Saturday, December 31, 2011

On the last day of the year...

I'm sitting in front of a roaring fire, burning a year's worth of receipts, paid bills, and memories.  I'm nursing a snifter of Karl Strauss Russian Imperial Stout.  Outside, fog has socked in my small beach community.  I'm typing my 400th post, pondering what the next year will bring.  Will I be doing this same thing, in this same place, a year from now?  Reflection on the past often opens up the future.  What comes next, I don't know.  For now I will continue to bathe in the glow of burning paper, and bask in the warmth of this rich stout.  I'll talk to you next year.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Be safe this weekend!

New Year's usually means drinking.  A lot of drinking.  Don't do it.  Be safe and smart this weekend.  Enjoy yourself, but use restraint.  A fine craft brew is meant to be savored, not guzzled.  Whatever you do, don't drink & drive!  It's not about getting caught, it's about doing the right thing.  DrinkingAndDriving.Org has a lot of information, statistics, and tools to help you make the right decision when the time comes.  I've said it before and I'll say it again, think when you drink!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Beer 4 Boobs

Like Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Beer 4 Boobs wants to stamp out breast cancer.  So do we!  How can we help?  By drinking beer, of course!  Ballast Point, Stone Brewing Co., Coronado Brewing Co., Brewers Supply Group, and White Labs all donated ingredients for the following beers that will be available for tasters, pints, and growlers today only at Ballast Point in Scripps Ranch, with all proceeds going to Beer 4 Boobs.

bOOb check
7% ABV
18 IBU
Premium English Malts are combined with Galaxy Hops and British Ale Yeast to form the base of this Hibiscus, Honey, Cherry and Lime Ale.  A crystal clear, deep pink hue invites you in with your eyes.  The complex fruity aroma comes from all of the ingredients, not just the Cherry.  Hibiscus adds some bitterness and color, while lime adds some acidity.

Ingrid's 1 in 8
8% ABV
31 IBU
Premium English Malts combined with Cascade Hops and California Ale Yeast are the base of this Strong Amber Ale.  The brew is then spiced with heavy toasted oak chips, cocoa nibs, fresh ginger and sweet orange peel.  A two hour boil helps create a candy sugar flavor.  Think of a beer that a Chocolatier would make.

Beer, boobs, charity... what are you waiting for?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Beer in space?

Click here if you don't see the video.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Now, that's dedication!

I love craft beer, but these people really love craft beer!  Check out some beer themed body art over at CraftBeer.com and ask yourself if you love your beer as much as these people do.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

Beer Me, Sommelier

Here is a great article introducing "Cicerone" into your beer-drinking vocabulary.  If you are not already familiar with the term, this article and the included links are a nice introduction to what I believe will be a great thing for the expanding beer industry.  The writing is fair, but the message is clear: beer deserves the same kind of expertise as wine.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Don't tell me what to taste!

I appreciate that brewers work very hard to bring out certain flavors in their beer.  I'm not discounting that.  However, when I'm told that I should taste hints of honey and clove with an orange peel finish, or oak infused black current with a peppery back note, I get a bit annoyed.  What if I don't taste those things?  Maybe I'm drinking the brew at a temperature a few degrees off of what was intended.  Maybe I'm eating something that masks those flavors.  Maybe I have a cold.  There are any number of reasons that I may not distinguish the flavors that I'm being told I should taste.  Now I feel like I'm missing something because my palate is not mature enough to taste what the brewer intended.  Am I not "good enough" for this beer.  What's wrong with me?  Nothing!  If I taste those things, great.  If not, that's fine as well.  I can enjoy my beverage without being told what to taste and how to taste it.  If I needed a road map to enjoy my beer I would have switched to wine long ago!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Costco Beer

Now I've seen everything.  Costco has their own private label beer under the "Kirkland Signature" name.  I was blown away at the thought of a big box store offering their own beer.  Apparently they contract with Gordon Biersch Brewing Co. for West Coast distribution and Saranac - Matt Brewing Co. for the East Coast.  I have only tried the IPA, which I found to be quite malty for the style, but not too bad.  I will reserve judgement until I have tried the whole line, but still can't hold back a chuckle every time I see one of these beers.  I harken back to memories of that classic black & white "BEER" can of yesteryear.  Do they still make those?  Maybe so, but with a different label.  Perhaps one that reads, "Kirkland Signature".

Monday, December 19, 2011

Free Stella Artois Chalice?

Call 1-800-MY-CHALICE.  If you are able to navigate the phone system you may be able to score a free glass, er, "Chalice".  Even if you don't, it's a fun phone call.  Kudos to Stella for putting this cool time waster together.  Have fun!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Grillin' & Chillin'

It's Sunday!   Relax, grab a beer, and fire up the grill.   Just don't end up like this guy!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Where do you stand?

I posted about the growing beer "black market" here.  There was a very interesting thread on The Bruery's Facebook page (you must be logged in to Facebook to view their page) based on owner Patrick Rue calling out the wrong person for reselling their beer on eBay.  Where do you stand on this topic?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Worst beer of the year

I'm not one for retrospection, and I would be hard pressed to tell you the best beer I had in 2011.  I also would not have hazarded a guess at the worst beer of 2011, had I not just had it a couple of days ago.  With this beer I learned, yet again, that you truly do get what you pay for.  Fresh & Easy, while far from a beer mecca, has a few good selections at decent prices.  They recently added a couple "craft" brands to their lineup that looked interesting, and at $5.99 a 4-pack I figured I couldn't go wrong.  I did.  Very, very wrong.  How could you go wrong with a beer called Gargoyle IPA?  Let's start with the brewer, or should I say brewers.  The label reads "Ballistic Brewing Co.", but in another place states "Brewed and Bottled by Indian Wells Brewing Co. Inyokern, CA."  I read something on the Indian Wells Facebook page that they do contract brewing for private label beers, so maybe that is the case here, who knows.  Who cares.  Speaking of labels, that is what drew me to this beer in the first place.  It had that edgy, craft beer feel to it, emblazoned with a large purple gargoyle staring you down.  A gargoyle on a beer bottle, where have I seen that before?  Further investigation of the label finds the beer touting it's "Big Head" and a serving temperature of 14 degrees.  One of the bottles was actually double labeled, one label covering half of the other.  That's what I call attention to detail!  How, though, did it taste?  I'm not sure how to describe it, but IPA certainly doesn't come immediately to mind.  As I drank it I imagined that this is what a Bud IPA might taste like.  The color was light amber, the "Big Head" was quite small and dissipated quickly, and the aftertaste was an odd combination of bitter, tart, and unfortunate lingering.  A beer like this beckons the question, "Why?"  Why am I drinking this?  Why did I buy this?  Why did they make this?  Each bottle was worse than the last, and I gleefully finish the last of the four as I type this.  That begs one last question.  Why did I drink all four?  I can't honestly answer that, except to liken it to the same reason people can't help but rubberneck and stare at an accident on the freeway.  People are sick.  This beer is sick.  It's my pick for worst beer of the year, and this is the last you will hear of it from me.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

No. 1

Los Angeles landmark, The Roxy, has teamed up with our very own Karl Strauss Brewing Co. to create their own private label beer.  They started pouring "No. 1" on Monday, which will be available indefinitely.  Read more about the venture at The Full Pint.  This brew is sure to become as iconic as the venue it's being served in.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Monday, December 12, 2011

Beer Facts

A full keg holds 1,984 ounces of beer.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Beer Arcade

If you are a gamer and a beer fan, you have to check this out. Now, where do I put it?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

It's the weekend!

What will you choose?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Where, in Colorado, I was!



Where was I this time? The Fort Collins Brewery of, well, Fort Collins, Colorado! I didn't actually make it into the tasting room of this brewery, but opted to eat at the in-house restaurant, Gravity ten twenty, instead. Why "Gravity ten twenty"? Find out here. I really liked the modern design of the brewery, and the food matched the aesthetics of the facility in both look and taste. I felt their beer, which can be found in limited quantities at your local BevMo!, to be middle of the road. I tried samplers of everything they had, but aside from Z Lager, a smoked amber lager, and their Chocolate Stout, there were no real standout brews. Even so, I recommend a visit to this Fort Collins namesake for some cool architecture, a decent pint of beer, and some creative food.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

West Coaster

Most of the better beer establishments in town have free copies of West Coaster magazine for your perusing pleasure while sipping your pint. If you're familiar with the magazine you know that they usually include a nice map of the county pinpointing local breweries, beercentric bars, and restaurants. That map, viewable with several filters such as establishment type and amenities, can be viewed here. Check out the rest of the site as well, as the current issue is available for download. Whether you are at your favorite watering hole or in front of your computer, when it comes to local beer news West Coaster has you covered.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Monday, December 5, 2011

78 years ago today...

Prohibition ended! Think about the appeal of the Repeal as you enjoy your brew today.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Avery IPA garlic mashed potatoes

I got this recipe from Avery's e-newsletter, The Monthly Mash. Enjoy!

"Much thanks to Sean Z. Paxton, The HomeBrew Chef, for this recipe! Please go to www.homebrewchef.com for more of Sean's recipes.

INGREDIENTS:

POTATOES

2 lbs. Potatoes, peeled & cut into chunks
Cold Water
Sea Salt

GARLIC MIXTURE

2 Heads of Garlic
2 T Olive Oil
8 Sprigs of Thyme
Sea Salt and Pepper
1 Cup Unsalted Butter
1 Cup Heavy Cream
2-4 T Avery IPA

DIRECTIONS:
1. Cook mashed potatoes according to your favorite recipe, but hold off on adding too much butter or milk.
2. Preheat oven to 300° F.
3. Take each head of garlic, remove papery skin. With a sharp knife, cut the top 1/5 of the head off, exposing the tops of the garlic cloves. Take a small square piece of foil and place the cut head in the center. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil on top of each head then a sprig of thyme. Season with a touch of salt and pepper; wrap each up and place in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the smell of garlic fills your kitchen. Remove from the oven, open each pouch and let cool for 5 minutes. Squeeze insides into a bowl and mash with a fork.
4. In a medium pan, add butter, cream and 2 sprigs of thyme and turn heat to medium. Bring the mixture to a boil, turning down to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the sprigs and add garlic paste and simmer another 3 minutes, using a whisk to stir and breakup the garlic. Season with salt and pepper and add Avery IPA.
5. Add 1 cup of the garlic cream to the mashed potatoes and fold in. Taste and see if you need more flavor, depending on your garlic and hop need!"

Friday, December 2, 2011

Monkey Paw Pub & Brewery

What do you know about Monkey Paw Pub & Brewery? To be honest, other than liking them on Facebook and driving by their downtown operation a couple of times, I know nothing about them. That may change next Friday, as I would like to know how their brew is. The following is taken from a Facebook post today.

"Next Friday, December 9th! Monkey Paw releases our first four beers into the wild!

Sweet Georgia Brown is a 5.8%, medium bodied brown ale, lots of roast, chocolate, bread, and earthy notes that will make you happy. A great, brown with a ton of flavor.

Pineapple X-Press is our XPA with a big tropical, citrusy nose! Light bodied and easy to drink, full of hop flavor and and a balanced bitterness that will let you drink this beer all day long. And at 5.4% ABV, you probably could.

Mighty Joe Young American Stout! Aggressive, roasty, bitter, with a great hop presence. Finishes with bitter coffee, roasted malt, assertive hops, and even some malt to hold it together. 5.9% ABV.

Santa’s Pet Monkey is a 9% Chocolate Imperial Porter that we let sit on cacao nibs, added some real vanilla bean, and brewed to be a smooth, malty, choco-good time. Let your winter be warmed with our special beer just for the holiday!

Come celebrate!"

Let's go see what these guys are all about!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Mmmhop???

This is something you have to see to believe. See and taste, actually. If you are familiar with the band of brothers that go by the name "Hanson" (remember 1997's "Mmmbop"?), check out their latest venture here. Wow.