Melrose Bandit

As we come out of our cocoons at our own pace, we will find some new beer places out there. Heading over to Melrose (which I have not been too in quite sone time) is the new Bandit Brews, “a taproom and restaurant serving locally sourced beer, wine and food…

Bandit Brews will have a rotating tap which currently features beers from HiDef Brewing with eight beers on tap and another eight in cans. The menu showcases a variety of locally sourced meat, fish and produce (within 200 miles), of which many items are cooked using a Santa Maria.”

Beer Cage Match – Review # 3

Next is review number three from the City Beer Store of San Francisco beer purchase. By the end of the month, I will rank all six. Currently Side Pull is one with Lenticular Cap second, how will beer # 3 fare?

BareBottle IPL is Dead is a DDH Pilsner.  Full recipe is on the can down to the hopping schedule. First time seeing that.  Getting grapefruit but the malt sticks around well.  Nice balance here.  Has a more silky mouthfeel than sharp and bubbly.  Might think at first that it is a pale ale.

I would slot this into second. A little more crisp and it might have gone first.


I like it when wine and beer have a get together.

“These Piquette Grisette beauties were fermented and macerated for one month on leftover Mission & Zinfandel pomace (the grape skins left after pressing wine) from our L.A. River neighbors over at @AngelenoWine…. River Adjacent, get it?! Lastly, we aged em’ in Cabernet Sauvignon barrels for 9 months with a combination of sour and wild yeast cultures.

River Adjacent Zinfandel is a refreshing 4.7% slightly orange hue Grisette with soft sour notes and hints of clove, starfruit, peach and oak. Rounded out with aromas reminiscent of tangerines and pears with just a little bit of funk and a touch of black pepper.

River Adjacent Mission is a delicious little 4.3% sipper, slightly pink in hue with aromas of blood orange and black pepper. Balanced by a soft sourness and notes reminiscent of clove, starfruit, cherries and oak.”

King Postponed

Thanks to the stupid unvaccinated we are still not out of the woods, so it is no surprise that this happened…

But fear not because of these two bits of news from King Harbor Brewing

“First, while the anniversary party may be postponed, our special anniversary beers are not. We’re so stoked to share the brews we’ve been cooking up behind the scenes with some of our friends/collaborators. Keep an eye out for those special releases in the weeks to come!

And secondly, we’ll be offering some “Almost Anniversary” packages that’ll include KHBC merch and a 4-pack of exclusive beers. More details to come, but don’t sleep on these packages cos they’re sure to go quick!”

Sean Suggests for September 2021

I am looking forward to GABF ’22. But thought I would toss in a few beers out now that could describe the mammoth Denver beer fest.


Russian River It Takes A Lot Of Great Beer – 5.2% “There is an old familiar saying in the wine business: “It takes a lot of great beer to make great wine!” Winemakers, cellar workers, and grape pickers alike rarely (if ever) reach for a nice big glass of red wine in the middle of harvest. Wine is quite delicious, but not very refreshing on a hot summer day. The beverage of choice during harvest is BEER! Ice-cold, refreshing, and thirst-quenching BEER! The beer in this bottle is a toast to our winemaking friends who work around the clock during harvest to make world-class wine right here in our own back yard!”


Cellador ++Good- 6.4% “Fermented and aged in neutral French oak wine barrels with a mixed culture of saison years, brettanomyces and lactic acid producing bacteria. Brewed with Bohemian Pilsner Vienna, Spelt, Oats and Wildflower Honey.”


Radiant Beer Co. Another Saturday Night DIPA – 8.5% “Another Saturday Night, and you’ve got this tropical and citrus-forward, low bitterness double IPA loaded with punchy hop notes of mango sorbet, Maui punch pixie sticks, fruit sherbet, pineapple, and peach gummy candy. In an awesome way, it’s balanced with notes of ruby red grapefruit, a hint of pine, and a dry finish with well-hidden alcohol presence.”

Central Coast Okto Showdown

Today we compare / contrast two Central Coast Oktoberfest beers.

Firestone Walker Oaktoberfest, an oak aged lager, pours a pretty orange hue.  You can smell the malts from arms distance away. Crisp with malt taking center stage. Simple and straightforward.  A slight metallic note at the back but this is a lovely fall beer.

There Does Not Exist Oktoberfest Lager is another orange gem but this version is say more silky and missing some of the crispness.  I get an Navel orange citrus note as well that mingles with the malt notes.

Winner – This is a tough call. I would like to merge the crispness of the Oaktoberfest with the TDNE complexity.  But if asked which I would get seconds of, it would be the Firestone Walker.

1st Visit – Shadow Grove

The continued pandemic has not stopped breweries from opening up and now I travel to San Fernando to the still in softly opened phase, Shadow Grove Brewing.

Now, this is a curated space.  From the outside, you cannot tell what you are walking into.  Which is a woodland, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.  The outside windows let in plenty of light but the inside is moody with distinct seating areas.  British punk on the playlist added another note to the experience.

Five beers on tap for this second soft weekend. An old school classic style set.  So old school that there was a Nut Brown on offer.  No IPA either.  You read that right.  And the taster comes with what looks like a tarot card. Nice Wonderland touch. I also liked that they had a little chalkboard with which beer is low.  Nice sales touch that.

Pale Ale was my least favorite.  It was fine.  More earthy than hoppy which actually fits the motif but I am looking for a divergent note when you have this type of list. The lager was fine as well, had a bit of wine character to me.  The Hefeweizen hit the banana clove combo well and had a nice spritz to it.  Three beers in, I an thinking that they are off fo a solid start.  That this isn’t just atmosphere.  The Nut Brown is on mark.  Perfect for watching the new season of the Premier League. Everything is so low ABV too which is great. The sweet stout hit the markers as well.

I do not say this lightly or often but do not sleep on Shadow Grove.  

GABF 2021 Medal RoundUp

Friday saw this year’s Great American Beer Festival medals awarded. I have dug through all of the categories to present fun facts and kudos to breweries in California and in the other 49 states…

Let’s start this longer than my usual post off with the overall brewery winners in the order they were announced…

Short Fuse from Illinois, Cloudburst from Washington State, Sudwerk from California, Moontown Brewing in Indiana, Radiant Beer Co. from Anaheim, Metazoa Brewing from Indiana, Allagash from Maine and lastly Main and Sixth from Florida.

Now on to L.A. and adjacent medal winners. Highland Park Brewery won Silver for Fill Pils in the Kellerbier / Zwickelbier category. Figueroa Mountain had their name called four times for their Danish Red, Schwarz is the New Black, Meat Sweats and Davy Brown. Both Claremont Craft Ales and Arts District nabbed Bronze, the former in the Strong Red category and the latter in Special Berliner-Style.

The big winner was All Season Brewing who also secured Bronze through five rounds of judging in the second most entered category of American IPA. Third out of 404 entries is quite a feat.

Next up are my favorite beer names. Work Life Balance is great but the winner was Chris Barley in a Small Coat.

Other fun facts:

2,200 breweries participated so roughly a quarter of breweries overall.

Hazy IPA and American IPA both had over 400 entries but third was Fruited American Sour Ale and German Wheat Ale was fifth. Kolsch had 189 entries.

California swept the English / New Zealand category and had 60 medals overall.

Fresh Hop Ales were not judged because many are still in tanks. Those awards will be done next month.

The only category that didn’t award a prize was Scotch Ale, where no Gold was awarded.

GABF will return in 2022 from October 6-8.

Your Mind Will Be 3x Hazy

Though the labels are touch on the neon garish side for me, the beers in this new variety pack from Firestone Walker look intriguing. Hopical Crush would be the first one that I would crack open.

Mind Haze “Tiki Smash” IPA

Tiki Smash IPA delivers a tiki-inspired flavor combination born of pure hops and freshly toasted coconut. Original Mind Haze hops including Azacca are now joined by Motueka and Sabro hops. The Azacca portion has been increased to amplify the sense of pineapple tropical character, while Sabro delivers its complementary coconut qualities. “We use an elaborate system to introduce freshly toasted coconut for a smooth, subtle extraction,” Brynildson said. “The resulting beer showcases the special synergy of natural coconut with the tropical hop flavors of Mind Haze.”

Mind Haze “Hopical Crush” IPA

Hopical Crush IPA delivers a double-dry hopped explosion of tropical Mai Tai-inspired flavors, including pineapple and orange. This copiously hopped beer begins by accentuating the original Mind Haze hop blend with the Strata cultivar, which offers up bold pungent fruit and a touch of dank cannabis-like character. The beer is then double dry hopped with twice the amount of hops than usual—ultimately totaling more than five pounds of hops per barrel. The resulting beer exhibits massive flavors that will have you dreaming of Mai Tais on a faraway island.

Mind Haze “Citrus Cyclone” IPA

Citrus Cyclone IPA delivers a head-spinning taste of all the citrus flavors under the sun, finished with a kiss of real tangerine. The base beer is co-fermented with fresh California tangerines. This base is blended back with a separate lot of dry-hopped Mind Haze, then finished off with a final dash of tangerine to elevate the citrusy top note. Along the way, the Mandarina hop adds a distinctive orange character. The result is a remarkably refreshing Mind Haze experience.


Looks like more beer is coming to Westlake Village in the form of new brewery, Naughty Pine.

Brewing has started and former Enegren brewer Brittany Brouhard is looking to make her brewery a real party of the community.

Look for a 1st Visit review when their taproom is open.