Though I did not make it to Bend in time to visit the Ale Apothecary taproom, I did purchase a bottle of what is probably their least expensive beer to buy. Brett Lager, a collaboration with GoodLife Brewing, their next door neighbor (literally).

I cracked through the wax top to review this exotic beer.

This mixed Fermentation collab from Bend neighbors GoodLife and Ale Apothecary was one of my target purchases on a recent trip to Bend and it lived up to my own made hype.

Brett Lager pours a lustrous and deep orange. There is a bit of leathery, tart aroma. That first taste was quite zippy. I could feel the acidity and bubbles working their magic. There is orange and tropical notes swirling here. If someone had told me lager was in the name, I would have said, “OK, if you say so”. This is mostly a medium Brett beer that just tastes wonderful. There is a satiny and tart mix that works wonders.

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Seafood and Beer

by Sean on November 21, 2017


There are some good beer dinners out there but Angel City has teamed with Chef Jonathan Pimental for a 5-Course Beer Dinner that focuses on the sea.

On Wednesday, November 29th at 7:00pm, Pimental (formerly of Spago and Patina) will take guests “Down the Cape” with a “Boston inspired menu with Latin twist.”

Be prepared for the following menu:
“Ahi Tuna Stack on a crispy Potato Sope with Lima Bean Puree and finished with a fresh Mango Serrano Salsa. Other courses will showcase fresh Prawns and Maine Lobster flown in from the East Coast, each thoughtfully paired with an Angel City brew. Round-off the evening with Churro-Inspired Funnel Cakes topped with caramel shards.

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1st Visit – Empire Tavern

by Sean on November 20, 2017

Second day in a row that I went into Burbank for beer. This time to San Fernando Avenue and the soft opening of the Empire Tavern.

Here is the 1st Visit report…

Now this is a “just right” neighborhood place to have a beer. Twelve tap options to select from. Plenty of bar seating and plenty of table seating as well for a space that looks like it might be teeny-tiny on the inside. Best of all is the nice picture window out from that suffuses the room with light. Granted the view out onto this stretch of North San Fernando isn’t a Hawaiian sunset but a seat at that window with a view of the hills that backdrop the valley is not bad.

I can totally see wearied Christmas shoppers from either the nearby Empire Center or Burbank mall making a post Black Friday stop here to recuperate and if I was one of the neighbors from across the street, you know this would become a regular haunt.

If I have said it once, I have said it too many times. Every little part of the great Los Angeles area can do with a place with great beer choices that they can call “their neighborhood” bar. Empire Tavern will be that place.

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GABF Winning Brewery # 2 – Benchtop Brewing

by Sean on November 20, 2017


Our 2nd GABF winning stop is in Norfolk, Virginia and Benchtop Brewing. They won in the Gose category (Leipzig-Style or Contemporary) for their Mermaid’s Scorn. But they have even weirder beers that I would put into my first taster tray….

Sage Conclusion – Butternut Squash Saison w/ Sage
“This is our take on a fall saison. We first soured this one in the kettle a little for a nice tartness. We then used our typical saison malt bill with plenty of wheat and oats for body. We topped this one off with 300 lbs of butternut squash and some fresh sage. The herbal notes from the sage play nicely with th saison yeast. This beer displays many layers of flavors. You start out with some tartness and then move on to a subtle sweetness from the squash and then finally you finish off with a nice grainy flavor and dryness while maintaining a rich mouthfeel.”

Quick Pickle – Carrot Cucumber Gose
“We have taken the idea of a veggie beer to another level with Quick Pickle. It is named after the culinary technique of rapidly pickling veggies in a sour/salty/sweet solution. This is very similar to what is happening in our fermenter. It has amazing color from the addition of North Carolina carrots and a cool, fresh aroma provided by Virginia Beach cucumbers from Cullipher Farms. The tartness of this beer is complimented beautifully by the a subtle sweetness from the carrots and a gentle salinity from some sea salt. This beer also have some subtle guava notes from the a small late addition of El Dorado hops.”

Elegant Ego — Citra Basil Saison
“An exercise in collaboration, this beer was brewed with our friends and neighbors down the street at Smartmouth Brewing. A mash-up of our saison Elegant Titration and their flagship Alter Ego, this beer hits you right away with a fresh herbal aroma from the addition of fresh basil grown at Smart Basil in Suffolk. We also blended our house strains for this for a nice mix of peppery phenolics and fruity esters. This beer has a nice dry finish and is supported by a hefty dose of oats to smooth it out.”

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1st Visit – Lincoln Beer Co.

by Sean on November 19, 2017

Two nights ago, Lincoln Beer Co. unveiled their new taproom digs as well as taps of their beer.

Here is the 1st Visit report…

This was one of the first taproom openings that had a literal line out the damn door! A combination of people not knowing what beers to order since many beers were new and also due to kinks being worked out for a first day of business led to long wait times and no place to sit.

But the room looks really nice. Fun lighting, bar seats and communal tables. TV’s that were tucked away from the bar. There was even a bit of greenery outside the restrooms. It reminded me of Boomtown. Maybe they took some visual cues from that DTLA space.

There was a good amount of beer on tap for the night including a nitro tap. The tap signage looked good and the beer names were nice and visible, but the box space allotted for the style name and ABV were in too fine a print. If you were feeling lucky, you could order up based on the name alone. Or wait for a less crowded time and take a closer look without worrying about the people behind you waiting.

I went with the Revenge IPA. I often choose an IPA because the hops should cover any flaws and also to see where the brewery measures in a popular and hard to break through category. This effort was so-so and the more I drank, the more I had wished that I had ordered the milk stout or Irish Red instead.

LBC will require a second visit where I can order a taster tray and sample a wider variety of the tap offerings. Look for that later.

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C & Ex

by Sean on November 19, 2017


The Propagator brewery is starting to pay off some dividends as Firestone Walker is creating more hoppy beers outside of their Leo V Ursus and Luponic Distortion lines. If I had to choose, the Ex-1 would be the first to try.

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A Collective California

by Sean on November 18, 2017


I don’t know all that much about The Collective Brewing Project from Fort Worth Texas but they are about to change that by showing up at the Beer Advocate Extreme Beer Fest on December 9th. To be followed by “a bunch of other events we will attend in the L.A. County area.”

Looks like we are in store for some Texas styled sours and saisons.

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That Bear has a Temper

by Sean on November 18, 2017


Verdugo West has a new winter barleywine out and maybe it refers to the California Golden Bear or someone has that nickname. Either way, Bear Temper lands at a big 12% ABV. According to the brewery, “Sweet notes of caramel and toffee that’ll give you a bear hug to keep you warm through the winter.”

Limited can availability but on tap as well.

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The Advent of Gin

by Sean on November 17, 2017


I am a big gin fan and a bigger Christmas fan. Now I can have two-in-one. (If I can find a benefactor)

Ginvent is the juniper berry version of the Advent calendar. Open up a day and a little bottle of gin selected by the Gin Foundry awaits.

“So what’s inside? Each year, we select 24 Gins that provide a snapshot of the category’s depth, diversity and global reach. We scour countries in search of the very best, the most unusual, the most progressive and – of utmost importance – the most sublimely delicious gins. The content of the Ginvent calendars is carefully curated and painstakingly considered so that all styles of gins are included, from London Dry to Old Tom, to Navy strength, Fruit infused and so on…

We also make an effort to showcase all types of producers, celebrating the artisanal, craft makers while providing a unique chance to compare them in context to some of the familiar, larger names. It’s a chance to really discover the very best the category has to offer and will challenge your preconceptions as it titillates your tastebuds.”

Such a great idea and one that I hope works its way through all the beer/wine and spirits.

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Home Blending

by Sean on November 17, 2017


A new little micro trend in #independent beer is the blending and mixed beers. Now New Belgium has made it super easy with guided recipes to use.

This variety box has the usual fare plus a newbie. Fat Tire Belgian White, 1554, Citradelic Tangerine IPA, Abbey, Trippel, and the all-new Cellar Blender.

This may be hit or miss but it would be a fun holiday party activity.

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