barley wine that was fantastic. Just the right amount of caramel, laced with cardamom, cinnamon and vanilla. As far as vodka goes, I am not much of a fan, at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans last July, I was introduced to Purity Vodka which has a rounded earthiness that I could enjoy. I am currently swept of my feet with Nolet’s Silver Gin– a fabulous pet project of the family that produces Ketel One. It is light on the juniper, very floral with bright notes of raspberry and white peach. A beautiful and enticing profile for a gin. As far as Bourbon goes, I may always be a Knob Creek girl. I enjoy the rich spice and vanilla finish coupled with a stunning heat. The reserve is worth writing home about. For rum, I am going to deviate a bit with another similar spirit born in the carnival jungles of Brazil, Cachaca. It is made from sugar cane rather than molasses and has a rustic and roasted heat that is exquisite when properly mixed. It is a little outside the box, just the way I like it.

Original USBG Reno Members Left to Right Josh Taylor, Nicole Barker(Reno USBG President), Armando Rosario (Las Vegas USBG President), Annalisa Rox (Reno USBG VP), Vaughn Silva (Reno USBG Treasurer)

Where should I go, or who should I talk with to join the USBG?

You can access more information about USBG on . You can also follow us on twitter and join the USBG Reno Chapter Facebook Page. You can contact me directly, Nicole Barker, at 916-494-1935 or
We hope to become the first new official chapter in 2012. Please join the movement!

Happy Day


Beer Diary,

Every year for 10 years now there is a special event called Happy Day. It is to the pub crawl to drinkers like Ironman is to a triathlon  athlete. A 12 hour test of your will, liver and common sense. It also usually leads to someone losing muscle control. I meant to write a post while under the effects of Happy Day but I forgot… Oops. The semester is almost over anyway sooo pretty soon I can write posts in the amount and time of my choosing.

ANYWAY back to Happy Day highlights. This marked the third year of my brother and I making Happy Day beer. We went bold this year and made an IPA. So for the first time I will review my own beer.

Hoppy Day IPA has the aroma of sweet citrus flowers on the breasts of a beautiful naked women. It hits your taste buds like the fists of UFC heavyweight champ Junior Dos Sontatos and the 7.3% alcohol warms your belly like a fire side chat with FDR. The hop flavor lingers on your tongue like the super drunk dude at the party who won’t leave and you totally just want to pass out but you think he will steal your Ipod. Yeah that is the one thing I didn’t like about it but hey that is the price you pay for hardcore IPA’s. Overall we learned some things with this brew and we will hit the drawing board for some tweaks to the recipe.

The rest of Happy Day was a blast, tons of laughs, good memories with friends and stories to talk about the next year. Happy Day can eat your alive if you aren’t careful but if you pace yourself and maintain your wits you’ll have a great time as I did. Cheers and I will see you all next year.

Beer Review: Hop Trip


Beer Diary,

I got to try Hop Trip tonight! They got it on tap at Sassafras, I got all excited and was like “SWEET they have Hop Trip I have been meaning to try that shit!” To which I got some disapproving stares.  But hey what can I say I love beer. Also had the chicken fried burger at Sassafras soooooo good, don’t know what I mean think chicken fried steak but with a burger.

Hop Trip is a fresh hop ale done by Deschutes Brewery. It is a seasonal release. 5.4% and 39 IBUs. I got a nose full of grapefruit and nice spice notes in the taste. I really liked this beer lots of hop flavor but not overly bitter. Beer Advocate rating, beware half are from the past release in 2008. I recommend it to people looking to ease their way into pale ales or IPAs.

Check out the webpage for Hop Trip. It gives pairings, links to Deschutes Blog and cool to see! it gives a link to a clone recipe for Hop Trip for you home brewers.



Beer Diary,

I have seen heaven and its roads are  paved in aluminum. Last weekend I attended CANFEST put on be BuckBean and tried a beer from every brewery participating in the event.  Well… every microbrewery.  It was insanely fun filled with mini bikes running around, tons of beer lovers, music and food.

I was on the hunt for the sleeper brewery waiting for someone to surprise me. I was having some solid beers but I was having some so so ones and I got to admit there were few with major flaws in their brews. But I was looking for someone to impress me and it came in the form of a brewery I have never heard of. They didn’t even have a sign and they were stuck in the corner.

Crow Peak Brewery  impressed me with their porter, nice full flavor, rich coffee tones, creamy going down. It was tasty for sure.  I think it stood out because it went down so easy and most everyone had their IPA’s in full swing. Which I love don’t get me wrong but I tried a lot of IPA’s that night and they all start to meld together.

21st Amendment did a special tasting of their Watermelon Wheat and it kind of disappointed me. Mostly it tasted like watermelon jolly ranchers. But the rest of their beers were excellent as usual.

It was my first CANFEST and it was good times, I was with a buddy and we tried 30 breweries 2 beers a brewery so I tried around 60 beers.  I bought 5 dollars in raffle tickets and won a nights stay at the Peppermill so that was rad. I am going to use it for Happy Day next Friday!  I hope to see you there.