Its Summer and I want a new Cider….

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With Summer approaching and having had more than one friend ask me about ciders I felt like it was a good time to give folks the scoop on the Ciders that I have tried.

First and foremost let me point out that it is “Cool” to drink and order a cider at a bar. Here in the states we have been led to believe cider is a girly drink. I attribute that to the fact that you can find most ciders next to the malt beverages and wine coolers in the grocery store. Everywhere in the world people drink ciders and are not ashamed to do so. So if you want to order a cider do it! Drink up! But you don’t have to order the same cider every time…

If you think there is only Angry Orchard angryout there you are totally mistaken. In fact according to American Hard Cider.com there are 88 ciders being made just here in the states! http://www.americanhardcider.com/ I think this is an estimate to say the least, there are more than these 88.

I have a bottle of Square Mile in my fridge (out of Oregon) http://squaremilecider.com/ciders/ and they aren’t on the list. And they are really good. At 6.7% it was a little stronger than a normal cider, but I liked that. And it was a cleaner less sweet taste.Square

I imagine that if you have been drinking cider and you started a many years back you are only familiar with Strongbow OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAhttps://www.strongbow.com.my/#product. Strongbow is from the UK and has been produced since 1962. It’s a great cider but with so many being made right here why not try some others?

Ciders are made all over the world. Nearly every country has their own brands of cider. But for the purposes of this blog Im covering the ones you can buy here in the states and you may find at your local tavern. fox

You can walk into your local grocery store and you are going to find probably 2 maybe 3 Ciders. You will for sure find Angry Orchard, http://angryorchard.com/ because if you haven’t noticed these guys are ubiquitous. Everywhere I turn this cider is on tap or in someone’s hand. I attribute this to their distribution and marketing. Just an FYI they are owned by Sam Adams. Hey nothing wrong with that. Lots of crafts brews are being bought by bigger companies. That being said there are some ciders out there on a smaller scale that I think are better. Albeit probably more expensive and depending on where you are in the country a bit harder to find.

Where can I find these? There is always Bev Mo, they carry a few ciders, but end of day walk into your local liquor store, the smaller ones, they probably carry some of the more hard to find beers and ciders and you are going to be happy to made the extra trip.

AceI wont lament on the new Ace Pineapple Cider again, I have mentioned it, I have tweeted about it, its damn good. http://www.acecider.com/. Ace is a California Cidery and was founded in 1993. Their label is pretty recognizable and they are in a ton of bars. Some of the Ace I find a bit sweet, but if you are looking for a sweeter less dry cider then this is your cider. I’m fond of the aforementioned Pineapple and their Pear is great too. For the most part Ace Cider is about 5% ABV so that’s like a lager or pilsner, not terribly high in alcohol. Watch out for their Joker Cider, as that is 6.9% so it’s a little more bang for your abv buck. So if you want that sweeter cider that tastes more like juice than a dry champagne this is what you want.product_lineup

Crispin Cider http://crispincider.com/, also out of California, crispin I have mentioned them in numerous blogs as well. This is probably my favorite, it is a really good cider. I think they actually do the best job at mixing a sweet and dry taste. So you don’t feel like you are drinking fruit juice but has just the right amount of sweetness. They have several flavors and their original apple I have seen in most grocery stores. Yes they will be more expensive as they are sometimes sold in 4 pks not 6 for the same price as most beers in a 6. But they are so worth it. http://crispincider.com/products/ And their 22 oz bottles of special or reserves are just excellent. organicThey even have an organic apple http://crispincider.com/products/organic-cider/bare-naked/. They do some limited releases that are barrel aged. I hate to even mention this one as it’s not in production anymore, but their Bird on a Wire, IMG_5684aged in Whiskey barrels was phenomenal! http://crispincider.com/products/barrel-aged-limited-releases/past/bird-on-a-wire/ They continue to release new ones just keep an eye out. These bigger bottles and limited release will be higher in alcohol content most of them between 6-8%.

It came to my attention as I was doing this blog that Crispin has merged with another of my favorite Ciders, Fox Barrel http://foxbarrel.com/. I have to admit I have only had this cider in bars so I can’t speak to how easy it is to find in stores. I have never seen it. But if its on tap at a bar you are at it’s a strong choice. Im particularly fond of their Blackberry/Pear cider. http://foxbarrel.com/products/

It also seems that they have Pomegranate/Pear and Rhubarb/ Elderberry. I love any cider that’s going to produce more than just apple! Im guessing that now that they are with the Crispin company they may have better store distribution and will be easier for us to find.

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Taking a quick jaunt out of CA I have to cross the country all the way to Vermont . Most beers/ciders you are going to find in your store are from breweries/cideries close to home. Makes sense. If there are a million breweries in California why would my store go to another states breweries to fill their shelves, unless you are one of the big 3 (Bud, Coors, Miller) or been around a while, and or distributed by a big one, ala Shiner Bocks (TX), Kona (HI), Sam Adams (MA)….this is one of those cases…

You are heading to a BBQ and you want to bring a cider ..you are picking up the ice and chips at your local grocery store and head to the beer aisle. There it is…its been there for years, but have you tried it? woodWoodChuck Cider, http://www.woodchuck.com/ Woodchuck was originally started at The Joseph Cerniglia Winery, Cavendish, VT, in 1991 by Joe Cerniglia and Barry Blake, along with wine maker Greg Failing. It was bought out by a bigger company and now is the top selling cider in the US. Its really good. They have their core ciders, the Amber, the Granny Smith, etc all about 5%. But if you want even more of a session cider, their Crisp is only 3.8%. IMG_1459 Watch out for their 22 oz bottles, reserve, those are either barrel aged, or smoked, or kicked up in the ABV. Their pumpkin cider is close to 7%. I loved their Winter Seasonal pack, had hints of vanilla. And I am currently on a quest to find their Summer Seasonal 6pk which is blueberry/apple! I know Woodchuck gets some slack for being “factory produced” vs “small batches” but you know what? They taste like you think and want a cider to taste like. And they have enough variety in their seasonal and special releases to please almost everyone. So I can’t poo poo them for being a giant company now. To me the quality of a tasty cider is still there. And its accessible. So win win.

tieton-cider-works-2009cidersAnother cidery outside of CA is Tieton http://www.tietonciderworks.com/, they are in Washington state and lets be honest who is going to do Apple cider better than a company in Washington? They were brought to my attention by a friend who lives up there. It is much harder to find. I have seen a bottle or two at Bev Mo and once on tap at a bar. But if you see it try it!

A great place to find some one off ciders is Cost Plus World Market. They tend to carry some lesser known beers/ciders and you can buy them by the bottle vs a 6pk if you aren’t sure you will like it.

bloom-cider-wandering-ae-21761-697zThere we found Wandering Aengus http://www.wanderingaengus.com/wordpress/?page_id=12 this is another tasty cider, out of Oregon, and slightly hard to find. However I have seen it on tap at my local Tavern. So you may see them at your favorite bar. Also note they are a little higher in alcohol ranging from 6-9%abv. If you see this cool label pick one up and try it!

So can I kick up my cider? Of course you can! And cider cocktails are not limited to just the Snakebite! There are tons of ways to mix your cider with beer or liquor. Here are a few recipes that caught my attention during my research. And by research I mean actual research on the interweb not my code for drinking copious amounts of different drinks in the name of Bierlady research.

SnakeBite
½ Cider
½ Lager*

Breakfast Velvet
½ Crispin Cider
½ oatmeal stout

The President
1/2 oz raspberry liqueur
1/2 oz orange liqueur
2 orange slices
8 oz Angry Orchard Apple Ginger

Angry Cuban

1.5oz White Rum
3oz Pineapple Juice
Angry Orchard Crisp Apple

Angry Balls™
Angry Orchard Crisp Apple
1.5 oz of Fireball Cinnamon Whisky

Mexican Woody

1 shot tequila
Mixed in a glass with Woodchuck Cider

Woodchuck Cider Punch
2 Quarts lemon sherbet
1 large bottle ginger ale
11 bottles of Woodchuck Cider
Lemon Slices
Pour Woodchuck Cider over sherbet in punch bowl.
Add ginger ale. Float lemon slices on top.

Even though its not my favorite cider I am pretty sure Angry Balls is my favorite Cocktail name.

Note: Bars & Ciders. My two cents…. the next time you are in a bar and want a cider don’t go for what you can buy at the grocery store. Seriously why pay $$$ for a pint that you can spend that same $$$ to buy a 6pk? Try something new! Don’t be afraid to ask the bartender about the cider. If you like sweet ask for sweet, if you like dry then tell them. They should know what they have on tap and they can lead you to a new great find!

I would love to try some new ciders especially from the East Coast. If you have any call outs please let me know. Tweet me @thebierlady and I will try and find them!!

5th Annual LA Vegan Beerfest

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What is the 5th Annual LA Vegan Beerfest? It’s a different festival than Mr. Beerman and I are used to going to. This one has so much more than just beer. It’s a festival with over 40 breweries and just as many Vegan Food Truck/ booths and if that wasn’t enough why not throw in some incredible live music!
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I love that a festival that has become so popular was really just the idea between 3 buddies, Nic Adler of the Roxy, Tony Yanow of Tony’s Darts Away and Quarry Girl, an infamous blogger who is one of Southern California’s most famous sources of information on vegan food. So they thought, huh we love beer, music and vegan food..I have an idea…and five festivals later here we are. IMG_4958

I went to this festival last year and had a great time. This year I wondered if it could match the greatness. I saw the fest sold out much quicker than before. Word was out..this was the place to be if you are Vegan…or love beer…or Both!

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Initially yes it was more crowded. I did wait in line about a half hour to get in the doors. But the thing is from a beer standpoint this festival is different than the others I attend. There isn’t that ticking clock on your head like you have to get in there when it starts cause you only have 180 minutes to make it through hoards of people to taste new beers. This beerfest is far more mellow.IMG_4987 There was never a line for a beer (well one but that’s coming up in my review)..you just sort of hung out got a beer when yours was empty. You could bring chairs and blankets to sit on to enjoy the bands. It was more of an all around festival as opposed to a race to drink.

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As the day wore in it got more and more crowded for sure. But I have to say I never ever felt uncomfortable. The crowds were there, but I always had a beer in hand. I got the food I wanted. I could hear the bands from everywhere. Looking back on our pictures I think “dude there was a crap load of people there”. But just never felt that way at all.

Now I must be forthcoming in the fact that I am not Vegan, I do have many Vegan friends and was even with one at the fest. So I can’t talk too much about the food. But I will say my friend John who is Vegan and my friend Jason who is a vegetarian were over run with glee over the sheer amount of choices. I mean in ONE place you could get food from:

Food Vendors
Beyond Meat Truck | fb.com/beyondmeat | @beyondmeat | IG: beyondmeat
Amanda’s Bakery | Facebook | @AmandasBakeCafe
Azla Vegan | fb.com/AzlaEthiopianVegan | @AZLAvegan | IG: azlavegan
Bramble Bake Shop | fb.com/bramblebakeshop | @mielmonster | IG: mielbramble
Cafe Gratitude | fb.com/cafegratitudela | @cafegratitudela | @cafegratitudeVB
Chicago Vegan Foods | fb.com/ChicagoVeganFoods | @ChiVeganFoods | IG: chicagoveganfoods
Crossroads Kitchen | fb.com/crossroadskitchen | @crossroads8284 | IG: crossroads8284
Doomies | fb.com/doomieshomecookin | @Doomies | IG: doomies
Follow Your Heart | fb.com/FYHProducts | @FollowYourHeart | IG: fyhproducts
Golden Road Pub | fb.com/goldenroadbrew | @goldenroadpub | IG: goldenroadpub
Gracias Madre | fb.com/GraciasMadreWeHo | @GMWeHo | IG: gmweho
Grilled Cheese Truck | fb.com/grilledcheesetruck | @grlldcheesetruk
Guru Tacos | Facebook | @gurutacos
Ihsan’s Falafel | fb.com/ihsansfalafel | IG: ihsansfalafel
Kind Kreme | fb.com/kindkreme | @kindkreme | IG: kindkreme
M Cafe de Chaya | fb.com/welovemcafe | @WeLoveMCafe
Mamas Hot Tamales | @MamasHotTamales
Mandoline Grill | fb.com/MandolineGrill | @MandolineGrill | IG: MandolineGrill
Mohawk Bend | fb.com/mohawkLA | @MohawkLA | IG: mohawkla
Pepples Donuts | Facebook | @vegan_donuts
Plant Food For People | Facebook | @plantfoodforppl
Rabbit Hole Cafe | fb.com/rabbitholecafe | IG: TheRabbitHoleOfficial
Real Food Daily | fb.com/realfooddaily | @realfooddaily | IG: officialRFD
Sage Vegan Bistro | fb.com/sagevegan | @SageVegan | IG: thekindsage
Seabirds Truck | fb.com/SeabirdsTruck | @SeabirdsTruck
Shojin | fb.com/theshojin | @shojinlove
Southern Fried Vegan BBQ | fb.com/SouthernFriedVegan | @sfvbbq
The Frankenstand | fb.com/TheFrankenstand | @TheFrankenStand
Tony’s Darts Away | fb.com/tonysdartsaway | @tonysdartsaway
Tuning Fork Gastropub | fb.com/tuningforkgastropub | @TuningForkLA
Waiakea | fb.com/waiakea | @waiakea | IG: waiakea

And I am surely not opposed to Vegan food so when in Rome….IMG_5035I tried a Doughnut from Pebbles Donuts…Blueberry goodness! Mr. Beerman had chocolate chocolate our friends had the caramel apple….really good stuff!IMG_5036

I also stopped at the Mohawk Bend Booth http://mohawk.la/ cause dammit if you haven’t had Tony’s Darts Away http://tonysda.com/or Mowhawk Bend Potato Chips, just seriously stop what you are doing right now…I’ll wait…go get them. Seriously I don’t know what they do to create these chips but every time I am at those bars I get them, so I couldn’t walk past the booth without some!

Someone in line behind me had a Vegan “Big Mac” and I apologize for not knowing who was serving those but damn it was the best smelling plate of food of the day! WOW!
And Sage Vegan Bistro created these vegan nachos and buffalo cauliflower.
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Okay now on to what I know! Beer! So being the Self Proclaimed Queen of Session Beers I was so happy to see that the breweries brought their best sessions. Even the IPAS were low in ABV.

There were a few out there that were higher and I need to take a moment to call out Bravery Brewing who in my mind had the best NON SESSION there. Old Rat: english style old ale 9.0% abv/55 ibu. http://www.braverybrewing.com/beers.html This was a smooth smooth beer, this beer could get you in some trouble, you just couldn’t tell it was stronger than a 5%. Well done!

Some other call outs of the festival:

IMG_4966First and foremost hands down the LONGEST line at the fest was ACE CIDER. Granted it was a Vegan fest and this was the only cider there, but I don’t think that was it. http://www.acecider.com/ I think it was their new cider, PINEAPPLE. Oh man. I have been chasing this one down. I love pineapple in any form. Bucket List checked when I went to the Dole Plantation last November. And some other alcohols have attempted the flavor. Hey I love flavored vodkas I always order my lucky Blueberry Stoli and Tonic at a blackjack table in Vegas. Okay it was lucky once a night I won $900 and I have been chasing that dream ever since with that drink. (The first step is admitting you have a problem)…but usually the flavored vodkas miss the mark with actually tasting like the fruit. They are almost synthetic tasting. Which explains why Fruit Loop Vodka from Three Olives tastes exactly like Fruit Loops. True story. I was at a wrap party for a TV show being sponsored by Three Olives it was there, I tried it, I liked it, stop judging.

Back to the Ace Cider, the pineapple was so good that the entire group I was with all looked at one another and said “well we are going to need some backyard pitchers of this, this summer”. Just back up a palette of bottles into my car.
They also had their Pear. A very refreshing cider as well. Some ciders are just too sweet, but the Pear was great. The Pineapple however, rated my very first FIVE STARS on Untappd.Untappd_logo And I wasn’t alone. This line was off the hook but we stood in it three times. It was that good. They are slowly releasing these bottles of summer goodness. So keep an eye out.

IMG_5008My favorite Figueroa Mountain Brewing was there! Oh Figmtn http://www.figmtnbrew.com/ you never let me down. I have since this weekend become a big fan of their BIG CONE, it’s a Black Ale, and 6.8%. Normally Black Lagers and Ales sort of mess with me. I don’t know if it’s color. Not that I don’t love a good stout or porter, but that’s it. My mind is expecting a thicker, creamer taste. And to be honest most are just “meh” to me. But this is a great beer! Well done again Fig Mtn! Keep making beers….we’ll keep drinking them!!IMG_5009

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Another brewery that never lets you down is Firestone.http://www.firestonebeer.com/home.php How freaking smart were they to bring not one but TWO kegs of their 805 Blonde.

I have spoke of this beer before. Its light but super tasty. You drink Bud or Coors, but want a better tasting craft brew? Its your session beer this summer. And I kinda loved the man serving the beer who told me he hit 1000 beers on Untappd in 6 months. IMG_4968(I need to go to more festivals).

Eagle Rock BreweryIMG_5064, http://eaglerockbrewery.com/main said it once I will say it over and over. They know what they are doing. They brought my favorite XPA Revolution. If you want to start drinking IPAS but they are still too “strong” or “hoppy” for you…let this be your gateway beer.

IMG_5051Angel City Brewery http://angelcitybrewery.com/ brought their Goldline Pilsner 5.6% and Angeleno IPA, 6.1% both super good, session and they win for having the nicest server at the fest! IMG_5053

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Golden Road Brewery http://www.goldenroad.la/ didn’t forget how much we LOVED the Almond Milk Stout 5.6% from last year so they brought it back again! Yay!! Thank you!

So good.IMG_5038

So my two call outs for this festival were

IMG_4978 Bootleggers Brewery http://www.bootleggersbrewery.com/?page_id=32.
Palomino Pale Ale – 5.5% ABV, 19.5 IBU
Borrowing from their website:
“Palomino Pale Ale is our interpretation of an American style Pale Ale. We brew this beer using only the finest American barley and hops and add even more hops as it ages to give it a great balanced citrusy taste and aroma. This beer is sure to please anyone who enjoys the refreshing taste of American hops without the bite of an IPA.”
IMG_4979And their
Rustic Rye IPA – 6.2% ABV, 90.9 IBU
“Our Rustic Rye IPA balances the malted barley and spicy rye grains with a floral and earthy hop flavor and aroma. The maltiness of this beer is balanced with its finish of a crisp, clean hop bite. The combination makes for a truly memorable and refreshing beer.”

Both of these beers have been around a few years now but I have somehow missed them. Both score high points on my tasty and very session. I lean toward the Pale Ale as I love a good 19.5 units of bitter (remember from my last blog) but both were great finds!

And my favorite Brewery of the fest, while I must admit I had a head start on this one as they had a week prior done a Tap Take Over at Story Tavern, http://www.storytavernburbank.com/ isIMG_5056 Speakeasy Ales & Lagers out of San Fran. fb.com/speakeasybeer I sort of fell in LOVE with their Scarlett Red Rye. But they had like 8 beers at Story and they were all the MOST DRINKABLE beers I have had. All session, all great. At the festival they had Betrayal an American Strong Ale 8.2% but really smooth and tasty not a session but would be fantastic with dinner and Big Daddy an IPA at 6.5% also super drinkable. Find Speakeasy you will thank me later.

Breweries at the Fest included

Abigaile | fb.com/TheBreweryatAbigaile | @abigaile

Ace Cider | fb.com/AceCider | @AceCider | IG: acecider

Anchor | fb.com/anchorbrewing | @anchorbrewing | IG: anchorbrewing

Angel City Brewery | fb.com/AngelCityBrewery | @AngelCityBrewery | IG: angelcitybeer

Automatic Brewing Co. | Facebook | @AutomaticBrewCo

Anderson Valley Brewing Co. | fb.com/AndersonValleyBrewingCompany | @avbc | IG: andersonvalleybrewing

Ballast Point | fb.com/BallastPoint | @BPbrewing | IG: ballastpointbrewing

Bison | fb.com/Bison | @bisonbrew | IG: bisonbrew

Bootleggers Brewery | fb.com/bootleggersbrewery | @BootleggersBrew | IG: bootleggersbrew

Bravery Brewing | fb.com/braverybrewing | @braverybrewing | IG: braverybrewing

Deschutes Brewery | fb.com/deschutesbrewery | @DeschutesBeer | IG: deschutesbeer

Drake’s | fb.com/drakesbrewing | @drakesbrewery | IG: drakesbrewery

Eagle Rock | fb.com/eaglerockbrewery | @eaglerockbrew | IG: eaglerockbrew

El Segundo Brewing Co. | fb.com/ElSegundoBrewingCo | @ESBCBrews

Epic Brewing | fb.com/epicbrewingco | @epicbrewing

Faction | fb.com/factionbrewing | @factionbrewing | IG: factionbrewing

Figueroa Mountain | fb.com/figueroamountainbrewing | @figmtnbrew | IG: figmtnbrew

Fireman’s Brew | fb.com/firemansbrew | @firemansbrew | IG: firemansbrew

Firestone Walker Brewing Co. | fb.com/firestone.walker | @firestonewalker | IG: firestonewalker

Golden Road | fb.com/goldenroadbrew | @goldenroadbrew | IG: goldenroadbrew

Hangar 24 | fb.com/hangar24brewery | @hangar24brewery | IG: hangar24brewery

Karl Strauss | fb.com/KarlStraussBrewingCompany | @karl_strauss | IG: karl_strauss

Lagunitas | fb.com/lagunitasbrewingco | @lagunitasbeer | IG: lagunitasbeer

Kinetic | fb.com/kineticbrewing | @kineticbrewing | IG: kineticbrewing

Modern Times | fb.com/ModernTimesIsYourFriend | @moderntimesbeer | IG: moderntimesbeer

Monkish Brewing | fb.com/monkishbrewing | @monkishbrewing | IG: monkishbrewing

New Belgium | fb.com/newbelgium | @newbelgium | IG: newbelgium

Noble Ale Works | fb.com/noblealeworks | @noblealeworks | IG: noblealeworks

North Coast Brewing | fb.com/northcoastbrewingcompany | @NoCoastBrewCo

Ohana | fb.com/ohanabrew | @ohanabrew | IG: ohanabrew

Omission | fb.com/omissionbeer | @omissionbeer

Oskar Blues | fb.com/oskarbluesCANS | @oskarblues | IG: oskarblues

Pizza Port | fb.com/pizzaportOB | @pizzaportOB | IG: pizzaport

Saint Archer | Facebook | @saintarcherbrew | IG: saintarcherbrew

Sierra Nevada | fb.com/sierranevadabeer | @sierranevada

Smog City Brewing | fb.com/smogcitybrewing | @smogcitybeer | IG: smogcitybeer

Speakeasy | fb.com/speakeasybeer | @speakeasybeer | IG: speakeasybeer

Surf Brewery | fb.com/surfbrewery | @surfbrewery | IG: surfbrewery

Wolf Creek | fb.com/wolfcreekbrewery | @wolfcreekbrew | IG: wolfcreekbrewery

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All the bands were so fantastic! What a great addition to any Beerfest!

Bands
He’s My Brother, She’s My Sister | fb.com/hesmybrothershesmysister | @HMBSMS | YouTube | Myspace | Soundcloud
Fathers & Suns | fb.com/fathersandsuns | IG: sunfat | Soundcloud
Heaps n’ Heaps | fb.com/heapsnheapsmusic | @heapsnheaps | IG: heapsnheaps | SoundCloud
Megan Jacobs | fb.com/meganjmusic | @megan_jacobs | IG: oldsol | Soundcloud
The Battlefield | fb.com/wearethebattlefield | @_thebattlefield | IG: wearethebattlefield
Jimmy Lovato

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One of my favorite booths ever was present at the festival! WRECK CHECK. They were there to provide “free blows” to anyone who wanted to see how much they have had to drink.

Look I take cabs everywhere we are drinking. Sure I am more responsible now in my …ahem not 20s then I was when I was in my 20s. But Im guessing if there was a DUI Breathalyzer test at some of the bars I frequented early on in my drinking life I may not have driven home EVER.

Granted the technology is not always 100%. If I had a big gulp of a 9% IPA and blew I would blow off the charts. But in general it’s pretty accurate. We visited their booth pretty early on after just a few of the tasters and I blew a 0.089 Not crazy. Not tragic. Not even feeling drunk. But you know what? That is above the LEGAL limit to drink and drive. And I wouldn’t have known that.IMG_5022

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End of day a $20-40 cab ride to an all day festival is a small price to pay in comparison to a $12000 DUI. And the $12k you will end up spending is the best case scenario. That’s if you don’t hurt anyone. You probably paid for parking somewhere anyway. Be safe just don’t ever ever drink and drive.

There are so many options out there. Taxis which we use all the time Thank you Taxi Magic LA https://taximagic.com/en_US (Taxi Magic app makes it absurdly easy to get a cab get home and click to pay. Um…its an app for the drunkest of fest goers), Uber, https://www.uber.com/ or Side Car http://www.side.cr/.

When we were waiting in line to get in I saw so many of these cars and cabs dropping off fest goers. I was so happy. So thanks Wreck Check for making everyone more aware that a few of those little tasters is a few too many to drive home! https://www.facebook.com/WreckCheck

There was also fun chalk art,IMG_5049 and the snap it booth, and they were selling great merch this year. So many things were there I didn’t even get a chance to take pictures of all of it. But the good news is you can follow them on twitter @veganbeerfest and #veganbeerfest and see pictures from everyone who was there!

My final call out was to maybe the greatest part of the festival…the Fans that blew water.IMG_4992 No I mean literally the fans that provided spritzing and cooling off to those of us coming off a 100 degree week in LA. Mother Nature was kind enough to cool it down a bit, but still 80 degrees in a big lot in the middle of Hollywood gets hot. So thank you fans. Thank you for being there.IMG_4994

Another most successful LA VEGAN BEERFEST for sure! Thank you Nic, Tony, and Quarry Girl for coming up with this brain child. Its pretty genius!

IMG_4975Until next year!

PS you all saw this right? I know I was drinking so just making sure….IMG_5054

Mother’s Day Weekend (Mom/Bierlady Balance) Part 2….Hangar 24

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Mothers Day… is an annual holiday celebrated on the second Sunday in May. Mother’s Day pays tribute to all types of mothers, moms, mommies, mom in laws, expecting moms, just like a mom….. Did you know where Moms Day came from? Well at least here in America the day was established by a woman named Anna Jarvis. Jarvis, campaigned for the first official Mother’s Day and it was celebrated at St Andrew’s Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia, on May 10, 1908, three years after her mother’s death. Jarvis held a memorial ceremony to honor her mother and all mothers and that became the first know Mother’s Day although it was not a recognized holiday. But in the following years, Anna Jarvis embarked upon a campaign to make “Mother’s Day” a recognized holiday. She spent a significant amount of time writing to countless business executives, church groups, and politicians at the state and national level to promote the commemorative day. After her persistent efforts, Mother’s Day was finally proclaimed a national holiday in 1914 by President Woodrow Wilson.

Today Mothers Day is usually synonymous with a breakfast or brunch.IMG_4769 A few gifts from your children IMG_4773and if you are lucky a Mothers Day mimosa at said brunch! This year in the true spirit of the Bierlady I found a place that had Beer- Mosas for that special Mom in your life.
Mr Beerman and I teamed up with another couple friend of ours (Barb and Paul – he’s a home brewer, she makes fantastic caramels http://www.etsy.com/shop/TreatsnSweetsbyBarb and they drove us out to a brewery near them called Hangar 24. http://www.hangar24brewery.com/. IMG_4875

These guys you would probably recognize they have a very distinctive label. hangar24_bottles02We have been tasting them at Beerfests for years, and we were proud that our friend Paul (who was with us) even won a silver medal at their home brewers fest for his “Big Bill’s Brown” – American Brown Ale. We were super excited to finally make it out to Redlands to try their beers at the brewery.

Boy they sure did NOT disappoint! Beers I never would have thought I would like I did. And who can beat a Beer-Mimosa on Mom’s day! They had two types Orange juice mixed with their Belgium Summer Ale or Mango Juice mixed with the same beer.IMG_4884 Having tried both I have to lean toward the orange juice but what a great idea. Don’t think I won’t be trying that with some beers at home!

We did two flights to try as many as we could. The Special Beers Flight (Beers that aren’t always there) and their Year Round Offerings Flight.
Much like with my last blog I will borrow some descriptions from their own website then add my 2cents! I also noted some of the awards these beers have received. I tell you this brewery is not fooling around. They are good.
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First the Special Beers or Seasonal

Belgian Summer Ale Alcohol Content: 5.8% IBU: 15 –
Our summer seasonal is based on the recipe for our very popular 3rd Anniversary Ale. Aromas of clove, pineapple and bubblegum spill from the glass. The flavor is a combination of spicy Belgian yeast with hints of pear & nutmeg.
Okay this is the one they were mixing in the mimosas. As you know Im not a Belgium fan but this was a very light refreshing beer. Not in your face Belgium and was a great mixer with the OJ.

California Spring Beer Alcohol Content: 5.2% IBU: 20
A time of renewal. Renew your taste buds with our “California style” Spring Beer, a unique fusion of a hoppy wheat beer brewed with a blended fermentation of Belgian and American yeast.
Another one of those “go figure” moments. I am not a Belgium or a wheat beer fan. This seems to be a mix of both and I tell you I loved it. I even drank more than the taster. Find this one!

Ballpark Beer Alcohol Content: 4.8% IBU: 21
A unique blend of a classic Pilsner with an American Wheat Beer. Spicy hop aroma and a clean subtle bitterness are balanced by the bready malt character of wheat.
Rumor has it this was made for Angel games. I love that. It’s a Session beer that gives you the choice at a Stadium to not drink the normal “ballpark” beer. You can get a great tasting craft beer even while eating a dog at the park. Nice! That is my entire purpose to find you a beer you have been drinking for years, but the craft beer version!

Palmero Alcohol Content: 7% IBU 20
A traditional Abbey Dubble with a healthy addition of dates from the Coachella Valley.
Little too on the Belgium side for me. But Mr Beerman gave it a big thumbs up.
Red Rye, Special Release Alcohol Content: ? IBU: ?
Every year we brew a beer to celebrate American Craft Beer Week. This year weve taken our popular Redlands Red Recipe and reimaged it with additions of rye in the malt bill.
Well I have been on a Red kick lately. Just recently I tried a similar beer SpeakEasy’s Scarlett Red Rye and both that one and this one really caught my attention. The slight rye hit makes for a great addition to a typical red. I got a pint of this one while I was there.

Nitro Chocolate Porter Limited Alcohol Content 8% IBU 47
Rich Chocolate, coffee roast, hint of vanilla. Brewed with raw Cocoa Nibs.
Well now if you want true Chocolate beer, I mean really tastes like a milk shake but careful of the 8% kick, this is your beer. It’s on nitro (which makes it a different type of carbonation, like a Guinness or Murphys, thicker) which just made it more like a milk shake to me! Yum.

Their regulars:

IMG_4877Orange Wheat Alcohol Content: 4.6% IBU: 17
Crisp, Tangy, and Refreshing. The citrus aroma, light airy mouthfeel, and tangy finish are this unfiltered beer’s trademarks. This is accomplished by adding whole locally grown oranges throughout the brewing process, which perfectly coalesce with the wheat and barley base. IMG_4891
Awards:
GOLD – 2012 Los Angeles International Commercial Beer Competition
SILVER – 2012 California State Fair GOLD – 2011 Los Angeles International Commercial Beer Competition
HM SILVER – 2011 California State Fair

Ok I admit Im not wheat beer person but the awards speak for themselves this is a great wheat beer and made with the oranges grown right there…you can’t get a fresher tasting beer.

IMG_4890Alt-Bier Ale Alcohol Content: 6.0% IBU: 22

Caramel, Toasty, and Clean. This red ale is our unique version of a northern German Alt-Bier. Enjoy silky caramel smoothness, followed by toasty, bready flavors and finished with a hint of chocolate roast. These flavors all come through in the aroma and combine in a truly unique, very clean, complex, Alt-Bier

Awards: GOLD – 2013 California State Fair Beer Competition
BRONZE – 2013 Los Angeles International Commercial Beer Competition
SILVER – 2012 Los Angeles International Commercial Beer Competition 3RD
SILVER – 2011 California State Fair Beer Competition
SILVER – 2011 Los Angeles International Commercial Beer Competition
BRONZE – 2011 San Diego International Beer Festival
SILVER – 2010 Los Angeles International Commercial Beer Competition
SILVER – 2010 San Diego International Beer Festival

Do I need to go on after that list of awards? I also got a pint of this one. What a fantastically drinkable session beer! GIANT THUMBS up. Go buy this today.

Amarillo Pale Ale Alcohol Content: 5.5% IBU: 35
Balanced and Resinous. Midwestern malted barley provides a pedestal for you to experience the flavor and aroma of the citrusy Northwestern hops which are the showcase of Hangar 24’s version of a true classic. An American Pale Ale.

This is a pale ale. So its not going to be as bitter as an IPA. See look at the IBU. It’s a kinder gentler ale. Very tasty!

Betty IPA Alcohol Content: 6.5% IBU: 68

is an American IPA boasting a blend of Mosaic, Citra, Simcoe and Centennial hops. We spent 8 months perfecting this hop blend, and we love the huge range of juicy aromas and flavors we were able to hit: tropical fruit, citrus zest, berries, stone fruit and pine are all packed in.

This is a full blown IPA. Not crazy hops or bitter, middle of the road. Slightly too hoppy for my taste but it’s a good blend of flavors for sure.

Chocolate Porter Alcohol Content: 8.0% IBU: 47

Rich and decadent. This strong porter is perfect for sipping at the end of the day or to accompany full-flavored foods. The intense, roasty flavor comes from two types of chocolate malt and raw cocoa nibs. Whole vanilla beans introduced post fermentation add complexity and enhance the dessert-like qualities of this full bodied beer

Awards:
SILVER – 2012 California State Fair
SILVER – 2012 Los Angeles International Commercial Beer Competition
SILVER – 2011 California State Fair
SILVER – 2010 Los Angeles International Commercial Beer

Ok so this is the chocolate beer not on Nitro. So its going to be thinner, a true porter. Still super chocolate and coffee. Just look at the awards. They have figured out this beer.

Columbus IPA (India Pale Ale) Alcohol Content: 7.0% IBU: 77

Bitter and bold. This single hop american style IPA features 100 percent Columbus Hops for an intense citrus, floral and spicy aroma and flavor.

So I learned something. I love Columbus hops. Did not know that. Even though this is a true IPA again the hops they used were delicious to me. This is one I will buy!

Double IPA Alcohol Content: 9.0% IBU: 118

Assertive and drinkable. Double IPA is California’s gift to beer lovers. Ours is brewed with four distinctly American hops: Centennial, Citra, Columbus and Simcoe, all beautifully balanced by five malts and generous additions of local orange blossom honey.

Awards:
SILVER – 2012 California State Fair
SILVER – 2011 California State Fair
SILVER – 2011 Los Angeles International Commercial Beer Competition

Little hoppy for me. But again award winner. If you like a great IPA here you go!

IMG_4874The brewery is small with an excellent patio with one long table all the way down. We sat on benches made new friends. Really enjoyed a few hours there. They had a food truck in Big Easy Sandwich made food for us all day. Mr Beerman had pulled pork and I had a roast beef sandwich both were incredible! IMG_6917They even provided roses for all the moms who came out to celebrate with beer. That’s just good people.

We did not bring out two lil guys this time out but I did see kids there hanging out on the patio enjoying their “ginger beer” and “root beer” both non alcoholic.

I highly encourage you to visit Hangar 24 IMG_6916and if you can’t make it out there you can always find them at Beerfests and even easier they are at Bev Mo and I bet even your grocery store I know Trader Joes carries some, and Vons, and Ralphs, even Cost Plus World Market. Right now I believe only in CA. I will check on that. For my Beer Uncle in Florida, don’t worry Uncle Jan I got you covered, I’ll be sending some soon!

Thank you Hangar 24 for a really lovely Mothers Day!!

Mother’s Day Weekend (Mom/Bierlady Balance) Part One…..LadyFace Ale House & Brasserie

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I pride myself on having a mom/bierlady balance. Meaning if I baked 10 dozen cookies for my sons school bake sale, its probably ok for me to grab a beer at our local pub later in the day for some Bierlady research. The mom part always comes first. But I do like a delicious beer. So what better way to spend Mothers Day Weekend than visiting two establishments I had never been before, that brew beer? Geographically I don’t think Mr. Beerman and I could have picked two places farther apart but the rest of the activities of the weekend lent themselves to these places so it all worked out.

IMG_4767 First a quick shout out to the start of my Mom’s Day weekend, at Story Tavern http://www.storytavernburbank.com/ they had Eagle Rock’s http://eaglerockbrewery.com/page/beers Revolution on Cask with peaches. What a great tasting beer. Now Im a big fan of Revolution to begin with but man I really loving Cask beers.

For those that have forgotten Cask beer means it’s a beer that is matured in a cask, and no additional carbonation or nitro has been added. Think Pilgrims bringing barrels of beer to the new country. Less bubbles, little warmer, and unfiltered. I like the less carbonation part. Anyway it was a great way to start the weekend.

IMG_5211On Saturday we spent the morning with our kids at Fire Service Day in Burbank. The streets of Downtown Burbank are filled with Firetrucks, Swat Trucks, Police Helicopters, and motorcycles all for the kids to touch, pretend they are driving, and just get a up close and personal look at. Hopefully this will be the ONLY time my boys will see the inside of a police car.

After which, our sweet nephew Nick turned five and his folks had a birthday party at Chuck E Cheese. I know what you are thinking, but nope I did not dread it. I like that place. Well you know as much as one can but really for a kid its like Vegas, and it makes my boys so happy. When we were done with the party and turned in the 1 million tickets they won in exchange for a pencil topper we realized we were near Agora, CA. Only a few exits away was… wait a minute…we had been sampling LadyFace Ales http://www.ladyfaceale.com/ontap.html at Beerfests for years now but had never been there.
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We’ve been following them since our first Beerfest where we found their CASKIN ROBBINS beer, it was a mint chocolate beer in a cask. We still dream about it. Apparently it was a one off cause years later we have never seen or heard of it again. Sigh. Maybe one day they will recreate the magic.
We headed over to LadyFace to find a great restaurant and beautiful patio. IMG_6908Luckily LA was only in the high 70s this weekend so it was a perfect afternoon for outside drinking. We decided to order the biggest flight we could. IMG_6904Split between two of us it really equaled about 16 oz each so we were still totally fine to be in charge of the boys. Speaking of my boys I must do a “kid” call out here and note that they had crayons and placemats for the kids to color. I can’t say it enough, I have the utmost respect and love for any place that brews their own beer and has crayons (Mom/Bierlady Balance).
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Okay now on to the beer. I was So happy to see a wide range of types of beer. Not all IPAS, Not all Belgium (as one may expect from a French Brassiere) they had several types. These were the ones we had and the ones we particularly took note of. I will say firstly though all of them were great. Not one bad one in the bunch. Just a matter of personal preference on the ones I will call out.

Im going to list the ones that we tried and borrow some descriptions from their own website along with my notes:
La BLONDE – ABV 5.4%
An easy-to-drink ale with smooth, light malt sweetness initially, but finishes dry and holds a good Belgian character.
As I have mentioned before Im not a huge Belgium fan, Mr. Beerman is a far better judge as he drinks them WAY more often than I do. But I am always up to try…I actually really liked this beer. It did have the Belgium taste to it at the end but far more Blonde than Belgium to me.

La GRISETTE
Style: Grisette Farmhouse Ale ABV 5.8%
La Grisette, meaning “little grey” in French, is a nearly extinct style of a Belgian farmhouse wheat ale. It is pale-coloured, low alcohol, refreshing and light, and brewed with acidulated barley that adds a crisp tartness to the finish.

This was Mr. Beermans favorite of the flight. He even asked about taking it home. You have to like Witbiers, or Saisons to truly dig this beer, if you do, it’s a big winner!

PALO COMADO
– 2014
Style: Session India Pale Ale ABV 3.8%, IBU 45
Ladyface’s newest flagship ale is pale gold in color with a well-formed, bright white foam head. Moderately hopped with aromas of pine and lychee, malt tones are light yet bright. Finishing with bright, zesty hop flavors, Palo Comado is a light and refreshing pale ale that does not skimp on flavor or character. A perfect session ale to drink after a local hike in beautiful namesake
Palo Comado Canyon.
This was one of my favorites. I often scoff at the term Session IPA, as I am the queen of session beers and IPAs generally pack a bit of a punch but this really was. Had the nice hoppiness of a good IPA but at 3.8% you really could do some serious outdoor drinking with this beer. Tasty!

“HOP PROJECT”
Style: American IPA 6.7% abv, 80 IBU, 7 SRM
Nicknamed Lupulus Rabbit, this project is all about hops. Drop down the experimental rabbit hole with us, and explore the diversity of flavors and aromas that hops bring to a beer. Light gold in color with nice clarity, the trip begins with aromas of strong, pungent hop characters that include white pepper, light citrus and sweet garlic
Was the one are really really nice waitress suggested trying if you aren’t totally into IPA, more of a XPA, but well with 80 IBU*

*Important to learn: I know I don’t tend to spew out beer “terms” cause I lose some of my readers just looking for a good beer to get. But this is important if you really want to find a beer you like IBU is “International Bitterness Units” so basically how bitter the hops are. So if you have a IPA with say 140 IBU Like Green Flash’s Palate Wrecker, um jeezo that’s going to be bitter. But say a typical Budweiser would have maybe 20 units. Make sense? More IBU Mo’ bitter.

Okay back to the beers. So 80 IBU was middle of the road for a IPA but not my fav hops in this one. Just personal taste.
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CHESEBRO™ IPA – ABV 9.5% IBU 100
Named for a local canyon, deep amber in color, this Imperial IPA has a powerfully floral aroma of grapefruit, pine and tropical fruits. Full bodied with subtle malt tones. Brewed with 6 different hop additions and moderately bitter, the emphasis is on hop flavor and aroma and a long, hoppy finish. Bronze Medal-winner.
Now this was a surprise for both Mr Beerman and I. Even with 100 IBU it was really well balanced. Not crazy hoppy to me at all. Just a good IPA. Now heres the thing 9.5%? Are you kidding me? And I didn’t taste that? Usually any beer about 7.5% screams to me “ALCOHOL” and I’ve said this before too, for me I like a session drinking beer, I don’t drink beer to get drunk, it tastes great to me so I want to drink them for a while. But this was a really really really good beer. I think at 9.5% this would get me in a lot of trouble

BRAVADO
Style: American Brown Ale 5.5% ABV – 47 IBU
Bravado is a refreshing West-coast interpretation of the classic American Brown ale, featuring Melanoidin malt and utilizing Apollo, Bravo, and El Dorado hop varieties. Not to get too into different kinds of hops but I really like El Dorado! Yum.

AGOURA ALE Style: Oaked American Amber 6.7% abv, 60 IBU, 13 SRM
Agoura Hills is home to hundreds of heritage oak trees so it’s only fitting that we name our new oaked ale after our city. Agoura Ale is deep amber in color with a dense, white head of foam. Noticeable oak aromas and flavors impart a roasted, vanilla character and build the structure and body of the ale.

This was really good. Nice amber slightly higher ABV then I usually drink but I would order it again.


Blindfolded
Cask version of their BLIND AMBITION™
– ABV 8.0%
A medium-bodied Belgian-style ale with a beautiful deep copper hue. Brewed in a classic abbey dubbel style, it carries good malt structure, faint undertones of chocolate with moderately strong alcohol and low bitterness levels.

Okay this was my biggest shock of the day. A Belgian Dubbel, abbey style and I loved it. WHAT? Who would have thunk. It was fantastic. Im sure it’s a small batch so go out there and get some!IMG_4821We did ask and unfortunately they are not bottled yet. Meaning you cant go to your grocery store or Bev Mo to get some. But I have seen them in bars before. So watch your craft beer menu. Look for them!
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All in all it was a lovely afternoon spent on a fantastic patio. And although we only enjoyed their fries, and pretzel with fondue (which Mr Beerman could have ate 10) the food looked amazing. We will for sure go out there again. If you are in the neighborhood I highly recommend stopping by LadyFace Ale House. Really great!

Stay tuned….Next Up Hangar 24 for Mothers Day Beer-Mimosas!

LA BEERFEST 2014

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Its April you know what that means? Beerfest Season has begun! There are several Fests over the next few weeks to take note of but drinkeatplay’s (you know the folks who brought you the 80s Prom, The Gatsby party, and the LA Bacon festival!) LA Beerfest http://www.drinkeatplay.com/labeerfest/ was the first Mr Beerman and I ever went to and it’s become an annual tradition! If you don’t know about the fest you need to mark your calendars now for next year. It’s always in April and it’s only $40 for 3 hours of partaking in over 80 breweries best beers! 85 in fact!!
This year was the 6th annual LA Beer Festival and in their words it “brings together dozens of craft breweries, food trucks, live music and DJs, as well as thousands of attendees”. The Fest has two sessions, from noon to 3pm and 5pm to 8pm.

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This year the location changed from the Paramount back lot. I won’t lie. I saw the map they posted and I lamented over it as I was stringing up pretzels for necklaces.IMG_3531 It looks squishy. I was nervous. But low and behold it was the best year yet!

The music is pumping as well as some fists (age ranges from 21- gosh I should find the oldest attendee next year) as you make friends and drink some beers. IMG_3533IMG_3618I love the attendees at Beerfest. At least the 12-3 slot has some of the friendliest folks you’ll ever meet. We happened to be with friends wearing Lederhosen so it was like we were with Disneyland characters. IMG_3565They took pics with fellow beer drinker, we shared pretzels from our necklaces, and I found chivalry wasn’t dead even in the bathroom lines. Thank you dude I don’t know for letting me go first.

I started my Bierlady blog after last year’s fest. In that year I have probably tried, drank, enjoyed, not enjoyed, but drank a beer from most of the 85 breweries. So I wasn’t really on a mission to drink it all. I was on a mission to find a great session beer with summer approaching, find a great new Red, and to find a brewery I have not tried but found awesome. And I did!

So first off I have to mention an app called UntappdUntappd_logo https://untappd.com/ If you are a beer drinker, or just have trouble remembering the day after what you drank you should get this free app on your smart phone. It allows you to check into the beer you are drinking rate it, take a pic, write a tweet, toast a friend who’s also has the app or just store it so you remember what you had and if you liked it you can find it again. So I tried. Oh readers, I tried to check into every beer. But the sun was bright, you know how hard an Iphone is to read under the light of the blinding sun. So I tried and failed to check into all my beers. Probably for the best considering my Untappd is linked to my twitter (shameless plug please follow me @thebierlady) so if you didn’t know I was at a Beerfest it probably just looked like I was on a bender.

Let’s start out with some old favorites. I mean the guys who NEVER let you down. My current favorite brewery is Figueroa Mountain http://www.figmtnbrew.com. They are really fantastic. You can find their big bottles at some smaller liquor stores, or if you don’t want to go far they are at your local Bev Mo. I won’t digress too far on topic as I have blogged about their greatness before. Just saying they didn’t disappoint. The best part ofIMG_3601 FigMtn is they are brewing every kind of beer, not just the CA trend of IPAs. They DO a great IPA. In fact their Hoppy Poppy is one I can drink. Their Bag of Cats melds IPA and that old fashioned “bread” taste of your dads beer. But today I will mention their RED! http://www.figmtnbrew.com/our-beers/#danish-red-lager Their Danish Red is an award winner. Gold Medal at the 2011 and 2012 Los Angeles International BeerFestival. If you can find them on draft at a bar do it. If you can take a trip up to Buellton even better. Screw the wine, go get a beer!

Next up for our Summer outside Drinking needs the tried and true Firestone Walker Brewing Company.IMG_3600 http://www.firestonebeer.com/ These guys have gotten pretty big over the past few years but they have stayed pretty true to their recipes. I have to take my hat off (if I were wearing one) to their 805 Blonde.IMG_3602 For all you who can’t hand over your Coors or Budweiser, first of all what’s wrong with you? There is a time and place for Bud and if you are reading my blog you are not bowling, so if you want a really tasty clean crisp low alcohol, I could drink this for hours in my backyard beer: This is your beer! 805 Blonde! 805

I was giddy with anticipation to try ACE Ciders Pineapple. http://www.acecider.com/ I wondered if they would be there and they were! But insert SAD TROMBONE here when I got to their tent it was gone! Empty!IMG_3633 With an hour left of the fest! But the very nice ACE server assured me I could find it in So Cal in June. Which is pretty much just in time for summer BBQs.

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I was super happy to see Old Orange Brewing http://oldorangebrewing.com/. I found these guys at the Bev Mo Holiday Beerfest back in December, and they were still great! Find them. Not only great beers, but really cool labels. So even if you don’t know beer makes a good gift for a friend who does!

Beachwood BBQ & Brewing! http://beachwoodbbq.com/brewery.html I remembered them from last year’s festival and since we have found them bottled at our local liquor store (that has everything) Vendome in Toluca Lake http://www.vendometolucalake.com/.
IMG_3556Man these guys are good. I have to shout out to their RED as well. Knucklehead Red was I dare say one of my top beers at the festival. GREAT mix of an amber and a red. Only 5.7%. If you can find it get it. It will not disappoint you!

Ok on to the new…
I found IMG_3552Wiens Brewery out of Temecula http://www.wiensbrewing.com/. Not only really really nice people but a great Lager! I tried their Front Street Lager at 4.9% fits the bill as a great session beer, nice crisp lager. Great BBQ beer!

I think the BIGGEST find of the festival at least for me wasIMG_3581 COSMIC ALES http://www.cosmicbrewery.com/Home_Planet.html Nothing makes me happier than to find session beers with flavor. These were FANTASTIC. All of them. And look at the variety. Kudos to brewers who aren’t afraid to make a great blonde, brown, porter, Belgium. IMG_3580

Look Im not anti IPA if its good I will shout it out. But they don’t ALL have to be IPAs. If you can do all the different kinds of beer out there with flavor and Yah…. I will mention it…. some pretty awesome bottling, then you have my attention.

*Note the Bierlady is here to find folks who are afraid of craft beers new beers to try. So if you love your Pilny the Elder Im not here to poo poo that. More power to you. But Im reaching out to the folks who ….dammit are you still drinking that Coors when I told you to put it down? So for YOU guys, at the Yard house about to order another Bud Light. STOP! There are great beers out there that wont scare you!

Back to Cosmic.photo 1 Again I love when booth folks are friendly and happy to share their beers with pride. Im excited for these guys to grow. I think they are ones to watch!

Some other beers I drink at home but found their booths worth mentioning:
Goose Island http://www.gooseisland.com/ out of Chicago they have some great beers.IMG_3620 I’m fan of their Honkers ale. It’s a tasty beer and really with a goose on it and called Honkers how could it not be good?

It wouldn’t be a beer blog from me if I didn’t mention Kona Brewing http://konabrewingco.com/. I know I know, not California and bought out by the big guys. But they too have really done a good job sticking to their brewing recipes. I guarantee. No really money back guarantee on this one. If you want a good beer and you normally drink the grocery store ones that have been around forever get a Kona Longboard. You can find them anywhere, right next to that beer you are about to buy. Yes they are more expensive but they are worth it.IMG_3612

I didn’t get to everyone thank goodness LA Vegan Beerfest is in 6 weeks. http://www.veganbeerfest.com/
I missed some of my favorites like Surf Brewery in Ventura, http://surfbrewery.com/beer.html Ballast Point who does Sculpin IPA that is delicious and will put you on your ass after a few. Shes says having been there. http://www.ballastpoint.com/beers/year-round/.

And my local, so local I could almost walk Golden Road Brewing http://www.goldenroad.la/golden . This is hands down the most fun place to drink! They know their IPAs. I promise to find you at the Veganfest!

So in summary the Beers to Find before your first Summer BBQ.

#5 Wiens Brewery http://www.wiensbrewing.com/ Great Lager, excited to try more from them, Local CA Beer!
#4 Firestone Walker http://www.firestonebeer.com/home.php, they don’t disappoint from Double IPAs to their Blonde they’re a great brewery.
#3 Figueroa Mountain http://www.figmtnbrew.com/, Dad and Son Brew team, how great is that. Some of THE BEST Craft brew out there. Run don’t walk to Buellton.
#2 Beachwood BBQ & Brewing, http://beachwoodbbq.com/brewery.html, stood out for me in every festival. This BBQ place knows how to brew!
#1 Cosmic Ales http://www.cosmicbrewery.com/Cosmonaut.html, the one to watch. They are out of the gate strong and I think they’re gonna blow up.

I feel I have to include this. I don’t know where we got it. It was in Mr Beermans pocket when we got home. Im sad I didn’t see them. But these folks win for something. The branding is outstanding, sorry I can’t say for sure what they tasted like. I love this though! photo

Special Shout out thank you to our friend Wendy who normally runs a doggie daycare https://dogvacay.com/pro/wendyandriggins but took care of our “puppiesGs all day so I could have the ever important #Mom/Bierlady balance. If you want THE BEST PLACE to leave your dog when you need to she is your gal!

Always remember to drink responsibly! We took UBER https://www.uber.com/ there and Taxi Magic https://taximagic.com/en_US home! NEVER EVER Drink and Drive!

Excellent work DRINKEATPLAY! Thank you again for one of the best Festivals of Beer around!

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St Patricks Day!

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If ever there was a day to churn out a new blog it seems St Patricks Day is the one! And really whats the best time to start writing the blog? Like 1pm after you have been drinking since early this morning on a Monday. IMG_3012Thank you Story Tavern http://www.storytavernburbank.com/ in Burbank, our favorite! Okay in my defense writing a blog 20 min after I had many beers and a shot of whiskey…this may not be my best…

So I decided aside from the obvious reason to write a beer blog on St. Paddy’s Day, I should write it because today prior to going drinking at our favorite bar (#mom/bierlady balance) I had to go to Target. The young gentleman at the cash register, guessing 18 maybe younger asked why it was so crowded. I immediately responded, kind of without thinking “cause we are all here now so we can go drink some beers”. He said, “that’s right its St. Patricks Day, why do we celebrate that again”. Oh no. I thought ….dont you have an Iphone, don’t you google? Then I told him. But when I posted that update on Facebook several friends commented they had to look it up. Its so Pavlovian to just want green beer, but why?

Okay so to most people the answer would be: St Patrick’s Day, celebrated on the 17th of March, is always marked by people wearing green clothes and hats. There are also festivals held in most major towns on this day, during which people dance, and drink a lot of beer. The shamrock is the main icon of this Irish holiday, and it’s worn alongside buttons with such messages as ‘Kiss me, I’m Irish.’ But whats the real story?

Saint Patrick, who lived during the fifth century, is the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland. Born in Roman Britain, he was kidnapped and brought to Ireland as a slave at the age of 16. He later escaped, but returned to Ireland and was credited with bringing Christianity to its people. In the centuries following Patrick’s death (believed to have been on March 17, 461), the mythology surrounding his life became ever more ingrained in the Irish culture: Perhaps the most well known legend is that he explained the Holy Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) using the three leaves of a native Irish clover, the shamrock. And hey guys SPOILER ALERT: although he spent most of his life in Ireland, St. Patrick himself was not Irish.
He was a Roman citizen from Great Britain, the son of a deacon and grandson of a bishop, who was kidnapped from his hometown of Banna Venta Berniae (the location of which is disputed) by Irish raiders at the age of 16. He spent seven years as a slave in Ireland before escaping and returning to Great Britain.

How did some American St. Patrick’s Day traditions get started?
WEARING GREEN
St. Patrick’s official color is blue…so why do we wear green on St. Patrick’s Day? The simple answer is that St. Patrick’s Day has become more a celebration of Irishness than a religious observation…and the color most closely associated with Ireland– The Emerald Isle — is green.
PINCHING PEOPLE WHO DON’T WEAR GREEN
This is a uniquely Irish-American tradition, originating in the 1700s. It was thought that wearing green made one invisible to leprechauns (who will pinch you if they can see you!). The pinch was a reminder to get your green on if you didn’t want to be pinched all day by the nasty little beasties (or by your peers!).
Irish food is more than just potatoes and cabbage. 1981997_10152137555881704_774091368_n Though potatoes and cabbage are a staple in Irish cuisine, foods like corned beef, stews and dishes prepared with potatoes should be on the menu as well.
Hey what about Soda bread is a traditional Irish staple that has been around since the early 19th century. This side dish creates crusty and zesty bread that goes well with stews or is good by itself. Though modern recipes have raisins and other items added into the dough, the traditional recipe does not involve any of these added ingredients.
Man I love, this, Mr Beerman not so much but I could eat it any day of the year…The traditional meal of the Irish on St. Patrick’s Day is a plate of corned beef and cabbage. IMG_3023Corned beef has been served on Irish tables during the holiday and is prepared with a corned beef brisket, onions, garlic, potatoes, spices and carrots But Mr Beerman is a fan of Stew. They are a staple in the Irish household and can be prepared with lamb, IMG_3024potatoes or Limerick ham. Though the Irish traditionally prepared stews in a Dutch oven, you can make a Limerick stew or Irish lamb stew at home by using a crock pot or even a large stock pot. Today my friend Wendy got at Story Tavern: BoxtyIMG_3025, or Irish potato griddle cakes, is a popular dish served on St. Patrick’s Day. These griddle cakes are made with shredded potato, mashed potatoes, flour, egg, milk and shredded onion. Cooked just like a traditional pancake on a griddle, these treats can be served for breakfast or dinner. Man it was good!
Of course the traditional beers or drink of St Paddy’s day consist of green beer (which is typically anything with green dye) and of course Guinness. Seriously I wont lie if you haven’t tried Guinness stop reading me now, go drive to the store get some cans, not bottles, and drink a Guinness. I’ll wait…..guinness

Youre welcome.

And of course other Irish beers, Im particularly fond of Harp,harp and Smithwicks. Now Harp is something you “I don’t know if I like beer” beer drinkers will be okay with. And Smithwicks is somewhere in between a light beer and a good dark beer. Big fan! http://www.smithwicks.ie/landing.html

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Or you could do what I did today…a Black and Tan (sort of ..technically a half and half) Guinessess and Harp mixed together, or if you are my friend Leslie you want to order a Snake Bite (Gunniess and Cider!) 3856_10152137555766704_1761336139_n

Ultimately it’s a super fun holiday if celebrated correctly. Have fun! Have a green beer! Eat some traditional St Paddy’s Day food. And most of all don’t bug or piss off your bar owner, and staff. As we left Story Tavern, our local pub today they looked on the ready. They knew someone will come in tonight and get too drunk and be a jackass..IMG_3047 Be Cool. Enjoy the day~ enjoy your beer or cocktail or just enjoy the good food. IMG_3046But remember don’t be THAT guy. Have fun today but remember don’t be drunk enough not to tip and don’t throw up….that was so 7 years ago dude.

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I can buy you a drink from anywhere? With an app?

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So as you know I freelance from home. And on occasion I may do some Bierlady research during a work day say in the late afternoon. What if you, my friends who are at your desks right now reading this (don’t worry your boss doesn’t know, or if they do its cool they are reading my blog too) could buy me a drink! Okay maybe that’s only fun for me.

BUT I will buy you one too… I have missed countless birthday parties, grad from business school dinners, and just some good nights out because I’m a mom now. I do my fair share of Bierlady/Mom balance but I simply can’t be as social as I was before kids. But I always feel bad when I miss a party, especially a birthday. I often think I wish I could buy them a drink. Well guess what, my friend Brian has developed a way to do that…it launches THIS week. HERES2U allows you to check in on Facebook or Twitter and I can buy YOU a beer or I guess a salad, or some fries because actually I’m going to send you a virtual gift card and you can buy anything you want! I hope it’s a beer.
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HERES2U allows you to buy drinks or food from anywhere in the world! WHAT? Awesome! There have been similar apps to this that I have tried. But not quite like this. This directly links to your check ins and provides the free stuff RIGHT to YOUR phone. How awesome is that??

So okay how does it work?

Can you imagine, you are turning 40 right? Okay lets say 30, but I know its 40, and you are out with your core group of friends. You check in to an establishment and BAM you get a text or a message that says “Happy Birthday! Love Uncle Jan” WHAT THE WHAT?? he lives in Florida. He just sent you a coupon code to buy something? This is fantastic! So all “gifts” are sent directly to your phone. It’s either through text message, Facebook Instant message, or through the HERES2U app. Then you simply show the coupon code to the server or bartender to redeem.
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You can say thank you back to whomever sent it right away.

You can redeem the coupon whenever you like, for example if you received 4 gifts for $10, you can redeem 2 of them for $20 and save the other two for a future date. Once you show the server or bartender, they will verify the amount and its yours to spend.

Eventually the app will provide specific items for each restaurant, so you can send a craft beer, or send a specific shot or a basket of chips, but for now it’s open to specific amounts to use however the recipient likes. Think of it as a real time gift card!
Also, if someone has the app, all gifts sent, received and used are tracked in the “my tab” section. So you can keep track. You know if say for instance you have had a few.

The HERES2U app can be found in the apple store. Just download it. Partnering restaurants show up within the checkin feature on the app or if you want to organically gift someone, the restaurants pop up there as well. When you checkin through the app, you share your checkin to facebook/twitter and it will place a buy button next to your checkin. This allows anyone on facebook/twitter that is following you to purchase you an item without have to download the app

For you to take advantage of this fun your restaurant and/or bar needs to be involved in this. Working right now to get the word out to my VERY favorites: GOLDEN ROAD PUB http://www.goldenroad.la/pub/, STORY TAVERN http://www.storytavernburbank.com/ , TONYS DARTS AWAY http://tonysda.com/, Link N Hops http://www.linknhops.com/ 55 Degrees http://www.55degreewine.com/ hint hint!

The restaurant is required to store HERES2U tablet devices and they must verify and redeem coupons on the HERES2U tablet device. The cost of the service to the restaurant is totally FREE! HERES2U holds all credit card transaction liability and guarantees payment to restaurant and 24/7 live customer service.

The best part I think for bars who do this is that if say I have a birthday and 20 of my virtual friends send me $10 I don’t have to use it that night but I will use it at their establishment. So the folks who are there with me are spending money then I can cash in on virtual friends that night or maybe lunch the next day. Either way the bar makes more money than if just my physical friends are there. Love that! And Mr Beermans birthday is in April! YAY!

Yep this is all free to the restaurant or bar who will partake in this awesome idea. How great they can get more sales from folks who are only virtually at your party! Obviously there is a slight charge for the “giver” so like if you sent a friend $10 then it would cost you $1.36 in addition. But who cares! Small price to pay if you cant be there.

What a fantastic idea! Im so excited. I can’t wait. They launch THIS FEBRUARY 8th!

Right now you can find them at 38 Degrees http://38degreesalhambra.com/ and 28 West http://www.yelp.com/biz/28-west-bar-and-grill-alhambra in Alhambra, Toro Sushi http://www.torosushi.com/ in Pasadena, EAT in North Hollywood, Suede in the Bonaventure Hotelhttp://suedebarla.com/, Gorbals http://thegorbalsla.com/, Onyx http://onyxloungela.com/, Yxta http://yxta.net/, El Compadre http://www.yelp.com/biz/el-compadre-los-angeles-3 and Aqua Lounge http://aqualoungela.com/locations/ in DTLA.

So watch for them at your local bar or restaurant. They are getting the word out now and establishing a list of places they have already moved in. Maybe suggest it to your favorite place. Heck I can’t wait to send you a drink!

If you are a bar or restaurant and you are interested in hearing more please contact HERES2U’s founder, Brian De La Rosa at bdlr@heres2uapp.com
Check out the website at http://heres2uapp.com/

Like them on Facebook to keep up to date with what restaurants and bars have been added near you. https://www.facebook.com/Heres2u

Check out their video too!! Sorry the Bierlady needs to upgrade to Video Press..Beerfest season approaches! But I know you know how to click: http://youtu.be/u41rqIgKZyU

Cheers!