Yoga and a Beer

by Sean on August 4, 2015

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Lululemon, who may be more known for a pants recall than yogawear brand has collaborated with Vancouver’s Stanley Park Brewing company to create a beer named “Curiosity Lager.”

They will only be available in Canada with some of the proceeds benefiting the Stanley Park Ecology Society.

Set the countdown for a Nike beer.

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Sound on Sunset

by Sean on August 4, 2015

As if you need a reason to hit up Sunset Beer, this Thursday they will be hosting another out of state newcomer (a returning one, if I remember correctly)
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From the Washington the State comes Sound Brewery with their take on Belgian ales.  I met members of the Sound Brewery team many GABF’s ago via the illustrious BrewDad.  I was impressed by their Koperen Ketel and the Humulo Nimbus DIPA as well as the Monk’s Indiscretion.  Maybe those and other beers will make the trek south.  This will be a grand opportunity to see what is going on in brewing outside of our L.A. bubble.

 

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Calm Down

by Sean on August 3, 2015

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Ballast Point is taking the humble and not oft brewed Cream Ale and giving it the “at sea” treatment by plugging in coffee and vanilla.

At issue will be if they can keep the beer from being too sweet without amping up the coffee and overwhelming the base beer.

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Join the ACBC Brew Crew (Sorta)

by Sean on August 3, 2015

Maybe 2015 will be your year to win the Angel City Brewery, What Would You Brew? Contest.
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If you can cast your mind back to 2013, you will remember the Mexican Cola Beer that won. (and that I thought was quite good). Last year Desert Dreams was the winner with a blend of figs, honey, orange peel, prickly pear cactus juice and sage.

If you have a recipe and a dream you “will have the opportunity to spend a day in the brew house brewing alongside the Angel City team, have their beer featured during LA Beer Week 2016, and receive a custom kegerator, complete with a case of pint glasses, tap handle and tin tacker sign.”

Entries will be accepted through September 30, 2015. You could be brewing in DTLA later this year.

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30 Bells

by Sean on August 2, 2015

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Well, isn’t the L.A. market lucky. Looks like the 30th Anniversary Ale from Bell’s just might make it to us come September.

According to the brewery it is a “nod to the brewery’s Expedition Stout” and is brewed with dark malts and Polaris hops.

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Time for a 2nd

by Sean on August 2, 2015

Time doesn’t seem less, seems like more. Yeah, a bit cryptic with the wordplay today but Timeless Pints has the brewery name to allow it + they are celebrating their 2nd Anniversary later this month.

TP is firmly in the re-check category. In my one and only other visit there were hits and misses but that was near the beginning so it may be past time to check them out again.
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Most breweries grow and grow to meet demand and to meet at least a little economy of scale but once you get big, what then?

Go small again! At least that is the case with New Belgium which will open a 10-barrel pilot brewery this year.
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Some explanation of the plan is in order:
The brewery will be in downtown Denver on the ground floor of the not-yet opened Source Hotel.

The Source Hotel is next door to the Source Culinary Market (where you can find Crooked Stave)

New Belgium will be making primarily small batch, barrel-aged sour offerings.

50 oak barrels will be pulled up or elevator-ed up to the top of the building to a new bar called,

Then, beers, cocktails and food will be paired together.

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In the Tap Lines for August 2015

by Sean on August 1, 2015

header_attractionsWe got a bit of rain here in L.A.  Enough to tamp down one fire but boy we could use a respite from the humidity and heat so that the wider spectrum of beer can be enjoyed instead of just lawnmower beers.  But enough gloomy weather talk, a new brewery opened in San Fernando at the tail end of July and it will be reviewed this month along with….

~ e-visits to three breweries in Idaho.  No potato beers here. Just Payette, Sawtooth and Portneuf beer.
~ special reviews of beers from just outside L.A. from places like Santa Barbara, Claremont and Temecula
~ Heads-Up on Los Angeles Beer Events
~ Three suggested beers to buy this month. One light, one medium and one dark
~ Beer-centric podcast review, Strange Brews from WBEZ in Chicago, (also home to This American Life)
~ I will tap the Firkin and give my no holds barred opinion on the craft beer world
~ … and Session # 102 will converge bloggers onto a single topic, this month it is the future landscape of beer

Here are two events to get your August started in the Los Angeles craft beer world:
1) August 7th – Brew at the Zoo
2) August 19th – Phantom Carriage One Night Stand at Beer Belly

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The Firkin for July 2015

by Sean on July 31, 2015

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Usually, I have no shortage of rants to get me frothing at the mouth like Cujo or if I am feeling more upbeat, kudos to hand out.

But it has been a relatively quiet month. Yes, there was the Firestone Walker convergence with Duvel but as I thought would happen, the collective goodwill of those two companies pretty much doused any incipient interwebs displeasure.

That means I can take the time to dig into the numbers from the Brewer’s Association that recently arrived in my inbox.

Here are the Three Big Numbers:
1.6 million more barrels sold so far this year versus this point in 2014.
699 more breweries now than last year.
1,755 breweries in the planning stages.

Now let’s do some comparin’ and contrastin’. The 1.6 million barrel growth is impressive compared to the 2011 to 2012 and the 2012 to 2013 increases and is only .2 behind both of those jumps combined but it falls a distant second behind the 2013 to 2014 time frame which saw a huge 3.3 million bump with a gain of 502 new breweries.

That 1.6 number seems even paltrier because this was the biggest jump in the brewery count in the last five years. If the trend from last year had held, you would have expected barrels sold to go up from 3.3. Which tells us that the new 699 are/were producing at a much smaller pace. More Nano’s and garage projects in the mix? Or were there more larger facilities that came on-line last year compared to this year.

There were 1,929 breweries in planning which yielded the new 699. My simple math skills kick out a percentage of openings rate of 36% which if that holds means that at this time next year there should be another 631 breweries around putting the total well over 4K and triggering another round of bubble talk once it hits 4,000 mark. Even if the pace of new breweries is cut in half, it will still crawl over the 4,000 total by this time next year.

What does this all mean? It means more choices and more competition for tap handle space and it means that rotating taps aren’t going away soon. With that choice comes a corresponding duty to be more selective. Even my picky self has started running into not so good beer and I have to come out and say it. No more generic 2.5 star ratings on Untappd. It also means that publicans have to be honest too. If the new brewery isn’t up to snuff, they shouldn’t be on tap. If they are, it better be on discount. Which leads us to the brewers. I know it is financially horrible and damaging to the psyche to dump a bad beer. But I do not want to go to your brewery and hear that a beer was a failed experiment and won’t be brewed again. Morbid curiosity may get me to order it but it would be much better for the brewery and it’s possible long term customers to use it as an educational tool and give away tasters of it to say, compare and contrast to another beer.

Craft beer will continue to grow even if those three things do not happen. But that trajectory will not be fueled by the mediocre to bad beer makers. Nope. Remember that craft beer started as a REACTION to bland and flavorless corn water masquerading as beer. New brewers may not have to react to Bud-Miller-Coors, they may react against bad craft beer.

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For aspiring Portland breweries, the wait time isn’t usually all that long but in the case of Culmination Brewing it was a much longer (2 year) period before opening, which they finally did this year.

But the wait will be worth it, especially for those who love live music because that is a focus of this brewery with a dedicated space for their Concert in the Brewery Series.
Before I get to my picks for my initial taster tray, Culmination also has guest taps as well and have done many collaborations while in process of building their own space so you will probably find something to taste, if not more than one.

Reynard Belgium Style IPA – “Our Belgium Style IPA (made in collaboration with Brannon’s Brewery) is a hop-forward ale brewed with a Belgium yeast strain offering additional levels of complexities and a citrus nuance that plays well with the northwest hops.”

4 & 20 Imperial Black IPA – “Our signature 4 & 20 Imperial Black IPA (made in collaboration with Lucky Labrador) represents the smooth complexities of our upcoming line of fine beers. The name, 4 & 20, derives from our infusion of four hops and twenty plato.”

To round out my tasters I would add the Brett IPA, Saison II and their Black Saison.

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