Category Archives: beer tasting

Ladies at Ladyface: Farewell JJ!

This has been a week of goodbyes – sad, necessary and at the same time very freeing and joyful. JJ’s farewell was of the latter.
AM8 Beautiful JJ is one of the founding members of Ladies at Ladyface, and has decided to embark upon a new adventure up in Oregon. She’s leaving everything comfortable and familiar in order to explore a new world of beer and open up either a brewpub, bottle shop or something equally thrilling!
AM1 She had the perfect farewell weather: a nice mid-70s temperature followed by a slight chill once the sun set. With all the changes going on in my life lately, I decided to stick with something comforting and familiar.
AM Picture City Porter and mac ‘n cheese with bacon and jalepeños.
AM0 Are you tired of seeing these pictures every time I visit Ladyface? Too bad. Deal with it.
AM4 The evening consisted of beers from Oregon, cakes, awesome shot glasses and a special allowance of men for the first (second technically after we allowed Janelle’s hubby in 5 days after Avery was born) time since JJ wanted to have all of her friends there for a final huzzah!
AM5 “Good luck making delicious beer for the world to enjoy! We won’t be the same without you… Probably much better off, but not the same.” She has the best friends 🙂
AM6 Awesome shot glasses. I have the mustache smiling at me on my desk as I type.
AM9 Das mini boot.
am15 Das mini red cup.
AM11 JJ brought Cyrena a final farewell homebrew. Keychain flask included. We had a nice debate about open containers with this one…
AM10 Courtney brought her happy hour glass and got a beautiful pour of the back-on-tap Red Rye.
AM2 I moved on to Cataclysm Oatmeal IPA on nitro to pair with my dessert binges.
AM12 Chocolate Porter Torte. Comfort food.
AM13 Caramel Crème Brûlée.
AM14 Just a necessity of life. Simple as that.
Screen shot 2013-07-16 at 7.53.47 AM Honestly, I think this was one of my favorite Ladies at Ladyface meetings – nothing like celebrating a new chapter in life! Only things missing: Michelle and my mumsie. We’ll have to fix that soon.

Farewell JJ! And happy birthday! We’ll miss you until we have our field trip to your new digs!


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City Tavern Pint Night

On my final day in Colorado, we left early for the airport and grabbed a quick bite to eat on the way.
am Miniature egg, chorizo, grilled pepper and arugula sammich from Dallabetta’s Muse in Loveland.
am1 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.
am2 “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.
am3 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.
am4 We started off with a flight, just to make sure everything was tasting as it should.
am7 am9 I went for a glass of Golden Spur Saison. Gotta enjoy the seasonal before it runs out!
am6 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.
am8 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.
am10 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!

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Ladies at Ladyface: Two Years!

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!
am 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…
am2 It was a HOT one out, so I grabbed a nice light Palo Comado XPA.
am1 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.
am3 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.
am4 Little Avery lovin’ on her Auntie Michelle!
am5 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.
am7 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.
am10 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!
am6 Michelle brought in Pilsner Urquell – the original Czech Pilsner.
am8 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.
am9 We were all very fond of both. I think I preferred the toasted rum cubes, myself.
am13 Janelle (I believe this was her donation) brought in Anderson Valley Brother David’s Triple – a deliciously boozy Belgian.
am14 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.
am15 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.
am12 Ting Su of the Eagle Rock Brewery showed up with some Los Angeles ladies to participate as well!
am16 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.
am18 I capped off the evening with an old favorite – bread pudding!!! I left that night overstuffed and overhappy.
am11 Happy Two Years, ladies! Here’s to two more!


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Boys in Short Shorts

It’s been a busy week – that seems to be a new tradition. On Wednesday I had a beer and food pairing event at Sagebrush Cantina in Calabases that I designed and had to get there early to set up. I happened to get there just a tad too early and used the extra time as an excuse to go visit Pedaler’s Fork across the street.
AM I was a tad too late for breakfast…
am1 And just hungry enough that I might be able to finish a piece or two of flatbread.
am5 Smoked chicken and shishito peppers! Smokey and sweet.

The crew from Lagunitas happened to show up as I was enjoying my first bite. They ordered some fancy whiskey for themselves…
am7 …and a shot of Lagunitas Sucks for me. I had a speech to give so I was behaving.
am2 Behaving is very difficult with Pedaler’s selection of 32 taps, but I stood my ground.
am6 Except for a small sip of the fizz that mixologist Thor was trying out. Thor (his actual name is Tor, but I can’t not call him Thor) also happens to be a Chiver!
am4 In exchange for letting me call him Thor, I gave him a Bill F***ing Murray shirt. Good trade, in my opinion.
am3 I enjoyed the last of the sunlight in the rustic restaurant before going back across the street to set up.
am8 Beer. Check.
am9 Other beer. Check.
am11 More beer. Check.
am12 am13 am14 am15 am16 You get the idea. Check.
am10 All in all we had about eighteen different breweries attend with about thirty two beers. I’d spent the past week putting together and finalizing all of the food pairings. Unfortunately for you guys, I got too busy hosting and giving speeches (aka a single two-minute speech about how to taste the beer before I ran to Lagunitas and told them to “beer me” whilst holding out my four ounce glass for a fill) and was unable to take pictures of the actual prepared food. The event and pairing was well-received by all, and brewery tours were promised by reps. It was a good evening for me!

In other news, I’m slowly adding to my beer/brewery photography portfolio. I apologize in advance if these explicit photographs offend anybody.
am17 Behind the scenes for Enegren Brewing’s new beer Shorts Day.
am18 The official pic.
am19 The boys decided to try out the entire brew in their short shorts.
am20 The official beer picture for Shorts Day Spring IPA…
am21 And the background model in all of his white-legged glory.

Again, I’m so sorry.

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Ladies at Ladyface: 19

The ladies finally reunited after a long month away for a brown bag tasting.
am2 It was the first night of the week-long Ladyface Alehouse third anniversary celebration! In addition to sips from the eight shrouded bottles, I grabbed a taster of their anniversary beer…
am As well as a limited edition third anniversary glass, filled with Derailleur from the cask.
am4 Happiness in a very large glass.
am1 Janelle’s beautiful 6 month old, Avery, joined us again. She’s already devouring books. This is a smart little one.
am3 Dinner was the duck confit salad with bacon (minus the egg. I stupidly forgot to request it so Lise let me take a picture of hers).
am5 Surprisingly I got the majority of these right! They ranged from Coors Original to Green Flash Rayon Vert to Rogue’s Hazelnut Brown.

Sadly now, I’m suffering from the flu. I can’t seem to go for more than a month without getting some kind of illness. I think it may be time to start cheffing the healthy stuffs and finally giving my self a chance to heal (as well as creating more foodie material for the blog!). For now, I can look at pictures from my past week and reminisce on how happy it was and how it felt to be able to enjoy delicious food while I sip ginger ale and tea and nibble on flavorless wheat thins.
am6 Seared ahi tuna with pickled watermelon radish in a sesame oil and butternut squash with pumpkin seeds and raisins in a dijon dressing from Lemonade – now in Westlake Village! So happy to have one of these close by!!!
am7 And I already introduced you on my Twitter – this is Jezebel aka Wheezy, my lovely new Prius C! 53mpg city and 44mpg highway. I’ve owned her for a week and already put on 540 miles. That’s how this job rolls.

I’m off to sip some Nyquil and slowly fade into oblivion. Playing hooky from work tomorrey since I’ve got a 101.5 degree fever. Yay.


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Home for Christmas

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!
am6 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!
am1 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!
am2 Ora and I spent months working on this thing, and it turned out perfectly!
am3 So happy and proud!
am5 I even got my quote published in the book next to my favorite piece! I’m officially a published editor and author. Awesome.
am8 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.
am12 Exquisite caramel cappuccino for my bestie Michelle. Unsweetened jasmine tea for the virus-ridden me.
am14 Grilled cheese (quite sad compared to anything from Custom Melt’s menu) and creamy tomato basil soup split with my mumsie.
am15 Chicken gnocchi soup for me.
am13 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.
am17 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.
am21 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.
am16 My pops, brother and I split a flight of everything. I got the last sip in attempts not to infect them both.
am19 We got these ten brews, plus a taster from the cask.
am18 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.
am20 Merry Christmas Eve!

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Ladies at Ladyface: 18

The Christmas season is upon us! Ladies at Ladyface had our (now annual) White Elephant gift exchange and were treated to a mini-brewmaster dinner by the lovely host and owner, Cyrena.
ERMAHGERD. The absolute perfect winter menu. I’ve been begging for shortribs since they disappeared last winter!
The first beer up was one of my all-time Ladyface favorites – Derailleur!
Arugula, sliced apple, candied almonds and salty Fourme d’ Ambert tossed with a light cider vinaigrette. The citrus in the beer cut through the saltiness of the funky cheese and brought out the acidity of the dressing. Drool.
Ale-braised beef shortribs with a fried sweet pickles atop horseradish celeriac. This was paired with La Trappistine – smoky shortribs and sweet dark malts laced with alcohol warmth. A cozy blanket on a plate (and in a glass).
The pairing was capped off with a cheesecake topped with sour cherries. The sour cherry brown ale wasn’t quite ready, so they mixed cherry cordial liqueur with Picture City Porter. Holy Heaven. This was the highlight of the evening for me – hints of sweet cherries swirling between ribbons of rich chocolate and rounding out with a final candy bite.
In between bites we picked up our gifts. The table was overflowing with beer and beer-related gifts. I ended up with the only kind of glass I didn’t yet have in my large beer glassware portfolio, and I’m telling you now, I have a majority of the styles of beer glasses out there. Just waiting to receive my passglass for Christmas.
(Hint hint)
It was yet another wonderful evening with a great group of craft beer-geek ladies.
Yep, this sums us up pretty well. Our next meeting will be January 21st – a brown bag quiz. Blind tasting for style along with socializing, laughing, imbibing and eating. In other words – another perfect night awaits us in the new year!

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The Cicerone Test

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!

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Blue Dog Beer Tavern

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!

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Ladies at Ladyface: 17

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!


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