by Sean on March 3, 2017

9th Annual Kickoff Festival – Saturday, June 17th

Tickets go on sale on Friday, March 10th at 12pm Pacific Time.

General Admission: $50
VIP Admission: $70
Designated Driver: $25
(Prices increase by $5 after May 15.)
(*Enthusiast members receive 20% off up to 4 tickets – use your member number on your Enthusiast ID)


Book Review – Hoptopia

by Sean on April 25, 2017

The backstory on hops coming from Oregon is on partial display in Hoptopia by Peter Kopp traces hops from their start in Oregon up to the craft beer boom.

As happens with many beer books, the story just grinds to a halt once you hit Y2K. There is a bit of an epilogue but it seems that a general wrap up with a nod towards the future could be beefed up.

I wouldn’t even worry if the preceding chapters were not so interesting. You learn how the hop plant made it to Oregon. Spoiler – It wasn’t growing here before. You learn of the hop barons. There are tidbits of how Oregon hops made their way into Guinness beers and then, to me, most fascinating is the long and slow slog to start hop breeding and how one person, really set the wheels in motion for developing new varietals.

You will want to look up the name Dr. Alfred Haunold. Then thank him the next time you are drinking an IPA.

You get not only agriculture but business, people, labor force news a whole cornucopia of not just the hop cone but all the surrounding factors that go into growing and harvesting.

I was dog-earing pages left and right as I furiously flipped through this book on my Kindle. I just wish it had been longer.


Rhubarb in Flux

by Sean on April 25, 2017

Each year, Allagash changes up the recipe for Fluxus. Otherwise the name would be ironic and not actual. This year, the mystery ingredient has been revealed as rhubarb. Something you don’t see in beers that often. So you might want to splurge for a bottle this year.


Every twice in awhile, I get a wild hare and go to raiding the beer cellar. Sorry, been listening to the S-Town podcast.

Going back to the halcyon days of 2013 for a barleywine from Oakshire Brewing of Eugene, Oregon.

This one did bubble over even though I let it rest for a bit. As I cleaned up the mess, I got a vinous note in the aroma that worried me a bit. And when poured into the glass, there were flecks of brown stirring around.

Some oxidization had happened but as the beer warmed up, it became much more oaky and bourbon barrel. The caramel notes were intermingling with the remaining hop character as well in the this opaque light brown beer. Getting a touch of chocolate as well.

I would hazard a guess that this beer was better a couple years ago. The fade to barrel has simplified a beer that I hazard a guess was happier and less sweet.


Way to Go

by Sean on April 24, 2017

It is not often that Brazilian craft beer shows up in L.A., but Southland Beer has a cure for that with…

This is a great chance to sample Way Beer and a lot of new and unusual additions to beer as well.


Dine & Donate

by Sean on April 23, 2017

On Tuesday, April 25th you can make a difference by just having food and beer.

Link N Hops will donate 15% of sales from the whole day to the Syrian American Medical Society

You can also meet & greet representatives from the SAMS organization who will be on hand starting at 6:00 pm to answer questions and collect additional donations.

You can learn more about the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) HERE.


Can Delirium

by Sean on April 23, 2017

File under: things I did not see happening. On the heels of Rodenbach canning comes news that Huyghe Brewery will be putting Delirium Tremens in Cans!

Some backstory: Delirium Tremens was born on December 26th, 1988. It is an 8.5% ABV pale blond that according to their importer is bitter,peppery, malty and robust. Due partially to three different types of yeast used in the brewing process. Most people see it as the pink elephant beer, which is also fine, in bottles or cans.


#7 includes 2 not just 1

by Sean on April 22, 2017

Boulevard Brewing started their collaboration series with Hair of the Dog and recently combo’d with fellow Duvelian Firestone Walker. Now for the first time they are brewing with two brewers.

Collaboration 7 will hit the higher priced section of the beer shop shelves come August. It is a collaboration with the Georgia based Creature Comforts and Arizona Wilderness from well, Arizona.

Here is a list of what is inside each bottle: peach puree, lemon zest and riesling with Nelson Sauvin, Lemondrop and Hallertau Blanc hops. Sonoran White Wheat, Missouri wheat, honey malt and corn grits. Aged on new oak. Then topped off with champagne yeast.

Boulevard Collaboration 7 will be available in 12 ounce bottles and draft.


Craft Obsession

by Sean on April 22, 2017

If you Tweet about beer or get invited to beer events on Facebook, then Craft Obsession by Jeff Rice might be of interest.

The Social Rhetorics of beer sub- title betrays the fact that the author is a professor (University of Kentucky in this case) but this looks to be the first beer that I have heard about that will attempt to draw links between social media and beer.

Probably best read on a Kindle.


Beer Above Replacement

by Sean on April 21, 2017

With the 2017 season of Major League Baseball (AC-After Cubs) underway, it got me to thinking about a relatively new stat that is used by the tech savvy clubs. WAR. Wins Above Replacement. As Wikipedia defines it, “is a non-standardized sabermetric baseball statistic developed to sum up “a player’s total contributions to his team”. A player’s WAR value is claimed to be the number of additional wins his team has achieved above the number of expected team wins if that player were substituted by a replacement-level player: a player that may be added to the team for minimal cost and effort.”

Those last four words caught my attention. Minimal cost and effort. What if craft beer could have a WAR rating? Could you create a “replacement” IPA score from scores on Untappd, RateBeer or Beer Advocate and compare it to a current “score” for that rare barrel-aged beer? Then could you create an availibility and time spent score to subtract to see if driving an hour for a beer that may be tapped out or costs twice as much if you can even get your grubby hands on it?

The million dollar question, is would it matter? Would craft beer customers be like old time baseball scouts and rely on their gut and emotion as opposed to points of data? Or would the fact that a beer is rare be the only thing that matters?

But let’s try a primitive example of what I call BAR – Beer Above Replacement. I am no mathmetician so bear with the crude equations.

Part 1 – RateBeer Score + BeerAdvocate Score + Untapp’d Stars
Part 2 – Availability (5 for Easy to 1 for Whale)
To elaborate – if it can be found on the shelf of multiple good beer shops then 5, if it is a limited release at only the brewery then 1
Part 3 – Price (5 for Reasonable to 1 for Gouged)
To elaborate (again) I did not put actual dollar amounts because a $10 bottle of a barrel-aged blend is reasonable whereas $20 for a 4-pack of IPA might not be)
Part 4 – Time to Acquire (5 for requires short car ride to 1 for plane ride)
Part 5 – Cool Factor (3 for impressive to 1 for no street cred)

Add all (5) parts for your score. You can then compare beers. Or you can create a composite. Such as the ever popular IPA’s. Add in a national IPA, a few locals, some out-of-state options and try to get at least 10 to create a sturdy, though small, sample size. There is obvious fudging factors in Parts 2-5 but they are all dependent on where a person lives and the prices in their area.

Let’s do a quick look at Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA as an example:
Untapp’d 3.76 – adjusted to 10 point scale: 7.52
RateBeer 97 – adjusted to 10 point scale 9.70
Beer Advocate 92 – adjusted to 10 point scale 9.20
Rating TOTAL = 26.42

Availability – 4 (can be found everywhere but some places might have really old stock)
Price – 5 (six-packs can be found for under $10)
Time – 4 (again dinged to aged stock problems)
Cool – 1 (Sierra Nevada should get a point at least)
Adjustment TOTAL = 14.00


Now let’s take Foggy Window from Monkish Brewing as a comparison (yes, I know it was a one time beer, it is merely a template for a style that is being talked up everywhere)

Untapp’d 4.498 – adjusted to 10 point scale 9.00
RateBeer 98 – adjusted 10 point scale 9.80
Beer Advocate 94 – adjusted to 10 point scale 9.40
Rating TOTAL = 28.20

Availbility – 1 (only at taproom on specified day)
Price –2 ($20+ for a four-pack)
Time – 1 (gotta drive to Torrance and wait in line)
Cool – 3 (Hazy is the IT beer)
Adjustment TOTAL = 7


The goal is for the quality scores to be the main driver with Parts 2-4 be where the possible replacement would make up ground if it was not as good but had better pricing and availability. Part 5 factors in the fact (that I dispute) that coolness counts.

In this one test, with two beers picked off the top of my head without looking at their ratings shows that old school / boring Torpedo is the better pick. It barely loses in the ratings and even losing the cool battle doesn’t stop it from racking up a score higher by 5 points.

As I say, I won’t tell you what to drink but I do try to give tools to better navigate the crowded beer shelves at your local store. So buy what you want, just know that you have many alternatives.


Featured Review – Palate Wrecker from Green Flash

April 21, 2017

Some breweries fade in and out. I haven’t had Green Flash beers in a month (or two?) and then I go out and order Sea to Sea Lager and Soul Style – Tangerine in quick succession. So now on to Palate Wrecker 2017.. The very first sip puts you on your back foot. Very strong, […]

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