Anaheim’s Newest Fortress of Solitude: UNSUNG BREWING

 

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Buzzman, in a slightly tapered becker glass during the soft opening.

January 2014 I wrote a blog on how Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait wanted to create “Brew City, USA”, a quick piece with fun facts like “San Diego has 70+ breweries.” Wow! Time has flown in just two years.

GNAG2725Shortly thereafter, a man named Michael Crea from Ohio was looking to start a brewery on the west coast. He saw the blog, then reached out to Anaheim for possible locations. Unfortunately, he quickly learned his dream name “Hero Brewing” wouldn’t be possible out here, and he had to re-design things from the ground up.

GNAG2724Fast forward two and half years, Unsung Brewing is now a thing…two short blocks from my house in the Anaheim Colony Historic District, in the heart of the city’s burgeoning foodie culture across from the Packing District.

 

Unsung’s branding is centered around a made-up comic book universe, where each beer is represented by a character, and even has a great side story. Beer styles are even being mutated; Buzzman, an American Mutant Ale, for example is a crushable lawnmower beer. Anthia, their dry and hoppy IPA, has been gushed about in other blog posts. The branding is incredible, the beer, even for a new brewery, is crushably clean, well rounded, and full of flavor.

Cheers to Mayor Tait on helping to bring in great small businesses like Unsung, as they create great spaces for the community to enjoy over a delicious beer!

GNAG2712Parking tip from a local: Set your GPS to 42nd Street, Anaheim 92805 and park across Broadway from Umami Burger.

Grand Opening is Friday, August 5! See you there! 

Address: 500 S. Anaheim Blvd., Anaheim 92805

www.unsungbrewing.com

Logical Menu Programming | FO Beer Dinner 2016

Tripping over my cat at 12:05 A.M. with two bags of glassware and four bottles of Fundamental Observation wasn’t the burglar-like entrance I had hoped, especially with a belly full of six courses of food and all the beers. The dogs came out to investigate the situation, one growling and kicking her back legs like a bull. The other, sniffs my leg and wags, obviously knowing what kind of shenanigans I had just endured. If this dog were human, she would be a foodie.

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Cooking in an alley, alley, alley – Patrick Whittaker, our chef of the evening.

Three hours prior, we were ushered into the back brewery of Bottle Logic Brewing. Big ass fan blowing DDB’s man-musk out of the room from the first seating, I’m guided to my table, delighted to see who I’m sitting next to: chef Cody Storts, Brandon Buckner (of Bottle Logic), main squeeze Christina, and Sean and Jessica McNew. A rowdy table, no doubt. I can ask chef questions about the food, and hit Brandon up about the beers.

You, light up my life, you give me hope...

You, light up my life, you give me hope… Haze Flux Vermont Style DIPA

Having been to the Darkstar November beer dinner earlier this year, I knew what chef Patrick Whittaker and the Bottle Logic team were capable of. What’s truly impressive is a brewery that has skilled staff to pull this thing off. There’s a million ways a dinner like this could go awry, especially if not done with regularity. The first improvement is Bottle Logic borrowed a food truck to use as a kitchen instead of cooking in the cramped brewery.

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Course one: Hamachi

My favorite moments of the night were many, but to name a few, the stone fruit salad paired with Berlinear Equation w/apricot & peaches was stellar. Refreshing on the warm night, the bready/stonefruity beer finishes clean and tart. The stonefruit vs. stonefruit beer seemed a bit obvious, but the real star of the show was a nip of basil that was like a ten-pin kicker when bowling a strike. Fantastic pairing.

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Getting stoned on stonefruit and Berlinear Observation with apricot and peach

One lobster tail and beef cheek later, the buzz hits. Haze Flux, Bottle Logic’s hazy Vermont style IPA was bursting with mango and pineapple notes. It didn’t take me long to blend the Bourbon Barrel aged and plain Cobaltic Porter pours into a cuvee to soften the blow of what was to come: Three versions of Fundamental Observation…holy shit, you guys!

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Fundamental Observation, sweating like me.

The first version, FO 2016 with Mostra Coffee gave the beer an ice cream-like smoothness. I pinched myself to stop myself from incessantly huffing the beer, like a man possessed. I saved the last half of the glass for my buddy Natalie DeNicholas, who helped the chef team prep and plate the dinner. She blew me a kiss. This beer is what makes me fall in love with beer all over again. Putting lipstick on a whale. Still a whale, but more attractive, for sure.

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Hospitality (and grammar) maestro, Lindsay Langton, w/ Patrick

Vanilla-vanilla Fundamental Observation is as good as 2015, albeit slightly different. It’s not as sweet, seems a tad lighter in body, and is backed with a poof of heat. The vanilla is way more punchy in the profile, which may fade with age. It’s a world class beer, I think the changes are more to my liking.

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Back alley Fundamental Observation purchases at 11:42 P.M.

Lastly, Fundamental Forces, a straight up vanilla booze jam and cheese plate closes out the night. “We keep feeding the yeast with more and more sugar until it gives up,” says Dylan Mobley, their brewer. Is it like 20% ABV? I’d like to try this beer on its own, not after the bellygasm that just took place.

My only complaint of the evening was the heat. Drinking big beers and multiple courses requires a certain temperature as to not get a sheen of glistening meat sweats. All in all, a hell of a lot of fun, and damn if I don’t feel like a 1%’er getting a seat. Keep up the fun, awesome releases like you do, Bottle Logic!

More pics:

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Lobster and Brexity pea vichyssoise (pronounced vishy swaz), whose kumquat paired well with the hazy DIPA.

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“HHHMMMBEEF…CHEEEKS!” Is what I yelled with this landed in front of me. Paired with all the Cobaltic Porters. So meaty, Bottle Logic. So meaty.

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The richest thing I’ve ever eaten. Inside the See’s candy looking chocolate puck is foie gras, which made me sweat with the Mostra Coffee FO. Super rich. YOOJ richness. Also I love me some chantilly cream and fucking Rainier cherries.

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“this is a fundamental beer dinner!” “you hit it right on the nose, bob!”

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Chef Cody Storts of Grits Fullerton and Chef Craig Brady of Haven Gastropub, both here to check out the dinner.

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my tablemates

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Noble is Nubile at Age Three

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Noble Brewer and master beer namer Brad Kominek getting proper respect

Noble Ale Works has two eras. Pre-Evonian and Evonian. In the “pre” phase, hearing people mispronounce the brewery was common. “Hey man, have you been to that No-bell beer place by the stadiums?”. “Indeed, I’ve been to noball ale works, friend.” At the Drink.Eat.Play OC Beer festival, they were listed as “Noble Brews” for crying out loud! What does a new brewery have to do to get some respect?

Since their 2nd anniversary, you could say that they’re now a ‘No Bull’ brewery; making some of the best and most unique beer in SoCal. From winning the mayors trophy for being awesome at the OC Fest of Ales and being featured on the TV show Beer Geeks, here’s a look at some of the highlights Noble Ale Works had over the last year:

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Naught Sauce credit – Aubrey Price

Naughty Sauce – a blonde coffee milk stout served on nitro made its appearance April-ish 2013. A beer best described as “The F Word in a glass”, instantly won my heart and became the West Coaster Socal’s 1st article. Since then, I’ve been to three Naughty Sauce release parties, had Don Pachi Sauce at the Playground, Naughty Sauce waffle cones, and even enjoyed smooching the roasty foam off my wife’s lips. Yum! You have no idea how tempted I am to install a nitro tap in my house for this beer.

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Nobles Milk Stout brings all the boys to the yard. (Noble’s Matt and Jenny)

Tongue Tickles Double IPAA few days before the Los Angeles IPA Fest, Noble dropped another bomb on the beer world. When beer-tender Jenny slid a glass of Tongue Tickles over the bar, I knew it was something special. Making awkward eye-contact with her while sniffing the beer, I’m pretty sure the song ‘Dream Weaver‘ played in my head. I quickly snapped back to reality after my first sip. “This is like whoa”, I quivered, taken aback by the intense juicy hopload still tickling my tongue. I blushed as she trotted off to clean glasses.

I heard people say, “Pliny killer”, “Knuckle killer” and even “Enjoy By who?”, insuring nobody would ever mutter the word “Nobility” again. I did my own blind taste test for a blog post, then two days later got a text from friend and LAIPA Fest judge Randy Clemens, stating the impact of the Tickles. “Your boy Evan is on cloud nine!”, coming in first place over some serious notable breweries is no small feat, especially for a beer that came out of nowhere.

Credit ImperialRussian on Untappd

Credit ImperialRussian on Untappd

It Burns – With Noble’s pepper beers such as Pistola (peppery pils) and Too Darn Hot (peppery IPA) a regular occurrence in the tasting room, it was only a matter of time until someone made a beer that was undrinkably hot. It Burns was born from a “friendly” pepper beer war with the Bruery just up the 57. This beer could could easily be crowned “the hottest thing in Anaheim, ever”. One sip had me gagging on hiccups while drooling over the bathroom sink. Even blending the beer was excruciating. My pee smelled like peppers for at least two days.

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solid 4’s on Untappd call for trade bait.

Single Hop Shower Series – Imagine a hopcone on a stage. Warrant ‘Cherry Pie‘ blasting, you toss your dollar bill out and the green, spiky flower lifts its skirt and exposes its lupulin glands and motorboats them on your nose. “Oh yeah girl!” You yell while taking a photo of her powdery yellow innards glistening inside. You rub your hands together, and just like that, the sticky resin is everywhere. That’s kind of what this beer is.

I’ve done a couple single hop series beers from other breweries without drawing any conclusions other than, “this beer is old”. Single hop beers need to be consumed in a timely manner and Noble’s respect in the biz allow them to get 30bbl’s of the juice out quickly to the local crowd. I can hardly wait for future Amarillo, Simcoe and whatever else their hop contract allows.

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Great to hang out with blog fans! Thanks again Noble!

Bonus: Nagel’s Number 2 – What else can I say about letting me collaborate on a beer for this blog’s 2nd anniversary? 7th Dip with hand toasted coconut and some bitter orange peel on nitro? YES. This was my absolute favorite Noble Ale Works beer ever. I get goose bumps thinking about it.

Noble’s Third Anniversary Party is Saturday Feb 8th 2014. For $40, you can sample some odd 34 beers they have on tap, cask and such. Food trucks, bands, raffles and fun! I will see you there! Raise a glass to Jerry, Evan, Brad, Matt, Jenny and the rest of their awesome, nice, knowledgable and good looking staff. Great job guys! (Flyer says 25 but was upped to 34). Portion of the proceeds go to benefit Inspire Artistic Minds! Click the link above for details.

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2014 Anaheim State of the City Address: Mayor Focused on Craft Beer Growth

At Noble Ale Works’ 1st anniversary party a couple years ago, Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait asked me, “How do we grow craft beer in Anaheim?” I was taken aback. Normally, people have to lobby local politics to get involved in clearing a path for small artisan alcohol producers in this day of fat-walleted, misinformed NIMBY’s.

Craft beer has been a spark of positive change in many cities across the nation and Mayor Tait is no slouch for pushing this tasty agenda. Not only does good beer bring people together, the economic impact of a new brewery, especially in a tourist town, is huge.

The Brewers Association reports the economic impact of craft brewers in America hit 34 Billion in 2012, with California leading the pack at 4.7 Billion. San Diego obviously leads the growth at 70+ breweries; Anaheim will lead OC with almost 9% of San Diego County’s number of breweries by the end of 2014, however San Diego far outweighs production with many large regional craft brewers.

Mayor Tait and city advisors have been active getting Orange County to utilize the State’s health inspection codes instead of OCHCA’s stringent regulations that treat breweries like restaurants; making it quicker to get doors open.

Among the many beer festivals in Orange County, Anaheim will be home to three revolving fests including the OC Fest of Ales put on by Downtown Anaheim Assocication, The OC Brew Ho Ho Holiday fest and now Firkfest – A cask ale festival put on by OCBeerBlog. The city aims to attract the Craft Brewers Conference (CBC) or have a GABF scale event at Anaheim Convention Center sometime in the future. The ACC is the largest convention hall on the west coast.

Full text of Mayor Tom Tait’s “State of the Beer” portion of his city address. (1/28/2014)

BREW CITY

A fun example of how Anaheim is showcasing its business-friendly attitude involves one of my favorite topics: craft beer.

Anaheim’s German heritage means that we’ve actually been brewing beer here since city was founded. And in the last several years, the craft and microbrewery industry has seen tremendous growth. Anaheim will soon have more craft and micro-breweries than any other city in Orange County.

The city has been working on making it easier for these artisan beer makers to practice their craft in our town.

As a beer enthusiast, I’m really excited about the attraction of micro and craft brewers to our city. We have all of the elements that these entrepreneurs need—space, great water, a super-friendly regulatory climate, and Southern California’s tremendous population of thirsty residents and visitors.

This budding industry has great potential for our town. Think what the wine industry has done for places like the Napa Valley or Paso Robles over the years. And we’ve seen what the brew industry has done for the city of Portland. It has brought that city new jobs, lots of tourists and events, not to mention bringing the community together.

That’s why we’re branding Anaheim as the Southland’s BrewCity. In Southern California, when you think about craft beer and all that goes along with that scene, you’re going to think about Anaheim.

Moving beyond craft beer, I think Anaheim’s future can be summed up with what’s happening in the center of our city: it’s cool, diverse and authentic. It’s the type of place that young entrepreneurs are drawn to.

 

OC Fest of Ales & Beer Run 5K September 21, 2013 +exclusive promo code

As you may know, one of my favorite elements of craft beer is the community. Drinking beer alone is a magical thing, but add in complete strangers, friends or family to the mix and the beverage is elevated to new heights. One of my major goals with this blog is to grow that community by any means necessary. (TLDR discount code on bottom)

Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait approached me at Noble’s 1st anniversary and asked, “how do we get Anaheim on the beer map?” Months later, a beer festival committee was formed with a few beer heads and a die hard group of people that want to see their city succeed. Devon and Shelly Reeves of Downtown Anaheim, various city volunteers, Brad Daniels, Spence Coleman and I brainstormed how to make a fest different, fun and educational. Getting the chance to volunteer for my city…to bring the community together in the name of great beer…is an honor I don’t take lightly. It’s a lot of hard work and I can’t wait to see it all come together on 9/21! Last year, we made it happen in three months…this year, we’ve had time to relax make it something special.

The event supports a local non-profit – the Downtown Anaheim Association. They intern have weekly farmers markets, art crawls and donate their facilities to children’s groups and others. This year it also helps support an 80 year Anaheim tradition – the Halloween Parade and Fall Festival!

I won’t bore you…it’s a beer fest. I hope my passion has compelled some interest!

For my readers, I’m offering a special discount code: GONZO. This will take $10 off!

The fest is a few days away! I hope to see you there! Stop by OCFestofAles.net and get some! Cheers!

“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

Craft Beer at Angels Stadium

hangar at the big AHangar 24 available at:

  • Diamond Club
  • Knothole Club Suites
  • Broken Bat
  • Draft Pick Gate 2
  • Draft Cart Section 126 Gate 4

 

 

Other locations will be added as info becomes available. 

The Price is Right – Noble Ale Works Turns Two

Early 2011, I stopped in Noble Ale Works before the Super Bowl. With my foam cheese-head hat stinking up my car, I grabbed a growler of their IPA for a party. Bag of chips and pint of Noble IPA on my lap, I proceeded to watch Christina Aguilera fuck up the lyrics to the national anthem. I promptly dusted the growler then probably grilled some meat and pee’d on a tree (you know, manly things) before passing out in a quiet corner…all before halftime.

"What so proudly we watched at the twilight's last gleaming." WTF? At least her elfin nipple didn’t pop out.

“What so proudly we watched at the twilight’s last gleaming.” WTF? At least her elfin nipple didn’t pop out.

I watched Noble grow. Eleven months later, their in-house brewery was mostly operational. Their lineup of a few bold hoppy beers and a Russian Imperial Stout were good, but recipes were all over the place. I had my doubts after their 1st anniversary regarding quality; getting an IPA that was undrinkably sweet. I showed a sample of my settled hydrometer reading (1.038) to their brewer at the time and he said, “We’re trying out a new yeast”. I was expecting an “Oh shit, let me fix that for you”. To those that don’t brew, 1.038 is an unfinished beer. Either the yeast crapped out or it was cold-crashed to serve faster. Everyone has a bad beer from time to time, the point is to fix it and move on.

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Bill Sobieski (Hoparazzi, David Larsen (Cismontane) and Evan Price at Anaheim’s OC Fest of Ales

On April 11th, 2012, Owner Jerry Kolbly dropped a bomb on my lap: “We’re letting our brewer go and we’re trying to hire Evan Price from TAPS”. Talk about fixing an issue! Knowing the quality TAPS Fish House & Brewery kicks out, Noble Ale Works was back on the map.

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“You get the Nobel Beer Prize for excellent beer” – guy on left

Want to make me go to rehab, but I said No, No, Noble.

Want to make me go to rehab, but I said No, No, Noble. (RIP Amy Winehouse)

It didn’t take long for Evan to learn the new brewhouse and tinker with IPA recipes. His first batch of Nobility DIPA (I think its fourth incarnation) I sampled was a hop-bomb at its finest. Pungent Citra on the nose with a crisp dry malt backbone. It seemed like new beers were coming out ever week. ESB, a new Pale Ale, the true “Evan’s Lager” (collaboration with Cismontane’s Evan Weinberg), and a bright hoppy Pilsner were proof enough Evan Price is a hell of a brewer. He gave names to his beers that are quirky and unique (see flyer below). Inventive beers like Naughty Sauce confused the hell out me…a blonde stout? Who the hell brews that stuff? It’s good too! One thing is for sure, I don’t miss the old recipes, well, Dark Sybian will always hold a special place in my heart.

As Noble Ale Works turns two, I can honestly say they’re one of my favorite breweries. Not just in OC or SoCal, I friggen love what they have going on. With a solid lineup of tasty beers, inventive one-off batches, cask beers every Friday, and the fact they flush growlers with CO2 before a fill, I’m sure they’ll be a favorite for some time to come. Join the celebration on Jan 26 from Noon to 4! Check their site for details! I’ll see you there!

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