Sister City Brewery # 2 – Strange Fellows Brewing

The next Sister City of Los Angeles is Vancouver, Canada and the brewery I chose is Strange Fellows Brewing.

Time to check out some more Canadian beer…

Beldame Old World Pilsner – “Crossing paths with a crone is believed unlucky by some. Stooped and toothless, she’s a frightful specter of mortality. Those who can meet her gaze and see wisdom there have nothing to fear, but beware to those who scorn or overlook her. As Mother of Creation, she can wield her power in wicked ways, by nightmare, illness or a failed harvest. So next time you happen upon an old woman, pour her a glass of this bright and refreshing beer, look her in the eye, and toast to her good health.”

Rei’s Dark Lager – “This dark Lager balances the use of roasted malts and premium German pilsner malt. It delivers a clean character of a lager and offers a complex grain bill that blends aromas of chocolate, roast and has a crisp and clean lager finish.  “

Blackmail Northwest Stout – “Originally advertised as a nutritional supplement for new mothers, milk stouts contain Lactose sugar which gives this beer a rich round and slightly sweet character. Blackmail is only 4.5%abv and has a soft roast and chocolate character.”

Three New from ESBC

You may think that El Segundo Brewing is just for big IPAs, bigger DIPAs, and biggest QIPAs but they can do just PA and surprisingly can do beers without a hop emphasis too.

So if you want to dial back the ABV…

…and if you want to do that and dial back the hops…

Or, if you are a Gelson’s shopper, you can fortify yourself before rolling through the aisles with Gelson’s Markets  “first ever beer collaboration with ESBC, Gelson’s Summer Blonde Ale. Beer lovers can drink in sunny vibes with this expertly crafted brew that promises a summer getaway with every sip. It’s only available on tap starting today at Gelson’s wine bars throughout Southern California.”

Review – Surreal Kush from Roadhouse Brewing and Mother Earth Brewing

Wyoming’s Roadhouse Brewing Co. meets California’s  Mother Earth Brewing Company for a surreal collaboration. 

According to the brewery notes, Surreal Kush is a “regular ole’ New Zealand Hops Fruit Basket” featuring a blend of four New Zealand hops Nelson, Riwaka, Wakatu and an experimental hop grown by NZ Hops LTD with the temporary name of NZH-104 which “brings intense passionfruit and guava aromas and a mineral character reminiscent of Southern Hemisphere Sauvignon Blancs.”

This medium dark orange hued IPA starts with a load of tangerine to my tastebuds. Getting a distinct guava smell. Light overall but not lacking balance. As it warms a bit, more tropical fruit notes start to pop. Almost hits a candy flavor but pulls back from that precipice. I don’t get the tart burst of a passionfruit but it is pretty close to the other descriptors.

You can find this beer at the following locations: Pasadena Erewhon Market, King’s Row, Elbow Room and at Lucky Baldwin’s.

ERB – RIP

When a brewery in Los Angeles calls it a day, it is sad. But when a real path breaker does it, it is doubly sad. If not quadruply sad with it happening smack in the middle of L.A. Beer Week. Such is the case though as Eagle Rock Brewery has decided to end its run at the end of June.

Founded back in 2009 by two really great people, Ting and Jeremy. They have run government gauntlets, brewed many a Unity beer, were there at every early beer festival and so much more.

Who knew that a tiny little brewery in a weird corner side street off a freeway exit with a mild ale as a torch bearer would have such an outsized impact on the direction of craft beer in Los Angeles.

Now only Ladyface Ale Companie stands from the trio of early L.A. breweries. How this will affect The Landing in Burbank or Party Beer Co. who was using the facilities is unknown at this point but this is a real dent and one that I will be processing for a while.

A New Home for Beer History

Beer history got another place to call a potential home as The Museum of Beer and Brewing opened on May 11, appropriately enough in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin Historical Society spearheaded the effort and according to Gary Luther, the President Emeritus of the museum, “There is so much history in Milwaukee, not just related to great breweries like Schlitz, and Pabst, and Blatz, and Gettelman, and Miller, but also the entire industry…”

Other features include an oil painting from 1935 that shows the history of brewing and a beer hall of fame display.

LABW 2024 – Weekend One

The first weekend of L.A. Beer Week is in the books, here is my first thoughts of the festival in Long Beach along with some more picks of events to attend…

I started LABW early with a trip to Boomtown Brewery for the unveiling of the Unity 2024 Hoppy Pilsner. Which I have now reviewed for this blog.

Saturday was the big dance down at Shoreline Park in Long Beach. The weather was on point. Sunny and warm but breezes floating in off the water and plenty of shade. Nothing like drinking a beer and looking at the Queen Mary in the distance.

My goal was to taste the six breweries in Los Angeles County that I have not visited yet and I completed the task tasting beers from Brown Soul, Campsite, La Verne, Santa Cruz, Two Tracks Cellars and Beer Thug. I came away most impressed by Campsite and Beer Thug based on a small sample size but will attempt to visit each taproom.

I should recap my favorite beers. Tuscan Sun an Italian Pilsner poured from a cask at the Smog City tent was great. Space Cookie from Monkish was that weird cookie with hops thing that still works. Rounding out my top three was Aurora Lights by Brewjeria, a Belgian IPA.

This was my first time for the re-christened Los Angeles Independent Beer Fest and it ran smooth, I heard talk of long lines last year but this was very easy entry for me. The tent layout was mostly great though the Unity Beer should have been more front and center and having the food so far away that you couldn’t see multiple trucks was a bit weird. Minor quibbles though. This was a great way to kick-off the Beer Week.

Sunday was a slow day for me after the excess of Saturday. So I planned to visit a taproom that I found out was open when I saw their tent at the festival, Solarc Brewing. They have been open for eight months in Glassell Park on a hip block with Bub and Grandma and The Grant bar.

Inside there is a lot of tinfoil. Cool barndoors. Super bright and colorful and eclectic with a nice little outside seating nook that I was jealous another group had. There was quite a few people hanging on a lazy, hot Sunday.. 

Glasses are small canning jars. 5 beers on tap. Had the Earl, a tea pale ale which was only OK. I liked yesterday’s glassellager better. But it is a cool block of places to visit.

A Podcast & A Beer – The Curious History of Your Home

You reach into a drawer and pull a fork out.  Common place.  No big deal.  But did you know that the Catholic Church at one point banned the use of them?  Obviously fork use leads to sin.  That is just one fact from The Curious History of Your Home hosted by domestic historian Ruth Goodman.

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This is just a cool and fast paced jaunt through history via things in your home like the dishwasher or your cat and it is super fun and weird to see the evolution of wallpaper or coffee. Or specific to this blog, the May 27th episode about beer!

To pair with this podcast, you can go one of a couple routes.  You could go historical beers.  Find a Scotch Ale or a Witbier.  Or you could go further down the rabbit hole and pair a beer to each specific episode.  Gardening could you lead to a beer with say lavender or strawberry or other small garden items.