Craft Beer Orange County

Tustin Brewing Co. touts brewmaster Jonathan Porter's rotating beers.

The L.A. BEER BLAST is designed to let Food GPS readers know what’s new at select L.A. bars and restaurants with great beer selections. You’ll also discover beer-related events in the area and meet industry leaders. The L.A. BEER BLAST normally arrives every Thursday evening, in time for the weekend rush. Look in the left sidebar, SUBSCRIBE to Food GPS and you’ll receive the L.A. BEER BLAST by e-mail.


This week, Brew & You columnist Sean Inman writes, “Now that Halloween and Thanksgiving are in the history books, I can move on to my favorite beer season of the year. “Over the next three weeks, I will suggest some great craft beers to have on hand for your holiday gatherings and I will give some non-beer but beer-related gift ideas to put under the tree.” His initial holiday post is titled, ’Tis The Season (Part One).


Beachwood chef-owner Gabe Gordon currently features draught beers like Beer Valley Black Madness, Ballast Point Sextant Oatmeal Stout (on nitro), Great Divide Titan IPA, Grand Teton Coming Home Quad, AleSmith Speedway Stout, Jolly Pumpkin Noel de Calabaza, Russian River Blind Pig, and on cask, Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous with Simcoe hops. Track changes to Beachwood BBQ’s 24-tap menu via HOP CAM.


Blue Palms proprietor Brian Lenzo is currently pouring beers like Hangar 24 Pro-Am IPA, Midnight Sun CoHoHo, an Imperial IPA; Harviestoun Old Engine Oil, an English porter from 2008; Bear Republic Mach 10, a double IPA; Marin Point Reyes Porter, Green Flash Barleywine Style Ale and The Lost Abbey Red Barn saison. Track changes to Blue Palms Brewhouse’s 24-tap menu via HERE


The Culver City branch just added Stone 14th Anniversary Emperial IPA, and downtown, BottleRock busted out kegs of Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA, Oskar Blues Gubna, Duchesse de Bourgogne and Bootlegger’s Brewery Pumpkin Ale.


According to chef-owner Tony Alcazar, “This week we proudly feature Mikkeller Santas Lil Helper ’09 aged in house. A Belgian strong dark ale @ 10.9%, mellowed out with time and ridiculously smooth. We are also pouring The Bruery 3 French Hens, N’Ice Chouffe and Dogfish Head Chickory Stout. Don’t forget, Tuesday, December 7th is our 2nd Annual Autumn Beer Dinner with Bear Republic…and heres the menu:

Roggenbier | Fromage St. Andre and Autumn Grapes with Caraway Honey Sauce on Puff Pastry

Racer 5 | Roasted New Zealand Monkfish, Mussel and Mexican Chorizo Nage with Chimichurri

Barrel Aged Golden Grizzle | Hudson Valley Duck Leg Confit, Foie Gras Crostini, Roasted Baby Pears, and Bourbon Duck Jus

Hop Rod Rye | Grilled Wild Boar Sausage With Spicy “Baked” Lentils and Sweet Apple and Napa Cole Slaw

Big Bear Black Stout | Milk Chocolate Banana Tart and Grand Marnier Caramel

Also, Sunday, December 19th is our Christmas Brunch with The Bruery. It is whispered Patrick Rue is coming down with a case of 2 Turtle Doves, Barrel Aged 2 Turtle Doves and A Partridge in a Pear Tree. Plus we have been saving a keg of 3 French Hens. A brunch you will never forget. Will post that menu ASAP!!!!”


According to beverage director Eli Wilson, “”Preparations for our Three Month Anniversary event with Firestone Walker are complete. This Sunday, December 5th from 1pm on we will be hosting festivities that will include the tapping of 14th Anniversary, aged Parabola Imperial Stout, Double Jack, and unfiltered DBA on CASK!! Come celebrate with Jace and Wes from Firestone, as well as myself and the friendly Congregation family. Lastly, starting this week we are phasing in SIXTEEN Christmas seasonal specialty beers. The first batch of kegs includes St. Bernardus Christmas, Affligem Noel, and Samichlaus.”


Since last Thursday, Phil McGovern’s Santa Monica bar has added draught beers like Speakeasy Payback Porter, Firestone Walker Velvet Merlin, New Belgium Ranger IPA, and on cask, Stone Arrogant Bastard with American oak and Stone Ruination with Centennial hops.


According to Eric Gutenkauf, “The Factory is definitely having a crush of great brew in the cooler right now. Thankfully we have our First Friday Art Walk going this weekend to clear things out!

The current lineup! Beer Valley Black Madness–rarely seen in SoCal–absurdly good mix of Leafer Madness and Black Flag! Deschutes Inversion IPA. Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye. New Belgium Trippel–last week’s favorite! Karl Strauss Catacombs. Black Lager–almost gone! Sudwerk Helles. Hoppy Brewing Stony Face Red. And last but not least…Strand 24th St Pale Ale!

A great segue into what we have on deck! Tomorrow we will be launching Strand’s new Atticus IPA!!!!! Over the weekend we will be tapping this range of other atrociously good brews as other run out: Bootleggers Lambic #2, Port Brewing Santa’s Little Helper Imperial Stout, Stone Double Bastard, Stone Lucky Bastard and Anderson Valley Bahl Horning Nettie Madge Black IPA. Next Tuesday we will have a tasting of all 8 beers on tap for $12.”

According Natalie Gutenkauf, “We have our 1-year anniversary party coming up! It’s going to be a week long party from January 11-16th! On Thursday, January 13th we are having a little mini-beer festival with all our favorite brewers…some who are making us special batches!”


According to The Golden State co-owner Jason Bernstein, they’re currently pouring AleSmith Grand Cru, The Bruery 3 French Hens, Great Divide fresh hopped Pale Ale, Great Divide oak-aged Yeti, Moylan.


According to Ladyface rep Robyn Britton, “Ladyface on tap – La Blanche Wit, La Blonde, Ladyface IPA, Blind Ambition Amber, Picture City Porter, La Trappistine Dubbel, Trois Filles Tripel, and our Cask of the Week, “Oakey Smokey Porter”, featuring Picture City Porter infused with bourbon-soaked oak cubes, vanilla extract and a hint of liquid smoke. Joining them are Black Diamond Grand Cru, Moylan’s Old Blarney, Drake’s Aroma Prieta, Coronado Golden, Greenflash Hophead Red, St. Louis Gueuze, Val-Dieu Grand Cru, Petrus Oud Bruin and Popperings Hommel.

Eight nights of Hanukkah, eight Ladyface ales on tap. Come grab a growler to celebrate at least one of them. And Happy Hanukkah/Hanukkah/Chanukah any way you celebrate it or spell it!”


According to General Manager Tom Kelley, a certified cicerone, “We have leftovers from our Ballast Point night on Tuesday, Sculpin IPA, Doroado DIPA, 2009 Barrel Aged Sea Monster, and Sextant Oatmeal Stout on Nitro. As well we have the last keg of Dogfish Head Punkin, and still pouring is Mach 10 from Bear Republic. Our fingers are crossed for another Blind Pig tomorrow…check Facebook or Twitter to find out if we get lucky!

Our next big event is now on the horizon. Holiday and Strong Ale Fest kicks off on December 20 and runs through January 1.”


According to assistant manager Martin Svab, “Tonight, we are hosting the Strand Brewing Atticus IPA launch party from 7pm till 10pm. We will be featuring this great beer as well as their flagship 24th Street Pale Ale. A limited amount of cool pint glasses will be available. Rich & Joel (co-founders of Strand Brewing) will be on hand.

In addition, our Christmas Beer Festival is underway with the following goodies pouring: Alaskan Winter Ale, Anchor Christmas (Our Special Ale) 2010, Anderson Valley Winter Solstice, New Belgium 2° Below, Sam Adams Winter Lager, Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale, The Bruery’s 3 French Hens, Skyscraper Winter Warmer, Lost Coast Winter Braun, Port’s Santa’s Little Helper (2010), St. Bernardus Christmas, Goulden Draak Vintage, Gouden Carolous Nöel, Affligem Nöel, Petrus Winter, Delirium Nöel. We will add a couple more here and there throughout the month of December.”


According to assistant manager Josh Salinas, who runs the beer program at The Oinkster, “This weekend we have Eel River Organic IPA, Grand Teton Sweet Grass APA and a small amount of Great Divide Hades. We also have some rad beers on deck. On deck we have Avery IPA, Green Flash Hop Head Red, Taps California Gold XPA and Craftsman Holiday Ale.

We also have one Keg of Eagle Rock Stimulus, a Belgian Amber Ale brewed with Intelligentsia coffee, which will probably be on tap the beginning of next week.”


Brandon Halvorson recently took over the beer program at Dave Furano and Michael Zislis’ El Segundo biergarten, and as he said yesterday, “I’ve made it my duty, come hell or high water, to put the best stuff on.” He’s currently arming 32 tap handles – half of which rotate on a regular basis – with beers like Strand Brewing’s Beach House Amber, Kern River Class V Stout, Port Brewing’s Santa’s Lil’ Helper, The Bruery Mischief, AleSmith IPA and Stone Vertical Epic 10.10.10.

According to Halvorson, “We also have a few events coming up; next Wednesday, December 8th we have a pint night with Lost Coast featuring their 20th Anniversary Ale. The following Wednesday, December 15th we have a Arrogant Bastard Pint Night AND we’ll be tapping the very limited Stone Smoked Porter with Vanilla Bean. Next month we have our first Rock’N’Hops IPA Festival on December 11-16 featuring the best IPAs we can get our hands on, more details TBA.”


According to manager Peter Shuey, “Tonight we’re hosting Firestone for the release of their 14th anniversary brew! We’ll also have Double Jack & Velvet Merlin on tap, and a camera crew shooting video to air on the Firestone website. Starts @ 6:30PM

Right now we’re pouring Craftsman Edgar’s Ale, Anderson Valley Winter Solstice, Stone Lucky Bastard & Double Bastard, St Bernardus Abt 12, Port Santa’s Little Helper, TAPS Swarzbier, Brouwerij West Blond, Great Divide Oak Aged Yeti and Inversion & Green Flash W Coast IPA’s. Coming up we’ve got Dogfish Chicory Stout, Sierra 30th anniversary Reserve, Anchor Christmas Ale, Deschutes Jubelale, Ballast Point Sculpin & Big Sky Moose Drool. You can always check out our updated “off the handle” list.

Monday Dec 6 Strand Brewing will be in house unveiling their new IPA “Atticus.” Event starts at 6:30 PM.

Monday Dec 13, Widmer will be here introducing their “Brother’s Reserve” series with the winter reserve called “Brrrbon” a bourbon barrel aged ale…it’s really, really tasty! 6:30 PM.”


According to co-owner Marlene Samaniego, this year’s holiday line-up for the month of December consists of Delirium Noel Ale, St. Bernardus Christmas Ale, Nogne-O Winter Ale (2009), Port Brewing Santa’s Lil’ Helper Imperial Stout (2009), Dogfish Head Punkin Ale, Mikkeller Santa’s Little Helper Ale (2009), Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale, St. Feuillien Noel Ale (2009) and He’Brew Jewbelation 13 Ale (2009). As she wrote, “We have many more holiday kegs to go on when these dry up.”


The Surly Goat is currently pouring draught beers like Stone Double Bastard, Avery Dugana, Russian River Damnation, Dogfish Head Chicory Stout, Sierra Nevada Torpedo, Eagle Rock Unity, AleSmith Yulesmith, Allagash Interlude and Bootlegger’s Black Phoenix.


According to yesterday’s update from general manager Paige Reilly, “Freshly tapped: Pliny the Elder from Russian River, Requiem from Gentleman Scholar, Humulus Rice from The Bruery and Lost & Found from Lost Abbey. Still delicious: Fizzy Yellow Beer from Green Flash, Stone Old Guardian 2007, AleSmith Grand Cru and Manifesto from Eagle Rock. YUM OH!”


According to manager Mary Drenthe, “Tonight we’re celebrating Firestone Walker’s 14th Anniversary! Come by anytime from 3-close and enjoy their Pale 31, Union Jack IPA, Solace, and Velvet Merkin on draught. At 7 PM, we’ll be tapping into a very limited release keg of Firestone Walker 14, a blended ale made from Parabola, Velvet Merkin, Double Double Barrel Ale, Bravo, Good Foot and Sticky Monkey. This special ale comes in at a big 12.5%ABV. But don’t worry, if you miss 14 on draught, you can still get it in 22oz bottles for a limited time as well. Hope to see you there!”


This week, Brand X contributor Steven Armstrong shared his fifth installment of The Craft Beer Chronicles, titled Change is brewing in K-Town. At Biergarten, the writer meets with Jimmy Han, who’s planning to open an establishment called Beer Belly in “early 2011.”


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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