Sean Suggests for May 2022

This month is all California with a leaning to styles not normally seen or ingredients not as often used.

Firestone Walker / Green CheekParrotphrase – 4.5% “We teamed up with Green Cheek Beer Co. to create Parrotphrase, a limited-edition Dry-Hopped Grisette with crisp flavors of passionfruit and guava. Parrotphrase will be the Welcome Beer at the Invitational Beer Festival.”

Cellador AlesGolden Healer – 5% “an intensely aromatic, and reminds me of the perfumey quality of walking by a guava tree in Southern California in the fall. The base beer has lots of depth, with classic Farmhouse beer character, which plays well with the slightly herbal note of the guavas.”

Beachwood BrewingBarrel Aged Full Malted Jacket Scotch Ale – 12% – “Bringing back our two-time GABF award-winning Full Malted Jacket Bourbon Barrel-Aged Scotch Ale. With its NEW partner in crime, Full Malted Jacket RYE Barrel-Aged Scotch Ale. You’ll taste accents of vanilla and toasted oak that meld seamlessly with notes of toffee and caramel.

A Book & A Beer – South to America by Imani Perry

Time to pull away from the notion that we can just dump our racism on the south and walk away, Imani Perry takes us to the south and what she sees in South to America.

Americans need to learn how to better understand our history. So many people try to twist America into an exceptionalism pretzel without looking at our many flaws and mis-steps. This book goes state by southern state describing the history of the American south.

Perry is jaunty and thoughtful in her writing. She is very engaging and comes at the thorny issue of race from unique and thought provoking angles but I found the book absent a real through line and it was jumpy. Going from one place to another without rhyme or reason. Once settled in, each state was given its due but I found it overall not organized and a bit too memoir leaning.

To pair with this book, I want people to try a beer from a brewery or a state that you currently hold a low opinion of. For me, that could be a brewery that focuses on pastry stouts or goopy fruited beers. Then taste it and try to see why that style puts you off, try to understand it. Walk in that beer’s shoes.

In the Tap Lines for September 2019

header_attractionsThis month the big event is in Long Beach as the California Craft Beer Summit comes south for their 2019 iteration.  There will be tips about the festival as well as events surrounding the gathering of the state’s brewers in the coastal town.

~ e-visits to three breweries coming to Long Beach for the Summit Beer Festival
~ special featured reviews of beers in the tall chimney hat can format
~ 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 Kafka by the Shore
~ A Podcast & A Beer listens to 30 for 30 – The Sterling Affairs
~ I will tap the Firkin and give my no holds barred opinion on the craft beer world.

Here are two events to get your September started in the Los Angeles craft beer world:
1) September 21st – Craft Beer LB Festival
2) September 21st – Oktoberfest Kick-Off at Rasselbock Long Beach

Sean Suggests for June 2018

No June Gloom so far this month, so let’s dip our toes into some super light beers that also have left-of-center ingredients tossed in.

Abita/ Watermelon Lemon Shandy3.50% ABV
Inspired by the taste and aromas of summertime, this crisp, golden lager is brewed with pilsner and wheat malts and blended with refreshing watermelon and zesty lemon juices for a sweet, freshly squeezed flavor. All of our Harvest Series brews are made with the finest Louisiana-grown ingredients, keeping us Louisiana True.

Fritz Briem/ 13the Century Gruit4.60% ABV
Before the German Reinheitsgebot, in 1516, beer was not explicitly brewed with water, malt, hops & yeast through In fact the Reinheitsgebot was as much a ban against certain substances & adjuncts as it was a government instruction to brewing beer. Until then it was common practice to use a variety of different spices & plants instead of hops to flavor and prolong the shelf life of the beer. Some of the adjuncts that were used even had anesthetic & toxic effects. Gruit beer has roots in many cultures and each culture had its own “special ingredients”: Egyptians (Mandrake based), Native Americans (Corn based), Arabian Tribes, Gaulles, Germanic Tribes and the Vikings. Gruit beer became especially popular during the middle ages in Germany in the regions of Westphalia & Lower Saxony close to the borders of Belgium & Holland. During this time the ingredients for beer were very expensive, in particular hops. This interpretation of a traditional Grut Bier is spiced with Lorbeer (Bay Leaves), Ingwer (Ginger), Kummel (Caraway), Anis (Anise), Rosemarin (Rosemarie) & Enzian (Gentian). It is brewed with water, wheat & barley malt, “pollinated wild hops” and fermented using top fermenting yeast.

SoLArc / Straw Beer5.60% ABV
Straw Beer is a refereshing tart wheat fruit brewed with Yerba Mate, Hibiscus Flowers, Local Strawberries, and Foraged Prickly Pear Cactus. It pours hazy with a hint of pink as the wheat and oats in this unfiltered brew add a juicy mouthfeel The Prickly pear was picked young to add a bitterness that balances nicely with the tart flavors of Hibiscus and Strawberry. The level of Yerba Mate are not enough to keep you up all night, but just enough to invigorate the soul.

All of these beers can be found at Sunset Beer Co. (unless they got bought up real quick)

A Book & A Beer – Wood & Beer

Normally, I would review a book of Fiction or Non-Fiction for this monthly post that was totally unrelated to craft beer. But this month, I break that rule to talk about Wood & Beer a new-ish release from Brewers Publications written by two heavyweights in the beer world, Dick Cantwell and Peter Bouckaert.

The book covers a lot of ground delving into history, construction, natural resources and microbiology. Mostly, you will know a lot more about wood after reading this book. From the veins and structure of trees to fashioning staves that make up the barrel.

Yes, it is directed primarily at brewers and to a lesser extent home brewers but there are lots of interesting factual nuggets to be found in the pages. One that really stood out for me was that over 85% of U.S. breweries are at least dabbling in using wood in creating beers. That seemed astonishingly high but it does account for the exploding market in barrels and the growing range of types of barrels being used.

I had hoped to read more about how Elysian and New Belgium grew their barrel programs and what they learned, mistakes made and surprise successes. There is a bit about the Foeder Forest and the Salazar influence on the wild and sour beers coming from Fort Collins but I would have lapped up even more. Maybe I will have to wait for Lauren Salazar to write a sour book. There is nothing about Elysian, which is understandable but still a bit disappointing to me.

For drinking with this book, I can give two California suggestions. Amburana Porter from Three Weavers is a lovely dark ale that really showcases the Brazilian wood and imparts tremendous cinnamon notes into the beer. It is one of my favorites from the Inglewood brewery. I have been told it is a limited release but it seems to pop up frequently.

Then, I should say try anything from Barrelworks – the sour arm of Firestone Walker but let’s narrow that down to trying two Bretta’s. Rose and my absolute favorite, Bretta Weisse. They really showcase how oak works on a beer to add layers. These are two very well rounded beers.

More Impartial Suggestions

While scanning the online presence of the Oregonian newspaper for Blazer and Linfield Wildcat news, I ran across this article from the beer writer for the paper, John Foyston about a beer census.


Next Glass is kicking up the traditional, staid beer recommendation app to the next level with Science. (And a big truck).  They are literally going across the country, buying beer and analyzing it.  The plan is to create “the most objective aspect of taste: chemistry. Since we understand the chemistry behind your likes and dislikes and look at your taste, we’re able to deliver highly accurate recommendations.”

You can sign up on the website for news or follow their progress on the interwebs.  Though as of late October, I saw no schedule for arriving in Los Angeles.  (Which they better visit).


Sean Suggests for August 2014


The August selections are all California brewed but that is where the similarities end. All three breweries have wildly different cultures and I assume yeast cultures as well.


Firestone WalkerOaktoberfest 5.00% ABV

“A proper German Märzen bier. Traditional imported malts offer subtle honey-like aromas with hints of Noble hop spice. The stars of this brew are the imported Pilsner and Vienna malts that offer malty sweetness that carry through to the end. German Hallertau hops add rich Noble hop character to balance this exceptional Marzen.”


Modern TimesPhalanx 7.50% ABV

“At 7.5% ABV & 100 IBUs, Phalanx is somewhere between a single IPA & a double IPA. It prominently features Australian Summer hops, which bring a very distinctive peach/melon character to the beer. That awesome fruit character is balanced by some citrusy Chinook hops & a touch of dankness from Horizon.”


LagunitasImperial Red  7.80% ABV

“This Special Ale is In Reality, the Exhumation of the Very First Ale We Ever Brewed Way, Way Back, in 1993. Brewed With a Big Head, a Muscular Malty Thorax, a Silky Texture & All Strung Together With a Hoppy Sweet Nerve Sack… Ick. A dank and roasty treat.”

Sean Suggests for August 2013


For August, I am mourning the loss of one of my local beer buying haunts, Red Carpet here in Glendale, CA.  They are moving east to Monrovia which means I probably won’t get out there as much as I used to.  But here are 3 beers taken from a recent e-mail of what they have in bottles.  All three have weird ingredients as a secondary theme.

Dogfish Head / 61 Minute IPA with Syrah Grape Must 6.5% ABV

“The name Sixty-One is a reminder that this beer is Dogfish Head’s best-selling 60 Minute IPA plus one new ingredient: syrah grape must from California. ” An interesting hybrid that is more wine forward than hops to my palate.

Brúton / Stoner Blonde 7.5% ABV

Pours a golden yellow. Really odd aroma on this one. A lot of fruit flavor to this one. More than I can recall having had in a beer. Mango. Passionfruit. Pineapple. Does not get sweet and the 7.5 abv is completely hidden.

Great Divide / 19th Anniversary Ale 10.2% ABV

“Brewed with pure birch syrup and aged on birch wood, this beer embraces reverential tradition and revolutionary innovation”.  Good to see an anniversary ale that is not only not an IPA but uses different cooperage as well.”

In the Tap Lines for June 2013


June in Los Angeles is usually the calm before the heat storm that sits upon the valley’s through October. So now is the perfect time to find a summer beer and I can think of one event that might help with that as Beer Belly and BSP team up to showcase the light and crafty beers that will get us through those triple digit days

~ e-visits to three breweries Micro-Maltsters
~ video reviews tackles two IPA’s from San Diego’s Mother Earth plus more beer reviews minus the videos
~ Heads-Up on Los Angeles Beer Events
~ Three suggested beers to buy this month
~ I will tap the Firkin and give my no holds barred opinion on the craft beer world
~ … and Session # 76 will converge bloggers onto a single topic
~ plus many more posts about new beers, beer products and breweries

Here are two events to get your June started in the Los Angeles craft beer world:
1) June 1st Firestone-Walker Invitational
2) June 9th Beer Belly + Beer Search Party event.