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Dont miss this years OC Brew HaHa there will be many of your favorite breweries, along with some new comers. This event is always one of the best in all of California. For more information please check out out event page at
OC Brew HaHa Event
Le Freak Ale
One of my favorite craft breweries is Green Flash. I recently purchased a bottle of Le Freak because I was enthralled with the pink label. I thought to myself, what brewing company would plaster a big pink label across a bottle of beer? Than an epiphany crossed my mind…This beer must be damn good! Normally I stash craft beers away in the garage refrigerator and wait for the perfect time to enjoy them. Not with this one, I opened it as soon as I got home and started taking notes. Not long after that, I decided that this is one great tasting beer.
Le Freak has a great appearance, which reminded me of chillin on Coronado Island while watching the sunset. The beer has a light golden orange color with faint hues of red. The head on the beer forms fast and is bold. Every glass I poured had approximately 2 inches of head that exhibited a slightly off white color.
Belgian yeast is the lead aroma of Le Freak with notes of citrus and pine. The hops are closely followed by honey, lemon zest, orange, and a hint of Honeydew melon.
The high carbonation of this beer, which is from bottle conditioning, leaves the tongue feeling alive with a bubbling sensation. However, the beer is not harsh. It is sweet, smooth, and velvety. I experienced immediate flavors of orange and pink grapefruit. Le Freak has a slightly bitter hoppy finish that left me wanting more of this smooth brew.
While I was enjoying this beer I asked myself again why the pink label. I pondered this question for a few moments and concluded that the label might be referencing the smooth pink grapefruit flavor I experienced in the beer. I also thought about why Green Flash named the beer Le Freak. If I were to brew this beer I would have a hard time naming it because of what it is. The beer is a combination of an American Hopped Ale that is made with fruity Belgian yeast aromatics. In my opinion Le Freak is the perfect name for this delicious beer. If you haven’t experienced this beer I suggest you do. Just be cautious because it is smooth and potent!
Last week I was cruising around Orange County and stumbled across a small specialty deli and liquor store called Mesa Food and Liquor. I decided to stop in and see what they had to offer. As I traveled aimlessly down the aisles, I noticed a craft beer section in the Merchandising refrigerator. I am always looking for craft beers that I have never tried, so I took a look and low and behold, I saw a beer from Stone Brewing that I was not familiar with. This one is called Vertical Epic 12.12.12. This beer was released by Stone over a year ago, but I thought it was worth reviewing after I tried it.
Before I get into this review, I should point out that I am an IPA guy. I will try almost any craft beer, but I prefer beers that are not thick, dark, and smoky. I personally do not like the feeling I get when I drink my dinner, if you know what I mean! I have worked as a professional chef for the past 24 years, and I believe that I have an experienced pallet that is constantly seeking out new challenges. After reading the label on Stones Vertical Epic, I thought this should be an interesting experience for my taste buds.
Vertical Epic is a Belgian style Ale that has an opaque black appearance that reminds me of a star free night in the country. The head on this beer is a light cream color that is almost a light brown.
The aroma of this beer reminds me of Hanger 24s Pumpkin Porter. My senses were immediately met with the aroma of Cinnamon, Nutmeg, and a small track of cloves. I also experienced notes of molasses, espresso, and vanilla.
For me, the aroma and taste of this beer were very similar. I experienced heavy flavors of Allspice which has a combined flavor of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and a hint of juniper berry. The beer also had a slight espresso taste, and I could almost taste oak which I thought was strange as the beer was not aged in oak barrels.
This is a full bodied beer that has a slight hint of dry hops and a somewhat bitter finish.
I thought this beer was very good, and it reminds me of the smell and comfort of the holidays. I can envision myself watching a game on Sunday and sipping on this beer while enjoying a slice of warm apple pie. If you have not tried a the latest release of Vertical Epic, I suggest giving it a shot as 2012 was the last year of production for the series.
Have you ever looked at the best by date imprinted on a bottle of beer and wondered if the beer actually tastes better before that date or if the brewery is simply engaging in an ingenious marketing plan? In order to wrap my brain around that quagmire, I decided to conduct an experiment and consume a common brand of beer well after the expiration date. After cracking open the bottle and putting it to my lips, I was met with a flat, un-flavorful, and appalling taste. I had to ask myself if the same would be true with Stone’s Enjoy By 10.25.13 IPA.
On a recent trip to the Stone Brewing Company with the Official Beer Blog, I pulled a stool up to the rustic bar and ordered an Enjoy By 10.25.13. I am here to tell you that this beer is all about the hops! My first encounter was a sharp explosion of hops that reminded me of Eddie Van 10.25.13Halen’s guitar solo in Eruption. The hops in this beer completely overwhelmed my pallet with the taste of pine and left me with that familiar short lived numb feeling. According to Stone Brewing Company the beer was brewed with a multitude of hops, including super galena for bitterness. Hops used for flavor were comprised of New Zealand simka, Cascade Citra, and Amarillo hops. Once the brewing process was complete the brew master dry hopped the beer with New Zealand and Australian Galaxy hops.
Following the explosion of hops I immediately was met with sweet tones of honey, orange peel, and a hint of wild flowers in the lingering finish. This double IPA has an even color that looked like a spectacular amber and orange sunset dipping below the mountains between Escondido, California and the Pacific coast. The head on this beer is an
off white color and contains intricate interlocking leggings that appear to wander slowly down the edge of the glass. The mouth feel is truly the pinnacle of this double IPA. It is a medium bodied beer that is bursting with carbonation and is extremely easy to drink.
In my opinion the argument of whether this double IPA lasts beyond the Enjoy by date is not a debatable topic. My supply of Stone’s Enjoy By 10.25.13 will be long gone before the calendar turns to 10.26.13!
Craft Brewing Company will be celebrating their 3rd Anniversary on June 1, 2013. For more information check out our event calendar at http://officialbeerblog.com/ai1ec_event/craft-brewing-company-3rd-anniversary-celebration/?instance_id= and also see the pictures from last year at http://officialbeerblog.com/photo-gallery/?wppa-album=7&wppa-cover=0&wppa-occur=1 .
Admission is $ 55.00 for VIP which gets you in at 12:00 PM. Otherwise General admission is $ 45.00.
The event runs from 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Hope to see you there!
Ironfire Brewing Company – Ales for Outlaws
Last week, since it way National Beer Day, Jim and I decided to mosey on over to Ironfire Brewing Company in Temecula, CA. We are usually a bit more organized but this day we actually just dropped in on the crew! We were fortunate that Greg Webb, the Vice President, happened to be around. Along with Aubree they were both pretty busy keep customer’s pints full and working on replenishing the quickly dissipating supply of beer. Greg was very gracias to spend some time and give us the run down on the brief but very successful history of Ironfire Brewing.
Greg along with John Maino are the leaders of the posse that make up Ironfire. Both with a pretty successful history with Ballast Point, officially opened in August, 2012. (After several years in the garage, perfecting their recipes) They currently have a total of 42 beers that can be pulled into the fold at any one time. Usually at the tasting room there are about 12 available via tasters, small or large portions. Currently there are no growlers. (Which is being done to ensure the availability of the beer to more people) In addition the flagship beers can be purchased in 22oz bottles as well.
As we took a seat at the bar, Aubree setup us up with 2 rows of samplers. This included their flag ship beers that including Gun Slinger Gold, Synner Pale, 51/50 IPA, 6 Killer Stout and Vicious Disposition. We also had samples of their less frequent but equally popular beers including Habanero Pale Ale, Prickly Pear Ale, Boomstick Brown and Cucumber ale. We also were treated to some Dead on Arrival IPA as well. Of these beers, the 51/50 is their best seller. Most of these were in the 5-6% ABV range aside from the Vicious Disposition. I was a bit disappointed that I did not get to taste the Outcast Dead Red. (Which is aged in a variety of Whisky and Bourbon barrels. (I was actually informed they were prepping for a barrel flight the following weekend) There is also some Rye barrels in the works as well!
All of the beers were excellent. You can taste care taken to ensure everything poured is spot on! My personal favorite was between the 51/50 IPA and the Habanero Pale Ale. Jim was also very impressed by most of the beers poured as well. They have some very big plans on expanding more of the styles offered, especially when it come to their barrel aged offerings.
Total projected sales for their first year is at 1500 barrels. There are about 150 accounts in San Diego along, these numbers will obviously keep growing. They are using local distribution as well as some self-deliveries as well. They brew about once a week currently on the big system.
Overall, this was a perfect pick for our National Beer Day stop. The tasting room has a very comfortable feel and the western / outlaw motif is fantastic. The beers are really amazing and it has something for everyone. They are posed to really do some great things! We look forward to another visit were we can really break down the intricacies of their offers. Until them, we hope everyone will stop by the tasting room in the meantime. The tasting room is open 5 days currently. For more info, hit their website at http://ironfirebrewing.com/ . For more pictures goto http://officialbeerblog.com/photo-gallery/?wppa-album=13&wppa-cover=0&wppa-occur=1
I and I Brewing will be celebrating their first year anniversary on Saturday January 5th from 12PM to 10 PM. We look forward to seeing everyone out there to help them empty the taps! I am personally looking forward to some of the special releases they will have including the Belgian Cranberry Wheat. I am also looking forward to the food trucks. Both Garlic Scapes and Vizzi Food Truck will be on hand. See more details below.
The great folks the bring you the infamous Brew HaHa proudly bring you the best holiday cheer of the season! Saturday, December 8th marks the first of many BrewHOHO’s to come. Over 50 Craft beers will be available with unlimited pours, Great Food, Music and a specially brewed beer just for the event! This event will run from 12 noon to 4 PM. In Addition, this event will benifit the Pediatric Cancer Reseach Foundation as well as the Yellow Ribbon America – Operation Christmas charities. This will be a jolly good time, for sure! Hope to see you there! For more information visit http://www.ocbrewhoho.com
Nothing screams “#STOUT DAY” like some Black Hole Sun from Black Market Brewing in Temecula, CA. Myself and Jim (Official Beer Blog Photo Guy!) were lucky enough to get a taste of this beer before it was actually completed. Even at that early stage, we knew it would be great. Fast forward a month, and this beer has been become even more magical! Finished in Rye Whiskey Barrels, this classic example of an Imperial Russian Stout does not disappoint. The overall aroma consists of currant and plum combined with the toasted malt. You will also pick up a bit of the 15.2% Alcohol effect off the nose! The color on this is PITCH BLACK (as the name implies) with a tan colored head. I bet a 1000 watt light would not even make it through this dense liquid! The pour of this beer is a wonderfully thick elixir. Due to everything that is going on, the head of the beer quickly disappears into the moat of goodness. As any good, (But Impatient) Stout lover will do, you give it as much of a rest as possible and let the beer warm up. The characteristics really come together after about 15 mins of warming. The flavor on this brew is amazing! You can definitely pick-up the flavors of the Whisky Barrel, along with sweet toasted malt with a bit of some clove notes. That along with the plum / currant combination make this beer a true winner. As you finish your taste of this medium to heavy bodied beer you get a creaminess as the malty sweetness coats your tongue. As the slight alcohol warming makes its way through your body, you realize this beer will be one to not rush through.
The crew at Black Market Brewing have hit a home run with this one! Thanks to Shaun and Aaron for bringing this beer to our attention and allowing us to review! It will be a mainstay in the Official Beer Blog cellar! Them along with the rest of the crew are doing a great job (And have come along way in just a few short years) I was also amazed to see a price for this beer! (Actually less than 10 at Bevmo!) They are already prepping some additional whiskey barrels. (Not sure if it will be for this or another wonderful variation!) We look forward to tasting and talking about those as them become a reality!
Stock up for the upcoming Stout Day Celebration!
El Hefe and Jim the Photo Guy