Puck It

by Sean on September 19, 2014


North Coast has been around for an amazing 25 years! And more amazing, is that for their 25th anniversary they brewed a petite saison instead of an amped up IPA!

And they reached back into English folklore for the name. According to their press release (which has to be more accurate than Wikipedia), Puck is “a woodland spirit who could help or hinder the making of your beer by providing or withholding the “barm” (in those days, the nature of the yeast that fermented beer and wine was not yet understood; it was magical!). The work of a puck, or púca, was done by moonlight and often included mischief.”

The beer has been on draft up north but a few bottles may escape to us in SoCal so be on the lookout.


Surf Expansion

by Sean on September 19, 2014


Surf Brewery®, which has been brewing and bottling since 2011 announced recently that they have embarked upon growth  that will “double capacity”. The tasting room and home brew shop and brewery will not be doubled in size but they will add both “equipment and refrigeration space.”

This move will allow them to bottle their “new Aerial™ IPA, a classic west coast, aggressively hopped beer, named after an aggressive surf maneuver.” which has become popular but not yet widely distributed.

But here is the part of the press release that galls me, “General Manager and Co-founder Bill Riegler states, “Equipment orders were placed back in January and initial plans were submitted to the City of Ventura in April. It’s a lengthy and costly process for any small business to try and grow, no one makes it easy for you, and we financed everything internally, no bank loans or additional investors.”  How many more successful breweries setting an example does there need to be for cities, states and banks to realize the potential?  Why does everything a brewery wants to do have to be burdened with enough tape to wrap a hundred Christmas gifts?



Bend Beer

by Sean on September 18, 2014


The next beer book that I will add to my growing beer library chronicles the history of beer in a locale that is awash in choice. And a locale that you might not think big enough to sustain it. Oh, but it does.  Bend Beer by Jon Abernathy, who I met at the Beer Bloggers Conference will unleash his book on October 21st and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Oh and check out the website from which the book sprung, right HERE.


Yes, more #LABW6 events

by Sean on September 18, 2014

LABW6 hashtag
For some reason, the 25th is chock full of events. I have already pointed out two strong choices and yet, there are more!

The Oinkster teams up with Cismontane Brewing for a “Choose your own Adventure” Night with 3 different versions of Holy Jim Falls XPA – 3 different versions of The Citizen California Common and 6 different French fry variants! Think of the flavor combinations!

Or you could head to Plan Check on Fairfax for beer cocktails tailored with the spirits of Ballast Point. You will find the special beers on tap such as
Four Roses Victory
Grapefruit Sculpin IPA
Sour Wench Blackberry Ale
Abandon Ship Smoked Lager

Or, the Culver City outpost of Bottle Rock will be pouring seasonal beers from El Segundo Brewing. Maybe Mellon Collie the Farmer’s Market melon beer will be ready!

Wherever you live or work, there is a killer event nearby.


Whose Crafty?

by Sean on September 17, 2014


After having the pleasure of speaking with Ben Love of Gigantic, I saw this new label pop up for a beer named Craftylicious described in the press release as, ” a limited release collaboration beer brewed by Portland, Oregon’s Widmer Brothers and Gigantic Brewing. It  is a unique, bright, partial kettle-soured beer that’s tart, hoppy, citrusy, and perfect for late summer.

You can read more about the cheeky slap referenced in the name over at the great Portland beer blog, BrewPublic.



Review – Dopplebock from Widmer

by Sean on September 17, 2014


I am still unsure about the label on this beer.  As much as I like the concept, it seems a little too cartoon-y for me and for a big, bold Double Bock.  But, as I have mentioned before, I am here to review the beer inside….

Time to check out the Dopplebock from the 30 Beers for 30 Years series from Widmer.

This Doppel pours a dark garnet color with flashes of red if the light is right. There is a residual head around the rim and a bit in the center as well. Nothing a barista could fashion into a design but certainly nice to look at.

The initial taste is quite zippy with a medicinal tinge to it. It is not thick at all. Flavor wise this is in the fig and plum realm exclusively. No coffee or chocolate. Just that tingling on the tongue as the bubbles cross the palate. In the way back, there is a slight burnt note or char that sorta creeps in as well.


The top two dopplebocks (per Ratebeer) come from Augustiner and Andechs of Germany. And California wise Navigator from Ballast Point earns top marks.


How Many Stars?

by Sean on September 16, 2014

CraftBeer.com posted an editorial on its site that I think might ruffle the feathers of the tickers out there as well as the hop lovers and anything barrel-aged crowd.  You can read the article by Chris McClellan in it’s entirety HERE.

The hypothesis being that beer ratings are creating hype and driving less thoughtful beer purchases.

Now I haven’t been in a crowd that bought up a particular beer before a single mote of dust could sully the bottle (or can) and I am an ex whale chaser. So I am not privy to the mind of current beer hunters and thus more prone to give a “hallelujah” when McClellan asks us to not “let your phone tell you what your taste buds already know about your preferences.”

But I think that it isn’t the rating website that causes the problem. Sure there is bias a plenty when it comes to ranking pilsners vs IPAs but that is more the fault of the people who buy into it.

And in the connected age the people buying in seem to value their opinion less than the groupthink. I have reviewed a fair number of beers on my preferred site, Ratebeer and I have noticed that if I even glance at the score or read a previous review that my score and review might be affected.

Maybe my loathing of star ratings on Amazon or Yelp makes me an outlier but I prefer to make my decision first and then solicit opinion second. But I fear that others faced with a daunting variety of beers do not take the time to do that.

Which I find strange. I think it is easier to develop a coterie of friends or beer blogs to help guide beer choices that you can absolutely trust vs. hoping that a random sampling of strangers will provide you a better selection from the cooler.

But I think we can all agree that it is best to take your time with a beer and enjoy it and not always be playing the ratings game.


Cedar Hop

by Sean on September 16, 2014


I am not fond of the beer name though I do like the bifurcated label and color scheme for this To Øl collaboration IPA.  But I am quite interested to see how the Mosaic hop, aged no less, works with the strong taste of cedar.  I am also intrigued by the new to me Siren Craft Brew from Berkshire,  England.


Unity ’14

by Sean on September 15, 2014

Ever had a beer collaboration? Sure, you have. There are plenty out there. Ever had a beer where all the ingredients were from one state? Longer shot but you might have. But I am sure that you haven’t had a beer brewed with Gargoyle hops. Oh and it’s a sessionable pale ale with local fruit.

And it is the signature beer for L.A. Beer Week the 6th. Of course I am talking about the beer named Unity. The beer was brewed at Eagle Rock Brewery with members of the Los Angeles County Brewers Guild. Country Malt Group also pitched in with a donation of California-Select malt and add in some Centennial hops to pair with the rare, native to California Gargoyle and you have one heck of a way to celebrate all things craft beer in Los Angeles.

UPDATE: I sampled 6 on its release day on the 12th and I really liked it.  Nice and hoppy but it has the characteristic sessionability you come to expect from Eagle Rock.  I detect quite a bit of grapefruit notes throughout but without crossing over into juice territory.  I strongly suggest trying a pint and getting a bottle to toast with later.


Sean Suggests for September 2014

by Sean on September 15, 2014


I will highlight the BEER of September in a separate post but one cannot live by one beer alone, so here are three more to bridge the gap before the attack of pumpkin beers.  Wait, that attack has already started.


Dogfish Head / Festina Peche 4.50% ABV

“Served as an apertif or summertime quencher, Festina is delicately hopped and has a pale straw color.”


Golden Road/ Might As Well IPL 7.20% ABV

Our IPA-Style Lager is brewed like an IPA, hopped like an IPA, but fermented with lager yeast for a clean, light malt profile that highlights the bold passion fruit and pear contributed by Galaxy and Calypso hops”


Monkish/ Hem & Haw 6.60% ABV

“Dark farmhouse with brettanomyces.”