Self Serve Beer? Out of this world…

 

 

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It was the weekend before school started for the mini Bier-people so what does any beer loving mom do? She decided it was time to go down to the new neighborhood of beer, Torrance. Have you been down there? Do you like beer? Then you should. In a few blocks radius you can visit Cosmic Brewery http://www.cosmicbrewery.com, The Dudes Brewing http://www.thedudesbrew.com, Monkish http://www.monkishbrewing.com, Strand Brewing http://www.strandbrewing.com , Absolution Brewing http://www.absolutionbrewingcompany.com and Smog City http://www.smogcitybrewing.com .

All those in one area? That is totally worth a trip down there if you aren’t a local to the area.

IMG_3498We went specifically to visit our friends at Cosmic Brewery.

 

I have personally loved them since my first sip of Cosmonaut. IMG_3485  Sigh. Yum.

http://www.cosmicbrewery.com/cosmonaut.html.  I found Cosmic at a Beerfest a few years back and they were my brewery to watch. And I was right!  I mean aside from their incredible, brand and labels and super good beer, NOW they have a tasting room..that has self serve taps. Yes! Just like Yogurtland but with beer. Cool right?

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Its very easy to use, just give the bartender or bartendress on duty your ATM or Credit Card (they slide your card but don’t charge it just to link your name to a tasting card) and they give you a cool Cosmic card. You take that card over to the taps and slide it in above the tap where the description of the beer is. Then pour. You can pour a sip, a flight or a pint and just be charged what you pour!

 

So if you aren’t totally sure about a beer you have never tried you literally can try a sip and pay for a sip!

When you return your card at the end of your drinking they charge you for only what you poured/drank.

 

The tasting room is great! Plenty of tables, cool music playing, free popcorn, well behaved kid friendly, and there’s always a food truck not far away.

When we were there we found this bachelor party. IMG_3511 Kind of a genius way to spend the day considering you can walk to other tasting rooms and not even have to worry about getting an Uber. Its sort of like going to Solvang and walking from wine tasting room to tasting room but with BEER!

If you aren’t familiar with their beers you should be! Their Hellhound BrownIMG_3476 and Bag Pipe Ale (Scottish Wee Heavy) are awesome, and we got a sneak taste of the Tulips on my Organ (Farmhouse Saison).

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My husband Mr Beerman who is quite the Saison drinker said it was fantastic.

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And I who am not a fan of the Saison even found it really tasty. They have many more beers on the way and told me they are ready to add another row of taps!

I encourage everyone to head down to visit the new tasting room. You are going to want to make friends with Chris and Sabrina

before they blow up even more… they are going to be huge and you (and I) can say we knew them when they first opened. Cheers!

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Cosmic Brewery is located: 20316 Gramercy Pl. Torrance, CA 90501 (424)259-2337

Follow them on Twitter: @CosmicAles

Like them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cosmicales

 

Tasting Room Hours

SOFT OPENING HOURS

Monday Closed

Tuesday Closed

Wednesday Closed

Thursday Closed

Friday 3-9pm

Saturday 12-10pm

Sunday 12-6pm

Some of the Best Beer Ive ever had…I found in Glendale…Wisconsin.

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So many breweries so little time. If you think Wisconsin only brews Miller you’re wrong. Wisconsin has quite the craft beer scene. Being in Milwaukee only 4 days and there for a family reunion with my sons in tow I couldn’t visit every brewery so we chose a few. One I had been eyeing from afar (Los Angeles) via family check ins on Facebook was Sprecher Brewery. http://www.sprecherbrewery.com/index.php
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Although it seemed all of Wisconsin Breweries were family friendly (Bierlady advice: know your beer limits and only take well behaved kids) I was drawn to this Brewery as they seemed to have as many choices in soda as they did beer. http://www.sprecherbrewery.com/soda.php

As well as their “mascot” or their Label photo, it’s a Griffin. And if you know me Im a big fan of the Griffin, especially my 4 year old named, Griffin. I cant believe I missed the Rootbeer Griffin in the gift shop. I may have been eyeing the beers not the toys. http://www.sprecherbrewery.com/store/details.php?prodId=59&category=6 IMG_2361

The week before we headed to the Midwest I shoot out a few tweets to breweries we were interested in checking out. Would you believe Sprecher was the only brewery who immediately tweeted me back. Not only that but within minutes Anne Sprecher tweeted and messaged me that she would meet me at the brewery. Now that’s Midwest nice. I did end up meeting her and she was awesome.

It was the last full day of our trip, and really I should have learned by now that LA Siri does a lousy job in Milwaukee, we used my Iphone to get us to the brewery and of course she took us off course. Maybe she was confused as we have some great breweries in Glendale, CA…sigh…SO we were 10 min late and missed the noon tour. The next was at 1:30 and we werent quite sure if we would be there that long (boy were we wrong, 3.5 hours later…) so we asked if we could just go in their tasting room. The staff was quick to accommodate us and it actually ended up being great. We brought several relatives along. Remember Julie who left me the beer, and Dale and Melissa who were our beer buddies all weekend? They were there. Along with my sweet Aunt Karen and our boys.

They gave us our tasting bracelets IMG_4690that you get with the tour price of a mere $5 (no seriously giant tasters, a tour and you get to keep the glass for 5 bucks) and sent us into their beer hall. The bartendress was kind enough to give us our first taster IMG_4673 before she started taking our tabs from our bracelets.

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So many beers to taste. WHERE do we start? In truth I don’t remember where I started but I will say there was not ONE fail in the bunch. Not only did I get my tasters but we kinda all shared at the table, and then went back for our favorites. Along with a few tasters Anne gave me so that I didn’t have to wait in line. (Our private biergarten quickly filled up with the tour of probably 60 people).

In my time there I tried, Sprechers Hard RootBeer. IMG_4677 Now this could REALLY get you in some trouble. WOW was this good! It was Rootbeer, with a kick I didn’t really taste, hence the trouble part. In the same vein they had a Hard Ginger Beer, which was pretty fantastic as well. I could make a GREAT Moscow mule with that one. Rounding out the sweeter “beers” and “ciders” I tried my FAVORITE of the bunch, Sprechers Hard Apple Pie.

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This is a must try for all cider drinkers/lovers. So good. So apple. So Pie.

I can’t even describe it other than saying it was perfect.

Some of our other tasters include their Pub Brown Ale, Special Amber, Black Bavarian, http://www.sprecherbrewery.com/beer.php?cat=1
Irish Style Stout, Witty, Abbey Triple, http://www.sprecherbrewery.com/beer.php?cat=3 IPA2, Summer Pils, Piper Scotch Ale, Cider De Pomme, and their Grapefruit Radler. WHEW! I told you we tried all of it! And not one bad one in the bunch. They really hit the taste of everyone in our group. IMG_4661 My husband liked the Abbey Triple, Cousin Julie liked the IPA2, Dale was drinking the Black Bavarian and his dad works at Miller, and as I was leaning toward the ciders and the Summer Pils…my cousin Melissa who I have NEVER seen drink any beer other than a cider not only loved but ended up buying their Pipers Scotch Ale, http://www.sprecherbrewery.com/beer.php?cat=3

I wont go into great detail on the “malty flavor” or the “hops used” cause I know you don’t care that much. But what I will tell you is these beers should be available in CA well EVERYWHERE for that matter. I think their ciders and sodas would bring such joy to the LA VEGAN BEERFEST. http://www.veganbeerfest.com/

IMG_4701And really I want to be able to go to my local store and get them.

I did a lil research and Im pretty sure my LA friends would love them too. Look when Sprecher entered some of their beers in the LA COUNTY FAIR competition

2006 L.A. County Fair
Special Amber: Gold Medal – Vienna Style Lager

Oktoberfest: Gold Medal – German-Style Marzen/Oktoberfest

Dopplebock : Gold Medal – Dopplebocks

Black Bavarian: Gold Medal – Robust Porter

Irish Stout : Gold Medal – Foreign(Export) Style Stout

Imperial Stout : Gold Medal – Imperial Stout

Winter Brew : Silver Medal – European-Style Dark/Munchnerdunkel

Sprecher Micro-Light: Silver Medal – English Summer Ale

Piper’s Scotch Ale : Silver Medal – Scotch Ale

Mai Bock : Bronze Medal – Bock Beers

Barleywine: Bronze Medal – Barleywines

Awards don’t lie! Check out some of their other awards: http://www.sprecherbrewery.com/awards.php

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Im always so impressed by a brewery that can do such a wide variety of beers and do them all well. We all know the breweries who have the lock on the IPA, or the ones we know can do a lager well, but to do them all across the board from a sweet apple cider to a Triple Abbey and everything in between without us spilling out one taster, IMG_2360not only has my attention but my respect.

I borrowed this from their websites History page, as I found it all interesting. And so true. This brewery can concentrate on making “craft” beer. That’s why its so good.
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Sprecher Brewing Co. was founded in 1985 by RANDAL SPRECHER, formerly a brewing supervisor at Pabst Brewing Company, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. From 1985 to 1994, the brewery was located at 730 W. Oregon Street in Milwaukee’s Walker’s Point area. Through the first ten years the company grew steadily as more and more people found out about Sprecher’s high quality beers and sodas. …..
…..Like the biggest selling wines, many mass market beers are made to appeal to as broad of an audience as possible. This means they have to be produced at a highly competitive price and that they must offend no one. Much of the distinctive qualities of the traditional regional type brews is lost.
Sprecher and other micro-breweries have revived both the distinctive quality of regional beer and old world brewing methods as well. The term “Micro-Brewery” refers to the relative size of the brewery when compared to gigantic beer production facilities of mass marketed national brands. Where these “Mega-Giants” produce from 20 million on up to 90 million barrels a year each, a “Micro-Brewery” is a considerably small operation, brewing less than 15,000 barrels a year. Although some have grown to 50,000 to 100,000 barrels a year.
Quite a difference when you consider a barrel is equivalent to 31 gallons. In that respect, the smaller Micro-Breweries such as Sprecher can focus more on its specialty “Craft Beers” with an eye on the highest quality and tradition of European style brewing.
At the Sprecher Brewing Co. we are proud to participate in Milwaukee’s great brewing tradition and we’re grateful for the opportunity to present our best to you.

So happy to have tried all of the beers we could. Even happier they had a gift shop where we could bring some home. But now Im on a quest to get Sprecher out to Los Angeles for us all to enjoy. Cause I didn’t bring home enough to share with all of us. Sorry. I only had two suitcases.
For my Milwaukee relatives, keep up with them at http://blog.sprecherbrewery.com/

Anne thank you for your immediate kindness, and I look forward to you visiting Los Angeles, I promise to take you to Tony’s Darts Away http://tonysda.com/ for some CA Brews!

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PS When Your RedHead Ale is around will you let me know. I will send a super cool cousin to pick some up for me and send it to this redhead!

Bierlady on Tour LAX TO MKE or BUST Volume 1

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LAX to MKE or bust the Bierlady traveled to the mothership of beer. The beer state. Well I guess technically its the Badger state, but I didn’t see any badgers.

I just spent the last 4 days in Milwaukee Wisconsin, in for a family reunion, but also there for research. Now I won’t lie coming from So Cal and being a beer person I’m a bit of a beer snob. I like good beer. And I went into my travels with a nose up. But Wisconsin you set me straight. Not only were you one of the first beer producing states in the U.S. But you’re still going strong. And your craft brews were awesome.

In full disclosure my husband said we’d checked into 35 new beers on Untappd Untappd_logoin those 4 days.

Mic drop our job is done.

So I have to do a running blog here of our trip. This entry, I’m going to start out with the beers we found and loved. Then do individual blogs for two of our favorite Breweries we went to: IMG_2181Lakefront Brewery and IMG_2363Sprecher both OUTSTANDING beers and tours and people, then blog about our Tour of the vast small city of Miller. IMG_4483 My Uncle works for Miller Coors so it was amazing to see beer brewed at that capacity. More on that later.

Upon arrival in Wisconsin we were greeted in our room by beers left for us from my cousin Julie. (Love you Jules) it was our first beer in my homeland and ended up being from a brewery that was for sure in our top 3. IMG_4349 New Glarus. http://www.newglarusbrewing.com/ We were told prior to our trip about their magical brews and wanted to visit them but alas we were only there a short while and it was a few hours away. But that didn’t stop us from enjoying many of their Beers. We had a 6 pk of Moon Man (abv 5%) IMG_4346 waiting for us in our room and I gotta say that remained in my top favorites. A No Coast Pale Ale (being west coaster I laughed aloud). Great beer exactly what you want from a pale ale. Not overly hoppy and full of flavor slightly citrusy but don’t let that sway you away, you pilsner drinkers. This is a great beer.

That night we met up with my cousins Dale and Melissa (our beer buddies for the weekend,) and we visited theIMG_2144 Safe House http://safe-house.com/mainmenu.html a super fun bar restaurant where you have to know the secret location and password to get in. Or they may make your family act like cheerleaders in front of a secret camera that projects to everyone inside the bar (I tried the password of beer didn’t work) there we tried the infamousIMG_2143 Spotted Cow also from New Glarus. We heard if you’re in Wisconsin you must try that beer from more than a dozen people. They were right. Spotted Cow is that beer I search for. Now their website calls it a “Naturally Cloudy Farmhouse Ale” but I put it on par with a great session (meaning low alcohol, this one is 4.8%) beer packed with flavor. And that great bread finish that says beer to me.

After the Safehouse,IMG_4365 as responsible parents do, we dropped our boys off with another cousin to babysit as my cousin Julie, remember her, she left beer in my room, well she took us to Delafield Brewhaus IMG_4401http://www.delafield-brewhaus.com/ where we had our first tasting of many Wisconsin beers. They brew their own and of the ones I had and Mr Beerman I can were great!
We tried, the Naga-Wicked Pale Ale, the Pewaukee Porter, Bengal Bay IPA, and their Oats and Barley Stout. I wont talk too much on this topic, as they are a brewhaus and as far as I know don’t bottle so unless you are headed to Milwaukee..but none the less wanted to mention them.

On Friday we were lucky enough that the party my aunt through for us (love you Aunt Karen) had some of New Glarus’s Black Top IMG_2281 a black IPA this has a slightly higher Abv (6.9%) but again just a super drinkable beer.

Saturday we headed to my family reunionIMG_4588 and picked up a 6 pk of their Totally Naked.

IMG_2296This is one of their seasonal beers so guessing if you can get it, get it now, its described as a Wisconsin Lager. And that it is! That’s the beer I think my folks drank but with FAR more flavor. That perfectly balanced malt, hop with a bread finish. So good.

We heard about their Two Ladies beer (Note my cousins think it’s funny when my Uncle has a Totally Naked, and Two Ladies, a lager in hand. Well played brewers and namers) we have not tried it but brought some home to LA along with their Yokel another seasonal Lager. I’m sure they will be great.

New Glarus I can see by your website and Beer Advocate I have barely scratched the surface of what you brew. Sorry we couldn’t make it up to try you in person. Next trip for SURE!

Some other beers we had to take note of because they were super tasty were:
Capital Brewery’s Amber, http://capitalbrewery.com/beer-type/wisconsin-amber/,
Point from Stevens Point Brewery, thanks to my cousin Jason who lives near there, http://www.pointbeer.com/point-amber-classic/ and
Oktoberfest from Water Street Brewery, https://www.waterstreetbrewery.com/.
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Special shout out to this brewery because of its memorabilia wall.IMG_2174 Walls and walls of vintage beer cans. So cool. And taps as well.IMG_4412 I wish we were not on our way to another brewery tour and had to eat and drink fast. Or we would have sampled more of their beers. But I did have this one twice, once at the brewery and I found it again at Summerfest http://summerfest.com/ .IMG_2319

This was just the tip of the beer iceberg for our trip. Friday day we took a tour of Lakefront Brewery and sampled all of it. And did that Miller Tour I spoke of. Sunday we thought we were going to spend an hour at Sprecher Brewery, well, 4 hours later, and several 6pks to bring home…means these breweries deserve their own blogs.

Stay tuned for more LAX TO MKE or BUST!
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The Bierlady reserves the right to update the blog should her husband or any cousin remember a beer she liked and forgot to mention. 4 days, 35 beers, things are slightly blurry.

LA VEGAN BEERFEST 2015

IMG_2987The LA Vegan beerfest is one of my favorite days of the year. Its always right when May is just inching toward full blown summer. I feel the folks who run the show, Nic Adler, Quarry Girl, and Tony Yanow (Tony’s Darts Away) are just good people. Three Vegan friends who had this great idea. Six years later it’s a really really great idea. http://www.veganbeerfest.com/
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I have mentioned this in past blogs about this event, the beer is not Vegan, the food is. So if you are looking for a new BEERFEST to enjoy, don’t be confused and continue reading…
Full disclosure, I am not Vegan, but when in Rome…I enjoy the food from the one zillion trucks that come to this event. I also enjoy the great bands. But what I come for is the beer….So that’s what this blog is about. I didn’t want you to be looking for a review on the awesome cauliflower everyone was talking about in the beer lines. I don’t have that. But I will tell you what new beers I found!
First though, I need to mention this:
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What? LA Vegan BeerFest was at the Rosebowl this year? Yah it was! And WHAT A SMART idea that was. I have to say before I even talk about the greatness that was our day that the location change was the best idea ever. From the minute we arrived and saw the enormously long line (expected, we weren’t stressed) to 1:03pm, three minutes after the gates opened we were in the venue with glass in hand… it was smooth sailing. IMG_2978

Are you kidding me? 3 minutes from parking lot line to the glass table? The staff at the Rosebowl knows their stuff.
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Quite frankly I was just giddy to be in the Rosebowl. Thinking of all the games played there. And here we were feet on the 50 yard line drinking our first beer. The set up was great. There were food vendors all in a circle surrounding the beers that were lined up in the middle. Once again there was never more than a 2-5 min wait for a beer, and that was a few hours in. The first hour we were there I don’t think we waited 2-5 seconds for our beer.
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We have started a collection of these 4 oz beauties…but was interested to see you could have purchased a full pint glass for $10 and the beer vendors would fill you up! I think or hope that was for the folks who were there not so much like me looking for my next greatest beer find, but for the folks who just wanted a brew to enjoy while eating and watching bands. However, I did see the teeny tinest girl fill up a full pint of a 9.7% beer and thought “oh dear”. I wonder how she did later in the day?

When we got there

When we got there


I could talk about the food, MAN there was a LOT of choices this year, but I feel there will be enough Vegan food authorities writing about that and posting. I am no authority, but I did have a fantastic avocado sandwich while there. And noted the line for the pizza was insane. So guessing that was a BIG hit.
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Having done this for a few years now, and now that beer fests are ubiquitous. (No more just the 2-3 in Spring/Summer, now you can find one nearly every weekend) and the fact that we frequent bars like Tony’s and Story and Mohawk, and Boneyard Bistro. I have to say Mr Beerman and I have tried nearly every thing they are going to bring. SO when we find a new beer from an old favorite brewery or a new brewery all together that is the best part of the day.IMG_3028

So lets talk beer!
Breweries
There were over 60 Breweries there. And they all brought 2-5 beers each.

Of course we ran to our favorites, Figueroa Mountain, Angel City (If you haven’t tried their IPA you are missing out)IMG_3060
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And its not a LA VEGAN BEERFEST without Golden Roads,http://www.goldenroad.la/ Almond Milk Stout.IMG_3022

Okay now on to some others…Here were our top finds of the day. In no order. They are all over the board, from the super hoppy to the sweet…

Here we go….

If you are a craft beer drinker you know, Ballast Points Sculpin. IMG_3033http://www.ballastpoint.com/beer/sculpin/ You just do. It’s a great beer. But have you tried their Grapefruit Sculpin?? Its better. This had to be one of our favorites of the fest. Such a great twist on a great beer. My husband who doesn’t even like Grapefruit put this on the top of his list. http://www.ballastpoint.com/beer/grapefruit-sculpin/

IMG_3019New Belgium. I bet you know them, cause I bet you have drank a Fat Tire http://www.newbelgium.com/beer/detail.aspx?id=7c5b394b-d7b7-486a-ac9a-316256a7b0ee …that’s their amber. Strong choice. I am a big fan of their Blue Paddle Pilsner. http://www.newbelgium.com/beer/detail.aspx?id=5aec31cf-c34f-4344-8dbe-91a0a5db67ca

But today I was blown away by their Lips of Faith, Pear Ginger Beer. IMG_3020 http://www.newbelgium.com/beer/detail.aspx?id=68377164-e9f3-4681-b3d0-150a28284564 This would make the BEST Moscow Mule ever. It was just a nice change from “beer” beer and it wasn’t sweet…. If you like ginger taste in anything this is a MUST try.

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Hoparillio from Knee Deep Brewing, https://kneedeepbrewing.com/beers/ Okay generally this would scare me, 11% and 122 IBU…but dang it if this wasn’t one of the most well balanced perfect IPAs I have ever had. A TRIPLE IPA and I would totally order this and then another. Big Thumbs up guys. You are new to me…keep doing what you are doing and I’ll be purchasing you often.

IMG_3009SpeakEasy Metropolis Lager, http://www.goodbeer.com/theusualsuspects/ I have to admit this wasn’t a new find for me. I buy this quite often from my local Bev Mo. Not the cheapest 6 pk on the block, but this is a great outdoors drinking beer, and I really am a fan of all their beers so I want to support them. Even with the higher price tag I encourage you to try any of their beers, but this one particularly for folks who aren’t into super bitter, or hoppy but just looking for something that tastes like a really well made beer. http://www.goodbeer.com/

Another new Brewery for me (just opened in February) Solarc Brewing. IMG_3046http://www.solarcbrewing.com/ Both their beers they brought were really awesome. I hate to sound like “that guy” but they were really complex but most importantly tasty. IMG_3048My favorite was their Night Capsicum a Black IPA, but also their Dunes, a Gruit (ale ) was really great. Im not a fan of the Belgium style so for me to like you, you know you are doing something great (for me anyway). Awesome new find! Support them if you see them, they are new and I can see great things coming.

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Noble Ale Works, http://www.noblealeworks.com/ I Love It, IPA was also in my 4-5 star range on Untappd this weekend. I love finding IPAS that aren’t overly hoppy and don’t knock me over with crazy flavors. This was a solid delicious beer.
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Speaking of IPAs you can’t forget the session IPAs, (which mean less ABV or less alchohol), Oskar Blues had Pinner Throwback IPA http://brew.oskarblues.com/ob-beers/year-round/pinner-throwback-ipa/ that’s new to me at least and as per Oskar Blues usual it was delicious. I will add it to my cooler with my Dales Pale Ale, Mama’s Little Yella Pils and Old Chub.

One of the best parts of the day were the giant screens around the stadium showing the tweets we were all sending throughout the day. What’s not fun about a Jumbo Tron?
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Also I have to say I love meeting people at the fest. Everyone is so nice. I don’t know if its beer people or the Vegan community or both, but we always make friends. Mr Beerman and I always wear pretzel necklaces IMG_3053,sometimes cause we get hungry but really mostly to palette cleanse so the beers don’t run into one another. Many folks asked us about them. So we shared! Here are a few new buddies we toasted while sharing our pretzels.
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And this group was celebrating Cynthia’s birthday.IMG_3058 I mean come on a day at the Vegan Beerfest? That’s a gift that keeps on giving!

End of my day I stopped at my good friends at WRECK CHECK IMG_3079http://wreckcheck.me/ to once again point out to never ever drink and drive.IMG_3081 I was tasting (like honestly tasting I asked for half pours most every time) and I ate a good lunch and dessert and I still blew nearly twice the legal limit. I was walking, talking, even using my phone to call CURB just fine. But way above the legal limit.IMG_3087

My only wish was for better taxi situations. On the way in there wasn’t really a clear path for our taxi to drop us off, and end of day there were a ton of us outside trying to call Uber and Taxis and all of our phones were nearly out of juice, between tweeting to get on the Jumbo tron, and Facebooking for Friends to see all the fun, logging beers into Untappd there was little or no battery power for taxi calling. SO maybe next year they could have some waiting toward the end of the day? Just a thought.

When we left

When we left


Overall I can’t speak highly enough about this fest. It has grown from a small grass roots kind of affair to the freaking Rosebowl, yet nothing has changed. Its still great people, great food, great bands and great beers. Its just a fantastic way to spend the day. If you haven’t been you have to go next year, and if you did go then you know what Im talking about! See you next year!!IMG_3036

Our Holiday Beer Finds Part 1: ANGEL CITY BREWERY

image[5]Over the holiday weeks I made it a plan with Mr Beerman to go to some new beer bars around the LA area. Branching out. Seeing whats out there. Trying new stuff.

Of course we started our two weeks with a trip to Story Tavern http://www.storytavernburbank.com , Tony’s Darts Away http://tonysda.com , Link N Hops http://www.linknhops.com and Golden Road http://www.goldenroad.la/pub/ And spent New Years eve celebrating Germany’s midnight (3pm) drinking German Beers at The Red Lion Tavern http://www.redliontavern.net

…Oops. Old happens die hard. Those bars are the BEST. Just look Draft mag called out Tony’s in their top 100 bars in the country! http://draftmag.com/americas-100-best-beer-bars-2015/

But we needed to see what else was out there. So after we enjoyed our old favorites we decided to make a point of trying some new beer spots in our area. For this first blog entry we headed to downtown. This was our first trip to Angel City Brewery http://angelcitybrewery.com . image[3]

We have tried their beers for years at the beerfests we attend. We have their beers at the aforementioned local pubs we frequent. We have even seen their beers at our local Costco in a variety pack. But we had never been down there since its opening of the downtown venue in 2010. (Angel City has been brewing craft beer since 1997, had its first location in Alpine Village in Torrence in 2004).

What have we been waiting for? This place is the BEST! Well behaved We went on a weekend, so we could bring our well behaved boys and enjoy a lovely Sunday with some flights. IMG_9806
The beers there are amazeballs!

They have a big selection to choose not just IPAS, from their Eureka Wit “A refreshing traditional Belgian white ale with coriander and orange peel”, Angleno IPA “A West coast Style IPA full of hops yet well balanced with a heafty malt backbone” (that’s for sure I really like this IPA and you know I don’t love every IPA I meet) , Gold Line Pilsner “A traditional European style pilsner medium bodied and dry hopped with a clean dry finish”, Amber Ale “Light and refreshing amber hued ale with a fruity aroma and sweet malty finish”, Marilyn “Barley corn and oats give this lager styled ale a slightly sweet aroma light body and dry crisp finish”, Imperial Chai Stout “Full bodied dark and rich with hints of dark chocolate roasted malt and chai it finishes smooth sweet and spicy”, and Vanilla Porter “Full bodied porter with bold vanilla flavors and a subtle roasty/chocolate finish”. Not one was bad. http://angelcitybrewery.com/beer/ They were all great!
IMG_9803I will say my favorite was the Amber. I love a good amber and boy this one was good!

I have to give a special shout out to their Vanilla Porter.IMG_9810 First I love a good mid range ABV on my porter (meaning not too boozy) and did you guys nail the vanilla or what? So many brewers try. So many fail. So many want the vanilla flavor you achieved. You Angel City are far beyond the best at doing vanilla. HUGE thumbs up.

The place is a big open air venue.IMG_9812 (It was brisk the day we were there but not bad) I fully intend on going back in summer when its 80 out or like today since its 80 out.

They had games to play on the giant benched picnic tables a second floor with more seating and the bar seating area.IMG_9798

It was BYOF – Bring your own food, we did that and it was great. IMG_9808

Angel City is usually open Weekdays M-W 4pm -10pm, TH-F 4pm -12am and Weekends Saturday 12pm-12am Sunday 12pm-10pm

They are located at 216 S Alameda St Los Angeles, CA 90012

I will for sure be visiting you again. (without the well behaved boys so we can have a few pints) And I will be picking up your variety pack at Costco for Playoff games this weekend!

Note to my dog loving friends my son wanted me to point this out to you: IMG_9816

Why did it Take me So Long…

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Why I ask. WHY? I recently visited Macleod Ale Brewing Company http://www.macleodale.com/home.html in Van Nuys California, and I have been asking myself this question ever since.

MacLeods opened in June of this year and is brewing small batches of cask-conditioned British ales. What is a Cask? Remember we talked about this in past blogs. I love Cask Beer, its served a tiny bit warmer than what you are used to and its way lower in carbonation. Borrowed from the interweb:
“Cask ale or cask-conditioned beer is unfiltered and unpasteurised beer which is conditioned (including secondary fermentation) and served from a cask without additional nitrogen or carbon dioxide pressure”.

This means there are no kegs serving up the beer, just a line of these really cool hand pump things, serving the brews.IMG_7961

I find that cask beer makes me less full. Less bubbles mean less bloaty feeling.

Back to my visit…. How excited was I, the self proclaimed Queen of the Session beers to see a line up of ALL session beers! Session beers if you recall are beers with a lower alcohol percentage or low ABV. Now I like this cause you can drink more (like when you are outside drinking all day during the summer, or hanging in a pub all afternoon) and you don’t end up face down under the barstool.

But also for all you folks out there who order 2- 12% beers and that’s it for the night and think you are saving calories, are you? Heres the deal. A higher percent means higher alcohol which was caused by more sugar in the process. Soooooo really you drink 3- 4% beers that’s the same calories as one of those 12% you just drank.

Back to my visit….How excited was I to taste a flight of these beers IMG_7950and find out I loved, not just liked but LOVED every single one of them. When does THAT ever happen? The beers were just so damn good. I would almost guarantee those of you reading cause you are slightly intrigued to find beers to replace your mild tasting not to out of the box, Bud and Coors but you aren’t quite sure that’s possible…. would love these beers.

This place stands for exactly what Im trying to prove. You don’t need to continue drinking beers that have been around for 100 years anymore, you can find a great beer, lighter, not in your face hops, not over the top pine clove -insert any other crazy spice they are putting in beers to make them different- here, same ABV, same look and feel of your comfort beer and its going to taste sooooooo much better. And you get to support small businesses!

Back to my visit….so the brewery isn’t right out there. No brewery really is. Unless you are a really big one you probably wont be seen right away. Breweries by law have to be in industrial areas, and this is no exception. In the middle of Van Nuys down a smaller street, Calvert you have to look on your right to spot it but its there. Once in you see it’s a great spot. So fun. Peanut shells on the floor, board games all around. Tables of people playing Jenga IMG_7971 (which is a pretty fantastic game after a few pints if you think about it). You can see the brewery making the beers as you sit. That’s kinda awesome.

IMG_7959There is no food being served as of yet, but they are known for their BYOC (Bring your own cheese) as in addition to copious amounts of peanuts they do have crackers available. IMG_7946 They serve up very economical flights, pints and half pints. I personally love a good half pint especially in a place like this where I want to drink them all.

Back to my visit…When I was there they had 6 beers pouring:
Session Gap, The Little Spree (3 versions), Jackie Tar and Nutty Broon.
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The Session gap was a tradition English Style Bitter or if you see this on a bottle, called an ESB.

Since we haven’t chatted about ESBs, an ESB came from brewers who wanted to differentiate their ales from other mild brews, so they use pale malts and more hops.

Most are gold to copper in color and are light bodied, have low carbonation, and low alcohol. These are traditionally served from a cask, but many breweries have bottled versions for example: Full Sail (found this at Sprouts, its 6% and delicious!) http://www.fullsailbrewing.com/beers/pub-ale-series.cfm

I really liked #5 (see pic). As did my non “beer” fan gal pal I was with.IMG_7963 She ordered more than I did! It was The Little Session Spree that had been dry hopped.

The Little Sprees were Yorkshire Pale Ales, I had to look this one up, as I was not familiar so thank you to their menu..
IMG_7951 There is nothing quite like beer from Yorkshire, England, whose breweries have exceptional water sources. Yorkshire breweries create ‘mellow’ beer of unrivaled quaffability. Los Angeles water is not Yorkshire water by a long-shot, but it is part of the challenge of brewing beer in this city. The Little Spree aims to bring a fresh and unfiltered Yorkshire pale ale to LA.
This is a deceptively simple recipe, relying on quality raw ingredients and excellent yeast health for a clean beer without flaws. One malt and three hops makes for an approachable, refreshing beer that can still be enjoyed for its delicate complex flavors. An ode to a wonderful base malt, Golden Promise, and classic European hop varieties

The Little Sprees are Pale ales, remember how I said Pale Ales are the gateway to IPAS. Well these were gateways to Session IPAs, all the great flavors with a super low ABV and they were so freaking well balanced.

I feel like I give IPAs a bad rap for being so bitter and hoppy to me. But the thing is, if the brewer knows what they are doing they know how to balance the hops and the malt to make a fantastic beer. That’s what happened here x 3.

Side note: Not to get too technical, but Im all about learning, so: dry hopping means when they add hops after fermentation. It doesn’t add extra bitterness, just added aroma and I for me, flavor.

The Jackie Tar was a brown stout, but when I say Stout don’t think full blow Guinness. Much lighter, and more brown than its Tar name indicates.
IMG_7957 Born from historical recipes, Jackie Tar was reworked to accommodate modern ingredients and methods. The core of Jackie Tar is a strong roast malt character, and from there working back to build an appropriate spectrum of flavor. Although hopping is medium-low, two late hop additions add nuance to the finish.

The Nutty Broon is a brown. Now see Im not a huge fan of browns. (NewCastle would be a good example) they generally run too caramel like for me. But again this was fantastic. Light, yummy, and even at 5.2% I could drink it all day.

Over all I can’t speak highly enough of this beer. I encourage you all to find them and like them on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/MacLeodAle as they are always posting about fun things they are doing, Vampire Bingo, Board game night, and what food trucks will be parked out front.

Oh and check out their “Buy a Friend a Beer” Board. You can pre buy a beer, put your friends name up there and they can come in anytime to claim their pint. I wish I could have left you all a beer…next time.IMG_7962

Of course I asked, as the Bierboys join me on occasion for tasting and it is okay to bring your well behaved no drinking child with you. They are open at noon on weekends, don’t bring your kids at night, they should be at home in bed. But remember they don’t serve food, so plan accordingly.

And so I find myself wondering WHY did it take me so long to visit…months of great beer have been lost for me. Sigh. But glad I found you MacLeods!
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One last thing….have you ever wanted Free beer for life? Well now you can. MacLeods has an opportunity to expand, but they need investors. This link will show you how for $500, $1000 or $5000 you can drink free for life. I wont lie, I think these guys are going to blow up. We will all wish we bought a part of it when we could. So check it out: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/macleod-ale-beer-for-life

(oh and to any friends reading this blog…The Bierladys birthday is just 25 days away…free beer for life is clearly the gift that keeps on giving)

MacLeod Ale Brewing Company 14741 Calvert Street, Van Nuys Not open Monday & Tuesdays. Wed-Friday 5-10, Sat & Sun 12pm-10pm

One question for the folks at MacLeod’s.. Whats up with the Footloose rules?
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Wait you drove to Buellton for a beer?

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Damn right I did! Beer Roadtrip! But if you ask my kids we went to see Ostrichland USA IMG_6480and eat Danish pancakes IMG_6593in Solvang http://www.ostrichlandusa.com/.

You may know Buellton from the movie sideSideways..but let me tell you it has more to offer than wine and Pea Soup http://peasoupandersens.net/. Buellton is the home of Firestone Walker Brewing and our very very favorite Figueroa Mountain BrewingIMG_6537.
It was a one day/night field trip out to Buellton as I needed to see Figueroa Mountain Brewing http://www.figmtnbrew.com/ Live and in person. If you have read any of my past blogs, especially those after a Beerfest you know that we are BIG fans of Figueroa Mountain Brewing. Only cemented by a Tap Take over at our favorite bar Story Tavern http://www.storytavernburbank.com/ a few months back.

This Dad and son Brew team know what they are doing. Jim and Jaime Dietenhofer are brewing some of the best craft brews California, dare I say any state has to offer. And the best part at least for me is that they have such a WIDE variety of beers. IMG_6543 They are not just making the next best IPA like everyone else in So Cal is doing. They make everything. We even tried a Pear Cider there this week! Not all of their beers are available in bottles, or even at your local bar. Hence the roadtrip. We stayed locally (cause even a flight of beer is a beer to many to drive, especially home to LA) we were at a motel walking distance from FigMtn. Which was so convenient! There were several motel/hotels in the area lots to choose from.

Fig Mtn is probably best know by bar goers for their Danish Red Lager, IMG_6560 http://www.figmtnbrew.com/our-beers/#danish-red-lager,their Hoppy Poppy IPA, which contrary to its name is not overly hoppy. I really like it! http://www.figmtnbrew.com/our-beers/#hoppy-poppy-ipa, their Stagecoach Stout, http://www.figmtnbrew.com/our-beers/#stagecoach-stout, their Davey Brown Ale http://www.figmtnbrew.com/our-beers/#davy-brown-ale and Wrangler Wheat http://www.figmtnbrew.com/our-beers/#wrangler-wheat. These you can usually find in a store in big bottles. Their labels are pretty awesome and stand out. beer

Some other notable beers they carry (and you can get outside of their tap rooms (in Buellton, Los Olivos, and Santa Barbara) is their Lizards Mouth,IMG_6564 at 9.2% and 90 IBU (remember IBU is units of bitter) you would think I would be turned off. But man this is one super tasty beer! Find this one. Especially If you want a lil punch to your beer, at 9.2% it wont take many. Trust me.
http://www.figmtnbrew.com/our-beers/#lizards-mouth.
I also mentioned in my last blog what a big fan I am of their Big Cone, a black ale, http://www.figmtnbrew.com/our-beers/#big-cone-black-ale IMG_6563.

See that’s the thing about FigMtn, they do hops well. They aren’t trying to wreck your palette, so everything else you taste is “wrong”. They use hops the way they should be used, balanced and delicious.

We were lucky enough to find a few at the brewery that are not available just yet outside the tap rooms. First and foremost we must call out their Grendal,IMG_6546 it’s a barrel aged porter, maybe not for everyone and at 11% it’s packs a punch for sure. But man you can’t taste the punch. That’s dangerous. In a good way. This was hands down the smoothest, tastiest beer we had. 11% no way! It was amazing. Such a great beer I surely hope they make more and get it to folks in bottles. Great one!

We also tried their Biere De Menage, a mix of beer and sauvignon blanc wine. It’s a saison. Not usually my cup of tea. But as per usual I was like “yep I would totally drink this’ it would be perfect with some pasta, or a nice fish dinner. http://www.figmtnbrew.com/our-beers/#bieredemenage
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They have a Kolsch on board now (see I tell you they have all types of beers), Called the FMB101 named after the infamous 101 fwy, that sort of screams California. A Kolsch is made like a lager, so its fresh, clean, great for outdoor drinking and bbq’ing! http://www.figmtnbrew.com/our-beers/#101 This one I believe will be coming soon to a store near you!

They have a Pilsner that is available in bottles, Paradise Road, http://www.figmtnbrew.com/our-beers/#paradise-road-pilsner which we have had previously and enjoyed but that day they had a German Pilsner that was SO great! So great we got a growler of it to take home the next day!

Something’s that stood out about the entire experience, not just the beer. IMG_6576This place was beautiful.IMG_6540 Two stories where you could over look the brewery as it was brewing. IMG_6541Smell of grain and wart in the air… and so sleek.

IMG_6539With their beer labels as their wall art and table décor.

High Tops, long tables, square tables, bar tables,IMG_6547

and what a great outdoor seating area. I wish I had taken pictures of this when it was hopping the night before. These are from 11am then next day when we swung by again to grab a growler and a Tshirt. The outside seating to me just sums up “outdoor drinking” at its finest. IMG_6608Look at the great tables, the fire pits, the atmosphere. IMG_6607I wish we had another night and we would have gone back to sit outside. What a fun place!IMG_6607
Also to be noted, the brewery is child friendly. I asked prior to going if I had two well behaved children could they come in and sit with us. Got the thumbs up. Knew my kids had their DS gaming units and the World Cup on the TVs and they were fine as we tried our sampler flight!IMG_6555

We ordered pizza from a place near by. They brought it right to us.
Anthony was our bartender upstairs and he was so nice, and knowledgeable about beer and especially their beers. Very attentive to make sure our kids had water and were doing okay.

I know not everyone is going to drive to another city to try some beers. So I encourage you to order Fig Mtn from your bartender next time you are out. Keep an eye out for their bottles at the store and buy them! They really are the most well balanced, tastiest, biggest variety, family owned, operated by nice people, beer out there!

Hey the Beer Couple hits our 10 year wedding anniversary this fall….who’s up for a anniversary road trip with us??

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