APRIL FOOLS: Disneyland to Open Brewery in California Adventure

beerindca

Originally posted satire on April 1st.

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

The brewhouse is scheduled to be complete by April 2014 in time for the Beer-Wine-Food Festival. The brewhouse will sit next to the new Ghirardelli in the Pacific Wharf area.

Disney PR listed some potential beers that will be available:

  • Bippity Boppity Brown
  • Snow Wit
  • Jane Porter
  • To Infinity and Beyond Pale Ale
  • Peoplemover Pils
  • The Abominable Hefeweizen
  • Jack’s Big Pumpkin Beer
  • Geppetto’s Barrel Aged Barley Wine
  • Merida’s Irish Red
  • Pooh’s Honey Blonde
  • John Smith’s ESB
  • Dumbo DIPA

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

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.

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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.

dudes

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.

komiseks

The Komiseks. Brad is the assistant brewer at Noble.

 

crowd

Did anyone actually win a raffle item? hehe

 

hollingsheads

Julian chats with the Hollingsheads.

 

pourers

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.

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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.

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“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!

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How to Throw a Beer Festival – OC Fest of Ales, Anaheim

“Great Success!” Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait taps the 1st keg at Anaheim Brewery

Sometime last year, Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait asked, “How do we get Anaheim on the beer map?”, “THROW A BEER FEST, MR. MAYOR!” I said while spraying beer accidentally on his forehead. Little did I know, I would be on the planning committee for the event, going so far as to naming it, picking the glassware, signing up breweries and restaurants and picking the beers for the VIP food pairings.

I had grandiose visions of places like BRÜ, Stone Catering, The Side Door, Beachwood BBQ, Newport Beach BrewCo, The Playground, Haven Gastropub and Taco Asylum serving up bite size morsels with perfectly paired local craft beer. I imagined Dr. Bill Sysak sauntering from tent to tent proclaiming “PERFECTION” with each taste. I had a naughtier fantasy featuring Laurie Delk from 100 Beers 30 Days frolicking in a nearby fountain, pouring a Cantillon Gueuze down her chest moaning “y’all want a sip” in her delightful southern drawl. (Only true craft beer geeks fantasize about Laurie Delk, ya’ know.)

I thought simply emailing breweries would get answers like “Shit yeah! What time and what do we bring?”. Oh how wrong I was. “Not another goddamn festival!”, and “Not this year, dude” were typical replies. Some breweries were 100% behind it! Hangar 24 was like, “Hell yeah, even though that’s our annual Oktoberfest that day”. Bravery Brewing in Lancaster thought this would be the perfect fest to pop their festival cherry, driving 3 hours and bringing four great beers. Golden Road even helped out despite it being their 1st anniversary the same day!

Here’s some notes from our brainstorm session back in July, followed by notes from the event:

Step 1: Be Different. There’s tons of beer festivals and the focus should always be about the beer. How do you make it fun and different? Offering a 5K Beer Run is critical.

Here bright and early for the 5K Beer Run, joints crack as runners fix their leotards, neon wigs,  and Super Mario Bros costumes. My favorite team of the day is the Presidential podium being pushed by federal agents! Driving up to the parking garage, I was surprised to see actual runners doing sprints before the run. Beer Runs are SERIOUS BUSINESS, apparently. I didn’t run, but heard it had some issues that will be corrected next year. The beer-batter pancakes at the end were super fluffy and delicious, just like some of the runners. The beer song was awful, though.

Step 2: Have a real VIP experience. 

These are Very Important People next to the Oggi’s VIP tent.

I’ve been to numerous beer festivals where being VIP means getting in early and getting more tasters. The OC Fest of Ales VIP ticket included food pairings from local chef’s and restaurants! It had seating, an actual bathroom, entrance to the Muzeo‘s current show, a gift bag with upgraded glassware and other chochkies, and more taste tickets!

The VIP area smells like Bacon, and not because the cops are are here! Slaters 50/50 is cooking up 1/4 burger wedges oozing their 50% bacon, 50% beef grind paired with Lagunitas IPA. It’s an intense flavor combo! Their station is a virtual mini-meth lab!

 

New BBQ caterers Brew Hawg BBQ and Brewing Co, and renouned local chef Katie Averill-Martin of Eat Street Culinary win my heart with some perfectly paired dishes. Eat Street’s Asian Chicken Spring Roll paired with Julius Echter Hefe-Weissbier is my favorite of the day! It’s light, delicate and full of flavor, just like the beer paired with it.

 

Brewhawg is serving a mini-meal with their smoked beef rib, baked beans and tater salad. They’re also serving homebrewed Root Beer floats! So incredible! From Brew Hawg: “We blew through 40 racks of ribs in 2 hours flat! Each vendor brought 500 portions to serve and Brew Hawg was the 1st one to run out. We spent the rest of the time serving our homemade root beer floats and plopping ice cream into glasses of chocolate stout that people were bringing over from one of the other booths.”

Dan from Out of the Park Pizza really knocks it out of the park with bacon wrapped maple wings. The wings paired with Corsendonk Abbey Dubbel is a total home run!

Nine total pairings are available in the VIP section: Brewcakes, Tandoori Garden, Roy’s, Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen, and Oggi’s all have some solid morsels. I overheard several guests say the VIP area rivalls Taste of Anaheim on a small scale! Next year the focus will be on Locally brewed beer.

Bill from Hopparazi Brewing Co, Dave from Haven Brewing and Evan from Noble Ale Works chat about yeast cake.

Step 3. Have Good Beer! This should be Step 1, really.

Brewer participation is a solid mix of OC, LA and Inland Empire, dusted with a couple from SD. From OC: Anaheim Brewery, Noble Ale Works, The Bruery, Bootleggers Brewery, Old Orange Brewing and Oggi’s Pizza & Brewing Co. From IE, Hangar 24 Brewery, Craft Brewing, Packing House Brewery, Bravery Brewing and of course Inland Empire Brewing Co. From LA: Eagle Rock, Haven Brewing, and Golden Road. Karl Strauss and Stone Brewing Co were the only SD brewers on hand. Filling in the mix were beers from Firestone Walker, Lost Coast, Beer Valley and others from local distributors to bring the count up to 100 beers – EVEN. Well, there was one no-show so it was like 98. A few faux craft snuck in as well, something I hope to avoid next year.

My favorites of the day: Bravery Brewing’s Sweet Stout, Packinghouse IPA, Anaheim Brewery Oktoberfest, Noble Ale Works ESB and Haven Brewing’s UpRYEsing. Craft Brewing Co’s blend of Stout and Raspberry Wheat is one of the best things ever! Congrats to Hangar 24 for taking home the people’s choice award! Not seen by the crowd, it’s a super rad mini-conical fermenter trophy!

 Step 4. Entice the Food Trucks to cook with beer. To make it interesting, we came up with a Food Truck Challenge, offering a level of competition for the trucks to prepare items with beer and sell them to the crowd.

I fly over to Seabirds for my favorite beer battered Avocado tacos and an Oatmeal Stout cupcake. Jessica Rice from Beer and Baking shares her Viking Truck corndog with me. That truck always finds a way to pillage my pretty little mouth! It was nice to see them win the Food Truck Challenge as everything on the truck is beer infused, boiled or flambéed in some way in beer. The voting system for this event is flawed as people had to give up taster tickets to vote. Needless to say we will be address this next year. Chomp Chomp, Rolling Sushi Van, Garlicscapes, and the Lime Truck also have some mouthwatering beer infused gourmet food happening as well. It was hard to pick!

Proper corn dog technique: Never hold the stick!

Step 5. Have a Home Brew Contest. Goal? 50 entries. Achieved? 150.

I submitted my Organic IPA, OPA! and my Rye Saison, Yellow Submarine. I was having such a good time I missed the results being called out, but damn...the Saison placed! I also missed the Home Brewer Bottle Share event, dammit! I really wanted to meet the winner Jon Silvertooth who happened to win the OC Fair with the same Dopplebock! Good news for beer geeks, his beer will be brewed by Anaheim Brewery and will be available at Downtown Anaheim events! I’ll tweet/FB when I hear something.

Next year: Battle of the Beards! Brian of Bravery and Jonas of the Bruery show off their facial hair

Step 6: Try not to suck. 

For a first year festival, with 99% volunteers planning and working the thing, I am completely blown away by the event. I personally had a blast! I did hear from multiple random people how shocked they were at the value of the VIP. Next year we hope to expand it and streamline the event as a whole. Many of the volunteers knew about the beers being poured. I played dumb with several and they all nailed it! The Bruery’s volunteer told me everything about Loakal Red…I was shocked!

Gripes: There were some serious oversights in set up and break down which wasn’t seen by guests. An Emcee would have been great to announce the run and side events. My arm looked like Madonna in Lucky Star with six wristbands! Two tickets per taste was dumb. I also heard the 5K challenges were crap. They should be more “mud-runnish”. Water became scarse near the end/dump buckets were full.

The Goal: Put Anaheim on the Beer Map. Achieved? Over 1,000 runners clocked in and over 3,000 total people bought tickets. As I live down the street, this is the most people I’ve ever seen at a Downtown Anaheim event! I consider it a success, but there’s tons to work on to make it better for next year. Here’s the results of all the contests!

Huge Shout Outs! @epicbeergirl@bottomofthemug and Helen Myers for help on my committee! Dan from Out of the Park Pizza for saving our asses with weird taps for Belgium and German kegs! Bradley and Daira Daniels for setting up the kegs! Neighbor friend Helen Myers for doing a stellar job getting volunteers! They were awesome! Peter, the man who made it happen! Downtown Anaheim Association divas Shelly and Devon Reeves! Jamie Wood from the Packinghouse! Shaheen for being awesome! Spence Coleman for helping the Homebrew contest! Oh, Tom Tait, Mr. Mayor, Thanks!

Other Pics: (panoramics ©ocbeerblog 2012 / Shot with Russian Horizon 202)

Bootleggers: Slow like real turtles!

“GRAINS”

View from the People’s Choice Hangar24 Truck

anaheim’s own: Noble Ale Works

Viking truck pillages another mouth.

Hoparazzi Brewing Co!

The check-in

Brian from Bravery serves it up!

Derek Bougie from Newport Beach Brewing Co.

Super Bootlegger Bros.

Keith and Kevin hold down the Anaheim Brewery tent.

Disneyland California Craft Beer Adventure!

 

Tower of Terror? Nah, Tower of great food and local craft beer!

As summer is once again upon us, visiting a theme park is probably in your plans. Living a mile from Disneyland, I usually direct out-of-towners to nearby breweries and craft beer friendly gastropubs (read a piece I was featured in All About Beer Magazine May 2012 issue about the subject page 1 / page 2). As Disneyland California Adventure (DCA) re-opened with new rides and food options, a true imagineer had the forethought to add fresh local beer to the menu, some of which is brewed a mile away!

Upon entering DCA, you now enter Buena Vista street, a classy throwback to an era when Walt first arrived in California. Street cars ding-ding, newspapers sit on a newsstand, and cast members taunt about with 20’s style costumes. At the end of the street becons the Carthay Theatre, which is actually a lounge and restaurant. The lounge offers moderately priced tapas style snacks and a modest local craft beer selection. Upon opening, here what was available:

Salted Nuts in a flight of Anaheim Gold, Hefeweizen, and 1888.

On Draft: A flight of Anaheim Brewery – Gold, Hefeweizen, and 1888 (California Common) / Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA and Karl Strauss Red Trolly Ale.

In Bottes: The Bruery Loakal Red and Saison Rue  / Stone Brewing Co. Smoked Porter / Lagunitas Pils and Censored Ale (shocked Disney let that one in) / Lost Coast 8 Ball Stout / Firestone Walker DBA / North Coast Red Seal, Pranqster, Brother Thelonious, and Acme Pale Ale.

Although it’s great to have all California brewed options and a good variety of styles, the North Coast beers are head scratchers. I don’t necessarily dislike that brand, but more love could have been given to SoCal. I would have put Noble Ale Works Alpha Red instead of Red Seal, Bootleggers Golden Chaos instead of Pranqster, A Lost Abbey beer in place of Brother Thelonious, and Hangar 24 Orange Wheat or Stone Pale Ale instead of Acme Pale Ale. Lost Coast 8 Ball Stout I would have tossed in Green Flash Double Stout. The Bruery Loakal Red is a nice addition as it’s only available in Orange County. This may sound like I’m complaining, and I’m not, it’s just that out of towners may prefer actual local beer, and I don’t consider northern California as part of that. Firestone Walker is my cut off point. Shitty light-American lager IS available, but not advertised or displayed anywhere. I love that they bootlegged the macro in the back…well done, Walt. The prices were similar to an average bar, shockingly not theme park high. ($7ish)

Inside the Carthay Lounge

The Carthay Lounge itself is a classy bar. Along with the CA Craft beer, custom mixed cocktails and various n/a crafted beverages are available for the wee ones. Sitting in there enjoying a flight I didn’t feel like I was sitting inside of Disneyland.

Elsewhere in the park, Craft beer is still available at the Karl Strauss Beer Truck, which serves 5 drafts. Red Trolly, Windansea Hef, Tower 10 IPA, Endless Summer Light, and a Seasonal. Currently Pintail Pale Ale is the seasonal.

Bayside Brews (Previous blog post here) has a couple Karl options as well as Sierra Nevada Torpedo. Ariels Grotto has the Cove Bar with a few Samuel Adams, Widmer, and Guinness type options.

If you happen to be coming in from out of town, I still would be happy to give recommendations!

Other Photos:

 

Not Your Pep-Pep’s Historic Home Tour!

by Keith Oleson

 

It’s official–On May 26 and 27, the Anaheim Neighborhood Association is presenting their Historic Home, Garden, and Brewery Tour.

And this is not your grandmother’s house tour.

If there’s one thing that those of us lucky (crazy) enough to live in the historic areas of downtown Anaheim know it’s that these historic houses are more than just historic houses. They’re homes. They aren’t relics frozen in time to be looked at like artifacts in a museum. They are unique homes with unique owners, and individually and as a community they have unique stories to tell.

ANA’s Historic Home, Garden And Brewery Tour is about more than just the date a house was built, what kind of siding was used and what light fixtures are original. All that is important, but it’s also about these historic homes creating a living community, an ever-growing group of people who love these old homes and their beautiful gardens and the community they create and who want to share their homes, their gardens, and their stories. And, yes, some of those homes, gardens and stories include a love of home brewing! This tour is a chance to really explore the homes and gardens of the Anaheim Colony Historic District from a refreshing perspective.

The tour will feature homes of a variety of architectural styles scattered throughout the Colony. Trolleys will be provided if you prefer to sit back and enjoy the view while your tour the homes and the neighborhood. What a perfect opportunity to look around, see the neighborhoods, and talk to people who share an interest in historic homes and gardens, check out some home breweries, and end the tour at the Anaheim Brewery. Sounds like a perfect way to spend the day.

The tour is about historic homes, the people who love them, and the unique community that is the result.

Check it out at www.anahometour.com

More information will be posted between now and May 26, but mark the date. This is part of the history of the Anaheim Colony and promises to be a great event.

Keith Oleson is a friend, neighbor, and beer drinker of OCBeerBlog

Cork and Cage Party at Peace Brewing!

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This gallery contains 14 photos.

When bottling ten gallons of Belgian Saison into classic cork and cage bottles at Peace Brewing, it helps to have a party! Most photos taken by Chad of Brewfooery.

1st Anaheim Brewery Oktoberfest and Chicken Dance

Every now and then the puzzle pieces of life seem to fit perfectly. When I saw the flyer for Anaheim Brewery’s Oktoberfest it was simply too perfect to pass up. For starters, it is stumbling distance from my house! I was also pretty jazzed that the proceeds of the event go towards the Anaheim Historical Society. As a previous member of AHS, events like this make me want to re-join! When I say jazzed, I was literally doing jazz hands like the West Side Story or something.

Digging into historic Anaheim and its beer culture I found something interesting. If you’ve ever been to Stone Brewery and World Bistro in Escondido, you’ll know what I’m talking about. An early proprietor of Anaheim Brewery in 1888 purchased 10 acres of land on Broadway in West Anaheim. On the west side of the brewery, there was a park, with trees, tables and benches, and a central pavilion. They named the park Tivoli Gardens and later changed it to Columbia Gardens. You could buy beer at the brewery and chill in the park with a picnic. I’m pretty sure people did some fun stuff in the bushes, thinking back to one of my blood relatives from the late 1800’s you’ll see why.

You just got eye fucked by my old relative, George Hanson.  Cool hair bro.

That’s all fine and good, how the hell was the Oktoberfest? Short answer? Good! Long answer, sit down on uncle Beer Blog’s lap and let me tell you a story.

The weather was perfect; Sunny and 75 outside. I spotted a big white puffy cloud that looked like two wiener dogs making sweet love on a sailboat with a pirate flag. I chuckled at precisely the same moment Devon Reeves of the Downtown Anaheim Association walked by. Great! Now she’s thinks I’m batshit insane. Wait! She might read this. Yipes. Clearly I have no idea how to delete words that I’ve typed. Fuck! She’s pretty cute with her lush head of red hair. MMM, red hair. Damnit! Back on topic!

Bradley Daniels of Peace Brewing and lovely wife Daira playing the tap handles!

Center Street Promenade is host to many events and is the perfect spot to host the Fest. Historically, this location is where saloons and breweries were located in Anaheim! Upon spotting the tent, I pitched my own. The blue and white striped tent housed a stage with a HUGE 17 person lederhosen clad band and twenty or so tables to drink at. The band smelled like a BenGay truck slammed into a suede leather factory! There were some serious old dudes on the horns taking oom-pah-pah to the next level. I wish there was a German Oktoberfest Rock Band video game!. Think of the possibilities…Lederhosen and Dirndl’s included! It would be fun for ze whole fam!

Outside the tent were several food vendors serving up tacos, brats, ice cream, etc. I was impressed with a live blacksmith on site. I commented that some of his wares look like medieval sex toys and torture devices in which the blacksmith said, “what?”. Nothing dude. Nice stuff.

Filled with yummy oktobery goodness

Two taps gushed Anaheim Brewery’s delicious fest bier. I filled my German made stoneware Anaheim Brewery stein with the stuff and quickly gulped it down. My only complaint about drinking from a ceramic stein is I can’t see my beer. I like to eyeball it and mumble “say hi to my urinary tract” before taking a sip…don’t judge! The beer has a bready aroma with some fruity esters and is easy drinking. The recipe is a modernized version of a 100 year old Oktoberfest recipe found in the basement of Paulaner brewery in Munich, Germany. I wonder if Pee-Wee’s bike was in there as well.

Barbara and Greg of Anaheim Brewery learning the proper polka!

Anaheim Mayor, Tom Tait tapped the ceremonial Keg as the band played Ein Prosit. Gemütlichkeit was had! I sucked down half of an overdone bratwurst and a couple beers while watching a polka instructor show the locals how to dance.

I certainly look forward to this being a yearly event. Stop into Anaheim Brewery for a pint or growler fill of the Oktoberfest beer before it’s gone! Check their site or facebook for details.

The Good:

  • Barbara and Greg in Dirndl and lederhosen!
  • The polka dance instructor was awesome.
  • The beer!
  • Small town neighborly atmosphere
  • Stein is super high quality and well done.
  • Price was spot on if you stayed a while.
  • Always fun to see the mayor tap a keg!

The Minor Gripes:

  • 17 person band was way too much sound and space. It was hard to have a conversation.
  • Smoke from a nearby food vendor was overbearing the tent. I smelled like was at a campfire when I got home.
  • Flyer had misinformation: 21 and over, yet there were kids. It also said $25 for the stein, but it was $15…sometimes typos are good!
  • Games at Oktoberfest are always fun; Beer drinking contest, Brat eating contest, etc. I had to leave early and I’m not sure if they did games; but that would be great for next time!

Youtube video from friends at Squeeze My Orange:

The best little brewery you can’t go to. (Peace Brewing)

I live in the Anaheim Colony Historic District in an old house. Among the loud trains that go down my street, Walt Disney’s Firework Explosion Annoyance Spectacular, Ghetto Birds flying around, Mexican Banda Musica blaring from car stereos, neighbors that shoot bottle rockets year round, wild parrots that caw at 5AM, constant sirens, gun shots, dogs barking, the ex-trumpet player of No Doubt down the street and the constant smell of burritos, there exists Bradley Daniels of Peace Brewing.

I want a T shirt with that logo.

One can’t just purchase a beer brewed by Peace Brewing. It must be obtained by invitation to one of the coolest old Craftsman houses in the five square miles of the Anaheim Colony. I was lucky enough to meet Brad at one of our neighborhood monthly potlucks, where Brad said “oh my God, YOU are Greg? Man I read your posts on Facebook…you’re a freak!”. Yep, that’s me. I had my invitation. Weeks went by and we met up at Bootleggers Brewery in Fullerton with his lovely smiley wife, Daira. We talked beer, old time Anaheim, good Mexican food, OC Punk Rock of the early 80’s. We drank Bootleggers Golden Chaos aged in Brandy Barrels for a year. Holy shit that beer was like a cherry sour dipped in Brandy! I’ll never forget it. Great company with great beer is always a win-win!

Anaheim Colony residents enjoy Brad and Daira’s backyard at a recent potluck.

Weeks went by and I finally got the chance to check out Peace Brewing at the AHP Brew Club Monthly meeting. It was totally overwhelming of course, meeting some very talented brewers in a personal setting. I got the brewery tour and was in awe. Kind of like the pool scene from Fast Times at Ridgemont High as a twelve year old boy. The brewery exists in a converted garage; it contains a bar, brewing area, four taps, a table, a men’s room with urinal, a temp controlled fermentation room and industrial fridge. My first impression: cozy and functional. The beer is more than just a beverage, I felt like I had been stumbling through a desert for days and found beer tap hanging out of a tree.

“how about an ice cold one, Brad”

Brad quickly burns taps and brews up another batch. Newer brewers use modern technology to help their fermented goods. Brad uses pencil and an old notebook to keep track of recipes, gravity readings etc. There’s something so elemental about it and he makes it look easy. The beers he brews are far from primitive. On my first visit he had ESB, Wheat, IPA and Porter. The porter was served with Nitrogen gas, making it pour similar to Guinness giving it that sexy waterfall look with a pillowy cream head. The ESB and Wheat were outstanding showcases for the styles, and the IPA. Yes, the IPA…weighing in at 8% ABV:  “Doesn’t 8% qualify as a double?” “nah, I don’t think so”. Man, Peace Brewing IPA could be sold in stores. Citrus and pine on the nose, fruity finish, very easy drinking 8%.

Aside from the brewery, Brad and Daira have transformed their back yard into a zen like place to relax with a raised koy pond and deck. A hammock sits off in the distance next to a 10X scale home-made lawn Jenga game. A large angular avocado tree provides shade on a hot day. The interior of their house is typical of an early 1900’s Crafstman with many built in cabinets and storage. They’ve only lived here three years, making everyone feel like huge under-achievers with their place! It looks and feels like its been lived in for decades!

Yes, Lawn Jenga! Manual dexterity and a cold beer are required.

Both Brad and Daira are also two of the nicest and down to earth people I’ve had the pleasure to meet and hang out with in recent years. Brad has a cool old punk rock vibe. If he told me he played stand-up bass in an experimental blues band, I’d believe him. Daira is always adorned with a warm smile and quick to offer up a cold beer. Their cool attitude and stylish home is truly inspiring! I wouldn’t be surprised to see their house featured in Sunset magazine, or a Beer Porn magazine if such a thing existed.

All I have to say is I’m happy to have Brad and Daira as friends so I can enjoy this little bit of paradise in Anaheim!

More Pics here courtesy of the OC Register.

Thee Beer Book Blog: Features very nice photos of the brewery itself.