by Sean on March 3, 2017

9th Annual Kickoff Festival – Saturday, June 17th

Tickets go on sale on Friday, March 10th at 12pm Pacific Time.

General Admission: $50
VIP Admission: $70
Designated Driver: $25
(Prices increase by $5 after May 15.)
(*Enthusiast members receive 20% off up to 4 tickets – use your member number on your Enthusiast ID)


Karl in the Sierra

by Sean on March 26, 2017

Two old school breweries have collaborated (with hops of course), Sierra Nevada from the North and Karl Strauss from the South have a new beer in the pipeline, NxS.


Is it weird that I really like the design of the book jacket for the Complete Beer Course by Joshua Bernstein but that I think the inside design doesn’t really reach that level?

Nitpicky for sure but a coffee table book kind of demands a design that a simple novel or non-fiction book doesn’t require. The information provided within is absolutely fine. Bernstein personalizes the proceedings throughout making him a relatable guide through the book. But the flow of the book just keeps getting slowed with little boxes of fun facts throughout that combined with the graphics and photos make going from one paragraph to another a little more of a hunt than it needs to be.

I also did not like the chapter heading collage for each “lesson”. It was if someone slapped down a few representative labels and called it a day. I also would have liked more style coverage to replace the beer and food pairing section especially considering the fact that Bernstein was merely a conduit for that part of the book.

That being said, this is a really nice gift to give someone who is entering into the world of craft beer or someone who has started but could round out their education. The words work.


Mosaic in the Canyon

by Sean on March 25, 2017

Eagle Rock is firing up their summer can series, Day Trip with the new Mosaic Canyon which will hit shelves on March 28th.

Here are the specs from the brewery:

Your best bet to find them is at the brewery taproom.


Beer Review – Bursted

by Sean on March 25, 2017

Recently, El Segundo Brewing came out with their take on the single hop beer. They call it Bursted and the initial batch all clocked in at 6% abv and came in three different colors/hops.

I don’t know if this has happened to you, but I had all three bottles in the ‘fridge and I opened the Simcoe and was absolutely blown away by the aroma. It was as if a bunch of hop pellets had been dumped into my kitchen. I loved that beer from ounce 1 to 22. I was so jazzed to try the other two but, alas, the Mosaic and especially the Citra paled in comparison.

You open one beer and suddenly your expectations are raised to a point where the remaining beers have no chance of competing. But that Simcoe is an early contender for Beer of the Year. Bright and vivid aroma with a touch of spice.

Here is my order of the beers:
1. Simcoe
3. Mosaic
5. Citra

I am certainly intrigued to see how this series progresses.


Your Vote Counts

by Sean on March 24, 2017

The Glendale Tap is starting a new “brewery battle” night and for their first event, it will pit the newcomer State Brewing against old hoppy hand, El Segundo Brewing. Who will come out victorious? That depends upon you.

Head to San Fernando Boulevard on Wednesday, the 29th to place your vote.


Orval Day 2017

by Sean on March 24, 2017

Tomorrow is the day to reacquaint yourself with the fabulous Orval beer.

National Orval Day will benefit not only the drinker but also a portion of the proceeds from the day will be donated to MAP International, a global health organization that provides life-saving medicines to people living in poverty.

Here in Los Angeles, Little Bear will be participating in the festivities.


Members Only

by Sean on March 23, 2017

The Mug Club. Some breweries have them and use them. Others had them at the start of their brewery but have let them die on the bine. Others go the special bottle club route.

A recent post on the Brewers Association website got me to thinking what I want in a Mug Club or any other brewery club.

Before I get to “MY” needs, here is what was recommended in the post (I endorse the ones in bold):

Existing members get a discount on renewals (typically 25 percent off)
Filling your own personal 23-oz mug costs the same as a normal 16-oz pour
• Members get 10 percent off of merchandise as well as food
We offer additional deep discounts on “member’s nights” (I would say 1 per month)
• We host an annual appreciation and membership renewal party where we treat members to dinner and a complimentary first round of beers
• We offer a different style of mug each year to keep it fresh
• Every month, one lucky member wins a case of beer to take home

Obviously, there are some items that are too expensive and you can’t implement everything and keep your profit margins, remember, the clubs should make money for the brewery!

1. Quarterly “Meetings” where members can taste a beer in advance of the general beer public.
2. Secret password days where members get a password that can be used for special beers like ½ in ½ or nitro pour.
3. Special brew day tours or packaging day tours. Abbreviated behind-the-scenes at the brewery.
4. Early entry to special events that the brewery puts on if they buy tickets to the event, of course.
5. …then toss in a sweet jacket, like this…


…and Relative Dimension

by Sean on March 23, 2017

I have vowed not to chase whales but when I saw this Hopsteiner ad on Facebook, literally right after watching a trailer for the new Doctor Who season, I almost broke the promise and became the War Doctor.

And even though, I am more looking forward to the first Moffat-less Doctor, I would have liked to have a can (or two) of this beer from Moustache Brewing with me as Peter Capaldi completes his run as the 12th.


Peel the Label – Automatic Dogmatic

by Sean on March 22, 2017

Apparently in 2017, dander raising and nitpicking happens every minute and it seems to have hit certain quarters of craft beer world too. You can get the full backstory about what led to this post right HERE at Beervana. Basically, the point is that you can’t use a specific name if you don’t do it exactly, specifically the same way as it was in the past.

That is absolute hogwash. If I am sitting in a brewery taproom anywhere in Los Angeles and I order a Gose from the menu. I don’t immediately have my dander raised if it doesn’t say, American-Style Gose beer. I am smart enough to know that it was brewed as a translation/homage/riff of the classic German style. Why? Because I am in an American city in 2017 and not a train station in Leipzig hundreds of years ago.

Same with ESB or Gueze or Kolsch or any other European born and raised style. What I want is a great beer. If it tastes completlely un-Gose, and it is still good, I will be more generous than if it is lacking on both accounts. But what I can do, that apparently the less tolerant cannot, is separate out Fullers ESB from an ESB brewed on the west coast.

Naming a brewery Zoigl shouldn’t cause a ripple in the surface of craft beer world. We have beers called hefeweizens that are wheat ales. There are pale ales that are basically IPA’s and Session IPA’s that I would not drink more than one of. Most, if not all, beer styles have drifted over time into new recipes and new forms, so to the purists, every beer should probably just be called a derivation of the first time that grain got wet and moldy in Sumeria.

If using the term Zoigl is offensive or insensitive to you, then you really have cleared your plate of problems. Craft beer has many issues to stare down but bringing a simulacrum of a brewing tradition to the US is not one of them. Otherwise we might not have much beer here at all.

I give you a choose your own adventure based on how stupid you think consumers are:

1. They don’t know what a Zoigl is and ask someone at the brewery about it or Google it because we all have phones and no health care.
2. They know what a Zoigl is (probably 1% of people) and also know that they are in Portland and not old-timey Germany.

You can say that it is not an authentic Zoigl and you can go to the ends of the earth educating people about what a Zoigl actually is but to get your ass chafed because it is called that just shows that dogma holds more sway in your life than the actual beer.

This world needs more people with slower fuses.

Peel the Label is an occasional series where I opine about the big picture of craft beer and blogging without photos, videos or links.


Blending In

March 22, 2017

Starting tonight, those of us in the valley can get a taste of Beachwood Blendery without making the drive or long Blue Line ride to Long Beach. Check the graphic above and plan your sour schedule accordingly.

Read the full article →