LA HOLIDAY BEERFEST

IMG_4822’twas the night before Beerfest
And all through the house
My husband and I prepped with a lil Karl Strauss
The beers would be plenty
Over 200 to be shared
Wonder if we can try them all- yes we’ve been dared
Challenge Accepted yelled Mr Beerman as the taxi arrived
Wondering which beer to start with
would we make it out alive?

The Fest was held at Golden Road
Great CA Craft Brew to be sure,
Sponsored by Bev Mo also part of the lure

Wont lie I loved the Woodchuck Cider the best
but who doesn’t love a sake bomb
Hand tap to my chest
There was chocolate and hazelnut
a ginger beer to make a Mule,
The place was so festive, full of lots of good yule!

The day was joyful with many of our friend
After 4 hours we were sad for Holiday Beerfest to End.


The day was December 7th and a team of 6 of us headed to our first ever Holiday Beerfest in LA. The event was held at Golden Road Brewery http://www.goldenroad.la/. IMG_4828I have mentioned them in past blogs as they are one of my favorite places to go. Not only do we get to have great beer, but we can bring the kids. This particular journey there was kid free though. As they were sponsored by Bev Mo and promised 200+ Beers.

The thing I immediately noticed about this fest was that it was not just CA Craft Beers, there were a good amount of them, some I hadn’t tried yet, but they had beers from all over the country and the world. That made for some good tasting! IMG_1479

I can’t talk about every beer I tried, because quite frankly toward the end I don’t know what I tried…it was four hours stop judging. But I will point out some I think are musts for not only the holiday season but in general.

So the Bierlady has been on a bit of a Cider kick these days. Not sure why. Cider technically isn’t beer, but I can’t change my name, so indulge me. A friend of mine gave me a mixed 6pk of beer for my birthday and in it I found a Woodchuck Cider. I had seen them before but never tried them. What a delicious Cider.http://www.woodchuck.com/ They are up there on my list of favorites with Crispin http://crispincider.com/ and Ace’s Pumpkin. http://www.acecider.com/about/ace-ciders/ace-pumpkin-cider/Both also represented at the Fest. IMG_1447
I tried several of their Ciders. They brought several of their ciders for tasting. 802 “A drier Woodchuck. Its made with caramelized sugar to tone down the sweetness a bit and give it its bronze color”, Granny Smith “Made from only Granny Smith apples”, Amber “The original” and a Brewers choice. Now they had the Winter Series Woodchuck and I think it was my favorite taste of the day. It had a vanilla after taste that made it so different and super holiday just really delicious!

wood I’ll be looking for that one today! They also had 2 from their Cellar Series a Smoked Apple “Apple pomace is smoked using a blend of maple and applewood chips. Our original small batch hard cider is run through the smoked pomace. The result is a full-bodied deep amber cider. Strong crisp apple notes with hints of vanilla are balanced on an applewood smoked backdrop.” And their Dry Hopped, “Woodchuck Dry Hop is the first cider in our new Cellar Series line.IMG_1459 Infused with hops, Woodchuck Dry Hop brings a new unique flavor to the cider category and it represents our dedication to pushing innovation in hard cider.” Both of these were really unique and tasty. I don’t think I could drink a pint of the Smoked apple but it would be awesome to cook with. I will for sure try a turkey in that! The guys at Woodchuck were super nice too! IMG_1458 And pointed out that their Ciders are Gluten free for those looking!

Speaking of Gluten free, this review goes out to my friends who are looking. Now I love a beer that really tastes like bread. Ive mentioned some in the past Fig Mtn’s Oktoberfest, New Belgium’s Blue Paddle…. Now I don’t want a gluten free beer, I can eat a loaf of bread with the best of them. Bring on the Garlic buns, wheres the crossiants, but if you are looking I found this lager to be really tasty. Lammsbrau from Germany is about as close as you can get to “real Beer” taste when you are Gluten Free. http://lammsbraeu.com/ IMG_1452

A beer that both Mr. Beerman and I took note of was Chocolate Box Oatmeal Stout. IMG_1426 From Asskisser Ales http://asskisserales.com/beer.php. I don’t know it this was a special brew cause I can’t find it on their site, but did find this: http://www.ratebeer.com/beer/ass-kisser-chocolate-box-dark-oatmeal-stout/184389/ Normally I don’t buy into the chocolate beer. I find it a bit gimmicky and can’t find one that’s really good. THIS IS REALLY GOOD. So good we went back after we did a round about the fest and it was already gone. I would also note that if you mixed this with Rogue Ales, Hazelnut http://www.rogue.com/beers/hazelnut-brown.php That could be one of the best dessert beers of all time!

Here was a find! I thought there wasn’t a CA Craft beer I didn’t know about or have tried, but these guys were new to me and SO nice. Old Orange Brewing out of Orange, CA http://oldorangebrewing.com/Old_Orange_Brewery_Beer.htm. I tried their Backseat Blonde and their Rumplestilskin Irish Red ale and they were fantastic! IMG_1478The super nice lady who was sharing the tastes was the brewers sister. She said they are a small company but getting out there. I encourage you all to look for them. Not only to support CA beers, but they are just a damn good beer. I look forward to trying their other beers!

I can’t not talk about the Sake Bomb.IMG_1467 IMG_1465 That was one of my favorite parts of the day. Bev Mo sells a Sake Bomb kit for about $12 and it wasn’t that bad. I mean if you have been to Tokyo Delves in No Ho you know a sake bomb doesn’t have to be the best quality to be way fun. This was tasty and cute and I think a great gift! http://bushibomb.com/home

I have to give a shout out to Widmer Brothers, IMG_1448out of Portland, also the home of my favorite Kona (they distribute for Hawaii). They were representing a few of their good ones. Including a Bourbon Barrel aged cider that was really smooth. http://widmerbrothers.com/beer/#barrel-aged-brrrbon-11 And just a quick shout for the Pipeline Porter from Kona. Kona you never let me down!IMG_1449

Mr Beerman wanted me to mention Ballast Points Indra Kunindra a India inspired stout. Lots of cumin, curry, coconut flavors. Again not a beer he could drink pints of, but it was interesting and yummy enough to mention. I bet it would make for good cooking!!IMG_4798

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Taxi Magic for providing everyone (I hope) safe rides from the event. IMG_4824IMG_4823IMG_4781And Wreck Check. I love these guys! Hands down the most fun at the event! They let us BLOW anytime we wanted to check our alcohol level. SO fun. And puts things in perspective. We may have been yelling “blow blow blow”!! and the crowd cheered everyone on. But I hope it once again proved, 1 beer or 200 call a taxi, use an app, share a ride. It’s the right thing to do, for your safety and everyone else on the road.http://wreckcheck.me/

Oh my gosh there were so many good beers there. I bet I will have a follow up blog once I finish going through all my notes. I have to go wrap some Santa gifts, and you know have the Bierlady/Mom balance going on… But I have to give a final shout out to Golden Road Brewery IMG_1464 for not only hosting but providing their delicious brews. My favorite this time was their Surfliner, very coffee tasting, very tasty. IMG_1432If you haven’t been to Golden Road you should go. Not only do they have great folks working there, CRAZY NICE owners, and good beer, but you can bring friends, or family or just yourself and enjoy a beer outside or in. AND they have a cool tour of the brewery… What Bierlady did you go on the tour? I did. I wont lie it was about 3 hours into the fest. So I remember….some things…but I will say we took a lot of excellent pictures! So stay tuned. Next blog…the inside of a brewery.

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My Christmas gift to you…I would 100% recommend this fest for you all to attend next year! Great fun, 4 hours, unlimited pours, $45. The gift that keeps on giving!!

Aloha! The Bierlady goes Hawaiian!

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I know the Bierlady normally only talks about Beer, but I have to indulge a bit and talk about the last week. My family and I took a trip to Oahu, Hawaii. Mostly Thanks to Lets Make a Deal. I was on an episode earlier this year and won some money. And partly due to my husband working for ABC so we got a pretty kicking discount at the Aulani Resort. http://resorts.disney.go.com/aulani-hawaii-resort/ I was a bit skeptical to go to a Disney resort not cause I had any doubt that it would be fantastic. Its just that I had worked for the Mouse for a decade and my husband for a decade plus. So since we live and breathe Mickey I wasn’t sure if I wanted to see him in Hawaii. But for what its worth this Resort is amazing. And just like the commercial says “with just a touch of Disney”
Aulani
The resort is almost beyond describing, not just the actual look of it, the countless pools, the private beach, the outdoor movies,IMG_0714 the onsite luau, the games, the spa, a place to swim with fish IMG_2337 and even Aunty’s Beach House a place you could if you wanted leave your children from 930am to 9pm for free! And trust me your kids will love you for it. I can’t say we left our boys longer than to get a massage and one day to drive to Waikiki another but what a lovely perk for us and them.

Yes the resort it pricy if you don’t work for the company, but it truly is a spot where you get what you pay for. Every single cast member had a smile, an “Aloha” and was there to help. Anything you needed anytime they did it. Seriously a 5 star place. I wont go into too much detail since this is a beer blog but feel free to look me up on Trip Advisor. I will have more “hotel” details there.

The first evening we enjoyed our gorgeous view and what else? A Kona Longboard on our balcony. Welcome to Hawaii! The Bierlady had arrived! Alooooooooooooooooooha! IMG_0317

The first morning we were there we got caught up in the time change so the family was up at 4:30am which wasn’t a bad thing as we were down at the beach by 5am so watch the Moon go down and the sun come up. Spectacular view! IMG_1985 We spent that day on the private beach where they had paddleboards, and kayaks and snorkeling and sand toys.

Then just a few stairs up we could go in one of the many pools. Our favorite was the lazy river that allowed you to just float in a tropical circle, DSCN7940 or if you want to go down the greatest water slide ever. There are private adult only pools and hot tubs but don’t be fooled there are still kids all around. Im not saying you should not go without kids, but if I were just a couple not a foursome I may find another secluded island to hang out on. BUT this resort can’t be beat so I see the appeal.
Out by the pool they had take away food and most importantly the SHAVE ICE stand. DSCN8182 Now don’t get caught saying “SHAVED ice” no “D”.DSCN8199 Shave ice, bro. We enjoyed three different flavors with the incredible..ahem…fat free…cause its vacation right?….condensed milk all over the top. My youngest son is three. So he didn’t get too adventurous but he loved his “watermelon and strawberry” ice. Wait Griff you get three flavors…”oh okay strawberry and watermelon and strawberry”. Fair enough it’s your vacation too.

Inside the Aulani is amazing architecture, fine dining and a pretty decent buffet. It was $40 for adults (kids can order ala carte much cheaper) and I’m pretty sure we ate $40 worth of sushi alone. So it was worth it.

I wont go on about details you can read on their website, but a few things I noticed that weren’t on the site, they have laundry. Found that the last day. Oh well. For 3 tokens (ala $3) you can wash your suitcase and dry for the same. I will bring less clothes next time. More room coming home for chocolate covered macadamia nuts. Also saw they have BBQ grills you can use. See here’s the thing the food may be pricey there but they don’t force you to eat it. Our room had a fridge, coffee pot with new coffee everyday, a toaster, a microwave and plates and silverware. There is a small grocery store across the street for the basics and more… and if you have a car or rent one there 1 exit down is a Safeway, a Kmart and a Target. (Note we got our Hawaiian shirts there, cheaper!). Again found the grills the 2nd to last night or we would have bought steaks.

We only rented a car two days while we were there to go out to see Pearl Harbor. IMG_2067 http://www.nps.gov/valr/index.htm A sobering and incredible experience. And the Dole Pineapple Plantation,IMG_0537 http://www.dole-plantation.com/ a destination on my own personal bucket list. After I ate my body weight in pineapple, we took the kids on their Pineapple Express a 20min train ride around the fields. We also went in the Pineapple Maze. The worlds apparently largest. I would say um….without being negative….hey try the train!

We made it up it Waimea Falls http://www.hawaiiweb.com/waimea-valley-adventure-park-o-ahu.html only to find out the way to the falls closed at 5 and we arrived at 4 and there was an apparent 30 min walk to the actual falls. So we decided that wasn’t enough time. Which ended up being okay as my 3 year old took a header outside the Falls area and we were on a mad scavenger hunt to find bandaids. I found myself checking in on Facebook at “Some Random Longs Drugs In Paradise”.
The North shore. Gorgeous. For those who know CA beaches this is like Hermosa or Venice. Real beach people. Walking around no shoes. Shaka man. Shaka.
The next day my husband and I set forth alone to Waikiki. We tried to make a stop at the Kona Brew Pub on the other side of the island but alas it was closed for the day.IMG_0684 So we headed to the heart of Waikiki…wow that place is crazy. IMG_0690Full of people and energy. We were slightly touristy and stopped at Dukes. There is a Dukes in Malibu and in fact Mr. Beerman asked me to become the Bierlady at that Dukes. http://www.dukeswaikiki.com/

So 10 years later we found ourselves at the one in Hawaii! And low and behold they had a BEER SAMPLER! IMG_0694 The Bierlady was whole again! There were four beers and I loved them all. The first was a lighter beer from KONA called Dukes Blond Ale. What a GREAT beer. I had a pint of it after my sampler. I was sad to hear you can only get it at Dukes but hey that’s what I came for to try beers I can’t get at home. The second was KONA’s Lavaman Red Ale, a tasty red, but when has Kona let me down? I haven’t seen this one in LA but I will keep a look out for it! Looks like its only a draft beer as well. http://konabrewingco.com/our-pubs/draft-only-beers/ The next was KONA’s Firerock. This one you can find in a Kona Variety pack with Longboard, Big Wave, and whatever the seasonal brew is. I like Firerock normally, but loved it on tap. Made a difference. I mean sure draft beer is always better, but this almost took a slight bit of the hoppy flavor and smoothed it out vs bottle. And the final beer on my sampler was Hawaii Nui Brewing Hapa Brown ale.IMG_0698 http://hawaiinuibrewing.com/ A really tasty brown with that “Hawaii” taste to it. I can’t explain it. I like a good brown on a cold day but this you want to drink on the beach! I would not have believed it was ABV 6.4% tasted lighter!
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The next day we went to a Luau at Paradise Cove. http://www.paradisecovehawaii.com/index.htm It was just a 5 min walk from our resort, but they have busses that bring in 100’s and during peak season over 1000 people a night! It was so worth it. If you want a great luau in Hawaii this is it. I mean it was a Vegas Lounge act for sure. And I say that in the highest compliment. But it was more than a show. It was an experience. We arrived at 5pm, greeted with Mai Tais (kids too no boozy) and taken onto the beach. There we found games for all of us,IMG_2460 tattoos, dancing, lei making, hat making, kayak riding, turtle watching. So much to do! Then about 6pm they started their preshow. It had a man climbing up a huge Palm tree and raining flowers down on us, coconut shucking, the infamous Pig being brought out of the ground, and a show with “volunteers” from the audience bringing in the “fish net” and doing their own show on the beach. Yes Mr. Beerman was a volunteer, I mean after 3 Mai Tai’s what wont he do if asked nicely? He was hilarious. I am forbidden to post pictures as hes in a skirt and no shirt. But safe to say it was a memory my children will IMG_2530treasure. At 7pm it was on to the real show. Complete with hula dancing (my older son 7 years got up on stage and danced), fire juggling, the whole luau experience. It was all complete by about 8:15 and I can’t speak highly of it enough!

The rest of our days were spent enjoying the resort and all it had to offer. We even ran into Samantha Brown out by the pool! Shes like the spokeslady for Aulani, but we have been fans of her forever! We have been travelling vicariously through her for years! What a treat. It was like running into Emeril eating gumbo in New Orleans, running into a Travel Channel Icon on vacation!!! (She was most gracious and asked my boys if they were loving Hawaii.) Days were spent by the pool sipping tropical cocktails, but I couldn’t shirk my Bierlady duties so we do go across the street to a place called The Monkey Pod http://www.monkeypodkitchen.com/ko-olina/happy-hour/ for their happy hour. I started with a Maui Blonde. IMG_0908Ive had it before but you know “when in Rome…” and Mr. Beerman got a Kona Firerock that was his favorite beer of the trip. He had one most everywhere we went. We both got two new beers to try. I got a Hawaii Nui Kauai Golden ale that I really enjoyed. Im going to have to go find these guys at Bev Mo. Mr Beerman got a Maui Brewing Coconut Porter. A smart robust porter with a definite toasted coconut flavor! http://mauibrewingco.com/

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I won’t lie I did drink more tropical rum drinks this trip than beer. But I tried. The last thing I did in fact was stop at the KONA BREWING at the Honolulu Airport to have one last Longboard on Draft. It really is THAT good.
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It was the experience of a lifetime. Maholo, Hawaii from our entire family!

*all pictures in the blog are from our camera! Even the fancy one of Aulani at night! Thank you Lets Make a Deal & Wayne Brady for the trip and our new fancy camera!

Cooking with Beer

The Bierlady doesn’t just drink beer I use it all the time in the kitchen. So much so I need to duck and hide when Im in the grocery store and my older son says, “mom can we have beer-n-sausages for dinner tonight”. He means can I cook some brats in beer for dinner tonight. But I still live in fear that someone from child services is in line behind me and thinks I let my kids drink beer with their dinner.Boiling Bratwurst

There are TONS of ways to cook with beer, but today Im going to touch on three. First the aforementioned beer brats, a recipe for slow cooked chicken, and my beer cake.

Beer and brats doesn’t take a genius. There is just something delicious about boiling anything in a good beer. For this recipe you don’t even have to go fancy. I usually use whatever is in the fridge or keg at the time. But darn it if you cant even use the stuff we drank in college and its still good. Just fill up a pot with beer, add a onion or two chopped up and either a clove of garlic or if you are like me a teaspoon of Trader Joes crushed garlic and let them boil! So good. After I love to grill or bbq bratsto get a crisp texture on the outside of the sausage. And we usually serve with the Trader Joes Pepper and Onion mix on top of our brat.IMG_3147 Tasty!

Slow cooking is amazing. I mean whomever invented the crock pot I just want to kiss. 20091015crockpot

Straight from the interweb (thank you Wikipedia): “The Naxon Utilities Corporation of Chicago, under the leadership of Irving Naxon, developed the Naxon Beanery All-Purpose Cooker. Naxon was inspired by a story his Jewish grandmother told about how back in her native Lithuanian shtetl, her mother made a stew called cholent, which took several hours to cook in an oven The Rival Company bought Naxon in 1970 and reintroduced it under the Crock-Pot name in 1971. Slow cookers achieved popularity in the US during the 1970s when many women began to work outside the home. They could start dinner cooking in the morning before going to work and finish preparing the meal in the evening when they came home” Genius I tell you! We use our slowcooker/crock pot a lot. And Im always trying to find new ways to make the meat taste different. Over the summer I cooked a great deal of chicken in it. And I found that Sam Adams Summerfest beer sma(1 bottle and about 4 cups of water)http://www.samueladams.com/craft-beers/summer-ale with some salt and pepper and garlic made the chicken fantastic. I don’t know what it was about that particular beer but the flavor was outstanding. But Im for cooking with whatever beer you like to drink. I find that chicken absords the flavor a little more than red meats but have add it. So for this recipe its easy, put in any parts of the chicken you like, legs, breasts, the whole thing, skin free, skin on, bone in bone out it doesn’t matter, add a beer of choice, a few more cups of water to cover the bird, some seasoning.

Not that I want to make this blog an ad for Trader Joes, but their 21 salute spice is a good one.$(KGrHqZHJDQE92G5WV68BPfuq)!1Ug~~60_35 I always add about 3 cloves of garlic, but you can do that to taste as well, a roughly chopped onion and turn that baby on for about 6 hours on low. SO good. The best part is if you don’t finish all the chicken that night you can chop it up the next day and make chicken enchiladas with it! Again my old friend Trader Joes has the BEST sauce. enchilada-sauceJust roll up the chicken in some tortillas with that left over pepper/onion blend you had a few nights ago with the brats, cover with more sauce, and some cheese and cook for 30 min in your oven at 300 degrees and they are super tasty enchiladas. I wont say they are super authentic Mexican but what do you want from me I was born in Milwaukee.

My final recipe I know you will say WHAT THE WHAT but I swear it works. So there is an infamous diet coke cake. Anyone who’s been on a diet has heard of it. It’s basically a box of cake mix and one diet coke. Nothing else. Mix and bake per the boxes instructions. No oil, no eggs, nothing else. I’ve tried it. It’s good. Well good enough. I mean nothing can take the place of oil. The texture is a bit spongy and heavier but it good if you want a piece of cake and it doesn’t fit in your diet plan. So of course I had to try this concept with cake. I mean its all carbonation right? I tried it with Guinness first. I had to use slightly less than a full pub can you want it to be the same Ounces as a 12 oz can of diet coke, and a chocolate cake mix. IT was really really good! I tried it with Boddingtons and a yellow cake. It was fine. Not as good but kinda worked.

But just in time for the holidays a pumpkin spice cake made with NO oil, NO eggs, just a box of Spice Cake mix 41N90C5TDFL__SL500_AA271_ and a bottle of pumpkin ale. pumpkin aleOh shoot I just told you the recipe. Well that’s it! Just a box of spice cake mix, stir in a bottle of your favorite pumpkin ale, and cook as per the directions on the box. Its fantastic. Add a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream … Youre Welcome! Hey that recipe is so easy you could make it when you are drunk! (the Bierlady and her legal team do not encourage use of cooking equipment or fire while under the influence of alcohol).

Next Cooking blog will include Mr. Beerman’s Porter braised short ribs. Stay tuned.

Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co.

menuHeres a little shout out to one of my new favorite CA breweries: Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. http://www.figmtnbrew.com/ They are located in Buellton California just outside of Santa Barbara. Now you maybe thinking to yourself, Buellton, why is that name sticking out in my head, perhaps you have seen a lil movie called SIDEWAYS? The Hitching Post https://hitchingpost2.com/sideways.html was used for the film. And its now a “must stop” place for any fan of the film. But ah well that’s a movie about wines…and although that area of California is a mecca for great wine its also the home to great beer!

So what’s their story? Straight from the interweb Figueroa Brewing Co is a father/son business: “Jim and Jaime Dietenhofer are a father & son team with a passion for quality beer. Both businessmen and entrepreneurs, they’ve grown their companies on hard work and quality products. Jim raised his family in the Santa Ynez Valley along with wife Judie, and have enjoyed its natural beauty and the character of its inhabitants for years. Starting this business has been a dream of the Dietenhofers for some time, and they feel fortunate to provide patrons the quality that they deserve. Jaime’s wife Meighan and sons Anders and Gray are also key supporters of the operation.”

If you haven’t tried their beers you should. I recently went to a TAP TAKE OVER at Story Tavern http://www.storytavern.com and found SEVEN beers that were amazing. No really I have never had a flight where I wanted more of every beer.photo 4 Now heres the thing. Some of these beers are only available in their tasting room. They don’t have them bottled for distribution. Which really only brings two words to mind “ROAD TRIP”! But in the meantime there are some beers that you can get and should try.

First the ones that just tempted Mr. Beerman and I and sent us into a depression that we couldn’t run out and buy more. These included their Big Cone Black Ale 6.8%, Sisquoc Bock 8% (I know the Bierlady doesn’t like the High ABVs but this one was so good, I couldn’t even tell it was high) Oktoberfest/Figtoberfest Lager 5.5% it had me at Oktoberfest but man this was my FAVORITE. It had that wonderful “bread” taste that I mention in a recent blog referring to New Belgiums Blue Paddle. http://www.newbelgium.com/beer/detail.aspx?id=5aec31cf-c34f-4344-8dbe-91a0a5db67ca That same beer taste I loved with Blue Paddle, its like the way a beer used to taste before everyone started getting fancy, just beer, a fine loaf of bread in a bottle, Surfliner Lager 4.4%, and a Munich Style Dunkel at 6%. That was our second favorite. Perfect for the new season!
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brstredNow the ones you can get. Hoppy Poppy IPA 6.5%. I finally found an IPA that I really really like. And good gawd if that name didn’t cause me to want to go running. Hoppy IPA, redundant much? but no I really liked it.. WHAT? Its true. And their Hurricane Deck Double IPA also great. Even at 8% and an IPA I still found it perfectly drinkable. Davey Brown Ale 6% is a great ale. I find it slightly malty for my taste but its one of Mr. Beermans new “go to” beers. Their Stage Coach Stout 5.6% is a smokey smooth chocolate like stout It’s a good’un. Im on the look out for their Danish Red Ale I loves me a good Red. I’ll report back as soon as I find it.

They have several other bottles that I haven’t tried. And Now I have to. After being exposed to the flight of magic I am a true fan. And how can you not support a Father/Son Brew team? That’s like my dream for Mr. Beerman and one or both of our boys.

So look for these guys. They know what they are doing. I anticipate being able to find all their beers in stores soon.

In the meantime next time you are in the Santa Ynez Valley skip the wine tasting and head to their brewery!

Just try it!

IMG_9355That’s my motto for LA BEER Week. Just Try it! Try a new beer this week. Something you wouldn’t normally drink and maybe you will love it!

So LA Beer Week which is more than a week is up an running with events all over the city. Check out the events http://labeerweek.com/event/. Or if you frequent a favorite bar Im sure something is going on.

Today I spent Day 2 of LA Beer week at two of my FAVORITE places. Story Tavern http://www.storytavern.com in downtown Burbank. And Tony’s Darts Away also in Burbank. http://tonysda.com/ Both places are huge craft brew havens.

So I decided since it was super cloudy and a bit chilly today –by chilly I mean LA standards in September, so like 80– it seemed like Autumn was here.
I have gone into Autumn kicking and screaming. I think part of it is because I have a school aged child now. Gavin is in 2nd grade. So when school is involved the end of summer is that much harsher. For him and for me. School means PTA involvement, stricter bedtimes and of course homework. You wouldn’t think homework in 2nd grade would be that tough. And its not, but as he gets older and the homework goes from coloring to real studies, and I realize just how much I have forgotten, or perhaps never learned. I will be the first to admit I may have spent too much time at Trojan football games and tail gates then in the classroom (college is wasted on the young sigh). So now I find myself answering his questions with a “well lets go look on the computer” or I nod when he says “is this something we need to ask Dad?”.

I digress..so Summer is ending and its mid September which means Im ready for some new types of beers. Not the pilsners and lagers …although truth be told its LA in Sept. It will be 100 again next week and I’ll bust out a good “outside drinking beer”. But today since it was mildly cloudy I went for some darker beer choices.

Our first stop was Story Tavern.IMG_9352 Lucky for us last night they had a Tap Take Over by Eagle Rock Brewery.IMG_9350 http://eaglerockbrewery.com/page/beers I’m sure you know Eagle Rock but if you don’t They are the forefathers of Craft Beer in LA. They have fantastic beers and Mr Beerman and I are big fans. I was giddy to get the Revolution on tap.IMG_9346 Now normally I don’t like an extra pale ale. But this one is so smooth and tasty. I have to recommend it. Even to my friends reading this who don’t normally venture into the Pale Ale or IPA world. From their site: “Extra Pale Ale (XPA) is a variation on American pale ale–bright and refreshing with a substantial hop presence. Light-gold in color, Revolution XPA’s subtle malt backbone and medium body balance it’s hop bitterness. Dry hopping delivers big hop aromas with the essence of nectar fruit, citrus, and freshly cut grass. As these assertive flavors recede a hint of bready malt rounds out the finish.
Bitter never tasted so sweet! ABV 5.2%”
Mr. Beerman is more of a Unionist Fan, a Belgium Pale Ale, which from their site: “A combination of Belgian and English styles, this Belgian Pale Ale has the subtle spice characteristics of cinnamon and nutmeg, produced by the Belgian yeast. The medium body and biscuity malt backbone, common in English ales, support the subtle hop bitterness to make this beer a perfect blend of styles. ABV: 5.4%”

Im still not on the Belgium bandwagon. So I passed, BUT I did find which I think was the greatest find of the day. Their Solidarity which is a good beer to begin with, a black mild ale, “”Mild” refers to an English-style beer that is malt-accented yet light bodied and low in alcohol.IMG_9351 Depite it’s dark appearance Solidarity Black Mild is light bodied and refreshingly drinkable. A variety of roasted malts lend toasty, nutty flavors and complexity, with subtle notes of coffee, dark chocolate, and a hint of smoke”. But heres the thing, Story Tavern had THREE takes on this beer (the others had some different versions as well) they had the normal Solidarity, Solidarity on Nitro (which means creamer like a Guinness or Murphys) and a special Cask version made with Champurrado, mexican chocolate. Okay first let me explain. Cask is how beer drinkers used to drink beer, before the 20th century, far less carbonation it served without Nitro or CO2 and well a bit warmer than usually served. Ok this mexican chocolate addition is the freaking bomb! It was so good. And at 3.8% I could drink it all night. It wouldn’t fill you up and its low ABV makes it such a great beer.

I hear it was a small batch so if you can get some do it. Run don’t walk to Story Tavern this week!

My second stop was to Tonys Darts Away. Its sort of the go to place for Craft Beers. I ended up after several samples deciding on a Mocha Stout from TAPS. It was very tasty. I highly recommend. If you like a good stout and a chocolate coffee flavor this one surely fits the bill.

Tony’s is doing several events for LA BEER WEEK IMG_9357(see the pic posted). And just in general you should visit here if you want to try a good craft brew! Oh and order the home baked potato chips. You’re welcome.

IMG_9360So my theme of the blog was to try something new. Even if you think you aren’t going to like it try it. I would have NEVER thought I would love a Mexican Chocolate Black Ale, but now I dream of it. You don’t need to order a pint, ask for a taste this week. Surely any server will hook you up. Maybe you will love a beer you never thought you would. It sort of reminds me of my aforementioned 2nd grader. He is horrible at trying new things. So when I want him to try something I said “remember the pumpkin bread”. He turned his nose up to orange bread last fall til he tried a piece. Now he thinks pumpkin bread is the greatest thing since well…sliced pumpkin bread.

Speaking of Pumpkin…I’ll be on a quest this week to find some good Pumpkin Ciders and Ales to report back on. For now Happy Beer Week..and remember “just try it, you may like it!”.

Kona (our Summer beer/12 months a year)…One last shout out to Summer since its 100 degrees out

KonaBrewingBeers
So I know I typically write about local places or CA brews. But you know from my posts that I’m a big fan of Kona. Kona Brewery is in Hawaii. I mean that right there its gotta be good right? What’s not to like about Hawaii? The beaches. The pineapple. The coffee. It’s just paradise. So why is it shocking that they produce some really delicious really drinkable beers?

If you want to check out what Kona Brewery looks like inside check this out. I caught at show on AMC that was great. Owners Manual did a show on Kona. Marcus and Ed are greeted by Ryan, the Head Brewer, who explains their primary challenge: To create a new craft beer (with a secret ingredient) from scratch, then complete the brewing process in eight hours. http://www.amctv.com/shows/owners-manual/episodes/season-1/brewery#episode-details-1052613

Before we embark on LA craft brew week which ironically starts 9/19 the day after my wedding anniversary 9/18 to Mr. Beerman I thought I would do a quick blog on our favorite outta state brewery.

Note those in LA: Don’t forget to go to Story Tavern www.storytavern.com this weekend for the Eagle Rock Brewery Tap Take over for the kick off to your Craft Beer week. “As part of LA Beer Week, Eagle Rock Brewery & Story Tavern are teaming up for a four day exploration of Beer!”

Ok back to the topic at hand…KONA!

Kona has a great selection of beers. This is one of the few that we love. Let’s start with Kona Longboard. It’s a lager. If you like beer you more than likely enjoy lagers. Straight from the interweb: Lager is a type of beer that is fermented and conditioned at low temperatures. Pale lager is the most widely consumed and commercially available style of beer in the world. long
I like them cause they fit the bill as my favorite: “outside drinking beers”. But don’t be mistaken lighter doesn’t mean flavorless. Well in some cases it does but I won’t name names cause I have relatives who are employees in the beer industry in Wisconsin. I’ll stop there…. Back to lagers. They’re light but with a body and flavor. And this is hands down one if the best out there. My personal home tap has had more kegs of Longboard in it than any other beer. Partly because Mr Beerman and I love it but partly because so do most all our guests. It appeals to the masses, from the “sometimes” beer drinker who comes to our BBQs to my home brewing award winning friend Paul. And lets call this beer the “paul” of the 4pk.

The next Kona I want to discuss because it’s the newest keg to be found in our home..but for you can be found with the Longboard in the Variety pack or on its own in a 6pk it’s their Golden Ale: Big Wave. big waveRemember a few blogs ago I explained a Pale Ale vs Lager but to remind you (again thank you Wikipedia) “Ale is a type of beer brewed from malted barley using a warm-fermentation with a strain of brewers’ yeast. The yeast will ferment the beer quickly, giving it a sweet, full bodied and fruity taste. Most ales contain hops, which help preserve the beer and impart a bitter herbal flavor that balances the sweetness of the malt.”
Ok so…Golden Ales were developed in hope of getting folks away from drinking lager and moving them more toward cask ales. Its similar to pale ale yet there are some notable differences- it is paler, brewed with lager or low temperature ale malts and they are served in colder temperatures. The ABV varies from 3.5% to 5.3%.

I could give you the Beer advocate talk about aroma and color but that’s not what I do. I explain it like this. It’s stronger tasting than a lager but seriously tastes like Hawaii. Not like some IPAs out there who are brewed with so much stuff you’re drinking a pine forest. This beer’s flavor meets its promise of a tropical hop flavor. Its my “john” a tiny bit more depth than the very popular and equally as good just more for the masses “paul”.

Wailua is the current seasonal brew in the Variety 4 pack of Kona. This one surprised me. Its really refreshing. Also an ale this one is super citrus and tropical tasting but not like a wine cooler citrus this is a beer but its light and perfect for by the pool, or beach if you have one. “George” sometimes forgotten but just as talented..err I mean delicious as the other three. w

Firerock is the final beer in the Variety Pack. Lets call it our Ringo. Its their Pale Ale. Not a Golden Ale but a Pale Ale. I mentioned in a prior blog that Pales Ales are the gateway beer to IPAs. A Pale Ale is an amber colored ale brewed with pale malts; similar to bitter but drier and lighter. fire Both the Pale Ale and the IPA were created by British Brewers and both are known for the liberal use of Hops! As the Pale Ale evolved in the late 18th century, it became necessary for an ale to be brewed that could survive the long trip from the UK to India. So a batch of Pale Ale was brewed a little but stronger more hops. And thus the India Pale Ale or IPA was created.

Pale Ales have a slightly less hop profile, the IPA is full blown Hoppy hop hop …Pale Ales typically contain 3.8-6.2% ABV the IPA is more aggressive 4.5-12% or I assume even higher! Im not a huge fan of the IPA. Im not a hoppy hop hop girl and I like my beer in the lower ABV range so this Firerock is great. Pale Ales are the way to go if you want to slowly get your hop on.

I do have to do a quick shout out to the Koko Brown which is avail in the Variety Pack in Spring and winter. This is another great beer its an America Brown think Newcastle, Sam Adams type but its brewed with real toasted coconut. We’ll discuss more in the winter months.3

Hold on to your hats..new beer coming out Pipeline Porter brewed with kona coffee. Are you KIDDING ME? Beer and Coffee from Hawaii…good gawd bring it on…

A recent press release from Kona tells us that:
Kona Brewing Company’s Pipeline Porter is making its way to the Midwestern states of Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, Indiana and Minnesota for the first time this September. Part of Kona Brewing’s Aloha Series, this American Porter is brewed with freshly roasted Kona coffee from the Cornwell Estate Coffee plantation neighboring Kona Brewing on the Big Island.
Inspired by Banzai Pipeline’s pounding winter waves on the North Shore of Oahu, Pipeline Porter will be available on grocer’s shelves and on draught across the U.S. mainland and Hawaii from mid-September through December 2013. A highly anticipated beer in the Midwest, Pipeline Porter has received many recent accolades including top three finishes at the Great American Beer Festival, the Great International Beer and Cider Competition, and the Australian International Beer Awards.
This is our longest-running Aloha Series seasonal, and we are thrilled to bring it to the Midwest for the first time this year,” said Kona Brewing Company president Mattson Davis. “Pipeline Porter uses Kona coffee beans, which are among the best in the world and help round out the rich porter’s flavor. This brew is great in any weather, but Kona beer lovers on the mainland know that the best time to drink a Pipeline Porter is when craving a little warmth to cut through the chill of a brisk night.”
Served year-round in Hawaii, Pipeline Porter has 5.3% ABV and an IBU of 23.

I have a friend who’s getting me some so I will review this one as soon as I finish my first one. Which will be about 4 min after I get it!

Mr Beerman and I will be taking a trip to http://konabrewingco.com/pubs/koko-marina-pub/ in 8 weeks and 6 days but who’s counting. I plan to try everything they have x 2 and bring you a full report back from Oahu!! Stay tuned!

Haven’t been to Stout Burgers? Run dont walk.

IMG_7103Holy delicious Burger Batman! I know this is a Beer blog but my recent lunch at Stout Burger in Studio City made me change my name to burger lady just for the day. http://www.stoutburgersandbeers.com/beer-menu-studio-city

Stout burgers is and I quote from their website: “a simple, upscale restaurant redefining the idea of the local pub – offering a vast selection of artisanal draft and bottled beers from around the world as well as an emerging list of wines together with the finest burger option in Los Angeles”. That’s about right. Right now locations are Hollywood by the Archlight and Studio City but looks like there’s a Pasadena and Santa Monica location opening soon. Lucky you guys!!

They have 30 beers on tap and they’re a nice selection.IMG_7101 IPAs, Belgiums, Stouts, Lagers, Pilsners, Ales and Pale Ales. And that’s just on tap. They have a selection in bottles that includes some really hard to find beers.

Aside from the great selection of beer I am pleased to say they meet one of my huge summer favorite things. By now you know me and know what I am going to say. “Outdoor Drinking”. The whole place is practically outside. The bar had that cool on the strip Vegas feel to it. Right there looking out on Ventura Blvd as you sip your beer.

Today I got the Firestone Hoppy Pivo Pils and Mr Beerman ordered Stones Pale Ale.IMG_7106 They are old favorites. Nothing new to report here. Just glad they had them. Go California beers!

But I need to talk about the food. Their burgers are perfect. Don’t even tell them how you like it cooked. Just go with it. It’s so juicy; So flavorful; So good. It’s funny my husband and I always get the same burger. Me the Goobah which is beef burger with mozzarella cheese, crispy prosciutto, and a lemon aioli and Mr Beernan won’t vary from the Stout Burger, blue cheese, emi gruyere, rosemary bacon, caramelized onions, horseradish cream and roasted tomatoes. Ridiculous. Both burgers. You kinda want two but then you are like no..that would be wrong. But sometimes I don’t want to be right.

Note: Stout would you consider doing sliders? We love our “go to” burgers so much we won’t order a different but would love to try the others.

And they don’t have just beef. They also have Chicken burgers and even veggie burgers! Something for everyone. And dont even get me started on the sweet potato fries, onion rings and bread pudding. To. Die. For. Who’s your exec chef? Wait I looked it up “Executive Chef Alex Kagianaris has turned the burger into a gourmet treat. Thanks to its mainstay of a few quality ingredients, cooked quickly and served up as fresh as can be, the burger at STOUT makes the perfect meal – nutritious, filling, and the perfect pair for that specialty beer combining a host of sweet/salt/sour flavors to tantalize the taste buds. True that. Kiss him for me.

There’s a lot of gourmet burgers out there now. I enjoy many. But none as much as Stout. Combine that with the choices of beer and outdoor bar I’m sold. The bartender was super friendly too. Nothing bad to say its an A+ place. IMG_7109

My husband mentioned how when we met he lived with his two buddies in a house about two Blocks from where Stout is now. Thank goodness it didn’t exist 15 years ago. We probably would have never met. He would have been there every night knee deep in Stout Burgers and Pints.