In the Tap Lines for August 2015

header_attractionsWe got a bit of rain here in L.A.  Enough to tamp down one fire but boy we could use a respite from the humidity and heat so that the wider spectrum of beer can be enjoyed instead of just lawnmower beers.  But enough gloomy weather talk, a new brewery opened in San Fernando at the tail end of July and it will be reviewed this month along with….

~ e-visits to three breweries in Idaho.  No potato beers here. Just Payette, Sawtooth and Portneuf beer.
~ special reviews of beers from just outside L.A. from places like Santa Barbara, Claremont and Temecula
~ Heads-Up on Los Angeles Beer Events
~ Three suggested beers to buy this month. One light, one medium and one dark
~ Beer-centric podcast review, Strange Brews from WBEZ in Chicago, (also home to This American Life)
~ I will tap the Firkin and give my no holds barred opinion on the craft beer world
~ … and Session # 102 will converge bloggers onto a single topic, this month it is the future landscape of beer

Here are two events to get your August started in the Los Angeles craft beer world:
1) August 7th – Brew at the Zoo
2) August 19th – Phantom Carriage One Night Stand at Beer Belly

Sean Suggests for July 2015

Trying to keep things a little light without being too one-sided in beer styles. The other, more noticeable theme is, breweries a good day trip distant from L.A.

Claremont Craft Ales/ Indian Hill 4.0% ABV
Indian Hill is our version of a Session IPA: bursting with hop flavor, but restrained in alcohol. We aggressively hop this one with huge amounts of citra, while the addition of wheat keeps this beer crisp and easy-drinking – perfect for your adventures to the beach or the mountains

Pure Order Brewing/ Red Eye Wheat 4.85% ABV
“The inspiration for this beer is derived from the old Dunkelweizen style of South Germany. It is a red wheat beer with slight caramel and raisin tones. While a traditionally bitter beer, the Pure Order brewing team’s western influence has made it a perfect brew for the warm Santa Barbara sun. Contrary to what you may think, the name Red Eye Wheat is a reference to the flight you might take to the German home of this beer’s style rather than the state of your eyes after a couple Pure Order cold ones. The label itself is a tribute to the famously convenient and uniquely styled Santa Barbara Airport.”

Bravery Brewing/ Old Rat 9.0% ABV
“An old rat is a brave rat. This is an English style old ale, with flavors of chocolate maltiness,toffee, and subtle dark fruit. ”

New Brewery Saturday

With the recent spate of breweries opening hither and yon here in the L.A. Metroplex, it was time to check out some new places.  To make things easier for the reader, I will address the same topics at each brewery from what I had (which is the most important), the ambience and what the potential looks like.

First StopAlosta Brewing in Covina


What did I have? – A sampler tray of the last 5 on the list.  The last two that I tried were the strongest of the group with the Brown Porter coming in 2nd to the Oatmeal Stout which had a pleasing silky mouthfeel to it.  Unfortunately, the remainder were not up to my snuff.  The IPA was especially disappointing with a soapy sort of non-hoppy taste.  The Saison and the British Pale were fine but a taster was enough.

Ambience? – Nice big space.  Plenty of seating and a view of the brewery that looks to have some room to grow.  A little on the antique side but I like the big banner with the logo on the wall. Another plus is no TV.

Potential? – Plenty.  Minus the IPA, the beers can become , with tweaks, really solid.  Saw some barrels  in the back as well, so maybe there will be some special releases down the road.


Second StopSanctum Brewing in Pomona


What did I have? – A sampler tray of all six beers they had.  The Dubbel was very nice.  Glad to see one on the menu.  The Chocolate Stout was also tasty.  Nice milk chocolate notes.  The Blonde and apple Blonde were so-so.  The apple blonde needed to be differentiated from the regular either by making it drier or amping up the apple.  The British mild came out way undercooked.  Very wort-ish.  And the IPA was also not right.

Ambience? – Located in an old packinghouse amidst an artist colony, this spot was great.  What I expect from a brewery tasting room.  Lots of wood.  Again no TV which is a plus.  Good amount of seating and a brewery dog too.  The benches were a bit wobbly though.

Potential? – Sanctum had the widest quality swings for sure. But they are really new and still working on the first batches so time should make the beers more consistent across the board and if the dubbel is an indication, it could really take off.


Third StopClaremont Craft Ales in Claremont


What did I have? – A sampler tray of all six beers beers in an actual tray!  Now, this is it.  This brewery is the oldest and it shows.  They have a wide variety of beers and all were consistent.  The special releases won praise from my partner in touring, Richard and I thought that the coffee beers were really well done and tasty.  The Jacaranda Rye was also a standout for me.

Ambience? – This is a proto-typical Cali brewery spot.  In an industrial park, a bit warehousy with a roped off parking lot patio.  Big TV was at the ready for a certain football game.  But the place was packed.  Food was available from a sort-of food truck too.

Potential? – I don’t mean to be too Pollyanna-esque but I think they could pull fans from LA.  Solid stuff all the way around.