Pura Birra

Today, I woke up and decided it had been far too long since I visited Pure Project Brewing in Miramar, CA. Seeing as I could remedy this situation in under two hours and currently having nothing else to do, I decided to proceed southward stat.

In an hour and a half, I removed myself from the confines of Orange County and found myself smack dab in front of one of my favorite breweries in the world!

While everything Pure puts out is a step above the competition, the board today was filled with IPAs. (Though it’s Haze heavy, the West Coasts are not to be slept on.) If you have enough time and a designated driver or a hotel room a Lyft drive away, I’d highly recommend you try every single last beer on the menu! Trust me, I’m a professional. You will not be disappointed.

As I had to return to the OC, I decided on one flight and a growler to go. My flight, which I aptly named Keep Hops Alive, consisted of the following:

Desert Trip – West Coast IPA brewed in collaboration with Mumford Brewing.

This beer was clean, light and delicious! The Southern Hemisphere hops brought this beer in at 4.25/5

Murk IPA – Murky/Hazy with Mosaic, Denali and some Motueka that really shined through. 4.25/5

Hanging Gardens – Murky/Hazy brewed in collaboration with Temescal Brewing out of Oakland. This beer was light, easy drinking and delicious. 4.25/5

Sign of the Times – Murky/Hazy DIPA with Citra and Galaxy hops. This beer was oddly malty/sweet and my least favorite of the flight. 4/5

Murkshake – Murky/Hazy TIPA with Organic Strawberries and Vanilla Beans. This beer reminded me of Strawberry Bijou from Great Notion and Mikerphone and was FANTASTIC! 4.75/5 (Flight Standout)*

Guess which beer I got a growler fill of…

In short, Pure Project Brewing should be on every Craft Beer Lover’s shortlist!

I only wish I lived closer as I would be there everyday…

What’s your favorite Pure Project Beer? What’s the farthest you’ve ever driven for Beer?


If Pure is within your driving range, get here NOW!

I hope your Spring has been full of delicious Craft Beer, and if not, Get on it!

Happy Hunting! Prost!

✌🏽❤️🍻

BrewFiend

Somehow a 7th Anniversary in the books…

The sun is out this morning, in full force, in the slowly rising city of Anaheim, California.  The Orange County city that gave the world Oranges, No Doubt and today some of the best beer being brewed in America.  While the elements tried Saturday, to test the mettle of Noble Ale Works‘ fans, the Noble Crew and their band of Nobleteers still managed to pull off another successful, delicious and thoroughly entertaining Anniversary Party.  (That certainly left more than a few folks shuddering to think about last night…)  Here are my reflections on the day as a Nobleteer.

Whether you’re a fan of the latest Hazy IPA, Cereal Stout, Spicy Beer, Sour or tried and true West Coaster, Noble brewed up something for everyone.  I had the pleasure of serving the most beautiful beer I’ve ever seen, Orange is the New Black Currant, a Radler that was as delicious as it was beautiful.  And I’m sure it would be all over Instagram if folks weren’t drinking and had ten minutes to type out that hashtag #… (I’ve now done it for you, so if you took pics of that beauty, hashtag away.  If there was a prettiest in show or most likely to be mistaken for an Acai Smoothie Award, this lovely lady has it in the bag, and everywhere else for that matter.)  I also measure beer success by how often the Brewers and Tasting Room Employees come back and yeah…FANTASTIC BEER!

I also served Montemocito (would love to know the meaning behind this beer name Noble folks.) This was a Cherry Lemonade Beer.  Though I wasn’t a huge fan of this one, the folks who like it came back like 15 times, seriously.  I also poured a few Lemon Shandylands and Pomelo Something or other….I learned what a Pomelo looked like yesterday, I kinda knew what it was, but people kept asking so I finally looked it up and then started describing it…beer brings knowledge, knowledge is power…beer is power.

The best part of being a Volunteer Beer Server is getting to meet and talk beer with so many cool and often like minded people.  The one thing we all can agree on is that we love beer and Noble was more than generous in facilitating and offering a plethora of delicious libations.

Huge thanks to Thunderking Brewing for keeping me going with that yummy Cold Brew! Appreciate it!

All in all, it was a fun, exciting and joyous couple of hours.  The Impromptu Dance Party USA that sprung up at 4PM was absolutely awesome and Vito was, well Vito! Such an Awesome Day! Thanks again Noble for the opportunity and thanks to everyone who came out in support of one of America’s Premiere Breweries and local Anaheim, Orange County treasures.  I look forward to continued to success for this Crew and can’t wait to see where this year takes them.

(To anyone I was lucky enough to serve, I truly hope you enjoyed the beer and the day!)

Hope your 2018 has been full of delicious Independent Craft Beer thus far, and if not, get on it!

BrewFiend

 

 

 

Dankness Dojo…

I woke up this morning with one thought on my mind: Dankness Dojo…

I’m not really sure how the thought got there, I have been thinking about Modern Times’ newest LA hotspot since it opened a few weeks back though. I’m not sure if it was a dream, a desire or just a fluke that led me to finally follow through on thought…

But, regardless of what the cause, I got it in my head to visit today.

A quick perusing of Google Maps and I figured out it would take me 2 buses and about $10 round trip to get from the confines of Anaheim to Downtown LA. So at 9AM this morning I set out to realize a dream.

I got a bit of a late start and missed the first bus by 37 seconds…I wasn’t going to run for it, today was meant to be my Lazy Sunday Funday…So, I decided to keep walking. I made it 5 more bus stops before the next bus actually came. In between, I managed to stop off at Subway for a FlatBread Breakfast Sandwich —had to prepare my belly to drink…

After 45 minutes of riding on an OCTA bus with a dude who pissed himself, I was so ready to transfer to LA Metro…Another hour and 15 minutes saw me shuttled through Buena Park, Norwalk, Santa Fe Springs and a shit ton of other cities I’ve never been to; culminating with my delivery to Downtown LA…a second off the bus, some whack job walks past me cursing out demons in Spanish…and I think, City Life……..

I proceed to walk 8 minutes through LA, passing parks and under construction walkways and I think to myself, this is City life…

As I round the corner, I catch a glimpse of lights that spell out the name of my destination: MODERN TIMES…

I walk through the front door and instantly feel at ease.

I walk up to the pouring station, order a flight, sit down and proceed to meet a fellow beer lover.

The crazy part is that he lives a few blocks away from me in Anaheim and had the same idea today…take public transportation up to Modern Times…I think to myself, how crazy and random, but I’ve learned that the universe moves in mysterious ways. We sit, we drink, we shoot the shit and all is right with the world.

He leaves, I remain and think to myself…the beer gods have ordained my path today…its extraordinary, and magically delicious.

My inner Ninja has been satisfied, at the Dankness Dojo…

So, what did I drink?

A flight of tasters, consisting of:

Stencil Crew Hazy DIPA

Nearly as Fast as Light Hazy DIPA brewed in collaboration with Great Notion Brewing

Port Sunlight Hazy DIPA 4

Pescespada Saisony/Bretty Beer, I thought it was labeled Brett IPA, brewed in collaboration with Almanac and this was fantastic, the standout of the flight 4.5

I then proceeded to have full pours of Stencil Crew  & Fast as Light…I rated these both at 4.25, with the slight edge going to Stencil Crew.

I was even able to snag a four pack of Lightning Calculator Hazy DIPA.

All in all, it was a successful Brewery Detour and a fantastic day spent roaming SoCal.

If you haven’t been to The Dankness Dojo, I highly recommend it. I even got a barrel aged iced coffee to go from Modern Times Coffee☕️ as a bonus.

Hope your 2018 has been full of delicious craft beer thus far.

✌🏽❤️🍻

BrewFiend

85 Breweries, doing it right…

According to the Brewers Association, there were 5,301 breweries operating in the United States in 2017.  5,301.  Let that sink in.

As I’ve said before, I’m not happy unless I’m drinking a beer that received a rating of at least 4 on my Untappd account.  With so much competition in the realm of Craft Beer, I’m very discriminating and a brewery can easily find itself on my DO NOT DRINK list with too many subpar offerings.  I’m all for experimentation, but that’s what small batches are for…

What follows is a list of 171 new beers I tried this year from 85 breweries that get it.  To be clear, these beers are all good and I would gladly drink them again, they weren’t out of this world…but they were excellent representations of their style.

Listed below, in alphabetic order, are the 85 breweries and their offerings that left me satisfied.

Abnormal Beer Co. (San Diego, CA)

  • New Money – Hazy IPA 7% ABV

Aftershock Brewing Co. (Temecula, CA)

  • Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Ale – Brown Ale 5.5% ABV

AleSmith Brewing Company (San Diego, CA)

  • Hawaiian Speedway Stout (2017) – Imperial Stout 12% ABV

Alvarado Street Brewery (Monterey, CA)

Vengeful
There’s some debate as to what this beer was supposed to be. Some people tried a hazy, me I tried a tasty West Coaster…Vengeful Barbarian (Confused IPA)…
  • When Doves Cryo – Hazy IPA 7% ABV
  • Vengeful Barbarian – IPA 7.2% ABV
  • Hive Mind (with Pure Project Brewing) – DIPA 8.5% ABV
  • Froth Bite – Hazy IPA 6.4% ABV

Amplified Ale Works (San Diego, CA)

  • Electrocution – IPA 7.2% ABV
  • Trois Cabrones (with Alvarado Street Brewery) – Hazy DIPA 8.5% ABV
  • Soundcheck – IPA 7.8% ABV
  • Get A Grip (w/Coffee) – Coffee Milkstout 4.6%

Artifex Brewing Company (San Clemente, CA)

  • Amarillo Happy – Pale Ale 5.5% ABV

Asylum Brewing (Anaheim, CA)

  • Fairweather Friend – Pale Ale 4.7% ABV
  • Casanova Frankenstein – Imperial Stout 9.5% ABV
  • Rorschach – Brown Ale 6.2% ABV

Bagby Beer Company (Oceanside, CA)

  • Struggle Bus – Pale Ale 4.8%

Barley Forge Brewing Co. (Costa Mesa, CA)

  • Karl Hungus – Schwarzbier 5.2% ABV

BarrelHouse Brewing Co. (Paso Robles, CA)

Celebratory Ale
The most unique beer I enjoyed in 2017. Celebratory Ale is a Foeder Aged Stout Snakebite…unlike anything I’ve ever had…
  • Celebratory Ale No. 4 – Foeder Aged Stout Snakebite 8.3% ABV

Beachwood Blendery (Long Beach, CA)

  • Chaos Is a Friend of Mine – Lambic 6.5% ABV

Beachwood Brewing (Long Beach, CA)

  • Hop Ninja – DIPA 8.9% ABV
  • Laurel – IPA 7.1% ABV
  • Robusta Rhymes – Porter 7% ABV

Bear Republic Brewing Company (Cloverdale, CA)

  • Fastback Racer – DIPA 10.4% ABV
  • Racer X – DIPA 8.3% ABV

Belching Beaver Brewery (Vista, CA)

Phantom Bride
I’m not really into Band/Beer Collaborations as I think they are gimmicky as fuck, but this Deftones inspired IPA was legit…
  • Phantom Bride IPA – IPA 7.1% ABV

Bells’ Brewery (Kalamazoo, MI)

  • Hopslam Ale (2017) – DIPA 10% ABV

Bottle Logic Brewing (Anaheim, CA)

Frogger
I was so anticipating this release. The beer is good for a TIPA, but man did I want more Great Notion…
  • Black Forest Cake – Stout 6% ABV
  • Byzantine Vision (Draft) – Barrel Aged Baltic Porter 10.7% ABV
  • Rocket Launch – Belgian IPA 6% ABV
  • Saison De Whittaker – Saison 7% ABV
  • Congruent Coconut – Pale Ale 5% ABV
  • Oculango – DIPA 9.7% ABV
  • Iridium Flare (2017) (with Superstition Meadery) – Braggot 13.9% ABV
  • Heliosphere – Helles Lager 4.7% ABV
  • Titan of Tokyo – Tart Wheat Ale 5% BV
  • Jam the Radar (2017) – Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout 13.8% ABV
  • Analog Nostalgia – IPA 8% ABV
  • Frogger GLC (with Great Notion Brewing) – Hazy TIPA 11% ABV

Boulevard Brewing Company (Kansas City, MO)

  • Collaboration No. 6 Barrel-Aged Blend (with Firestone Walker Brewing Company) – Barrel Aged Blend 12.5% ABV
  • Whiskey Barrel Stout – Barrel Aged Imperial Stout 11.8% ABV

Brouwerij West (San Pedro, CA)

  • Falling Water – Hazy IPA 6.5% ABV
  • Dig My Earth – Hazy DIPA 8% ABV

Burial Beer Co. (Asheville, NC)

Ceremonial
Something’s in the water in Ashville, NC…
  • Gang of Blades – DIPA 8.3% ABV
  • Ceremonial – Session IPA 4% ABV

Carton Brewing (Highlands, NJ)

IDIPA
Tell me about your IPA…
  • IDIPA – IPA 7% ABV

Cellarmaker Brewing Co. (San Francisco, CA)

  • Double Moonage – Hazy DIPA 8.4% ABV

Cigar City Brewing Company (Tampa, FL)

  • Good Gourd – Imperial Pumpkin Beer 8.8% ABV

Civil Society Brewing Co.

Fresh
Jupiter, Florida’s Civil Society know Hazy. So Fresh!
  • Extra Pulp – Imperial Hazy Pale Wheat Ale 8.5% ABV
  • Schmedium w/ Strawberry & Pineapple (with Slim Pickens Cider & Mead) – Hazy IPA 6% ABV
  • Can’t Touch This – Hazy IPA 7% ABV
  • Fresher Than Fresh – Hazy DIPA 8.7% ABV
  • Social Lube (with All In Brewing) – IPA 7% ABV

Claremont Craft Ales (Claremont, CA)

Coffee Del
Simon Says: Coffee Del deserved a canning run!
  • Pepper & Peaches – IPA 7.1% ABV
  • Coffee Del – Coffee IPA 7.1% ABV

Cycle Brewing (St. Petersburg, FL)

  • Rare DOS – Whiskey Barrel Aged Imperial Stout 10% ABV

Deep River Brewing Company (Clayton, NC)

Deep River
So cold blooded to collaborate without giving the other collaborator props…but that’s just what Deep River did…Collaboration Without Representation was a delicious canned BA Imperial Milk Stout.
  • Collaboration Without Representation (with Bottle Revolution) – Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Chocolate Coffee Milkstout 12.8% ABV

Docent Brewing (San Juan Capistrano, CA)

  • Funemployed! – Pale Ale 5.8% ABV
  • The Stallion – Brown Ale 7.5% ABV
  • Gloomy – IPA 7.2% ABV
  • Headliner – DIPA 8.2% ABV
  • Shrub – Session IPA 4.4% ABV

El Segundo Brewing Co. (El Segundo, CA)

Surfin' Bird
Of course a collaboration with Pizza Port would produce a West Coast DIPA…
  • Surfin’ Bird (with Pizza Port Brewing Co.) – DIPA 8% ABV

Epic Brewing Company (Salt Lake City, UT)

  • 825 State Stout – Oatmeal Stout 5.6% ABV
  • New England Style IPA (Citralush) – Hazy IPA 7.3%

Evil Twin Brewing (Brewed by Two Roads Brewing in CT)

  • No Hero – Oatmeal Stout 7% ABV

Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. (Buellton, CA)

  • Zero To Sexy – Blonde Ale 6.8% ABV
  • Fig Mtn Mosaic – Pale Ale 5.5% ABV
  • Cougar Attack – TIPA 10% ABV

Firestone Walker Brewing Company (Paso Robles, CA)

  • Luponic Distortion: Revolution No. 005 – IPA 5.9% ABV
  • Luponic Distortion: Revolution No. 007 – IPA 5.9% ABV
  • Propagator Generation 1 – IPA 7.6% ABV

Fremont Brewing (Seattle, WA)

Dark Star
Fremont: Because Beer Matters.
  • Dark Star – Imperial Oatmeal Stout 8% ABV
  • Interurban IPA – IPA 6.2% ABV
  • The Sister Imperial IPA – DIPA 8.5% ABV

Garage Project (Aro Valley, Wellington, New Zealand)

  • Death From Above – IPA 7.5% ABV

Great Divide Brewing Company (Denver, CO)

Hop Disciples
2017 was the year that Great Divide Brewing paid a visit to Mad Max’s Thunderdome… Only Hop Disciples welcomed…
  • Hop Disciples – IPA 6.2% ABV

Green Cheek Beer Company (Orange, CA)

  • Cut the Lights – Stout 5.1% ABV
  • Good Vibes Included – Session IPA 4.2% ABV
  • Member IPA? – IPA 7% ABV
  • Brian Knows Zest – Lager 5% ABV
  • Berlin! – Berliner Weisse 3.2% ABV
  • Cocohut – Hazy IPA 6.1% ABV
  • Clichaze – Hazy IPA 6.6% ABV
  • Andy Black – Milkstout 4% ABV
  • Australian For Pale – Pale Ale 5.8% ABV

Grimm Artisanal Ales (Brooklyn, NY)

In Mid-Ar
I come unglued while In Mid-Air then land to reform…limb by limb. This beer paired excellently with Phish.
  • In Mid-Air – Hazy DIPA 8% ABV
  • Sumi Zest – Imperial Stout 11.5% ABV
  • Double Negative – Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout 10% ABV

Hamilton Family Brewery (Rancho Cucamonga, CA)

  • Double Mango – DIPA 8.2% ABV

Highland Park Brewery (Los Angeles, CA)

Cloud Party
In the shadow of greatness…Cloud Party was a good Hazy IPA, but it can only aspire to the greatness of the other 2 beers in this pic…
  • Cloud Party – Hazy DIPA 8.3% ABV

Homage Brewing (Pomona, CA)

  • La Befana – Saison 6.8% ABV
  • Nose Dive – IPA 6.3% ABV
  • Discovery – Belgian Strong Golden Ale 7.8% ABV
  • Le Sauvage – Golden ALe 6.7% ABV

Indie Brewing Company (Los Angeles, CA)

Indie
Loving the Logo, price point and taste of these Indies!
  • Find That Juicy Double – Hazy DIPA 8% ABV
  • Fuzzy Recollection – Hazy IPA 6.9% ABV

Industrial Arts Brewing Company (Garnerville, NY)

State of the Art
Icons and sleek designs go hand and hand with delicious beer. Industrial Arts Brewing Company has them both down.
  • State of the Art 68 – IPA 6.3% ABV

Interboro Spirits & Ales (Brooklyn, NY)

Bring The Noise
Anthrax would be proud of this Interboro DIPA…
  • Bring the Noise – DIPA 8.5% ABV

Karl Strauss Brewing Company (San Diego, CA)

Aurora
Aurora Hoppyalis continues to be a stand out amongst Karl’s line-up.
  • Red Wine Barrel-Aged Red Trolley – Barrel Aged Red Ale 6.8% ABV
  • Aurora Hoppyalis – IPA 7% ABV
  • Big Barrel IIPA – DIPA 9% ABV

King Harbor Brewing Company (Redondo Beach, CA)

  • Lupulines – IPA 7.5% ABV

Lagunitas Brewing Company (Selloutville, USA)

  • Eroica – Flemish Farmhouse Ale 7.4% ABV
  • Willettized Coffee Stout – Barrel Aged Imperial Coffee Stout 12.6% ABV
  • (important to note that I did not purchase these CORPRACRAFT beers, the bartenders at Stadium Brewing Company in Aliso Viejo like to give me samples…thanks!)

Left Coast Brewing Co. (San Clemente, CA)

  • Hop Juice – Triple IPA 10% ABV

Los Angeles Ale Works (Hawthorne, CA)

  • Blume – Berliner Weisse 3.5% ABV

MadeWest Brewing Company (Ventura, CA)

  • Transport – IPA 6.8% ABV
  • Pale – Pale Ale 5.6% ABV

Mason Ale Works (San Marcos, CA)

Thick As Thieves
Collaborations can sometimes get clouded…this Hazy IPA from Mason Aleworks with Burgeon and Pure Project was a nice, no waiting in line hazy.
  • Thick As Thieves (with Pure Project & Burgeon Beer Company) – Hazy IPA 6% ABV

Melvin Brewing (Jackson, WY)

2 x 4
You really can’t get any more American than a DIPA endorsed by Hacksaw Jim Duggan…HOOOOO!
  • 2 x 4 – DIPA 9.9% ABV

Mikerphone Brewing (Elk Grove Village, IL)

S'more Cowbell
I can’t put my finger on it, but I think this beer needs S’more Cowbell!
  • S’More Cowbell – Imperial Stout 10.8% ABV

Mikkeller Brewing (San Diego, CA)

  • Waves (Bolger) – IPA 7.3% ABV

Modern Times Beer (San Diego, CA)

  • City of the Sun – IPA 7.6% ABV
  • Orderville – Hazy IPA 7.2% ABV
  • Booming Rollers – IPA 6.8% ABV
  • Critical Band – Hazy IPA 6.7% ABV
  • Spaceship Earth – Hazy Pale Ale 5.2% ABV
  • Geodesic – IPA 7.5% ABV

Mumford Brewing (Los Angeles, CA)

ALL CAPS
Mumford goes both ways. Clear AF and Hazy…ALL CAPS was a delicious West Coast IPA.
  • ALL CAPS – IPA 6.8% ABV
  • Air Quotes – Hazy IPA 6.8% ABV

New Belgium Brewing Company (Fort Collins, CO)

  • Fat Tire Belgian White – Witbier 5.2% ABV

New Glory Craft Brewery (Sacramento, CA)

Cloudy wiht a Chance
So thankful to be able to try so many new Nor Cal breweries…New Glory Craft Brewery is brewing up deliciousness.
  • Cloudy With A Chance Of Clarity – IPA 7% ABV

Noble Ale Works (Anaheim, CA)

Nuclear Haze
Orange County Haze Kings Noble Ale Works took the Nuclear Option this year…
  • Marginally Hazy, Moderately Experimental – Hazy IPA 6.2% ABV
  • A Little More Hazy, A Little More Experimental – Hazy IPA 5.8% ABV
  • Cloud Strife – Hazy IPA 6.4% ABV
  • Sailor Mom – DIPA 9.1% ABV
  • Lemon Drop Showers – DIPA 8.8% ABV
  • Nuclear Haze – Hazy DIPA 8.1% ABV
  • Aim For the Fences – IPA 7.9% ABV
  • Aim For the Netses! – IPA 7.9% ABV

Odd 13 Brewing (Lafayette, CO)

  • Codename: Superfan – Hazy IPA 6.5% ABV

Offshoot Beer Co. (Placentia, CA)

  • Stirred – Hazy DIPA 8.1% ABV

Omnipollo (Brewed by Dorchester Brewing in Boston, MA)

Lustro
So long as you contract someone that knows how to brew, I have no issues with you Omnipollo…
  • Lustro White Ultra Light IIPA – White DIPA 8% ABV

Perrin Brewing Co. (Comstock Park, MI)

  • No Rules Vietnamese Porter (2016) – Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Porter 15% ABV

Pizza Port Brewing Co. (San Clemente, CA)

Pizza Port
So many taps at Pizza Port San Clemente.
  • Fogged In – Pale Ale 5.5% ABV
  • Terminal 10 – International IPA 6.5% ABV
  • Christmas Island – Imperial Stout 10% ABV
  • Bear-O-Dactyl – DIPA 9.8% ABV
  • Doheny Double IPA – DIPA 9.5% ABV

Pure Project (San Diego, CA)

Pure Project
One of my new favorite breweries.
  • Deutschland Dank – International IPA 6.7% ABV
  • Milagro – Irish Dry Stout 5.3% ABV

Relic Brewing Co. (Plainville, CT)

The Huntress
A Warrior Princess DIPA…The Huntress!
  • The Huntress – DIPA 9% ABV

Revision Brewing Company (Sparks, NV)

Planetary Fog
A DIPA that drinks like a session…bet Knee Deep is kicking themselves…
  • What What – DIPA 9.1% ABV
  • Planetary Fog – Hazy DIPA 7.5% ABV

Riip Beer Company (Huntington Beach, CA)

  • Super Cali – IPA 7.2% ABV

Rushing Duck Brewing Co. (Chester, NY)

War Daddy
Maybe it’s because I like Elephants…this War Daddy was a nice East Coast DIPA.
  • War Daddy – DIPA 9.2% ABV

Russian River Brewing Company (Santa Rosa, CA)

  • Dribble Belt – Pale Ale 4.5% ABV

Sante Adairius Rustic Ales (Capitola, CA)

Love's Armor
Crossed another new brewery off my wish list this year. Love’s Armor blended a Saison with a Rye Porter and created a uniquely delicious brew.
  • Black Room, Blue Phone – Wine Barrel-Aged Porter with Blueberries 7.6% ABV
  • Love’s Armor (Batch 4) – Barrel Aged Saison Rye Porter Blend 8.1% ABV
  • Bright Sea Blonde (Batch 5) -Belgian Style Blonde Ale 6.2% ABV

Second Chance Beer Co. (San Diego, CA)

Second Chance
Seize. Sip. Enjoy.
  • Seize the IPA – IPA 6.5% ABV
  • Fool Me Twice – DIPA 8.8% ABV
  • Seize the Coffee – Coffee IPA 6.5% ABV
  • Legally Red – Red IPA 7.2% ABV
  • Tabula Rasa – Porter 6.2% ABV

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. (Chico, CA)

  • Celebration Ale – IPA 6.8% ABV

Smog City Brewing (Torrance, CA)

Unity
Shared this beer with my bros as we’re all down for that UNITY. A delicious collaboration from LA Brewers
  • Unity – Tart Saison 5.3% ABV

Stone Brewing Co. (Escondido, CA)

  • Enjoy By 12.25.17 – Unfiltered DIPA 9.4% ABV

TAPS Fish House & Brewery (Brea, CA)

  • India “Pal” Ale (with Tustin Brewing Company) – White IPA 6.8% ABV

The Alchemist (Stowe, VT)

The Crusher
Proof that Beer Karma exists…someone handed this to my while I was sitting at the Bottle Logic bar…
  • The Crusher – DIPA 9% ABV

The Bruery (Placentia, CA)

Hoppy Obligations
Thought my mind was playing tricks on me when I walked into Bruery Terreaux and they had a Hazy Pale on tap…
  • Hoppy Obligations V1 – Hazy Pale Ale 5.6% ABV
  • All the Chocolate – Herbed/Spiced Beer 6.6% ABV

Thomas Hooker Brewing Co. (Bloomfield, CT)

  • #nofilter – Hazy IPA 7% ABV

Three Weavers Brewing Company (Inglewood, CA)

  • Return of Sassy (with Arts District Brewing) – Rye IPA 6.7% ABV

Toppling Goliath Brewing Company (Decorah, IA)

  • Golden Nugget – IPA 6.3% ABV

Torched Hop Brewing Company (Atlanta, GA)

Tribunal
Tasty hazy, even tastier logo!
  • Tribunal – Hazy DIPA 8.5% ABV

Track 7 Brewing Company (Sacramento, CA)

  • Naughty By Nectar (with Alvarado Street Brewery) – Berliner Weisse 8% ABV
  • Amarillo Adoration – DIPA 8.7% ABV

Trillium Brewing Company (Boston, MA)

Dusk Trill Dawn
Collaborated on taking this bottle down before brew day…
  • Dusk Trill Dawn (with Evil Twin Brewing) – Imperial Breakfast Stout 11.5% ABV

Tustin Brewing Company (Tustin, CA)

  • Leche Coco Loco – Milkstout 5.5% ABV

Two Roads Brewing Company (Stratford, CT)

  • Two Evil: Geyser Gose (with Evil Twin Brewing) – Gose 5.5% ABV

I know that’s kinda a lot to take in, but trust me when I tell you that paying a visit to these 85 breweries will not leave you disappointed…happy hunting!

Peace, Love, Beer!

All photos by: BrewFiend

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

99 Bottles of Craft Beer on the Wall…

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One thing 2017 was for me, was full of delicious Craft Beer…And, while I drank many a decent beer, these 99 beers were just a step above the average.  For me, I’m not satisfied unless I’ve drank a beer that I would rate as a 4.  And, as I’ve said before, if a brewery isn’t consistently putting out 4s, they should do the world a favor and close their doors…

What follows are 99 beers that received a rating of 4.25 on Untappd.  These beers were just a cut above the masses and in the overcrowded world that Craft Beer has become, that’s saying something.  Each of these beers had something about them that made them stand out just a bit amongst their peers.

These beers can be broken down into 6 general categories: Barrel Aged Beer, Stouts, Porters, Tart/Sours, Pale Ales and IPAs. These categories are further broken down below. Without further adieu, I present to you 99 bottles of beer that should not be left on the wall…

Barrel Aged Beer

Something special happens to a delicious beer when it’s aged in a barrel. Whether it’s a Wine barrel, Rum barrel or Bourbon Barrel the magnificent flavors that impart themselves into the beer are often times otherworldly…While I generally stray away from spirits, I actually run towards Barrel Aged Beers. This year, these 10 barrel aged beauties were just a cut above their competition. Some notable entrants are the Blackberry Sour that Aliso Viejo’s Stadium Brewing Company previewed at this year’s Sabroso Fest; Royal by Claremont Craft Ales (which I still see on shelves…grab it…age it…enjoy…you’re welcome); and Tustin Brewing Company continuing to master barrel aging with their delicious Kentucky Hug. Below is a further breakdown of the Barrel Aged category along with the beer/brewery.

Barrel Aged Sour

  • Blackberry Sour by Stadium Brewing Company

Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stouts

Ground State
The 2017 Ground State featured Coldbot Coffee
  • Kentucky Hug by Tustin Brewing Company
  • Ground State (2017)  (with Coldbot Coffee) by Bottle Logic Brewing
  • Fundamental Observation (WOL Preview) by Bottle Logic Brewing
  • Number Crunch by Bottle Logic Brewing
  • Sumi Ink by Grimm Artisanal Ales

Bourbon Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout

Fydor's Classic
At this point I only buy Pre-POM douche Stone… Fydor’s Classic was a delicious 2014 treat…
  • Fydor’s Classic (2014) by Stone Brewing

Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Coffee Stout

  • Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS) by Founders Brewing Co.

Bourbon Barrel Aged Mint Mocha Stout

  • Dragon’s Milk Reserve: Mocha Mint (2017)

Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Oatmeal Stout

Royal
Simon Says: “Give my BBA Imperial Oatmeal Stout a try, you will not be disappointed…”
  • Royal by Claremont Craft Ales

Bourbon Barrel Aged Barleywine

  • Sucaba by Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Stouts
While I’m not a believer in Stout Weather, I am a believer in imbibing delicious stouts whenever and wherever I can get my hands on them. Though I find all manner of stouts delicious, I would have to say that Coffee Stouts are my favorite. Throw in an Imperial moniker and I’m in… Some notable entries on this list are the 2017 GABF Gold Medal winning Wall of Sound by Anaheim’s Stereo Brewing Company (the best beer they make…); Grandpappy Imperial Stout from San Juan Capistrano’s Docent Brewing (these guys should be on your must visit list…); and Imagination Land a Golden Milkstout from Mother Earth Brew Co. (reminiscent of Naughty Sauce).

Below is further breakdown of the category along with the beer/brewery.

Stouts

  • City of the Dead Export Coffeee Stout by Modern Times Beer
  • Wall of Sound Oatmeal Stout by Stereo Brewing Company (GABF Gold Medal Winner)*

Imperial Stouts

Get More Likes
A delicious East Coast Collaboration from Kent Falls with Kinsmen Brewing…Get More Likes
  • Get More Likes (with Kinsmen Brewing) by Kent Falls Brewing Co.
  • Grandpappy by Docent Brewing

Milkstouts

  • Viva La Beaver! Horchata Milkstout by Belching Beaver Brewery
  • Imagination Land Golden Milkstout by Mother Earth Brew Co.

Imperial Coffee Stouts

  • Son of a Baptist by Epic Brewing Co.
  • Sump Coffee Stout by Perennial Artisan Ales
  • Tovarish RIS (Burundi) by Beachwood Brewing

Porters
You can rest assured that if I love Stouts, their progenitor the Porter style is going to find it’s way onto my list. Notable entries include Tustin Brewing’s Blimp Hangar Porter, which just seems to keep getting better; and a super impressive offering from South of the border from Cervejaria Dogma. Their Imperial Porter was damn near IMPERIAL. Below is a breakdown of the category and the beer/brewery.

Porters

  • Blimp Hangar Porter by Tustin Brewing Co.

Baltic Porter

Spectral Beast
A healthy, hearty dose of East Coast Love from Relic…
  • Spectral Beast by Relic Brewing Co.

Imperial Porter

  • Modern Dogma by Cervejaria Dogma

Tart/Sours
I have to admit that in an effort to make this nice and neat, I kinda invented a category…None of these beers is a true sour, but their taste/flavor profiles are similar…think of this as a tart beer list with a Belgian thrown in… Some notable beers on this list were Beachwood Blendery’s 3.3e4 from their Propagation Series (someone brought this to the Week of Logic Wrap Party and it stood out to me in an epic game of “No Skips”); and Troglodyte by Anaheim’s Unsung Brewing Co. My first Grisette and man, what a delicious ultra light brew. Below is a further breakdown of the category and the beer/brewery.

Berliner Weisses

  • Propagation Series No. 3.3e4 by Beachwood Blendery
  • Guava in Berlin! By Green Cheek Beer Company

Grisette

  • Troglodyte by Unsung Brewing Co.

Tart Wheat Ale

  • Hostile Intent by Bottle Logic Brewing

Pale Ales
Seems to me like it’s been a while since anybody brewed a worthwhile Pale Ale…with their hoppy brother dominating the beer world, this relaxing/refreshing style has taken a back seat. But luckily 2017 changed that. Not sure if it was me constantly speaking forth the reemergence of the style into the universe or if brewers just got nostalgic, but either way there were definitely some standouts in both the traditional and hazy iteration of the style. Some notable entries are Field to Ferment a Centennial wet/fresh hopped pale from Seattle’s Fremont Brewing that graced SoCal with distribution this year and Tired Hands Brewing Company in general (they were involved with two Hazies that made this list). Below is a further breakdown of the category and the beer/brewery.

Pale Ales

Field to Ferment
Field to Fremont? Field to Ferment? Either way, this was a lovely Centennial Fresh Hop Pale. Wish I would have tried the other 3 variants…
  • Citra Happy by Artifex Brewing Company
  • Dymaxion by Modern Times Beer
  • Street 3, Block 2 by Beachwood Brewing
  • Field to Ferment (Centennial) by Fremont Brewing
  • Shire –Pale New Zealand Biter by Pure Project Brewing

Hazy Pale Ales

JeanHands
When 2 “haze masters” collaborate you get something notable like JeanHands courtesy of Monkish and Tired Hands.
  • Jean Hands (with Tired Hands Brewing Company) by Monkish Brewing Co.
  • Curve My Flight by Green Cheek Beer Company
  • Intensely Juicy, Dank, Beautiful (Copy & Paste) (with Hill Farmstead Brewery) by Tired Hands Brewing Company

IPAs

And now, we come to the payoff! Any best of beers list created by me is more than likely going to be dominated by the IPA category and once again, this list is no exception. With everyone and their grandmother brewing this style it takes a lot to stand out. Every beer listed below stood out to me above the masses. While taste is relative, I’m certain that if you love real IPAs, you want to seek out the beers on this list…

Some notes from the list below:

1) 10 First try breweries made this list (Had my first beer from them in 2017)

2) I’m currently labeling Noble Ale Works the “Haze King” of Orange County. (But look out as Evan and Unsung on your tail…)

3) Sparks, Nevada’s Revision Brewing Company should be on your MUST TRY list.

4) My Top 10 Breweries are all over this list…3 of which just cracked my top 10 this year (Pure, Green Cheek, Fieldwork)…

Brett IPA

  • Reckoner by Homage Brewing

IPAs

Lush
Welcome to Southern California Fremont Brewing. This can was so lovely, I almost didn’t use a glass…but, Beer Matters, so I did…
Coffee & Milk
Fieldwork Brewing quickly made their way onto my Top 10 List with such fantastic offerings as Coffee & Milk IPA. Trust me, it worked!
Juicy Secret
All the Juice, none of the haze…a lovely Juicy Secret from New Glory
  • Hexagonal IPA by Bottle Logic Brewing
  • Old Town IPA by Tustin Brewing Company
  • Lush IPA by Fremont Brewing
  • Coffee & Milk by Fieldwork Brewing Company
  • Juicy Secret by New Glory Craft Brewery
  • Hopful 7 by Beachwood Brewing
  • Can-a-Bliss (a joint effort with Other Half Brewing Company) by Captain Lawrence Brewing Company
  • Melvin IPA by Melvin Brewing
  • Gimme by Docent Brewing
  • Sidekicks (with Alvarado Street Brewery) by El Segundo Brewing Company
  • Clear AF by El Segundo Brewing Company

DIPAs (Double IPAs)

Power Glove
A Brewmance between 2 of my favorite breweries…YES PLEASE! Noble Ale Works with Fieldwork Brewing Company
Greenshift
Beachwood Brewed GreenShift! So much dankness!
  • Blah Blah Blah IPA by 21st Amendment Brewery
  • Super Beer Bros – Level 1 (with Grains of Wrath Brewing) by El Segundo Brewing Company
  • Leo v. Ursus: Fortem by Firestone Walker Brewing Company
  • Lupine by Pipeworks Brewing Company
  • Greenshift by Beachwood Brewing
  • Tell Shaky and Boxcar Joe DDH IIPA by SingleCut Beersmiths
  • Power Glove (with Noble Ale Works) by Fieldwork Brewing Company
  • Left Eye, Right Eye by Track 7 Brewing Company
  • Tetra City by Modern Times Beer
  • PUNCH-OUT!! (with Fieldwork Brewing Company) by Noble Ale Works
  • Dank Energy by Beachwood Brewing

Rye DIPA

  • Leo v. Ursus: Inferos by Firestone Walker Brewing Company

TIPA (Triple IPAs)

Tundra
I sure hope they used Cryo hops in this TIPA. If they didn’t I don’t really understand the name, but damn was Tundra delicious…got to enjoy it twice this year.
  • Tundra by Fieldwork Brewing Company

Hazy IPAs

Golden Pineapple
This Modern Times offering continued to get better with age…Golden Pineapple
img_0188
If only there were Vending Machines like this…Snacktime!
  • Golden Pineapple by Modern Times Beer
  • Centaur Gardens by Modern Times Beer
  • Goblin Rock by Modern Times Beer
  • Crowler Phil by Noble Ale Works
  • Good Googly Moogly by Noble Ale Works
  • I Edited It by Noble Ale Works
  • Countout! by Noble Ale Works
  • Taking It To The Extreme by Noble Ale Works
  • UP UP: Konami Code by Bottle Logic Brewing
  • LEFT RIGHT LEFT RIGHT: Konami Code by Bottle Logic Brewing
  • B A: Konami Code by Bottle Logic Brewing
  • Double Dragon by Bottle Logic Brewing
  • Sink or Swim by Green Cheek Beer Company
  • Soft Skin by Green Cheek Beer Company
  • A Salute To Classic Beers (with Cellarmaker Brewing Company) by Green Cheek Beer Company
  • Supercollider by Brouwerij West
  • Picnic Lightning by Brouwerij West
  • Battle-Scarred Shogun by Monkish Brewing Co.
  • Galaxy Juice by Fieldwork Brewing Company
  • Snacktime (with Finback Brewing) by Civil Society Brewing
  • 90s R&B by Mumford Brewing
  • Cold Side by Magnify Brewing Company
  • 28 Haze Later… by Beachwood Brewing
  • Hop Swingers (with Burgeon Beer Company) by Artifex Brewing Company
  • Master Shredder by The Veil Brewing Co.
  • Altered Dankopotamus by Hog Dogma Brewing Co.
  • DDH Rinse/Repeat (with Motueka and Wakatu) by Westbrook Brewing Co.
  • Broken Filter (with Beachwood Brewing) by AleSmith Brewing Company
  • Planet Lovetron by Revision Brewing Company

Hazy DIPAs

Galaxy Sauce
So much Fieldwork this year, I was in HEAVEN or somewhere out in the Galaxy…
The Bruff
Nevada’s Revision Brewing quickly mastered the Haze…The Bruff was so smooth…
The Usual Suspects
1of these beers was perfect. 2 of these beers were OK. And 2 of them were a step above the norm. Crucial Taunt and Foggy Window may have come from different coasts, but both were elite Hazy DIPAs
  • Galaxy Sauce by Fieldwork Brewing Company
  • East Coast Bias by HenHouse Brewing Company
  • Men at Murk (with Highland Park Brewery & Alvarado Street Brewery) by Noble Ale Works
  • Cool Runoffs by Alvarado Street Brewery
  • Crucial Taunt by The Veil Brewing Co.
  • The Bruff by Revision Brewing Company
  • Xylophone Tones by Monkish Brewing Co.
  • Foggy Window by Monkish Brewing Co.

Hazy TIPAs

CANniversary
Who brews a Hazy Triple IPA? Noble Ale Works, that’s who…This should be the standard of Triple Hazies…no booziness. It morphed to near perfection with my last can…
  • CANniversary by Noble Ale Works
  • CANniversary (with peaches) by Noble Ale Works* (this beer improved to near perfection with the last can…)

And there you have it folks, 99 beers from 2017 that shouldn’t be left on the wall but should be taken down and enjoyed ; share them if you have to…

I hope that your 2018 overflows with delicious, soul satisfying Craft Beer!

Peace, Love, Beer!

All Photos by: BrewFiend

 

27 – 2017 Brews slightly Above the Rim…

I am not sure why, but quantifying and categorizing things makes me happy. Maybe it’s the time spent in reflection or the beauty of bringing order to chaos. Either way, I thoroughly enjoy taking a look back at some of the special beers I drank this past year. What follows is a list of beers that I rated as 4.5 on Untappd. These beers were definitely above average but just shy of perfection or near-perfection for that matter.

Stouts
Winter Beers? Summer Beers? I’ll drink a good stout regardless of what the calendar says. This year, these stouts were just above the competition.

Evan from Green Cheek Beer Company didn’t skip a step or fall off this year. His Failing Up Coffee Stout was a welcome addition to the OC Stout Scene.

Those wizards currently from San Diego, Modern Times Beer, offered a fantastic variant of their flagship Oatmeal Coffee Stout. Black House w/Toasted Coconut & Cocoa Nibs Oatmeal Stout was especially nice if you could find it on Nitro!

Black House
Putting a beer on Nitro is like giving it a makeover on the Style Network…Black House on Nitro with Coconut and Cocoa Nibs thrown in…

The same year we saw Orange County graced with the AMAZINGNESS that is Beachwood Brewing, they managed to offer up two fantastic Russian Imperial Stouts. Tovarish (2016) Russian Imperial Stout was simply divine and the Elida Coffee Variant was to die for…

Tovarish
I could stand a Russian Invasion, so long as Espresso RIS’ were readily available…Tovarish for the people…
Elida Tovarish
I love it when a variant comes together…especially when it involves coffee. Elida es tan sabroso…

Recent kids on the block, San Juan Capistrano’s Docent Brewing had a strong offering with their Tonic Oatmeal Coffee Stout that was all the rage at craft beer festivals this year. I had the pleasure of serving it at OC Brew Ha Ha 2017.

Docent
Tonic? Does it cure something? Yes, sir. All that ails you…

Meanwhile, stalwart veterans, AleSmith Brewing Company canned their iconic Speedway Imperial Stout and lord was (2017) DELICIOUS!

2017 also afforded me the opportunity to finally try Great Notion Brewing. Someone brought a crowler of Double Stack Imperial Stout to the Week of Logic Wrap Party and holy hell, I finally love pancakes. If this was more fresh, I’m sure it would have been a perfect 5…

WOL Wrap Party
Somewhere amongst these bottles lies a plethora of great beers…

Barrel Aged
As in years past, my love of all things barrel aged, led me down a path of many a fantastic barrel aged beer. When it came to classics the brewmeisters at Firestone Walker Brewing Company and Hangar 24 Craft Brewery continued to deliver as this year’s Parabola (2017) and Pugachev’s Cobra (2016) were two near perfect Bourbon Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stouts.

Parabola
Heaven almost exists in beer form. It was bottled by Firestone Walker and it’s called Parabola…
Pugachev's Cobra 2016
A Bourbon Barrel Aged Classic. The Iconic Pugachev’s Cobra 2016 edition. Barrel Roll No. 003

Collaborations were all the rage this year. Anaheim’s Bottle Logic Brewing collaborated with Florida’s J. Wakefield Brewing to produce a superb Rum Barrel Aged Porter. The Week of Logic preview of Mxyzptlk was so different and delicious, somehow the name just fit this beer.

Mxyzptlk
Superman would be proud…Mxyzptlk

Bottle Logic kept the Florida collaboration theme going by teaming up with 3 Sons Brewing to produce Fundamental Summation a Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Coffee Stout. I swear that the preview was somehow better than the bottled version…I rated the WOL Preview at 4.75…maybe it just tasted so good after running around working…

Fundamental Summation
Fundamentally you can’t improve upon this beer, but adding some Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee may be an inspired start…mathematically speaking…Fundamental Summation.

Deschutes Brewery in collaboration with Hair of The Dog Brewing Company painted an almost perfect picture with their Collage #2 Barrel Aged Blended Ale, which featured a blend of beers from each brewery.

Collaged
What is Conflux Series you ask? Oh, just a conflagration of Barrel Aged Ales…Collage, yes, it literally burns them down…

Dopplebock
I’ve said it before, if I have to drink a Lager, it had better be some type of bock and what better bock than a Dopplebock. And what better Dopplebock than a true German Dopplebock. Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan is the first German Brewery to grace the pages of Craft Beer Confessions. But, I have to celebrate craftsmanship and their Wehenstephaner Korbinian Dopplebock was textbook perfect and just a little bit above…

Dopplebock
Reinheitsgebot at it’s finest… Weihenstephaner

Mead/Braggots
Though mead is featured in one of my all time favorite movies, The 13th Warrrior, this warrior had to wait until 2017 to have such deliciousness grace his lips. I normally don’t like drinks that are sweet, but this Mead and Braggot were just too good not to give them props.

Another fellow attendee to the Week of Logic Wrap Party was Schramm’s Mead’s Blackberry Mead and I must admit that I personally snaked everybody and hit this bottle twice during our game of “No Skips”…

Bottle Logic Brewing themselves also offered a fantastic Braggot in collaboration with Superstition Meadery. The Week of Logic Preview of Iridium Flare was the first and only braggot I’ve ever imbibed, so I have nothing to measure it against, but if this is what Braggots are like, sign me up…

Iridium Flare
I had the pleasure of serving the Iridium Flare Preview as part of the Stasis Project Preview at this year’s Week of Logic.

IPAs
As IPAs and their derivatives were my most drank styles of 2017, it makes sense that they would hold a disproportional amount of spaces on each of my lists; and this list is no different…

While I’m not opposed to Session IPAs, few of them can hold up to my flavor standards. But the award winning Nose Candy from Noble Ale Works is a wake up call for the nostrils and the palate. I swear I rated this beer last year, but the overlords at Untappd said no, so here it is on this year’s near perfect list…

If I could drink only one beer style for the rest of existence, it would be the Black IPA, and this year Bottle Logic Brewing’s Circadian Rhythm hit all my harmonic sweet spots. I really think that only a different or tweaked hop profile could improve this beer. It was so dark and delicious…

Circadian Rhythym
Few people that aren’t from the Midwest actually know what Circadian means…Bottle Logic knows, or maybe they redefined it…

Speaking of dark and delicious how about triplicious? That’s just what Black Market Brewing Co.’s Black Belt Triple IPA was. I would think it’s impossible to balance this beast enough to be a perfect 5, but damn did this Temecula outfit come close…Superb.

Black Belt
When a beer hits 3 of my buttons, I take notice. Triple, Black, Rye…yes please allow Black Belt to Karate Chop me to the head!

In the inundated realm of IPAs, it’s so hard to stand out and make a name for yourself these days, but El Segundo Brewing Company continued to dominate the SoCal IPA scene. Their Bursted Series: Nelson Sauvin IPA was a terrific Single Hop brew that left folks wanting to sample the entire series.

Bursted
With everyone doing Single Hop Series, it’s easy to sleep on some offerings; but this Nelson Sauvin Bursted was not to be missed…almost there…

Meanwhile, San Diego’s Modern Times Beer offered a fantastic South African hopped IPA named Triton Project; that paired perfectly with the Super Bowl.

Triton Project
The choicest South African Hops, before assholes cornered the market…Triton Project

And in an unexpected twist a North Carolina brewery delivered a near perfect West Coast IPA. Wilmington’s New Anthem Beer Project with their New Jack IPA solidified the myth that there is something in the water in southern North Carolina…

New Jack IPA
Something’s in the water in southern North Carolina y’all…or maybe Tarheels are more righteous than I thought…All about that New Jack…

As the “Hazy” IPA style continued to gain momentum this year, West Coast breweries continued to perfect it. And OC breweries were among some of the quickest to adapt to the style. Anaheim’s Bottle Logic Brewing had some solid offerings in their Konami Code Hazy IPA Series and DOWN DOWN was a standout amongst the group.

Down Down
Familyship has it’s priveleges. Purchased on release day, this Down Down was a superbly delicious hazy…

Meanwhile, Orange’s Green Cheek Beer Company experimented with and near perfected the style in months. No Complaints, no that’s the beer’s name, but no complaints on this Hazy IPA here, well, almost none, but I respect experimentation…

No Complaints
When it comes to experimentation from a master brewer, you’ll get No Complaints here…

If you truly know me, you know that I truly love Double IPAs. With so many examples to choose from, it’s quite amazing that these four stood out amongst the masses, but nevertheless, they did.

New Jersey’s Magnify Brewing Company delivered one of the most original and most delicious DIPAs of the year. Their Most Important Meal Hazy Breakfast DIPA  brewed in collaboration with TOCA Coffee,  had me asking what the fuck is a Breakfast DIPA. But let me tell you that after I drank it, I was asking where the hell can I get more Breakfast DIPAs? Like seriously, I need one for tomorrow and Tuesday, and…

Most Important Meal
What the fuck is a Breakfast DIPA? Well, I for one can tell you it’s fantastic…

San Diego’s Modern Times Beer laid an almost perfect Jurassic egg with their Dinosaur World Hazy DIPA. And though I missed cans, I drank it on draft and can only imagine how it morphed with age…

Hazy
Drink my hazy, but don’t touch my monkey…Dinosaur World…

Orange County Haze Masters, Noble Ale Works further solidified their role with Drops of Jupiter a Hazy DIPA that I had the pleasure of serving at their Anniversary Party. This beer even got a canning run, though it was still highly underrated…

And capping the list, Green Cheek Beer Company also dabbled in near perfect Hazy DIPAs with their The Other Brian which should have been canned, but I’ll take the crowler…

The Other Brian
Regardless of what your heard, it wasn’t me. It was The Other Brian…

In the end, these 27 beers would make any self respecting beer drinker happy and should be on your wishlist if you truly love delicious craft beers.  These beers run the gambit of flavors and offer an excellent jumping off point for the wannabe craft beer lover.

Go forth and find these beers.  And if you stumble upon one you really like, drop me a line, let me know…

I pray that your 2018 overflows with near-perfect craft beers.

Peace, Love, Beer

All photos by: BrewFiend

And then, there were twelve…

In my “never-ending” quest to discover my “perfect beer” this year (notice I say my, as “the” perfect beer can only exist to you…), I came across 12 almost perfect beers. This dirty dozen was just so close, but in the end needed just a bit more to be there with the elite beers of 2017.  I would call this 2017’s B Team… (though more of an A- really…) to be clear, all of these beers were FANTASTIC!

If you’re anything like me, you rate beers within an instant of the first taste/smell. You know as soon as that sweet, hoppy, malty goodness hits your tongue how this beer in particular, sizes up against the examples you’ve enjoyed from that style. And though some beers do seem to “improve” as they warm, I usually go with my first impression. These were the beers that I rated as 4.75 on Untappd.

Anaheim’s Noble Ale Works led the way taking up 1/4 of this year’s “Almost Perfect” 12-pack.  Whether it’s fantastic Hazy DIPAs or Imperial Coffee Stouts, Noble was on point all year long.

Double Platinum and the brewery only release Because You’re Worth It provided further proof that Noble knows Hazy DIPAs (see my Best of 2017 post for their best).

Double Platinum
Staring down that Double Platinum.  This was so good out of the keg, I bet it was closer to perfection out of the can, but this was pre-Eventbrite…and I stopped doing lines this year…
Because Your'e Worth It
I had the pleasure of serving Because You’re Worth It in the Jungle of Juice at Noble’s 6th Anniversary Party this year and instantly fell in love…I was all over that 2nd batch.

Ending the year with a fantastic canned Imperial Coffee Stout brewed in collaboration with 2nd Craft was brilliant as was the name, Whoomp! There It Is, and there it was indeed with such toasty, roasty, delicious coffee flavor!

Whoomp! There It Is
What else can you say? There it is. Whoomp! Dangerously easy to drink…

In classic Bottle Logic fashion, Anaheim’s Bottle Logic Brewing added 2 Barrel Aged entries to this year’s twelver. When it comes to Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stouts, Bottle Logic is Orange County’s “Lord of the Dance”. This year’s Week of Logic preview of their now iconic Fundamental Observation was almost perfect (and that was a preview, mind you…).

Fundamentally Challenged
That week I worked at Bottle Logic Brewing was surreal…Week Of Logic will always be a great memory…this may or may not have been a plastic cup full of FO…

Vamp up their Ground State with an infusion of Mostra Coffee and you have Reaction State (which hopefully remains part of the Stasis Project) another in a long line of fantastic coffee infused collaborations from this awesome duo.  So much delicious coffee flavor that blended almost perfectly with that bourbon…

Surprisingly, Hazy IPAs and DIPAs took up another 1/4 of this 12-pack. When it comes to Hazies in Southern California most people think of one brewery and that brewery, Monkish Brewing Co. added a fantastic Double Dry Hopped Double IPA to the pack. Foggier Window was an amped up version of Foggy Window (which I rated at 4.25) where the DDH did so much to make this beer even more delicious.

Foggier Window
Take me to church…I worship like a dog at the shrine of your hops…Foggier Window DDH DIPA

And although they were the new kid on the block this year, Orange’s Green Cheek Beer Company jumped right in and claimed a spot on Orange County’s list of Haze Master’s. Their Wherever You Land Hazy IPA was a delicious burst of West Coast Haze illustrating just how quickly Evan mastered this style while staying true to his West Coast roots.

Wherever You Land
No greater day, than the day that Evan and Brian bought Valiant…Wherever You Land, Drink While Smiling. Smiling indeed!

Another newer OC brewery to quickly establish themselves as being in the know when it comes to the Haze Craze was Anaheim’s (or is it Tustin’s?) Unsung Brewing Co. — They wowed me with Triangulum from their Nebuloid IPA Series and left me thirsting for more…(still have to try that Cat’s Cradle…)

Triangulum
Coming out of nowhere with some fantastic Haze…Unsung Brewing Co.

Not surprisingly, 2 DIPAs, West Coast Style Double IPAs, to be exact made this year’s “Almost Perfect” pack. Perennial All-Stars El Segundo Brewing Company did not disappoint with their Wet Hopped Citra-Mongous DIPA that was so close to being perfect, I bet it was at their tasting room…

Wet Hop Citra-Mongous
CITRA-MONGOUS! Even her remnants were beautiful…

San Diego’s Modern Times Beer (Who’s gonna claim them next year?) saw fit to somehow try and improve on their masterpiece flagship beer Blazing World, by making a double Dry Hopped Version and they almost succeeded at perfection. Mega Blazing World was an other-worldly Hoppy Amber though they have yet to finally admit it’s an IPA…

Mega Blazing World
Improving on an original is often difficult, this came so close…Mega Blazing World embued with Nelson, Simcoe, Mosaic…enough said.

The only beer in my “Almost Perfect” 12-pack not from a California brewery was this year’s Christmas Bomb! From Prairie Artisan Ales. This massive 13% Imperial Stout went down way too easy!

Christmas Bomb!
Christmas Bomb! 2017, La Bomba Mas Fina!

[I’d like to thank the good folks at Bradley’s in Tustin, CA for always keeping me stocked with fantastic beer and always looking out for me. Much Love!]

The final entry and definitely the “Most Interesting” beer I’ve ever tasted in my entire life was riip Beer Company’s Kalua Porker, a Pork, yes PORK! Infused Baltic Porter. This was the brain child of Trevor and this year’s addition to Firkfest. I was fortunate to get to serve this beer at the festival and I may or may not have taken home a growler…I couldn’t just dump all that deliciousness as instructed…sorry Trev!

Kalua Porker
The only growler of this beauty, Kalua Porker, to have existed…Trevor had me dump most of the Firkin, but I had to share this beer, which I did with the beer tenders at Bottle Logic.

So there you have it folks, my 12 pack of “Almost Perfect” Beers (which oddly enough is exactly half as many as “Perfect” beers I had this year…)

And while I’m never one to tell people what they should drink, I’d highly suggest that you put these beers on your radar and if they are still available, find them!

I hope your 2017 was full of fantastic Craft Beer and that your 2018 overflows with your perfect and almost perfect brews.

Peace, Love, Beer!

All Photos By: BrewFiend

My Best of 2017

2017 has come and gone and this year, 23 beers have left a lasting impression on my palate.

One brewery led the way with 6 entries on this most prestigious list, and that brewery was Orange, California’s Green Cheek Brewery. Evan and company burst on to the scene in 2017 and actually earned 7 entries on the best of list, one entry was in collaboration with El Segundo Brewing Company

Beginner's Luck
Beginner’s Luck ( A West Coast DIPA) brewed in collaboration, this, introduced the world to Green Cheek Beer Co. back in May.

What followed was an all out assault on the craft beer world with such fantastic West Coast Inspired releases as Radiant Beauty IPA, West Coast is Dead IPA and West in Peace DIPA.

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West Coast is not Dead, but is ALIVE and WELL!!!

The assault continued into the realm of Hazy IPAs with Attack With Love and even branched out into the Lager realm with Bier and Evan’s Michelada (A Must Have on any Brewery Visit!).

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Attack With Love was a fantastic foray into the Haze…

When it came to Bourbon Barrel Aged Offerings, Anaheim’s Bottle Logic Brewing still reigned supreme; with such offerings as Fundamental Observation

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Fundamental Forces

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Yes, this was a growler full of Fundamental Forces…

and a coffee infused variant FOMO brewed in collaboration with Mostra Coffee.

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The level of Coffee deliciousness in FOMO is indescribable.

Anaheim’s Noble Ale Works kept themselves relevant in light of Evan’s departure, with some wondrous Hazy DIPAs; Starting off the year with 24K Juice

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Probably my absolute favorite beer of 2017, that 24K Juice!

and ending it strong with a DDH version, known as 48K Juice.

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You say Double Dry-Hopped, I say HELL YEAH!

Much like Green Cheek, San Diego’s Pure Brewing Project took the craft beer world by storm this year and cranked out such solid offerings as Murklands, a Hazy Pale Ale and Digital Detox, a Hazy IPA that were both to die for…

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Pure Project quickly became one of my top 5 breweries…

The West Coast IPA saw some righteous treatment from San Diego’s Alpine Brewing with their super dank release of Windows Up. And Beachwood Brewing solidified their role as West Coast Masters with a Double Dry Hopped version of their Melrose IPA.

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God Save Julian Shrago! I love any Beachwood IPA, but DDH? Lord!

Hazy Pale Ales made a strong showing this year with fantastic releases from HenHouse Brewing, their #Stoked Series was off the hook !

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So stoked! to have Craft Beer Friends all over the country, got to try this HenHouse.

and New Jersey’s Magnify Brewing, whose Low Visibility Pale showed just how far down these cats could boogie…

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Magnify continues to show me that I love more about NJ than just Bon Jovi…

Stouts were alive and well the country over this year; as evidenced by such strong releases as North Carolina’s Burial Brewing Co.’s Skillet Donut Stout

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Skillet Donut…DAMN!

Utah’s Epic Brewing’s fabled Big Bad Baptista Mexican Inspired BA Imperial Stout

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El BBA Mas Fina! Big, Bad Baptista!

Denver, Colorado’s consistently epic Oatmeal Yeti Imperial Oatmeal Stout from the masters at Great Divide Brewing Company,

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I’ve always believed that Great Minds Drink Alike…

and Costa Mesa, California’s The Patsy courtesy of Barley Forge Brewing Co. brewed in collaboration with Thunder King Coffee.

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Such an awesome brewery to just hang at. Throw in some Coffee Infused Stout and I’m in heaven…Thanks Barley Forge!

This year, 2 sours/ American Wild Ales even made the list with Firestone Walker’s Barrelworks and their barrel wizard Sour Jim introducing us to Krieky Bones and the Bay Area’s The Rare Barrel who wowed me with Ensorcelled…

While 2017 was loaded full of delicious Craft Beers, these 24 were the standouts and should be on any self respecting craft beer lovers radar. I would never say these are the “best” as taste is relative, but if you are looking for a gateway to great beer, look no further.

I hope your 2018 is full of Fantastic , Independent Craft Beer!

Drink Good Beer, Craft Beer.

All Photos By: BrewFiend

Yeasties

Hollaback Beer? Yep, a beer that’s so delicious that it tastes just like juice and has you wishing you could be drinking it during your morning meeting, along with a bagel and lox…

Vermont Style IPAs or YeastCoast IPAs, as I’ve affectionately coined them, are popping up at every brewery around the country from Brooklyn to Torrance…and with them is coming a new “unorthodox” style of beer that has many in the beer comunity in a quandry for how to classify these uniquely cloudy IPAs.

I for one, am of the opinion that these delicious beauties should have their own distinct classification, apart from traditional and west coast variations of the IPA style. At this point, these beers have tread some pretty unfamiliar territory in the realm of craft brewing. And their cult like following, has assured them a place in the hearts, minds and palattes of beer lovers the world over.

I’ve recently been blessed with the opportunity to try a variety of these beers from Jupiter, Florida to Anaheim, California and I can wholeheartedly say that I am a huge fan.  But the fact remains, that I do not classify these beers as IPAs, but rather YIPAs…

Agree with me or not, I think that we can all agree that the entire craft beer community has benefited from brewers and breweries choosing to push boundaries and emulate one another when it behooves them to do so, to push the “industry” forward.

I’d love to hear what folks think about the matter…

Here are a few pics of some of the finer YIPAs i’ve been able to try (Please note this may include Pale Ales.)

Dankstar Pale Ale (Civil Society Brewing Co.: Jupiter, FL)

                
Eating Other Editors (Monkish Brewing Co.: Torrance, CA)

Hazeflux (Bottle Logic Brewing Co,: Anaheim, CA)

Haze Shift (Bottle Logic Brewing Co.: Anaheim, CA)

Spock It (Monkish Brewing Co.: Torrance, CA)

Dank You for Being a Friend (Noble Ale Works: Anaheim, CA in collaboration with Cellarmaker Brewing Co.: San Francisco, CA)


Bench Buddies (Civil Society Brewing Co.: Jupiter, FL in collaboration with Angry Chair Brewing Co.: Tampa, FL)

Mage Hand (Modern Times Beer: San Diego, CA)

Juicy is the New Dank (Noble Ale Works: Anaheim, CA)

Hazelus (The Bruery: Placentia, CA)

Noble’s got 5 on it!

On Saturday, February 20, 2016, Anaheim’s Noble Ale Works turned 5 years old.  And, like the gracious, self-sacrificing folks they are, they decided to throw a party, for us their craft beer lovin’ devotees.  Thanks to their graciousness, attendees were allowed to bask in the glory of their labors to the tune of some 30-plus beers.

While the day showcased their classics and featured almost every iteration of brew they’ve recently brought us, they also brought out some “big guns” like their Putin put in Barrels, an intensely delicious high ABV Barrel Aged beauty  (that I had the pleasure of serving Anniversary attendees all day long.  Sorry, if some of them pours of the Putin were heavy…).  They even brought out some “beer cocktails” that were a fan favorite with “non-beer drinkers” (Say What?!).

Anniversary attendees were also treated to live music courtesy of some of SoCal’s best brewery house bands.  (Yes, that’s an actual thing, Craft Brewers are creative as hell and need to have many outlets…).  Hearing Evan and Co. put some interesting spins on hip-hop classics has become a favorite past time of mine.

The event even featured some of OC’s premier Food Trucks like Hobo Pizza, Flipmasters and Rolling Sushi Van.

While the 4 hour time limit may seem a bit stringent, the ease with which the lines flow at this event means you never have to wait in line longer than a few minutes and if you are respectful, friendly and talkative, well, servers could be coaxed into topping you off…

This was my second year attending the event, as a Volunteer.  So while I didn’t get to partake of every beer there was to offer, I did get to enjoy a day of doling out liquid bliss to the craft beer loving masses and I can’t think of a better way to spend my Saturday.   While my goal in volunteering was not to receive anything in return; trust that Noble Ale Works went out of their way to thank me and everyone else who took time to serve.

What happens in Noble’s addition stays in Noble’s addition, but let’s just say, they provided Volunteers with a fun filled night of beer and shenanigans.  (If it’s possible to make out with a beer, I believe that me and Nelson Triple Yum Yum did…) Thanks to all the Breweries that pitched in to make the after party a memorable night…for some of us…

If you were lucky enough to attend the event, let me know what your favorite beer of the day was, I’m curious.  And if you did not go, start planning for next year.  In fact, just head down to Noble’s Tasting Room now, because they still have a ton of great beer from their Anniversary on tap.  Bean Bump Anyone?

Thanks again Noble for a fantastic day.

Peace, Love, Beer….Craft Beer

Photo: BrewFiend