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by Sean on April 21, 2016


Mix that Fermentation

by Sean on February 18, 2017

Brouwerij West is calling it a year with a breakfrunch.  Plus you get High Fives.

Here is the initial beer list:
•Our 1st Anniversary Beer: Barrel-Aged Tripel (NEW!)
A Belgian Golden Strong Ale aged for 3 months in red wine puncheons
•Animal Farm – mixed-fermentation beer aged on peaches (NEW!)
•Chinatown – barrel-aged mixed-fermentation beer (NEW!)
•Spelt Saison (Out-of-the-Cellar First-Year Favorite!)
•Buckwheat Sour (Out-of-the-Cellar First-Year Favorite!)
•Get Back (Out-of-the-Cellar First-Year Favorite!)
•+ surprise variations on some of our classics & more


America to the World

by Sean on February 18, 2017

apologies for my penmanship

Sierra Nevada’s popular Beer Camp is poised to go worldwide this year with a variety 12-pack: Beer Camp Across the World.
Sierra Nevada keeps upping the ante on this program and this looks like the logical next step. They have European collaborations in their history with their Oktoberfest beer so why not go international.

The “supergroup” beers heavily leaned on the geographic places that the breweries hailed from and they plan to do that again as Bill Manley from Sierra Nevada, explains “With the international folks, we asked them to think about something unique to them, what’s unique to their sense of place, so we’ll be able to, theoretically, taste two senses of place.”

The initial R&D test batches were brewed in November of last year and the whole packs will be on shelves in June of this year. Here are the beers that you will see (italicized are my picks for most excited to try) starting with the international side.…
Dunkel Weisse with Ayinger Brewery
Hoppy Belgian-Style Golden Ale Brewed w/ Lemon Peels with Duvel
Atlantic Vintage Ale with Fuller’s Brewery
Campout Porter with Garage Project
White IPA w/ Yuzu with Kiuchi Brewery
Thai-Style Iced Tea with Mikkeller

Now onto the American beers you will find in the box….
Dry-Hopped Barleywine Style Ale with Avery Brewing Co.
West Coast Style DIPA with Boneyard Beer
Dry-Hopped Berliner Weisse with Saint Arnold Brewing Co.
Ginger Lager with Surly Brewing Co.
Raspberry Sundae with The Bruery
East Meets West IPA with Tree House Brewing Co.


Wait for It

by Sean on February 17, 2017

I have a pair of early April Fool’s suggestion. Granted they will most certainly infuriate Whale Hunters but they REALLY need their protective bubble burst.

I need a brewery to create a mock-up of a label for cans of a new hazy IPA. No need to brew one. Then tweet out a thanks to all the customers who came in to buy cans earlier in the day with a photo of said can.

I will sit in the tap room as people roll in and pretend to finish off the last can with empties at my table for added effect. Anyone who comes up to me and asks for a can will get a coupon for a $1 off an experimental hopless amber ale or a sticker that says that they are an April Fool.

I say this after reading this ARTICLE in the NY Times from Joshua Bernstein about waiting in line for can releases.

My second April Fool’s idea is to heavily promote an IPA can release for 4/1 and then at the last minute say that the IPA didn’t meet rigorous standards but that there will be cans of an Abbey Single on sale.

Just to see who stays in line and which are paid line dudes (yes, it is almost always “dudes”) and, of course, to see who gets the joke.


Thanks to Beer Belly ONS Ambassador Rich, I got the chance to crack open the special Smog City and Beer Belly collaboration, Mind of a Fruitcake.

This is a serious fruitcake beer. I can see that people might be divided like they are with the actual doorstop of a holiday treat.

Cinnamon is really prevalent here along with a sticky sweetness. This cola colored ale was aged in wine barrels (red) but that is completely faded to the deep background as the quad and spice take center stage. On a side note, The first “Mind of…” beer felt under peach-ed. Now this one is bold as all get out.

There are some beers that can be drunk with a multitude of foods but this one screams to be paired with dessert. I keep thinking of gingerbread cookies. Something spicy but sharp to contrast against the viscosity of the beer.


Straight from the Barrel

by Sean on February 16, 2017

No scientist am I and when I see phrases like “restrictor disc” and “N2 pressure to a heat exhanger” or going even further to “inline liquid & gas infuser”. I do not think of craft beer. Seems more like mechanic lingo to me.

But it is part of the mechanical engineering for the draft system called AeriAle which is a byproduct of a team-up between Dogfish Head Brewery and AC Beverage.

The end goal is to drink barrel-aged beer directly from the barrel at the proper temperature and pressure levels.

I am not going to tell you that I understand the process. For that I would need an extra brain and a side by side comparison of the same beer from different taps but I do applaud the creativity and nitro dispense in the US could use a boost.

Maybe this is it. And if an East Coast Eataly restaurant has one, maybe the new Eataly in Century City might too.


There are books that you read and when the end is reached, your first utterance is, “Well, I can see that being made into a movie.”

Such is the case with Dark Matter and in this case, that is not a disparaging remark. The author, Blake Crouch, has TV in his writing background, Wayward Pines so when the hero (more on that later) starts jumping from parallel earth to parallel earth, you can see the special effects in your minds eye.

The tale starts with one Jason Dessen a professor at a small Chicago college who us abducted and shot up with chemicals and deposited not in his world and has to find his way back.

If you are a time travel nitpicker, then this is probably not for you. The villain of the piece, well I can’t spoil that reveal since it doesn’t come until a bit later in the book is a bit problematic until later in the book.

But if you bought Matt Damon as Jason Bourne, you might shell out movie tickets to see him portray this Jason. It’s right up his alley.

Beer Wise – The label design and names from Bottle Logic in Anaheim fit this book to a T. Get a Recursion IPA or an Ocularity DIPA and become bitter with the villain. Better yet, pick up their GABF winning Lagerithm Black lager.

Since the book is set in Chicago, you can search out some Half Acre beer and enjoy a Pony Pilsner while going through the pages.

Or if you want to keep a science theme going. Get a growler from L.A. Aleworks from their SpaceX line of hoppy beers.


Triple IPAs Abound

by Sean on February 15, 2017

To help you find a replacement for Pliny the Younger, head to the Monrovia location of 38 Degrees for their Triple IPA Fest on Saturday, February 25th. Starting at 11am.

Since PtY is limited by the brewery (until their new Windsor production facility could be utilized to make more), you have the enviable task of finding beers as good or better for your big hops, big ABV fix. They will have quite a few examples on tap and you get to use their fancy iPads to help you choose.


Sean Suggests for February 2017

by Sean on February 15, 2017

For February, let’s go with the color red. I know it is a day after Valentine’s Day but beer (like cards and chocolates) shouldn’t be just one day a year.

Dieu du Ciel/ Rosee D’Hibiscus 5.9% ABV
“The Rosée d’Hibiscus is a soft spoken wheat beer. The rose colour comes from the hibiscus flowers added during the brewing process. The aromas and flavour of this tropical flower are very prominent in the beer, giving it a slight acidity and a very agreeable fragrance. It is the perfect thirst quencher on a hot summer day.”

Crux Fermentation/ Banished-Better Off Red 7.00% ABV
“Flanders Reds may be called the Burgundies of Belgium, but we age our take on this complex, slightly tart style in Oregon Pinot Noir barrels for nearly a year. A fresh batch will present spicier notes while older versions pick up more oak and yield cherry flavors. So we blended them figuring we’re better off presenting this exotic mélange simultaneously. “

Logsdon/ Ceraus 8.5% ABV
“From Hood River, Oregon near the orchards of the Fruit Loop, a Flanders Style Red Ale with organic cherries.”

All of these beers can be found at Sunset Beer Co. (unless they got bought up real quick)


Featured Review – A Hop Duo

by Sean on February 14, 2017

Not content enough to make the logistical Day 1 IPA series, El Segundo Brewing is now embarking on level 1 of their Super Beer Bros. collaborative IPA series.

Up first is their work with the upcoming Washington State brewery, Grains of Wrath pours a reddish amber color. Doesn’t taste 8 percent. Red IPA? Good carbonation which leads to a quick palate bite. 2 days old. Subdued pine needles. Not quite grassy but the combo of malt and hops leads me to forest descriptors. Aroma is toward forest hike.

Having had a multitude of both SoCal and Oregon IPA’s, this bears the hallmark of both. Taming the sometimes harsh ESBC with the more restrained Oregon IPA.


1st Visit – Ballast Point Long Beach

February 14, 2017

The northernmost outpost of the Constellation backed Ballast Point Brewing has been out on the pier in Long Beach for quite awhile now. I finally lyfted out to the ocean to check out the menu and location. And it is impressive. BP has maximized the amount of water view seating around three different bars on […]

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