Thanks to a windfall of breweries distributing in L.A., instead of bemoaning when a new beer was released (but nowhere near me), I now get to buy it. Which means that I can pick up a can of Bell’s Brewery newest addition, Quinannan Falls Special Lager Beer when it arrives in June.

Here is part of the backstory- “Quinannan Falls” pronounced “҆Kwi-ni-naan,” or Q-Falls as it affectionately known at Bell’s pub, has been an Eccentric Café favorite since 2009.”

And the beer description – “The end result is a dry-hopped lager that possesses a crisp, dry bitterness you would expect from a German pilsner, but the use of highly aromatic Simcoe hops from the Pacific Northwest, evoke the fragrant pine forests that inspired this beer.”

Not Los Angeles-er

Angel City continues to add beers to the rotation with the latest (after their Double IPA) being the pun-illy named Lager. The lager “is a slightly sweet honey grapefruit lager with a strong citrus aroma and a subtle tart bite. Made with pink grapefruit and sage honey…”
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I have enjoyed a good track record with the lighter beers from ACBC such as the Marilyn Cream ale and their pilsner so I predict this one will be good too.

Featured Review – Oktoberfest from Ninkasi

The final Okto bier review is of the Eugene, Oregon version from Ninkasi Brewing.


This Oregonian take on the Festbier Lager really starts off quite sharp.  Lot of malt and carbonation really hits the taste buds.  Some metallic/bitter hop notes as well.  Strange (to me) combo of loads of grain/cereal notes combined with a surprising lightness. Also a touch of savory and salt is the lingering taste.  The beer pours a lovely dark orange color with a thin line of foam all around the edge of the glass.  (Yeah, it’s not an OktoGlass).

Of the four FestBiers that I reviewed this month, this is probably my least favored.  The salt kick at the back end really drowns out the malt and kills any sweetness that I expect from this style.  I may have been expecting more since their Prism series of lighter beers have really struck me with their flavor.


Review – Snakebite From Gigantic

Many moons ago, I embarked on a month-long visit to London as a college theatre course.  My naive beer and alcohol knowledge consisted of wine information gleaned from my parents and college parties.  For some reason, I became enamored of the Snakebite a 1/2 lager – 1/2 cider concoction with black currant added.  It was not good.

But now, memories paint it in a different light and Gigantic Brewing has teamed with Cider Riot! and Beau’s All Natural Brewing to make a 2015 version of the Snakebite. The Gigantic version is Kolsch fermented with apple juice and black currant .


How will it compare to my faded recollections?  Let’s see….

Right off the bat the currant and apple flavors pop. Thankfully, it isn’t in a sweetened juice way as this ale/cider hybrid gets very dry, very quickly. There is a biscuity undertone and a bit of watery lightness on the back of the tongue to stave off a complete drying effect. This amber/red streaked colored beer still retains a beer-iness even though the aroma has a bit of mint quality to it. Like drinking a sour ale, this rewards the fan who slowly takes it in rather than as a quick refresher type of beer.

On my new (patent pending) rating scale of, Buy It! – get a bottle. Try It. – get a taster. Shy from It. – get something else first  Snakebite gets a Buy It!



Review – Grandpa Tractor from Barley Forge

You have to look for and grab any lagers that aren’t hopped or imperialized. And if you want to dig deeper to Vienna or Dortmunder Export, you have to search further.

Thankfully the refurbished beer aisle at my local Whole Foods recently had two bottled offerings from Barley Forge in Costa Mesa. One of which is the excellently named Grandpa Tractor, a Dortmunder “style” export lager.


This beer is a bit too mineraly and salty to me but otherwise is close to the style mark in my mind. It has a nice hit of malty sweetness to it and drinks easy.  The initial aroma was a bit off-putting but it soon rounded into form. I would categorize this offering as better with food than without. It offers some compare and contrast flavors that would work in the pairing arena.

Holiday Ale # 17 – Yard Sale from Uinta

Uinta yard sale

At first, I did not know what Yard Sale had to do with Christmas but then I read that it refers to a ski slope spill that sends gloves, skis and such down the hill to form a pile, like a yard sale.

Clever and a cool can for a Winter lager that Uinta Brewery describes as having “Honey and caramel undercurrents. Vanilla accents. Malty with light and hoppy notes. Finishes dry. Yard Sale pairs well with earthy mushroom bisque, grilled lamb or pork, and even mussels and clams.”

Review – Point Bonita from Headlands Brewing

Pt. Bonita a Rustic Lager / Bohemian Pilsner is the second beer that I have had from Headlands Brewing Co. in the Bay Area.  Now I just have to sample their Double IPA, Hill 88 to have had their mainstays of their line-up.

Pt. Bonita pours a very clear yellow with loads of bubbles rising to the top. A slightly sweet bread aroma on the nose. Taste is brusque upfront. A tang of hop bitterness and carbonation that wakes you up. A little viscosity rounds the mouthfeel out. Solid malt taste here. And a little zing of lemon at the tail end.  Quite nice.


Review – The Crisp from Sixpoint


I have been looking forward to having a Sixpoint beer again and thanks to my sister and the spirit of Christmas, I was able to purchase some.  So I got the Winter Warmer, the Double IPA, Resin and the one that I was most looking forward to (which I bought 2 of), The Crisp.  A lager.  Now I know that lager isn’t cool.  It’s got to be hopped up or imperialized before the beer snobs will deign to drink it but this is a damn good beer period.

The Crisp pours a solid yellow.  Nice floral aroma.  The first taste has a real zing to it.  That herbs and flowers taste really sticks with it.  I will be sure to make this beer colder the next time because I think that will add a layer  that will really round it out.  But as is, with hot L.A. January weather warming it up, this was a flavorful beer.  I would only add a little more carbonation to make it a little less viscous but that is a minor quibble.


Review – Gilt Edge from Ruhstaller


I have had a couple Ruhstaller beers now.  They of the distinctive netting on the bottle necks and the detailed information on the provenance of the beer’s ingredients from this Sacramento brewer.  Then I see this hoppy lager (in a can) which I immediately grabbed knowing that I would review it later.  So here goes….

Pours a medium yellow. Foamy head at first. Nice amount of bubbles, very sparkly and festive looking. Cereal aroma hits me first with a spicy hop note on the side. Taste marks this as more of a hopped lager. Initial flavor is that malt crispness that is quickly hidden by the piney hops. Though the grain does make a comeback at the end of a sip which is cool.  Love the stick on label attached to the plain silver can.  And I love even more the listing of the hops and barley.  Makes for a more informed customer!


And what am I reading now. you ask?  Well it is Double Feature by Owen King.  Yes, another writing son of Stephen and Tabitha.  Must be genetic.  I have just started but I am partial to father-son dynamics so it should be up my alley.

Your 2013 Decadence


If you think of AleSmith and their Decadence Anniversary beers, and you had to guess as to what style they would brew for 2013, I don’t think that a dark lager would have been amongst your top 3 guesses. And I like it that a brewery can still keep people guessing.

“Decadence was first released in 2005 to celebrate our 10 year anniversary. AleSmith has released a new version of Decadence each year around our anniversary date in late fall. The style chosen each year is different, but you can be sure that it will always fit the description of Decadence!”

So kudos to AleSmith for the offbeat stylistic choice for Decadence this year.