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Firestone Walker 1st Invitational Beer Fest

Posted by Darryl | Breweries & Alehouses, Craft Beer, Festivals, News, Tastings | Posted on June 16th, 2012

The beginning of June 2012 gave me the hope that it was going to be a great month, and didn’t disappoint! My Los Angeles Kings were in the Stanley Cup Finals against the New Jersey Devils (that turned out to be pretty fantastic!), and another beautiful Southern California summer was around the corner. But more significantly, Firestone Walker’s 1st Invitational Beer Fest was held June 9th, and turned out to be the best festival I’ve yet attended.

CREATING A WORLD CLASS FESTIVAL
Most festivals will bring together those that enjoy drinking beer along with those that enjoying pouring and telling you about the brews. The Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest was created to not just bring imbibers together with some craft beer, but to bring craft beer lovers and some the best craft brewers in the world themselves together for what turned out to be a truly exceptional 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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Yard House Quest – Lots Remain

Posted by Darryl | Restaurants, Tastings, Yard House Quest | Posted on December 1st, 2011

I finally finished compiling all the beers that I’ve had so far this season at the Yard House as part of my quest, and it looks like I still have a ways to go. But at this stage that’s pretty much expected. Looking at the beers I have yet to consume, I’m just debating when I should have the Coors Light, Bud Light, and other less desirable ones; should I have them in a single sitting, or mix one in to an evening that I’m other, tastier beers? CONTINUE READING THE FULL POST

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Yard House Quest – Visits 2 & 3

Posted by Darryl | Bars, Restaurants, Tastings, Yard House Quest | Posted on November 3rd, 2011

I lost my rhythm. My plan was to visit the Yard House for my quest, then get a post up about it the next day. My second visit to The Yard House in Los Angeles was on Saturday 10/22, but instead of being able to write about the next day after my 15 year-old son’s soccer match, I instead spent a good deal of the day with him in the hospital after he suffered a slight concussion due to an impact with the ground during the match. He was okay, but needless to say I was more concerned with spending time with him for a few days rather than with the keyboard. But now, I need to get back into the rhythm, so we now return to our regularly scheduled blog…

Visit 2 to The Yard House took place on Saturday, October 22 after the Kings shutout the Dallas Stars in a 0-1 win! We found our spot at the bar and asked for the taster flight menu. Since the flights change on Tuesday I didn’t expect them to be different from Visit 1, but I had to ask. As expected they were still the same, so I opted to order a few shorties of my own selections. (I mention shorties in Visit 1.)

I was in an IPA mood, so I chose:

My minimally-educated palette has a hard time deciding which I like better between the Arrogant Bastard and the 90 Minute, but I think that the 90 Minute wins out. I’m probably going to have to revisit these both later in a more controlled environment, without having had something else before hand. (I may have had a beer at the game as well.)

As I mentioned in Visit 1, my companion had order a Lost Coast Apricot Wheat — her favorite — but wouldn’t let me try it then because she only got a shorty of it; 9 oz. This time she ordered a full pint and I was able to talk her out of 3 ounces in order to make my quota and have it count as a taste. I’ve had it before, and I like it, but it didn’t really fit in well with the IPAs.

Visit 3 to The Yard House on Tuesday, October 25 was more of a commiseration visit. The Kings hosted the New Jersey Devils and unfortunately suffered a 3-0 loss. I wasn’t planning to stay too long for this visit; I just felt like getting home. Unfortunately, it seems the bartenders wanted us to stay for awhile since it took several minutes for one of them actually get us a menu and to ask what we would like. (I usually experience very good service at the bar, so I’ll chock this up as just a random anomaly.)

I opted to start with a Black Velvet. The Yard House makes theirs with Wyder’s Pear Cider & Guinness Stout. I’ve seen some places make it with apple cider, or they call it a Snakebite, but I like the pear cider/Guinness combination the best. I got it in a shorty glass, but it was just as tasty and proportioned just right.

Next I had a Maudite by Unibroue. Maudite is a Belgian Strong Dark Ale with a 8% ABV and served in a goblet. (I asked: Beers that they serve in goblets are not available in a shorty glass, goblet only.) This was my first time with this brew, and I have to say I wasn’t overly impressed with it. I’d have it again, but it’s probably not something I’d seek out.

My next opportunity to continue the quest is this evening; Thursday, November 3 as the Kings face the Edmonton Oilers. Unfortunately, I may not have time to stop in for a couple/few pints. Today is International Stout Day and my calendar is pretty full, trying to hit a few places and sample their stout flights. Hopefully I’ll have the time to pop-in to The Yard House so that my average per game doesn’t drop too low, and so that I can stay in the rhythm for the quest.

 

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Yard House Quest – Visit 1

Posted by Darryl | Bars, Restaurants, Tastings, Yard House Quest | Posted on October 22nd, 2011

Hockey Season has started, my season tickets are in hand, the LA Kings have had their first game at Staples Center, and I have started on this year’s Yard House Quest to sample every beer they have on tap. CONTINUE READING THE FULL POST

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My 2011-2012 Yard House Quest

Posted by Darryl | Bars, Restaurants, Tastings, Yard House Quest | Posted on October 17th, 2011

On Tuesday, October 18, 2011, the Los Angeles Kings make their first appearance at Staples Center for a 2011-2012 regular season home game. This is the 11th year that I have season tickets for the Kings, and with 39 home games being played at Staples Center, I’ll be visiting the Yard House restaurant across the street from Staples Center regularly. So, once again, I’ll be making my attempt to try every beer that the LA Yard House has on tap. CONTINUE READING THE FULL POST

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IPA Day – 2011

Posted by Darryl | Bars, Breweries & Alehouses, Educate Me, Holidays, IPA, Tastings | Posted on August 5th, 2011

IPA day handoutYesterday, August 4, 2011 was the first international IPA Day. I’m fairly certain that the United Nations weren’t involved in passing any kind of resolution to enact a holiday, and I suspect it’s not going to show up on the puppy/kitten calendar that you’re gonna buy at the mall in October. This “holiday” was inspired by similar events in the wine world and brought into our world of beer by The Beer Wench (@TheBeerWench) & Ryan Ross (@RyanARoss). After you’re done reading about how I celebrated observed the holiday, you can pop over to The Wench’s blog and read about how the idea came about at bit.ly/ipaday_info. CONTINUE READING THE FULL POST

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Yard House Quest & the Dry Month Ahead

Posted by Darryl | Bars, Restaurants, Tastings, Yard House Quest | Posted on January 27th, 2011

As I explained yesterday in my “drinking every yard house beer” post, and on my “yard house beer quest” page, I’m working my way through trying every beer on the Los Angeles Yard House’s menu during the LA Kings’ 2010-2011 season. Last night the LA Kings hosted the San Jose Sharks (and defeated them in a shootout!), so it was another opportunity for me to stop in at the Yard House and continue my quest to drink every beer they have. This time:

• Maudite by Unibroue
• Wyder’s Raspberry Cider
• Young’s Chocolate Stout
• a Black Velvet; Wyder’s Pear Cider & Guinness Stout

CONTINUE READING THE FULL POST

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Drinking Every Yard House Beer

Posted by Darryl | Bars, Restaurants, Tastings, Yard House Quest | Posted on January 26th, 2011

Beer taps at the Yard House

In addition to enjoying good beer, I also enjoy hockey. I’m a Los Angeles Kings fan and season ticket holder, and this season (2010-2011) I’ve been able to make almost every home game so far. The bonus to going to games is that there is a Yard House restaurant across the street from Staples Center (where the LA Kings play), which also allows me to partake of a variety of different beers on game nights…and try to get through them all. CONTINUE READING THE FULL POST

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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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