Freelance Food + Beer Writer. Adventure seeker.

The first beer fest I’ve ever been to without a writing agenda. Feels kinda good. #oregonbrewersfestival #wisconsinitesummerweisse #portlandbeer (at Oregon Brewers Festival)

Posted at 4:13pm and tagged with: wisconsinitesummerweisse, portlandbeer, oregonbrewersfestival,.

The first beer fest I’ve ever been to without a writing agenda. Feels kinda good. #oregonbrewersfestival #wisconsinitesummerweisse #portlandbeer (at Oregon Brewers Festival)

Saturday flying. With flights. #redeyewheat is especially good. #pureorderbrewco #santabarbarabeer (at Pure Order Brewing Co.)

Posted at 5:11pm and tagged with: redeyewheat, santabarbarabeer, pureorderbrewco,.

Saturday flying. With flights. #redeyewheat is especially good. #pureorderbrewco #santabarbarabeer  (at Pure Order Brewing Co.)

Barrelmeister and the Feralbaum. @fw_bblmeister #feralone #jerobaum @firestonewalker (at Firestone Walker Barrelworks)

Posted at 9:16pm and tagged with: feralone, jerobaum,.

Barrelmeister and the Feralbaum. @fw_bblmeister #feralone #jerobaum @firestonewalker  (at Firestone Walker Barrelworks)

Collaborations like #w00tstout are more important than the beer itself because they transcend the industry exposing new audiences to craft. @stonebrewingco @aishatyler @geekandsundry @sablopiccolo #goodbedfellows

Posted at 2:25pm and tagged with: w00tstout, goodbedfellows,.

Collaborations like #w00tstout are more important than the beer itself because they transcend the industry exposing new audiences to craft. @stonebrewingco @aishatyler @geekandsundry @sablopiccolo #goodbedfellows

A tiny, but necessary step in the effort to become a better beer drinker. Oh, and a summer of studying ahead. #certifiedbeerserver #cicerone #craftbeer

Posted at 5:16pm and tagged with: craftbeer, cicerone, certifiedbeerserver,.

A tiny, but necessary step in the effort to become a better beer drinker. Oh, and a summer of studying ahead. #certifiedbeerserver #cicerone #craftbeer

Reposted from the LAWeekly…

Nothing says summer in Southern California like unlimited beer outside on a sunny day. If you’re new to craft beer, attending a festival is the perfect way to access many different breweries and styles in one place. Plus food to keep you grounded and music to keep you occupied. 

Every festival we’ve featured offers something different — the San Diego Beer Fest and the Craft Beer Heaven bookend the summer and provide a great fest for beginners. Bluesapalooza and Sea of Suds will satisfy destination-seekers. And Blue Palms and the Stone Brewing anniversary festivals offer the best selection for serious beer drinkers. See the best of California this summer, through its beer.

San Diego Beer Fest (San Diego)
Saturday, July 12
If you’ve never been to a beer festival, the San Diego Beer Fest at Liberty Station is the perfect first step. The ticket price is affordable and the beer is unlimited. Because it is in San Diego, the selection of pours is excellent and the event serves as a great one-stop approach to getting to know our neighboring beer destination. Food trucks and live music will keep you busy between sips.
Tickets: $40 general admission 3-6 p.m.; $50 early admission 2-6 p.m.

Bluesapalooza (Mammoth)
Saturday, Aug. 3
Bluesapalooza is definitely not a Southern California beer festival. However, it’s so well-attended by local breweries (and their owners and brewers) that an irresistible number of L.A. beer is represented. Look for Eagle Rock, El Segundo, Kinetic, The LAB, Ladyface, Monkish and Three Weavers breweries from L.A. County. Saturday-only tickets are sold-out, but it’s not like you were going to make the drive and only go for one day.
Tickets$100 2-day pass includes Friday night Rock ‘n’ Brews Kickoff Concert and Saturday concerts and unlimited beer tasting; $100 2-day pass includes Saturday concerts and unlimited beer tasting, plus a Sunday hangover concert.

Surf ‘n’ Suds (Carpinteria)
Saturday, Aug. 9 
Sample unlimited tasters from 55+ breweries just steps from the ocean at Surf ‘n’ Suds on Carpinteria State Beach. Amtrak’s convenient adjacent station makes this one of the most accessible fests in Southern California, dropping you off and safely escorting your happy, sunburnt, drunk ass home. Last year was surprisingly well-attended by brewers and the laidback, surf’s-up atmosphere was a pleasant escape from L.A.
Tickets$50 general admission, 12:30-5 p.m.; $65 VIP, 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

L.A. Craft Beer Crawl (Downtown)
Saturday, Aug. 9 
There’s no better way to tour downtown L.A. then from bar to bar, with a tasting glass in hand. Presented by 213 Nightlife and The Beer Chicks, the 5th annual L.A. Craft Beer Crawl will feature over 100 beers at eight different bars. Compacted to one day (so you can still hit Blue Palms on Sunday), this local favorite offers general and early admission tickets. See last year’s crawl here.
Tickets$49 general admission presale (3-7 p.m.); $69 early admission presale (1-7 p.m.).

Blue Palms 6th Anniversary (Hollywood)
Sunday, Aug. 10
The selection at the Blue Palms Anniversary party only gets better with age. This year look forward to Russian River Brewing’s 2012 Supplication and 2013 vintages of Consecration and Temptation, along with barrel-aged goodies from Allagash, Firestone Walker and Lost Abbey. This is a day for true L.A. beer geeks. Check-in starts at 11 a.m.
Tickets$65 includes twenty 3-oz. tasters, plus unlimited “core beer” pours, 12-5 p.m.

Stone 18th Anniversary Celebration and International Beer Festival (San Marcos) 
Friday and Saturday, Aug. 15 and 16
Stone Brewing’s epic annual festival expands every year and All Access passes have already sold out. It’s not too late to snag a ticket to the first or second Saturday session. Even better, rub elbows, throw back tasters and smoke cigars with your beer-makers at the Friday Night Brewers Reception. 
Tickets$80 Friday Night Reception includes unlimited tastings, cigar lounge and gourmet fare 6-9 p.m.; $45 Saturday Session A (11 a.m.-2 p.m.) or Session B (3-6 p.m.) includes fifteen 3-oz. samples on over 100 beers (we could never choose so few).

Sea of Suds: A Beer Tasting Experience (Santa Barbara)
Saturday, Aug. 16
Explore the relationship between beer, water and the ocean at Sea of Suds, hosted by the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum. Water conservation and sustainability are on the minds of every California brewer after a relentlessly dry year, so this boutique festival’s focus is particularly relevant. Ticket includes unlimited tasting pours of nautically-inspired beers, commemorative glass, food pairings and museum access. 
Tickets$50 Maritime Museum members; $65 non-members; 5-8 p.m.

Craft Beer Heaven, California Beer Festival (Ventura) 
Saturday, Sept. 20
Closing out Ventura Craft Beer Week, Craft Beer Heaven is the final summer beer festival. Featuring 130+ beers, food trucks and live music, it’s the perfect excuse to head north and spend the day in downtown Ventura.
Tickets$50 includes 3-oz. tasting glass and unlimited samples, 12:30-4:30 p.m.

Posted at 12:43pm and tagged with: laweekly,.

Reposted from the LAWeekly…

51 breweries attended the third Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival (FWIBF) last Saturday, May 31. The Paso Robles event has quickly garnered a prestigious reputation because the breweries represented are meticulously selected from all over the world by Firestone Walker brewmaster Matt Brynildson. 

Last year was unbearably hot and high gravity beers idled. This year, sour beers were the trend and kept attendees peppy and refreshed. International participants included two New Zealand breweries, two German breweries and breweries from Italy, England and Japan.

From L.A. County, Beachwood BBQ and Brewing brought four beers, including System of a Stout and Amalgamator. Golden Road Brewing Co. also brought four beers, among then El Hefe Anejo - an imperial Hefeweizen aged in Anejo Tequila barrels. O.C. County neighbor The Bruery won the People’s Choice Award and poured Hottenroth and Humulus Lager next to the rare Black Tuesday with pistachio and vanilla.  

The ticket price of this festival is higher than most and it sells out fast. For good reason: It’s the best beer festival we’ve been to, and we’ll tell you why. 

6. Distribution boundaries be damned
Southern California enjoys an amazing selection of beer from all over the world. However, there are plenty of breweries that haven’t opened territory to this thirsty West Coast market because they focus on different regions or simply don’t have enough product (yet). Brewing companies unavailable in Southern California that poured at the FWIBF include Southern Tier (NY), Cigar City (FL), Founders (MI), Three Floyds (IN), Revolution (IL), and Surly (MN). This is the reason so many brewers and beer industry folk love this event and one of the greatest reasons to get that general admission ticket: sampling beer you cannot buy at home. 

5. The Behind the Beer sessions
Not every beer festival showcases brewers and brewery-owners who elaborate on what they do. The festivals that offer sessions don’t have access to the line-up of talent the FWIBF showcases. If you don’t have the time to ask questions or don’t know which questions to ask, these discussions address a variety of topics, from brewing to distribution to ingredients. The Brewing Network and The Krush presented interviews with Pizza Port (CA), a sour session with Jester King (TX) and Crooked Stave (CO), Garage Project (New Zealand), Funkwerks (CO), Green Flash (CA) and 8 Wired (New Zealand). 

4. The Food
Ticket prices include samples from over 20 Central Coast restaurants and cafes. If you eat early enough, you can get a satisfying quantity of exceptionally tasty food. Sliders, tacos and chili were all popular items, but it was the beer gelato from Leo Leo Gelato that we liked the most. Ten flavors of gelato substituted popular beers for water, often with a fruit puree. Russian River’s Supplication with cherry, and their Blind Pig with grapefruit, were unstoppable combinations.

3. The Weird Beer
Garage Project, a brewery from New Zealand, received a lot of attention for their Umami Monster beer. The unusual style showcased the savory fifth taste by using kombu (seaweed), katsuobushi (smoked, fermented fish, like “fish bacon” says the brewer) and sea water. “We wanted to capture the rich, intense flavor of the fifth flavor sensation. We used an imperial brown ale with smoked malts then added kombu from New Zealand, a portion of seawater and bonito flakes,” said Jos Ruffell, co-owner of the Wellington brewery. 

"It could have been a horrible train wreck," countered brewer Pete Gillespie. "I think it’s like that gum from Willy Wonka - it does so many things in your mouth. It’s like a blanket, a duvet of umami at the end." The beer isn’t for everybody, but we thought its salty, savory flavor was a surprising success because of the sweet malt balance. One festival-goer said, "it’s good, I just couldn’t drink a full glass." We say, fill ‘er up.

2. The Whales
In the beer world, “whales” (or “white whales” or “WW”s) refer to those illusive beasts of beer that are very difficult to come by, regardless of your proximity to the brewery. They earn a reputation of mythical proportion because they’re released once or twice a year, in small quantities, to a huge demand. Thus they’re often “hunted” through beer trades. More often than not, they’re extremely high in alcohol, sometimes ridiculously so.

Many of these brews are available for sampling at the FWIBF - no harpoon required. This year we caught glimpses of The Bruery’s Black Tuesday with pistachio and vanilla, Cigar City’s Hunapuh, Founder’s Kentucky Breakfast Stout, Mikkeller’s Orange Yuzu Glad I Said Porter, Russian River’s Beatification, Surly’s Darkness, and Three Floyds’ Barrel-Aged Blot Out the Sun., among other coveted rarities. 

1. The Brewers
The greatest reason that the FWIBF is the ultimate beer festival is the brewers who attend. It’s the one festival where the only people more excited to be there than the ticket holders are the brewers. Sales representatives and volunteers typically work local festivals, and brewer turnout at the Great American Beer Festival has been waning in recent years. The FWIBF is one of the only occasions built with the brewers in mind. Brewers go to meet their patrons, to make new friends and embrace old ones, and to taste exceptionally good beer, poured by the hands that crafted it.

Posted at 12:39pm and tagged with: laweekly,.

Let there be light on this pilsner. @figmtnbrew #paradiserdpils #figmtnbrew (at Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company)

Posted at 9:42pm and tagged with: paradiserdpils, figmtnbrew,.

Let there be light on this pilsner. @figmtnbrew #paradiserdpils #figmtnbrew (at Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company)

Spending the day with Sour Jim and his magical elixir. @fw_sourjim #beerbugs #bottleconditioning #regnaldbrett @firestonewalker (at Barrelworks)

Posted at 4:32pm and tagged with: beerbugs, regnaldbrett, bottleconditioning,.

Spending the day with Sour Jim and his magical elixir. @fw_sourjim #beerbugs #bottleconditioning #regnaldbrett @firestonewalker  (at Barrelworks)

Friday night #DIPA tournament. @figmtnbrew #lizardsmouth versus @firestonewalker #doublejack. God bless #CAbeer

Posted at 11:47pm and tagged with: dipa, lizardsmouth, cabeer, doublejack,.

Friday night #DIPA tournament. @figmtnbrew #lizardsmouth versus @firestonewalker #doublejack. God bless #CAbeer

Another epic year at the Firestone Walker Invitational. Reset the countdown — 364 days left! @firestonewalker #firestonewalker #fwibf #kleankanteen #pasorobles #frontierbeer

Posted at 2:42pm and tagged with: kleankanteen, fwibf, pasorobles, firestonewalker, frontierbeer,.

Another epic year at the Firestone Walker Invitational. Reset the countdown — 364 days left! @firestonewalker #firestonewalker #fwibf #kleankanteen #pasorobles #frontierbeer

Vinnie Cilurzo of #russianriverbrewing opens 9 liter #Temptation to fanboys and fangirls. #fwibf #wherethewildbugsare (at Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest)

Posted at 5:35pm and tagged with: fwibf, wherethewildbugsare, russianriverbrewing, temptation,.

Holy blackberries! L’Brett d’blackberry from @crookedstave at the Firestone Walker Invitational. #fwibf #sourbeer @firestonewalker (at Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest)

Posted at 3:45pm and tagged with: fwibf, sourbeer,.

Holy blackberries! L’Brett d’blackberry from @crookedstave at the Firestone Walker Invitational. #fwibf #sourbeer @firestonewalker  (at Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest)

Check out the new @allaboutbeer for my coverage of @bigbendbrewing @kernriverbrewing and #newglarusbrewing — three of the most beautiful places to drink great beer. Yay magazine work! #brewswithviews #beeroutside

Posted at 1:25pm and tagged with: brewswithviews, newglarusbrewing, beeroutside,.

Check out the new @allaboutbeer for my coverage of @bigbendbrewing @kernriverbrewing and #newglarusbrewing — three of the most beautiful places to drink great beer. Yay magazine work! #brewswithviews #beeroutside

My dad has great taste in beer. And Hawaiian shirts. #RussianRiverBrewing #Sanctification #Brettanomyces #AllInTheFamily

Posted at 12:27am and tagged with: brettanomyces, allinthefamily, russianriverbrewing, sanctification,.

My dad has great taste in beer. And Hawaiian shirts. #RussianRiverBrewing #Sanctification #Brettanomyces  #AllInTheFamily