18th Annual Boonville Beer Festival This Weekend

The Legendary Boonville Beer Festival is upon us once again. Saturday, May 3rd is the day when the population of Boonville increases by about 1 million percent, as beer lovers descend on the tiny town to participate in the 18th Boonville Beer Festival, hosted by Anderson Valley Brewing Company. Once again, over 80 breweries will be pouring at the fest, with representation from local, Northern California breweries as well as a good amount of out-of-market breweries. Advance tickets are $40 (tickets are $55 at the door) and include unlimited samples of delicious beer. If you’re interested in camping, get there early, as the camp ground fills up pretty quickly.

This is a beer fest that everyone should attend at least once in their life, and camping is a necessity (bonus points for being able to attend the legendary Brewer’s Camp). If you’ve never been, there is no better time than the present. But bring some sunscreen and water; looks like it’ll be a hot one in Boonville this weekend.

Ticket information and a line-up of the breweries attending can be found here.

Beer of the Week: Bootlegger’s Galaxian Barleywine

Whoo boy, it’s been far too long since I’ve done one of these. Fear not, I’m back into the full swing of things, and ready to tell you about the tasty beer I’ve been drinking.

This week’s featured beer is a bottle that I picked up while on a family trip to Disneyland earlier in the year. As luck would have it, I was able to find some time to sneak off to a couple of breweries, one of which was Bootlegger’s Brewery, located in Fullerton. Continue reading

BeerCraft Beer Club March 2014

Welcome to the Beer Craft Beer Club Review! Each month, I will review the four beers featured in the beer club, and rank them on a scale of 5 Gorillas, with 5/5 Gorillas being the Silverback of the beer world, and 1 being a scrawny baby gorilla.

Manzanita Danger Ranger Imperial Red: This Imperial Red is brewed with an ingredient usually reserved for stouts and other dark beers. The brewery uses chicory to help make this beer stand out from other Red Ales. The body is darkly hued, mahogany in color, with a short head. The nose is very sweet-smelling, with candied malts the dominate aroma, as well as some English toffee, caramel and candied citrus aromas akin to a tangerine Jolly Rancher. Flavors start out with a big dose of caramel and biscuit malts, with some candied citrus peel. A roastiness pops up mid-palate, with a floral hop essence. The chicory presents itself, with woody flavors and a coffee like bitterness. The finish has a smooth bitterness, with some residual sweetness from the malts.

As I’ve said before, Red Ales are very hit or miss for me (usually miss), but the chicory is a great addition to the style. It plays off the hops here perfectly, and the sweet malts work well too. This one could win you over if you’re on the fence about the style.

4/5 Gorillas Continue reading

Warning: It’s April Fools Day

Yes it’s that glorious time of year when people and companies go out of their way to create elaborate “jokes” that make us think that The Bruery got bought out by AB-InBev or Stone is making a new beer with hops grown on the moon (you heard it here first). Because I care about you all, here’s the run down of all the “news” coming from the Craft Beer world today.

Continue reading

FDA Looking to Regulate Spent Grains

One of the downsides to beer brewing is that it uses a lot of resources. An enormous amount of energy, water and grains are utilized to create the drink that we so love. With the current drought conditions in California and other states, water has been at the forefront of a lot of people’s minds. Now it seems that we’ll have to be concerned about another aspect of the brewing process: what to do with all those left over grains? Continue reading

New Walking Dead Tribute Beer Is….Um….Interesting?

The Walking Dead is one of the most popular TV shows on the planet, with mostly good reason (though if you haven’t read the graphic novels, you should totally do that right now), so it was just a matter of time until a tribute brew was produced in its honor. Problem is, how do you make it unique? Sure, you could slap a couple of zombies on the label, give it a punny name, and probably be ok, but would that be enough? Craft brewers are an innovative and experimental group, so we should expect something more than just a cheap grab at the coattails of a popular show. It seems that the brewers at Dock Street Brewing Company had the same idea, and boy, have they raised the bar with this one.

The company is releasing a beer they’ve dubbed Walker. It’s a Pale Stout brewed with malted wheat, oats, flaked barley, cranberry, and, are you ready for this?……brains.

Yep. Walker is brewed with smoked goat brains, which will impart the beer with “intriguing, subtle smoke notes.” From the press release:

Dock Street Walker (7.2% ABV) is an American Pale Stout, brewed with substantial amounts of malted wheat, oats, and flaked barley for a smooth, creamy mouthfeel. Fuggle hops provide delicate, earthy notes, while the cranberries create a sinister, bloody hue, and a slight tartness. The pre-sparge-brain-addition provides the beer with intriguing, subtle smoke notes. In true walker fashion, don’t be surprised if its head doesn’t hang around forever.

While the thought of consuming brains in any way is not very appealing to me, I understand the choice Dock Street made here. What other ingredient would you add to a zombie themed beer? Brains are the obvious choice.

The beer will be released at the brewery on March 30th, and the brewery will host a viewing party for the season finale of the show.

Florida Brings Us the Latest in Beer Release Disasters

Another limited beer release, another shit-show. Seems like this is becoming a weekly occurence in the Craft Beer world. This week’s installment of “How Not to Run a Beer Release” comes to us from the sunny state of Florida, hosted by Cigar City. The yearly release/celebration of Cigar City’s Hunahpu was this past weekend, and by all accounts, it was a complete disaster. Continue reading

BeerCraft Beer Club February 2014

Welcome to the Beer Craft Beer Club Review! Each month, I will review the four beers featured in the beer club, and rank them on a scale of 5 Gorillas, with 5/5 Gorillas being the Silverback of the beer world, and 1 being a scrawny baby gorilla.

Epic Brewing Old Sage Brett: This golden ale is brewed with rosemary, sage and thyme, and then aged in wine barrels that formerly held Brainless on Peaches, with some Brettanomyces thrown in there for good measure. The beer pours out like a classic Belgian golden ale: hazy, golden-yellow in color, with a giant, bone white head. The nose is dominated by sage, with the other spices dancing in the background. There’s a vague fruitiness, and some vanilla tones from the barrel. Sage leads the way in the mouth as well, mingling with some thyme flavors. A tart, citric twinge builds, with some grassy, hay-like flavors. A delicate, tropical fruit flavor pops up, and the finish showcases some earthy, funky, Brett tones.

Beers that are brewed with sage tend to be overwhelming for me, but the spice level in this one is definitely doable. The base beer is a solid golden ale, and the flavors work well. A very nice beer.

3.5/5 Gorillas Continue reading

Beer of the Week: Pliny the Younger

It really shouldn’t come as any surprise that this week’s featured beer is the most popular beer on the face of the planet (at least over these last two weeks). The release of Pliny the Younger is a bittersweet thing, as the beer is no doubt one of the best Triple IPAs out there, but actually being able to sample the beer can be an experience in frustration. The lines this year were insane; I drove by the pub pretty much every day, and no matter what time I drove by, there was a consistent wait of at least 2 hours. The days of being able to sneak into the pub on a weekday afternoon seem to be long gone, so keep that in mind for the future.

Anyway, onto what really matters, the beer. Continue reading

Firestone Walker Releasing First Bottled Sour Beer

Firestone Walker is releasing their first bottled offering from their wild ale production facility, Barrelworks. The beer, dubbed The Feral One, will be released on March 8th, and will be available exclusively at Barrelworks (it will also be available at the Firestone Walker brewery the next day).

From the press release:

“The Feral One celebrates this wild, unruly and rustic journey that has carried us through our first official year of operation,” said Barrelworks Director Jeffers Richardson. “For the first time, you can take a bottle home from Barrelworks to stick in your cellar or savor with friends.”

The Feral One is a blend of Sour Opal, SLOAmbic, Agrestic and Lil’ Mikkel, all aged for an extended period in American and French oak barrels. Only 500 cases of 375ml bottles were produced.

A release party will take place at the Barrelworks facility (located in Buellton) on the 8th from noon-2. A minimum purchase of three bottles of The Feral One gets you in the door. Sounds like a good time to pay them a visit for the first time. Continue reading