Beers I drink, Brew Fest, Out on the town drunk

Long Beach Taste of Brews 2018

I had an amazing time at the 8th annual Long Beach Taste of Brews Fest held at Shoreline Park near Rainbow Lighthouse and the Aquarium of the Pacific.  It was my first time at this yearly event but after the fun my posse and I had, I will be back in 2019!

The whole day was an adventure and planning had started weeks before.  Heather and Paul found a deal online where we would arrive at the TofB Fest on the Big Red Bus, spend 3 hours (which doesn’t seem like a long time, right?) filling and emptying our little 4 ounce commemorative tasting cups, and then get shuttled back to the meeting point afterwards.  No drunk driving necessary!

We took an Uber from Huntington Beach up PCH to Legends on 2nd Street in Long Beach.  And there it was: The Big Red Bus!  IMG_3282 (2)

The tour operator had tacos for the hungry revelers but nothing vegetarian.  No problem!  There was a Pizza Press next door so we got a cheese pizza.

But we thought we had more time than we did because when I was just taking my third bite, I started to notice people from Legends walking past us to the BRB.  Not wanting to be left behind, we got a box to go and scuttled on outta there.  Maybe we scuttled a little too fast because not everyone was ready to go and we ended up waiting for a few people who, like us, never got the memo that we were getting seated on the bus.

But our expeditious butts got lucky in that we were able to get seating on the upper level of the bus before it filled up.  IMG_3281  Heather and Paul didn’t score seats upstairs for the trip there but I’m sure they had a great time.  It literally took me forever to get up those stairs with my damn oxygen tank trailing behind.  However, I’m glad I sat up top.  It was breath taking to see the city from that level.

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I was up above it

 

Austin commented on how strange it was to be drinking on a moving vehicle and we all agreed that it was a trip, indeed.

 

 

 

Oh, did I forget to mention the beer that The Big Red Bus served to us on the way there and home?  Silly me.  There were coolers on top and on bottom with ice cold cans of beer ready for us to drink.  Yay!  Loving this day already!IMG_3273

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What was under the kilt?

I don’t remember this guy’s name but he was so cool.  He gave a little intro speech about how we shouldn’t stand up and stick our body parts outside of the bus and all those warnings they are legally required to tell you.  He also served us cold beers when we ran out of the first round.  And he didn’t judge when the Old Man requested a third beer.  My only complaint about that was the type of beer.  I had to drink Coors.  And Bud Light.  ‘Nuff said, ok?  But free beer is free beer so my complaint is totally invalid.

IMG_3284 There was a mess that was supposedly several lines waiting to enter the beer fest when we got off the Big Red Bus.  That’s when the burning started.  My skin started slowly toasting and roasting in the hot sun.  The Old Man let me borrow his hat to keep some shade over me and that was my saving grace for the day.

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The VIP’s had gotten in at noon and us losers had to wait until 1:00 before we could start poisoning our livers.  So by the time we got through the outside line, the fest inside was crowded AF.  There was not one brewery set up that didn’t have at least 5 to 15 people in line and random groups just milled around filling in the gaps between lines.  It was pure insanity!

The first brewery we hit was the Anderson Valley Brewing Company from Boonville, CA.  They seem to be a regular on the fest circuit and I’ve always enjoyed their offerings.  They are always with Fat Tire Brewery.  The taste we sampled was sweet and malty and tasted like it would go good with a nice smokey barbeque.  I can’t recall what the name of it was (as is the case with more breweries as the day goes on) but it was all right.

We visited Belmont Brewing Company next.  They are a local brewery from the Belmont Shores section of Long Beach.  They had a pale ale that was so light in color but also very thick with yeast.  It wasn’t too cloudy though so it got a thumbs up from me and the Old Man.

If I thought Anderson Valley wasn’t a local, then the Common Sense Brewing people are from way out of town.  All the way from Bordentown, NJ they had two beers to showcase.  There was a pale ale but I always go with something like that so I decided to try the Jasmine Rice Saison.  It had a mild and smooth orange flavor that was really delicious.  Perfect for a hot day at the shore.  And they had stickers!

Refuge Brewery is from Temecula, CA.  They were offering a Blood Orange Wit, which is their flagship brew, and a Sand Surfer Unfiltered IPA.  I was going to go with the Wit but the guy behind the taps noticed the Old Man’s sunglasses.  They were a promo from a local brewery called Pizza Port in San Clemente, CA that we got at another brew fest we attended.  He pointed out that the Sand Surfer was a collaboration with Pizza Port so we tried that one.  It was so fresh tasting and pretty cloudy.  “Unfiltered” is just another way of saying “Lazy Brewer” or the brighter “New England IPA.”  Haha.

We hit up the Beachwood Brewery next because it had the shortest line of all the tents surrounding us.  Another Long Beach brewery on the scene that was pouring the LBC IPA.  It was a West Coast style with plenty of hoppyness.  I loved it and I think it was my favorite brew of the whole day.  Who remembers this? “Beachwood 45789, you can call me up and have a date any old time.”  Thanks to this brewery, I got that song stuck in my head the rest of the day.

By now I had to break the golden seal.  But I was at the halfway point in the park where the port-a-potties were down the hill and more brewery tents were up the hill.  Damn that weak bladder of mine!  But I made it down and then halfway back up to catch my breath, and then the rest of the way uphill for more beer!

 

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Line for Bootleggers Brewery

I saw Bootleggers Brewery.  They come from Fullerton, CA and their line was long but I had to try something from them anyway.  There was a 5.3% pale ale and a 7% Thai Tea IPA.  Guess which one I chose?  The 7%er, of course!  It was sweet and hoppy at the same time, really satisfying!  Bootleggers gave out coasters.  I grabbed 3 or 4 of them, not like I don’t already have a billion coasters in my storage and house already.  If it’s free it’s free.  You can’t leave something sitting there that’s free, right?

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Line for Sierra Nevada Brewing Company

My old favorite, hailing from Chico, CA, was Sierra Nevada Brewing Company.  I had seen them, and scored some stickers, from Sierra Nevada at the last beer fest I went to and a familiar Pale Ale just hit the spot.  It’s only 5%, average for a beer but kind of on the light side for my tastes.  But I credit Sierra Nevada with giving me my love of hops.  The Old Man and I had several occasions to visit the brewery and restaurant up in Chico and during those periods, I went from a lager-drinking lightweight to a Pale Ale pounder.  I used to not be able to handle the taste of Sierra Nevada and now I drink it for breakfast.

There were no short lines up at the top.  The Old Man and I hit up one brewery and waited in line for 10 skin-sizzling moments only to find out that they were out just as we were going to be served next.  Hrmph.  It was only 2:11 in the afternoon and they were tapped out.

2:11 pm….interesting.  By this point I was 3 sheets to the wind and still getting in line for more beer.  I suspected I couldn’t handle much more and I dreaded that there was still almost 2 hours left to go.  I couldn’t comprehend how I had got so messed up in only an hour and eleven minutes.  Jeez.

Sean and I were sitting it out in the shade and the rest of our group walked by.  We agreed that it was medicating time and took up residence away from the throngs on the rocks right at the land’s end.  IMG_3331  Picture perfect!  I needed that break and I started feeling better.

There’s a group shot with the elegant Queen Mary in the background and an equally elegant Carnival cruise ship.  Welcome to Long Beach!

 

The rest of the breweries we hit up in the last hour became a blur in my mind.  I know we went to Rock Bottom Brewery out of Long Beach, CA and I tried a Citra Swell IPL (an India Pale Lager).  It was just as citrusy as the name implies.  They were also serving a Dreams of Gold Pale Ale.

I got beer and stickers from 10 Mile Brewing Company.  They had 2 taps but by the time I got up to the front of the line they were serving out of pitchers.  They are from the Signal Hill neighborhood of Long Beach.

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Hop Saint Brewing Company

Hop Saint Brewing Company out of Torrance, CA was one of the breweries I remember, thanks to the magic of digital photography.  They were pouring 2 different brews but were out of the 6.3% Simcoe Pale Ale, which is the one I would’ve wanted to drink.  Sean and I both settled for the 5.3% Vienna Lager which was not bad at all.  Here’s my reaction to the Vienna Lager:  It’s my “O” face!IMG_3324

 

 

I remember going to Hog Canyon Brewing Company where, again, I scored a tasty beer and a HC/BC sticker.  I had been seeing the stickers on a few people throughout the day and I was finally glad to be a part of it all.  Hog Canyon doesn’t have a website so I can’t give you anymore info other than I enjoyed my little taster.

We were eventually making our way to the end of the park where the BRB was picking us up at 4:00 pm.  On the way, my group stopped at a brewery I can’t remember the name of.  But I remember watching from the sidelines as a tender from the one brewery hit on my married sister-in-law.  He told her to finish her sample and he would get her a taste from the tent next door, which was SoCal local Golden Road Brewery.  She downed that 4 ouncer and, sure enough, that guy took her cup and filled it from one of Golden Road’s taps.  So little Miss Heather got an extra shot without having to wait in an extra line.  Nice move and nice way to end the day!

Guinness had a booth there and everybody got their cups filled except for me.  I was pretty much done for a little while.  The Old Man ran off to fill up his cup one last time from the mystery brewery.  It was an amber ale that he found to be malty.

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On the way out

Finally 4:00 came.  I was never so happy to be done with a beer fest.  I had definitely gotten my money’s worth of samples and I had a great day but I was beat and burned everywhere my skin was exposed.

I took a seat on the bottom level of the Big Red Bus and grabbed a Bud Light…the only beer left in the coolers unfortunately.  Well, they had Tecate Light but fuck that.

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Now I’m Down In It

Heather and Paul sat upstairs on the way back and I was glad they got their chance.  There was no way I could’ve made it up the stairs in my drunk and debilitated state.

The Old Man spent some time upstairs and I was left alone to listen to this drunk asshole tell a woman he had just met all about his fucked up life.  It was great drama.  The hipsters across from me got sick of it though.  They leaned forward and one of them said, “Tell me about yourself.”  I was like, “Wha?” and the guy goes “It would be so much better than this…” and he waves his hand to indicate the drunk asshole and his victim du jour.  So we ended up exchanging niceties but I didn’t feel like socializing.

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Peace Out

I was able to finish my beer before we disembarked at Legends but I was absolutely done for the day.  Everyone wanted to eat so we got a table at Legends and ordered every vegetarian appetizer/starter they had available.  I myself had zucchini fries which were very good.  But there was mac & cheese and tots going around the table, plus other food.

 

We stuffed ourselves and took an Uber back to HB.  I ended up driving us home and we crashed when we got there.  It was a fantastically fun day!  I can’t wait until next year’s Taste of Brews Fest.  Hopefully we can get another ride on The Big Red Bus.  If you’re looking for a unique way to get around the city, check out The BRB and for a mind-numbing beer experience, check out any one of the brew festivals that happen all over the place.  When you’re so drunk you can’t stop smiling, you will thank me!

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Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Beers I drink, Breweries, Out on the town drunk

Checking up on All-American Ale Works

I had the unfortunate occasion to be at the Kaiser Permanente mega-complex in #Anaheim one night.  A sick mother-in-law is no good.  The Old Man and I hung out for a while bedside in the ER and then, hands wringing, left for the night hoping for the best within the next couple of days.

Since we were so far down on La Palma, we decided to hit up All-American Ale Works.  It is one of the newer breweries in Anaheim and one that I hadn’t been to since I wrote this review of them in the summer of 2017.

All-American Ale Works is the furthest brewery east on Lager Palma Brewlouvard.  It’s maybe 3 miles from Bottle Logic, Asylym, & Hoparazzi.  We were pleased when we pulled DSC08869 up and there was a sign letting patrons know that they had $3 Founding Father Pints on this night.  With a special like that going on, we were shocked when we walked inside and there was no one in there, except for the brewer Travis.  When I came in July, it was so packed that I was lucky to get a seat.  That was right after they opened so word was on the street about a new brewery in Anaheim.  This time, I had my choice so I picked the table with the best All-American Ale Works brand.  Hardcore.

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We asked Travis what the “Founding Father’s” pint special was all about and he told us it was all the “Year Round” beers on the menu, there were 5 choices with varying tastes and ABV’s.

Here’s a pretty focused shot of the menu.  The growler prices are cut off so you will just have to go there to find out the prices.

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Normally I would’ve gone for the Old School Mix Tape Session IPA but it was only a 4.7%.  I know it’s more about the taste of the beer but I happen to be an ABV nerd and it’s something I look for in a brew.  So I went with the Barefoot Blonde Lager which measured 5% and the Old Man had a Storm The Beach which is a red ale with coconut with an awesome 7% ABV.

DSC08854 We both really enjoyed our selections in the first round.  So much that we stayed for a second round and both had the Storm The Beach this time.  Again, the color was dark red with a good head and the coconut in the mix adds such a sweet, mellow flavor to the finish.  Here’s the Old Man hisself posing with his first 7%er:

 

 

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For about 10 minutes after we ordered our first round, no one was in there so we just talked to Travis.  He was personable and really on top of things coming up for All-American.  They are looking ahead to having distribution in local places and getting their name out on the craft brew festival circuit.  I mentioned the lack of crowds and Travis said the $3 pint on Monday night thing was new but let me know that they have a bunch of events going on throughout the week.  Here’s a pick of the weeklies:

 

 

Eventually, a group of 4 came in and sat at the bar so Travis turned his attention to them.  Now it was my chance to start snapping pictures and writing down the facts!  Another couple came in a little while later and then finally a lone guy but it got a little more crowded without being annoying.

 

There has been a hole in my heart since Backstreet Brewery quit hosting trivia night.  My interest was definitely piqued when I saw that All-American teams up with

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Geeks Who Drink for trivia on Tuesdays at 7:00pm.  Travis said the top prize is a $20 gift card.  I know a couple of Lag-A-Lots who could use a $20 gift card to pay for the $50 worth of beer we would all drink that night.  One of these nights I’m gonna get down Lager Palma east and play some trivia with my smart friends.  Can’t hardly wait!

 

 

 

Travis told us about some upcoming charity thing they are doing in conjunction with a local cat rescue.  For the life of me, I cannot remember the name but I wish I could give them a plug here.  Remember to spay and neuter your pets!

All-American Ale Works has improved and seem to be getting better than when I first tried them out.  Everything about the place is mostly the same as it was when they opened last year.  For example, they’ve got the Patch Wall and merchandise for sale still.

The art on the walls is still the same as well as the big screen tele’s on every wall broadcasting whatever game catches the fancy of the brewery patrons on any given night.

But they have a lot more beers on tap than they used to though and that’s great.  Travis said when they first opened they only had 9 or so choices on the menu and now the menu is extensive.  He said they have made over 35 different brews since they opened until now.

I got a few shots of the back area:

If you’ve never been to All-American Ale Works, I recommend checking it out.  If you’ve been once or twice last year, like I had, do yourself a favor and head back there.  Just don’t come on Tuesdays for trivia night because my team will devour you.

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Below the glowing neon sign (also lets you know you have arrived)

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This is their suite number, in case you miss the glowing neon sign

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Breweries, Out on the town drunk

Catalina Island Brew House

Islands are generally small, as illustrated by the size of Santa Catalina Island.  So to be a successful business on an island, one needs to be good at more than one thing.  The Catalina Island Brew House personifies this island ethos brilliantly as they brew & bake for the tourists and locals all day, everyday.

My adventure started on the Catalina Flyer at 9:00 am.  I had 3 cans of Stella Artois on the boat so I was ready to party when we set foot on land.  My first stop was the Pancake Cottage for more beer and a side of fries.  It was happy hour in the morning, something I had never heard of….but definitely something I could get used to.

After fueling up, me and my group headed down Crescent Avenue to find another watering hole.  As you stroll by, the view will take your breath away.  The sights were ass-tounding to say the least!

DSC08319  A hanging sign lets you know you have reached the Catalina Island Brew House.  It is shoved alongside Steve’s Steakhouse and Maggie’s Blue Rose Mexican restaurant in a small and narrow space.

There was a line when we arrived but it went fast and we were able to order our brews.  CIBH is a nanobrewery and they only had 3 of their own beers available in addition to guest beers such as Four Sons & Bootleggers Breweries.

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I was very happy they had an IPA on the menu so I got the Island Hop IPA with a 6.6% ABV.  It was full of flavor with a strong piney hop taste and a lighter malty sweetness.  I loved it…  DSC08325 I also loved how they give you fresh baked pretzel rolls with your beer order.  Way to go, Catalina Brew!  You impressed the hell out of me!

 

Like I said earlier, CIBH is good at more than one thing.  Not only do they brew great tasting beer, they brew coffee anyway you want it.

DSC08334 They’ve got a whole full-service coffee bar behind the counter and it makes me think they get very crowded in the early mornings when everyone needs their espresso.

The craft doesn’t stop at beer and coffee.  Catalina Brew has a small cafe menu featuring artisan flatbread pizzas and sandwiches.  There is a nice vegetarian selection of pizzas like the Islander.  It’s similar to a Hawaiian but without the ham.

 

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CIBH also offers bakery items as displayed.  I tried the brownies with nuts on top and I was astonished at how delicious it was.  Probably the best brownie I have ever tasted that I didn’t make myself.  The next day, I went back and bought 2 brownies to take home.

 

There is merchandise for sale but it’s limited to t-shirts and stickers.

One of the major complaints people have about islands is how expensive they can be for food and drink.  I thought the Catalina Island Brew House was reasonably priced for beer and a little above average for a shirt.  Their food prices are the same as any cafe on the mainland.

Catalina is one of those places you don’t get to that often so I don’t know when I’ll be back to the Brew House.  But next time, I will stop in and have a beer and a brownie and maybe one of those Islander flatbreads.  I loved this brewery and highly recommend that you visit if you are on Catalina.

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Cheers to Carie the birthday girl – Happy 40th!

 

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And a big “Fuck You” to the world from all of us!

 

 

 

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Beers I drink, Breweries, Game Night Drunk, Out on the town drunk, road trip, Stuff i do when i drink

Red Tandem Brewery

I’ve had my eye on Oxnard for a while.  I see in the news that the weather is perfect there which makes me want to retire in the nard of the Ox.  So when the Eichels invited us to the Oxnard Steampunk Fest I was more than eager to check out the town.

We got dressed up in our finest and paraded around Heritage Square for a couple

of hours and then, as per usual, spent more time at the bar than mixing with the crowd.  We got dinner and went back to our room to drink Heinekens.  All of a sudden, we had the whole night before us with no immediate plan.  So we decided to hit the town.

I chose Red Tandem Brewery because they were the closest one to our hotel and we wanted to Uber since we had been drinking for most of the day.  DSC07921  The brewery & tasting room is in a strip mall kind of area surrounded by nice beachy-type houses in the Oxnard Shores community.  We arrived early in the evening when it was still light outside and snapped this picture of one of the houses all decorated up for Halloween. Getting in the spirit…I love it!

 

DSC07922  There is a bright red sign letting you know you are exactly where you want to be… minutes from the beach on a mildly temperate evening in October about to get drunk on “nanobrew.”  Good times for the forecast!

 

 

The interior of @RedTandemBrews is on the small side but there is seating for at least 25 people.  The menu is also on the small side but that’s not a bad thing when they advertise on their website as a “nanobrewery.”  At least you know what to expect when you walk in.  There are only 7 different brews but everyone in my group got something unique so the limited selection wasn’t an issue.  The Old Man snapped this clear shot of the brew board.

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I started off with my usual, a 6.4% IPA called C-Hag.  The hop level was just about perfect.  It has a measurement of 47 IBUs and was not shocking to my palette at all.  It was so good that I stuck with the C-Hag for the rest of the night, which ended up being about 3 beers long.  Sean got the Beach Blonde Ale with a high 5.9% ABV for a blonde.  He loved it but he also experimented with the Island Fox Red Ale and some of that C-Hag.  Everything we tried was a taste of perfection.  You can tell that the brewery really cares about what it is producing and takes the time and attention to detail that is necessary.

Red Tandem has some art on the walls (possibly for sale?), a chess board,

and a barrel set up with games to play.  We bought our own game of Timeline because we’re pretty good at this brewery thing; this wasn’t our first rodeo.  We met a nice guy named AJ.  He was just drinking and waiting for a friend so Ck asked him to join our game.  He caught on right away and we all had a great time.  I only won once but I’m glad about that one.  Every time I play I try to remember one card from the whole night.  Last month, I memorized the death of Billy the Kid as happening in 1881 and as fate would have it, I drew that card this time and stole the game!

As I was walking around the place taking pictures, the owner and brewer, Mark, asked if I wanted a tour.  I said yes right away because I love seeing all the equipment of the whole brewing process.  He was very friendly and quickly went over all the steps.

It was information overload during the tour and I don’t remember much of what Mark told me but he showed me the vats, the 55 lb bags of grain they use, the door to the temperature controlled fermenting room, and the refrigerated room where they keep the kegs and other ingredients.  All the brewing is done on site in the back.  It’s a small operation but extremely efficient.

I really liked Red Tandem Brewery.  From the location to the brews, they are tops in my opinion.  It’s too bad that I’m hardly ever in Oxnard because this is a place I would revisit again and again.  Maybe someday I will make it back there.  I hope Mark is behind the bar.  And I hope I get a better Uber driver than the crazy lady who picked us up at the end of the night.

Cheers!

 

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Beers I drink, Breweries, Out on the town drunk

Bingo Wednesdays at Backstreet Brewery

It was just like putting on a familiar pair of jeans; getting back to Backstreet Brewery in Anaheim for game night.  It used to be trivia on Wednesday nights.  But times change.  The game changes.  Now it’s bingo.  DSC06735

 

 

The Old Man and I arrived at about 7:45 and we were the first group among many that had parked right after we did and walked up right after us.  Luckily we knew what we DSC06734  wanted so we just went right up and ordered at the bar.  The menu board was the same as Monday’s $3 pint night and our selections changed only slightly.

On our first round, I tried the Los Angeles IPA of Anaheim that had an ABV of 6.4% and a measurement of 55 on the IBU scale.  It was a dark IPA in such contrast to the golden color of the Old Man’s Set Sail IPA but not even close to being as dark as their Imperial Red Ale.  DSC06754  It had a smoky taste and the slightest of bitter notes.  I liked it a lot even though it has a kinda low ABV.

Before “last call” we ordered a last round of Tomahawk Double IPA’s.  We both had pints of this on Monday and we were glad to revisit.  The color is light but the taste is full.

We played 3 rounds of bingo.

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The caller, the man in charge, told us they usually do 4 rounds.  They also usually start at 7:00 but on this night, they waited until more people showed up and they didn’t get started until about 7:30.  Since we got there a little late, we missed the first round.  A mistake we will never make again.

 

 

Bingo night is so stress-free at @BackstreetBrew.  I have gone to the church bingo nights with the serious old ladies and it is not fun.  The old ladies are aiming for complicated bingo patterns that make no sense.  Image result for old ladies playing bingo  At bingo night at Backstreet, we just played regular, not serious, bingo.  The kind where you win if you get five in a row.  The last game’s goal was to get the 4 corners to win.  But these are easy to understand.  The old ladies play shapes like the Confederate flag and shit like that.  When I went, I had to constantly ask the old lady next to me if I had a bingo yet.  As expected, she became annoyed and quit talking to me.

 

 

You get one card per round and a dabber.  DSC06752

It’s free to play and the guy provides everything.  Prizes are awarded after each successful round.  The table next to us was super lucky and the one lady, among four men, won twice.  The first time, she got a card valid for a growler.  Yeah, I was jealous but I was sure I could win one myself…ha!  God laughs at the plans I make.  She also won the grand prize at the end which was 2 Angels tickets.  I would’ve preferred another growler if I was her, but she was nice and gave her tix to her friend for his birthday.  Damn winning bitch.  I hope she burns in beer hell for her luck.

Our favorite brewtender, Renee, was serving tonight and we were so glad to see her smiling face.  She remembered us from trivia night and helped us right away with great service.

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There was a food truck called MexItUp but they were shut down for the night.  I don’t know if they sold out of their wares or if they were too into bingo to serve food.  But the menu was on the outside and I noticed they had veggie tacos for $8.00.  DSC06747

Don’t veggies cost less than meat?  Shouldn’t veggie tacos be cheaper than meat tacos?  Just one vegetarian’s opinion.  I guess if you are eating off a food truck, you expect to pay a premium for the service and options.  I was just excited to know they had veggie tacos in the first place, never mind the price.

 

The crowd for bingo night was overwhelming.  The two tables inside were completely taken up.  By the time bingo had started, there were only two empty picnic tables left on the patio.

 

After bingo, the crowd dispersed somewhat.  The twice-winning woman got the heck out of there before we could strong arm her for her growler prize.  But we will be back again.  Maybe not every week but it is a great break in the middle of the work week.  You should try to make it to #Anaheim for bingo night at Backstreet Brewery.  It’s fun and drinks flow the whole night.

Get your drunk on and always remember to tip your brewtender!

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Beers I drink, Breweries, Out on the town drunk

$3 Pint Night @BackstreetBrew

Monday is a day much maligned in our working-class culture.  But if you think about it, Monday’s not that bad.  I mean, you’ve got Preacher (spoiler alert) on AMC.  And then, to prep for Preacher,  you’ve got $3 pints at @BackStreetBrew.  Those two things alone are like the silver lining of Monday’s grey cloud.

I noticed a few things had changed right off the bat.  They have a giant new BSB sign on the front.  DSC06729  There was a note on the front door that welcomed and invited you to use the entrance on the left side.  Oh yeah, and to remind you to #drinklocalDSC06730

In the front window, on the floor, was also a wooden sign.  Maybe they don’t know it’s on the floor.  Someone should hang it back up.  It’s cool.

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It was very crowded when we showed up around 8:00.                                                       DSC06743  Almost all the street parking was taken.  Which can also be said about all the outside seating.  There was one left for me & the Old Man in both instances.  The city has painted blocked out parking spots on Santa Cruz St..  I’m sure it’s in preparation for the shit-ton of crowds that are going to be coming here once all the condo’s go up in the vicinity.  You can see the gigantic eyesore of a parking structure in the background.  Yay.  Crowds.

I love how consistent Backstreet is with their menu but how they also always have something new to try.  DSC06734

This time, I noticed the Los Angeles IPA of Anaheim and I giggled to myself at the play on words for the Angels baseball team.  But…I ended up going with the Set Sail IPA.               DSC06737 It was stronger and I needed that.  Set Sail is a 7% with 70 IBU’s.  It’s a beautiful golden color and tastes so refreshing and with a hoppyness to last for days.  It’s delicious so I could not resist.  Neither could Sean, we both ended up drinking the same brews the whole night.  Once we killed our first round, we decided to hit hard and go for the Tomahawk Double IPA.  Tomahawk is a whopping 9.2% ABV with a score of 105 on the IBU scale.  I love it because it is so strong.  It’s bitter as hell at first but your palette adjusts accordingly and it goes down smooth after that.

There was a food truck there last Monday.   DSC06742It was called Bobup and people seemed to really like it.  I have friends who would be interested in bringing their food truck, HeadHunter, to Backstreet so it is good to know that they are having trucks come on a regular basis.

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Bobup featured Korean food and put their menu’s on the tables.  I thought that was a brilliant move to show the folks what you have to offer without them having to awkwardly go up to the truck to look at the menu and think about what they want and then kinda slink off back to their seat to stew over which kind of protein they want.  Unfortunately there was nothing of substance that was vegetarian.  And they spelled steak wrong.

The Old Man and I caught up on trivia with the pages I totally missed from my trivia calendar.  The pages started on June 1st. and we got all the way to June 23rd.  We thought it was appropriate considering we used to come here for trivia on Wednesdays.  But they don’t have trivia anymore.

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They’ve got bingo on Wednesday nights now but other than that, their Daily Specials are still the same as they were since the last time I was at BSB.  Again, I love the consistency.  Here’s a pic of their specials:

 

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So that’s about it.  I’m getting back to Backstreet.  Tonight, I’m stopping by for a game of bingo and a Los Angeles IPA of Anaheim.  If you find that Monday has given you the blues, turn your frown upside down and get drunk with $3 pints at BackStreet Brewing.

Drink up & always remember to tip your brewtender!

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Breweries, Out on the town drunk

Asylum Brewing

It was hot as balls in Anaheim.  The Old Man informed me that it’s not even considered a “heat wave” because the temps have to get past 100f.  So while the fake forecasters tell you it’s technically not a heat wave even though you are melting, you can rest assured that it is indeed, as hot as balls.  I consider hot as balls to be 90 and above.  On the Friday night I went to Asylum Brewing Company it was a good 93 at 8:00 at night.  Disgusting.

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There is a tent outside the entrance and meaty tacos were cooking underneath it so it was even hotter going in.  But once you get inside, the air conditioning is magic.  It improved my whole mood.  All of a sudden I didn’t care about the crowd and the childrens running around or the wanna-be heat wave.  I was just elated to be comfortable.

We checked out the menu board and this is what we saw:

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So many taps, so little selection

Only 4 out of 5 beers were available.  Fair Weather Friend, a West Coast Pale Ale with a 4.7% ABV, was sold out.  That was great for them.  But it reduced the selection by 20%.  Don’t check my math or anything but the cold hard fact is that there were only 4 beers to choose from.  This seems like it would be typical of a newly-opened, small brewery but I have seen smaller breweries with more choices.  But they are a very tiny operation in their infancy.  Brewing and tasting out of the same small space makes for close company.  Hopefully they will expand into a larger building.

It’s a good thing they weren’t sold out of Monsters We Breed, which was billed as a dank IPA with a 7.5% ABV.  I saw “dank” and I had to have it.  It was tasty and cold but not very “danky.”  I figured they meant “especially hoppy” when they described it as “dank” but it wasn’t really too bitter.  It had a kick though and I drank mine right up.  The Old Man decided on a 6.5% Harlequin Honey Blonde.

There is cool wall art in the entrance hall and in the tasting room area.  I saw on Asylum Brewing Company that the artist of these 3 beautiful paintings is a local named Nathan Houtz.  Not sure where credit goes for the 4 geometric prints but they’re outstanding.

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Like all smart breweries, Asylum is trying to brand you with their selection of merchandise.  They have shirts for $15, hats for $25, and pint glasses at $7 for sale.

 

@AsylumBrewing is in a great location.  Steps away from Hoparazzi Brewing and sharing a parking lot that is across the street from Bottle Logic, this place is in the center of the action on Lager Palma Brewlouvard.  That would explain why they were so crowded.  And I’m sure their excellent a/c system kept it crowded.

There is a shelf full of games and it seemed like every table had one going on.  We chose to play Spot It!  A game meant for 4th graders and drunks.  It was a blast because we didn’t keep score.  That ended up being in my inebriated favor.

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What is the matching symbol in common?  Wrong!

I wished I could’ve spent all night inside the cold cave of Asylum.  I was ready to check myself in.  They are open until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.  Those are some of the latest hours I’ve seen a brewery open until.  I’m sure they get people coming and going all night.

But we had already tried the two beers on the menu that seemed best suited for our tastes.  Neither of us really likes an Imperial Stout that much and the Rorschach was too…coffee for me, at least.  So our #datenight came to an end.

I’m gonna keep my eye on Asylum Brewing because I liked what little of their menu selections I tried.  If they can add some more options, I will definitely be back in.  It would be great to see them expand and add more space to the brewing and tasting room areas.  I wish them the best of luck.  Drink well & remember to tip your bartender.

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