Big Boy Food Comes to Fullerton | Executive Chef Cody Storts Transforms Hopscotch

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Sitting down over a few beers with Hopscotch’s new Executive Chef Cody Storts, one thing occurs to me: How have I not heard of this dude? There’s no doubt I’ve eaten something he’s prepared over the years I’ve frequented downtown Fullerton. Le Cordon Bleu culinary school trained, he’s put his talents to work everywhere from Stubrik’s, the Lime Truck and a gourmet catering co. Now the big cheese of Fullerton’s best craft beer spot, I can’t wait to see what he has to offer. 

Fitted with a chef’s coat, a newsboy cap and swedish chef tattoo on his sautéing arm, he looks to add a bit of southern drawl to traditional French technique at Hopscotch. Sitting in the newly air-conditioned lower area, we get down to business chatting about kitchen philosophy, kids, beer, and of course his food.  “We’re all about having fun in the kitchen” he confesses, “we make the kind of food we really love to eat.” Anyone with the Muppet’s Swedish Chef Tattoo probably knows how to party, am I right? He jumps up, heads to the kitchen as I study the beer list. 

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Opting for a fresh paddle of British beers among the many local craft beers, a plate of house made pickles pays a visit. Melons stripped wide seemingly by a woodworking planar tool, pickled red-onion and butter pickles are piled high and full of bright tangy goodness.

photoRolling the dice on some fried pig ear, I’m not disappointed. Served on a dark wood plank , the cracklins come alive with a squirt of lime and schmear of in-house chili sauce. This dish is a call to Mexico, any fan of chicharones, pork, or life in general should try this. Again, the dish is piled high and worthy to share. Other small bites I sampled: Duck taquitos, pretzel bites with white cheddar foam…all eye-rolling good.

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Fried chicken lands and my eyes bulge. Huge meaty crusted chicken piled high on a bed of fingerling potatos. I’ve never had sous-vide chicken before, but I’m a fan now! Swamped in its own juices, the chicken squirts across my table on the first bite; a drop or two landing in my English bitter ale. This dish is a force to be reckoned with! The herbed crunch and squirt of this dish alone proves Chef Cody’s ability to shock and awe. Also from the dinner items I sampled the scallop dish and pork butt; easily favorites for time to come.

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Pan Seared Scallops and Pickled Veggies on the side – Photo –

Chef Cody Storts is the missing puzzle piece in Hopscotch. The food is beautiful, aromatic, and juicy. My eyes rolled. I had goosebumps. It’s not over-the-top either. “Adventurous and approachable” is the best way to describe it. Paired with the beer, whiskey and cocktail prowess of James Wood, Hopscotch is a destination. It’s great for a few beers with friends, some small bites or a nice date night out.
Before shot. credit PacificElectric.orgHopscotch is romantically housed in the historic Pacific Electric Railway building of Fullerton. The current scene is set to a time when men killed animals, boozed at the desk job and nailed secretaries. It’s got a mountain lodge vibe with a repurposed whiskey barrel bar and a wall of a hundred whiskeys. Fifty craft beers (20 draft) also pair great with the food. The draft list is supple and curated intelligently. 
A thousand thanks to Corky at for the excellent photos!
Tonight! July 31, don’t miss their inaugural pairing dinner! 

Scheduled for Wednesday, July 31, guests will enjoy a five-course scratch dinner prepared by Chef Cody and his staff, accompanied by a range of beverages including crafted cocktails, whiskeys, and craft beer, each hand-selected by Director of Libations James Wood.

The first of its monthly pairing dinner program, guests at the inaugural pairing will be treated to a sample of the inventive culinary prowess HopScotch has become known for with courses including butter poached lobster, and beef cheeks with whiskey-soaked cherry demi sauce.

“We’re all very excited about our first pairing. It’s our first opportunity to really let loose and show guests what we’re all about. Not only from a culinary standpoint, but the full spectrum of our craft beverage program,” said Storts. It will be a night to celebrate great food and drink.”

Limited to just 50 guests, the event priced at $85 per person, is expected to sell out early. Seating by reservation only, guests are advised to pre-book at 714.871.2222.

The five-course dinner is scheduled to include the following:

FIRST: Amuse

APPETIZER: Charcuterie board
Beverage Pairing – Kir Molecule Cocktail with Cremant Blanc and Chambord pearls

THIRD: Butter poached lobster; Cognac cream dipping dots, smoked garlic confit foam
Beverage Pairing – Cocktail “Aged to perfection” including smoked cognac, peach puree and aged balsamic vinegar
and our house cherry vanilla bitters

ENTREE: Beef cheeks with whiskey soaked cherry Demi, English pea and carrot puree
Beverage Pairing – Barrel aged stout

DESSERT: Caramel corn panna cotta, kettle corn dust, dehydrated candied cherry medley
Beverage Pairing – Few Spirits Rye, Chicago;
James E. Pepper 1776


HopScotch on Urbanspoon

Ballast Point Drops Anchor at Schooner at Sunset | Beer Dinner Review

P1060010Looking like a boat washed ashore on Pacific Coast Highway in Sunset Beach, Schooner at Sunset isn’t your grandma’s nautically-themed diner & bar. The mini-Statue of Liberty on top beacons visitors from far-away lands such as the beaches of Sunset, Huntington and even the beaches of Long. Inside the main dining room, the vibe is classy Bikini Bottom kitch set to the croon of a live lounge singer. In the bar, don’t be surprised if a local Jack Johnson-y band is bongo-ing in the cove, or a Talking Head’s record is spinning open air without notice.


P1060029All of the ambience isn’t without merit. Within seconds of walking into Schooner, thirst for a potent potable turns to lust. Thankfully the bar-bilge pumps all craft beer via twenty taps (plus bottles). Cocktails and wine are also quick to please the saltiest of dogs, the crustiest of surfers, and botox’d of cougars. Needless to say, there’s some epic people watching to be had in Sunset.

The main menu is diner-grub meets gastropub. The selection isn’t huge, but hits on the most common cravings. Alternate menus include “Tiki-Tako Tuesday” and a weekend brunch worthy of a few Bloody Mary’s strong enough to knock the barnacles off your boat.

~~~~~~~~Ballast Point Beer Dinner~~~~~~~~


Like two ships passing in the night, Ballast Point Brewing Co. dropped anchor on a five course beer dinner at Schooner at Sunset. The evening is hosted by the boisterous beer writer Daniel Drennon, Schooner Chef Vasili Tavernakis and Ballast Point Director of brewing ops James Murray. I sit with fork and knife akimbo waiting for a taste of something. Anything.

1. Longfin Lager – meet and greet with the brewer.


What I liked: Swigging a crystal clear sweaty glass of Helles after a long day. I learned Ballast Point imports all malt and hops from Germany, strips the water down (RO) and re-adds minerals to be authentic to the German region. The brewers hate brewing Longfin as they have to manually add 50lb sacks of malt to the mill. At over 3,000 lbs of malt per batch, I can see why they slug it out. The beer is bright, floral and refreshing…oh so worth it.

What could have rocked it:  an appetizer in lieu of one of the other courses. Crab cakes? Calamari? Bueller?

2. Sextant Oatmeal Stout (on nitro) with stone fruit salad; mache and frisee greens, citrus vinaigrette, blue velvet apricot, orbit peaches and nectarines.


What I liked: Creaminess of a nitro beer with peaches worked rather well, evoking a ‘peaches and cream’ moment. Big burst of fresh citrus on each bite followed by fresh stone fruit and greens… made me sit up straight and pay attention. Full Popeye/spinach moment! Quote at my table, “A beer dinner isn’t complete until Daniel Drennon gets an epi-pen shot in his ass” – James Murray, Ballast Point.

What could have rocked it: Ballast Point Wahoo Wheat. I see what they were going for with a contrasting/palate cleanse pairing, but in the end, I really liked the salad. Drinking Sextant Stout did its job as described and even offered some nice creaminess/chocolate notes. In the end, I want a fireworks show on my palate, not a mute button. Wahoo Wheat, with its Belgian yeast could have carried the salad to the next level.

3. Thai Chili Lime Wahoo Wheat with seared halibut and grilled shrimp. sticky coconut forbidden rice, mango salsa, sweet and spicy coconut sauce, and micro greens.


What I liked: The dish itself looks like Davy Crockett with a shrimp hat sitting on a pitcher’s mound. Beautifully done. “I want to build a moat around my house with the sticky coconut forbidden rice.” I say to Kevin Leonard, the OC Ballast Point sales rep. It’s addictive, and forbidden. I say “fuck it” and ate it all, then threw my fork in the ceiling like a lumberjack. I’m totally kidding about that part.

What could have rocked it: The beer was “Fear Factor hot” and unfit for human consumption. I use ghost chili pepper hot sauce at home, and this beer was hotter than that. Going with a beer hot enough to strip boat varnish for a food pairing is beyond me. I would have preferred Indra Kunindra Stout with south asian spices (including coconut) to really play with rice. The seared halibut was overdone, but still tasty.

4. Three Sheets Rum Latin Manhattan with Macadamia nut crusted Atlantic Salmon, rum/maple glaze, sweet potato puree, baby heirloom carrots and scallions.


What I liked: This dish could have been the main. Sweet, crusty mapley goodness through and through. Scallions and black pepper balance it out, but found myself streaking my pinkie across the maple syrup/crushed black pepper like Kate Upton in a Carls Jr. commercial. Honey dribbled micro carrots are now apparently a “thing”. I’m not a cocktail guy, but the Latin Manhattan is great. Nose is all pumpkin bread and some raisiny rum barrel action with spices. Nice to finally try a Ballast Point spirit, I can totally get behind this rum.

What could have rocked it: A beer alternative such as the caramely goodness of Ballast Point’s Calico would have had a gay marriage with the dish. (It’s just marriage now, right?) To geek it up a notch, why not add Ballast Point’s Homework Series Batch #1 Hoppy Red Ale? Hops balance out sweet right? I enjoyed the cocktail and the dish immensely, but no comprende on the pairing other than the rum note.

5. Sculpin IPA or Habanero Sculpin with Six day braised pork, charred pineapple bbq, confit fingerling potatoes.


What I liked: Any time you do pork slow and low (for six days!), it’s bound to be great. Charred pineapple with Sculpin had me gulpin. Habanero Sculpin was even better! Ballast Point dialed in the heat, making a the habanero play a role in the intense hop bill of Sculpin.

What could have rocked it: Skipping this dish in favor of an appetizer. It was good, but it was way over the top (fat-wise) to enjoy after the three prior dishes. I didn’t get anything from the duck fat confit potato, other than potato. I guess I’m just a spud boy, looking for that real tomato. Devo quote in a food review? Why not.

6. Victory at Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter with strawberry shortcake, homemade pound cake, berries, Victory at Sea chantilly cream, vanilla bean creme anglais.


What I liked: I hate dessert. Give me a beer, okay? FINE, I’ll write about it. The cream dollop on top and the violet colored berry sauce went in my mouth. I sipped beer and ate a few bites. Happy? I really hate dessert. Victory at Sea is actually a great dessert on its own.

What could have rocked it:  Victory at Sea had a victory over the dessert. The beer way overpowered the delicate berryness thing going on. Victory is a perfect dessert beer, though. It just needs something with some UMPH to stand up to it. Spotted Dick or Creme Brulee? I don’t know, I rarely eat dessert.

Overall: I have to hand it to Schooner at Sunset Chef Vasili Tavernakis and kitchen staff. Everything was beautifully prepared and full of great aromas and flavors. Some minor tweaks here or there in approach and beverage would have got me pregnant… nine months later, I’d have a baby Schooner.

On the beer side, Ballast Point has some of the best beer in the world and we’re spoiled to drink their beer so fresh. They brought some great company for guests to mingle with; the lovely Amber Crocker (with red shorts), Kevin Leonard, Matt Wilson (best sales rep in America according to Drennon), Jake Wittmann, Skip Stegmair, and James Murray.

Schooner at Sunset on Urbanspoon

Beachwood BBQ & Brewing / OMGWTFBBQ!

Beachwood BBQ & Brewing. If those words aren’t part of your craft beer vocabulary, I’m going to send you a free copy of Rosetta Stone’s craft beer language edition* and whip a piece of pulled pork at your eyes, you filthy swine.  Not only does Beachwood ‘que up some world class BBQ and sinful Americana style dishes, the house beers brought home some serious hardware at the Great American Beer Festival 2012. Co-owners Gabe Gordon (chef), wife Lena and Brewer Julian Shrago’s food and beer recipes are a match made in heaven; and worthy of a solid write-up, Gonzo style.

Thurs. Nov 15, 5:45 P.M.

If I told you that I received a full frontal body massage while standing on a street corner, you’d probably ask, “Long Beach, right?” and I would say, “yep, but it’s not what it sounds like.” See, I was in fact on a street corner, in Long Beach, punching a crosswalk button like Bruce Lee as two vintage lowriders roll up. Each car’s stereo is easily bending the space-time continuum with bass so loud it feels like I’m being attacked by a swarm of french ticklers. A young lady passes me by mid-crosswalk pulling pomeranians like she’s flying a kite. “Where’s…..Beachwood……BBQ?” I ask in-between bass thumps. She points ahead and rushes off.

The dark drizzly night puts me in the mood for comfort food and a nice roasty stout. Ashley (hostess), welcomes me like I’m family. “Sir, the Zymatore Project is in-house tonight, there’s special beers paired small plate dishes”, she says while handing me a page that reads like a menu at a French brothel. I stutter like a drunken Texan trying to say “BFM Abbaye De St. Bon Chien Aged in Pommeau Barrels from Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes from Jura, Switzerland. (view the evening’s menu here: 1 2 3 4 + food) “Wait, wait, wait a fucking minute. I pick a random night to come to Beachwood and and I’m here with some of the rarest barrel aged beers in America?” Indeed.

Ignoring the details of each beer, I roll up my sleeves and start with the lowest ABV; a 5% Italian Wit beer aged in “Orange” Wine barrels; Birrificio Barley’s Friska. I play coy as she gently touches my lips. She’s tart, provocatively dressed to style and teases my tongue. Friska is flogged with natural orange zest while her friend Coriander bats her lashes from afar. “Respecte le donne!” I yell, getting strange looks from the bartender. “It’s an Italian Spiderman joke, google it.”

Striped shirt wearers Justin of Beachwood and Mike Harman of B.United

Briefly, the Zymatore Project is kind of like an art museum getting the Mona Lisa, touching her up with some eyebrows and cleavage, then loaning her out for parties. Not only does B.United import rare beers from around the globe, they go another step creatively and re-age beers (also meads and ciders) in specialty barrels for this project.  Some beers they evoke a secondary fermentation with fruit, adjuncts and wild yeast, boosting the character and alcohol. Michael Harman, B.United’s West Coast Division Manager says “We will only do a secondary fermentation if the brewer is okay with it.” Just when I’m comfortable with American craft beer, discovering the Zymatore Project quickly makes me feel lost in a vast landscape of ever-evolving beers.

Aside: Just as Beachwood is collaborating with B.United for the night, I’ve joined forces with Orange County Gayot food critic and OC Executive Magazine mogul Richard Manning as well as the highly acclaimed food photographer Anne Watson. Any time I can get a solid opinion on food and professional photography on the blog, I’ll take it! I highly suggest browsing their work as they’re both huge parts of the Orange County food scene. I love and respect both immensely!

On to tasting… Of the five Special Appetizers offered for the Zymatore event, each has a suggested beer pairing with prices ranging from $7-$12 for each. (click to view). The Grilled Chicken Breast on wilted greens appetizer, for example, is cooked with with orange and coriander; the same ingredients brewed in the Friska Wit Bier described above. Each dish is well thought out and crafted around the special beer selection for the evening.

The Chicken & Duck Liver Pâté with toasted bread rounds is a perfect entry into Fall/Winter. “November is finally here!” says Rich as rain drops pelt the outside tables. He adds, “Mason jars are popular these days in fine dining.” I note that the bread rounds crunching in my mouth sounds like someone walking in freshly fallen snow . The Pâté is delicate yet full of mineral goodness. The suggested beer, Hofstetten Granit Bock aged in fortified wine barrels plays well with the Pumpernickel rounds and cleanses the rich fat as it melts across your palate. I wish I could fit my face in that mason jar, dammit. Anne quips, “doesn’t Pumpernickel literally translate to Devil’s Fart?” Yes!

My other favorite dish on the special menu is the Duo Smoked Game Sausage – Venison and Duck sausages on top of a red onion marmalade. The sausage is bundled handsomely with a mild smokey heat and rustic earthiness, sort of like Hugh Hefner in the 50’s. The filler is grainy like black pudding dotted with wild berries to twang up the sweetness. Cranberry in the filler screams “Autumn!” and I’m left screaming for more. The sweet marmalade hiding out underneath brings out the best of our beer choice: J.W. Lee’s Moonraker with Wild Yeast. When I think wild game, I think British beer to wash it down and to boost an earthy sweetness.

Other dishes you MUST try when visiting Beachwood BBQ:

  • BBQ! If you can’t decide, do the “Choose three items” option to get the best of each world. The pulled pork is a masterpiece and must be tried. Seriously, if I was a pig, I would gladly offer myself up to Gabe. “Oink Oink, Gabe! Please put me in your smoker and dry rub my butt kind sir!”
  • Baked Mac and Cheese! You’re probably like, “yeah yeah, what’s so special about it?” Rich Manning says, “It’s probably the best Mac and Cheese in the Greater Los Angeles area. It’s smoked and dense with a huge flavor depth”. “Ooooh, this is worth every calorie!” says Anne.  The Gruyere cheese beer sauce oozes, coats and stretches with each bite. The crunchy crumb topping lends it a light crunchy shell. “But is there bacon?” Yes, there is bacon, you filthy, filthy pork slut.
  • The Wild Mushroom Stew is another favorite although probably overlooked on such a deep menu. The “umami-bomb” Mushroom Stew sits on a sinful double dollop of blue cheese grits, the kind your momma used to make, if your momma is Paula Deen.

But wait, there’s beer! If you need yet another reason to visit Beachwood BBQ, the beer program is one of the best I’ve seen. Here’s why:

  • Full set of award winning house brewed beers. Each has a distinct full body and bold flavors that stand up to the rich food. Belgian style ales, Stouts, IPA, ESB, Pale’s, etc. There’s something for everyone and all brewed in house and super fresh. Do a flight, grab a growler to go.
  • Lineup of rare and classic craft beer from around the world. Whenever Pliny the Elder is ‘just another beer’ on the draft board, that’s saying something. The revolving taps alone are worthy of a trip, not to mention a full cellar of rarities. The list is thoughtfully planned with many styles covered, big beers to sessionable, low to high IBU, fruity, roasty, no ‘tap overlap’ with ten IPA’s…I could go on and on.
  • A bar packed with craft beer fans. There’s something to be said about the craft beer community. We like to talk beer with each other. Beachwood’s bar is packed solid with geeks, newbs, homebrewers, pro-brewers, and craft beer celebrities. The bartenders and wait staff are also highly knowledgeable and not snooty.
  • Multi-zone draft temps! This is seriously insane. Some draft handles are served at cellar temp, some are served at colder temps. Gabe Gordon created the “Flux Capacitor” which monitors CO2 and allows for per-line adjustments. At Beachwood, you can get a Barleywine or rich Russian Imperial Stout served at suggested cellar temps! No more coddling your beer like a baby until it warms up! It also allows for certain styles to have more or less gas, making ‘mouthfeel’ fine tunable. This is the geekiest thing I’ve ever seen at a bar.

  • Special events! The Zymatore project listed above is only a small part of what Beachwood brings to the table. I seriously couldn’t be more blown away by what the B.United guys are doing and for Beachwood to bring it to the public. Check their website or Beer Advocate for details on future events.

Beachwood BBQ has a smaller location in Seal Beach without the brewpub; same great food and superb draft list. Both are craft beer beacons of Orange County! Make sure and check out the rest of our pics! Thanks Beachwood

*Rosetta Stone doesn’t have a craft beer language edition, silly. Go buy Tasting Beer by Randy Mosher and learn super geeky stuff. 

Meat, Cheese and Beer Class!

It’s no secret among my friends that I’m in love with the Bruery Provisions in Orange. I check her Facebook daily, I look at her Twitter. I stop in sometimes for a quick flight and wedge of La Tur cheese. BP totally gets me. I wish I could quit you, BP!

I signed up for the “Throwing a Party with Charcuterie and Cheese” class with my wife and some friends. Why would I want to throw a party with cheese and charcuterie you ask? What the hell is charcuterie anyway? Spell check has no clue! Charcuterie is meat that has been prepared by salting, aging, smoking, etc. Think bacon, pâté, sausage, jerky, etc. It’s what our forefathers did before refrigeration to make their meat last longer and make them delicious.

Upon arrival, the plates were already prepped with five cheese, meat, nut and dried fruit pairings. I was happy to see a provided notebook describing everything in great detail, and a pen to take notes. BP doesn’t mess around! The class was moderated by Cheesemonger and Culinary Manager Kendra Birdwell, which seriously puts the “cute” in charcuterie. Single people should be asking this gal out! Seriously…she reminded me of a mix of Amy Adams and Zooey Deschanel, but with cheese breath. That might be a deal breaker for some of you love birds.

The class began and Kendra broke out into an introduction to tasting. “Sniff, look, taste, swirl, sniff, taste, swish, eat, taste, repeat!” For some reason all this stinky cheese and cured meat got me a little frisky. Matters got worse as my wife was rubbing my leg under the tasting room table! I was totally freaking out! I even had a daydream in slow-mo where my wife pulls the barrette out of her hair and waves it from side to side, revealing her gorgeous flowing hair. As her hair flies across my nose, I inhale deeply and quickly snap back to reality when all I smell is Goat Cheese and Truffle Mousse (cue the fog horn).

First Pairing: Journey to the Center of the Earth. The Bruery Salt of the Earth Beer, Humbolt Fog Goat Cheese and Fabrique Delices Truffle Mousse. I was excited as I’ve never had this beer as it’s not available really anywhere aside from here. The beer is cloudy with minimal head, aroma consisting of some coriander and some funk. It had some earthy and grassy notes on the quaff with a chalky-wheaty mouthfeel. I’m not a big goat cheese fan, and my wife isn’t a big funky beer fan. We were both shocked that we liked what we usually don’t care for! The beer paired exceptionally well with the cheese, heightening the flavors. The pâté also has earthy notes of mushroom and truffles. The entire package when consumed simultaneously was a perfect match, each one heightening the flavors of the other. The cheese flavor quickly ramps up and the pâté smooths it out. The beer brings it to a higher level, then cleanses for the next bite so it doesn’t cloy. In the photo above, the cheese and pâté are on the left with the dried apricot resting on top. The pâté looks like a small piece of pumpernickel bread, but it’s Mousse, with the consistency of a creamy hummus.

Second Pairing: Silence of the Lambs. Pictured on the lower left corner. Bruery Snicklefritz! with P’tit Basque Sheeps milk cheese and Molinary – Finnochiona Pork fennel salami. Beer was clear bronze, notes of coriander, ginger and maple on the nose, taste was typical Belgian strong with notes of toffee, spice, and dark fruits. The strong fennel in the salami brought me back to 1978 Pizza Hut Pepperoni. It was a total Ratatouille moment where the food critic goes back to his childhood on one taste of the dish. The cheese was too subtle to stand up to the big flavors in the beer, but was a nice contrast. “toughened your nipples didn’t it?” – Dr. Hannibal Lecter. By they way, I’m naming the pairings, they weren’t named.

Third Pairing: Cheesing My F’ing Brains Out!: Pictured on the top left corner. Bruery Batch 300, Cypress Grove – Midnight Moon cheese and Molinari Hot Salami. It’s always nice to taste some Citra hops as they usually have a tropical-citrusy aroma, but in this case all I got was a slight cat pee scent. Sometimes that hop can give ‘off’ aromas at less than ideal temperatures or ages, or perhaps the remnants of my cold threw off my nose. I was glad to see I was the only one getting that aroma. The cheese really worked well bringing the heat down from the salami and it also had those little dried calcium lactate crystals that I love so much. God I love those things…and they’re good for you too! Also paired was a simple olive oil cracker which helped cleanse the pallet.

Fourth Pairing: Autumnal Flavorgasm. Pictured on the upper right. Out of the five pairings, this was all of our favorite. The Bruery Autumn Maple, Beemster – XO Gouda, Prosciutto De Parma and candied walnuts. Alone, each of these were good, but altogether worked like the cast of Friends in my mouth (without Ross of course). Beer poured a hazy auburn with hints of allspice and nutmeg on the nose. Taste is a boozy clove yam-fest. Interesting fall beverage, although it’s got nothing on my Maple Wheat! Gouda is one of my favorite styles of cheese and this was like nothing I’ve ever had. The prosciutto was aged  18 months, was floppy, fatty, salty, delicious. I made a little mini-burrito with the meat as the tortilla, two wedges of cheese and the candied walnut. Flavorgasm with the beer! So no one told you life was gonna be this way *clap*clap*clap*clap* Your job’s a joke, you’re broke, your love life’s DOA! It’s like you’re always stuck in Richard Gere….Sorry for getting that song stuck in your head.

Fifth Pairing: the Big Pickle. I say that because we were all feeling a bit pickled at this point! Pictured on the bottom right (above). Beer is Bruery 3rd anniversary Cuir (pronounced queer?), Bleu De Causses cheese and Bresaola beef charcuterie. Beer had big time dark fruits on the nose and appeared a deep murky plum juice. Taste was booze, figs, raisins, molasses. I don’t remember much of this, luckily I took notes! Don’t laugh at my ‘taste of cheese’ comment! The drawing depicts how the flavors ramp up on my tongue, the vertical line is when I take a sip. I know it’s weird! Don’t be a hater!The class as a whole was extremely informative and Kendra was great at answering questions. She walked around to talk to people to get their opinions on everything. The booklet was thorough at explaining every detail. The Bruery is such a gem to have in Orange County and I couldn’t recommend taking a class there more. I was surprised at the older crowd; maybe the younger crowd thought it was too pricey? $35 was well worth it for the supplies alone.

The thing I really learned from the class is how to break down a cheese and meat selection at the store. I’ve always found it daunting to drop some serious cash on something that might not pair well. With my knowledge of beer, I’ll start with that and work my way to a cheese and meat that might work with it. Or, I can easily go with one of the pairings above. It really made it seem easy. Thanks Bruery Provisions!

Classes are usually on Wednesdays. Contact the Bruery Provisions, or check her twitter and the facebooks.

Next class:

Belgian Cheese and Beer
with Kendra, The Bruery Cheesemonger @ The Bruery Provisions, $30

Wednesday, September 21st 2011