What’s in a name?

On a recent visit to Brouwerij West in San Pedro, I overheard some fellow beer drinkers discussing beer names. Yes, I was totally dipping, but that’s just my nature…I like to talk to people. My fellow drinkers were discussing the name of “Dig My Earth” a delicious Hazy DIPA that is a one of BW’s core offerings. Hendrix’s All Along the Watchtower was playing over the speakers and the girl goes: “Dig My Earth! That’s where that name is from…This Song!” She called over the beertender who confirmed the fact and was like: “I just found out too!” The 4 of us just sat there in amazement and I quickly started perusing their taplist for other Lyric inspired beer names. I quickly found one, Rabid Tooth, an Unfiltered West Coast IPA. “Meat Puppets!” I exclaimed. You might know “Lake of Fire” as a Nirvana song, but they covered it…”I knew a lady, lived in Duluth, bit my dog with a Rabid Tooth…” While all of their beers are not inspired by song lyrics, it’s pretty cool that some are. I for one am not a fan of play on word beer names…enough already! Come up with something more original or thought out…I’m particularly fond of beer names that most people cannot pronounce.

While at Unsung Brewing recently, I got a laugh out of their Nitro Stout called The Shenaniganizer. So many people couldn’t pronounce it that they labeled it “The Shen”…

Unsung’s The Shenaniganizer! An Irish Stout ☘️ on Nitro

Do you have a favorite beer name or brewery with great beer names?

Do you believe in naming a beer before it’s brewed or after it’s taste tested?

I personally think naming after the fact is the best way to do a beer justice…

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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

 

 

 

Food and Beer?

When it comes to OC breweries, the number of breweries with a kitchen attached are few and far between…

At most local breweries, hungry patrons queue in line at whatever the food truck of the day is, that’s when there is a food truck on site.  But what do you do if you want to spend a day eating great food as an accompaniment to your craft beer adventures?

Well, when you are in or near Costa Mesa, California, you could head on over to Barley Forge Brewing, where food, wine, and craft soda serve as the perfect accompaniments to fantastic locally crafted beer.

Based on a concept years in the making, BFBC brings a uniquely Americana feel to Orange County’s craft beer scene, both in packaging design and brewery functionality.

The brewery offers a host of games as well as free popcorn for you to enjoy. And based on the fact they have food, wine and craft soda available, it’s the perfect meet-up location for you to invite even your non-beer drinking friends (if you have any…you can even bring the kids…reminds me of Midwestern Breweries ala Capitol Brewing of my old stomping grounds in Madison/Middleton, Wisconsin)

Aside from their The Patsy, Coconut Rye Stout, that is a must try, I highly recommend Future Tripping DIPA and Fugue State RIS (barrel aged version if it’s available).

Now, they even have free live music on Thursday nights!

All in all, a highly successful endeavor that above all else produces FANTASTIC, locally crafted beer. So the next free weekend you have, come down and check them out. You will not be disappointed.  I must confess, I stop in whenever I’m nearby…

Until next time, Drink Good Beer! Craft Beer!

Photo Credit: BrewFiend

Winter Beers?

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.

Stone Brewing Co.: Xocoveza, A Chocolate, Winter-Spiced Mocha Stout

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!

Oskar Blues Brewery: Death by Coconut, Irish Porter (Pass. Dash. Hit.)

🍀, 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.

Hangar 24 Craft Brewery: Local Fields (Series): Warmer, Winter Warmer Ale

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!

Port Brewing: Santa’s Little Helper, Imperial Stout

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…

Barley Forge Brewing Co.: Fugue State, Russian Imperial Stout (Aged in Bourbon Barrels)

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…

Bottle Logic Brewing Co.Darkstar November, Russian Imperial Stout (Aged in Bourbon Barrels)

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!

Hangar 24 Craft Brewery: Pugachev’s Cobra, Russian Imperial Stout (Aged in Bourbon Barrels)

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…)

Wrap-Up

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.

Thanks for reading and until next time,

Drink Good Beer, Craft Beer, Real Craft Beer!

Peace, Love, Beer†

 

Photo Credit: BrewFiend