074 Not 007

There are many new hops at varying stages of development. Preeminent hop writer Stan Hieronymus fills us in on the as yet named, 074…

074 is USDA 2006009-074, the daughter of an open-pollinated tetraploid Perle plant. Adjectives attached to beers brewed with 074 include orange, lime peel, tropical, floral and stone fruit. As important, I’ve talked to farmers in New York, Michigan and Colorado who are growing 074, basically on an experimental basis, and she thrived in 2021.

Appellation Beer

The Session # 110 – Twitter Beer

It is easy to hate social media. It is cluttered, loud and repetitive. Then there is the privacy angle to untangle or the trollery from really hateful people. The sheer number of posts and photos and links is enough to make me turn off my iPad and head to the ‘fridge for a beer.

So, why then did I choose Twitter as a topic for beer bloggers? There were external factors such as the 10th anniversary of the first Tweet that happened in March as well as the possibility of Twitter expanding to more than 140 characters but really, I wanted to show that it is woven into the fabric of craft beer. With six tweets, I can show a concise little history of Los Angeles beer evolution. (Thanks in part to the First Tweet website)
Starting with me and my blatantly stolen quote from Fred Eckhardt. That I joined Twitter a full two years+ after I started beer blogging lands me directly into the late adopter crowd. Unlike the brewery that is the base for L.A. brewing, Eagle Rock Brewery. They jumped right onto the bandwagon and said hello.
At around the same time as Eagle Rock both Strand Brewing and Ladyface Ale Companie opened up shop and L.A. beer drinkers could entertain joining the ranks of cities that celebrate their local beer with a Beer Week all of our own. And later in 2009, LA Beer Week tweeted out the ticket information for the first fest that was held at Descanso Gardens.
After that, more breweries started opening around Los Angeles. One that has gone on to great Great American Beer Festival acclaim is Beachwood Brewing based in Long Beach. Back in 2011 they were just getting ready to open. Little did they know that the block they live on would soon house two restaurants with craft beer an integral part of the menu but also their own Belgium-styled Blendery as well.
Not all the news was rosy though. Just as it seemed LA was hitting its beer mile stride, Golden Road sold itself to SABInBevMiller (or whatever mashed-up name it is AKA now). I could find many an expletive filled tweet to illustrate this point but instead, chose another craft beer industry tweet to show that beer can be promoted on Twitter and then talked about over a pint while the video streams across the world.
But that is so last year, it would take a lot of scrolling to find that vitriol now especially when at about the same time, another brewery on the same road that was golden opened up. Brewyard has taken the mantle of the small and local brewery and will hopefully be Tweeting for years to come.

Session # 49

In March of 2007 I couldn’t have guessed the topic March 4, 2011 might be “regular beer.” How vague is that? But when in December I was motivated to post my defense of “regular beer” the course was set.

Please write about a regular beer (time to lose the quotation marks). You get to define what that means, but a few possibilities:

* It might be your “go to” beer, brewed commercially or at home. The one you drink regularly.
* I could be a beer your enjoy on a regular special occasion. When in San Francisco I always like to start with draft Anchor Liberty Ale. But it might be your poker night beer.
* It doesn’t have to be a “session beer,” but it can be.
* It probably shouldn’t have an SPE of more than $25 (that’s a very soft number; prices may vary by region and on premise further confuses the matter). Ask yourself, is it what somebody in a Miller High Life TV commercial in the 1970s could afford? Because affordability matters. I’m all for paying a fair price (which can mean higher than we’d like) to assure quality and even more for special beers, but I’m not ready to part with the notion that beer should be an everyman’s drink.
* Brewery size, ownership, nationality do not matter. Brew length doesn’t matter. Ingredients don’t matter. It feels a little strange typing that last sentence, since the Mission Statement here says ingredients matter. But I hope you get the point. I prefer beer that costs a little more because its ingredients cost more, because there’s more labor involved. You don’t have to. Beer should be inclusive.

Visit Appellation Beer to see what other bloggers wrote about.

Right off the bat I am going to be too pedantic and/or split too many hairs, but the word “regular” does not work for me. So I will change to the name that I use for a quality everyday type of brew, “table beer”.

Now that the change is made, on to my definition:
It has to be lighter on the ABV scale. Maxing out at 6%
It needs to be milder of flavor
It should pair with a variety of foods
It should be newbie friendly
It should be readily available throughout the year

Yes, that does rule out quite a few contenders. But it does leave me plenty of options. You can find quite a few pilsners, pale ales, hefe’s and other wheat beers that meet my semi-stringent criteria.

To me, a good table beer is that needle in the haystack. Something that many drinkers and brewers have forgotten about. It hit’s that sweet spot of a beer that you can just flat out drink and enjoy but isn’t boring or a compromise.

And what I find myself coming back to is the Brown Ale from Mission Street (aka Firestone-Walker) that I can get at my Trader Joe’s across the street. A bomber is $1.99 and it is a tremendous value.

It goes great with burgers, BBQ and even a pizza if it has mild toppings. It comes in at 5.7% so no one will be under the table after a glass. It is mild but flavorful with a good burst of carbonation to lighten the mood. And best of all, it doesn’t scare anyway beer newcomers.

In the end, I need to add another criteria, it has to taste good enough to buy again and again.

Session # 46

Mike Lynch of Burgers and Brews has announced the topic for The Session #46: “An Unexpected Discovery.” He writes:

I recently drove out to Colorado for a concert, and realized this was a perfect opportunity to stop at as many “beer destinations” as I could. I researched, plotted routes, looked at maps, and generally planned the entire trip around beer. What I was surprised to find was that despite all the amazing stops I planned, one of the best beer experiences of the trip was completely accidental. I found great beer in the last place I thought to look for it.

Has this happened to you? Maybe you stumbled upon a no-name brewpub somewhere and found the perfect pale ale. Maybe, buried in the back of your local beer store, you found a dusty bottle of rare barleywine. Perhaps a friend turned you on to a beer that changed your mind about a brewery or a style. Write about a beer experience that took you by surprise.

Well, there was the time in 1995 when we stopped at the Cat’s Paw Casino in Bozeman, Montana. Maybe I’ll write about that Dec. 3.

You would think that with a blog called Beer Search Party that I would be discovering all kinds of craft beer surprises or accidentally finding that stunning brewery that only the locals know about.

I would pose two reasons why that doesn’t happen to me. One is that I check out a lot of different beer blogs, I subscribe to (at last count) three beer magazines and I attend my share of beery events. So, breaking news rarely gets by me for too long before I hear about it. Second, like our gracious session host, I enjoy the planning stage. Especially when craft beer is on the agenda. I will plot out vacations based on beer destinations and I rarely stray from my targets. When I visited Boulder, Colorado for the Beer Bloggers conference, I knew I wanted to visit Twisted Pine and Oskar Blues and taste beer from Upslope Brewing and Odell’s. All four goals, accomplished!
Now, having explained how I am never taken off guard, here is my “unexpected” story. It involves sitting in the right place at the right time, twice!

During this year’s LA Beer Week, I was helping out at the Beer Float Showdown at the Verdugo. (If you visit Los Angeles, this is one of “must” the beer stops). After my shift was done, I took a seat with a friend of mine and a fellow beer geek to enjoy the imaginative beer float creations. Beer talk was flowing as I finished my last sample and our tablemate brought out a new beer from Green Flash Brewing, Silva’s Stout. Before I could say anything, my glass was filled! It seemed that Lady Luck was smiling upon me as it was a tremendous beer and a special limited release to boot. I figured this type of good fortune wouldn’t happen again soon but….

Lo and behold it did!

A couple of months later, sitting at the Blue Palms in Hollywood (another “must” for beer geeks in LA); I was tasting the 14th anniversary beer from Firestone-Walker. The place was packed. But in the crowded space of the bar sat another generous soul with a growler from Kern River Brewing. Because I and my friend were in the seats near some acquaintances of his, we also got samples of the famed Citra IPA. On aroma alone, that beer is one of the best that I have had all year. Another surprise based solely on where I was sitting.

I certainly hope I get surprised again.

Session # 41


The chosen topic: Craft Beers Inspired By Homebrewing. How has homebrewing had an affect on the commercial beer we have all come to love? Feel free to take the topic in any direction your imagination leads you.

Write about a beer that has its roots in homebrewing. Write about a commercial beer that originated from a homebrew.

Write about a professional brewer you admire who got their start in homebrewing before they went pro. Write about a professional brewer who still homebrews in their free time.

Write about a Pro-Am beer tasted either at a festival or a brewpub. Write about an Amateur / Professional Co-op you’ve had the pleasure of experiencing (such as The Green Dragon Project).

Write about commercial brewers using “Homebrewing” as part of the marketing. Write about the Sam Adams LongShot beers, whether good or bad.

With this opportunity, I would like to rant about an imbalance that I feel needs to be focused on to keep the craft beer world lively and engaging and most importantly, growing.

We need more female home brewers. Alot more. I know most homebrew clubs have female members, maybe even sub-groups comprised solely of women. That’s great. Keep it up. But this industry is tilted far to the male side and we need to get the percentages rising on the female side of the ledger.

I have my personal reasons why the craft beer community needs to embrace this idea and it stems from a theory of mine.

My theory is that home brewing is the minor leagues for the craft beer world. That means the more women brewing at home means the better the chance that they might go pro. If your club has 20 active members and only two or three are women, the chances that one might start a brewery are not good. But if there is a large and active female membership then the odds become better. And there is no better time than now, there is mentoring available through the Pink Boots Society, there is publicity available through great writers like the Beer Wench, Lisa Morrison and Christina Perozzi, there is even a documentary in the works about female brewers.

I say all this in enlightened self-interest. I love craft beer. Spend way too much money on it. Spend way too much time writing and reading about it. But if we don’t expand our horizons to recipes from a new perspective, new styles or re-imaginings of current favorites then the world of craft beer will crash into the reef of Double IPA’s and Russian Imperial Stouts and not be able to extricate our way out. We might end up, god forbid, stagnating. Not only as an industry as a whole but in individual beers.

We as bloggers need to push, cajole, entreaty as much as possible for more women in home brewing and more women drinking and creating a big craft beer tent as big as a Munich beer Hall in September.

P.S. I just know the best beer of 2011, 2012 and beyond are out there so keep it up homebrewers!

P.S.S. Click HERE to see the Session hosts posting on the topic.

Session # 38


One of the reasons why I selected the topic of What Beer(s) would you stand in line for hours to taste? is that I secretly hoped that I was not the only one out there that would stand in line for a beer that wasn’t a Russian Imperial Stout.

I hope to see some session beers mentioned but I think I am realistic enough to know that I might not get agreement on my specific selections because it is a style that is old and semi-forgotten.

I am talking about the style of beer known as GOSE. And if I can sway one person to try it then I will count myself a success. I had heard of this beer in vague terms from mentions on various beer blogs but I never ran across one in the beer bars I frequented or breweries I visited. Then, one day in Leipzig, after succeeding at getting myself lost on the outskirts of the city, I decided to salvage the remains of the day at the Bayerischer Banhof. Sitting at the bar at the crossroads of Leipzig with their Gose instantly made my day better.

Flash forward to this year and two breweries (Cascade and Upright)from my home state of Oregon are making brash American versions of this old style. And that is what I would stand in line for with a stupid grin on my face. And maybe, there will come a day, when I will have to wait in line for a beer that nearly became extinct.

When it comes to “Great Beer Expectations”, I will use the example of my first 3 Floyds beer. (Not Dark Lord) I was the lucky recipient of a bottle of Moloko Milk Stout. I held onto that bottle for less than a week before cracking it open. I thought to myself, “This is one of those premier breweries that a relative handful of beer geeks has the opportunity to sample”.

Upon that first swirl and sip, I admit to being let down. But as I drank and slowed myself down mentally, the beer grew on me. I started to detect nuances and flavors that I had missed in that first go around.

Did the expectation hurt my beer experience? I would say no. Did it force me to slow down and re-adjust my thinking, yes.

I will stop there because I need to start reading what others are saying.

Session # 38 – Announcement

This April, the Beer Search Party has the privilege of hosting Session # 38.


With Kate the Great Day a recent memory and the day of the Dark Lord fast approaching, I started thinking about what beer or beers that I would get up at 4:00 in the morning, drive across state lines, stand in a long unmoving line in the cold and rain for the chance to taste with a crowd the size of Woodstock.

So here is my question to you (with a couple addendums).

What beer have you tasted recently (say, the last six months or so) that is worthy of their own day in the media sun?

And to add a little extra to it, how does “great” expectations affect your beer drinking enjoyment?

AND If you have attended one of these release parties, stories and anecdotes of your experience will be welcomed too.

To join in:
1) Publish your blog post by Friday, April 2, 2010.
2) Leave a link to your blog in the comment section of this post or put your response in the comment section or email me your link to beersearchparty@gmail.com.
3)On Monday, I will post a round-up with comments and links to all entries.

Thanks to Stan and Jay for giving me the opportunity to host.

Session # 36 – Cask Ale


“I’d like to return to essays on a beer style, or more precisely, a beer procedure: Cask-conditioned ale.”

I am not an expert on the intricacies of cask-conditioned ales by any stretch of the imagination, not due to a lack of desire to sample but rather because the choices available on the carbon dioxide side of the fence are just so much greater.

And that, to me, is the core of the issue. Cask conditioned is not yet at the tipping point. It is an embraced novelty. And until it becomes ubiquitous that is where it will stay.   Two of the excellent beer bars that I frequent have exactly ONE tap for casks.  Playing the percentages means that the cask ale will not get selected.

So the cask converted can sing the praises until their vocal cords collapse but will only succeed in pushing themselves into the lunatic fringe alongside the high alcohol, barrel aged double imperial stout crowd and the fruit beer haters.

So here is my own modest proposal: What needs to happen is actual head to head, Coke vs Pepsi style tastings.  The same beer from the same brewer.  One crafted for the regular tap and one for a cask.  No need to blindfold the participants. This isn’t about guessing which is which. It is about discerning what style hits all the right spots on your individual palate.  I had the opportunity recently to try a Blonde Ale then a slightly different version of the same beer from a cask. The difference was night and day and not just because one had extra hops added. I can now explain how one was fizzy while the other had a creamy mouthfeel and I can explain why I liked it more.

Because in the end, a movement will start only if enough people can clearly communicate why they love cask ale not only with words but with examples. Refreshing liquid examples.

Check all the responses to the cask ale conundrum HERE

The Session # 35


Here is the question for Session # 35 hosted by the beer savvy Naked Pint authors, Christina Perozzi and Hallie Beaune, New Beer’s Resolutions.

“So we want to know what was your best and worst of beer for 2009? What beer mistakes did you make? What beer resolutions do you have for 2010? What are your beer regrets and embarrassing moments? What are you hoping to change about your beer experience in 2010?”

Here is my addition….
Best Beer of 2009 – Mikkeller Nelson Sauvin. It had a wonderful grape flavor that matched beautifully with the slight bitterness. Great cereal taste and all well balanced.
Worst Beer of 2009 – Budweiser American Ale. This was an amber that had been severely watered down. Almost as if they tasted it and thought it was too strong and just started dumping buckets of water into it.
2009 Beer Mistake – Tasting Utopias from Sam Adams at the Denver Rare Beer Event halfway through. Everything else that day tasted of bourbon and alcohol.
2010 Beer Resolution – To taste a beer from each and every state in the United States. I certainly hope there are beers from each 50 then I have to somehow get my hands on them.
2009 Beer Regrets – I regret each time someone offers me a taste of their beer and I said no, just because I either had a beer from that brewery that I didn’t enjoy or because it was an imperial aged monster. I need to continue to be more receptive to all kinds of beer.

2010 will be the year that I stop and enjoy each beer and give it it’s time in the sun.