It’s an odd feeling seeing three friends on the big screen within minutes of a film starting. It’s even more odd sipping a Stone IPA in a plush Fashion Island cinema next to Saks Fifth Avenue. The film? A craft beer-fueled documentary called Blood, Sweat, and Beer, co-directed by Alexis Irvin and Chip Hiden (where’s my chippy?). With my Newport Beach Film Festival all-access pass dangling from my neck, this is the one film I’m truly buzzed to see. (EDIT – FILM IS OUT ON ITUNES!)
I first learned of the film Blood, Sweat, and Beer from Kickstarter late 2014. Over 150 backers pledged $12,292 to bring the film to life. The lowest perk, $15, netted fans a digital copy plus their name in the credits (look for me!). One of the biggest budgetary hogs of their Kickstarter budget goal was a shocking $3100 in film festival entry fees. Second was $3000 for music licensing.
The story intertwines the dramatic and cautionary tales of two brewery startups. Much like older beer documentaries such as Beer Wars, stats and other hot topics that define today’s craft beer world fill the film’s gaps. Average cost to start a brewery? Craft versus crafty? It’s all in there.
Plot A tells the emotional story of Danny Robinson, a new brewery owner in Florida that struggles with not only the seasonality of his beach-boardwalk business, but also finds himself in a horrific legal battle with a t-shirt company. Making beer is one thing, but the realities of running a business really hit hard, especially when a good deal of time is spent with lawyers. It should be noted that his brewery uses small skateboards as tasting flight boards; seriously, Pizza Port should jump on that.
Plot B is way more uplifting as it follows three millennials in their final 30 days before their brewery’s grand opening. With zero income in a near-abandoned town, their goal creating a well crafted tasting room with great beer goes down to the wire before the ribbon cutting. One of their main objectives is starting a business that has an impact on revitalizing the town and attracting new businesses and clientele.
Both plots are full of emotion, self doubt and most of all, passion. Overall, it solidifies the importance of the American dream, and how craft beer is so solidly weaved into it.
Post originally appeared in BeerPaperLA, May 2015
A place is only as good as its beer list right? Show your favorite beer-friendly eatery some love at this year’s Golden Foodie Awards! Here’s my picks for week one! Vote here!
- Best Mexican Food – Anepalco’s Cafe, Orange. Anepalco’s French-prepared Mexican cuisine is as tasty as it is beautiful to look at. Paired with local beer on tap? Total win. (C’mon Taco Maria, go local. Nobody should have Shipyard IPA in SoCal. Do you get your masa from Maine too?)
- Best Vegetarian Food – Avanti Cafe, Costa Mesa. Last year I went vegan for three months. Avanti’s food tastes like actual food, not a science experiment meat clone. Housed walking distance from Hi-Time Wine Cellar, you can guarantee their four taps rotate with quality product. Runner ups: Seabirds Kitchen, Tender Greens, Healthy Junk (and Junk Bar). Their beer is vegan too, which is why Bison and Uinta are on tap.
- Pizza – uh, Pizza Port in San Clemente is the obvious choice, but places like Pizzeria Ortica in Costa Mesa, Rances and Pitfire Pizza are taking beer seriously. I’d give the nod to Ortica because the chef’s homebrew saison is better than mine. His pies are legit as well! Out of the Park Pizza is a local favorite of beer geeks with one of the best tap lists in the county. Nod to Fuoco in Fullerton for making a serious delicious pie and good beer options.
- Beer – Now, this is sort of like picking the OCBeerBlog best beer bar in Orange County, which is true. This place must have taps that are rare, fresh and served at proper temp in clean/proper glassware. The beer menu must be meticulously planned (not 80% IPA’s, for instance). The servers must be smiley and knowledgeable about beer without being snobbish like a 1995 Tower Records employee. The servers should know the menu and what’s on tap and be willing to offer up pairing suggestions. Prices must be in line with other places (no $8 pale ales, for instance). For me it’s a tossup between Beachwood BBQ in Seal Beach or The Playground DTSA. Not only is their beer list well planned, the food is also killer!
- American Cuisine – See #4. Add in Chapter One: The Modern Local if you like Ketchup.
- Burger – This is tough as I’m very particular with my burgers. I like them no bigger than my fist so I can easily fit a beer and some fries in my belly without exploding. Haven Gastropub’s Lamb Burger is one I always go back to. Nods to Fireside Tavern’s burger/beer Thursday where the chef recreates fast food burger masterpieces.
- Best Cocktail – 320 Main in Seal Beach makes the only beer cocktail I’ve ever liked, so nods go to them. The Detroiter has notes of bit-o-honey balanced with the hoppy bite of beer. Joe over at The Playground also shakes and stirs nicely.
- Best Food Talk Radio Show? I only listen to podcasts and I hear Four Brewers is great. Beer is food right?
Once again, the highly acclaimed Peace Brewing makes a perfect backdrop to eat chili, share some laughs and drink some super craft beer. Here’s some photos I snapped of the OC Beer Society’s event. Over 13 delicious chilis were brought this time, and mine won! Hit me up if you want the recipe.
Bruery Beers get the ‘Boot’. Bootleggers tap take over at Provisions Mon @ 6.
Noble Ale Works 1st Anniversary Party Jan 28. check their site for deets.
My childhood friend (Fitz) recently turned the big 4-0. To celebrate the huge accomplishment of this crabby, over the hill, bitter Irishman, I was invited to his party…in Irvine no less, at a place called OC Wine Mart. Yay. I’m familiar with the location as my work is walking distance from it, but I’ve never bothered to go in…because hey, a wine shop in Irvine across from a high-end business plaza reeks of overpriced bottles of wine and acute snobbery! Why waste my time?
“Don’t worry, they have beer” says Fitz. Yay. Blue Moon? Guinness? Maybe a Stone Pale Ale if I’m lucky? If the beer selection is bad, should I drink wine? (Funny that I make wine, yet I rarely drink it.) My wife was pretty excited as she’s a regular wino, ahem, wine “enthusiast”. As we arrive, the place is the size of the average mini-mart in a small Irvine-approved strip mall. Inside sits a classy modern decorated tasting area with a bar and a few chairs. Surrounding the tasting area is an adequate and well balanced selection of wines from all regions and styles. Coolers adorn the walls filled with delicious beer.
I was quick to say hello’s, smooch some cheeks and bump some fists before checking into the beer selection. My first impression: Damn! Complete AWE. Solid lineups of Russian River, Stone Brewing, Anderson Valley, Great Divide, Unibroue, various Belgium, German, English, Irish, Scottish beers, as well as OC local beers from Left Coast Brewing, Bootleggers, and The Bruery. With this lineup it made my decision very hard…where to start? The owner, Julie Lim, tossed a bottle of Pliny the Elder at Fitz…Happy Birthday…on the house! Nice! I’m already falling in love with this place.
First thing I grab is Unibroue’s La Fin Du Monde (A+ on Beer Advocate) and split it with Crabby Old Man Fitz. A fitting beer for any forty year old’s birthday as it translates to “End of the World”. As more guests arrive, better and better bottles of beer were sprung from their arctic slumber. Karla, good friend and Karate Instructor spotted the Liefman’s Cuvee Brut (A- on BA); a mildly sour cherry beer blended beer with an active carbonation similar to champagne. Sean Miner, nabbed an Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout from Great Divide (A on BA). “Is this like Guinness?” “No Sean, it’s like Guinness ran through a car engine for three years, soaked in oak with some extra roasted roastyness”. “Oh, is it good?”. “It’s finer than Jennifer Miner in a diner”. “haha you’re lame”. “I know, cheers” (Jen Miner is his wife). Fitz, perhaps feeling a bit old and cranky, cracked his complementary Pliny the Elder (A+ on BA) and I managed to steal a splash without him looking. After that I pulled the cork on Russian River’s Supplication (A on BA), a true revelation in sour beer with a smooth rosey leaded glass look and a smile-inducing balanced tartness. Other guests were ambitious after checking out our selections and chose beers they’ve never tried. My job here is done.
The wine selection in the enomatic kiosks were a huge hit among the winos in the group. The dispensers administer 1oz pours in your glass; prices ranging from $1-7. One of the $7 tasters was priced at $87 a bottle, which gives the guests a chance to sample some great wines. Simply buy a wine card, grab a glass, insert the card and press the button! Overall there is something for every palate and price range. We also grabbed a cheese plate that had several different French and Dutch Bleus, a soft Brie and an aged Gouda. Each paired well with wine and beer. Hard alcohol was also available for purchase if you wanted to really get the party going.
I’m pretty excited about this place, mainly because it’s right by my work! I would highly recommend booking it for an event or stopping in to check out some stellar beer and wines. The location is on Michelson in Irvine, in between MacArthur and Jamboree by John Wayne Airport. If you’re ever stuck in traffic on the 405, it’s a 2 minute jaunt off either exit on Bixby/Michelson.
Gripes? My only gripe was the beer glassware. Pint glasses don’t suit a lot of the beer selection. Some tulip glasses would be a fine addition. I used a wine glass and was openly mocked.
www.ocwinemart.com / 2272 Michelson Dr. Irvine CA 92612 949-250-0033
The internet is full of beer reviews. Boring, boring, beer reviews. Beer Advocate and Ratebeer are informative for finding styles, serving temps, cellaring info…but the reviews rival the average repetative yelp crap.
Here at OC Beerblog, we review beers a little different. And when I say we, I mean me.
- I will write a haiku for the beer.
- If the beer were a person, it would be _____________ and why.
- Instead of a formal rating, I will award it X amount of manbabies. A manbaby is an edited image where a kid and adult’s head is swapped via Photoshop. The rating is a variable amount and has no scale at which to judge it by. Much like beer, some days it’s good. Some days it’s better. Some beer goes better with food. Pallets are different as well. What might be a good beer to me, might be horrible to you.
So here it is: My first review. Bootleggers Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Black Phoenix!
dark fruits aroma
black as Patricia B’s hair
whiskey, peppers, sex!
(note, Patricia B. is the Owner/brewer’s wife that often works pouring beer there. I could have easily put her sister but I don’t know her name…shame on me!)
If this beer were a person:
Princess Tiana from Disney’s “Princess and the Frog”. Yes folks, your blogger has officially lost it! Imperial = Princess. Dark skin = dark beer. Loves to add hot sauce = roasted chili heat in the beer. Bourbon barrel aged = I drink bourbon while my daughter watches that movie fucking 400 times. It’s a damn fine beverage! I always thought Knuckle Sandwich would be the pinnacle of beers at Bootleggers; this easily tops it in complexity alone.
Overall I give this beer 400 drooling manbabies! I hope this beer catches on and is produced at regular intervals and not a one-off. I’ll be back until it runs out.
Cheers! See you at Bootleggers!
Damn. I’ve always pondered the viability of starting yet another blog, about beer of all things. Truth is, I feel that blogs shouldn’t be written by people, they should write themselves. Content should be oozing from all directions and it should magically post itself.
In Orange County, there are quality Breweries, Brew Pubs, HomeBrew Clubs, and Gastropubs that are all top notch. There are festivals, brewery anniversary parties, beer release events, private tastings, or some dude in Anaheim that just got done mowing his lawn and cracked a brew. This blog will encompass all of that. Bevmo got egged? I’ll cover it. Two teenage kids were seen sprinting out of a CVS carrying four 30 packs of Coors Light? Maybe not. But I saw it happen once (doing jail time for Coors light seems cruel and unusual, considering they already drink crap beer!) Food trucks that pair menu items around a brewery’s offerings? You bet I’ll cover that. An Italian restaurant that has over 240 beers? Yep. A Liquor store that has Bootleggers Brewery Knuckle Sandwich? Sure, why not. I’ll also cover food pairings and recipes that include beer as an ingredient. Why the hell not. I may even post a picture of my wife’s face as she tastes the beers I review just for giggles. The higher the IBU, the bigger the stink-face. It’s awesome.
The intended audience is anyone who enjoys drinking good beer. From Uber Beer Geek aficionados to a casual person trying to pick apart the local Vons beer section. I cuss though, a lot. I’m really fucking sorry about that.
This blog will not contain the word “digress”. I hate that word. Especially in blogs. Also, please don’t egg Bevmo just to get coverage here. That’s just silly. Egg a bird just to be ironic.
Since content around these parts doesn’t auto-populate, I’m here to do it for you. So welcome, beer budday! I look forward to writing about my local niche of the craft beer world. I hope you enjoy reading it! Cheers!