Wednesday, November 26, 2008

OC: BJ's Domestic Winter Warmer Tasting

Just about to head out for the weekend, so won't do anything more than copy/paste the info for this event (I will say the beers look darn good).

Our Domestic Winter Warmer event in Brea is an annual tradition that beer lovers can't afford to miss. This is the time of year when American craft brewers have a little fun and give us their best by brewing something special. Some of these beers will be spiced, and many of will be on the extreme side in terms of gravity and hopping rate. So in the spirit of the holidays, you can expect quite a party on the palate!

Here is the festive lineup:
  • Alaskan Winter Ale
  • Anchor Our Special Ale
  • Anderson Valley Winter Solstice
  • Lost Abbey Gift of the Magi
  • Marin Hoppy Holidaze
  • Moylan’s White Christmas
  • New Belgium 2 Below
  • Pyramid Snowcap
  • Rogue Santa’s Private Reserve
  • Rogue Yellow Snow
  • Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale
  • Stone Double Bastard
  • Stone Imperial Stout
  • The Bruery Autumn Leaf
  • Widmer BRRRR
Where and when:
BJ's in Brea on Tuesday, December 2, 7:30pm

$18 per person (pay at the door). Includes all beer samples, handouts and a souvenir glass. Must be 21 years of age. Designated drivers welcome at no charge.

For more info:
714/990-2095 (Brea)

Happy Thanksgiving

From all of us here at Pacific Brew News we extend Happy Thanksgiving wishes. For us, we're grateful that you stop by now and then and have become a part of our lives. We're also thankful for our local brewers and this weekend we'll be sipping from some of the best around our neck of the woods: Auburn Alehouse, SacBrew and Rubicon. We'll also be making a beer of our own, with our closest friends.

We hope you also have plans that make the holiday festive and special. Drive safe.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sacramento Beer Find: Original Pete's

I've enjoyed Original Pete's pizza in my area for years; the crust, cheese and toppings all properly balanced. That said, this isn't a joint we hit up for sudsy refreshment -- at least it wasn't before we found ourselves at the Midtown location (on 20th and J).

We walked in the pizza restaurant and were immediately turned on by the warm, super-inviting bar made of stone with a wooden counter top. In fact we opted to go no further and staked our seats in front of the large flat-screen showing the Sacramento Kings battle valiantly, but to no avail. Behind the bar we could spy two beer-tap towers that each had six beers (that's 12 taps for those keeping score at home). On one tower were "standard" taps with the house brand - a pale ale and English IPA grabbed my attention. The other tower had Guinness and, read slowly now, Firestone Walker's Union Jack, Pale Ale, Double Barrel and the seasonal Oktoberfest. Are you kidding?!

I looked at the menu and realized this wasn't just an Original Pete's like I had closer to home, this was an Original Pete's "Brewhouse" (apparently the only one of its kind open right now, although their site says another will open soon in El Dorado Hills). Now I knew they didn't have a brewery in back and judging from the Firestone Walker taps, pictures of Matt hanging on the wall next to the brewery pictures, I was pretty certain I knew who was making their beer. Happily I found they too were fond of the Firestone Walker name, and on the inside of their menu they proudly admitted these beers with the Pete's name were brewed under the supervision and care of one of the world's top brewers (I'd be proud too, by the way).

With all the facts taken in it was time to get geeky about beer (OK, so I already had a pint in me by the time I found the FSW info in the menu). I feel like I shouldn't even have to say this, but the beers kicked ass. I won't get into full-on reviews here, but if you're the type of person who has the BJCP style guidelines on your iPhone or PDA, you could just read those while you're drinking these beers and simply check "yes" next to appearance, aroma, flavor, mouthfeel and overall impression. The shocker for me was how over-the-top enjoyable the Skinner's Horse IPA was -- the English IPA. The nose was bold with floral and cedary notes, it's flavor unashamed to settle in for the night with nutty sweetness and more floral qualities. What a gem of a beer this was, and at under $4 a pint I couldn't begin to complain. Of course I couldn't well leave without a pint of Union Jack, a beer that is quickly establishing itself as a "favorite" in my book.

There you are, a new-to-me watering hole that doesn't seem to get a whole lotta love on the interwebblogtubes. If you're in Midtown and need a quick pint, be sure to stop in and check it out on your own (feel free to let us know what you think). If you're in the mood for good pizza with friends while watching the game (whatever game that may be) sit in the restaurant area that is stocked with TVs that every seat can enjoy while taking on a pitcher or two.

I'd be remiss if I didn't show some fond appreciation for the man who turned me onto this little gem of a beer bar - Peter Hoey. Man, thanks!

You'll be interested to note that, according to Peter, there are frequent Cask nights here. I'm sure I'll be there sooner than later to see what this is all about.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Happy Birthday Tracy

Today is my wife's birthday! You may not recognize the name or see her on the site too often, but she's a driving force behind Pacific Brew News and her photos help to tell stories I only have words for. Tracy is home today studying for her BJCP exam tomorrow morning. I have no doubt she'll do well on the exam, or that she'll make a fantastic beer judge.

For those who know her, join me in wishing her the happiest of birthdays!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Welcome to NorCal, Oskar Blues!

So I've been hearing about this for some time and now have a few details to share. As you probably have read or heard, Oskar Blues will be finding its way into the Northern California market in the coming days and weeks. According to Marty Jones of Oskar Blues you will soon see their products on tap in the following locations.
  • The Shack
  • Limelight
  • Pinecove
  • Manderes
  • Brick Oven Pizza
  • Town Pump
  • Happy Viking
Also, to celebrate the brewery's presence in the region they have set up a few events.
  • Nov 19 - Oskar Blues Pint Night at Manderes
  • Nov 21 - Oskar Blues Pint Night at Town Pump
  • Dec 4 - Oskar Blues Punk Rock Event at Elixir - 10 PM-close - tastings in this downtown Sacto bar
  • Dec 8 - Happy Viking Pint Night - Yuba City, CA
Marty promises to keep us updated with more dates as they're solidified. As updates come I'll try to pass them along.

Happy Birthday: Peter Hoey

Peter Hoey and Rick Sellers at SBC filling bourbon barrels

Today we stop for just a moment to wish a very happy birthday to Peter Hoey, brewmaster at Sacramento Brewing Company (as well as a reportedly good husband, father based on interviews with his lovely wife). Peter, in the past few years, has become a very close friend of mine and my respect for him as a brewer and person could not be greater. Peter, all of us at Pacific Brew News wish you the happiest of birthdays. To celebrate it only seems appropriate to stop in for a glass of Old Pappy (bourbon barrel wheat wine) and the obligatory IPA.
Peter and Patrick Rue of the Bruery on a recent trip to Sacramento

Cheers!Peter at the 2007 California Brewers Festival where he took Best of Show

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day Salute

I hope you all can take a moment to stop tonight and lift a glass to the men and women who have served this country in our armed forces. For those in active service now, we salute you for the sacrifices you're making for your country. If you know someone serving now, take a quick moment to drop them an email saying thanks.

When I think of the things happening around the world and in our own country, I am nothing short of thankful and humbled to know we have the men and women we have in uniform protecting all that is American.

Thank you.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Brewmaster's Dinner with Denise Jones (Moylan's)

I got this in my inbox this morning and thought I'd pass it along.
Brewmaster Dinner Series:
Moylan’s Brewery & Restaurant
Dinner with Denise

When: Thursday, November 13th at 7:00pm

Where: Bar and Grill, 2233 Larkspur Landing Circle, Larkspur, CA

What: Join Moylan’s Brewery Brewmaster Denise Jones for the 2nd Annual Brewmaster’s Dinner. Pair a custom menu with house-brewed ales. See full menu below.


7:00 PM

A Trio of Passed Hors D ‘Oeuvres
poached white prawns with spicy tomato & pepper relish
Dungeness crab crostinis with tarragon aioli
smoked Point Reyes oysters
Moylans Brewery Extra Special Bitter

7:30 PM

Marinated Niman Ranch Tenderloin of Beef
on a bed of arugula, fennel & orange with cilantro viniagrette
Moylan’s Brewery Oktoberfest Marzen

Banana Leaf Wrapped Pacific Rockfish
in Adobo sauce with vegetable filled pasilla pepper & queso fresco
Moylan’s Brewery White Christmas Winter Lager

Wheat Ale & Lemon Granita

Pan Roasted Quail
filled with a dried cranberries, wild mushrooms& spinach, sauce Bernaise
Moylan’s Brewery IPA

Walnut Bread Pudding
malted barley caramel reduction
A trio of Moylan’s Brewery Ryan Sullivan Imperial Stout Variations:
Bourbon Barrel
Espresso & Chocolate Infused
Fresh Raspberry

Price: $79.00
Reservations can be made by calling Noonan's.

Here We Go Again

I know it's patriotic to pay taxes and all, but... this is getting silly. In California we're a lot like most states in that we're a little light in the pocket and looking for ways to make a buck. Governor Schwarzenegger is proposing a list of items to bring in some moolah and among them is an increase of $0.05 in the State's excise tax (per drink) on all alcoholic beverages. I assume this is for drinks ordered in restaurants, but haven't found exactly what he's proposing and how deep it would go. That in mind, I think you who live in California should know.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Sacramento: Hop Trip Pint Night on Thursday

Join the PBN crew at Owl Club on Thursday night for Pint Night! This week's beer is Deschutes' Hop Trip, their annual wet-hopped pale ale. The details are below for those interested.

$10= Shirt, glass and a pint of Hop Trip;
$5= glass and a pint of Hop Trip;
$4= pint of Hop Trip, no glass or shirt; and,
$3 Hop Trip refills for all of those who purchased a glass special.


While the link below is a humorous piece, I do hope you who are citizens of the USA and of voting age have taken the time to vote today. It's important.

Now, onto the fun stuff. If you're like me you're tired of the PAC ads, the Yes and No on everything ads, the robo calls and random knocks on the door soliciting your vote. Still, I hope you have time to watch one more election day video - for the most important election in the galaxy!

See more funny videos at Funny or Die

Monday, November 3, 2008

Hoptoberfest in Review

By Jeff Barber, Pacific Brew News

Like a kid in a
candy store! That's the only way I can describe how I felt attending the Rubicon Brewing Hoptoberfest on Saturday where 21 IPAs were on tap. With me were my daughter and son-in-law, who as light drinkers would be in much better shape for the drive home to Roseville. Already at the event when we got there were PBN friends and hosts Mark, The Beer Geek, and Jeff Scammon, former owner of the Owl Club in Roseville and host of Wild West Radio.

Since Mark and Jeff were ahead of us in beer tasting when we got there, we quickly joined in. I ordered a taster tray of seven beers to get started. It was hard to choose so I started with a few reasonably lighter tasting beers and filled in the tray with beers I hadn't had before. I also have to say up front that Pliny the Elder was all ready out, much to my dismay.

The opening lineup, after brief deliberation, was as follows:
  • 21st Amendment Harvest Ale
  • Anchor Liberty Ale
  • Marin Brewing Mt Tam Pale Ale
  • Elk Grove Brewing Hop Head Red
  • Sacramento Brewing Imperial Red
  • Santa Cruz Aleworks Saison Dubois
  • Bear Republic Apex
This flight was followed by:
  • Sierra Nevada Torpedo
  • Sierra Nevada Celebration
  • Great Basing Ichtysaurus
First off, I'll just say we didn't have a bad beer all afternoon. Some were better than others and some fit their style better than others, but good beer as clearly in evidence. That said, my top ranking was:

#1- Bear Republic Apex IPA- WOW! This was outstanding. Strong dry hopped aroma (simcoe?), well-balanced, very creamy mouthfeel, good bitterness but not lingering. #1 for Mark and Jeff as well.

#2- 21st Amendment Fresh Hop Harvest - Noticeable piney hop aroma, flavor had some fruitness in it with some good malt backbone-could have had a few of these (my son in law's favorite), creamy

#3- Sacramento Brewing Imperial Red - Hops come out strong in the aroma, also well balanced, caramel sweetness in the initial flavor followed by the hop kick, some alcohol warmth as well (my daughter's favorite)

#4- Sierra Nevada Torpedo - Citrusy aroma, bready and caramel sweetness from malt balanced hop bitterness well but bitterness still was prominent, a hop milk shake!

Like I said earlier, all beers were good but to be honest I have to say that the one I didn't enjoy as much as the others was the Santa Cruz Saison Dubois. I love saisons but the level of hops didn't mesh well with the tart saison character and overpowered it a little. The Celebration and Icky both suffered from tired palate syndrome by the time I got to them. I have had both before and always enjoy them.

Kudos to the Rubicon for putting on a good event. It was well organized and by limiting everyone to 5-oz tasters, more beers were available later in the weekend (except for Pliny). Truly enjoyable!