New Brewery Alert: Stereo Brewing in Placentia


As a writer, I draw a lot of parallels with beer and music. They’re both man-made art, analog, and evocative. Just as I can remember songs I listened to with friends twenty years ago; their beats, lyrics, and bass lines…I can remember beers I’ve had on camping trips decades ago. Tying these two brain-banks together is Stereo Brewing in Placentia.


Opened by Rick Smets and Amanda Pearce, the couple met at a Dylan concert, freaked out over beers, now are knee deep in a Premier stainless steel jug band brewhouse that makes hop beats over malt basslines.


The tasting room is an aquarium of music with spinning vinyl and music posters throughout. The beer, on soft opening, was clean and full of personality. Coming from Firestone and Left Coast, Rick has his eye on quality first, opting to dump the first batch of IPA. Instead, hop heads will swoon over the Robot hoppy red. Dancing like a robot listening to Kraftwerk, I thought Stereo’s Blonde on Blonde Kolsch was the best beer on the playlist. So much so, I took a crowler of it home, just to be sure.


Hazy Jane Ginger Wheat

Stereo Brewing opens Saturday 10/15/16, check them out!

Just a Fella That Builds Breweries: Jim Mellem of The Bruery

Piece originally appeared in the Sept. 2015 BeerPaperLA.

Ten weeks ago, Jim Mellem walked through The Bruery’s doors. A/C blowing his almost Lyle Lovett-like hair to the side, he punched the clock on a new job with a million things to do. Ten weeks later, the old brewhouse is out, a shiny-new GEA system is installed, and the Bruery Terreux sits a pellicle away from going full force. Leaving a 12-year position at one of America’s most-respected breweries to work in Orange County couldn’t have been easy. I got a chance to check in with him late August and chat about his transition.


Sharing Black Tuesday 2015 out of the brite tank, Jim Mellem

Everyone always remembers their first Bruery beer, what was yours? Tradewinds Tripel. Beautiful beer.

How different are things at The Bruery compared to Sierra Nevada?

The resources here are a little bit different, in a lot of ways it’s a lot more fun. We get to roll up our sleeves. Patrick is really big on the people aspect of brewing, which is nice.  It’s a lot more manual at the Bruery. One similarity is the pilot system at Sierra Nevada is similar to our production brewhouse. At Sierra, it’s more for fun, over here, it’s what pays the bills.

How much are you going to miss dry hopping?

I was in charge of the cellar in Chico and that was like 60% of my job! I’d be organizing torpedos, dry hops, and managing the guys. I can safely move on from brewing IPA’s in my life. I love drinking them though. Now I’m getting more into ‘what kind of spices can we add to the whirlpool’. With our recent collab with Jester King, I had to organize the guys to get zest off of 400 pounds of limes; every week is something totally different.

With the unique operational requirements behind some of The Bruery’s beers, are there any techniques you’ve changed or plan on changing?

With Autumn Maple, we’ve moved to yam purée instead of hand processing them. We also bought a pump to add them directly into the kettle (ed: they previously used a forklift).  Anyway, it’s a lot easier than hand-roasting yams.  We still split vanilla beans individually and have to get the ingredients sack together for whirlpool, so it’s still a major operation in some respects.

You mentioned you came from the cellar side of things at Sierra Nevada, is there any knowledge to impart coming from years of bottle/can conditioning Pale Ale and other beers?

Sierra is probably one of the few breweries in the world that has the ability to take beer that’s 32 degrees and warm it back up to 60 at packaging/filtration. At Terreux, we’re pushing everything to be bottle conditioned as we find that it adds that je ne sais quoi. Right now, we take the bottles and stick them in a warm warehouse for a month plus, but if you can give that a bit of a jump start by getting the beer warm, then bottling, we’d be ahead of the game.  The question is how can we do that from an energy standpoint, using existing equipment and not trying to sink the Bismarck in cost.

Maybe convert the Jazzersize building a few doors down into a Bikram Yoga/Bottle Conditioning room?

I definitely have some cool ideas…it’s really interesting at Sierra though, as we will bottle condition with house yeast, with Cal Ale yeast, and we’d also do it with Brett. So there’s a lot more variation on bottle conditioning speed, what types of esters you’re producing, and what you’re trying to get in the bottle. It might be something that will help mop up the rougher flavors after barrel aging, diacetyl, making sure you’re getting a really great product out to the consumer, so we’re definitely trying to employ some of these options. Terreux is still very much a work in progress, in regards to how we’re going to finish those beers.

Sierra Nevada is built with efficiency and environment in mind. Will you be looking into any projects to do the same at the Bruery?

I think it’s a greater awareness, but the new brewhouse offers some benefit. The mash tun has rakes now, so we can get more water out which means we’re sparging less and using less water per barrel. We want to have a knowledge of how to count and quantify things first, then we can figure out how to improve. We’ve reset the bar with the new brewhouse. We’ll have to get smarter with transporting wort between buildings. We’ve also done some things different how we clean the bottle filler to save water. We’re doing a lot of risky beers here, and with that, there’s always going to be a lot more water use because you’re always going to have to clean, then clean again, and again.

Is manpower shared between Terreux and Bruery?

It’s really interesting. There’s two different teams within the different wort stream. Myself and Andrew Bell are the only two guys that bounce back and forth between locations. We do have pilot fermenters over there, so we’ll funk stuff up and see how it goes. It’s cool that it gives people more ownership of the projects.

The split brewhouse with The Bruery and Terreux was meant to primarily address quality concerns, is there anything else The Bruery is doing to enhance beer quality?

We have a nice quality department here. For a brewery of this size to have three people that are 100% devoted to quality is pretty damned good. Not too many breweries of this size can say that. Our next frontier will be dialing in package quality.

Were you ever part of the Ovila Belgian-style beers Sierra Nevada brewed, and if so, did it drive some of your interest down here?

It’s weird, when I interviewed, I asked, “you’re a Belgian-style brewery right?”, and they were like…nah, no not really…we sort of identify with that; but we more identify with the individuality of that. That’s ultimately what drove me to be here. I worked on the first five Ovilas; that was cool because we got to figure out what yeast strains to use and how to bottle condition. It was still very experimental at such a large phase. I think what really drove me here was that I have always been a fan of The Bruery’s beers, and being impressed that something this small can produce beers this high in quality, keep it interesting and keep it exciting. They take huge risks, which I kind of like.

Do you appreciate any other local breweries?

I go to Noble Ale Works a lot. I describe them more as my neighborhood pub. You look at the stuff they’re doing with hops with the single hop variety beers. It’s great! I can go there and get an idea of what 100% Mosaic tastes like. I’m like, thanks man, I appreciate that.

SN does two beers in open fermenters: Kellerweiss and Bigfoot. Would you ever try to convince Patrick to install something like that?

The cool thing about this place is nothing is off the table. If you look at the beers they’ve made over the years, truly nothing is off the table. We’re looking at a 2017 expansion project. I know with Wicked Weed, they’ve installed a nice 30 or 60 barrel open fermenter. The bigger question is ‘what are you getting off of it?’ You’re getting a nice non-pressurized fermentation. For the Kellerweiss yeast, I can definitely say it does make a difference. For Bigfoot, do you really pick up that up in the ester profile?  Maybe not so much. As long as I don’t have to clean it, I’d be happy installing one. I actually twisted my knee getting in and out of one, so my days getting in and out of open fermenters might be a job for the younger guys.

How is Orange County treating you thus far?

I still get lost going to the grocery store! Haha! I’m still GPS dependent getting around here.

Chico’s beer scene is run by Sierra Nevada. Asheville not so much. What was it like for SN to move into a thriving beer community?

It’s really weird, one gripe about Chico was trying to hire people, there’s no big beer culture there. Living in Asheville was that we have people making different beers down the road and so we’d be able to try new beers and be able to chat with the brewers, asking how they made it, then we’d get ideas of our own, and it would foster and grow.  And for me, seeing what Wicked Weed was doing, I was like, why don’t I go work for a brewery that does this? The cool thing is about those guys is, people see what they’re doing and think, “I should be raising the bar too.” There’s this step-ladder affect.


Black Tuesday 2015, 19.9% and NO WAX?

Having just zwickled 2015 Black Tuesday, carbed and cold, I’m excited to write this. I feel like I’m addressing the crop report to Wall Street in the movie Trading Places, where thousands will throw tiny pieces of paper in the air after hearing this news.

GNAG2731Two new things for Black Tuesday this year: This year’s version is the biggest yet, at 20% 19.9% ABV. It may have been the carbonation on the brite tank, but this BT is akin to a honey-bourbon, but instead of honey, caramel, toffee, vanilla and chocolate poke through, like BT. It’s delicious. It seems a bit thinner, but in my opinion this is a good thing. I didn’t really have time to break it down or do a side by side comparison. For my money, I’ll buy all I can this year. Also notable this is the last BT brewed on the old brewhouse.

bt_nowaxAnother big bit of news? Maybe no wax. That’s correct. New bottles may have this classy foil top. I’d rather have a reason to dig in my Black Tuesday without a knife, and to possibly break the beer community out of the gothic era with wax dips.

What’s your opinion on wax? Let us know.




The Bruery Turns Seven | Copperversary Ensues

01ecf2acede3a19993b9e36219646093ef5e65137cWith petrichor still looming from the tall eucalyptus trees surrounding the Phoenix Club, a snotty rooster crows from the other side of the fence. “Is this the hoarders line?” asks a girl in a rainbow-banged unicorn wig. I nod, contemplating my sweater situation as dark clouds swirl around this chilly May morning. A horse whinnies nearby as the line snakes three-feet closer to check-in. Next thing you know, a German-style SheGoat will jump out of a bush and get into some Mischief with an Atomic Kangarue.

I’m not even in The Bruery’s 7th Copperversary and the day is already surreal.

Fullscreen capture 5182015 105131 AM.bmp

Hoarders be like

0173d0c107b5ba234228800109511e791090d1a747Der Phoenix Club is beer festival ground zero these days and it’s easy to see why. 37 breweries plus ample stockpiles of The Bruery’s beers are free flowing around the perimeter; and it doesn’t seem crowded, despite 1,700 guests. There’s ample shade, nice bathrooms and even a playground for the Black Tuesday drinkers.

The Bruery and I must have similar taste in local beer, as most of the 37 breweries representing are personal favorites. The first beer to wet my glass is MacLeod’s 3.5% English Bitter, Session Gap; gravity poured from cask and has miraculously dropped bright. They should teach classes on fest-cask to the rest of the breweries here, although I’m pretty sure the secret is simply wearing overalls, like every day, to everything.


Smog City Prom Pose!

Walking the perimeter, seeing friends, getting hugs, snapping pics, eating. Tripping out on some of the guest breweries without lines. Tripping out on some of the guest breweries with big lines. Monkish, with batch two Selah and Rare Beer Club exclusive Rara Avis? No line. Noble Ale Works with a brewery walking distance from the Phoenix Club? Medium line. Rare Barrel creating a huge line by not pouring until 2pm? Genius. The Bruery truck’s line that extended into the festhalle tent instead of having multiple pouring stations as in years past? Baffling. Terreux with almost no line? Concerning. Colored balloons to note where things are? Festive.

017d14138c6a15854235094754068d9e94f40329b8Three favorites of the day: Smog City Steamfunk Brett IPA, Monkish Selah 2.0, Sour in the Rye w/Peach, and holy hell…way too many good beers. This fest could have gone on for days.

Overall, The Bruery knows how to party. A very fun beer festival and put together well! Beachwood BBQ’s food is always on point. The Reserve/Hoarders Society guests are always well behaved and courteous. The venue is made for drinking beer. Coffee and tea inside? Holy hell yes.I heard estimates that they raised over 40K for the Boys and Girls Club.

Thinking out loud: Now that The Bruery is 7, I look forward to seeing what Terreux will bring. Increased production and quality? I’m curious what Terreux’s Jeremy will bring to the “beer’s gone wild” game. As a beer-flavored beer enthusiast, I’m also curious if the beer development will start to cross from innovative to gimmick (cola, plastic margarita and old fashioned beers, anyone?). I’m interested to see how the lack of Tyler King will impact things. One thing is for sure: The Bruery seems to evolve at the same rate as beer geeks willingness to reach for something new…and with that, I can’t wait to see their next seven years.


The Bruery Plants Roots With New Beer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meet up at Meatup BBQ

Food Truck Stars Bring Brick and Mortar BBQ Beer Bar to Placentia – By Jante Ziarra


When you step into Meat Up BBQ, the scent of smokehouse barbecue fills the air, you’re greeted with 25 beers on tap, and you think to yourself, this is exactly where I want to be. Look a little closer at the tap handles and you’ll find your heart racing at the anticipation you face wanting to get a pint glass to your mouth as some liquid goodness rolls down your throat. That, my friends, is Meat Up BBQ.

As a transplant living in Orange County for the past two and a half years, I quickly learned that I’ve lived in the best place in the world for food trucks and craft beer, Orange County.


Meat-tasrophe – Chili Verdi Fries

Some of my favorite food trucks were discovered at breweries– The Viking Truck at The Bruery and GarlicScapes, at Bootleggers. These trucks have been serving Orange County before I ever got here and I suppose I’ve lived here long enough to see my two favorite food trucks get together and birth the perfect child of barbecue and beer– Meat Up BBQ. Yes, the masterminds behind my two favorite food trucks have joined forces to create all that is holy and gain control over what beers they serve with their food.

Food trucks have been popping up left and right and have taken their success to opening up a brick and mortar restaurant, complete with the same food you’d find on the truck. While noshing off a truck at a brewery is still great, Meat Up reverses the equation by picking beers to pair with a solid menu. 


respect the beard at Meatup

Meat Up BBQ takes what we know and love here in California and adds it to some southern style barbecue to create what they call “West Coast barbecue.” They have chili verde fries that include pulled pork, featured a chicken sandwich that had pickled vegetables just as a bahn mi would, and even cornbread made with oranges that the owner, Luis, was kind enough to let me try.

Now for that tap list. I must say, that’s what drew me in more than the food when I saw they had my favorite beer, Anderson Valley’s The Kimmie, The Yink, and the Holy Gose on tap! Once I got there, Knee Deep Brewing’s Simtra and High Water Brewing’s Campfire Stout distracted me from getting the Gose. These were beers I haven’t tried and have not come across. 

The next time I went, news of a collab from Knee Deep and Kern River lured me in. Some might argue that it’s better than Pliny the Elder, but I’d have to try them side-by-side to prove that argument. 

The 25 beers on tap are always rotating, so don’t get comfortable! Luis is working on getting beers from Colorado, Oregon, and Washington next and doesn’t want to limit himself to local beers. He’s seeking brews from “whoever makes great beer!”

Check out Meat Up BBQ at the 57 Freeway/Yorba Linda Blvd near Cal State Fullerton.

OCBeerBlog is very excited to have our first blog contributor, Jante Ziarra. She’s a native Hawaiian, world traveller, journalism major, gastonerd and most importantly, a beer geek. Her stories are simple windows to the world paired with dreamy photography.

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.


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’.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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


Michael Rue and Jay Goodwin of the Rare Barrel


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


Upon receiving his Naughty Sauce, Henry Nguyen gave thanks.


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


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


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


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


“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
Batch #50
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.
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

A Little Tuesday Morning Beerporn (and Beerporn Party)

With the wife at work and the kid at school, the two dogs and cat are ushered out of the office. The cat’s proclivity to cock-block the mouse and bite one’s wrist while pulling a mid-morning web sesh is astounding. The computer hums its way alive and I shamefully open an incognito internet window. With the windows drawn and the web page loading, I rifle through my jeans for that ‘special’ credit card…the one my wife knows nothing about.

Just like that, I’m drooling over one of my favorites. She’s thick, bubbly and curvaceous with a round dimply bottom. Having ‘had’ her a few times in the past, I know what she’s all about, and trust me, she’s worth the trouble. As the clock strikes 10, the show is live and I’m ready to rock out.

Feeling charged, my heart pounds with excitement in my creaky wooden office chair. Then…the screen freezes. “Sonofa…” I say while fingering my thin black refresh key over and over in frustration. “No data received” and “webpage not available” error pages fly by. I reboot…twice. Damn Black Tuesday always gotta play hard to get! Sheesh. All this for a beer! What did you think I was talking about? A few hours later I finally got it up (the website) and splurged on a few bottles (for his pleasure).

There’s no Beerporn in the Champagne Tasting Room


Eight hours later, I’m outside The Bruery near their red grain silo for session two of the Reserve Society exclusive Black Tuesday party. Being the last Tuesday of October, the air is surprisingly still and scentless. The Lime Truck sits off to the side, sizzling seasonal fall sprouts; their smoke plume sailing cluelessly over the 57 South.


Spinning pearls with Erin Hill

Inside, I’m always impressed with The Bruery’s Black Tuesday parties. The gals are dolled in pearls and hats; the dudes are dapper in ties and slacks. Even the tasting room is filled with festive balloons and streamers. The enigmatic 18% ABV Russian Imperial Stout sits patiently about to be sprung from bourbon barrel solitary confinement. This year, the addition of Glencairn glassware kicks this party to a whole new classy level. As if sipping plain Black Tuesday isn’t good enough, the Bruery is serving up seven different looks at the base beer like a fashion show. Notes on each:


1) Boysenberry Black Tuesday on Cask – Poured by a lovely debutante with angled eyebrows, this beer is a throwback to post-party IHOP flapjack sessions to absorb   whiskey and beer in our aching college bellies. Boysenberry Black Tuesday should be served in IHOP’s syrup containers…the one where you pull the thumb trigger back as it oozes all over your piping hot butter melting pancakes.


No one ever expects a local Boysenbrue collaboration.

The more you know about the Boysenberry:  The berries were developed by a local Anaheim horticulturist in the 1920’s named Rudolph Boysen. After an accident where he broke his back, he abandoned his vines. Walter Knott of Knotts Berry Farm was able to revive some of the dying vines and named them after the originator. Cheers to local collaborations!

2) Raspberry Black Tuesday on Cask – “What’s your name?” asks Sara while pouring a dose from the cask. “Greg”, I reply. “I like your feather, did you have to earn it?” “Nah” she says walking away to help someone else. Raspberry BT is very similar to Boysenberry with a Sees candy raspberry cream flavor (my favorite). After a few sips, I opt to dump the rest with a shocked “WHAT?, YOU’RE GOING TO DUMP THAT?” screech from an excited pony tailed guy named Kate here with his mom. “It’s not that I didn’t care for it, it’s just waaaay too sweet for my liking” I mention to him while he shakes his head in horror. Note that I rarely finish a >10% beer I’m not in love with. Don’t hate. There’s five more variations to get through, suckas.


Nitro? I couldn’t tell.

3) Nitro Black Tuesday – I had high hopes for Nitro Black Tuesday, like Niagara falls high hopes. Either I got a mis-pour or this beer wasn’t ready. I wanted to watch a cascading nitro waterfall show and lick Black Tuesday froth from my stache. I got neither. If I ever see BT on Nitro again, you bet your ass I’ll stab hobos to get a pour.

P1060833The Glencairn glassware choice blew me away. It’s a standard crystal whiskey glass consisting of a simple bulb and flute. The basic idea is to fill the bulb area halfway (~2oz) allowing aromas to develop in the other half. The flute concentrates the aromas, enhancing the nosing experience. The thick heel of the glass is ideal to slam on the bar to let your server know you’re ready for another hit. The stylish barbacks did a great job rinsing and pouring samples mid-bulb allowing the aromas to parfait beautifully. Although the glass isn’t generally purposed for 38 degree cold liquid, the small girth of the glass ensures your balmy mitts will warm it up to the recommended 55 in a jiff. The waiting is the hardest part!

Re-enacting an awkward wedding moment with Cambria.

Re-enacting an awkward wedding moment with Cambria.

4) Some Mo Black Tuesday is German chocolate cake in liquid form. As my favorite cake, this beer is packed with coconut, caramel and chocolate all up in your face…just like a wedding where the bride and groom smears cake all over each others faces.

Hottenroth – Palate cleanser of the Gods!


the paparuetzi

5) Grey Monday – Holy hell, this is nice. Not just drinking it, but inhaling it…then exhaling it after a sip. Nice Nutella note that rides over the chocolate. This beer makes me want to eat hazelnuts with chocolate and drink bourbon to wash it down. Grey Monday is a food pairing in a glass.

P10608516) Melange #1 – (Basically Black Tuesday blended with Oude Tart) As my palate is basically destroyed from the stock market crash of 1929, this beer is a time machine. Pouring cloudy dark brown with a effervescent body, the fruity tart zing gives me some much needed mouth to mouth resuscitation. I’m kicking myself for not buying a bottle of this!

P10608307) 2013 Black Tuesday – My tongue is like a piece of beef jerky at this point, but I can’t physically leave without sampling the pep pep of them all: The bubbly and curvaceous 2013 Black Tuesday. Expecting nose-hair frying booze, I’m treated with two nostrils full of my favorite things: bourbon, chocolate and some sloppy dark fruits. Black Tuesday’s flavor is decadent, sublime and surprisingly smooth. Perhaps it’s the booze talking, I think 2013 is the smoothest day zero release yet. Normally I don’t like to open Black Tuesday until it’s slept a year in the cellar, but this girl is ready to twerk her dimply round bottom all up in my face, like NOW.


Not a reserve society member? Memberships are on sale now via their website. Know a member? Make sure and have them buy tickets to get you in to their Barrel Aged Beer Party on 11/16! Login to your Bruery account and visit this site for tickets and info: 



How To Fly a Plane with Patrick Rue | Urge Gastropub Collab

patrick rue grains in

patrick rue deals with a leaky grantDespite his rock-star brewer/founder/CEO status, there’s no persian rug laid out when Patrick Rue brews. There’s no floor-stand candles lit with dripping wax, no nearby couch with hot groupies watching, and not a single tattoo in sight. On the wee three-barrel pilot system of The Bruery, there’s only Patrick, his ingredients and whatever inventive idea floats his way.

Here bright and early on a Friday morning, the production brewery is bustling on an Autumn Maple brewday. It smells like fresh pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving. Brewers elevate large drums of mulling-spiced yams into the boil kettle, then top it with a healthy bucket of organic black molasses. Filling-line bottles clank wildly over Bob Marley’s “No Woman No Cry”, fighting my eardrums like Mike Tyson at a Justin Bieber concert. Patrick is nearby knelt-down fiddling with a finicky heat exchanger on the pilot brew system and doesn’t seem phased, “Tyler (King) says it starts up for him every time,” he quips nodding twice.

godzillaThe pilot brewery sits quietly off to the side of the main brewhouse. If you’re familiar with the old Bruery tasting room, the kettles and tanks sit (sort of) where the main bar used to be. It’s a simple system, easy to work on like a 1967 Volkswagen Beetle. If you were in a Godzilla costume, the miniature brewhouse would be a perfect set to recreate a Takusatsu film, pretending the tanks were large buildings, thrashing and smashing about while screaming like a giant green lizard.


Most breweries tend to use a tinier half-barrel RIMS homebrew system for pilot batches (15 gallons); however, The Bruery has flexibility to barrel age small batches, do micro-releases for the tasting room, test out different recipes, and collaborate quickly and easily on the 180 gallon system.

patrick rue and grant of urge gastropub discuss hops

Today’s brew comes by way of collaboration. Grant Tondro, general manager and proprietor of Urge Gastropub in San Diego is here to help brew their third anniversary beer. “We were thinking of doing a Belgian pale ale with bourbon soaked Madagascar vanilla beans and orange zest – inspired by an orange cream soda,” says Patrick with an Elvis-like raised lip. Grant adds, “if there’s time, I’d like to hit it with some french oak to enhance the vanilla.” With only seven weeks until the anniversary party (late July), oak spirals are definitely an option.

grant of urge gastropub and cambria griffith of the bruery in the tasting roomWith Patrick in the pilot seat, the brewday is child’s-play; he grains-in while Grant breaks up the dough-balls. I even get to lend a hand, holding up Patrick’s black hefty sack. As grains slowly convert to sugar, flavor and color over the next hour, the true spirit of collaboration takes hold – time is filled with beers and funny stories. At 9:45 A.M., Patrick guides us through a couple unreleased Bruery beers and Grant talks about Urge Gastropub’s latest endeavor that includes a bowling alley on a half-acre lot opening Feb 2014. “24,000 square feet of craft beer goodness!” says Grant.

grant of urge gastropub hops in2

patrick rue fights a boil overBack in the brewery, the system vorlaufs, sparges, then lauters into the boil kettle.  The two gentlemen get down to business as Patrick snaps on the latex gloves. “Is it time for my exam?” asks Grant to my amusement. “Lets talk hops,” says Rue sliding open the cooler. As a wine sommelier, Grant prefers to let the the complexity of the beer derive from the yeast, vanilla and orange zest in secondary. Patrick suggests Columbus, a good clean bittering hop as the sole sixty minute hop addition. Hands are shook. Knuckles are bumped. Pellets are weighed out, then pitched as the boil starts. Boom.

grain outAs the brewday winds down, Grant glistens while graining out. Oxygen is pumped inline through the wort on its way through the chiller. “We can chill down to fifty or hit any temp we want going into the fermenter,” says Patrick on the nimble system. Rue then prepares a healthy pitch of 2.2 billion house-strain yeast cells, squirts down the fittings with sanitizer and sets the little microorganisms free to pursue a life of alcohol/Co2 production and religious consciousness. Beer is being made in pilot proportions.

colorful bruery beersAs Patrick Rue balances his time between family life and operating one of Orange County’s most prolific breweries, it’s great to see his brewday skills are still intact. He’s relaxed, methodical and creative. His brew muscle is roided out and ready to chuck knuckles. The next time you drink a Bruery pilot beer, remember that it’s anything but accidental.

 Aftermath! – the beer, called “Rue the Day” ended up at 8.3% and was very “creamsicle-y and super drinkable.” says Grant.


Top 10 Reasons To Visit the Bruery’s New Tasting Room

Sometimes the Dyson vacuum cleaner of life sucks incredibly hard, rarely losing its suction. Luckily, there’s beer. Fresh, liquidy beer. Bubbly, delicious, colorful, aromatic and tasty beer. Some breweries have a dozen or so of these beer-type beverages on tap, some up to twenty at any given time. The Bruery in Placentia said, “fuck that sucky Dyson son of a bitch” and built a new tasting room with 40 taps next door to their exisiting brewhouse.

 A few key features:

  1. Air Conditioning. Over-ripe bearded dudes won’t fog up your nose-space in the hot summer months!
  2. Flights! I’m having kittens over the flights!
  3. Poofy ceiling. Dampens noise and will come in handy if Newton’s law gets revoked.
  4. Two new flatscreen TV’s. Patrick Rue couldn’t confirm or deny People’s Court marathon Mondays. Maybe we can talk him into that Storage Wars show everyone is talking about.
  5. 40 taps plus one cask pump. Pumpers like to pump! All Bruery beers too.
  6. Sealed off from brewhouse. No more fog bank of yeast mist. No gnats flying in your eyes like Sally Struthers in Africa. “For less than the cost of a tasting flight a day, you can make the difference in these children’s lives”.
  7. No crazy artwork. Although a few Thomas Kinkaid and Wyland prints would really bring the space together. I kid, although I am strangely inspired to paint a Wyland style painting of a Whale getting eaten by yeast cells in a carboy of beer.
  8. Reserve Society allocation pick up zone. Bigger cooler = more space for allocation. No more getting stuck driving around the Orange traffic circle for hours on end!
  9. Open 7 days a week! More than double the open days? Beer Farfegnügen! Check their website for hours.
  10. Drive through growler fill window off the side of the 57 freeway. I’m kidding about this one, as if anyone is still reading past #4.

Grand Opening on Wed July 4! Check their FB for details. 

SNIFF ~ MMM, that new tap smell.

Say “CHEESEMONGER“. Kendra, still puts the “cute” in “charcuterie”.


Fact: Yeti like to rake leaves and drink Bruery beer.

I tried to get artsy here. Note the non-flip top growler.

After too much Black Tuesday (aka “The BT’s)

Kings of the Orange Cicle. Chef Greg Daniels of Haven Gastropub and Patrick Rue

Grand Opening on Wed July 4! Check their FB for details.