Archive for the ‘Alcohol’Category

Raising the BAR

New Bar Front ViewIt all began with a dream: a cerebral lubrication station worthy of our fine hackerspace, serving as focal point to transform the lounge from a seldom used area into PS:One’s central communal nexus. From there, a collaborative project was born. PS:One member Greg Daneau built the first incarnation of our bar. He built the bar top from an unfinished door, an open frame supported it, and it had a foot rail made of pipe. The result was impressive, even if it was but a small shadow of the glory that the bar ultimately became. Thus began an asynchronous collaborative project, with hacker inspiring hacker to hack the bar to higher pinnacles of zymurgical greatness. And it arguably served as an “altar” for the budding Beer Church.

Kegerator InteriorSeeing the bar in all its inebriating glory inspired member Ryan Pierce to build a draft system and kegerator from a donated refrigerator. It can hold up to six 5-gallon Cornelius kegs (used frequently by homebrewers) or a single 15.5-gallon beer keg. A fan forces cold air through an insulated hose carrying the beverage lines to the draft tower. The draft tower itself was built from PVC pipe, fittings, and drain flanges. An insulated return hose carries the air back to the refrigerator. This air loop keeps the beverage lines and taps cold, which reduces the tendency of beer to foam in the line. Jeremy used our TIG welder to weld a drain pipe to a stainless steel drip tray, directing any spills into a bucket.

The existence of the bar and draft system steered the focus of Beer Church towards kegging. Cornelius kegs can hold finished beer and can be used for natural carbonation (caused by additional secondary fermentation from priming sugar) or forced carbonation supplied directly from a CO2 tank.

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09 2013

Beer Church Tasting & Tour – Ours & Theirs: Revolution Brewery

Hello all beer brewers, hackers, and those just interested in the methods of making and tasting beers. This Saturday the 13th of April at 12:30PM we’ll be meeting up at Pumping Station: One to taste our own beers and anything you feel the need to share with us. We’ll try at least 3 of our own homebrews made by Beer Church, followed by a short work session and introduction to our own beer making equipment.

Revolution Brewery Tour

At 2:15PM we’ll head over to Revolution Brewery’s Kedzie location for a private tour with only our group. Up to 40 people can participate and will share the total $75 fee for the tour – which comes with 2 complementary samples of Revolution’s beers. With just 8 people, we’d pay less than $10 each. The tour will involve visiting and seeing the workings of the production brewery that Revolution uses to create such brews as Cross of Gold which they generously donated 2 kegs of for our Locktoberfest event last fall – and we enjoyed for some time afterward at our bar.

We expect the tour to teach us aspiring brewers a great deal about how a “real” brewery works, given that we’ll have the ear of one of Revolution’s staff throughout. After the tour we’ll have a few sips of their brew and head back to PS:One. If we’re feeling up to it, perhaps we’ll create something off the cuff. The new fermenter is nearly complete thanks by the large to the efforts of Tucker & the contributions of some Beer Church regulars last weekend, and will at least be able to support a simple Ale fermentation.

We hope to see you this Saturday for a pleasant afternoon.


When: Saturday, April 13 2013 at 12:30PM until 4:00PM or later.
Where: 3519 N Elston, Chicago IL
Why: Because you like making & tasting beer.
Who: Anyone 21 years of age or older.
What: Beer tasting, brewery tour, potential beer brewing


04 2013

Beer Church: Beer Tasting, Sunday April 7th, 2PM

Hello everyone!

Since the last Beer Church, Eric & co’s This Is Your Grain On Chocolate has come and (sadly) gone. We’ve got 5 different Beer Church creations hidden away in bottles, and they’re all coming out to play this Sunday. Bring them some playdates in the form of a bottle of your favorite off-the-beaten-path beer – whether your own homebrew, or from a store. We’re not picky (but we are snobs)! Small beer steins will be provided to consume from, but you’re welcome to bring your own chalice.

Once we’re done with the tasting, Eric will demonstrate how to use a Soxhlet Extractor to create flavor extracts from a fruit or herb (undecided yet) – so far, we’ve used 2 of them – in our dearly departed friend, This Is Your Grain On Chocolate.

After we taste & make some flavor, we move forward to build out fun time. Our current fermenter was built hastily to get us off the ground and we’re going to try to get started replacing it with a better designed and larger home for brews. Chillmon has a new circuit board courtesy of Ryan, and we might find the time to get it working with the new fermenter. Along the way, we’ll figure out a superior storage solution for our gear (this time, with organization!). No brew today, but we’re hoping for a productive and fun day of woodworking, tasting beers, electronics, programming, and tasty science.


When: Sun April 7, 2:00PM-5:00PM
Where: Pumping Station: One, 3519 N Elston, Chicago
Why: Because you like tasting beer & building things
What: Potluck & Beer Church’s brews beer tasting, Buildout
Extra Credit What: Demonstration of Soxhlet Extractor flavorant creation for use in beer making
Who: Anyone 21 years or older


04 2013

Beer Church March 17th @ 1PM: Make Your Own Hard Cider

An event description from Tucker Tomlinson:

Interested in home brewing but unsure how to start? Confused by mash
schedules and monitoring? Well I have the Beer Church for you! This
Sunday I’ll be running a cider making workshop, which will show you
how to make 1 gallon batches of cider in your own kitchen. Each
attendee that wants to participate should leave with a 1 gallon jug of
precursor potent potables, and instructions for its care and use.

The plan will be to start around 1PM at PS:One. We will make a quick stop
at Jewel for anybody that hasn’t picked up juice or spices. Then we
will head over to Brew and Grow to pick up some fermentable sugars and
equipment. Then it’s back to PS:One to mix up some delicious concoctions.

all the required items to participate can be purchased at the event,
but participants should consider bringing the following:

  • 1 gallon of fruit juice.
  • 1 or more spices to complement the juice
  • a 1 gallon fermentation vessel: this can be the jug your juice came in.
  • Some tips:

  • A 1 gallon milk jug makes a fine fermentation vessel, just make sure
    to clean it completely before bringing it.
  • If you want a glass vessel, Whole foods frequently sells unfiltered
    apple juice in 1gal glass jugs. This is where I got most of my cider
    fermentation jugs because you get a nice jug and juice for the same
    price as the glass jug alone would cost elsewhere. Brew and Grow also
    has empty glass jugs that will work great.
  • I will bring a spice grinder, so whole spices are encouraged.
  • When considering spices there are two good routes to follow: 1)
    common flavor profiles: if you make apple cider with the standard
    complement of apple pie spices you have a very nice drink that tastes
    like the holidays. 2) Think weird and exciting; I like to try new
    things (so far cranberry juice and black pepper is my favorite), but I
    recommend keeping it simple. Try one spice per batch at first to see
    how the flavors meld, If you like it then make another batch with
    additional spices.
  • Honey can be added to your cider rather than fructose. The yeasts
    will consume some of this but it will still lend a more complex,
    heavy, flavor than the basic sugars. Honey can be expensive, and while
    Brew and Grow has honey at an OK price, you might find a better price
    somewhere else.
  • If you have more questions, get on the Beer Church mailing list and ask! We have several knowledgeable folks who can give you all kinds of helpful advice.

    Nitty Gritty

    Event Host: Tucker Tomlinson
    Date: 3/17/2013, 1PM
    Location: Pumping Station: One, 3519 N Elston, Chicago IL
    RSVP: Please post to the beer church mailing list or otherwise notify Tucker Tomlinson that you are attending so he knows how many people to plan for.
    Requirements: Be 21 or older, and that’s it! You don’t have to be a Pumping Station: One member to participate.


    03 2013

    Beer Church: March 3rd @ 2PM

    Howdy from Beer Church! Just this weekend we put Rhubarb Waves of Grain on tap, and it’s super tasty. Putting the India back in IPA is also quite great, but isn’t yet on tap.

    This coming Sunday we plan to brew a simple ale or porter (to be determined!). Suggestions are welcome via our twitter @ps1beerchurch or on the Beer Church mailing list.

    To start off, we’ll have a beer tasting featuring any homebrew you bring, both the Cardamom IPA & the Rhubarb mentioned above, and anything from the store you bring too! Tiny beer steins will be provided – please bring a bottle of something if you can.

    Once we’ve had a taste, met each other, and talked over the basics of brewing in the process, we’ll move on to brewing a beer. This is just the first day of a weeks long journey that a beer takes from the boil kettle to your mouth, but it’s the most labor intensive and the most interesting to see, so we like to show people this step. Watching a bucket ferment isn’t as fun. Since we’re going for something simple, we’ll probably be done brewing in around 3.5 hours. The ingredients will have been purchased ahead of time, so we’ll get into the brew by around 3PM. The steps include mashing, sparging, boiling, chilling, and pitching. You can lend a hand with most of them, and learn a lot in the process.

    Currently in the fermenter are Barely Barley Ale and A Horrible Missake which we’ll be taking a peek at to see if they’re ready to transfer to kegs.

    Nitty Gritty

    When: Sunday March 3rd, 2PM. We expect to be brewing until around 7 PM or so, but you don’t have to hang around the whole time if you don’t want to. People who help out until the end get a bottle of the beverages they helped with when it’s completed (approximately 1 month later).
    Where: Pumping Station: One, 3519 N Elston, Chicago
    What: Beer tasting and brewing hands-on
    Who: Anyone 21 or over, Pumping Station: One members or not!
    Why: Because beer is a worthy purpose for your Sunday afternoon
    To Brew: TBD
    Brewmaster: TBD


    02 2013

    Beer Church Feb 10th @ 1PM: Sake & Mystery Beer

    Hello again from Beer Church! Just this weekend we added the flavorings to Rhubarb Waves of Grain. We may keg Putting the India back in IPA this Sunday as well. But before all that, we’ll have a pot luck beer tasting featuring our in-house brews Pumpkin Spiced Ale, Doppelbock, and whatever you bring! Bring something you brewed or something out of the ordinary from a store.

    Tucker’s worked out what’s needed to make Sake. So, we’re making Sake this Sunday. That won’t take much time total, so we’re going to do 2 things at once: Barleywine’s also on the ticket. We have Stone Brewing’s recipe for Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine which is a possibility. Other options will be considered day-of unless Eric’s already bought the ingredients for Barley Wine.

    Brewing mead in November 2012

    Brewing mead in November 2012

    During downtime of the brew we’ll have the opportunity to have our heads 3D scanned by Colin, the CNC area host of Pumping Station: One… maybe. Take a chance: come taste some beer, help make sake & barley wine, swap stories of brewing, get your head scanned into a 3D model, and go home happy.

    Nitty Gritty

    When: Sunday February 10th, 1PM. We expect to be brewing until around 7 PM or so, but you don’t have to hang around the whole time if you don’t want to. People who help out until the end get a bottle of the beverages they helped with when it’s completed (approximately 1 month later).
    Where: Pumping Station: One, 3519 N Elston, Chicago
    What: Beer tasting and brewing hands-on
    Who: Anyone 21 or over, Pumping Station: One members or not!
    Why: Because beer is a worthy purpose for your Sunday afternoon
    To Brew: Sake!
    Brewmaster: Tucker Tomlinson
    To Brew 2: Barley wine.. or something else, depending on what we decide.
    Brewmaster 2: Eric Stein


    02 2013

    Beer Church Beer Tasting & Brewing a Rhubarb Wheat Ale: January 20th, 1PM

    Hello again from Beer Church, the brewing group at Pumping Station: One! This past Sunday the 6th, we tasted & kegged a beer (the Doppelbock’s leftover batch, titled Kinderbock Son von Doppelbock), tasted our previous foray into Mead-making (I Didn’t Mead It That Way, and brewed an American IPA with Cardamom titled Putting the India back in IPA, all grain. It was an all-around great day and the ferment bucket for the IPA is bubbling along crisply in the fermentation chamber. Today at N00B’s Paradise (Pumping Station: One’s event for newcomers), we tapped the Doppelbock – it’s good.


    Doppelbock, one of Beer Church’s brews.

    We just cleaned the taps. The bar is operational. We’re rocking and rolling.

    sterilizing tap valves

    sterilizing tap valves

    So, on the 20th we’ll do it all again. This time we’re going to create a Rhubarb Wheat Ale; this is something few have done. The idea comes from Brittany, who is so enthused with the idea that we’ll oblige and make it happen. If this kind of idea appeals to you – and why wouldn’t it – then you should come visit Pumping Station: One on the 20th at 1PM. You don’t have to be a brewer; you can watch, or participate. Before the brew we’ll go over the basics of how brewing works while tasting our previous brews, including:

    * Doppelbock
    * I Didn’t Mead It That Way
    * Pumpkin Ale
    * Whatever bottle you bring! Find something in your fridge or the store that you think most people haven’t had, and introduce us to it.

    Another new addition to equipment is our BeerGun which we can now use to bottle beers. This and future brews will have a small amount taken aside for a limited run bottling. Part of that bottling run will be granted to those who took part in brewing of the beer; 2 bottles for the brewmaster and 1 for all the helpers who stuck around until the end. Of course, this doesn’t happen immediately; the brew has to make it through brew day, fermentation, maybe racking for secondary, kegging, kegging, and bottling first. This in mind, if you help out on brew day you’ll get something to show for your efforts that’s a little more solid than being able to come in and try your brew on tap. The rest of the bottles will be saved for future Beer Church events so we get to savor them for a little bit longer. Our brews tend to go by pretty fast after they go on tap, since they’re so good (so far).

    Nitty Gritty

    When: Sunday January 20th, 1PM. We expect to brew brewing until around 7 PM or so, but you don’t have to hang around the whole time if you don’t want to.
    Where: Pumping Station: One, 3519 N Elston, Chicago
    What: Beer tasting and brewing hands-on
    Who: Anyone 21 or over, Pumping Station: One members or not!
    Why: Because beer is a worthy purpose for your Sunday afternoon
    To Brew: “Rhubarb Waves of Grain” – Orange Ginger Rhubarb Wheat Ale
    Brewmaster: Eric Stein

    See you on Sunday. Follow along at our twitter, @ps1beerchurch.


    01 2013

    New Year, New Beer: Beer Church Sunday 1/6 at 1PM

    Winter is not coming, winter is here. The doppelbock needs kegging. It’s looking glorious. We haven’t had Beer Church in far too long, and the new year is here, bringing with it the requirement that we shall brew an IPA. Well, maybe an IPA. An IPA or another lager. That’s up to whoever shows up and tosses in their 2 cents (monetary, or opinion). The Brew & Grow’s strategic location and our wide array of existing equipment mean that we can do whatever we want, and what we want is to make beer.

    mmmm, beer

    However, not before we sample our existing brews; attend Beer Church this Sunday (1/6) at 1PM and you’ll get to try our as-yet-untasted Doppelbock and our hopped session mead “I Didn’t Mead It That Way” which has so far received solid reviews. We’ll be having a tasting to start (please bring your own unusual store bought or homebrew beers to share, if you can, to supplement the selection), discuss what we’ve done so far (several brews under our belts now!), go over a bit of how brewing works for newcomers. This all happens interspersed with the beer tasting, to keep things interesting.

    Once we’ve got the groundwork laid we’ll decide what to brew, make a short expedition to Brew & Grow around the corner for ingredients, and get cooking! We expect to be done brewing by about 4:30 PM as we aren’t going to go too nuts this time.

    Nitty Gritty

    When: Sunday January 6th, 1PM
    Where: Pumping Station: One, 3519 N Elston, Chicago
    What: Beer tasting and brewing hands-on
    Who: Anyone 21 or over, Pumping Station: One members or not!
    Why: Because beer is a worthy purpose for your Sunday afternoon


    01 2013

    Beer Church – Sunday 12/2 at Noon: Dopplebock or not to Bock?

    Hello again, with a fresh Beer Church event hot off the presses! No plans this Sunday at noon? No problem! Now you’ve got one: come down to Pumping Station: One at noon, sip a few unusual beers (bring one of your own, potluck style – we’ll supply the tiny steins), theorize on the nature of brewing and Sundays, and – Ninkasi willing – we’ll brew a doppelbock all-grain style. It’s possible we’ll also keg “I didn’t mead it that way”, but it may well need another week in the fermentation chamber.

    Kegged beers set to condition for a few weeks

    Due to the lager nature of doppelbocks, we may find that we need to modify our fermentation chamber to support lower temperatures and/or split temperature. That means physical build and some software tweaking; if you want to pitch in on that, by all means join us. Everyone is welcome who is 21 years of age or older, even if you’ve never brewed before, and aren’t a member of PS:One. A tour of the hackerspace will be available for the curious at some point in the afternoon.

    Kegs tapped in the PS:One beer fridge

    The brew may last until 4PM or so, depending on the complexities that arise. You’re of course welcome to come and go, but it’s advised to come at the start so as not to miss the beer tasting – which will feature the last of Anisethesia on tap at our bar, which we first tapped for Locktoberfest.

    If you can’t make it in person (or if you’re just that intrigued, which you should be), you can follow @ps1beerchurch on twitter. We post updates frequently! See you Sunday.


    11 2012

    Beer (and Wine or Mead) Church, 11/11/2012

    Beer Church is doing great lately. We’ve made 3 beers so far – 2 stouts and a spiced pumpkin ale. We just racked the spiced pumpinkin ale last night. We’re not sure how good it is yet, having only tasted it warm and halfway through the ferment, but it’s quite unique and we look forward to kegging it in a few weeks.

    We served both our stouts on October 20th, at Locktoberfest Chicago 2012, alongside Cross of Gold beer from Revolution Brewery. Good times had by all, and all the beer poured out into waiting cups at a spirited pace. We look forward to seeing what happens with Locktoberfest 2013. We served out of our brand new taps built by Ryan Pierce!

    Bar taps at the PS:One bar

    Kegs tapped in the PS:One beer fridge

    More developments are… developing, on the bar! It’ll be even cooler later, when we’ll post a full writeup with pictures.

    This Sunday, we’ll have a standard Beer Church event; with the addition of a random chance of whether we’ll be making Wine or Mead. Depending on when we hear back from participants, it’ll go either way – this post may be updated in a few days.

    For those new to Beer Church, we hold pot-luck beer tastings, where everyone brings their favorite unusual beer and we taste them. We discuss the state of technology, brewing, and science in an informal midday Sunday setting at Pumping Station: One.

    Once we’ve satisfied palates and our conversational avenues, we’ll either make wine, or mead! That depends on whether our winemaking correspondent is able to make it. Either way, we’ll be learning something new and making a delicious beverage. Come on down – both ends of the beverage cycle will be covered!


    * Date/Time: 12:30 PM, 11/11/2012
    * Location: Pumping Station: One, 3519 N Elston Chicago IL
    * Attendance: Public, no RSVP required, must be 21 or over


    11 2012