I was surprised and curious about Evans since they were not there last year and they had a photo wall with a very-scantily clad model posing with people. They also had some very amusing jumbo-sized Evan’s bottle mascots dancing (yes people were paid to wear giant beer suits) around the event. We went there for our first taster of the event. Here was what I wrote on my notepad: German style lager, tastes just like bud light. The representative at the tent said they are a new brewery based in Yorba Linda and they are only 5 months old. Visiting their website tells me that they will have other offerings, which I am excited to try. My verdict on Evan’s Lager is: eh. I would pass on this just because I prefer more bang for my buck. I must also note that I am not a fan of the beer models concept either. I makes me feel like they are treating me like I am stupid consumer and your hot models will make me want your beer (similar to the big beer companies … cough cough).
On to more notable tastings: Magic Hat. If you are a friend of mine, you will know how interested I became in Magic Hat Brewing Company after the first time I tried their #9 (4.6ABV% 51/100 ratebeer.com) fruit-style beer at last year at the 2010 OC Beerfest. They don’t distribute in orange county, and you can only get them at the Yard House in Irvine Spectrum. How sad, because this lovely light-apricot is fantastic. Of course I visited Stone Brewing Company’s booth because I am a crazy fan. Seriously, like Beatles-fans from the 1960’s crazy. Ok, maybe not that insane, but infatuated none-the-less. I was stunned to see that they were serving Highway 78! It’s a dark scotch ale that’s 8.8%ABV (94 ratebeer.com) collaboration between Stone, Green Flash and Pizza Port. It’s amazing and complex. In my mind was a bit dominating compared to all the other beers I tried.
I was excited to see Taco Asylum and Haven Gastropub had booths there as well although I didn’t really care for the Eel River Acai Berry Wheat (4.4%ABV 22/100 ratebeer.com) that I had because it tasted like berry jam. I did like the Eel River IPA that they also had..I noted that it was pretty decent. The Left Coast Trestles IPA (6%ABV 82/100 ratebeer.com) was light and clean and pleasantly hoppy, one that I will have to investigate more. There was a rice-style beer from a Korean brewery called Kooksoondang was interesting. It was milky-looking and sweet (my friends said it tastes like jicama) and slightly carbonated. I wasn’t a fan (didn’t taste like beer at all!!) but my friends were impressed.
Lastly was Bootleggers, Cismontane, The Bruery and Deschutes. Bootleggers, I am so sorry. I have been dragging my feet and neglecting to visit you eventhough you are so close to my house. Well, no more! I tried the Black Phoenix (6.7%ABV 94/100 ratebeer.com) and it was epic. Even though I had so much beer and visited your booth at the second to last tasting it still stood-out and was so interesting. The flavors of this stout was complex and I could really taste the chipotle pepper and coffee. Cismontane has an amazing coffee stout that is a must-try! The Bruery had their Trade Winds Triple (8%ABV 95/100 ratebeer.com) and Saison De Lente of which I had the Trade Winds. The Thai-inspired saison is “yummy” according to my Michelle and with flavors of rice and basil, I agree. Deschutes had an amazing IPA on tap, but for the life of me I can’t remember what it was called. I did however take a lovely photo of the guys working there.
In short, an amazing day of fun was had. Thanks for all the memories! Oh, and the ridiculously awesome photos that resulted.