Saturday, October 31, 2015

Niles Canyon Railway hosts its first Beer Train

Niles Canyon Railway, famous for its Livermore Valley Wine Tasting Specials offered every summer, introduced their new Octoberfest Beer Train this year.  This was obviously a need that had been unfulfilled since the event sold out very rapidly.  The intention is to have several more Beer Trains intermixed with the Wine Tasting Specials next summer.

For the first Beer Train, Niles Canyon Railway invited three local Livermore Microbreweries to come on aboard to share their brews with the passengers.  Each microbrewery brought along three of their great beers.  Passengers were very happy with the tour commenting that they enjoyed the varieties of beer and how smoothly the event was handled, not only with the beer but also with the food that was available for purchase.

Making beer might sound simple but it is actually a complex operation.  Beer consists of four major items Water, Malt, Hops and Yeast.  However the end result depends completely on the complex mixture and versions of each of these ingredients.  Water can be hard, soft, alkaline, or more.  You might be lucky to have the right water from your tap for the beer you wish to produce, or you might have to take steps to achieve the type of water you need.  Malt, barley that has undergone malting, adds the sugars that will be converted to alcohol by the yeast.  They type of malt also contributes to the appearance and flavor of the final product.  For instance lager malt differs from ale malt that differs from stouts partly due to the malt type.

Brats being served
Hops are a flower that contributes to the bitterness, flavor and aroma of beer.  They also reduce the potential for bacterial infection and help stable the shelf life.  Yeast has the primary duty of converting the sugars of the malt into ethanol.  Thus yeast is what makes the beer.  Their action is highly dependent upon the temperature.  Ale yeast are top fermenters working best at room temperature, Lager yeast are bottom fermenters working at cooler temperatures. 

The three local Livermore microbreweries served up a variety of beery types for the enjoyment of the passengers.

Altamont Brew Works
Altamont Brew Works is Livermore’s first microbrewery and was established in 2012 and is located at 2402 Research Drive near Lawrence Livermore Labs.  Home brewers Steve Satori and Greg Robles met at The Mad Zymurgists, a home brew group composed mostly of chemists, engineers and scientists from Lawrence Livermore Labs.  They were serving:
  • Hop Wash IPA – This is a light bodied double IPA brewed to especially showcase the tropical citrus notes from mosaic and experimental Hop 5256.  Sitting higher on the alcohol levels, this beer will not disappoint. 
  • Left Coast Session - This is a west coast style India Session Ale, pale ale that is light in color and body.  With a huge amount of whirlpool hops and an even bigger dry hop.  This beer has a very hoppy nose, full of flavor with very little bitterness, huge notes of citrus and tropical fruit are immense on both the nose and the palate.
  • Berry White – This beer is a summer wheat/cream ales brewed with pale malt and white wheat, finished with natural blackberries.  It finishes dry, with a residual creaminess from the lactose and is mellow, crisp and fruity for those hot summer days.

Working Man Brewery
Working Man Brewery – is located at 5542 Brisa Street just off of Vasco Road.  They opened in 2013 with the merging of two independent breweries, Mt. Diablo Brewing and Working Man Brewing Company coming together to share their passion for beer.  The brewers Joel Pelote and Matt Stine are beer geeks at heart with a goal of producing beer they are proud to share and proud to drink.  They were serving:
  • Whistleblower Belgian WIT - A Belgian style wheat beer with a small amount of oats for a smooth malt character.  Additions of coriander and orange peel give this traditional wheat beer a spicy character.
  • 9 TO 5 Pale Ale - This full-bodied, golden hued pale ale is perfect for when you are done with the 9 to 5 grind, or anytime!  Crisp and clean with smooth hop bitterness, it is refreshing after a long work day.
  • Sneaky Devil Double IPA - A light golden double-IPA with plenty of body and malt character to match the aggressive hoppiness. Blends of Columbus and Centennial hops round out the aroma.  Don’t let the light color fool you.  This beer packs a punch.

Eight Bridges Brewing
Eight Bridges Brewery Company  is a family owned production, the Beardsley family, brewery and tasting room that is focused on delivering a great craft beer experience.  They are located at 332 Earhart Way near the Livermore airport.  They self-distribute to local alehouses, bars, pubs and restaurants in the greater San Francisco Bay area. They focus is on enhancing the success of our wholesale customers through consistent delivery, sustained beer quality, and innovative ways to enhance the success of their beer tenders and serving staff.  All of their beers are balanced and flavor forward – great with food.  They were serving:
  • Brewno Marzen – This Fest bier is an amber lager that is malty with a touch of hops.  The aroma is of lightly toasted malts and smells similar to fresh baked bread.  The flavor is crisp, with a slightly fuller body than a pilsner.
  • Twisted Red – This is an easy drinking Red Ale that is definitely red but the American hop bill gives a typical pale ale type flavor with added caramel sweetness.  Expect a malt flavor with a caramel or slight molasses/raisin sweetness combined with a very slight bitterness from hops.
  • O’Beardsley’s Stout – This is an opaque black with a tan head and slightly sweeter than a dry stout.  Aromas are of roasted malt blended with some chocolate and coffee notes.  The flavor is a balance between chocolate and coffer supported by some background sweetness.

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