No Frills Blog Post for a No Frills Beer Festival | The Bruery Barrel Aged Beer Party

Hi, I'm Greg from OCBeerBlog, can I take your photo?

Hi, I’m Greg from OCBeerBlog, can I take your photo?

Mid November 2013, The Bruery Reserve Society members were treated to a dip into fifty or so barrel aged beers on a very Simpsonesque cloudy day on Center Street Promenade in Anaheim. Kind of a no-frills tentless beer festival with simple folding tables and a map/beer list. What else does one need? The event was put on by a local non-profit that supports growing the arts, Inspire Artistic Minds (same people that brought us Nepenthia Beer Garden earlier 2013). I puckered up to sours all day with the main goal to remain upright and chat with beautiful people that love great beer.

These guys should start a band and use this for the album cover.

These guys should start a band and use this for the album cover.

Highlights for me: the four Sour in the Rye variants; kumquat, peach, SITR 2011 and beach plum being my favorite with a cosmo hue and bright fruity effervesces. The Wanderer 2011 and 2013 were also stellar, the main difference being the punch of flavor in 2013, whereas 2011’s punch was expanded into a longer attenuated flavor. Overall the event had almost 800 checkins on Untappd as most people filled in beers they’ve missed over the years. An insane amount of cask and boozy beers insured glassware was dropped and shattered at regular intervals.

Hopscotch brought sous vide tri-tip. On a street. At a beerfest.

Hopscotch brought sous vide tri-tip. On a street. At a beerfest.

Food was catered by Hopscotch consisting of sous vide tri tip that was briefly seared and allowed to cook in its own inescapable juices at perfect temp. The cauliflower side dish and vegie option rocked the house with layers of umami and sweet. With the big beers, people needed an extra bite or two of something and were even offering money for extra food. This is the first time I’ve ever seen a pizza delivery to a beer festival! As with Nepenthia, bathrooms were a concern. I love you Bobby Navarro, but people need to eat and pee inside a beer festival. Add double what you think next time ūüôā I was cool because I chowed my traditional Veggie Works burrito from Del Taco as I ceremoniously do before every beer festival.

What 5oz pours of Grey Monday will do to people

What 5oz pours of Grey Monday will do to people

Overall, I loved the no-frills atmosphere. I think in the future the standard huge beer festival idea will be widdled down into specialty festivals like this (cough cough Firkfest) catering to a tighter focus of the craft beer world. What do you think? Let me know in the comments or on social media! Not a Reserve Society member? I think a few spots are left for 2014, don’t miss out on great parties like this!

Anyone with a DEVO patch is okay in my book.

Anyone with a DEVO patch is okay in my book.

Cambria and Jenny get their grub on and sell stuff

Cambria and Jenny get their grub on and sell stuff

 

Showing people how my camera works. Yes, it's film.

Showing people how my camera works. Yes, it’s film.

 

Various pours of Coton

Various pours of Coton

 

Matt Olesh, Rob from BeerPaperLA and Katey

Matt Olesh, Rob from BeerPaperLA and Katey

 

Note to self, waste level picks are always a bad idea.

Note to self, waste level picks are always a bad idea.

 

Katelyn and Evelyn demanded a retake

Katelyn and Evelyn demanded a retake

 

Jeff Hood shows off his snappy jacket.

Jeff Hood shows off his snappy jacket.

 

Anaheim's newest brewery set to open late 2013, Bottle Logic Brewing

Anaheim’s newest brewery set to open late 2013, Bottle Logic Brewing

 

The Initiation Situation – The Bruery’s Reserve Society Party 2013

P1050126Thanks to craft beer, the smell of nearby horse stables makes me salivate.¬†“Smells like¬†a brett beer out here!” I say to the guy behind me. “Nowhere else in the world would that make sense” he says with his hands folded in his armpits. I snicker nervously wiping sweat from my brow and move up two steps. The¬†long line to get in¬†Patrick Rue’s Big Top Cirque du Biere¬†are barking like blood-hounds in search of a killer. Today, they’re anxious to sniff out some serious boozy barrel, funk,¬†horse blanket,¬†and other sour beverages on this warm afternoon.

Rico Nolan of 21 Gigawatts. Gigga WHAAA?

Rico Nolan of 21 Gigawatts. Gigga WHAAA?

Members lay down 80 cents a day to be a member of the Bruery’s Reserve Society; a buck-ninety a day for the Hoarders Society. Each one nets the member a full list of¬†benefits. The Initiation party is a means for members to sample aging rarities, one-time cask ales, and preview some things to come. I’m here to try things I’ve never had.

1busch_flint

“What’s on cask Barney?”

Inside the big tent, the cask of Hottenroth with Fruity Pebbles catches my eye for beer #1. “Yabba Dabba Doo!” I yell in my best Fred Flintstone voice. For a ~3% beer, this thing freaks my tongue out with some fake funky fruit, then drowns my mouth with a dry sour bath.¬†On a side note:¬†If you ever get the chance to sample Leinenkugel’s Summer Wheat, it tastes EXACTLY like Fruity Pebbles!

P1050134
Perhaps it’s my traditional German upbringing or the hundreds of times coming to the Phoenix Club for Oktoberfest, but this is perfect place to host a beer fest. The festhalle tent, sprawling tables and grassy area offer more than enough room for the average beer¬†savant¬†RS member to sauce it up comfortably…weather permitting. Last year’s party was cozy and leaky like a¬†sorority¬†bathroom. The playground at the club even offers recess for those members wishing to relive¬†their¬†drunken father childhood.

P1050132

Almost as good as Brats, Kraut and Potato Pancakes at the Phoenix Club.

Needing food, I chicken dance over to the Haven EZ-UP. Scored a potato roll the size of DAS BOOT, Inglorious Basterds ale braised scalped beef, Run Lola Run beer beans and Saving Private Ryan’s cumin coleslaw. Knock knock! Who’s there? Cumin! Cumin who? Cumin Coleslaw in your mouth! The real star of the offerings are the handmade BBQ sauces and mustard. I nearly went back for seconds to get additional pump-squirts like a dirty little German boy! I chose the beer Anniversary in Rum (formerly held 5 Golden Rings) to pair and it did a nice job bringing out some bold BBQ flavors. The beer’s big time coconut boozy rich rum matched intensity,¬†heightened¬†the sweet meat and warmed my bitter soul. This is easily the best beer festival food I’ve had. Hopefully a sign of things to come in the now abandoned Bruery Provisions spot that Haven will take over soon.

P1050154In the end, sour beers win my best in show. Maybe it’s the nice weather that makes me swoon over the tart goodies. Maybe my palate is changing. One thing is for sure, The Wanderer, Griffon Bruxellois and Sour in the Rye with Peaches easily win my best in show. Sure the Black Tuesday’s of the world are great, but these beers offer a glimpse of what the Bruery is capable of: a family complex living beers. As Bruery Provisions closed, I hope the focus on a more robust barrel program yields many beers like these for years to come. Great party by the way! Cheers!

Beers I enjoyed:

  • Hottenroth with Fruity Pebbles
  • Anniversary in Rum (Formerly held 5 Golden Rings)
  • Food from Haven Collective
  • Imperial Loakal Red
  • Griffon Bruxellois
  • The Wanderer
  • Mocha Black Tuesday
  • Nottenroth
  • White Chocolate
  • Sour in the Rye with Peach
  • Riesling Sour Blend
  • Saison De Lente

 

Initiating the Society | The 2012 Bruery Reserve Society Party

Pulling up to the Phoenix Club at 10:20 A.M. while listening to Spoon’s¬†10:20 A.M.¬†is a sobering reminder of how much synchronicity I deal with on a daily basis. Even freakier as the song ends right as I turn the car off. Don’t you love that?

It’s raining mash paddles and beards as I puddle-trot to the non existent¬†line outside the huge German festhall tent typically used for the Phoenix Club’s Oktoberfest. I wander around the lines of people like I’m stumbling through a corn maze of mid-morning groggy beer geeks. The most recognizable person in the crowd I spot is Phillip Macnitt, the bearded “Indoctrination Specialist” from Stone Brewing Company. Super Cool beard, bro.

As this is an initiation party, I expect to see Patrick Rue in a hooded cloak wielding a flame-branded mash paddle while barking orders at the new recruits. “Bend over you slime!” <whack> “What’s my name?!?” <thwack> “Wrong! It’s Professor Snicklefritz!” Unfortunately there was nothing of the sort. This is a typical Bruery party where everything is¬†meticulously¬†planned, organized and no drama of any sort. These guys do parties almost too perfect after learning some things from last year’s Reserve Society party that had members in cattle lines for just about everything.

Right out the gate,¬†Bottle Station 1¬†nabs of 3 out of my 10 precious drink tickets. I¬†kick it¬†off with 2009 Papier, 2010 Coton and 2011 Cuir. What a start! Pulling a Bruery Anniversary Ale vertical tasting at 10:30 A.M. on Saint Patrick’s day is what¬†this is¬†all about. Each beer is different, yet related like sisters. One gives no head, one smells like bourbon and gives substantial wood and of course there’s the Cuir of the bunch that swings both ways. Each¬†beer paints such a clear picture of what the Bruery is all about. Rich, complex sophistication that makes my eyes roll and taste buds melt. These beers make me glad to be alive and I’m rolling only three deep.

Bottle Station 3 burgles two more of my precious wrist-tickets. Batch 50 and Melange #1 get the nod. My pour of Batch 50 was completely flat, but still an interesting taste of a Geuze. Melange #1, a blend of Oude Tart and Black Tuesday, made me smirk with its deep, dark, tart funkyness. With only a 2.5oz pour, it left me wanting more. Melange is such a tease like that.

Halfway done with my tickets, I trade my food ticket for some catered Beachwood BBQ. Pulled pork, brisket, beans, bleu cheese grits, portabella mushrooms and slaw were the options. Having eaten at Beachwood BBQ in Seal Beach, the catered version is a mere shadow of itself. The Spicy BBQ sauce was so thin it ran around my plate like I was panning for gold. That, mixed with the brisket grease made my plate look like Kim Kardashian sat on it. Edible? Yes. Pretty? Hell no. Better than a food truck from last years party? I suppose. The slaw and grits were the true stars of my plate. As all of the seating was taken, many stood around or had a pow wow on the cold, damp floor. For a $50 party, the lack of adequate seating was baffling.

As I start on the second half of my drink tabs, I visit with Jonas of the Bruery who is manning Draft Station 1. I fetch a firkin pour of Sour in the Rye with Kumquats which is¬†a refreshing surprise. Such a perfect piquant beer as the kumquat’s natural sour citrus elevates the ale in a bright and sunny way. I’m temped to steal some Kumquats from a neighbors tree and squeeze them in my beer with a lemon press when I get home. Maybe I’ll try Kumquats in a homebrew Wit or a sour of my own. We’ll see. I love inspiring beers and this was one of those.

Four Tickets left I hit the brakes and decide to chat with guest tap hosts. Nate Squillace from Hangar 24 was out of Pugachev’s Cobra and refused to break into session B’s supply. Hangar 24’s Barrel Roll series has eluded me once again! I sneak up on Jeremy Raub of Eagle Rock Brewing and he cons me into trading a drink tab for a Deuce. Well worth it too, their second anniversary brew “Deuce” is an ultra-imperial version of Solidarity, their black mild. Having had Solidarity at their brewery a month back I was blown away that so much flavor and complexity could be squeezed in a mild. Deuce is a Bigalow beer! I also ran into Jarred Dooley, former Bruery employee, current Playground “Director of Libations” in Downtown Santa Ana. I wish I had a cool title like that! We chat about their recent tap take over from Ballast Point, who really brought their “A” game with rare stuff one can only get at their brewery in San Diego.

The Draft truck outdoors nabs two more of my tabs. Despite my blog post from yesterday¬†proclaiming¬†that green beer is unfiltered¬†leprechaun¬†urine, I was curious to try the Bruery’s take on it. Green Centennial Hop Oil added to my Humulus Lager made a great on-the-spot dry hop. Others were more adventurous getting Bootleggers Knuckle Sandwich with the hop oil, making a murky green swamp water looking concoction. Should I be worried that I pee’d green after drinking this? I hope not. Other tab? Einer’s Folly. Not sure who Einer is, but I really liked this beer. The draft truck treated me right!

One ticket left. It reminds me of being at a dance at the end of the night, frantically trying to get the hottest lady left. Otiose would be that lucky broad. If it were a real lady, I would have struck out having figured the name is French and pronounced it “oh-TWAH”. The server corrects me rather astutely with “OH-shus”. Bearded guy behind me orders one as “OH-tee-us”. The guy after that simply says “OH-uh, the third one down.” “It means Idle Hands”, the smug gal tells us as we simultaneously say “Ahhhh!”. Apropos name for being out of drink stubs.

I head out and I’m greeted by a faint rainbow as Craic Haus (local Irish¬†Rockabilly band) plays ‘Bottom of a Guinness.’ I swear there’s a Leprechaun in my car stereo today. If¬†Tay Zonday’s Chocolate Rain¬†came on, I would shit a pot of gold.