Press It

by Sean on March 28, 2015

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Last year, Firkfest was next to the unfinished Anaheim Packing House.  This year, the building was a hive of activity.  I wish that I could spend a whole afternoon here exploring.  But since the sun had worn me down during the cask fest, I headed straight for Iron Press.  A place that I have heard so much about and took a low seat on the side.

Waffles are the headliner here.  More to the point, sweet waffle sandwiches.  I ordered the Waffle version of the Croque Monsieur and though it could have used a little more kick to offset the sweetness, it was just what the doctor ordered after a festival.  I purposefully didn’t even look at the beer menu and asked one of the servers to bring me something malty.  I got a Bressi Brown from Pizza Port which hit the spot.  Granted they had a lot of Pizza Port on tap that day but it was a good call.

A great spot inside a great spot.  Highly recommended.

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Sour Hops

by Sean on March 28, 2015

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To my sensitive eye, it seems the next “next” thing might be dry-hopped sours. I brought a bottle of Breakside’s La Tormenta home from Portland and was enthralled by it. Very tart and fruity. (You can see my review HERE). Now less than a month later, I run across the bear festooned label of Funke Hop Farm from Sudwerk Brewery.

Now they have upped it a bit with wine barrel-aging and lacto and brett fermentations. But the concept remains the same, create a cool sour and then finish it with hops like Citra and Simcoe for an additional aroma kick.

Let’s see if 2015 brings more of this sub-style.

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How Big?

by Sean on March 27, 2015

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How about a slim can of an Abbey ale? Sixpoint Brewery has decided to return to an old recipe and tweak it for a new 2015 version. And though the can is small, it is A-big-ale.

Worldplay aside, the more styles in cans the better. So I am glad that Sixpoint is adding one to their repertoire.

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Certain ingredients can overwhelm a beer. And a beer like a California Common lager is especially at risk of being lost to a potent ingredient like lavender blossoms. So I was curious to see if Uncommon Brewers has succeeded or not with their Steamers Lane lager….
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I think the can design is lovely, especially the ragged top of the label and the color scheme. The color is right in the Cali Common spectrum and the lavender is light,which is good because it can be too much even in small doses. The dominant note in the flavor thoug is apple cider. There is a really nice crispness that balances with the malt notes and a nice British bitter aroma as well. But in the end it doesn’t quite work for me. It tastes a little old and I would like a bit more spice to work with the lavender.

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The Beer, not the Orange

by Sean on March 26, 2015

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Need a double dose of Vitamin C? The farm-centric brewers at Almanac have created a citrus forward beer using Valencia oranges and then combining it with the tangerine notes of the German Mandarina Bavaria hop varietal to create an imperial Belgian-style ale.

Look for a bucolic Mission District scene of San Francisco of yore and you will have found Valencia Gold.

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Twice the Liberty

by Sean on March 26, 2015

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First Anchor Brewing came out with an IPA and now they are doubling up their iconic Liberty Ale. Literally doubling the hops and the IBU’s according to the flavor notes from the Brookston Beer Bulletin. And I hope that I can find the regular Liberty so that I can taste compare the original to the updated double.

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Three Eyes

by Sean on March 25, 2015

NO SPOILERS! (Mostly for my wife’s benefit.)

I have not binge watched the Joffrey season of Game of Thrones with my wife as of this writing but I have read the (not particularly well) written word (if it ever gets finished).

Brewery Ommegang and Blue Palms seem up to date though.

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Slacker

by Sean on March 25, 2015

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Beer naming is perilous, litigation wise. But if you name a beer after those with inertia, then you just might be OK. Which makes this new collaborative effort from Sun King and Three Floyds safe.

The beer is the newly? Invented Doppelkolsch “a traditional Kolsch-style beers with more pronounced flavor and a crisp hop bite.”

As 3 Floyds states on their website, it is “brewed to help bring awareness to our efforts to raise the barrelage cap on Indiana breweries.”

As long as you don’t name it Anonymous, you will be fine.

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Put your Glass Down

by Sean on March 24, 2015

Coasters.  Beer geeks have a ton of them.  Usually the cardboard kind.  They eventually fall apart and get tossed.  But what if you could remember a favorite beer or brewery for a much longer time?

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As if Firkfest wasn’t already great with the beer and the chili but then they had Nick Gingold with copies of California Brewmasters on hand but you could also get some high quality, SoCal made coasters.  I even spied a Brew 102 coaster in the “classic” section.  Check out Stella Divina for your next beer gift.

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A Little Watery

by Sean on March 24, 2015

It is great (vital, actually) to have water at a craft beer event.  But the recent Firkfest brought a new angle to hydrating in the heat.

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I am not a fan of gimmicks or bandwagon-ry but H2Ops is really, really good.  The aroma is very IPA, OK enough hyperbole, session IPA.  Then you look at the glass and it is sparkly water.  The bitterness fades in the carbonated water but that is fine because you aren’t looking for another beer, you are looking for hydration.

I suggest that you look for it when it comes out this year.  It is a great way to enjoy hops in a new way.

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