Coffee beers are one of my favorites and to get a different taste of beans from Michigan is tempting.

Here is my review of Java Stout from Bell’s.
Java Stout is really strong on the Starbuck-ian very roasted bean side of the equation.  Burnt notes with a bit of smoke are the dominate notes here.  The base stout is overwhelmed in one sense but also holds the beer up.  There is a load of bitter coffee acidity here as well.  There are some fig and anise notes tucked into the beer as well.  It is, in the end, well balanced despite the darkness of the roast.

I just wish the label weren’t some sort of Jigsaw meets coffee mug dementia.


Gunbarrel Brewery # 2 – Asher Brewing

by Sean on April 20, 2015

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Tour stop # 2 brings us to Asher Brewing Company an organic Colorado brewer since February 25th, 2010.

Here are my top three choices for my taster tray. And if I have room after that, I might just try one of their hoppy offerings like Green Bullet Organic IPA or Greenade Organic Double IPA.

Green Lantern Organic Kolsch
Fermented with its own special ale yeast and brewed with a Pilsner malt, our version boasts a uniquely smooth balance with a dry, hoppy finish. The Green Lantern’s simple recipe lets our fine organic ingredients and meticulous brewing techniques shine through.

Tree Hugger Organic Amber
Living up to its roots, this full-bodied American classic boasts the perfect balance of naughty and nice. Crystal and Munich malts bring a caramel sweetness to the brew. Yet just when you think you’ve satisfied your sweet tooth, the organic German hops produce an unmistakeable dry finish. With a toffee aroma and deep amber color.

Green Monstah Organic Strong Ale
The Green Monstah Strong Ale boasts bold caramel malt flavors with a smooth aftertaste attributed to a low mash temperature in the brewing process in which results in the most sugars fermenting out.


You down with ADB

by Sean on April 19, 2015

Details on the downtown brewery fronted by Brian Lenzo of Blue Palms have been scarce. So scarce that I heard the news about his head brewer choice while on the Central Coast.

Arts District Brewing will have Devon Randall at the helm. She comes from the Pizza Port system in Solana Beach which means that she has worked an untold number of styles for an award winning machine of a brewery.
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ADB is comprised of the team of Lenzo and the 213 group that runs the iconic bars in downtown such as the Golden Gopher, Seven Grand and Cole’s and will probably be pouring the beer first and foremost. (Aside from Blue Palms). And since 213 is heavy into spirits and cocktails, there just might be access to barrels for aging beer.

Stay tuned for updates on Arts District Brewing.


Enjoy Beer (& Acquisitions)

by Sean on April 19, 2015

The money has found craft beer. Now it hasn’t penetrated that deep into the sub-strata of breweries who would like/need loans. Start-ups especially. But the private equity is looking for assets and they are tapping insiders.
First it was Oskar Blues detailing a plan of acquisition and now Rich Doyle (formally of Harpoon Brewery) has established Enjoy Beer LLC, that the Brewbound website describes as “an acquisition vehicle and craft beer consortium that he hopes will one day become a publicly traded company with multiple craft brands under its control.”

And they have come out of the gate with the purchase of Abita Beer of Louisiana. Enjoy Beer will be behind the scenes with sales, marketing, money to help the breweries under their banner better compete with national AKA BMC brands as well as those regional superpowers with multiple brewing locations.

How these umbrella corp’s will evolve will be an interesting social/beer/business test.

Here are my questions:
1. What if one brand takes off? How will the others react if they feel slighted?
2. Will breweries want to be part of a corporate structure taking orders from on high?
3. Will brewers move from one brand in the family to another and take recipes with them?


Moe’s Tavern

by Sean on April 18, 2015


A few year’s ago, several L.A. 7-Eleven’s were redecorated into Simpson-style Kwik-E-Mart’s.  It got a nice bit of press coverage and I even traveled to a Burbank location and got photographs of me with the graffiti of the infamous El Barto.  Didn’t have a pink donut though.

Now, Universal Hollywood is re-creating more of Springfield in it’s theme park.  And it will include a Moe’s Tavern and a Duff Beer Garden.  Now I don’t know who makes the beer or if it pairs with theme park churro’s but the photo opp would be cool.  Sitting in Moe’s with a beer.  Sadly, the Flaming Moe is non-alcoholic.




Growler Cleaning

by Sean on April 18, 2015

I should have known that something like this had been invented and I probably should have blogged about it before this.

Growler get gunky. I have seen horrified faces at breweries when a dirty growler has been brought in for more beer. I have heard tales of some growlers so bad that they were immediately put into the recycle bin.

Now those people, and me, can simply drop Growler Tablets from Craft Meister in a tablet add water and let sit for a nice clean piece of glass.


Review – Abel Brown from King Harbor

by Sean on April 17, 2015

IMG_3953I like quite a few of King Harbor’s beers but this one has a leg up because it is kinda/sorta the base for their vanilla accented Swirly which I hope is a bottle contender soon.

There is a nice amount of lacing from one of the lightest brown ales that I have seen.  It comes in at 4.7%.  The aroma is similar to the smell of coffee being ground. The coffee flavor is quite strong and really lingers but there is a good amount of chocolate too to force a balance plus a touch of char as well. Abel Brown seems a heavier beer than it is.  It has a certain nitro creaminess to it even when coming from a bottle.  A point of beer reference would be the Milk Stout from Left Hand.  They both have a similar flavor profile to me.

Just a really great beer.





Raspberry Beret

by Sean on April 17, 2015

Starting on April 22nd, the new labels and new brand Bruery Terreux (spell that five times fast) will be released.

Included amongst the returning favorites with different looks will be a newbie that will start you to humming a certain Prince song from the past.

“Beret is an imperial sour wit beer, fermented in oak with raspberries added for just a hint of fresh fruit flavor before bottling. Balanced, fruity, and bright, this will be a delicious addition to shelves and draft faucets near you.”

The new tasting room is still in progress.


Review – Saison Citron from Golden Road

by Sean on April 16, 2015


I tried this saison at the pub and at first I was a bit underwhelmed.  I got some light grapefruit notes but Meyer lemon is distinctive and I wasn’t getting it. It seemed to dry as well.

But then the Saison Citron from Golden Road Brewing perked up.  As it warmed,the subtle notes of the yeast (spice and vanilla) yielded to the lemon.  It still wasn’t a blast of Meyer but it became a more balanced beer.  The yeast and lemon worked together and even the dryness calmed a bit as if the combination on a lock had been found.

Saison Citron is a prime example of a beer that may at first seem like a bad pick becomes a wise choice.


New to Bottles

by Sean on April 16, 2015

There was a spirited discussion about beer labels amongst the L.A. Beer Bloggers, the same weekend that MacLeod Ales released a photo of their “look” on Facebook.
Not many bottles use the band across the belly style. It allows for flexibility because a bottle can be used for multiple styles but it can look too “cost-cutty”. But in this instance each label is clear and colorful and differentiated from the other. Plus they are clear with the brewery name front and center which is especially needed for a young brewery. I also like the touch of the city name at the bottom.

Now I just have to see how they look when they are in a crowded cooler.