Grits Fullerton Changes the Beer Dinner Game

A grit can be described as a small stone, just big enough to count with the naked eye. It can also be used to describe backbone, big enough to pull off a packed $135 per sitting beer dinner in downtown Fullerton…at a brunch spot…a few days before Christmas. Stone? Yeah, there was Stone, eight of them to be exact.


For the price tag, Grits Fullerton had a lot to live up to. I went in thinking it needed flow, cloth napkins, and extended pinkies. I thought, we would all get to dive into Stone’s cellar and come out like masked robbers. Having been to two chef Cody Storts beer dinners and two “Dr.” Bill Sysak pairing events, I know the madness both are capable of.


When the first beer is 2008 Stone Brewing Old Guardian Barleywine at 11%, the tone has been set. This isn’t going to be a hoity-toity affair. This is going to be a feast.


Stone’s brand ambassador, “Dr.” Bill Sysak, ruled the beer side. Chef Cody mans the Christmas bush.

Various animals, grains and vegetables are shuffled and hit the table like a no-limit poker game. Plates like cards, beer glasses like poker chips. Do I go all-in or fold?


Course 2 – cajun octopus with a dazzling candied citrus. tequila barrel aged cali-belgique IPA played off the citrus like a margie.

Amuse #1 and #2 down the hatch, “now the fun begins,” yells chef to applause. Smoked trout rillettes paired with Matt’s Burning Rosids, an imperial smoked saison, is served. I’ve seen this beer pulled out for a few events over the years and is drinking beautifully. RIP Matt, always glad to remember a comrade, your burning rosids beer and rillettes didn’t leave much for the dish cleaning crew…it was my fave of the night!

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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


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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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