Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014, A Year of Amazing Adventures

2014 was another year filled with amazing adventures, from attending concerts, visiting new breweries, beer events, and of course drinking delicious beers.  Listed below are just a few of my highlights from 2014!

Favorite Events

1.  Sabroso Craft Beer and Taco Festival
Drinking beer while watching luchadores in a picturesque setting, this event was so much fun!

2.  Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest  
Of course, once again, my favorite beer event of the year and one I always look forward to all year long!

Favorite Beers

1.  Ska Brewing's Mexican Logger
A great beer for a warm summer day, I love how light and refreshing this beer tastes!

2.  Firestone Walker's Oaktoberfest
A beer that until last year was only available on draft, so happy to be able to get it in bottles at my local grocery store!

Favorite Shows

1.  Pixies
A year when the Pixies tour is a good year indeed.  Seeing them at Humphreys by the Bay in San Diego was fantastic.  

2.  Weezer
Seeing one of my all-time favorite bands was so much fun, loved that they played both old favorites as well as their new album in it's entirety!

Additional Highlights

1.  Bottle Logic Brewing
Who would've imagined a brewery opening in February winning a medal at the Great American Beer Festival in October?  Pretty amazing if you ask me!  It's been exciting to see Bottle Logic Brewing's success in less than a year's time.  I can't wait to attend their first anniversary celebration!

2.  Bootlegger's Brewery
So excited that the first brewery that introduced me to craft beer won not only one, but two medals at the Great American Beer Festival!  

3.  A Visit to Club 33 and Le Salon Nouveau
Craft beer inside Disneyland?  Luckily, I was able to drink a local favorite, Bootlegger's Brewery's Rustic Rye thanks to a kind friend.

I had such a great 2014 and look forward to many more fun-filled adventures in 2015!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Third Annual OC Brew Ho Ho

Are you ready to kick off the holiday season?  The third annual OC Brew Ho Ho is less than two weeks away on Saturday December 13th.  The Brew Ho Ho is a great way to spend time with friends and drink some amazing beers! 

Admission to the OC Brew Ho Ho includes:

  • A commemorative tasting glass
  • Special seasonal, winter, and holiday beers
  • Unlimited two ounce samples of beer
  • Brewery merchandise expo and shopping
  • Enclosed seating area
  • Opportunity to have photos with the big guy himself, SANTA
  • Music provided by Sirus XM and KROQ radio DJ legend Mr. Richard Blade
Ticket prices:
  • $55 for those who will be consuming beer 
  • $10 for Designated Drivers
  • Purchase tickets here.

  • Noon- 4 p.m.
  • Ticket processing will begin at 11:15 a.m.

Breweries scheduled to attend include:
Food options include:
  • The Burnt Truck
  • Brewcakes
  • The Cut
  • Devilicious
  • Dogzilla
  • Garlic Scapes
  • Porko Rico BBQ
  • Slater's 50/50
  • The Slidebar
As in past years, a collaboration beer has been made for the OC Brew Ho Ho.  This year, Black Market Brewing and Valiant Brewing have teamed up to create a Russian imperial stout, Chernyy Medved.  Chernyy Medved was brewed using cherries, vanilla, and oak staves. It sounds like the perfect beer for a cold winter day!

If you like yummy beer, having fun with friends, listening to great music, meeting Santa Claus, and eating delicious food, then you definitely need to attend the OC Brew Ho Ho!

Friday, November 28, 2014

November Adventures!

The Red Trolley at Disney California Adventure is all decked out for Christmas!

To say that November has been a busy month would be a huge understatement!  I can't believe it's already coming to an end and that December will be here in a few days.  I've been lucky to hang out with some of my favorite friends, drink some amazing beers, gone to a couple of rad shows, and of course gone to some pretty cool places.  One of my favorite events during November is San Diego Beer Week, although it isn't just one event, but numberous events throughout the week.  I was so happy that I was able to attend both the World's Biggest Bottle Share, located at various locations along 30th Street in North Park, and Ballast Point's Victory at Sea event at Hamilton's Tavern.  

Snazzy booklet to go along with the Weezer show!
Beachwood is one of my favorite spots to meet up with friends!
Sharing Beach City Brewery's PCH at SDBW World's Biggest Bottle Share

One of the signature tastings at SDBW World's Biggest Bottle Share

SDBW World's Biggest Bottle Share, Polite Provisions

Mike Hess Brewing is RAD, so glad I finally got to visit!
One of my favorite SDBW events, Victory at Sea, Hamilton's Tavern
Viva Navidad at Disney California Adventure is SO much fun!

Sometimes, getting stuck on an attraction isn't such a bad thing.

I beat the bots and can't wait to see the Foo Fighters next year!

It's the most wonderful time of the year, Disney California Adventure
One of my favorite beers, Pliny the Elder, Toronado, San Diego

A perfect beer for Thanksgiving, Ska Brewing's Euphoria!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Firestone Walker XVIII Anniversary Party

Although I've been to many Firestone Walker events, last month was the first time I've attended an anniversary event.  From the check-in, prior to the beginning of the event to the selection of beers, I was incredibly impressed with the anniversary celebration!  Every event I've attended that has been put on by Firestone Walker Brewing is executed flawlessly.  The organizers of Firestone Walker's events definitely take a lot of time in planning to ensure that all attendees have a fantastic time.  Having the opportunity to sample different years of the anniversary beers from 13 to this year's XVIII was great.  Of course, for me, my favorite beer of the day was one of my favorite beers, PNC.  Along with the outstanding selection of beers, there were also various food stations as well as sweet treats such as cupcakes baked with Firestone Walker beers.  Live music, a cornhole tournament, and a photo booth provided entertainment throughout the day.  If you've never attended an event by Firestone Walker, I highly recommend it!  I can't wait until the next event that I'm able to attend. 

Check-in for attendees prior to the event.

Always a good idea to arrive before the start time of any beer event!

Gorgeous day to celebrate an 18th anniversary!

Admission to the event included either 3 or 6 bottles of Firestone's XVIII

Mr. Robert French loves Firestone Walker!

A mellow crowd and lots of room to enjoy beers throughout the event.

Firestone Walker employees are always happy to share their beers!

Cupcakes made with beer?  Yes, please!
Cornhole tournament
Vintage beers!

Happy people enjoying beers.

Photo booth props

Cheers to 18 years, Firestone Walker!

Monday, October 27, 2014


 14 Vintners Help Create Firestone Walkers New Release XVIII Anniversary Ale

Paso Robles, CA: As the summer turns toward fall, you can count on two things in the Paso Robles wine country—the seasonal grape harvest and the annual blending of Firestone Walker Brewing Company’s next Anniversary Ale with guiding input from local winemakers.

The result this year is XVIII—a barrel-aged blend composed of nine distinct component beers, as determined by a friendly yet fiercely competitive blending session attended by 14 winemakers (see full list below). XVIII will be available in select markets across the United States starting in November.

The Anniversary Ale blending session has become an annual rite, with Brewmaster Matt Brynildson enlisting his closest friends in the local winemaking community to help create a beer that is greater than the sum of its parts.

“These winemakers are practicing experts in the art of blending, so it makes perfect sense to seek their counsel,” Brynildson said. “It’s like bringing in the ninjas.”

The winemakers are paired off and presented with numerous different component beers spanning an array of styles. The pairs are tasked with creating their own preferred blends from among the components. The preferred blends are then presented to the entire group and blind tasted. Individual votes are cast, and the blend with the most votes becomes the basis for the next Anniversary Ale. Russell From and Philip Muzzy of Herman Story Wines are credited with creating the winning blend that became XVIII, granting them possession of the coveted cardboard crown that is awarded to the winning team each year.

“It got pretty competitive this year,” Brynildson said. “There was a lot of smack talk leading up to the session. A few of the winemaker teams were caught stuffing the ballot by creating more than one blend, and there were accusations of performance enhancers leveled against the winners, but it didn’t result in any arrests or suspensions.”

Most of the component beers spent an average of a year maturing in retired bourbon, brandy and whiskey barrels, including two collaboration beers that Brynildson said “we probably won’t see again,” specifically: Ol’ Leghorn, a blonde barleywine brewed with 3 Floyds and aged in new American oak barrels; and Hydra Cuvée, a hoppy hybrid dark ale brewed with Flying Dog and aged in bourbon barrels.

In the end, Brynildson noted that “we got back to a stout-dominated blend this year,” with Parabola and Velvet Merkin constituting more than 40 percent of the final blend. At the same time, several other components layer in a subtle hoppy quality that Brynildson described as “really integrated and balanced.”


“We blended together 227 oak barrels and nine different beers creating something truly complex and exceptional.” – Brewmaster Matt Brynildson                                                                                                                                                                                                      
Parabola / Aged in Bourbon Barrels / 38% of Final Blend
-Russian Imperial Oatmeal Stout

Helldorado / Aged in Bourbon and Brandy Barrels / 16% of Final Blend
-Blonde Barleywine Brewed with Buckwheat Honey

Bravo / Aged in Bourbon and Brandy Barrels / 16% of Final Blend
-Imperial Brown Ale

Stickee Monkee / Aged in Bourbon and Whiskey Barrels / 14% of Final Blend
-Central Coast Quad Brewed with Belgian Candi and Mexican Turbinado (brown) Sugar

Velvet Merkin / Aged in Bourbon Barrels / 5% of Final Blend                       
-Traditional Oatmeal Stout
Hydra Cuvée / Aged in Bourbon Barrels; collaboration with Flying Dog / 4% of Final Blend
-Hoppy Hybrid Dark Ale
Wookey Jack / 100% Stainless Steel / 3% of Final Blend
-Black Rye India Pale Ale
Ol’ Leghorn / Aged in new American oak barrels; collaboration with 3 Floyds / 2% of Final Blend
-Blonde Barleywine

Double Jack / 100% Stainless Steel / 2% of Final Blend
-Double India Pale Ale



XVIII is the ninth release in Firestone Walker’s anniversary series, dating back to the release of the inaugural anniversary release called “Ten”in 2006. Over the ensuing years, Firestone Walker has developed one of the craft beer industry’s most extensive barrel aging programs, spanning upwards of 1,500 barrels. Brewing beer with oak barrels has been a pioneering focal point for the brewery since its founding in 1996.

XVIII will be available in select markets across the United States starting in November. The suggested retail price is $23.99 for an individually boxed 22-ounce bottle.


“As a finished beer, XVIII is a dark and complex brew full of malt and barrel derived flavors, with Parabola leading the brew into the rich darkness. The beer is unfiltered and unfined, so there will be a small amount of sediment in the bottom of the bottle. XVIII is best enjoyed poured carefully into a half filled brandy snifter or wine glass. Allow it to warm to 55F to fully enjoy the pleasing and complex aromas. As the beer sits and breathes in the glass, rich dark chocolate, toasted oak and dark fruit qualities are revealed, so take your time. If you wait to open your bottle later, store it in a cool dark place. I suspect that this beer will age well and change favorably for years to come.”


“These are my friends and brothers in fermentation science, and practicing experts in the art of blending.” Brewmaster Matt Brynildson

·         Neil Collins – Tablas Creek, Lone Madrone
·         Chelsea Franchi – Tablas Creek
·         Justin Smith– Saxum
·         Mark Adams – Ledge
·         Kevin Sass – Halter Ranch
·         Molly Longborg - Halter Ranch
·         Russell From - Herman Story
·         Philip Muzzy – Herman Story
·         Matt Trevisan – Linne Calodo
·         Sherman Thacher - Thacher
·         Terry Hoage – Terry Hoage Vineyards
·         Steve Martell – Kaleidos
·         Eric Jensen – Booker
·         Brock Waterman - Brochelle

Also thanks to friends Arie Litman and Bobby Fox for lending their expertise to the blending session.

Cheers to XVIII, it's an amazing beer!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Rhythm and Brews, Packinghouse Brewing Company's Fourth Anniversary Celebration!

Team Packinghouse
This past Saturday, Riverside's Packinghouse Brewing Company celebrated their fourth anniversary!  Of course, there were amazing beers.  But, there was also fantastic live music, food trucks, a cigar booth, free massages, and keg throwing!  Along with regular favorites, they also had some yummy small batch beers available.  My favorites from the day included the Sorachi Aces High Saision and Ol' Smudgepot.  Packinghouse Brewing Company really knows how to put on fun events and I had an awesome time celebrating with some of my favorite friends!  If you haven't visited Packinghouse yet, you really need to do so! 

The High Life Trio

Brick Top Blaggers 

Cheers to four years Packinghouse!  

Keg throwing is fun!