by Becki |
February 28, 2012 · 9:04 pm
Yes, I realize that I have, indeed, done a post on this place before. However, that was the restaurant in Calabasas. Today I got an invite to the original Wolf Creek in Santa Clarita – where the brewery is!
The brewery is hidden away in a little strip mall between Starbucks and Rite Aid. You’d never know that beer genius was being conducted in this building.
I got straight to work and grabbed a taster of the Midnight Howl Black IPA before my tour.
As of now, this is my favorite of their beers. Deliciously hoppy with an overtone of bitter coffee rounding out the end.
When sitting at the bar, you gaze through the glass windows and doors directly into the ten barrel brewery, watching the entire process from start to finish (if you are patient enough to sit there for quite a few hours)…
They currently have a copper system, but are looking to upgrade to a larger system, and building, within the next few months to keep up with demand.
The brewery contains the 10 bbl mash tun, lauter tank, a few fermenters and four serving tanks that are full with the high demand brews like Golden Eagle Ale and their Howlin’ Hefeweizen. While it looks like a tight space, Rob, the brewmaster, and his brother have no issue turning out consistent beer with the equipment that has been with them from the beginning of Wolf Creek – 15 years!
Allie and I decided that it was extremely important to taste test all of the beers, and a lot of food, to make sure that our first visit wasn’t a fluke. Quality control.
These. Are. Awesome. “Rings and Thorns” – Ale-battered onions and jalapeno slices, served with a spicy chipotle ketchup and a cooling ranch in case it gets too hot for you. We devoured almost the entire bag.
The Vaquero sammich – sliced steak with grilled asparagus, fried onion strings, cilantro pesto, sliced tomatoes and goat cheese on top of fresh ciabatta. I’ve had this before and needed to do more quality control. It’s still as heavenly as I recall.
Unfortunately we were too stuffed to take advantage of their two-for-one dessert special of the day. I am ashamed of missing out on that.
Thanks to Rob for giving us the tour and letting us try your amazing brews and foods! I’ll be back for that dessert special. And the beer. And the onion rings. And the sammich. And probably to try every other item on the menu…
by Becki |
February 26, 2012 · 7:00 am
It’s official. It’s been official for over a year now – I am obsessed with Sofrita. This little gem of a restaurant in the middle of Fountain Hills has been my home for each show that we’ve done here. For fail-safe foods, coffee and drinks, I simply wander across the street from the booth and am greeted by the lovely owners and employees, who all know me by name.
This pic is from one of the first times I visited the place. Cozy, cozy!
After half a day sweating it out in the heat of the booth, I grabbed a cranberry chicken salad sammich. The hours slowly ticked by…
After closing the booth for the day, we traipsed back across the street to enjoy dinner in the sunset.
Saturdays at shows are my favorite days. The booth is all set up, we don’t have to worry about breakdown and we get a full day with no worries except where to get our next meal.
The restaurant was still getting their bearings after a day being stuffed to the brim with art show enthusiasts, hence the fancy plastic cup that contained my margarita.
After perusing the menu, I asked Angel for his recommendation and was greeted by this delicious pork pernil – slow roasted pork covered in a rich tomato sauce, seasoned with garlic and oregano with a side of spiced yellow rice.
For dessert I snuck a bite off of what our dinner guests ordered – a sponge cake topped with flan and wine-poached peaches, drizzled with a caramel sauce. Lucky for our guests I was so full that I didn’t attempt to make a grab for more. I’m thinking dinner tonight might just be a selection of all their desserts!
Today’s the last day of the show which means a long night of breaking down the tent, hopefully followed by, you guessed it, sangria at Sofrita!
by Becki |
February 23, 2012 · 9:36 pm
by Becki |
February 21, 2012 · 1:32 pm
Last night was our monthly meeting of Ladies at Ladyface: The Fermentables and Comestibles Education and Tippling Society. On the agenda – beer and chocolate pairings!
I absolutely love spicy chocolate. I also love IPAs. I also love how IPAs make spicy chocolate seem even spicier!
(Photo credit to Stacey P.) We brought along some fiery chocolate from my favorite little chocolate shop in Ventura, Trufflehounds, to pair with Ballast Point Sculpin IPA (an AMAZING IPA, by the way!). The bitterness of the hops amplify the spice of the chocolate by tenfold, so if you like spice, you’ll love this combo! For those attendees who don’t enjoy the pain of spice as much as I do, I brought La Trappe Quadrupel. The creamy maltiness of this beer still allows you to relish the spice in the chocolate, but also acts as a mellowing agent after the first sip. The majority of the ladies seemed to prefer the quad pairing over the IPA.
I began the night with Ladyface’s Blind Ambition, which I haven’t ordered in over a year but was feeling nostalgic for. This was a flashback to the first time I tried it – a nice floral aroma, hints of malty sweetness and a clean, crisp ending. I also got a taster of the cask of the week, Beer Pancakes – Russian Lullaby Imperial Stout with maple syrup and vanilla beans. The vanilla aroma really emanates from the beer, even in a taster glass, while the maple hides right beneath it, finishing the beer with an extra layer of smooth, sugary goodness. This beer is like a delicious, boozy chocolate milkshake. Love!
We had a full house of ladies, with other pairings like C7 (homemade cashew brittle with cumin, cinnamon, chocolate and three other “C”s) with a homebrewed pale ale, homemade spicy peanut brittle drizzled with 67% dark chocolate paired with Ladyface IPA, dark chocolate sprinkled with lavender salt paired with Ladyface’s smoky Midnight Special scotch ale on nitro, and a handful of others. I was too busy enjoying myself to get more pictures, so here are a few random ones from my weekend.
Sweet potato tater tots at Lazy Dog Cafe.
Spicy buffalo sauce chicken nuggets, also from Lazy Dog Cafe.
Grilled pizzeti with goat cheese, prosciutto, fresh basil and garlic with a red wine sangria from Roman Holiday.
Random sighting in my town. CHIVE ON!
Tonight, I head back to Ladyface for yet ANOTHER off flavor tasting. Wish me and my poor taste buds luck.
by Becki |
February 17, 2012 · 11:32 pm
I’ve been to the LAB Brewing Company (which stands for Live Art Brewing – beer, food, music and art) many, many times with the EBC crew, but never had a chance to take pictures (mainly because we’d go for dinner and drinks after EBC closed). When I received an invite from Alan and Roger the brewmaster for a personal tour and beer tasting (during DAYLIGHT hours), I agreed immediately.
The LAB Brewing Company opened in Agoura Hills November 1st of last year.
The bar area of the LAB looks directly into the brewery which is encased behind glass doors, allowing patrons to watch the brewing process as they sip the outcome.
The beer selection here is incredible! Thirty-two taps, heavy on the IPAs (yay!), and rounded out with nothing but craft beer.
The main dining room features a stage where musicians and deejays play on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
The covered patio is quaint and cozy, with a fireplace in the corner and heaters placed throughout to keep the Californians warm when the temperature dips below seventy degrees on a winter’s eve.
Now to the important stuff – beer and foods! I grabbed a sampler of all the beers they make – Bad Influence IPA, Take Her Home Tripel, Cold Fusion Java, Big Ass Red and LAB XPA. Bad Influence IPA was my favorite of their available beers – a zesty citrus and floral aroma with an extreme bite (93 IBUs and 7.5% ABV). HOWEVER, I was given a sneak preview of the After Midnight Moo Milk Stout straight from the fermentor and fell head over heels! Hints of sweetness, smooth and creamy – I believe they said it was going on the nitro tap? I should probably go back and check, just to make sure, right?
Alan, Roger and I split an order of the house fries with bleu cheese and garlic. These shoestring fries came out sizzling hot, with potent bleu cheese melting into every crevice. They were perfectly crispy with a light dusting of fresh garlic that melded harmoniously with the cheese.
The polenta came out next – crispy on the outside, delicate and moist on the inside, and drizzled with fresh pesto and marinara sauce. I’m not well-versed on polenta, but from what I tasted, this one’s a winner! If you want more, I consider that a good thing. I wanted more.
BACON IN A CUP!!! This was actually a little disappointing – candied bacon. There was barely a hint of sugar to any of the bacon strips, and it needed to be baked a little longer to crisp up. Didn’t matter though – it was still bacon, therefore I still ate it.
After feasting, I got a tour of the brewery. It’s incredibly tight quarters, especially considering that these are 15 barrel tanks, but they’ve made great use of the small space provided.
Three of the fermentation tanks are out in full view in the center of the dining room, while the milk stout was relaxing in this one in the middle of the brewery.
These fermentors lead straight to the taps, delivering the freshest beer possible.
There are murals across the entire restaurant – this is an artist’s rendition of Roger Bott, the brewmaster. Let’s compare, shall we?
THE RESEMBLANCE IS UNCANNY!!! Time to go blonde, Roger?
I think a separate post detailing the epicness that is the LAB burger will be coming up shortly… I’m feeling hungry again…
The LAB Brewing Company
30105 Agoura Road
Agoura Hills, CA 91301
Open 7 days a week, 11am-close
Filed under brewery, Restaurant Review
Tagged as After Midnight Moo Milk Stout, Agoura Hills, Bad Influence IPA, Big Ass Red, brewery tour, Cold Fusion Java, LAB XPA, Roger Bott, Take Her Home Tripel, The LAB Brewing Company
by Becki |
February 15, 2012 · 7:35 pm
by Becki |
February 13, 2012 · 9:25 pm
As of yesterday, I’m officially old. My age times four equals 100. My knees ache.
I’m officially twenty-five years old! I started off the day in the traditional way.
Eggs Portugal! Nothing like a deliciously fatty and savory bread pudding to start the day!
Add chocolate covered donuts to that and I’m a happy girl. A happy, aging girl.
The day consisted of a trip to Santa Barbara, perusing the REI (my favorite store in the entire world) up there, driving down the coast and visiting Island Brewing Company for a delicious taster flight. My birthdays seem to center around food and beer. I’m okay with this.
After my day on the road, I headed to my homebrew club meeting at Enegren Brewing, had a few tasters of the amazing homebrews that were present (the coconut porter was ah-may-zing!)…
…then this dashing young man took me out to dinner at Old Place Cornell and spoiled me rotten. I took the night off from the camera and fully immersed myself in the joy of devouring part of an entire chicken covered with balsamic glaze and a baked potato that was overloaded with bacon and homemade sour cream. A portion of a skillet cookie may also have been consumed, as well as an Anchor Porter and some complimentary Pinot Gris… It was the perfect birthday dinner – so very spoiled!
I also got to bite into this ridiculously rich triple brownie cake that was delivered via Mama Enegren – thank you so much, Kathy! Heaven on a plate, seriously. I ate until I hurt – as it should be on a birthday!
Thanks for all the birthday wishes! Now it’s time to have a quarter-life crisis: I’m thinking a motorcycle, skydiving and a tattoo, maybe? Any suggestions?
Suggestions will be accepted via comments on the blog, Facebook and Twitter! Do your worst!
by Becki |
February 10, 2012 · 2:22 pm
Just stumbled across this the other day.
I absolutely love this. It’s a pretty accurate description of my life, actually! I was so dead set on acting – so much that I was centering my entire life around auditions, not taking any breaks or vacations just in case a really important audition came in, and really had no other interests or prospects in life. I began this blog partially as a distraction; something else to do instead of put all of my focus into filming auditions, scanning the breakdowns and reading sides, and I ended up falling in love with it.
I also began to gain respect for beer and explore the world of brewing: my blog was a way to document everything I learned and all the beers I tried. Then, last May, we went to the Small Batch Revival at Odell Brewing in Fort Collins.
I “got lost and found a better one”.
The countdown to my Cicerone test/aka my new dream has officially begun. Time to go lose myself in my beer books. Again.
by Becki |
February 7, 2012 · 3:27 pm
I haven’t watched the Superbowl in YEARS. The last time I recall sitting down for an entire game was when I was living in Colorado and the Broncos were attempting a Threepeat. I needed a distraction on Sunday after the terrible morning and then being in mourning for the little pup, so when the EBC crew invited me to watch with them, I took them up on their offer. And I brought cake.
First, we made sure to overdose on these soft pretzels and relish mustard that the chef at Wolf Creek brought for us. We are the
reluctant guinea pigs for his new recipes. It’s a tough job, but somebody we have to do it.
Commander Matt went gourmet on us and wrapped miniature hot dogs in crescent rolls, served with a fancy half ‘n half barbecue/ketchup dish.
Brie went SUPER gourmet and brought homemade carne asada, fried up some homemade tortilla chips and made a huge tub of freaking delicious guacamole. I was uncomfortably full, so obviously I had to bake the cake.
I used one of my remaining coupons from Duncan Hines and purchased the Decadent Apple Caramel cake mix – holy deliciousness. Even though I was stuffed, I was unable to stop myself from eating a huge chunk of this, smothered in frosting. If you’re not up for the slightly more labor intensive Sticky Apple Toffee Pudding Cupcakes, this is a good substitute that also tastes delicious.
Yet another good thing about working with/being friends with brewers is that beer for such occasions is always on hand. We brought back a big growler of Protector IPA to enjoy along with the fancy spread of foods.
Oh yeah, and we watched the Superbowl. That happened too.
by Becki |
February 6, 2012 · 8:32 am