Growlers: Beer Take Out!

What is a growler? Ask my kids and they will bring up their stomach before dinner, but nope, a growler is simply a glass jug that carries a half-gallon of beer. goldPretty much any brewery and some pubs distribute these. Its kinda like Beer Take Out! I love the growler. There comes a time of the year when Mr. Beerman and I have our Keg-fridge on hold. I know WHAT? You say? Why? Why not have draft at home 24/7, 365. Well here’s the thing from April thru September we go through 1 to maybe even 3 kegs due to BBQs, Holidays, Birthdays, and well just the heat of summer. But come fall, I guess we get all respectable and don’t drink as much. No that can’t be it…maybe we are just visiting more pubs then drinking in our backyard. SO for these months, the keg is dry and we turn to the Growler.

Where did the name growler come from? Well according to the interweb there are several theories. I kinda like this one. In the early ish 1900s, beer was carried from the local pub back to folks homes in a pail. They say when the beer moved around all over the pail, it created a growling like sound because the CO2 was escaping. And so it was called “growler”. Not sure if that one is true but I like the image of drunks dudes heading home after a night of drinking trying to keep beer from sloshing out of their pails.

Growlers are fantastic. You can take home draft and enjoy it just like you were at the bar or brewery. And really once you purchase a growler, refills are HIGHLY economical. For example, at a recent visit to Eagle Rock Brewery http://eaglerockbrewery.com/ we saw that their Growlers are $20 for a new 67 oz and just $12 to refill it. eagle rockWant me to do that math? Well a pint of beer is 16oz. I had to look that up by the way, cause I was educated in the late 70s when the US wanted to go metric then decided mid stream it was a bad idea so they stopped, hence anyone of us in elementary school in the late 70s didn’t learn metric or the US system of measurements. ruler So anytime I cook I have google close at hand. Grr… I digress. Anyway that’s a little over 4 pints for $12 on a refill. So that’s $3 a pint of beer. See where I am going here? And its just not the economics. Everyone knows beer on tap is just way better than bottles and cans. And to be able to enjoy draft beer on your couch? Come on!

Growlers are filled straight from the tap of a pub or brewery and sealed with plastic wrap and a cap, and are usually have the name of the brewery on the bottle.surf Some bottles are really ornate. Its like cool wine bottles but more jug like.

We found out some exciting news from our new friends at Eagle Rock…Up until VERY recently, like seriously this week, used to be in LA county you could NOT bring a growler from one establishment to another to be filled. Just recently and slowly this law is being lifted and as long as your pub/brewery follows protocol (proper sealing and labeling of said beer) you can now take any growler to any bar. But like I said this is very new so maybe give it a few weeks before you try it. And really its fun to collect growlers. If I come to your house and you have a few Im going to think you’re pretty cool.

You know what else is great about Growlers? Beer cooking. If you don’t cook with beer already, you should. Beer is a delicious braising liquid. In fact that makes me want to blog about beer and cooking, note to self, next blog include beer recipes…. okay next one, but for now realize you can go get any of those yummy beers you like to drink and have enough to cook with too!

Oh side note on my trip to Eagle Rock Brewery. The tasting room is really cool. Small place, don’t bring a bus of friends. But super duper friendly guys working there. The guys there were super helpful and I found a new beer I love. Revolution.eagle It’s a Extra Pale Ale, which is sometimes hit or miss with me. But it had some great maltiness not overly hoppy and was 5.2% just the percentage I like on a hot summer day. And to be fair to the Belgium beer drinkers of which I am not, I have to give a shout out to another beer Unionist that Mr. Beermann Loved! It’s a Belgium Pale Ale, leaning toward an English Pale ale. Still too Belgium for me, but he said its one of his new favorites!

So for those who don’t have a keg fridge in your kitchen, you don’t have to worry, you CAN have draft beer anytime, you’re just a growler away from a frosty pint !

The Pub at Golden Road and Tony’s Darts Away

I’ve mentioned it before but I will say it again, Boy do I love the bars near my home. During Craft beer week I decided to spend my Wednesday visiting two of my favorites. I started out at Tony’s Darts Away http://tonysda.com/in Burbank for a happy hour brew. I sat at the bar and enjoyed one of their awesome menu items, the vegan tater tots and had a chat with our bartender. Nikki (or Nicki sorry should have asked) is so great. She is not only super friendly and fun, she knows her beers. I asked her if I could interview her one day. She agreed. So look forward to that blog. I told her I was a beer blogger, for folks who don’t know everything about beer. In fact I assume most readers don’t know much. And don’t care enough to google for answers. So I’m here to feed facts that I find interesting. Also to taste some beers and give my reviews.

creamI tried TAPS Cream Ale. http://www.tapsfishhouse.com/brea/ TAPS is another California Brewery out of Brea. It was 5.3% so easy to drink, and it was a creamy ale on par with a Boddingtons. I won’t lie I still find Surf Brewery’s Mondo Cream Ale superior but this was super drinkable. I found out straight from their website that it is the Gold medal winner at the 2005 and 2001 Great American Beer Festival , Gold medal at the 2002 California State Fair and, Bronze Medal 2012 and 2007 Great American Beer Festival. I recommend it!

More importantly I recommend Tony’s Darts Away! You know what I found out this trip to the bar? Okay for the true beer encyclopedias…I mean beer wikipedias, you know this already I did not. So for those not in the know this was a big find. So you know I don’t LOVE the IPAS. I tend to find most too hoppy, too much like drinking a Christmas tree, but every once in a while I find one I really like. And usually they are Double IPAS. I was dumbfounded. If I don’t like IPA why on earth would I like a double? Well Nikki told me that Double means double the malt not double the hops. SO the reason I like those beers is because its more malty (the stuff I like). OH wow. This changes everything. I shall go out and find IPAs and bring them back to review now. Thank you Nikki. Again like I said Im sure I could have googled that. But really when youre drinking who cares. But now I know and so do you!

More about the awesomeness that is Tony’s in a future blog. Cause I love this bar and it deserves its own.

Next stop was to pick up the kids and head to the Pub at Golden Road for dinner. http://goldenroad.la/place/#/pub Okay let me say that I can’t even express to you how thrilled I was to have a brewery built down the street from me. And it looks cool. There are different brightly colored buildings, red, blue and yellow. One is offices, one is the actual brewery (they do tours!) and one is the Pub.

And then to find out It had great food, and then to find out its kid friendly I was giddy.sippy BUT this trip…(have to admit hadn’t been in a few months) this trip I found all the great things my friends and family can do while we are there. First of all for those of us who love our Outside drinking this is the spot. Their patio is GIANT they have an upper section, a section by the parking lot (which is dog friendly) and a giant portion on the side of the pub. This side has an outdoor bar (so you don’t even have to trek upstairs a few feet) open Thursday, Friday nights and Saturdays and Sundays.

Initially I would bring my two boys there for dinner because the Pub sits almost directly next to train tracks. And if any of you reading have sons, yah trains are BIG. So we could enjoy a beer, and dinner and the boys would gobble up their spaghetti and watch the trains past by. But wait… Check out these games.424 The outside area had a giant connect four, shuffleboard, foos ball, ping pong, sand bag toss, and an outdoor bar.shuffle WHAT? Are you kidding me? foosI can eat those delicious fries, have a pint and watch my kids play happily? Well this changes everything. PGR you are now my go to summer place like every week. I don’t normally put pictures of my children in a beer blog but wanted to prove how fun this was for them.

The thing that stopped Mr. Beerman and myself in our tracks was this sign posted above the doorsign
The Puritanical nonsense of excluding children and therefore to some extent women from pubs has turned these places into mere boozing shops instead of the family gathering places that they ought to be. – George Orwell Its true. I have mentioned in blogs before. If your kids are well behaved, meaning not running around bothering other customers, especially those there without kids, and you don’t drink what you would if you were out with friends and cabbing it home. I find it more than acceptable to bring your kids to dinner and have a beer. I remember when my 6 year old was maybe a year and a half and we went to a Scottish restaurant/pub to celebrate Burns Night. My son was happily eating his chicken fingers, toasting his sippy cup against the pint glasses, dancing a jig with the patrons. A much older Scottish woman came up to me and said “your son is so cute, I remember when my son was a babe we’d bring him to the pub with us every time we’d go, you just don’t see that in America”. So PGR Thank you. We now have a place that my whole family can enjoy for dinner or lunch on a weekend. And don’t think I didn’t email every family I know who loves a good beer and has kids. Don’t worry they are nice kids and we won’t all come at once.

Now on to the beer.choices I had to introduce Mr. Beerman to the Almond Milk Stout I had found at The Vegan Beerfest a few weeks back. We both agreed it’s a damn good stout. If you have a chance to get there before they run out do it! I just hope it becomes a staple. I also tried Aunt Sally’s Pale Ale. Pale ales were basically borrowed from the British. You know a good ol cup of ale….but American Ales seem to be a bit crisper and albeit a bit more hoppy. So I kind of liken them to a kinder gentler IPA. And much like I enjoy Golden Roads Point the Way IPA It was a really tasty pale ale. I highly recommend it!

How can you beat a place where the food is great, the beers are brewed THERE, and you can come alone, come with friends, or bring the family. If you live in LA and you haven’t visited The Pub at Golden Road, you should. Maybe today. It’s still craft beer week! Do it!

Craft Beer Week! Meet my friend Paul, a Homebrewer in So Cal

I guess it’s not a surprise that beer people like beer people. We tend to gravitate toward one another. One of my best friends from high school, Barbara, who also lives in So Cal, is married to a home brewer. Pauls LogoInitially I was a bit scared of home brews. Maybe it was the unknown of what’s in there. I don’t think it’s a sanitary thing. I mean I’m the first person to say “try this” and let people sip out of my beer. I guess it was just a new world to me. Pauls beerPaul’s been brewing a few years now and I’ve seen his set up. It’s grown from a small area of his backyard to a big portion of his backyard. Pauls Set upLooks a bit like a scene from a movie that has a mad scientist. But the results can’t be denied. He’s a guy with a normal banking job who does this as a hobby. Not even full time. Just for fun, and he’s already be awarded medals for his work. Safe to say that Paul and Barb are dedicated to their craft of…. craft beers. They will spend day and night tasting and refining…for the good of the art of beer making. Pauls dogEven their dog Billard gets into the action, he eats the left overs from the brewing process. They have figured out how to make them into tasty left over cakes for doggie snacks. Hmm.. guys maybe you should (c) that idea right now! Pauls dog treats

Paul initially started with bottles. Lots and lots of beers had to be drunk by family and friends so the old bottles could be sterilized and reused for bottling purposes. Pauls beer bottles. But recently a keg fridge was purchased and this is making the process a little bit easier!

Recently Paul won the Silver Medal in in the 2nd highest entered category this year for his Brown Ale at the Hangar 24 Home Brewers Competition. The competition entries jumped by 50% this year! Which says to me Home brewing is trending more than ever! Yay!

I had to ask Paul a few questions:

What made you start brewing? So I really had no interest in brewing until a friend invited me over to brew with him a few years ago. I’ve always enjoyed cooking, and gone brewing combines cooking with some science. So, I was bit by the bug. There is also a great DIY aspect to it. Many homebrewers make the equipment that they need. I made a mash tun out of a ice chest, brass valve, some copper tubing and the outside part or a washing machine hose. Fun stuff!

Tell me about the competition you just did.The competitions seem to start around March are go through September or so. This competition was put on by Hangar 24 brewery in Redlands. Every year there is a large beer “convention” in Denver called the Great American Beer Fest. Pro brewers enter a ProAm competition with amateur recipes. The best in show if the Hanger 24 competition is brewed by the brewery and entered in the GABF ProAm.
In the competitions, beers as separated by style and judged against the guidelines for that style (appearance, aroma, flavor, mouthfeel)

How long did the silver medal ale take?
Typically the beers take 6 weeks: 2 weeks to ferment, 2 weeks to settle/age, 2 weeks to carb up.
Last year I entered this brown ale and won a gold. This year there was much more competition. I was beat out by a pale ale. I also won a silver in the Pacific Brewers Cup last year for a Bock that I made.
The bock was one of the hardest beers I’ve made so far. It has a mostly malt profile, so there are no strong flavors to cover up mistakes. My favorites so far are the brown ale (a nice starter beer for those who aren’t ready for stouts or porters yet) and saison (a light colored farmhouse brew with some banana and coriander flavors)

Whats your Favorite of any craft brew? Craft beers: I like the local brews. Hanger 24 has a nice Alt Bier, Dale Bros does a decent California Common, and Claremont Craft Ale has a good Rye IPA.

Recommendation to other homebrewers: it seems that controlling the fermentation temp is a hugely important part of brewing. I use an old frig with a digital temp controller and my brews have improved a lot since I’ve gotten that under control.

I’m just learning the whole competition thing. I entered a beer in a recent competition and the judges said I had it in the wrong classification. So making sure you classify it correctly is important. Also, it’s important to brew the beers so they incorporate all if the characteristics of the style you’re trying to create (an IPA can’t be malty or a stout amber)! I’ve also noticed that the Belgian styles seem to win Best in Show more often then other styles. Might be because they are harder to produce.

Thanks Paul! Keep up the good work.

I wanted to give a shout out to all the winners and to Hanger 24 for a great day!
Hangar-24-Logo

Congratulations to Best of Show 1st Place (and 2nd Place) winner Brad Nixon in the 4th Annual Homebrew Competition!
Here’s is the complete rundown of winners.

Best of Show
1st: Brad Nixon – “Schwarzbier” – Schwarzbier
2nd Brad Nixon – “Porter’s Porter” – Brown Porter
3rd: Dwight Mulcahy – “Blond Bells” – Belgian Blond Ale

Category 1: Light Lager
Gold: Jonathan Kissinger – “Fine Beer May Be Judged With Only One Sip” – Standard American Lager
Silver: James Hilbing – “Premium American Lager #2” – Premium American Lager
Bronze: Jennifer Jordan – “Munich Helles” – Munich Helles

Category 2: Pilsner
Gold: Dwight Mulcahy – “Busta’ Cap” – Classic American Pilsner
Silver: Jeremy Maldonado – “Bo-He-Man” – Bohemian Pilsener
Bronze: Dwight Mulcahy – “Pils Off!” – German Pilsner

Category 3: European Amber Lager
Gold: Brad Nixon – “Oktoberfest” – Oktoberfest/Marzen
Silver: Brad Nixon – “Vienna Lager” – Vienna Lager
Bronze: Jack Hilgendorf – “Amber Lager” – Vienna Lager

Category 4: Dark Lager
Gold: Brad Nixon – “Schwarzbier” – Schwarzbier
Silver: Brad Jefferies – “Munich Dunkel” – Munich Dunkel
Bronze: James Hilbing & Kurt Ramp – “Schwarzbier” – Schwarzbier

Category 5: Bock
Gold: Brock Hall – “Fredrick” – Maibock/Helles Bock
Silver: Dwight Mulcahy – “Bock Bock” – Doppelbock
Bronze: Dwight Mulcahy – “Big Nose MyBock” – Maibock/Helles Bock
Category 6: Light Hybrid Beer
Gold: Jeff Tudor – “Elmo Ale” – Cream Ale
Silver: Brad Nixon – “Cream Ale” – Cream Ale
Bronze: Randy Kading – “Katie’s Blonde Ale” – Blonde Ale

Category 7: Amber Hybrid Beer
Gold: Bob Reynolds & Ryan McHugh – “Toes on the Nose” – California Common Beer
Silver: Dane Bagley – “Mt. Asoutney Amber” – Northern German Altbier
Bronze: Kevin Margulieux – “North German Alt” – Northern German Altbier

Category 8: English Pale Ale
Gold: Stewart Holl – “Homegrown English Pale” – Special/Best/Premium Bitter
Silver: Michael Herron – “Very Ordinary” – Standard/Ordinary Bitter
Bronze: Dwight Mulcahy – “ESPale” – Extra Special Bitter

Category 9: Scottish & Irish Ale
Gold: Dan Romanowich – “Q” – Irish Red Ale
Silver: Philip Vieira – “Tartan Strong Ale” – Strong Scotch Ale
Bronze: Robert Wilson – “Maxwell’s 80/-“ – Scottish Export 80/-

Category 10: American Ale
Gold: Erik Debellis – “Pale Ale Six” – American Pale Ale
Silver: Paul Happach – “Big Bill’s Brown” – American Brown Ale
Bronze: Christian Scholte – “Single Track Pale Ale” – American Pale Ale
Category 11: English Brown Ale
Gold: Brett Gent – “Brown Ale” – Northern English Brown Ale
Silver: Robert Hemphill – “Mild Side” – Mild
Bronze: Randy Kading – “Chocolate Lab Brown Ale” – Northern English Brown Ale

Category 12: Porter
Gold: Brad Nixon – “Porter’s Porter” – Brown Porter
Silver: Brice Jarvi – “Mayan Doomsday” – Robust Porter
Bronze: Jack Hilgendorf – “Porter Robust” – Robust Porter

Category 13: Stout
Gold: Jonathan Smith – “Oatmeal Stout” – Oatmeal Stout
Silver: Jim Jorgensen – “RIS #2” – Russian Imperial Stout
Bronze: Mike & Cyndi Malsed – “Black Sand” – Foreign Extra Stout

Category 14: India Pale Ale
Gold: Sean Frates – “CS IPA” – American IPA
Silver: Pete Heringer – “739 IPA” – English IPA
Bronze: Matthew Rose – “Rye Heaven” – Imperial IPA

Category 15: German Wheat & Rye Ale
Gold: Jim Jorgensen – “Jim’s Weizen” – Weizen/Weissbier
Silver: Stephen Le Duc – “Hogan’s Roggen” – Roggenbier
Bronze: Greg Pleiss – “Dunkel-Pleissen” – Dunkelweizen

Category 16: Belgian & French Ale
Gold: Matt Irmscher – “Saison Du Clue” – Saison
Silver: Jim Jorgensen – “Sais Off” – Saison
Bronze: Brian Holter & Kingsley Toby – “Spring Forward” – Saison

Category 17: Sour Ale
Gold: Jerry Marshall – “Flanders Red” – Flanders Red Ale
Silver: Laura McCabe-Patke – “Sour Orangeberry” – Berliner Weisse

Category 18: Belgian Strong Ale
Gold: Dwight Mulcahy – “Blond Bells” – Belgian Blond Ale
Silver: Jerry Marshall – “Belgian Strong Dark Ale” – Belgian Dark Strong Ale
Bronze: Jefferson Loftfield – “Grapevine” – Belgian Dark Strong Ale

Category 19: Strong Ale
Gold: Dwight Mulcahy – “Grany Booze” – American Barleywine
Silver: Robert Wilson – “Old Orthogonal” – Old Ale
Bronze: Jerry Marshall – “English Barleywine” – English Barleywine

Category 20: Fruit Beer
Gold: Jesse Cancel – “White Nectarine Kolsch” – Kolsch w/ White Nectarine
Silver: Robert Carter – “Razz-Ma-Tazz” – Sweet Stout w/ Raspberry, Coconut & Chocolate
Bronze: Kai Karlson – “Apricot Ho” – Wit w/ Apricot, Coriander & Orange Peel

Category 21: Spice/Herb/Vegetable Beer
Gold: Jim Jorgensen – “Vanilla Hazelnut Stout” – Spice/Herb/Vegetable Beer
Silver: Brian Holter & Kingsley Toby – “Tahoba” – Spice/Herb/Vegetable Beer
Bronze: Jesse Cancel – “Jacolantern Ale” – Christmas/Winter Specialty Beer
Category 22: Smoke Flavored/Wood-Aged Beer
Gold: Patrick Schulz – “Smoked Brown” – Brown Ale w/ Cherry Smoked Wood
Silver: Jacob Kleespies – “Bourbon Barrel Porter” – Wood Aged Beer
Bronze: James Hilbing – “Oaked Old Ale” – Wood-Aged Beer

Category 23: Specialty Beer
Gold: Jonathan Smith – “Heart of the Sun” – Wheat Wine w/ Blood Oranges
Silver: Ramiro Vejar, Antonio, Gary – “Black Rye River IPA” – Black Rye IPA
Bronze: Dave Bagley – “Peanut Butter Porter” – Robust Porter w/ Cacao & Peanut Butter

Congrats and thank you to all these brewers. We who like to drink a good beer salute you!

Paul Beer

LOS ANGELES VEGAN BEER FEST

Sorry the blog on the LA Vegan Beerfest took a few days to come out. Let’s just say it was a rough weekend of recouping. Remember when we were 22 and could go out til 4am come home sleep 2 hours get up shower and go to work then roll it all again the following night. Yah well at 42 you go to a 5 hour beerfest on Saturday and an ABC wrap party (open bar) Sunday and you aren’t ready to sit down and write about drinking for at least three days. So I apologize. Here we go….

The Fest!

The Fest!

On Saturday May 4th I attended the LOS ANGELES VEGAN BEERFEST brought to you by Tony Darts Away, Quarry Girl and The Roxy in Hollywood, CA tickets were $40 for all the beer samples you like from 1-6pm. Also included were bands and food trucks (food was at an added cost). If you wanted to go in an hour early at noon VIP tix were on sale for $50 and they also had a VIP seating area. I went with my friends Tricia and John, (they have done prior beer fests with me and Johns a Vegan so we blended).

First let me point out that the Vegan part of this mostly was the food. YES there were Vegan beers there and yes they were served, but some there were not…the Vegan part was mostly the food. I point this out as I have had several people ask me the question “Aren’t all beers Vegan?” You would think. No dairy, no meat, BUT some beers do use gelatin for color, and some even use fish bladders. Isinglass is used as to stabilize the foam or head and clarify beer. It comes from the bladders of fish that are harvested for food. Collagen is the active ingredient that is gained from the bladders. This is more common in European beers than American brews (Guiness uses isinglass)

I thought the booths were super aware of their audience. At the Crispin Cider booth one of the ciders they were sampling was a Honey apple and they were quick to point out that there was honey in it and asked if I was okay with that. Considering I had a giant tri tip steak sandwich before heading out to the fest I smiled and said “that’s fine, thank you for asking”.

They even had sidewalk chalk fun!

They even had sidewalk chalk fun!


I should really begin with this Festival was awesome! So fun. So well done. So mellow. No one was rushing. No one was pushy. Just so fun. Just a giant thumbs up! And some of the nicest people ever were running this show. I can’t tell you how Twitter friendly they were. Whoever was running their social media was on it. Answering questions, tweeting, retweeting, just being so friendly, and dammit I loved these guys!

Ok back to the actual festival.. First it was smaller than the last fest I attended. About half as many breweries I think 40 were there,IMG_5765 but literally no lines. For good or bad I think I drank from well over 24 with multiple tastes (wait til you hear how my day ended) I never ever waited for a beer. There were a lot of people but it wasn’t crowded it all. IMG_5661 The longest line I was in was to get Vietnamese Vegan Nachos. Im guessing maybe most of the folks were there for the Vegan food trucks (there were lots) and the bands.
Borrowed from their own website the food included:
Chicago Vegan Foods |Mandoline Grill | STREET | Seabirds Truck | The Frankenstand | TheFrankenStand | Mohawk Bend | Fresh Fries Truck |Gracias Madre | Sage Vegan Bistro | Kind Kreme Cafe Gratitude | M Cafe | Madeleine Bistro | Food For Lovers | Amanda’s Bakery & Cafe | Green Truck | LA Vegan Crepe | Tony’s Darts Away | Golden Road Pub | Southern Fried Vegan BBQ | Follow Your Heart | San Diego Pretzel Company | Sweet Crush Ice Bar |Doomie’s Home Cookin’ | Guru Tacos

BANDS: Saint Motel http://www.saintmotel.com/ Terraplane Sun http://www.terraplanesun.com/ Branches http://branchesmusic.com/ The Janks http://thejanksmusic.com Casey Wickstromhttp://facebook.com/caseywickstrommusic Vegan Boss http://facebook.com/veganboss

The bands were a fantastic soundtrack for the day. All of them were amazing!

But I’m here to talk about the beers.

BREWERIES:
GoldenRoadhttp://goldenroad.la , Hangar 24 http://hangar24brewery.com, Anchor -http://anchorbrewing.com, Noble http://NobleAleWorks.com, Anderson Valley Brewing Company http://avbc.com, Sierra Nevada – @SierraNevada http://sierranevada.com, Triple Voo Doohttp://triplevoodoobrewing.com , Firestone Walkerhttp://firestonebeer.com, Deschutes -http://deschutesbrewery.com, North Coasthttp://northcoastbrewing.com , Figueroa Mountainhttp://figmtnbrew.com , Stonehttp://stonebrewing.com, Eel Riverhttp://eelriverbrewing.com, Maui -http://mauibrewingco.com, Oskar Blueshttp://oskarblues.com, Bootlegger’shttp://bootleggersbrewery.com, Epichttp://epicbeer.com, Monkish -http://monkishbrewing.com , Lagunitas http://lagunitas.com, Speakeasyhttp://goodbeer.com, Cismontane http://cismontanebrewing.com, TAPS http://tapsfishhouse.com, Bison http://bisonbrew.com, Drake’shttp://drinkdrakes.com , New Belgiumhttp://newbelgium.com, Automatichttp://automaticbrewingco.com, Surf Breweryhttp://surfbrewery.com, Karl Strauss http://karlstrauss.com, Dogfish Headhttp://dogfish.com, Crispin Ciderhttp://crispincider.com, El Segundohttp://elsegundobrewing.com, Wolf Creek http://wolfcreekbrewingco.com, Ninkasi –http://ninkasibrewing.com, Ballast Point http://ballastpoint.com Monks’ -http://christdesert.org/Abbey_Beverage_Company/, Kinetic http://kineticbrewing.com, Tap It http://tapitbrewing.com, Fireman’s Brew http://firemansbrew.com , Ohana Brewing Company http://ohanabrew.com, Kombucha Beer fb.com/unityvibration

Many of these breweries I have tried. Many I love. Can’t deny I love Firestones Pils I found at the last fest and I’m a big fan of their Velvet Merlin Stout, but I have to say my big favorites of this fest included Golden Road’s Almond Milk Stout, Oskar Blues Mamas Little Yella Pils (Had that one on Mr Beermans birthday but its so clean I had to have a few at the fest), Surf Brewery’s Mondo’s Cream Ale, Kinetics Rusted Coffee, Fireman’s Brew Redhead and I can’t tell you how many samples I had of Crispin Ciders Bird on a Wire Lets talk about these finds.

Golden Road http://goldenroad.la is one of my favorite places in LA. Its really close to my house and as I have mentioned in previous blogs, their Pub is outstanding. So for this fest they created a Vegan Stout with Almond Milk.IMG_5664 SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO yummy. It was about 5% give or take a point (forgive I really need to take better notes when Im drinking). And this was maybe the 3rd beer I tried and went back multiple times during my five hours to try it again. IMG_5665

Oskar Blues http://oskarblues.com just doesn’t let me down. Mamas Little Yella Pils is so good. I love this beer and my friend John was looking for a clean crisp golden beer. IMG_5652This was it. I think he may have had samples of this one more than any of the other beers combined. If you want a good pilsner for outside drinking this summer. Get this one.IMG_5653

Surf Brewery – http://surfbrewery.com is one of my new favorite breweries! Out of Ventura, I really need to make it up there to their tasting room. Lately Mr Beerman and I have been enjoying their Mondo’s Cream Ale with our Sunday Grilling tradition. Its like a Boddingtons but I think lighter and less carbonated. I was eager to find them at the fest since we were drinking their bottles from Bev Mo. The draft version was even better. I also tried their ale, and their strawberry wheat (which ran out fast must have been a crowd pleaser). My favorite is still the Cream Ale, but I encourage you to grab a bottle if you see them in your store. Good stuff! IMG_5673 IMG_5672

Kinetic http://kineticbrewing.com is a sneaky find. I almost am sad to mention that they told me they are not bottled yet. SO I think you need to find them in a local bar. Their Rusted Coffee was just that. It was SO coffee. But not in a dark stout, or even porter way. This was an amber in color lighter than expected beer that to your nose was 100% a pot of coffee. It was nuts. I loved it. Smelled like Coffeebean tasted like a delicious ale! Find it! IMG_5659

Fireman’s Brew Redhead http://firemansbrew.com Ok those who know me may think I like this beer just cause of its name (The Bierlady is one… a red head not a fireman, but Mr. Beerman is…, a fireman not a red head), but it was a good red ale. Its found in your local grocery store. Not particularly a craft beer. But it was a nice change toward the end of my day.IMG_5666

Okay so my last BIG find was Crispins – http://crispincider.com Bird on a Wire.IMG_5684 Its no secret that as of late I have become a cider person. When did that happen? Twenty years of drinking and I never had more than 3 ciders til this year. Now its my big find of a Beerfest. Well I can honestly say Tricia and I got our lil 4 oz glass filled up more than I can remember of this delicious, delicious, treat. http://www.crispincider.com/cider/products/barrel-aged/bird-on-a-wire/ This cider is blended right in whiskey barrels and at 6.9% its no apple juice. It has this aroma of apple with a slight smell of bourbon and although Tricia is a bourbon drinker I am not. SO don’t let that scare you. It was just the right balance. So far I have liked every cider Crispin does. And I put them heads and tails above Ace, Strongbow and any other Cider Ive tried. They even have a brochure online for Cider Cocktails. How fun is that! Try them all. But for sure try this one!IMG_5685

So at the end of the fest I wanted to do a breathalyzer. Just to see what those little sips add up to. Wreck Check http://www.wreckcheck.me was a group encouraging folks to try a breathalyzer and see how the beer was affecting them.IMG_5667

I spoke to them for a while. Suggesting things like Tony Darts Away who is a bar by my house in Burbank and one of the hosts of the festival maybe have a shuttle or bus running from the bar to the festival next year. Since so many fest go’ers were patrons of Tony’s I’m guessing we all lived in the same hood. Which was about a $45 cab ride. I was lucky enough to have Mr. Beerman drop me and I took the Festival suggested SideCAR ride home http://www.side.cr

Side car is a great idea. It’s a ride share program of sorts. Folks in LA looking to make money can apply and as long as they have a clean driving record, go through a background check, etc they can drive you home in their own cars. I was worried at first but SideCar has a GPS on the driver and you can send your location and GPS to say your loving husband waiting for you at home. I tried it! A nice man picked us up, dropped off Tricia and John then carted me back to Burbank. For less than a cost of a cab. You have a record of this person on your phone and can even request them for future rides.

And so we blew…When Tricia did it she clocked a .119. They wrote “Solid DUI” Now we weren’t driving so this was just for fun. So don’t panic. Now it was my turn. I wasn’t worried…I just drank beer, yes a few hours worth, but I was feeling tipsy at best. Not sick, not slurring, not walking funny, just feeling happy. I clocked .241 IMG_5764on a Festival breathalyzer. That’s triple the legal limit to drive. And I showed no real signs of being super drunk. Hmm…that says to me no matter what you drink. No matter how tiny your samples are. No matter how good you feel. Be careful. Be smart. Call a cab. Or if you are in LA call Uber. Use the SideCar App…you have choices.

Overall I have to HIGHLY recommend this Festival to anyone who loves beer. And if you are Vegan or like great bands BONUS. It really was a great day.
See you all at the 5th Annual!!
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I had to stop watching TV. My heart breaks for Boston. So I finished my next blog….

On Friday afternoon I thought it was important to do some blog research. And lucky for me I live walking distance from Story Tavern http://www.storytavernburbank.com/. I’ve mentioned them before great place to drink. Note: I need to amend my previous blog, as I have found out they DO have a patio. I feel bad not giving them that credit. But as I pointed out I would drink there inside even if I was in the mood for “outside drinking”. Story Tavern is set up like a Beer House. Long Long tables, lots of chairs and dark wood. Its cozy. Seriously can’t wait for rainy days in the winter to hang there all day… (future blog in their honor forthcoming).

On Fridays they do Flights. And I decided to try both their Cider Flight and Beer Flight. Because that’s my new job, and it was Friday, and I love flights. Tiny beer tastes make me so happy. The first flight I had consisted of two ACE CIDERS and two AENGUS ANTHEM CIDERS. Now I’m going to preface this with reminding you of my motto “Just one gal’s opinion”. But I will tell you what I like and if you tend to like the same things then drink what I do! If you tend to like the polar opposite of what I do then you know to try everything I hate!

For Cider purposes let me state I don’t like dry champagne or sparkling wines. I like a fruity Prosecco or even an Asti. I like the sweet stuff. That being said…
First off I liked this entire flight, even though they were very different. Let’s start with the ACE CIDERS. You would recognize these ciders. I think you can find ACE in most every grocery store . They have the ACE card on their label. The two I tried were ACE BERRY and ACE PUMPKIN. The Ace berry to me tasted like a yummy not too sweet pomegranate flavor. Even though according to sources like the interweb “Ace Berry is a mixture of raspberry, blackberry and strawberry juice added into our fermented apple cider. The resulting cider has a delicious fresh fruity taste”. They speak the truth. It is fresh and fruity. It’s a good clean cider different from a basic apple but not too sweet that you couldn’t drink a glass. The Ace Berry is seasonal but it is available in stores in 22 oz bottles and is 5.0%

Also from ACE I tried their Pumpkin Cider. Now come Sept/ October I love love love the Pumpkin Ale, no doubt I may dedicate one or two blogs JUST about the Pumpkin ales I find. I love pumpkin everything especially beer. I kept a 6pk of Trader Joes Pumpkin Ale one year and tried it in July. Um…. Confusing. I didn’t love it as much. Not so much an outside drinking beer I long for on Independence Day… BUT I will say that trying Pumpkin Cider in April wasn’t bad. I still think I will wait to buy cases of it til after mid September. But I was pleasantly surprised by just how good this was. It was like Pumpkin and Apple pie meet in cider form. I’m certain its seasonal but does seem to be available in 6pks. This cider is 5.0% http://www.acecider.com/

I also tried Aengus Anthem Cherry Cider http://anthemcider.com/?tag=wandering-aengus-cider. This cider seemed a lil more true to form of what I think of when I think cider. A defiantly on the tart side. Not too much- I mean it’s no Lambic, but it was NOT sweet. For myself I don’t think I could drink a glass of it. But I bet someone could and I would be fully willing to cook with this.

Aengus Anthem Apple Cider was a little bit drier than the ACE Ciders but had a clean fresh apple taste. Just what is expected when ordering a cider. I may even like it better than Strongbow, would have to try them back to back, and I would definitely make a Snake Bite out of it!

DOGFISH HEAD x 4 My flight of Dogfish Head: http://www.dogfish.com/brews-spirits/index.htm
90 Min IPA. http://www.dogfish.com/brews-spirits/the-brews/year-round-brews/90-minute-ipa.htm Now I have stated before I don’t love the IPA’s but I will tell you this is the beer I chose to have a snifter of after my flights were gone. At 9% it’s no joke. I have to quote their website it doesn’t crush you with hop flavor. And there didn’t seem to be a ton of other added flavors that sometimes IPAs use too much of. I don’t want to drink a Christmas tree. I want to drink a beer. This beer delivered!

Birra Etrusca Bronze. http://www.dogfish.com/brews-spirits/the-brews/occasional-rarities/birra-etrusca-bronze.htm Well….I hate to speak ill of any brew. Cause each brew has a person who loves them. But this was the only taster I left full. As did my beer buddy I was drinking with that day. Their website says “the bulk of the bitterness comes from gentian root and the sarsaparilla-like Ethiopian myrrh resin”. Didn’t they bring Myrrh to Baby Jesus? I bet he sent it back. I bet that was the very first Day after Christmas return. In my non expert opinion this beer tasted like Pier One Smells. #beerpotpourri And at 8.5% this beer packs a lil bit of a punch so be ready.

Rhizing Bines is another IPA that I enjoyed I think because it wasn’t overly hoppy. And the flavors they used were more on the citrus side like lemons rather than a ton of spices. It’s a little bit bitter and to be honest I finished my taster but don’t think I could drink a whole glass of it. Notable: Rhizing Bines is a collaboration by Dogfish Head and Sierra Nevada and is 8% AbV http://www.dogfish.com/node/47576

Chicory Stout. If you like coffee you love this stout. I had to look up the exact ingredients because I found it so fascinating. It’s a VERY “dark beer made with a bunch of roasted chicory, organic Mexican coffee, St. John’s Wort and licorice root”. I for sure could taste the Mexican coffee which was fantastic. I am not a fan of licorice or Anise so I was pleased to say I couldn’t taste that at all, but I suppose if you liked that flavor you could find it! At only 5.2% its very drinkable. http://www.dogfish.com/brews-spirits/the-brews/seasonal-brews/chicory-stout.htm

Saturday and Sunday was a quiet weekend for us. So we did some gardening, some cleaning some BBQing and of course some at home tastings. This is what I found. We tried:

Crispin Apple Cider http://www.crispincider.com/cider/cider-press/press-releases/cider-au-naturel/ I have mentioned these guys before. They were in my top pics from the LA BEERFEST. Well over the weekend Mr. Biermann brought home a bottle of this. I tried and “picked” the Pear as being great. He loved the apple. So I tried it. I have to say really good cider! Not too dry. Not too sweet and at 6% just the right amount of alcohol so you feel it don’t taste it. And I have to say the more I read about this company the more I like them. There are a ton of selections of beer on their website. Who knew! Now I have to try them all. And I like the fact that they are super clever with their names too. In fact this past weekend they tapped a beer called “As you wish” and “Prepare to die” while showing a screening of Princess Bride! #thingsyoulearnontwitter That just pushed them WAY up of my list of favorites.

We also enjoyed SURF BREWERY’S MONDO A Cream Ale http://surfbrewery.com/beer-menu.html. Boy did I like this beer!! So much so that I have already made plans to visit their brewery next month. We were taking the family up to Ventura for the Annual Strawberry Festival and I think we need to make a stop here after. I dare say I like THIS beer better than my previous favorites in the Cream Ale category, Boddingtons and Speckled Hen. This was lighter I thought. Not that I don’t like a good creamy beer, but this was that AND it was “summer outside all day in my gazebo drinkable”. Yes that is also a real phrase much like “outside drinking”.

While BBQing this weekend we had a bottle of Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company’s Davy Brown http://www.figmtnbrew.com/our-beers/ I’m liking this brewery more and more. At my last visit to Tony Darts Away I had their Stage Coach Stout. What a find! Like a good stout it was a lil bit chocolate, a lil bit coffee, but not too much of either. Don’t let the black color scare you. Its only 5.6%.

But over the weekend we had some of their Davy Brown. I think this may be Mr. Biermann’s favorite new brew. A nutty brown that didn’t disappoint. At 6.0% it’s has a little more of a kick than say a, for purposes of folks who don’t drink a lot of craft brews, a more commercial Brown like Newcastle which is only 4.7%. I say I could taste the alcohol more, but Mr. Biermann defending his new find said what I was tasting the super malty-ness of it. In any case Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company is one we are going to start trying more of. Oh and here’s a lil Bierlady tip on changing up your brown. Add a wedge of lemon to it. I know WHAT you say, this is no Hef! But I have to say as a take it or leave it Brown drinker, I have found the lemon changes it in a way that I like it way more. I must give credit for this tip to my friend and fellow beerfester Tricia. She brought this to my attention while we were drinking one night and dammit if she wasn’t right!

This sums up my weekend of drinking. This week should be chalk full of Beer Adventures as its Mr. Biermann’s Birthday. So let the games begin!

In closing I would like to send thoughts and prayers to those folks in Boston. What happened was unthinkable. My heart breaks for everyone who was affected by what happened. I hope they find who did this swiftly and that the people of such a wonderful city can start to heal.

First One out of the Gate…An Introduction to The Bierlady

Hi my name is Cathy …welcome to my beer blog!

I suppose before you trust me about beer related issues I should tell you a little about myself. Well first off my last name is Biermann. No joke. That is pronounced Beer-Man. German, man who brews beer. I have to fess up though I did marry into that name. However, my maiden name is Sincere. Again No joke. And as you may have guessed the option for hyphenating my last name was well, not an option. But for the purposes of this first blog I will point out that I am Cathy Sincere-Biermann. I was also born in Milwaukee. If that doesn’t scream beer I don’t know what else does. I was raised in Vegas. No beer related story here, it’s just cool. And I currently reside in Los Angeles.
I will outwardly admit I am no official beer expert. Unless you get expert points for drinking beer the last 20+ years. OH didn’t tell you my age out and out but you can do the math. Unless you are drunk while reading this then I’m 25.

All I can say in the hopes you read this and future Bierlady Blog posts is that we are beer people. So much so that for my husband’s birthday about 5 years back I bought him a beer keg fridge with a tap so we could have draft beer in our kitchen 24/7. His birthday is in April, so for Mothers Day that May he in turn bought me my very first 15.5 gallon keg of Kona Longboard. Sniff. They were the gifts that kept on giving.
Mr Biermann, or you can call him Bryan, and I Love the beer. Love Beer tastings and Love pubs. So I thought wait there has to be folks out there they are on our same page. Folks who want to hear what’s good, what’s out there and where can I find it. And you may ask yourself “Cathy you taste it first and let them know if it’s a good beer so I don’t waste time or money?” I’m here to tell you yes. I will do that for you. I will go out weekly and find new beers and try new beers, and report back to you.

I was trying to think of a gimmick, a way to make my blog different. I thought how could I explain how these beer taste? Well by day I’m a voice over artist. So I thought I could liken the beers to voices. Like if you were to try a Bud Super Light Lemon Lime (is that real?) it would be a tiny tiny little girl voice. Or if you were trying a heavy stout it would be a big booming manly voice. Or like the Babes BBQ BlackFin Lager I recently tried, which was very dark and black in appearance but tasted light and clean. It would be the voice of Damon Wayans Jr from Happy Endings, looks black, but is…ok see then I realized this just won’t translate in writing. SO I ditched the voice idea. However I do reserve the right to bring back this idea should I be writing this blog from a bar after being “over served”.

So for now I will just say this blog is one girls opinion. A girl who has home brewing friends, a girl who drinks beer regularly, a girl who visits pubs frequently, a girl who prefers beer tasting to wine tasting, and a girl who writes this for free. So what have you got to lose?

Ok if you may be saying “Cathy cool last name or not , should I care what you think?” Fair enough we just met. But how about if I scoop you on the pubs/bars I visit in LA…I can tell you what folks are drinking. What bars are serving up the best brews? The most variety? The local CA microbrews? Or if that doesn’t get you and you prefer to read US Weekly to Draft Magazine then maybe there are some famous folks sipping brews? I mean who doesn’t want to know what kind of beer Nathan Fillion or Kerry Washington prefer?

I guess for now we’ll just see where this blog takes us. Its just blog one, we have time…
I still haven’t figured out all the whistles and bells of putting up a blog so forgive me. I’ll figure out the pictures and links eventually.
I will say I’m excited that summer is approaching and there is nothing I like more than to “outside” drink. (yes that is a real thing feel free to use it in your day to day…ex: “hey guys wanna call in sick and go outside drinking today?” ) Patios, beaches, biergartens…so much of Southern Cal to explore and consume.

Today is All Day Beer/ Cider Flights at a local pub… I think we’ll start there!