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Public Works Ale is our final stop in Maryland. And it is sitting atop a piece of Baltimore Oriole history.  Their home, until 1944.  And they give 1% of their sales to job training in the community. Because, if a person finds a job, they might spend their money on beer.  Your beer.  Smart thinking.  But we are here to talk beers.  Specifically which beers that I would have in my taster tray….

Well there are three mainstays,  the Knuckle Buster IPA, Red Cent Amber and the Fair Shake APA for starters.  And that is it (for now),  So have your beers then walk around Johns Hopkins and the Baltimore Art Museum which are nearby.


Roasting at the Brewery

by Sean on July 30, 2014

When constructing a coffee beer, a brewery will usually confer and contract with a noted or local bean roaster. Roasting your own, under your own brand is new to me. But the ambitious folks at Modern Times are doing just that. Now you can buy cans of Black House beer and coffee. You can order via their online store.


Here are the different coffees on offer and their descriptions…

Black House Blend is the same coffee we use in Black House, our year round oatmeal coffee stout. It’s a classic Mocha Java-style blend of Ethiopian Hambela (fruit, berries, brightness) and Sumatra Mandehling (cocoa, caramel, earth), making it a great all-around coffee suitable for any preparation method. Black House Blend cold press is on-tap at the Lomaland Fermentorium if you want to drink it alongside the beer.

Rye Barrel-Aged Sulawesi Toraja offers up loads of barrel character, featuring an intense aroma & oodles of vanilla, oak, rye, & cocoa in the cup. Makes an extraordinary espresso or french press. Quantities are limited.

Red Wine Barrel-Aged Ethiopian Derar Ela is beautifully balanced, offering delicious citrus/peach flavor and aroma, with an oaky/dark fruit finish from the barrel. Makes the perfect summer cold press or pour over. Quantities are limited.



Almanac goes IPA

by Sean on July 29, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-07-17 at 7.27.27 PMPart of me wishes that Almanac would stay with the fruits and odd styles like Gose.  And part of me does not like the damn curlicue/scrimshaw font either.  But I guess, when in Rome.  Go hoppy.  I am sure it will be a strong beer.

“Introducing our year-round Almanac IPA in 22 oz. bottles! This copper-hued, West Coast hop bomb is brewed with a malt base of California-grown two-row barley, with additions of German Vienna, Crystal and Biscuit malts.

Then we start layering on the hops—grown in California, Oregon and Washington. We combine Apollo, El Dorado, Simcoe and Mosaic to create our own twist on the IPA style with intense aromas of grapefruit and tangerine peel, melon, pineapple and pine trees. The finish has a clean bitterness and light saltine cracker note.”

Sorry for the non-ringing endorsement in the intro.  As much as I love hops, I wish some people could overcome the urge to add another IPA to the pile. But if the beer drinking people want bread and circus.


Review – Taps & Tapas Festival

by Sean on July 29, 2014


I like that more beer festivals are trending toward beer AND food festivals. With both on equal footing.  Not beer festivals with a lonely food vendor in the corner or a food festival with a nod to craft beer in the form of a tap or two. The first ever Taps and Tapas festival in Whittier accomplished this balancing act with tempting food and beer.

First time festivals can be hit or miss. The concept may be great but the space may not be. Or any other unforeseen problems may derail a passion project. That being said, there is a lot to like about where Taps & Tapas started and where this idea can go. There was a strong selection of beer available. And it thankfully featured some new breweries as well.

I will focus on the beers that I had:

Ironfire Nu Hell IPL – I have only had a few of the beers from this brewery so it was nice to see both an old favorite and new tap on hand.  I went for the lighter and new to me IPL that had a nice citrus taste but was first and foremost a lager.  Nice and zippy.

Clown Shoes – 2014 Krunkle Sams – I probably shouldn’t have indulged in a high ABV barley wine in the heat but this was another winner.  Caramel notes mixed with citrus.  It wasn’t light but it didn’t overwhelm the palate either.

Polymath Premo Pilz had a lot of grain taste in the glass. Flaked corn being one addition. Polymath is one thirdof a co- op with Delicious Science and Seven Brothers Brewing in Riverside. Not a bad pils. Well done just not to my taste

Old School Gold Beer was the lowlight of the beers it was metallic with too much mineral taste. It poured a nice yellow color but this unforgiving style was not done quite right.


Ohana Pacific Blonde Wow, this was really nice. You can really tell the difference between a brewer that has honed in on a flavor. And Ohana has.  This is nearly perfect for hot weather.

Alosta Brewing LOL Wit – Really lovely aroma. Big citrus notes here. Zippy. This was my fest favorite.  It was a surprise too, since my first Alosta beers were a bit underwhelming to me.  I want to go back now and try their new beers.

Twisted Manzanita - Imperial red. This red was solid but didn’t really sing.  Technically fine just not hitting my taste buds.

Congregation Praise On Saison was really tasty and a good choice for a last beer.  Good vanilla taste with just a touch of spice.  One of the better beers to try to pair food with.

The only downside to the event and one that may or may not be easily rectified was the location.  It was kinda weird to be in a community center gym drinking beer. The divided layout of upper and lower levels was not conducive to wandering.  The heat only exacerbated that divide as people came inside to avoid the sun which only made the gym hotter.  A bigger and indoor location would be the best improvement this event could make.  I would have also added a pairing suggestion list somewhere to give people an idea of what to pair with what.  The best advice I got was from the dessert caterer who paired a couple of nice items with my IPA.



California Craft Beer and the Law

by Sean on July 28, 2014

There were some interesting positions taken (I know, That’s What She Said) in a recent blog post on the BrewBound site pertaining to laws and craft beer.’


Tom McCormick, the executive director of the California Craft Brewers Association was asked a few questions about laws and possible laws being considered and where the CCBA stands on them.

First up is Assembly Bill 2004 which would allow brewers to sell their beer at local farmers’ markets if the bill passes. This is something that I have seen very sporadically but that I think might me a good fit if done right.  If nothing else, the opportunity should be allowed.  This could be a ripe opportunity for a brewery to connect with it’s community and collaborate with farmers who could provide future ingredients.  There are also many roadblocks that I foresee.  Police or extra security might be involved and the area might need to be roped off to keep the kids out but these could be creatively surmounted.

According to BrewBound, “The bill maintains some restrictions for beer makers, however. Breweries will only be able to sell at farmers markets in their own or adjacent counties. Nevertheless, said McCormick, it would level the playing field with wineries, which have been legally selling products at the markets for many years.”

Next on the docket is Assembly Bill 2010.  This tackles the duplicate permit issue.  This allows a beer company warehousing and retailing privileges minus beer making.  Right now, you can duplicate to your hearts content.  But this bill puts a cap of six on the practice.  I don’t know where 6 became the perfect number.  Why not 10 or 11 1/2?  I think that stymies growth to an extent so I disagree with the CCBA’s stance that it is OK.  Just because one or more breweries may be growing more quickly doesn’t mean that others won’t in the future or that one brewery will eventually own California.  I think we are way past that at this point.

For those few who follow this blog who are interested in the intersection of craft beer and the law, I would love to hear your thoughts.


Cream Ale from the Land of IPA

by Sean on July 28, 2014

When you think of AleSmith of San Diego, you probably fall into thinking about their IPA or their Speedway Stout. But during summer you may want to choose from a third option, the Cream Ale. Some brewers have this in the repertoire and I am glad that they keep it coming. CA Logo Ad


Do Not Rage Against the Mocha Machine

by Sean on July 27, 2014


July 29th marks yet another release from the seemingly unstoppable Beachwood Brewing and the release the award winning Mocha Machine Imperial Coffee Chocolate Porter.

The 9.2% ABV brew is described as thusly, the “porter—which took home the 2014 World Beer Cup Bronze Medal in the Coffee Beer category—is brewed with an array of British and German malts and infused with masterfully roasted coffee from Costa Mesa California’s Portola Coffee Lab. Then aged in cacao nibs from Ecuador, this burly brew finishes with a dimension of fudge awesomeness.”

Plus the label is pretty cool. And you won’t see many, so grab if you can.



The Great July Pumpkin

by Sean on July 27, 2014

# 8 in the Barrel Roll series will be arriving later this year and it is a pumpkin beer! Hangar 24 has done gourd beers before and they certainly know how to maximize a barrel so expect this one to be very popular.

And a falling leaf according to the Flight Training blog is a “…stall is aptly named because that’s what a training aircraft looks and behaves like during this maneuver – a gently falling leaf where one side drops slightly, then the other side, and so on.


More food and beer

by Sean on July 26, 2014

The food and beer pairings are coming too fast to keep up, almost.  Here is another one to add to the list….


July 28th, “Executive Chef Adam Levoe has created a scrumptious seasonal menu. Four courses + four beers. Here’s a sneak peak of the third course paired with Golden Road’s Almond Milk Stout.”

For Example:

Grilled skirt steak with parmesan potatoes, yellow corn, bell peppers, demi glace  (non-vegan)
Summer vegetable polenta with summer squash, sweet peppers, heirloom cherry tomatoes and fine herb oil (vegan)

Check out the full menu, HERE.


Hard Hats Required

by Sean on July 26, 2014

3 Weavers and Phantom Carriage are in full build out mode.  Great to see their progress chronicled, and to keep you abreast of the concrete, here are two Facebook snapshots…..

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