Pine Street is both a prime and not so much prime location in Long Beach. A city that has a few micro cool neighborhoods outside the downtown core which has some not so nice spots.
Which makes Altar Society so needed and different. It is not just a brewery but a coffee shop and an event space. An all day one stop shop. And it was hopping. I grabbed a two top near the front after getting my first beer which was the All Seeing IPA. It was not bad. Mid pack which is not a bad start. You can tell a lot by an IPA from a new-ish brewery.
The space is large. And there are some great seats that overlook the fermenters on the floor below. They have a nice selection of styles including seltzers so it makes a good spot for a wide group range.
My second beer was the one that I had my eye on. A stout made with the coffee from their sister coffee shop. I did like that and appreciated that it was a low ABV version as well.
Brewyard Beer Co. has reached their 8th Anniversary under the overpass in Glendale. These guys throw a good party too. So in addition to new beer and new collaborations there will be music and food and you might find a seat next to the Brewyard truck to sip your beer.
Loved spending time in Hood River this year during orchard season with their Fruit Loop, but I also like winter there because of pFriem Family Brewers.
“Cozy up to the fire with a pint of pFriem’s Winter Ale and gift your taste-buds with hints of spice, orange zest, caramel and a touch of spruce tree. You may even sense the subtle notes of fruitcake, which might encourage you to share this Winter Ale with your family and friends. Unlike fruitcake, this is a beer that will not be re-gifted.”
It is the end of the road for 2023. 31 more days until 2024 starts smacking us around. It has been a doozy. Strikes. Indictments. Wars. Inflation. And we are probably gonna run it back again. But, before you say we are doomed, we still have great craft beer and Christmas beers!
~ e-visits to (3) breweries from Craft Beer & Brewing’s Best of 2023
~ special featured reviews of beers if I find room amongst the seasonal beers.
~Heads-Up on Los Angeles Beer Events
~ Three suggested beers to buy this month. One light, one medium and one dark
~ A Book & A Beer reads Going Infinite by Michael Lewis
~ A Podcast & A Beer listens to NPR’s Book of the Day
~ Sports & A Beer returns with Where are all the Good QB’s?
~ New Beer Releases and Best Beers of the Month
~ I will tap the Firkin and give my no holds barred opinion on the craft beer world.
Let’s take a beer breather and look at my favorite spirit, gin. Specifically Old Curiosity Christmas Gin.
“The Gin is distilled with ginger, cinnamon and cardamom which gives the undeniably familiar smell of Christmas and provides a festive spicy flavour. The drink is infused with mallow petals to provide a distinctive festive colour which transforms to a vibrant pink when mixed with tonic water; the perfect showstopper for any Christmas party. The seasonal gin is smooth and elegant with a light base. For a real festive feel, garnish with a slice of dried orange peel, a cinnamon stick and a dash of tonic to witness the glorious colour change”
There has been a wee bit of gnashing of teeth as noteworthy breweries have changed hands. Ecliptic into the Ninkasi portfolio. Many breweries huddled newly under the Tilray banner. Anchor in a weird limbo.
Beer fans can ponder the economics of it all but I would say that we also need to learn how to let go. There was a run on Anchor beers only when supplies became limited. The only other notable press they received was for their design change that no one liked.
My question becomes, if Anchor or Ecliptic or pick a brewery in trouble were to be lifted magically to in the black and not red, would that amount of beer be sold? I doubt it.
As SoCal belatedly settles into fall, we should all understand that seasons change. Your favorite brewery, my favorite beer, that great taproom you traveled to will most likely all be gone and that is OK. Not great. A bummer for sure but it opens the door for a new wave to try their hands at this crazy brewing game.
I have three picks for this month. Two canned and one on draft.
In third with the bronze is the draft Bit-O-Sunny IPA from Eagle Rock Brewery. It was different from their other IPA options, it had a brightness, dare I say Sunniness to it that peaked it above the general IPA din.
Second was my second beer from GOAL Brewing with the long name of Shattered Backboard Ones. A San Diego hazy that like the Bit-O was bright and super fruity.
In first place is the Cold-ed version of Wookey Jack, Arctic Wookey from Firestone Walker. Big dark roast notes but the hops punched through it enough that it never became lopsided like so many black IPA’s can be. Maybe the missing link was the IPLing of the style.
My wife breaks out the earmuffs when it dips below 75 degrees. I would prefer the 4 Hands Brewing version myself.
“Earmuffs is an enchanting hazy winter IPA that embraces the season’s serene chill through the use of CRYO hops, a hop product created by freezing raw hop cones to sub-zero temperatures with liquid nitrogen before shattering them, sifting the lupulin and pressing that green goodness into pellets that provide accentuated aromas and flavors. Expect intense notes of lime, melon, bright berries, pink grapefruit, dried roses and pine resin contributed by a blend of CRYO Cashmere and Talus hops.”