Sean Suggests for December 2020

Ladies and gentlemen! We have made it tantalizing close to the end of what is easily the the most negative adjective year in my 50 plus years on this planet so let’s end with some serious cheer, right? Here are my shopping picks for December.

LIGHT

Beachwood Blendery Canbic – 6.5% – “Lambic-inspired sour ale with raspberry, cherry, and meyer lemon zest.”

MEDIUM

Fantome Printemps – 8% – “Light, fruity and champagne-like. Fantôme brews special seasonal beers, never repeating a recipe from year to year.”

BIGGEST

Fremont Barrel-Aged Dark Star Spice Wars – 12.7% – “This year’s release is a blend of 24, 18, 12, and 8-month Bourbon Barrel-Aged Dark Star in 7-12-year old Kentucky bourbon barrels. This special edition adds winter spices to complement the smooth oats and bring you a stout delight wrapped in the gentle embrace of bourbon barrel-aged warmth. A touch of sweetness dances in balance with the hops to finish with a wave, and then she’s gone.”

In the Taplines for December 2020

header_attractionsHappy last holiday of 2020!  The rollercoaster year started high and then Covid cases went higher so it is a tough time for breweries so make this a give beer as gifts year.

~ e-visits to more GABF medal winning breweries
~ special featured reviews of holiday seasonals
~Heads-Up on Los Angeles Beer Events (Far in the future events)
~ Three suggested beers to buy this month. One light, one medium and one dark
~ A Book & A Beer reads The Midnight Library by Matt Haig 
~ A Podcast & A Beer listens to The Christmas Podcasts Podcast 
~ Great Beer names and Best Beers of the Month
~ I will tap the Firkin and give my no holds barred opinion on the craft beer world.

The Firkin for December 2019

Many people approach the New Year as a chance to project what new adventures can be embarked upon. Travel is an obvious one as are improving ones future health or finding a new job or just general steps forward.

I see that view but also look at the calendar change as a chance to leave 2019 things in 2019 and not re-visit them. Don’t expect me to say “OK Boomer” in 2020. And there are quite a few beer things that need to stay in the past….

Sexist beer names and the social media shaming that comes with it. If you are still finding any body part humor funny, well, I cannot help you and I am not going to publicize it either.

Lining up for special release beers. We should all agree that there is literally more than enough great beer out there that waiting to buy your max amount possible is not the best use of time.

Dryuary. Oh, how the articles about you are all the same. I felt better. I lost weight. But I didn’t have as much fun and didn’t socialize as much. Blinding glimpse of the obvious the whole experiment is.

Bagging on Untappd. I understand that the reviews may not be helpful but at least it isn’t as bad or mercenary as Yelp. Take it for what it is, a small form of free advertising when I post what I am drinking.

Sean Suggests for December 2019

This month we take a tour of Trappist beers from the East Coast and The Spencer Brewery.

~LIGHT
Spencer Brewery / German Pils 4.7% ABV
“Straw colored with a light, creamy head, Spencer Premium Pilsner is an authentic German-style Pilsner. Traditional noble German hops provide herbal notes, a floral nuance and the classic closing bitterness. Crisp, clean and refreshing – perfect after a day at work.”

~MEDIUM
Spencer Brewery
/ Trappist Ale 6.5% ABV
“Our recipe was inspired by the traditional refectory ales known as patersbier (“fathers’ beer” in Flemish) in Belgium. These sessionable beers are brewed by the monks for their dinner table and are typically only available at the monastery. Spencer is a full-bodied, golden-hued ale with fruity accents, a dry finish and light hop bitterness. The beer is unfiltered and unpasteurized, preserving live yeast that naturally carbonates the beer in the bottle and keg and contributes to the beer flavor and aroma.”

~BIG
Spencer Brewery
/ Trappist Holiday Ale 9% ABV
“Mahogany in color, wholesome in body, lightly spiced, a heart-warming feast day ale from our table to yours”

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

In the Tap Lines for December 2019

header_attractionsNow we get into the meat of the holiday ales.  Each day until Christmas there will be a new holiday beer to learn about along with other beer-y tidbits from both Los Angeles and the world.

~ e-visits to (3) from the Craft Beer and Brewing magazine Best Of Lists
~ special featured reviews of Christmas beers of course!
~ 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 Night Boat to Tangier
~ A Podcast & A Beer listens to The Battle of 187
~ I will tap the Firkin and give my no holds barred opinion on the craft beer world.

Here are two events to get your December started in the Los Angeles craft beer world:
1) December 7th – Brewyard’s 4th Anniversary Pajama Jammy Jam
2) December 8th – El Segundo Christmas Parade

The Firkin for December 2018


I just read that Democratic Presidential debates will be starting in June of 2019. So next year will certainly have even more weirdness than Washington DC has produced in the last two years.

Weirdness will also be front and center for beer. Cargill has decided to stop providing malt for brewing, an equipment manufacturer has gone under along with brewery deposits and Sam Adams got another exemption carved out for their tea and seltzer business. That was just this month.

I label myself a positive skeptic. I analyze and look at a situation with an eye to the sunny side. But I think that 2019 is going to be bumpy. Below are my predicted reasons why….

1. More breweries are trying the hard seltzer route even though it is a niche within a niche that they have not sold in before
2. Regional breweries are going to contract in both employees and product offerings (see Deschutes)
3. A new IPA sub-style will dent the hazy train enough to slow the 16oz brewery only release.
4. Successful breweries will start taking over flailing ones to expand their footprint
5. Some breweries will break off from the Brewers Association citing lack of support for their size of operation in comparison to the larger craft breweries.

Check back with me this time next year and we can see if my Magic 8 Ball was correct.

Sean Suggests for December 2018


The suggestions this month are appropriately Christmas themed and come from close to home and from far away.

~LIGHT
Deschutes / Jubelale 6.70% ABV
“A dark, malty celebration ale with layered flavors and beautifully balanced hopping. Jubelale pours deep garnet in color, medium bodied, with notes of chicory, earth, spice and fruit. To beer lovers, it’s like Yule fire and family.”

~MEDIUM
Karl Strauss / Nine Bonfires Blazing 7.50% ABV
“It’s golden hour. Time to reflect on the day, dust the sand off your blankets, and surround yourself with good friends. The night hasn’t turned dark yet, so why should your beer? Introducing 9 Bonfires Blazing, the 9th installment in our “Twelve Days” holiday series. Just like sweater weather in San Diego, this winter warmer is quite the oxymoron. Brewed with coffee, vanilla beans, and rolled oats (but without roasted barley!), it is blonde in color but has all the aromas and flavors of a bold, American stout. Pop open a beach chair and join us – ’tis the season for sharing stories and stouts around the fire.”

~BIG
St. Bernardus / Christmas Ale 10.0% ABV
“St. Bernardus Christmas Ale is the youngest descendant in the illustrious family of delicious Abbey Ales by Brewery St. Bernardus. This specialty beer is characterized by its deep dark colour, with a creamy, thick head and a full, almost velvety taste with a fruity nose. It’s a seasonal ale, brewed annually for the holiday season. The long winter nights are perfect moments to savour this ale with or without friends and to enjoy its unique, complex taste and after-taste.”


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

Sean Suggests for December 2017

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In honor of this month’s Extreme Beer Fest, let’s suggest three beers that are extreme in ABV and ingredients. And let’s keep it Californian too, while we are at it…

~LIGHT
Almanac/ Nectarine Cobbler7.2% ABV
“Nectarine Cobbler is our version of dessert in a glass. We started with yellow nectarines from Blossom Bluff Orchards, grown in high-summer along the banks of King’s River in California’s Central Valley. Four pounds of juicy stone fruit was added to each gallon of sour blonde ale and aged in oak barrels. We spiced the blend with cinnamon, ginger, coriander, and vanilla bean to recall the aroma of a freshly baked nectarine cobbler resting on the windowsill. Pair this autumn delight with mom’s baked desserts, Indian curries, and holiday gatherings.”

~MEDIUM
Ballast Point/ Peanut Butter Victory at Sea10.0% ABV
“Smooth peanut butter meets dark coffee in this roasty porter. This Peanut Butter Victory at Sea is a nutty version of our popular imperial porter. We took our trademark robust porter brewed with Caffè Calabria coffee and vanilla and added peanut butter, adding another level to this roasty, flavorful beer”

~DARK
Lagunitas/ Willetized Coffee Stout12.6 ABV
“Our friends over at Kentucky’s own Willett Distillery have one kind of barrel: wood. And they put two things in them: Bourbon and Rye. We were fortunate enough to get some of their Rye barrels, and we put our Imperial Stout in them. It’s a chocolatey, coffee-y, smoky, Bourbon-y beast of a barrel-aged thing. Word.”

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

In the Tap Lines for December 2017

header_attractions
Christmas time in the sun, the perfect time to crack open a big barleywine or barrel-aged bomb. Maybe in January. In the meantime, here is what is coming this month.

~ e-visits to three breweries from anywhere on the planet, no Mars because that is apparently a Bud planet.
~ special featured reviews of Christmas beers, of course
~ 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 Strange Weather from Joe Hill.
~ I will tap the Firkin and give my no holds barred opinion on the craft beer world.

Here are two events to get your December started in the Los Angeles craft beer world:
1) December 3rd – 1st Anniversary for Gunwhale Ales in Costa Mesa.
2) December 6th – TRVE Brewing + Burial Tap Takeover at Eagle Rock Brewery

Sean Suggests for December 2016

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Since the December blog is filled to bursting with holiday seasonals, for the monthly suggestions we will end with what to drink for Christmas morning, breakfast beers as it were.

~LIGHT
Dogfish Head / Beer for Breakfast 7.4% ABV
“A stout tricked out with all sorts of breakfast ingredients including Guatemalan Antigua cold press coffee, Maple syrup harvested from Western Massachusetts and for the quintessential Delaware breakfast touch – Rapa Scrapple and their secret blend of spices. 2-row Applewood smoked barley, Kiln Coffee malt, Flaked oats, Roasted barley, Caramel malt along with additions of Molasses, Milk Sugars (lactose), Brown Sugar, Roasted Chicory lay the foundation for this malty, breakfast-themed concoction. Enjoy huge notes of coffee in the nose and savory layers in the flavor”

~MEDIUM
The Bruery / The Grade 7.6% ABV
“The Grade is in. It’s built on the backbone of a rich, cold-fermented baltic porter made popular in countries bordering the Baltic Sea. Similar to an imperial porter but distinctly different, the baltic porter style is heralded for being full-bodied, roasty and smooth, with overtones of toffee, coffee, caramel, chocolate and dark fruit. We take it one step further and hammer it home with the bold, sweet flavors of maple syrup and a touch of fenugreek, placing it in a different, experimental class entirely. “

~DARK
Epic Brewing/ Big Bad Baptista 12.6% ABV
“Big Bad Baptista is inspired by traditional Mexican coffee, Café de Olla, which is served with cinnamon and piloncillo, an unrefined sugar. The Cinnamon adds another layer of complexity and accentuates the earthy character of Mexican Coffee, but more importantly, it captures the essence of a place and its culture. As beverage geeks we wanted to pay homage to that rich tradition and offer our unique take. “