A Taster of Beer News

We obsessive beer geeks can’t get enough beer news. If that sentence strikes close to home then you might want to test drive a beer newsletter called The Taster Tray. It is a Washington State based newsletter but will cover all the beer world.

Their “mission is to promote the craft beer industry while fostering a sense of community and comradery across the industry. Industry-focused, sure, but a lot of you beer drinkers are also pretty darn passionate about beer and want to get a taste of what’s happening in the industry. We like to think of The Taster Tray as beer news from the bar back — from the bar back to the tap, from the tap back to the brewhouse, from the brewhouse back to the farm.”

You can sign up for The Taster Tray at the link.

Holiday Cheers – Day 9 – Winter Lambiek from Oud Beersel

The U.S. does not have a monopoly on Christmas beers and today we have a sparkling beer with a twist on the Lambic spelling from Belgium’s Oud Beersel.

“Winterlambiek Oud Beersel” is infused with pine buds. The incredible aroma takes you to the evergreen trees of the pine forest. The earthy pine buds give a spicy flavor to the smooth and complex Lambic, which offers a mild, slightly dry finish that will have you looking for the next sip as soon as possible!

“Winterlambiek Oud Beersel” is also very unique because it does not follow the traditional path of a winter beer. lt drinks like a light beer, has a refreshing carbonation and focuses more on the complexity of Lambic to drive the flavour forward instead of the sweetness that typically prevails in a winter beer.”

1st Visit – Beachwood Brewing in Bixby Knolls

The space formerly known as Liberation Brewing has been given a Beachwood make-over and will house, in the future, distilling operations.

I made a weekend visit to get a Beachwood beer fix and here are my thoughts…

Obviously the beer is great, a dry hopped Knucklehead Red was hoppy with a great spice malt background. Two barrel-aged tasters were cool to compare as well so this visit was more an interior decoration review.

The trophy tap handles are great, the space can be loud but there is outdoor seating out back and enough space to have a quiet conversation or a party as needed. The bar stools are comfortable despite no back to them and the artwork on the wall was bright and colorful and unique.

Other than that though, the space is not super different from the previous brewery. Maybe that will change when distilling fires up operations but as of now, it looks Beachwood for sure and is as of now, I nice counterpoint to Ambitious Ales up the street.

In the Tap Lines for December 2022

Congratulations! You made it to month 12! Some people are into Easter eggs, some love a BBQ on the 4th while others love a costume and scares. Me, I like Christmas even in Southern California. There will be holiday beer fun all month so get ready…

~ e-visits to (3) breweries from Western New York where the snow is as deep as I am tall

~ special featured reviews of Winter Seasonals

~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 Revolutionary Samuel Adams by Stacy Schiff

~ A Podcast & A Beer listens The Sunshine Place

~ 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.

Holiday Cheers – Day 7 – Snow Globe from Short’s Brewing

Off to the Midwest for our next holiday beer as Short’s Brewing brings that staple of Christmas movies, the snow globe, now let’s shake it to see what is inside.

“We saw Grinch Joe Short muttering to himself and glowering from his lair so we concocted this double Sabro hopped hazy IPA and his heart grew three sizes, so now we’re spreading the love by adding Snow Globe IPA to our winter lineup. Hop on a snowmobile sleigh and take a ride towards epic amounts of coconut, tangerine, and apricot notes blended with soft touches of cedar, mint, and cream. This IPA will make you say “whoa whoa whoa”…. You know, instead of “ho ho ho.””

The Firkin for November 2022

Both Stone Brewing and Oskar Blues have gone back to their back catalog of beers and re-released beers that had not been on tap or cans for a while.  And while the nostalgic part of me thinks that is a fun idea, I do wonder if the constant stream of new releases from breweries over the last few years will make this idea a non-starter when the hip breweries get to the same age as Stone and Oskar.

Because, you have to build a following for a beer.  You can’t really do that if there were two new beers the previous week and another on the next week.  It is the same long-term issue I have with pre-season seasonals that are off shelves before the season is over.  You disconnect the beer from the time of the year that you are celebrating.

This is not an Old Man Yelling at Clouds post, if a brewery chooses a new, new, even more new path, that is absolutely fine. But that path means that you are bound to lose some nostalgia as well as a chance to have a flagship beer. You will create a new mindset in the customer who will open the door expecting a new beer on tap or in 4-packs.

Maybe the pendulum will swing back to core beers.

Holiday Cheers – Day 6 – Fireside Chat from 21st Amendment

I gotta say that I much preferred the old label for 21st Amendment’s Fireside Chat. Roosevelt and a fire just seemed right for the season, now reindeer are drinking with their hooves. The bow label on cans and some of the packaging is just boring as well.

“We begin with a rich, deep, toffee-colored winter warmer ale and then we hand-select spices and cocoa nibs until we know we have a beer worth sharing.”

Best Beers of November 2022

I guess we should call November Topa Topa Month.

Two of the Ventura based and growing brewery placed as best of the month. First was their Howler Coffee IPA that balanced the hops and coffee very well and very smoothly. One step better was the Bourbon barrel-aged version of their Tux milk stout, King Tux. Just decadent mixing of spirits and sweetness.

Runners-Up include Green Cheek’s wonderfully named Thrives on Relaxation DIPA, Firestone Walker’s Parabolita Salted Caramel Stout and Ogopogo’s 4th Anniversary Pale Ale.