The recent birthday of a long-time friend was the occasion of a nice beer field trip this past Martin Luther King holiday.
Our first stop was Figueroa Mountain’s new brewpub in Westlake Village, California. Figueroa Mountain’s main production facility is in Buellton, about 100 miles away. But Fig Mountain has been aggressively expanding, despite only recently celebrating their 4th Anniversary in business. They have other brewpubs and taprooms from San Luis Obispo down to Los Angeles.
Fig Mountain’s success is not an accident. They produce very good, commercially successful DIPAs like Lizard’s Mouth and Hurricane Deck, as well as the more standard American brewpub offerings like Brown and Pale Ales, IPA (Hoppy Poppy is likely the best IPA I know to please both hopheads and malt guys alike), Porters, Stouts, etc. While they share the same small town with Firestone Walker, they have taken a markedly different approach to growing their business. Continue reading “Beer in the Conejo Valley Corridor”
Nicole thought she could make it to the end of the Finger Lakes Beer Trail, but she never made it out of Penn Yan. Just another in the thousands of cases where a long-thought-dead, mid-19th century illness claims the life of a craft beer enthusiast.
“We assumed we would encounter hardships along the way.” said Nicole’s traveling companion, Steve. “Snow, pot holes, the occasional Amish buggy slowing down traffic, but dysentery? We did not see that one coming.”
Steve himself suffered snakebite while “breaking the seal” in Burdett, a town known for “Don’t Tread on Me” serpent flags, but not actual serpents.
Copper and reddish. Clear and burly in the glass. Bubbles rise but not furtively, they waft.
The nose is biscuit.
In this style, the red ale, we see a low presence from hops traditionally and what you would call biscuit and caramel. The caramel in this one is firm and brief. Nutty and the hop is herbal and speaks to you from the wings.
There can be diacteyl in this beer and if so only to smooth. Herbal hop steals the show in the finish as this creamy body takes towards IPA strength all with malt flavors. Nuttiness, roundness, biscuit and a brief but firm caramel. Then in the finish hop herbal and a touch of bitterness to make it a pint. That finish from hop on all that malt. Gimme one more. Lingers without any fruit and a dry biscuit malt.
Welcome to the PGA beer rating system: one beer “Don’t bother.” Two: Eh, if someone gives it to you, drink. Three: very good, go ahead and seek it out, but be aware there is at least one problem. Four: seek it out. Five: pretty much “perfecto.”
It took 65 years for Vincent Speranza to find out that his actions in Belgium during World War II had been immortalized — for his ingenuity with the beverage that the country is famous for producing.
The Auburn, Ill., native had buried the war — and the pain he endured — deep inside until his wife died four years ago and he began thinking about the past. Visiting his storied 501st Infantry Regiment earlier this month in Alaska to observe readiness training, he shared his rich combat experiences.
No one would ever argue with the reality that war is tough, and that the men and women who elect to serve are a truly special breed. But it might come as some surprise that during World War II the British and U.S. governments believed soldiers were so vital that they were willing to go to great lengths in order to supply them with a substance they felt was incredibly important for their morale: beer.