Abigaile’s New List

by Sean on February 10, 2016

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The Brewery at Abigaile’s new brewmaster Paul Papantonio who has brewed in Colorado for Oskar Blues and San Diego for St. Archer has taken on the task of putting his stamp on the operation in Hermosa Beach. And for those planning a trip to the South Bay, here are some of the beers that you might see on tap with descriptions from the brewery….
§ Vienna Lager 4.6% ß Papantonio achieves an amber lager by using darker malts and more hops than the average amber lager

§ Midnight Mass Black IPA 5.6% ß made with roasted malt, this brew lies somewhere between an IPA and a pale ale

§ Palm Porter 6.5% ß made with lager yeast, Papantonio will experiment with one-off kegs of this beer combined with ingredients such as coffee and coconut

§ Jam Session Pilsner 4.8% ß the most recent addition to the lineup is a straightforward German pilsner

§ Punchbowl IPA 8% ß Papantonio uses an eclectic blend of unique hops (including Pacific and Wakatu hops from New Zealand) to create one of the most popular beers at Abigaile

There is also a special R+D (small batch beers) menu which will change but recently had the following on tap:
§ Doppio Cappuccino Porter 6.5%
§ Zest Fest Black IPA 5.6%

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English Brewery # 1 – Howling Hops

by Sean on February 10, 2016

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As I was paging through a recent All About Beer magazine, I had the thought that for the months of January and February, I would cherry pick breweries to feature from the pages. And this month, we will head to England and peek in at three breweries over there.

We start at Howling Hops which probably makes gruits. Not.

Howling Hops started in the basement of the Cock Tavern. They outgrew the brew cave quickly. Brewing over a 100 different beers can speed that process and moved to an old brick warehouse nearby in the lovely sounding town of Hackney Wick where they now brew and operate their Tank Bar.

They offer beers mostly under 6% ABV with one beer down at 3%!

Here is what I would have in my first taster tray…..

Riding Ale 3.0% – gotta start with the low end and see what it is like
Running Beer 4.0% – slowly work up the beer ladder
Howling Pils 4.6% – to compare against the ales
Ruby Red 5.2% – because me mum’s name is Ruby
IPA 7.5% – finish up with the biggest beer on the list.

I am also intrigued by their Pale XX and the Rye Wit as well.

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Once again, Budweiser has taken the Super Bowl stage to bash craft beer…..

I understand that people loathe the righteous anger spilled over a stupid beer ad. I do. But if I have to scroll past post after post of David Bowie remembrances on Facebook and Donald Trump rants on Twitter because, that’s your jam, well, now you are paying the price for interwebs freedom of speech.

I also understand that this ad was the craft beer fans potty break time. The “Not” ad, as I call it, wasn’t for us. Bud knows craft beer people ain’t coming back. They have lost us. Who they are trying to keep and who are they trying to gain is what’s important and again where I think they have failed.

The ad is aggressive support for their consumer base. From the thumping bass music to the simple ideas, it is like the friend who has your back and is willing to fight for you. But that friend is wicked confused. I could go slide by slide and pick apart what works, “Not” Sippy and what doesn’t “Not” Small but I am more concerned about the internal marketing communication at SABInBevMiller.

Last year they basically pissed over their purchase of Elysian and their pumpkin peach beer and in 2016, they have doubled down on that tactic. The weird anti-fruit cup slide in the ad is in direct contrast to their Shock Top ad in the same Super Bowl. And they have added a swipe at imported beer which is odd for a Brazilian/Belgian company that does import a tiny bit of beer.

Why air an ad that fights your other brands?
A) It gives fodder to the group that hates you because you are giving them ammunition to hurt you with.
B) It confuses your customers that like both Bud and Shock Top (whether they know they are one in the same company)
C) it demoralizes the employees of Shock Top and the Imports (which would be a great band name) because they are now deemed as “Not” Bud.

Maybe the company is just too big to talk amongst themselves though I believe that the marketing and advertising side must be fenced off from the production side on purpose and that lack of communication leads, inevitably, to mixed messages. At the very least, Bud Light, Bud Regular and Shock Top should stay out of each other’s way. In a perfect world all three would work in concert to promote all of Budweiser.

This is all armchair quarterbacking but Budweiser needs to keep their advertising and marketing simple. Especially in a venue like the Super Bowl. Attack ads aren’t in the spirit of the context. People want funny, they want celebrities and/or they want poignant.

Here is a great example from a brand (Star Wars/Duracell) that took the love of the old movies, the hatred of the stupid prequels and the anticipation of the new Force Awakens and made a fun ad filled with childhood wonder….
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Or you could really make an impact like Honda did by teaming up with Uber to provide free rides home. That is how you do it Budweiser. Oh and stay away from monkey-dog-baby hybrids. That shit scared me.

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Float On

by Sean on February 9, 2016

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I don’t think of hop bines when I picture South Africa but apparently Modern Times has and this month sees the 22ox bomber release of Floating World which features J-17 and Southern Passion hops from South Africa. Add those to fresh Citra hops and according to their newsletter e-mail it creates “an eruption of citrus, guava, and tropical flavors”.

They do need a name better than J-17 though.

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Beer Dinner Review – Lost in the Woods

by Sean on February 8, 2016

I did not know that Pedaler’s Fork in Calabasas was not only a restaurant but also a bike shop and coffee spot as well. Plus it was the host of a beer pairing dinner with the challenging foudre based beers of New Belgium Brewing.
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Thanks to the generosity of New Belgium, I was able to learn more on the Art (and Science) of Beer and Food pairing with the challenging and damn tasty, sour beers from the Fort Collins Foeder Forest.

Course # 1 – Shrimp Pasta with Black Pepper Nage and Pea Tendrils paired with Transatlantique Kriek
This was an odd choice. The bright and tart cherry from the Kriek was dulled by the cream and salt of the shrimp and the pasta. The cherry didn’t get a chance to shine and would have been better served with a salad that had some cheese and nuts in it. The ravioli were quite good as was the sauce and the beer was fantastic (my second favorite of the night) but combined they just didn’t add anything.

Course # 2 – Braised Pork Shoulder with Charred Celeriac Puree and Dried Apricot Sauce paired with La Folie Sour Brown
Now this worked! The light touch of apricot with the pork really found a willing partner in the La Folie which added a tart bite and notes of barrel wood to the food.

Course # 3 – Chocoloate Mousse Cake with Chocolate-Blackberry Ice Cream and Blackberry Sauce paired with NBB Love
First off, this beer is beyond excellent. It was so good. Subtle whiskey mixing with tart and a bit of blackberry as well. The chocolate mousse was fine. But in comparison it was the undercard of the dessert course. I had the cake and had sips of the beers and it was fine but it didn’t light a fire. A blackberry sorbet or gelato with chocolate cookies might have been stronger.
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Kudos to New Belgium though for the thoughtful swag though. A really cool wood coaster with the Lost in the Woods logo, a napkin with the logo and a keychain bottle opener with wood and metal too. SO much better than a glass. Well done.

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Blager

by Sean on February 8, 2016

There are two parts to the new beer release from Cismontane Brewing.

1.Bourbon barrel-aged sour aged in Buffalo Trace barrels for a year. Tart on the nose, with a hint of toffee and oak on the front. A cidery quality accents the distinct taste of Buffalo Trace on the finish.
2.This brew is dedicated to the beer bloggers of the world who tell it like is, guiding the masses toward their liquid destiny.
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It seems odd to dedicate (in a way) a beer to bloggers then give it the unappetizing name of “blager”. And I don’t know if any beer bloggers were asked to participate or were invited to choose a beer style because I would have liked to suggest a historical style of beer.

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Brouwerij West is (finally) almost here

by Sean on February 7, 2016

In what seems like eons ago, I along with other members of the media, toured the empty warehouse space that would be the home of Brouwerij West in San Pedro.

It is a really huge spot with endless possibilities but news out of the brewery was scarce. But now it appears that it will arrive this month on the 27th! With a tentative beer list: “new versions of our classic beers like Saison, Tripel, Mør Mør (quad), My First Rodeo (100% Brettanomyces saison) and Dog Ate My Homework (blackberry saison), we’ll be introducing a handful of new beers, like a hoppy bitter blond; a traditional Wit with sour oranges.”

Check out what Farley Elliot has to say about the upcoming opening right HERE.
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Today will be Super

by Sean on February 7, 2016

Super Bowl day is great fun. My wife an I decamp to her parents house and I bet a whole nickel with my father-in-law on the game. It is a day to eat too much and leisurely drink beer over the course of an extra-long pre-game, game, halftime and trophy ceremony.
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This year “my team” will be the Denver Manning’s. Though I do like the exuberance and fun that Cam Newton brings to the game for the Panthers.

In relation to craft beer, there are two things to watch for…..

1. Which city brewery will have to graciously lose the now annual beer bet. See HERE for this year’s combatants.

2. What boneheaded ad ploy will SABInBevMiller unleash onto the craft beer world that will raise the hackles of even the most casual fans.

Enjoy the game!

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Founders showed up in L.A. last month and I have had a few of their beers on tap but this is my first bottled brew bought in California.
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Let’s see how they stack up in the tiny bit crowded IPA marketplace….

This is one of the darkest IPAs in recent memory. Very reddish/orange. My tastebuds are way to accustomed to extra West Coast bitters so I have to review with care because there is a definite hop difference. Mostly in amount. There is a tea like lightness here. The bitterness is there but not palate numbing. There is orange peel as well but overall this is not complex.

I am tilting more to lighter, sessionable IPAs that have more of a tropical kick and this has classic IPA written all over it so it is closer to my wheelhouse than bolder versions in the marketplace. I still prefer the Mosaic Promise from Founders more because it is more lively and less malt heavy.

Now I need to get some Backwoods Bastard.

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Tap 8 for Charity

by Sean on February 6, 2016

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As if going to Sunset Beer store wasn’t already a habit, (It is for me, for sure) now they have gone and added another reason to drive to Echo Park, their new Charity Tap program!

Here is the rundown: Each month the bar portion of the Beer Co. will be donating a portion of proceeds from a single draft line to various local and community organizations. February’s donations will go to 826LA which is right down the street helping students with after-school and weekend tutoring. All you have to do is purchase a beer from the Charity Tap line and this month, Tap #8 will be the charity line.

This way you don’t have to agonize over your beer choice. Just pick #8 this month.

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