Tag Archives: craft 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!

Still in a Northern California Daze

This week has been rough so far. We went up north for two weddings on consecutive weekends. Coming home Sunday night after ten days with Maggie has been tiring. We’re still trying to catch up on rest. Here’s the quick photo rundown of our trip. Sorry for the poor quality. I almost always only use the iPhone to take photos, and there is no time to post process photos anymore.

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Since we have to stop every two hours for Maggie, we took the 101. There are more places to stop, including Firestone Walker.

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Stop #2 was also Firestone Walker but a different location. Maggie enjoyed learning about barrel aging beers.

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Maggie met her cousin Myla, who played around her rather than with her.

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Maggie also got to meet her cousin Joshua. Basically none of them really acknowledged each other.

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Maggie did get to play with a pool noodle lightsaber.

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My cousin Jessica got married in a beautiful ceremony and reception that I would call ” very similar to ours but nicer.”

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After spending time in the San Jose area, we headed down to Monterey and Carmel for a little bit, stopping by the aquarium.

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Jellyfish are so cool.

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Maggie was happy as a clam.

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The open ocean tank was huge with sea turtles, tuna, and hammerhead sharks.

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We cruised the 17-mile drive and got to see The Lone Cypress.

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Point Lobos State Preserve.

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China Beach.

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After Carmel we raced to SF just to head out again across the new Bay Bridge.

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We got to go to Pixar! Unfortunately there’s a pretty strict “no photo” policy on most of the campus, so pictures are limited to the lobby areas.

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Most displays were for Monsters University since it was their latest release.

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Luigi and Guido from Cars.

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Who could forget these guys? Oooooooooooh!

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Maggie got to play in her first playground.

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She also got to enjoy oysters.

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This guy got married. There was a lot of crying.

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Maggie drove us home after a long trip. Holy crap I look exhausted.

I need a vacation from this vacation.

This is not tea.

This is vanilla bean, split and cut, soaking in Maker’s Mark. It is one of the ingredients of my latest home brew. I’m five days from bottling, and I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Zenya

After running some errands in Torrance, Michelle and I decided to check out one of the two Japanese restaurants I saw the last time I was picking up some Oskar Blues G’Knight at BevMo. We decided on Hakata Yamaya. Unfortunately reservations had the place all booked up. Instead we settled on Zenya next door.

The first thing we noticed were drink specials, on sake martinis or pop drinks.

Green Tea Pop Drink and Green Apple Sake Martini.

Chicken Karage, done in chicken wing fashion.

Gyoza. The best part is the fried skin, so they give you a whole pan full of it.

Tonkotsu Ramen.

Shio Ramen.

I did get to try a new beer at the place. Unfortunately their fridge is so cold that the beer was a slushy in the bottle. I had to wait for it to thaw a little bit before drinking it. Even so, it was a pretty tasty beer.

Zenya was overall a disappointment. The chicken and the gyoza were decent, but the broth on both ramen bowls was pretty bland. We still need to check out Hakata Yamada, but if the place is booked again, I will just wait for the open table.

King of Craft Breweries

We already covered Harpoon Brewery in Boston, but the largest craft brewery in the United States is also there is also in Boston.

I’m coming, Sammy!

Growing hops on their patio.

Look at all the awards they’ve won.

We love beer!

I’ve got a golden ticket!

The original copper kettles and the newer stainless steel ones as well.

Utopia barrels. 27% alcohol by volume. That girl was stationed there just to keep me from getting a taste.

Tasting room.

Educational and delicious.

The Sam Adams Brewery in Boston really isn’t used for commercial production other than the Utopia line. It’s more of a laboratory to create and perfect their brews and a classroom to educate and indoctrinate visitors to the cult of craft brew. The great thing is the tour is free and you get to keep the tasting glass. They have a shuttle that takes people to a local pub that serves Sam Adams in the Perfect Pour glass and let’s you take it home for $5.50! Every college kid in the Boston area should visit this place at least once.

San Pedro: It’s not just for leaving LA on a boat.

On one of Michelle’s nights out with friends, I decided to check out San Pedro Brew Co. I like beer and their website said they had a happy hour. What’s not to like about that?

I ponied up to the bar, and noticed the crowd was a lot of regulars. I was definitely the odd man out. Still, I was very happy to see their happy hour menu. The prices looked promising. Not to shy away from a new experience, I ordered the slider and fries, half order  of calamari, and half order of wings.

The slider and fries is one slider and fries, just as I expected. Although it looks like a mess of a slider, it’s quite good. I was expecting some steamed meat. The mini patty has a nice char to it, giving it some great flavor.

The wings are decent, nothing special. I’ve definitely had better wings but it’s a nice little snack.

The half order of calamari was surprising to me. A lot of bars have this dish and you end up with soggy breading or overly chewy squid. The dish I received had a light, crisp batter and some great squid underneath.

On top of the delicious snacks, they have a full menu and some delicious beers brewed right in house. I wasn’t a fan of some of them, but the red and brown ales are fantastic.

Somewhere along the way, someone must have forgotten a couple beers or one of my dishes. I can’t say that I was in tip top form when I left here, but my bill was only twenty two bucks. Whether or not I get the accidental discount or not next time, San Pedro Brewing Co. is a spot I’d be more than happy to check out again.

It’s encouraging to see awesome places in San Pedro, since I always thought of it as the city I drive through to get to the freeway. I’m sure other think of it as the city where the cruise ships dock. I can’t wait to get out there and experience the city some more. Vote for Pedro!

Firestone Parabola

It’s been a long time since Raaj and Shivani have been over to our place. That’s because we moved from around the corner from them, and now we’re separated with a drive on the 405.

They stopped in to visit us and share a meal at our new home. While the meal was excellent, it wasn’t as awesome as the beer we shared. My friends were kind enough to bring a very special bottle of Firestone Parabola.

It comes in its own box. It must be good!

Raaj is the one who got me into home brewing. I’m grateful. Michelle, however, still wants the shoe closet back.

It’s so beautiful. Chocolate, expresso, and bourbon flavors come through in this beer. I’m not sure vanilla is what I’d call the creaminess I taste in this beer. It is delicious though.

Here we are enjoying our tasting of this very special beer.

Hoppy Beerthday to Me!

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!

1321 Taproom Bistro: A Beer Place

I went to a surprise birthday party at 1321 Taproom Bistro. I’ve been to this spot once before. The beer selection was excellent like last time. I had the Allagash Curieux, a Belgian Tripel aged in Bourbon barrels.

I got to try some different things from the menu this time, sampling from my friends’ plates. The fish and chips were decent. Their mac and cheese was missing something. The taste stops short, having a great cheese flavor, but little else. My dish was the smoked pork banh mi. The smoked pork was excellent, but it did not go with the rest of the sandwich. I would definitely not order this again, nor recommend it to anyone.

Overall my impression of this place is that the beer selections are excellent, but the food I’ve had thus far seem incomplete. Given the option, I’d check out a new place rather than eat here. It’s not quite to my tastes to become a regular eating stop. If it’s just a chance to grab some beers, I would definitely come back here.

The grill is working great.

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.