Beachwood BBQ & Brewing

In downtown Long Beach lies an unexpected mash-up of all of my favorite things. Beachwood BBQ and Brewing is one of those restaurants that you can go to time and time again and it’s always outstanding food and the best current tap handles full of rarities to try. When you are a beer snob, it’s impressive that they always have things on tap that I haven’t had yet, and they continue to surprise me with new and cutting edge releases.

Beer!

It does help that Beachwood is in Long Beach, and every time I have gone it’s always been sunny, warm and bright…everything that makes you love living in California. So, by the time you get there, you are already in a good mood. Parking is ever prevalent with a big lot right across the walkway that allows for all day parking, and makes it way too easy to spend more hours there than you care to admit. The building from the outside is very new and modern and very clean. This is very attractive to me because the last thing that I want to be synonymous with food is dirty. But that’s just my opinion.

When you walk-up to the entrance, you notice the big patio with expanded seating. It’s always full when I go so I haven’t yet been able to enjoy barbeque and beer in the fresh air and sun, but I keep hoping that one time when I go there will be openings. When you enter, you are greeted by the host who informs you that you may sit at the bar or get seated. The bar area also includes tall tables and stools which I have sat at several times. It’s very social and great for when you have big parties that keep getting bigger as the night goes on.

Sitting at a table against the floor to ceiling windows with my fiancé Sean, we contemplate what drinks to order. Not wanting to start with something too strong to kill my palate, I choose Kopstootje by Stillwater Artisan Ales. It’s a farmhouse spiced saison 6.5%ABV and a good start to dinner. It was maybe a little more spice than I should have had before eating salmon, but I regret nothing. Sean had 6th Anniversary by Port Brewing Company, which was a really good DIPA. It was sweet on the front and hoppy and dry on the finish. A touch of bitter left on the tongue and a smack on the butt with 10%ABV. Really impressive stuff.

We ordered the deviled eggs and chicken nachos to start. I don’t know what it is with guys and deviled eggs, but my Dad and my fiancé loves them. Do all guys love deviled eggs? Is this something that comes with conditioning from birth by their mothers? Anyhow, I have had my fair share of deviled eggs at family gatherings but none compare to Beachwood’s deviled eggs. They are fresh, salty, bright, citrusy, and has a great texture. The addition of capers, roasted red peppers and red onions are divine. It reminds me of what comes with a caviar plate, only without the caviar. The nachos were addictive yet greasy, but you can tell the chips are fried in house which is a nice touch. They come with BBQ chicken and guacamole and a tangy white sauce. Nachos are way too easy to eat, so these are downright dangerous.

Before our entrees came we ordered one more round of drinks. I got the Stone Brewing Company LeVariation Ale which is a Pale Ale at 5.3%ABV. It had a fantastic amber color and a nice white head and lacing. The flavor was a bit more on the mild side, which is surprising coming from stone. It reminded me of a really good session ale, which conveniently went really well with my dinner. I ordered the salmon dinner, and choose the two sides of asparagus and carrots, and it came with cornbread.

Sean ordered the 2008 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Aged in Red Wine Barrels by Stone Brewing Company, which was ridiculously delicious. The wine taste was right up front but it was complex and sweet but dry and robust. Not-to-mention, the ABV was something over 10%. Sean ordered a pulled pork sandwich on a pretzel bun with creamed corn.

The food arrived and my salmon was perfect. I love fish and I eat it a lot, so having perfect fish just makes my day. So many places don’t get it right, but Beachwood gets it right. The skin is rudely crispy, the fish flakes when you apply pressure, and it’s still steaming when you take a bite. It’s meaty and salty and crunchy, and it balances so nicely with the onion and orange compote on top. The sweet caramelized onions balance the salty skin and the orange adds the right amount of citrus to cut the fattiness of the fish. The asparagus are also perfection, with a hint of char on the outside and cooked just the right amount while still having a crisp snap that is what makes asparagus so wonderful. The roasted carrots are surprising with a bit of a spicy kick, it makes you forget you are eating carrots, which are naturally sweet. The cornbread just rocks your world. I don’t normally like cranberries in my cornbread but it just makes this cornbread all the more spectacular. I would like to slap some bacon in between two slices of cornbread and have a cornbread and bacon bonanza party. It’s that good.

In case you weren’t already in love with Beachwood, the prices are reasonable to add the cherry on top of a very satisfying sundae. So grab your friends and go, no excuses. They also brew in house, so try some of their award-winning beer while you are there. It’s great to have a lazy Sunday afternoon, Saturday night meet-up or a random Tuesday after work drinks. I highly recommend Beachwood BBQ and Brewing to the food lover and beer geek alike!

Hangar 24 4th Anniversary Party

In Redlands, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, is Hangar 24 Craft Brewery. Past the orange trees and down the winding roads, across from the airport is a brewery nestled in the foothills of a beautiful mountain backdrop. Generally the crowds are jovial and light-hearted, and the brewery is laid-back but on the Anniversary it was a time to celebrate and celebrate we did.

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The lines of cars were daunting as we drove up to the brewery. We did see that Hangar had set-up shuttles for people which were considerate because it was something like 80 degrees or more outside. Parking farther than I would like to admit and “walking off our lunch” we finally made it to the front to see a giant white tent that was set-up where the dirt parking lot normally is.

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Drink tickets in one hand and anniversary glass in the other, the tasting began. We tried the anniversary beer first, which was excellent. Second was the Essence DIPA that was really good. This IPA is nice and dry with sweetness up front and a dry hoppyness in the finish. A really good DIPA. I might be biased because I love a dry hoppy beer with grapefruit on the finish.

I got to also have the Cobra, and apparently I was lucky to be able to have it because the keg of Cobra blew in something like 20 minutes. We were smart enough to stake-out a table right by the station that was doing timed beer releases. It was fun to hang out with Matt and John from NBT, by and meet some new friends. I ran into some Hop Heads from my facebook group and got to chat with them. Sean, my fiancé, just got hired by Hangar 24 for their new Orange County distribution location so we got to also chat with some of the awesome sales reps like Nate Squillace.

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It was a really fun day. It was the first time I have gone to any Hangar Anniversary parties, and it was great. I just might have to go back for more next year. Hopefully it won’t be so sweaty.

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Brewing Equipment in Pictures



 

Pasadena Beer Day

My sister was in town and we decided to spend the day in Pasadena. Besides the awful parking prices ($20 for 1 hour?!) we managed to find a spot and headed to stop number 1.

  1. Haven Gastropub – Pasadena: The inside of Haven Pasadena was gorgeous. There was exposed brick, leather, and copper, everything that would make for a fantastic neighborhood hangout. The big windows and skylights make this place inviting yet cool. It’s ok that we wanted a beer at noon on a lovely Saturday afternoon, said the décor. No judgment here. The beer list was on massive LCD screens (convenient for updates) and I ended-up ordering the Holiday Sucks Lagunitas beer. Although, I promptly gave them crap for listing it as a strong ale on their board because it’s clearly a double ipa. It says so on the label! The food was excellent. I had the flatbread with squash, goat cheese, mustard greens and crispy panchetta. I love how the squash looked like cheese because it fools your mind while eating it.Sean fell in love with the pork rillettes appetizer, which was like cured pork that has the texture of tuna, served in a mason jar with sourdough bread and mustard. He also got the Haven burger, which was good but messy. The beer selection was impressive and the food was on-point so keep it up Haven Pasadena!
  2. Lucky Baldwin’s – Sean and I haven’t been here before but this was on our “beer bucket list” of places to visit. I have to say, it didn’t disappoint. They had a large list of beers at good prices and the atmosphere was relaxed and enjoyable.If I lived in Pasadena, I am sure this would be our weekly spot. I got to have a 2005 Old Guardian by Stone Brewing Co. while I was there…who the hell still has that on their menu at a decent price no less?! Why aren’t the owner’s hording that away in some crazy cellar to save for a high roller or something? Beer-geek-out moments aside, I think another trip to Lucky Baldwin’s is in order, if not to just get one of their awesome beer glasses for my collection.
  3. Venturing astray from Pasadena, we descended upon Eagle Rock Brewery – Eagle Rock is not the easiest place to find, especially if you are not familiar with LA. Once we discovered the location, we leaped out of the car and happily skipped to Eagle Rock. Eagle Rock Brewery not only met my expectations, but exceeded them by a mile. The freakin’ prices were so damn good! I footed the bill for me and my beer buddies, Mark and Christy Henry (brother and sister) and Sean and Seth (my sister’s boyfriends’ brother) and it only came to $50 and we each had 2 beers. Each beer was $5 in case you’re bad at math. Not only are the prices amazing, but the beer was so good. I had a cask beer which didn’t change the price, and enjoyed every bit of that beer. Bonus – they had some breathtaking bottles for sale in a small standing refrigerator where we procured some Evil Twin bottles. Sean made a girlish scream when he saw Evil Twin. It was so cute.
  4. Lastly we went to Wurstküche Restaurant for some sausages. I have been there before when it was busy, but it was soooo busy on a Saturday night. No matter, we waited in line, found some fun “Man Beast” signs to photograph, and chatted until we could order. I ordered the rattlesnake with peppers and truffle oil fries. It was divine, as I had expected. I think my nostalgic side loves the writing on the paper table cloths the best. They are equipped with a small yet impressive Belgian beer selection to make any beer geek happy while stuffing sausages in their mouth. Yes, I just made a sausages-in-mouth reference, you are so welcome.

Twitter Baking Challenge: What would you make with Karl Strauss Off The Rails?

Full of ideas I went to BevMo thinking it would be easy to spot and hurry home with dreams of sugarplums floating in my head. Walking into BevMo I was asked five times if I needed help so I relented and said, “Ok, do you have Karl Stauss Off The Rails?” “Why, yes! It’s right here,” said the over-enthused salesman. We walked to the Karl Stauss area but alas, there was no Off The Rails. “Oh, that’s strange, I thought we just got some,” the salesman moaned. “No worries, I will just have to get something else,” I smiled knowing that an additional beer trip was going to be in order to find Off The Rails. To my surprise it was actually hiding in plain site on the end of the row next to the Ninkasi. “Oh pshhhh, that guy didn’t know anything…” I muttered under my breath as I placed one in my basket. Thinking that I might want more than one I grabbed another bomber and headed to the register.

Because I am a gigantic klutz, I managed to drop one of my bags while putting my purchases in the trunk of my car. Bending down to inspect the fallen solider, out of the 8 or so bottles I purchased the only one that broke was the Off The Rails. Now I was really glad I bought two bottles.

With a renewed spirit, I unloaded at home and started baking. I decided to make Honeycomb Candy, even though I have never made any before. The directions seemed easy enough, so I dived right in.

Ingredients:

¾ cup sugar

2 tablespoons honey (I used Julian Wild Berry Honey)

2 tablespoons water

1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda

2 tablespoons of Karl Strauss Red Trolley Ale Off The Rails

70 % Chocolate and Sea Salt (for covering candy and decoration)

Instructions:

1.       Prepare a cookie sheet with a silpat or that has been greased.

2.       Add the sugar, honey, water and beer to a saucepan. You can stir the mixture but you shouldn’t really need to.

3.       Cook the ingredients over high heat, without stirring, until the mixture reaches 300 degrees F.

4.       When the candy reaches 300, pull the pan from the heat and whisk in the baking soda. This will cause the mixture to foam up so once it’s incorporated be quick to pour it onto the baking pan. You might need a spatula handy.

5.       Don’t mess with the mixture once on the pan, otherwise the bubbles will pop and mess with the candy.

6.       Let sit for 15 minutes then put the whole pan in the freezer.

7.       In the meantime, melt the chocolate (I used two bars or 1 bag of chocolate chips) and get a cooling rack ready.

8.       Take the candy out of the freezer and smash into pieces (this is the really fun part). Then put the whole pan back into the freezer. The candy gets sticky and mushy if left in the open air for too long. Take a few pieces from the freezer and cover in chocolate and then sprinkle sea salt while the chocolate is still wet. Place on cooling rack to dry. Once dry, place cooled candy into the fridge until ready to serve. Repeat on the remaining pieces of candy.

      Fun Fact: Try using different types of sea salt, I used Chardonnay Smoked Sea Salt which went really well with the candy.

These candies were a huge hit, and everyone who tried them loved it. The beer was malty and sweet with a hint of bitter which went really well with the caramelized sugar. I plan to make them again very soon. So drop what you are doing and make these, your family and friends will thank you!

Enjoy!

The Copper Door’s Commitment to Better Beer Bar

I was recently invited to a beer tasting at The Copper Door to try some amazing beers paired with some interesting and unusual appetizers. The event was themed “Belgium and Belgium Inspired Brews” with Joe Corona from the Wine Warehouse. The appetizers were provided by The Crosby, a local restaurant/bar, which were delicious and very adventurous.

The Copper Door is quite possibly one of my favorite bars in Orange County. It seems to be untouched by the “douchey-hipster” vibe that you get from practically everywhere else in Orange County, which is a very good thing. Sometimes you just want to go to a bar, and have a beer, and hang out and relax. Unfortunately most places don’t cater to that preference, or have a good beer selection. Lucky for you, The Copper Door has a stress-free atmosphere with a fantastic beer assortment to choose from. The design of the place reminds me of Belgium/German style design with a very long wooden table in the middle of the bar with wooden benches. The bar itself is underground, which might make reception for you phone hard to come by, but the feeling of stepping away from the norm of reality makes it worth it.

Arriving to the tasting, my fiancé and I sat next to Greg from OC Beer Blogwhom I have met before and thoroughly enjoy. Greg might possibly have the best quips and tasting notes on the planet so if you spot him at an event you should follow him around with a recorder because the stuff he says is gold.

We arrived right before the pouring began and Joe started speaking about the beer. We tasted several beers, in a very fast paced-fashion, and talked about the differences in flavor, origin, and complexities.

Chimay Triple White (8%ABV, 99 RB) – Hazy honey in color and served with a medium white head. Light fruit, dough, yeast smell with sweet flavor of fruity esters and yeast. Good carbonation and a bitter, crisp finish.

Lefebvre Blanche de Bruxelles (4.5% ABV, 61 RB) – Light, somewhat hazy yellow color with a lot of head. The carbonation is high, and the mouth feel is widely varied. The tartness is nicely balanced by the malty sweetness. The major flavor profile is the coriander and orange.

Grimbergen Cuvée Ambrée / Double (Dubbel) (6.5%ABV, 88 RB) – This beer was a nice change from the light Belgians, with a chocolate and toffee flavor and dark in color.

Van Diest Früli Strawberry Beer (4.1%ABV, 24 RB) – I like some fruit beers very much, but I was not a huge fan of this one. It tasted like lipstick to me.

Allagash Black (7.5%ABV, 98 RB) – bitter coffee chocolate darker ale with lovely change in flavor profile as it warms. The fuller body and carbonation shines through with a hint of oats.

Unibroue La Fin Du Monde (9%ABV, 99 RB) – “The End of the World” beer. This beer is triple fermented with a blend of different yeasts which give it a very unique flavor and very mild alcohol burn. If you haven’t had this one, you should.

North Coast PranQster Belgian (7.6%ABV, 92 RB) – citrus noise and a hint of apple, subtle spice flavor and mild carbonation. The interesting thing about this beer is North Coast uses a mixed culture of antique yeast strains that results in a floral nose, a full fruity flavor and a clean finish.

Allagash White (5%ABV, 94 RB) – spicy and light flavor. It’s got a terrific yeast profile and has some hints of herbs which remind me of basil.

Chimay Bleue (Blue) / Grande Réserve (9%ABV, 100 RB) – This is one of my favorite Belgian dark beers. This is a Trappist style, bottle conditioned strong ale with varied sweet yeast and malty caramel flavors. This beer gets more complex the warmer it gets.

The beers were paired with:

German Tea Sandwiches: Fennel sauerkraut, head cheese, smoked gouda, sweet & spicy mustardon on pumpernickel bread.

Gruyere Cheese Tuile: Smoked sausage with Gooseberry marmalade.

Red Cabbage Tart: Beer braised red cabbage currants and carrot mustard puree on a dill puff pastry.

The appetizers were very interesting and good. I particularly liked the red cabbage tart because the carrot puree was very tasty, and the cabbage was delightful. That’s saying a lot because I don’t really like cabbage. The cheese tuile was also good, and I liked the smoked sausage.

Overall, it was a very enjoyable evening where I had great food and amazing beer with marvelous people. The Copper Door is in downtown Santa Ana, right on the corner of Broadway and 3rd street and are open Tuesday through Saturday between 8pm to 2am. Come and enjoy a beer with me there!

Holiday Rumpkin Pumpkin Cookies

In the spirit of the season, I made some pumpkin cookies with Avery Brewing Company’s Rumpkin Imperial Pumpkin Ale (15.9% ABV, 99 RB). Of course, I had to add more than just chocolate chips because I just can’t help myself which seems to be the perfect frame-of-mind for the indulgent holiday season.

I recently went to Julian with some friends of mine and my fiancé and one of the benefits of going to Julian is getting some of their amazing pumpkin butter. Trust me; it’s better than anything you can buy locally. Substituting regular butter in cookie recipes for “bedazzled” butter like: almond butter, pumpkin butter, etc. can really spruce-up a simple recipe.

Now, you can really use any type of pumpkin beer for this recipe but I chose Avery’s Rumpkin because it has a really unique flavor combination. The mix of oak, rum, pumpkin really pairs well with the cacao nibs, dark chocolate chips and pumpkin butter. The spice profile in the beer also complements the spices in the cookie, plus you get to have an amazing beer to drink while baking.

Ingredients:

2 ¼ cups of all-purpose flour (I added a few dashes of pumpkin pie spice and extra cinnamon and ground nutmeg to the flour)

1/4 cup of Avery Rumpkin Beer

½ teaspoon of baking soda

1 stick of softened butter (unsalted)

6 tablespoons of pumpkin butter (can use regular butter if pumpkin butter not available)

¾ cups granulated sugar

¼ cups packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon of coarse salt (use vanilla bean salt if you have it)

2 teaspoons of vanilla

2 large eggs

2 cups of 60-70% dark chocolate chips

1 cup of cacao nibs

1 cup of roasted & chopped hazelnuts

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and whisk together the flour and baking soda in a separate bowl.
  2. Put both types of butter in an electric mixer with the paddle attachment and add the two sugars. Beat until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add salt, vanilla, and eggs and mix until combined. Add the flour mixture and beer and mix only until combined and no more.
  3. Take off the mixer and using a spoon or spatula add the chocolate chips, nibs and nuts and mix until evenly distributed in the dough.
  4. Using a larger spoon or cookie scooper (looks like a smaller ice cream scoop) drop little cookie mounds onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Place either 6-8 mounds on the sheets and no more. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, rotating once in the middle, until golden brown on the edges. Let the cookies cool for five minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to wire racks. Cookies are great for the first few days but can last for about a week.

Happy Holidays from me to you!

From Washington to Portland and Back: My Epic Beercation

We started our beercation at a poker tournament at a local casino in Kirkland where I hung on for a few hours but ultimately a bad string of cards took me down. Sean, my fiance, was uncharacteristically knocked-out in the first few minutes of the tournament and promptly went to play black jack and work on his All American Badge on Untapped. After the casino, we stopped by Black Raven Brewing Company in Redmond for a few drinks before lunch. I was shocked and fell instantly in love with Black Raven. I am used to seeing breweries in business parks, but never are they as big with as much seating as Black Raven. This is supposed to be small? No way! There was at least 10 or more tables and a bunch of seating, and I loved that all their tables and chairs were re-purposed wood with natural edges…it was a lovely touch. No matter how awesome and obsessed I was with the internal feel, all that really matters is how the beer tastes. I tried their Trickster IPA which was 7% ABV with 70 IBU’s and it was pretty fantastic. It was a very drinkable IPA with a great floral biscuit flavor so it comes at no surprise that it won NABA 2009 Silver Medal – Strong Pale Ale category. This is a great local spot so if you are in the area you need to stop by – it’s worth it!
Later that day, I convinced my sister to take us to Epic Ales because I have heard lots of positive things about them. Little did I know, it was the smallest tap room I have ever been to! It was probably a 9×10 room and a little counter with four taps and 22oz. bottles to purchase. The brewer, Cody Morris, was behind the counter and had two beers on tap but offered an additional taster for us out of a personal growler! Now that’s what I call passionate! His beers are so interesting and innovative and prove to be true to the title of craft beer being that all the beer is made mainly by him in small 31 gallon batches. We tasted the Solar Trans Amplifier which is a Whitt with ginger and chamomile that has a nice crisp taste. Another beer we tried was the Cinco Plantas brewed with Epazote which a mexican tea leaf that has similar characteristics of tarragon and fennel. The last one we tried was the Partly Cloudy (from the growler) which was a summer seasonal that had some nice melon (cucumber?) and citrus flavors. We bought La Mesa Negra to take home which was a dark beer with some awesome sour notes. Bottom line: Epic Ales are bravely doing some seriously interesting things and don’t seem to have anything I would categorize as boring. Check out their facebook page for event updates including their new “gastropod” beer dinners!
The following day we drove from Kirkland, WA to Portland,OR to visit as many Portland breweries we could in one day without getting too drunk. Sounds easy, but it takes some finesse because it’s really easy to get carried away when surrounded by so many great places to try. Armed with my list of hopeful visits, we started at Upright Brewing Co. This was the one out of all of them I was the most excited to visit because they are so hard to get in Orange County. The brewery is downstairs in a celler of a business building, which threw me off at first, but I really enjoyed the atmosphere and the “secret society” feel going on down there. We tasted the Alphaphylactic Hop, Four, Five, Six, Offen Weisse, Engelber Pilsner and Flora Rustica. The one I liked the best out of all the tasters was Flora Rustica. It was flavorful and light and simply amazing. Also, I am pretty sure I spotted @SamuraiArtist getting cut barrels from Upright when I was on my way in. I was too chicken to talk to him though. Didn’t want to have that awkward “I’m your friend on Twitter” conversation, I just wanted to get my hands on Upright beer.
The second place we went to from there was Hair of the Dog Brewing Company. This completely stole the show. The tasting room was nice and open with the garage-door roll-up wall (that seems to be very trendy in Portland and Seattle) and a bunch of stuff that you can order from the menu. Sean was immediately drawn to the 2008 Cherry Adam from the rare bottle list. We settled on that and four tasters each. I tried the Doggie Claws, Fred, Adam, and Ruth. They were all very good but Holy Crap was the Cherry Adam from the Wood 2008 amazing. It had a nice tart flavor with oak-infused alcohol burn. Needless to say, were were getting pretty hungry and Hair of the Dog’s menu looked good so we ordered the pickled plate and the meat plate. It came with crusty-rustic bread and (best thing that I am now obsessed with) unsalted butter with sea-salt on it. Can everyone copy this please?! I now want sea salt on all my butter bowls that come with bread.
The third place we stopped was Cascade Brewing Company where I had their Cherry Lemon Quad which was really good. Their tap room was different because they literally had barrels that they were pouring from in the walls. I had met-up with some friends so I didn’t get to try everything we ordered but from what I heard they make some amazing stuff. I am kinda upset I didn’t get to try the Bourbonic Plague. From there we noticed there was a street fair going on and decided to stop by. We ended-up stumbling upon a Rogue garage sale where they were selling cases of their beer for ridiculous prices. Basically I had to hold Sean back, but that didn’t prevent him from buying like 4 or 5 cases. From there we went to Rogue’s Pub location in downtown Portland where I had their Raspberry Lambic floated on their Chocolate Porter which was fantastic. I am can’t really enjoy a huge glass of Lambic but paired with a chocolate porter was heavenly. Also, I had a blend that was inspired by a Snickers bar which really came close to the real thing. Sean also bought way to much stuff because he spotted the Single Malt Whiskey and the Dead Guy Whiskey so needless to say it was an expensive day. From there we went to the Whiskey Soda Lounge (same owner as Pok Pok) and feasted on their amazing chicken wings and pad thai and oysters. Those chicken wings are seriously addicting! After eating we took the long 4 hour drive back to Kirkland.
The following day we went to Vashion Island for a Butchers benefit hosted by Skillet and Farmstead Meatsmith at Island Meadow Farm. There was an awesome video made which you can view here. We brought the majority of the Rouge beer that we had bought the day before, which was a huge hit with all the guests who came to the event. The event was a gathering/celebration for Farmstead Meatsmith who was recently funded on Kickstarter to start educating people about proper butchering techniques via free webisodes. A bunch of people who funded the Kickstarter campaign attended as well as the friends and family’s of Skillet and Farmstead. The island farm where it was hosted was beautiful and buzzing with life. It was truly a perfect end to a grand vacation.
But wait, that’s not all! The following morning my boyfriend proposed to me so I am now engaged! Sorry guys, I know you were hoping to seal me away, but it’s too late and you lost your chance. We have tentative plans to have a destination wedding in Ireland! So I went to Washington with a boyfriend and flew home engaged…how things change.

Spotlight on: Bootleggers Brewery


I recently wrote a long article in California Beer and Pizza online magazine all about Orange County Breweries. In the interest of making the highlights of the article, the brewery spotlights, easier to read and more focused I am going to post the excerpt about each brewery and all the photos. One photo per brewery can hardly do it justice, especially when each one has so much character and charm!

 

Excerpt from the article: Bootlegger’s Brewery began as nothing more than a class assignment for Aaron Barkenhagen, who came up with the business plan while enrolled at Cal State Fullerton. Bootlegger’s emerged in April 2008 with a mission to supply the local community with unique, handcrafted beer. Located in Fullerton, right on the outskirts of the downtown area, it sits as a gem of creativity. To me, Bootlegger’s is making some of the most interesting, eclectic and innovative beers in all of Southern California. Their tap room is small but personable. It’s a place to hang out and drink artisan beer out of mason jars and chat with the locals. If you are stuck-up and want to cry about not having enough places to sit, or how maybe their tables and chairs “don’t match”, then Bootlegger’s is not for you. You don’t deserve the amazingness that is Bootlegger’s beer. To me, it matters less what the tap room looks like, and more what the beer tastes like, and Bootleggers has great-tasting beer , period. Among some of the most notable beers is their ‘Black Phoenix’, which is a coffee-chipotle stout with subtle chocolate flavors to compliment the roasted coffee and spicy chipotle peppers. This complex beer is 6.7% ABV and changes the more it warms to room temperature. Also, their special-release ‘Knuckle Sandwich’ is a 10% ABV Double/Imperial IPA that creates lines out the door just to get a taste of it. One of my personal favorites on tap right now is their ‘Plum Riot’, which is a Belgian style at 7.8% ABV. ‘Plum Riot’ has a nice light and fruity aftertaste, and all the subtleties that one would expect from a Belgian style, and a unique flavor of plum. Bootlegger’s continues to push the envelope and make interesting beer that is ever rotating, which makes it easy to keep coming back again and again.

Beer Fridge List Update

After a trip to Total Wine and BevMo, the fridge list had to get updated. After painstakingly going through the beer fridge and adding the new items the list is finally updated in all it’s glory! One of the most rewarding things about having an accurate list is the next time I go to a bottle share, I no longer have to worry about bringing a beer I don’t have a duplicate of. Enjoy! See the list as it gets updated here.
Brewery Series Beer Name Year ABV RB Rating Bottle Count
Adrien Brouwer 2011 8.50% 87 1
Allagash Curieux 2011 11.00% 98 1
Anchor Brewing Co Brekle’s Brown 2011 6% 81 1
Avery Dihos Dactylion 2011 10.74% 98 1
Avery Salvation 2011 9% 95 1
Avery The Kaiser Imperial Oktoberfest 2011 10% 96 1
Avery The Maharaja Imperial IPA 2011 10.54% 100 1
Ballast Point Sea Monster Imperial Stout 2011 10.00% 98 1
Brasserie dOrval Trappist Ale 2011 6.20% 99 1
Brasserie Dubuisson Scaldis Belgian Special Ale 2011 12% 95 1
Brasserie Rochefort Rochefort Trappistes 10 2011 11.30% 100 1
Brasserie Rochefort Rochefort Trappistes 6 2011 7.50% 98 1
Brasserie Rochefort Rochefort Trappistes 8 2011 9.20% 100 1
Brew Dog Tokio 2011 18.20% 98 1
BrewDog Dogma 2011 7.80% 83 2
BrewDog Paradox SmokeHead 2011 10% 95 1
BrewDog Tokyo* 2011 18.20% 98 2
Brouwerij De Ryck De Ryck Arend Tripel 2011 8% 89 1
Brouwerij der Trappisten van Westmalle Westmalle Dubbel 2011 7% 99 1
Brouwerij der Trappisten van Westmalle Westmalle Tripel 2011 9.50% 99 1
Castle Brewery Classic Release Samichlaus 2009 14.00% N/A? 1
Deschutes Conflux Series No. 2 2011 7.30% 97 1
Dogfish Head Burton Baton 2011 10% 99 1
Drakes Brewing Co. Aroma Coma 2011 6.70% 95 1
Firehouse Grill & Brewert Hops on Rye 2011 7.50% 97 1
Full Sail Brewmaster Reserve Bump in the Night 22 2011 6.50% 72 1
Goose Island Bourbon County 2009 13% 100 1
Great Divide 17th Anniversary Wood Aged DIPA 2011 10.00% 98 2
Great Divide Belgian Style Yeti Imperial Stout 2011 9.50% 98 1
Great Divide