Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Beer Celebration !!

I had a great time this past weekend hanging out at Stone Brewing's 11th Anniversary Party in Escondito, CA.

It was a fabulous event with thousands of craft beer fans and LOTS of really great beer.

Highlights were talking and filming with Stone Chairman, CEO and fellow beer blogger
Greg Koch whose mantra, "Fizzy Yellow Beer is for Wussies," resonates in every one of his company's beers; and getting to walk around the event tasting and comparing beers with Mark Jilg, Owner and Brewmaster at Craftsman Brewing Company.

Other great things were Port Brewing's own Vince Marsaglia in a tent making Arrogant Bastard Ale Onion Rings (yummy), and getting freshly brewed soda's (my favorite was bright blue, tasty and refreshing) from people who call themselves The Society of Barley Engineers.

Here are some of my favorite beers of the festival:

Craftsman Berliner Weiss - Pasadena, CA
This is a style of unfiltered wheat beer that traditionally uses two different types of yeast that produces a light, bright, lemony, zesty and slightly sour beer. I had this paired with bratwurst and sour kraut and was a very happy chick. This is a new release from Craftsman shouldn't be missed. According to Mark, this beer is less than 4% abv. Perfect for the hot last dog days of summer.

Green Flash Summer Saison - Vista, CA
I loved this beer. This is a GREAT example of a well-rounded, perfectly balanced
Saison. I find that some Saison styles made in the United States, although good beers in their own right, are much more similar to an American Hefeweizen than a true Saison, but Green Flash nailed it with this one. Rustic and earthy, but with a round finish, distinctive dryness and spicy high notes, this beer killed.

Victory Brewing Prima Pils - Downingtown, PA

This beer was a refreshing break from all of the really BIG beers that I was drinking. It was light and nuanced, reminding me of a true Czech Pilsner. Once again, I remind you girls that lager beers, even though we associate them with the bad tasting, industrialized beers of today, can actually be great beers if made with noble ingredients in a craft environment. This Pils is a nice example of that. Good balance, nice hop finish, malt-roundness, not too bitter.

Thomas Jefferson Ale -
Taps Fish House & Brewery - Brea, CA

I was glad to see my friend Victor Novak from Taps at this event. I really liked this beer, which he said is a beer Jefferson would have had brewed at Monticello two hundred years ago. They describe it as "deep reddish-brown, very full-bodied, with a hint of toffee and a complex, malty finish. " It was a delightful ale at 9.5%.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Savor the Season 2007

Okay, so I have been accused of not letting people know about events early enough, so here is the next one more than a month in advance! This one is kind of high-falutin, and not all about beer, but I'm thrilled to be included and to introduce a whole new group of people to the wide world of beer. I'm still figuring out what I'll be doing in my tasting garden area, but it will be cool, and I will keep you updated.

Here's what was written about the event in

Break the Cycle, an organization protecting the rights of teens experiencing dating violence, is celebrating more than a decade of work with Savor the Season 2007 - a grand tasting gala showcasing Los Angeles' top culinary talents for a night of food and wine, exclusive "tasting experiences," live and silent auctions, music and more. This year's lineup of chefs includes Michael Bryant, Bin 8945; Gautam Chaudhry & Mikel Mark Kim, Tanzore Restaurant & Lounge; Sal Marino, Il Grano; Bijan Shokatfard, Geoffrey's; Jared Simons, Violet; and Suzanne Tracht of Jar, among others.

VIP guests will relish in the Tasting Garden Experience in the Bamboo Garden, led by five culinary experts - Christina Perozzi, The Beer Chick; Barrie Lynn, The Cheese Impresario; Bonnie Graves, founder of Girl Meets Grape; Hasty Khoei, Madame Chocolat; and Joni Fay Hill & Denise Daclan of Saltistry.

General admission is $100; VIP package costs $250 and includes admission to the cocktail and hors d'oeuvres reception, early admission and silent auction preview, exclusive access to the Tasting Garden Experience, reserved seating and hosted parking, and gift bags with keepsake cookbook.

The VIP reception begins at 5 p.m. and the main event begins at 6:30 p.m. For tickets, call Break the Cycle at 310-424-2805 or visit Wallis Annenberg Building at Exposition Park, 700 State Dr., Los Angeles.