Through the Rows and Over the Hills…A Northern Journey…

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…

Though RRBC offers the largest flight in the world, I settled on a sensible flight…

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…

✌🏽❤️🍻

BrewFiend

And, the world is full of energy…

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).

Always a good sign when a brewery is working on a Sunday…My delicious flight!

 

Conclusion, this is a MUST STOP brewery for any true Craft Beer Lover. Not for Juice Bros. or Pastry Hoes, but beer connoisseurs…

The Devil is in the details…Awesome Flight Boards, ⚡️

 

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.)

Notes:

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…

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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)