Monday, September 29, 2014

September Adventures 9/22-9/29

Sometimes, the best weeks have a really great single day.  That was the case this past week!  While visiting Disneyland is always a great addition to any week, the highlight of last week was visiting San Diego.  While in San Diego, I went to several new to me places.  One of the new to me places I visited was Brabant which hosted a special event for the Pink Boots Society and Beer for Boobs.  Delirium Tremens sent a rare keg of the beer Deliria, a beer brewed exclusively by the professional women brewers of Belgium!  I was happy I could try a unique beer, especially because it helped to support two great causes.  I also went to Fathom, which is a teeny tiny bait and tackle shop, which also happens to have a rad selection of craft beer and great food too!  How often can you say that you've had Pliny the Elder along with lumpia while sitting on a pier?  Even more awesome is that fact that Fathom is across the street from Humphreys, which is where the Pixies were playing on Saturday night.  Saturday ended up being an epic day, to say the least.

Matterhorn, Disneyland
Oogie Boogie, Disneyland
Haunted Mansion Holiday, Disneyland
Small Bar, San Diego
Deliria at Brabant, San Diego
Pliny the Elder at Fathom, San Diego
Reasonable beer prices at a concert!

The Pixies put on one of the best shows, ever.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

September Adventures 9/15-9/22

This past week, I visited Beachwood BBQ & Brewing, Disney California Adventure, a new brewery, celebrated LA Beer Week, and ended the week at Disneyland.

Dinner at Beachwood BBQ & Brewing is a perfect way to spend a Wednesday evening!
Balloons always put a smile on my face!
The Dudes' Brewing Company has a new tasting room!

Pizza Port Brewing had a tap takeover event at Naja's Place to celebrate LA Beer Week!

Sunday afternoon was Galliday, a gathering of Doctor Who fans at Disneyland!

Sunday Funday at Disneyland is a great way to end the weekend!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Beer News: Agrestic Wild Red Ale

“Agrestic” Leads Charge for Remaining 2014 Liberations from Barrelworks

Buellton, CA: The wild things are bouncing of the walls at Firestone Walker Brewing Company’s Barrelworks wild yeast facility, setting the stage for more unruly releases in 2014.

The next bottling to be sprung from Barrelworks is Agrestic, an American wild red ale that will be released at the Liberation of Agrestic event on September 20. Only 600 cases of 375ml bottles were produced, and they will only be available at Barrelworks and the brewery in Paso Robles.

Agrestic is an audacious riff on the brewery’s original flagship DBA British pale ale. It began its brewing journey as DBA, but took a mutinous turn when it was racked to oak barrels and inoculated with a proprietary collection of microflora.

To create the final blend, barrelmeisters Jeffers Richardson and Jim Crooks blended a selection of different agrestic lots matured from eight to 24 months in French (87%) and American oak (13%) barrels. Toasted oak and lemon pith swirl on the nose and palate, followed by harmonious notes of vanilla, coconut, Earl Grey tea and spice. The finish is crisp, with mouthwatering acidity and chewy tannins.  

Next Up from Barrelworks in 2014

Feral Vinifera
Feral Vinifera is an ultra-limited release also being liberated on September 20. Feral Vinifera was born of a collaborative effort with local grape growers and winemakers in Barrelworks’ backyard of the Santa Ynez Valley. Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc and Orange Muscat grapes were co-fermented with wheat-based wort, then inoculated with proprietary wild yeast to create this trailblazing hybrid.

SLOambic is Barrelworks’ foray into the funky world of lambic style beers. It was inoculated with brettanomyces lambicus, brettanomyces bruxellensis and lactobacillus, then infused with ollalieberries to create a distinctively, dry, cidery, fruity, vinuous and oh-so sour beer. November release date TBA.

El Gourdo
El Gourdo is what happens when the local pumpkin patch calls the barrelmeisters on the day after Halloween, asking if they want some orphaned gourds. Not only did the barrelmeisters take the leftover pumpkins last year, they roasted them in a pizza oven with brandy staves, bay leaf and walnuts before tossing them into a base wheat beer for secondary fermentation prior to oak barrel aging. We’ll just leave it at that for now. November release date TBA.

Reginald Brett
Big, malty, and alcoholic, this hefty brew is supported by a firm oaky backbone and slight tartness from its time in French oak barrels in the discreet company of a certain B. Lambicus. Scandalous!  Release date TBA.

Firestone Walker’s Barrelworks is a story of beer, barrels and unintended consequences, of renegade brewers, and of a pet project turning into a wild beast:

Monday, September 15, 2014

September Adventures 9/8-9/15

This past week, I previewed a new menu at The Slidebar in Fullerton and visited Disneyland. Even though it is still summer, I was happy to see that it is already Halloween at the Happiest Place on Earth!

PizzaPort Ponto Session IPA at the Slidebar in Fullerton

Sleeping Beauty's Castle
Haunted Mansion Holiday at Disneyland
Live music at Disneyland is the best!

Pumpkins from each land surrounding the Partners statue at Disneyland

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Slidebar's Menu Tasting, September 10th, 2014

Lovely evening for a menu preview

This past Wednesday night, I had the opportunity to preview the Slidebar's new menu which also featured craft beer paired with each item.  Usually, when I think of the Slidebar, I think of mixed drinks and loud music.  While there's nothing wrong with mixed drinks and loud music, I also enjoy eating food and drinking craft beer.  The Slidebar has recently employed a new award-winning chef, Oge Dalken, who has designed a menu which appeals to a broad range of tastes.  The new menu items feature locally grown, hormone-free, and responsibly grown ingredients from a variety of Orange County vendors.  Using local products reinforces the Slidebar's belief in supporting local music as well as food. 
Craft beers used for pairings, was great to see some local beers!
The menu preview night included selections from the appetizers, entrees, and dessert sections of the new menu.  Each item was paired with a craft beer, which further enhanced the flavors and experience.  As a self-professed "picky eater" I was happily surprised with the selections on the menu.  While I must admit, some of the selections made me nervous to try, I can say that I enjoyed all of them.  The Coulotte Steak made from a choice top sirloin cap, coated in coffee-coco rub, wrapped in bacon and topped with velvety beef demi, sundried bing cherries, stilton blue cheese and served on Dijon mashed potatoes was both mine and my boyfriend's favorite item from the evening.  We both thought that the flavor was well balanced and was prepared immaculately.  We were able to share with Chef Dalken how much we enjoyed the steak, and he told us it is one of his favorite dishes to make.

Side patio, which I never had noticed before!
From "picky eaters" like myself to "foodies" like my boyfriend, I think the new menu has something for everyone.  I'm very excited to see that another well-established venue in Orange County is taking the plunge into the world of craft beer as well as incorporating a menu which is enhanced with beer pairings.

Pizza Port Ponto Session IPA
Ahi sliders paired with Clown Shoes Tramp Stamp Belgian IPA
Coney Dog paired with Ninkasi Tricerahops DIPA
Mac N' Cheese paired with Chimay Trappist Ale
Chicken & Waffles paired with Bootlegger's Pumpkin Ale
Coulotte Steak paired with Golden Road Get Up Offa That Brown Ale

Banana Bread Beer Float with Wells Banana Bread Beer

Owner Jeremy Popoff talking with guests about the new menu

Monday, September 8, 2014

September Adventures 9/1-9/8

This past week I drank beer from another country, visited a local mountain, went to hear one of my favorite musicians, attended one of my favorite beer events, and got to see some of my favorite friends!

Armenian Beer
Goat guarding Big Thunder Mountain
Joey Cape!!!
3 of the 4 Brewers, at OC Brew Ha Ha, you should listen to their podcast!
OC Brew Ha Ha, Carlos and Armando love Knuckle Sandwich

5th Annual OC Brew Ha Ha Recap

This past Saturday, one of my favorite events of the year took place, the OC Brew Ha Ha.  This was my third year attending the event and once again, it was great!  While I've attended and also helped out at many beer events, this year one of my friends who's never been to a beer event joined me.  My friend is a huge Smiths and Morrissey fan and when she found out the Sweet and Tender Hooligans were going to be playing, she was just a bit excited.

Yay, friends!
This year, as in years past, the OC Brew Ha Ha did a great job of organizing the event.  Although even more breweries attended this year, there was still plenty of room to wander around and even find a quiet shady spot to relax.  New this year was a giant foosball game which was a great way for attendees to take a break in-between drinking beers.  Also new this year, attendees were allowed to enter the grounds before beer started flowing to help with the processing of tickets.  This was a really smart move on the OC Brew Ha Ha organizers and I heard several people commenting on how happy they were that they didn't have to wait in a huge line missing out on valuable beer consumption time.

Beer Girls playing Foosball

The OC Brew Ha Ha does a fantastic job of inviting breweries which appeal to a wide variety of beer fans. Breweries in attendance included well-known local favorites such as Newport Beach Brewing Company, which brought some amazing sours, along with brand new breweries like Four Sons Brewing.  Four Sons Brewing, which had their grand opening the day following the OC Brew Ha Ha, brought a fantastically named and tasting beer, The Great One, a 9.9% ABV DIPA.  All in all, over eighty breweries participated in the OC Brew Ha Ha this year, quite an increase from last year's fifty-five breweries that attended.

Four Sons Brewing makes great beers!
From Bootlegger's Brewery Knuckle Sandwich DIPA to SanTan Brewing's Mr. Pineapple, the choices of beers available had something for everyone to enjoy.  Having such a wide variety of beers as well as unlimited tastings made it super easy for my friend to find several beers that she liked throughout the day.  

SanTan Brewing's Mr. Pineapple is delicious!
As in past years, a collaboration beer was made for the event.  This year Bottle Logic Brewing and Iron Fist Brewing worked together to create a saison, Dr. Strange Matter. Brewed using authentic farmhouse yeast and pink peppercorns with Wakatu and Waimea hops and a dash of locally sourced caramelized honey. Dr. Strange Matter was aged in Chardonnay barrels and is a perfect beer for a hot summer day.

Line for Dr. Strange Matter
While having brewery representatives on hand to talk about their beers is always welcome, the OC Brew Ha Ha also has fire fighters on hand to help pour beer.  This is a great way to remind attendees that the OC Brew Ha Ha helps to support the Fallen Fire Fighters Relief Fund.

Fire fighter pouring Einstook Beer
Along with a wide variety of breweries, several different food trucks, restaurants, and vendors were also at OC Brew Ha Ha.  From The Iron Press to Porko Rico BBQ, there was a great selection of food options. There was ample seating in shaded areas and of course, many people took advantage of sitting on the grass and having an impromptu picnic.

Food trucks!

The best way to end a great day of drinking delicious beers is by listening to live music.  The Sweet and Tender Hooligans had so much energy and were amazing!  They played a great selection of both the Smiths and Morrissey songs.  It was easy to forget that you were listening to a cover band!

Once again, I had a great time at OC Brew Ha Ha.  I am looking forward to seeing who performs next year as well as which breweries will be joining in an epic end of summer event!  

Cheers to another amazing Brew Ha Ha!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

August Adventures, 8/24-8/31

This past week ended with a trip to my favorite city, San Diego.  I went to a few of my favorite places and also finally visited Blind Lady Ale House for the first time.  Along with an amazing selection of craft beer, Blind Lady Ale House also has yummy food and a relaxing atmosphere.  I don't know why it took me so long to go to Blind Lady Ale House, but it is now on my list of favorite places in San Diego!  

Sanfilippo's is my favorite Italian restaurant, I love that it is family owned!
Hop-Fu! IPA, Julian Shrago and Kelsey McNair's Pro-Am GABF entry, absolutely amazing flavors, so glad I got to try this beer!
"She brings me Mexican food from Sombrero, just because..."

Music, Firestone Walker's 805, and swimming makes for a perfect day!

Swimming is fun with Founder's Brewing All Day IPA!