2019 Viking Yeti Beer Tour

Yes, I’m lousy at regular blog posts and newsletters. I could chalk it up to being super busy but that’s only a partial excuse. Try as I might to focus on digital output I simply spend more of my time writing for print publications…and working on my old, rundown house…and raising my children…and escaping it all from time to time for a hike or bike ride. I’ve also been traveling a lot, and have some big travel plans for this spring and summer. What follows is a summary of my travel and event itinerary for spring and summer 2019. For any of these events, if you’re not in the area but know someone who may be interested, please feel free to forward this to them.

Berea Book Fest & Mead Workshop

This coming Saturday (April 13) I’ll be at the Berea Book Fest in Berea, Kentucky. I’ll be signing and selling my books, and will be participating in a "Be Your Own Publicist" panel with Jenean McBrearty, Jereme Zimmerman and Ana Maria Selvaggio.

London & Manchester, England

I’m excited to be headed to the UK! I’ve got several events planned in the short time I’ll be there. First, I’ll be heading to Manchester in northern England for a brew day and book signing at Beer Nouveau. Beer Nouveau is my kind of brewery. They eschew modern conventions and look to recreate traditional “heritage” beer styles. We’ll be brewing a batch of beer and I’ll be discussing and signing my books on Sunday, April 21, which it turns out is Easter but oh well! Joining us will be Manchester Homebrew. I’m looking forward to tasting Beer Nouveau’s brews and checking out Manchester’s pub scene. Steve Dunkley, the embodiment of Beer Nouveau (founder, owner, brewer, server, etc., etc.) has been great to work with in creating a collaborative a brew that we will be serving at the main event and primary reason for my trip to England, Pebblefest, in London’s Flat Iron Square on Saturday, April 27. I’ll be talking beer brewing, and have been busy collaborating with Beer Nouveau and Toast Ale on a collaborative brew, a traditional English bitter based on an 18th century recipe, that will be served at the fest.

Beer Nouveau’s brewery and tap room.

Toast Ale: made with…toast!

Check me out if you’re in London!

I’m honored to be working with Toast Ale, partly because they’re great people, but also because they’re a highly sustainability-focused organization. Each of their beers is brewed with unsold loaves of bread from bakeries and unused crusts from sandwich makers. The only other ingredients are grains, hops, yeast and water. The bread replaces 1/3 of the grain bill, which is important, because nearly 24 million slices of bread are wasted every day in the UK alone. The excess bread doesn’t just have to go into beer though. To learn more about what can be done to stop food waste, check out the Real Bread Campaign. They’ve also expanded into the US, so if you’re in the New York area, you might want to check out Toast Ale USA.

The week between my Beer Noveau and Pebblefest events I’ll be cavorting about London, having a bit of fun while visiting and speaking at some breweries and pubs. This includes a talk on Wednesday, April 21st on honey beer at Hiver, who use raw honey from London urban beekeepers in all of their beers. During the day Thursday, I’ll be visiting the BBQ restaurant and brewery Pitt Cue to brew up a batch of smoked ale that they will showcase on their menu for a month or so after I head home. I’m excited to be doing this, particularly as I’m a fan of both BBQ and smoked ales. My friend Sara Bir (the sausagetarian), author of The Fruit Forager’s Companion and Tasting Ohio, will also be working with the chef on some companion dishes featuring foraged ingredients. On Thursday evening, April 22nd, I’ll be doing a tap takeover showcasing the Pebblefest beer at The Dodo Micro Pub, which I’m told is a quintessentially British quirky little pub. Just my kind of place. Saturday is the Pebblefest, which I’m really excited about. Advertised as “London's most stylish eco-festival,“ with debates, talks and workshops on subjects such as sustainable food and drink, ethical fashion, plastic-free living and zero-waste skincare. Sunday, I’ll be visiting with the North London Beekeepers for a mead workshop. Then it’s a bit of time for getting a last look at London and heading back to Kentucky.

Herbalism and Brewing in Colorado

The next leg of my spring / summer tour will be in the mountains of Durango, Colorado. I’ll be returning to the Good Medicine Confluence, which I taught at the first time in May 2018. This year’s event is held May 15-19 at Ft. Lewis College, which sits on a plateau with a breathtaking view of the town of Durango and the surrounding San Juan Mountains. Last year, this event re-invigorated me for the year to come, not just because of the intensive classes I both attended and taught, but for the like-minded crowd, old and new friends, and just the muscle burn and lung workout from walking around a town sitting at an elevation of more than 6,000 feet above sea level. I’ll be teaching about mead, small-scale, wild and herbal beer brewing, and making natural sodas while there. Check out the schedule here. As of writing this blog, I still have ONE TICKET for sale for the full event at a $100 discount of $300. You can place a secure order through my website, or contact me to discuss other options, such as PayPal.

Nordic Brewing in the Pacific Northwest

After Colorado, I’ll be home for a couple of months getting my Berea, Kentucky garden started and working on some homesteading and house-repair projects. Then, in early July I’ll head to Bowling Green, Kentucky for the Heartland Apicultural Society conference at Western Kentucky University from July 8-10, where I’ll be talking mead making for beekeepers. Then, I’ll be teaching a weekend of mead and vegetable fermentation workshops for the Berea Festival of Learnshops July 13 and 14. Sign up soon to take a hands-on workshop where you’ll be making and bringing home your own fermented goodies!

After that I’m stoked to return to my former home of nearly eight years, the US Pacific Northwest. Plans are finalized for several events and more are in the works. For much of the trip I’ll be joining my friend and fellow author from Finland, Mika Laitinen, who runs a website that is one of my favorite resources for Nordic beer brewing. He has also written a book, Viking Age Brew. We’ll be starting our tour with a joint presentation at the Nordic Museum in Seattle, Washington. Then we’ll be traveling to Bend, Oregon to brew a batch of traditional Finnish sahti with the Ale Apothecary using a Finnish lauter tun called a kuurna. Click here for a description of what that’s all about. Sahti is traditionally drank very young, while still fermenting. The yeast we’ll be using, a Norwegian farmhouse yeast called kveik, ferments fast, making the beer drinkable within a week. We plan on serving it at an event at a bar in Portland but haven’t finalized plans on that yet. While we’re in Portland we hope to attend the Oregon Brewers Festival. We don’t have any official plans for presenting there yet but plans are afoot.

Then, it’s back to Seattle, where we’ll be doing another joint presentation at the brand new Skål Beer Hall in Seattle and I’ll be talking about my book Brew Beer Like a Yeti at the Book Larder in Fremont, a quirky Seattle neighborhood I used to live near that also happens to be the center of the universe and even has a troll lurking under a bridge. Finally, after a bit of time playing along the Oregon coast I’ll close out my trip with an event I’ve been doing for a few years now, the Mother Earth News Fair in Albany, Oregon from August 3-4. Then it’s back to Kentucky to tend to the weeds that will inevitably have taken over my garden.

Stay tuned for my fall schedule. Some big events are in the works but I’m not ready to let the cat out of the bag yet. Until then, Skål!