Super Bowl LV

The odds of the NFL navigating to Super Bowl # 55 were iffy at best. But Florida beckons and it is time to give you some beer ideas for the big game based on the participants, beer styles or other themes.

Even though this is not a normal Super Bowl year, you will want to keep the ABV low at least through the first half so you can concentrate on the second.

Secondly, look for deeper cuts. What cities did Mahomes and Brady go to college and see if you can find beer from those places. If that is not workable then expand out to the state.

Another fun idea would be to only have beers with 5.5% alcohol to match the Roman numerals.

Lastly save one L.A brewed beer to drink at the end to toast the Super Bowl coming to SoFi next year.

1 Cent

Reasons to root for the Rams tomorrow:

  1. Because the Patriots are the opposite of America’s Team
  2. Because this is L.A.
  3. If the Los Angeles Rams come away from Sunday’s Super Bowl with a win you can celebrate at Iron Triangle Brewing because they will be pouring their lager from 2-10pm on Monday the 4th for a mere 1-Cent!

Review – Super Bowl Beers


Instead of talking about the final score of yesterday’s really good game, instead let’s talk about the score of bottles and cans that were had while waiting for play to resume on the field….

Beer buddy Richard and I started with Bell’s seasonal Hopslam. Go big or go home. The smoothness of the honey really works with the hops. It’s been a while since I had this beer and it was really good.

That was followed by KSA from Fort Point. You can’t drink big hops all game long especially a game with so many interruptions (though this year, not too many flags from the officials) and KSA was a good palate cleanser.

On to the third can of the day, this one from Pizza Port, their new Surf Stop Pale Ale, which seemed more IPA, maybe session IPA.

Next came yet another can, this the first cans ever from Brewyard Beer of Glendale. They put their Blonde Common Lager, Sunday Morning into 16oz cans and it was probably the winner of the day by a field goal over the crowler of Fortunate Islands that I had picked up from the DTLA Dankness Dojo earlier in the day. This was the grapefruit version and it was brewed here in Los Angeles.

As confetti rained on the Eagles, the final beer was opened from Yo-Ho Sorry Umami IPA made with bonito flakes. It wasn’t super savory. Was actually more like a saison and though not an IPA it was quite good.

P.S. Thanks to the Metro Expo line for getting me to the party and back in one piece!

Falcons V. Patriots

Haven’t nailed down a venue or beer choice for the Big Game?

Well, the Goat Group of bars has many options for you. Check out the following….

Der Wolfskopf in Pasadena
1/2 off first beer if in patriots or falcons jersey
Happy hour pricing for tots and pretzels = $3 tots/$3 pretzels

Surly Goat in West Hollywood
$51 open bar for duration of game (optional)
kickoff 3:30pm Doors open 1pm.
Superbowl squares for sale $10 and $20
and tons of Prizes

The Phoenix on La Cienaga
Extended happy hour
$5 draft special from kickoff until last play
Comfortable, spacious seating, wall-to-wall game visibility, and tasty bar bites.

Surly Goat in Encino
‘Merica special- Shot of bourbon and a Pilsner for $10

Little Bear – downtown (arts district)
Dew & Brew $10 Shot and beer (Tullamore Irish Whiskey and pint of Bavik Pilsner) *Will have food special but it is TBD at this time

In the Tap Lines for February 2017

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Now that Herr Gropenfuhrer has been installed as POTUS and the contractors at the White House are getting stiffed on invoices, it is the time to drink up, for the end of the world is nigh. So keep checking in to see what to drink and where to go in L.A. in February.

~ e-visits to three breweries from around the world like the Hong Kong Beer Company and Microbrewery Le Castor + 1 more.
~ special featured reviews of Beer Duos.
~ Heads-Up on Los Angeles Beer Events
~ Three suggested beers to buy this month. One light, one medium and one dark
~ A Book & A Beer reads Dark Matter from Blake Crouch.
~ I will tap the Firkin and give my no holds barred opinion on the craft beer world.

Here are two events to get your February started in the Los Angeles craft beer world:
1) February 4th – Melvin Brewing from Washington State invades Beachwood Brewing in Long Beach
2) February 5th – Super Bowl Sunday at Surly Goat West Hollywood

The (Now?) Annual Budweiser Super Bowl Ad reaction

Once again, Budweiser has taken the Super Bowl stage to bash craft beer…..

I understand that people loathe the righteous anger spilled over a stupid beer ad. I do. But if I have to scroll past post after post of David Bowie remembrances on Facebook and Donald Trump rants on Twitter because, that’s your jam, well, now you are paying the price for interwebs freedom of speech.

I also understand that this ad was the craft beer fans potty break time. The “Not” ad, as I call it, wasn’t for us. Bud knows craft beer people ain’t coming back. They have lost us. Who they are trying to keep and who are they trying to gain is what’s important and again where I think they have failed.

The ad is aggressive support for their consumer base. From the thumping bass music to the simple ideas, it is like the friend who has your back and is willing to fight for you. But that friend is wicked confused. I could go slide by slide and pick apart what works, “Not” Sippy and what doesn’t “Not” Small but I am more concerned about the internal marketing communication at SABInBevMiller.

Last year they basically pissed over their purchase of Elysian and their pumpkin peach beer and in 2016, they have doubled down on that tactic. The weird anti-fruit cup slide in the ad is in direct contrast to their Shock Top ad in the same Super Bowl. And they have added a swipe at imported beer which is odd for a Brazilian/Belgian company that does import a tiny bit of beer.

Why air an ad that fights your other brands?
A) It gives fodder to the group that hates you because you are giving them ammunition to hurt you with.
B) It confuses your customers that like both Bud and Shock Top (whether they know they are one in the same company)
C) it demoralizes the employees of Shock Top and the Imports (which would be a great band name) because they are now deemed as “Not” Bud.

Maybe the company is just too big to talk amongst themselves though I believe that the marketing and advertising side must be fenced off from the production side on purpose and that lack of communication leads, inevitably, to mixed messages. At the very least, Bud Light, Bud Regular and Shock Top should stay out of each other’s way. In a perfect world all three would work in concert to promote all of Budweiser.

This is all armchair quarterbacking but Budweiser needs to keep their advertising and marketing simple. Especially in a venue like the Super Bowl. Attack ads aren’t in the spirit of the context. People want funny, they want celebrities and/or they want poignant.

Here is a great example from a brand (Star Wars/Duracell) that took the love of the old movies, the hatred of the stupid prequels and the anticipation of the new Force Awakens and made a fun ad filled with childhood wonder….

Or you could really make an impact like Honda did by teaming up with Uber to provide free rides home. That is how you do it Budweiser. Oh and stay away from monkey-dog-baby hybrids. That shit scared me.

Today will be Super

Super Bowl day is great fun. My wife an I decamp to her parents house and I bet a whole nickel with my father-in-law on the game. It is a day to eat too much and leisurely drink beer over the course of an extra-long pre-game, game, halftime and trophy ceremony.
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This year “my team” will be the Denver Manning’s. Though I do like the exuberance and fun that Cam Newton brings to the game for the Panthers.

In relation to craft beer, there are two things to watch for…..

1. Which city brewery will have to graciously lose the now annual beer bet. See HERE for this year’s combatants.

2. What boneheaded ad ploy will SABInBevMiller unleash onto the craft beer world that will raise the hackles of even the most casual fans.

Enjoy the game!

Bad Form

There are times when a shot across the bow requires a response and other times you should continue gliding through the water without even acknowledging what has happened.

I so wanted to do the latter but the more that I thought about Budweiser’s commercial during the Super Bowl, the more I needed to add my two cents to the affair that really only craft beer people seem to be up in arms about. (Check out the Best-Worst articles on the internet, hardly a mention of this commerical in a year of mediocre ones.)

First, I think the New Yorker cover that skewered the snobbery of craft beer did more without a script or music then the Bud ad could hope to accomplish, months ago. Kudos though to Bud for choosing a venerable publication to borrow ideas from.
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What failed in the dimly lit Bud spot was telling. Belittling taste then tacking backwards and extolling beechwood chips. All that was your typical ad fluffery just more scattershot than usual.

But it was the words do the “hard work” which raised the most ire and which apparently doesn’t include the work of checking to see if any of their newly purchased craft breweries might be the target of their “pumpkin-peach humor”. If I was the VP of the craft division, I would be more than a little pissed that Belgium was dissing the Elysian purchase. And I certainly hope, that VP didn’t see the spot before it aired. Because he will need plausible deniability when trying to explain this to Seattle, who is already in a pissy mood from the game itself. But where they really shot themselves in the foot was future acquisitions. That target list is now a lot shorter. Good luck creating a craft portfolio when you diss your own people and purchases.
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My second cent is: Who was the ad aimed at? My wife (who doesn’t drink) hit the nail on the head when she noticed that only people with knowledge of craft beer would really get it. In the end, all Bud did was rile an easily riled opponent.  There are few things in life as easy as riling the craft beer community. Maybe making toaster waffles but that’s about it. My wife’s final point was that Bud may have inadvertently confused its customers into thinking that Shock Top would be soon making a pumpkin-peach beer.

But I don’t think their customers were the target. My guess was it was a highly costly bully tactic. More befitting a schoolyard than business. And it proves, once again, that ABInBev is still pretty clueless about the craft movement. They paid a gazillion dollars to ridicule a beer drinking demographic that was already inclined against them when they should be attempting to rally the troops. Compare that to McDonald’s ad grabbing at the heartstrings and gaining goodwill by the ton with their pay with love spot and you see how misguided Budweiser’s marketing was. McDonalds is as maligned as Budweiser by a vocal minority but they found a way to attract people to visit and at the very least grudgingly accept that it was a well played stunt.

Bud can easily claim that fans of craft are wicked condescending to them and that this was comeuppance.  But I have to say that a company that has all the tools to brew better beer with better ingredients with the best QC has been condescending to customers for years by choosing the bottom line over taste every time.

They are also not good at caring for their dogs or building barns that can hold horses if their other commercial is to be believed.

P.S. If you want to vent your Bud frustration, you can head to Beer Belly for their Craft for Crap….

“We want as many people as possible to grab any variant of Budweiser that may be in their fridge, attic, car trunk and bring it to Beer Belly on Saturday from 12-4pm. We will go ahead and trade you for a craft beer for $.01. We can fuss over our beer, drink it, talk about it, whatever the hell you want.

Here are the details:

  • Saturday, 2/7 from 12-4pm
  • Bring in any Budweiser and we will exchange you a craft beer (draft only) for $.01.
  • Bring as many crap (Budweiser) beers as you want, but maximum one $.01 craft beer per person.
  • Bring your non-craft drinking friends. Show them what’s up.”

Super Beer Picks

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Whether you have a horse in the race or not, the Super Bowl is a great craft beer opportunity to pair with food, to pair with the cities involved and to pair with friends.

Here are my recommendations for today:

Seahawks – For the NW fans of onside kick and for sausages with skittles, the most apt beer is 12th Man Pale Ale from Dick’s Brewing.  But for those of us not in Seattle with access to that beer, I would suggest the Pyramid Helles lager since they have a location right near the field of the 12th Man.

Patriots – I would strongly suggest something less airy than usual but since Foxboro is cold and it is in New England, the best choice for session wise and Boston wise, is to try the Cold Snap Wit Bier from Sam Adams.

And here is my “Screed against Bud beer commercials”. They may engender emotion but not for the beer or the creation of it. And that is why I never seem to like the commercials from ABInBev.  They don’t really talk about beer.  They talk about horses.  They talk about your buds but never the beer.  Probably because it just is not good.

Super Beer for the Super Bowl

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(Image from the NFL website)

In a couple hours, Harbaugh Bowl 2013 aka Super Bowl 47 will begin and it is a great opportunity to expose people to great beer in their glass while they watch the gridiron action and the light beer commercials that promise hot girls to any guy with a Bud/Miller/Coors in his hand.

But you can do better. All it will take is some creativity and knowledge of the two cities vying for the top NFL prize. If you are a Niners fan, then stock up on some Anchor or 21st Amendment beers. Or find any other Bay Area beers like Almanac or Drake’s to proudly show your allegiance.

Unfortunately, brewed in Baltimore beer isn’t readily available here in L.A. so you will have to think outside the tackle box. You could have golden Kolsch-style beers for those rooting for San Francisco and black stouts for Raven fans. Or you could do a west coast IPA versus east coast IPA taste test for each quarter. Another option would be to have some Abita beers since the game is being held down in New Orleans.

If you are really ambitious you can do some food and beer pairings to highlight the stereotypical foods of each city. Get a couple beers to pair with Ghiradelli chocolate and crabs to mollify both sets of fans.

At the very least, bring out the good stuff. Don’t get railroaded into drinking something bad when you could (at the very least, and it is a great very least) bring a growler of beer from your local craft brewery.

Hut-hut, hike!