Review – Pacific Rain from Ninkasi

Los Angeles has actually gotten rain this month. Nowhere near what the Pacific Northwest endured but it is a lot greener on the ground and grey in the skies which makes the press sample that I received from Ninkasi Brewing all the more appropriate.

Pacific Rain Pale Ale is brewed with Citra, Simcoe, Mosaic and Nugget hops along with exotic lava-filtered water. At first a little hop bite in the aroma but then the grain takes over. Really malty like almost fully cooked bread. For all the hops advertised on the label, this beer is really quite British in the subtle hop notes. Is it the lava water that is making the difference? The more I drink, the more ESB Pacific Rain is to me.

Review – Peyote Pale Ale from Baja Beer

As breweries expand distribution, I sometimes get samples sent to me to review, usually though, not saying “Sample” right on the bottle. Baja Brewing sent me there to-be renamed Peyote Pale Ale to test out.

Here are my thoughts…
I am of two minds on this beer. It is firmly in the class of the maltier side of pale ale. All well and good once I re-calibrated my tastebuds and my mind. There is a nice caramel note without the sweetness that I think plays well with the hops. But those hops are just a little too buried for me. As it warms, the beer opens up though and some fruit notes knock on the door.

It would be educational to me to try this beer fresher at the source to see if a little more bitter brightness would come through and ameliorate the caramel notes.


With world governments at a standstill regarding getting Syrian refugees to safety it is heartening to see craft beer make a positive step into the breach.

Mikkeller launched ’HELP’. Proceeds from he sale of the beer will “go to The Danish Refugee Counsel and the organizations working with Syrian refugee children in Lebanon.” Launch date is today.

“The project was inspired by a photo series in Aftonbladet by Swedish photographer Magnus Wennman. A series of heart-breaking images showed sleeping or exhausted refugee children without a bed, a roof over their head, a homeland and in some cases without parents.”

The beer will be distributed and sold worldwide and the plan is to brew it every year to continue the support.

Review – Glutiny Pale Ale from New Belgium

Despite recent reports about how affected (or unaffected) people are by gluten, it is always good to have choice for those who truly can’t handle it and a choice that doesn’t taste like a weird science experiment.

Enter New Belgium and their Glutiny line which includes a blonde ale and a pale ale…..
Glutiny pours a light orange color from the biker labeled bottle. I can’t quite pin the aroma down. Orange flavored gum maybe. Not a bad thing but different. The taste is light touching thin at points but like the Omission beers it doesn’t taste funny like the completely gluten free beers. It has a nice bitterness that could probably be ramped up even more. Final notes are tannic and tea like.

I will have to see how the golden ale stacks up but this is a nice XPA in my mind.

Featured Review – Dry Hopped Pale Ale from Founders

Founders bottle release reviews started with the Centennial IPA and now move on to the Dry Hopped Pale Ale.
The Pale pours a clear orange with a head that is foamy initially but quickly settles down to a small rim of white bubbles.It is orange and bready on the nose.

And then a good sting of hops strikes you at the top of each sip. This beer doesn’t have a load of IBU’s but it comes across as quite bitter with a note of orange peel.

It is more bracing than many pale ales and for that matter many IPA’s and I find that to be refreshing.



If you are not a fan of Jim Gaffigan, well what’s wrong with you?  Super funny.  Talks about food.  In fact his latest book is about food.  And now he has his own beer!  (from the folks at Point Brewing) And from the look of that like counter, people are digging the idea at least.

What other comedians should have a beer?  Aziz Ansari springs to mind for me.

Unity ’14

Ever had a beer collaboration? Sure, you have. There are plenty out there. Ever had a beer where all the ingredients were from one state? Longer shot but you might have. But I am sure that you haven’t had a beer brewed with Gargoyle hops. Oh and it’s a sessionable pale ale with local fruit.

And it is the signature beer for L.A. Beer Week the 6th. Of course I am talking about the beer named Unity. The beer was brewed at Eagle Rock Brewery with members of the Los Angeles County Brewers Guild. Country Malt Group also pitched in with a donation of California-Select malt and add in some Centennial hops to pair with the rare, native to California Gargoyle and you have one heck of a way to celebrate all things craft beer in Los Angeles.

UPDATE: I sampled 6 on its release day on the 12th and I really liked it.  Nice and hoppy but it has the characteristic sessionability you come to expect from Eagle Rock.  I detect quite a bit of grapefruit notes throughout but without crossing over into juice territory.  I strongly suggest trying a pint and getting a bottle to toast with later.

Just off the Turnip Truck…

…or perhaps a better way to headline this post is Born Yesterday.  A new beer coming from Lagunitas that will be hitting shelves soon and will only travel 24 hours from the source.


I was treated to this news while at the Beer Bloggers Conference.  It will be around 6.2% and will have the now beloved Citra along with Mosaic and Willamette hops but the kicker is that the store will get it 24 hours after it is packaged.  This will be a beer that you MUST check the dates on.  Freshness will be key and I do not want to see reviews of stale Born Yesterday.  Lagunitas already makes one of my all time favorite beer in Sucks and a new favorite in Mandaraison (which damn well better come back) so you can expect goodness here.

Tour de Fall

Fall (which we don’t seem to be getting this year in L.A.) used to be a time for Oktoberfest biers. But more and more, you start seeing hoppy fall beers. And New Belgium is adding to that sub-genre with Tour de Fall, a beer that I thought, at first, was a signature beer for their bicycle festivals Tour de Fat. The Hop Kitchen in Fort Collins must be a busy place.