L.A. (not so) Confidential

The rest of the craft beer country will really know about us now that Henry from Monkish has landed on the cover of the latest Beer Advocate magazine issue.
Let that sink in for a moment. Now let me break out my red pen to see what I agree with and what I don’t…

Right off the bat, the fact that the fabulous Bernie Wire was the lead photographer was perfect even if the article failed to live up to my expectations, I knew that the look would be good.
I was a little concerned by the map though accompanying the piece. No names of breweries, towns or freeways on it. Little less than useful. Maybe another photo there? Or a sidebar about the writer’s favorite beers?

The tone of the piece authored by Sean Lewis is good. L.A. Is a stereotypical city and it is good to start with a confirm and then move on opening set of paragraphs. I also liked the ending which turned the focus to one of the strengths of L.A., the women who power our scene. I am also glad that Eagle Rock and Ladyface got their due though I wish Strand would have gotten a mention too.

Speaking of mentions, I think it should be obligatory that Craftsman and Mark Jilg get mentioned for holding the banner up. But maybe that was cut for space or considered something that has been done too much already. Also a plug for L.A. Beer Week would have been nice.

Overall, not much to quibble with. Lewis is a reliable writer for Beer Advocate who seems a straight shooter without betraying a bias. You could take this article and visit the breweries and bars and get a solid snapshot of what L.A. beer is.

Oh and I am artfully hidden in the Eagle Rock photo on page 58.

Monk-More not ish

One of my favorite breweries is hitting the tripel mark, Happy 3rd to Monkish!
And today, they will be celebrating from 1pm to 8pm with a killer beer list from taps and bottles including my favorite beer of 2014.

Below are my ideal beer flights:

Light & Hoppy Flight
ST. CITRA – Citra single-hop belgian pale
SELECT MONK 1 – multi-grain single dry hopped w/ Sorachi Ace
SELECT MONK 3 – multi-grain tripel dry hopped w/ Sterling and Sorachi Ace
SELAH – saison w/ brett
CRUCIS – single conditioned w/ brettanomyces (Brux)

Dark Night Flight
HEM & HAW – dark saison w/ brett
ARRIVANT – rye saison w/ brett
FUNKY HABIT – brown saison w/ brett
DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL – Belgian-ized imperial stout
BOURBON-BARREL-AGED MAGNIFICAT – bourbon-barrel-aged spiced winter ale

Special Addition Flight
SHAOLIN KICK [ON CASK] – dubbel w/ sichuan peppercorns + Thai Basi + Sriracha
SEME DELLA VITA – tripel w/ pistachios and vanilla bean
CAFFE DELLA VITA – tripel w/ pistachios and vanilla bean and coffee
APOPHATIC – dark specialty ale w/ orange peel, cinnamon, coriander, fennel seed

Anniversary on Sunset

After L.A. Beer Week and without the Great American Beer Festival on the agenda, I was able to take a mini-vacation of five days from beer so that I could prepare for Sunset Beer and their anniversary party.  And this year, there is a twist…the tap list will include a collaboration with Monkish Brewing of Torrance, for the aptly named Sunset Beer’ brewed with Lotus Seeds.  I have never had Lotus Seeds so I don’t know how they will taste in a beer but if Monkish can make me enjoy pistachios in a beer, which I don’t eat in real life, then I am down with the lotus.


Sean Suggests for April 2014


A very SoCal list for April.  We roam from 10 minutes from my home to Golden Road, then take a looooong drive to Redlands for a new IPA and then pick up one of my favorite beers of the year so far, made with a nut that I wouldn’t touch if you handed one to me.


Golden Road 329 Lager 4.8% ABV

“Medium-bodied, crisp and refreshing, 329 Lager is perfectly suited for L.A.’s outdoor culture and a drinkable complement to summer barbecues, beach hangouts, baseball games and everything in between. A balanced combination of Bravo, Tradition, and Opal hops, the merican-style lager emanates a delicate floral finish with notes of honeysuckle and jasmine.”


Hangar 24/ Betty IPA 6.5% ABV

“Betty is an American IPA boasting a blend of Mosaic, Citra, Simcoe and Centennial hops. We spent 8 months perfecting this hop blend, and we love the huge range of juicy aromas and flavors we were able to hit: tropical fruit, citrus zest, berries, stone fruit and pine are all packed in… ”


Monkish/ Seme Della Vita 9.4% ABV

“Belgian-style tripel brewed with pistachios and vanilla beans”

Ring in the Year with…

…the right glassware.

Beer afficianados, even the ones not into breweriana and collecting end up with pint glasses and tasting glasses and many other branded glasses but I sometimes wish that I had a complete set of craft beer glassware at the ready for every occasion.

And as much as I love promoting local and favorite breweries via their logo on a shaker pint, I do wish that I could have a set that really shows off the beer in color and aroma.

Something like this…..


…from the Red Envelope website and made in Bavaria by Spiegalau.

    • stemmed pilsner glass has 15 1/2 oz. capacity and is designed with an open mouth for intense flavor release – ideal for stouts, Belgian style ales and pilsners

FOR MY Belgian Strong Monkish ale, Anomaly

    • grand pilsner glass has 15 oz. capacity and a slim elegant shape to channel dry hop aromas – ideal for light golden color pilsners such as German or Bohemian styles

FOR MY light and big hopped Lagunitas Sucks

    • wheat beer glass with 24 2/3 oz. capacity and a tall wide shape that allows for fluffy head – ideal for German wheat beer, Belgian whites and wheat ales

FOR MY Lomaland Saison from Modern Times

    • lager beer glass with 19 3/4 oz. capacity and classic lager shape – ideal for powerful IPAs, pale lagers and English strong ales

FOR MY  Fresh Hop (and Salmon Safe) IPA from New Belgium

Review- Feminist from Monkish


Great to see this Monkish flagship beer in Bruery style bottles. I think that Henry is doing some really creative things in Torrance and I am glad that I have a growler to use at will, or whenever the traffic allows.  Feminist pours a reddish brown color. I first get hibiscus notes. Followed by a dry, antiseptic Belgian yeast strain. Puts cranberries in mind for some reason.  I have found that hibiscus can be way too overpowering but it works here.  It also puts me in mind of Thanksgiving.  I think this would be perfect with turkey and stuffing.


#LABW5 Pick of the Night – Thursday 9/26

Screen shot 2013-09-07 at 8.04.35 AM

Each morning throught L.A. Beer Week, I will give you my Pick of the Night.  The ONE event I think rises to the top of the list.  Some days that choice will be harder and there might be 1A and 1B’s (if I get wishy-washy).  I will endeavor to pick events you can just head out to.  But if tickets are required, I will mention it.  But expect crowds.  Craft beer and craft beer in L.A. is popular.

Belgian Take Over w/Monkish & New Belgium at Village Tavern
Thursday September 26th 2013 7:00 pm-10:00 pm

Thursday Sept 26th New Belgium & Monkish Brewery Tap take over and Pint Night give away. Rare and Selective beers from both breweries on tap.

I have yet to visit the Village even though it is in nearby Atwater so this is a perfect excuse to see the decor and ambience.  And the beer too.  Those are two strong breweries paired together.

Review – Dat Moi from Monkish

If all goes according to plan, this will be on tap at Beer Belly for my “Light and Crafty” event on the 9th of this month.  Along with Pivo Pils from Firestone-Walker it is a new favorite summertime beer and perfect for a growler buy because it will go quick.


Dat Moi pours a striking yellow color with a bit of a floral perfume aroma.  Nice big fluffy head as well.  The first sip is sharp but I don’t get either metallic or corn pop like certain lagers I could name.  Instead, I am getting notes of grapefruit and flowers.  Very crisp with nice bubbles.  For a primarily Belgian influenced brewery, Monkish has made a mean lager that I really enjoy. Beer-Hope-Love indeed.


Enjoying Beer and Food at City Tavern

City Tavern will be hosting a “Beer Enjoyment Dinner with Monkish Brewing Co.” event on Sunday, February 10 (6 PM pre-meal drinks/6:30 PM dinner). Our family-style menu is carefully planned out by chef Wesley Pumphrey to compliment Monkish Brewing Co’s Belgian-styles. The event will feature four-courses plus five delicious brews. In attendance will be owner/brewer Henry Nguyen, he’ll be introducing and talking to patrons about his beers.

Course One blanquette de veau aux chicons
» veal cheek, belgian endive, celery root paired with rosa’s hips » belgian-style brown ale spiced with rose hips 7.3% abv

Course Two bagna cauda
» warm baguette, winter crudité paired with red table » belgianized red/amber ale spiced with pink peppercorns 5.6% abv

Course Three braised lamb shoulder
» root vegetables and braising jus paired with anomaly » belgian-style strong ale 8.5% abv

baked mushrooms &roasted beets with smoked cheddar paired with crux
» belgian-style single ale spiced with elderflowers 5.4% abv

Course Four
» chocolate hazelnut fondue, warm caramel paired with magnificat » belgian-style christmas ale with spices 10.1% abv

Tickets are $48 per person (tax and gratuity not included). Call 310-838-9739 to reserve your seats.