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)

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Dine & Donate

by Sean on April 23, 2017


On Tuesday, April 25th you can make a difference by just having food and beer.

Link N Hops will donate 15% of sales from the whole day to the Syrian American Medical Society

You can also meet & greet representatives from the SAMS organization who will be on hand starting at 6:00 pm to answer questions and collect additional donations.

You can learn more about the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) HERE.

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Can Delirium

by Sean on April 23, 2017


File under: things I did not see happening. On the heels of Rodenbach canning comes news that Huyghe Brewery will be putting Delirium Tremens in Cans!

Some backstory: Delirium Tremens was born on December 26th, 1988. It is an 8.5% ABV pale blond that according to their importer is bitter,peppery, malty and robust. Due partially to three different types of yeast used in the brewing process. Most people see it as the pink elephant beer, which is also fine, in bottles or cans.

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#7 includes 2 not just 1

by Sean on April 22, 2017


Boulevard Brewing started their collaboration series with Hair of the Dog and recently combo’d with fellow Duvelian Firestone Walker. Now for the first time they are brewing with two brewers.

Collaboration 7 will hit the higher priced section of the beer shop shelves come August. It is a collaboration with the Georgia based Creature Comforts and Arizona Wilderness from well, Arizona.

Here is a list of what is inside each bottle: peach puree, lemon zest and riesling with Nelson Sauvin, Lemondrop and Hallertau Blanc hops. Sonoran White Wheat, Missouri wheat, honey malt and corn grits. Aged on new oak. Then topped off with champagne yeast.

Boulevard Collaboration 7 will be available in 12 ounce bottles and draft.

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Craft Obsession

by Sean on April 22, 2017


If you Tweet about beer or get invited to beer events on Facebook, then Craft Obsession by Jeff Rice might be of interest.

The Social Rhetorics of beer sub- title betrays the fact that the author is a professor (University of Kentucky in this case) but this looks to be the first beer that I have heard about that will attempt to draw links between social media and beer.

Probably best read on a Kindle.

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Beer Above Replacement

by Sean on April 21, 2017

With the 2017 season of Major League Baseball (AC-After Cubs) underway, it got me to thinking about a relatively new stat that is used by the tech savvy clubs. WAR. Wins Above Replacement. As Wikipedia defines it, “is a non-standardized sabermetric baseball statistic developed to sum up “a player’s total contributions to his team”. A player’s WAR value is claimed to be the number of additional wins his team has achieved above the number of expected team wins if that player were substituted by a replacement-level player: a player that may be added to the team for minimal cost and effort.”

Those last four words caught my attention. Minimal cost and effort. What if craft beer could have a WAR rating? Could you create a “replacement” IPA score from scores on Untappd, RateBeer or Beer Advocate and compare it to a current “score” for that rare barrel-aged beer? Then could you create an availibility and time spent score to subtract to see if driving an hour for a beer that may be tapped out or costs twice as much if you can even get your grubby hands on it?

The million dollar question, is would it matter? Would craft beer customers be like old time baseball scouts and rely on their gut and emotion as opposed to points of data? Or would the fact that a beer is rare be the only thing that matters?

But let’s try a primitive example of what I call BAR – Beer Above Replacement. I am no mathmetician so bear with the crude equations.

Part 1 – RateBeer Score + BeerAdvocate Score + Untapp’d Stars
Part 2 – Availability (5 for Easy to 1 for Whale)
To elaborate – if it can be found on the shelf of multiple good beer shops then 5, if it is a limited release at only the brewery then 1
Part 3 – Price (5 for Reasonable to 1 for Gouged)
To elaborate (again) I did not put actual dollar amounts because a $10 bottle of a barrel-aged blend is reasonable whereas $20 for a 4-pack of IPA might not be)
Part 4 – Time to Acquire (5 for requires short car ride to 1 for plane ride)
Part 5 – Cool Factor (3 for impressive to 1 for no street cred)

Add all (5) parts for your score. You can then compare beers. Or you can create a composite. Such as the ever popular IPA’s. Add in a national IPA, a few locals, some out-of-state options and try to get at least 10 to create a sturdy, though small, sample size. There is obvious fudging factors in Parts 2-5 but they are all dependent on where a person lives and the prices in their area.

Let’s do a quick look at Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA as an example:
Untapp’d 3.76 – adjusted to 10 point scale: 7.52
RateBeer 97 – adjusted to 10 point scale 9.70
Beer Advocate 92 – adjusted to 10 point scale 9.20
Rating TOTAL = 26.42

Availability – 4 (can be found everywhere but some places might have really old stock)
Price – 5 (six-packs can be found for under $10)
Time – 4 (again dinged to aged stock problems)
Cool – 1 (Sierra Nevada should get a point at least)
Adjustment TOTAL = 14.00

GRAND TOTAL = 40.42

Now let’s take Foggy Window from Monkish Brewing as a comparison (yes, I know it was a one time beer, it is merely a template for a style that is being talked up everywhere)

Untapp’d 4.498 – adjusted to 10 point scale 9.00
RateBeer 98 – adjusted 10 point scale 9.80
Beer Advocate 94 – adjusted to 10 point scale 9.40
Rating TOTAL = 28.20

Availbility – 1 (only at taproom on specified day)
Price –2 ($20+ for a four-pack)
Time – 1 (gotta drive to Torrance and wait in line)
Cool – 3 (Hazy is the IT beer)
Adjustment TOTAL = 7

GRAND TOTAL = 35.20

The goal is for the quality scores to be the main driver with Parts 2-4 be where the possible replacement would make up ground if it was not as good but had better pricing and availability. Part 5 factors in the fact (that I dispute) that coolness counts.

In this one test, with two beers picked off the top of my head without looking at their ratings shows that old school / boring Torpedo is the better pick. It barely loses in the ratings and even losing the cool battle doesn’t stop it from racking up a score higher by 5 points.

As I say, I won’t tell you what to drink but I do try to give tools to better navigate the crowded beer shelves at your local store. So buy what you want, just know that you have many alternatives.

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Some breweries fade in and out. I haven’t had Green Flash beers in a month (or two?) and then I go out and order Sea to Sea Lager and Soul Style – Tangerine in quick succession.

So now on to Palate Wrecker 2017..

The very first sip puts you on your back foot. Very strong, piney and a bit astringent. You would think that what came next would be a heavy, near caramel malt texture to hold up the hops. But that never comes. As the beer warms, more tropical fruit notes start creeping in. I get pineapple in particular. The ABV isn’t what is front and center either. This is just straight up bitter.

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Stop # 2 in our don’t buy from wolves in sheep’s clothing is in Oakland at the authorial Novel Brewing.

I love the writerly names of the beers and the following five would be in my taster tray:
Prose Gose
Point of View Pils
Paperback Porter
Narrator Black Rye IPA
Bookend Brown Ale

And I have a couple of suggestions for future beers:
3rd Person 3 Hop IPA
Carriage Return Kriek

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When I hear that Pete Brown has a new book out, it goes on my radar to read as soon as I can. He has the ability to be folksy and technical and to cut through the noise surrounding a topic. Be it IPA history or Shakespeare’s Local.

The history of how apples spread across the country is a fascinating one followed by the fascinating topic of how to graft an apple tree to make sure you get the same type of apple, as is re-creating heritage apples and creating new apple varieties.

I mean who amongst us knew that apples basically migrated from Kazakhstan? I liked that the book was structured to follow the growing season and that each chapter had such tidbits of information. Once I grew accustomed to the fact that this was more of a shallow skim across the world of apples with some deeper dives, the book grew on me more and more.

For someone with little knowledge of apples barring a few trips to Oak Glen here in SoCal, this book provides a lot of fun facts.

To drink, well, it’s obvious ain’t it?

Golden State Cider
“Mighty Dry is a champagne-like cider that pairs perfectly with any moment of the day. It’s just dry enough. It’s perfectly balanced, and crispy (if not crispier) as biting into a freshly picked apple.”

101 Cider House
Scrumpy, the flagship cider is their hazy meets barnyard version

Reverend Nat’s
“My newest release is Revival Hard Apple and I couldn’t be more thrilled to share it with you. I start with a secret blend of Washington-grown apples and add piloncillo, dark brown evaporated cane juice, purchased direct from Michoacan, Mexico. I ferment this dark base to all the way to dry using two exotic yeast strains: a beer yeast known for the round mouthfeel in Saisons and a rarely-used secret culture which produces aromas of pineapple, guava and peaches. This cider is brilliantly golden in color and deeply complex while remaining subtly familiar, with just the right amount of sweetness and acidity to be an everyday beverage.”

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1st Visit – Lagunitas Azusa

by Sean on April 19, 2017

I rode the rails to Azusa a few days back to check out the current state of the mega complex that Lagunitas is building since they now have opened up a temporary taproom, to taste their wares in.

Here is my report in photos….

No room for Azusa on the barrel tables.


It’s a bit purple inside.


A bit purple this side too.


Waldo’s was tapped but the bartender quipped that the menu would not be reprinted.

I will talk more about my OK first visit on Food GPS.

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Yorkshire in Torrance

April 19, 2017

In honor of today’s cask ale opening of Yorkshire Square right next to the big Honda HQ, here are some photos from the inside….

Read the full article →