The St. Patrick's Day choice

Special beer drinking occasions  (like St. Patrick’s Day) can lead to staring at the store selection and going back and forth between the tried and true, Guinness, or something new. Here is my suggestion, do a stout/porter tasting.  Start with Guinness then head off and try stouts from your local area.  In California, try a Telegraph Stock Porter. On the East Coast try the Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout. In Oregon, Deschutes the Abyss is a monster and well worth the price.  Or pick up a Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout.  Avery has some great dark beers or you can try Bell’s Expedition Stout.  Give little tasters of each and have a vote.  See which is a fan favorite.

What I am drinking right now


The label is a little too Easter trippy but this is a nice light Belgian ale with a taste of lavender. This is my favorite from The Bruery. It is a notch above the usual Belgian. This and Urthel’s Hop-It have been the best of the year for me so far.

2 Brooklyn Beer books

These two books are musts for any beer library.  You had better have a beer library or at least one book by Michael Jackson.  Beer School is a great business accented account of how the Brooklyn Brewery was born and nurtured to where it is today.  Very interesting on the intricacies of selling beer and creating a entreprenurial mind set.

To cover the beer and food pairing phenomenon, you have to read The Brewmaster’s Table.  It is an excellent guide to food and beer.  If you don’t learn something new, then you are the one true beer geek god.


Great beer bar

If you are in Los Angeles and you venture to the east side, then you must visit the Verdugo Bar. Great, concentrated beer list. Exactly what I would have in a bar. The owner, Ryan knows beer, you can’t go wrong with his list. Corsendonk Apple. Pliny the Elder.


New Glarus Brewing

This is one of two breweries that I wish had beer here in Los Angeles. I have had the Belgian Red and the Raspberry Tart and both were beyond excellent. To give you an idea of the styles they have, here are their “unplugged” beers for 2009….Iced Barleywine, Imperial Saison, Eisbock and an Olde English Porter. Makes you want to go to Wisconsin.


What I am drinking now – March 8th

1. Widmer Drifter – I generally like Widmer’s special releases better than the Drop Top and Hefe. But this Drifter is smooth with taste. To get the grapefruity taste that this has you usually have a lot of hops like Pliny the Elder but somehow Drifter gets both. Excellent summer beer.


2. Urthel Hop It – I had this on tap at the fabulous Lucky Baldwin’s and it has such a floral smell and taste. The bottled version doesn’t capture that magic as well but this is the best Belgian/Hop mash up around.


3. Brew Dog Punk IPA – I love the logo and the design but I must say this was dissapointing. Not very hoppy. It tastes like a generic British bitter and to me that is the most boring of styles. Give me a Belgian or American micro any day.


Eagle Rock Brewing

This is a great blog.

It is all about the building of a brewpub. It is both fascinating and frustrating. But the end of story will be great beer in Los Angeles.


This just in….

Thanks to my Oregon beer hook-up, I have a bottle of Rogue’s latest special offering.  Oregon Sesquicentennial.  Say that five times fast.  I will review as soon as I have the heart to open the bottle.



Apart from the fact that BIG BEER abbreviations are getting more baroque, it is interesting to hear that Anheuser has tumbling profits according to the Wall Street Journal.  You would think that the cheap beers would be flying out of stores.  But because they buy in bulk and hedge its raw materials purchases means it is locked in to old, high hop prices while the small brewers are making less but better beer at cheaper prices.  I say it too much but your local small brewer always seem to do more with less.

Hitachino Espresso Stout – reviewed

As promised, I uncapped the Espresso the other day.  Very dark pour. Great foam.  Very picturesque.  Since I have Portland roots, I have had a few coffee porters and this one is just as good.  Rich and malty without an alcohol bite.  Perfect for a cold night or a nice cut of steak.  It is expensive but it will not dissapoint.