New in bottles and absolutely new to me is this Flanders Red from the Agoura Hills of Ladyface Ale Companie.
With a quick hiss, my first bottle of Ladyface beer is open and out pours a ruddy dark brown. The aroma screams sour. Deep cherry notes as well. The first sip has a balance of carbonation and a viscosity to it that works with that tartness. Some oaky wine notes as well with a bit is spice to it. At the end, the acid from the style takes center stage.
A bold and strong start to the bottling world
There is nothing cooler when a company with a distinguished brand takes it to a different level. Both with a label and the beer itself. I have come to admire the logo and how Pretty Things Beer & Ale looks on a bottle. Plus the beer is pretty damn good too. But they have taken their first Saison Series beer into a new direction. The label goes doctored photograph and the saison gets doctored not with American aroma hops but with a traditional English hop. Count me in.
I think that I would choose the EHop over the ESOP for sure. Mostly because my grasp of corporate ownership options isn’t the strongest in town. Plus I think that herbs and hops really make each other pop more. Oh and there is the little thing of the two strong regional breweries that brewed it, in Deschutes and Harpoon.
You really can’t go wrong with Saison Dupont. The traditional saison is a hallmark of the style, their holiday beer is a perfect present for the beer fan and for five years they have been into Dry Hopping. Each year this special offering, brewed in limited quantity, is hopped with a different and usually under the radar hop. This year the hop “Minstrel” from England was the choice. Minstrel is an aroma hop with herbal, orange, spice and berry aromas.
Pick one or two up.
It can be hard to focus on the beer and the fun of beer when the business world seems intent on intruding. But in marked contrast to the bungled PR of Golden Road merging into the “high end” of ABInBev, Dogfish Head seems to have articulated their message before announcing it.
The Dogfish Team has charted a path that has goals and an eventual return to not having outside owners. The future isn’t written, so we don’t know if it will come to pass but this is much more preferable in my opinion. The 15% backers are making a short to medium term play on a hot niche market that will hopefully help the brewery to gain even more traction. Both sides win and I win too. Not that I need more Punk’n beer in September but if it gets more 120 Minutes and Indian Brown Ale into stores then so be it.
During the final weekend of the old Strand Brewing tap room on Telo Avenue, I and a few others were given a tour of the new facility by none other than the effervescent Rich Marcello. This last weekend, the new space was pouring beer in a soft launch so I can let the photos out and onto the blog so you can see just how freakin’ big the new Dominguez Street home is…..
…but there will still be the same Strand touches on the furnishings….
Last year, Sunset Beer Co. collaborated with Monkish on a 3rd anniversary beer. This year they stayed closer to home and enlisted Eagle Rock Brewery to help them celebrate year 4.
Here are my thoughts on the Morgan Marzen…
#1 on the taplist at the crowded bar that was 1/2 Dodger faithful and 1/2 beer geeks, the beer pours a bright and crystal clear orange with reddish tints. This beer is all about the malt lots of toasty grain notes in each sip. It is also sparkly on the tongue with a good dose of carbonation. There is a Germanic note of lager metallic on the back end but the next taste re-asserts the grain to the forefront. This is very much to style. No bells or whistles, just a simple reproduction of a classic beer. Plus the colorful label is another design win.
4K. That is an amazing figure. Probably by the time that I finish typing this sentence, there will be more breweries in the United States than ever before. OK, that is hyperbole for sure but not by much. If the current trends bear out, there literally will be more breweries than at any time in our country’s history. Granted, we will never know for sure if 4,131 was the high water mark (Back in 1873!)
Now, each time an all-time high is reached the chorus of doomsayers start singing the dirge of over saturation, remember that craft is still not threatening the Industrial Beer Complex. They are running scared for sure and grasping at straws but there is still plenty of beer consumers that can be converted to craft. In addition and here I am cribbing from the Brewers Associations chief economist, Bart Watson, if there were 4,131 breweries in 1873 the per capita equivalent for 2015 would be 30,000 breweries. That is a huge number that would be over saturation.
I think the one-two punch of market share available to steal and the fact that per capita we could handle more leads to a more promising future than others think.
One day I will need to have a BSP helicopter on call to get me across town in a timely manner. I was last to arrive for the premiere of Guinness Nitro IPA in Los Angeles. It was also the first pour of the beer from a keg as well. All the previous stops relied on the 12oz cans.
Those who have followed the beers journey from East Coast to L.A. will have seen some less than flattering reviews of the IPA but I think it needs to be said that the name is a misnomer. An American IPA this is not. And it should not be reviewed as such. Think more XPA or Session IPA with a healthy dollop of old school Irish brewing. Yes, this is a brand extension into a hot sector of craft beer but after speaking with and listening to the Guinness reps in attendance, it is also about bringing a little innovation into Guinness, the brand.
The brewery at St. James Gate now has a pilot brewery where experiments can happen which for craft breweries is cause for acclaim. In the Guinness case, if a beer makes an impression it (now) might be considered for wider release. The previous beers from the Brewers Project have stayed in their neck of the woods however. In the case of the Nitro IPA, the recipe had to be tweaked to accommodate being brewed on a much larger scale and then it had to pass by the old guard who ain’t all that used to hops to put it politely.
More of a gauntlet to run for sure. That said the keg version is the one to look for. It has the same cool cascading effect as the familiar stout just in a lighter shade (though some roasted barley was tossed in). The nitro effect does seem to block the aroma. Which I would characterize more as orange rind with some woodsy notes. It has a nice soft mouthfeel and a medium/low bitterness. The canned version that I sampled was a bit on the old side so the hop aroma was kaput as was some of the bitterness. Both versions are much more evocative of British IPA’s than American.
A few side notes:
1. I questioned why a Black IPA wasn’t the first offering and got a “no comment” which I took to mean that style might be in the pipeline. I think it should have been their first offering considering their skill with darker malts.
2. A tap room for the pilot brewery is a possibility as well separate from the Sky Bar with it’s cool view of Dublin’s skyline.
3. The Larchmont was the dining host providing us with a very nice dinner and a really nice dessert of Passionfruit Panna Cotta with micro greens plus appetizers as well.
When Brian Brewer left for the soon-to-arrive Hop Saint, The Brewery at Abigaile needed a new brewer in Hermosa Beach and now they have appointed Paul Papantonio as head brewer Papantonio is formerly of Oskar Blues Brewery and Saint Archer Brewing and will be meeting and greeting the public on Friday, October 9th for a “Meet the Brewer” Tap Takeover. In a twist, the night will feature a selection of his favorite beers including Uinta Oak Jacked Imperial Pumpkin and Firestone Wookey Jack.