Fresh, Local DIPA Tasting on a Thursday Night


With three fresh local Double IPA’s in the fridge, what better way to spend a Thursday night than to geek out on some beer. Having been to multiple tastings, I decided to start things off blind, having my daughter pour them into random glasses, noting which was which. My previous familiarty is as follows: Bootleggers Brewery Knuckle Sandwich (10% ABV): I’ve tasted every major release with a few bottles each time. Golden Road’s Better Weather IPA (9.4%) is a newer beer, but recently drank 3 of the four cans in the last week, this was my last can in the fridge. Noble’s Tongue Tickles is a brand new beer and have never tasted it. Each beer I believe has been packaged within 1-2 weeks.

IMG_2623Now, my first instinct was to see if I could tell which was which by sight and smell which is fairly obvious for Knuckle Sandwich (KS) being darker. The other two are similar in hue, one slightly clearer than the other. Aroma-wise, I picked out Golden Road (GR) as having a more straight forward “west coast” DIPA aroma, leaving the other guy to be Tongue Tickles…and…I was right!

These glasses suck for actual beer evaluation, so I used my Sierra Nevada IPA glass for further analysis, rinsing and palate cleaning after each. Now, I can honestly say these are all very different aroma/flavor wise and the final outcome is opinion on what I prefer.

Bootleggers Knuckle Sandwich: This release seems much different than previous with an overwhelming burnt sugar, caramel, perfumey character that rides over the hops. The areas where KS win for me is appearance and mouthfeel. KS has a very pleasant foamy body chased by sweet beer and boozy finish. It seems more balanced to the malty side with this release and can taste a lot of residual sugar (edit: my bottle settled out to 1.022 in the hydrometer over night). Overall I prefer a dryer DIPA, but I can see why people love this beer.

Golden Road Better Weather IPA. Funny story about this beer; I associated GR’s IPA with being low ABV and didn’t look at the can. After one, I had a noticeable buzz but thought nothing of it. After my second pint, holy hell! I stumbled to grab the can and saw 9.4%. Very glad I was at home! Anyhow, if you can’t tell by my boring story, this is a very drinkable west coast style DIPA. Lots of citrus, catty pine, some mango on the nose with some booze that lingers the hop oils on the palate for upwards of twenty seconds(!). The bitterness rides a little too long, making the front of my tongue numb after larger sips..but all in all, I like this beer. It’s pretty standard in way of DIPA flavors. It’s very well made and recommend it.

Noble Ale Works Tongue Tickles DIPA: Based on the aroma alone I can tell there’s New Zealand hops in this guy. Being a huge fan of Nelson, Galaxy and Matueka, I feel these hops push IPA’s in a refreshing direction (Think Stone Brewing Enjoy By that’s loaded with NZ and American hops). Tickles has a lot of that west coast still intact, but adds a passion fruit, white grape and pineapple aroma. The body is slightly prickly on the tongue and being the lowest ABV of the three at 8% means there is minimal boozey finish. Of the three, this is the beer I drank in its entirety.

Basically it goes like this: I’m not as much of a fan of Knuckle Sandwich with the overall sweetness being more than I’m used to. Golden Road’s Better Weather IPA is a great west coast hopped beer, but 9.4% for an IPA? It’s almost a triple IPA for fucks sakes. Of the three, I’m really loving Noble’s Tongue Tickles for the unique hop choice, comfy 8% ABV, nice clarity and solid lasting flavor. I’d like to put it next to Enjoy By to see how it stacks up.

Have you done a similar tasting with fresh local beers of the same style? I’d love to hear about it! Saturday November 16th, Valiant Brewing Co is releasing their DIPA for the first time in bottles.


Bootleggers Moves to the Right Side of the Tracks / 5th Anniversary Details

P1050168There’s a lot to miss about Bootleggers Brewery’s old location: Sure I’ll miss the circa-1998 Home Depot resin chairs and wobbly tables. I’ll miss the stereo trying its hardest to muffle music through years of death metal, dust and yeast farts. I’ll miss tip-toeing by the Breaking Bad creeper RV cooking meth by the train tracks. I’ll miss being walked in on while peeing by a group of girls due the lack of proper locks on the restroom door (Hi ladies!). You bet your ass I’ll miss flashing my balls at the Amtrak Surfliner rumbling by. This truly saddens me.

Death metal closed the doors at Richman.

On February 23, 2013, we came, we drank and we danced the old tasting room away.  A couple weeks went by, and the new tasting room finally opened. Bavarian picnic tables were erected. Cornhole bags flew back and forth with laser-like drunken precision. The sound of girls cheering wildly playing Lawn Jenga filled the air. The beer flowed again, and it was good.

Typical Tuesday night out with the beer peeps in the new tasting room.


The new location couldn’t be more perfect. Edging the corner on the downtown Fullerton map, Boots is now part of the DTF tribe. I’ve always said Bootleggers is a perfect kicking off point for a night out in Fullerton, now you can simply park on Sante Fe and actually ‘crawl’ your pub crawl.



Amerige IPA admires the sunset

The new Boots tasting room has it all: Separate sex bathrooms, a proper Joust arcade game, forty taps, and a tasty pizza place moving in next door. The beer garden extends three areas: inside with a custom-made penny bar, outside with umbrella-covered tables and a covered/lit alcove area. For food trucks, the easy access driveway on the side makes the location a modular beer geek restaurant. The view is also stellar, especially at sunset. There’s also a pilot brewery (the production brewhouse is nearby at another location) which will serve one-off beers in the tap room.

P1050170After five years of constant growth and success, it’s nice to see a hard work pay off. On Sunday April 28, Bootleggers will host its ‘fif’ Anniversary party at the Muckenthaler Cultural Center (for the second year in a row). You should probably go! Here’s the details from Bootlegger’s website:

Sunday, April 28th We will be celebrating our 5 year anniversary with Bootlegger’s Music & Beer Fest at The Muck: Celebrating 5 years!!! The celebration will be held from 1-5pm at the historic Muckenthaler Center in Fullerton. Tickets can be purchased here or they can be purchased at Bootlegger’s Tasting Room & Pilot Brewery at 130 S. Highland Ave in Fullerton ahead of time to avoid the online service charge. Additional tickets may be available at the door for $40, but will depend on availability.

Included in the ticket price will be:

  • 10 taster tickets (additional tickets will be available for purchase)
  • Commemorative tasting glass
  • Live bands performing on stage
  • Over 30 house beers on tap including several barrel aged rarities and sour beers
  • Local guest brewery beers
  • Access to The Muckenthaler Gallery exhibit showroom.  The featured gallery will be: Vintage Travel
  • Mechanical bull ride, Bocce ball, a dunk tank, and MORE!!

In addition, there will be 3 gourmet food trucks: Dos Chinos, TJs Woodfire Pizza, and The Viking Truck as well as Brew Haw BBQ and desserts by Brew Cakes available there for you to purchase. We will also be unveiling our 80th Anniversary Ale. A portion of the proceeds from this event will go towards The Muckenthaler Cultural Center!  For additional info on the Muckenthaler Cultural Center visit:


Pics of new and old tasting room:

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Mucking it up at the Bootleggers Fourth Anniversary

“If it rains, we will all strip down in our undies and roll around in the mud and do the happy rain dance as we drink!” – Patricia Barkenhagen

I’m sure I’m not the only guy that read that and thought, HELL TO THE YES. Throwing an anniversary party on Friday the 13th during a storm seems like a hell of gamble. Little does everyone know, ‘gamble’ is Bootleggers owner Aaron Barkenhagen’s middle name. If I told my wife I was going to max out the credit cards to start a brewery she would probably say, “I don’t think Sears and JCPenny have brewing equipment you fucking idiot.” Then I would probably make a pork chop sandwich and watch some hockey with one hand down my pants. C’est la vie.

“Chill the fuck out, it’s only rain at a beer fest”

Has the gamble paid off? From my perspective, yes. Bootleggers has a solid core of beers led by Knuckle Sandwich, Golden Chaos, Plum Riot and Black Phoenix. Their family of beers is mammoth! Bootleggers tasting room has at least 15+ beers on tap at all times. Their beers are popping up everywhere, stores, restaurants, even Angels Stadium.

Walking into the Historic Muckenthaler Mansion grounds for the party; taster glass, map and tickets in hand, I yell “Let’s get weird!” as a crowd mutters a resounding “yeah!” The map of the Muck shows the pouring stations and what’s flowing at each. “Quite a bit of sours at station four and five” yells a six foot red-head gal. I play coy with a bourbon barrel aged 78; Bootleggers 3rd Anniversary Ale, toss it down, and pretend not to see someone I just unfollowed on Twitter. White people problems. The thirty-plus fest beers are a few of the usual suspects, varied sour and brett options, bourbon barrel aged versions and some with fruit and other yummy adjuncts. Kombucha? You betcha. Olallieberry? I like it very. Bourbon Barrel Black Phoenix? Crack remix.  Despite cold hands and damp feet, The beer was heart warming and a nice start to the fest. As I missed last year’s party, it was also a good book-end to get this year going proper.

Guest taps from Cismontane BrewingEagle Rock BreweryHangar 24 Craft Brewery and the Bruery were on hand to pour and celebrate with the damp fracas at the Muck. Evan Weinberg of Cismontane erps, “I’d be perfect if I had foot warmer, or a fluffer, or whatever” while he stick-handles a sesh Saison. Derek Bougie of Newport Beach brewing company strolls by like a cop patrolling a beat in his bright yellow security jacket. This is getting WEIRD and I like it. The brother from another motherfunker, Tyler King (and gal) poured their cedary milk stout Bourly Gourde and supersour MotherFunker with icy hands and wide smiles. Hangar24’s options were devoured almost instantly! Note to self, hit Hangar24 first. Eagle Rock’s Populist and Solidarity were also on hand to celebrate. I sip back-to-back Solidarity’s as the English Mild kicks out some solid roastyness with a sessionably low ABV. I love this beer.

I stop by the suspect Bud Light draft station and tip my cap at Bootleggers (and Roscoe’s Famous Deli) server Dana for my ration of Knuckle Sandwich. The Simcoe® hops in this beast have a way of sucker punching me in the nose every time! My favorite of the night is easily Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Black Phoenix. Imagine a flock of huge black birds carpet-bombing a crowd with whiskey barrels. Sorry to be so literal, but ZOMG it’s incredible. Aaron informs me they’re bottling this beer soon, along with their Galaxian Barleywine. Bet your ass I’ll be in line for them both.

Due to the rain, the live music was relegated to indoors. Sadly, my lifelong wish to see a  band get struck by lightning will have to wait even longer. I pop in for a listen and scope out the exhibits, but was distracted by a full bladder. The real entertainment indoors is the long line for the restrooms. Girls line one side of the tight hallway, dudes on the other. So close you could chat about which sex pees slower. Two guys behind me are pointing out the finer notes of anal sex with a man, a fact that makes me laugh hysterically while shake-peeing. “I’m spoken for, gents” I say as they laugh nervously and unzip.

As the night nears an end, I head over to the mechanical bull to witness some robotic shenanigans. Shocked to see Mika Soriano, Aaron’s sister in-law and Bootleggers employee, waiting in line to ride the bull. Due to her petite package, she has to be ass-pushed onto the thing. It starts to buck and flail, then spins quickly as she flies off like a ragdoll. Yeehaw! She talks me into a ride as the clock strikes 9:30 and they pack it up. As I just had ball-surgery three weeks ago, I’m eternally grateful…thanks, Time.

Best Friday the 13th ever.

Photos taken with my Polaroid Mio camera on Fuji Instax Mini Film. Other shots:

Other notes: The anniversary party, held at the historic Muckenthaler Mansion in Fullerton,  sits about a mile to the north of the (current) brewery and tasting room. The Muckenthaler mansion was added to the register of Historic Places in 1999. The original owners, Walter and Adella Muckenthaler commisioned the large home to be built in 1924 for $35,000, roughly a fifth of the cost Barkenhagen spent on starting Bootleggers. The home, a Spanish Colonial Revival was fairy common in that period. The Batchelder tiles surrounding the fireplace and the solarium floor shows the level of detail and craftsmanship of the foregone American Arts and Crafts movement.


Thrilled About Lupulin!

High on lupulin after a night out at the Bootleggers tap take over at Bruery Provisions, I was thrilled to help write some text for a beer label. Bootleggers Lupulin Thrill is a fantastic hopped up IPA with nice citrus-pine notes on top of a slightly biscuity maltyness. I suggested the pic be a hop cone riding a tongue roller coaster, but Bootleggers did a great job with an actual roller coaster. I need to buy some bottles for posterity!