A calm chaos descended upon Oakland on Saturday morning, November 15, as 20+ members of the San Francisco Homebrewers Guild filled in the small Woods Bar & Brewery. Owner and head brewer, Jim Woods, was waiting for the members to arrive and begin brewing a collaboration beer – a golden ale with purple yams.
The idea came to fruition after a successful collaboration last year with the SFHG and one of Woods’ other breweries, Cerveceria de MateVeza. The two came together and brainstormed new ideas, settling on adding yams — which Woods decided to take up a notch with the addition of purple yams.
“We had this idea to do a collaboration beer, and so – the first time we did a brainstorm session, the second time we did another brainstorm session, and they threw out a bunch of ideas and I chose the yam beer; it just kind of happened naturally,” Woods said.
With a relatively light grain bill and 15 pounds of rehydrated purple yam flakes, Woods expects the golden ale to be a nice shade of pink after fermentation. The festive brew will be released as a collaboration beer in mid-December and will be available to the public on tap at Woods. Because of the success with the last brew, Woods plans to make the collaborations with SFHG an annual event.
“Home brewers are the lifeblood of the brewing industry, so it’s always important to, you know, keep them in the loop and keep them involved,” Woods said.
During the afternoon, Woods and the SFHG also worked on a brew for the guild members to take home – a basic pale ale with Magnum and Cascade hops. The members each took home roughly five gallons of the pale ale wort, which they will ferment and tinker with at will in their own homes. New ideas spanned from experimental routes like adding beets or rosemary and holiday spices to more traditional routes like dry hopping and adding specific yeast strains. Each member will bring their beers back to Woods in mid-December for a tasting competition.