This New-Old Brewery Will Bookend the La Palma Beer Trail

We’ve all had a classic Americana-style Knowlwood burger in our lives, but the Anaheim Hills/Yorba/Placentia tri-city area location will soon transform into a local brewery. After checking the California ABC permit lookup for 5665 E La Palma Ave, Anaheim where Knowlwood was, the location has a coveted type 23 Small Beer Manufacturer license as the restaurant had begun to move in brewing equipment, but they ended closing suddenly this week. Bust out the bugle, it’s time for…

teaser taster

TAPS will be opening in that ol’ Knowlwood barn in the coming months… “TAPS Great American Brewery, yes, it’s a long name with a loooong story,” says TAPS co-owner Joe Manzella. “It combines the elements of the tasting room success of Tustin, but with a more sophisticated and larger menu than Tustin and the new Yorba Linda TAPS Brewery & Kitchen (another new spot that is slated to open soon).

Inside TAPS newest Tustin Brewery and Barrel room.

TAPS American Brewery will be 5,000 square feet with 16 taps and will also have elements of the classic Brea menu. “It’s more approachable, priced right, high quality, with lots going on to compliment the beer and our legacy of success,” adds Joe. It’ll have a big patio, fire pits, games, beer garden, and be family-friendly.

Empetus Baltic Stout, a collab with Mikkel himself. Photo by Nagel

Perhaps the most exciting thing about TAPS is the official re-launch of their barrel program, which from years past has gained notoriety with beers like Remy and the single-barrel variants. The first beer to come out of wood is a collaboration with Mikkel of famed Mikkeller; a huge Baltic-style stout called Empetus, complete with a metal-as-fuck logo and matte-black bottle packaging.

TAPS is bringing sexy back.

Empetus is the first of its kind. TAPS Brewing and Mikkel (yeah, that Mikkel) got together and said, “let’s do a big barrel-aged lager,” notes director of brewing ops Kyle Manns. “My complaint with baltic porters is always the special B component which adds raisiny fig,” says Kyle, looking to find a unique recipe.

The finished product, at least coming out of the brite tank, is a black canvas that’s barrel-pungent on the nose with bits of vanillin and some cis-oak lactones, layered with a healthy dose of dark chocolate, and general beer stoutness, which is honestly a welcome approach to the dessert bombs of the 2020’s. It’s a 12+% stout you can easily dome without getting the sugar shakes. There’s nothing wrong with those beers, but this welcome addition comes off dry and clean despite having a hefty 9 plato of residual long-chain sugars floating about.

Overall thoughts on both? TAPS is one of the godfathers of craft beer in OC with strong foothold with classic styles with their old Brea brewpub. We’ve seen what they can do with their new brewery, tasting room, and food truck in Tustin (it was my fave new brewery OCWeekly 2019 editors choice). Finding a foothold in Yorba Linda/Anaheim Hills in the beer business is basically uncharted territory, and the “Great American” stuff should play well with the older locals. One thing I’d be concerned with is the BA’s Dr. Bart Watson’s age chart of alcohol drinkers, but it is just a couple miles from Stereo Brewing and Honey Pot, so it’s well within a La Palma beer crawl. Plus there’s food! The beer has always been solid and keeps getting better, so I say, more TAPS!

Darkstar Dinner Done Right

gnag3876It’s tough to write about beer dinners as the numbers show: people don’t like to read about them. As you’ve probably already nodded off to sleep, I’ll get to the nitty-gritty. The 2016 Darkstar November beer dinner was probably one of the best beer dinners I’ve been to. Why? It was relaxed. It was paced. It had hospitality. It didn’t have a billion calories. There wasn’t a nasty slab of pork belly. The dishes were portioned well. The beer pairings actually worked. It wasn’t overly gluttonous. It seems like Bottle Logic is getting incredibly comfortable pulling these dinners off. Crazy, huh?

The plates, for your scrolling pleasure…

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Course one: Foie Gras, pickled mustard seeds, rhubarb, strawberry paired with Berlinier Equation with strawberry and rhubarb. Although pretty, mustard and foie was pretty funky, but a great place to start.

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Course two: Autumn Salad – seasonal veggies, ricotta solata, brown butter vinaigrette paired with Dark Harvest. The beer had a nice vintage root beer vibe that filled in the flavor gaps of the seasonal salad. Quite beautiful and a nice step in the dinner progression. Lovely fall colors as well.

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The best thing ever plated in an Anaheim alley, course three.

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Course three is when the tables got loud cutting into little Gnudi balls. Butternut squash puree was licked out of bowls. Sour Prince, the two-year-old experiment finally paid off. It tasted vinous, woody, tart, finished, polished. I’m really looking forward to A) more sour beer from Bottle Logic and B) more food from chef Patrick. This pairing was incredible.

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Course four - light and fluffy red snapper plopped on squash with a groovy onion, potato and asparagus to floss with. Love this almost intermezzo main before the main. Although Tattered Prince paired well, we all yearned for something hoppy.

Course four – light and fluffy red snapper plopped on squash with a groovy onion, potato, and asparagus to floss with. Love this almost intermezzo main before the main. Although Tattered Prince paired well, we all yearned for something hoppy. IPA intermezzo?

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Five: The best thing I’ve ever had at a beer dinner. Braised lamb belly that had a mutton jerky vibe on a grits-based tamal and mole drizzle…holy hell. Inventive, layered, textured, colorful, and, oh yeah, paired well with Darkstar November 2016 that is easily the best year yet. Blown. Away.

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Cheers to the team!

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Dessert: Textures of Chocolate. Who knew persimmon would go well with chocolate and BBA stout?

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Jam the Radar, Mostra Darkstar, and Darkstar November 2016. Incredible! Jam the Radar should be called Pornstar November. Sees candies, booze, decadent.

Anaheim’s Newest Fortress of Solitude: UNSUNG BREWING

 

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Buzzman, in a slightly tapered becker glass during the soft opening.

January 2014 I wrote a blog on how Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait wanted to create “Brew City, USA”, a quick piece with fun facts like “San Diego has 70+ breweries.” Wow! Time has flown in just two years.

GNAG2725Shortly thereafter, a man named Michael Crea from Ohio was looking to start a brewery on the west coast. He saw the blog, then reached out to Anaheim for possible locations. Unfortunately, he quickly learned his dream name “Hero Brewing” wouldn’t be possible out here, and he had to re-design things from the ground up.

GNAG2724Fast forward two and half years, Unsung Brewing is now a thing…two short blocks from my house in the Anaheim Colony Historic District, in the heart of the city’s burgeoning foodie culture across from the Packing District.

 

Unsung’s branding is centered around a made-up comic book universe, where each beer is represented by a character, and even has a great side story. Beer styles are even being mutated; Buzzman, an American Mutant Ale, for example is a crushable lawnmower beer. Anthia, their dry and hoppy IPA, has been gushed about in other blog posts. The branding is incredible, the beer, even for a new brewery, is crushably clean, well rounded, and full of flavor.

Cheers to Mayor Tait on helping to bring in great small businesses like Unsung, as they create great spaces for the community to enjoy over a delicious beer!

GNAG2712Parking tip from a local: Set your GPS to 42nd Street, Anaheim 92805 and park across Broadway from Umami Burger.

Grand Opening is Friday, August 5! See you there! 

Address: 500 S. Anaheim Blvd., Anaheim 92805

www.unsungbrewing.com

Logical Menu Programming | FO Beer Dinner 2016

Tripping over my cat at 12:05 A.M. with two bags of glassware and four bottles of Fundamental Observation wasn’t the burglar-like entrance I had hoped, especially with a belly full of six courses of food and all the beers. The dogs came out to investigate the situation, one growling and kicking her back legs like a bull. The other, sniffs my leg and wags, obviously knowing what kind of shenanigans I had just endured. If this dog were human, she would be a foodie.

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Cooking in an alley, alley, alley – Patrick Whittaker, our chef of the evening.

Three hours prior, we were ushered into the back brewery of Bottle Logic Brewing. Big ass fan blowing DDB’s man-musk out of the room from the first seating, I’m guided to my table, delighted to see who I’m sitting next to: chef Cody Storts, Brandon Buckner (of Bottle Logic), main squeeze Christina, and Sean and Jessica McNew. A rowdy table, no doubt. I can ask chef questions about the food, and hit Brandon up about the beers.

You, light up my life, you give me hope...

You, light up my life, you give me hope… Haze Flux Vermont Style DIPA

Having been to the Darkstar November beer dinner earlier this year, I knew what chef Patrick Whittaker and the Bottle Logic team were capable of. What’s truly impressive is a brewery that has skilled staff to pull this thing off. There’s a million ways a dinner like this could go awry, especially if not done with regularity. The first improvement is Bottle Logic borrowed a food truck to use as a kitchen instead of cooking in the cramped brewery.

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Course one: Hamachi

My favorite moments of the night were many, but to name a few, the stone fruit salad paired with Berlinear Equation w/apricot & peaches was stellar. Refreshing on the warm night, the bready/stonefruity beer finishes clean and tart. The stonefruit vs. stonefruit beer seemed a bit obvious, but the real star of the show was a nip of basil that was like a ten-pin kicker when bowling a strike. Fantastic pairing.

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Getting stoned on stonefruit and Berlinear Observation with apricot and peach

One lobster tail and beef cheek later, the buzz hits. Haze Flux, Bottle Logic’s hazy Vermont style IPA was bursting with mango and pineapple notes. It didn’t take me long to blend the Bourbon Barrel aged and plain Cobaltic Porter pours into a cuvee to soften the blow of what was to come: Three versions of Fundamental Observation…holy shit, you guys!

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Fundamental Observation, sweating like me.

The first version, FO 2016 with Mostra Coffee gave the beer an ice cream-like smoothness. I pinched myself to stop myself from incessantly huffing the beer, like a man possessed. I saved the last half of the glass for my buddy Natalie DeNicholas, who helped the chef team prep and plate the dinner. She blew me a kiss. This beer is what makes me fall in love with beer all over again. Putting lipstick on a whale. Still a whale, but more attractive, for sure.

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Hospitality (and grammar) maestro, Lindsay Langton, w/ Patrick

Vanilla-vanilla Fundamental Observation is as good as 2015, albeit slightly different. It’s not as sweet, seems a tad lighter in body, and is backed with a poof of heat. The vanilla is way more punchy in the profile, which may fade with age. It’s a world class beer, I think the changes are more to my liking.

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Back alley Fundamental Observation purchases at 11:42 P.M.

Lastly, Fundamental Forces, a straight up vanilla booze jam and cheese plate closes out the night. “We keep feeding the yeast with more and more sugar until it gives up,” says Dylan Mobley, their brewer. Is it like 20% ABV? I’d like to try this beer on its own, not after the bellygasm that just took place.

My only complaint of the evening was the heat. Drinking big beers and multiple courses requires a certain temperature as to not get a sheen of glistening meat sweats. All in all, a hell of a lot of fun, and damn if I don’t feel like a 1%’er getting a seat. Keep up the fun, awesome releases like you do, Bottle Logic!

More pics:

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Lobster and Brexity pea vichyssoise (pronounced vishy swaz), whose kumquat paired well with the hazy DIPA.

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“HHHMMMBEEF…CHEEEKS!” Is what I yelled with this landed in front of me. Paired with all the Cobaltic Porters. So meaty, Bottle Logic. So meaty.

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The richest thing I’ve ever eaten. Inside the See’s candy looking chocolate puck is foie gras, which made me sweat with the Mostra Coffee FO. Super rich. YOOJ richness. Also I love me some chantilly cream and fucking Rainier cherries.

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“this is a fundamental beer dinner!” “you hit it right on the nose, bob!”

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Chef Cody Storts of Grits Fullerton and Chef Craig Brady of Haven Gastropub, both here to check out the dinner.

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my tablemates

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(april fools) Adding to Anaheim: Disneyland Adds Themed Brewpub in California Adventure

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Guess which tap is Wookey Jack? Photo @deniserat

Disneyland California Adventure has featured local craft beer for some time. When news broke this morning about the new brewhouse in California Adventure, I strapped on my mouse ears and screamed the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse theme! M I C K E…, WHY? Because you love Craft beer!

The Tap List:

  • Elsa’s Eisbock
  • Snow Wit
  • Jane Porter
  • Tinkerbell’s Pixie Dust New England Style IPA
  • The Abominable Hefeweizen
  • Indiana Jones IPA Adventure
  • Jack’s Big Pumpkin Beer (fall seasonal)
  • Geppetto’s Nose Barrel Aged Barley Wine
  • Merida’s Irish Red
  • Pooh’s Honey Blonde
  • Bippity Boppity Brown
  • John Smith’s ESB
  • Dumbo’s Spins Triple IPA
  • Chip & Dale’s Nut Brown Ale
  • Belle’s Beastly Biere de Garde
  • Pirates Rum Barrel Aged Ginger Beer
  • Haunted Mansion Ghost Pepper Pale Ale
  • Mr. Toads Wild Rye IPA
  • Tiki Room Coconut Milk Stout
  • Little Mermaid’s Whozits’s and Whatzits Salty Gose
  • Walt’s Watermelon Wheat
  • Song of the South Stout
  • Sing Sweet Nighten’ Ale, A Cinderella Blonde (served in souvenir glass slipper with optional white glove and tiarra)
  • To Infinity and Beyond Space Pale Ale
  • Peoplemover Pilsner
  • April Fools OMG LOL.