Belgian brewer Lindemans has two new mixed fermentation beers coming out under the Tarot name.  Both are low in sugar and have no sweeteners or colorants.

“The brilliant, golden blonde Tarot d’Or has a beautiful white foam collar. The pleasant, sultry aroma refers to mango, lemon and honey melon, among other things, with nuances of ripe pear. The flavor is full, juicy and round with hints of ripe exotic fruit. The beer has a nice sweet and sour balance and a pleasant, smooth drink.

Tarot Noir is also a blend of high-fasting beer and lambic to which blueberries, blackberries and black elderberries have been added. The beer colors dark purple in the glass and has a full, compact foam collar and a sultry and intense aroma of dark and red fruit (black berry, cherry, cherry, strawberry… ). The natural flavor is juicy and round and reminiscent of red and black berries with a hint of cherries. Tarot Noir has a nice acidity and a surprisingly soft and fresh drink.”

d’Or would be my first choice but Noir sounds great too.

California Craft Beer Summit – Final Thoughts

The theme for this year’s Summit was “unsteady”. My flight from BUR to SMF didn’t even toss peanuts to us due to the bumps. With crazy bank shenanigans and big competition from Bourbon and RTD’s, it seemed that everyone was a bit on edge. The future just seems wobbly.

While on the floor I saw little activity around a lot of the equipment booths and others seemed a bit heavy on banking and finance institutions.

Their was also some placement stategery going on. In the past, regions of California would pour their beers from one spot and you would see the hop folks clustered and the equipment booths together. This time around there was no clustering at all. You could have a malt seller next to a sanitation booth and one or both may have poured beers. And there was no signs as to what was pouring. So, as an LA person, I could not easily scope out the beers of the Bay Area or San Diego.

My guess being that in an effort to get all attendees to all booths, they mixed it all up to draw people in to give booths more exposure and chances to interact with people. It seemed, to me, the changes were exhibitor impact based and away from ease for attendees. Because if you were in the market for fruit puree, you were gonna walk.

The festival also was the same length as I remember but Monday was a political day of action with a Welcome event so you didn’t really go to the Convention Center until Tuesday and Wednesday was a half-day. That gave the Summit both breathing room and condensed the activity.

The education was still top notch. Lots of great information to be had. The events were excellent outside of the Summit and, as usual, the ship was run well and on-time. Imagine trying to pour Pliny to a huge crowd. Hard to do.

So, what did I take from the event? Loads of info that I will read about, a small understanding of the breweries in Sacramento that I could visit and a feeling that though there may be turbulence ahead, there may also be smooth pockets of air as well.


A usual collaboration is two breweries.  Some go to a trio.  But rare are the quadlaborations.  But Lucky Luke, Telco, Wolf Creek and Brewery Draconum are celebrating their neck of the L.A. woods with a new Cold IPA, Four Corners.

California Craft Beer Summit – Report 3

First bit of business is last nights quick and rainy trip to Moksa Brewing in Rocklin.

The beer list was just a skosh unbalanced with one lager and about six IPA’s of various stripes and six stouts of various adjuncts. The Chai Times spiced Stout was excellent and beer buddy Rich had a very rich in chocolate stout that I thought was great. The lager, Da Bier was just the antidote after a day of drinking. Moksa also won the weirdest beer award with Freshie Freeze that was super citrusy but it also had a strange diesel note as well.

Back to Wednesday, the 1/2 day. After a visit to fuel up at the Pancake Circus we headed to a Sensory Session with Omega Yeast. This is where the thiol learning from the day before came in handy, I sampled a test brew and boy was it as advertised. Huge grapefruit and passion fruit, almost too much. Amazing to taste what genetics and Crispr can do.

I also sample the Sierra Nevada kombucha with pizza and had a beermosa with Smog City’s Mango Pango.

Today was the day to hear from Pink Boot’s members who talked about the many benefits of the organization which was a welcome upbeat talk before we got the final session where the Cilurzo’s (Natalie and Vinnie) flanked Ken Grossman to talk about what they did with their breweries in the pandemic times as well as what they have in store for the future. More lagers from Russian River and more alternative drinks from Sierra Nevada.

While they spoke, the audience was treated to two special beers. Special being a bit of an understatement. First up was a 2010 Bigfoot that we tasted alongside the newest version. Next was a little bit of newly bottled Pliny the Younger, this year with Nectaron hops in the mix. Not a bad way to call the Summit to a close.

Lagerville 2023

I will be at a different festival on April 15th but if you are looking for a lager that day, there will be a lot on offer just north of us, so read on.

“Over 40 craft breweries will be pouring some of the best Lagers in the Country. Lagerville will take place at Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. in Buellton.

Guests will get to sample throughout the day and talk to the brewers that make these approachable Lagers.  Your ticket includes a souvenir glass, and sampling from any of the breweries on site. 

VIP Tickets are $65 and include an hour early entry. This is a limited ticket and will sellout soon! There will be special VIP beers poured that won’t be available during the General Admission Session. 

General Admission tickets are $55 and include entry at 12 p.m.  

Tickets at the door will be $65 for General Admission and there will not be VIP tickets available on the day of the event.”

California Craft Beer Summit – Report 2

Tuesday was the big day on the floor of the Sacramento Convention Center. The day started with a round-up and introduction of the board members and the double team of keynote with David Walker and “Vulcan” Bart Watson.

The overall gist of the talk was that there is probably tough sledding ahead as California is lagging behind national averages during this recovery phase from the pandemic. As draft sales are not catching up to the go-go times. A key fact brought up is that craft was just beginning to head downward BEFORE the pandemic.

According to Walker the best route through is to curate the beer experience and lean into our strengths instead of chasing the “baubles” of seltzer or RTD’s that he said could be made by Monsanto and no one would notice.

After that I learned about Thiols and how to unlock their tropical flavor bounty with new genetically modified yeast. I then learned about some Sacramento area barley malt tests that were done to see how can grow local malt. California could conceivably grow enough brewing malt for all California craft breweries.

Then it was onto the expo floor and the exhibitors from the expected hop growers and label makers to the less expected banking and information management systems. If you needed to talk canning, canning was there. Multiple hop booths dotted the floor as well interspersed with malts of all kinds and a plethora of fruit puree booths.

After a bit of snacking at one of the sparse pairing sessions, it was time to hit the night VIP session which started as rain was bucketing down outside. So many beers on offer but after a day filled with sampling and a trip to Moksa Brewing scheduled for the night, the food was calling more. More on that tomorrow.

California Craft Beer Summit – Report 1

Day 2 was a political action day at the California state capitol. I saw the brewing troupe troop over to iconic domed building to state the beer case to the state.

While they did the heavy lifting, I lifted beer glasses at two local Sacramento breweries that were on my to drink at list.

First was a trip to the Oak Park neighborhood and the eponymous brewery.

It is one of the black owned breweries in the country. They had a nice selection of styles including the People’s Lager, a recipe from the first black owned brewery in the U.S. I also had the Strata Dome Imperial IPA which at 7+% was a light double at best. Neither lit my world on fire.

Next stop was Alaro Brewing where I had more success in the taster tray.

I especially liked the Modern IPA, Avenida and the French Saison Rabbit Hole. The branding with the Spanish style tile look is excellent. So much so that I bought a bottle of the Castillo IPA back to the hotel.

The “official” welcome to the Summit was held in West Sacramento at The Barn, Drakes impressive wooden modern architecture barn right on the river. It has a large amount of outdoor seating and two bar area (one inside and one out).

We had a ticket for a Drakes beer and then two tables were set-up with an array of California beers including the Three Weavers CCBA beer, Meet Me in California. As well as Long Beach Beer Labs Dad Beer and South Lake Brewing’s Expedition Citra. I also splurged on a barrel-aged barleywine, Gold Label.

The early evening was bright and sunny. Pizza and charcuterie were brought out and the space filled with brewers and vendors and us media types.

Older Aviation

Old Tom doesn’t get the same shelf space as gin but maybe that will change with Aviation Gin adding it to their line-up.  Sometimes you need the marketing muscle of a celebrity distillery to open a style up.

I have as many oak aged gins now as I do the regular.  Now if Aviation would make a Genever, that would be great.