Tag Archives: Enegren Brewing

Merry Christmas Eve!

The suicidal tree got sawed apart very quickly after its untimely death two days ago, so luckily we weren’t stranded to starve.
We headed over to Ladyface Alehouse and Brasserie for a Christmas Eve Eve late lunch/early dinner. Cauliflower au gratin!
Salt ‘n pepper fries with red ale ketchup.
Deliciously greasy burger with white cheddar cheese.
My last Hutash! Summer is definitely gone. I can’t keep dredging up the past – time to move on to the maltier winter beers!
A center cut of the bread pudding. I was so stuffed that I couldn’t finish my half of this, but it was SO. GOOD!
Somehow I was able to stuff a few cookies in later at Enegren Brewing, however. Kathy (aka Mama Enegren) made the pumpkin spice cookies (recipe via the lovely and talented chef Brie) and sugar cookie wreaths. Yet again, I ate until I hurt and loved it.
An early Christmas gift from my cousin, Allie! A taster board with chalk – PERFECT for my blind tastings. Happy happy happy!

Merry Christmas Eve, everyone! I’ll be back after spending a wonderful Christmas with my family eating foods, playing games (I hope there’s Liar’s Dice in my stocking tomorrey…) and celebrating the birth of Jesus! And then eating some more and drinking fine craft brews.


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Hess Brewing

Yesterday I headed down to San Diego with Commander Matt from Enegren Brewing to pick up a keg washer from Premier and visit a few breweries. Unfortunately, the majority of them are closed on Tuesdays. Fortunately, since I was with the owner of a brewery, we had an in to ALL of them.
Our first stop after Premier was Hess Brewing where we met up with Michael Skubic – tasting room manager and beer wrangler.
Hess is located in an industrial complex in a quaint and cozy space.
I love the touch of the hanging candle lanterns! I’ll have to come back in the evening sometime soon.
These guys work on a 1.5 bbl system. It looks like a gigantic homebrew system and they brew on it pretty often to keep up with demand.
I first tried the Magna Cucerbita Pumpkin Stout. The pumpkin spice aroma in this beer was  perfectly balanced – definitely noticeable but not overwhelming like many pumpkin ales I’ve tried. I wanted another taster of this, but decided that trying some others would be a good idea…
My options were extremely limited. There weren’t too many to choose from… *insert sarcasm here*
Up next: Grazias Vienna Cream Ale. I have absolutely nothing to compare this to since I’ve never had a cream ale before. All I can really say, without a doubt, is that I liked it. Very smooth, slightly sweet, easy drinkability with a hint of vanilla (maybe?) in the aroma.
My favorite of all the beers I tried (and I tried and adored every one) was the Jucundus Orange Honey Wheat. This one reminded me exactly of Elysian’s Avatar Jasmine IPA thanks to the aroma of the chamomile, coriander and orange blossom honey. The honey flavor is apparent in the first sip and accompanied by a wonderful floral sweetness, yet not perfumey at all. The hops are nice and quiet on this making it a VERY easy drinker that would suit either a warm summer day or a rainy autumn evening with a blanket and a book. Jucundus Orange Honey Wheat would be the perfect substitute for chamomile tea on that chilly evening.
There really is no lack of choices here. If you’re ever in the San Diego area and want to visit a gem, head over to Hess Brewing at 7955 Silverton Ave, Ste 1201. I’ll be going back soon for a mid-holiday visit!

Part two of the San Diego brewery trip (Stone, Iron Fist, Ballast Point) coming soon – too many amazing breweries to clump into a single post. They all deserve their own recognition.


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4am = Sadness

I was up at 4am today in order to work the Downtown Burbank Art Show. It was not worth it. Getting up at 4am is never worth it. NEVER. Not for ANYTHING. Not even for bacon that’s so perfectly cooked that it simply melts in your mouth – and that’s saying a lot coming from me!

The show was freezing (the thermometer hung around 48 degrees Fahrenheit for the majority of the day) and it promises to be colder AND rainy tomorrey! Oh joy.
Looking back on this, I guess getting an iced Thai tea with boba probably wasn’t the smartest choice for trying to stay warm. I spent the day shivering and studying. After the show, I headed over to Enegren Brewing to help close the tap room since they had a brew day and were surely overwhelmed with busyness and important brew stuffs.
There was lots of work to be done. Lanterns were lit, Chinese food was consumed.
I’m glad I was there to help out and make the brew day a little easier… In other news, thanks for the free meal and entertainment, guys!

I’m going to pass out now and sleep in an extra hour! And then I’m going to work in the rain all day after church. That should be fun…

Disclaimer: Any boring, incoherent wording on this page has been because of extreme sleep deprivation. Becki is not responsible for the dull title or the lack of images. Please use Bites ‘n Brews responsibly.

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Orcutt Beer Adventures

I’ve been going through withdrawal symptoms after not traveling for my job for over two weeks. Yesterday, I got my fix.
Commander Matt from Enegren Brewing and I went up north to Orcutt, California to explore the beer world and pick up some brew equipment.
After working our way up the coast, we stopped for a beer from the local brewery. Interestingly enough, the Orcutt Brew Company doesn’t have any of their own beer on tap. The brewer is “on hiatus”. Exactly what I was hoping for from a brewery that took two hours to get to – guest beers that I can get anywhere else.
Neither Matt nor I were very pleased. Somehow, we survived and finished our beers. Dedication right there.
Either way, the “brewery” is set in a nice area. It’s very serene and has lots of character.
I think all breweries should have seating available on the walls. That and their own beer. I’m not bitter…
We went next door to Rooney’s Irish Pub to meet with Dan, the owner.
Just my size! I’m a vertically-challenged half-pint and owning it.
Dan gave us a tour of the brewery as well as a sampler of all their beers.
I fell head over heels for the porter. He was kind enough to give us a growler to go. Want. Now!
After picking up some brewing equipment, we worked our way back down, stopping at Figeuroa Mountain Brewing Company in Lompoc. This place is HUGE and gorgeous! The tasting room overlooks the brewery and has a great, cozy feel to it. It was pretty busy considering where their location is, and that it was a Tuesday.
We had a sampler of four of their beers: Paradise Rd Pilsner, Danish Red Lager, Hoppy Poppy IPA and an espresso stout (can’t find the name on the website). I think this is the first pilsner I’ve actually enjoyed! It has a sweet aroma of honey and none of the funk I’ve come to expect from pilsners. The lager was also very clean and the IPA was more in the style of a traditional IPA – hoppy with some sweetness to balance it out, instead of the hopbombs we usually get from a lot of American craft brewers.
We traveled further down the coast into Santa Barbara and checked on my Vanilla Porter (which at the moment is just a porter until we add vanilla beans into secondary). Apparently my beer has been incredibly happy in my absence! I sliced a few vanilla bean pods open, scraped out the seeds and soaked the seeds and pods in a splash of bourbon to extract the flavor. Grayson will be throwing those in for me later today since I’m back down south.

We didn’t end up visiting as many breweries as we’d planned (partly because Orcutt Brew Co. isn’t officially a “brewery” anymore), but a good time was had by all, necessary brew equipment was acquired and quite delicious brews were consumed.

I’m on another road trip today up to Ojai! I am a slacker extraordinaire…


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Ladies at Ladyface: 4

Monday night was yet another Ladies at Ladyface meeting. Are they getting old? Um, no. Never. Not possible. Never ever ever. Never. No.
My mumsie (an eager-to-learn founding member of Ladies at Ladyface) and I arrived early to have a nice, leisurely dinner. I started with the Ladyface Rye. A beautiful red, delicate lacing, and full of wonderful Centennial aroma and bitters. Since we were having lots a few sips of summer beers later, I opted for a taster.
Ever since I had these with Brie, I’ve been dreaming about them. Popcorn chickpeas aka DEEP FRIED chickpeas. Personally, I don’t think you can go wrong with anything that’s been deep fried.
Little crispy paprika and lemon-scented pebbles of deliciousness. I’m salivating looking at my own picture. They’re that good.
We balanced it out with some green – spinach sauteed in garlic. See? My blog isn’t ALL about unhealthy foods!
Just MOSTLY about unhealthy foods. The sausage plate contained brats, jalapeno chicken sausage and basque. I wasn’t a fan of the basque (I Googled – it’s chorizo), but the brats were wonderful! This plate was demolished.
After our meal, we headed out to the patio to join the rest of the ladies and enjoy the warm evening.
It was nice and quiet for the first half hour, then people started filing in as the work day came to a close. Will someone explain to me what a work day is? I just can’t seem to remember what it’s like to work during the week… I’m kidding. Please don’t hate me.
Ladyface had just released their Palo Comado XPA (one reason why our meeting was pushed back a week), and Cyrena passed around a pitcher of the organic, pale, rose-scented sessionable beer. I loved the aroma and drinkability of this, but every summer I’ll always reminisce about their Derailleur.
There was a wide variety of summer ales on the table. A hint – don’t drink the Leinenkugel Summer Shandy. Weiss beer with “natural lemonade flavor” is nasty. Perhaps with REAL lemonade it would taste better, but I’m not a fan of drinking lemon Pledge. To each his/her own.
J. J., a local homebrewer, brought in her latest brew – Mango-Apricot Pale Ale. Heavy mango aroma, wonderful, slightly sweet apricot flavor with high carbonation and a smooth finish. I was surprised how much I liked it, seeing that I’m not the biggest fan of fruit in beer. J.J. then had us pour a small splash of cream soda into the beer and try it again. Mango-Apricot Creamsicle beer. Awesomeness in a glass.
My mom’s contribution was the La Folie sour brown by New Belgium. This was the first beer she tried that she actually ENJOYED! The first time I had it, I absolutely hated it. This time – LOVE. It’s strange how your taste buds evolve.
Brie brought Captain’s Summer Session as well as a bottle of the Valkyrie California Alt from Enegren. Yes, I’ve tried both before. Yes, I still had a taster (or two) of both. The finished Summer Session is lovely! I tried it from the fermenter before and loved it, so add a nice chill and carb and it’s awesome.
Janelle “doesn’t do” sessionable beers. Another reason I love her. She brought Avery’s Eighteen back from her trip to Colorado. Nothing like an 8.1%ABV Saison face-punch to spice up the night! Good choice, but boy, did things get crazy after that…
Someone brought out Horny Devil by AleSmith. It’s that gorgeous red-wrapped bottle there. ALSO a face-punch at 11%. DEFINITELY not a summer ale, but at this point, no one was caring! We were far too busy socializing, talking brew techniques, new breweries and beer.
Of course I couldn’t end the night without dessert. A center cut of the bread pudding. I think this was the best cut I’ve had to date! I’m sure they NEVER get tired of hearing me ask for the center cut. In fact, I’m sure they look forward to it… Maybe not… At least I tip well!

The next morning, I was up bright and early to help out a family member who had surgery. Took her to the surgical center, suffered through hospital food…
and now am waiting on her hand and foot.
Hahaha, FOOT! Get it? It’s a PUN!

Since I had to stay around to care for her, I decided I should do some studying for class. Instead, I did this:
Me as Taylor Swift.
Me as Zooey Deschanel.
Me as Taylor Momsen.
And me with my MAD AWESOME Photoshop Paint skills, trying on some new hair. If you follow me on Facebook, you already got a preview of this. And for that, I am so very sorry.

Now I should really go study, but the bottle of Coronado’s Red Devil Imperial Red is calling my name.

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Real Life

Back to real life again. What a drag.
Movies to geek out over, beer to consume
Indoor rock walls to climb…
Pages and pages of studying in order to start working towards becoming a Certified Cicerone.
More abandoned places to track down and explore…

It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it. I suppose I’ll get by somehow.


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Mockery and Repetition

Remember how I mentioned that I’ve been dreaming about that Toppers pizza? I know I had it only two nights ago, but I wanted NEEDED it again!
Homestyle! Thank you, Trader Joe’s, for your whole wheat pizza crust and pizza sauce. You make my life easy. I love you.
Pepperoni, jalapenos (a few (or a ton of) seeds included), pineapple, cheese, more cheese, just a touch more cheese…
It took about twenty minutes to cook. I could’ve sat around twiddling my thumbs, but I decided this would be a better way to spend my time. LOVE this beer! I’m going to pick up another one and try aging it!
Oh. Yes.
Pizza just isn’t good if it doesn’t make your eyes water and your nose run. So deliciously spicy!

On another note – tomorrow is brew day at Enegren Brewing! My attempt at weaseling into the brewery worked! I’ll be helping pour in the tap room and documenting the brew process for a wonderfully mashy, boozy post. I thought that making my Oatmeal Stout Brownies with Caramelized Bacon would be a good tradition to start for brew days. This time though, I cheated…
Please forgive me!

I used the mix, one egg, 1/4 cup of vegetable oil and 1/3 cup of Stockyard Oatmeal Stout. I decided to throw some of the caramelized bacon INTO the brownies, as well as on top, and weaved a little fudge ripple throughout.
I’m pretty sure I’ll be forgiven for taking the easy way out… We’ll find out tomorrey!

Brew day starts at 5am. I now have 4 hours and 56 minutes to sleep. But really, who’s counting?


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