Originally released in 2010, I bought all four of the XXX anniversary beers from Sierra Nevada, And with Beer Camp rumbling across America, now seemed a good time to open 1/2 of my bottles up. Here is the second of the two a strapping black barleywine…

The initial aroma was not promising for this black barley wine. I had been congratulating myself on my cellar success stories and I felt Karma was coming back around. Jack & Kens was a little too sweet on the nose. Initially there is a swirling mix of caramel and milk chocolate in the pint glass that I am sure (assuming) earlier was balanced out by Cascade hop bitterness. This beer seems just a little off when the hop leaves the building. The barley wine pours a dark brown with a very lasting espresso head. It is still there after 10 minutes of staring.  Might be a new record of sorts.


As it warms chocolate milk keeps coming to my mind even though the beer is still nicely carbonated. There is a pleasing smoothness here as well with no notes of barrel or sherry at all. But this is all chocolate all the time.  I don’t know if this is what an aged New Albion beer might have tasted like if the brewery had lasted but it is interesting.


The Verdict? – A qualified failure.  If you had asked me of the two beer that I cracked open, which I would guess would have held up better.  It would have been this one.  Alas, I feel the Imperial Helles Bock did more.  Maybe the loss of hops was too much too overcome or my expectations were too high but this only sort of worked.



Dutch Brewery # 2 – Rooie Dop

by Sean on August 20, 2014

The second stop in the Netherlands is Rooie Dop. Don’t even ask how to pronounce it. Just drink up from this Utrecht brewery.

And the first beer on my e-taster tray is “Dedicated to the king of all Dutch beer hunters – Ot Louw. A bitter concoction dry hopped with our American hops into an 8% double IPA.

Utrecht Strong Ale is next a big ale that has “Big hops dominate the aroma and big malts support them in taste.”

Lastly I will try the Double Oatmeal Stout Bourbon Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Oatmeal Stout. Long name indeed. They “took our regular Double Oatmeal Stout and put that beauty in barrels. It has been aged for five months in three different barrels: Wild Turkey, Satin wood and Buffalo Trace.”

I haven’t seen their beers in the L.A. market but they have done collaboration beers with English breweries to create a Double White IPA and a Lapsang Saison so maybe they might hop the pond to the US!


Beer Economics in Oregon

by Sean on August 19, 2014

Infographics are all the rage.  Almost as much as listicles.  But both can harbor nuggets of wisdom and this particular graphic about craft beer sales and production in Oregon has one number that is mind blowing to me.  And it is the very last number…


53% of draft beer drunk in Oregon was brewed in state. That, to me, is a staggering number because that shows two things.

1. That drinking local is both ingrained and that there is enough supply to achieve it.

2. Craft beer is a majority choice if not a strong minority considering your definition of craft.

And combined with the 11% packaged beer number shows how far there is still to go.  Literally and figuratively.

Now if I could get similar graphics for the other big brewing states to make a good compare and contrast post.


Mazama Brewing

by Sean on August 19, 2014


When Belmont Station in Portland stocks bottles of your beer then you know that you doing something right and Mazama based in Corvallis with a name from much further geographically south must be brewing a fine reputation with their range that includes: Hop Eruption IPA, White Wedding White IPA, Saison d’Etre and Wizard Island Wit.  Their beers are of a Belgian bent but hop heads seem to have some options too.

Oh and Go Beavers!


Citizen Fox

by Sean on August 18, 2014

Thanks to the keen eyes of Josh Lurie at Food GPS and Eater SF, I can pass on news of what may seem old hat to SF (and quite frankly L.A.) a “beer-focused eatery” but after the comma is this, much more interesting tidbit “also as an incubator and education center for amateur and aspiring brewers. ”


Now what that means is anybody’s guess before they open.  Will they contract brew or will they just give hints on how to run a pro rig?  Will they allow people to brew and what recipes?  Is this a pro-am or strictly Pro?

Once they open, I believe it will be a place to check out to get some of those questions answered.



In any variety pack there are beers you mark as special and this was one that I dog-eared when I first saw it. How would two California Beer Titans mesh into one beer.
Well Torpedo Pilsner from Firestone Walker and Sierra Nevada pours a yellow to orange color. The first taste and aroma is Sweet Tart candy. Bitterness is there but that unique candy taste is the boss. Some citrus but it us sweet orange not Farmers Market orange. Their is a lightness and metallic bit that is the pilsner part if the equation. Very light and almost a pils version of Easy Jack except for a lingering perfume aroma and taste. I’m getting flower shop mixed with parfumerie type of feel here.  The Southern Cross and Motueka hops used haven’t given me this flavor and aroma profile before so I don’t know what alchemy the two breweries have been up to but this is quite unique.


Artifex Brewing

by Sean on August 17, 2014

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The Artifex tasting room in San Clemente opened on the 4th of the month. And though the website doesn’t yet have a list of beers, a quick glance at their Facebook page shows a Wayne IPA, wheat beer, lager and the lager on nitro.  (Something that I have not seen before)

The name according to their website describes “someone who carries out work that requires a certain speciality or skill; artisan, craftsman.”  And considering they have both Pizza Port and Stone alumni brewing experience bodes well for their beer line-up.



I will be reviewing ALL 13 of the special Sierra Nevada Beer Camp collaborations this month. I had my non-drinking wife randomly select the order and up next  is Electric Ray brewed with Ballast Point of San Diego.

The Ray/Torpedo pours a golden tinted orange. And at 8.5% this is not your grandpa’s lager or even yesterday’s IPL. Orange is the dominant aroma as well. A just peeled navel to my senses. That follows through in the initial taste as well. Then some grapefruit slips in towards the back.
It does taste different from a pale or IPA but not by a wide margin. It’s cleaner and drier thanks to the L in the IPL but because of the strength, I think most drinkers would rate this as an IPA.
In the battle of hoppy beers from this series, I would rate Chico King higher by a few lengths. But the next beer is a hopped up pilsner from Firestone Walker.


Reel Brew Co.

by Sean on August 16, 2014

The crowdfunding bloom may be off the rose but you should still take the time to evaluate each offer on it’s own merits instead of due to one’s overall feelings toward Kickstarter or IndieGoGo.

So check out this new brewery concept for Reel Brew:

In the end run, it is the quality of the beer that matters but this idea does fill a specific niche that may well take off. If that is your feeling then check out more, right HERE.


#BPLA @Music & Books

by Sean on August 16, 2014

So this month, I have two fun pieces in Beer Paper LA.  Fun because it combined my love of reading and my old high school music memories.  So, if you haven’t picked up the latest issue of BPLA, DO IT!  And read my stuff first…..


…and this on the page before….