When I saw the phrase, “Five Course Beer Dinner”, I blanched a bit.  Being honest, I am not the stuff till you burst kind of eater.  But then I saw that the beer was from MacLeod’s and the food was from Simmzy’s Burbank outpost.  So my mood brightened and I RSVP’ed.

First good thing.  The food courses were right-sized.  By that I mean, you weren’t subject to Flinstone-ian portions of food.  Tapas like to an extent.

Second good thing.  My suspicion that MacLeod beers would pair wonderfully with food were confirmed.  Nothing against big and bold beers but those pairings can be epic battles.  The low ABV but high flavors of Andy Black’s British inspired ales add to food without becoming a battle royale.

My favorite of the night was the beef stew with Jackie Tar.  That was an easy choice but it was well done.  Meat and sunchokes and a delicious gravy were magic with the beer.  The curry shrimp with the Little Spree was delightful too and that is coming from a non-curry fan. The toasted barley was excellent as an sidekick.IMG_4180 The beer revelation was the Middling Spree a Belgian-esque pilsner type of hybrid that was all over the place but just might be my new favorite MacLeod beer.  And I have a lot of favorite MacLeod beers.  The only down note was the dessert.  Double Kings Taxes was a bit too syrupy and sweet for me, the cardamom in the whipped cream helped but the burnt note from the caramel sauce made everything taste tinny to me.  Four out of five ain’t bad though.


More dinners may be on the horizon and at $48 a person, it is a steal.  You get 5 beers (we got a bonus beer for six) plus the food and the education from the brewer.  When more of these become scheduled, I will post it here.



Not too Stickee

by Sean on May 23, 2015

Today! That is when the Central Coast Quad that drives spellcheck crazy is back.  Stickee Monkee 2015.


The 2015 vintage is year two of the release of the CCQ from Firestone Walker and it is a wonderful mixture of the Quad and its Belgian influence with the aging in three different types of bourbon barrels from Woodford Reserve, Elijah Craig and Four Roses.

It will be available in select markets across the United States. The suggested retail is $16.99.


The Regulations

by Sean on May 22, 2015

Let me explain myself. I am what Fox News would call a liberal heathen. But when it comes to business, especially the craft beer business, I am much more laissez faire Libertarian minus the strange 4 letter name. I don’t agree with the over oversight that government (looking at you City of Los Angeles) imposes on breweries. (Within reason of course)

Which is why I have been following House Bill 1217 in Colorado with interest and trying to pinpoint if I think it works. In a nutshell, the bill signed by Wynkoop Brewery past and current governer of the state, John Hickenlooper puts the decision of approving a brewery taproom in the sole hands of state regulators. While still giving local government a voice but not a veto sized one. Gaining neighborhood resident signatures would also be off the to-do list for a brewery.

As long as the regulators are familiar with the world of craft beer, I am down with this. I assume that Colorado has such people in that office. The largest stumbling blocks that I have seen here in SoCal has been the simple lack of beer knowledge that community residents have and that their elected officials have. Finding a council member who “gets it” is rare, though incrementally growing.

The problem, as I see it, is that the rules and regulations expect bad actors. Remember in grade school when the whole class was punished with a rule because of one bad kid? That is what it seems like navigating through the system. I would think it would be easier and more cost efficient to have less paperwork upfront and more supervision during operation. Assume that a brewery will be an asset and then, if it doesn’t live up to it, shut them down until they behave. If that doesn’t work, then we can go back to the way we do it now and if anyone complained, they would complain to the breweries that f…ed it up for the rest of us.

Maybe if the Colorado law works, something to that effect could be put into place in California.


The Law

by Sean on May 22, 2015

Numerous times I have heard the phrase, “There was no one place to get the information that I needed to start my brewery.”.

Now, with Brew Law 101, maybe the journey will be a bit easier. The California Edition covers “business formation and capital raising to location and licensing to labeling and intellectual property to employment law and common craft beer contracts.”

If that doesn’t sell you, then the fact that Peter Zien of AleSmith and Tomme Arthur of Lost Abbey have contributed, should put the book over the top.


For our next canned beer we head back to Anchor Brewing and their Summer Wheat. Which pours a little darker than I expected it to. More orange than the yellow that I was looking for.


The taste is also a bit heavier than my palate was ready for afte a day of work crunching numbers. There is a lime and bread mixture to the aroma which is more in line with my wheat beer definition. That lime note is the main push of this beer, flavor-wise as well. Like a laser of citrus that flares and dies.

It is not bad but it is more abrupt than I would like and doesn’t have some of the refreshing qualities of other lighter beers.



by Sean on May 21, 2015

Aside from the horrible name of ManCan that conjures up either sexism or the toilet in my mind, if you are one of the beer lovers out there who want the tap experience at home but have yet to find exactly the right equipment to do so, then this in ‘fridge tap that is currently in funding phase on Kickstarter might be worth checking out.

Personally, I go for bottles and cans first then growlers but others have a go-to beer that they want on tap and fresh that isn’t packaged, so I get the allure.


Wicked/Ecliptic to Stone

by Sean on May 20, 2015

Stone has been “new Coke-ing” some of their tried and true hop offerings.  Mostly to the better in my book.  Now they have a new three-way IPA with Ecliptic of Portland (tried their beer, really good) and Wicked Weed of Asheville (haven’t tried, heard good things).

The collaboration is Parts Unknown IPA.  A barrel-aged IPA. To be even more specific, “West Coast imperial IPA blended with a Belgian-style tripel that was aged in reposado tequila barrels previously used to mature red wine. ”



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Combine three MIT students with one Yalie, an old Safety Envelope building and a passion for the farmer’s market and you have Aeronaut Brewing in Somerville, Mass.

This brewery started up last year and has a unique set of beers when taken together.

Here is what I would try in a taster tray….

Unionator Dopplebock – “Traditional malty, bready, strong lager.”

Union Square Burton Union Style IPA – “Strong hops, with fruit and wood notes.”

A Session with Dr. Nandu American Pale Ale – “Refreshing, passionfruit notes of Mosaic hops.”

Hauftoberfest Marzen – “Easy drinking malty lager.”

Summer in Cologne Kolsch – “Crisp, light, refreshing, quaffable.”


Time to Vote

by Sean on May 19, 2015


Have you ever wanted to determine the outcome of what gets brewed and what doesn’t?  Well, Sam Adams is letting the world choose from 16 different beers.  Place your vote for your top 4 and then come later this summer the top four will be voted on at festivals and at the Sam Adams brewery. Two will win and be back in rotation in a variety pack come next year.

You have until the 25th to raise your voice.



Early Warning – Full Pint Turns 8

by Sean on May 19, 2015


The great duo + Fran at The Full Pint will be celebrating the 8’s this year and have kindly moved their fest to LA for 2015.

The Lost Knight will host and there are at least two breweries that should make you consider buying a ticket.

Sante Adairius & Rare Barrel.