New Year’s Update

Dear Friends and Beer Lovers,

Winter has been a very exciting time for Elkhorn Slough Brewing Company and we are really looking forward to 2015. In the last several months we have made significant progress and we are excited to share the details with you.

  • We are finalizing lease negotiations for a warehouse space in Watsonville. This space provides ample room for brewing, barrel storage and tastings!  
  • Our brewing system is in production and we expect delivery in February,
  • We are making our way through the endless red tape. At this time, we are on track to securing all required licenses and permits by Spring 2015. 

In the new year, there will be lots more activity and updates to share. We will do our best to keep you all posted about our progress. If you are interested in supporting our efforts, we are actively seeking investors at this time. Please email for more information.

May the funk be with you!

Michael Enos & Julie Rienhardt




Hop Harvest!

Today was harvest day for our hops! Some of these went straight into an IPA for dry hopping,


Hop-infused vodka anyone?



Open Fermentation Experiment #?

OK – I seriously can’t remember how many times I have actually tried to spontaneously ferment beer, and it always came out moldy and actually didn’t ferment. Apples – no problem. But a successful open fermentation of wort has eluded me. until now!!! OK – I admit that it is funky, but most my beers are anyway. You can see the funk though in this one!


It also did have some strange globs of what I assume is bacteria of some kind, but I just tried to skim it of the top. The crazy thing is that it took only 2 weeks to wild ferment a wort with starting gravity of 1.060 to a gravity of 1.010, about the same amount of time it takes using non-wild yeast.


I ended up bottling it without any additional sugar, assuming that the wild yeast will work a little longer and referment in the bottle. stay tuned for my next experiment where I attempt spontaneous fermentation of Twinkies.


California Gold


Super fun night at the California State Fair awards ceremony for the homebrew competition accepting 1st place for our beer Three Letter Acronym. It was great meeting other aspiring brewers such as Alex Larrabee, Greg Rasmussen and Zack Frasher. A list to all the winners is here. 

The organizers did a great job of putting on the event. And yes, there was lots of beer! They brought coolers filled with beer leftover from the commercial competition, including a case of Track 7 IPA, which received best in show.

Elkhorn Slough Brewing Co. – Tasting Event



On June 14, 2014. ESBC will be hosting a private tasting event. The following will be served:

On Draft:
#79 Low Steam Drive -Barrel Aged California Common – ABV 6%
#81 Bat Ray – Central Coast IPA – ABV 7.2 %
#82 Road Dirt Red – California Red – ABV 8%
#83 The Porter – Robust Porter – ABV 7.5%

#71 Mothership –Barrel Aged American Wild Rye Ale – ABV 9%
#76 Jewel – Table Saison – ABV 7%
#70 Three Letter Acronym -Bourbon Barrel Aged Ale – ABV 10% (CA State Fair 2014 1st Place)
#72 Ouch! -Brett Ale on Prickly Pear Fruit – ABV 8%
#73 SOS -Smoked Oyster Sour – ABV 6.5%
#80 Four Letter Swear Word -Bourbon Barrel Aged Wild Ale – ABV 7%

Three Letter Acronym nabs 1st Place in 2014 California State Fair

Three Letter Acronym, a wild ale made using local yeast harvested from cider, won 1st place in the 2014 California State Fair, category 16, Belgium and French Ale.

State Fair Results

The beer is based on an Irish red recipe, but is then aged in a used Woodinville whiskey barrel that has been inoculated with wild yeast (see post

The beer was brewed in early October 2013. It went into the barrel in early November. It was then bottled in January. It then aged in the bottle until the competition, which was in late May.

Wild Yeast Analysis

Last week I submitted a sample of the yeast that I have been harvesting from our apples. The process for harvesting the yeast is pretty simple. We take the apples off of our trees and press them, and then let the cider ferment spontaneously. After several weeks, I rack the cider and then harvest the trub. I will then create a yeast starter with this, and then use it for beer. I traditionally will use the first batch of beer made with this process to inoculate wood barrels, such that subsequent batches of beer aged in the barrels are refermented to a degree, or ‘dried out’ from the yeast in the barrel. I have several award winning beers that have been produced this way.

The results of the analysis were promising. The analysis was done by Gigayeast, who are located in Belmont, CA

“The isolate is a mixture of at least two different yeast and at least one bacteria. One
of the yeast is a fission yeast– not likely a practical beer yeast. The other has the
morphology of a spherical budding yeast typical of brewers yeast. It is resistant to
Cu2+ which is indicative of wild yeast. Both the fission yeast and the bacteria
exhibit significant acidification. We have stored both the original mix and the
budding yeast in our permanent bank.”

Wild Yeast Results

My plan is to conduct an A/B test of the community and then the isolate, for comparison.

California Wild Saison

For a while now, I have been collecting some bugs to use for my next Saison. As you can see, I have rounded up yeast from a collection of american breweries: Cellerman in San Francisco, Rustic Ales in Soquel, CA, Allagash and Jester King. I also added some of my wild cider yeast from our 2013 strain. However, I am also using one bag of Wyeast 3711 (French Saison). Using the stir plate, I let the starter whirl for about 24 hours


The grain bill was fairly simple, mostly pilsner malt with a small amount of rye and wheat, mashed at 150F. For hops, I used American centennial, simcoe, and fuggles. Original gravity ended up at 1.058.

The beer had a healthy start, violently fermenting when I went to peek at it the following morning. Fermentation temp is 67F


Ale Royale batch#1

Ale Royale is an experimental batch of California Wild Ale. After harvesting wild yeast from a batch of spontaneously fermented hard apple cider from trees on my property, I inoculated the wort from a starter I built up over a couple days. I brewed the beer over 2 weekends to create about 15 gallons. The grain was 40% wheat and 60% barley. I used a turbid mash schedule and let the beer cool down overnight open. I pitched the yeast in the morning. The original gravity was 1.082. After 3 weeks its down to 1.025. Its ready to put into a new 15 gallon oak barrel from the Barrel Mill, where it will age for 1 year.

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