Self Serve Beer? Out of this world…

 

 

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

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

IMG_3498We went specifically to visit our friends at Cosmic Brewery.

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Follow them on Twitter: @CosmicAles

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

 

Tasting Room Hours

SOFT OPENING HOURS

Monday Closed

Tuesday Closed

Wednesday Closed

Thursday Closed

Friday 3-9pm

Saturday 12-10pm

Sunday 12-6pm

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Our Holiday Beer Finds Part 1: ANGEL CITY BREWERY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why did it Take me So Long…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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