Beer Discovery Afternoon

Sunday, April 26th at 3pm sharp. Five beers (see list below) will be poured to the first nine that RSVP. For this tasting, I was aiming for lighter beers.  For me, a really good pale ale or lager is hard to find.  They are delicate in comparison to hop bombs or dubbels.  So you can’t overpower a taster.  But they are perfect for hot weather climes like Los Angeles.  But enough from me, later I will publish the reactions to these brews from my panel of guests.

New Belgium – Mighty Arrow

Port Brewing – Hot Rocks Lager

Ommegang – Ommeggedon

Telegraph – Reserve Wheat

+ Mystery Beer

Port Brewing Belgian Beer Fest

Now that I have fully recovered from the awesome amount of Belgian beers (25 on tap, 117 total)  Here are some photos and commentary….


As you can see, a beautiful day in Carslbad, California.


The first beer of the day!  Craftsman’s La Luz.  Great way to start.  Light but with a punch of flavor.  Really excellent beer for a sunny day.

The second beer was # 16 on the list. The infamous Lost Abbey, Cuvee de Tomme.  A super sour beer that is still way drinkable.  My first sip was way sour but it mellows and is just excellent.  Top beer of the day for me.


I was back at the taps for beers 3 and 4.  A Dubbel and a Quad.  The Dubbel from Hollister in Santa Barbara was good. Strong taste.  Made with raisin puree.  The even stronger quad was the Russian River Mortification.  11% alcohol and really good.  Both are excellent choices.

I was four for four.  Then I chose the only boring beer I had.  The Pizza Port Faceplant from the San Clemente location.  Not bad but the description said coriander and orange zest.  Didn’t taste it.  The alcohol must have obliterated the spicing.


Onto beers 6 and 7.  I left the draft list and for my last two beers chose European beers.  First was Baladin’s Al-Ikser.  Very complex.  A sipping beer not a “guzzling” beer for sure.  Had a great smell and almost too many flavors maybe due to the fact it was made with whiskey yeast. The final beer was Boon’s Marriage Parfait.  A vintage gueze.  The 2nd best beer of the day.  Sour but delicate.  Easy to drink which is saying something for gueze.  This was the 2003 vintage.


So Cuvee de Tomme, Marriage Parfait and La Luz are the top 3 but there were so many I didn’t try.  Among them the Saison de Lente from the Bruery, Cascade Sour Fruit Ale, Nogne Saison and Ommegang’s Chocolate Indulgence.  There is always next year.

Sloeber & XH

When you have had as many beers as I have had, surprises don’t happen frequently and when they do they are usually of the bad variety.  But lately, I have had some really good but really odd flavors.  Sloeber from Belgium has a sort of apple-esque quality but it has an sweet alcohol back.  It is really hard to find the right words for.  It is delicate and the most un-Belgian, Belgian beer I have had.

The XH aged in Sake casks from Hitachino is another odd taste.  You get a hint of sake but also fruit and grain.  It is a beer that at first tastes not like a beer but then all the flavors meld and it is wonderful.  I do not know how many people will like either of these but to me they fall into the category of “what is this? It tastes really good.”

Discovery Nights

Starting in April, I will be conducting Beer Discovery Nights and then posting results and comments right here on the Search Party blog.  Details are still to be worked out but there will be 4 beers on the docket either from one style or one brewery plus the St. Bernard Find of the Night and some munchies that pair well with the beer. Space will be limited.

Two beers cooling in my fridge

I went to a new wine and beer store today and found (2) beers that I have never seen before and piqued my beer interest. One is a Belgian called Sloeber. I have never heard of the brewery or their beer so this is uncharted territory. Second is another offering from Hitachino in Japan. XH matured in sake casks. Should be interesting.


Jolly Pumpkin Brewing

These guys do some seriously great Belgian beer. I have had their Bam Bier and La Roja.  Very good.  Subtle too, which is good for a Belgian beer.  They have many great special beers too.  Newly out is one called Firefly.  According to Beer Advocate they are the 8th best brewery in America.


A beer I want to try, maybe you should too

I have heard some good things about this beer and I think this weekend I will have to give it a try.  One reason that I haven’t yet is that it is in cans.  I have this bias (slowly receding) against cans due to Pabst and Olympia.  The second is that I am not a big porter fan.  But some times you have to take a leap and try something new.


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.