Figueroa Mountain opened up a tasting room and brewery in Santa Barbara in the beginning of June!
Figueroa Mountain’s new tasting room is located at 137 Anacapa Street in Santa Barbara, California. Off the beaten path and with plenty of parking. Hooray times two!
The first thing you get to see when you walk in is the shiny new 7bbl system (a la Premier Stainless) and a handful of 15bbl fermentors. The headbrewer A.J. Stoll is there at least two times a week, brewing up some experimentals for the onsite tasting room.
They have all the regulars on tap…
…plus a few specialties.
Since I’ve had all the regulars (multiple times), I went for a new one.
Irish Stout. Rich and chocolately with a crisp and dry finish.
Happiness in a taster glass. Can’t wait to try this on nitro!
The tasting room is bright and open with cool ocean breeze wafting through the patio.
Alas, if I didn’t have to drive, I could’ve relaxed here all day, breathing in the fresh ocean air.
And once all the taps are filled, I WILL be here all day, breathing in the fresh ocean air. And with a designated driver!
I will also be stocking up on new fashionable accessories.
I can honestly say that Figueroa Mountain is one of my favorite California breweries (adding to a relatively long list, but when I love a brewery, I take pride in repping them), and I can’t wait to be back!
Happy humpday! I’m off to Colorado for the Gnarly Barley Fest tomorrey!
Last night the wonderful folks at Tuning Fork in Studio City had a beer pairing dinner with Golden Road brews. I was (yet again) lucky enough to be able to help design the pairings and host the event.
Five dishes and five brews. I had to mentally prepare my stomach, and I had boxes ready to pack whatever I couldn’t finish to take home.
“It’s a Great Time to Be Alive!” – the official title of the evening. And it is. It really is.
Tuning Fork is a newer restaurant located on Ventura Place with a rustic wood bar and family-style picnic tables. Owners Joseph and Martin man the helm, while Chef Jay works his brilliance in the kitchen. The staff is possibly the friendliest I’ve come across in a long time, and all the customers are instantly welcomed as close friends.
Six beers on tap and almost 40 bottled beers! The selection there is mind-boggling.
The tables were set, carafes were filled with water, empty dump buckets prepared…
Golden Road flannel was repped. We were set.
We started off the evening with a full pour of Cabrillo Kölsch to welcome everyone in.
It was a full house. They ended up having to close the restaurant completely to accommodate everyone who was calling for seats!
I stuck with small pours and even smaller sips since I was being all responsible and stuff. The first pairing was the Cabrillo Kölsch with applewood smoked bacon mac ‘n cheese pops.
Mac ‘n cheese deep fried. Anything deep fried is a win, but these were beyond delicious. Sturdy yet full of creamy cheese and tender pieces of smoky bacon, wrapped in a crust of fried perfection. The clean finish and high carbonation of the Kölsch whisked away the richness as soon as the beer touched the tongue.
The second course was spicy Veracruz seafood ceviche with Hefeweizen. The sweet citrus in the beer marries perfectly with the acidity of the lemon and lime juice used in the ceviche without overwhelming the delicate fish. The final bite of brutal spice was calmed by the smooth wheat in the brew.
IPA braised short ribs on quinoa cake and swiss chard paired with Point the Way IPA. Rich and fall-apart tender short ribs covered in thick gravy are balanced with a gently hoppy IPA that slice through that richness while subtle notes of caramel match with the caramelized meat. And quinoa and swiss chard makes it healthy. That’s how this works.
Chef Jay brought out a palate cleanser immediately after – tangy sweet sorbet to scrub away any lingering hop bitterness or fattiness from the rich cuts of meat.
Jerk spice mole chicken with coconut rice and plantains paired with Wolf Among Weeds IPA. Tropical notes of pineapple in the beer tie in perfectly with the Caribbean-style dish, while rich mole sauce satisfies all the senses. I only had a few bites of this dish and packed it up with the intention of having it for breakfast this morning. Which I did. It has banana, therefore it is breakfast.
The finale of the evening was a traditional English trifle with layers of fresh berries, vanilla custard and sweet crumbly goodness, paired with It’s Not Always Sunny In LA black IPA. Intense bitterness with hints of roast tames the sweetness of the trifle and makes each spoonful even more decadent, yet less filling at the same time. I put this picture up and immediately went to the fridge to finish off the leftovers from last night. Consuming it now – true story.
Rob from Golden Road explained the background of the beers, Chef Jay introduced the dishes and I explained the purpose of why we’d paired which beer with which dish. Education was studded throughout giveaways by the two owners, Joseph and Martin, and the crowds were rowdy and happy.
I have to say, this was the most successful pairing dinner I’ve had to date! I can’t wait for the next one!
You know what needs to occur every single Monday? Nights with friends and visits to new (to me) breweries. It definitely helps keep me balanced after the stress of the start of the work week.
I drove into LA and visited some friends for a nice de-stressing post-Monday dinner before we headed out to the brewery. Above is tofu with crumbled pork curry and sauteed shrimp with green bell peppers…
As well as chicken curry stocked with potatoes and carrots. Un-pictured – cabbage and some kind of black fungus that looks like ears (?!?!). I had a sampling of everything along with a Black Market Hefeweizen, and after we scrubbed the kitchen, we headed south. Far south. Hermosa south.
The Brewery at Abigaile is a beautiful rustic space overlooking the pier and ocean. I’ll have to go back during the day so I can get some pictures of the amazing view. Since we’d stuffed ourselves already with a home-cooked meal, we stuck to beer and dessert.
5 beers on tap. Flights were ordered all around.
From bottom to top – Orange Blossom Blonde, Analog Amber, Polyrhythm Pale, Black Mass Porter and Sugar Daddy Belgian strong. Not a single bad one in the bunch. My favorites were the porter and the orange blossom, surprisingly enough. Super roasty and light and refreshing. It’s all about balance.
We also may have ordered the soft serve ice cream to share. With bacon caramel. Bacon. Caramel. This place was created for me!
BACON. CARAMEL! Complete bliss. Afterwards we strolled to the end of the pier, checked out the rolling waves under the full moon and capped off the evening with one more beer on da pier: for the birthday boy!
One more beer EACH and bottled water for our lovely DD. Happy birthday, Mike!
Now I have some exciting news – I’m going to Munich and Amsterdam in September!!! Any and all recommendations of must-sees are more than welcomed. Take note: I will NOT be there during Oktoberfest, so recommending that would just be cruel and painful. Happy Humpday!
When I’m not shoving my face with work dinners and delicious local foods, I tend to keep the menu pretty tame. This was everything I consumed yesterday – please keep in mind that my kitchen is out of commission because of re-tiling and I’ve only had access to a microwave for the past week. Sad face.
1/4 cup of oatmeal combined with 1/2 cup of water, microwaved for a minute with a pinch of Truvia added. Whee. Two huge cups of un-photographed coffee – WHEE!!!
That kept me stuffed for about an hour, then I went for the big guns – an apple. And this, my friends, is why I don’t show you my daily eats. They’re depressing and dull.
Those gigantic cups of coffee just weren’t quite enough caffeine, so I got my favorite tea in the entire world, jasmine green, to give me an extra boost of energy.
More computer and menu design for works, so I microwaved (ugh) a handful of frozen broccoli florets and two Trader Joe’s precooked turkey meatballs. I felt painfully stuffed after this menial dish. Honestly, this is how I eat. I’ll have a handful of food, be stuffed for about an hour and have to eat again. I believe I’m known as a “grazer”. I eat CONSTANTLY.
Lemon ginger tea was up for my post lunch snack, since I have no accessibility to a stove for my preferred edamame fix.
And the finale – my big meal of the day was kindly handcrafted for me by one of my best friends, Janelle. Seared ahi tuna, chiffoned zucchini salad with tomatoes, parmesan cheese, green onions and basil from her own garden, tossed in white balsamic. Oh Janelle, how I adore you, your perfect little girl and your cooking.
We topped this exquisite meal off with Mirassou Pinot Noir – one of the first red wines that I ever tried and appreciated.
I finished the night with a homebrew saison a la my roommate General Bird, and Sharknado. I am an absolute nerd and would chainsaw my way out of a shark to proclaim that. There is no better way to end the week than with a so-bad-it’s-good SyFy film.
I got to take an extended vacation thanks to the holiday week. I gotta tell you, post vacation blues SUCK. Back to reminisce on the good times.
First things first – had to swing by the Chive to grab a beer with the guys and the Berries, and watch Elliot play the didgeridoo.
Legit Australian-style. Then we caught a red eye out with hardly any sleep. Yay.
Greeted with a local and patriotic brew.
Along with a delicious, piping hot bowl of chowda. Only bad thing about this picture? It was about 90 degrees with about 90% humidity. Still delicious.
Dinner was swordfish, caught that morning by a local fisherman, along with freshly roasted asparagus and potatoes.
And chardonnay. Gotta have the chardonnay on a hot night.
I was a member of the clean plate club. My first time having swordfish – I’m ruined. Never again will I be able to enjoy frozen fish.
On the 4th of July, we woke up bright and early and grabbed a shady spot on the street to enjoy the local parade. It was even hotter out than the day we arrived.
Military veterans getting their due recognition. They even had a car with some WWII vets drive through.
Aaand mermaids and clowns…. With bubbles nonetheless…
We took Commander Matt’s parental units’ boat out every day we were there. I enjoyed the sun. It enjoyed me.
It enjoyed me a little too much. I spent the rest of the trip coating myself with aloe and cool, wet towels. Lesson learned – the sun is, indeed, evil.
Erasing that painful memory with another beautiful view of the yacht club.
I got to go sailing for the first time ever! Matt’s uncle owns a Hobie Cat that we power-boated out to and took around the bay. I didn’t die. I consider that a win.
Afterwards we refueled with fried clam bellies – something my parental unit told me was a must on the east coast.
We also refueled with Uncle Dave’s famous fish tacos he grilled up at his house.
I hate coleslaw. This coleslaw made me a convert. Pardon my drool.
The next day was a ride out to Martha’s Vineyard. In case you didn’t know, there is no vineyard. I was thoroughly confused.
The Black Dog is THE place to go in Martha’s Vineyard. We waited almost two hours for a table and took advantage of the time to stroll through the town.
Mad Martha’s is also incredibly well-known. Matt and his family used to frequent there when they lived in MA.
FINALLY the wait was up!
Hash ‘n eggs with a gigantic bottomless coffee. Drool again.
And that evening it was time for even more food. The family brought over fresh clams which they steamed with beer, onions, celery and hot dogs.
I ate one. One and done…
Not a joint. Clam neck – in case of any confusion.
Clam pie – butter, clams, more butter, bread crumbs, butter, butter and bacon!
And then it was time for the massacre.
Twenty gigantic lobstas.
I couldn’t even finish my one – these things were out of control.
Luckily I had some guidance – very helpful after the painful attempt I made last time.
The sun was thankfully setting and a cool breeze was flowing through the yard. We all sat lazily with beer in hand until it was time to go watch some of the best fireworks I’d ever seen being fired from a barge about 100 yards off the beach. Pictures omitted because I was enjoying myself and pictures of fireworks are hard ‘n stuff.
Of course nothing went to waste – lobsta rolls the next day before we packed up and flew back!
Yet another amazing trip out east. Thank you to all of our wonderful hosts! I had an amazing time. Again.
Now to kick some post vacay blues butt.
My parental unit came by this weekend for a visit from Colorado to spoil me rotten, so we hit up some of the necessary traditions.
Chicken Tikka Masala…
Saag Paneer. We’re huge Indian food fanatics, so every time we get together buffets are consumed at least once. At least.
After a long weekend of wine tasting, feasting on the lake and attempting to keep cool in the 113 degree heat, we took a final visit to the beach for some ocean views – one thing they definitely don’t have in Colorado.
Pepperdine University has one of the most amazing ocean views around, plus cool breezes and 75 degree temperatures. It was a very appreciated breath from the heat wave we’ve been having.
Mumsie and me!
Me and my pops!
We headed back into the brutal heat for a final farewell breakfast at one of my new favorite spots, Pedalers Fork.
Brand new and beautiful inside, the only thing I could appreciate even more than the air conditioning is the decor. And people. And food. But, oh how I adore that A/C!
Pedalers Fork is a combination farm-to-table restaurant with a full lineup of beer and huge cocktail list, coffee shop and bike repair shop.
Even with the heat, I can’t pass up their amazing coffee that’s roasted in house – 10 Speed Coffee.
Mumsie ordered the vegan and gluten free Whitney Ranch Blueberry Johnny Cakes. Edible flowers included.
Pops went for the Spring Shakshouka with poached eggs in harissa broth. Random and delicious. I think he may have regretted the hot skillet after it began emanating waves of heat into his face, though.
I stuck with a classic – smoked turkey and avocado sammich with baby kale caesar salad and a nice tall pint of Enegren Captain’s Summer Session on the side.
We parted ways and I enjoyed some of the loot from my parental unit’s visit. Mustache hat with matching removable mustache. How could I not?
In other news – I’m headed back to Boston tomorrow for a week! Happy July!