On my final day in Colorado, we left early for the airport and grabbed a quick bite to eat on the way.
Miniature egg, chorizo, grilled pepper and arugula sammich from Dallabetta’s Muse in Loveland.
The airport was bustling with activity as they tried to load everyone onto the plane early in order to avoid two massive cells that were headed our way.
“I’m glad you took the window seat. You’ll be the one getting struck by lightning instead of me.” – Sweet words from the person sitting next to me.
After a few rough patches and harsh bumps, we made it over the storm cells and back into California.
The next day, Enegren was back at City Tavern in Culver City, spreading the joy of beer, and graciously inviting me along to eat a lot of delicious food and drink handcrafted beer. And take a few pictures. That too.
We started off with a flight, just to make sure everything was tasting as it should.
I went for a glass of Golden Spur Saison. Gotta enjoy the seasonal before it runs out!
Their rotating beer list had a few new beers I hadn’t heard of before. I tried the Wimpy IPA – a collaboration between Marin Brewing and Green Flash. Exceptionally pineapple-y on the nose and flavor and only 3.3%ABV! Tastes like a big IPA with just a flick instead of a punch of alcohol.
The dinner menu has shifted around a bit too. After a good half hour of deliberation and changing my mind three times, I decided on the pork chop.
Bourbon-glazed pork chop topped with apricot jam and apple butter, and served with jalapeno cheddar cornbread. Mind-blowing and deliciously tender, boozy and sweet. This dish was bliss on a plate.
The night ended slowly as I tried to emerge from my food coma and failed. Many flights and pints were had round the entire restaurant followed by quite a few people approaching the brewers table to extend their compliments. Quite a successful and delicious night!
American Craft Beer Week started off with a huge bang! Ladies at Ladyface: The Fermentables and Comestibles Education and Tippling Society celebrated our two year anniversary!
I stuck to my latest tradition and started off with mac ‘n cheese with jalapeno and bacon. For a night like we had ahead, food was necessary. As was a warm-up beer…
It was a HOT one out, so I grabbed a nice light Palo Comado XPA.
The week had started off with a high of 100 degrees, so the patio misters were more than welcome as the sun slowly set and the earth finally began to cool.
Our youngest member who was unable to attend either the first meeting or the first anniversary (on account of not being created or born yet) joined us for dinner.
Little Avery lovin’ on her Auntie Michelle!
The theme of the day was “favorites”. We were supposed to bring in our favorite beer… One of my ultimate favorites is aging in my cellar (aka a cardboard box sitting in a cool closet), and I just wasn’tt prepared to be unselfish and share it, so instead I brought six of my other faves. Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier is one of my favorite wheat beers, along with Franziskaner – musty with intense notes of banana and earthy cloves.
Lost Coast Downtown Brown – nothing too fancy about this one. Just a quality brown that’s always a good go-to when you’re looking for a lower alcohol beer with lots of roasty nutty malts and gentle hops.
This was one of the first, if not the first, recipe I made for the blog with beer. Bison Brewing Organic Honey Basil is the heart of my Honey Basil Chicken recipe, which I’m looking forward to grilling again this summer!
Michelle brought in Pilsner Urquell – the original Czech Pilsner.
Nancy Gold of the Maltose Falcons brought in two homebrewed clones of Allagash Curieux – one aged with oak cubes from a rum barrel and one with oak cubes from a bourbon barrel. Droooool.
We were all very fond of both. I think I preferred the toasted rum cubes, myself.
Janelle (I believe this was her donation) brought in Anderson Valley Brother David’s Triple – a deliciously boozy Belgian.
Cyrena brought in a beer she’d gotten overseas at the Westvleteren Trappist brewery (there are only eight Trappist breweries in the world), and was kind enough to share it with us. This beer does taste a little closer to heaven.
We had a handful of other beers – New Belgium’s La Folie was my mother’s donation from afar since she now lives in Colorado and was unable to attend. J.J. brought in Duchesse de Bourgogne which tasted like it was made of sugar cubes after the intense sourness of La Folie.
Ting Su of the Eagle Rock Brewery showed up with some Los Angeles ladies to participate as well!
Ting brought in Deuce – Eagle Rock Brewery’s second anniversary ale which is a super-loaded version of their flagship beer, Solidarity. Toasty and full of chocolate, roast and hints of smoke – scarily drinkable and clocking in at 10%ABV. This could throw you for one if you weren’t aware of the alcohol content.
I capped off the evening with an old favorite – bread pudding!!! I left that night overstuffed and overhappy.
Happy Two Years, ladies! Here’s to two more!
I have eleven days to spend in Colorado! This nice extended vacation has been punctuated with shots of Dayquil, Local Celestial Seasonings Echinacea tea and spicy foods in attempts to fight off this awful bug I brought with me. Sorry, family! Hope you stay healthy!
There’s still snow in spots on the ground outside as I type, and the promise of more snow hangs in the air just over the mountains out the back window. I might actually be blessed enough to have a white Christmas!
I brought a few pre-Christmas gifts with me. Ora Tamir, the artist I used to work for, finally got the finished product of her book!
Ora and I spent months working on this thing, and it turned out perfectly!
So happy and proud!
I even got my quote published in the book next to my favorite piece! I’m officially a published editor and author. Awesome.
The second day I was here, my mumsie and I met up with our best friends from way back when I was in elementary school at the Chocolate Cafe in downtown Fort Collins.
Exquisite caramel cappuccino for my bestie Michelle. Unsweetened jasmine tea for the virus-ridden me.
Grilled cheese (quite sad compared to anything from Custom Melt’s menu) and creamy tomato basil soup split with my mumsie.
Chicken gnocchi soup for me.
Michelle and her mom split the key lime pie. I was dying to try their chocolate ravioli or toffee brownie, but was too full to even attempt it. Luckily I have plenty of time to head back for another go.
Of course I couldn’t get through more than a few days without visiting a brewery. Loveland Aleworks opened July 4th of this year in the quaint downtown Loveland.
Clean and spacious with a high stack of board games. I could see myself settling in here for a few hours playing “Fact or Crap” while the snow falls outside.
My pops, brother and I split a flight of everything. I got the last sip in attempts not to infect them both.
We got these ten brews, plus a taster from the cask.
My favorite of them all was the Russian Imperial Stout. Thick and dark as motor oil and full of sweet dried fruits and rich chocolate. A perfect winter warmer at 9.5%ABV. I didn’t have a single beer here that I didn’t like! I’ll be going back for some more tasters and a tour during my stay this week. I have quite a few tours on the schedule, actually, so keep an eye out for those recaps!
I’m off to bake Christmas cookies, take more shots of cough medicine and drink some nice, hoppy brews in an attempt to battle whatever is raging war inside my lungs. If you’re looking for an amazing Christmas morning breakfast recipe, check out my Savory Christmas Bread Pudding. You won’t regret it.
Merry Christmas Eve!
On Monday, I finally did it. I stopped putting it off as I had for months and months and took the Certified Cicerone test!
Grayson drove down from Santa Barbara and picked me up at 6:30am. We fought a mess of traffic all the way down to San Diego and wound up at Stone Brewing, where the test was being administered.
Since it was only 9:30 and the test didn’t begin until 11am, Grayson and I wandered through the gardens behind the brewery.
It was an absolutely beautiful day! We debated whether or not we should just skip the test and spend the whole day sipping beer outside.
We scouted out a picnic table, sat down in the gentle sunlight and did our final cramming session. Note: If not for this final study hour, I would’ve missed at least six extremely random questions on the test.
Around 10:30am, we headed into the brewery and joined the group of about fifteen, almost all of whom were also in the midst of a final cram session.
A view of the mezzanine where the
torture test would take place.
The test was far more intense than I even imagined. After over a year of studying, you realize how much you’ve learned and how much you have yet to discover. There was a three hour written test with essay questions, food pairing recommendations, style questions, draught system maintenance and troubleshooting and history questions. This was followed by an hour of tasting – off-flavors, style discrimination and beer acceptance. THAT was followed by a filmed demo – “show and tell us how to do this”. After four of the most intense hours of my life, Gray and I headed downstairs to stuff our faces, drink good beer and forget about all that had just occurred.
Mac ‘n Beer Cheese with sausage and a Lukcy Basartd for me and Barbecue Duck Tacos with some other delicious beer for Grayson. The proctors called us all back upstairs to go over the tasting portion so we could find out if we passed that section.
BOOM. Passed the tasting! As for the written portion, I honestly have no idea if I passed or not. I feel relatively good about the majority of it (excepting the essays which I’m hoping for partial credit), but fully expect to have to retake it. I find out in seven weeks whether or not my low expectations will surprise me or not!
As for now, I’m sitting in my parental unit’s home in Colorado with the fireplace on and a hot cup of coffee, gazing out over the mountain range before we go to the gun range and Grimm Brothers Brewhouse (in that order). Commence relaxation in 3…2…1…
And a belated Happy Thanksgiving to all!
My new job has kept me busier than I ever expected. My new job has also introduced me to new places that serve delicious food and craft beer. Perks! One gem I found this past week – Blue Dog Beer Tavern in Sherman Oaks.
Blue Dog is hidden on a side road next to busy Ventura Blvd with an open, free parking lot. In LA, free parking is priceless!
The decor is dedicated to images of beloved puppies – pictures race across the walls and over the ceiling beams.
THE BEER LIST. They have eight taps, all filled with a wonderful variety of craft brews. I hadn’t tried the Cismontane Nopalito de Trigo before, so the manager was kind enough to give me a sip.
A VERY generous sip! This beer was full of wonderful bubblegum aroma spiced with hints of clove. The flavor was full of sweet and tart prickly pear juice which was in very unique balance with the mustiness from the hefeweizen yeast. I’d definitely order a full pour next time!
BURGER LIST. The second most important thing. I had a hard time deciding, but something spicy was needed to pair with that smooth hefeweizen. On recommendation of the bar manager, I went with the Fire Starter.
One of the top ten burgers I’ve had to date. Perfectly seared and topped with crispy onion strings, deep fried jalapenos, pepperjack cheese and honey chipotle sauce. Every bite made beads of sweat break out across my brow. The fries were also out of this world – crispy without being too greasy, piping hot and seasoned perfectly.
I’m VERY thankful to have found this place and will definitely be willing to make the trek out to Sherman Oaks to eat and imbibe every once in a while. The staff, food and beer are all so wonderful, friendly and delicious! After working in beer all day and all week however, I needed a little change.
That oughta do it!
I met up with Barbara, the owner of Magnavino Cellars based out of Oxnard, and got to sample all of these amazing wines. It’s good to keep working your palate through all types of craft. It’s called education, people!
The harvest season is upon us! For our monthly meeting the ladies of Ladies at Ladyface brought harvest or pumpkin beers along with other delicious edibles for pairings.
We may have gone a little overboard with the bottle selection…
Cyrena brought out something very unique for this night – candy pairings!
We got a list of the different beers and the types of candy they should be paired with.
We each poured samples of the different brews and grabbed a small handful of each candy selection.
Needless to say, we were exceptionally hyped up within the first ten minutes.
Very hyped up.
Sugar-headache hyped up.
The first pairing was Port Brewing High Tide Fresh Hop IPA with sour grapefruit chews. The tang and flavor of the candy really brought out the grapefruit citrus of the fresh hops in the beer. My favorite candy pairing of the night was Weihenstephaner Aventinus and Reeses Pieces. I could explain this one, but I’d rather you just try it.
During the pairings I cleansed my palate with Pliny the Elder. I’d actually ordered this before we all sat down, so this was slowly sipped throughout the evening and also paired wonderfully with all of the citrus candies.
I brought my pumpkin spice donuts to pair with any of the pumpkin beers. Whole wheat and baked. These actually have negative calories so the mass quantities of sugar, beer and other foods are cancelled out. Planning ahead!
Michelle finally caved from all of my begging over the past year and brought back the kraut! Dare I say even better than the last time I had it? We’ve dubbed this “pig kraut” because of the mass amounts of bacon, pulled pork, ribs and kielbasa that reside inside. Lise even made her own bratwurst to go with. Ever had homemade bratwurst? It’s beyond epic. The kraut was such a hit that even the vegetarian of the group had three servings! (She’s a vegetarian except for anything made from pig, apparently.)
Overall it was a long and wonderful night, per usual. We tried many (many, many, many) different beers and got to experience something I’ve never even thought of/heard of: pairing candy and beer.
Our next meeting is December 3rd – Brown bag tasting, white elephant exchange and a look at the new winter menu which will hopefully include short ribs with melted leeks again! If you’re a lady and interested in craft beer, come join us! Any interested men? Find a lady and wait for her at the bar with all of the other men!