NBA City Brewery # 1 – Porchlight Brewing Co. in Sacramento

I am going to focus on those NBA cities with rising teams, which takes us to the surprising city of Sacramento which has had a boffo (for them) start to their NBA season.

And the brewery to visit is….

Porchlight Brewing Co. on the East Side of the capitol city near Cal State – Sacramento. I wanted to pick a few beers whose names resonate with the current Kings squad and their fortunes.

Hype Train basketball pundits are wondering if their hot start is real
NE style IPA, super juicy

Victor Mexican lager they will need to play with the “it” style of fast pace just like Mexican lagers are the new wave
Vienna Style Mexican Lager 4.5% ABV

Hardknox Double IPA they have had tough years but maybe playoffs are coming
West Coast Style IPA 8% ABV
2018 CA State Fair Silver Medal Winner

Down Range Stout they are going to need to take some more 3 pointers as the season winds on
Irish Stout, 5.8% ABV

Get Ready to Summit

This week, specfically this Tuesday, you can get your tickets to THE California beer festival….

Head HERE to get your tickets to travel the state in #independent beer without traveling from Yreka to Calexico.

California Craft in Sacramento

It is almost that time of the year! The California Craft Beer Summit is fast approaching. 1 month out as of today.

From September 7th through the 9th there are “educational seminars on the state of the industry, strategies for growth, the nexus of marijuana and beer, women in the craft beer industry, industry compensation data, food and beer pairings and chef demos in the “Culinary Marketplace” and even sensory training. “TapTalks” on the floor of an experience-based hall include industry leaders and influencers, including Ken Grossman (Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.), David Walker (Firestone Walker Brewing Co.), Jay Goodwin (Rare Barrel), among many others.”

Now that may be too “in the weeds” for the casual beer fan. But I found the seminars to be full of information and the marketplace hall food and beer pairings were a highlight from last year’s visit too.

You can always just focus on the big beer fest at the end. 165 breweries from Yreka to San Diego will be pouring, right in front of California’s Capitol. With one quick flight to Sacramento you can taste beers from everywhere in the Golden State. It is too much beer (in a good way).

Buy Local Brewery Tour # 1 – Big Sexy in Sacramento

This month we stand with cities who have been SABInBev’d by an announcement that a “High End” outlet will be opening in their city. Starting in the Golden State’s capital, Sacramento.

Instead of Golden Road, how about visit…Big Sexy Brewing instead. Here are some beers that sound delicious to me…

Bracia Goddess of the Vine – Barrel Aged Blonde 11.2% abv
“This limited release blonde that has been aged to perfection with local grown Cabernet grapes and aged in cabernet barrels. This is a seasonal beer not to be missed!”

5149 – Blend 5.9% abv
“5149 is an awesome blend of two of our most popular beers. Tricky Ricky to bold? Daytime-Ish Blonde needs a little more oomph for you? Try it and this special blend and you might be hooked!”

AwKwArD HaNdShAkE – IPA 6.0% abv
“A golden bodied India Pale Ale with bold and juicy tropical flavors which delivers a subtle piney bitterness on the palate while finishing with a hoppy smoothness.”

SEXI MEXI – Mexican Lager 6.3% abv
“Yep we said it.. Sexy Mexi. This mexican lager is a smooth craft beer that delivers amazing flavors but is light enough to enjoy anytime.”

Sacramento Brewery # 3 – Sactown Union

Our third and final Sacramento stop is the Sactown Union Brewery. We are stopping here because when I asked a rep from the Beers in Sac website for recommendations. This was first on the list. So let’s check out the Union….

#KöLSCH Köln-style Ale
“Technology and social media have revolutionized communications, education, business … human interaction … and for all its pro’s and con’s, the interwebs cannot be overlooked for its power to give a platform to be heard, a voice to the otherwise voiceless. The revolution will not be televised … but it will be Tweeted! As a nod to this, we bring you “#KÖLSCH” Köln-style Ale.”

First Responder – Helles Lager
“German for “bright”, this beer salutes our brightest rays of hope that go through Helles to protect us: Fire and Police Departments, who are the brave First Responders. A portion of the proceeds from this brew go to the Sacramento Firefighters Burn Institute.”

El Campeon Del Campesino – Vienna lager + tamarind
“This Vienna Lager has a dry tartness brought on by organic Agua de Tamarindo, a Mexican Summer beverage. Named in honor of Cesar Chavez, the unifying force behind the ’70s California farm workers rights movement, & in thanks for the efforts of all those who work the land to grow the ingredients for our beers. Proceeds support the Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services.”

The Catalyst – Sacramento Common
“In keeping with Sactown’s rich German history, we re-create the original recipe with the Cluster hop that once made the Sacramento Valley world famous. This is the beer that made the miners smile after a long day of work, and will bring a smile to your face as well!”

Risen City Double IPA
“Bottom line: this is a really big beer . Named in honor of our town’s long history of overcoming adversity. A strong cast of Galena, Columbus, Citra and Equinox Hops join forces to set off a land mine of herbal and citric flavor on the back of your tongue!”

Sacramento Brewery # 2 – Track 7

The very first Sacramento brewery that I visited was Track 7 after Day 1 of the California Craft Beer Summit. My beer buddy and I Lyfted to the Curtis Park location and ambled outside to enjoy the beers and the weather and the smell of the food truck nearby. You can currently get Panic IPA and BeeLine Honey here in Los Angeles. So I am going to give you info on three other beers to look for when you head north….

1. “This is no typo. Yes, the spelling of Trein Wrak looks jumbled. But that is only because we opted to use the Dutch translation, since Dutch is the primary language of the Flemish region of northern Belgium. Fitting for a Belgian-style IPA, right? In our take on this amalgamation of beer styles, Belgian malts, American hops and Belgian Abbey yeast collide creating a bold IPA boasting an unbridled union of citrus and spice. This winter seasonal is a fan favorite, so enjoy it while you can. When it’s gone, it’s gone. Proost!”

2. “Riot Act Rye IPA boasts 11 hop additions that marry earthy and citrus hop flavors with the rustic spice of rye malt. Failure to comply with this proclamation may be met with looks of mockery and disdain from your friends.”

3. “Burnt Fog is a dark, smooth and complex porter with rich chocolate flavors suffused with subtle smokiness from the addition of smoked malt.”

My Favorite Brewery in Sacramento, Read On

Over two days and in between summit and festival, I visited four breweries in Sacramento. One I visited twice.
Fieldwork gets my nod because of multiple reasons. I tried four different beers. All were excellent. Shower Beer being my favorite. But the Taproom offshoot of the Berkeley based brewery had style. From the logo design to the detailed menu to the taster tray, to the beer names, even the sign out front.
Toss in a super opinionated brewer who may in equal parts make you agree or disagree with him over the course of one sentence and you have the makings of a cult favorite. Plus, you can get half pours if you ask nice.
No, you don’t have to order the NE inspired beers. They have other beers with hops to occupy yourself with.

Beers Drunk -Sacramento

Enough of the other stuff, start talking about the damn beer!

Here are my impressions on what I drank at the California Craft Beer Summit.

Damn if Rare Barrel doesn’t just swamp the competition. Arrows of Neon with lemon and lime peel was amazing and the second beer that I tried of the quartet they were serving, Gifted Branch with stone fruits was almost in that lofty zone too.

Bagby Beer Co.’s Corn Star, their take on the malt liquor was a step different from everything else I tasted that weekend in a good way.

Kinetic Brewing and their HiHopAnonymous IPA had a fantastic aroma and the flavor came through too. Very complex swirl of flavors even for a month old!

Sampled two beers from the buzzed about Alvarado Street and came away less than impressed. Especially with their Super Rad pineapple beer which tasted like fruit juice. The Peninsula Pilsner was better but not a big winner.

From Sacramento I tasted the Device Integral IPA, the Bike Dog Mosaic, New Glory Hazy Session amongst others but none really lit my world on fire. The Rope Swing Cream Ale from Oak Park would be my pick of this grouping.

Lastly, Moonraker Yojo 33 1/3 Session IPA was unexpectedly good. Most IPA’s fell into the “OK” category but this one had me thinking of ordering another 1/2 pint.

California Craft Beer Summit – Recap

Time to give a full recap of my trip to the California Craft Beer Summit.

What did I like, what did I see and how do I feel about California Craft beer now that I am back in Los Angeles….

Let’s start with the golden nuggets of wisdom that I picked up during the CCBA Summit:

Bart Watson
Gallup has done a poll with the title: “Do you have an occasion to drink alcohol?” Since the 30’s the Total pie doesn’t change much. What get drunk does.
1/4 Hispanics will be over 21 soon.
8 to 10 thousand breweries needed before possible saturation
4 California breweries make 90% of beer in the state only one is craft, Sierra Nevada
5% of breweries sell outside California

Peter Zien – AleSmith
13 years in the red.
No sales or marketing for 19 years
First made profit in 2008-9
Focus on quality, let the rest follow.

Adam Dulye
Lots of good information about pairing piece to piece. Like malt to toast. Or hops to salted peaches.
Build the pairing up from the base blocks.

Julian and Jeff
Water and beer are different solvents. Coffee behaves differently in beer
Have to keep the base beer constant otherwise the coffee needs to change.
Cold steep post fermentation has been the best way they have found with groundcoffee.
Do not treat the coffee as an additive.
The base beer doesn’t really stand alone without the coffee.
Wet processed vs dry processed coffee is a key decision.
Coffee beers don’t have a big shelf life

I picked these four seminars and talks because it shows the range of this Summit. Yes, there was plenty of great beer in the Expo Hall and the festival but for me, the learning was key. Each day I learn but much more was packed into this long weekend. From brewing techniques to brewing philosophy to dry, hard economic facts to memories and even harder facts of running a business.

The capstone discussion included the powerhouse duo of Russian River and Lost Abbey on stage. They were asked if they were starting now, if they would open a brewery now. Both said no without hesitation. But it didn’t seem as negative as when they implored brewers to dump batches and have rigorous QC measures. It didn’t seem as negative as the subtext of industry vets aging out and retiring.

I left cautious and wary having drunk good beers and beers with way too much cucumber. But I see this as growth. It isn’t bad to be a grown up. Grown ups can have fun but they also know what works and doesn’t. Our little industry is growing up and I think the next few summits will show that.

(Next up will be a more fun post about what beers I drank)