by Sean on March 3, 2017


#LABW9 is packed with beer happenings!
Make the most of the remaining days of L.A. Beer Week by checking the calendar for event information.

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To the Top

by Sean on June 28, 2017


# 3 in the Day Trip series of cans from Eagle Rock Brewery will be dropping on July 18th. And it has the perfect name for those hikers who have backpacks filled with beer, :Summit Seeker American IPA is an homage to Mount Whitney, the tallest peak in the lower 48 states, and is chock full of pine, citrus and tropical notes from Galaxy, Simcoe and Summit hops.”

The fourth and final Day Trip release for 2017 will go by the name of Salvation Mountain and will be a 180 from IPA land, a prickly pear gose slotted for late August.

“All four in the series are named for an outdoor site only a short journey outside the city, and a portion of the proceeds from every can of 2 North and Salvation Mountain will benefit the national monuments they represent.”

Follow #ERBDayTrip for more about the series.

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Let’s Get Astrophysical

by Sean on June 28, 2017

Some brewery should start a series of beers named in honor of people who are promoting science in this age of pretending it doesn’t exist. No climate change here, move along.

Maybe Asheville Brewing Company will take up that mantle since they have recently debuted their Bier Lemongrass Tyson in honor of Neil DeGrasse Tyson the noted astrophysicist and often guest on TV shows like the Daily Show.

Apparently, he let slide that he was a fan of weissbeers so the ABC brewed up a Belgian wit style made with lemongrass, sweet orange peel, coriander, and dry-hopped with, wait for it, Galaxy Hops. It won’t make it outside of Asheville but hopefully it will sell well since a portion of the proceeds go to a local museum of science.

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Beach Shoppe

by Sean on June 27, 2017


No, you cannot order beer to be delivered when you go to the new Beachwood Brewing online shop. But, you can now order t-shirts and hats and other sundry items to be delivered to you, or as gifts. Keep in mind the next time you have a birthday coming up for the beer geeks in your life.

And since you will be on the site, you can check out their event page too.

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Review – Sommerweiße from Erdinger

by Sean on June 27, 2017


I was intrigued by the bottle of Erdinger Sommerweiße that I saw on the shelf, so I grabbed a bottle to see what it would be like and I was let down. This supposed wheat – Hefe was sparkly and tasted like a sweet tart candy with a little metallic tinge at the end. The image wasn’t helpful at all as it poured a hazy brownish orange. It was nowhere near hoppy and just tasted weird. I can usually trust Erdinger to give me German flavors but this did not.

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Milk Stout in Milk Bottle

by Sean on June 26, 2017

This NY Times article does not specifically mention beer but it does show that outside the container thinking should not be relegated to glass vs can.

What type of packaging can be sustainable, or recycled more while also not breaking the budget of a small brewery. Is there an earth substance that can be harnessed to block light and be light like a can without the drawbacks of that metal? And can that be made without damaging the food supply.

Something to ponder as you pull a beer from the ‘fridge. Would you drink a beer that was put into a package made from mushrooms, or kelp?

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Mystery Shopper

by Sean on June 26, 2017


By now, the existence of mystery shoppers is no secret. Yelp may be oft discussed and dissed but shopper with a paycheck instead of a grudge could potentially be more helpful. Enter Secret Hopper a new mystery shopping company. Their niche is the craft beer industry.

Here is their log line, “With over 5000 breweries in the United States, Secret Hopper wants to determine what sets a brewery’s customer experience apart? It is Secret Hopper’s goal to make every guest at breweries a repeat customer.”

Where the rubber meets the road is the quality of the reviewers. Will they be able to deep dive into the quality of the beer or is it just surface level, service and tap room ambience? Will the branding be discussed? How often will people be required to go back?

Could be interesting but my last question is, How many breweries in the independent sector could afford this service?

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There are players ranging from ZX Ventures to Hopsy, Drizly and other millenially monikered names entering the beer delivery market. But is it a market that can actually be viable long term?

I think not. At least not nationally and not on a state level either.

The two best bets for making this work would be approaches that are diametrically opposed. You can string together operations by city. Have a service in Portland, another separate one in Salem, Eugene, and so on. Each smaller service could deliver to a targeted area from breweries in that area. For beers outside your radius, you would have to have that zone deliver to your zone and then to you. Akin to a library system. I can request a book and if my city library does not have it, they can ask another library that they are partnered with if they do.

The logistics on this would be a challenge, that is certain. Drivers would have to visit multiple breweries in their area and either drop their bounty off at a distribution hub for outbound drivers to deliver or do both pick-up and drop-off from one roaming vehicle. There would certainly also be issues with order fulfillment. Smaller breweries don’t make as much of some beers. If an order is received at 1pm for a hazy NE IPA beer that a customers sees as “buyable” on a website, the driver leaves that instant but what if the keg has just kicked or will in-between the driver leaving and arriving? How does a company handle this on the fly in a way that makes customers happy?

Now a bottle shop could conceivably offer a delivery service. But that would require upgrades and maintenance of SKU’s in an on-line store environment and again, how large a delivery radius could a store handle? And the only way to adequately cover a city would be by banding together with other bottle shops. Using L.A. as an example, there is simply no way to get a beer from Beachwood Brewing in Huntington Beach to my home in Glendale without expending lots of time and gas and freeway frustration.

Notice that I haven’t even mentioned the added cost that would have to be tacked on to make this financially workable. That is a cost that will reduce the pool of prospective customers. Oh and I haven’t even looked into how local, state and federal laws would come into play.

But what if SABInBev decided to jump into the game?

They have distribution in place. But they lack the selection that people will pay a premium for. Who in their right mind is going to order up a case of Lime-A-Rita’s or America cans and pay a delivery fee for something that is not a premium price product and can be found at any corner store or gas station for a lower price?

Their product is everywhere and plentiful. Not something that is being hunted for or, quite frankly, desired to that extent. Especially to the extent that a mark-up would be tolerated. Maybe, delivery can be targeted for larger orders for parties or weddings or the like. But that too is already more than adequately covered.

In basic economic terms, the demand cannot be supplied and the supplier is not in demand. To my eyes, the customer base for delivery requires a certain selection (from craft breweries) and those that can fulfill orders effectively (distributors) does not have that product. There is a chasm that would require quite a bridge to make this work.

Perhaps, independent beer can be delivered but it would take something like Amazon partnering with Whole Foods for that to possibly happen?

Peel the Label is an occasional series where I opine about the big picture of craft beer and blogging without photos, videos or links.

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Traveling in Belgium

by Sean on June 25, 2017


I have not been to 1 of the 11 Trappist breweries around the world but I can sorta go through the new book Trappist Beer Travels, by Caroline Wallace, Sarah Wood, and Jessica Deahl. According to the authors the book, “provides complete coverage of abbey histories, beer profiles, and travel tips in Belgium, Italy, Netherlands, Austria, and the United States.”

I like the idea of merging the history of each abbey with beer. And I hope that the photography can really capture such diverse places as Chimay, Westvleteren, newbie Tre Fontane, and even America’s first Trappist brewery, Spencer.

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Even More L.A. Breweries Coming…

by Sean on June 24, 2017

Each LABW9 year that Tomm Carroll hosts his “So You want to Open a Brewery” event, I look over the list of invitees to see which new breweries are coming down the pike. Because I keep my ear to the ground, I usually have heard of most. But this year, there were three that I had not heard about! And number one on the list, I had heard the name, but it was from Tomm himself!

Surprisingly, Torrance and Burbank are not on the list. Make note of the following, you might see them pouring at #LABW10.

Burnin’ Daylights Brewing (Lomita) – Brendan Lake
Common Space Brewing (Hawthorne) – Brent Knapp
Tortugo Brewing (Inglewood) – Joe Kovach
Two Coasts Brewing (Gardena) – Jan Dreier

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Bartz BBQ at Boomtown

June 24, 2017

I showed up 30 minutes before the Boomtown Brewery taproom opened. Not to tour the brewery or because traffic was lighter than expected. No, I was there to talk to Dustin Bartz of Bartz BBQ. And, yes, to taste the BBQ too. You may have seen them set-up outside many local breweries such as Santa […]

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