Monthly Archives: November 2011

Iron Fist Brewing Company

Read about the previous visits: Hess Brewing, Ballast Point, Stone Brewing Company and Bistro.

Our final stop for the San Diego trip was at Iron Fist Brewing Company – another place that wasn’t open on Tuesdays, but allowed us in to check it out.
Iron Fist is located in a relatively large facility and has done incredibly well with distribution, especially considering it’s just over a year old. If you’re lucky enough to live in Southern California or Hawaii, their delicious brews can be found there!
One of the owners/brewers gave us a tour of the place and we got to try some beer straight from the fermentor.
They’d recently made a beer called Martial Law: a Belgian Strong Ale with cognac soaked oak chips and sour cherries thrown straight into the fermentor. On tap, this is absolutely delightful! It’s always nice to try something that’s completely out of the ordinary, especially when it works out so well!

We also got a chance to try some Velvet Glove (my dad’s personal favorite) on nitro!
I was hoping for a growler of this, but as you can see from the simple taster above it didn’t work out… Nitro + growler does not work. Sadness. I got a growler of the regular Velvet Glove instead.
Their growlers are ridiculously heavy-duty and awesome! They’re a bit more pricey than most growlers I’ve gotten, but well worth it for the design. This will be the new centerpiece in my room. It’s that incredible.
Seriously heavy duty.
All growlers aspire to this, I’m sure.
I’m hoping to get down there one last time before Martial Law is gone for good (it’s only going to be brewed twice… So far…).

That ends our brewery tour! Next to catch up with posts about crazy amounts of Thanksgiving foods and the off-flavor tasting I went to for my Cicerone studies last night.

Leave a Comment

Filed under brewery

Stone Brewing Company

After Ballast Point, it was time for fooding! We headed over to Stone Brewing for lunch. Once Matt dragged me away from gazing adoringly at the brewery, we walked around the beer gardens while we waited for an outdoor table.
This place is absolutely stunning!
Buddha – a preview of how I was going to look and feel after consuming foods.
I ordered the Vertical Epic 11.11.11. I am absolutely in love with this beer. The beautiful deep maroon beer is topped with a creamy, lacy head that emanates the slight aroma of cinnamon, a hint of chiles and clove. This tastes like heaven – honestly. Wonderfully malty with a hint of cinnamon and a slight kiss of chiles – not enough to be bitter or spicy, but just enough to give a warm essence of happiness and the aura of a cool autumn evening. The tail end features a slight bite of hops, rounding out what might be my favorite beer to date. It’s that good.
We perused the menu, placed our orders and were treated to a personal tour while we waited for our food thanks to Commander Matt’s friend from high school who’s currently employed there.
The regular tour had already taken off, as you can see in the bottom right, but we got to walk straight up the stairs and get a closer look.
We stared into the line of never-ending fermentors.
A look inside the mash tun. Glorious.
The view looking into the bistro area. As you can imagine, the view into the brewery is a million times as magnificent.
DROOL.
After walking around in a dazed, happy stupor, we returned to the table and were immediately greeted by one of the most amazing meals I’ve ever had at a brewpub. We split the prime rib melt – thin slices of tender beef covered in a smoky mayo, studded with bits of Anaheim chiles and topped with a slice of jalapeño havarti…
…and the Mac ‘n Beer Cheese – drenched in Stone Smoked Porter and garlic beer cheese with generous slices of Stone Smoked Porter sausage hidden throughout. Both dishes were demolished.

After the meal, this Buddha was rolled out to the car and we headed to our final destination – Iron Fist Brewing – Coming soon!

12 Comments

Filed under brewery

Ballast Point Brewing

After visiting Hess Brewing, we drove over to Ballast Point, one of the few breweries that was actually open on a Tuesday.
There were two other people in the place when we arrived around 11am.
We grabbed four tasters and took them over to the newly expanded area of the tasting room.
We got a selection of the beers from the specialties section at the bottom of the board: Sculpin IPA, Piper Down Scottish Ale, Oktoberfest Marzen and what I believe was the Sea Monster Imperial Stout whose name unfortunately has been erased from the beer-cam so I might be inadvertently lying to you… All good beers, but the Oktoberfest and the Sea Monster were my favorites – amazing malty/roasty (respectively) aroma to both and really rich flavor and mouthfeel.

After having a few sips, a mysterious man sporting protective eyewear emerged from behind the bar, equipped us with protective eyerwear of our own, and took us for a personal tour of the distillery. Begin picture binge…now:

This used to be a regular beer fermentor that Premier flipped upside down and turned into a distiller. Commander Matt explained a little of this to me and even after that I understand only about .00003% about how this works, so I’ll just say words that have to do with it: head, heart, tail. I won’t pretend to know any more than that.
Source

Part three and four coming soon – Stone Brewing and Iron Fist Brewing!

3 Comments

Filed under brewery

Hess Brewing

Yesterday I headed down to San Diego with Commander Matt from Enegren Brewing to pick up a keg washer from Premier and visit a few breweries. Unfortunately, the majority of them are closed on Tuesdays. Fortunately, since I was with the owner of a brewery, we had an in to ALL of them.
Our first stop after Premier was Hess Brewing where we met up with Michael Skubic – tasting room manager and beer wrangler.
Hess is located in an industrial complex in a quaint and cozy space.
I love the touch of the hanging candle lanterns! I’ll have to come back in the evening sometime soon.
These guys work on a 1.5 bbl system. It looks like a gigantic homebrew system and they brew on it pretty often to keep up with demand.
I first tried the Magna Cucerbita Pumpkin Stout. The pumpkin spice aroma in this beer was  perfectly balanced – definitely noticeable but not overwhelming like many pumpkin ales I’ve tried. I wanted another taster of this, but decided that trying some others would be a good idea…
My options were extremely limited. There weren’t too many to choose from… *insert sarcasm here*
Up next: Grazias Vienna Cream Ale. I have absolutely nothing to compare this to since I’ve never had a cream ale before. All I can really say, without a doubt, is that I liked it. Very smooth, slightly sweet, easy drinkability with a hint of vanilla (maybe?) in the aroma.
My favorite of all the beers I tried (and I tried and adored every one) was the Jucundus Orange Honey Wheat. This one reminded me exactly of Elysian’s Avatar Jasmine IPA thanks to the aroma of the chamomile, coriander and orange blossom honey. The honey flavor is apparent in the first sip and accompanied by a wonderful floral sweetness, yet not perfumey at all. The hops are nice and quiet on this making it a VERY easy drinker that would suit either a warm summer day or a rainy autumn evening with a blanket and a book. Jucundus Orange Honey Wheat would be the perfect substitute for chamomile tea on that chilly evening.
There really is no lack of choices here. If you’re ever in the San Diego area and want to visit a gem, head over to Hess Brewing at 7955 Silverton Ave, Ste 1201. I’ll be going back soon for a mid-holiday visit!

Part two of the San Diego brewery trip (Stone, Iron Fist, Ballast Point) coming soon – too many amazing breweries to clump into a single post. They all deserve their own recognition.

3 Comments

Filed under brewery

Pre-Thanksgiving

For the past few years we’ve celebrated Thanksgiving early with our family who lives in Awesometown (aka Valencia aka false advertising). Awesometown is not, in fact, awesome, but it’s always wonderful to spend time with the relatives.
My uncle got a Big Green Egg for his birthday and we all get to reap the results. This turkey was smoked with apples, onions, white wine and thyme and was out of this world!

Unfortunately, pictures of my full plate were forgotten while I was consuming said full plate. I gorged. I loved. It was amazing. Allie and I, being the geniuses that we are, decided that doing some TRX after dinner and champagne was a good idea.
Hint: It wasn’t.
Allie taught me some “simple” moves. I woke up in the middle of the night with massive muscle spasms thanks to those “simple” moves.
In case you were unaware: It’s a lot harder to do pushups when your feet are hanging in the slings of a TRX and you’re laughing like crazy.

All of the other pictures will have to wait until Allie sends them over from her camera. These few sum up the night pretty well though, I must say. Today I hung out with my pops who I haven’t seen in three weeks thanks to our crazy travel schedules. We bonded over the important things in life.
The first and last time I went to Anacapa Brewing was years ago, before I really understood or liked beer. I thought that there was something wrong with Anacapa’s beers because they were all bitter. Bitter = bad??? Who was I???
Turns out their beers are only 25-35 IBU. Definitely not too bitter. HOWEVER, they’re still not very good… My favorite of the sampler platter was the Off Kilter Scotch but it wasn’t distinct enough to make a lasting impression. The pumpkin was nicely spiced on the flavor, but since it’s only a seasonal it won’t be a go-to.

In other news, I’ll be going down to San Diego tomorrey to pick up a keg washer and visit a few breweries, so I felt it necessary to bake some  foods that would sustain the brewer and myself on the long trip that may take up to three whole hours.
Chocolate/Peanut Butter Chip cookies (courtesy of Nestle Tollhouse – I’m lazy tonight). I had to test one to make sure it was edible and decided to pair it with a glass of my Vanilla Porter. PAIRING cookies with beer, unlike exercising after pre-Thanksgiving, was a brilliant idea.

7 Comments

Filed under Thanksgiving

Sticky Apple Pudding Cupcakes

With the thick blankets of clouds that rest on the towering mountains outside my kitchen window, the days have been getting progressively colder and colder. Today was a day just like that. It was bitterly chilly outside, so I spent the day sipping hot peppermint tea and baking.

I was sent some coupons from Foodbuzz and Duncan Hines in order to create something that “defies traditional”, so I attempted to do just that. These spicy little cakes are delicate, almost pudding-like in consistency and vegan!

Sticky Apple Pudding Cupcakes

Serves 25-30 mini-cupcakes
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 25 minutes
Total time 40 minutes
Dietary Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Dessert
Delicate miniature vegan cupcakes are stuffed with sweet apple pie filling, giving them a consistency of sticky pudding.

Ingredients

  • 1 box Duncan Hines carrot cake or spice cake mix
  • 3/4 cups unsweetened apple sauce
  • 3/4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup Comstock apple pie filling

Directions

Step 1
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 2
In a large bowl mix together the cake mix, applesauce, water and vegetable oil and stir until just combined.
Step 3
Take the 1/2 cup of apple pie filling, dice and stir into the batter.
Step 4
Pour the batter into greased mini-cupcake tins, filling 2/3 of the way.
Step 5
Bake 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out relatively clean.

I used the carrot cake mix but left out the pack of dehydrated carrots and raisins.
The applesauce is used as an egg substitute. 1/4 cup of applesauce = 1 egg.
Make sure you include the sugary syrup part after you dice the apple pie filling!
This batter appears thick, but it liquefies pretty quickly.
Fill the cupcake tins 2/3 full. These babies blow up!
While you wait for them to bake the 20-25 minutes, you can lick the spatula clean, thanks the the veganosity!
The consistency of these will make you keel over with happiness. I recommend smothering them with frosting and eating them with a spoon.
If you’re looking for something to whip together that’s ridiculously quick and easy, go for these!
Sweater and boots weather + sticky apple pudding cupcakes. HAPPY DANCE!

1 Comment

Filed under recipe

Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Bread Pudding

 

I’ve been having explosions of genius in the kitchen lately. Well, lots of explosions of which a few end up being genius. Either way, I’ll share with you.
The basis for my latest creation is this Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Bread. Head over to Taste Terminal for the recipe, make it, and then continue on by making:

Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Bread Pudding

Serves 2-4
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 35 minutes
Total time 40 minutes
Meal type Dessert
Spicy and sweet bread pudding studded with cinnamon chips.

Ingredients

  • 2 thick slices Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Bread (chopped into bite-sized pieces)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Step 1
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 2
In a mixing bowl, combine the egg, almond milk, brown sugar and vanilla extract and whisk well.
Step 3
Stir the bread pieces into the liquid, coating evenly and let rest for five minutes to absorb.
Step 4
Pour the mixture into a medium-sized greased ramekin.
Step 5
Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 35-60 minutes, or until knife inserted comes out clean.

Lightly adapted from my Magical Bread Pudding.

Mine took the full 60 minutes. I think the moisture content with the homemade bread did something mystical and wonderful.
I was planning on creating a pumpkin spiced cream cheese icing for this, but got lazy and just used some stuff from a tube from the grocery store. I can only do so much, guys!
I wish I’d had some of this bread pudding pudding while I was shivering in my boots and armwarmers on Sunday in Fountain Hills!

1 Comment

Filed under recipe, Uncategorized

Creepy Encounters: 2

Before I get to the latest mental trauma (catch up with last year’s creepy encounters), here’s a recap on the ah-frikkin-mazing foods I’ve been consuming this weekend whilst in Fountain Hills, Arizona.
I’ve been enjoying one of these a day: Hearts of palm salad: full of avocado, hearts of palm (still have no idea what that is), romaine and tomato all tossed in a coconut lime vinaigrette.
Breakfast at the lovely Sofrita. When I find something I love, I tend to stick with it.
Bison meatloaf over cheddar-garlic mashed potatoes topped with a rich gravy from a festival food stand. This rocked my world! The pumpkin chocolate chip cookie, drizzled with icing that came alongside nearly made me pass out from sheer joy. I may have gone back today and gotten an entire bowl stacked with those cookies… Maybe…
Last night I enjoyed my favorite amber in the entire world: Odell 90 Shilling (or 3…) followed by a lengthy, tipsy trip to the gym. Tonight I had ONE Odell IPA to help me suffer through the writing of a tedious paper.
I was planning on pairing that IPA with a spicy burger, but the grilled salmon was calling out to me, so this mismatched combination took place. C’est la vie!
I also was hard at work creating a label for my vanilla porter, which is as of now simply called Bexter’s Vanilla Porter. I was contacted by a website – Labeley.com, where you can create your own labels for free. It took a few tries for all the graphics and text to come out correctly, but I think I found a suiting image for my beer! Now to attempt to print it when I get home…

NOW for the creepy encounter:

Becki entered her hotel room with a six pack of Odell Brewing IPA, also known as liquid gold, in hand. She kneeled down before the humming refrigerator and pulled the door open, preparing for the blast of icy air that was bound to escape. Nothing. The refrigerator hummed on, but the three beers from the previous evening sat inside, their labels wrinkled and peeling from lack of chill, warm condensation spilling like tears from their sides. With sadness in her heart, Becki phoned the front desk.

The maintenance man was speedy. Within minutes a knock was heard upon the door of the room. She opened it and was greeted by an awkward middle-aged man with large glasses and a bald spot, wearing a black shirt tucked into high waisted black jeans.
“What seems to be the problem?” He asked kindly.
Becki explained the situation and the maintenance man unplugged the refrigerator and took it to the door. As he prepared to leave, he stopped.
“I’ve been off the clock for an hour,” he began, “But I’m always open to spending time with lonely hotel guests.”
Becki’s danger radar began to send fight-or-flight signals through her brain. Her muscles tensed.
“I’ll bring you a new fridge,” he promised. “But you don’t happen to have a jealous boyfriend who’s going to beat me up if he sees me leave your room, do you?”
Becki stared dumbfounded. Quickly, she regained her common sense.
“My boyfriend will be back soon,” She began. “But I’m sure it’ll only take a minute to bring the fridge…”
“Good,” Maintenance man said. “I don’t want him to see a handsome man leave his girlfriend’s room, get jealous and jump me.”
He chuckled and left the room, dragging the refrigerator behind him.

Becki shivered with disgust from head to toe, then prepared herself for the return of the maintenance man and the new fridge. There was a knock at the door. She dialed 911 on her phone, her finger hovering above the “call” button as she opened the door, just in case. The maintenance man came in, quietly installed the working refrigerator, then turned to Becki.
“Is there anything else I can help you with?” He asked.
“No,” Becki replied, “Thank you very much. That’s all.”
The maintenance man pushed on. “Well I’ll be going down to room 105. That room is empty for the rest of the day. I’ll be going down there to rest since there’s no one in that room for the rest of the day. Room 105.”
Becki’s finger hovered ever close to the “call” button on her phone.
“If you need anything,” The maintenance man continued, “Anything at all, I’ll be down in room 105. You don’t even have to call. Just come down and knock.”
A thick silence hung in the air as he let Becki process that information. She smiled numbly and nodded, then avoided eye contact as he dragged the broken fridge from the room. As the door began to close, an echo sounded through the room.
“Room 105.”

6 Comments

Filed under creepy encounters

Kegging/Bottling Vanilla Porter

I had my first kegging session up in Santa Barbara yesterday! My completely awesome friend Grayson helped me rack off my beer into a three gallon keg (kindly provided by Enegren Brewing) and we bottled the other two gallons.
Grayson decided to be a manly man and do the difficult tasks of removing tubing from racking canes. Thanks, Gray!
This carboy smelled DELICIOUS! You can see the remains of the vanilla bean in the bottom there, and a good pumpkin homebrew that we had to sip whilst bottling. Seriously, it’s a requirement: Relax. Don’t worry. Have a homebrew.
Carboy, keg, capper: joy on a table.
Grayson’s cat attempted to eat my priming sugar.
Cats + priming sugar = hyper! In case you didn’t know…
My beautiful, BEAUTIFUL beer! We had to try some, of course. ROCKED my world! Now I just need to name it! Suggestions, anyone? It’ll be hard to top Dos Beckis
Afterwards we hit our old stomping grounds of IV (Isla Vista) and got some Indian slop at Naan Stop. New tradition: any time I’m up there for Cicerone studying/kegging/any reason at all, we’ll be visiting Naan Stop. Delicious memories!

Today I drove out to Fountain Hills, Arizona for the fine art and wine festival. After setting up the booth, feeling exhausted and ready to drop, we had our priorities straight. Bed, you ask? Um, no.
SANGRIA! Sofrita in Fountain Hills is my absolute FAVORITE place for anything edible in Fountain Hills. There was fruit in my sangria: therefore edible, therefore dinner. Win.

5 Comments

Filed under beer

Punched by the Sky

We wrapped up the show in Burbank yesterday under super fun circumstances.
Looks like a nice day out, yes?
A Bird of Paradise, enjoying the sunny day whilst crammed into a dirty pot on the polluted city sidewalk…
Wait a second…
OH GOD NO!
We got hailed on. I ended up with a few nice welts on my face because, being the genius that I am, I decided to look up and see what was falling from the sky. I don’t recommend it.

Once I got home I poured a bottle of painkiller and sat back before promptly passing out at 9pm. Getting smacked in the face with hail will do that to you.
Mmmm, painkillers. So wiped out that I didn’t even take a picture of my beer. Pity me, please.

I’m off to chef up a storm – Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas are on the menu for tonight!

6 Comments

Filed under art festival, art show