Guest Blogger – Ian Robertson aka GOP Ian

•October 14, 2014 • 3 Comments
Unibroue - Terrible

Unibroue – Terrible

Terrible - Head

Terrible – Head

It’s a great honor to present our first guest blogger. GOP Ian. Ian and I have two things in common, we work together and we love beer!  But everything else we agree to disagree! Our personalities are  like night and day. I’m a left winger and he’s a right-winger, I like Star Wars, he likes Star Trek! I’m Homer Simpson and he’s Ned Flanders…you get the point right? Our water cooler gang, anointed him GOP Ian because of his staunch advocacy for conservatism but we will change him eventually, he’ll be protesting in the mean streets of LA, grow his hair long and hug a tree in no time. And to be honest, he is a cool vato and we enjoy his banter and find his politics and views amusing – he brings a breath of fresh farts to our 9 to 5 daily grind. Without further a do, GOP Ian…..

GOP Ian here, giving my first review on Golden Foam Notes. I just want to say, this review is being composed just minutes after sampling the beer of the day, so please excuse any problems with my grammar or general intelligibility.

Today’s beer is “Terrible” by Unibroue, a Canadian company based in Quebec. My first and only exposure to this company was a Belgian style ale called “La Fin Du Monde” which translates in English to “The End of the World.” It’s a pretty good beer but this review is about “Terrible,” so moving on. I received this bottle from my next door neighbor who found it lying around (probably something his son bought and never drank) and thought to give to me, since he knows about my newfound appreciation for beer beyond Budweiser. By the way, just about e.v.e.r.y. beer is beyond Budweiser. So, after letting it hang around in my fridge, rent free for about 2 weeks, I decided it was time to review it, so here goes.

This beer came in a 750ml brown, mysterious bottle, which is 1 pint, 9.4 ounces… that’s quite a bit of beer. The bottle is dark and says “Terrible” as if in warning to the wanna-be connoisseur, browsing the isles at the local Bevmo. The kicker though is the strength. It’s tipping the scales at 10.5% ABV (alcohol by volume)!!! That’s the strongest I have ever had in my rookie career. For comparison, Bud Light is 4.2% ABV, which means it’s comparable to drinking this stuff, not washing the glass, and then filling it with water… . thaaaat’s right. This stuff will kick you in the balls, and then your balls will kick your brain in the balls. Here I am, I survived the alcohol, and the rest of it… but that’s coming up.

This Dark Ale which was brewed “On Lees” which from my drunken search on Wikipedia means it was brewed partially with dead yeast, potentially left over from wine, was a first time adventure for me. I started off by unwinding the metal wire from the cork, exposing the raw cork beneath. Then I twisted the cork, as I do for all corked beers, only this time it defied my thirsty might. I tried gripping it with my shirt between my hand and the cork, no good. I tried twisting the other direction, no good. I couldn’t believe it, this beer had already defeated me, not needing to tap into its 10.5% potency to do so. I would not be easily defeated however, not having touched a beer in over 4 days, so I changed my strategy and began using my thumbs to push at one side, then the other. I continued this all the way around until it seemed the seal had been broken. A final twist with my strong hand and the cork was loosed, as was the aroma of success.

It was a malty scent, a sweet apple like aroma, reminding me of fruit that had been left in a basket and then forgotten. Not unpleasant at all, but definitely a surprise. The head (golden foam) was a little under an inch thick and quickly dissolved, leaving no lacing behind. I don’t know if the lacing is a big deal or not, but I thought I would mention it since all the “professional” reviewers do. The color was a n earthy brown. By the way, this beer seemed to get very good reviews so I was expecting a pretty darn good beer. Then came the first sip. It wasn’t mine.. I asked my wife to take the first sip since she was graceful enough to watch the children while her husband went into drunken fighter mode…ehh, writer mode. She made a face and said it tasted like all of my beers, like Vienna sausage, hahaha that’s no good, her rookie taste buds make me feel like a pro again. My first sip was like… a teaspoon of rubbing alcohol mixed with rotten fig. Never had either ? Good, you aren’t missing much. As you exhale your nose is stung by a potent alcohol type of burn that I should have expected from a 10.5% ale, but had forgotten about.   Hot diggity damn that’s strong! I found that taking deeper swallows produced more of this unfriendly sensation so I sipped, letting the bubbles play on the tip of my tongue. The flavor is fruity, very fruity, making the earlier scentof fruits in a basket seem like a liar… there were really a lot more rotten fruits in that basket, and I think the basket had started to rot too ,ha! Very sweet, too sweet, the fig/apple flavors came though strong and sugary, leaving me with a mouth full of sugar and alcohol, but not in the same way as a margarita… this was just wrong. I guess I would best describe the flavor as “sickly sweet.” If you have experienced that smell at some point in your life then no explanation is necessary. If not, no explanation can help you.   This is definitely not a refreshing beer, not even on a hot day, with its overpowering sweetness, rotten charm, and overly-powerful alcohol burn. It is a beer to have once you are already buzzing hard, and maybe not even then.

It would have been nice to have a positive review for my first blog on Golden Foam Notes, but it is what it is, and better for you to get an honest review than a false pleasant one. This is not a beer I would buy, and probably not even accept for free again. I have a feeling this was a failed batch at Unibroue, and the master brewer thought that maybe by calling it was it is, the peasant folk would believe it was sarcasm and maybe even fool themselves into thinking they had just had an exotic bit of nectar which the rest of the world was missing out on. I can count myself amongst the suckers who sampled an entire bottle of this rotten concoction. On a scale of 1-10, I give this ale a 4. Why not lower? Because I can tell some effort with into this, with the spices and fruits. The result was catastrophic but I need to reward creativity and effort. Otherwise, we end up with Bud/Miller/Coors lights everywhere. A unique beer, but not anything I would recommend to someone I like.

My next review will be of a beer I already know I like, but the bottle will have been aged a couple of months to extract the maximum flavor. Until then friends, until then.

Farewell Bobby, welcome Mr. Robert! – Oakland, CA Trip

•September 28, 2014 • 1 Comment

Our good buddy, Bobby will be taking the plunge into the abyss of matrimony. To celebrate his last vestige of bachelorhood, he requested to go to a Raider’s game. So we made a weekend out of it. What was on the itinerary? A weekend of non-stop debachery.

We arrived to Oakland, Califas late Saturday 9/13 afternoon! Bobby showed up 15 min after we arrived at the

On the road to Oakland, Califas - Sept, 13 2014- via the 5 fray

On the road to Oakland, Califas – Sept, 13 2014- via the I-5 freeway

Love/Hate Letter!

Love/Hate Letter!

Motel! To our surprise Bobby brought a  treasure chest filled of beers and snacks from Eureka, California. Along with a note from his Fiancee and adorable daughter. We appreciated the excellent beers and snacks, but the “Go Giants Beat LA” reference??? really???Anyways Dodgers beat the Giants 17-0  that night, so we got the last laugh!! In your face monkeys!! LOL!!!!

The beers Bobby brought over were excellent. And the Lost Coast – Eight Ball Stout – caught my attention! It had a mocha coffee roast taste – medium carbonation and very tasty. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a beer glass to

Lost coast Brewery - 8 ball Stout 6.3%

Lost coast Brewery – 8 ball Stout 6.3%

pour this ebony beer to view her and taste her gracefully, as she deserves. As always, Nor Cal beers are superior and if it wasn’t for Nor Cal breweries, California beers would not bowed well with the rest of the nation’s brews!

The Big Lou Dog brought a bottle of Don Ramon Anejo Tequila – I’m

 Don Ramon Anejo Tequila- very smooth.

Don Ramon Anejo Tequila- very smooth.

not a big Tequila drinker, but this brand was smooth, no bad after taste, and when chased with beer ohhhh weeeee, nice!!. It sparked the night and got us revved up! With some great beers and fine Tequila on hand. We were ready to take on the night!

We found our way to Jack London Square, the entertainment hub for Oakland. I had heard about the  The Trappist – a bar dedicated to Belgian and Specialty Beers! So, the boys and I found our way to visit this bar. And it didn’t disappoint.

Belgium beers rings religous antiquity! When I think Belgium beers, I think of Monks brewing god’s golden

Lots of character in Oakland

Lots of character in Oakland

St. Barnardus and Ch

St. Barnardus and Charcuterie

froth in Abbeys/Monastaries back in the medieval times. Selling and drinking beer, in the name of baby Jesus.

The Trappist, felt like walking into a time machine, the place is cozy with a Manor and Tavern feel, so kudos on décor! I went straight to the bar and immediately saw St. Barnardus – Triple on tap and ordered some. I have had plenty of confessions with St. Barnardus – and it is a fine brew – filled with a rainbow of flavors. The creamy head just drizzles down the goblet glass within seconds – leaving a lewd and crude messy froth that would make Ron Jeremy blush. Take a sniff and you smell fruits scents injected straight through your sinus cavity and bam, you see a light and monks chanting…then you hear the gentle angelic whispers of “come drink me, and lets be one.” Take a sip, and you are in heaven.  That my friends is St. Bernardus.

To compliment our beers, the Big Lou Dog ordered a chopping board of meats, cheese and breads, the French

call it Charcuterie.  We also ordered the Reuben Sandwich, a

hardy sandwich! We kept ordering more beers and food, time was standing still, and we drank the night away

The Trappist, Oakland Califas

The Trappist, Oakland Califas

chopping it up – talking about old times. After the Trappist, we took a midnight stroll of the city. The bay

breeze had the trees chime in symphony and leaves falling. The streets desolate but the buildings were vibrant

and standing erect like English Queen’s guards protecting its grounds. I took snap shots of the city, Oakland sure has character and charm. We walked off our buzz and called it quits about 1am and prepared for Sunday’s Raiders game.

Miraculously, I didn’t wake up with a hang over, but my buddies sure did. I woke up early and exercised while the boys slept off their hangover. By the time I came back, the boys were having Breakfast@a local Mexican restaurant, so I joined them. We had breakfast and got ready for the Raiders game.We reached the Oakland Coliseum an hour before game time, and did some tailgate partying with Bobby’s friends. It was pretty neat to see a sea of black jerseys. Fans were great, although the aura can feel intimidating, everybody was super cool and occasional heckles ensued when an opposing fan would fly different colors, but it was harmless fun. When in Rome, do what the Romans do, was my motto for the day!I shouted “ Raiiiiiiddddddeeerrrzzzzzzzzzzzz” here and there. The Big Lou Dog – shouted “Cowboys” in little

Bobby and Lou Dog navigating through the streets of Oakland

Bobby and Lou Dog navigating through the streets of Oakland

bursts, getting ominous stares, considering the Raiders were not playing the Cowboys. He was just being an antagonist schmuck LOL! We trickled our way into the stadium, passing by each tailgate party was like viewing different sitcoms, each having different themes, pretty cool. The line into the stadium was surprisingly seamless, I wasn’t restless or irritated, maybe the alcohol kept my patiences at bay, and to be honest I was having a good time, so the line wait was not even a bother.

I hear free board and meals, if we stay at this place.

I hear free board and meals, if we stay at this place.

Once we were in the stadium, we immediately hit the concession stands for some beers! To my surprise they had Lagunitas Indian Pale Ale  on tap.  The IPA is a fine beer recipe, and a treat for the hoppy minty beer connoisseur. Actually, right now, the Lagunitas IPA is my favorite IPA. If Marijuana was a drink, it would be a Lagunitas IPA – it smells like pure minty leaves, that of the Marijuana lineage. You take a gulp and very hoppy and again, you get a Marijuana texture feel to it. **Note full disclaimer** Like Bill Clinton, I took a puff but didn’t inhale Marijuana. LOL! The price seemed inflated, but i get it. At $12 a cup, for 20 oz – I guess that is a reasonable rate at a sports event. And considering the Big Lou Dog bought a round of Bud Light, and that tasted like carbonated water mixed with some corn syrup posing as yeast and barely. The Lagunitas was we’ll worth the money.

With our beers at hand and the game on, it was a triumphant afternoon. Well actually, almost triumphant, Bobby’s Raiderzzzz, didn’t show up for the game, but regardless, it was a well spirited effort from the Raiders!

Catching up and spending time with Bobby was the highlight of the weekend. I wish him the very best on his marriage and spending an epic life journey with his super fiancé and daughter! Mr. Robert, when you guys are in SoCal make sure to stop by my hood, weezz gotzz some great breweries in the East Side of LA now, its changed a lot, since you have been gone. Till then, Cheers!

Neat Old School Architecture.

Neat Old School Architecture.

Midnight stroll

Midnight stroll

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oakland Coliseum - tailgating

Oakland Coliseum – tailgating

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roll Dogs

Roll Dogs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Raiderzzzzzzz!

Raiderzzzzzz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sea of black jerseys!

Sea of black jerseys!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Butt Light beer! At least it kept me cool, stands were Africa hot!

Butt Light beer! At least it kept me cool, it was Africa hot in the stands.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oracle Arena - as quoted from Lou Dog “Where the Golden St. Warriors lose to the Lakers"

Oracle Arena – as quoted from Lou Dog “Where the Golden St. Warriors lose to the Lakers”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bobby and Lou Dog, raging!

Bobby and Lou Dog, raging!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Washington St. Beer Part Deux

•September 4, 2014 • 2 Comments

My Sasquatchian friend from the great Northwest shipped me some of Washington St, finest brew, AGAIN! And I can’t stop raving about Washington State beer, it’s so freaking good.

Im going to take a different approach at my beer review. Im going to use the ancient Haiku poem structure as my format. Wait, I know, it sounds lame, but give me a chance, I think you’ll like it. The Haiku is fairly a simple poem structure/formula, it is as easy as playing Tic-Tac-Toe. Below formula…

1. Choose a subject – using 5 syllables. (BEER IS F-ING GOOD)

2. Describe your subject – using 7 syllables ( GOLD BUBBLES SPICES TINGLES)

3. Tell how it affects you – using 5 syllables (FLOATING ON THIN AIR)

5. Fit into the 5-7-5 structure … (BEER IS F-ING GOOD, GOLD BUBBLES-SPICES TINGLES, FLOATING ON THIN AIR)

The Haiku goes way back, about 700 AD. Both used by Chinese and Japanese cultures. It was the Japanese poet Matsuo Basho (1644 – 1694) , that brought the Haiku to prominence. And his Haiku was influenced by his firsthand experience of the world around him.

I was also influenced, to write a poem beer review, in honor of the writers and poets that used alcohol as their median of expression. Like Hemmingway and LA’s, very own infamous writer Charles Bukowski …so here we go.

photo 2

Issaquah Brewery – White Frog Ale 5.7% – first impression, wheaty – pours like a lager w/minimal head- golden cloudy appearance

 

 

POEM

White Frog Ale Is Good…

She is blonde with fresh bubbles…

Sour tart frown but smooth…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

photo

Dick’s Brewing Co – Dick Danger Ale 5.5%- First impression – The Name of the beer! Good Fall beer!

 

 

 

 

POEM

Dick Danger Ale nice…

Nubian coffee roast taste…

Sunday drive to church…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Okay, there goes my attempt at poetry…hope it wasn’t too cheesy. Feel free to send me your Haiku beer review. And I will post it on my blog. Kudos to Kevin, for providing some of Washington State’s finest brew – I have some Cali beer coming up your way soon. Tell next time – cheers!

Peter the Great + Barclay Financial = Russian Imperial Stout!

•August 14, 2014 • 1 Comment

 

GOP Ian and I was chatting during break, and he was talking about his latest visit to Costco and the craft beers they carry now.He ran down a list of beers he bumped into…from lagers to Hefs, Ales etc… but one stood out to me– a Russian Imperial Stout. Now we all know that Russians love there vodka, maybe, too much, they actually had to sancation the fermented potatoe because of early death rates.

Boris Yeltsin

Boris Yeltsin

And how can we not forget about Russian’s President Boris Yeltsin and his tyraid of public drunkeness.

There is now doubt that the Russians like to get tipsy. And the Russian Imperial Stout, is by far, a heavy ABV hitter, literally the Ivan Drago of beers,  so this beer brought many questions. How did this Vodka loving country manage to get their own personal beer style recipe? I mean, I don’t ever hear about a Filipino Pac-Man Stout??? So, I did some investigating and found some interesting facts and history.

As we all know, or maybe not? Stouts and Porters originated in England and neighboring countries, found mostly around ports and named after the helping hands of the ports – called “Porters” – We can trace the birth of the Russian Imperial Stout/Porter – to Peter the Great and his visit to Western European countries.

Peter the Great , circa 1700 – the Czar of Russia. Who was responsible for Westernizing Russia with his staunch land

Russian Tsar Peter the Great

Russian Tsar – Peter the Great

reforms, built the capital of St. Petersburg and constructed a formidable military. He basically put Russia on the map!

In his thirst for a perinnieal Navy – he visited Western European countries, most notable; England. During his visit to England, Peter the Great was offered his first Stout/Porter and fell in love with the chocolate-like barely beer. In fact, he loved it so much, Peter brought back home a vat to discover that the beer had spoiled and froze during the journey back home.

Barclay Brewery who brewed the stout, – quickly found a solution. They increased the alcohol and hop contents that boosted the shelf life of the beer and drastically changing the hue color of the beer, leaving a dark chocolate -coffee oil slick appearance. Thus the birth of the Russian Imperial Stout was born. The beer became an instant hit in Russia, beer no longer had the stimiga of just being a blue collar work force Spirit beverage but also a royal beverage! Thus “Imperial” signifying – class status. On a side note Barclay Brewery was part owned by the Barclay Financial banking family! Can you imagine that, beer was responsible for Barclay’s global success! sort of. Russian Empress, Catherine the Great (1729-1796) would continue to purchase

Barclay Russian Stout the coffee like froth.

Thrales Anchor Brewery brewed for Catherine the Great for several years and

then John Courage Brewery continued to brew its Imperial Stout, with the boast on its label that it was originally brewed by Imperial order of Catherine, up until the 1990s! The beer trade, via the Baltic Sea route, from England to Russia lasted for 200 years!

the Russian Stout was fading out by the turn of the 20th century. Production of the Russian Stout seized and local breweries favored different style beers, like Lagers and traditional Ales, coupled with change of ownerships and catastrophic events to some breweries e.g. fires. The Russian Stout went dormant, but like Mt. St. Helen, it has erupted again!

The newfound bravado and quirkiness of the emerging craft brewing scene in the U.S. has brought back and have reincarnated the Russian Imperial Stout recipe with bolder flavors and higher AVB’s- that would make your chest hairs grow, like a Chia Pet!

In recent  years English brewers have rekindled the Imperial trade route – retracing the Baltic beer route. I believe this Baltic beer run event has become an annual event, with participating regional Breweries, sponsoring the event, and contributing their custom Russian Imperial Stout along the way.

The Imperial Stouts/Porters are winter beers, served between temps of 55-60 degrees, and usually poured in a sniffer glass (pic below), to help smell the complexity of roast /Chocolate aromas with a faint smooth like milky texture.

Imperial Stout - Snifter Glass

Imperial Stout – Snifter Glass

The Russian Imperial Stout is one sexy beast with a Royal history. Peter and Catherine would have been proud with the new renditions.

Hey, I have an idea, with the recent tensions with Russia and President Putin flexing his iron fest. I will volunteer my civil services, with an  American style Russian Imperial Stouts at tow, trek to the Kremlin and discuss with our comrades how we are so similar in cultures and enjoy the finer things in life, while drinking the Amer-Russo Imperial Stout! –  this should ease tensions. Wow, I feel like Denise Rodman when he visited North Korea. Till next time – cheers!

 

 

My 40th Surprise Bday @ Angel City Brewery

•July 29, 2014 • 1 Comment

Steve 40 Flyer So it was my birthday weekend, and the big 40 has been looming over me for several weeks now. I was reflecting on my life, friends and beer, and my emotions were going through a roller coaster ride these past few weeks. Thoughts about my trials and tribulations with beer and life. There were some good times and… man, there were some bad, but more good than bad.

Like, the first time I had an alcoholic beverage, I think I was six or seven, my Mom gave me a sip of her wine, and it tasted like a Baboons ass! Sour and unenjoyable, I was like… “WTH, people drink this crap?” I think my Mom was trying to discourage me from drinking, too bad my Dad had other thoughts.

My Dad was the first to give me a beer, not a full beer, but a mere sip of his beer. After he came back from work, he would kick off his shoes, lay on the couch put on the Lakers game and asked me to go to the fridge and fetch him a beer. I would open it for him and he would say ” Go ahead, take a sip”  – scared but curious, I would smell the beer, not too intimidating, the bubbles would touch my nose and down the hatch. My first impression was refreshing, not a Baboon’s ass! Those sips turned into gulps and by age 13, I think I could have downed a whole beer bottle in seconds, my beer muscles where in finely tuned at a very young age.  I never got buzzed, it was more of a refreshing beverage at the time, until I went to Jr. High School -ditching parties, that’s when my beer innocents took a mischievous turn.

Ditching parties gave me, a whole new definition to beer and beer drinking. Beer enticed us to play games like “spin the bottle” The girls always cheated, they had 10 layers of clothing, the boys always willing to be taunting around in their berfday suits! We drank 40oz of Mickeys, Old English, St.Ides, a slew of malt liquors for a reasonable price of 99 cents! This is when beer correlated with socialization mixed with teenage angst. This relationship with beer lasted for a solid decade.

As I graduated from college and my young family at tow, beer turned into a beverage of celebration, a celebration of accomplishing some life great feat. From my college graduation, marriage, baby showers, this golden froth beverage was always around. Drinking with family members and close friends, and reflecting on our past, talking about sports or important current topics, like Twerking, Gangnam Style and Kanyashian.

So as my Bday was approaching, I naturally wanted to celebrate, but in a low key fashion, I wasn’t thrilled about turning 40 but I wasn’t sad, it was like “Whateva”

I was texting friends and family through the week, to go out and celebrate my Bday, I just wanted to grab some beers and watch a game with friends and family. No disco clubs, no punk rock shows and no Chili’s b-day dinner…just beer and a good ole fashion baseball game along with some shits and giggles,

But everybody was putting me off, “Hey Steve can’t make it, im out of town, next time, I owe you a beer” ….or “ I have a prior engagement, I’ll call you if I can make it”…or my wife “Why don’t you go out with the guys, I got some things to do and we can celebrate your bday, on Sunday”… I was cool and calm, it didn’t bother me, I don’t get worked up these days, life is too short and besides, I pick and choose my battles, ahhhh the pleasures of old age and wisdom.

My bro and Lou Dog, wanted to hang out for my Bday. They wanted to hit Little Tokyo, have lunch, bar hop and watch the game. So, I was game. Like I said, my emotions have been up and down, and I wasn’t too excited about turning 40. Again, I was like “Whateva”

We started at the FarBar – imagine this, walking down a sidewalk, filled with Japanese boutiques. Tourists and familes shopping; comic book shops, clothing shops, sports stores etc…and then there was this gate that entered an alley, about 3 feet in width, between to old brick buildings, we walked down about 300 feet  and you hear chimes of glasses working in symphony and people lounging on park benches, we reached the end of the alley and appears a bar. If those buildings could talk I betcha they had stories to tell. The bar is secluded from the public view, and it begged the question, if at one point, the bar was a Speak Easy bar. They had some great beers on tap, Ohana, Craftmen, just to name a few. I had the Ohana Saison, we ordered some appetizers, had the some mini burgers, dumplings, tacos. Very tasty appetizers, they had an outdoor TV screen for the sport fan patrons, I would re-visit this place again.

Next stop – the Nirvana Bar – name alone screams the Orient. I was not impressed,  but they had $2 dollars Sapro pints -not shabby. I had the feeling that the bar was under new ownership, very little patrons but then again it was about 6pm in the afternoon. The bathroom was a trip, it had a eerie Matrix movie feel to it. Neon aqua lights, and white subway tiles, as I looked into the mirror, I swear I thought Neo was going to appear from behind. By this time, I was feeling buzzed but coherent and could have passed the sobriety field test, the physical part of the test, of course.

We soon walked over to Angel City Brewery,  my bro and Lou Dog took pictures of Little Tokyo and we were shooting the shit during this brisk 10 min walk to the brewery. The day was what I envisioned, spending time with an old Jedi friend and my Vato Bro and we were moving along but it felt like it was still, I was enjoying every minute of it.

Then the night transitioned and morphed into a greater night, a height of Nirvana. As I entered Angel City Brewery, I bumped into an old co-worker, I was like WTH? (scratching my head)- within seconds I was greeted by my wife and I was like WTF??? -and she resounded with a “SURPRISE”…turns out my wife, Lou Dog/wife, and my Bro coordinated a month long surprise party. And the night was a memorable celebration and, yes, my old friend BEER was there to help celebrate the moment! Enough of my rant, the pics tell a thousand words. Love all of you! Por Vida – cheers! Till next time.

 

Bday Pics Pic 6 Pic 1 Pic 2 Pic 3 pic 4
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Reigning beer consumers?

•July 26, 2014 • 1 Comment

Bumped into this beer consumption fact link. East Euros and China top the list of beer guzzling consumers!

Who Brewed Beer First?

•July 10, 2014 • 4 Comments

Some may say, that the craft beer phenomenon has reached its golden age. Breweries and pubs opening in mass numbers, different varieties of styles and flavors available and like sports, beer has become the social conduit that binds people together. But we all know that beer is not new to contemporary spirit beverages but being rediscovered.

Beer has a very long and rich history. The Gods drank beer and the poor drank beer. Beer was a daily sustenance and had medicinal use. Beer sewed the social fabrics of life!

So, I did some scholarly research and surfed the web! And wanted to know who brewed beer first and it didn’t take too long to find out-about 4500 B.C. loooonnnggggng!

Mother cradle of civilization

Mother cradle of civilization

A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away…oops wrong subject! Ok back to the subject at hand…

Mesopotamia, the cradle of western civilization, where early writings emerged, the first laws of the lands, the first armies formed and first fortified grid cities erected, and most important, these desert dwellers were the first to concocted beer to give to their citizens and pay homage to the Gods. Patrick McGovern, an archaeochemist at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. And author of Uncorking the Past: The Quest for Wine, Beer, and Other Alcoholic Beverages. Says that many ancient artifacts, e.g. pots and jugs, have traces of beer residue. And it makes total sense, the Sumerians perfected horticulture and experimented with different foods. Beer being the most sustainable and highly cured healthy beverage, and insured that a bad case of projectile diarrhea was avoided!  McGovern, also believes that beer has a lot to do with human genetic evolution and fostered the development of cultures.

It is said that beer may have been accidentally discovered. With early cultivation methods, wheats and grains where highly harvested and add some of that Tigris magical water and bam…BEER was discovered!!!!

The Sumerian city state -Ebla, is where many of the clay tablets were unearthed that contained lists of beer-making ingredients .

Cuneiform ancient tablet - this piece has a receipt for beer!

Cuneiform ancient tablet – this piece has a receipt for beer!

The tablets date from 2500 BC, and show that Ebla was brewing a hearty selection of beers. Also, other city states (Babylonia) brewed their own flavored beer! (wonder if they had any beer making competitions or beer games, that would be neat?)
Because beer contained plenty of nutrients, every indication is given, in the tablets that beer was a staple of the Sumerian diet—even laborers were paid by beer rations. It is also said that beer may have proceeded bread! What I found most interesting – that beer was consumed with… a straw!
Yes, a straw. While some of us modern day beer connoisseur may squint at the idea of drinking beer from a straw , this Babylonian invention (straw) helped the beer drinker to avoid ending up with the bitter brewing residue in the mouth. These straws were made of metal, bronze, or gold.

Early ritual beer drinking, with a straw!

Early ritual beer drinking, with a straw

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

slender spout on a 4,500-year-old golden beer mug from ancient Mesopotamia was designed to filter out unwanted particles, according to researchers.

slender spout on a 4,500-year-old golden beer mug from ancient Mesopotamia was designed to filter out unwanted particles, according to researchers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beer and religion went hand and hand. The famous ancient “hymn to Ninkasi,” was a poem for a beer recipe!  She was the goddess of beer making and alcohol . She was responsible for providing the gods with beer! She was the deity that was integral with the development of Sumerian culture. Anchor Steam Brewing Co, located in San Francisco, Ca and my personal favorite brewing company, actually experimented with Ninkasi beer recipe and was successful, read about it here.

Ninkasi - Goddess of Beer!

Ninkasi – Goddess of Beer!

Sumerian women were the honorary brewers of that time, and it was a respected occupation. The Sumerians had many different words for beer from `sikaru’ to `dida’ to `ebir’ (which meant `beer mug’) and regarded the drink as a gift from the gods to promote human happiness and well being (that rings true today!!!!)

Hey and you don’t mess with Sumerian beer too! As documented in Hammurabi’s laws (first laws of western civilization)

Under Babylonian rule, Mesopotamian beer production increased dramatically, became more commercialized, and laws were instituted concerning it as paragraphs 108-110 of the Code of Hammurabi make clear:

Law 108

If a tavern-keeper (feminine) does not accept corn according to gross weight in payment of drink, but takes money, and the price of the drink is less than that of the corn, she shall be convicted and thrown into the water.

Law 109
If conspirators meet in the house of a tavern-keeper, and these conspirators are not captured and delivered to the court, the tavern-keeper shall be put to death.

Law 110
If a “sister of a god” open a tavern, or enter a tavern to drink, then shall this woman be burned to death.

Law 108 – had to do with those tavern keepers who poured `short measures’ of beer in return for cash instead of corn (which could be weighed and held to a measure) to cheat their customers; they would be drowned if caught doing so. WOW! talk about zero tolerance!

Beer was commonly used in barter, not for cash sale and a daily ration of beer was provided for all citizens, the amount depending on one’s social status.

The second law 109 concerns tavern keepers encouraging treason by allowing malcontents to gather in their establishment

And the third law 110 – cited concerns women who were consecrated to, or were priestesses of, a certain deity opening a common drinking house or drinking in an already established tavern. The Babylonians had nothing against a priestess drinking beer (as, with the Sumerians, beer was considered a gift from the gods) but objected to one doing so in the same way as common women would. Lets make no mistake, religion was the overall ruler of society and very real, if you dared crossed religion – be ready to burn in hell!

So what we know about early beer brewing, is that it has a long and rich history, it was not a drink to be frowned upon, it was sacred! It was accidentally discovered(I think destiny), mixed wheat and grains and water and bam beer! It provided grub for the masses, gods and deities drank beer, there were written laws and art depicting and cherishing beer, people literally worked for beer! oh and you don’t mess with Sumerian beer or you get a swift kick in the ass or axed!

I don’t know about you guys, but I would have thrived during this era. If they had invented Rock-n-Roll and offered free Wifi – sshhh…I’m submitting my two weeks notice @ work, go straight to my local time-machine and purchasing a one way ticket to Mesopotamia. Tell next time…Cheers!

Bukowski Tavern Unveils R.I.P. Beer Series | Boston Magazine

•June 15, 2014 • 3 Comments

a_560x375Bukowski Tavern Unveils R.I.P. Beer Series | Boston Magazine. Oh my, wish i could have drank a beer with Buko! Looks like Boston crafter beer companies are joining forces to create Buko’s limited line of beer series. Los Angeles, we should have made this first! What a travesty!

Ohana Brewing Company and San Pedro Brewing Company

•June 12, 2014 • 2 Comments

It was a Friday evening, the sun was setting and my beer taste receptors were flaring up. On my way to pick up my van from the auto shop. I took an unexpected U-turn – I noticed a sign “Ohana Brewing Co.Tasting Room” – so you know I had to take a looksy!

Ohana Brewing Company  , located in Alhambra, in the San Gabriel Valley! Yes, SGV area is gaining momentum with the craft beer scene. Attention Beer brew masters -As I keep reiterating, east of Los Angeles, is screaming for more craft beers establishments and needs to be tapped! Ok, enough of my rant!

The owner of Ohana is only 24 years old! and he and his crew are making some noise in the local craft beer scene, grand opening was back in Aug 2013, and have won some awards already. I spoke with Andrew (owner) – this weekend his colleagues took a trek up north to participate in the Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival  – here renowned brew masters congregate and network and show off their recent batch of beer.

The tasting room is small and intimate, and is set up for one reason, to get window shoppers, like me, to taste their beer! Andrew mentioned with summer BBQ’s on the rise-weekends are busy with customers filling up their growlers!

Tasting time, sticking with the Pale Ales and Lager style beers this summer. I gravitated to Ohana Pale Ale. A Light cooper hue, decent head that helps capitulate aromas and a distinctive peachy smell, carbonation present, not overwhelming. Very tasty and In all a very well balanced beer. And I will come back for more, like cup of noodles, I’m an instant fan!

Here is a list where establishments pour their beer “Ohana beers on tap” According to Andrew, they plan to expand into a pub and has set forth some high expectations. So if you are near the area, stop by and taste their golden nectar, it will not disappoint.

This past weekend, we did a mini road trip to San Pedro, Ca, in the South Bay area…we visited the Cabrillo Marine Museum. By far, marine animals are so darn interesting. Check out the  California Football Fish,  – that fish had one too many drinks, looks like an Orc from Lords of the Rings! Overall, the Marine Museum is a great spot to take your family, donation entry, staff is friendly and helpful. Below are some photos, with all that walking and learning, gorgeous weather, I was starting to feel thirsty!

After the museum – we hit the San Pedro circuit and I remembered that the San Pedro Brewing Co. was open, luckily they sell food their, so it didn’t take too much to convince the family to eat there!  The brewery is known for their lagers and pale ales. Oh, and its a big time UCLA Bruin bar! Their food is marginal, nothing to brag about. But I was there for one reason, and that was to taste their beer. So here we go.

Their lagers are quite impressive – light and carbonated, and have won several awards. They have sampler tasters, which I highly recommend. Their Bruin Blonde Ale, in honor of UCLA, is a great beer. Very smooth, very light fruit scent, and tasty, great Spring beer. The day was dwindling and I had a good buzz going. The wife was the honorary designated driver of the night. San Pedro is a great place to hang for the day and SPB Co, is a cool local Pub hangout, with some great brews and family & pet friendly establishment.

Drink responsible! Cheers!

SPB Co. Tuna Melt

Ohana Brewing Co, Alhambra, Ca

 

Ohana beer menu

Ohana beer menu

 

Ohana Owner

Ohana Owner

Peachy smell

Peachy smell

 

Baby shark pod

Baby shark pod

 

Sea anemones

Sea anemones

School of Jelly Fish

School of Jelly Fish

 

http://www.cabrillomarineaquarium.org/exhibits/marine-life.asp?id=33

California football fish

San Pedro Brewing Co

San Pedro Brewing Co

 

SPB Co...

SPB Co…

SPB Co - Tasters

SPB Co – Tasters

SPB Co - Hoppy Hr menu

SPB Co – Hoppy Hr menu

SPB Co Tuna Melt

SPB Co Tuna Melt

Progress Brewing – S. El Monte, Ca

•May 27, 2014 • 2 Comments

The west side of LA, has an array of gastro pubs, breweries and craft beer bars and patrons come from all walks of life. Since moving towards the east side of LA. It has been a real challenge to get my craft beer groove on. Until now! Progress Brewing, formally Federal Brewing (word on the streets is they had to change their name due to infringement rights.) are bringing the craft beer scene to the El Monte /San Gabriel Valley area (SGV). The owners are chemist from Cal Tech and one of the owners has degrees in quantum mechanics and nanotechnology!

These nerds turned rock stars, are the talk of the town. The location is nestled in an industrial park and is desolate after 6 pm, but Progress Brewing is just hitting their stride. Patrons pack the 800 square ft. tasting room on this Friday afternoon. Mostly Latino beer guzzlers pack this warehouse. And this is why this brewery is special. The brewery is Latino owned and patrons are of the ancient Aztec and Mayan descent! I believe Progress Brewing is tapping (pun intended) into a different market of consumers and I see Progress Brewing being successful for many moons!

There is a specialized gourmet food truck perched in the parking lot, I believe they feature different trucks every night. The staff are friendly chicas and the owner is also behind the bar pouring their golden nectar to their fan base.

And the beers, are on point. As I walked into the warehouse, I noticed the the ground was sticky. Patrons accidentally spilling beer on the floor, but what this indicates to me is that beers are poured to the rim and that the beers are sweet, because sugar is sticky! I’m pretty sure the fruit flies are having a field day too.

The concert line to the bar can look annoying, but to my surprise the wait wasn’t bad and they pass an iPad to process the transaction.

I heard and read a lot about their Wolverine Amber Ale (aka Red Ale), so this was my drink of the night. The beer had a cooper look, creamy smooth texture, sweet & fruity and a very light bitter bite. I drank this beer in gulps, so carbonation was faint. The beer is pushing 5.8% abv and is perfect for the spring and summer consumption. This beer did not disappoint and my drinking posse also enjoyed this beer.

The price is great, they sell growlers(beer jugs) to go, they serve up tasters(4 oz samples) $12 bucks for 6 tasters, not bad. The best part, it’s only a 5 min drive for me!!!

The ambiance was great, crowd is friendly, and a new form of craft beer fans are evolving into their own on the east side. Watch out Golden Road Brewery and the rest of you west siders. Progress Brewing is making some noise and they are coming with their army.

Outside menu Ramon Foodtruck Tasters Glasses Growlers Progress group

 

 

 

 

 
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