Tag Archives: beer

The Craft Beer Pedistal

I believe there’s a problem with the craft beer audience, which is affecting the craft beer industry. People are more enamored with the idea of craft beer than the actual beer itself. Consumers are blindly and hungrily devouring anything craft without paying enough attention to the actual beer.

The general consensus of the public is that craft beer is the polar opposite of the American Lite Lager. Breweries have been pushing bigger beers, because that is seemingly what the market wants. People are seeking out super hoppy, barrel aged, and beers with the oddest adjuncts, because they are seemingly more craft.

The shelves in any craft beer section speak to this. Green Flash’s Palate Wrecker. Rogue’s Voodoo Doughnut. Ballast Point’s Indra Kunindra. Wynkoop’s Rock Mountain Oyster Stout. Just recently they announced a Walking Dead beer, brewed roasted goat brains.

The problem this causes is that craft beer is moving so far to the extreme that craft beer is losing part of the market. Craft beer should be the full spectrum of the flavor rainbow, but it’s losing the lighter side of things. There is a disconnect between the craft beer available and the palate of a newcomer to the beer scene. The taste of the beer is a turn off to a lot my friends that are having to jump into beer, because there are no small steps to take.

This is not to say these bigger beers should not be made. They are also on the flavor spectrum for craft beer, and people do enjoy these beers. I enjoy some of them myself, but I think the mass of the consumers are drinking craft for craft’s sake, unknowingly shaping the market to one extreme.

There are breweries that do make awesome smaller beers, which I believe are great stepping stones into the beer scene and even great staples once you’re into beer, but they’re not reaching the consumers nearly as much. It’s not just reaching the taps and shelves that count. It’s about getting people to understand that this is also good craft beer It doesn’t make you any less cool to drink a beer that won’t destroy your palate or knock you on your ass after a single pint.

In the end, drink what you like. Cheers!

Brewing Tip #43529

Always make sure you have all your ingredients before you start the brewing process. If you don’t do the pre-brew check, you will find yourself without a key ingredient and have to send your pregnant wife to the brew store to pick up the missing items. Later you will have to take her shopping, resulting in the most expensive batch of beer you have ever made.

Traditional Hanami Party

Remember when I said Japanese people play hard? We met up with Akiko after dinner at about 8 PM. She said she got off work at 6. As 11 PM rolled around, we met up with Marie and headed to a new spot. Midnight came and went, and Michelle and I excused ourselves and headed back to our hotel a little after 1 AM. We said our goodbyes for the moment as we were planning to meet up the next day for a picnic.

Noon the next day we met up and were immediately handed drinks. At first I thought I could get used to this, but when we asked what time Akiko and Marie went home, they said they went home at about 6 AM. I don’t think I can keep up.

We were celebrating the cherry blossoms with shared food and drink. Everyone’s looking at the camera except for me.

Everyone likes taking photos of the cherry blossoms, even the locals.

Guess which snack we brought to the party?

Yay for new friends! They even gave me a beer to go. I love Japan!

Kyoto has the same letters as Tokyo!

When we originally planned our trip to Japan, we really only were excited about Tokyo, but we figured since we flew all the way across the world, we should at least something else. In an attempt to get a little history we stopped into Kyoto. The bullet train only takes about two hours to get to Kyoto from Tokyo, so we arrived in the morning to a wet mess.

Kyoto is an older city, and some of the people there stick to older traditions in clothing. Women in kimonos walked the streets in the rain.

A temple. I honestly don’t know what this was, but we were just trying to get out of the rain.

Nijo Castle. They make you take your shoes off. There is bare wood floor with no insulation underneath it, just air. I thought my feet where going to freeze and snap off.

The rain stopped just long enough for us to get some views of the castle grounds.

Cherry blossoms were just starting here too. Nothing was in full bloom.

Then it started hailing and raining sideways, so we took cover in some restaurant.

It’s pretty much like Yoshinoya, but the meat isn’t complete fat.

After the meal we were soaking wet and knew we weren’t going to want to do any more sight seeing. We went to a bath house, where we separated ourselves to our respective gender baths and got naked in front of strangers. Sorry, there are no pictures except this one. I found a beer vending machine!

Our room for our stay in Kyoto. I could totally live like this.

The Playground: Omakase

Michelle and I were fortunate enough to get to check out The Playground’s  Omakase-Style Seafood Dinner. Some pretty unique dishes were in the lineup, and we were excited.

They had some Japanese brews that aren’t very common in the states available to pair with the meal. Hitachino’s Real Ginger Brew is very light and refreshing.

Tai. This dish was inspired by the ocean with sand, surf, and even some seaweed.

Albacore. The mint and tangerine with the fish was a great flavor combination, fresh and sweet.

Mackerel. Fried soba noodle gave this dish an awesome texture contrast.

Pork belly. The only land animal in the meal, with a root vegetable sauce of carrot and soil. Get it?

Skip jack. Pretty lean piece of fish here compared to tuna, complimented with some fat from an egg sauce, done like an aioli.

This torch came out a couple of times in the meal.

Octopus. The broth it’s sitting on is a broth made from Doritos. You heard me. It tastes like ranchero sauce with a faint taste of corn at the end. Combined with the octopus, apple slices, and avocado, this dish had huge texture and flavor.

Watermelon. Combine that with carbonated pineberries, powdered condense milk, and a sprinkle of pop rocks. This dessert was a literal flavor explosion in my mouth.

The Playground is doing some pretty great things with food, but the fact that the chefs are given liberty to produce special meals like this in addition to that is fantastic. Compliments to Chef Frank DeLoach on a fantastic meal.

Pliny the Hype Machine

I got my first chance to try Pliny the Younger, a triple IPA that is coveted among beer geeks. It is released seasonally in limited quantities on draft only, and because of the small quantity, getting  a taste of this beer can be an adventure. Lines form hours before the pubs even open.

I got the chance to experience part of the madness. UC Irvine’s Anthill Pub announced their tapping of Pliny the Younger for 7:00 PM. I showed up forty five minutes before this and got one of the last few tickets, 100+ people down the chain.

This is a great beer, very floral and so complex. Even after taking a sip it feels like the beer is still sitting on your tongue, even a minute after your last sip. For such a big beer, it’s pretty damn smooth too.

While I would gladly buy a pint of this given the chance, for me to be willing to lose an hour or two of my life, the beer has to be both great and special. Pliny the Younger is definitely great, but I feel like there are so many great beers that are maybe a notch under this one that don’t require me to wait in line to drink. Getting a good beer shouldn’t be something to worry about.

While Russian River will tell you it’s time consuming and difficult to brew this beer, they could produce more of the beer. The lines prove they can sell more beer if they produced it, but it probably has more value in being made a rare commodity. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say I’ve looked up other Russian River brews because I heard they produce a legendary beer in Pliny the Younger, and I was curious what else they brew. It’s their own mass marketing machine.

Fortunately for me, I get to have another pint of Pliny the Younger this season without having to wait in line. I won a pint through Beachwood BBQ’s raffle!

Black Tuesday Party

One week ago I got the opportunity to attend The Bruery’s Black Tuesday Release Party. My wife takes me to all the best places, and in return I am her arm candy. It’s an absolute win-win situation.

I really like The Bruery’s beers and think they do an excellent job of not sticking to the traditional. They produce some delicious beers. The people that work there are also super nice and very approachable.

I still have no idea how I convinced my friend and cousin to let me pick up their bottles of Black Tuesday, which led to this.

Black Tuesday? Nope. Friday I’m in love!

I can’t believe my friend and cousin trusted me to pick up their bottles. That’s the oldest trick in the book! Bowling for beer, anyone?

There was some confusion about whether I was allowed to pick up my friend’s bottles. Fortunately I was in a beer store, so I shopped while they sorted it out.

I think it’s about time I invested in a 29mm capper with some caps.

Tuesday never looked so delicious.

Myers + Chang

Our first full day of Boston left us tired from walking the Freedom Trail and also from drinking beer. After retiring to our hotel for a quick nap, we headed to Myers + Chang.

If you had to guess, you would probably guess Chang, but you would be wrong. That’s not Chang. It’s Woo.

Place mats are local Chinese newspaper pages, and their menu looks like a takeout menu.

Honey Jack with ginger, topped with a lager. Very refreshing, and the ginger and the lager take out the sweetness from the Jack, which is way too overwhelming.

I really enjoy this beer. I found it at BevMo, but it’s $5 a bottle. No thanks.

taiwanese-style cool dan dan noodles, fresh peanut and chili sambal

wok-charred udon noodles, chicken, baby bok choy, oyster sauce

tiger’s tears (aka bang bang & olufsen beef), grilled steak, thai basil, lime, khao koor

braised pork belly buns, bao, brandy hoisin, house pickle

lemon-ginger mousse coupe, homemade fortune cookie

Myers + Chang  seems a little gimmicky with giant dragons painted on the windows, charging a luxury fee for Asian dishes when Chinatown is a mere two blocks away. This place is more than Asian food  at a premium though. It’s a delicious little joint for familiar foods with a slight twist. They don’t stray too far from the traditional tastes on most of their dishes, which makes it comfort food. The sauces are a little bit different, a little bit lighter, but overall it’s close to what I grew up eating with my parents.

If you feel like exploring a little more, they have  that too. Some of their own creations, like chicken and waffles made with a ginger-sesame waffle looked pretty good.

I’d stop into this place again if I was in town, and you should too.