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Friday, 18 March 2016 22:16

Get Crafty This Baseball Season!

I recently rented out my room through AirBNB to a Smog City Brewery employee.  Located in Torrance, the five-year-old brewery quickly developed a cult following for its quality crafted and flavorful beers. 

This wasn’t coincidental and I was giddy when he brought a dozen of their delicious stouts, IPAs and sours.  That same weekend, I stayed in La Quinta at Jim Lefebvre’s house.  Yep, I sipped on some Hoptonic IPA with a baseball legend.

Published in The Beer Goddess Blog
Wednesday, 16 March 2016 23:16

Firkfest 3.0 Arrives in Anaheim on Saturday!

Get ready for the premier Cask Festival in Southern California, Firkfest 3.0!

  • 30 Breweries
  • 50 Casks
  • 4 Hours
  • Unlimited Pours
Published in The Beer Goddess Blog

Rhythm, Wine & Brews Experience returns for 2016 with an amazing line up of bands, wine and brews.

Live music, California craft beer and wine will create a backdrop in Indio at the scenic Empire Polo Club. This year, 311, Matisyahu, Dream Club, Insecure Alex, The Bellrays, and Long Duk Dong are joining 21 wineries and 48 breweries in Indio for the 5th annual Rhythm Wine & Brews Festival.

Kevin Olsen runs Adam’s Bottle Boutique in Redondo Beach and is the RWB beer curator. 

“This year, we have more unique selection of breweries, some a little less mainstream, so some smaller breweries – more artisanal and craft driven.  Last year, we definitely took a step in that direction.

Belching Beaver came out this year.  Strand Brewing, Ritual Brewing which is a little closer -  a local Inland Empire brewery.  Those are new additions this year…Bells is coming out to the California distribution scene.”  

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And lucky for us, Alpine is getting their toes wet in Riverside County for the first time.

Find out more about the breweries that will be rockin’ this year’s Rhythm Wine & Brews.

  • 10 Barrel Brewing: Darling favorite in Oregon and multiple Great American Beer Festival Winner medal winner. They have brewpubs in Boise, Portland and Bend. 10 Barrel’s main working brewery is also located in Bend. 
  • Anchor Brewing Company: This brewery is dripping with history. Anchor began during the California Gold Rush.  Anchor Brewing were the first to produce steam beer, effervescent beer now labeled California common beer. Anchor is the only steam brewing company still in operation. 
  • Ace Cider: Did you know cider is fantastic to cook with? Use Ace cider in place of champagne to lighten up your dishes.  Try Ace Apple with your next pork dish!
  • Ballast Point: This San Diego brewery is a homebrewers fairytale come true. Founder Jack White opened Home Brew Mart in 1992, after wanting more quality and unique brewing ingredients as a homebrewer. Ballast Point opened their “back room” brewery behind the shop in 1996. They are now brewers of the deliciously famous Grapefruit Sculpin. And in November, the UCLA students, turned brewery owners sold to Constellation Brands for $1 billion. 
  • Sierra Nevada: Ken Grossman, the Godfather of craft, opened a homebrew supply store in Chico in 1976. He purchased whole cone hops from Yakima hop brokers directly and began brewing his now infamous hop-forward beers. He launched Sierra Nevada Brewing three years later.
  • Green Flash Brewing:  Green Flash opened Cellar 3 last year, a new tasting room and specialty brewing facility in Poway. The facility focuses on innovation through barrel-aging and wild yeast experimentation.  When not sipping something sour, try their Soul Style American IPA.  Citra, Simcoe and Cascade hops are layered, giving it tropical and sherbert flavors. It’s a perfect warm weather beer. 
  • Breckenridge Brewery: Colorado’s third craft brewery began at the hands of a ski bum homebrewer in 1990. Today, you can find their beers in 32 states. And in true outdoorsy form, the brewery put nitro in cans late last year. What’s better than craft in a can and a nitro tap?  Yep, Breckenridge’s new line of nitrogen-carbonated canned beer. Their Nitro Series in four-packs started with Nitro Vanilla Porter and Nitro Lucky U IPA.
  • Three Weavers Brewing Company: The female-run brewery is Los Angeles’ second successfully funded brewery Kickstarter campaign. Brewmaster, Alexandra Nowell was the former lead brewer at Drakes and won two GABF bronze medals for her Session beer and German-Style Kolsch while brewmaster at Kinetic Brewing Company in Lancaster.
  • Goose Island Brewing: Goose Island's brands are sold in 24 states and parts of Europe thanks to the Anheuser-Busch InBev deal in 2011. While craft beer geeks across the country cried in their beers over the deal, their Bourbon County Stout has remained world class.
  • Coachella Valley Brewing Company: CVB, as we locals like to call them, answers the call for a bigger selection of sophisticated and modern beers here in the valley. Head brewmaster and part owner, Chris Anderson, is also a graduate of the University of Alaska Anchorage Culinary program.  Using unique fruits and spices, Anderson brews using local ingredients. CVB started a sour program in 2015 and their Profligate Society features sours like the Cabernet barrel aged Epineux Poire prickly pear wild ale.
  • New Belgium Brewing: This is one of the coolest breweries on the planet.  The New Belgium folks not only advocate for beer, they advocate for the planet. They are so sustainable; they became a Certified B Corporation in 2013. Tour de Fat is New Belgium’s traveling party of all thinks bicycle. In every Tour de Fat city, one awesome role model will step on stage to trade in his or her car keys and pledge to live car free for one year. Oh, and the brewery is now 100% employee owned. 
  • Black Market Brewing: Black Market launched the craft movement in Temecula’s wine country. They recently brewed a Rum Matured Deception with Pineapple on cask. The “normal” Deception is a coconut lime blonde ale. Black Market releases a new beer on Cask Night every Monday.RWBEXP15 0130-resize
     
    Lost Coast: Lost Coast began its humble beginnings in 1990, in a 100-year-old castle in Eureka, California. Barbara Groom, a pharmacist turned homebrewer, now owns the 43rd largest craft brewery in the U.S., distributing in 22 states, three Canadian Providences, Puerto Rico, Australia, Costa Rica, South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore and France!  Have a friend who hasn’t turned to craft yet?  Give them a pint of Great White – they may just turn to craft yet.
  • Founders Brewery: If you haven’t fallen in love with Founders, you don’t have a heart.  This brewery is ranked in the top breweries in the world by Ratebeer.com for the last five years. If you haven’t tried their Breakfast Stout, you haven’t lived.
  • Speakeasy Ales and Lager: Speakeasy hales from San Francisco. Last year, a new 60 barrel brewhouse, malt handling system, fermenters, centrifuge and canning line were installed. Production capacity increased to 90,000 barrels per year.
  • Bootleggers Brewery: Orange County craft beer darlings, Bootleggers was established in 2008 by husband and wife Aaron and Patricia Barkenhagen. They brew the popular Mint Chocolate Porter, perfect to sip during the holidays.
  • Firestone Walker Brewing Co.: I can’t say enough good things about Firestone. And neither could GABF last year.  Firestone took a silver for their Feral One in the Belgian-Style Lambic or Sour Ale category. They also brought home two bronzes for their Hammersmith IPA in the English-Style India Pale Ale category and their Sour Opal in the Wood and Barrel-Aged Sour Beer categories. Then, Firestone was awarded golds for their Pivo in the German-Style Pilsener and their DBA in the Ordinary or Special Bitter categories.  So, it only made sense that they were awarded the Mid-Size Brewing Company and Mid-Size Brewing Company Brewer of the Year award.
  • Bell’s Brewery: Bell’s was founded by Larry Bell as a home brewing supply shop in 1983. They ranked eighth in total volume of all domestic craft brewers in the U.S. for 2010.
  • Barley Forge Brewery: They were recently awarded “Best Brewery” in the OC Weekly in 2015.  Barley Forge specializes in Belgian, West Coast and German-style beers.
  • Brew Rebellion: This brewery is true to its name. Brew Rebellion brews beer in quantities of 30 to 50 gallons at a time. That means an awesome rotating tap list and more specialty beers.
  • Coedo Brewery: Japan: Coeda beers are named after five classic Japanese hues. Coeda honors traditions. The brewers allow the first sip of beer to fall to the ground, from the tanks, as a tribute to the brewmasters who came before them. They’ve won awards in the World Beer Cup, European Beer Star and International Taste & Quality Institute. Their mission? Beer beautiful.
  • Einstock Brewing: is located just 60 miles south of the Arctic circle in the fishing port of Akureyri, Iceland. All Einstök beers are 100% vegan, with no GMOs.
  • Clown Shoes: Funny name, great beer. The craft beer industry is a fun bunch and produces amazing beer, all while being a little crazy. One example is their American Black Ale dubbed “Lubrication.” The label features a robot at a gas station holding a pump handle in his groin vicinity. Fun tidbit: the artist is a woman. And the Clown Shoes story isn’t your typical one. This brand came as a result of a liquor store loving beer so much that the owner decided to brew a line of their own. Clown Shoes contract brews through Mercury Brewing Company in Massachusetts. 
  • Hangar 24 Craft Brewery: At the end of a dusty road, with the San Bernardino Mountains serving as a backdrop; Hangar 24 is named after the hangar where owner Ben Cook—a licensed pilot—and his friends would relax after a day of flying. Fun fact: Hangar 24’s main brew house came by way of Las Vegas’ Monte Carlo Casino.
  • Pizza Port Brewing: Pizza Port serves delicious craft beer in Solana Beach, Carlsbad, San Clemente and Ocean Beach. Each of Pizza Port’s four San Diego County brewpubs won at least one GABF medal last year. The original Solana Beach location won Great American Beer Festival “Small Brewpub of the Year” in 2003. In 2009, they won nine medals at GABF and the Carlsbad location was named “Large Brewpub of the Year.”  Simply, Pizza Port rocks.
  • Mission Brewery: Mission Brewery was originally established in 1913. See Acoustic Ales below. Like most breweries of the time, they went out of business during the first year of Prohibition. The revived Mission Brewery is now in the East Village in downtown San Diego in the historic Wonder Bread Building. As I always say, beer is food.
  • King Harbor Brewing Company: was the first production brewery in Redondo Beach. Last June they opened the Waterfront Tasting Room, joining Los Angeles craft beer bar icon, Naja’s Place, on the International Boardwalk.
  • Belching Beaver Brewing: This is a dog friendly brewery in North Park, San Diego. Their Beavers Milk, Milk Stout took a gold medal at the World Beer Championships in 2014 and 2015. Their Dammed! Double IPA also took a gold at the World Beer Championships in 2014. 

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  • Strand Brewing: Torrance’s first production brewery has grown so much since 2009, it moved to Old Torrance last October.  Now, Strand Brewing, Monkish Brewing, The Dudes Brewing and Smog City Brewing are all within walking or a short Uber ride distance from each other. Cool.
  • Deschutes Brewing: Deschutes is awesome and it’s family owned and operated. They even set up an employee stock ownership program in 2013 so employees can own a percentage of the company. If you try anything from Deschutes, try The Abyss. It’s a world class, 12% ABV imperial stout.
  • Alpine Brewing: You probably already know Green Flash and Alpine merged in 2014. Green Flash is about 20 times larger than Alpine. Apine’s IPA popularity couldn’t meet the demand. Now they can. 
  • Angel City Brewing: Angel City has a special place in my heart. When I first started writing about beer in 2008, I met Michael Bowe, the founder of Angel City.  He’s since sold it and is sailing around the world.  But it continues to thrive in downtown Los Angeles, bringing old-world craft brewing to the new expanding Arts District.  
  • Ironfire Brewing Company: John Maino and Greg Webb met at Ballast Point in San Diego and decided to start their own brewery in Temecula. Ironfire was born in 2012.
  • Barrelhouse Brewing Co.: BarrelHouse not only has fantastic beers (& sours!), but beautiful views from their inviting Central Coast patio. They just announced their 2016 Curly Wolf. This Maple Vanilla Bourbon Barrel-Aged Russian Imperial Stout has been a crowd favorite in Paso.
  • Rock Brothers Brewing: Music and beer are this brewery’s mantra. Creating custom brews for bands is their focus. And no surprise, they (along with Nebraska Brewing Company and Cigar City Brewing) made 311’s Amber Ale beer possible.
  • La Quinta Brewing They opened their doors in the fall of 2013 in the Coachella Valley. And after much success and popularity, they recently opened a brewpub in Old Town La Quinta.
  • Elysian Brewing: Elysian was founded in Seattle in 1995. Try their Avatar Jasmine IP brewed with died jasmine flowers.
  • Golden Road Brewing: All of their beers are delivered in cans. Canned beers stay fresher longer without light oxidation and they are better for the environment. Anheuser-Busch Inbev acquired Los Angeles’ largest craft brewer last September.
  • Babe’s Bar-B-Que & Brewhouse: The Rancho Mirage BBQ restaurant and brewhouse was founded by the Marie Callender’s founder, Don Callender. Don had a passion for craft beer and opened two small breweries in 1998 and 1999.  Babe’s later opened in April of 2002. In 2014, their Belgian Vanilla Blonde Ale took a gold at the Great America Beer Festival.
  • Acoustic Ales Brewing Experiment: Acoustic started brewing in 2012. But the building that houses their brew has over 100 years of American brewing history. The original facility housed Mission Brewery, which operated before Prohibition.
  • Karl Strauss Brewing Company: Strauss was former vice president of production and reached Master Brewer at Pabst Brewing Company. He, Chris Cramer and Matt Rattner started the first-ever brew pub in San Diego in 1989. It was the first brewery of any type to operate in San Diego since 1953.
  • Lagunitas Brewing Company: The brewery that brews in Northern California and Chicago sold a 50% stake to Heineken last September in an effort to expand the brand globally. 
  • Reverand Nat’s Hard Cider Rev Nat West started making cider in his basement and in the spirit of craft beer geeks, grew it to a business that now distributes in five states.
  • Ritual Brewing Company: Redlands brewery founded by Owen Williams and Steve Dunkerken. Williams is the former Brewing Operations Director of BJ’s Brewhouse and Restaurants and teaches Beer & Culture at California Polytechnic University in Pomona. Dunkerken is a Redlands native and long time homebrewer.

Want an extra hour of unlimited tastings from these amazing craft breweries?  You’ll want to check out the Friday night Bottle Share & Kick-off Party. Held on March 4th, the Bottle Share event is open to Rhythm, Wine & Brews Experience VIP ticket holders, Sponsors and Press. Make sure you brink one or two 22oz of awesome craft beer to share. 

So, what about the headliner? 311’s name originates from the police code for indecent exposure in Omaha, Nebraska, after the original guitarist for the band was arrested for streaking. As of 2011, 311 has sold over 8.5 million records in the US. Never has running around naked in Nebraska proved this profitable. While 311 has called L.A. home for years, the band is orginally from Omaha.  With collaboration from the band members and a local brew partner, Rock Brothers partners with fellow Florida brewery, Cigar City on all its bands beers. It's no wonder award winning Nebraska Brewing Company was chosen as the local brew partner to brew the 311 Amber Ale.

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“Choosing bands from a variety of genres makes our event appeal to a broad audience,“ said Alex Haagen, IV, producer of the Rhythm, Wine and Brews Experience. “Reggae always draws a big, happy crowd. We added rock, a dash of blues and some funk and think we have an impressive show that everyone will enjoy.” He added, “We’ve woven together live music, craft beer and wine tasting, a variety of amazing food offerings, colorful art installations, circus performers and an incredible venue to create a real ‘experience.’ Come on out and have a great time!”

Published in The Beer Goddess Blog

Paso Robles, CA: You could say that Brewmaster Matt Brynildson has been waiting his entire career for a mandate like this: to riff freely in the brewhouse without formal recipe or restraint while plundering the many marvels of the hop revolution.

This mandate has begotten Luponic Distortion—a new series of rotating beers built around experimental hops, with each release designed to showcase the possibilities of pure hop aromas and flavors without any assist from adjuncts. 

Published in Beer News

Some beerand wine drinkers have the silly idea that you must be loyal to one beverage or style. Let me introduce myself. My name is Erin Peters, and I am a cross drinker.  

And I’m not the only one. 

A visit to California’s Central Coast is a perfect time to compare some of the world’s best artisan beers and wines. I recently took a drive up to Paso Robles and further north to the Monterey area to find out what craft beers wine experts turn to. 

Published in The Beer Goddess Blog

Thousand Palms,California

February 1,2016

Coachella Valley Brewing Co. (“CVB”) is proud to announce expansion of distribution to Nevada starting February 3,2016.

Published in Beer News

Technically summer was still two weeks away, but in Southern California the seasons are mostly irrelevant, and so it was under a sunny sky and with temperatures in the 80s that the Casa Pacifica Wine, Food, and Brew Festival opened. This annual event, now in its 22nd year, brings together restaurants, caterers, wineries, brewers, and hedonists ready to indulge their appetites with a clear conscience. Casa Pacifica provides services to families and children in crisis, including abused and neglected children and families dealing with emotional and behavioral problems, with programs serving the Central Coast region. In one day this event would raise almost half a million dollars to support this worthy cause.

Published in The Beer Goddess Blog

Paso Robles, CA—Brewmaster Matt Brynildson and his brewing team at Firestone Walker Brewing Company continue to spin gold, earning “Mid-Size Brewing Company and Mid-Size Brewer of The Year” honors once again at the 2015 Great American Beer Festival® held this weekend in Denver, Colorado.

Published in Beer News
Wednesday, 09 September 2015 00:00

Mad River Brewing Announces New CEO

Blue Lake, CA – Mad River Brewing Company is excited to announce that Tom Del Sarto has joined their team as CEO. Del Sarto comes to Mad River with over 35 years of experience in the beer business. He began his career at Coors West Distributing on the San Francisco peninsula working his way up to Vice President/Managing Partner before transitioning his team to South Bay Beverage, the Miller/Coors distributorship in Santa Clara County.

Del Sarto is replacing Charlie Jordan, who has accepted a leadership position with a virtually located company that allows her more flexibility to spend time with family. “It is a very exciting time at Mad River right now,” said Ms. Jordan. “I am grateful to the owners for trusting me to lead the company through several changes including the completion of a brand refresh.”

For the past eight years, Del Sarto has provided consulting services to the beverage industry with a focus on the craft beer segment and distribution. On his decision to take the helm at one of California’s first craft breweries, Del Sarto states, “Mad River has a great product and great people. I feel that my experience on both the distributor and supplier side can help grow the business in the evolving craft beer market.”

Recent growth at the award-winning brewery also includes the addition of a kitchen to the Mad River Tap Room. The popular brew pub offers a family friendly environment with a variety of tasty cuisine for all ages, and local bands are featured on most nights. The outside beer garden welcomes pets and offers plenty of sunshine to enjoy your Mad River brew with family and friends.

About Mad River Brewing Company:

Built in Humboldt County in 1989, Mad River is an award-winning craft brewery and one of the first in California. Their distinct ales are renowned for their unique flavor profile and consistent quality. Their flagship brand, Steelhead Extra Pale Ale, and their John Barleycorn Barleywine have received gold medals at The Great American Beer Festival (GABF), the industry’s most prominent award. In 2010, Mad River Brewery was select as the “Small Brewery of the Year” by the GABF. The brewery produces a broad array of beer styles and flavor profiles.

Published in Beer News

(Thousand Palms, CA) – Locally owned and operated Coachella Valley Brewing Co (CVB) will celebrate its second anniversary of craft beer brewing at its Thousand Palms brewery in October. The first two years of business have brought the company numerous accomplishments, including increased distribution, multiple industry awards, and doubled sales from the previous year.

To celebrate its second anniversary with devoted fans and the community, CVB will hold a beer festival-style party at its brewery with live music and food vendors on Saturday, October 17, 2015 from 2 – 9 p.m.

David Humphrey, CVB Co-founder and CEO, said: “I’m so proud of what the brewery has been able to accomplish in just two short years. We have positioned ourselves for growth without compromising our core values – producing beer that reflects our valley and all that makes it special. The past two years have been an amazing journey and our upcoming celebration is about great beer and the great Coachella community that we live in.”

Since opening its doors in August 2013, CVB has achieved significant success:

  • Became the first fully-dedicated ABC license ‘Type 23’ brewery in the region;
  • Secured statewide distribution with Young’s Market Company of California and Arizona;
  • Earned a 2014 silver medal for Monumentous IPA in CVB’s first competition at the Los Angeles International Commercial Beer Competition; and earned a 2015 gold medal for Monumentous IPA;
  • Earned 2015 gold medals for Monument on Fire and Phoenix at the Los Angeles International Commercial Beer Competition;
  • Secured more than 100 tap handles in the Coachella Valley;
  • Featured in more than 900 out-of-valley accounts;
  • Featured on draught in key accounts, including Downtown Disney, LA Live/Staples Center, and locations in downtown Los Angeles and San Jose;
  • Featured at the world-renowned Coachella Music and Arts Festival for two years in a row;
  • Transitioned three core brands into 6-pack long necks for greater distribution;
  • Selected to pour at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado two years in a row; and selected as a presenter at the Great American Beer Festival on the topic of brewery efficiency;
  • Started extensive small batch barrel aging and sour program using local ingredients from farmers within the Coachella Valley.
  • Voted the “Best Brewery” in the Coachella Valley by CV Weekly;
  • Named as a top 12 brewery in the California by the Culturetrip.com
  • Awarded most commercial water-friendly business in the Coachella Valley by the Coachella Valley Water District.

Chris Anderson, CVB’s Head Brewer and Chief Operating Officer, said: “We attribute the brewery’s success to quality beer matched with a quality brand. But most importantly, the hardworking team at the brewery is what really makes CVB great.”

Martin Wadley, Vice President, Beer, Young’s Market Company, said: “Young’s Market Company is proud to represent Coachella Valley Brewing Co and congratulates the brewery as they celebrate their second anniversary. Over the past two years, CVB has proven to be a strong and valued addition to Young’s portfolio. CVB is doing a great job competing in California – one of the most competitive beer markets in the country – and CVB is winning by offering consistent, creative and award-winning beers.”

The anniversary celebration will be held at Coachella Valley Brewing Co at 30650 Gunther St., Thousand Palms, from 2 – 9 p.m. Attendees will receive a free souvenir tasting glass, along with 12 beer tastings for the $20 admission price. Coachella Valley Brewing Co promises great fun and most of all great, local craft beer at the event. For more information, visit www.cvbco.com or call the brewery at 760.343.5973.

About Coachella Valley Brewing Co
Since opening its doors on August 30, 2013, Coachella Valley Brewing Co has grown from a small lofty notion into a full-fledged reality. Locally owned and operated in Thousand Palms, California, Coachella Valley Brewing Co is committed to crafting beer that showcases the agriculture and attitudes of the desert. Locally grown, quality ingredients are used to create expertly crafted beers that deliver exceptional taste and a ‘farm to glass’ experience.

Published in Beer News