If you’re a Craft Beer Lover, chances are that you’ve laid awake some nights thinking about, dreaming about or even compiling lists of must visit breweries… And, if you are a true Beer Connoisseur, I’m almost certain that a certain brewery in Santa Rosa, California is on your list.
When you live in California, you are essentially surrounded on all sides by fantastic breweries. But given the sheer size of the state, you are bound to be hundreds of miles away from at least some of the dream spots on your hitlist…
Case in point for me, Russian River Brewing Company, home of Pliny the Elder. While Pliny is not my favorite Double IPA, I do pay homage to its exquisiteness. They’re aren’t many other DIPAs out there that can fool you into thinking you’re drinking an IPA…And for this reason alone, I’ve wanted to visit for quite a few years. While I enjoy their Sour Beers as well, there’s nothing quite like a Hoppy IPA or Pale Ale to float my boat. While my favorite beer of this visit was Happy Hops IPA, I was pleasantly surprised by their 3.75% O.V.L. Stout that packs so much flavor into what is essentially water…
So what is it that made me finally pull the trigger on a 500 Mile car ride? Nothing. Nothing other than a desire to move and go somewhere… Given that Russian River occupies the old New Albion Brewery, the space is essentially Mecca for true Craft Beer Lovers. So maybe, she just called to me long enough that I finally gave in…
Whatever the reason, I’m glad I made the trek. There is no better road trip than an unplanned, unregulated, untimed one… when you start with stress free, you end with stress free; and if your final destination is Russian River Brewing Company, your journey is sure to end in a smile.
It’s funny how quickly people you know ask you for your Venmo Handle when they realize where you are, but that’s another beautiful piece of what it means to be a Craft Beer Lover. The Community and Camaraderie that flow from this delicious libation have created some of the happiest moments in my recent memory.
With that thought in mind, a toast, to Vinnie and all the good folks at Russian River, for giving us something to write home about…
If you’re near Santa Rosa, or far and just wishing you could go, do yourself a favor and get down to 4th street…food’s fresh and beer is waiting…
Some of my most favorite brewery detours seem to materialize out of thin air… I wake up with a clean slate and think to myself, how can I make today Awesome?!
As my summer of phun draws to an end, I’ve been digging deep and trying to squeeze every last drop out of my recent salvation from a life I despised. And this morning, was no different. While scrolling through my IG feed post-workout, I double tapped yet another pic featuring Electric Brewing Company’s Ohno Kenzo Hazy DIPA.
To date, my only experience has been with Electric’s Uber Everywhere Hazy IPA, a collaboration with Track 7 Brewing, that was easily one of my favorite beers of 2017…
While Electric has released a slew of highly sought after hazies since then, i’ve struck out every time I’ve tried to acquire cans within the confines of Orange County…
With that thought in mind, this morning I consulted the Oracle at Waze and, after discovering I could be at the tasting room in under an hour, I set out post haste for Murrieta…Where? Trust me, if you’ve never been and love beer, you should just make the trip…If you’ve heard of Temecula, it’s basically, no literally across the street…
Upon arriving at the brewery I was greeted with the most magnificent smell of breakfast cereal…my favorite smell… (these guys are working on a Sunday = Dedication = +). I quickly checked out the To Go Fridge and realized I’d struck out on cans again…but, guess what? These guys offer crowlers of even their newest release!
With a new found enthusiasm I asked the Beertender for Tasters of all their IPAs, of course…When he pulled out the awesomely customized flight holder, I realized I had two more options, so I opted for a Pale Ale and Stout…little did I realize the “beertender” serving me was the Brewer 😱
The first beer of my flight, a Pale Ale was extremely delicious, it gave me high hopes for the rest of the beers…Upon sampling the 5 beers, I calculated Electric’s average beer score as 4.45 (Out of 5).
Conclusion, this is a MUST STOP brewery for any true Craft Beer Lover. Not for Juice Bros. or Pastry Hoes, but beer connoisseurs…
So glad that once again, I woke up and just decided to go wherever the universe led me. It’s no coincidence that the world is full of energy and the world is electricity and Electric Brewing Co. is killing it…
Hard-work, dedication and humbleness prevails every time!
(I sat near the exit and listened and watched as every patron was thanked by Justin, the Owner/Head Brewer as they left…classy.)
If you sit at the bar on a Sunday afternoon, aside from being able to talk with the lovely beertenders Sally & Roxanne, you may get a lap petting Session from Pig the Dachshund…her dad works at the brewery and she’s super friendly if she likes you…
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!
By now, 2016 has hopefully washed out of everyone’s systems, and we are ready for a new year full of new hopes and new beers!
But before I close the chapter on the year that was 2016, I wanted to take a quick moment to recognize some excellence in brewmeistering that shouldn’t be overlooked.
With the advent of apps like Untappd, it’s become so easy for people to rank, rate and comment on others’ work without ever taking the time to step back and really look at and appreciate some of the liquid accomplishments that we all enjoy and love. Sure, the best beer is the one in your hand, but when you collect beers like I do (by collect beers, I mean collect tastes, flavors, beer names, abvs..sorry, I’m weird) it’s important to take the time to make some sense of all the data that’s been collected.
While my recent posts have focused on beers that received ratings of 4.5 and higher, this post focuses on those beers that were just a step-above the average beers I drank this year. The bulk of beers I drank this year received a rating of 4. For me, if you are a brewery and you are not brewing a line-up that averages in the 4s, you don’t belong in the business. Your friends like your beers and they like any beers…Thankfully, there are a slew of breweries across the country (and even the world…one brew from the Other Side made this list…) that are consistently putting out fantastic beers and even when they are experimenting, they are using the experiences to learn, revise and perfect the liquid goodness that we all then get to enjoy.
The beers on this list received a rating of 4.25 on Untappd (brew_fiend). I have divided the beers up into the following categories: Brown Ales, Witbiers, Lagers, Sours, Porters, Stouts, Bourbon Barrel Aged Beers and IPAs
Brown Ale: This is a style I don’t usually drink, but anomalies exist…And this year one such anomaly made this list.
Witbier: One of my least favorite styles of beer. If it makes my list, it’s a must try for style lovers…The lone specimen is a textbook example of the style.
Lagers: Me and Lagers are like Britain and the EU…that is to say that we really don’t like each other, but when push comes to shove, we can make nice…The fact that there are Lagers, plural, on this list; even amazes me…two?
Sours: Though I am not a huge fan of sours, I will always give credit to fantastic brewmeistering. The 3 sours that made this list are well worth seeking out.
Porters: This grouping can be further sub-divided into Coffee Porters and Imperial Porters. These two almost stouts are worth a whirl…
Stouts: This grouping can be further sub-divided into Stouts, Milk Stouts, Oatmeal Stouts, Coffee Stouts and all manner of Imperial Stouts. This year proved once again that I LOVE STOUTS! And from the wave crashed shores of sunny Southern California to the Windy City of my birth, America’s Craft breweries are turning out some fantastic boundary pushing brews. The 12-pack I’m serving up is a bevy of all manner of that rich, thick, roasty goodness we all love.
Bourbon Barrel Aged Beers: This group contains beers that have been aged in Bourbon Barrels. While the bulk are Stouts, some Porters and Strong Ales may have snuck in there…It’s been said that 7 is god’s perfect number. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that seven beers made this year’s cut…
IPAs: This grouping can be further sub-divided into IPAs, Double IPAs, Triple IPAs and Black IPAs. The Black IPA sub-category encompasses Black IPAs and Double Black IPAs. It’s pretty obvious from this list what my favorite style of beer is…Unlike Sammy Hagar, 55 is a number I find pleasing and easy to remember. This year there were 55 IPAish beers that deserve a nod for being just a notch better than the rest.
The 83 beers that made this list are divided into Style. Beers within each style are listed alphabetically by Brewery then ABV where applicable.
As always, these beers are rated against the style they represent and not all beer in general…
If you are reading this, chances are that you’ve tried most of the beers on this list. And on the off chance you haven’t, you really should as these are some excellent examples of their individual styles.
Beer: Shot In The Dark Style: Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Porter ABV: 11.8% Brewery: Tustin Brewing Co.
Fact: Beachwood, Bottle Logic, Modern Times, Monkish and Noble will always have SoCal on the map when it comes to fan-tastic IPAs! Though we’re always flying that West Coast Style Flag, we got this Haze on lock too…
While some may think that rating a beer is arbitrary, I find that rating beers allows me to personalize and quantify my drinking experience. I have a fairly good ability to recall how a beer tastes or the feelings it evoked, but rating it allows me to measure it against the other beers of the style that I have tried. The beauty of drinking Craft Beer is that everything is relative. Everyone has flavors they do and don’t like. Something I find amazing may underwhelm or overwhelm someone else. What follows is an account of the 58 beers that landed right on my sweet spot…I find that most great beers I try are in the 4.25 to 4.5 range on my 5 point scale. But today, I am concerned with those beers that received a rating of 4.5 on my Untappd account (Brew_Fiend)
I’ve broken the beers up into categories:
The One-Offs: These are beers that are from various styles. There were only 6 so this seemed like the best way to categorize them…anomalies…
Sours: The category name speaks for itself. Though I am not a huge fan of sours, I will always pay homage to something that tastes fantastic. The 3 sours that caught my tongue are well worth seeking out.
Barrel Aged Beers: This group contains beers that have been aged in Wine Barrels, Bourbon Barrels or a combination of both. Though truly an undertaking, this is one of my favorite styles. This year, 8 Beers were worthy of the close to perfect badge.
Stouts: This grouping can be further sub-divided into Stouts, Imperial Stouts and Specialty Stouts. Easily one of my favorite styles, I was lucky enough to try 7 supremely fantastic stouts this year.
Porters: This grouping can be further sub-divided into Porters and Imperial Porters. There were 3 stand up porters I tried this year that approached perfection.
IPAs: This grouping can be further sub-divided into IPAs, Double IPAs, Triple IPAs and Specialty IPAs. The Specialty IPA sub-category encompasses Session IPAs, Coffee IPAs and Double Black IPAs. Easily my favorite style of beer, there were 31 beers I tried this year that satisfied my Hop-thirst and had me craving more!
I wonder how many of these brews would be on your “Almost Perfect” List?
Hope your 2016 was filled with fantastic, real, independent craft beer! Looking forward to what America’s Craft Breweries have in store for us in 2017. Regardless of what your mood is going into 2017, be thankful that no matter what: We always have BEER!
Prost to a Blessed and Fruitful 2017! Happy New Year to You and Yours!
Wheat Ales, Brown Ales and German style beers are my least favorite. While I don’t go out of my way to try them, I will at times dabble and on occasion, I find an excellently executed example of the style. Pale Ales are one of my favorite styles of beer, though I feel that it’s been a long time since anyone has really done the style justice…What follows are the “anomalies” that I imbibed this year. I will always give props to true craftsmanship.
Beer: Hell or High Watermelon Style: Session Wheat Ale ABV: 4.9% Brewery: 21st Amendment Brewery
Beer: Nut Brown Ale Style: Brown Ale ABV: 5% Brewery: AleSmith Brewing Co.
Beer: Arrogant Bastard Ale Style: American Strong Ale ABV: 7.2% Brewery: Arrogant Brewing
Beer: Long Bocks on the Beach Style: Dunkelweizen ABV: 6.9% Brewery: Bottle Logic Brewing
Beer: Corporate Ladder Style: Pale Ale ABV: 5.2% Brewery: Civil Society Brewing
Beer: Jungle Boogie Style: Pale Wheat Ale ABV: 5.4% Brewery: Marz Community Brewing Co.
Sours…I must say that this is a style that has grown on me over time. I drink a shot of Apple Cider Vinegar religiously every morning, so it was only a matter of time before I started down the path of the pucker…It takes a lot for me to hoot and holler about a Sour. These are 3 that should be on your “DO TRY” List. Trust me.
Beer: Tart of Darkness (2016) Style: Sour Ale ABV: 6.6% Brewery: Bruery Terreaux
Beer: Cuddlebug Style: Sour Ale ABV: 4.5% Brewery: Smog City Brewing
I don’t like Hard Alcohol, but…I am a sucker for anything Bourbon Barrel Aged and apparently Wine Barrel Aged and…basically any Barrel Aged is A-OK with me! While this list is Stout heavy, the other beers on this list are no slouches! If spirits make you do weird things, but you love the flavor, Barrel Aged Beers may be your salvation…they are mine.
Beer: Oblivion Style: Wine Barrel Aged Flanders Red Ale ABV: 8.7% Brewery: Wicked Weed Brewing
Beer: The Stoic (2015) Style: Barrel Aged Belgian Quad ABV: 10.9% Brewery: Deschutes Brewery
Beer: Barrel Aged Heavy Boots of Lead Style: Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout ABV: 11% Brewery: SingleCut Beersmiths
Fact, I LOVE STOUTS! I must give credit where credit is due and thank Guinness for taking me down the path of the Dark Side. Though these days, I’ve upped my stout game to the “N”th degree…Milk Stouts, Oatmeal Stouts, Coffee Stouts—if you got ’em, I want ’em…ALL. These almost perfect stouts should be on any self-respecting stout lovers list…
Beer: Heavy Boots Of Lead Style: Imperial Stout ABV: 11% Brewery: SingleCut Beersmiths
I love history. I love beer. Beer History is the equivalent of an Acid Flashback for me…that is to say that it is highly enjoyable! Porter is the progenitor of the modern day stout. Again, thanks to Guinness for deciding to Stout up their Porter and Export it out of Ireland. The only thing as good as an Excellent Stout, is a Rich, Flavorful Porter and these are 3 such Porters…
Beer: Maple Bacon Coffee Porter Style: Porter ABV: 6.4% Brewery: Funky Buddha Brewery
Beer: Lumppacoal Style: Imperial Porter ABV: 11% Brewery: Noble Ale Works
Beer: Stone 6th Anniversary Porter Style: Imperial Porter ABV: 8% Brewery: Stone Brewing Co.
My Shangri-La. Hoppy, Hoppy oh and Hoppy! If I could only drink one style of beer for the rest of my life, it would hands down be IPA. There is something about a nice bitter glass of India Pale Ale that just makes my heart sing. And, I love every style of IPA. Be it, Single, Double, Triple, Session, Coffee, Red, Black…whatever! So long as it’s hoppy and preferably resinous; I’m in HEAVEN! Below is a list of all manner of IPAs that approached perfection in 2016. (This list is arranged Alphabetically by Brewery)
*This is a Hop Head’s list. No balanced IPAs made this list
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)
Bourbon intertwined with beer has quickly become a favorite flavor experience to my thrillseeking pallette. And when a brewery can seamlessly intermix other of my favorite flavors such as espresso coffee into said experience, not only am I down, but I will gladly go out of my way to procur said libation. Luckily for me, sometimes, just sometimes, your beer karma comes around and a fellow follower of the craft rains blessings like SCUD missles upon you. And recently, I experienced said bombing. A friend I’ve made trading beer with blessed me with a bottle of Firestone Walker’s 2015 Parabajava Barrel-Aged Imperial Coffee Stout. And as my beer fridge is crowding as quickly as Chino, I had to take the plunge and start drinking some fancy brews. Here’s the thing though, I didn’t realize that this was Bourbon Barrel Aged until after I cracked the top…oh well, here I am five hours later, still sipping and waxing poetic on this fantastically crafted Russian Imperial Stout type BBA brew. This has aged so nicely since last year, and it’s so smooth considering it weighs in at 14% ABV, I upped my Heavy Weight badge on Untappd a level with this beauty. I’m not one to sit and describe beers, but I think it’s suffice to say that this beer perfectly brings together the flavors of Coffee, Chocolate, Bourbon and Stout. And, if you are a fan of said items, or more importantly a fiend for said items, you will enjoy this beer. Not sure how easily you could procur a bottle of 2015 at this point, but I for one, will always be on the lookout for this one going forward. If you’re on the ledge about purchasing beers over $20 a bottle, all I can say is that sometimes quality costs…Hopefully, my enthusiasm over this one (I haven’t posted in 7 months…) prompts you to seek it out. Happy Hunting. Peace, Love, Beer!
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?
As with everything else, I hate conformity when it comes to beer drinking. But the fact of the matter is that humans are creatures of habit and most creatures tend to “follow the crowd”. It’s no different with breweries and if you think about it, from a purely scientific perspective, it makes sense to have different beers at different times of the year. Having grown up in a highly-advanced society, I’ve simply become accustomed to getting/having what I want, when I want it…
So, if I demand a fantastic DIPA in January, May, September or December, I can usually have it. But, “variety is the spice of life” as they say and so it is with beer drinking. You need to spice it up every once in a while in order to keep your thirst growing. So while I may not want to conform, I must say that I am a huge fan of the fantastic beers that the “winter” months bring us.
While CBC is not about “reviewing” beers, it is about sharing fantastic tasting experiences with interested or like-minded folks and so this post is designed to share some of the amazing non-IPAs currently available from respectable “craft beer” outfits.
If you have a favorite brew from a “craft brewery” (I’m sure BC is fantastic, but I only drink non-big beer affiliated craft) that you think folks should try, please let us know.
Here are some of the fantastic offerings of the season that are available locally in Southern California, the OC specifically.
While the name may be a mouthful, the beer is 100% (perciento), whatever you want to call it, it is: L-E-G-I-T.
This “beer” registers 110 on any self-respecting “beer connoisseur’s” list. Aside from being a delicious, easy drinker it is a fantastic example of the marvelous things going on in American Craft Beer. This Stout is sure to turn the staunchest craft opponent into a craft padawan in the flick of a wrist… Think Abuelita’s Hot Chocolate in alchol form and you almost have the Winter deliciousness that is Stone’s Xocoveza. DO NOT SLEEP ON THIS BEER!
🍀, Yup, Top-o-the-mornin’ to you my Blarney lovin’ bastards! Oskar has outdone himself with this fantastic take on the Coconut Porter. This is one delicious, monstorously coconut brew that simply must be followed up by another. ‘Tis a shame they only come in 4-packs, but if you see one, grab it before the fella next to you and if you don’t, then—fight him for it. Seriously, a must try for any Coconut lover.
This is one local, winter warmer that I look forward to every year. Having lived in both the OC and IE, it’s nice to be able to have a little taste of IE Winter anywhere in SoCal. This hearty, wintery ale has a hint of San Bernardino Mountain’s Spruce Tips combined with a dash of Cinnamon and some Maple Syrup to produce a uniquely Hangar 24 Winter Warmer. Nothing like a taste of your Locale to get you feeling warm, toasty and at home. I wish this was a 4-pack like Hullabaloo…seriously though, if you see either of these offerings from Hangar, pick them up!
This is one rich, flavorful, but boozy Stout I pick up every year. Found it this year at Costco for under $7 and I never pass on something like that…sorry Yobo…
This year’s batch is a little more boozy and carbonated than last years, I’d consider this a bottle share beer as it seems to hold more than the 10% ABV listed on the label. Maybe you sit on this for a few months and it mellows a bit? For $6 or $7 it’s worth a shot…
This was BFBC’s First Anniversary Brew and my oh my, what a way to say Happy Anniversary. Another excellent edition to the local, yearly “Stout” scene. Had this on tap at the release in October and had a subsequent bottle which was a nicely executed, textbook example of a RIS, with that added Bourbon Flavor. If you can still find one, pick it up and sit on it until next Xmas, it should be smooth as silk by then…
One of the smoothest, easiest drinking Bourbon influenced beers on the market. I can’t speak to BC as I only drink craft beer, but this beer is a perfect gateway to enjoying the BBA movement. if you come across any year of this beer, BUY IT!
The brew that enlightened me to the BBA movement, I have enjoyed this beer and faithfully bought at least one bottle, usually 3 or more, every year since 2012. If you want 1 bottle of beer to help you ring in the New Year, this is that beer. 2014’s release weighed in at over 18% ABV. 2015’s is a much lighter 13% ABV but either way any year of this beer is a fantastic beer experience that will push the envelope of what you or your non-beer drinking friends consider beer. Brewed with hints of Molasses, this is a sweet, sipper of a brew that if drank solo and with a bottle topper, can last you several hours…(obviously, i’ve been there and done that, well, one year…)
If you are looking for a beer that will win over liquour drinkers, this may very well be that beer. Hints of Chocolate and dark coffee flavors take a back seat to that Bourbon goodness. At $20 a bottle, this is not your every day beer, but it’s the perfect beer for a Special Occassion or a day of reflection, I’m still sitting on 2 bottles from 2014 and just picked up my 2015 bottles. (I liked last year’s more, but this years is still respectable, if, by some off chance, you come across the Royale variant, spend up to $100 for the bottle. You will not be disappointed…)
So there you have it folks, a veritable cornicopia of delicious “winter” brews that are sure to cure your Holiday thirst…
Each of these beers was purchased locally in or around Anaheim, California. Hopefully you can enjoy some of these tasty treats this Holiday Season. If you find something you like as a result of this post, please CONFESS here.
The perfect beer blog should inform people of…blah, blah, blah.
People often refer to me as a Jack-of-all-trades, I know just a enough on a multitude of subjects to be dangerous…While I don’t know everything there is to know about beer or brewing, I have an awful lot of experience with smelling, sampling, repeating and discovering what tastes good to me.
(so much good beer! such little time…)
Whether in my adopted state of Wisconsin (Madison, Madtown–I miss you, go Badgers!)—[Blasphemy when considering I’m an Illinois native and alum…]—or my third state to call “home” California, I’ve sought out beer that I like and sought it out often.
Unfortunately for me, I tend to be a bit of a “collector” when I find something that peaks my attention. And so I’ve been around the brewery block more than a few times as they say…
I’ve mildly dabbled in trading or the infamous “beer mail”, And I must confess I’m guilty of using a suitcase much larger than I needed so that I could transport some East Coast Craft across the entire country to my West Coast home. My wife just looked at me in disbelief when she saw me packing bubble wrap, then semi-amazement as she watched me unpack a sixer of Jai Alai IPA and a bomber of Southern Tier Unearthly IPA.
(Baggage Fee? It was a business trip, the company paid that…)
While I can opine with the best of the them on what new beer a brewery just released or what last year’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Pugachev’s Cobra tasted like or what some website or app said is the perfect/best beer; I question whether most casual beer drinkers care about that?
How is information on the nuance and minutia of beer and brewing useful to them, especially if they are just beginning to dabble in the world of craft?
One of the things I love about beer is that it offers different things to different people. Whether you are interested in drinking it, collecting it, brewing it or whatever, there is a realm of knowledge available on the subject.
For me, beer opens a whole new world of knowledge to acquire, conquer and then help disperse. Sharing information with people who are interested is something I have always loved to do, regardless of the subject.
So, here at craft beer confessions, all that you will get is honest to goodness opinions from a “beer snob” who believes that while beer may mean different things to different people, all beer is not created equal, but good beer is irrefutable.
Lately I’ve made an effort to get my “collecting” under a bit of control and that’s lucky for you, as this post is intended to share some “Regular Release” brews that are waiting on local stores’ shelves for you to come and blow 10 bones on a World-Class American Craft Beer drinking experience.
Drinking the latest Double IPA from Stone or enjoying a bottle of Bottle Logic’s Wine Barrel Aged Wheat Ale is fantastic, but lesbihonest, it can get costly. And when there are so many affordable alternatives there’s no reason to break the bank every weekend. The trouble is that in a realm of so many possibilities people often get overwhelmed and stick with what they know…
Nevertheless, fear not craft beer drinking brethren for I am with thee and will always point you down the path of the righteous ale or lager. I’ve been trying to find the time to finish this post for almost three months, but just like brewing great beer, so it is with writing about beer; it may not be there when you want it, but it’s always on time. While time may not be on my side, the time to enjoy good beer is upon you; and with that thought in mind, here are some of my recent pick ups that I am sure you will enjoy. Prost!
The term Award Winning never really does much for me, but in this case I must admit it is warranted to read too much into this. Red’s aren’t a typical beer for me. There was a time perhaps 15 year ago (pre hop-head days) when I lived for Ambers and Reds. But after having my taste buds assaulted by the West Coast, low IBU beers just don’t cut it for me most days…
RTA is a beer I drank an awful lot of when I first moved to SoCal and as I was feeling a bit nostalgic, I recently decided to revisit this SoCal Classic. If you’re looking for a straight-forward, easy drinking beer to expose new friends to craft or just to enjoy with Monday Night Football, then look no further as Karl knows good beer.
If you like Coconuts, then I’m suggesting Coconuts migrate into your bloodstream via the liquid goodness that is Barley Forge’s The Patsy Coconut Rye Stout. BFB burst onto the OC Craft Beer Scene last year and with the help of The Patsy has springboarded to the forefront of the scene. I guarantee you that anyone who has an open mind about beer and new things will LOVE this beer. This is one of the only beers I’ve ever bought a T-shirt to represent… The fact that you can get a six pack for around $10 is ridiculous, so find it and drink it, often…
Ok, so this beer isn’t technically under $10, it’s $12 and it’s only a 4-pack, but it’s pints and it’s 64 ounces of confused GLORY! This beer was my “Beer of the Year” 2 years ago and if the words HOPPY, DANK, AMBER excite you as much as they do me, then you want to try this <cough>IPA…
Seriously, I don’t care what you label it, nothing quite hits the spot for me like a world or in this case your taste buds set afire…this is not for the “casual” drinker, you must like Hops, I mean love Hops to enjoy this beer.
On a side note, all their flagship beers are available in 4-packs and right around $10 (this being the exception and it’s worth it.) and all of them are Fantastic, just depends on what you are in the mood for. I certainly wouldn’t pass on the Black House Stout if coffee is your thing.
NBB was one of the Craft Pioneers responsible for bringing flavorful, delicious beers to market and to the masses and Ranger is no exception. Through the use of Cascade, Chinook and Simcoe NBB is able to craft a highly drinkable and flavorful IPA than can hold its own with the West Coast. Always respect the classics.
These are just a few of my recent pick-ups that are definitely worth a try. Give em a whirl and let me know if I’ve steered you wrong…
Until next time, happy hunting and remember Drink Good Beer! Craft Beer!