Michelle and I decided to check out Eagle Rock Brewery’s tasting room for the first time. Yes, I know we’re way behind in our visits to breweries.
I have to say was little bit disappointed by the tasting room. It was filled with people, but I overheard by multiple people say that they didn’t even like beer as they sipped their glasses of water. I am all for people checking out and discovering beer, but I feel this is just an indication that craft beer is just the current cool thing to do and breweries the cool places to be, something that disappears after time.
Maybe it’s a Los Angeles thing. When you walk into The Bruery’s tasting room in Orange County you’ll find practically everyone wearing some brew festival shirt. The same reason people think Angelenos are bad sports fans is the same reason we’re so fickle about everything. We have so much going on that it would be a shame to stay focused on just one thing. I hope that’s the case, because I’ve grown too accustomed to drinking good beer to want to go back to drinking Lite beer, except when playing flip cup and beer pong.
After taking down a sampler flight and a couple guest bottles of beer, we decided food was in order, so we headed to The Oinkster.
The Oinkster Pastrami. Fantastic smoke flavor.
Oinkster is also known for its BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich. This was a little bit dry for my liking, actually requiring the barbecue sauce. It was delicious though, including the Carolina style barbecue sauce.
While The Oinkster actually offers a pretty good selection of craft brews, we had had enough for the night. Instead the chocolate milkshake made with Fosselman’s ice cream was in order.
After all the food and drinks, I was beyond stuffed. I got into the car, unbuckled my belt and unbuttoned my pants and said to my friends, “Don’t judge me.” Instead of telling me that I disgust them, they laughed and then we traded stories about our fattest times. Unfortunately for me, I may have a new fattest time coming up if I don’t start exercising. Maybe I should stay away from restaurants with pig references for names.
I was told never to turn down a product from a customer. They take pride in their manufacturing production process and the end product. I’ve taken home cheesecake, pie, and ice cream even though I’m not a big dessert eater.
This customer, however, makes it far to easy to follow this rule. I also got quite a few tips on how to improve my home brew.
On Saturday I headed out to Orange County to check out the newly opened Anaheim Brewery.
For some reason they had classic cars on their lot. If you’re going to have a few beers and hit the road, it might as well be a classic, right?
Anaheim Brewery currently has four beers on tap and one they were serving out of gravity drained kegs. Gold Ale, Hef, Red Ale, the 1888, and their Pale Ale.
The place was pretty packed. That window on the left side of this picture shows another room they’re still building out. It looks to be a dining area.
If you sit at the bar you can look through the windows and see their brewing setup. Fun fact: They use steam as their heating source here. That’s a lot less common in micro breweries.
Currently I wouldn’t recommend making a trip to Anaheim Brewery unless you’re already in the area. I wasn’t really impressed by any of their beers except for The 1888. While I’m still learning about beer, the Hef and the Red feel like they could sit in their kegs a bit longer. Maybe it was just a rush to get to opening day. I will probably come back here after the initial rush has died down and try their beers again.
I would be very pleased to come back to find that my initial observations about their beers were wrong. We could all use a little more local craft beer.
Today I learned what a blow off tube does and why you should have one. I opened my pantry, curious to see if my stout was still fermenting. Boy was it ever! My airlock was filled with a mixture of beer and vodka, and that same mixture was all over the lid of the primary fermenter. Fortunately it stayed on the lid, because it was a mess. Think of root beer float foam, but thicker and stickier. Fortunately I have random crap I take from our warehouse at work and a spare airlock. After some quick sanitizing, I made this.
The tubing is just small enough to squeeze into the airlock tube. Dump the other end into some sanitized water, and crisis averted.
I know video if beer fermenting is boring, this thing is bubbling like mad right now! That pretty much means it’s making booze!
I have some more photos from my birthday celebration from Mo.
Annie made this awesome Truffle Mac N’ Cheese.
Birthday cake. I think we almost kissed here. Pretty intense.
Our wives got us a beer piñata! The only tree we could find to hang it up was in the front of the house. One month living in this neighborhood, and I’m the guy with a beer piñata.
The other birthday boy, looking like a prisoner of war.
Here I am, using my Jedi skills to size up my target.
As long as I was going to be embarrassed in front of my neighbors, why not go all out and have a good time? I had no idea I could jump so high.
Just because we broke into the beer can doesn’t mean the fun has to stop. Tape it back up and put the candy back in there!
I got to celebrate my 31st birthday this weekend with my buddy Harrison, who shares a birthday week with me, in awesome fashion, sharing beer and food with some friends.
We cracked open some brews and even some special bottles I picked up. I got to share my love of beer with my friends.
For food, we tossed some bacon wrapped pork loins into the bottom of the smoker.
On top, one more pork loin and baby back ribs. I had to roll the ribs and tie them because there wasn’t enough room to lay them out. They actually didn’t fit this way either. I had to tilt them so they didn’t press up against the lid.
Brautwursts, boiled in our home brew red ale before heading to the grill.
Toss some veggies onto the grill, and the party was on its way.
It was also a gorgeous day to be outside. Thank you, sun, for coming out for my birthday.
It was good getting to spend time with friends just hanging out.
My friend even brought his dog, and she loved our sheep skin rug.
Michelle even made some awesome treats for the group. She made Sriracha Deviled Eggs and Mini Spinach Cups. Here she is, pulling her shrimp toast from the oven.
The meat came out great, with a nice smoke ring.
There was so much meat left over, which is almost never a bad thing.
The aftermath. Good times!
Today was a very special day. It was the day I got my first set of power tools. Drill/driver, circular saw, reciprocating saw, and flashlight. It comes with two battery packs, and a cool bag that makes me feel like a professional thief.
I can no longer tell Michelle I can’t do things around the house because I don’t have the proper tools. Now I have to tell her that I just don’t know how to use the tools.
To top off the power tool man status, this is our closet. Michelle is pushing for it to be a shoe closet. I’m winning this battle.
Now for all you people that get as excited as me about home brew, here is a video of my beer bubbling as it ferments. I’m working on my second batch of IPA. This round I was encouraged to add a whole lot more hops during the brewing process. According to Michelle, our closet now smells like lychee. This should be quite the tasty brew.
Ribeye steak and mushrooms, seasoned with salt, pepper, and a little bit of olive oil, topped with some salsa. This went nicely with Trader Joes’ Mission St. IPA.
Although the weather hasn’t been notified, summer is upon us.
Friday I brought home a grill I bought and told Tim, “If we can put it together fast, we can grill tonight.” Two hours and only five “that’s what she said” comments later, we were grilling in the dark. Fortunately I have some good flood lights in the backyard.
Looks like a pretty standard burger.
Wrong! Inside the patty lurks a burst of melted, cheesy goodness.
After having a bite to eat at another BBQ, Saturday evening found me at Beer Belly once more. Food and beers were excellent like the first time, but this time Michelle and I were convinced to try to Deep Fried Twinkie. I don’t think these appear on the standard list of food pairings, but it goes well with beer. I’d even suggest trying it with their root beer flight.
I hold in my hand, a glass of Black Tuesday. The reality of this beer is every bit as awesome as the speculation that surrounds it. It is incredible. Each sip goes from the very beginning all the way to the very end, full flavor enduring the entire time. Cherries, chocolate…you’d never guess this beer is near 20% ABV. Big tip of the hat to The Bruery for making their event run so smoothly.
So summer has begun for me, but not the type of summer that will have me sporting the banana hammock anytime soon. I’m fat and happy.
The worst part about making beer? Bottling. The best part (other than drinking it of course)? Coming up with cool names and designing labels.
This is the last beer I made with my buddy Raaj in Culver City before I moved. It won’t be the last time we brew together, but it’ll be tougher now.
I brewed this batch of red ale with Tim, a guy I’ve known since the 6th grade. Since it’s a red ale we decided to play off the episode of South Park that made fun of red-headed kids.
I’ve got one more name and label to come up with still. Stay tuned.