need home brew supplies?

by Sean on April 21, 2016

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Beer Book Review – The Opposite of Woe

by Sean on July 25, 2016

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To be upfront, I was 100% more interested in the beer portion of The Opposite of Woe: My Life in Beer and Politics by Governor John Hickenlooper.

By the end though, I found myself much more interested in his childhood and his mother and how that affected his personality and choices throughout his life.

Maybe that was because both the beer and the politics really get short shrifted in this telling. Wynkoop Brewing was one of the pioneers of craft beer in Colorado, and I didn’t really get to read much about it other than an anecdote about cleaning toilets and fundraising through friends and families. There wasn’t mention of his favorite beers or much about the customers and the growing beer scene or even the Great American Beer Festival for that matter.

The tenure as Mayor of Denver got some coverage but his first term as Governor is just blitzed through with just a laundry list of accomplishments and personnel who helped him.

It is probably too early for a thorough accounting of his political career but I would have hoped to learn more about the craft beer part of his life. But maybe that is for another book. There were many hints dropped as to buried stories underneath the polite line of history that just were not picked up.

But the section up until he got to Denver is really interesting stuff from the point of view of how people are affected by those in their lives and how you can keep pushing and learning all through life. Just following his geographic route through life is remarkable.

Overall, this memoir suffers from what many do. The initial pages are full of content but as the pages go by, the coverage gets thinner until the end, whole years are barely even sketched. There is interesting stuff here but not enough for the beer fan.

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Populist Message in a Can

by Sean on July 25, 2016

(photo from Eagle Rock Brewery)

(photo from Eagle Rock Brewery)


With a name like Populist and a style like IPA it was only a matter of time before Eagle Rock’s 7% ABV hop standard bearer would become a best-seller. Add the fact that it will also be in cans starting on Wednesday the 27th will make the 16oz can 4 packs even more popular.

The can sale starts when the taproom opens at 4pm.

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It has been good that a steady supply of Bell’s and Founders has found it’s way to Los Angeles because it allows me to try beers in the proper season as opposed to getting all at once. This is especially helpful when it comes to the Quinannan Falls Lager.

I get to try it in summer and see how well it matches up to our SoCal July.
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The lager pours a bright yellow from the can. The aroma screams Pilsner with a touch of pear juice. Minerality is high but doesn’t distract from the beer at all. Salt tinged but also juicy. It might be too much as a table beer but certainly is well-suited for summer. A bit of grapefruit here as well. Nice and varied. Might be one of my favorite Bell’s beers.

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Pigeons of War

by Sean on July 24, 2016

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I will make the assumption that pigeons have something to do with Drake and ships on the open sea and war. Mostly because I think the label is really cool and not only is quite stylistically apart from “normal” Drakes Brewing labels while also still being recognizably Drakes but also sports a cool font and a green/orange color scheme that works really well.

Oh, and they know a bit about hops up there so a DIPA is firmly in their wheelhouse.

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Resignation

by Sean on July 23, 2016

When breweries get sold, it raises red flags. But in the short term, those changes (though galvanic) don’t really affect day-to-day operations. You will still be getting Sculpin and it’s various variants even though Constellation bought them.

What does impact craft beer levels is on a more micro-level. Much like the Mayor of your city being more impactful than the President on your daily life.

In Los Angeles there have been a pair of resignations/moves that are important to understand. Brewer/Cellarman Tim McDonnel from Highland Park will be departing as will Noble Ale Works CEO Brian Rauso. Two totally different positions that are sometimes lost in the adoration (well-deserved) of brewmasters Bob Kunz and Evan Price.

Beer, unless it is some garage project of limited resources and supply, is a group project. That’s why brewers seem to move in entourages. Those are the people cleaning the kettles and slapping labels on cans and manning(wo-manning) the bar.

This post is partially to say thanks to those like Brian and Time but also to let you fans know that it takes a village to brew a beer. Thank all the villagers.

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In our (and my) rush to talk about new beers and new breweries, it is easy to forget the third places that have existed for years and really serve a vital role. The simple pub.

There is a scene in The Irish Pub where one of the owners of a traditional Irish pub states that you don’t need a psychiatrist if you can pop dish to pub and have a “chat” with the other regulars. There is truth to that.

This documentary on Netflix runs an hour and fifteen minutes and does a fair survey of pubs from big city Dublin to other corners and crannies of Ireland. Topics like, the Snug, music, economics, regulars and others get asked at each locale and you learn not only about the pubs and people but about the country too.

You could argue that this isn’t beer related or craft beers related. And you would be right. This is most certainly NOT about beer or whiskey but rather the people that serve it and consume it. The cinematography is well done. It is easy to photograph a pub exterior (which they do) but another thing to light the interior of a bar area that re-creates what it would look like if you were drinking there while seeing the person interviewed.

Check this doc out with a pint of Guinness in hand.

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Brew ($$$) at the Zoo

by Sean on July 22, 2016

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I don’t know if inflation rose that much this year or if my beer festival-itis is such that any price would have raised my eyebrows but the 6th Annual Brew at the L.A. Zoo ticket prices seem a touch high, even for a charity event and especially considering that this year’s California Craft Brewer’s Summit with 180 breweries from across the State of California is $5.00-$15.00 cheaper and 140+ breweries heavier. And that’s not counting the VIP Zoo ticket ($125.00) which is more than the Firestone Walker Invitational general admission by $40.00 and with considerably less food than was on offer in Paso Robles.

That means that the animals and lush atmosphere of the Zoo has to be really spectacular because the brewery list (see below) is way behind those two marquee events above as well as such L.A. festival must attends like the Kick-Off Festival for L.A. Beer Week and the DTLA Beer Crawl. Not to mention that one winery is included in their list as well as Shock Top from SABInBevMiller!

Participating breweries* include Alosta Brewing Company, Alpine Beer Company , Angel City Brewing , Baja Brewing Company , Ballast Point Brewing , Barefoot Wine, Bootlegger’s Brewery , Breckenridge Brewery of Colorado, Common Cider, Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co., Fireman’s Brew Company, Firestone Walker Brewing Company, Golden Road Brewery , Goose Island , Great Divide Brewing Company, Green Flash Brewing Company , I&I Brewing , Indie Brewing Company , Iron Triangle Brewing, Kinetic Brewing Company, Knee Deep Brewing Co., Latitude 33 Brewing Co., MacLeod Ale Brewery, Mother Earth Brew Co., New Belgium, Pacific Plate Brewing , Pocock Brewing, Ritual Brewing Co., Samuel Adams, San Fernando Brewing Co. , Shock Top , Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., SKA Brewing , Stone Brewing Company, Surf Brewing , The Dude’s Brewing Company, The Traveler Beer Co., Transplants Brewing and Westlake Brewing Company.

Call me elitist if you must, but when the prices are that high, you really have to compare Brew at the Zoo to comparably priced events and frankly, it comes up short. My suggestion? They need to break down how much per ticket is going to the animals.

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Who Invented the Pluot?

by Sean on July 22, 2016

So this is dropping at Eagle Rock Brewery….
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Get ready for 001 madness!

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Brew ($$$) at Stout

by Sean on July 21, 2016

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To celebrate Belgian Independence Day, the Hollywood outpost of Stout Burgers and Beers will hold their latest Beer Fest for Beer Geeks. Saturday, July 23rd will be featuring an amazing tap and bottle list that you just might want to check out.

Tickets are $60 and $90 for Regular Admission and VIP respectively. You will be treated to a bevy of Belgian breweries on tap in one place. In fact, it is the rare festival where the foreign beers widely outnumber the American beers.

Here are some of my picks for the event:
Gulden Draak matured in whiskey barrels
Deux Amis from DuPont and Lost Abbey
Argentum a Belgian IPA brewed for the 25th Anniversary of Delirium Tremens
BOM Brewery Kinky Berry and Wild and Fruity. Rare in the US and very weird.

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Kumquat Forward

July 21, 2016

The seasonal Kumquat Saison that Smog City Brewing has done for a few years now with the fine folk at Food Forward has a new look…. …that is all about community and I think is one of the better labels from the Torrance brewery. Bright and sunny and makes you feel glad you are tasting […]

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