Pacific Northwest Beer Chick

Breweries, Beers & Good Times

California Brewin’ June 19, 2013

Going back home to So Cal for a visit is always fun. Over the last few years my visits have become much more exciting with the addition of new craft breweries. It seems like every time I go home, there is a new crop of breweries. In the past, San Diego and Northern California were the only spots in the state that were known for brewing craft beer. It’s only over the last six-plus years that the craft brew industry has taken a hold of Orange and Los Angeles Counties with new breweries popping up what seems like every other month! That’s great news! On my last trip I was a bit pressed for time so I could only visit three of said new breweries…

Old Orange Brewing Company located in the city of Orange opened in 2011 by four local boys. The tasting room is406 simple and cool. The staff is VERY friendly, and the beer…great stuff!

Old Orange Cream Ale on Nitro (6.1% ABV) – Smooth, creamy. Light fruit. Reminds me of a 50/50 bar. Yummy!

Street Fair Orange Wheat (4.6% ABV) – Ah, memories of walking around the Orange Street Fair. I only wish I had one of these in my hand back then. Light, very easy to drink, soft orange fruit. Clean finish. Perfect for those hot, Orange County days.

Cussin’ Jim IPA (7.4% ABV) – This medium bodied ale is nicely hopped and well-balanced. Lovely floral aroma with a hop finish.

Old Dummy Strong Ale (9.3% ABV) – Brown sugar  body, hard alcohol fume hits the nose. Malty and easier to drink than you would expect. Hard alcohol finish. Tread lightly, though this drinks easily it will kick your butt all the way to Riverside!

Thumb Master Double IPA (8.5% ABV) – Hoppy, well-balanced. Touch of toffee sweetness.

432About a block or so away is another OC gem: Valiant Brewing Company. Set back in  and industrial park, this brewery is a little harder to find, but well worth the quest. The tasting room is large and open sharing space with the brewing equipment. There are plenty of tables for anyone, just no chairs. If you get hungry there is a great food truck parked right out side the tasting room and the food will be brought right to you. But, again, you have to stand while you eat. Let’s get to the important part: the beer!

Mighty Maximus Ale (3.6% ABV) – Dark and bitter. Slightly sweet and lightly hopped. Nice, bitter finish.

Fields Ablaze Saison (6.9% ABV) – Brewed with pear and lemongrass, this baby is quite unique. Both sweet and tart with a nice crisp finish. Smooth and fruity.

31 Kings IPA (6.5% ABV) – Very well-balanced and malty. Nice hop flower aroma. Crisp, clean with a lovely hop finish.

About ten minutes away is the pride of Fullerton, CA: Bootlegger’s Brewery. Located in the historic district B102ootlegger’s has been churning out the liquid gold since 2008. There is a lovely, large beer garden just outside the door.

Tropical Thunder Pale Ale (5.3% ABV) – Fruity, hoppy aroma. Well-balanced fruit body, but not sweet. Lovely hop finish.

Mountain Meadow Honey Blonde (5.5% ABV) – This little beauty was like drinking a nice glass of iced herbal tea. Honey, sage notes throughout with interesting “tea-like” qualities. Nicely balanced and finishes softly sweet. Gorgeous!

Old World Hefewiezen (5.0% ABV) – If you like german wheat beers (me, me, me) then you will really enjoy this one! Bubble gum, banana clove aroma. Sweet, honey and flowers in the body. Nicely done.

I wish I could have spent more time in “So Cal.” There are so many more new breweries yet to hit. I’ll keep you posted next time I go.

Cheers!

Liz

 

www.valiantbrewing.com

www.oldorangebrewing.com

www.bootleggersbrewery.com

 

 

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Beer 101- Fruits of May, the conclusion June 10, 2013

It’s no secret that fruit beers are among my favorite beers. Now I’m not talking about that slice of lime wedged on the side of your mexican lager. I’m talking real fruit, fruit juices, and fresh puree added to everything from ales to lagers to wheat beers,to stouts and porters during the brewing process. To some, adding fruit to beer is sacrilege but fruit has been fermented and added to alcoholic beverages for millennium. Others simply won’t try it because they consider anything with fruit “chick beer.” They are really missing out! Here are my favorites from the month of May…

Samuel Smith Organic Strawberry Fruit Ale (5.2% ABV) – Amazing strawberry aroma. Thick body, jammy, natural fruit flavor (doesn’t taste fake). Crisp and “sparkly” with a wonderful fruit finish.

Unibroue Ephemere (5/5% ABV) One of my favorite beers for “Fruits of May!” Lovely green apple aroma. Crisp apple flavor and spices. Very similar to a hard, green apple cider…but better. I wouldn’t pair this with any food. It’s best sipped on its own.

Kona Brewing Wailua Wheat (5.4% ABV) – Lovely summer beer! Passion fruit aroma and body. Slightly pungent with a sweet/tart finish. If you have ever been to Hawaii, you will have wonderful flashbacks while sipping on this!

Samuel Smiths Organic Raspberry Fruit Ale (5.1% ABV) Another one of my favorites! Actually, in my opinion any of Samuel Smiths Fruit ales are amazing. This one is thick, rich, and full of raspberry goodness. Not one to be paired with food, except maybe for some vanilla bean ice cream. Wonderful!

Brouwerif Lindemans Framboise Lambic (2.5% ABV) Pretty much ANY of the lambics from this amazing Belgian brewery is a treat! Syrupy and elegant. Fresh raspberry aroma and flavor. Very effervescent with a gorgeous fruit finish. The best way I can describe this beauty is it’s like drinking raspberry champagne. My absolute favorite beer…period!

I feel any beer drinker should try a fruit beer at least once. Fruit beers are sweet, refreshing, and can really compliment a meal or serve as a lovely desert.

What’s in store for june? How about “a blonde named June?” I like it!

Cheers!

Liz

 

 
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