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)


Anticipating #FWIBF17

by Sean on May 23, 2017

It is getting close to beer geek Christmas. The beer list dropped today and it proves (yet again) that Firestone Walker knows how to throw a festival. With app downloaded and wish list created, here is what I am personally looking forward to when I get to Paso Robles this year for the 2017 edition of the FWIBF.

As far as breweries go, I know that Arizona Wilderness will be jammed but I hope to get a quick taste of what is creating the hype. Foreign beers have the shortest lines but some really cool stuff that you just do not see so I will be hitting up both Bamberg and Beavertown. Oregon has a few entrants this year and I will be glad to try some Boneyard, Ecliptic and Gigantic bringing both a gin barrel beer and a Macallan aged beer with them.

Other breweries that I have already circled are:
Creature Comforts
Fonta Flora
Highland Park
Rare Barrel

As far as way too popular, I predict that the lines for Trillium and Other Half and Side Project will be swamped. A zoo of whale humanity. But another question is How will Wicked Weed be treated? Lines or none?

After a suitable recovery period, expect reports and photos from the fest as well as a 1st visit to Silva Brewing and if I can squeeze it in a distillery and winery too since I will be surrounded by wine.


DM that Whiskey

by Sean on May 23, 2017

As ubiquitous as fruit in hoppy IPA’s, is hops in cider. But more rare, is hops in spirits. But Double Mountain of Hood River (and Portland) has come out with Oregon Oak aged whiskey that is infused with a combo of Cascade and Apollo hops.  That sounds like a good start to a craft beer cocktail.


That was quite the cork misadventure. Top half sheared off. The neck was quite stuck. Had to hack away at it and when I finally got the cork pushed into the bottle, there was a short geyser that delayed my drinking as I was forced to clean up the sticky mess. Once drunk, it was still quite good for five years old. Getting a cola like sweetness with a light fizz to it. Some alcohol notes seep through at the back of the throat. Some Rohrschach lacing on the glass.

For a beer that is in essence, over 5 years old, it held up remarkably well. No weird off notes or flavors at all.



by Sean on May 22, 2017

It took me a weekend to process the news about Famille Rue and their partnership with Castanea Partners, a private equity firm from Massachusetts.

Part of me wasn’t surprised seeing as how they had grown in locations and equipment and big giant foeders. The addition of canned IPA’s via their Offshoot brand also seemed like a financing move of sorts so a bigger cash infusion just didn’t seem like from out of left field.

The press release was the typical bland verbiage that comes with these deals. I do long for more upfront press releases about any sale that does not include phrasing like “consistent with our ideals.” Or “understanding our vision”. How about, we needed money to distribute in more states or we needed money for this thing or that thing.

Past that, I have two fundamental questions. Castanea does have artisanal experience with a variety of higher end consumer brands such as Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, Urban Decay cosmetics, Essentia Water, and drybar. How will that translate to beer?

The part that I kept getting stuck on though, was how much the Rue’s own and how much the new partner owns. Who will really be able to make final decisions?

Overall, I wonder how vibrant the high price model for craft beer will be. With more and more breweries around and with the High End driving down prices, will people continue to spend? I know that from my perch in Glendale, most Bruery bottles are past my day-to-day price range and even if I lived across the street from their tap rooms, I probably still would not buy bottles and get draft instead.
This will be an economic study in years to come that could harbor many uncomfortable facts about the craft beer marketplace.


On Colorado

by Sean on May 21, 2017

#LABW9 will have a cool new event where we can walk and eat and drink great L.A. beer….

Eagle Rock Brewery hosts this stroll from Milkfarm to Little Beast along Colorado Boulevard.


Guinness 200

by Sean on May 21, 2017

I don’t know how drastically different this beer will be from the other iterations of Guinness and Guinness Export Stout but I gotta say that the label is quite classy. I first have to get ahold of the wheat beer and then look for this one.


Our 2nd stop in the Nations Capitol of Intelligence sharing is at Hellbender Brewing whose name is “inspired by the endangered Hellbender Salamander struggling to survive in our neighboring Appalachian rivers and streams…”

The brewery (like many others) is using brewing techniques to make an environmental difference so that the little creature can continue on.

Below are three beers from the core line-up as well as two somewhat recent tap room offerings that intrigued me the most…

Bare Bones Kolsch
“Traditional German-style ale light and crisp with a spicy finish from American-grown noble hops.”

Southern Torrent Saison
“A rich, golden colored farmhouse ale with a thick, white head. It finishes crisp and dry with hints of pear, citrus and apple in the aroma.”

Days Gone By Dry-hopped Belgian Tripel
“A collaboration with the historic St. Feuillien Brewery in Le Roeulx, Begium, Days Gone By is a traditional Belgian tripel brewed with a distinctly American hopping. Bright golden in color with a light corriander spiciness, it finishes with bold citrus and tropical flavor and aroma from Citra, Amarillo, Idaho 7 & Azacca hops.”

Oat to Joy Oat Pale Ale
Heartbreaker Nitro Red Ale


New Ruben

by Sean on May 20, 2017

Two big pieces of news from the “other” brewery in El Segundo. Rob Rubens Distilling and Brewing has hired a new brewer in Shawn Manriquez formerly of The Homebrewer in San Diego. Manriquez collaborated with breweries and distilleries such as Modern Times, Mason Aleworks, 32 North, SD Distillery, and more.

This will allow their starting brewer Jeremy to focus on the distilling side of the world.

The second item is that their 1st “Beerversary” is coming up on June 3rd where they will have a selection of limited release brews.


Sixth Sense

by Sean on May 19, 2017

Hard to believe but we are heading into Revolution No. 006 of Luponic Distortion from Firestone Walker. And this time they are bringing a bit of Michigan to California.—a blend of seven hop varieties led by two hops grown in the up-and-coming region of Michigan.

006 is a blend of seven hop varieties including two hops grown in the Michigan “terroir” by Hop Head Farms. The Spartan State hops add “a bright, citrusy grapefruit territory.”

Good to see the series take a left turn. Gotta keep the hopheads on their toes.

And this will be coming to cans too…


Third Friday

May 19, 2017

The art of brewing meets just art as Strand Brewing uses their huge new space to showcase art. First up, tonight (since it is the third Friday) will be the acrylic paintings of Sam Harang and the tattoo imagery of Max Becker. Both artists are local to the South Bay. Isn’t art better when you […]

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