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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Out on the town drunk, road trip

Bakersfield’s Craft Tap House

The 99 freeway is my main evacuation route when I retreat to the serenity of pine trees that is #Oakhurst, California.  I take it through towns like Bakersfield and Delano and Traver all the way to Fresno, where I promptly merge onto the 41 freeway and head north.

But on the way up, I almost always stop in #Bakersfield.  A quick stop to gas up and eat or just to stretch your legs after the Tejon Pass.  Either way, people come and go through here all the time.

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I have been a fan of the Bakersfield #craftbeer scene for a couple of years but I mostly had just heard of Lenghtwise Brewing Co.  I only get to town here about 3 times a year but we always try to check out a brewery.  This time, when I searched, I found a shit ton of newer places that have opened up in the last couple of years or so.  The Craft Tap House was one I had to check out, preferably first.

The Craft Tap House is unique.  I’ve heard of places with similar concepts but this was my first time going to one.  The idea is simple….

When you walk in, you exchange your ID for a swipe card.  You get a chilled glass from the cooler and you get to choose what beer you want and how much to pour.  It took me five or ten minutes to walk around and read all the taps.  If I wasn’t so bedazzled by the sheer amount of taps, I could’ve looked up and read the tap menu that runs on a screen above everyone’s heads.

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You are charged per ounce and the prices are related to the ABV.  Now you’re talking my kind of numbers!  The “cheaper” beers go for around $0.36 and the average ABV is 5%.  The “better” beers will run you about $0.61 an ounce and are in the 7% range and higher.  The highest beer I saw was $0.70 per ounce and it had a 13% ABV.  I like that…a lot!

So I finally decided to have some Tioga Sequoia IPA.  You just put your card on the screen behind the tap and pour.  The card keeps track of how many ounces you pour and how much each ounce costs so you know your total throughout the night.

I started off with half a beer because I wanted to try so many and because  I got over half foam on my pour.

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The foam eventually fizzed down to the 7.8 ounces I paid for.   I get very competitive sometimes and my nature just started coming out at the Craft Tap House.  They have 50 different beers on tap so it’s not an easy job picking your first!

They have some major California breweries represented in the offerings.  Like Stone, Pizza Port,

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Firestone Walker, Bootleggers, Modern Times Beer, and Karl Strauss.  There were also some smaller breweries like Mother Earth and Mad River.  From yellow to black, the beers come in all colors and flavors.

Greasy fried food and meat dishes make up the menu.  Their food is very “California Cuisine.”  The BLT is an ABLT with the A standing for avocado.  They have a pretty extensive menu but didn’t offer a veggie burger so we didn’t get anything to eat.

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The Craft Tap House also sells merchandise.  I only saw that they had Pizza Port from San Clemente in stock but I know the other breweries have shirts that could be sold there too.

There is a “real” bar inside the Craft Tap House that serves mixed drinks.  In case you’re into that sort of thing, there’s a live bartender you can really tip who will pour you your drink.

Sean’s second beer was 4 ounces of foam.  He didn’t expect a comp or anything but he just wanted to tell the supervisor that the keg was tapped out.  So what did the supervisor do?  He gave Sean a free 12 ounce pour of a decent tasting beer to make up for it. We never did get the name of that beer though.  And then, when the keg had been changed, the supervisor bought a 4 ounce pour of the original beer Sean had wanted in the first place to our table.  We were impressed, to say the least.  That kind of customer service brings people back in and you can count on Sean and I going back.

My second beer was this huge, epic thing.  While I was helping the old man down his comped brew, I saw on the menu screen that there was a Stone beer I have only heard about in legend.  It was the Stone Farking Wheaton wOOtstout 2.0

This is a collaboration between Stone Brewery, Wil WheatonAisha Tyler and some Farking guy named Drew Curtis.  I had to try it.  For purely scientific reasons, of course!

Here is a succession of pictures that shows me in the three stages of discovery.  Before, notice the smiling and eager face about to try a new brew.  Then during; drink it up, brewbroad, drink it all up!  And then climaxing with my disgusted face for the after-shot.

It is an Imperial Stout so I wasn’t expecting to fall in love with it.  I don’t generally like Imperial Stouts but I knew what I was getting into.  And it was worse than I expected.  It was thick and sugary sweet.  I couldn’t get any coffee tastes in it and it was a chore to finish it.  All I said was that I had to try it.  I didn’t say I’d have to like it.

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I love the concept of the Craft Tap House.  You pour your own so there is no one to tip at the end of the night.  The selection is outstanding.  All the California brews you can drink, without having to go to the actual brewery.

 

I will be back here next time I’m in Bakersfield for sure!  Pourin my sorrows into a glass!

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Beers I drink

A Red Trolley Christmas

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So it was Christmas day with Sean’s family…again.  And it was the best Christmas ever!  Candice and Tyler came all the way from Rawlins, WY to visit with their wonderful daughter, Cheyenne.  She is about two and a half.

There were can Coronas in the fridge.  And Blue Moons.  But my eyes lit up when I saw the @Karlstraussbeer  Red Trolley Ale.  I got nice and buzzed the whole afternoon on a few of those.  I always have a fond place in my heart for Red Trolley Ale because it is named after the trolley cars in San Diego, CA.  Sean and I would always go to the big Comic Con every year and we always visited the Karl Strauss Brewery.  They have tasty veggie burgers and a few other vegetarian options.  #veggieforlife

Cheyenne was amazed by Santa Sean.  She didn’t even realize they were the same people.  Amazing.  Magical and beautiful.  And she wasn’t even the buzzed one.

Merry Christmas 2015 to y’all!

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