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Mammoth Festival of Beers – 2012 – Day 1

Posted by Darryl | Craft Beer, Festivals | Posted on August 4th, 2012

I love US Highway 395. Not only is it one of the most diverse highways in California, cutting through the Mojave Desert, Owens Valley, and Eastern Sierras, but once a year one of its many destinations is the Bluesapalooza festival in the town of Mammoth; also known as the Mammoth Festival of Beers. A 4 day event, with the Grand Tasting on Saturday, the festival brings together great musicians in a beautiful mountain setting, along with some of the best craft brewers in the business; 64 of them signed-up prior to the start of the event. CONTINUE READING THE FULL POST

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Finding Joy in a Cancelled Event

Posted by Darryl | Bars, Breweries & Alehouses, Craft Beer, Restaurants | Posted on December 9th, 2011

One of the great things I’m discovering about the craft beer world is that there are a lot more places to find excellent beers than I ever knew existed. When I first started learning, I thought I was restricted to just a couple of microbreweries near me and one or two alehouses or pubs in the area, but now I know that there’s MUCH more to see in the greater Los Angeles area than I suspected. And the best part is, my friends (who are not as far along in their craft beer discovery experience as I) are reaping the benefits of my journey as well; and I really enjoy sharing those discoveries too!

WINNER WINNER WINNER
Through the magic that is Twitter, I found out about the ColLAboration Winter Wonderland that was popping-up on December 3rd. I also found that Beers In Paradise was conducting a contest/survey giving away 2 ColLAboration Limited Editions beer glasses, which get you in free to the event. The best part was that I won the contest! Although I was planning to take my son to the LA Kings’ game that day, winning the contest gave me a chance to invite my friend Mike along with me to experience a craft beer event (his first!), and if we had the time we could still hit the game. Fortunately, my son is a very understanding young man.

Unfortunately, a windstorm hit the LA area a couple of days before the event, knocking down utilities lines needed for the event, and ColLAboration was forced to postpone the the Winter Wonderland.

PLAN B
Mohawk BendNot willing to miss out on introducing Mike to some great craft beers (as well as having some myself) I suggested that we visit one of the venues behind ColLAboration. I had been to Blue Palms Brewhouse before and since it isn’t far off the 101 on our way through Hollywood it sounded like a great first stop. However, we soon learned that they don’t open until 5:00 pm. (One day I’ll memorize their hours.) Since I had been notified via Golden Road Brew’s Twitter that Mohawk Bend would be open for brunch, and it was also on the way, we made the 4 mile trek from Blue Palms over to Echo Park.

It’s fairly obvious from the marquee out front that Mohawk Bend used to be a vaudeville theater back in the day. What’s less obvious from the exterior is that they have 72 beers available on tap! The taps included beers from Stone, AleSmith, Ballast Point, Hangar 24, and many many more. I started with an AleSmith IPA, then had my first taste of a Pangaea by Dogfish Head (and loved it!), concluding my visit with a Palo Santo Marron also from Dogfish Head.

Mohawk Bend sports a large tap selection

For food, Mike ordered the signature waffle with peanut butter syrup while I tried a baked egg dish containing white beans, garbanzo beans, spicy tomatoes, and some other tasty ingredients. Both were great! The only problem I had the food was the timing of its delivery. Mike received his waffle at least 10 minutes before my eggs came out. Fortunately he didn’t wait for me to be served.

Overall, Mohawk Bend was a great experience! A beer selection that we really enjoyed, excellent and friendly bartenders, and friendly environment. Definitely a place to revisit.

PLAN C
By the time we finished our last round of beers and our food, we resigned ourselves to the fact that weren’t going to make it to the game at all. Not a problem; let’s go hit another place I know of nearby.

Knowing that we might have some time during the day to make the stop, I had loaded my 2 growlers for Eagle Rock Brewery into the car. We left Mohawk Bend and proceeded on highway 2 for the 3 mile trip to Eagle Rock only to find, once again, that I need to check hours before heading to an establishment.

The next place that came to mind was Tony’s Darts Away. I decided we should hit Tony’s because it was kind of on our way home (I had promised Mike’s wife I’d have him back for dinner), because I had heard about it from the ColLAboration event, and because several people had mentioned it to me in the past. It was only a bit further away (9 miles) in Burbank, so we shot up interstate 5 and made it there in pretty quick time to find an establishment quite different from Mohawk Bend.

Tony’s definitely has a neighborhood bar feel; small but inviting, a great friendly ambiance where obviously a lot of people knew each other, and helpful bartenders willing to make suggestions on great beers to try!

They have about 30 beers on tap, and though they’re from breweries you probably know, they have some beers that I don’t usually see on a tap, including Pliny the Elder by Russian River, Firestone/Nectar Ales’ Black Xantus, La Citrueille Celeste de Citracado from Stone/Elysian/Bruery, and beers from local breweries like Golden Road Brewing, Eagle Rock Brewery, Ventura’s Surf Brewery, and El Segundo Brewing.

Starting with another IPA, I had Golden Road’s Point The Way IPA, followed by an Old #38 Stout by North Coast Brewing. (Sadly, I didn’t keep track of what Mike had, and he is still an Untappd virgin.) We also decided that it wasn’t fair that we only destroy our livers and decided to work on our cholesterol as well, ordering some Disco Fries; french fries, covered in gravy and Tillamook Cheddar cheese. So good that we didn’t mind half the bar staring at us as we licked the gravy from our fingers.

SUCCESSFUL DAY
While sad that ColLAboration’s Winter event was cancelled, it did let us discover a couple of great places, as well as some great beer! Since that day, Mike (and I) has been sharing his praises of both Mohawk Bend and Tony’s Darts Away, as well as some of the great craft beer that we had. Hopefully we’ll get back to both of those venues soon.

In the meantime, we’re going to seek out more craft beer, and if you have a minute, I could use your help to let me know Where’s The Beer?

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Orange County Beer Festival – May 15, 2010

Posted by Darryl | Educate Me, Festivals, Tastings | Posted on January 24th, 2011

I originally wrote this post for The Beer Goddess (http://TheBeerGoddess.com), where it was published on 20 May 2010, and is still visible on her site.

It doesn’t get much better than when you get to hang out around the lake on a sunny Southern California day, listening to live music, and tasting your way through over 75 different beers.

Fortunately for me, that’s exactly what I got to do at the Orange County Beer Festival at Irvine Lake in Silverado, CA this past Saturday as an early kick-off to American Craft Beer Week. CONTINUE READING THE FULL POST

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