Happy 30th Birthday to the Real OG, Karl Strauss Brewing!
Karl Strauss Brewing in Anaheim and Costa Mesa

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Yes I know there is a brand new brewery in Downtown Disney, I’m sure it’s big and beautiful, the beer is probably pretty tasty but let’s hear it for the OG of breweries, still independent after 30 years! Happy Birthday to Karl Strauss Brewing! On February 2, 1989 two friends and one Uncle opened the first Karl Strauss Brewery on Columbia Street in San Diego. Before that date craft beer did not exist in San Diego, they were the first to brew hand crafted beer, recipes invented by a Master Brewer named Karl M. Strauss, uncle of Chris Cramer who along with his college roommate, Matt Rattner changed the world of beer as we know it. Bow Down!!

I have to be honest, the first time I reviewed Karl Strauss Brewing in Costa Mesa I assumed it was a corporate company with a made up name to sound official. I had even seen the real Karl Strauss introduce Social Distortion back in 2003 at the San Diego Street Scene, I assumed it was an actor named Karl Strauss who did all the events. Boy was I wrong! When Chris Cramer asked his uncle to help with opening their brewery, Karl had already helped as a consultant in planning 50 breweries and brewpubs. Mr. Strauss fled Nazi Germany in 1939, he had already been working in a brewery and ended up in Milwaukee at Pabst Brewing Company, he worked his way up the company, and after 44 years he retired in 1983. He worked at the company that carried his name until his death in 2006. #Respect

I recently paid a visit to the Karl Strauss Brewing location in Anaheim to celebrate my brother’s birthday, I hadn’t been there in quite awhile but the last time I was there everything was great, the service especially. On this visit things haven’t changed, from the moment we walked in we were treated very well, the staff at Karl Strauss are trained well and other restaurant’s should take notes. We all ordered our beers, I always will order from the beers that are brewed on premises, small batch brews that don’t last long and are always very good, the brewer at the Anaheim location is Jarrod Davis and he’s an exceptional brewer. The rest of the beer menu are the core beers and season beers of Karl Strauss Brewing. They have won  109 awards over the years with Red Trolley being one of the most popular. The waiters and bartenders have a nice habit of bringing you tasters of beers that pair with the food you order a nice touch. Be comfortable in knowing that whatever beer you order is going to be top shelf!

The food also excels at Karl Strauss Brewing. The executive chefs are constantly changing things according to season and as new beers are introduced they will have new food pairings. You have to try the pretzel bites fried in duck fat! Oh My! They pair with any of the beers on the menu, dip them in the aioli or ask for some mustard. I’m usually good with just those but since we were celebrating a birthday we all ordered burgers and I ordered the Mesquite Chicken sandwich that came with in house made chips. Everything was so good, my brothers enjoyed their burgers and when it came to dessert we mentioned to the waitress that the pickles were just the best we had and she brought us all an extra one!

Go over to Karl Strauss and enjoy the festivities as they celebrate their 30th! Here’s a link to a great interview I found in San Diego Magazine with owners, Chris Cramer and Matt Rattner. Still Brewing! Still Independent!!!  Cheers! BobbyKnowsBeer!

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My 2018 Year in Review, BobbyKnows….

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2018 is now a distant memory and I’m over my bout with the flu so let’s reminisce a bit. Craft beer enjoyed another year of growth and creativity, not only here but all over Southern Cali and Baja. I started the year writing for the OC Weekly and I eventually decided to do my own thing so I can write more than reviews, I’m thankful for my time with the Weekly as I watched Orange County go from about 18 breweries in 2016 to now almost 40 and more on the horizon. I now write about not only the local craft beer scene but I will cover Baja Norte, some L.A. and Long Beach, I’ll do homebrewing stories, interviews and food reviews. Yeah!

The first beer fest for 2018 was the DTLA Breweries United Fest 3.0, this was held in the Triangle Lot next to Angel City Brewery and featured the 7 breweries from the Art District. A small, intimate fest that was so much fun! This year’s fest is coming up on January 20th, take the train and Uber/Lyft over to the site, it’s $45 and Pearl’s BBQ will be offering food. Tickets available at Eventbrite.com

Next up in 2018 was the Ensenada Beer Fest held in early March. You got to check this fest out! 120 breweries from all over Mexico plus some San Diego breweries such as Stone Brewing and Mason Ale Works. This last Fest I met Charlie Carrillo from Zombie Brew Labs, check out my interview with Charlie here on my site, I also met Ryan Brooks from SouthNorte Beer Co. an up and coming brewery that I will be reviewing soon. The Fest  starts at 4pm till midnite, bring your dancing shoes and your stretchy pants! There’s so much besides the beer, music on three stages, food galore. Tickets are already on sale, price doesn’t include beer but you can get a taster for $1 or a pint for $3. I’ll be there for the Friday session so let’s meet up!

Next up was Coldchela 2108!! I was fortunate to be a judge at the biggest Latino homebrew club event, it was a blast! 20 groups of home brewers, 2 bands and DJ’s plus food! This event sold out so follow @socalceverceros for ticket info for Coldchela 2019 which will be held in April. I’ve been writing about SoCal Cerveceros for almost 3 years now, they started with a group of friends and now have over 100 members in their home brew group. Membership is opened to all, the more the merrier! Home brewing is a great hobby, it’s fun when you have the support of other members to help and share your brews with. Orange County has some big groups, they meet at different breweries, OC Mash Ups will meet at Barley Forge and Phantom Ales hosts 2 different clubs. I am getting ready to start brewing my own suds soon! 🍻

In 2018 Orange County breweries did well at two of the biggest competitions for craft beer, the World Beer Cup that was held in May in Nashville, Tennessee and the Great American Beer Fest which is held in Denver, Colorado in September. At the World Beer Cup Orange County breweries won 16 medals, an all time record, at GABF they took home 12 medals, another great showing. Now I’m not trying to start any beef with other cities or counties that claim to be the “Capitol of Craft Beer” or “Best Craft Beer City” but facts are facts. Your county/city might win more awards but how many breweries do you have? Uh huh. Right. With 35 breweries the chances of you drinking an award winning brew in Orange County is far greater than in any other metropolitan area in the United States. Fact! From San “Suds” Clemente to “AleAHeim” the quality of craft beer is The Best in the World. BOOM! Go ahead @ me!

In December I had the honor of teaming up with Sarah Raphael Garcia who runs the smallest, biggest book store in Downtown SanTana, Libromobile, it was her idea to pair Books and Beer which we held at Alta Baja Market located in the 4th Street Market. I’ve written more than a few times about the beer selection at Alta Baja, owner Delilah Snell does a fantastic job carrying local craft beer along with an extensive selection of Baja craft beer both in bottle and on draft, they also make 7 different Micheladas on premises, so we had plenty of beer to try! It was a great success and we plan on holding more Book and Beer tastings in 2019! 🍻📚

Here’s my list of some Best’s for 2018

Best Brewery: Tustin Brewery! Winning 2 medals at WBC a Gold and Bronze! But they win everyday at their home away from home in Tustin. Always a good time at TBC. RIP Kat

Best New Brewery: Gamecraft Brewing in Lake Forest. Owner Scott Cebula has put together a winning team, from Head Brewer Andrew Moy to the Crew in the kitchen making all that good grub! Keep on eye on those lagers!

Best Pro Am team that didn’t medal at GABF: Riip Brewing and Thien Le for Parts Unknown Pandan Stout. Smooth as silk and slightly sweet on the back end, what do those judges know anyways. Riip took Le’s award winning recipe and also did a coffee version that was out of this world! Looking forward to more collabs with Thien.

Best Coffee Roaster: Brot Coffee in Orange. I haven’t written my review(I’ve been sick!) but if you haven’t been then be prepared for some very good fresh roasted coffee beans with some Toast! ❤

Best Tacos: Anepalco in Orange( State College and Chapman location) hands down the best tacos I’ve had that were not from Mexico. Chef Danny fills his tacos to the pinche brim! Yeah they’re pricy but fuuuuuuuuck you get your dinero worth. Try the Hibiscus Margarita!

Best Taco Tuesday that doesn’t involve Tacos: Asylum Brewing in AleAHeim. Buy a pint and get a slice of pizza! Free! Helles yeah I’m down for a slice of pizza with an Achtung Lager! Tuesday!Tuesday! Tuesday!

Best Beer Dinner: Chapter One in Santa Ana paired 5 courses with Modern Times suds and the results were astounding! One course after another blew you away as did all the tasty craft beer. Look for more beer dinners in 2019 from Chapter One and Chef Chicken Wang!

Best Brewery in Tijuana: This is easy. Border Psycho on Revulocion. Basically I go there with intentions of visiting other breweries in Tijuana and I never leave. The beer is always great plus they have food and mescal! See you there! Ajua!

I hope your 2018 craft beers were as good as mine and here’s to 2019 and more excellent suds, more reviews!, more interviews!,  BobbyKnowsBeer!

 

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Gamecraft Brewing Grand Opening!!!!
Gamecraft Brewing

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Saturday, December 8th, is the official Grand Opening of Orange County’s newest brewery, Gamecraft Brewing. They’ve been in soft opening mode for a few months, getting everything ready, testing out food and brews, making sure all the kinks are out before they cut the ribbon on their beautiful Tasting Room and Game Room. Owner Scott Cebula has brought in award winning brewer, Andrew Moy, who won a Silver Medal for Riip Brewing at The Great American Beer Festival in 2016 for his Super Cali IPA. Hoppy suds are Andrew’s thang but at Gamecraft he will be offering Stouts, Ales, and plenty of Lagers. assisting Andrew with the brewing is Mike Ewoldt, They will be opening with 7 beers brewed in-house and about 6 guest beers, the lagers will be introduced soon, the first thing I noticed when I walked in was the 6 lagering tanks, yes, 6! Me thinks Andrew has big plans for those tanks and I can’t wait for the results, I’m going to go ahead and predict more awards for Andrew and Gamecraft Brewing down the road. 🥇

The Tasting Room is super comfortable, it’s managed by Demetria Dorame and Ian Frailey, there’s also a patio and a huge video game room, along with traditional board games you will have plenty of cool stuff to do while you enjoy the fresh suds and tasty pub style food. Lead cook is Jesse Robinson, he likes to give some of his dishes some kick so expect some spicy treats from the kitchen. There’s cheese and charcuterie boards, flatbreads, karaage chicken( get the hyper-spice), pulled pork sandwiches, tots, and both entrée empanadas and dessert empanadas. Everything can become addictive, it’s so good, if you order an empanada take a close look at the custom stamp, a nice touch.

On my visit I had the Not Your Father’s Brut Beer IPA 6.3%(ABV) super fresh and crisp, nice and dank some notes of fruit and finished very clean. Another in-house brew was the Imperial Stout, Dark Archon with Portola Coffee 9%(ABV) BOOM. Yummy rich with loads of chocolate and fresh roasted coffee. I’m keeping my eye out for the lagers and some more IPA’s as Andrew builds his menu. Scott has done a fabulous job in hiring some great staff, you can tell that everything has been given plenty of thought, it’s a very nice location, he has lived in Laguna Hills for a long time and has put his heart and soul into Gamecraft Brewing, Scott even has a plan in case they need to expand. If you are planning an event please contact Kanda Chokkijkarn Events/Merch Manager. Gamecraft Brewing will be open 7 days a week and open at 11 a.m. and will close at 8 p.m. Sun-Tues. and 10 p.m. Wed-Thurs, @ 12 .am. on Fri-Sat.

Congratulations to Scott and Thanda, to Andrew and to the whole crew at Gamecraft Brewing! A great addition to the craft beer community of Orange County.                 BobbyKnowsBeer!

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Hail! Hail! Stereo Brewing (and Rock’n’Roll)
Stereo Brewing Company

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Seems like yesterday that I was at the soft opening for Stereo Brewing in Placentia, I was there with my buddy, “Late Nate” Jackson, Music Editor of the OC Weekly. I was  the craft beer critic for the Weekly at the time and we were both impressed with the beers as well as the ambiance, the tasting room was packed with friends and family as well as those in the craft beer community, all there to break in the place. We drank our suds, ate some sausages from the Viking Truck and were serenaded by Master Brewer and DJ, Rick Smets, spinning his best vinyl while pouring his soon to be award winning brews. Amanda Pearce, now Amanda Pearce Smets was the hostess with the mostess, answering all questions and making sure we had full pints of beer at hand.

Now fast forward to today, Stereo Brewing has won back to back medals at The Great American Beer Festival for their Oatmeal Stout, Wall of Sound, a smooth AF stout with notes of chocolate and toffee, in 2017 it took Gold and in 2018 it won a Bronze medal. They also won a Silver in 2018 for Robot Imperial Red, a maltlicious red ale, beautiful  rich caramel notes, full body of flavor. That’s a very impressive start for a new brewery, of course there’s a whole playlist of beers on tap, Hazy IPA’s, Kolsch, Pale Ale, Scottish Ale and small batch brews that don’t last too long. Rick and his crew are keeping his customers happy with great brews, rock’n’roll and a chill space to enjoy it all. There’s board games, big screens for sport events, food trucks and a constant list of events. Currently they’re having a food drive, follow them on Instagram @stereobrewing for all current events. Stereo Brewing is kid and pet friendly, everyone behind the bar is always very friendly and helpful. On my recent visit I unfortunately got a flat tire right when I drove into the parking lot. I drank my beers and decided to leave my car there and come back the next day to fix the flat, the folks at Stereo were very cool and said it was OK to leave my car over night. I came back in the morning to try and fix the tire and at the same time Rick and Amanda showed up, they were going to pick up some equipment from a festival, Rick saw that I had a flat and he brought out 2 beers for my brother and myself. “I hope this makes it a little better”     WOW    🍻😍  Yes, Rick, thank you so much for your kindness. I ended up having to pay someone to change my tire, those damn lug nuts!!

Stereo Brewing is more than a brewery, it’s about community, it’s about bringing people together to listen to music to drink some craft beer to laugh to talk to relax.   Hail! Hail! Stereo Brewing! Cheers! BobbyKnowsBeer

And, in the end, the beer you take, is equal to the beer you make” -anonymous brewer

 

 

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Tepache Sour by Agua Mala @Alta Baja Market Downtown SanTana
Alta Baja Market

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Downtown Santa Ana or as us long time homies call it, SanTana, has become craft beer heaven over the last few years. The Good Beer Company keeps us happy with their latest fermented wonders, El Indio has a wide selection of Baja Craft beer and Mission Bar always has the latest local and top trending suds. Not to be ignored though is Alta Baja Market where you can find all the previously mentioned styles under one roof.

Owner Delilah Snell is not only serving up delicious grub all day but stocks a wide variety of craft beer, both Baja and local, to wash it all down. Alta Baja serves up breakfast and lunch all day long, chilaquiles, breakfast tortas, quesadillas, frittatas, along with salad and sandwiches for lunch, try the La Llorona, it’s packed with carne adovada(shredded pork with Hatch chile) with a nice spicy kick! There’s plenty of vegan options, every last Sunday of the month they are serving pozole  with pork or vegan version, Delilah also  partners with her neighbor Electric City Butcher and uses their products throughout her menu.

Besides food and drink Alta Baja Market stocks a wide variety of home goods, in-house branded spreads, jams, pickled goods and spices. Take some time and browse every shelf, there’s always something cool to find at Alta Baja, they also stock the flour tortillas from Burritos Las Palmas. There’s plenty of room to kick back and enjoy one of their 7 Micheladas, yup, 7 different and original spicy Michi’s to tantalize your taste buds. If craft beer isn’t your thing there’s plenty of wine! Check out the website for upcoming wine tasting events and classes. There’s always something going on at Alta Baja and on my most recent visit I enjoyed a beer rarely brewed by the Baja breweries, it was a pineapple sour beer, Tepache Sour 3.7%(ABV)by Agua Mala, one of the best breweries in Ensenada. Tepache itself is a fermented drink using the peels and rinds of a pineapple, it’s then sweetened with piloncillo or brown sugar. There was nothing sweet about this version, it was crisp and tart, the slight note of pineapple was at the back end of the back end, ha, usually if there is pineapple in a beer it’s too damn sweet and that’s probably because they used syrup, so I really enjoyed this Tepache Sour from Agua Mala. I hope to see more sour beers coming out of the Baja California breweries, especially with a Mexican twist! Cheers! BobbyKnowsBeer!

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Buy a Pint and get a Free Slice of Pizza! @Asylum Brewing
Asylum Brewing

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Taco Tuesday will never be the same now that Asylum Brewing in #AleAHeim is offering on Tuedsay’s a slice of pizza with purchase of a pint or three tasters. From 6 pm until they run out enjoy a slice of Out of the Park pizza with your tasty suds, pizza and beer are a more dynamic duo than Batman and Robin and almost as spirited as owner Tommy Sebestyen and Head Brewer Chris Brown, the Lennon and McCartney of Orange County brewers.

Since they opened I have always found a beer that stood out amongst the rest, with so many breweries sometimes it’s the same old same old but not at Asylum. In June of 2017 I was writing for the OC Weekly, I was their beer critic and occasional pot guinea pig, I name the Rorschach Brown Ale with Coffee the Beer of the Week. I can still vividly remember how I could smell the aroma of coffee as the bartender served me my pint. The coffee at that time was from a local roaster in Fullerton, Bangarang, a rich, mild roast that kept all it’s tasting notes and complimented the roastiness of the Brown ale. Later that year I was at Asylum and ordered their Frankenstein Casanova, an Imperial Stout, the bartender infused it with coffee they had on nitro at the time. WHOA! That became the Beer of the Year for 2017, on off the menu craft beer, something you don’t find too often these days. Then earlier this year, in April, I was at Mission Bar in Santa Ana and had Asylum’s Shotgun Golf, it was on the menu as a Hazy Pale Ale which I had never heard of so I called and talked to Chris Brown and he told me it was actually a Kellerbier or Zwickelbier, an age old German style lager that was conditioned in caves, Kellerbier translates to cellar beer and since customers aren’t familiar with the Kellerbier style it was renamed for marketing purposes. Anywho, it was another Beer of the Week, from the style to the name it was all so fascinating and when they re-release it I’ll tell you why 😉

Currently on tap the boys have a another German style Lager, Achtung 5.4%(ABV) it’s crisp, refreshing. something you can wash down a pizza slice with! Elephant Riders is an outstanding Hazy IPA 7.3%(ABV) using South African Southern Passion hops, pith helmet not included. How the West Was Won is a straight up West Coast IPA 6.6%(ABV) hop forward but with a nice malt presence.

I know, Orange County is absolutely blessed with so many craft beer options but cancel your tacos and make a beer line for Asylum Brewing!  Cheers! BobbyKnowsBeer!

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SoCal Cerveceros Dia de Los Cerveceros y Cocineros
Plaza de la Raza Lincoln Park

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SoCal Cerveceros follow up to their highly successful Coldchela 2018 was held on October 21, 2018 at the Plaza de la Raza in Lincoln Park. Coldchela 2018 put the Latino Homebrew club on the map with recent articles in the Los Angeles Times, BeerPaperLA, L.A. Taco, a mention in TIME magazine’s Beer issue and I’ve been covering them since June 2016 as the former beer critic of that infernal rag, the OC Weekly. The Cerveceros have grown in leaps and bounds and now boast over 80 members throughout Southern California, they are the largest Latino Homebrew club in the United States and at this rate should be the largest in the World. Dia de los Cerveceros y Cocineros was a benefit event with all proceeds going to the Vision, Mission and Service program at El Centro de Ayuda and Plaza de la Raza, featuring craft beer, food, live music and vendors, this review will be primarily on the beer, I was so impressed with the quality of the beer I didn’t get a chance to sample any food. Fijate!

I was fortunate to have been a judge at Coldchela 2018 so I am very familiar with the groups in Socal Cerveceros and their suds. It’s been great seeing the group grow and now Brewjeria Beer Company is slated to open their own brewery sometime next year in Pico Rivera. The weather was perfect for a craft beer festival, sunny with a light breeze, the event started at 1 p.m. and we arrived shortly after, right away I saw the folks from Maltitude Brewing Company, Phil Limon and Sandra Toledo, they brew out of Long Beach, I went for their Mexican Chocolate Stout, yummy! it was rich, smooth, not too sweet, looking forward to the batch they have aging with Madagascar Vanilla and Bourbon Tincture! Julianna had their Spicy Tamarindo Saison, Deeeelicious! So good and  it didn’t last long. I then saw the Brewjeria boys and made a beer line to their booth. We talked a bit about their new brewery and let’s just hope they can get it open without too many setbacks, the city sounds like they will expedite things but you never know. Hop on the 110 West Coast IPA with Amarillo, Cascade and Columbus hops sounded good and it was very refreshing, hop forward but not crazy bitter, Julianna prefers the lighter brews and A Blonde Moment was perfect, light but full bodied, crisp and fresh this also went quick. I spotted my homies Cerveceria Ortiz across the way, Alex and Desiree Ortiz from Silverado Canyon in Orange County, their Oktoberfest was calling my name, I love the maltier beers, the Oktoberfest was spot on! Rich with malts it went down smooth with tons of flavor, I offered Julianna a taste and she liked it! I’ll convert her yet!

At this point we sat down to enjoy our beers and listen to the DJ, the strolling Mariachi came by the stage and played a few songs to kick off the live music. I was thinking out loud and told Julianna that I could tell that the quality of the beer was better than Coldchela, the first five or six beers were all very good, not just good but very good like this isn’t  home brew good this is brewery good. From judging the beers at Coldchela I knew there might be some so so beers, it happens, but so far the brews were all 👍, it was still early in the day could this trend continue? Hmmmm…

Stopped by Norwalk Brewhouse to see what Ray had brewing, his Bidi Bidi Blonde Blonde was another hit with Julianna, I had the Hef with Pomegranate which I really liked and I’m not a fan of hefs. Next up was the food vendors, this is when we decided to keep drinking! Yeah! We walked in to the vendor hall to say hi to Alfonso Zuniga Jr. from Flight Tours, he will set up a custom craft beer tour for you and your friends, hit him up! Micho and Mary Premium Michelada Mix was another vendor you might want to look up, their michelada mix was 🔥🔥🔥🔥. Ha!

A new face in the group was Rueben from Rue’s Brews, he’s been brewing for about 4 years and this was his first event with Socal Cerveceros, I tried his Mango IPA and BOOM so good! I hope to see/drink more of his brews soon! Another new brewer I met was Sarah Flora, Flora Brewing, she brought a couple of tasty brews, follow her on Instagram @flora_brewing. South Central Brewing Company and Hub City Brewers were sharing a booth, South Central had You Down w/IPP an India Pale Pilsner! What the who? A hoppy pilsner sounded good to me and Ding! Ding! Ding! it was my favorite beer of the day. Today would have been a tough day to judge all these crushable brews, they were all so consistent, just all solid across the board but You Down w/IPP just separated itself from the crowd, it was different in a good way, clean, crisp, hoppy, Wow, this brew didn’t last long either. One more brewery and I was done, Big Boys Brewing out of Downey, David Garcia and his crew brought 4 beers and I had to try them all. Black Ring Coffee Stout, super rich, very delicious, hints of chocolate and coffee, YUM. Fiesta Saison w/ Jalapeno, WOW, nicely balanced Saison and you get the spice on the back end, it doesn’t hit you right away, wait for it, BOOM. ESBorracho, a style you don’t see often enough, ESB, excellent! El Pelirojo IPA, an IPA with malt, right up my alley, hop forward with a malty backbone. Another good showing by Big Boys Brewing, 4 different styles, all very consistent.

Dia de los Cerveceros y Cocineros was another success, SoCal Cerveceros know how to throw a party! The event was well organized, location was perfect, plenty of room to roam around and in addition to everything else Plaza de la Raza was hosting the art exhibit El Velorio presented by Antonio Pelayo. In it’s ninth year of production this was a great addition to the festival. If you missed out don’t worry Coldechela 2019 is coming up next year! Cheers! BobbyKnowsBeer!

 

 

 

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LUNA Belgian Style Pale Ale 6.3%(ABV)
Homage Brewing

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Homage Brewing is a welcome addition to the growing downtown Pomona scene, amongst the bars and restaurants Homage is brewing and fermenting some of the best suds in Southern California, they were recently mentioned in The Full Pint as one of the Best Sour Ale Makers of California. Not too shabby for a brewery that just celebrated two years in May. Homage Brewing is owned and operated by husband and wife, Matthew and Lauren Garcia along with Jeremiah Bignell, they are brewing up a storm in Pomona, collaborating with Cellador Ales from North Park and the Blendery from Long Beach. I had been wanting to pay a visit for quite some time and this past Sunday I was lucky to be joined by my partner in crime, Julianna Castillo, her palate leans towards the finer wines and brews so I value her insight and opinion.

Downtown Pomona was very quiet that Sunday so Homage Brewing was easy to find, it was around 3 p.m. and it looked closed but we walked in and we were greeted by 2 very friendly bartenders. We had our choice of seats but decided to sit at the bar, it seems like as soon as we ordered the place started to fill up, the Tasting Room is very comfortable, wide open, you can see all the equipment that they brew with. The décor was easy on the eyes, bright, clean, no TV’s, just you, your beer and your thoughts. Ha! Julianna ordered the Whitest Bier Alive 4.5%(ABV) a crisp and refreshing wit bier, something you would pair with a plate of meats and cheeses. I went ahead and ordered the Petit Masumoto 6% (ABV) Barrel Aged Saison w/Masumoto peaches and nectarines. Tart, refreshing, slightly sweet from the stone fruit, almost champagne-E. I then switched over to Milk Lizard 7%(ABV) Coffee Milk Stout on Nitro. Rich with notes of chocolate, toffee and wee hints of coffee. Very smooth and enjoyable, finished clean with no aftertaste.

So many interesting choices on the beer menu but I have always like Pale Ales and so I thought I would go with LUNA 6.3% Belgian Style Pale Ale Dry Hopped with Galaxy and Citra hops. YUMMMMEEEE!  I’ve become a fan of Galaxy hops, Amarillo hops are my numero uno but I hardly see them anymore, LUNA is hop forward with a nice tropical fruit backbone. FULL bodied, super enjoyable, finishes clean as a whistle. I’m thinking a tall stein of LUNA and a ribeye steak, medium rare.

Homage Brewing allows you to bring in your own grub or you can get your drink on and then cruise over to Dia de Los Puercos which just opened on 2nd and Garey. BOOM   #Bobbyknowsbeer!

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Marvel-Ous Marzen! Oktoberfest
Unsung Brewing Company

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Roll Out the Barrel! It’s Oktoberfest!!! My favorite time of year-I’m a malt fan-when breweries release their version of Oktoberfest style suds. Fresh off their win at Great American Beer Festival for Lumino, their Mexican Style Lager, Unsung Brewing took Bronze for this crisp and refreshing brew and now have released Marvel-Ous Marzen! Very exciting times at Unsung, their Tasting Room is located in Anaheim across the street from the Packing House. Congratulations to Mike Crea the Spider Man fan/Owner/BrewMaster and his crew for winning one of the twelve medals that Orange County breweries took home a few weeks ago at the 2018 GABF. Along with the 14 medals at this year’s World Beer Cup this makes Orange County the absolute Capitol of Quality Craft Beer when you consider that there’s only 37 breweries here compared to other counties. Yeah I did the math. BOOM

“We are dedicated to honoring these unsung heroes through philanthropy, and hope to inspire the hero in all of us”

Amen Mr. Crea. Inspiration hangs on every nook and cranny at the Unsung Tasting room that is decorated with murals of super heroes, collection of super hero dolls, posters and comic books. Plenty of room to stretch out with outdoor seating, yes, pets are welcome, there’s board games, various activities during the week including Yoga and Trivia. Food is right across the street or bring your own but my choice would be Jav’s BBQ which is in the same complex a few feet away. Smoked meats and side dishes are waiting for you but don’t wait too long because they do run out. Check out the menu at www.javsbbq.com. 

On my recent visit they were out of the award winning Lumino but it’s almost ready, another batch is fermenting, so I chose the Tangerine Saison 6.9(ABV) another customer told me it tasted like a mimosa and sure enough it did! Very juicy, easy to drink, fresh and enjoyable the 6.9(ABV) is not noticeable until you get about half way through, that’s when I started to feel it, whoa, easy Tiger, it literally taste like tangerine juice with a tiny bit of booze. Friggin amazing!

Marvel-Ous Marzen 5.5%(ABV) MMMMmmmmalty! Always a nice change from the hoppy brews, gives the palate a chance to breathe, to stretch it’s legs a bit, give it some brown shugga, so to speak. Yes this marzen has a slight slight sweetness to it,  full bodied, hints of spice and toastiness with a clean AF finish. Very noice! Perfect for the cooler evenings, bring out those Brats Jav! Bobbyknowsbeer!

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The 2018 Great American Beer Festival: “CraftBeerPalooza”

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The 2018 Great American Beer Festival was all that and a bag of pretzels! Held every year in the great city of Denver, Colorado this year’s fest was host to 2,404 breweries that poured 8,864 brews. Awards were giving in 102 categories that represented 167 styles of beer, also, 105 Pro-Am teams competed for 3 awards. State wise, California led the way with 72 medals, L.A. County won 9 medals, San Diego County won 16 medals and Orange County won 12 medals. With 37 breweries Orange County is proving to be the “Quality Capitol of Craft Beer” in America! And the envelope please:

1.Stereo Brewing Company in Placentia; Robot-Imperial Red Ale (Silver Medal)               2.Stereo Brewing Company in Placentia; Wall of Sound-Oatmeal Stout (Bronze Medal)   3.Barley Forge Brewing Company in Costa Mesa; Grandpa Tractor-Dortmunder or German Style Oktoberfest  (Gold Medal)  4. Noble Ale Works in Anaheim; Nobility-Imperial India Pale Ale (Gold Medal )  5. Riip Beer Company in Huntington Beach; Black the Riiper-American Style Black Ale (Silver Medal)   6.TAPS Fish House and Brewery Corona; TAPS Irish Red-Irish Style Red Ale (Silver Medal)  7.The Bruery in Placentia; Mischief-American-Belgo-Style Ale (Bronze Medal)   8. Unsung Brewery in Tustin; Lumino-American Style Lager or American Style Malt Liquor (Bronze) 9. Gunwhale Ales in Costa Mesa; Hayshaker-Classic Saison  (Bronze Medal) 10.Green Cheek Beer Company in Orange; West Coast IPA is Dead-American Style India Pale Ale (Bronze Medal) 11. Green Cheek Beer Company in Orange; Fools and Babies-English Style Mild Ale (Bronze Medal) 12. Beachwood Brewing in Huntington Beach; Udder Love-Sweet Stout or Cream Stout (Silver Medal)  13.Beachwood Blendery in Long Beach; Funk Yeah-Belgian Style Lambic or Sour Ale (Gold Medal)

Congratulations to all! This weekend was the fun part but a lot of hard work goes into each and every ounce of beer that is produced by all those that are involved in the brewing process. A few notes on my end. It was good to see more folks from Orange County attending the event, of course I didn’t run into anyone, my one beef with this year’s GABF was that the breweries were placed in alphabetical order where in years passed they used to be set according to region. I would be able to visit the local breweries because they were all in one area but now they are all split up. Boo! I did run in to Tommy Hadjis from Left Coast and his Galaxy Supernova IPA was on point!! In fact I enjoyed quite a few delicious Stouts, IPA’s, Reds, Pales, Sours, so many choices!

This year I stayed in the wonderful neighborhood of Wheat Ridge, last year we stayed downtown a few blocks from the convention center but decided to try out the local scene, it was a wise decision and we had a great time. Growler U.S.A. had 100 craft beers on draft and the food was bomb. Rise and Shine was a biscuit establishment but they also poured 8 craft beers in case you wanted to wash down that flaky AF biscuit with a pint! My all time fave is Ted’s Montana Grill which is in downtown. Steaks, burgers, sandwiches, all with great service, I wish we had one here in Santa Ana. Until next year! Cheers! Bobbyknowsbeer!

 

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