Cool Beers / Cool Labels – March 2021

Time to call out excellent label design and interesting new releases….

Here’s a sneak peek at next week’s can release in collaboration with the @glendalefireca and the Glendale fire Association in honor of Captain Niall Foley diagnosed with ALS in 2015. Malty and crisp with just a hint of smoke.

Next is another honorary beer released by Pocock Brewing Company to pay homage to the co-founder of Wolf Creek Brewery who recently passed away. A touching gesture from one brewery to another.

In the Tap Lines for March 2021

header_attractionsMoving on to the third month of the year with a little more hope in our step.  Vaccines are getting into arms which means we inch ever closer to life pre-pandemic with taster trays and not being forced to purchase meals.  

~ e-visits to (3) breweries known for nitro ales.
~ special featured reviews of beers from The Bruery for the second month in a row!
~Heads-Up on Los Angeles Beer Events (Far in the future events)
~ Three suggested beers to buy this month. One light, one medium and one dark
~ A Book & A Beer reads Awkward Conversations with a Black Man by Emmanuel Acho
~ A Podcast & A Beer listens to No Such Thing as a Fish
~ Great Beer names and Best Beers of the Month
~ I will tap the Firkin and give my no holds barred opinion on the craft beer world.

The Firkin for February 2021

Maybe I am the only one feeling this way but I get the feeling that beer world has been pretty quiet lately. Granted, I avoid beer Twitter and have a really pared down beer social media but either beer life is moving back toward normalcy with Biden in office or that we are passing through the eye of a larger economic storm.

I am really hoping it is the latter because the smaller confines of buying a 4-pack and running away from human contact has lost its luster, if it ever had it. This coming from a big introvert who has loved working from home.

Whether we get back to February 2020 in two months or six, I do believe that how we all experience beer will be weird for even longer. Some people are going to avoid gatherings for a long time. New brewery taprooms, especially in California will be designed with patios in mind. Creative packaging solutions will arise to offset 16oz can shortages.

I really hate the phrase new normal because it implies a certain stasis when life is always changing. But, it is a handy phrase in times like this.

Best Beers of February 2021 + IPA Standings

Considering that Utopias and de Garde was drunk this month, the pickings for best we’re still pretty slim. I really liked aspects of the Samuel Adams old beer and the Strata hop wild ale but both were pretty one sided affairs.

Oddly enough, where I found balance was in the big beers of Shadow Puppet. Both of their triple IPA’s found the sweet spot of hops, alcohol and texture. Rational Exuberance and Efficiency TIPA’s are my February best choices. The 12 ounces cans from the Livermore brewery reminded me of the beer El Segundo big IPA’s. Strong and hoppy in equal measure.

On to the top three IPA’s of 2021, Strata Aerobic from Highland Park Brewery drops out and The Coachman from Societe drops to third as Quintette from Indie Brewing grabs the number 2 slot just behind Visions from Offshoot Beer Co. Quintette an anniversary IPA from the DTLA brewery packed a punch but was also light on its feet. I finished the can and immediately wished that I had another.

To the Moon

There are not a lot of strawberry beets out there and I can’t imagine that there are many strawberry IPA’s out there that are actually IPA but come April you will have Moon Boots IPA.

This is a partnership between 21st Amendment Brewing with the Pink Boots Society.

With this spring release, the brewery will be sponsoring 4 Pink Boots scholarships:

(1) Women in Leadership Certificate scholarship with eCornell University at $3,800
(3) Level Two Cicerone Course + Exam scholarships for Pink Boots members at $400 per recipient.

CA Craft Beer Week Brewery # 3 + Black History Month

Now I don’t normally feature more than one brewery in my themed brewery tours for each month, but I am making an exception here…

For Black History Month, three black-owned breweries — Hunters Point Brewery in San Francisco (aka Speakeasy Ales & Lagers), Oak Park Brewing Co. (Sacramento) and Full Circle Brewing Co. (Fresno) — and another in planning, Hella Coastal Brewing in Oakland, collaborated and developed a mixed IPA 4-pack celebrating champions of American history: 


James Baldwin / America’s Native Son Black IPA – Hunters Point

Ella Josephine Baker / All We Want Is What You Promised Red IPA – Oak Park

Fred Allen Hampton / Eye Am a Revolutionary Hazy IPA – Full Circle

Fannie Lou Hamer / Everybody Is Free West Coast IPA – Hella Coastal

Please check out these breweries when you visit the North of California.

You “Can” Recycle

One side effect of buying pretty much nothing but 4-packs is that you create quite the colorful collection of snap-tight plastic can holders. Maybe you have been recycling them but another way to help the green new deal is to return them to a brewery. Boomtown recently messaged how they would take them and I have seen that Common Space has a collection box too. Call or message first for other breweries but let’s all pitch in.

Really Delirious

I have seen a trickle of Barrel-aged Belgian beers pop up on the interwebs. Not yet seen any in the markets. And the latest to pique my interest comes from Delirium, better known as the strong pink elephant beer. Here is to hoping that they will continue to utilize different barrels.

1st Visit – Poseidon Brewing & Transmission Brewing

Ventura is a booming beer town and I finally got to one (Poseidon) that has been around since 2013 and will be celebrating their seventh anniversary in a brand new, expanded taproom, Covid permitting, this summer. I like their branding from logo design to their nautical beer names. I tried a representative sampling with a hazy IPA, a Red IPA, an Irish Red and an Imperial Oatmeal Stout. The Irish Red was the favored choice. The hazy was a little session-y for something 7%, the Oatmeal Stout was OK but the water profile seemed too salty to me and the Red IPA which I was really hoping would be good had a soapy quality to it.

Photo by Richard Rosen

Next up is a brewery stumbled upon by accident in the main part of Ventura, Transmission Brewing is near a couple auto shops but shares a patio with a Toppers Pizza in a really nice, new building, the beers are automotive themed and include a couple of hard seltzers on their menu board. I picked up their DYNA West Coast IPA and found it to be ….

When herd immunity rises, I do want to return to try food and a sampler tray.

Which is It?

I know a fair bit about beer styles and I understand that labels will stretch definitions for marketing reasons but I am a bit confuzzled by this Sierra Nevada label that says both Pale Bock and Malt Liquor.

There is probably a flavor overlap and I am quite interested to try the beer but it seems to be sending a mixed message to me.