It might be counterintuitive to be sour or wild over a meal of thanks but when you pair Allagash Brewing wild and sour ales with the food of Little Bear in the Arts District, it makes sense.

This dynamic duo are throwing a “Friendsgiving” dinner on Thursday, November 19th which features rare Allagash beer flights, and here is the real extra friendly part, a portion of proceeds will benefit the Downtown Women’s Center.

No tickets are needed for what they are calling an “intimate, family-style meal to share good times and for a good cause” with Interlude, Midnight Brett, Little Brett and Confluence on offer.



In the remaining half of October , Plan Check Kitchen (on Sawtelle and also on Fairfax) goes all German/American  Oktoberfest with the return of Chef Ernesto Uchimura’s Burger Brat Pack ($15*), an Oktoberfest mash-up of pretzels, bratwurst, and beer.

Here is the burger and sides description, It “is comprised of a pork and beef bratwurst patty sandwiched between a homemade salt & pepper pretzel bun, topped with atomic beer mustard, beer braise sauerkraut, and caramelized onions. Accompaniments include a mound of French fries, salt & pepper mayo, and a tall glass of Paulaner’s Oktoberfest Marzen to complete the feast.”

They only prep 15 for each day.  So you better get on it quickly.

Review – Bell’s Beer Dinner @ Bourbon Steak


I have driven by and walked past the Bourbon Steak restaurant at the Americana at Brand quite a few times now and always wondered what it was like inside.  And on Friday night, I was presented with the perfect opportunity to find out.  (Full disclosure and tease of an opinion piece coming tomorrow, I had a media pass for the dinner)

Beer pairing dinners, for me, always have that item that you don’t like (for me it was the raw fish), an item that you don’t think will pair well with beer (Pad Thai) and an item that you know will be a home run (peaches, ricotta and Oarsman ale).

This was the 1st such beer pairing dinner for Bourbon Steak and partnering with Bell’s Brewing is a strong head start.  They have a wide variety of beers and aren’t loaded down with IPA’s which are notoriously hard to work with.

As expected the first course with the quasi/neo/sorta Berliner Weisse Oarsman was an excellent opening salvo to the night.  The cream and especially the cheese and the fruit were in marked contrast to the slight tartness of the beer.


Skipping over the raw fish course though, let’s go straight to the beer for that course, Oberon.  I learned the proper pouring technique from the Bell’s crew.  Pour the beer into your glass, swirl the bottle (or can) and get some of that yeasty sediment going.  That way you get a nice cloudy Oberon filled glass.

Course three was a trio of pork with (2!) beers to compare and contrast.  Amber Ale and the famous Two-Hearted Ale.  The pork was delicious any way Bourbon Steak presented it.  So much so that the food overpowered the beer.  I thought the sausage with the Two-Hearted worked the best because it was a battle of spice on hop.  The gentle amber with some tea notes was better as an after the course beer.

Then it was on to the steak and I really loved it.  Yes, it was oversalted but it melted on the tongue brilliantly.  Pure luxury.  And it came from a family farm that has been in business for a long time.  The Pad Thai noodles were also a bit on the salt side but paired so well with the licorice tinged Kalamazoo Stout.  A pairing that I thought would clash like boxers in a ring.  The stout dulled the salt and added that licorice bitter note that pulled the whole thing together.

I was dead full by this point.  Beer is a much more varied and interesting pairing partner for food but the downside is that it fills you up.  I so wanted to polish off the S’mores dessert which was excellent but I just couldn’t.  The Double Cream Stout played well with the chocolate which brought out more coffee ground flavors from the beer but it wasn’t a Wow pairing.  With each bite, I rotated through other Bell’s beers to see what would bring out more.


The verdict? – The sommelier at Bourbon Steak is a beer fan and if the Flat Iron is any indication, you will get a seriously good steak here and have some solid if not horribly exciting beer choices.  With $4 happy hour beers.  They also have a monthly “Down the Hatch” series which focuses on a tasting of different types of drinks.  August covered Digestifs and maybe a beer-centric tasting will be happening in future months.  But if Bourbon Steak puts on another beer dinner, buy it.  $55 plus tip is a steal for the amount of food and beer that you get.



Scoops On Tap

Not much Dale’s Bros. Brewery beer makes it to my neck of the L.A. woods and maybe the reason is that some is being siphoned off into ice cream for a new venture Scoops on Tap which is currently advertising two flavors of ice cream made with beer!

Pomona Queen Vanilla Malt
“This luscious ice cream features Dale Bros. Brewery Pomona Queen. The amber lager pairs perfectly with the vanilla malt base, making a delicious ice cream with notes of caramel, toffee and malt.”

California Black Beer Chocolate Ice Cream
“Chocolate lovers are welcome here! This ice cream features Dale Bros. Brewery California Black Beer. This drinkable dark lager contributes notes of chocolate and coffee, while Scharffen Berger Cocoa creates a rich and velvety chocolate flavor.”


Screen Shot 2015-07-26 at 10.54.56 AM

ReGrained, takes the spent grain from the brewing process and puts them into Beer Grain Granola Bars, so that you can eat your beer!  That grain still packs a healthful dietary punch as well so you can recycle your craft beer fandom to a longer life with….

Honey Almond IPA
“The Honey Almond IPA Bar is baked using pale spent grain sourced from a local brewery. Our IPA bar pairs this grain with honey, almonds, oats, and cinnamon to create a snack as refreshing as its namesake.”

Chocolate Coffee Stout
“The Chocolate Coffee Stout Bar is baked using dark spent grain sourced from a local brewery. Our Stout bar pairs this grain with semi-sweet chocolate and coffee to create a snack as invigorating as its namesake.”

Beer Syrup

Screen Shot 2015-05-24 at 10.51.20 AM

Craft beer cocktails is a side diversion (and a cool one) in some forward thinking bars and now with The Beer Syrup Company you can use their non-alcoholic beer syrups at home.  They are simple syrups with craft beer as the base with flavors like Mocha Porter, Vanilla Espresso Porter, Pecan Nut Brown and Bourbon Barrel Stout.

The Beer Syrup people recommend it for “creating cocktails behind the bar and as an ingredient for different foods in the kitchen.  Or if you like it straight, we recommend it as a sweetener in your coffee or tea and as a syrup for your waffles or pancakes.”

MMM.  Beer and pancakes.


Beer Dinner Review – Simmzy’s + MacLeod Ales


When I saw the phrase, “Five Course Beer Dinner”, I blanched a bit.  Being honest, I am not the stuff till you burst kind of eater.  But then I saw that the beer was from MacLeod’s and the food was from Simmzy’s Burbank outpost.  So my mood brightened and I RSVP’ed.

First good thing.  The food courses were right-sized.  By that I mean, you weren’t subject to Flinstone-ian portions of food.  Tapas like to an extent.

Second good thing.  My suspicion that MacLeod beers would pair wonderfully with food were confirmed.  Nothing against big and bold beers but those pairings can be epic battles.  The low ABV but high flavors of Andy Black’s British inspired ales add to food without becoming a battle royale.

My favorite of the night was the beef stew with Jackie Tar.  That was an easy choice but it was well done.  Meat and sunchokes and a delicious gravy were magic with the beer.  The curry shrimp with the Little Spree was delightful too and that is coming from a non-curry fan. The toasted barley was excellent as an sidekick.IMG_4180 The beer revelation was the Middling Spree a Belgian-esque pilsner type of hybrid that was all over the place but just might be my new favorite MacLeod beer.  And I have a lot of favorite MacLeod beers.  The only down note was the dessert.  Double Kings Taxes was a bit too syrupy and sweet for me, the cardamom in the whipped cream helped but the burnt note from the caramel sauce made everything taste tinny to me.  Four out of five ain’t bad though.


More dinners may be on the horizon and at $48 a person, it is a steal.  You get 5 beers (we got a bonus beer for six) plus the food and the education from the brewer.  When more of these become scheduled, I will post it here.


Ice Wort

It’s a Victory for ice cream. Yes, Belgian Brûlée and Strawberry Love would be great ice cream flavors not matter what, but add in the fact that it is made with Victory Brewing wort, then it sounds even better to me.


The Victory website describes Belgian Brûlée as a melding of “the rich, silky flavors of crème brûlée with subtle, delicious notes of V Twelve wort paired with the sweetness of brown sugar and the salty crunch of almonds. Strawberry Love offers juicy strawberries with refreshingly tasty Summer Love Ale wort and moist angel food cake within a rich, smooth strawberry and vanilla base.”

There have other flavors as well from Hopped-Up Devil, Triple Monkey and Storm Drop.

As I have wondered aloud before, I wonder who in L.A. could/would add ice cream to their brands.

Fishy Strategery

Now, I am all for craft beer tie-ins and promos. Game of Thrones beer? Sure. Beer Cheese? OK, fine. But it really does have to be tied to something equally craft driven. Which is why I can’t get behind this whole Carl’s Jr. Fish Sandwich collaboration with Redhook.
“Now you can have your beer and eat it, too. Carl’s Jr.® and Hardee’s® today announced a partnership with Seattle craft brewery Redhook® to bring the gastropub flavors of beer-battered cod to their menus. Featuring the distinctive flavor of Redhook’s ESB (Extra Special Bitter) ale, the Redhook Beer-Battered Cod Fish Sandwich is now available at Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s restaurants.”

Even though it might bring beer awareness to a larger/different audience, I just wish they had partnered with say Chipotle or another chain of a bit higher pedigree. I mean, Rubios is advertising Stone beer. Sounds snobby and I know that everyone (myself included) has our guilty pleasures of processed foods. I just wish Redhook had aimed higher. (especially considering the male-centric sexist advertising that Carl’s specializes in)