Beers I drink, Breweries

The Black Cock Chronicles

Who is to blame when a Groupon goes wrong?  The merchant?  Groupon themselves?  God?  Lets find out together.

It’s no secret that I’m cheap.  I learned it from the head cheap-o himself, The Old Man.  Together, we love a bargain.  Keep that in mind as you read my review.  So there was a Groupon for Black Cock Brewing Company in Orange, California and of course we pounced on it.  Black Cock used to be the Old Orange Brewing Company.  (Click the link to check out my previous review.)  OOB was not that great of a place to begin with.  Then, for reasons unknown to myself, they changed to Black Cock Brewing Co.  I was anxious to get to the newly named brewery and see what changes had come.

In some ways, @BlackCockBrewCo was just like @OldOrangeBrewCo.  Maybe they had the same decorator?  But the walls were hung with art work of their flagship beers.

With the Groupon in hand and my best drinking buddies behind me, we ventured into the Black Cock one Sunday.DSC09632 (2) - Copy  Immediately, we found out we couldn’t use our Groupon that day.  In the small print, which I had neglected to read (my bad), the terms were that you needed to make a reservation at least 24 hours in advance.  There was a sign too with the bad news.  I was bummed.

I got a shot of the menu board…

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As I checked out the menu, I kinda smiled to myself at the name of one of the beers: Dumb Bitch Denise.  What else would you expect from a brewery named Black Cock?  I decided to have the Dumb Bitch pale ale with a 6.6% ABV.  When I went to order it, I found myself having a hard time saying “dumb bitch” to the female brewtender.  Normally, “bitch” will come out of my mouth for the littlest reason, it’s one of my favorite words in fact and I love using it….around people who know me.  I didn’t know this lady and here I am asking her for a “Dumb Bitch Denise” and just hoping that she wasn’t Denise.  I found the name of the beer a little insensitive to say the least but the Old Man thought it was downright misogynist.  I know that it is probably coming across as too PC, I’m sure Black Cock’s patrons love the flippant manner and I just have a stick up my ass.  Whatever.

So the Dumb Bitch Denise was really tasty.  It was just a bit hoppy but not overwhelming.  When I was finished with my first pint, I tried a Kemeron which is a 7.2% American Pale Ale.  It was so delicious, the first sip was like drinking a Sprite.  The key lime is very prevalent but again, not overwhelming.  It wasn’t too citrusy, just crisp and refreshing.

Remember when I said I was cheap?  Well, here it comes.  Beers at Black Cock are $8.00 a pint.  That is way overpriced.  I went to Karl Strauss later in the day and paid $6.50 for beers that were better tasting with higher ABV’s.  I realize small breweries are the latest thing but that’s no reason to bend me over the barrel on the cost of a pint.

We hung around and drank pints for a couple of hours.  Black Cock has lots of games to play like Jenga, shuffleboard, and board games in a corner.

They even have a popcorn machine that is always full of hot buttery popcorn.  So good for my low sodium diet!  DSC09590

And a giant Connect Four game.  DSC09627 - Copy

There is definitely no shortage of things to do at Black Cock.

And they offer something no other brewery does: the option to add 200 mgs of cannabis oil to your beer.  It’s an expensive treat at an additional $15 per “Splash” and $30 per pint but some people are really into the whole CBD thing so it could be worth it just for that option.   Me? DSC09611 (3)I prefer to go around the corner and toke a preroll.  It’s cheaper and I like THC more than CBD’s.

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This guy!

Black Cock also offers 32 ounce versions of their beers all “Super Size Me!” style.  I didn’t see it on the menu but my friend visiting from North Carolina got one.  He’d be pissed if I used his name so lets just call him “Brian.”

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From Hawaii…

We had a good time that Sunday despite not being able to use the Groupon.  We scored some cool gifts from the Eichels who had just returned from their vacation in Maui.  The Old Man wanted to eat and continue drinking so we headed over to Karl Strauss in Anaheim near the Angels Stadium.  Totally different experience.  Cheaper beers, good tofu appetizer…. Karl Strauss has it all.  I even took a couple of shots to commemorate the difference.

Flash forward one week later after we had made our reservations…

The brewtender remembered us and so did the guy I assume is the owner and/or manager of Black Cock Brewing Company.  They explained that because of unseasonal weather, some of their beers weren’t available.  They only had numbers 4 through 8 on the menu board.  This was back when I still thought we would get to choose what beers we wanted for our 4 bombers that were included in the Groupon.  They said if we wanted to come back when they had more beer selection to redeem our Groupon, that would be okay.

 

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A murder of growlers

We were kinda annoyed at that news.  We didn’t feel like hanging out again with the limited selection of brews.  The guy behind the bar said if we stayed he would give us official Black Cock undies for girls and boys.  Tempting but it wasn’t enough to keep us there and we ended up going to Chapman Crafted Brewery in Orange, just down the street a couple miles.

The next Sunday after that we went camping so we skipped that weekend.  We came back the Sunday after camping and were happy to hear that all the brews were available.  Ck & Carie got their 2 flights and we got the first 2 of the 4 flights coming to us.  The flights consist of 4 beers at 4 (maybe 5) oz. each.  There are 8 beers on the menu and we tried one of each.

I liked the selection and every beer was tasty.  Some I had tried 3 weekends before and I got to try others that I normally wouldn’t have.  The top 2 beers that stood out were the Chocolate Persuasion and one that wasn’t on the menu last time called Cock-a-something.  The picture I took on the third visit turned out blurry so I don’t know the full name.  The Cock-a-whatever was brewed with a chile pepper and had a spicy taste.  The Chocolate Persuasion was a 7.2% ale with a distinct yet mellow chocolate taste with some creaminess.

The Old Man and I traded our final 2 flights in for pints.  Being creatures of habit, we had the Dumb Bitch Denise.  When we finished those, we had two more pints, I went with the Kemeron since I had liked it so much before and Sean had the Cock-a-something beer.  We talked about what beers we wanted for our bombers and came up with a list of 4 starting with the highest percentages.

But when it came time to get our bombers and go, we found out that they were prefilled 22 oz bottles of Back Door Blonde.  We were like, “Wha?”  Back Door Blonde would’ve been my last choice for what I wanted to take home because it is only a 4.0% ABV.  The tender didn’t even tell us what beer it was.  She told Carie a few minutes before when she picked up their 2 bottles.  Plus the bombers had Cannonball Imperial IPA labels and upon closer inspection were revealed to be left-over stock from the Old Orange Brewing Company.  We felt like we had been scammed.  So that happened.

I posed the question in the beginning, who is to blame?  I put all the confusing small print, deceptive take-home bombers, and the annoyance of having to come back 3 times square in the lap of Black Cock.  And a little bit of God’s fault because the weather was not hot enough to put the beers in the bright tank or whatever.

I went there to check it out and I did.  I liked Old Orange better because they didn’t have names that were offensive to this stuck-up old biddie.

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Fancy a flight?

Their beers are pretty good, if not great, tasting but I noticed as I was going through the flights that there was an underlying similarity to all the brews.  Like you could just tell they were all from the same brewery.  But I really don’t care about those things because I’m not going back to Black Cock.  My whole experience with this brewery should’ve happened in one day.  Instead it took 3 weeks to finally get to redeem the Groupon.  And then, the 22 ouncers sucked.

The best part about Black Cock, the one thing that would make me reconsider returning, is the friendly, helpful attitude of the brewtender behind the bar.  Every time we were there, she had a smile and bought drinks to our table and made our experience a little better.  I feel really bad about trash-talking Black Cock because of her.  The guy I assume is the owner was nice also but he is probably the “brains” behind the Groupon scam so I will leave it at that.

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Costume party? Sorry, I’ll be at Bottle Logic.

 

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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

Cismontane Brewing Co. Date Night

When a local brewery, like Cismontane, gets together with a discount site, like Groupon, it’s like magic.  For the tidy sum of $20, the Old Man and I went out on a date and tried some really delicious beers in Santa Ana, CA.  I’m not sure how long Groupon will have this sale going on in cahoots with Cismontane Brewing Company so you better get your ass in gear and buy in.  There are several options to choose from depending on whether you have 2 or 4 folks in your party.  Honestly though, it doesn’t matter if you are 2 people and you buy the Groupon for 4.  That’s what I did and I didn’t get sent to hell.  It just makes better sense financially to buy in bulk, right?

 

DSC09469 (2)     It was a Tuesday night, aka “Cask Night,” at @Cisbrewco and SoHo Tacos food truck was there serving up the eats.  It was expectantly crowded when we walked in, almost all the tables were taken and most of the seats along the bar.

I mozied on up to the brewtender and showed her my Groupon.  She marked it as redeemed and gave me 2 slips of paper to write what brews we wanted in the 2 flights and then she handed over 4 wooden tokens to use when we wanted to get down to pint-guzzling.  DSC09459   I like that method a lot.  When I go wine tasting, I am always worried about how the host will remember what wine I had last.  I’m afraid she’ll forget one of the wines and I’ll get gyped.  But this way, you have physical tokens you are holding in your hands to turn in when you want.  The brewtender even told us we didn’t have to use all 4 of the tokens that night, we could use them another time if we wanted.  Super efficient!  I love it!

So here is a pic of the menu board.  There are a lot of choices.  At Cismontane, a flight consists of 5 4-oz. pours so you can try quite a few.

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In honor of Cask Night at Cismontane, I tried the Black & Blue for my first flight choice.  Black & Blue is an 8% Imperial Stout made with blueberries that is mild and pleasant tasting.  The blueberries were hard to discern on my palette but there was a slight sweetness to it that I know was because of the addition of fruit.  Next, I went with a Citizen lager.  How could I resist Beavis & Butthead?  The Citizen was a 6% lager trying to be an IPA with an IBU measurement of 45.  I liked it.  I was expecting something light but the hops were very prevalent.

My last three choices were all IPAs; starting with a Back That Thing Up, then a Hop Dumpster, and finishing with a Pretty Fly For A Light Guy.  The stats on the first two are impressive.  The Back That Thing Up was a floral, tasty IPA with an ABV of 8.3% and an IBU rating of 90.  The Hop Dumpster was an extremely palatable and smooth double IPA that comes in at 100 on the IBU scale and a solid 8% ABV.  I loved them both but I really loved Hop Dumpster.  I ended my flight with a Pretty Fly For A Light Guy.  It was only a 4.1% session IPA but I got it because of the connection to Offspring, a lil’ ol’ OC band that made it to the big time.  The IBU was 52 and the hoppy bitterness was there but just not enough for my tastes.  It’s a light brew and named appropriately.

The Old Man’s flight was pretty similar to mine but with 2 differences.  The Coulter IPA, with a 7.2% ABV and 60 IBUs, was extraordinairy.  The Strawberry Letter 23 tasted like candy it was so good.  It’s a strawberry blonde with a decent ABV of 5.5%.  Just a taste of the Letter 23 was all I needed, it is sweet and fruity.

We finished our flights and got ready to redeem some tokens.  For the first round, we both revisited the Hop Dumpster.  It’s an incredible beer and I would drink it again for sure.

The brewtender called “Last Call!” so we downed those Hop Dumpsters and ordered our second and last round of the night.  We both got the Coulter IPA and sat around drinking those and chatting with this guy about random stuff related to sound engineering until the brewtender was done cleaning.  Look at how spotless that bar is!DSC09463 (2)

Cismontane had a good selection of merch, like shirts and hats, but it runs on the pricey side.

 

 

There was only one complaint I had about my date night.  The temperature inside Cismontane was practically unbearable.  It was just another hot-as-fuck night in So Cal and there was only one industrial-sized, stationary fan blowing towards the bar.  The door was open which only let the heat get in instead of providing a way for a breeze to blow through the building.  Fan?  No help.  DSC09456_LI (2) Open door?  No help.  Christ!  Does someone have to die of heat stroke before they air condition that place?

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This sticker of our President as the Devil seemed like a good theme pic for the night since it was hot as Hell.

 

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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, Game Night Drunk, road trip

Council Brewing Company Part Two

I like when breweries take chances and concoct new libations and that is exactly what Council Brewing Co. has been doing since I’ve been there last.  I was hop-stopping in San Diego last Saturday and happened to be in the neighborhood so I thought, “What the hell?”  My first time there was great so my anticipation was palpable.

So down Clairemont Mesa Blvd. we drove to the industrial park off Convoy St. where Council’s unassuming tasting room/brewery is located.  There was a small crowd so we easily got a table big enough to stretch out a long Timeline.

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I was pleased to see the changed-up menu offerings.  Even the selections from the Magic Factory had changed.  I remembered the Lickable Staves Sour that I had wanted to try but I didn’t see it up on the board so I might’ve missed my chance.   I saw on their website that Lickable Staves won Best In Show at the SD International Beer Competition!  Congratulations to them but now my regret is even greater that I never tasted it.  As the Old Man would say, “Bird in the hand and all…”

The first beer I tried was a hazy IPA called Hazeas Corpus.  It was a 6.7% and so citrusy with tropical juiciness.  Delicious.  Sean went with a new draft release called Miss Olivia that was a respectable 6.8%.  Carie got a Blonde called Lively Banter that was 5.5% ABV.   Ck stuck with the fruity theme of the night and got a 4.5% Guava Beatitude Tart Saison.  The Old Man and I also split a Bully Pulpit which we had both tried the first time we visited and wanted to experience again.

@Council has a well-rounded and extensive menu.  They have 2 NE-style IPA’s and 6 flavored Beatitude Saisons.  Just up on the main menu are 14 different beers plus 2 new releases on tap.  Then there’s the Magic Factory selections: 8 beers ranging in strength from 5.8% to 6.8% that are brewed at a different location.

 

Council has bottles to go and merchandise for sale.  Of course, the Old Man found the clearance bin.  DSC07495

Of course, I had to buy one of those clearance shirts since I love CBC so much.  You can also get growlers and crowlers filled.  Flights are $10 for 5 tasters which is a great option if you are trying to sample a selection from the menu rather than focusing on one or two pints.

The best part about ending the night at Council Brewing?  Our television star Pennywise!

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I went to the ladies room and this is what I saw:  It’s a sign from you-know-who.

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Happy Drinking!

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