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Month: March 2018

Portland Beer Tour

Portland, Oregon Beer Tour

Portland, Oregon Beer Tour

I just got back from a trip to Portland, OR with a few of my friends and just wanted to post a few comments and suggestions of places that you may want to visit in case any of you are heading up there in the future.  If Portland is not on your beer radar it probably should be.  While we were up there, a Lift driver mentioned to us that Portland now has 98 breweries, which is the most of any city in the United States.  I am not sure if either of the statements that he made were true, but I can tell you this, Portland has A LOT of breweries! If you only had time to see one of them, I would suggest that you visit Great Notion Brewing!

 

Great Notion Brewing, Portland, OR

Great Notion Brewing, Portland, OR

So why Great Notion Brewing?  Well, for the beer.  Their beer is so good, my friends and I visited the brewery 3 times and we were only there for 4 days. For a brewery with such a small brewing space, they push out several great beers.  If I recall correctly, when we were there they had at least 8 of their own beers on tap, plus 2 from other local breweries. They had everything from a super juicy NEIPA to a Maple Syrup Stout that was just incredible.  I personally got hooked on their “Cuddle” NEIPA. To top things off, the folks who work there were helpful and friendly and the crowd was relaxed and down to earth. The only bad part about the brewery is that they are so small that they do not have any distribution in California and I am unlikely to try it again until I have the chance to visit Portland next.

 

Stammtisch, German Beer & Food

Stammtisch, German Beer & Food

Another great destination on my list is not a brewery, but you will find excellent beer there. It is a German Restaurant / Bar called Stammtisch.  I happen to enjoy German Beer and German Food and was excited to visit their location. If you do as well, this is a great spot to add to your list.  After a failed hike attempt at Multnomah Falls, due to last years fires in the Columbia Gorge, we headed back to Portland for lunch at Stammtisch.  It had just opened, so there we were some of the first people to arrive and we got a great table.  The people who work there were supper friendly and happily recommend some of their favorite beers for us to try. Everything from the beer to the chicken schnitzel sandwich was fantastic!

 

Bridgeport Brewing, Portland, OR

Bridgeport Brewing, Portland, OR

Bridgeport Brewing, is another notable destination that we visited while there.  They had a giant beer selection and a large / beautiful establishment.   We unfortunately did not have much free time to spend there and for that reason could not take advantage of all of the beers they had to offer.  That is why they are on my list of breweries to check out again when I am in Portland next. Bridgeport had a wide variety of IPA’s on their menu, from straight up West Coast to New England Haze.

 

Culmination Brewing, Portland OR

Culmination Brewing, Portland OR

Culmination Brewing is a smaller sized brewery in Portland, but they are putting out some great  beers.  I sampled a variety of them, including a super clean table saison featured in the image above, a Marrionberry Sour and a NEIPA. All of them were quality beers.

When it boils down to it, with approximately 98 breweries in the area, you can’t really go wrong.  If you do not like the beer at one brewery, walk a few blocks down the street and you are sure to find one that has something you will like. While we were there, we hit Modern Times, who now has a brewery in Portland, and we also hit up Cascade which is a sour beer lovers dream. So if you love beer, I suggest you book a plane ticket to Portland as soon as you have the chance.

 

Portland, OR Beer Trip

Portland, OR Beer Trip

Converting a Home Brewery Banjo Burner To Natural Gas

Converting A Banjo Burner To Natural Gas

Converting A Home Brewery To Natural Gas

 

I do not know about you, but I am not the biggest fan of having to store and maintain propane tanks. They take up space, run out of gas in the middle of a boil, the pressure changes when the tank gets too low and they are expensive to refill; and all the while I have natural gas available 10 feet away from my home brewery.  So I decided that I would try converting my banjo burners from propane to natural gas. Let me start off by saying that I am not a professional plumber, a mechanical engineer, or a scientist that specialized in flammable gasses; so you should consult a professional. PLEASE CONSULT A LICENSED HEATING PROFESSIONAL FOR INFORMATION ON CONNECTING YOUR OUTDOOR BURNER TO YOUR HOUSE NATURAL GAS.

My home brewing setup uses 3 banjo burners and a 120v electric RIMS system to generate heat. So my first step was purchasing the natural gas valve to replace my existing propane valve.  Since natural gas is pushed with a lower pressure than compressed liquid propane, you can not simply use the same valve.  The good news is that the replacement valve is not that expensive.

Converting a banjo burner over to natural gas

Banjo Burner Natural Gas Valve

Williams brewing sells the valve for $9.99 and this Banjo Burner natural gas conversion valve is compatible with the  Bayou Classic KAB4, KAB6, and BG14 Banjo burner.  To use this valve, you will need a gas connection hose with a 3/8″ female flare end to attach to this valve to your natural gas source.  This valve has an orifice diameter of approximately 1/8″, and features 1/4″ male npt threads to attach to your gas burner. These home brewing burner natural gas conversion valves also fit the Blichmann Top Tier Burners and Blichmann Floor standing burners. You can see the difference in the two burner valves in the following photo.

Converting Bayou Home Brewing Burners to Natural Gas

Converting Bayou Home Brewing Burners to Natural Gas

The natural gas replacement valve is on the left.  You can see the gas outlet diameter is much larger than the propane on the right.

The process was pretty painless and I was able to replace all three burner valves and test for leaks in about 60 minutes.  I used natural gas safe teflon sealant on all of the valves. One important factor to keep in mind is that natural gas is lower pressure than propane and you are going to put out less BTUs than you would with a propane tank.  So if you were already struggling to achieve a boil with a propane tank, converting to natural gas is probably going to be a bad idea. I have yet to test how long it takes to reach a boil, but the flame tests all look great so far!

Converting A Home Brewery From Propane to Natural Gas

Converting A Home Brewery From Propane to Natural Gas

Once I have the test in, I will let you know how it work out!

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