What to Expect When You’re Expecting (at GABF)

Article originally published Winter 2013 West Coaster Socal – changed slightly

Congratulations! You’re giving birth to your first GABF! What’s that? You’re not pregnant? That’s just your natural beer belly? Ermagerd…so embersed. . Here’s a look at what to expect in the delivery room, as you will surely look pregnant after a week in Denver.

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Session 1, Thursday Evening: Like a Virgin

Nerves fire on all cylinders as bagpipers squeeze their sacks and blow. Their quack-like drone ushers in some 12,000 thirsty people checking maps and apps one last time. The piper’s six minute march around the vast hall comes to a halt under an IMAX sized Michael Jackson poster. “Let’s do it for Johnny!” I say to a chuck-taylor wearing stranger next to me with my best Matt Dillon impersonation. Muscle memory takes over and I look for my first dance partner. I nab a 1oz sample of Damn it Feels Good to Be a Gangsta, a delicious sour dark ale from Trinity Brewing in Colorado. It gets a twirl and swirl down my throat…twice.

P1060736The Thursday session is all about fresh faces; first time brewers can be seen in their natural festicular habitat anxiously wiping down tables and straightening signs one last time. I take a moment to watch GABF 1st timer Brian Schroepfer from Valiant Brewing in action wiping sweat from his brow, dealing with draft issues and delivering pitchers to his table like the 80’s arcade game ‘Tapper’. “I’m pretty proud and honored to be here” he says after describing his lineup of beers to eager fest goers.

On the other side of the table, session one is a great mix of freshly traveled bodies; 50% of which are from out of state. Myself included, nothing is better than a post flight beerfest with a bunch of silly Americans ready to party; one ounce at a time.

Go to session one if you like: Excitement of the first session of the year. Large amount of brewery representation at each booth. A fresh haul of beer and ample quantities of rarities. Not walking into the worst cropdusted gas bombs of your life. Guy/Gal ratio ~3:1. Costumed fest goer ratio ~1:100. Glass droppage level: one every 10-20 minutes.

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Session Two: It’s Friday, I’m in Love

Friday night at the GABF is electric. Brewers trust the volunteers to booth-sit for a few hours and go out for a night on the town inside the festival. The silent disco is alive with booty bumpin’, Charlie Papazian is fist bumpin’, and even two strangers in the bathroom looked at each other and smiled. Session two is all about drinking great beer and getting weird in a busy party atmosphere. Don’t be surprised if you find waldo, cross paths with an actual beer wench, or see the second coming of beer Jesus…complete with a spirit-gum beard and those creepy vibram toe shoes.

Go to session two if you like: A great beerfest party atmosphere with lots of costumed fest goers. Groups of beer savvy ladies…not just designated drivers or the dirndl hoes…actual hop loving, sour loving, funky beer loving women out in force. Weather report: mid to high levels of ass-fog moving in over the Pacific Northwest with green clouds forming above the Great Lakes. Tasting glass droppage upwards of every 5-10 minutes. Rare beers kegs running out within an hour. Plan your attack.

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Bruer Tyler King pours White Chocolate at the Farm to Table Pavillion

Session Three, Saturday Afternoon: Rocky Mountain High – Members Only, Brah.

American Homebrewers Association and Brewers Association members need only apply for the Saturday afternoon session. Aside from actual glassware, this session is great to witness the ‘parade of brewers’ flooding in after the awards ceremony. It’s sort of like the running of the bulls in Spain as some Medal winning brewers are riding the highest of highs trying to get to their booth to put up medal stickers and snap photos. The GABF mobile app updates with the winners making it easy to navigate the hall and sample America’s best beer right on the spot. Of the many benefits being a member of the AHA or BA, attending this session is one of my favorites. Seeing a local California brewer take home more medals than the state of Maine is impressive and fills my heart with pride. Protip: go get a membership now, the included subscription to Zymurgy magazine is worth the price alone.

Go to session three if you like: actual glassware instead of a plastic sampling glass. Volunteers that will go over the 1oz line if you ask nicely. Floods of beer geeks rating their beer on printed spreadsheets. Day drinking. Sampling award winning beer without travelling all over the United States. Having your Saturday night free to roam around Denver’s bustling craft beer scene.

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Special moment: Sampling my Beer Camp 94 Belgian Black IPA on the floor of GABF

Session Four, Saturday Night: Ohhhhhhhhhh Face

The final GABF session gets a bad rep among the press corps, which is probably why we weren’t invited to attend 2013’s session. Speaking only on my opinion of 2012, I witnessed human beer pong. I filmed a guy desperately trying to remain upright. I saw urinalbarf. But hey, someone has to finish the rest of the beer right? Some notable breweries ran out of beer and boarded up shop with handwritten “see you next year” signs. A buzzed sea of volunteers is left to deal with the onslaught of tipsy beer bros. My coverage focus quickly changed to capture the beer blight and anything-goes atmosphere. “The 1oz line is for the other sessions” a pourer mentioned while filling my glass to the rim.

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Go to the final session if you like: A college beerfest atmosphere. All-you-can-drink Hefeweizen, pale ale, BMC, browns…speaking of browns, the gas being unleashed at every angle can be geeked out on. “Why, I think that gentleman had a brussels sprout and chorizo burrito for lunch!” “No no no you silly fool! It smells like a goat that ate Chicken McNuggets out of an overnight diaper!”, “Ahhh, yes yes, you are correct sir.” Go to session four if you like to watch old people nap. Go if you like to avoid brewers. Go if you like to hear a constant 300 person choir of glass dropping Ohhhhhhhhhhh’s. Did I mention the uncontrollable gas and loose pours?

Overall, the Great American Beer Festival is the best in the world. You really can’t go wrong with any session, just make sure and target the session that is best for you. Be sure to upgrade your internet connection prior to ticket sale day and work on your glass holding skills. Didn’t get tickets? I still highly recommend visiting Denver during GABF week. With overlapping events all over town from brunch to close, you really can’t go wrong. See you at 2014! If you see Old Rasputin, say hi!

Visit greatamericanbeerfestival.com for more info.

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Scenes from the Sucreverse | The Bruery’s Sixth Anniversary Celebration

Seeing Patrick Rue upon entrance to their Sucreversary, I reach in my pocket to give him a piece of candy. Being warm and a little melted, I kept it there. I shook his hand firmly and asked, “six, is it?” “Yep.” he replied, “have fun”.

You see, as traditional anniversary gifts go, candy is what one would traditionally give on year six. I recall giving my bride of six years bonbons in a heart-shaped box (or was it a Baby Ruth bar in a brown bag?). The Bruery is nicer than I…they brewed an Anniversary beer called Sucré (Sugar) and chose to celebrate with some 3000-4000 of their closest friends at the Phoenix Club in Anaheim. I skip away whistling into the Festhalle tent like a kid headed out on halloween night.

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New to this year’s celebration is a healthy list of guest breweries, which upon entrance has lines fifty deep at a few breweries. I do what most people do: grab a line-beer from Societé and stand in line for The Rare Barrel. Twice. Just like halloween, I went to each table grabbing a little bit of ‘candy’.

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Standouts for the day: Noble Ale Works/Tustin Brewing Co. All Night Long: A session black IPA that I could drink with Lionel Richie all day long. Sadly, (and sarcastically) there’s no Tout Mais Le Coller to be found. Can they get collab do-overs? That beer gave me a rash.

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Henry Nguyen of Monkish Brewing bugs Evan Price for some Naughty Sauce.

Staying with the candy theme, Bottle Logic clearly got the memo with their watermelon jolly rancher randall and Nerds-soaked Berliner. “It’s like sucking on a nerd” says my friend/uber beer geek Anchaya. Great to see the such a long line and big smiles from the pourers. Also, Kyles beard.

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Brandon Buckner, Brewmaster Wes and Head Brewer Kyle Manns of Bottle Logic deliver a baby.

I’ve never been big on The Bruery’s anniversary beers until Sucré hits my lips. There’s more of a dark fruity component that draws me in instead of the usual toffee on wood thing from years past. Perhaps the oxidation from solera is ringing in the new fruity/cakeness?  As my last big beer of the day, I toast this sucreversary and savor, then moved on to the Hottenroth’s, Gosebusters and Golden Road Berliners available at my fingertips.

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BeerPaperLA on the left, Noble Ale Works Brad Kominek and wife Bridget with Aubrey Price. Thanks for smiling Bridget! Grumps!

Noteworthy are the abundance of cask beers: The Bruery brought six that look like a menu at 31 Flavors (Cookie Monster, Snickerdoodle Sour, Raspberry Coconut Macaroon etc). Many guest breweries had a few as well: Bottle Logic, Smog City, Monkish and a few others are spiled, tapped and pouring nicely. Monkish’s cask smells like a strawberry jelly donut.

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Cambria Griffith of the Bruery is enthralled with Austin of Hangar 24’s mad sunscreen skills.

FOOD: Blog favorite Beachwood BBQ brought some tasty BBQ action. The catered version is on par with the restaurant’s smokey, juicy meats. The pink potato salad and coleslaw does the job nicely, and the pretzel bun sopps up anything still clinging to the foam plate. I could have gone for seconds. Or thirds. The line was 30 minutes to get food.

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Michael Rue is in timeout for throwing dirt and not taking turns.

Overall: I’m sure some complained about lines, but I found them to be a good buffer with all the big beers and unlimited pours. Also, with basically 4.5 hours to drink, if you were smart you could have sampled all the rarer stuff. There were plenty of spots with no lines. Music would have been nice! The Phoenix club is adjacent to a horse stable and occasional wafts of warm horse shit/urine enhanced the smells of some of the bretty beers…these complaints are all micenuts. I thought this was one of the better run beer festivals I’ve been to, although you have to be or know someone in the Reserve Society to go. Really nice crowd, good glassware and a nice day. Cheers to The Bruery!

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The coolest spot at the fest was the back of this truck.

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Michael Rue and Jay Goodwin of the Rare Barrel

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His name is Jonas on the left and we all know Cambria behind the lens.

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Upon receiving his Naughty Sauce, Henry Nguyen gave thanks.

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Henry Nguyen of Monkish, Aaron Carroll of BeerPaperLA and my beer geek bud Anchaya.

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Writers opinions were discussed at this table, I hope this piece is filled with them, Evan.

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Walowski from Smog City and Jerrod from Tustin Brewing Co. #BFF

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Beer friends with OC Beer Blog facebook page contributor Chuck U. Farley!

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“Hey, Brocofly!” Dir. of Marketing and 2nd employee at the Bruery, Benjamin Weiss

 

Here are the full details:
The Boys and Girls Club!! of Santa Ana , in coordination with The Bruery, are proud to present this our 6th Anniversary celebration – Sucréversary! 

This event, which is exclusive to The Bruery’s Reserve and Hoarders Society members and their guests, will be one of the largest events of the year. Attendees will have the opportunity to taste a myriad of beer offerings from The Bruery as well as other favorite SoCal craft brewers, all while helping a great organization.// THE DETAILS \\
Date: May 10th
Time: 12-5pm
Venue: The Phoenix Club in Anaheim
Benefitting: The Boys & Girls Club of Santa Ana
Price: $60 (no discount)
Ticket Limits: Reserve Society – 2 Tickets // Hoarders Society – 4// THE BEER LIST \\ …with more to come
Cask #1 – Cookie Monster
Cask #2 – Six Forty Seven PM
Cask #3 – Snickerdoodle Sour
Cask #4 – Raspberry Coconut Macaroon
Cask #5 – Watermelon Sour
Cask #6 – Pure Oreo Black Tuesday
Sour in the Rye w/ Beach Plum
Bourbon Mrs. Stoutfire
Rum Mrs Stoutfire
Sour in the Rye w/ Nectarines
Griffon Bruxellois
Oui Oui
Premiere
Batch #50
Confession
Sucré Tawny Port
Grey Monday
Hottenroth// THE BREWERY LIST \\
Almanac Beer Co: Ichibier Batch #2, Farmer’s Reserve Blackberry Sour
Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits: Sculpin, Sea Monster
Beachwood BBQ & Brewing: Tovarish, Laurel
Bootlegger’s Brewery
Bottle Logic Brewing
Cismontane Brewing
Eagle Rock Brewery: Dairy Tank, Populist
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.: Lil Opal, Wookey Jack
Golden Road Brewing: 329 Lager, Hudson Imperial Porter
Hangar 24 Craft Brewery: Chocolate Porter, Orange Wheat
Pugachev’s Cobra with cocoa nibs & toasted Coconut
Kern River Brewing Company
King Harbor Brewing Company: The Quest: El Dorado
Port Brewing / The Lost abbey
Modern Times Beer: Fortunate Islands, Funky Lomaland
Monkish Brewing Co.
Noblealeworks
Pizza Port San Clemente
Smog City Brewing
Societe Brewing Company: The Pupil, The Harlot
Saint Archer Brewing Company
Stone Brewing Co.: Saison, Enjoy By 5.16.2014
TAPS Fish House & Brewery: Mocha Stout, Nuestra Señora, Blanche de Conundrum
The Rare Barrel: Fields Forever, Egregious, Consigliere
Tustin Brewing Company: Jacksons Double IPA
Valiant Brewing: Stout-a-mel, Jolly Kratos

Stephen Hawking’s Favorite New Brewery – Bottle Logic Brewing

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

Can’t believe Stephen Hawking photobombed a perfectly good beer pic – Tattered Prince Saison Photo Jessica Rice beerandbaking.com

Black holes, baby universes and Bottle Logic brewer Kyle Manns. Photo Jessica Rice beerandbaking.com

Black holes, baby universes and bearded Bottle Logic brewer Kyle Manns. Photo Jessica Rice beerandbaking.com

If Stephen Hawking was a craft beer drinker, I bet he would find solace in Anaheim’s newest brewery. Bottle Logic, which opens doors on Feb 15, is beaming with old school sci-fi kitsch. I can almost hear the buzz of Hawking’s custom robotic wheelchair, perhaps awkwardly bumping into the tasting room’s inventive atomic nucleus-modified barrel tables. He would have to spin around to view the electric panel bookcase filled with sci-fi novels and science books that once inspired Walt Disney to build nearby Tomorrowland.

she_shot_first_can_glassHawking’s computer voice modulator would be quick to order up a round of She Shot First, a pale wheat ale at 5.4%. The citrus hop aromas could easily find their way to his olfactory glands from his food tray. The bitter punch would cause his eyes to roll back after activating the feeding tube drinking apparatus. The subtle hum of the pumps administer the cloudy golden beer at a moderate pace, sounding somewhat like a dentist’s mouth suction.

 

Round two of the Hoptomitron Series, Double Actuator DIPA would best be sampled over a tour of the brewery, which on day one, is impressive. Hawking would surely geek out the reverse osmosis water treatment and custom water profiles for each beer. Wood and stainless barrels would offer a gentle quandary. “what are the benefits of stainless over wood barrels?” his voice synth would rattle. Brewer Kyle Manns, would grin and answer with another question while tugging his beard. “How big is the universe?” Kyle would ask. “We are like yeast cells in this fermenter tank, Kyle. Each fermenter is like a galaxy.” Stephen might reply. Craving some hops in his feeding tube, Double Actuator DIPA (9% ABV) would be the next beer to be placed under his drinking apparatus. The big juicy Mosaic/Citra hops would slap his upside-down smile with mango and papaya. “I’ve had pureed mango and papaya before, and this…is…much…better…I prefer these flavors in beer form.” he might say.

 

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

If he were to sip Mother Heifer Milk Stout on Nitro, the chocolate and coffee notes might bring him back to his college days in Oxford drinking a Young’s Double Chocolate Stout in the pub with his chess club mates. “I thought this was a Hefeweizen based on the name!” he might quip. The ultra creamy nitro beer calms the hop bite of the first two beers. “Any brewery that can nail this style on day one? I have high hopes for.”

The last beer offered in the opening array is Tattered Prince Saison (pictured on top). The beer pours a milky peach color and hits the nose like a tropical Yankee Candle. Ginger, grains of paradise and coriander play beautifully in Bottle Logic’s complex French Saison. “The mouthfeel is a bit sticky, perhaps this beer needs to settle for a bit” Hawking might say. There’s a lot going on with this beer and can’t wait to see it mature.

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As his evening might to come to a close, Stephen Hawking is absorbent. Eyes crossing to the point he can’t operate the voice computer, the only thing I could hear coming from his direction is “Frank the tank, Frank the Tank!” as people nearby shoot selfies with him in the background (hashtag #stalkingthehawking).

Bottle Logic Soft Opening-Edited-0027The mysteries of time and space still left unexplained, we can all rest assured Bottle Logic Brewing takes their beer and tasting room seriously. Orange County may not be the center of the beer universe, but we should all take notice when a star is born.

 

Thanks Jessica Rice at BeerandBaking.com for being my personal photographer for the night! View the rest of her pics HERE. They’re gorgeous.

1072 N. Armando St. (near the 91/Kraemer/La Palma)
Anaheim, CA 98206
(714) 660-2537
info@bottlelogic.com
Grand opening Saturday February 15th.
Open 12pm – Close 10pm
I donated to http://www.alsa.org/ so I wouldn’t go to hell for this post. The use of Stephen Hawking was meant more out of respect for his awesomeness. My intention was not to poke fun at the handicapped or those affected by ALS.

Noble is Nubile at Age Three

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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2014 Anaheim State of the City Address: Mayor Focused on Craft Beer Growth

At Noble Ale Works’ 1st anniversary party a couple years ago, Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait asked me, “How do we grow craft beer in Anaheim?” I was taken aback. Normally, people have to lobby local politics to get involved in clearing a path for small artisan alcohol producers in this day of fat-walleted, misinformed NIMBY’s.

Craft beer has been a spark of positive change in many cities across the nation and Mayor Tait is no slouch for pushing this tasty agenda. Not only does good beer bring people together, the economic impact of a new brewery, especially in a tourist town, is huge.

The Brewers Association reports the economic impact of craft brewers in America hit 34 Billion in 2012, with California leading the pack at 4.7 Billion. San Diego obviously leads the growth at 70+ breweries; Anaheim will lead OC with almost 9% of San Diego County’s number of breweries by the end of 2014, however San Diego far outweighs production with many large regional craft brewers.

Mayor Tait and city advisors have been active getting Orange County to utilize the State’s health inspection codes instead of OCHCA’s stringent regulations that treat breweries like restaurants; making it quicker to get doors open.

Among the many beer festivals in Orange County, Anaheim will be home to three revolving fests including the OC Fest of Ales put on by Downtown Anaheim Assocication, The OC Brew Ho Ho Holiday fest and now Firkfest – A cask ale festival put on by OCBeerBlog. The city aims to attract the Craft Brewers Conference (CBC) or have a GABF scale event at Anaheim Convention Center sometime in the future. The ACC is the largest convention hall on the west coast.

Full text of Mayor Tom Tait’s “State of the Beer” portion of his city address. (1/28/2014)

BREW CITY

A fun example of how Anaheim is showcasing its business-friendly attitude involves one of my favorite topics: craft beer.

Anaheim’s German heritage means that we’ve actually been brewing beer here since city was founded. And in the last several years, the craft and microbrewery industry has seen tremendous growth. Anaheim will soon have more craft and micro-breweries than any other city in Orange County.

The city has been working on making it easier for these artisan beer makers to practice their craft in our town.

As a beer enthusiast, I’m really excited about the attraction of micro and craft brewers to our city. We have all of the elements that these entrepreneurs need—space, great water, a super-friendly regulatory climate, and Southern California’s tremendous population of thirsty residents and visitors.

This budding industry has great potential for our town. Think what the wine industry has done for places like the Napa Valley or Paso Robles over the years. And we’ve seen what the brew industry has done for the city of Portland. It has brought that city new jobs, lots of tourists and events, not to mention bringing the community together.

That’s why we’re branding Anaheim as the Southland’s BrewCity. In Southern California, when you think about craft beer and all that goes along with that scene, you’re going to think about Anaheim.

Moving beyond craft beer, I think Anaheim’s future can be summed up with what’s happening in the center of our city: it’s cool, diverse and authentic. It’s the type of place that young entrepreneurs are drawn to.

 

No Frills Blog Post for a No Frills Beer Festival | The Bruery Barrel Aged Beer Party

Hi, I'm Greg from OCBeerBlog, can I take your photo?

Hi, I’m Greg from OCBeerBlog, can I take your photo?

Mid November 2013, The Bruery Reserve Society members were treated to a dip into fifty or so barrel aged beers on a very Simpsonesque cloudy day on Center Street Promenade in Anaheim. Kind of a no-frills tentless beer festival with simple folding tables and a map/beer list. What else does one need? The event was put on by a local non-profit that supports growing the arts, Inspire Artistic Minds (same people that brought us Nepenthia Beer Garden earlier 2013). I puckered up to sours all day with the main goal to remain upright and chat with beautiful people that love great beer.

These guys should start a band and use this for the album cover.

These guys should start a band and use this for the album cover.

Highlights for me: the four Sour in the Rye variants; kumquat, peach, SITR 2011 and beach plum being my favorite with a cosmo hue and bright fruity effervesces. The Wanderer 2011 and 2013 were also stellar, the main difference being the punch of flavor in 2013, whereas 2011’s punch was expanded into a longer attenuated flavor. Overall the event had almost 800 checkins on Untappd as most people filled in beers they’ve missed over the years. An insane amount of cask and boozy beers insured glassware was dropped and shattered at regular intervals.

Hopscotch brought sous vide tri-tip. On a street. At a beerfest.

Hopscotch brought sous vide tri-tip. On a street. At a beerfest.

Food was catered by Hopscotch consisting of sous vide tri tip that was briefly seared and allowed to cook in its own inescapable juices at perfect temp. The cauliflower side dish and vegie option rocked the house with layers of umami and sweet. With the big beers, people needed an extra bite or two of something and were even offering money for extra food. This is the first time I’ve ever seen a pizza delivery to a beer festival! As with Nepenthia, bathrooms were a concern. I love you Bobby Navarro, but people need to eat and pee inside a beer festival. Add double what you think next time 🙂 I was cool because I chowed my traditional Veggie Works burrito from Del Taco as I ceremoniously do before every beer festival.

What 5oz pours of Grey Monday will do to people

What 5oz pours of Grey Monday will do to people

Overall, I loved the no-frills atmosphere. I think in the future the standard huge beer festival idea will be widdled down into specialty festivals like this (cough cough Firkfest) catering to a tighter focus of the craft beer world. What do you think? Let me know in the comments or on social media! Not a Reserve Society member? I think a few spots are left for 2014, don’t miss out on great parties like this!

Anyone with a DEVO patch is okay in my book.

Anyone with a DEVO patch is okay in my book.

Cambria and Jenny get their grub on and sell stuff

Cambria and Jenny get their grub on and sell stuff

 

Showing people how my camera works. Yes, it's film.

Showing people how my camera works. Yes, it’s film.

 

Various pours of Coton

Various pours of Coton

 

Matt Olesh, Rob from BeerPaperLA and Katey

Matt Olesh, Rob from BeerPaperLA and Katey

 

Note to self, waste level picks are always a bad idea.

Note to self, waste level picks are always a bad idea.

 

Katelyn and Evelyn demanded a retake

Katelyn and Evelyn demanded a retake

 

Jeff Hood shows off his snappy jacket.

Jeff Hood shows off his snappy jacket.

 

Anaheim's newest brewery set to open late 2013, Bottle Logic Brewing

Anaheim’s newest brewery set to open late 2013, Bottle Logic Brewing

 

Great American Beer Festival – OC Preview

Screen Shot 2013-09-30 at 8.58.37 PMSad as it is, a few of my favorite breweries won’t be at GABF this year. My hometown homies at Noble Ale Works, south county’s Cismontane Brewing Co. as well as Societe Brewing Co. down in SD didn’t make the registration cut. Their world-class beers won’t be touching the lips of craft beer desperados like a county fair kissing booth. While ‘merkans are stumbling around GABF’s halls and barfing on John Elway’s tassel loafers, Societe, Cismontane and Noble will be back at home, plotting their next attack while getting stronger than ever. I’ll miss ya boos.

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Don and Dave Larsen (Cismontane/Good Beer Co), Natalie and Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River Brewing Co mix it up with Patrick Rue in the Bruery’s 2012 GABF Booth. Photo – Nagel

Of those lucky enough to make the big dance, I asked each a few questions for 2013:

  1. How many GABF’s is this for your brewery?SAISON_RUE_v01
  2. What are you bringing?
  3. What categories did you enter?
  4. Doing any events or excited about attending any?

“This is the Bruery’s fifth GABF, fourth will a full force of beer.” says their director of marketing Ben Weiss. Tart of Darkness, Saison Tonnellerie, Oude Tart with Cherries, Sour in the Rye with Peaches, and Chocolate Rain will be poured throughout the fest.

Bruery events! Go here, see the Bruery. Taste their beer. 

Valiant-Brewing

This is Valiant’s first GABF!
“We’re bringing Mounds of Grounds, Pathos, Fields Ablaze, Axiom, Stentorian and First Flight. We entered a few categories:
8- Coffee beer, 13b-Imperial Porter, 69-French & Belgian Saison, 43b-Belgian Style Dark Strong, 84a-Barleywine
newport-beach-brewing-companyThis is Newport Beach Brewing Co‘s tenth GABF, but brewer Derek Bougie’s fifth.
Pouring and submitted Newport Beach Blonde (44 Golden or Blonde Ale), Newport Coast Steam (37B American Style Amber Lager), Bisbee’s ESB (58B Extra Special Bitter), Funky Monkey (24A wood barrel aged sour beer – 3 bottles per session) and JDs Reserve #2 (23 Wood barrel aged strong stout). Derek says, “I don’t have any events planned but that doesn’t mean I wont get around. I will be driving over with the New BrewThursday guys so I know we will get around to some breweries. Which ones I don’t know yet. Most likely ones we haven’t been to yet. Im hoping to bring some hardware home for the OC.”
Bootlegger’s-BreweryThis is Bootleggers Brewery’s sixth GABF.
“We’re pouring Pumpkin Ale, Black Phoenix Stout, Dr. Tongue, Far Out IPA and Old World Hefe” says Patricia. They entered seven categories:Bootlegger Pumpkin Ale- Category 05B; Pumpkin Beer; Black Phoenix Stout- Category 08 Coffee Beer; Dr. Tongue- Category 13A Other Strong Beer; Far Out IPA- Category 52 American-Style India Pale Ale; Old World Hefeweizen- Category 66 South German-Style Hefeweizen; Lupulin Thrill IPA- Category 52 American-Style India Pale Ale; English ESB- Category 58A Extra Special BitterBootlegger’s crew along with Tustin Brewing crew will be boarding our own beer bus and touring Colorado Breweries all day Friday.  Stops includes New Belgium, Odell’s, Funkwerks, Left Hand Brewing and more!
Left-Coast-Brewing-CompanyLeft Coast Brewing Co – 9 years.
Oggis Pizza & Brewing Co – 13 years. They’re bringing:
Left Coast- Hop Juice, Trestles IPA, Tommy Session Pale Ale, Una Mas Amber Lager, Barrel Age Voo Doo.
Oggis – Double Up IIPA, Black Magic Stout, McGarveys Scottish, Paradise Pale Ale,  California Gold.
“We have really high hopes for winning medals for both companies. We are excited about releasing our Barrel Age Voo Doo on draft. We have only released it in bottles in our tasting room.”, Tommy Hadjis, General Manager.
Tustin-Brewing-Co
Jerrod from Tustin Brewing Co. says, “We are pouring Golden Spike Blonde Ale, Blimp hangar porter, and Old Town IPA…two of which are GABF medal winners in the past. I entered ten categories. Not sure how many Gabf’s this us for Tustin.” Look out for the Bootleggers/Tustin Brewing Co. party bus!
Stay Tuned as I stalk Victor Novak around Denver! 
Taps-Fish-House-Brewery
Special thanks to Brew Beer Blog for letting me quickly grab his brewery logos. #i’m lazy

 

OC Fest of Ales & Beer Run 5K September 21, 2013 +exclusive promo code

As you may know, one of my favorite elements of craft beer is the community. Drinking beer alone is a magical thing, but add in complete strangers, friends or family to the mix and the beverage is elevated to new heights. One of my major goals with this blog is to grow that community by any means necessary. (TLDR discount code on bottom)

Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait approached me at Noble’s 1st anniversary and asked, “how do we get Anaheim on the beer map?” Months later, a beer festival committee was formed with a few beer heads and a die hard group of people that want to see their city succeed. Devon and Shelly Reeves of Downtown Anaheim, various city volunteers, Brad Daniels, Spence Coleman and I brainstormed how to make a fest different, fun and educational. Getting the chance to volunteer for my city…to bring the community together in the name of great beer…is an honor I don’t take lightly. It’s a lot of hard work and I can’t wait to see it all come together on 9/21! Last year, we made it happen in three months…this year, we’ve had time to relax make it something special.

The event supports a local non-profit – the Downtown Anaheim Association. They intern have weekly farmers markets, art crawls and donate their facilities to children’s groups and others. This year it also helps support an 80 year Anaheim tradition – the Halloween Parade and Fall Festival!

I won’t bore you…it’s a beer fest. I hope my passion has compelled some interest!

For my readers, I’m offering a special discount code: GONZO. This will take $10 off!

The fest is a few days away! I hope to see you there! Stop by OCFestofAles.net and get some! Cheers!

“Roid-out” your Angel’s Pregame at The Catch of Anaheim

Stadium food be damned. 

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ROID RAGE MAKE BLOGGER USE PADDLE TO KNOCK TACOS OUT OF PARK – Flight of TAPS beer next to Blackened Mahi Mahi and Carnitas Tacos on the Gameday Menu.

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Mexican vs. Irish Nachos! America wins.

You’ve got Angel’s tickets burning a hole in your pocket and a couple hours to kill before the game. Of the many beery spots surrounding the stadium, one happened to ‘catch’ my eye this past week. The Catch of Anaheim is literally a Chuck Finley pitch to the stadium parking lot and rocks an inventive game day menu. After witnessing the pitcher’s mound-sized Snack Bomb Nachos, I dub the gameday menu as “steroids for fans”. The plate is loaded with everything a doping test failee might crave. After sampling the part chip/part fry snack bomb, I instantly feel like Barry Bonds in a home run derby.

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The Catch also happens to be TAPS Fishhouse & Brewery’s sister restaurant. As such, you can bet your Angels jersey they have award-winning TAPS beer on draft plus a slew of other craft beer, wine and cocktails (ALL less than stadium prices too). On game days, The Catch opens three hours prior to the national anthem, oh say can you see?

Thirsty as all hell, my darling hot wife kicks things off with a lavender martini that is sweet/tart with a layer of citrus foam on top. I (shockingly) get a TAPS Cream Ale…a beer so blonde and swiggable it can fool old’ uncle Jim the macro-drinker into crossing over. It’s light and refreshing enough to stand up to the gameday menu. It’s less filling…and it tastes great.

P1060232On the lighter side of the gameday menu, yellow-fin tuna tar tar happens. The tuna is tossed with some chili, soy sauce,avocado, then dribbled with some wasabi crème fraÎche on a butter lettuce leaf. The Catch keeps it classy by using all sustainable fish exclusively from Santa Monica Seafood.

P1060243Always the adventurous type, I’m curious to try the pork cemita. Sort of like a ‘torta from a different morta’ with a toasty sesame-seed bun, this cabron is legit. Ancho chili marinated pork tussled in chipotle sauce and sprinkled with wild cilantro, Oaxacan cheese, avocado and a spritz of lime…The real star of the show is the crispy chicharrones inside. Pair this with Hangar 24’s Chocolate Porter (available on Nitro on my visit) for an insta-grand slam in your belly.

P1060239The Catch is classy, simple and delicious. There’s some sports memorabilia, bobbleheads, and some screens placed perfectly in the bar without being overdone. The wine cellar sits in the nosebleeds up a spiral staircase. On gameday, a sea of red jerseys are there to keep you company. The atmosphere is relaxed and the service is spot on. Outdoor seating is almost too comfy on their chairs. My only complaint is I was too full and happy to go see the game.

The Catch on Urbanspoon

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