Like Totally

When I first saw the above image, my immediate thought was that The Rare Barrel was doing hard seltzers. After a breath, I saw that, in fact, a canned golden sour and that is exciting. First because it will be a lower price point (hopefully) and second because the 16oz size is better to appreciate the acidity for us with sensitive stomachs. Lastly, it will shatte the myth that spurs have to be presented in bottles, as lovely as those presentations are.

Rip City Brewery # 2 – Threshold Brewing

The second Portland stop is right on the…

This Montavilla area brewer and blender focuses on (4) styles: IPA’s, funky farmhouse, mixed-culture and bourbon forward stouts.

Here is what I would put in my taster tray:

Triticale Mass, dry-hopped farmhouse ale

Jens Bailed grisette

Brut Punch tart and refreshing IPA DDH w/Comet, Idaho 7, Simcoe and Sabro hops

Casimir The Great, imperial stout aged in whiskey barrels

Recap – Welcome to the Wood Cellar

I will be in Torrance for two straight Saturdays and the first stop is the Wood Cellar of Smog City as they blowout their barrel-aged beers.

Here is my report:
I had (5) tasters and it was tough choosing what to have. But I had two really great beers on contention for my Best Of 2018 list starting with…
Citra Quercus – Bright hop presence to this blended beer adds lemon notes to the sour creating a near lemonade taste that is fabulous.
Super Spittin’ and Cussin’ – Great spice character and heavy on the sour in this “Ice wine” styled brown with just a little bit of anise to add complexity.

The other three Wood Cellar beers were more interesting and fun but did not reach the heights of my “winners”…
Spiced Summer Saison – mild spice, little lemon, smooth
Moroccan Cuddlebug – very spice forward. Sour comes through but the fruit is lost
Enoki – earthy, funky, nutty

The other highlight was the tour of their wild area that included meeting Cesar, the barrel whisperer and Toby, the inoculator. Hopefully I will be able to glean more Wood and Wild notes from them at a less busy time. We also saw their extra hard work with persimmons.

As usual Laurie and Porter were great hosts. Going out of their way to make sure people were not only having fun and great beer but also being challenged and educated too.

#LABW10 – Sour

In the run-up to L.A. Beer Week, I am highlighting a different event a day that you should consider. Here is # 1…

From Cellador Ales comes the S. CA Sour Friends Fest

Here are the details:
“Join us Saturday, June 23rd for the first S. CA Sour Friends Festival, in partnership with Angel City Pit Bulls!

From 12:30p to 4:30p, you’ll have access from unlimited 2oz pours from the following breweries:”

Future Sour

Some sour beers are heading our way on October 14. Smog City will be releasing two! This Sour Future is the sour brown with only 1200 bottles. And even more limited is the release of Tall, Darth and Handsome, an experimental sour porter.

1st Visit – Cellador Ales

Take the Roscoe exit of the 405 (N or S), drive past the ????-A-rita plant that also “brews” Bud and you will be close to Cellador Ales helmed by the gracious Kevin and Sara Osborne.

I posted earlier this month about their soft opening hours every other weekend and I will talk more of their beers over on Food GPS but here are some photos from my 1st Visit to their barrel accented tap room…

Sean Suggests for December 2016

Since the December blog is filled to bursting with holiday seasonals, for the monthly suggestions we will end with what to drink for Christmas morning, breakfast beers as it were.

Dogfish Head / Beer for Breakfast 7.4% ABV
“A stout tricked out with all sorts of breakfast ingredients including Guatemalan Antigua cold press coffee, Maple syrup harvested from Western Massachusetts and for the quintessential Delaware breakfast touch – Rapa Scrapple and their secret blend of spices. 2-row Applewood smoked barley, Kiln Coffee malt, Flaked oats, Roasted barley, Caramel malt along with additions of Molasses, Milk Sugars (lactose), Brown Sugar, Roasted Chicory lay the foundation for this malty, breakfast-themed concoction. Enjoy huge notes of coffee in the nose and savory layers in the flavor”

The Bruery / The Grade 7.6% ABV
“The Grade is in. It’s built on the backbone of a rich, cold-fermented baltic porter made popular in countries bordering the Baltic Sea. Similar to an imperial porter but distinctly different, the baltic porter style is heralded for being full-bodied, roasty and smooth, with overtones of toffee, coffee, caramel, chocolate and dark fruit. We take it one step further and hammer it home with the bold, sweet flavors of maple syrup and a touch of fenugreek, placing it in a different, experimental class entirely. “

Epic Brewing/ Big Bad Baptista 12.6% ABV
“Big Bad Baptista is inspired by traditional Mexican coffee, Café de Olla, which is served with cinnamon and piloncillo, an unrefined sugar. The Cinnamon adds another layer of complexity and accentuates the earthy character of Mexican Coffee, but more importantly, it captures the essence of a place and its culture. As beverage geeks we wanted to pay homage to that rich tradition and offer our unique take. “

A Vertical Cascade

If you want to fill your cellar with years of beer in one purchase then the latest news from Cascade Brewing will help you bulk out your collection. The Portland blendery is releasing a limited series of Vertical Reserve Box Sets. 100 four-packs is all that will be available and each will hold bottles of a single brand from the past four years’ releases: 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Each of these sets will set you back $100. But considering that many bottles are tucked into bar bottle lists or unavailable means it makes the deal more appealing.

Kriek was recently released and future releases will drop on the first Friday of each month. It may not be feasible for many to trek north for it but maybe this idea will permeate and other breweries may use this new type of variety pack.

Beer Dinner Review – Lost in the Woods

I did not know that Pedaler’s Fork in Calabasas was not only a restaurant but also a bike shop and coffee spot as well. Plus it was the host of a beer pairing dinner with the challenging foudre based beers of New Belgium Brewing.
Thanks to the generosity of New Belgium, I was able to learn more on the Art (and Science) of Beer and Food pairing with the challenging and damn tasty, sour beers from the Fort Collins Foeder Forest.

Course # 1 – Shrimp Pasta with Black Pepper Nage and Pea Tendrils paired with Transatlantique Kriek
This was an odd choice. The bright and tart cherry from the Kriek was dulled by the cream and salt of the shrimp and the pasta. The cherry didn’t get a chance to shine and would have been better served with a salad that had some cheese and nuts in it. The ravioli were quite good as was the sauce and the beer was fantastic (my second favorite of the night) but combined they just didn’t add anything.

Course # 2 – Braised Pork Shoulder with Charred Celeriac Puree and Dried Apricot Sauce paired with La Folie Sour Brown
Now this worked! The light touch of apricot with the pork really found a willing partner in the La Folie which added a tart bite and notes of barrel wood to the food.

Course # 3 – Chocoloate Mousse Cake with Chocolate-Blackberry Ice Cream and Blackberry Sauce paired with NBB Love
First off, this beer is beyond excellent. It was so good. Subtle whiskey mixing with tart and a bit of blackberry as well. The chocolate mousse was fine. But in comparison it was the undercard of the dessert course. I had the cake and had sips of the beers and it was fine but it didn’t light a fire. A blackberry sorbet or gelato with chocolate cookies might have been stronger.
Kudos to New Belgium though for the thoughtful swag though. A really cool wood coaster with the Lost in the Woods logo, a napkin with the logo and a keychain bottle opener with wood and metal too. SO much better than a glass. Well done.