Pacific Northwest Beer Chick

Breweries, Beers & Good Times

Oceanside Ale Works making waves November 14, 2015

The Southern California coast heading towards San Diego and the surrounding areas are my old stomping grounds. What’s not to love? Gorgeous blue skies, the Pacific Ocean, and 75deg weather year round. Sadly, since moving to Washington State visiting the southern-most coastal area of California is a bit difficult. Visiting 10996052_10205037989528381_8075180440017818591_nmy home state usually involves family visits in Orange County so the two-hour trek to the southern-most part of the state is a bit difficult. Well, there is one thing that gives me that “coastal love” that I long for: Oceanside Ale Works.

Now, OAW does not distribute to the PNW, but luckily I have been able to get my hands on a few of their creations. Each beer is just as amazing as the last.

Dude Double IPA – This is Oceanside’s most popular beer. As a double IPA, I was expecting a strong, “blow your head off” hoppy ale. What I got was a well-balanced, slightly malty IPA that even a beer newbie would enjoy. Hints of caramel hit the palate and hop flowers break through the finish. This beer is lovely. Oh, and owner Mark’s photo is on the label. How cool is THAT dude?!?!

Funk-n-Delicious Blueberry – WOW!! Real fruit flavor! Really great aroma of freshly picked blueberries. The flavor is tart, pungent fruit. Nothing fake about this beauty! Sour, sparkly, exactly how you want a fruit beer to taste. Gorgeous!

Up A Kriek Cherry Sour Belgian Blonde – Pretty, pretty beer. If you are a fan of sour beers, this one should put a smile on your face. Tart cherry fruit from start to finish. Effervescent, Champaign-like elegance. Perfect after-dinner treat. Simply gorgeous!

I have yet to actually visit the brewery in Oceanside, but hope to make a trip down there soon. If you hit the Golden State be sure to check around your local ale house or bottle shop and pick up a bottle of liquid So Cal!

Cheers,

Liz

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Longing for Long Beach! December 31, 2014

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Just got back from a trip to my beloved Southern California. Visiting family and friends is, of course, always on the agenda, but what I really look forward to is hitting some of the new breweries cropping up and visit some of the old ones I have missed. On this trip I was staying in Long Beach aboard the Queen Mary so it was only appropriate to head downtown and see what was on tap! For years Long Beach was known as a not-so-safe place to visit. But over the last decade it has undergone some amazing changes making it much more tourist friendly. The downtown area has cleaned up, new businesses and shopping areas have opened, and there are even free shuttles to get you around downtown. My time for beer yard housedrinking on this trip was rather limited, but I gave it the “old college try!”

In the Long Beach neighborhood of Belmont Shore sits the Belmont Brewing Company. I did not have a chance to visit the brewery itself, but I did get to try one of their beers at the local Yard House. If you have never been to the Yard House (there are several locations in several states) you are really missing out! Over 100+ beers from around the world on tap. On the menu that night was Belmont Brewing’s Strawberry Blonde (4.5% abv). Fruit beer gets a bad wrap for being, well, fruity. Most men consider fruit beers “chick beer.” They couldn’t be more wrong, especially with this little gem. Fresh strawberry hits the nose before you can raise the glass. The fruit flavor is fresh and clean, does not taste syrupy. Lovely jamminess from start to finish but not too sweet. A lovely beer to get into the So Cal mood!

One night, I met with some very dear friends of mine at a more “spiritual” house downtown. Congregation Ale House is located right in the heart of downtown Long Beach. The actual brew house is located in Azusa, CA but there are three locations to enjoy: Azusa, Long Beach and Pasadena. The Long Beach “chapter” was quite lovely with glowing light, gothic arch ways, and gorgeous wrought iron chandeliers reminiscent of a gothic cathedral. The staff was very friendly and beer savvy and one of our servers, Kevin, was a kick in the pants! Thanks, Kevin!!

Praise On! Saison (5.8% abv) – This lovely farmhouse ale has a sour fruit aroma, wheat character in the body. It finishes sour and crisp.

10568825_10204477660760512_8533465143145378077_nEternally Strong Brotherhood ESB (5.4% abv) – I love a good ESB and this one hit the spot! Very malty, slightly bitter, and very delicious. Light hops in the top, with a slightly sweet finish. Very enjoyable.

Dark Of The Covenant (7% abv) – This American Strong Ale, is just that! Soft, smokey aroma and dark chocolate body. This is definitely a sipper for dessert. Almost like drinking a smokey chocolate bar. Quite tasty!

A few doors down is Beachwood Brewing Company. This brewery is also known for its BBQ and has two locations: downtown Long Beach (where I was) and Seal Beach (a bit further down the coast). Very laid back atmosphere. Nice place to hang out.

Foam Top Cream Ale (5.5% abv) – The aroma of Golden Grahams cereal hits the nose right away. Honey-sweet body and a creamy finish. Very easy to drink. Perfect beer for So Cal.

Knucklehead Red (5.7% abv) – Very well-balanced red. Nice caramel character with just enough hops to give it the kick “hopheads” require. Quite nice!

On the last night of my trip I visited San Pedro Brewing Company located in historic San Pedro, CA. Just a stones throw (and a bridge crossing) away from the Queen Mary, the brewery is tucked away in a darling, historic neighborhood. This brewery/restaurant is BUSY! I was a bit bugged atIMG_3664 first because it took almost 15min for anyone to acknowledge me after I sat down (as a former server/bartender, I’m pretty patient). Once my server stopped by things started looking up. I enjoyed a delicious grilled cheese sandwich and a taster tray.

Bruin Blonde Ale (5.5% abv) – This light bodied ale had a candy-like sweetness with a caramel finish. It was a bit like drinking, you guessed it, candy. Very nice for a hot day.

Sunken City Imperial Stout (8.3% abv) – Ink black color, dark chocolate from the start, but finishes smokey. Full bodied, malty, and very smooth. definitely and after dinner beer.

Port Towne Hefe (5% abv) – Hefeweizen is one of my favorite styles of beer. This one was OK, but just a bit watery than what I prefer. The traditional banana clove flavor and aroma were present, it just didn’t have the body I was looking for. Still, not bad.

Red Headed Hop Child (5.6% abv) – Gorgeous color! Hoppy with a touch of hazelnut on the palate. Nutty, crisp finish. This was one of my favorites!

IMG_3873Iowa Battleship IPA (6.6% abv) – Named for the historic battleship docked just a few minutes away, this IPA is sure to make any “hophead” smile, but easy enough for the “hop-shy” to warm up to. Beautiful floral aroma with light hops throughout. Nice, clean finish. This IPA is perfect for the beginner and easy to drink.

Blitzen Belgian (9.11% abv) – This was my least favorite, but not because of quality. I’m not a barley wine/hard alcohol kind of gal so anything higher than say 8% abv really comes through on my palate. This Belgian ale was thick, syrupy and VERY sweet. Too sweet and thick for me but is sure to please the barley wine crowd.

 

If you would like to stay on the Queen Mary, be sure to look into some of the ship activities as well. It is a fun place to stay and a great alternative to a traditional, boring hotel. The free shuttle I mentioned leaves from the parking lot and stops in the downtown area only but runs until about 2:00am.

Cheers!

Liz

 

http://www.congregationalehouse.com

http://www.beachwoodbbq.com

http://www.belmontbrewing.com

http://www.sanpedrobrewing.com

 

To stay aboard the Queen Mary:  http://www.queenmary.com

 

 

 

 

 

Beat the summer heat July 19, 2014

Ah, summertime. Time for BBQ’s, beach picnics, mowing lawns, and horrendous heat! So how does one find refreshment when sitting in temperatures that feels like the Seventh Circle ofIMG_1269 Hell? Grab an awesome craft beer of course! There are so many “summer style” beers to choose from, I have chosen a few that have tickled my fancy as of late.

Ninkasi Wünderbier – This tasty beverage is a German-Style Kölsch. I love a good Kölsch and was very excited to stumble upon this one. Slightly sweet with a hint of Golden Grahams cereal, Wünderbier  is crisp, light, and finishes clean. It’s a nice session beer at only 4.4% ABV.

New Belgium Summer Helles Lager – Hints of honey hit your nose before first taste. Summer Helles is very light in body, easy to drink, and has a nice, soft spice to the finish. It’s hard to put this one down!

Anchor Summer Beer – The very first craft beer I ever had was an Anchor Steam. That was 20 years ago and since then the Anchor Brewing Company has never disappointed me. This beer is no exception! This filtered wheat beer is crisp and light, with a hint a honey. Very refreshing.

Silver City Ziggy Zoggy Lager – One of my favorite breweries in Washington State, Silver City Brewing Company “kills it” with this awesome, unfiltered summer beer. Banana clove tastiness, honey everywhere, malty, and light. This one is a summer favorite for me!

For me, the key with any good summer beer is the body.  It has to be crisp, easy to drink, and not too heavy with a slight fruit or honey note. These beers “nail it.”

 

Cheers!

Liz

 

 

 

So Cal beer for the PNW shores August 5, 2013

My last couple of trips back home to So. Cal did not, unfortunately, include a visit to San Diego. There are many a great breweries in San Diego and the county has quite the 1002235_672912556055851_818241141_nreputation for producing some of America’s finest craft beers. About a month or two ago the very generous owner of Oceanside Ale Works, Mark Purciel, sent me a special package filled with “liquid sunshine.”

Elevation 83 Extreme Pale Ale (8.3% ABV) is a nicely hopped, well-balanced pale ale. Medium to full-bodied, this extreme pale ale is no lie! The aroma is hoppy yet has a touch of hard alcohol. Syrupy mouth feel. Toasty, very hop forward, and a bit of a whiskey finish. The overall taste reminds me of a crisp, autumn day. It would be a perfect ale for those cool summer nights on a Southern California beach, or a great fireside beer in the PNW. I really like this beer.

Thanks again to Mark and the great folks at the brewery! I know one thing: I need to get my butt down to Oceanside!

Cheers!

Liz

http://www.oceansidealeworks.net/

 

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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