Monthly Archives: August 2012

Brie’s Bridal Shower

Last weekend, Brie’s aunt hosted a beautiful bridal shower for her in San Pedro.
The party was on a gorgeous yacht in the middle of the harbor.
As soon as I stepped foot on the gangway, a hibiscus tea-infused drink found its way into my hand. Bride-sized on top, mine on the bottom. These were very easy drinkers… Magically, my glass was never empty thanks to the amazing Teresa Cusick who coordinated the daytime soiree.
Brie looked even more stunning than usual in her laced dress and a happy halo emanating from her radiant smile.
The Mauretania came fully stocked, prepared for any unfortunate soul who had the bad luck to get a little seasick on the gentle swells in the harbor.
We left the dock and tooled around for a good four hours with bottomless drinks, beautiful views, ocean air and warm weather.

The bridesmaids, Brie and her wonderful aunt who threw this beautiful shindig. Thank you again, AP!
Ridiculously beautiful girlies.
I wore a dress. Only for you, Brie. That’s how much I love you.

Possibly my favorite series from the day: Looking at puppies on iPhone.

No words needed.

Brie did an excellent job of putting up with me while I demanded that she pretend to be casual and sober. Good sport.

Soon-to-be mother-in-law, Kathy, matching the radiance of her soon-to-be daughter-in-law!

Missy went all out on the nautical theme. I’ll admit, I was impressed with her dedication.
Soon enough it was time for presents…
…and more drinks.
We found time for food as well. The array of options was out of this world – freshly grilled veggies, veggie sammiches, turkey and roast beef sammiches, mixed baby greens and cheese blintzes. Have you ever had a cheese blintz before? I hadn’t. It changed my life. Top one of those with blackberry preserves, hand it to me on a plate and I will be your best friend.
They also served a wide array of desserts – from brownies to lace cookies to Crumbs cupcakes. I was in sugar heaven.
The edibles were capped off with the most beautiful cappuccino I’ve ever seen. I may have taken more pictures of this drink than of the bride.

Everyone signed a sailor hat with well-wishes for the bride-to-be.
She was promptly forced to put it on and navigate our course for the rest of the day.
This is the point where those seasickness pills started to come in handy. Not that I’m saying Brie didn’t do a wonderful job or anything… It just happened to correspond with people starting to feel ill when she took the wheel.

The cocktails helped settle the stomachs. At least that’s what we all chose to believe.
It was an absolutely wonderful day, and perfectly suited for the future bride.
Congratulations, Brie and Chris. I’m so blessed to have met you both!


Filed under Bridal Shower

Brewery Hecticity

Life has been crazy busy lately. In addition to working at Wolf Creek Brewery, I’m also doing social media and writing their blog.
You can check out the purpose of this crazy photo over at the Wolf Creek blog. On top of real work, I also volunteer at Enegren Brewing Friday through Sunday.
I got a little refresher from Red Mango on my way over to Moorpark Friday afternoon.
And then I got another little refresher at Ladyface on the way. Sweet Cherry Porter on cask? How could I not?
Definitely glad I treated myself before this huge pallet arrived! Those would be 356 two liter growlers from Italy. The caps were in the same shipment. That’s right – caps were not attached to the bottles.
I spent Friday afternoon and all of Saturday assembling the tops and attaching them to the bottles – this time with help from the EBC crew. My hands and wrists still ache.
While I was there on Friday, the owner/brewmaster from Hangar 24 happened to swing by with about seven other employees/sales reps. Ben Cook recently had an article written about him in the New Brewer magazine which his coworkers made sure to point out, much to Ben’s dismay. I immediately jumped on the bandwagon and insisted on a personalized autograph and cheesy picture just to humiliate him a little more. The entire group of guys were a much needed fun breath of fresh air in between unloading and assembling growlers. Now I need to get to the Redlands and visit the brewery!

Friday night was brew night – Chris and Matt mashed in and brewed overnight and then Joe and I came in the morning to relieve them and finish up the brew. Saturday was a long one full of pain and growlers and cursing at growlers that created pain, but with this schedule we had all of Sunday free!
We went on a 16.7 mile mountain bike ride on Sunday morning then ate back all of the calories we’d burned at the local greasy diner, Cactus Patch, before heading back to work.

And then the week started again. Normally this would be tragic (or at least it would be if I had a normal job and didn’t brew beer for a living), but I had the fifteenth gathering of Ladies at Ladyface: The Fermentables and Comestibles Education and Tippling Society to look forward to on Monday night!
We went “back to the basics” and had a brewery tour where we were walked through the brew process and got to munch on milled malts and sip Blind Ambition straight from the fermentor. There were many new faces, all eager to learn and imbibe and get tippled in the necessary fashion it takes to be a L@L.
We had a nice big group of ladies attending – not a single keg was left un-sat-upon. We spent the evening sipping homebrews and socializing before grabbing some foods to ward off the dizzying effects of beer on empty stomachs.
Sweet potato fries – suicide style. Could you need anything more in life?

For recaps of our past Ladies at Ladyface meetings, check out the links below:
Ladies at Ladyface: 1
Ladies at Ladyface: 2
Ladies at Ladyface: 3
Ladies at Ladyface: 4
Ladies at Ladyface: 5
Ladies at Ladyface: 6
Ladies at Ladyface: 7
Ladies at Ladyface: 8
Ladies at Ladyface: 9
Ladies at Ladyface: 10
Ladies at Ladyface: 11
Ladies at Ladyface: 12
Ladies at Ladyface: 13
Ladies at Ladyface: 14


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City Tavern

Thursday night was Enegren Brewing Company’s flight and pint night at City Tavern in Culver City. The EBC crew headed down for an evening of meeting and greeting all the LA folks who stopped in to try their brews.
As the designated brewery photographer, I was dragged along and forced to drink craft brews and eat delicious foods. Bummer.
It was heavenly to get away from the 100+ degree weather we’ve been having up here in Valencia. Culver City was a good twenty degrees cooler with a nice ocean breeze.
The inside is industrial, yet cozy with exposed brick and chalkboards lining the walls and tall skylights that let the sun stream in.
We ordered the Enegren flight first, just for a little quality control.
As with the majority of the time, it passed.
City Tavern has a great selection of both draft beers and bottled beers. A large number of them were local which is always wonderful to see and imbibe upon.
I love being overwhelmed with a beer list!
The food selection isn’t too shabby, either!
We split the bacon and cheddar pretzel with mustard aioli – soft, gooey and overflowing with thick pieces of crispy bacon.
The appetizer special of the day was squash blossoms stuffed with goat cheese and sundried tomatoes and tempura fried. These were light and airy and ridiculously fresh and hot. The tangy goat cheese was a perfect balance with the sweet bits of sundried tomato and delicate blossom.
The night flew by with tasters from Cismontane, Lagunitas, Magnolia Brewery and Eagle Rock, to name a few.

For my grand finale beer order of the night I asked Susie, our wonderful server, to surprise me.
This surpassed all of my expectations and then some. A sour paleta, a sour beer and a Sourac made with rye whiskey, sour ale, bitters and simple syrup. Bite, sip, sip. Not a combination that I’d ever ordered or even tried before, but a delicious ending to a long evening!

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Last weekend I worked with Wolf Creek Brewery up in Mammoth for the Bluesapalooza music and beer fest.
The drive up was absolutely gorgeous. I got to see the flat grid of Palmdale, the flat grid of Lancaster…
And Mt. Whitney. That part actually was beautiful.
Friday night was the brewers’ reception. Every brewery brought different house brews and shared them with the masses. I sampled everything from Ladyface Bluebelly Barleywine to Lagunitas Alt to Noble Ale Works brews to quite a few others that seem to have slipped my mind for some odd reason…
It was quite an enjoyable two hours and seemed to pass rather quickly as I bounced around from group to group, meeting brewers I haven’t met like Beachwood BBQ and the Noble Ale Works folks, and hanging out with some favorites I’ve known for quite some time – Ladyface, the LAB crew and Stone to name a few.
The music was in full swing by the time the reception was over, so we danced along and danced our way over to Clocktower Cellar to hang with the brewers some more. We needed to be up early Saturday to set up the booth so we called it a night at a nice early 1am. Oops.
I got into my fancy girlesque zone (very difficult to do, honestly) and decorated the table. I made pretty decor stuffs out of fabric! No one who knows me would’ve guessed I did this.
At noon the crowds came swarming in, armed with taster glasses and ready to hydrate.
It was a warm day, so I tried my best to keep everyone’s glasses full and kept hydrated myself with tasters from Kinetic Brewing, Hess Brewing and Eagle Rock Brewery.
I also ran into quite a few friends – three of the members from the Thousand Oaked Homebrew Club I belong to.
Courtney repping both the TOaked club and Enegren!
Another TOaked member was out celebrating his bachelor party – a beer festival is definitely the best way to do it!
Speaks for itself…
Right here is the instant before the black clouds burped and vomited rain over the city. Good visual, huh? Every drunkard in the area shrieked and cheered and took cover under the closet brewery tent. We made many a new overly tipsy friend during that downpour.

At 5pm we shut down our CO2 tanks, disconnected the kegs and packed everything into our van. To cap off the weekend and celebrate Laina’s birthday, we went out for fancy wine and delicious foods and then went back to our little condo and passed out.
Sunday morning we had to head back home, but first we celebrated a Wolf Creek tradition. We went back to listen to a little music…
And supported the Mammoth Lakes Fire Department. Gotta support them. They work so hard, it wouldn’t be right not to obey her sign.
Bloody Mary it is! This is the first one I’ve ever had. Took me a while to finish, but I did eventually finish to fully show my support.
On our way out, I saw a shirt I recognized.
It’s a small world!

And now I’m off to City Tavern to attend a “meet the brewers night” with those on the shirt above! Cheers!


Filed under beer festival

Coronado Brewing Company

During the San Diego trip, we hit up Coronado Brewing Company on Coronado Island before heading to an outdoor concert.
We were lucky enough to snag a parking spot directly out front and emerged into air heavily scented with the delicious aroma of hops that had just been added to the boil. It permeated the atmosphere. I melted with happiness.
The building is only a block away from the water and shrouded in lush greenery and aromatic flowers.
Not a terrible view to have to deal with. I could probably live there and be happy. Completely broke, but happy.
After perusing the shores, we headed inside and got down to business.
I ordered my typical choice at any brewery – the taster flight. Out of the five I walked away with a mini growler of the Idiot IPA – extremely citrusy on the nose, sweet grapefruit flavor ending with a brutal kick of hop bitterness that almost immediately fades into a whisper. Dangerously drinkable at 8.5% ABV!
Absorption was also necessary. Nachos covered in spicy filet mignon chili, real cheese and generous towers of guacamole and sour cream. I barely finished a quarter of this monster.
I poked my head into the brewery to have a look around and saw what looked like the same system as Wolf Creek! I asked the assistant brewer who was in the middle of the boil if it was a 10bbl system and was immediately invited in to take some pictures and got a small tour of the place. Using key phrases like barrel and parts per million will get you invited into any brewery, I’ve found.Coronado is in the midst of setting up their 30bbl system over on the mainland, so the brewpub functions as a small batch experimental system on the side of regular production. They brew in a separate building and then transfer the multiple brews all the way into the fermentation area about 200 feet away.
I also checked out their bottling system to get some ideas for Wolf Creek’s upcoming expansion. I think we’ll need more than a six-up bottler, however…
After the tour I grabbed my growler and headed out with the family to the outdoor concert in the middle of the island. People started arriving four hours early in order to get good seats! Luckily, we had a team of people who’d set up in advance so we could fully enjoy the brewery beforehand.
We spent the night drinking craft brews, eating an assortment of random deliciousness procured by each individual who chipped in a dish for the picnic and danced the night away.
A good time was had by all.And then more beer was consumed, as is tradition in my life.

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