Brew Ha Ha with Harry Duke and Herlinda Heras is a weekly one-hour radio show and podcast where we interview the leading craft brewers and we taste and describe the beers we talk about. The conversation is always lively, entertaining and informative.
Alex Barlow of Triple Point Brewing
Triple Point Brewing founder Alex Barlow joins Harry Duke and Herlinda Heras on Brew Ha Ha today. Alex has been a judge with Herlinda at some international beer competitions. One of his beers won at the Portuguese competition where Herlinda was a judge earlier this year. Triple Point Brewing is still fairly young. It is the successor to another brewery which didn’t make the cut financially but which was successful otherwise, including a good location and good partners. Alex also ran a beer sommelier school in England. He worked for Bass for 18 years and did consulting for 14 years doing beer education and training.
Herlinda and Alex were in the middle of judging a beer competition together when the news of Queen Elizabeth II’s passing reached them. He says it felt strange to be away when it happened and they all shared a toast to her memory. Triple Point Brewing is located in Sheffield, which has a population of 660,000, 20 breweries and a student population of about 60,000. It is surrounded by countryside and there is cycling and climbing all around Sheffield, in Yorkshire.
They focus on Lagers and the new style hoppy pales. Alex also likes the west coast pale ales and IPAs so they make some of those too. Their biggest selling beer is the Hellas Lager. They have a Fest Beer ready for Octoberfest, with Bavarian hops. He compares it to toast with marmalade on it. Anyone could enter at the Iberian Beer Awards, and he did enter and win, but with a different brew.
Herlinda has opened a Grape Ale from Dos Corvos in Portugal. This is the style that won in Iberia, but the brewery is from Poland, which was surprising. Alex likes being able to make good tasting beer by experimenting with ingredients. There are three different ways to make Grape Ale. One is aging beer in wine casks, which is fairly common. More recently people use wine must and age beer on that. Otherwise, they mix grape juice with the beer wort and then ferment them together. That third one is Herlinda’s favorite way. You can combine those techniques too.
Juncture Taproom plus Parliament Brewing
Peter Lopez and Adam Bosch
Juncture Taproom owner Peter Lopez and Adam Bosch of Parliament Brewing in Rhonert Park join Harry Duke in studio on Brew Ha Ha today. Peter Lopez reports that they are still alive! His gratitude goes to the neighborhood regulars and his staff. Half of his original staff is still with him. Junture Taproom and Lounge is located at the corner of Mission and Montgomery in Santa Rosa. They have 3500 square feet inside and a huge patio that overlooks Santa Rosa Creek. They have a large projection screen with surround sound. It’s a great place to watch a game. The menu is simple but tasty. They have 20 beers in rotation on tap, including several popular ones from Parliament Brewing.
Parliament Brewing in Rhonert Park is a family operation. Adam Bosch runs the tasting room and does sales and distribution, his father Alan mainly does the books and his brother Justin brews the beer. There are always new projects with a new business. He found that they had to start distributing beer in cans, which is growing. They also provide more beers in kegs for bars and restaurants. Their tasting room in Rhonert Park is located just south of the Costco. They have outdoor seating and plans to build more, to be able to hold up to 200 people. They have food trucks, including Tacos San Juan, Buns Only, Camacho, War Pigs, Lila’s Streetside Eats. Tuesdays is Trivia Night with Tacos San Juan and the other food trucks are in rotation, so not on the same day of the week.
Juncture Taproom’s rotation usually has 2 taps each for cider, sours, barrel aged beers, old-world pilsners and lagers, and seasonals. In the winter they may have more Stouts and Porters and in the summer time, more Hefeweizens and Pilsners or Lagers.
They taste Kaleidoscope, a hazy IPA that is Parliament Brewing’s flagship brew. Peter says it’s so good that they keep it on tap at Juncture Taproom Adam’s brother Justin discovered brewing science in college and invited him to to California to work with him. He is happy with the career choice. Kaleidoscope, at 6.9% AVB, it will not overwhelm you to have more than one. They made the recipe together, Adam chose the ingredients and Justin is in charge of the process. The name Parliament refers to a group noun sometimes used for owls and also for a community of people who collaborate. Kaleidoscope is considered to refer to butterflies (see the can art).
More Parliament Brewing Tastings
The second beer is a west coast IPA called Smosaic, which is a portmanteau of the names of the two kinds of hops used to make it, which are Simcoe and Mosaic. The AVB is 7.2%, it is more clean, piney, citrusy, the standard west coast IPA. It is balanced and the bitterness is not too strong.
The third beer is called “Seven and Citra” made with Idaho 7 hops and Citra hops. It is more bitter, well-hopped, and at 7.8% Adam calls it the bigger brother of Kaleidescope.
There are a lot of local stores in Sonoma County where they are available in cans and on draft in some. They also make a smoothie style kettle sour, with fruit added, they have Pilsners, as well as Stouts and others.
Herlinda calling from Portugal
Herlinda Heras is traveling again, this time she is calling in from Coimbra, Portugal. It is located in central Portugal, north of Lisbon and south of Porto. It has been a university town since the Middle Ages and it still is. Its university is one of the oldest in Europe. Herlinda is in Coimbra to judge in the Brew Coimbra Festival all weekend.
She has noticed that there are a lot of Americans in Portugal right now, on the streets and in public locales. Home prices have doubled since 2019, and Portugal is a new hot spot for Americans (and also lots of Europeans) to retire or to have a vacation home.
The Portuguese brewing industry is well developed. Also, they are known for wine and especially for Port wine. They also make Portuguese Grape Ale. One of them is the winner of the competition she judged. This show is broadcast when it is the middle of the night in Portugal, and we hope nobody from there is listening as Herlinda give a big hint as to who won the competition. The results are due to be announced tomorrow, local time in Coimbra.
Herlinda Heras is also a soccer fan and went to a game in Paris. The stadium food was disappointing, which surprised her. The international panel of judges includes judges from Panama, Britain and the Netherlands.
The grape ale that won the competition might be taken as a clue to California producers, to try making some Grape Ales too.
Anderson Valley Brewing’s new Pilsner
Anderson Valley's new Pilsner is the subject as Kevin McGhee and Fal Allen from Anderson Valley Brewing join Harry Duke on Brew Ha Ha today. Also in the studio for the conversation is cognac expert Frank Jacuba. This episode is all about Anderson Valley Brewing. Visit this other podcast episode to hear their conversation about cognac, from the same live show.
Anderson Valley Brewing has just launched a new Pilsner beer, which is now in national distribution for the first time in their 35-year history. Fal Allen tells about how they wanted this to be a traditional Pils, with a strong malt backbone and not too hoppy.
Anderson Valley started in 1987, so it celebrates 35 years this December. They focus on classic West Coast style IPA. They distribute nationally and internationally. Kevin’s family purchased the brewery in December of 2019, just before the pandemic hit. This gave them the opportunity to review their branding and their sustainability practices. They are the world’s first solar-powered brewery. They also recycle all of their water on site.
Frank Jacuba who knows flavors, gives his appreciation of this beer as a potential pairing with barbeque. Juicy Session IPA, a West Coast session style, fruit forward, an easy drinking beer. "That’s what we go for at Anderson Valley, beers you can have a second of.”
Visiting Anderson Valley Brewing
You can visit Anderson Valley Brewing at what they call the Beer Park, which is around 30 acres, located at the intersection of Hwy 128 and Hwy 253 in Mendocino Valley. They have an 18-hole disc golf course, which is free to play, it is dog friendly and they have an outdoor stage. There is a lawn with chairs so it is designed for people to enjoy the outdoor scene. They usually have a food truck and now they have their own menu Fridays and Saturdays. There are other food options in town. There is a group of musician/carpenters who built an outdoor stage with local redwood. They will have as many local musicians as possible there. They have an event page on their website, here.
Fal Allen says Anderson Valley is the most beautiful place he has ever been that has a brewery so he enjoys living and working there.
Frank Jacuba on Cognac
Frank Jacuba joins Harry Duke in the studio today on Brew Ha Ha, he is a cognac expert who is in today while Herlinda Heras is in France visiting the Cognac region.
Also in the studio today are Kevin McGhee and Fal Allen from Anderson Valley Brewing. They have just launched a new Pilsner beer, which is now in national distribution or the first time in their 35 year history. Turn to this other podcast episode for their entire conversation with Harry Duke about the new Anderson Valley Brewing Pilsner.
Frank Jacuba presents two samples of D’Usse cognac, a VSOP and an XO. He begins by describing the first cognac, the Vsop, and discusses its history and style. He describes one of his favorite ways of enjoying cognac, which is with thin slices of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and a bit of honey. You can even enjoy it by putting some in a glass of ginger ale. The flavor profile is complex because there is so much cognac of different ages in the blend.
The XO is a minimum of 10 years old, in a black bottle that really stands out on the shelf. There is so much character, history and soul in cognac that it can be really special.
You can enjoy cognac in many different ways. You can make a Sidecar or a Tiki drink with cognac. “A lot of people think it’s stuffy, it’s not stuffy. It’s a lot of fun. (…) Drink it how you want,” says Frank.
Herlinda Heras calls from Belgium
Herlinda Heras calls from Belgium to talk to Harry Duke about her travels in France and Belgium on Brew Ha Ha today.
Herlinda is calling in live from Halle, Belgium, where it is 2 am. It’s near the capital, Bruxelles. Drie Fontanen brewery is located there, and Pete Slosberg is celebrating his birthday there tomorrow. Pete Slosberg has been on Brew Ha Ha before. He was a ground-breaking brewer and marketer in the 1980s before craft beer was a thing. Pete’s Wicked Ale was an early craft beer from before it was called that. They were known as micro-brewers back then. There are people from all over the world who have gathered there for Pete Slosberg’s birthday party. They had a dinner for 24 people that evening with lots of local craft beers on the menu and a special birthday brew.
Herlinda also visited Epernay, in France very close to Belgium, which is where Moet & Chandon and Dom Perignon are located. There are lots of little villages to visit and Herlinda endorses their tourism website. It reminds her of Sonoma County but they also have Roman ruins. The oldest champagne winery is from 1584. They also tried the local beer. Their beer styles are light, called blonde and blanche. Herlinda also visited Veuve Cliquot and Pomery.
After Pete Slosberg’s birthday Herlinda has a four-day beer tour in Paris, which has lots of great craft beer bars. Then she goes to Cognac and Bordeaux, to learn about Cognac and brandy. After that she will be a judge at the Iberian Awards in Portugal, the national craft beer competition there. She also describes ratafia de Champagne, which is a mixture of grappa distilled from the pomace left after wine pressing, blended with unfermented grape juice.