Tag Archives: beer tasting

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.
AMI was a tad too late for breakfast…
am1And just hungry enough that I might be able to finish a piece or two of flatbread.
am5Smoked 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.
am2Behaving is very difficult with Pedaler’s selection of 32 taps, but I stood my ground.
am6Except 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!
am4In exchange for letting me call him Thor, I gave him a Bill F***ing Murray shirt. Good trade, in my opinion.
am3I enjoyed the last of the sunlight in the rustic restaurant before going back across the street to set up.
am8Beer. Check.
am9Other beer. Check.
am11More beer. Check.
am12am13am14am15am16You get the idea. Check.
am10All 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.
am17Behind the scenes for Enegren Brewing’s new beer Shorts Day.
am18The official pic.
am19The boys decided to try out the entire brew in their short shorts.
am20The official beer picture for Shorts Day Spring IPA…
am21And the background model in all of his white-legged glory.

Again, I’m so sorry.

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Filed under beer, beer tasting

Happy IPA Day!

Please tell me you knew it was International IPA Day today, because our waitress at Sierra Nevada Brewery had no idea. NO IDEA!
International IPA Day was founded by Ashley Routson (aka The Beer Wench) and Ryan A. Ross of Karl Strauss as a grassroots social media effort to celebrate craft beer. As of 5:30pm tonight, it was a trending topic on Twitter in Seattle, Denver, San Diego and a crapload of other cities that I’m much too technologically challenged to find. IPA Day: A genius idea!
Sierra Nevada seemed like a good place to spend IPA Day! While we were too late for a tour, I got to take a look around at their brewing equipment – these are actual copper mash tuns from a defunct German brewery!
Delicious amounts of mass fermentation pipes!
The only Sierra Nevada beer I’ve tried before was the Torpedo Extra IPA. How the heck am I supposed to choose from 16 different beers??
Ooooh, 16 tasters! Why didn’t I think of that? Oh yeah, because I weigh 110 and I’m not completely insane. Oh well, here goes nothing (or here goes 16)!
Yeah, that oughta do it for me…
We ordered to the garlic fries as a cushion for the beer. A helpful hint: When tasting beers, if you want to be able to appreciate the aroma and flavor, DON’T ORDER GARLIC FRIES! Before even touching them, the garlic smell overwhelmed our little table.
One of my favorites: Tumbler. First off: I love that they describe this beer the same way I describe beer. “Light wisps of smoke delicately balanced with a gentle touch…” Awesome. This beer was a beautiful brown-amber, malty and smokey, with just a “gentle touch” of hoppiness on the end. I was tempted to order a pint.
But then I saw Life & Limb. A collaboration between Dogfish Head and Sierra Nevada? Look, I know it’s IPA Day, but I had to go for this baby. In my defense, it’s 50 IBU, so it’s technically in the IPA range of hops! It. Was. Epic.
Brewed with maple syrup from the Calagione family ranch. Bottle carbonated with birch syrup from Alaska! 10% ABV. Dude. This beer was heavily scented with maple syrup, full bodied with a warm, boozy essence up front. While you could sense the bite from the hops, it was in no way overwhelming and the caramel/maple malts melted through my veins and pulsed with joy and wonder. No wonder they only offer 10 ounce pours.
I balanced it out with butternut squash ravioli topped with grilled vegetables. Sweet and spicy butternut squash wrapped in a luxurious pasta, topped with a zesty garlic dressing. I had two pieces before I had to stop. Half a basket of garlic fries will do that to you.
After I managed to roll out of my seat and out the door, I waddled around the building to check out the well-lit rooms that displayed their whole-leaf hops. So many hops! I was tempted to break a window to steal them, but I decided to leave them be for the good of mankind.
I be a happy girl!!!
Delicious food, amazing beer (I DID sample two IPAs today, thank you very much!) and a great way to celebrate International IPA Day!


Filed under beer

Wades Wines New Tasting Room

Since I’ll be gone for my dad’s birthday this weekend, I wanted to make it up to him a little bit early. Wades Wines in Agoura Hills was having a dark beer tasting – his favorite, and since I just happen to like beer myself, it was a win-win situation.
Wades recently underwent a complete overhaul of the store design in order to make room for their incredible new tasting room. They have 32 beer taps and 32 wine taps. We got there early and the bar was packed, but there were plenty of tables open.
Their decor is beautiful! They have old wine-making antiques lining the higher shelves.
Huge aging barrels rest upon the support beams overhead.
There are mirrors behind the bar, making the room feel twice as big.
They offer 4 tasters for just $5!
First was the Sierra Nevada Dark Lager. It was surprisingly light and had a lot of hops on the nose. It ends with a slight bite of hops at the end as well. If you’re looking for a good summer beer but only like dark beers, I’d recommend this baby.
My mom got the Mikkeller Saison – perfect for those who like wine. The aroma is full of tangy citrus and banana, and it goes down easy. I didn’t detect hardly any hop aroma or flavor in this – a great beer for beginners.
Up next was Firestone Velvet Merlin. This was pretty heavy on the coffee aroma, and had a rich, chocolate essence. I wouldn’t call it “velvet” since it’s pretty carbonated. I think I was expecting a smooth nitro-pushed beer. False advertising! I enjoyed this one a little more than the Sierra Nevada – it was a little fuller bodied and richer in flavor.
Iron Fist Velvet Glove. This is a VERY rich, heavy beer. Here’s the velvet I was looking for! The aroma is extremely sweet and boozy. I don’t like super malty, sweet beers as much, but the warmth of the alcohol at the end balances it out.
A fly plummeted directly into the glass – the sign of a sweet beer. I saved its life and it stumbled around the napkin, completely drunk. I enjoyed the extra protein and finished most of the beer, but couldn’t finish thanks to the super maltiness of this beer. My dad appreciated my selfless gesture of donating the leftovers to him. It was his favorite one.
Last was the Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout. I’ve been wanting to try this one for quite awhile, so I was happy to see it on the list. I am, however, glad that I didn’t buy the entire bottle. There was no cappuccino essence to this at all. I think my palate may have been compromised by the Iron Fist beforehand – if I try this one again, it’ll be all on its own. There wasn’t really anything super memorable about this beer. I liked it, but I tend to like most craft beers…
After the tasting, we were so close to Ladyface, we just couldn’t resist. They just got their new Chaparral Saison on tap (I’d tried it previously straight out of the fermenter at the second meeting of Ladies at Ladyface). De-freakin-licious. It was served at a slightly chilled temperature, with those lovely tangy wild yeast aromas dancing around the rim of the glass. Happy sigh. My dad got the Bruery Cuir Anniversary Ale, which clocks in at 14.5% ABV, hence the teeny glass.
I stuck with my favorite Ladyface ale – the Chesebro IPA.
My mom ordered the mussels in a chili-garlic sauce. I’ve never tried mussels in my life. I’m not a big fan of clams – fried, chowder, none of it.
I tried to keep an open mind…
Yeah, mussels are not for me. The texture freaks me out! I spent the next five minutes shuddering and sipping my hoppy beer trying to drown out the memory.
Luckily I also had grilled caper salmon with fingerling potatoes and asparagus to help as well.
And dessert! Oh, heavens, the desserts! The Chocolate Porter Cake is to die for! I’ve transitioned from the bread pudding to this slice of joy.
The true star of the meal though? The Orange Crème Brûlée , paired perfectly with the Derailleur. Each bite hits your tongue with a smooth, silky hint of sweetness, kissed with slightly tangy orange, topped off with the delicate crunch of burnt sugar. If, no WHEN, you order this, be sure to get the Derailleur with it! It will blow your mind!
I wish every Thursday night could be as delicious. Happy early birthday, dad!!!


Filed under beer, beer tasting, Drinks

Beer Tasting: German Pilsner

Just so you know I’m not a beer expert! I’m in the learning process and absorbing as much alcohol…information as I can. Last night I had lots of studying to do – namely tasting two separate German Pilsners and taking notes on the appearance, smell, taste, mouthfeel and overall impression. I picked up two bottles from the Total Wine import section and got to work!
First up, EKU Pils. This one didn’t get great reviews on BeerAdvocate (which I didn’t look up until I got home. Whoops…) so I decided to taste the “bad one” first.
Appearance: Pours a straw yellow color. 1 inch of head that dissipates almost immediately.

Smell: Clean, slightly grassy/earthy flavor.

Mouthfeel: Medium-high carbonation. Rolls nicely on the tongue. Zesty.

Overall: This beer is very light, bland and clean with a mild hops bite at the end. I’m not a fan of light beers in general, and this one goes on the list of “never try again”.

Lammsbrau Organic Pilsner
Appearance: Pours a clear straw yellow. 1/2 in head that retains.

Smell: Herby (marijuana/skunk) essence on the nose. (This can be due to the use of hops or lager yeast (good) or attributed to the green bottle which allows UV rays through and makes the beer “light-struck” and therefore skunky (bad)). From what I’ve read, the majority of Pilsners do have a slightly skunky essense that’s desirable for that style.

Taste: Very light sweet malt. After the initial maltiness, there’s a hint of lime.

Mouthfeel: Lively, medium carbonation. Allows for the lime to come through at the end.

Overall: A very pleasant session beer. Light and clean but not underwhelmingly so.

As you can see, my reviews aren’t quite up to “beer expert” standards, but that’s the point of learning!

After those light beers (I had 1/3 of each), I needed something a little more full bodied to end the night with.
By “a little more” obviously I meant “a beautiful facepunch more”. Uinta Brewing Company Seventeenth Anniversary Barley Wine Ale.

A beautiful facepunch indeed.


Filed under beer, Drinks