From the Rickhouse

If you want to learn about barrel-aged beer then the next Beachwood Beer Side Talks event is for you.

Here are the details:

“On May 12th we’re continuing our educational speaking event series with “Tales from the Rickhouse: Barrel-Aged Beers” featuring speakers Julian Shrago, Brewmaster and Co-Owner at Beachwood and Lindsay Langton, Creative Director (Lead Design of Barrel Blends program) at Bottle Logic with Brewmaster and Co-Founder Wes Parker.

$15 Ticket includes a flight of 3 specialty barrel-aged beers hosted at Beachwood Downtown Long Beach.”

Peel the Label – Ignorance?

Scrolling through Facebook, I read an exchange between two beer fans (one being a writer) about a craft brewery that is owned by what is left of Miller Coors. One side theorized that it is easy enough for people to know who is brewing your beer and the other somewhat admitted defeat to the tune of the majority of people don’t really care enough to look.

It got me to thinking because in beer circles, you hear the mantra of education. Get that newbie into the tap room and then you can give them the spiel and they will be turned to the Jedi way.

Personally, I think that the low hanging customer fruit has been plucked. If the hard seltzer craze has taught us anything is that people will drink what other people are drinking. You can posit that it is an effort to be cool, or maybe to put it on social media but I do not think so. I think it is easy. Plain and simple. The majority of alcohol drinkers will drink what is in front of them. If they are at a brewery tap room, they will drink what is on the menu board. If they are at a bar, they will drink something from the menu.

And trying to educate this group is kinda pointless. You can tell them that Golden Road is Anheuser-Busch but they will drink it if they are at a party and that is what is in the cooler. Factors like taste or price don’t really matter because the choice has been filtered down to location.

Not to say that you shouldn’t try but don’t expect that the person will seek you out and come to your festival. If you wonder why influencers have, well, influence, it is because there is a vast swatch of food and drink and clothing and etc. consumer who just wants to be told what to buy. If you can get that person’s attention, then they will more than likely buy if it is right there for them but if they have to move even a smidge or put out an effort, not gonna happen.

Peel the Label is an infrequent series with no photos or links. Just opinion.


I am a fan of the Onion / AV Club family of websites (though the current ad infested format is horrible), so obviously I love the content over on The Takeout as well and one of the regular features that I enjoy is Gateways to Drinkery where a deep dive from the beginning is conducted. One of the latest is on hefeweizens which is great to see talked about in this hard seltzer landscape. Bookmark it to keep learning about beer.

Cicerone Cannibal

Anybody who turns down beer education, well, that’s just wrong. It’s not like taking calculus.

So, if you find yourself in the Culver City area on a Saturday you should check out the beer classes that The Cannibal LA is running with Certified Cicerone Julian Kurland. Each Saturday at 5:30

For $25, you get five pours based on that week’s topic. It can be a style or hot topics like IPA’s West Coast v East Coast.
And they have also added two really cool special events to their calendar

1- “On Friday, January 27 at 7pm, The Cannibal LA will host an intimate tasting in the restaurant’s newly opened private dining room, in collaboration with Firestone Walker’s “Jeffers Drops Acid (Knowledge),” a study in acid and acid fermentation in beer from Jeffers Richardson, director of Firestone Walker’s Barrelworks wild beer facility in Buellton, CA. The tasting ($35* per person) will include three different beers from Barrelworks, which will exemplify how perception shapes the sensory perception of wild beers. The class does not include food and should last about 90 minutes. This is the only iteration of “Jeffers Drops Acid” planned for 2017.”

(I have attended a Drops Acid presentation and it is fascinating. You will not see and taste sour/wild ales the same plus Barrelworks beers are awesome)

2- “On Thursday, February 9, The Cannibal LA hosts The Bruery for a four-course pairing dinner featuring a menu from Chef de Cuisine Jude Parra. The pairings will be focused on wine/beer hybrids, a category that is poised to grow exponentially in 2017, and that Kurland is particularly fascinated by. While the menu is currently TBD, the pairings will include the following beers:”

Confession – sour blonde with Riesling grapes, Bourgogne Blanc – sour blonde with Bourgogne blanc (chardonnay) Grues, Rue Sans – sour rye ale with Roussane grapes, Jurassic Gose – Gose (sour wheat) aged in port barrels with Chenin Blanc grapes and Vindictive (formerly Winefication) – bourbon barrel aged stout with Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre.

(Bruery beers pair wonderfully with food and a beer dinner is a great way to try multiple beers that are normally unavailable and kinda pricey)

Something’s Off

On August 7th you can taste some bad beer for a good cause. That cause? BEER EDUCATION:


You’ve likely heard terms such as diacetyl, acetaldehyde, DMS, and so forth in the context of beer flaws and off-flavors, but what do they really taste like? Join us Tuesday, August 7th from 7-9pm for the second in a series of sensory analysis sessions to find out.

We’ll conduct a tasting of ‘doctored’ beers, each highlighting a specific flaw. Prepare to savor such flavors as cardboard, green apple, creamed corn, and if you’re lucky maybe even a little baby diaper! This is a great opportunity, particularly for newer brewers, to learn to identify beer flaws and troubleshoot their process. If you have any beers that didn’t turn out as you’d planned, bring them along!

In order to prepare course materials, have enough sample beer, etc. everyone attending the class must be registered via online store. There are only 25 spots available so it will fill up fast!”

White Labs Educational Tasting Room

I saw this article over on the Brewbound site and nearly leaped for joy.

And what could make me do that? THIS. “The White Labs Tasting Room, featuring beers created on site, is open! The lineup of experimental beers change regularly and feature brews created with different yeasts and different brewing and fermentation techniques. The custom built tasting room features 35 taps.”

I checked out a tap list and it had 7 different IPA’s with yeast’s ranging from Australian to San Diego Super to Irish. What a great way to see the effect of yeast in a beer.

This tasting room sounds like a beer education you don’t want to miss.

Get yourself some beer education

When I saw this press release come through, I knew the L.A. Beer Scene needed to see it and ASAP. Including myself, who will probably be there learning as much as I can too!

Certified Cicerone ® Launches LA’s First Certified Beer Server Class

“The three part class begins on Wednesday April 11th at 7 PM, and is continued for the next two consecutive Wednesday evenings. I am running this class for the introductory cost of merely $50 for three 1.5 hour sessions which will each include a tasting flight of my choosing, as well as a pint from El Segundo’s tap room. (Book and Testing Fees not included).

The class is structured around Randy Mosher’s book Tasting Beer, which I have found to be the best one resource for the exam. I recommend buying the book and reading through beforehand to obtain as much knowledge as possible, though it is not absolutely necessary. The first class focuses on history and the brewing process. In the second class we cover how to evaluate beer, as well as how to serve and pair with food. And in the third class we cover the great wide world of styles. At the end of each
class we will taste a flight of beers, each flight designed to teach you about certain styles and processes.

Once you have completed the course, the exam can be taken online for a cost of $69. It is a 60 question, multiple choice exam that must be taken in 20 minutes and has a passing grade of 75%. I will hold a follow up class for anyone who fails to pass on their first take. There is one free retake.

More info on the program is available at
For more information on the class, or to sign up email: Thomas Kelley

I hope to bring further beer education to Greater Los Angeles with this class. The more educated people are, the more passionate they become. And.. the more passionate craft beer drinkers there are in the world, the better. I have been certified for close to 2 years now, and continue to be a big advocate for the program. The Certified Beer Server certification is a great entry into the growing world of craft beer, and also a great door opener for anyone who is looking to break in to the industry.

**Free Hop Class**
Additionally, I will be holding my first hop class at Rockefeller in Hermosa Beach on March 26th from 5-7 PM. This will be a free preview for any of you whom are wondering if I actually know what I am talking about *wink*. We will be pouring White Dog IPA, and Blue House Citra Pale. I will be talking about our use of hops, and how it relates to traditional uses through the ages, as well as history, taxes, and the current market forces that bear down on breweries. As well as drinking some fabulous HOP BOMBS!