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Homebroots
March 9, 2017: Bob Peak Dark Energy

Bob Peak learned to brew beer under the direct guidance of homebrewing pioneer Byron Burch. Beginning in 2003 with partial mash/extract brewing, he went on to make all-grain beers, producing several award-winning recipes. He has brewed a GABF Pro-Am entry beer at Bear Republic Brewing in Healdsburg and maintains several beers on tap at home for friends and family. Bob and his wife Marty White live just outside Petaluma city limits on the west side, where they grow a 1/3 acre hobby vineyard of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. With home-grown grapes, Bob makes wine in addition to his brewing (and he has been known to make cider, cheese, and charcuterie from time to time as well.) He has a degree in chemistry from Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California and worked in laboratories (first environmental, then wine) before becoming a partner in The Beverage People homebrew shop, from which he has now retired.

Around the time Bob Peak was learning to homebrew, his wife Marty White discovered that Moonlight Brewing’s iconic black lager Death and Taxes was her favorite Sonoma County beer. Although Bob’s taste goes more to classic American pilsners and pale ales, he happily worked up an extract/partial mash recipe for a black lager he called Lazy Cat in honor of the family pet. The beer was based on the (then) BJCP category 4c, Schwarzbier, which allows for a range of malt character from neutral to Munich-like. After he started all-grain brewing, Bob decided a black lager with a richer malt profile might be nice and Dark Energy was born. On a base of German Pilsner and German Wheat, the complex malt bill adds Munich, Caramel 120, Black Patent, and Midnight Wheat. Hopped with German Spalt and Perle during boiling and dry-hopped with Czech Saaz, it is a round, rich, malty, roasty black beer. Crisp and refreshing like a pilsner, it has body and presence more like a maerzen or Oktoberfest with coffee and chocolate notes present in a lingering finish.

This one got its name because Marty works at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory where physicists like Nobel Prize winner Saul Perlmutter search the cosmos for dark energy. Marty even gave Perlmutter a bottle of Bob’s beer and took a picture of him with it.

dark energy

Bob’s charity of choice is Cinnabar Theater in Petaluma.


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