A Peek at Some New Good Beers

They say that your sense of taste and smell is heightened in the morning, which is exactly whey I opted to taste a flight of The Good Beer Company’s offerings Monday at 10am.

goodbeer georgeGeorge – 4.1% abv. There’s no better way to celebrate presidents day than to put a beer called George in my mouth. Shouldn’t this beer be cherries in honor of the cherry tree George Washington allegedly chopped down? Oh, it’s not about the 1st president? Damn. Turns out George honors owner Brandon Fender’s grandpa, who made killer peach dumplings every summer. But is it fruity? George bursts of peach preserves. French oak takes a back seat in the flavor, but does offer up some tannin in the mouthfeels. Lactic acid sourness also adds to the drink, hitting the brakes on any potential chugging. I’ve heard complaints about some of their low abv beers being thin, but George is not. He’s fit, full of peaches, and ready to party.

goodbeer nectarine oroNectarine Oro – 4.2% abv. Much like George, this Oro variant is so jam-packed with fruit, you’ll actually start to think the beer is part of a balanced breakfast. It’s so fruity, I swear juice ran down my arm on the first drink. As it warms, I could envision the fuzz from the fruit, the pithy flesh, and even the sense of nibbling nectarine off of the seed. The tart bite is there as well, if you follow my titratable acidity scale, I’d place both in the 5-7 range (mid).

If you’re not in The Good Beer Company’s ‘The Stable’ beer club, both beers (and others) will be available Friday, Feb 19th. Check out their facebooks. Go early, grab a sandwich from C4 Deli to keep you company in the crazy long line.

The Good Beer Company, 4th Street, DTSA

The Bruery Plants Roots With New Beer

IMG_8403When sampling beer, the power of suggestion is infinite. Pour a black beer and your brain gets ready for chocolate, coffee or roast. With a steaming hot burrito from a taco truck wrapped in foil, your brain tells the senses to expect a pillowy hot tortilla, juicy meats, and creamy guacamole to balance things out. “Get that mouth watering”, you brain tells your glands, counting on that luscious first bite.

When news of the Bruery’s new Belgian pale ale, Jardinier (French for Gardener) hit, my brain quickly put together the flavor profile notes I should expect in a precise, beer advocate-ish annoying way.

“It should taste like a Belgian-style pilsner-malted ale”, my brain told my senses. “It should smell fruity and spicy with some wet hay notes; because I clearly know Bruery beer aroma profiles,” my brain continued in its best drunken Todd Alstöm Boston accent.

Then my arms and hands poured it. My brain shut off and let my senses take over as I smelled it.  Nose in the glass like a bee in a bush, my nose reports back confidently, “musty rose petals, peach nectar and over ripe mango.” My simple brain forces my face to make a knowing look, nodding dorkishly with my bottom lip sticking out as if to say, “I fucking knew it,” even though I was completely wrong.

The honey-hazed beer looking back at me, I take a few sips and wait for what my palate reports back. Perplexed, it repeats the sip several times. “Is the name of the beer literal?” my brain nags. My tongue reports confidently “cherry tomatoes” to my brain and my brain is saying, “you have the worst palate on the face of the fucking planet.”

“It’s like the acidity of a ripe juicy cherry tomato, with a retro-nasal aroma-flavor of a garden-fresh tomato, you asshole!” my tongue and nose report back. My emotions tell everyone to chill the fuck out at this point. “It’s a thinking beer that tastes good,” my emotions say, trying to chill the situation like a mental fire extinguisher.

Wrapping it up, my brain causes my shoulders to shrug and lungs to sigh as the beer is now sadly empty. It commands the laptop to be opened and type these words.

Jardinier is a fascinating beer for 4.9% ABV. At first I wondered why the Bruery would make a gardeners lawnmower beer (based on the name). After sipping, that’s not the intention at all. it lends itself toward a table beer pairing excellently with fresh vegetables, salad, bruschetta and other delicate tapas. It’s refreshing, palate cleansing and most of all…interesting.

Thanks to the Bruery for a preview bottle. This beer will probably be in your hand and brain soon. 

Farmhouse Lunch with Firestone Walker Brewing Co. (Beercation pt 1)

union-station-front7:30 A.M. LA Union Station: “I’m pretty sure the guy next to me at the urinal was jacking off” claims Kip of Bierkast/LA Aleworks. I once wrote about this building’s romantic nature, but the thought of decorating a urinal cake in front of company is somewhat impressive yet depressing at the same time.

andersSeated in the center of a bus full of the absolute cream of LA beer media, I can’t help but smile. Batteries are fully charged, bagels are schmeered and bottles of craft beer are flowing wildly. We’re headed north to Paso Robles on a ‘Journey to the Center of a Barrel’  hosted by Firestone Walker. Anders, the LA area Firestone rep (looking strikingly like Mike Myers, but with a German accent) passes bottles of Double Jack, Double Barrel Ale and Pale 31 like communion. Our livers (and cell phone batteries) are in for a slow and painful death this weekend.

11:30 A.M. Slowly sipping a Bruery Rugbrod makes the time and trees melt by the bus windows ever so fluidly. The business cards have all been passed out, Twitters have all been followed and the bus vegans have all outed themselves. Somewhere off of James Dean Highway, the bus creeps onto a thin dirt road and squeeks to a stop. Bones crack as we emerge through the dust cloud. “Where the hell are we?” Anders trots to the top of the nearest hill and makes a call. I check the itinerary: “noon – Lunch – Think Fresh”. Then it happened, a sunbeat tractor rolls over the hill to save us. “Is that David Walker on the back? Holy fucking shit!”

walker on tractor

Ridin’ dirty.

 

“Hop on” David says in his Mozy ‘charming man’ accent. Musical chairs ensue. Being lunchtime, the thought of dining on a farm seems like a fucking fairy tale. I snap a photo of David Walker with the sole purpose of showing my barber. “He’s one cool son of a bitch.” I tell the Beer Goddess next to me. Picking up a bunch of media people on a tractor is beyond pimp-like. I need to be pinched.

pano

We end up at Farmers Bill and Barbara Spencer’s Windrose Farm just outside Paso Robles. Firestone Walker and many other restaurants get their truly organic/biodynamically produced goods from this wildly manicured plantation. Envision rolling hills littered with trees, 70’s porn rosemary bushes, sheep grazing and shitting like natural fertilizer factories…acres upon acres of apples and beyond. If you’re looking for a spot to camp for Firestone Walker’s Invitational Beer Fest, this is the spot. They even offer a cozy pink trailer ‘farmhand for a night’ stay that includes fresh food and beer! (Call for details)

brettweisse2

Gathering around the farmhouse, pitchers of Firestone Barrelworks BrettaWeiss are served. As farmer Bill speaks to us on the crappy state of “organics”, a rooster tro-lo-los along to a quartet of wind chimes jingling in the warm breeze. Closing my eyes while taking a sip, I feel dreamy and hypnotic. This beer is bright, tart and is farming with character from the wild yeast, yet remains approachable and refreshing. If this is any indication of what Barrelworks in Buellton is capable of, I’m 100% on board.

farmlunch tableOnward to lunch! We’re seated at a thirty-person communal table set in the sun, four courses of farm-fresh food are served:

  1. Farmstyle salad; fresh picked greens, vegetables, Union Jack vinaigrette; w/Double Jack IPA (bottled yesterday)
  2. Braised bitter greens; Windrose Farm smoked tomatoes; w/ Wookey Jack Black Rye IPA (bottled two weeks ago)
  3. Walker’s Reserve Braised Lamb; roasted root vegetables; w/Parabola Russian Imperial Stout (2011)
  4. DBA caramelized apples, vanilla ice cream; w/ Double DBA Imperial ESB

Enjoying such beautiful food at its peak of flavor and nutrition next to shockingly perfect beer sets a perfect foundation for the rest of the day. I’m ready for anything.  I could box a lion and wrestle a bear after this. This lunch is world class and faultless. This is my Jonestown moment for fresh food and craft beer!

Stay tuned for more on this journey! Windrose Farm produce is available at the LA Farmer’s Market as well as many fine restaurants in LA! Check their site for details. (map)

 

Stone Brewing Co. 16th Anniversary IPA

A blog post about a beer you will most likely purchase and consume is pointless. Instead of boring you with yet another beer review, I think an anniversary is great time to reflect on a brewery, its accomplishments and how they have grown.

WHOA, Hold on a second there mister…this beer has lemon verbena in it? I never thought I would see ingredients commonly found in my wife’s Bath & Body Works lotion in a beer. After a recent ball surgery, I used that lotion to assist with determining my ball swimmer count.  The “Complete Aromatherapy Handbook,” likens the scent of Lemon Verbena to “morning, when everything seems fresh, new and promising.” Exactly what I want my genitals to smell like!

The sun sets as I crack my Stone 16th Anniversary IPA for a tasting. Another balmy 95 degree day comes to a close…not a minute too soon. The fountain outside gurgles and drips. The fire pit crackles and roars as I stare in a daze. While pouring this beer I feel the same nervous excitement when I cracked my first Arrogant Bastard Ale. Thoughts of “How buzzed will I be after drinking this?” and “what if I’m not worthy?” dance around my head. 10% beers drunk alone sometimes push my boundaries.

On the pour, a deep gold molten core is topped with a swiss-cheese cratered moon crust of head. I swirl it and sniff. My eyes pop…Stone has done it again! This time letting some herbs ride shotgun over my palate’s proverbial State Line. Mud flaps are flappin’, truckloads of malt and hops CB each other in a convoy down to my belly. 10-4 good buddy! Notes of clover honey, lemon verbena and salvia on the nose. My first sip is herbal sweet and spicy clover honey, citrus zest, followed by a low scoville hop heat. Salt and pepper even make a cameo appearance; perhaps Rye malt? Interesting. Balanced. Delicious.

Steve Wagner, parties like its 1999 IBU’s

I get the feeling the addition of Stone Farms will continue to play a part in the “Farm to Kettle” movement as seen with Saison du BUFF and GK and LU’s Mixtape beer seen around town. Bottom line, this is still a Stone beer with much of the same mouthfeel and bitterness characteristics fans should expect. At 10%, there’s some heat; somewhere around what the Stone Ruination 10 Year Anniversary beer has. As the temp rises, this beer does not fare well. Split a bottle with friends or keep in the fridge between pours.

Overall, I set out to do a reflection post on Stone Brewing Company but was derailed by a nice imperial herb IPA. Reflections are only good when someone’s dead right? Pick up a bottle, and if you don’t already have tickets to the huge Anniversary Bash on August 18th, I suggest you do so quickly, like NOW.

Beer Review with a Homeless Person | Bruery Autumn Maple with 100% Brett

“It tastes like Chuck Wagon Dog food, the kind where you put water in it to make gravy” (note, the use of Thom Yorke was used as dramatization, not an actual homeless person)

Homeless people like beer right? I’ve seen a few signs where those less fortunate come right out and ask for beer. Times are tough! I sat down with a few homeless people near the freeway offramp at the 91 and Harbor in Fullerton. I brought a cold bottle of The Bruery Autumn Maple made with 100% Brett, a few tasting glasses, and a notebook. The first guy I ran into thought I was full of shit and screamed obscenities at me. Whatever…no free beer for you sucker! I found a dude named Donald, a 45 year old guy holding a Vietnam Vet sign…Apparently this guy is really bad at math. He agreed to drink some beer with me over by a bush that had a stack of pre-written homelessy God Bless you signs. Wow. I poured the beer and I and took some notes.

It was a fun experiment, not sure if I’ll try it again. Cheers!