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.

Cismontane RSM Location Set to Become “Laguna Beach Beer Co. @RSM”

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img via facebook

I don’t normally copy/paste press releases, but this is a lot to take in. Basically, Cismontane is moving all production to Santa Ana. Cismontane’s RSM location will now be Laguna Beach Beer Company, with a kitchen.

November 2, 2016
PRESS RELEASE – For Immediate Distribution
Laguna Beach Beer Company to acquire Cismontane Brewing Company’s RSM Brewery! Orange County, CA

Laguna Beach Beer Company today announced an agreement to acquire Cismontane Brewing Company’s production facility and tasting room in Ranch Santa Margarita, CA. Laguna Beach Beer Company plans to expand the existing location to include a kitchen, additional seating and to rebrand the space as “Laguna Beach Beer Company @RSM ”, which will offer the Rancho Santa Margarita and surrounding Orange County communities a new destination to celebrate the joy of craft beer and great food.

Cismontane retains its brand name and trademark and will continue its planned growth at its own new brewing facility and tasting room in Santa Ana, CA. The transition to Laguna Beach Beer Company @RSM is expected over the next few months, following the transfer of applicable permits and licenses. The two companies will continue to cooperate in the coming months as Laguna Beach Beer Company ramps up its production in the RSM brewery. This agreement benefits both companies. The facility will provide Laguna Beach Beer Company with additional production capacity to support its planned brew pub in Laguna Beach (which is under development and scheduled to open in the spring of 2017). It will also provide a chance to introduce the brand and taste of Laguna Beach Beer Company to other communities in Orange County.

“The opportunity for Laguna Beach Beer Company to partner with Cismontane and to acquire a turnkey brewing facility that has room for expansion and is strategically located near our Laguna Beach brew pub location is rare and unique. We could not be happier about this transaction and partnering with Evan and Ross at Cismontane. We also look forward to becoming a part of, sharing our beers with, and serving the RSM community” stated Brent Reynard, Laguna Beach Beer Company’s co-founder and CEO.

As part of the transition Cismontane has started brewing Laguna Beach Beer Company’s beers in the RSM facility to enable them to open with a full-line up of their core beers as soon as the ABC license changes hands. “This transaction and transition is mutually beneficial and a good fit for both companies and we are fortunate to have found a flexible partner in Laguna Beach Beer Company, because once the brewery is taken over by Laguna Beach Beer Company, Cismontane will continue to brew its beers at the RSM brewery while we transition our operations to our new Santa Ana brewing facility” said Evan Weinberg, co-founder and CEO of Cismontane.

Patrons and beer enthusiasts will be able to sample beers from both Laguna Beach Beer Company and Cismontane at the RSM location. Even after Cismontane fully transfers its operations to its new Santa Ana facility, Laguna Beach Beer Company has indicated that it plans to continue offering some of the Cismontane beers on tap as it plans to offer select guest beers in the RSM tasting room. The terms of the transaction are confidential and will not be publicly disclosed. This is a mutually beneficial transaction and relationship and will foster a more robust and collaborative brewing culture in Orange County.

Provst! Cismontane Brewing Company and Laguna Beach Beer Company

About Laguna Beach Beer Company: Founded by homebrew enthusiasts and surfing buddies Brent Reynard and Michael Lombardo, Laguna Beach Beer Company began distributing its beers in 2014 to accounts throughout Orange County. The company is currently constructing a brew pub in Laguna Canyon, approximately a half mile from Laguna’s Main Beach. The Laguna Beach brew pub is targeted to open to in the spring of 2017 and will
produce specialty beers that evoke the Laguna Beach images of surf, sand, art and coastal landscape. Together the Laguna Canyon and RSM locations will provide Laguna Beach Beer Company with production capacity of over 6,000 barrels.
About Cismontane Brewing Company: Cismontane was founded in 2009 by longtime friends Evan Weinberg and Ross Stewart. Since the opening they have brewed over 150 styles of beers including pilsners, sours, ales of all kinds and barrel aged blends and boozy monsters. They have had the great fortune of getting their start in the beautiful mountain side town of Rancho Santa Margarita, CA. The natural wonders and unique culture of southern California have inspired many of the beers and events they have done. They are very much looking forward to continuing that path and expanding by adding a still into the production line in the next year!

Evan Weinberg of Cismontane Back in the Brew Saddle, Writes Guest Post, Releases Small Beers

Small Beers Brewing from Cismontane

By Evan Weinberg

View More: http://beerandbaking.pass.us/bottlelogic

Co-Owners of Cismontane, Ross Stewart and Evan Weinberg (photo – Nagel)

It’s not often we do something different as brewers these days. With so many brands and everyone trying to push the envelope of sour, hoppy, high gravity, barrel aged, cloudy and whatever else captures the attention of the consumer, it’s hard to keep up. Shit, it’s hard to care. This may be an artifact of us being a “transitional” brewery in size and tenure.  

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We aren’t the new kid on the block, we aren’t rich, we don’t have branding, a beer or a tasting room that blown up on the beer scene. This makes us both vulnerable and a bit more stable at the same time. Strange but true. For instance: All the new brands will chip away at our handles because everyone always wants the shiny new toy on tap. We aren’t quite big enough to enjoy volume insulation by having permanent handles, inexpensive packaged beer to keep volume, and multiple sales reps on the ground to keep our foot in the door of accounts with constantly changing lineups. On the other hand we aren’t doing this from scratch, we have accounts that do support us no matter what, and have since the beginning, some chain account merchandised through our distribution partners, and enough volume to keep the lights on. This along with a host of other issues like lacking economies of scale and having a wholesale to retail ratio that is skewed to the much lower margin is what makes us what I like to think of as “transitional” small brewery. We are on the larger end of the “long tail” of the beer world. This is the plight of the small brewer. We know it better than most.

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This is part of what inspired this brewing project. The other part of that was having to brew again, A LOT. One of our brewers was hired away from the company so I had to step into the brew house again. It wasn’t a ton of brewing but, I had the mash paddle back in hand. It felt good. Nothing like climbing in a Mash Tun at 120 degrees and 100% humidity to remind you what you like about this job. We were cranking our core beers, some seasonal, and a few specialties here and there. Then came the next phase in my brewing schedule. It was brewing D-day. By that I mean “Dad day”, our head brewer, Scott Holden, had a new baby. This is the point when I embarked on a three week brewing marathon that resulted in creating what I like to call Small Beers Brewing.

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A bit on Small Beers: Small beers are a style that most people don’t know about. This is because most brewers just don’t make them. It can be a fair amount of extra work and unfamiliar territory. Generally, made from the second runnings of a very strong beer’s mash. Small beers typically end up lower alcohol and are traditionally simple flavor-wise. To clarify, the runnings are the liquid that comes off the grain (or grist or mash – depending what term makes sense to you) into the kettle that will be boiled to make a beer. The second runnings are the liquid leftover in the mash once you get what’s needed for the beer you were intending to brew. If that beer is very strong the second running can be strong enough to make a beer with an ABV anywhere between 3% – 5% pretty easily. I find that we get about 2/3 of the total volume of the primary with the seconds. I know what you are thinking, “No one wants to drink a 3% beer in this market. Didn’t you read your first paragraph?” Yes, your average consumer wants bigger, badder and funkier but, I (and many beer vets I know) want to drink 3% and 4% beers! We are burned out on over hyped and pallet smashing whatever’s. This doesn’t mean we aren’t thirsty as the next guy! When I have a beer after a hot and exhausting brew shift, I drink that fist beer in about 30 seconds!

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Speaking of hot and exhausting, let’s get back to the brewing marathon… our brewery is set up as a manual brewing beast. Every bag of grain is lifted multiple times on a brew day. When you brew a beer that has 1,000 pounds of grain you lift it at least 2 times not including taking it out of the mash tun. If you brew a double shift it turns into about 4,000 pounds of lifting, two hot-ass grain outs, 14–16 hours on your feet, a steamy sauna like kettle scrub, and ice cold beer at the finish line! Oh, and if you are doing it again the next day you have to mill all that grain so pick up every bag 2 more times! Two doubles back to back and you are lifting 8,000lbs!

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To add insult to injury, when we brew Double IPA or Imperial Stout the amount of grain is the max we can use in the brewhouse and for double IPA you have to brew an extra batch to get the volume up. Not cool! That’s when I looked at the schedule and there it was, 30 barrels of Imperial Stout and 45 barrels of DIPA. Shit.

I got wise…. by brewing small a beer I could turn my 14 hour day into a 12 hour day, brew almost as much beer (Small beers have less volume) and only mash in once! Not to mention I get 2 different beers out of each mash!

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Keep in mind this didn’t exactly make my work load lighter, it added 45 bbls to the production schedule and about 2 full shifts of labor. What it did was spread the heavy lifting out, add volume with no new grain or water, give me a chance to have some fun making beers other brewers pour down the drain (as do we most of the time) and use my equipment in ways I never get to use it. For me this is what it is all about! Creativity with the brewing process.

The first beer I made was Hop Dumpster. This is a 1400lbs grist monster of a brew day. The Small beer, which on the brew sheet is called “Small Dump”, is blond as can be, about 10bbls in volume was going to come in around 4.8% ABV! I decide it would be best to dry hop it to the beeeeeJesus with Mosaic and Simcoe! That would hold true to the fact that it came from a DIPA. For the final name… Hoppy Seconds. Ya, it’s crass, so what, we aren’t the first to use it. Also, that ties the name in with Hop Dumpster and the fact that it is in fact brewed from the second running, it’s perfect. So take your prissy, my turds smell like roses attitude and have a boring ass life with no sense of humor. (Thanks to Jordan Smith the originator of Hop Dumpster for being gross, and for me in allowing him to use company money to tap into his lowest self, XOXO). Boom, 3 days and 70 barrels later. I felt alive again.

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Next beer(s). Black’s Dawn Imperial Oatmeal Stout with Coffee on Nitro. It’s a mouthful of a name and at 8.5% the same when you drink it! Love this beer. The grain bill isn’t quite as brutal as the Dumpster but still a significant deal more work that a 5%er. The second running was about 9bbls and the finished beer about 3.7% ABV. The color and aroma were the most interesting factor of this beer. Black’s is, well, black. The small beer was a dark brown, almost black but has an incredible clarity. The roasted notes on the nose are brilliant and very unique for a beer of this gravity and color. I know this will not be for everyone but I really love the complexity and depth. No point in adding anything to this puppy. Now what to call it…. No coffee, no nitro, and it’s not black… hmmmm… Side of Toast! Black’s is a coffee beer dedicated to early morning surfs at Black’s Beach in La Jolla, who does’t want a side of toast with their coffee?! 50 more barrels and done!

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By the end of week three I was pretty fried, my last brew day was a Saturday if I remember correctly. I had another event that Sunday and then Scott called, “Dude, I have to come back to work. I’m going nuts”. Thank god I thought, and proceeded to sleep for three days.

I hope you enjoyed the story. Now come one down and enjoy the beers! We will be tapping them both this weekend at both tasting rooms.

Official Release: 10/15/2016 this Saturday at opening!

http://www.cismontanebrewing.com/home/

 

OOZEFEST is This Weekend!

I’ve been to a lot of boozefests. I’ve been to Ozzfest. I’ve been to a couple blues fests. I’ve even shot an Uzi at a dude’s chest, but I have never been to an OOZEFEST.

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Treatery – Sweet and savory s’mores, toasted marshmallows with a variety of cheeses and herb/spiced grahams.

What is OOZEFEST? It’s a celebration of all things CHEESE. The kind of cheese that pulls into long strands, long enough to play the banjo on if you were in a cheese-inspired jug band. *CODE: ocbeerblog – Tickets can be purchased at: oozefestival.com

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Sgt Pepperoni’s – ‘Balls Deep’ mozzarella-stuffed meatball wrapped in dough and deep fried

OOZEFEST is like breaking into a creamery, where you can milk all the goats, sheep, and cows, steal all the squeaky curds, then laugh your cheese breath at a box of hungry kittens.

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Messhall Canteen Truck – ‘War Pig Grilled Cheese’ BBQ pulled pork, bacon, fried mac and cheese patty stuffed with queso oaxaca, topped with napalm sauce, ranch, and bleu cheese on texas toast

Special OOZEFEST beer will be on hand from local breweries such as The Good Beer Company, Modern Times, Unsung Brewing, Four Sons, and more. You can buy an “all you can consume” VIP ticket, or buy as you go. Saturday has a slew of incredible eats, as does Sunday…seriously the hardest part about OOZEFEST is choosing which day to go, although Saturday has a smaller font, so I would choose that day. And use code OCBEERBLOG to knock $5 off.

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The Cut – ‘Gaucho Slider’ Smoked Mozzarella, Cilantro Chimichurri and Roasted Banana.

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Kebab – open-faced style gyro with cilantro ‘ooze’ (green cilantro with jalapeno house sauce)

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Shuck Oyster Bar – Shrimp and beef Yakitori-style Meatballs stuffed with sharp cheddar and dressed in spicy cheese sauce

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Good Beer Company! Although I’m sure they’ll bring “La Cheese”

OOZEFEST – DOWNTOWN SANTA ANA

SATURDAY OCT. 15TH & SUNDAY OCT. 16TH
MARKETPLACE NOON-10PM
VIP 5PM-9PM

“You Just Got DoorDashed…With Beer!” (+promo code)

Surely I’m not the only beer geek that gets anxiety about what to bring to a party. Bring something old school and there’s a chance it’ll be a cooler-turd. Bring something too fancy? There’s a chance it will be handed off as a hostess gift and not cracked at all. This all changed when I saw Doordash now delivers beer.

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One minute I’m using an app, 39 minutes later this arrives.

Now, I can show up empty handed, do some recon, then phone-ninja some sweet-sweaty goods, rip my shirt off, flick my hair back, then jump into a karate stance, yelling “you all just got Door Dashed by the Nagel!” Then I might crack a brewery-fresh hand-delivered growler and chug a few gulps, then pour some out on the lawn for my pep-pep, then pour some for your lady, because she probably can’t one-hand pour a growler. She’ll wink, and I’ll…OMG what? I was totally daydreaming there for a bit. Sorry about that.

But yeah, this Door Dash beer delivery thing is totally real, I just pinched myself, and yes, the app is still on my phone, I click on ‘alcohol’, chose one of four breweries in my local area, chose what you want to drink, agreed that I’m over 21, then paid. OMG whoops, I just ordered some beer!

My first order I was totally skeptical. I thought the beer is going to arrive warm, out of date, and just a tad bit spendy. But listen up, I spent about the same as I would with gas, time, and actual beer cost! Note that some breweries don’t charge for growler glass, which washes out the delivery fee. You also must tip, which adds a few bucks, but hell, I’d kick down a few bills to have someone show up poolside with 64oz of fresh local beer.

The delivery time said 51 minutes. My order: two growlers and a six pack from Bootlegger’s Brewery, a scant 2.5 miles away, on the Sunday before July 4. Thirty-nine minutes later, the doorbell rang. The dogs barked. and a smiley delivery dude was at the door wielding a box, full of sweaty brown glass. The six-pack date: 12 days old. The growlers, poured fresh and tags filled out by hand.

Color me impressed. Now I keep thinking of ways to save time by using Door Dash. Hit the gym and order beer on my way home? Sit in the jacuzzi and order more beer while I’m on my last? Doing it. Ordering brewery-fresh beer while eyeballing my grocery store’s abysmal selection? Yep.

For a limited time, use doordash.com or the app and use promotional code “OCBEER” to take $7 off of orders $20 or more for a limited time. Get a burger, pizza, or even Indian food while you’re at it, when it arrives, be sure and pop in the karate stance and say, “you just got doordashed!” to your baby’s mama, or beer-bellied friends.

Sponsored post. Thanks Door Dash for including local beer in OC!  

 

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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8 Thrilling Ways to Tell if a Beer Bar is Serious

GNAG7776After peeking at this Thrillist article with the same title, I don’t think peeking in a beer bar’s cold box to inspect the lines is exactly a simple way to tell if a beer bar is serious. Here’s eight easier ways to tell if a beer bar is serious:

  1. A draft board or menu that is not current and/or has typos? Not serious.
  2. Has all shaker pint glasses? Not fucking serious.
  3. All beers from one or two distributors? Nope, not serious.
  4. Has domestic and imports? Not serious.
  5. Has a crap tap? Not at all serious.
  6. Servers that don’t speak beer? Not serious.
  7. See a keg in the dining room or back in the bathroom area? Tap it to see if it’s full or empty. Is it full? The bar isn’t serious. Beer should be kept in a cold box or cellar temp.
  8. Frosty mugs? Dirty glassware? 400 TV’s? Not serious.

That is one thrilling list.

Back To Basics: Put Some Gulden Draak In Your Belfry

(Sponsored) – In a world where we are blessed with great local beer, sometimes it’s necessary to go back into that spirit of trying something out of one’s comfort zone. Something from Belgium, and big enough to survive the spoils of travel. Enter, Gulden Draak.

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Global Beer Network Rep Natasha with a few Van Steenberge bieres at The Clay Oven

My first run-in with Gulden Draak was at a pub night at Irvine’s Indian Food stalwart, The Clay Oven. Everything from tandoor-roasted bone marrow to a lamb stuffed naan married well with the beer, and I must admit, was the first time seeing such great beer at an Indian restaurant. One beer I kept going back to was Gulden Draak, a 10.5% dark tripel with just enough going on to pair with just about everything. It was also this beer where I learned a valuable lesson in beer pairing: “sweet calms heat,” something to remember when ordering those dynamite habanero wings.

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White bottle, dark tripel

Revisiting the beer today, I can see why it stood out. The husky ruby-brown beer pours with an abundance of frothy white foam, instantly sending aromas of dark fruits up the ol’ wafting tunnel. Once the quickly expanding head settles, the aromas keep rolling: caramel, clove, and banana bread burst around hints of sweet alcohol. The flavor is reminiscent of a barley wine carried by spicy Belgian yeast, but the body is light enough to fool you into thinking it’s okay to drive after a glass. It’s totally not. Gulden Draak is all about proper transportation.

gulden draak 9000 ocbeerblogGoing a few steps higher up the belfry is Gulden Draak 9000, which comes in the black bottle. 9000 is one of Belgium’s great quadruples, and is named for the zip code in Ghent, Belgium, where the actual golden dragon sits on top of the tallest belfry. It pours surprisingly lighter than the dark tripel in the white bottle, but 9000 is all about the dark fruits, which unashamedly lifts its skirt on the alcohol, despite only being .2% higher. Fermented peach, caramel, dark fruits, and booze run the flavor…which is decadent and highly quaffable despite the sheer girth of this beer.

One of the best parts of these overlooked beers is their availability, where a trip to any local big box wine or beer store has 11.2oz bottle four packs, 750ml, and in some cases, the magnum, which is super fun to crack at a party.

Visit Gulden Draak’s facebook page to #ConquertheDragon yourself and enter to win swag!

Hatch Pairs Tiki With Sliders and Beer

The Chan with a plan, Leonard.

The Chan with a plan, Leonard.

Scrape the barnacles off your boat and get some tiki down your throat, people…Hatch is finally open in Tustin’s labyrinth of hip, Union Market, which is in the labyrinth of parking, The District. With an Iron Press Anaheim layout, big ass mirrors akimbo, you’ll feel right at home sipping local IPA out of their hourglass pilsner glassware, just like the IP.

Reminds me of my wedding night.

Reminds me of my wedding night // The Walker ($12) 

What sets Hatch apart from everything is a slider menu worthy of many visits to try them all, samesies with the Tiki cocktail menu, muscled in by my main man, Dougie who shakes a cocktail shaker like a dashboard tiki doll. The beer list was no slouch on day one with stuff one would find at the Iron Press on a typical Tuesday.

Grab your mumu, your best Hawaiian shirt and white leather loafers, and slide into Hatch!

 

Lost: Abbey

GNAG0255“Excuse me, you look familiar,” I say to a deadpan bald man with glasses, holding a pitcher of beer with a puffy vest jacket. He pours me three fingers of a cloudy gold beer. “I don’t think we’ve met,” he says as I squint and take whiff. Croissant and a lick of caramel on the nose, I think to myself…where have I had this beer?

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@TheTomme

“I’m Tomme Arthur, pleased to meet you.” I totally knew that. I just get bashful when meeting pioneers of the beer business. “This is Avant Garde, our farmhouse lager.”

GNAG0267On the back patio of Verdugo Bar (a Ryan Sweeney joint), picnic tables are strewn about topped with Delirium Tremens pink elephant umbrellas and beer signs from around the globe. Each table is filled with corked and caged Lost Abbey beers and lit beer label veladoras. Surprising is the total lack of petrichor despite a windy downpour that ended an hour ago.

The evening is hosted by The Lost Abbey for industry publicans and bottle shop big wigs. A few beer writers were sprinkled in for good measure; I’m glad to get the call.

GNAG0258The Lost Abbey, San Diego’s only quality volume sour/funky beer producer (in my opinion), is here to re-introduce themselves and do a tasting of rare beers. L.A. and O.C. have a wealth of quality mixed fermentation breweries, and sometimes a gentle reminder of what the pioneers can do is a breath of fresh air.

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Jon Sanchez receives holy communion

Jon Sanchez, owner of Native Son Alehouse in downtown Santa Ana, noted, “Lost Abbey kegs are reasonable compared to the competition.” From my standpoint, It seems like pints of Lost Abbey beers cost more. He went on to add that one L.A. brewery raised the price of their kegs to keep cost in line with what some establishments charge for pints. The perception that wild ales cost more isn’t always the case.

GNAG0269Over three hours, we rifled through nine beers, pouring faster than consumption. Veritas 17 with Blackberries was my absolute favorite, noting it smelled like fresh linens stained with fresh berry jam, and was super soul-refreshing. I do hope we see some of these showing up on tap handles soon, as it seems the most storied barrel programs in the U.S. needs to get back on the front page.

Beers sampled:

  • Avant Garde – farmhouse lager
  • Devotion – dry hopped Belgian blonde
  • Hop 15
  • Red Poppy – sour with cherries
  • Veritas 17 – sour with blackberries
  • Cuvee de Tomme – 15
  • Cuvee de Tomme – 09
  • C-9 – barley wine with peaches aged in conjac barrels
  • Ad Idem – sour with peaches.