Home Brew Review – Egg Nog Stout

by Sean on January 27, 2015


We come to the final beer. Always a sad occasion but in this case happy because this is my favorite of the quintet.

It is the boldest of the group. The spice is there on the nose and follows through with a bang in the flavor. Some might find the nutmeg and clove too much or cloying but I think it works. It is a bit on the soda side because the base beer isn’t muscular (which is the tweak I would recommend).

Why I like it is because it delivers on the promise of the name. The other four had failings of not enough. Which is not a problem here. Plus I like the spice profile already so I was inclined to like this one the most.

What I love about tasting home brew is to see the idea of a beer at the beginning. I certainly saw more germs of a finished beer that I liked than didn’t which I was not surprised about considering the source. All of the beers just needed tweaks. No tear downs here.


Peel the Label – 1st Amendment

by Sean on January 27, 2015

I usually steer well clear of talk of hot button issues. This is a beer blog after all and I prefer to talk about the much happier world of what’s inside my pint glass rather than the world outside the bar. Which can get too depressing and crazy at times.

You don’t see me poking fun at religion/politics/name your bruise because primarily it is not my nature to be combative and secondarily, others puncture the hypocrisy much better than I can (see Stewart, Colbert and Oliver).

Another one of the reasons is that the interwebs is not the best forum for making my point because the online community thinks that dialogue and debate are dirty words and trolling and unfriending are the norm. Now I feel that I need to add my voice.

The world seems caught in an endless loop of “I’m right but more importantly, you’re wrong” mentality. Hate and snark are broadcast far and wide. And by far the worst aspect of this ease of viral expression is that people begin to not only love their opinion and their way of life so much that they start to think they ARE the way and the life. For everyone.

This is not a response to someone trying to create a comment tempest in a blog post. I wish it were solely about me. No, this is due to events, most recently in Paris, where writing and drawing have ended in gunfire. Some are so thin skinned as to think that a cartoon will topple an entire belief system. And it is not only religions that seem to be in the vanguard of easily offended. It seems to be an everyday occurrence that someone has to be angered by an off the cuff remark or prepared statement.

What I want is to take a (paraphrased) saying from writer Lew Bryson that personal preference is not a universal truth and apply it here.

Everyone who wants to hold an opinion, can do so. But that is what it remains. An opinion. Whether it be held by one staunch advocate or the multitudes. And here is the corollary: My views are not wrong if they are in opposition to you and your said staunch opinion.

It seems simple on the face of it. You don’t impinge on my beliefs and I will return the favor. But it seems that with increasing frequency that opinions are being labeled as facts/truth, and that those who dare to question, satirize or dismiss are in the wrong. And not only are they wrong, they deserve to be punished as well.

For beer example, I can “not like” a beer or brewery for whatever reasons that I use to make that decision. I can write, photograph, draw or video my opinion and all can comment. Everyone else can love that brewery and I am fine with that. But that love cannot be considered a fact. It is personal preference and nothing more.

You can be hurt that I do not share your view. I may very well offend either on purpose or by accident even in the relatively safe realm of craft beer, but, the first response should be opening a dialogue to talk. It may end in disagreement but at least there would be an opportunity for a friendly resolution. With at least grudging respect of frenemies as a goal.

I have strong opinions. Some that I won’t back down off my high horse from. But I will listen to you and the horse you rode in on. I hope that I will at least learn something and I do frequently change my mind. Flip flopping is not a negative to me. Entrenchment seems to be en vogue in these times though and it saddens me.

And it is maddening when people use the 1st Amendment as a shield for hate/fear/anger but that is what libel and slander are around for, as a legal check against the worst offenses. But the most potent weapon is to listen and then rebut. If your example falls on deaf ears and inaction, then walk away content that at least you tried to elevate the conversation instead of denigrating it.

But everywhere I turn, it seems the more we can communicate to others the less we communicate with each other. I will reiterate that everyone has the right to their opinion and the right to express it without fear of being pounced upon by those who have not learned how to disagree like a human with a soul.

I know this is Pie in the Sky talk. Might even be more chum for trolls. And thank, ahem, God that extremists don’t drink alcohol or are regular beer blog readers. Craft beer may not be the 99% asshole free community that it once was, but the still high percentage that is can show religions, governments and the like how to behave civilly.

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


Review – The Messenger IPA

by Sean on January 26, 2015


Wow. I remember liking this Three Weavers / Noble Ale Works collaboration back before 3W was not yet up and running in Inglewood but this bottle is tremendous. Just bright with citrus. I am getting tangerine and grapefruit in large delicious amounts. Not much bitterness here but that is because it is accenting the fruit not fighting it.

It also pours a beautiful and clear yellow from a really cool looking and big bottle. Really simple but artfully arranged colors and graphics on the label. The beer really looks good next to the bottle.

Back to the beer, it is super juicy and if you like that, well then this beer will really tickle your tastebuds. And if you have an IPA averse someone in your life, this might be the beer for them. I gave a taste to my resident witbier fan and got a really positive response.



ERB is 5

by Sean on January 26, 2015

Special 5th year glassware was broken out to celebrate the Eagle Rock anniversary occasion along with a the beers on tap in three different locations in the brewery…

Station # 1 Station # 1 Populist XL.  11% and very good. Populist XL. 11% and very good. Here's to 5 more years! Here’s to 5 more years!



The tour of home brew continues on with the Coffee and Donut Milk Stout. Hopefully it is meant to pair with and not taste like, the name.

This is the murkiest pour of the bunch so far. Brown and black swirls with an espresso head to it. Big pop when the Grolsch top was opened. The initial hit was quite carbonated but it calmed down as it warmed. Bit of a tar taste to this one. Less coffee and donut and more coffee and cigarettes. Not in a disagreeable way though. There is also an undercurrent of sweetness here too.

And that is the one-two combo of this beer. Tar roast and a bit of sweet. Maybe paired with a BBQ or as an after dinner in a snifter beer.


I’m Smitten

by Sean on January 25, 2015


Beer and ice cream have popped up a few times in LA during beer weeks past. And some have tasted really good though without the punch of the alcohol or the subtle flavors that can get lost in the freezer.

But Smitten Ice Cream of San Francisco will be using SF Beer Week to create an ice cream that’s flash-frozen with liquid nitrogen. This process just might be the best way to get all of the beer into a cone. Though I still prefer beer floats as the best combo. Smitten will be teaming up with Marin Brewing for four beer ice creams. Two of which will be chocolate-imperial porter and salted-caramel stout.

Hopefully the other two will include hop forward and yeast forward beer examples.


Bud App

by Sean on January 24, 2015

As if Bud Light isn’t within an arm’s reach, now you can really make it ubiquitous with the Bud Light Button. A new delivery app that launched in the Washington DC area this month.

But you not only get industrial water lager with eau de corn pops, you might win a prize or what the Bud Light Marketing department calls “Up for Whatever”. Or as the VP of Consumer Connections (WTF), explains: “Some people will get just a little something extra, like Bud Light-branded gear, but once in a while, we’re going to deliver a really over-the-top, amazing experiences…” Which I assume means that lucky people will get a real light lager delivered from a brewer and not the Consumer Connections Crew.


New Look for El Segundo

by Sean on January 24, 2015

The beers of El Segundo Brewing were always the draw but I couldn’t help but notice that the label design had a huge hole in the middle where a little photo or graphic seemed swallowed up.  The labels were fine but the only one that really “popped” was the autumnal Smoky Hollow beer and the ghostly bagpiper with 3d smoke.  Well, now it is different.  Now they all pop.


Now both the name and the image are there front and center.  Plus the name font and the beer style font match and pull the eye in.  Plus the color really makes these shelf eye catching compared to the blue and black of before.  Now the outside looks as good as what is inside.

And they have teamed up with Inside the Cellar for Freshies Club. Want fresh Mayberry but can’t brave the traffic to pick up a growler? Then get it home delivered. Much better than the alternative……


Barrel Down – Kickstarter Day

by Sean on January 23, 2015

Our next stop is also in DTLA but this beer hall / home brew store seems closer to coming to fruition. It is Barrel Down and let’s hear what they have to say about their plans……


New Vaudeville – Kickstarter Day

by Sean on January 23, 2015

IMG_3402Looks like DTLA is the new Gold Rush country for brewing. With the established Angel City and Ohana calling the area home, another is aiming to join the fray with a little help from Kickstarter.

Check out New Vaudeville….