18 Years of Belgian Beers

Back in the dark times, if you lived on the Westside, you would head to Daily Pint. That’s all you really had. In the valley, there was Stuffed Sandwich. That’s all you really had. And for us in Glendale, it was Lucky Baldwin’s and their occasional festival.

Their big ticket item was the Belgian Beer Festival and it is back for it’s 18th year.

If you need a break from the hops and want to re-visit Belgium without the plane ticket then Pasadena is the place to be starting today.

Dip Coming Soon

I rarely make it out to Whittier even with the magnetic pull of the Bottle Room and their excellent tap list.

Now it is coming to me. Sorta. Harlowe’s French Dip, from the people who Bottle Room’d us will be opening in Pasadena on Union Street.

I know the cooking of Tony Alcazar is great and ff they have 1/2 the taplist that the Bottle Room does, well then, it will be a place to visit.

5 Years of Mass

Back in 2010, Congregation Ale House opened its Long Beach Chapter for “mass”. Fast forward to 2015 and they have (3) locations AND a brewery.  And the time has come for a party.
Tomorrow, Saturday, September 5th 2015 all Chapters will be festive. There will be commemorative glassware + 8 different Congregation Ales brews.

Another + the below specials:
Saison Mule – Saison with Ginger and Lime Peel

Passion Tea Kolsch – Kolsch infused with Tazo Passion Tea

Peach Consummatum – Imperial IPA with Macerated Peaches

Quadruple Hopped Batch 100 – Imperial Amber IPA with hops in the KEG

CC and CAH

Today, I will be talking craft beer events in Los Angeles in my posts.  So break out your Calendar app and start typing.

cah cc

On Thursday, the second to last day of January you can sample from a Cigar City Collab Flight Night at the Congregation Ale House in Pasadena
Being such Cigar City fanatics we had to find a way to have an event! Five beer flight includes: NNB Cigar City Ale, De Proef Tropical Tripel, Coronado Last Spike and all Widmer Collabs. CC beer starts flown’ at 7PM.

Food GPS Teaser – Where to go in Pasadena

Tomorrow in my weekly Food GPS post, I will highlight ten beer-y spots in Pasadena that as a beer lover, you should have visited or should be planning on visiting.

But I wanted to highlight a few other places that are Pasadena adjacent that you should also keep in mind….

in Highland Park

Maximiliano and the Hermosillo

in Monrovia

Pacific Plate Brewing and Certified Market

in Alhambra

38 Degrees and Grill ’em All


Mostly Up

Last Saturday, I got to taste along with a hundred others, 8 examples of coffee beers at the Pasadena outpost of Intelligentsia Coffee.


The event was titled Uppers & Downers and was brought here via the the beer website Good Beer Hunting.  We started and ended with Stimulus from our own Eagle Rock, in two different versions.  Regular and fully leaded with a shot of Intelligentsia espresso!  Both were my favorites of the night. Primarily, because both were coffee forward in comparison to most of the other offerings which were more coffee accented.


In between, beers from Goose Island, Angel City, Stone, Firestone Walker, Port all made with varying degrees of coffee were poured as the brewers or brewery reps extolled the process of adding coffee to different styles of beers.

But the most anticipated by the crowd was Dark Lord from Three Floyds.


Multiple vintages of the famed beer were in bottles, randomly my beer companion Richard got 2008 and 2010 which we shared and disagreed over which year was best.  I preferred the older because it had an additional “jammy” note that added to the wallop of sugar whereas the 2012 required a dental visit, it was that sugary.  Gotta say that this beer is quite over rated in my book.  I would go with Zombie Dust or Robert the Bruce or (name a 3 Floyd beer) before Dark Lord.

My anticipated beer was from Solemn Oath in Naperville.  I had my first beer from them on my Chicago trip and enjoyed it.  Less than a week later, I was having their None More Than Black, black IPA and talking to the brewer while enjoying it.  It took home my second favorite of the night award.  Of which there is no plaque.

The event had a nice showing and the venue worked as coffee practically hung in the air.  Mitch Steele from Stone and David Walker from FW talked with me for a bit, if I can be allowed to name drop.  Plus the assembled brewers regaled the crowd with their take on mixing coffee and beer.  The beer was fairly easy to get with minimal waiting which is a good sign for a new event in a space not primarily used for beer service.


Food GPS Teaser – Haven x2

Since the Food GPS post about the Haven Collective is broken up into two parts about the brewery and the semi-new Provisions Market.  So is this teaser post, photo edition.

part 1

The patio entrance to the Provisions Market
The patio entrance to the Provisions Market
Beer Selection – Pa
Beer Selection - Part 1
Beer Selection – part 1
Beer Selection - part 2
Beer Selection – part 2

part 2

Wil with the intro to Brian Thorson.
Wil with the intro to Brian Thorson.
Disco Pants
Disco Pants


Brian talking about the current Haven beer line-up
Brian talking about the current Haven beer line-up



Blind Donkey + Beachwood

On Saturday, 5/25 at 2pm Beachwood BBQ & Brewing will Tower Takeover The Blind Donkey.


It will be the “very first tap takeover” for the Pasadena joint and Owner Gabe Gordon, Head Brewer Julian Shrago & Creative Manager Jarred Ekstrom will be in attendance with the following on tap:

Foam Top – American Cream Ale – 5.5%ABV (GOLD Award 2012 World Beer Cup – Blonde or Golden Ale)
Hef Leppard – Bavarian Style Hefeweizen – 5.1% ABV
El Verano Saison – Belgian Style Saison – 6.7% (Bronze Medal at 2012 Great American Beer Festival® French/Belgian Saison)
Street 3, Block 2 – American Pale Ale – 5.5% ABV – 70 IBUs
Hops of Brixton – English Special Bitter – 6.1% ABV
Knuckle Head Red – American Red Ale – 5.7% ABV (Bronze Award at 2012 San Diego International Beer Competition)
The Falcon – West Coast India Pale Ale – 7.1% ABV – 99 IBUs
Full Malted Jacket – Wee Heavy Scotch Ale – 9.2% ABV
Still Life – Smoked Double Oat Stout – 8.8% ABV – 69 IBUs
Beyond a Reasonable Stout – American Imperial Stout – 10% ABV – 85 IBUs

Who’s Brewing at Haven

HAVEN Logo-thumb-325x335
I guess February 9th is Haven Day as two big announcements come from the OC and Pasadena outlets.

Haven Brewing has announced the addition of Head Brewer Brian Thorson to its team, based at Haven Gastropub +Brewery in Pasadena. Thorson, who has produced many acclaimed beers at noted Northern California craft breweries, Drake’s and Trumer Pils, will now oversee all production of Haven Brewing’s small-batch, house-crafted beers. Thorson will help define Haven Brewing’s core brand by working to create base beers as a reference point for all future brews. He will be focusing on a range of styles, with emphasis on sessionable beers.

“Haven Brewing’s unique set-up within a full-service restaurant really opens the door to so many ideas and possibilities,” commented Thorson, who resides in Arcadia with his family. “For the majority of my career, I’ve been punching out beers at production facilities, now I’ll be able to better see how beers go with the foods they are served with. I’m already inspired to try different things.”

Thorson has been involved in producing many noted craft beers still available and praised today. Over his five-year stint at Drake’s Brewing, he was responsible for creating Hopocalypse in 2008, an Imperial IPA (9.3% ABV, 100+ IBUs). Thorson created it to, in his words, “blow off some steam” after the monotony of running the bottling line and toiling with all the brewing and cellar operations wore thin.

“You’ve got to have those ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ brews every once in a while to keep the blood pumping and also keep you from going insane,” Thorson explained. “All of the barrel work kept me on my toes, but also allowed for a lot of creative flexibility. I was lucky enough to have a number of different projects going on, so I got to see a range of different beer scenarios at any given time.”

“We are optimistic about Haven Brewing’s future with Brian at the helm. We have the utmost respect for Brian’s accomplishments and contributions to the world of craft beer – outside of Hopocalypse, he was responsible for the revamping of Drake’s Aroma Coma summer seasonal IPA in 2011,” commented Wil Dee, Partner at Haven Brewing. “What makes a brewer like Brian so valuable is his passion for the craft, supported by his tremendous industry experience in dealing with crisis situations, like the hop contract changes a few years ago, and being able to be flexible and remain focused.”

Haven Brewing currently has 12 house-produced beers in its catalog, led by the very first beer released in March 2012, “Hello World,” an American Pale Ale (6.3% ABV).”

First Golden Road snags a new head from points north and now Haven is raiding that tradition too.