Not Whole

Not that I was spending a lot of beer money at Whole Foods but I will be taking that number down to $0. It’s not due to that “whole paycheck” catchphrase, I never bought into that. You can spend a lot at any grocery store. It is due to the direction that the company has taken since being swallowed up by Amazon.

Suddenly, there were Echo’s everywhere, Prime deals and lockers. And, yes, the company points to how they pay everyone $15 an hour but they paid for that by reducing hours and expanding work duties. And each time that I get asked if I am a Prime member at check-out makes me feel like I am being watched and that Amazon is cataloging what is being bought.

Other grocery stores are tracking my purchases, I know. But when I buy a Pilsner Urquell at Trader Joe’s, I don’t feel like that company is going to do anything nefarious with that data point. But with Amazon, I feel that they would really like to converge that purchase to sell me more and more stuff.

This could change. Maybe Bezos diverts his spaceship company money to NASA or espouses a Wealth tax and I will be swayed back. But for now, beer shop local.

Allegro + Left Hand

I am pretty scattershot with my coffee buying. Most times, I get the latest seasonal offering from Trader Joe’s but when I saw this bag at my local Whole Foods of the Amazon, I decided to give it a whirl since donations to charity always work on me. And this was really good. I will have to look around to find the Hard Wired beer from Left Hand to compare but this was light and a bit fruity without too much acidity to it.

Brewers & Musicians and Whole Foods

SoLArc Brewing has teamed up with the Downtown LA Whole Foods Bar (which is pretty cool, almost makes me want to pay for an overpriced condo above the store). The event will be on Thursday, March 2nd.

The SoLArc team will be performing a few short sets of experimental music throughout the night (10 minutes every hour, on the hour) and they will be pouring (4) of the breweries beer including tbe newest release… “Hoppy Citrus”.

Once you have beer in hand you can listen to such traditional instruments like:
-Empty Beer Keg Gongs
-Electric Bassoon
-Amplified Cactus
-Beer bottles and jugs
-Homemade PVC Pipe flutes
-Noisy microphones with guitar pedals
…and more….

I Heart NY Beer – Notes

This might lose me street cred but when I visited New York City, I did not visit one, single brewery. This can be explained either geographically, there is not much brewing on the Isle of Manhattan where I was during the trip.

The better explanation is that the beer bars that I visited afforded me enough selection for me to gain a wide taste of NYC beer without traveling to the other 4 boroughs.

The Columbus Circle Whole Foods gave me Barrier, Brooklyn and Bronx Brewing beers. A trip to Top Hops afforded me deep cuts of Sixpoint and new beers from Empire, Gun Hill and SingleCut Beersmiths. But even when I ventured out to foodie dominant spots like UrbanSpace NYC (Rockaway ESB) and Chelsea Food Market where I found a pint and growler spot The Filling Station. Lastly, a few blocks from the hotel was a Rattle ‘n’ Hum – West where I found beer darling Other Half on tap.

The downside to my travels was that I did not get deep enough into the NY beer scene. I could tell this because when I perused the bottles and cans, I would notice that I could get a lot of them in Los Angeles. I also missed out on getting to taste beers from Transmitter which was on my hit list.

It has to be said that this was not a craft beer trip. It was an anniversary trip so beer was second fiddle to sights such as Central Park, Grand Central Station and the theatre.

As an initial foray with hopefully more to come, this was good. I found out that SingleCut is really rocking IPA and that Southern Tier’s Pumking with cold press coffee is perfect with pancakes and that on a hot day, the Bronx Banner Golden Ale would fit the bill perfectly.

365 View

I made my first foray into the first Whole Foods 365 store in Silver Lake recently but due to an extremely long check-out line. I mean gargantuan, I did not pick up any beer but I came away impressed by the price and even the limited (in comparison to the Glendale and Pasadena stores) selection of beers. I might make a stop for a draft first though since on a Sunday night the shelves were a little sparse in spots.

Beer 365

I am not sure how another grocery store will work out in Los Angeles. We seem well stocked with stores and the last few that attempted to penetrate the market crashed and burned (remember Fresh & Easy?). So I have been skeptical about the new sibling of Whole Foods, 365.

But then I saw this blurb on one of the many Foodie sites I peruse on Facebook….
Beer Bar? Which made me remember a sign in my local Glendale Whole Foods. A sign for an alcohol permit. Stores want people to stay inside and shop more and if I had a beer that liked on tap, I just might look for a sixer to go.

The bigger question though is, when will there be a BeerBot?

Check out the Food GPS tour of the space HERE.

Whole Food is Brewing W(T)F?


According to the Mercury News, Whole Foods will not only make you a pizza and a sandwich and sell you a kombucha to go with it.  Now a new location slated to open in 2014 will also house a micro-brewery.

No word on if they have selected a brewer or a style of beers or if the beers will be available in bottles in store other than the San Jose area but it is an intriguing player to enter the brewing market.  How this affects what beer is being sold will be interesting to see.



Review – Beer Flats Porter Crackers


I have been passing by these crackers at Whole Foods for months now.  The price was always too high for my taste.  But a week ago, they were finally on sale!  So I picked up the porter variety with the thought that the porter would seep into the cracker more than pilsner would seep into that version.

The aroma on these crackers is a surprising and very brewery reminiscent wort smell.  Unfortunately, after that point, the taste was full on dark rye.  Not that a rye cracker is bad per se.  But the aroma led me down a path that then corkscrewed on me.  After having a couple, I realized that this version would be harder to pair with a beer and with cheese.  There are rye IPA’s out there but that would be a battle of two strong tastes.  And I fear that most cheese would run into the brick wall of rye as well.

So a slight thumbs up.  And I will be watching to see if they go on sale again.  And I will check to see if the Pilsner version has rye in the ingredient list.

Supermarkets with pubs

With the proliferation of supermarkets that do double duty as restaurants, I should have guessed that adding beer should have been a no brainer. You can raise a pint at the Whole Foods in Pasadena so why not in one of the original beery colonies, Pennsylvania?

Click HERE to read about the latest Wegman’s and Whole Foods pub concepts.