New in Orange County

One could argue that now is a great time to open a brewery. California is re-opening so a new taproom won’t have to rely on 4-packs to go. Maybe that is why an uptick is happening south of us in Orange County with Dueling Ducks Brewing Co.

..who opened last month and Juniper & Morgan who premiered this month…

..which means quite the epic Orange County trip will need to become planned.

Chapman Crafted – Coffee

Chapman Crafted is now more than just beer. On January 23rd at the more beer than coffee hour of 6:00pm, they will launch their cold brew, drip, and espresso that are made with their house blend roast, which they have named, Composition. Also on tap will be their First Roast Coffee Porter as well as other limited-release coffee beers.

Featured Review – Citrique from Unsung

I love the comic book back story of Citrique on the can label.  This IPA from Unsung Brewing starts dry. Close to a mouth puckery beer.  Closer to hazy in taste but not look.  It hits on the promise of lemon for sure and thankfully not a fake candy lemon.  This beer is almost tart tasting. Even the faint aroma is straight up lemon.  

1st Visit – TAPS Brewery & Barrel Room

This brewery has been on my list for a while and I feel bad that it has taken me this long to make it down to visit. But finally, I took advantage of a free Sunday and headed south on the 5 to TAPS.

Nice big space when you factor in the large outdoor patio.  Medium amount of TV’s and a side games area with a couple games.  The digital menu boards are nice and easy to see and you also get the paper option with the food menu on the flip side. You order food from the on-site TAPS truck at digital kiosks. Being the goof that I am, I kept trying to “dip the chip” only to be helped by a staff member who pointed out that the card reader was on the side. The burger that I ordered was OK but had a chile spice that gave off a weird heat.

There were plenty of beers on the list to sample so I picked out a taster tray plus a ½ pour to gauge the quality.  Below are my quick (at the bar) tasting notes:

The American Cream – solid. Maybe a touch too sweet.  Velvet mouthfeel.

Coffee and Cream – bright yellow in color. Smooth.  Again kinda sweet.

Boise Named Sue – light with a bright hoppy hit. Fades into close to DIPA territory

Rind Games – worst of the group. Weird sweet tart taste to it. Not very hoppy at all. 

Bjorn in the USA – not bad. cereal-centric. doesn’t look unfiltered.

Except for the Boise, the beers didn’t light a fire. The space is nice. I am sure the patio is a big hit and the fact that this is where you can crowler up is cool.

Featured Review – I Love It by Noble Ale Works

If memory serves, this IPA from Noble Ale Works won at the L.A. IPA Festival in the past. So I thought that I would re-visit since I am doing Orange County beers to review this month. I Love It starts pine forward with a grapefruit aroma. High, sticky amount of bitterness. Lovely light orange color in the glass. Overall dank and woodsy with a bit of a burn at the back end too. 

Featured Review – The San Francitra Treat IPA

What better way to kick off a month of Orange County featured beer reviews than with a triple collaboration. Artifex, Bottle Logic and Unsung Brewing have concocted a hoppy treat.

I picked up my can at Vendome in Toluca Lake introgued by the blue can and the fact that rice was used. Learning later that, African Queen, Azacca, and Citra hops were probably playing a more prominent role. The DIPA had a great aroma pour out with the opening of the can. Very fruit forward. Tropical to be more exact. It veered more to IPA than DIPA to me and though honey was also added, I did not pick up on it. I would certainly pick up a second can if seen on store shelves.


I have fallen way behind in Ventura and San Diego county beers as well as Orange County where the relatively new Brewheim has landed in the 2nd half of 2018. It looks like I will need to plan an excursion south.

Review – Share This OC from The Bruery

Thanks to the generosity of The Bruery (shout out to Cambria), I got to sample the latest Share This offering: OC.

For the third iteration of this charitable series, Food Forward is the beneficiary to help with their aim of getting overabundant food off of neighborhood trees and to people who can use it.

OC has orange zest, TCHO cacao nibs and vanilla beans and it pours nearly black/dark brown. Of the three added flavors, the vanilla comes through the strongest, the cacao is strong too but there is much more of a lactose, smooth almost milkshake flavor to this beer. I wish that the orange zest was more present to add another layer to the vanilla and chocolate.

Recent Bruery beers have been tongue tingling sweet but OC steers clear of that trap without losing the strong flavors. This perfect as an Easter beer.