Belching Beaver

Belching Beaver is another nearby brewery. Often, I see the ocean on my way to work and feel fortunate to have such a view so close by. Just as often, I cruise over to one of the many beer tasting rooms near me and feel insanely lucky to be so close to so many good beers.

Easy Beaver: 4.7% ABV. Session IPA’s are all the rage now, so lots of local breweries have started making them. This one was hoppy and floral, and finished with a bold bitterness. It was light and perfect for a session. Definitely a fantastic summer beer. IPA’s, although amazing, can get a bit heavy after a couple; their textures are also prone to changing when the sun’s out and the beer warms quickly. Sessions sort of solve this problem.

Great Lei: 6.5% ABV. Haha, get it? Funny, but the beer itself is sort of cute and sweet, as opposed to sexy. It’s an IPA, but with coconut and pineapple flavors. It’s much more pina colada than IPA. It’s definitely fruity, and a little too sweet for my tastes. It does transport you to a tropical island for a bit though. You’ll know what’s coming before it hits your lips too; it smells strongly of coconut and pineapple. Another good summer beer, if this type of beer is your thing.

Hop Highway: 7.3% ABV. Another IPA! They just don’t get old for me. Piney, fresh, hoppy, sassy, and a bit carefree.

Beaver’s Milk: 5.3% ABV. I finally switched it up from the IPA’s. This is a very smoky milk stout. Full and smooth. Not as good as their peanut butter stout, though well-balanced.

Sour Puss: 3.9 % ABV. A Berliner Weisse beer. Still open to trying new things. Still not really liking sour beers. This was fruity and very tart. Reminded me of a really crisp, unripe, tart apple. Which isn’t always a bad thing – but just not really a beer to me.

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Yosemite 2015

Just because my last post was 2 months ago, doesn’t mean I’ve taken a break from diligently drinking beer. I had a series of crazy work days, followed by a beautiful and much-needed trip to Yosemite. We spent the night in Mammoth on our way up, and pictured above, I am indulging in one of my favorite Stone beers while hanging out in The Village. Unfortunately, once we actually made it inside a bar (specifically, the Lakanuki) the beer selection wasn’t so expansive and satisfying.

In Yosemite, we had the chance to stop at the Ahwahnee Hotel after a short hike to lower Yosemite falls. This hotel has a seriously gorgeous view and a charming mountain resort ambiance (as long as you ignore the fact the style is vaguely reminiscent of the Overlook Hotel from The Shining).

After enjoying some tea time with cookies in the Winter Room, we went to the bar and I ordered a Tuolumne Meadow IPA. I kept some notes on decent beers brewed by Mammoth brewing while I was there, but they were lost in the shuffle, or maybe on a hike. It’s OK; the beers were good, but none of the beers were as good as San Diego beers anyway. Yosemite is known for its breathtaking natural beauty, not brews:

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Oh, and as of recently, Yosemite is also known for the bubonic plague.

 

Get In My Beer Belly

Went up to LA for the weekend, and my dear friend took me to this cute little gastropub in K-Town called Beer Belly. They had a decent beer selection, though I wish they offered more IPAs in pint-sized servings:

She started with a Seafarer by Three Weavers Brewing, a Kolsch, and I ordered the East to West IPA by Ballast Point (I know, so original of me – San Diego resident goes to LA for the weekend, and first pick is a San Diego beer). The East to West IPA was fresh, hoppy, floral, light, and citrusy, like IPAs tend to be (pictured above, in the goblet-style glass). It is also a very typical quality for Ballast point – well-balanced, smooth, satisfying. Ballast Point rarely disappoints, of course.

When the Seafarer came, I grew curious, because it was an amber color. I don’t usually get very excited about Kolsch beers, so this unusual color (for a Kolsch) caught my eye. I tasted it and rather enjoyed it. It was malty, fresh, nutty, and had a smoky aftertaste. My friend thought it was actually a bit floral. Well, turns out it wasn’t a Kolsch. Our server brought the Vapor, a California Common by Faction Brewing instead.  So the Seafarer ended up being her second beer, and I got the Vapor the second time around. The Vapor is the darker one on the left, and the Seafarer is to its right:

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The food is also worth mentioning. We indulged in all kinds of health items including duck fat fries, and pork belly chips. No regrets. We ordered two types of wings: buffalo and volcano. Volcano was the spiciest, and my preference, though both were really good. By far the most interesting was the kimchi ragu, which was a kimchi tomato stew that topped with meatballs and an egg in a little skillet. Very interesting and delicious.This place is listed on Yelp as “American,” but it is located in K-Town after all, so I suppose they had to get with the program. This isn’t a food blog, but this one is totally worth mentioning, especially when paired with an IPA (or even the Kolsch, since the flavors in this dish are so strong already).

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A Tail Of Two Cats, And A Lot Of Beer Part II

Ophelia

It’s Friday night. It’s Friday night! Again! Friday nights are always like this. The strangers arrive in waves, and the incessant doorbell chime grieves me. I wish they would stop coming. The weekend always comes again so quickly, and the people appear and here it is again, loud noises, slurring speech, drunken mess in the living room and I can’t get Mum or Dad’s attention for hardly more than a minute the whole night. It’s frightening and crass, these weekend nights. Everyone makes me so nervous, though I don’t know about what. I just cannot relax on these weekend nights.

Mum and Dad forgot to give me the Buspar (anti-anxiety medication) today! That’s what drinking does; it causes rational people to forsake their sense of decency and responsibility, though to be completely fair, I don’t like the medication anyway. But the point stands, as I quite dislike drunkenness, and cannot stand the presence of so many people at such high volumes, so I sit upstairs and watch silently from behind the safety of the banister. I wish Mom or Dad would just come up briefly and say “hi.” It agitates me to no end – oh my, does Mum really need another IPA? Does Dad really need to have that Porter? My god, this is interminable!

When they stay at home, they raise hell all night and grate my nerves for hours until I wonder if I’m indeed an American house cat, or a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay. When they go out to bars or clubs, they come home so late, at an ungodly hour, and follow me around the room trying to pet me with their grubby drunken hands. I cannot stand it. They make a big deal out of their variety of craft beers, but I do not believe this is a worthy or proper endeavor of any sort. Grown people voluntarily drinking this abominable stuff, and growing loud and silly. And they think I’m the one with the mental problems. It should not be permitted. Lord have mercy on the individual who invented this devil-juice.

Oh, my god! What was that? Oh, only the doorbell… again….  I just don’t know how much longer I can keep this up. My sister is not supportive at all. She is transparently obsequious, taking interest in the different types of their sinful drinks, making her way from one friend to the next, peering at everyone coyly, nuzzling up to the boys.

She’s disgusting. She’s a disgusting, cheap, little slut, and she’s cruel to me. Her antics have been a severe source of apprehension and even oppression for me. The humans don’t see through her sly charm, but oh but how she torments me heartlessly when they are not around! She’s claimed certain parts of the bed as “hers” and becomes aggressive if I approach, as if she owns the place! Dad originally came to the animal shelter for the sole purpose of adopting me. She was a mere afterthought. He happened upon her and she of course easily deceived him with her saccharine ploys, so he ended up coming home with two cats. Immediately after we arrived at our lovely new abode, she set to work claiming laps, chairs, spaces as “hers.” It’s almost painful to think about it… I know Mum suspects Sister is this way when no one is watching, but alas, it is hard for anyone to conceive of this, as she is so small and delicate, while I’m larger – a bit overweight (yet another source of constant angst for me!)

How they all clearly love my sister, as she moves from one lap to the next. Oh, I’m not at all bitter because that’s not my nature, but it hurts! She lingers in the lap of the boy she likes a lot. She conjures up quite a bit of her malicious charm for him. The blond one turns itchy and red near my sister, but one plaintive look from that brazen trickster and the blond one reaches out to gently scratch her wretched cheek. I don’t understand any of this. Aside from my vulgar sister, honestly, who likes being molested by strangers? Oh, I could die right now. When does it end? 

Blast the IPA’s, porters, and Belgians. I’m going to go hide in the bedroom for the rest of the night.

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The Beer & Bullshit Show Episode 46

If you have some time (quite a bit of time), check out The Beer & Bullshit Show, Episode 46, hosted by Chris Bennett.

The regulars are Chris, Ruby, Nick, and Jim, while I appeared as a guest. We talked about a number of beer and other alcohol-related topics. Discussion includes Firestone Walker’s Union Jack and Wooky Jack; Mirror Pond Pale Ale, North West Pale Ale, and Inversion IPA by Deschutes; Ciders by Cider Brothers; Nugget Nectar; Sierra Nevada beers; among others.

I brought on Mirror Pond and Inversion, because these are a couple of my favorites, and they both happened to be available in my beer fridge. As discussed in the show, Deschutes pretty much does not make a single bad beer.

My Neighbor Stumblefoot

Stumblefoot is a small brewery operating out of an industrial park near my house. We usually bike there because it’s a close and flat ride. Every once in a while, we decide we’ll hit it up and see what’s new. They have a few regulars on the menu, but they like to experiment and frequently have several new items on the menu.

We came here last weekend and had a flight.

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Schwarz Black Lager: This is a smoky, smooth, yet light beer. I don’t usually like lagers, but this one has enough flavor and texture to be plenty enjoyable. It’s well balanced and is comparable to a light porter. (If you were looking for a porter, you’d be disappointed, but as a lager, this is a very pleasant surprise).

Vixen Dunkel: This is a dunkelweizen with predictable banana and caramel notes. The description mentions clove, which is not very prominent. It’s another smooth and balanced beer, and smells like a standard dunkel.

Apollo IPA: This is where things fall down for Stumblefoot. If I recall, I do like the Grassyass IPA, but it’s not particularly notable, and the Apollo similarly did not impress as an IPA. It’s fruity, tart, with citrus and Belgian tones (described as orange and passion fruit). It quite honestly has an edge that is reminiscent of a rubber band.

Cascade IPA: Another weird IPA, unfortunately. It has a chemically taste, and does not meet the expected hoppiness level of west coast IPAs. It’s more like a pale ale. It’s again rubbery like its predecessor, Apollo.

Back to Black IPA: This one is hoppy and malty. It’s sort of like a black and tan, and is not bad on the taste buds at all. It’s a little bitter and smoky, but again, if you’re looking for a standard IPA, it’s not the characteristically hoppy kind.

Moho Stout:  One of their better ones. Choclate, caramel, coffee, and smoky. Not very thick or hoppy.

New England and Some Beers

We went to visit a dear friend in New Hampshire for New Years. I definitely had some serious beers while there, because I have long been spoiled by southern California weather, and if I hadn’t resorted to beer jackets, I would have been like,

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We arrived early evening on December 31, and headed over to the Thirsty Moose Taphouse in Portsmouth. They had a gigantic beer list, so things were off to a good start. I opened with the Dogfish Head 61, after being warned that “IPA’s are not the same here.” I have always loved Dogfish Head beers though, so this was an easy decision. The beer was smooth, a little sweet, and hoppy, but not arrogantly so (even though I do love a good arrogant-tasting West Coast IPA). There was a smell of maple, which became more apparent when the beer got warmer. This beer did not disappoint.

Next was an IPA by Smuttynose (Portsmouth, New Hampshire). It tasted more like pale ale, with typical IPA coloring. It had some citrus and tart tones, and was notably un-floral. It’s on the mild side for me, being used to West Coast IPA’s. It smells pinier/bushier than it tastes. Though my review for this IPA is somewhat lukewarm, Smuttynose does make a bunch of other really good beers.

Beer number three was the Green Flash Soul Style IPA, because I had two New England beers in a row and wanted to switch it up. Plus, I hadn’t yet tasted this particular gem from Green Flash. This was hoppy and typical of Green Flash, with a floral and fresh feel. It had a thick head for an IPA, and almost had a buttery scent. Smooth and lovely.

After beer number 3, I lost interest in taking notes, and after beer 4, I took a shot of whiskey.

I thought I’d taken pictures of all these lovely beers, but I guess not. I may have been distracted by the crazy bitch that came to our table trying to hit on me and steel beers from our table that night. New Years Eve is the best because of good times with friends… and watching the crazies in all their glory.

Back To The Bellows (Again)

Last time we were at The Bellows, I posted about a lovely Hangar 24 Essence IPA. We were back at Bellows again recently, and had a couple of more gems.

The first was the Avery IPA, a West Coast IPA with an abv of 7%. Avery is located in Colorado. Beer Advocate gives the Avery IPA an 87% (“very good”). It was hoppy and very floral, with a sharp bitterness. It came to our table with a big thick head.  The beer has a crisp and fresh feel overall.

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Next, we had a Serpent’s Stout, made locally by Lost Abbey (pictured above). You can’t usually go wrong with Lost Abbey; almost all of their beers are pretty amazing. At their inception, Lost Abbey tended to specialize in Belgian-style beers, though I don’t know if that’s necessarily the case any longer. I do have to say I appreciate a lot of their Belgian-style beers more. Serpent’s Stout was OK. It’s an 11% Imperial Stout. I could definitely perceive the alcohol flavor. The beer was malty, with coffee tones, thick lacing, thick head, rich texture, and a sort of metallic edge I could have done without. However, Beer Advocate considers it world class, so my opinion may be in the minority.

Pumpkin Season

Well, this post is a little late now, but I was under the impression that pumpkins were a seasonal thing, at least until Thanksgiving. However, I attempted to buy a pumpkin to make a pumpkin beer keg the day before Thanksgiving, and they were nowhere to be found – not at Albertson’s, Stater Brother’s, or Wal-Mart. I felt somewhat deceived. I honestly wasn’t aware that pumpkins could not be readily procured after Halloween.

We made some pumpkin home brew a few weeks back in anticipation for Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, at this time, I no longer recall what hops, grains, or other flavors, if any, were used (besides the pumpkin, obviously). It was probably ready to drink a over a week ago, but we have a tendency to open them up a little too soon, so we waited just a bit longer. It is pictured above (being eyed suspiciously by one of our cats).

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The pumpkin beer ended up having a smoky and smooth flavor. It was somewhat on the darker side and had a full body and a tangy finish. I could have done without the tangy finish (note for next year).

Giving Thanks To Beer, And Alcohol In General

Happy Thanksgiving. I’m thankful for a great many things, including friends, family, a good job, and good health. As this blog is largely devoted to beer, I am of course also thankful for beer and alcohol in general.

I met my husband while drinking. Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to be in a fraternity or sorority without having a penchant for alcohol, but that wasn’t us. We met on a rainy night in February that involved lots of drinks, apartment party hopping, and a friend accidentally lighting something on fire at one of those parties (because he was drunk, as we all were). Back in those days, I was a 19-year-old sorority girl with an unrefined palate. I was probably sipping on whatever sugary, crass, cocktails were passed my way. I will regret this poor taste for the rest of my life, but regardless, that night was the beginning of a series of fun moments, many involving more drinking.

In college and some of law school, I was a fan of Jack on the rocks. We went through a period (early twenties) when we really liked wine. We still like wine, but love craft beers above all. Beer can make a dull day glisten with unexpected delight, and can turn a boring meal into an interesting one. There are so many types and styles of beers that the excitement never ends.

When we got married about 8 years after dating, we made sure to have good beers at our wedding. We had a small keg of Piraat, a beautiful and deceptively powerful Belgian trippel by Van Steenberge, a 10.5% abv delight (his choice). My choice was Westcoast IPA by Greenflash (7.3%). We got a keg of Modelo just in case anyone had lighter preferences, but predictably, that keg was not as popular. At our wedding, people had great beers and great fun; some probably had a little too much fun. It was a night to remember, except for the guests that drank too much to remember.

Cheers to beers, cheers to love, and cheers to my husband.

I am very thankful for all of these on this Thanksgiving.

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