This year marked the 4th annual Food & Wine Festival in Palm Desert. The festival, organized by Palm Springs Life, gathered the brightest and most inspired chefs from across the country for three extravagant days of culinary prowess and  pairings.

Thursday, 27 February 2014 22:24

Food + Wine Festival - Palm Desert

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The 4th annual the Food & Wine Festival Palm Desert™ will be held March 21-23, 2014. The festival, organized by Palm Springs Life, will gather the brightest and most inspired chefs from across the country for three extraordinary days of culinary and wine tasting under The Big White Tent on Larkspur between El Paseo and Shadow Mountain in Palm Desert, CA. This event will be uniquely educational in focus, showcasing the Coachella Valley as the ultimate culinary destination.

The Southern California Homebrewers Festival (SCHF) is an annual event held in early May. With over 40 homebrew clubs in attendance & unlimited tastings, this is a homebrew, craft beer, camping extravaganza that attracts thousands of California tourists, shining a light on the homebrewer.

The festival, hosted by the California Homebrewers Association (CHA), is held at Lake Casitas, in Ventura County. The weekend is a celebration of the craft and science of brewing. Friday night is a mini beer fest, with commercial breweries and homebrewers pouring their beers.  Award winning homebrewers and brewmasters speak at the wildlife recreation area, while wonderful hand-crafted Southern California brews are served to happy campers. Membership in the CHA is required for entry into the festival.

Located about 45 miles west of Palm Springs, lies the brewery that has taken off and plans to reach new heights in 2014.   

Hangar 24 has an undeniable charm. Perhaps it’s the fields of oranges you pass on your way there; maybe it’s due to the old-school feel of the converted Norton Air Force Base building this Redlands brewery occupies. At the end of a dusty road, with the San Bernardino Mountains serving as a backdrop, the brewery and its large patio is often occupied by a slew of locals enjoying Hangar’s beers. Even if you’re not an aviation geek, it’s is unequivocally cool to watch small airplanes take off and land at the nearby Redlands airport.

Stone started producing the line of Quingenti Millilitre barrel-aged brews and packaging them in 500-milliliter bottles back in 2011. The back of each Quingenti Millilitre bottle includes information on the original base beer—the story behind it and ingredients added at different steps throughout the brewing process.

Coming in at 14% ABV, the next beer in the series will have three different packages. It is 2013 Old Guardian Barley Wine aged in Bourbon Barrels.

Thursday, 30 January 2014 00:17

February is For Craft Beer Lovers

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Could it be that one month is better than another for craft beer? I enjoy drinking craft beer just about any time for any reason, but February has a special place in the heart of California craft beer drinkers.

Saturday, 25 January 2014 21:53

Beer Culture Webshow

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I’m not sure how long the “Beer Snob” and I have known each other online through my Facebook page, but it’s been a while.  I moved to the Coachella Valley in 2012, just as the craft beer scene started to erupt with the launch of Coachella Valley Brewing and La Quinta Brewing.

It was at Eureka Burger that I finally met the “Beer Snob” in person.

Friday, 24 January 2014 21:09

Tin is In

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On this day in 1935 canned beer made its debut. While the brew back then left little to be desired by today’s craft standards, an ever-growing selection of delicious suds now come in cans.

Today, celebrate Beer Can Appreciation Day!

So, why should we appreciate canned beer?

  1. Convenience. Love the outdoorsy lifestyle? Love fishing or hiking? What about music festivals? Canned beer is simply more travel friendly and convenient.
  2. It’s cheaper to produce.
  3. Better quality. Yep, some people still don’t believe it, but beer can taste better because cans don’t let the light in. Light and oxygen are the enemies of great tasting beer. And aluminum can provides 100% protection from harmful UV rays. The sealed lid prevents any oxygen from penetrating the beer inside the can. Recent technology has made even more improvements: can linings are now water-based instead of solvent-based. This lining insulates the beer from the can’s interior surface so you’ll never taste the can.
  4. Better for the environment. Over 60% of your beer can is made from recycled content. Cans also require less energy to cool down. Less packaging means packing more beer in less space, which reduces a brewery’s carbon footprint. Aluminum cans is easily recyclable. And that will always be cool.

Who’s got great cans? Here are just several ~img 7442-betterweather

  • 21st Amendment Brewery: Back in Black Black IPA, Brew Free! Or Die IPA, Fireside Chat Winter Spiced Ale or lower the boom with Lower De Boom, coming in at 11.5%. You read that right. 11.5% ABV.
  • Abita Brewing Company: Their Amber, Purple Haze and Jockamo IPA all come in cans.
  • Alchemist: Heady Topper Double IPA–#1 rated beer in the world on Beer Advocate.
  • Anderson Valley Brewing Company: Hop Ottin and Summer Solstice
  • Ballast Point Brewing Company: Sculpin IPA. Hop heads rejoice, the complex West Coast IPA is now available to take to Blacks Beach or Mission Bay.
  • Brooklyn Brewery: 16 oz. Brooklyn Lager
  • Cigar City Brewing: Jai Alai IPA is full of citrus and tropical flavors perfect for a day at the beach…or hiking…or fishing.
  • Founders: All Day IPA is a perfect, light American IPA with notes of grapefruit and pine.
  • Golden Road: solely committed to canning since their opening in 2011.
  • Good Life Brewing: Sweet As! Pacific Ale
  • Hangar 24: Orange Wheat, Pale Ale
  • Harpoon Brewery: Harpoon IPA
  • Madtree Brewing Co.: Ohio’s first canned craft beer came out with Psychopathy IPA, 6.9%
  • Maui Brewing Co.: Big Swell IPA – of course the surf state would embrace cans! Did you have any doubt?
  • Mission Brewery: Shipwrecked Double IPA comes in 32 oz. cans and is a whopping 9.25% ABV. Fuck yes.
  • New Belgium Brewing Company: Fort Collins’ flagship beer is in cans
  • Oskar Blues: Dale’s Pale Ale put craft cans on the map. Try their Scotch Ale or their amazing Ten Fidy Imperial Stout for those chilly nights camping.
  • Pabst Blue Ribbon. It’s awesome and cheap and they’re available almost everywhere.
  • Piney River Brewing Co.: Float Trip Ale, Missouri Mule IPA - each of their beer cans says, “Pack it in. Pack it out. Enjoy nature.”
  • Samual Adams: Boston Lager (my gateway beer of years ago & granddaddy of craft beer) is finally available in cans.
  • Sierra Nevada: The 33 year old craft brewery started canning their Pale Ale in 2012. Also enjoy their Summerfest and Torpedo for easy travel.
  • Sixpoint Brewery: At 10% ABV, 3BEANS is is a Baltic Porter and the biggest beer the brewery has ever canned. Romano beans are included in the mash, Cacao beans from Mast Brothers Chocolate are the second of the triumvirate. It’s then infused with fresh Stumptown Coffee Roasters cold brew, and then aged on oak.
  • Ska Brewing: Ska even has a series of seasonal canned stouts. Vernal Minthe Stout is the third in the series, brewed with spearmint, peppermint, vanilla beans and coco nibs. Autumnal Mole Stout is brewed with spices and three kinds of chile peppers. Also pick up their Modus Hoperandi, a world-class American IPA.
  • Surly Brewing Co.: CynicAle 16 oz. is just one of their beers you can get in cans. Also enjoy Wet, the first canned beer made with fresh hops all picked in Washington.
  • Wynkoop Brewing Company: You can even get Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout in cans from the Colorado brewery. Each batch is made with 25lbs of freshly sliced and roasted bull testicles. Mmmm..

According to Business Insider, as of 2012, cans constituted 53.2% of the beer market whimg 7441-tenfidyile bottles had a 36.5% share. CraftCans.com states there are more than 150 craft brewers currently put their beer in cans.

Bottom line, cans go where bottles can’t. Welcome to the craft canned revolution.