Best Place to Drink a Beer, Eat a Sandwich and Watch a Sunset | Dory Deli – Newport Beach

IMG_8142A wise man once said, a deli isn’t something one is willing to drive out of their way for in Orange County, much less wait in line. A workman’s lunch should be close, easily accessible, affordable, predictable and tasty. That wise man was me…until a recent visit to a deli afoot the Newport Beach pier, Dory Deli.

P1080877With the sunset backdrop to a thousand selfies, a rare winters wind blew me towards this potential sandwich hot spot. Their bright cobalt lit sign juxtaposed over horizontal wooden planks and a weathervane pointing toward the waves draws me in. Friendly faces smile and welcome me into their warm brick interior filled with family photos and knick knacks.

P1080881Expecting ‘Newport Beach’ beer selections, seeing familiar Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Ballast Point Sculpin and Pizza Port Brewing The Chronic, I exhale a sigh of relief scanning their case. Eight taps sit behind the counter with various lagers and local craft beer, some of which is brewed a few miles away.

P1080885Food-wise, Dory Deli doesn’t just have personality, it has full-fledged multiple personality disorder. I can’t think of anywhere else in the world where an old Jewish mother, a vegan surfer, a south-Philadelphian and a picky kid can sit down over a proper sangwich, a knish and perhaps a fun craft soda for the kid.

P1080889For the post-surf breakfast or pre-yoga sesh, a ‘Yoga Pants’ burrito (Egg whites, peppadew peppers, arugula, Parmesan cheese) would easily square off next to Keen coffee/espresso piped through their rare Slayer machine. For dinner, a Figgy Burger (Fig preserves, goat cheese crème, caramelized onions, brioche bun) would go great with Barley Forge’s The Patsy (rye coconut stout). My pick for meatless Monday would be their buffalo cauliflower (Buffalo Mary) with smoked potato salad paired with an Alesmith Nut Brown Ale. There’s so many combinations that pique my interest, Dory did what I didn’t think was possible. She got in my head. She will make my choice of beach to visit that much easier.

P1080888Nine months of the year, parking isn’t an issue with plenty of metered parking right out front. After 6 P.M, the meters are free and there was tons of parking. They’re located at the foot of Newport Beach’s pier at 2108 3/4 Oceanfront Dr. Newport Beach and open from 6 A.M til Midnight. opens 1/26/2015 at 6am. 

Super proud dad moment #452: My eight year old daughter got invited to Dory Deli’s media preview. Here is her review! We will be back to review the kids menu soon.

Dory Deli

Gallery: Bagby Beer Co. – Oceanside CA

P1080836Placed perfectly between Orange County and San Diego, Bagby Beer Company opened it’s doors 2014. Expecting a small brewpub, I was shocked to see they converted a car dealership to an expansive maze of bars, indoor/outdoor seating and open air indoor halls. A short walk from the train station and the beach, Bagby Beer Company makes a great stop for a South OC crawl around San Clemente, lunch on the way down to San Diego, or a late night stop on the way back up.

The beer? I sampled twelve house beers with a wide spectrum of west coast, Belgian and British styles. All beers presented were unique with varying yeast, body, color and bitterness profiles. One common thread was a high ester profile across the beers. Guest taps are also available with many great choices.

The food? Moderately priced, fresh and something for everyone, including the foodiest of foodies.

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Hot ‘Buzz on Buzz’ Action – Portola Coffee Invades Iron Press Tap Takeover

6:42 PM on a Tuesday, The Iron Press, OC Mix, Costa Mesa, California, USA, Earth, Milky Way, dot on the back of a ladybug in an alternate universe.

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Much how a car runs on oil, The Iron Press runs on beer. Each tap handle a piston, each waffle sandwich an airbag punching you in the face and each beer the gasoline that pumps through our sparkplugged-veins. Tonight, we’re getting lubricated with high-octane turbo caffeinated beers; all Portola Coffee Lab infusions from (mostly) local breweries.

After a flight, I find myself clutching the bar tightly with one hand and curiously tapping the drum solo to Rush’s Tom Sawyer with the other. Curious, because DJ LexaKhan’s turntable is spinning Depeche Mode’s “Just Can’t Get it Up.” “Can I get a Heyay! Can I get a Ho-oh!” he requests waving his hand in the air. The highly java-based beer buzz yields an immediate response from the tightly packed P-shaped restaurant; some found it proper to wave their shaky beers around in the air (like they just don’t care).

Portola lives and breathes just a few steps from The Iron Press in the OC Mix. Jeff Duggan, the owner/roaster is at this event; smiling, intense and looking like Rick Moranis in ‘Honey I Shrunk the Kids’. “What’s your favorite so far?” he asks, sliding his glasses up his nose fastidiously. “Smog City’s Fluffy Fuzz Buzz,” I reply, noting the Kongo beans blending well with the base beer. He nods, knowingly, “Hmmm, yes”.

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Sitting in the blind spot.

The beer menu at this event is ripe with seventeen varieties, laid out with ABV’s ranging 3.8% to 13.8%. As I was expecting all stouts, I’m astonished with the variety of styles. Graetzer, Flemish Red, Cream Ale, Stout, Amber, Tripel and Porter are here presenting the range of choices that work with Portola’s beans to varying success. Some beers are production versions, such as Noble’s Naughty Sauce and the Bruery’s Mash & Grind. Others are one-offs for the event.

After sipping Epic’s Big Bad Baptist with a shot of espresso tossed in at serving, I take my light jacket off and lean back. Sweat forming on my brow, this beer is a real leg-crosser. I’m somehow channeling my inner-Italian Spiderman, sipping my beer like a freshly-fired macchiato…pinkie out and making subtle slurping noises.

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My faves: Torrance’s Smog City and Monkish

The fruitiest beer of the bunch, Monkish’s Caffè della Vita melded dark fruit coffee notes, nutty pistachio, vanilla and Belgian yeast esthers behind a very well hidden 9.8% ABV. What’s with these Torrance guys killing it? Topping things off, I even got a shoulder massage from Monkish’s Brian White, claiming “you look tense.” You bet your ass I look tense. The Iron Press is tense with uppers and downers fighting for your soul like a tug-o-war. If terrorists were to attack the OC Mix, safe to say the people inside this restaurant would fucking roll their non-caffeinated sober asses like a pissed off beehive.

010ee09f55a15b4d2e799062a203623b143e9a8612The Iron Press roped off the patio creating an outdoor space for Beer Savage swag and casks from Cismontane and Coronado Brewing. Blue Bridge Coffee Stout, one of my favorite easy to get $5/22oz coffee stouts. Sadly, it lacks any tickling of carbonation. Cismontane’s Roja I used to be a fan of, however this version has a funky acetobacter type sourness and hints of mildewy wood on the finish.

Overall, I consider Portola Coffee Labs to be among the brewing community and this evening proves it. Great beers, DJ Lex is always a pro, and the Iron Press continues to be the best place to grab a beer in Costa Mesa.

Meet up at Meatup BBQ

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

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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.

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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. 

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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.

Forging a Brewhouse: Barley Forge in Costa Mesa

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Update! Opening 10/25 at 11:30 A.M.

If you were to look at beer like a simple math equation, it looks a little like this: People + Brewery = Beer. With the millions of combinations of each, it’s no wonder we have a zillion flavor profiles, bottle art and brewer vision. Barley Forge Brewing Co in Costa Mesa is no different. With just around a month few days left to open, here’s some insight of what to expect when the math is complete.

People – Greg Nylen (owner) and Dave Hulls Kevin Buckley (brewer). Greg is an older guy with a full head of grey hair looking mildly like a young John Lithgow. He speaks sharply from his years as an attorney as his day job. Even today, his court-ready suit lays neatly across a couch in the back office, ready for retirement. He started homebrewing in law school around 24 years ago after visiting Portland. He joined the Maltose Falcons homebrew club, got great feedback as well as went through their beer judge class to hone his palate craft. After doing well at competitions, he thought, “Maybe I can do this.”

Dave Hulls helped build the brewery, then headed back to fill the brewboots of Victor Novak back at TAPS Fish House & Brewery. Greg and team hired Kevin Buckley, a journeyman brewer that manned the mash paddle at places like Alpine Beer Co, BackStreet Brewing and Latitude 33 (among others back east in Iowa). I look forward to trying his beers here in Orange County.

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View from the brewhouse. Orange room is the kitchen, left is the entry way, tasting room, bottling line and offices. On the right is cold storage, kegging and employee area.

Brewery –  Situated in a small industrial area behind the Lab/Camp area off of Bristol and Baker sits the brewhouse. My first impression? Gorgeous. What sets Barley Forge apart from other start-ups is they will have a kitchen that will serve cheese/charcuterie and sandwiches. A BBQ smoker will also happen at some point. “Costa Mesa doesn’t like food trucks so we’re going our own route,” says Greg. The tasting room is bold and put together with an industrial-antique feel. Old Brunswick bowling alley seats, thick repurposed wood tables and tap handles that resemble a metal forging hammer will round out the brewery vibe.

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Seven fermenters ready for beer.

P1080183As Costa Mesa is craft beer black hole, the location couldn’t be better. Seemingly 200 possible accounts are within walking distance, or at least driving distance with their huge military vehicle that will be used for deliveries, beer festivals and parades. “A tap handle will be installed sooner than later on the back,” says Greg.

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Building a brewery is dusty. This panel still has the DET sticker from it’s previous home in Michigan.

Barley Forge bottle mockup 2 Don PerfectoBeer: They haven’t produced beer yet, but 12oz heritage bottles will soon be rolling off their line filled with a Belgian Dark Strong, Dortmunder Export, DIPA, Wit and a beer with dark Agave syrup. The brewhouse is configured for decoction mash to really dial in euro-styles Dave is familiar with brewing at Gordon Biersch and TAPS.

DON PERFECTO
Belgian-Style Witbier with Horchata-Style Spices
5.1% ABV

Like the ideal husband, Don Perfecto (“Mr. Right”) will always be faithful, bring you flowers “just because,” put the toilet seat down without being asked, and bring home the bacon on bended knee. What more could you ask for? This tall, handsome beer is a Belgian-style witbier brewed with a twist that’ll treat you right — malted wheat, two-row malted barley, Mexican cinnamon, vanilla, and a bit of lactose, evoking the refreshing flavor of horchata. Whether out on the town, or enjoying a quiet evening at home, Don Perfecto and you are a perfect match.
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EL RUDO
Amber Ale with Agave Extract
5.7% ABV

The famed heroic luchadores of Mexico face off in the wrestling arena with villains, classified as “Los Rudos” or “Tough Guys.” These bruisers skirt the edges of fair play, challenging the heroes to prevail with honor even when the odds are against them. Brewed in homage to these rebels of the ring, El Rudo is bold and assertive — a smoky amber ale brewed with agave extract and West Coast hops that is sure to rescue you from the clutches of those bland, flavorless, play-by-the-rules lagers on a hot summer day.

THE BLACK DAHLIA
Belgian-Style Dark Ale
11% ABV
Like a great film noir classic set in post-war Los Angeles, this deep, dark beer takes some time to unravel and fully appreciate, its secrets revealing themselves as the flavor plays out on your palate. By the time you’ve finished a glass of this Belgian-style dark ale (preferably in a goblet you have allowed to warm up to you, like a Hollywood ingénue), you will discover the truths its candi sugar, complex malt bill, and exotic European hops and yeast uncover. The Black Dahlia is an enigma you’ll want to ponder again and again.

THE ORANGE CURTAIN
India Pale Ale
6.2% ABV
Our neighbor Angelenos joke about going behind “The Orange Curtain” when they cross the county line — like some Cold War-era spy sneaking into the Soviet Union. We get it. It’s different here in Orange County. But we invite you to cross that line and try what we have to offer, like this India Pale Ale. Dry and crisp, with some Maris Otter malt for a bit of sweetness and a mix of West Coast hops. We trust you will enjoy this great tasting beer and find that it’s not so scary down here behind The Orange Curtain after all.

ONE LOUDER
Double India Pale Ale
8.3% ABV
Shining a spotlight on hop flavor instead of hop bitterness, One Louder is the perfect brew for any rockstar hophead bold enough to enjoy life at full volume. One Louder is a Double India Pale Ale brewed with a head-banging blend of of Simcoe, Centennial, Chinook, Warrior, and Amarillo hops. But don’t fear – all that explosive hop insanity is steadied and balanced by a malty backbeat of Maris Otter and US 2-Row malt. Rock out with one of America’s loudest beers!

GRANDPA TRACTOR
Dortmunder-Style Export Lager
5% ABV
A true Dortmunder-style export lager, brewed with noble hops and European pilsen malt. Enjoy this beer on a hot day or with spicy food … a refreshing German- inspired alternative to West Coast hop-forward beers.

The beer labels feature illustrations inspired by the familiar Mexican card game Lotería. The five ales will be available immediately on the brewery’s opening; the lager will be available a few weeks after opening.

More pics/info coming soon! Visit their website here! 

 

 

Pub Night at the Clay Oven

Duck Samosas

Duck Samosas/Uinta Hop Nosh IPA

I can’t say that I’ve ever seen an IPA at any Indian restaurant until tonight. The name aside, a nice fresh India Pale Ale works wonders with the cuisine; opening one’s palate, complimenting the creamy spiced food, and accentuating the heat. Vice versa, the food elevates the style by drawing some tropical-piney notes from the hops and some of the sweetness of the malt.

Behind the creaking door at Irvine’s Clay Oven Indian Cuisine, beer is winning. One of my predictions of 2014 was that local craft beer would soon start appearing in high end restaurants to compliment their line up of chef driven menus. Tonight? IPA’s, Belgian, German and local beers are being poured next to a custom menu.

Allagash's Hallie Beaune gets involved with a beer

Beer Chick and Allagash’s Hallie Beaune gets involved with a beer description

The Clay Oven is hosting ‘Pub Night’, which consists of small plate Bombay-style street food paired with five beer distributor reps pouring their best. I snap a few shots and dig into my first bite: duck samosas (above) topped with a fruity/earthy tamarind mole. Uinta’s Hop Nosh IPA gets the nod to wash down the mellow cumin flecked bite, stoking the tamarind sauce’s sweetness.

Chef Geeta Bansal

Chef Geeta Bansal

For over 25 years, Chef Geeta, Husband Praveen (and son Tarun) have been running around the matchbox-sized restaurant with warm smiles, keeping guests happy. I get the sense they love what they do and it shows through with not only the longevity of the eatery, but in the high quality of the food.

Being familiar with the beer offerings, I’m more excited to adventure into the heart of Tandoori cooking. Some menu items unfamiliar, yet approachable. Ordering the ‘Airbags’ dish, for example…I can’t say I’ve ever seen one much less eaten it. “Try it with the sour beer and pour it inside before you bite” says Chef Geeta. I feel like a kid again, scooping in the spiced veggie puree into a pinkie-punched hole, then pouring in some Petrus Aged Red into the thin crispy sack of deliciousness. “I can see why it’s called an airbag” I say as the flavors punch me in the face, saving me from certain hunger death.

Filling the Airbag with sour beer

Filling the Airbag with sour beer

Other wild dishes like Tandoor roasted bone marrow have us drooling for more. Intense garlic and fatty marrow melts like butter. Beers like Piraat Pale Ale and Allagash Tripel do their best to clean up the rich bite and have me licking the bone clean.I can’t say I’ve ever eaten goat, but it ended being my favorite of the night. Chucky bites sitting on a yogurt salad topped puffy pita? So perfectly foreign yet familiar, tasting somewhat like a beefy lamb, moderately spiced and delicious.

My heart and cheeks warm from the afterglow of the Clay Oven, I can’t help but dream about coming back. The Clay Oven is near Irvine Valley College on Jeffrey/Irvine Center Drive.

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Duck Samosas – Tandoor-roasted Mary’s Organic Duck Breast in cumin-flecked pastry, dash of tamarind mole

Bread Pakoras – Famous Indian Snack, minced lamb sandwich, chickpea-batter fried

Lamb-Stuffed Naan – Spicy lamb baked into a fresh naan bread

Airbags – pastry cups veggie stuff paired with sour beer

Mediterranean Naan – Feta cheese baked into a fresh naan bread

Tandoor-Roasted Bone Marrow with breat and accoutrements

Eggplant Pakoras – Ma-Zu eggplant fritters, batter-fried, pomegranate emulsion

Braised Goat Bites – Puffy pita topped with slow-braised goat and yogurt salad

Hopscotch Hosts Valiant Anniversary Beer Dinner

Valiant Brewing Co. Brews Custom Beers For Anniversary Beer Dinner at Hopscotch Tavern in Fullerton.

chef and brewers

Deep within Orange County’s vast culinary jungle, Hopscotch Tavern’s Executive Chef Cody Storts is war painted clutching a spear, a fish net and a double barrel shotgun. Spotting a flock of ducks overhead, he takes a shot in the sky Nintendo Duck Hunt style. “This will be perfect a perfect starter for our seven course Valiant Brewing beer dinner” he laughs like Rambo, wiping his brow across Swedish Chef tattoo’d bicep.

The Unexpected:

hopscotch_course1When the first dish of any multi-course dinner includes duck liver contraband paired with a 12% Belgian style Barleywine, it’s basically culinary punk rock. “Search and Destroy!!” I think crunching into a bite of the forbidden PB&J. Peppito butter? Strawberry jam? Foie Gras? It slam dances across my teeth and does the pogo down to the pit of my belly. Paired with Valiant’s “1” Anniversary Ale, my face melts down to Hopscotch’s outdoor patio boards, then reconstitutes as the sun sets over the nearby Fullerton train station. I’m not exaggerating. This actually happened.

Okay, that’s it! Review is over! Wait, what? Six more courses to go?

cheers2I can’t say I’ve ever had a Lager Barleywine, but it’s a thing here tonight with course two. The homebrewer in me squints, eyebrow raised at this potent bohemian concept coming from Valiant Brewing in Orange. “Who the hell would start a beer dinner with two Barleywines back to back?” I mutter to myself. As I’ve come to understand, the beers paired for tonight’s dinner are small batch brewed just for this event (aside from the bottle which each guest will take home). Normally, beer dinners are an ‘arranged marriage’ type of deal. Tonight’s dinner is more like ‘The Bachelor’ with both sides vying for my rose. Who will get sent home? Who will get jacuzzi sex?

chefstortsExecutive Chef Storts took over the reigns at Hopscotch less than a year ago, ushering out “slow food” and bringing in bold, adventurous gastropub cuisine.  Out with big racks of slathered ribs, in with a sous-vide, layered approach to freshness and presentation. Backing up his kitchen is a 120+ militia of whiskeys, cocktails, wine and 24 handles local craft beer (plus bottles to-go as well). Hopscotch is a gem as it staffs a Certified Beer Cicerone as well as a Sommelier. If you have any questions on beer, wine or cocktails, this band of culinary commandos has street cred as well as a the paperwork to back it up.

The Good

hopscotch_course3Moving to course three’s crispy pork belly dish plated with “pecan candy” and ultra crispy fried tripe, I feel like we crossed the border from San Diego to TJ. The tripe is like a salty honeycomb chicharrón with a super dense loufa-like crunch. Dipped in a herb demi glace and topped with a piece of pork? It’s a loaded bite that fires on all sides of the tongue, popping its pork candy nuttiness across my taste buds. The Bruce (Valiant’s Scotch Ale) doesn’t mess around either; coming in like ‘The Wolf” in Pulp Fiction; cleaning up the richness on my palate like a murder scene. “It’s some serious gourmet shit!” – Jules Winnfield.

hopscotch_course4Expecting the next course to be a tadpole tureen topped with actual deep fried Kermit the Frog, we are served the next best thing: Elk medallions with bourbon soaked bing cherries. The dish cuts deep with a rich velvety game. Who knew Elk had so much game? Valiant’s Lacto Cherry Stout is the last beer I thought they would bring to the table. Tart and roasty with funk on the nose, tasting somewhat like a sour Schwarzbier. It does a nice job drawing out a smokey component while complimenting the cherries in the dish. Who needs Kermit when a dish like this shows us the rainbow connection (for lovers and dreamers like me)?. Although the lacto-tart-roasty beer is an interesting contrast to the plate, it didn’t really stand up to the richness and depth of flavors in the elk. I’d like to think Pathos, Valiant’s Imperial Chocolate Porter, would have been the obvious pairing. Regardless, still fun to sample a one-off beer with so much character.

The Bad

Fair warning: This paragraph is a bit ‘yelpish’, but needs to be said. When the beer for course six came out and I didn’t get course five’s food, I quickly realize that I’ve been skipped. My table mates plates empty and my server laughing hysterically in conversation with a guest nearby, I suck it up. Despite smoke signals, drowning hand gestures and ESP sent his way, it’s clear I’m out on this round. Should I get up and walk to the kitchen? Should I sulk and write this paragraph?

Tired of hearing my friends say, “Greg, I went to Hopscotch because I read your last beer dinner review, but we’ve had better service at Dick’s Last Resort.” or “Greg, Hop’s bartender told me I lacked intelligence because I wanted a cocktail from last season’s cocktail menu” or “Greg, we walked in, waited for twenty minutes and walked out because nobody talked to us after we were seated” or even “Self, the waiter didn’t serve yourself a course in a hundred dollar beer dinner.” If you do eat there and have a bad experience, pull up this paragraph up on your phone and show it to the manager and say, “THIS.” The back of the house is only as good as the front, and stuff like this makes me sad.

The Best: Winner Winner Lengua Dinner!

IMG_3937Quickly forgiven and forgotten, (thanks chef for plating me a course five) irony plays a role with my plate-licking skills on course six. The kitchen must have called an audible on the menu-listed Braciola and went with a Lengua/Rabbit demi glace dish with brown butter gnocchi and broccoli rabe. I’m not sure I’ve ever been so entranced in a plate of food before. I consumed it with force, scraping every last microbe of the savory dish down. This dish can convert anyone with a cow-tongue phobia…seriously. Not caring for the cherry wheat beer (really sweet), much needed water (and a shot of Four Roses Bourbon) revives my senses.

OH MAI, Dessert!

hopscotch_dessertI dislike 99% of all dessert. My beer tooth is just that much bigger than my sweet tooth…with one exception: Anything that pastry chef Mai Phan creates. She has a way of balancing sweetness with tart and gooey with crunchy without going over the top. Her Strawberry Pavlova is all that. Tropical fruits topped with a green tea custard and a lemon crumble foam disk…simply marvelous. If you’re not in a drinking mood, Hopscotch is a great spot to go for just desserts.

Overall

Pretty much eating ‘all the animals’ and drinking ‘all the beers’ is a lot to take in for one mouth over the course of an evening. This epic beer dinner adventure at Hopscotch isn’t for the meek. $20 Uber cards provided for each guest, it’s easy to tell this is a professionally run event for professional eaters and drinkers. Worth a hundred bucks? Absolutely. The beer? Really cool concept to brew custom beers for the evening, but jacuzzi sex easily goes to the food. If you can still find the “1” Anniversary Ale from Valliant, I highly recommend picking it up. After a month, it’s aged into a delicious barleywine with big raspberry notes; it’s decadent!

I’ll see you at the next one!

First

  • Valiant’s First Anniversary, Belgian Barleywine — 8 ounce pour
  • Forbidden PB&J, strawberry guava jam, pepita butter, brioche, and complementary foie gras.

Second

  • Lager Barleywine, 8 ounce pour
  • Mussels, crispy pancetta, roasted pepper citrus coulis

Third

  • “The Bruce” Wee Heavy Scotch Ale, 5 ounce pour
  • Crispy pork belly, fried tripe, herb demi glace, blood orange frisee

Fourth

  • Lacto Cherry Stout, 8 ounce pour
  • Elk medallion, black garlic demi glace, bing cherry gastrique, bourbon soaked bing cherries

Fifth

  • Session IPA 5 ounce pour
  • Duck rillette, Dijon chips, blood orange apples, really really small cilantro

Sixth

  • Wheat Cherry Ale, 5 ounce pour
  • Medium Rare Braciola, san marzano tomato sauce, crispy asiago chip, micro basil

Seventh 

  • Guava Cream Ale, 6 ounce pour
  • Strawberry Pavlova, green tea custard, lemon crumble

 

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

 

“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

Provisions Marketplace is OPEN – Blogger Doesn’t Hang Himself

P1050559This post originally appeared on the website  West Coaster, a new Southern California beer magazine.

Never fully healed from The Bruery Provisions closing this past January, I had all but given up hope of a worthy suitor taking over the quaint spot in historic Old Towne Orange. Still stuck somewhere in the seven stages of grief, losing one’s favorite local craft beer and cheese shop is a tough wound to heal.

Then, a miracle happened. “Provisions Market” read the sign out front. I dropped to one knee and held a nearby bench to collect myself. I re-read the sign in disbelief, “It’s here!” I yelled at a confused old couple nearby. To celebrate, I scored some coconut gelato from a nearby cafe and went home to cut the rope hanging in my garage. The Haven Collective is here to save us!

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P1050566What makes Provisions Market unique is the space. It’s one part bottle shop, one part tasting room and one part chef-driven food shop. Provisions is basically an artisanal 7-11. The best part about Haven moving in is their track record of providing high quality food and 100% craft beer at all of their locations in LA and OC. Partners Wil Dee (beverage manager), Ace Patel and Chef Greg Daniels look to add to the community by offering draft beer, bottles, cheese, charcuterie, snacks and sandwiches – all within a relaxed communal vibe. They also partnered with Portola Coffee Labs, which will open its second location within the market.

Bruery Provisions’ soul still haunts the new Provision Market, but in a friendly ghost sort of way. Thirty taps are locked and loaded, shined bright and ready for war. “We have room for ten more” says Wil Dee like he’s calling in an air strike over the lively tasting room. The space is freshly furnished with new seating in the shop area.  Bottles sit off to the sides like shy wallflowers waiting for a dance. I tip a pint of Trumer Pils, inhale deep and take in the evening, reminiscing about all the memories and friendships forged in this room over the years. TV’s are now a thing, although hung inconspicuously (volume off) allowing people to keep the conversation going without digging for a phone to check the latest scores. “The idea is, we will turn up the volume for huge events like the SuperBowl or other big games” says Wil.

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The first guests arrive at the first Family & Friends soft opening.

Beverage Mgr. Wil Dee preps for the Family & Friends soft opening

Beverage Mgr. Wil Dee preps for the Family & Friends soft opening

The Haven Collective got its start in 2009, a short five minute walk from the new Provisions Market. When creating Haven Gastropub four years ago, Chef Daniels stressed, “We just wanted to make a pub, then realized the potential of the space.” Before Haven settled on the Gastropub spot, Chef Greg confesses “we were originally in a bidding war with Patrick Rue for the equipment (from the previous tennant Frogs Breath Cheese Shop), had we known it was him, we would have bowed out.”

Burrata, Olio Nuovo EVOO, Saba vinegar and edible flowers. Prettiest thing I've ever eaten.

Burrata, Olio Nuovo EVOO, Saba vinegar and edible flowers. Prettiest thing I’ve ever eaten.

Now capping off both sides of the historic Orange circle, the area is once again a Socal craft beer destination. Several craft beer friendly restaurants dot the old-town historic tree-lined street surrounded by a dozen antique malls and other fun shops. “The beer scene in Orange was bleak before we moved in. I would sit outside smoking a cigarette while we were building Haven and wonder if people would come.” says Greg. The area is now ripe for a proper beer crawl.

The patio at night.

The cozy patio at night.

The Haven Collective now owns four all-craft beer locations in OC and LA; The original location of Haven Gastropub in Orange (12 taps, bottles, cocktails and wine), Haven Gastropub +Brewery in Pasadena (40 taps + brewpub and bar), Taco Asylum in Costa Mesa (4 taps + craft cans and aguas frescas) and the latest Provisions Market (30 taps and bottle shop).

 

From the press release: Orange, CA (June 2013) – After much anticipation, haven collective’s new bottle shop and specialty market, Provisions Market, will open its doors in Old Towne Orange at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, June 5th (143 N. Glassell Street, Orange). Sidecar Doughnuts has partnered with Provisions to have their signature doughnuts sold on site, and the first two dozen customers on Opening Day will receive a complimentary doughnut!

This post was originally posted on West Coaster Socal!

Provisions Market on Urbanspoon