CA Brewery Tour # 2 – Farmers Brewing Company

Our next CA stop is in Princeton, or you can go to their Chico taproom, it is Farmers Brewing Company.

Let us see what is farm to tap…

530 Unfiltered Wheat Ale – “A very refreshing, easy drinking beer. Along with U.S. grown barley, the grain bill consists of medium grain sushi rice and soft white winter wheat grown and harvested on the fields of our family farm. 530 is late hopped during the brewing process, producing a slight citrus/floral aroma and flavor. The residual yeast produces a subtle, yet complex flavor.”

Sunup till Sundown Session IPA – “Inspired by and named after a farmer’s work ethic, this session-style IPA is easy drinking, sun up ‘til sun down. Estate grown rice and wheat, a golden sunset color, orange blossom aroma, and fresh lemon zest combine into a burst of tartness, dissipating into a smooth finish.”

Fall Harvest – “Fall is the time of year when we are busy in the fields and an Oktoberfest style beer couldn’t be more fitting for us to celebrate with. By toasting our estate grown rice and using our wheat, we have added an American twist to the traditional German style of beer.”

Stubborn Mule – “This loaded liquid is made from 100% estate grown rice and fermented with sake yeast. Brewed with blueberry, ginger, and lemon, this gluten-free beverage is crisp and delicious.”

CA Brewery Tour # 1 – Narrative Fermentations

Stories in a bottle is how some people describe bourbon but it also holds true for beer, except substitute 16oz can. That is the segue to the first California brewery tour for October, which is Narrative Fermentations.

Here are some taster tray ideas from the San Jose brewery…

Knusprig German-Style Festbier – “a deep yellow German style Festbier coming in at 5.9% alc/vol. It’s malt forward with very minimal hop influence, but still bright and lively. It has a beautifully subtle character of lightly toasted bread dough with the use of Vienna and Munich malts supporting the Pilsner malt base.”

Hippie Couture IPA – “is like eating white gummy bears at a Grateful Dead show. The overwhelming danky aroma is the first thing to hit you….once you get a sip though, big flavors of pineapple, mango, lychee, passionfruit, and light supporting citrus notes fill your mouth while leaving a sticky resinous finish.”

Nectaron 3000 Hazy IPA – “We were able to get our hands on some sweet sweet Nectaron hops and boy oh boy this stuff did not dissapoint! We layered in a little Citra and Nelson for good measure and the result is super rad! Nectaron 3000 is pillowy and pungent! It has big aromas of tropical fruit and dank. On the pallet, expressive flavors of pineapple, passionfruit, peach, and pink grapefruit coat your mouth.”

The Moon Stood Still Blueberry Cheesecake Sour – “This beer is a ton of fun with huge jammy blueberry flavors that’ll make you think you’re drinking a slice of Blueberry Cheesecake! There is a bit of sweetness at an expected level that also tempers the acidity. The elevated ABV also helps those flavors pop in a big way.”

GABF Winners – 2022

Time to re-cap the Los Angeles and LA friends (aka California) winners at the 2022 Great American Beer Festival.

L.A. Gold

Ten Mile – Hooked on Onyx American Black Ale

Ogopogo Brewing Nix International Pale Ale

Highland Park Brewery DDH Pillow Juicy/Hazy Imperial IPA

Beachwood Full Malted Jacket Scotch Ale

L.A. Silver

Lincoln Beer Company Amber/Red Ale

Eureka Brewing Methuselah Imperial Stout

L.A. Bronze

Malibu Brewing Happy Days Honey Ale

Highland Park Brewery DDH Timbo India Pale Lager

Arrow Lodge Chanlaso Cream Ale

other winners include a brace each for Topa Topa, Riip Beer and Figueroa Mountain. Riip bagging Silver with Dankster Squad in the ultra competitive IPA category just ahead of North Park Beer and their Hop-Fu. Colorado’s Comrade Brewing won with More Dodge, Less Ram.

California took home 76 medals overall but Firestone Walker was shut out in the first time that I can remember but stalwarts like Stone, Russian River and Moonlight picked up medals.

AB962

September 13th saw a new bottle measure added to California…

According to the Surfrider Foundation, “AB 962 would create a returnable bottle system in California and preserve bottles so that they can be washed and refilled by beverage producers rather than being crushed for recycling. It would also allow for returnable bottles to flow through the state’s Beverage Container Recycling Program (CRV/Bottle Bill). This bill would even the playing field between bottle washers and recyclers by paying the same amount.”

Granted we can do more but every little step helps. I don’t think we will ever hit the heights of growlers back in the early days but maybe we can get a return a bottle, buy a bottle going.

Through Dec. 31

Per the Los Angeles Times, California will continue to allow sidewalk alcohol through the end of 2021.

You can read the full story HERE.

But why is this important?

Because, unfortunately, this may not be the last time a pandemic wreaks havoc. Variants abound as I type this and the US probably won’t ever reach true herd immunity due to laggard states.

Since California is a tourist destination, what are temporary work arounds, will need to be permanent options for visitors and to make safe the restaurant workers that remain.

I do think that more imaginative outdoor dining set-ups can be found but without the certainty that they willbe viable in the future means that many may be slapdash as opposed to creative.

Closed

If you were told to go home today, and not return to work until April, without pay, could you do it?

What if the return date was unknown?

Well, Los Angeles bars and restaurants have been forced into that choice by the governor of California and the mayor of Los Angeles.

After those paragraphs, you might be surprised that I am for the halt. What I am fully against is not having any other part to the plan. If a restaurant chain lays off or furloughs their staff or is at a small margin and cannot survive a week off, then the results will be massive. And not in a good economic way.

Your favorite restaurant might be gone. Or breweries will close and not just temporarily. Without a second part to this plan, that involves supplementing income for both affected businesses and workers, then we will be forced into an economic panic and we have seen that Americans will panic and panic hard.

Closing bars and restaurants will put even more pressure on grocery stores and speaking as someone who waited 1 1/2 hours just to enter a well run Trader Joe’s and also saw the empty shelves at Amazon/Whole Foods can attest, that pressure is going to be too much. Then we expect underpaid gig economy workers to deliver food and groceries! Until one gets the virus, of course.

There needs to be a full multi-pronged effort. Even if the details are not ready, it should be made crystal fucking clear that restitution will absolutely be made. Or that a the very least that delays in payments will be vigorously enforced as business practice for now. All there is now is vague promises of support.

Health now is vital. But to sacrifice tomorrow in the process is just a Ponzi scheme. One that individuals and small business should not have to shoulder the cost of without a promise of having that favor be returned.

State Stats

The statistical arm of the Brewer’s Association put up a handy set of graphics for each state that gives a snapshot of brewing activity in the state.

This time around, I want to point out the rankings that are in smaller print underneath the headline numbers. And what I want to specifically call to attention are the per Capita numbers. California has the most breweries in the Union but factoring in our large population we fall to middle of the pack at 22nd. Same with economic impact, we fall from 1st to 27th.

Those aren’t to be read as negative because, we may have a higher proportion of tiny breweries. And ranking higher in per Capita breweries might strain the infrastructure and lead to unhealthy amounts of competition.

The last important number is that economic impact. If that continues to grow, even if the other numbers do not, then the clout that our brewer’s guilds can wield will grow.

900

An early economic gift popped up over social media from the California Craft Brewers Association….

5 years and 587 breweries started up in California. That is amazing.  And my eye picked out another pair of numbers that might be even more important in the future.  Over 91% of residents are within 10 miles of a brewery.  With that kind of base, taprooms can become that 3rd place hub that can really put down roots.  Even die hard (It’s Christmas) water lager fans will be tempted to try “their” community brewery if they can be there in a few minutes from work on a Friday, or it is near their favorite restaurant, or they have just driven by and seen a crowd outside.

Now when do you think California hits the 1,000 mark?