OCBeerBlog Favorite Beer Moments of 2014


GABF Media Luncheon – credit John Holzer @FourBrewers

People often ask me, “What’s your favorite beer?” My reply is usually a stupid canned answer, “The one in my hand.” It’s much deeper than that though. Beer is a moment; a snapshot in time. It’s not always about the rarest or most costly of beers. Often it’s the time, the place or the people I’m surrounded with that make a beer truly memorable. Here’s ten of those favorite beer moments and snapshots from this past year in no particular order.

Fullscreen capture 12302014 103819 AM.bmp1) Hitting my 1000’th Untappd check in at Beachwood BBQ & Brewing with the Hops of Brixton, poured by my favorite gal, the Beer Bird herself Catelyn Willig. The beer is a bold ESB shining with British cracker-like malts clashing with East Kent Golding hops. It’s one of my favorites at Beachwood and get it first. Extraordinary!

10296261_10203874627050886_7166790387008297076_o2) Camping at the Firestone Winery and drinking one-off Barrelworks beers at Firestone Walker’s original brewhouse? This totally didn’t suck! One beer that stood out was a wine/beer blend called “Zin Skin” that poured with a huge fluffy three inch head; only to watch it disappear like a big bubble being popped. Pictured is galpal beer writer Erika Bolden snapping a shot of DBA while on the back of a flat bed in a grape field.

Fullscreen capture 12302014 103421 AM.bmp3) When you get invited into the Coolship room at Allagash Brewing in Portland, Maine, you go in. When you uncork a beer that was spontaneously fermented in there, that’s pretty damn spectacular. Arguably one of the most acidic beers I’ve had in recent memory, Coolship Cerise simultaneously melted my tooth enamel and caused “instaboner”. But was there sex in the coolship room? I’ll never tell.

Fullscreen capture 12302014 103210 AM.bmp4) Flying into Denver for GABF and resetting the palate with a familiar beer is always a great idea. When the beer is Blind Pig from Russian River, it’s even better. Joined by Four Brewers compadre John Holzer, we dined at the Kitchen in downtown Denver and nearly watched a guy choke to death on water. Truly memorable!

Fullscreen capture 12302014 103521 AM.bmp5) For some reason, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream thought, “hey, lets team up with OCBeerBlog for a special tour of OC breweries.” Challenge accepted! One highlight was having the B&J truck stop at Bottle Logic to hand out free samples of their Core Tour stuff. Bottle Logic put on a special cherry milk stout to make impromptu Cherry Garcia beer floats! Check out their blog post here. 

Fullscreen capture 12302014 103432 AM.bmp6) TØRST in Brooklyn is one bar you must visit on the east coast. It’s pretty much like one part Mikkeller Bar in San Francisco mixed with one part Beachwood BBQ; so much so that they even have a flux capacitor and dual draft temp zones. I drank some remarkable beers, but my favorite was I Love You With My Stout by Evil Twin.

temptation7) I never thought Russian River would have two spots in my top ten list as I’m not a huge fanboy. But hey, getting the second pour of Temptation from a 9 Liter bottle by Vinnie Cilurzo himself? Out-fucking-standing. Firestone Walker’s Invitational Beer Festival remains my favorite thing to do besides sex. FACT.

Fullscreen capture 12302014 103353 AM.bmp8) Taking an unreleased beer off of Golden Road’s new canning line, cracking it, snorting the can-hole, then chugging it is number eight on my list. Thanks to the Beer Blogger’s Conference for the exclusive access behind the scenes for this guy…and thanks to Meg, Tony, Laurel, Sara, Franny, Tim, Jesse and the rest of the team there I call friends. Victor? He wasn’t there yet, but thanks anyways, el hefe.

Fullscreen capture 12302014 103739 AM.bmp9) Of all the ways for a yet-to-be opened brewery to show off their skills, Three Weavers quickly won over my heart with this collaboration with Noble Ale Works. The Messenger was indeed a message in a bottle, saying “hey, I’m a citrusy IPA made with Buddha’s Hand fruit and other fun stuff.” I loved this beer, Noble, and Alex Nowell quite a bit.

1Fullscreen capture 12302014 103626 AM.bmp0) The Bruery makes some tantalizing big barrel aged beers. Their anniversary series has been one that I’ve dismissed in years past until I sipped Sucré. With any solera blended beer, there’s a sweet spot where the liquid can take on a fruity note. I guess year five was it for this beer! Layered with fruit, toffee, oak, vanilla, brown sugar and other confectionary adjectives, this beer is insane. Sampled at their anniversary event at the Phoenix Club among friends, brewers and great BBQ from Beachwood…this rounds out my list perfectly. If I had to pick another, #11 would be sipping Sour in the Rye from a barrel in the not-yet-opened Terreux. Shhhhh! Don’t tell anyone!


As the Brewery World Turns

OC Brewer Moves Bring Questions

astheworldturnsSurely you’ve seen recent news of brewers moving around to different breweries. While this drama is fascinating, the role of OCBeerBlog isn’t to report on this as news. While I do find it newsworthy on some level, sites like The Full Pint do a fantastic job getting scoops and reporting accurate stories within a few hours. My time is much more wisely spent sharing their stories via social media.

OCBeerBlog will only chime in if the personnel changes have an impact on beer quality. For instance, when brewer Evan Price moved from TAPS to Noble Ale Works. He left behind a talented bunch: Victor Novak, Dave Hulls and Kyle Manns. Noble’s beer quality improved greatly with the change and TAPS continued to win medals at GABF and WBC from 2012-13.

photo - @jessicajrice

Kyle Manns photo – @jessicajrice BeerandBaking.com

Where the story gets interesting: The rest of the tenured brewing team left TAPS throughout 2014. Kyle Manns to Bottle Logic, Dave Hulls to Barley Forge and Victor Novak to Golden Road; leaving a skeleton crew of two assistant brewers to keep TAPS’ taps flowing.

Following Victor’s departure up to L.A., Dave Hulls hopped back to TAPS having never brewed a batch of beer on the system he helped forge in the new Costa Mesa brewery. Kyle Manns, who also helped Bottle Logic build the brewery and win gold at GABF, moved back to TAPS.


Dave Hulls and Victor Novak at GABF 2013 with medals for Helles and Schwarzbier.

Certainly the moves bring up many questions. While we all assume Kyle and Dave left TAPS to pursue independent careers following Evan’s success with Noble, the move back is more than baffling. Did Joe Manzella give the brewers carte blanche to brew the beers they want to make with a fat raise? Will they still craft classic lagers and Remy? Does Bottle Logic have too many cooks in the kitchen? Will Golden Road nail some GABF medals with Victors tried and true lager techniques?

I guess the point I’m trying to make is brewer moves are indeed fun gossip, but at the end of the day, it’s all about what’s in the glass that matters. Although Bottle Logic has big brew-boots to fill, I’d be shocked to see their quality dip. As for TAPS, keep an eye out for new styles. Golden Road? I hear their Schwarzbier is delish.

this is a whole different story

This is a whole different story.

Noble Revs Up Beer Engine For Real British-Style Ale

2014 has been the year of the cask in Orange County. With events like Firkfest (held by yours truly), many local breweries bought cask hardware to participate. Noble Ale Works is taking it a step further by taking the party back to its pale British nubs: nerdy British-style real ale served at proper cellar temp in the Anaheim tasting room. A refresher:

  • Real Ale = Beer served from the vessel it finished fermenting in. Carbonation is provided naturally from the yeast (bottle, can, keg or cask conditioned).
  • Not Real Ale = Force carbonated beer in a brite tank with carbon dioxide gas, then packaged fully carbonated.

Brewery Brad Kominek pouring The River Thames at 52F through an Ingram Beer Engine gooseneck with sparkler attachment. He is happy.

Several local beer festivals in 2014 (including Firkfest and Nobles 3rd anniversary party) partnered with Inspire Artistic Minds; a non-profit aimed at helping professionals grow in the culinary world. Brewers Evan Price and Brad Kominek applied for scholarships with IAM and got their artistic minds INSPIRED, like SO HARD. They travelled all over England and Belgium and all bloody hell broke loose – they brewed pub ales that don’t make it across the pond; using UK ingredients and serving techniques.

Our efforts to make the perfect English pint go a step further with this set of three beers. We brewed a Strong British Pale Ale utilizing Simpsons Golden Promise Barley, added UK East Kent Golding Hops and split the batch between three small tanks. Each batch was fermented with a different English yeast strain and then dry hopped differently as well. All three will be served on nitro with each one spending some time on cask. – Evan Price, Head Brewer

The beers are closely related, but totally different: 

  • The Knowle Spring – Fermented with the Timothy Taylor house yeast and given a medium dry hop with UK EKG.
  • The River Thames – Fullers yeast and a light Fuggles dry hop.
  • The South Down Wells – Gales Brewery yeast and heavy UK Progress hops.
  • English 201British Mild and Irish Red are on top and on deck.

IMG_7624Simpsons Golden Promise malt lays the groundwork for these three strong pale ales. Lemon zest and crackers dominate these dangerously gulpable beers, as do the yeast and hop nuances of each. I had the pleasure of comparing The River Thames cask and nitrogen versions side-by-side, the latter being a relaxed memory-foam mattress version of the cask pull. The cask version is notably brighter and layered with yeast, malt and hops like neapolitan ice cream. On nitro the experience seems a bit squished together, but is still very satisfying if not compared.

IMG_7626Drinking pint over pint of each, The South Down Wells wins my vote with a balanced fruity hop flavor and aroma I expect from a traditional pint in England. At 4.6%, these are notably stronger than the average British Bitter Ales. Will American tastes know the difference? Probably not. A true British pub ale is in the 3.2-3.8% range, but as Evan noted, “people don’t buy the low alcohol versions,” hence the bump with these.

These beers are sessionable, authentic and served at proper cellar temp. Every so often, you’ll see a bartender measure the temp coming from the cask to ensure its drinkability.

Soon, Noble will unleash a Mild and an Irish-style Red. Stop in and check out a few pints!

Blizzcon Guide to Beer & Food in Anaheim | OMG ZERGRUSH KeKeKe

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credit @AnnBarwig (untappd annbarwig) at Bottle Logic Brewing in Anaheim

Before the fam and two jobs, I was an avid gamer. Some of the best times with friends online were spent in a squeaky office chair, cooler full of beer next to me followed by a headset belching contest with guild/clanmates. I miss those days!

When Blizzcon comes to town, it’s a chance for gamers to break free from their dimly-lit rooms, crack their knuckles and join like-minded people for a weekend of revelry, cosplay and maybe even a bit of loud, rough elf-sex.

As a conventioneer, leaving the compound can be daunting, here’s some ideas to get you fed, buzzed and have some bottles to take back to the hotel for further face melting shadow priest debauchery; all within a few miles via uber/taxi!

Nearby Breweries & Food

  • Noble Ale Works (2.4 miles)
    • Hoppy IPA’s, English Style Ales
    • Growler fills, 22oz bottles to go.
    • Food Truck: Hobo Pizza Co (Fri) and the Flip Truck (Sat)
    • Nearby restaurants: The Catch (seafood/chop), Calivino Wine Pub (small gastropub with good beer/food/wine), Frescas Mexican Grill (legit socal style mexican food)
  • The Bruery Tasting Room (6.7 miles)
    • Barrel aged beer, Saison, sour, wild ales
    • Growler fills, bottles to go
    • Food Truck: Bacon Mania on Sat.
    • Nearby bottle shop
    • Food Just up the 57N Meatup BBQ
  • Bottle Logic Brewing (7.4 miles)
    • IPA, Saison, Stout, Lagers
    • Growler fills, bottles to go
    • Food Trucks: Soho Taco Truck (Fri), Craftsman Pizza does BBQ (Sat) Ninjas with an Appetite (Sun)
    • Food Just up the 57N Meatup BBQ
  • Anaheim Packing District (2.4 miles)
    • One stop shop with beer and food in the Packinghouse. The Iron Press has 24 taps.
    • Umami Burger
    • Anaheim Brewery

Any other recommendations? Hit me up on Twitter. 


Shopping List: Fourth of July Weekend


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!

Noble is Nubile at Age Three


Noble Brewer and master beer namer Brad Kominek getting proper respect

Noble Ale Works has two eras. Pre-Evonian and Evonian. In the “pre” phase, hearing people mispronounce the brewery was common. “Hey man, have you been to that No-bell beer place by the stadiums?”. “Indeed, I’ve been to noball ale works, friend.” At the Drink.Eat.Play OC Beer festival, they were listed as “Noble Brews” for crying out loud! What does a new brewery have to do to get some respect?

Since their 2nd anniversary, you could say that they’re now a ‘No Bull’ brewery; making some of the best and most unique beer in SoCal. From winning the mayors trophy for being awesome at the OC Fest of Ales and being featured on the TV show Beer Geeks, here’s a look at some of the highlights Noble Ale Works had over the last year:


Naught Sauce credit – Aubrey Price

Naughty Sauce – a blonde coffee milk stout served on nitro made its appearance April-ish 2013. A beer best described as “The F Word in a glass”, instantly won my heart and became the West Coaster Socal’s 1st article. Since then, I’ve been to three Naughty Sauce release parties, had Don Pachi Sauce at the Playground, Naughty Sauce waffle cones, and even enjoyed smooching the roasty foam off my wife’s lips. Yum! You have no idea how tempted I am to install a nitro tap in my house for this beer.


Nobles Milk Stout brings all the boys to the yard. (Noble’s Matt and Jenny)

Tongue Tickles Double IPAA few days before the Los Angeles IPA Fest, Noble dropped another bomb on the beer world. When beer-tender Jenny slid a glass of Tongue Tickles over the bar, I knew it was something special. Making awkward eye-contact with her while sniffing the beer, I’m pretty sure the song ‘Dream Weaver‘ played in my head. I quickly snapped back to reality after my first sip. “This is like whoa”, I quivered, taken aback by the intense juicy hopload still tickling my tongue. I blushed as she trotted off to clean glasses.

I heard people say, “Pliny killer”, “Knuckle killer” and even “Enjoy By who?”, insuring nobody would ever mutter the word “Nobility” again. I did my own blind taste test for a blog post, then two days later got a text from friend and LAIPA Fest judge Randy Clemens, stating the impact of the Tickles. “Your boy Evan is on cloud nine!”, coming in first place over some serious notable breweries is no small feat, especially for a beer that came out of nowhere.

Credit ImperialRussian on Untappd

Credit ImperialRussian on Untappd

It Burns – With Noble’s pepper beers such as Pistola (peppery pils) and Too Darn Hot (peppery IPA) a regular occurrence in the tasting room, it was only a matter of time until someone made a beer that was undrinkably hot. It Burns was born from a “friendly” pepper beer war with the Bruery just up the 57. This beer could could easily be crowned “the hottest thing in Anaheim, ever”. One sip had me gagging on hiccups while drooling over the bathroom sink. Even blending the beer was excruciating. My pee smelled like peppers for at least two days.

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solid 4’s on Untappd call for trade bait.

Single Hop Shower Series – Imagine a hopcone on a stage. Warrant ‘Cherry Pie‘ blasting, you toss your dollar bill out and the green, spiky flower lifts its skirt and exposes its lupulin glands and motorboats them on your nose. “Oh yeah girl!” You yell while taking a photo of her powdery yellow innards glistening inside. You rub your hands together, and just like that, the sticky resin is everywhere. That’s kind of what this beer is.

I’ve done a couple single hop series beers from other breweries without drawing any conclusions other than, “this beer is old”. Single hop beers need to be consumed in a timely manner and Noble’s respect in the biz allow them to get 30bbl’s of the juice out quickly to the local crowd. I can hardly wait for future Amarillo, Simcoe and whatever else their hop contract allows.

Screen Shot 2014-02-04 at 8.47.12 PM

Great to hang out with blog fans! Thanks again Noble!

Bonus: Nagel’s Number 2 – What else can I say about letting me collaborate on a beer for this blog’s 2nd anniversary? 7th Dip with hand toasted coconut and some bitter orange peel on nitro? YES. This was my absolute favorite Noble Ale Works beer ever. I get goose bumps thinking about it.

Noble’s Third Anniversary Party is Saturday Feb 8th 2014. For $40, you can sample some odd 34 beers they have on tap, cask and such. Food trucks, bands, raffles and fun! I will see you there! Raise a glass to Jerry, Evan, Brad, Matt, Jenny and the rest of their awesome, nice, knowledgable and good looking staff. Great job guys! (Flyer says 25 but was upped to 34). Portion of the proceeds go to benefit Inspire Artistic Minds! Click the link above for details.


Fresh, Local DIPA Tasting on a Thursday Night


With three fresh local Double IPA’s in the fridge, what better way to spend a Thursday night than to geek out on some beer. Having been to multiple tastings, I decided to start things off blind, having my daughter pour them into random glasses, noting which was which. My previous familiarty is as follows: Bootleggers Brewery Knuckle Sandwich (10% ABV): I’ve tasted every major release with a few bottles each time. Golden Road’s Better Weather IPA (9.4%) is a newer beer, but recently drank 3 of the four cans in the last week, this was my last can in the fridge. Noble’s Tongue Tickles is a brand new beer and have never tasted it. Each beer I believe has been packaged within 1-2 weeks.

IMG_2623Now, my first instinct was to see if I could tell which was which by sight and smell which is fairly obvious for Knuckle Sandwich (KS) being darker. The other two are similar in hue, one slightly clearer than the other. Aroma-wise, I picked out Golden Road (GR) as having a more straight forward “west coast” DIPA aroma, leaving the other guy to be Tongue Tickles…and…I was right!

These glasses suck for actual beer evaluation, so I used my Sierra Nevada IPA glass for further analysis, rinsing and palate cleaning after each. Now, I can honestly say these are all very different aroma/flavor wise and the final outcome is opinion on what I prefer.

Bootleggers Knuckle Sandwich: This release seems much different than previous with an overwhelming burnt sugar, caramel, perfumey character that rides over the hops. The areas where KS win for me is appearance and mouthfeel. KS has a very pleasant foamy body chased by sweet beer and boozy finish. It seems more balanced to the malty side with this release and can taste a lot of residual sugar (edit: my bottle settled out to 1.022 in the hydrometer over night). Overall I prefer a dryer DIPA, but I can see why people love this beer.

Golden Road Better Weather IPA. Funny story about this beer; I associated GR’s IPA with being low ABV and didn’t look at the can. After one, I had a noticeable buzz but thought nothing of it. After my second pint, holy hell! I stumbled to grab the can and saw 9.4%. Very glad I was at home! Anyhow, if you can’t tell by my boring story, this is a very drinkable west coast style DIPA. Lots of citrus, catty pine, some mango on the nose with some booze that lingers the hop oils on the palate for upwards of twenty seconds(!). The bitterness rides a little too long, making the front of my tongue numb after larger sips..but all in all, I like this beer. It’s pretty standard in way of DIPA flavors. It’s very well made and recommend it.

Noble Ale Works Tongue Tickles DIPA: Based on the aroma alone I can tell there’s New Zealand hops in this guy. Being a huge fan of Nelson, Galaxy and Matueka, I feel these hops push IPA’s in a refreshing direction (Think Stone Brewing Enjoy By that’s loaded with NZ and American hops). Tickles has a lot of that west coast still intact, but adds a passion fruit, white grape and pineapple aroma. The body is slightly prickly on the tongue and being the lowest ABV of the three at 8% means there is minimal boozey finish. Of the three, this is the beer I drank in its entirety.

Basically it goes like this: I’m not as much of a fan of Knuckle Sandwich with the overall sweetness being more than I’m used to. Golden Road’s Better Weather IPA is a great west coast hopped beer, but 9.4% for an IPA? It’s almost a triple IPA for fucks sakes. Of the three, I’m really loving Noble’s Tongue Tickles for the unique hop choice, comfy 8% ABV, nice clarity and solid lasting flavor. I’d like to put it next to Enjoy By to see how it stacks up.

Have you done a similar tasting with fresh local beers of the same style? I’d love to hear about it! Saturday November 16th, Valiant Brewing Co is releasing their DIPA for the first time in bottles.


Second Anniversary Party at Noble Ale Works this Saturday!

Two years ago, I registered this site. Help me celebrate this crazy feat with some great local craft beer and RAGE! RSVP at http://bit.ly/ocbeerblog!

  • Special barrel aged nitro dip collab.
  • Photo “booth” powered by iGGy Photography
  • Psychedelic slideshow of photos I’ve taken over the years.
  • Beer
  • Seabirdssssss

ocbeer-blog-flyerviking truck ownage


Royal Treatment / Noble Ale Works 2nd Anniversary Party

royalty sign

royalty beerTwo seconds after getting my red-wristband strapped and tasting glass, the sign for Royalty beams me in like the Death Star. Sampling Orange County’s first Triple IPA is my primary directive on this red letter day. Looking like a Barleywine and smelling like a stadium filled with fruity hops, Royalty is highly aristocratic on my palate. Fierce notes of exotic tropical fruits tar-and-feather my taste buds. “I think I stubbed my tongue” I say to the milfy volunteer pouring the stuff. She raises an eyebrow and smirks. The boozy 11% ABV peeps it’s head out to say “hi!”, then sucker punches me in the face repeatedly with its long 125 IBU finish. I quickly get a second pour to be sure…don’t hate! The second drink grabs my tongue in a figure-four leg lock, forcing me to succumb to its behemoth hop load. I dip my pinkie in the glass and rub some behind my ears, you know…for good luck, and to keep bears away. Glad that I survived the big hill of this roller coaster, I can coast along and enjoy myself.

Julian Shrago of Beachwood BBQ & Brewing with Noble Ale Works brewer Evan PriceChef Greg Daniels and Wil Dee of Haven Collective sandwich Evan Price.Jonas and Patrick of the Bruery next to Rick Smets of Stereo Brewing

The fenced in area in front of Noble Ale Works hosts a diverse set of food trucks, guests and delicious craft beer. The always delicious Rolling Sushi Van, GarlicScapes, Short Stop BBQ, the Viking Truck (among others) serve up beer-friendly lunch and snacks. Old people, young people, parents, toddlers, hot girls, dweebs, pliny shirts, and local pro brewers are showing their support for Noble today. I spotted (a thinning) Patrick Rue and Jonas Nemura of The Bruery, Julian Shrago owner/brewer/crooner of Beachwood BBQ & Brewing, Brian Avery of Bravery Brewing (Lancaster, CA), Chef Greg Daniels and Wil Dee of the Haven Collective, Jarred Dooley of The Playground, Kyle Manns of TAPS Fish House & Brewery, Kenny and Mike Hollingshead, as well as Anaheim’s Mayor Tom Tait.


Jerry Kolbly gives a brief history lesson.

coconut changer

Coconut Changer on Cask. Oily!

Along with the diversity of food and people, Noble’s Jerry Kolbly, Evan Price and Brad Kominek lined up a diverse array of beers for the day. Four casks (served every hour) kept a constant flow of people in the tasting room and brewhouse. I tasted three, Knight Changer with toasted coconut being one of my favorites of the day. Dank, oily, tropical, thick and decadent; I wish I had a wooden tiki cup to sip this out of!

Royalty on cask is also a game changer; the hops have an entirely different fruity flavor mixed with a catty finish compared to the draft version. Keeping with the tropical island cask flavors, the IPA with grapefruit makes me wish I had a grass hula-skirt and a coconut bra. I’ve made a beer version of a tropical cocktail called ‘Meihana’ (Anaheim backwards) in the past, and this beer would make a great base for it. I missed the fourth cask, sadly. Boohoo. So sad.

mayor and i

Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait and I clank the India Dark Ale w/Simcoe.


India Dark Ale w/ Simcoe

On tap in the tasting room comes another facet of flavor from Noble: Pepper, coffee and tea beers. Pistol Whip’d with Serrano (Pistola), Imperial Stout with Morita Chiles & Yellow Curry (Good Time), Triple IPA with Habanero (Shotgun) all knocked my socks off Kurt Cobain style. Other rarities of the day: Barrel “1” First Dip was coming along nicely. Then it hit me; India Black Ale with Simcoe. I share a glass of this with Anaheim’s Mayor, Tom Tait, and we both agree this is pure silliness. Cascadian dark in theory, yet not piney. I hope this makes it into the regular lineup of beers so I can sample it with a fresh palate. Moby Dick and Naughty Sauce didn’t make it in my mouth today, sadly. Go ahead, make the joke…done laughing yet? Great, let’s move on, cochino.

I don’t normally comment on the bands, but damn…Lady Gaga covers? Eminem covers? Crazy. I’m not ashamed to say I danced in the porta-potty, and the mess on the seat is not mine.

tasting room

At this point my palate is wrecked. My tongue is deflated and numb. I ask beertender Samantha (pictured above) for a Pistol Whip’d Pils to nurse my wounds, but it came out like I got back from the dentist. While she pours, I say “she can pistol whip me any time” to a guy next to me at the bar. He gets up and leaves without saying anything. It’s probably time to go home. I’m such an awkward social butterfly.


Overall, this was a great anniversary party that showcased new-brewer Evan Price’s abilities. His flavor mashups in cask are a fun way to experiment with some bold flavors. I can tell by the amount of support from other pro-brewers that they’re also excited to see where Noble Ale Works is going!

Special thanks to Jerry Kolbly, Evan Price, Brad and Bridget Kominek, Danielle Madsen, Mother Nature, Bobby Navarro of 100 Eats 100 Days, new Tasting Room Manager Lauren St. Paul(!), and a few hundred of my closest friends. Cheers!

brewers wives

The banged and bunned brewer’s wives, Bridget and Aubrey gettin’ naughty with the sauce.


The Komiseks. Brad is the assistant brewer at Noble.



Did anyone actually win a raffle item? hehe



Julian chats with the Hollingsheads.



The Price is Right – Noble Ale Works Turns Two

Early 2011, I stopped in Noble Ale Works before the Super Bowl. With my foam cheese-head hat stinking up my car, I grabbed a growler of their IPA for a party. Bag of chips and pint of Noble IPA on my lap, I proceeded to watch Christina Aguilera fuck up the lyrics to the national anthem. I promptly dusted the growler then probably grilled some meat and pee’d on a tree (you know, manly things) before passing out in a quiet corner…all before halftime.

"What so proudly we watched at the twilight's last gleaming." WTF? At least her elfin nipple didn’t pop out.

“What so proudly we watched at the twilight’s last gleaming.” WTF? At least her elfin nipple didn’t pop out.

I watched Noble grow. Eleven months later, their in-house brewery was mostly operational. Their lineup of a few bold hoppy beers and a Russian Imperial Stout were good, but recipes were all over the place. I had my doubts after their 1st anniversary regarding quality; getting an IPA that was undrinkably sweet. I showed a sample of my settled hydrometer reading (1.038) to their brewer at the time and he said, “We’re trying out a new yeast”. I was expecting an “Oh shit, let me fix that for you”. To those that don’t brew, 1.038 is an unfinished beer. Either the yeast crapped out or it was cold-crashed to serve faster. Everyone has a bad beer from time to time, the point is to fix it and move on.


Bill Sobieski (Hoparazzi, David Larsen (Cismontane) and Evan Price at Anaheim’s OC Fest of Ales

On April 11th, 2012, Owner Jerry Kolbly dropped a bomb on my lap: “We’re letting our brewer go and we’re trying to hire Evan Price from TAPS”. Talk about fixing an issue! Knowing the quality TAPS Fish House & Brewery kicks out, Noble Ale Works was back on the map.


“You get the Nobel Beer Prize for excellent beer” – guy on left

Want to make me go to rehab, but I said No, No, Noble.

Want to make me go to rehab, but I said No, No, Noble. (RIP Amy Winehouse)

It didn’t take long for Evan to learn the new brewhouse and tinker with IPA recipes. His first batch of Nobility DIPA (I think its fourth incarnation) I sampled was a hop-bomb at its finest. Pungent Citra on the nose with a crisp dry malt backbone. It seemed like new beers were coming out ever week. ESB, a new Pale Ale, the true “Evan’s Lager” (collaboration with Cismontane’s Evan Weinberg), and a bright hoppy Pilsner were proof enough Evan Price is a hell of a brewer. He gave names to his beers that are quirky and unique (see flyer below). Inventive beers like Naughty Sauce confused the hell out me…a blonde stout? Who the hell brews that stuff? It’s good too! One thing is for sure, I don’t miss the old recipes, well, Dark Sybian will always hold a special place in my heart.

As Noble Ale Works turns two, I can honestly say they’re one of my favorite breweries. Not just in OC or SoCal, I friggen love what they have going on. With a solid lineup of tasty beers, inventive one-off batches, cask beers every Friday, and the fact they flush growlers with CO2 before a fill, I’m sure they’ll be a favorite for some time to come. Join the celebration on Jan 26 from Noon to 4! Check their site for details! I’ll see you there!