About Greg Nagel

Greg Nagel is a beer, food and travel writer based in North Orange County, California.

Blog Hard – BBC14 Wrap up

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This dump bucket contains Kosmic Mother Funk.

Blogging about blogging is probably the dumbest snazziest thing I’ve ever done. Why would I attend a conference devoted to blogging about beer? Because you read this stuff, that’s why. Get up and grab a towel because a healthy dose of amaze-juice is about to be doused all over your computer/phone screen (ewww).

<cracks knuckles> Going back to 2011 when I started this dumb awesome website, I wrote silly stuff about beer with no fucks given. When I saw there was an actual conference for like-minded people, I registered and went. My mind was blown. After BBC12, I networked, set goals and promised myself to still write with no fucks given (for this site at least). I also travelled to Boston for BBC13. Since that conference a year ago, here’s some crazy shit I did that was pretty awesome:

I don’t think I would have done any of that had it not been for the Beer Blogger’s Conference. By going, it helped me understand that anything is possible. So here I am, typing on my couch with my cat curled up next to me in the wee hours of the night, thinking back on BBC14, with some fucks given. Here’s a brief look at some photos and fun stuff we did. It really was a blast and can’t wait for next year in Asheville, NC. Highlights:

Stop 1: Golden Road previewed here. 

Stop 2: Taking the freight elevator to Angel City Brewery’s roof, only to be greeted by hop vines and a spectacular LA Sunset. My beercamp 94 brew-bro Keith McEly manages the tasting room there, which is rad. Their IPA, Angelino was fun on cask (dubbed Dirty Angelino) as was their Avocado beer, which tasted like a pils with a slick mouthfeel.

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Stop 3: Bruery Terreux. Lets just say I got a mouthpour from a Sour in the Rye barrel; squirted in my mouth like a cat on a farm while the cow is getting milked. It tasted like Pinocchio’s pee; slightly woody and acidic, yet still somehow delicious. The Bruery is classy as fuck, putting out a table of all the cheeses and charcuteries with all the super rare beers. I went nuts on the Oude Tart w/ Cherries, stopping mid-sip to order my maximum allocation via the Reserve Society.

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*sound of barrel peeing*

Stop 3 and 4: Smog City and Monkish Brewing in Torrance. Arriving at 11 PM or so, someone quipped, “Smog City is like the Motel 6 of breweries, they’ll leave the light on.” Indeed. One car in the parking lot and the lights on inside, 45 bloggers were treated to Smog City’s Coffee Porter and other delicious treats. From there we walked a few minutes to Monkish Brewing and was treated to even more awesomness. If you haven’t been to these breweries, make plans to go this weekend. Both are doing some really great beer.

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Late night Trousdale chinrest action.

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Laurie Porter and Chris Walowski talk about Smog City’s history at 11PM.

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I watched Henry Nguyen of Monkish Brewing crawl in here and go to sleep. It was after midnight, after all.

Friday morning, the actual conference started with a keynote from Julia Herz of the Brewers Association. The first panel of “San Diego Craft Brewers” couldn’t have been better! From left to right is Tomme Arthur, Chuck Silva and Peter Zien, arguably three of the worlds top brewers and pioneers for craft beer.

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For dinner, we went to Karl Strauss‘ original brewery for street tacos and super fresh Tower 10, Red Trolley and Wreck Alley Stout. Every time I rediscover a Karl beer I’m more and more impressed. I think Karl Strauss is one of California’s most underrated breweries.

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Co Founder of Karl: Chris Cramer explains in detail the difficulty of opening SD’s 1st brewery.

Day two: Breakout Sessions. Shit got real when people read this quote from Modern Times’ Jacob McKean. Being in a room of pros, nobody’s feather’s got ruffled. It was an informative panel and happy to hear this blog doing things the right way: legit as fuck.

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We ate at Yard House for lunch and got a slathering of various food bites. I had to beg some guy to get a half yard of Firestone Walker Easy Jack with all of my drink tickets. Most out of towners picked The Bruery’s Oude Tart instead of the hundred taps of San Diego beer which was awesome. Their house beers were a thing as well, the Belgo Tripel being my favorite of the bunch.

beer bloggers conference bus tour through san diego

credit Cambria Griffith @thebruery

We picked up Ken Grossman along the way. He gave the keynote speech; highlighting their summer Beer Camp tour and new brewery in NC. I could listen to him speak all day. He was cool enough to sign my Beyond the Pale book and my last bottle of beercamp 94. I want to try and get all the brewers to sign it at some point.P1080490

Beer Speed Dating is a thing at the Beer Bloggers Conference. Brewers have five minutes per table to sell their wares. Highlights were Kosmic Mother Funk Grand Cru from Samuel Adams and Deliverance from the Lost Abbey. Rogue brought a Pepto Bismol Braggot, which aided everyone’s hangovers .

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I sat at the blonde table.

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I pictured Jim Koch dancing to funk while sipping this, which made me smile.

Meanwhile, at Stone Brewing World Gardens & Bistro – Liberty Station: More small bites and super delicious beer was served. I chatted with Head Brewer Mitch Steele while inhaling fried olives, ribs and various flatbreads. Not only did the BBC get treated to a special roped off area, we also had dibs on guest taps. I drank a Black Wit. I had a Board Meeting from Port Brewing. I had fresh Ruination. I also got a private tour of the “hot-chicks room” above the dining area. Wooden abbey-doors open up to this view:

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Kip Barnes, Brandon Hernandez, Jemma Wilson, me and mister Zephyr Adventures himself!

Various bottles in the ‘hot chicks room’.

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Photo roll!

Preview: Stone Stochasticity Project – Hibiscusicity

There are beers in the world that can be pronounced no matter how drunk you are. “Bud”, “Coors” or even “Pabst” can be yelled at the noisiest of bars by the sloppiest of drunks and a fizzy yellow beer will slide across the bar in a frosty mug. With Stone’s Stochasticity Hibiscusicity, MIT students might even stumble. Hell, for the last project release of the Quadrotriticale I asked a bartender for a “Stone Quadruple Testicle” and she poured the right beer, smiling.

IMG_7038So anyways, my gargoyled friends in Escondido were inspired by a refreshing hibiscus beer and thought, lets take this bus to Stoke-a-stis-city Hibiscus-city. Instead of a Stone IPA, this beer comes by way of “Belgian Style”, which means it has some fruity/spicy yeast things happening. Knowing Stone and their library of beers, I can sometimes taste the beer before it’s been opened, but not with these Stochasticity Project beers.

On the pour, I’ve never seen a gargoyle blush, but this beer looks like it got caught masturbating on a pile of furbees after playing with mom’s makeup. It’s showy like a a hibiscus plant in Hawaii. If this beer were in a vase, I would probably drink it, then tend to my flower garden, with gloves for safety.

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IMG_7032IMG_7033The bouquet is like sticking one’s nose in a box of Krispy Kreme raspberry/strawberry filled donuts. Some caramel malts and a breeze of orange peel adds to the complexity. The first few sips bring out more of the jelly-filled donut notes, balanced with some bitter cranberry and yeast spice. I also caught a metallic note, no doubt part of the hibiscus flower. I seem to recall other hibiscus beers doing something similar to my palate.

Hibiscusicity is a refreshing beer and will be out 9/15, just in time for our never-ending summer. Since I don’t really do Pumpkin Pie beers, this makes a nice alternative. It’s definitely worth checking out, if you can pronounce it! Had it? Let me know what you think below or on facebook/Twitter!

 

OCBeerBlog Tips for Surviving the OC Brew Ha Ha (Just the tip)

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Beer poured passionately from Bootleggers at a beer festival somewhere.

After attending hundreds of beer festivals all around the country, I can safely say I have some good tips on how to survive a craft beer festival. Now, these are not your average “wear comfy shoes” type of suggestions. This is some serious punk rock boy scout shit right here. Pay attention, folks.

wahlStep one: Manscape (or get your Wax on). You’re at a festival with buzzed people who like beer. The odds of you having something in common with the opposite/preferred sex is HUGE. Don’t just get the digits, seal the deal with an after plan and make some craft beer babies. Hook it up, people. It’s a fact that beer tastes better with a properly trimmed situation and a mound just ain’t cool. Don’t forget your nose, ears, eyebrows and pits as well. (If you need some work: My haircut guy, my lady’s wax lady).

New-Logo-Vertical-DarkStep two: (Pre-fest) Drive to a closeby restaurant and Uber/Cab it to the festival from there. Around the Brew Ha Ha, I’d suggest Tustin Marketplace on Jamboree/Irvine Blvd. We all know drinking and driving is horrible, but doing so on Santiago Canyon Road is even worse. There’s only one way in and one way out. After the fest, cab/uber it back to your ride and catch a movie, grab a burger or snooze in your car. Bonus points if you hit Totes Wine for some continued debauch with your Step 1 friend. Extra bonus points if you leave yourself a pack of gum and a water in your car!

8layerveggieburritoStep three: and this is a OCBeerBlog exclusive: Eat a Del Taco 8-Layer Veggie burrito before any beer festival. No fries, no extra taco…just the burrito. This fest has some whalez this year. If you get in the VIP session and have to eat first, I bet you’ll miss all the delicious Cascade beers. The Veggie Works burrito has just enough beans, rice and deliciousness to provide you with a layer of nutrition that will last until the cheap-ass non VIP hoard comes in. Once they get in, grab some actual festival food.

Anne Hathaway getting hydrated

Anne Hathaway getting hydrated

Step four: Do the ALS Ice bucket challenge down your throat (hydrate like a bowse). See your festival glass? Isn’t it cute? How many ounces is it? A few? Yay. Every hour, find a water source and drink at least twenty ounces. “You mean I have to fill the tiny fucker up seven times?” Yes, mister math wizard.

Step five: Bring a portable phone charger. There is nothing worse than a drunk slut with a dead phone. Between Untappd check-ins, snapchat (manscaped) dick picks, Instagrams, texts, sexts, facebooks, Tinders, Vines, Tweets, LinkedIn’s, TasteMade’s, Swarms or whatever battery sucking app it is you use, your shit will be dead as fuck after a beer fest. I bought a charger thing for twelve bucks that fully charges my dead iPhone in 30 minutes! $12!!! Damn suckas. Get two, one for you and one for your slutty step 1 friend.

Also: Sunscreen, condoms, cash, comfy shoes, sunglasses, dirndl, pretzel necklace, etc.

I hope this helps. See you at the Fifth OC Brew Ha Ha! Use our Four Brewers Show Discount code that knocks $10 off VIP before it sells out. 

 

2014 Predictions Coming True – High End Eateries Finally Add Craft Beer

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Nostradamus

New years day 2014, I sat with my laptop open pondering predictions for the year. Will this be the year of session IPA? Will Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton’s iCloud get hacked showing the world their nude bodies? I came up empty and searched the internet for “Nostradamus beer”. I was shocked to see this bold prediction in one of his secret books.

In the year of 2014, as the Blue Moon fades,

restaurants will have good beer where good food is made.

I’m pretty sure what the Nostradamus is trying to predict high-end eateries will finally get a decent beer list. By years end, a restaurant with an A+ chef and A+ wine list will no longer be in F- beer territory.

photo (2)I recently got a taste of this bold prediction in Irvine of all places at a posh place near John Wayne Airport called Bistango. Modern art fills their walls at every angle, twinkle-lights wrap the patio palm trees and relaxing jazz sets the mood. Among many happy-hour bound professionals, the thing I was most interested in was a proper beverage to accompany my food. Without taps, I thought the choices would be the usual macro lager or super-sweet Wit beer. When opening the drink menu, I was pretty shocked to see a lengthy beer list.

The menu seems to be very well thought out. Although missing are some stellar Orange County made beers, the list seems to have been formed by researching beer review websites. Going down the selections, all the beers featured are 90+ on beer advocate. IPA’s, Double IPA’s, Belgian beers, Wheat beers, Stouts and even wild/fruit beers round out the fifty or so beers included. All are priced appropriately.

photo (1)I asked my server what beer I should get with the daily special, a seafood Paella, he hesitated and said, “Porter.” Wise man! Bistango’s Paella was full of sweet clams, perfectly steamed mussels, plump scallops, snappy shrimp on top of a spicy bed of rice drowning in deliciousness. Deschutes Black Butte Porter would get the nod for the pairing as the rich roastyness of the beer calmed the heat and enhanced the delicate flavor of the seafood. Their bar/happy hour menu is tapas heavy, making a beer and bite an excellent choice pre-flight or perhaps to miss a bit of traffic. The rest of the menu is very well rounded if you’re in the mood for big bites.

One gripe: getting a frosty glass is not how one should roll with craft beer; ask your server for a room temp glass as many of the flavors and aromas of beer don’t open up until 54 degrees for some styles. I can only hope that the “frosty mug of ice cold beer” stigma will die with Nostradamus’ 2015 prediction.

Got a great $$$ or $$$$ restaurant that now serves craft beer? Give me a shoutout below or on twitter at @OCBeerBlog. Cheers!

Images credit Bistango Website.

 

Blog Hard Part 1 | Beer Bloggers Conference 2014 – Precon at Golden Road

IMG_6880Glendale, 1:02 PM in the home of Randy Clemens (blog sponsor —->)

A dripping wet Randy “Sir RachaClemens is probably the best way to kick off the 2014’s Beer Blogger’s Conference. “Here, try one of these and shoot the other”, he says handing me a small plastic foil-topped cup reading “K+ probiotic drink” and a glass of (fully legal) B-Vitamin dietary supplement. “Do I get a colonic too? You fucking LA dudes are hippies,” I reply, swinging my Pabst-glasses to the top of my head and swallowing it all down in one nervous gulp.

“I find it ironic we’re doing shots of health food made with lactobacillus and a fermentation process similar to beer.” I say, burping loudly. “Can I get you a beer Mr. Nagel?” “Nah, I’m waiting to see if these shots explode my butt.”

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first beer of BBC14: 329 Lager and a Carry On Taster

The conference pre-excursion that kicks off at Golden Road is a short walk from Casa de Clemens, but my baggage has ‘UBER’ written all over it. Just on the other side of the train tracks, we arrive at a packed ‘Pub at Golden Road'; many people dining al fresco under the blue summer sky. Beer happens quickly as two cold 329 Lagers arrive frothy, yet head-scraped. I admire its clarity, take two whiffs and get my mustache frothed. This beer is effortless to drink, lightly floral with a wisp of grass and LA sunshine.

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credit Anne Marie who texted me this pic from LAX

I order the messiest BBQ Chicken sandwich ever and a new beer called Carry On – Citrus Ale; a beer made and sold for Airport terminals. The bitterness seems surprisingly arrogant and the orange flavor brings me back to my childhood when I actually enjoyed Flintstone Vitamins. “Is this infused with Airborne®? That would actually be quite handy pre-flight,” I mutter while using every napkin on the table to clean my sauce-covered digits. I seriously look like I bathed in a vat of BBQ sauce. Thankfully LA has no bears.

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@brewdad and I are admired by the bartenders at Golden Road

After lunch, I identify the first blogger speed-walking up the ramp to the pub. A busload of beer bloggers is possibly the easiest thing in the world to observe in their natural habitat. Their plumage includes cargo shorts, brewery shirts, glowing smiles and cameras held up past their heads as they snap photos of whatever. Someone should compile all of the bloggers shots and make a David Hockney-style photo mosaic. I greet a few familiar faces and join the gang on the side patio near the defunct Aunt Sally court; taken down thanks to subsequent baby seal clubbings, or perhaps bad parenting.

P1080384P1080389Co-owner/President of Golden Road Meg Gill steps out to greet the gang with her curly blonde hair pulled back, snappy black dress and flats. “Welcome to Los Angeles! We’re really excited to have you guys come from all over the county to be here!” she says as I sip beer three: Berliner Weisse with raspberry syrup. After the speech, I chat with Meg and compliment her dress. “Thanks, it’s easy,” she says, blinking her deep grey-blue eyes grinning a surfer-girl smile. “We’ve got a new beer on the canning line right now I’m excited for you to try, it’s our new seasonal India Pale Lager called Might As Well IPL,” she says smiling bigger, batting lashes a few more times. I opt for the first tour while the other half works through a tasting flight of the core beers, 329 Lager, Hef, Get Up Offa That Brown and Point the Way IPA.

P1080394The tour starts off in Chloe’s, a clean yet divey-type speakeasy in back of the pub. “Is this where Boogie Nights was filmed?” I ask. “This is the pub, behind the pub, behind the pub,” someone replies in their best Vince Vaughn voice. Laurel Brooks, coolest chick ever (and Marketing Coordinator), smiles and takes the group through the history of how Meg met Tony Yanow, owner of several LA beer bars including Tony’s Darts Away; a pub serving only California-brewed craft beer and many vegan delights.

P1080396Golden Road has three brightly colored buildings; yellow, red and blue. Yellow is where you eat, drink and pee, red is for the office-types and cold storage, blue is where the sausage is made. I spy several interesting things in the cold box, one of which nobody can comment on, even though it’s been printed in the LA Times.

P1080397The brewery has changed vastly since my last visit only five months ago. The first thing I notice is the pilot brewhouse sitting deconstructed outside between buildings. “If anyone knows someone looking for a 15 bbl brewhouse, let us know!” says Laurel. Outside we’re greeted by brewer Tim Harbage, recent recipient of the Matt Courtright Memorial Brewing Scholarship. Pink laces flopping about on his brew-boots, Tim escorts us in past a 200 bbl fermenter named Phil as the smell of beer being brewed fills the nearly Yuma-hot air on the brewdeck.

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P1080407The new canning line is the pièce de résistance. Before: one can at a time was filled, sealed and hand-packaged. Now: a modern canning line zooms through a pallet of cans in minutes. As production is up from 15,000 to an expected 30,000 barrels this year, it’s only a matter of time until this new system will need a friend.

P1080398Taking a can of the new IPL off the line had me singing the theme to Laverne & Shirley, and the ultra bright hoppyness of the beer had me sniffing the can-hole like a weirdo. With all the beers we are about to embark on throughout the day, one more surely won’t hurt. “Should I drink the whole thing?” Might as well, motherfucker…Might as well.

Thanks for the hospitality, hugs and awesome beer, Golden Road. See you soon.

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This post is part of Greg Nagel’s Beer Blogger Conference coverage. Check back for more posts! #bbc14

My Beerish Golden Foodie Picks for Week Two (Electric Boogaloo)

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Week two nominations are upon us (cough, cough…YOU). Your fingers actually have to go to the website and type these things in. Last week I was pretty impressed that four of my beerish nominations made it in. Is craft beer winning or are these places just that good? You be the judge! GO HERE TO VOTE YOU GUYS

  • ITALIANPizzeria Ortica, Costa Mesa. My vote for last week’s best pizza lives on! Read my beer dinner post over at Food Enthusiast Mag to find out why I pick them for Italian as well! Carolinas has a beer list of 286 beers as well, but the food at Ortica is that much better.
  • MediterraneanOlive Tree, Anaheim. This is probably the only restaurant on the planet I’ll recommend that doesn’t have beer. It’s so good I went for my birthday last year. Seriously. Is middle eastern Mediterranean? Dave Lieberman said “abtholutely” and I believe him. The Sunday leg-o-lamb is my jam. If you venture down to SD, check out California Kebab and Brewpub! 
  • Wine List – Judging by the beer tap handles at Sea Legs Wine Bar, I’m giving them the nod for having a varied array of boutique wines covering the spectrum. The beer list is local and the food is ridiculously good. Read about my St. Patrick’s day tap takeover with them and Noble Ale Works here!
  • French – Does beer exist to the French? The Globe in Garden Grove is close enough I guess. A torrent of Belgian beer on tap and their new chef is from France…close enough? The Belgian Nachos are silly, but addictive.
  • Steak – The Summit House, Fullerton. I was surprised to see a nice menu of local Bruery beers to back up my cowslab. Nice view of Fullerton and the occasional oxygen tank.
  • Sushi – Sushi Noguchi in Yorba Linda is the real deal. Ask Hiro or Jun for local craft beer every time you go and maybe they’ll add some sooner than later. Until then, a pitcher of Kirin’s (brewed in the US) beer will make do.
  • Tacos – Although Taco Asylum technically has the best beer list of any taco joint, I have to recommend Soho Taco Truck, especially when they’re parked in front of a local brewery! The shrimp taco is bursting with sweet, snappy shrimp and an array of salsas to balance things out.
  • Happy Hour – TAPS Fish House & Brewery, Brea. Hands down the best happy hour menu ever and award-winning beers to back it up. Although Victor Novak recently left, I still vouch for the beer until I hear otherwise.

GO HERE TO VOTE YOU GUYS

My (Beerish) Golden Foodie Award Picks (Week 1)

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A place is only as good as its beer list right? Show your favorite beer-friendly eatery some love at this year’s Golden Foodie Awards! Here’s my picks for week one! Vote here! 

  1. Best Mexican Food – Anepalco’s Cafe, Orange. Anepalco’s French-prepared Mexican cuisine is as tasty as it is beautiful to look at. Paired with local beer on tap? Total win. (C’mon Taco Maria, go local. Nobody should have Shipyard IPA in SoCal. Do you get your masa from Maine too?)
  2. Best Vegetarian FoodAvanti Cafe, Costa Mesa. Last year I went vegan for three months. Avanti’s food tastes like actual food, not a science experiment meat clone. Housed walking distance from Hi-Time Wine Cellar, you can guarantee their four taps rotate with quality product. Runner ups: Seabirds Kitchen, Tender Greens, Healthy Junk (and Junk Bar). Their beer is vegan too, which is why Bison and Uinta are on tap.
  3. Pizza – uh, Pizza Port in San Clemente is the obvious choice, but places like Pizzeria Ortica in Costa Mesa, Rances and Pitfire Pizza are taking beer seriously. I’d give the nod to Ortica because the chef’s homebrew saison is better than mine. His pies are legit as well! Out of the Park Pizza is a local favorite of beer geeks with one of the best tap lists in the county. Nod to Fuoco in Fullerton for making a serious delicious pie and good beer options.
  4. Beer – Now, this is sort of like picking the OCBeerBlog best beer bar in Orange County, which is true. This place must have taps that are rare, fresh and served at proper temp in clean/proper glassware. The beer menu must be meticulously planned (not 80% IPA’s, for instance). The servers must be smiley and knowledgeable about beer without being snobbish like a 1995 Tower Records employee. The servers should know the menu and what’s on tap and be willing to offer up pairing suggestions. Prices must be in line with other places (no $8 pale ales, for instance). For me it’s a tossup between Beachwood BBQ in Seal Beach or The Playground DTSA. Not only is their beer list well planned, the food is also killer!
  5. American Cuisine – See #4. Add in Chapter One: The Modern Local if you like Ketchup.
  6. Burger – This is tough as I’m very particular with my burgers. I like them no bigger than my fist so I can easily fit a beer and some fries in my belly without exploding. Haven Gastropub’s Lamb Burger is one I always go back to. Nods to Fireside Tavern’s burger/beer Thursday where the chef recreates fast food burger masterpieces.
  7. Best Cocktail320 Main in Seal Beach makes the only beer cocktail I’ve ever liked, so nods go to them. The Detroiter has notes of bit-o-honey balanced with the hoppy bite of beer. Joe over at The Playground also shakes and stirs nicely.
  8. Best Food Talk Radio Show? I only listen to podcasts and I hear Four Brewers is great. Beer is food right?

Get over there and vote before the week is up! 

Forging a Brewhouse: Barley Forge in Costa Mesa

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Update! Opening 10/25 at 11:30 A.M.

If you were to look at beer like a simple math equation, it looks a little like this: People + Brewery = Beer. With the millions of combinations of each, it’s no wonder we have a zillion flavor profiles, bottle art and brewer vision. Barley Forge Brewing Co in Costa Mesa is no different. With just around a month few days left to open, here’s some insight of what to expect when the math is complete.

People – Greg Nylen (owner) and Dave Hulls Kevin Buckley (brewer). Greg is an older guy with a full head of grey hair looking mildly like a young John Lithgow. He speaks sharply from his years as an attorney as his day job. Even today, his court-ready suit lays neatly across a couch in the back office, ready for retirement. He started homebrewing in law school around 24 years ago after visiting Portland. He joined the Maltose Falcons homebrew club, got great feedback as well as went through their beer judge class to hone his palate craft. After doing well at competitions, he thought, “Maybe I can do this.”

Dave Hulls helped build the brewery, then headed back to fill the brewboots of Victor Novak back at TAPS Fish House & Brewery. Greg and team hired Kevin Buckley, a journeyman brewer that manned the mash paddle at places like Alpine Beer Co, BackStreet Brewing and Latitude 33 (among others back east in Iowa). I look forward to trying his beers here in Orange County.

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View from the brewhouse. Orange room is the kitchen, left is the entry way, tasting room, bottling line and offices. On the right is cold storage, kegging and employee area.

Brewery –  Situated in a small industrial area behind the Lab/Camp area off of Bristol and Baker sits the brewhouse. My first impression? Gorgeous. What sets Barley Forge apart from other start-ups is they will have a kitchen that will serve cheese/charcuterie and sandwiches. A BBQ smoker will also happen at some point. “Costa Mesa doesn’t like food trucks so we’re going our own route,” says Greg. The tasting room is bold and put together with an industrial-antique feel. Old Brunswick bowling alley seats, thick repurposed wood tables and tap handles that resemble a metal forging hammer will round out the brewery vibe.

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Seven fermenters ready for beer.

P1080183As Costa Mesa is craft beer black hole, the location couldn’t be better. Seemingly 200 possible accounts are within walking distance, or at least driving distance with their huge military vehicle that will be used for deliveries, beer festivals and parades. “A tap handle will be installed sooner than later on the back,” says Greg.

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Building a brewery is dusty. This panel still has the DET sticker from it’s previous home in Michigan.

Barley Forge bottle mockup 2 Don PerfectoBeer: They haven’t produced beer yet, but 12oz heritage bottles will soon be rolling off their line filled with a Belgian Dark Strong, Dortmunder Export, DIPA, Wit and a beer with dark Agave syrup. The brewhouse is configured for decoction mash to really dial in euro-styles Dave is familiar with brewing at Gordon Biersch and TAPS.

DON PERFECTO
Belgian-Style Witbier with Horchata-Style Spices
5.1% ABV

Like the ideal husband, Don Perfecto (“Mr. Right”) will always be faithful, bring you flowers “just because,” put the toilet seat down without being asked, and bring home the bacon on bended knee. What more could you ask for? This tall, handsome beer is a Belgian-style witbier brewed with a twist that’ll treat you right — malted wheat, two-row malted barley, Mexican cinnamon, vanilla, and a bit of lactose, evoking the refreshing flavor of horchata. Whether out on the town, or enjoying a quiet evening at home, Don Perfecto and you are a perfect match.
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EL RUDO
Amber Ale with Agave Extract
5.7% ABV

The famed heroic luchadores of Mexico face off in the wrestling arena with villains, classified as “Los Rudos” or “Tough Guys.” These bruisers skirt the edges of fair play, challenging the heroes to prevail with honor even when the odds are against them. Brewed in homage to these rebels of the ring, El Rudo is bold and assertive — a smoky amber ale brewed with agave extract and West Coast hops that is sure to rescue you from the clutches of those bland, flavorless, play-by-the-rules lagers on a hot summer day.

THE BLACK DAHLIA
Belgian-Style Dark Ale
11% ABV
Like a great film noir classic set in post-war Los Angeles, this deep, dark beer takes some time to unravel and fully appreciate, its secrets revealing themselves as the flavor plays out on your palate. By the time you’ve finished a glass of this Belgian-style dark ale (preferably in a goblet you have allowed to warm up to you, like a Hollywood ingénue), you will discover the truths its candi sugar, complex malt bill, and exotic European hops and yeast uncover. The Black Dahlia is an enigma you’ll want to ponder again and again.

THE ORANGE CURTAIN
India Pale Ale
6.2% ABV
Our neighbor Angelenos joke about going behind “The Orange Curtain” when they cross the county line — like some Cold War-era spy sneaking into the Soviet Union. We get it. It’s different here in Orange County. But we invite you to cross that line and try what we have to offer, like this India Pale Ale. Dry and crisp, with some Maris Otter malt for a bit of sweetness and a mix of West Coast hops. We trust you will enjoy this great tasting beer and find that it’s not so scary down here behind The Orange Curtain after all.

ONE LOUDER
Double India Pale Ale
8.3% ABV
Shining a spotlight on hop flavor instead of hop bitterness, One Louder is the perfect brew for any rockstar hophead bold enough to enjoy life at full volume. One Louder is a Double India Pale Ale brewed with a head-banging blend of of Simcoe, Centennial, Chinook, Warrior, and Amarillo hops. But don’t fear – all that explosive hop insanity is steadied and balanced by a malty backbeat of Maris Otter and US 2-Row malt. Rock out with one of America’s loudest beers!

GRANDPA TRACTOR
Dortmunder-Style Export Lager
5% ABV
A true Dortmunder-style export lager, brewed with noble hops and European pilsen malt. Enjoy this beer on a hot day or with spicy food … a refreshing German- inspired alternative to West Coast hop-forward beers.

The beer labels feature illustrations inspired by the familiar Mexican card game Lotería. The five ales will be available immediately on the brewery’s opening; the lager will be available a few weeks after opening.

More pics/info coming soon! Visit their website here! 

 

 

Brooklyn Brewery (in pics)

When in Brooklyn, you must tour Brooklyn Brewery. There’s two brewsystems on site in Brooklyn and a contract brewery in upstate NY. I sampled several interesting beers, namely Ridgy-Didge, a spiced beer tasting somewhat like a beer with ginger and a session Saison with all Sorachi Ace hops coming in at 3.5%. Having brewed a session Saison with all Sorachi ace I took home from Sierra Nevada Beer Camp, this beer brought back some memories! I also fully welcome session Saison over thin session IPA. And now…get your Garrett Olivered with these pics (I’d write more, but I’m on a ferry to Staton Island.)

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Shopping List: Fourth of July Weekend

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This is you trying to figure out what beers to buy this weekend

I don’t condone drinking to excess, but there’s something distinctly American about celebrating our independence from the British with a few combustibles and of course great American beer. Long lighter in one hand, tulip glass in the other, I like to chant “USA, USA” while watching safe & sane fountains spew fart-smelling smoke and sparks in the air. Before the shelves run empty, what beers should you pick up for the big weekend? Here’s my 2014 shopping list:

photo1. Stone Unapologetic IPA - When it comes to whipping British ass, don’t be sorry! Celebrate your freedom unapologetically with this brand new collab beer from Stone Brewing. I think we can all agree Mitch Steele, Julian Shrago and Jamil Zainasheff know how to make a hoppy beer, so I’m not going to waste your time describing this experimentally hopped DIPA. You were going to get it anyway, right? Right.

Ketland12) Growler of Noble Ale Works Pistol Whip’d Pils – In the revolutionary war, I’m sure some jaggy British teeth were knocked out by way of flintlock pistol. With misfires a problematic drawback of the weapon, it’s heavy barrel was probably used for more pistol whipping than anything. Noble’s Pils is a dry, hoppy and sessionable lager.

3babygotback) The Bruery Loakal Red – I literally just figured out the spelling with the word OAK in Loakal. Man I’m slow! I always thought Patrick Rue was a bad speller. I’ve had this beer hundreds of times over the years and I just got it! Wow! I also knew part of this beer sat on oak. Only distributed in Orange County, what better way to celebrate stomping red coats than with an oaked red ale? The color will remind you of the blood of those lost on the battlefields some 200+ years ago.

4) TAPS Cream Ale – When brewmaster Victor Novak first started brewing in Philly 20+ years ago, he cut his teeth on this light and bright beer The small amount of English fuggles in the beer are somewhat tea-like and will remind you of the Boston Tea Party that led to the American Revolution. A bit of a stretch? Maybe. Suggested food pairing: freedom fries and hot dogs. Bonus points if you pick up your growler during happy hour and eat all kinds of great stuff on the cheap. TAPS happy hour = my favorite in OC.

Can't believe Stephen Hawking photobombed a perfectly good beer pic

Can’t believe Stephen Hawking photobombed a perfectly good beer pic (credit Jessica McNew)

5) Bottle Logic She Shot First – Sure, Stephen Hawking is British, but you’d never know that without hearing him speak. As long as Bottle Logic is his favourite brewery, I’ll give him a pass. “She Shot”, as they say at the brewery, is a pale wheat ale with prominent bitterness and some nice fruity hop aroma.

Have fun and happy beer shopping!