Featured Beer Review – LA – A Sense of Urgency from Liberation Brewing

The next L.A. beer to review is technically Long Beach, but I am gonna sneak it in because it is not only in a bottle (what’s that?) but also a Biere de Garde from Liberation Brewing.

After wrestling the cork out without hurting myself, I get a beer with a slightly toasted aroma, almost Quad like in taste and texture with a mineral finish to it. The label art and name are part of the reason that I bought it. Floating and on fire, very 2021-22. It pours with a luxuriant head to it that leaves some nice lacing on the bowl of the glass. There are some Belgian esters with a touch of fruit to them here.

Overall, I really enjoyed this. A different style is great to break up the hop monopoly.

Beer Review – Speedway Stout NEW variant from AleSmith

First beer box in the mail prize goes to AleSmith! And it is a long name. Speedway Stout with Madagascar vanilla and Ceylon Alba cinnamon.

This stout pours a pitch black. Lovely coffee cream head and lacing as well. I wondered, as I opened the can, would the vanilla out sweet the cinnamon? Or would the spice blow away the creamy notes?

To me, the two disparate ingredients meld together. The cinnamon has a red hot thing going on but it is tamped down by the vanilla making the mouthfeel less spiky. It is almost as each sip highlights one then the next sip focuses on the other.

Thankfully both flavors represent making this a grand start to the 2022 Speedway year.

Sean Suggests for January 2022

Time for the first beer shopping list for 2022! Last month, I skipped around the style wheel. This month, the arrow is pointed firmly at IPA.


Smog CityFrost Flower – “Frost Flower drinks soft with big punchy fruit tones. It’s medium body contrasts the dry drinkability of west coast haze. This ambrosia salad of tropical fruit steps out with big berry notes, citrus, guava and a touch of coconut while finishing with just enough bitterness to bring you in for another sip.”


Firestone WalkerHopnosis – “The Hop Ontology Project is our exploration of the ephemeral nature of the modern IPA. Hopnosis is a crisp West Coast IPA double dry-hopped with some of our favorite modern hop varieties from the USA and New Zealand.”


Casa AgriaClosely Apart Hazy DIPA – “Citra and Mosaic, you just can’t keep them separated. A friendship like no other, this Hazy DIPA has everything that you need! Introducing Closely Apart Hazy Double IPA.”

1st Visit – Stateside Crafts

Certain L.A. ‘burbs have beer everywhere. Torrance, DTLA, El Segundo has three and Long Beach has always been a player as well.

One aspect of a beer-y city are secondary spots like food pods and bottle shops. This is all prelude to an introduction to Stateside Crafts on Atlantic in north Long Beach.

Bottle shop and tasting room. Always good to have.

I headed south one Saturday to peek inside…

…and I found a lovely curated spot with pantry snack items on one side and in the middle with a cooler on the right side as you enter. Being mere blocks from Ambitious Ales and Liberation Brewing meant those were represented but not competing with them. I found a Crowns & Hops beer that I had not seen before along wit a Riip IPA but overall the selection was smaller than Hop Merchants, Talon and especially Sunset Beer which is my marker for SKUs.

But, if you are in the neighborhood, check it out. They certainly had a different choice than my regular haunts which is a good sign plus, snacks is a great thing to grab too.

Stone is Bringing Them Back

Stone Brewing will be resurrecting past beers that were voted on social media, so, without further ado, here are the beers making a triumphant return…

First out of the gate will be Sublimely Self-Righteous Black IPA for another re-return followed by my personal choice…

Baird / Ishii / Stone Japanese Green Tea IPA (Late February) 

  • “It’s hard to find such a perfect blend of IPA hop flavor and herbal tea qualities. Strong tea attributes combine with hop elements of peach, apricot and mango.”

Stone RuinTen Triple IPA (Late April) 

  • “Hugely hoppy, an indelicate beer. There are five pounds of hops packed into each barrel and the ABV is cranked up to withstand the onslaught of hops.”

Stone Peak Conditions Double Hazy IPA (June) 

  • “This beer offers all the hops and bravado of a double IPA along with real fruit additions of passion fruit, orange and guava. Expect West Coast hops and East Coast haze.”

Stone 25th + 1 Anniversary Triple IPA (August) 

  • “Although not an archive rebrew (yet!), Stone’s anniversary salute audaciously reserves a spot in the Stone Fan Favorites lineup. This year’s triple IPA will extend the 25th anniversary for a bonus year of celebration.”  

Stone Imperial Russian Stout (October) 

  • “One of the foremost examples of this Old-World style in the American craft beer market. Rich and sinful, this massive and intensely aromatic beer abounds with notes of chocolate, coffee, black currants, anise and roastiness.”

Featured Beer Review – LA – Strategic Partnership IIPA from Ogopogo (and friends)

Ogopogo gathered a flock of brewers for their IIPA, Strategic Partnership…

Here are my tasting notes…

Right off the bat, fruit punch, concord grape and bubbly as well. Light for the style at 8.5% I kept waiting for a hit of alcohol or some form of heaviness but it never came. There was a little hop speedbump but the big fruit notes zoom you past it in a jiff. The label does make me note what “lupomax Citra” brings to the table as well. Two thumbs up here and if you are looking for fruit without the haze, this is for you.