Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Stone Brewery's Collaborative Dayman Coffee IPA

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Dayman, home...



...and away.

I'll drink this anywhere.



A collaborative effort.



The story behind this particular brew.



Delicious!

This could possibly be my favorite beer of the year.  And it comes from a brewery (partly) that I had kinda written off.  I had gotten really tired of Stone's hop-centric ways, but this one is so well balanced and nuanced that I couldn't help but love it.  It's unfortunate that this limited release is a one-off, cuzz I'd love to have it again and again.  I've had coffee "flavored" beer in the form of stouts and porters but never in an IPA.  I was skeptical and curious at first, but a firm believer now.  It works!  I wanted to try it initially for the the novelty of it, but as it turns out I'd drink this any old day.  Specifically with breakfast!  I got very little coffee in the nose, but upon tasting it, the coffee was front and center.  I was really impressed.  This brew would be ideal with an order of pancakes or waffles and maple syrup.  It would also work well with breakfast sausage or a doughnut.  That's not to say it wouldn't be good with any other meal during the day or enjoyed on it's own, but how often do you come across a beer that pairs well with breakfast?  Exactly!  If you can find this, order it, buy it...highly recommended.                



Dino's Chicken and Burgers (Huntington Park)

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Accolade...



...after accolade, Dino's Chicken and Burgers has em from just about every publication.



Bacon Cheeseburger.

Despite the acclaim, I find the burger particularly pedestrian.  The sauce is good, but the patty and everything else inside, is rather pedestrian.  In fact, the bacon in it, reminded me of that scrawny "bacon" you get with your McDonald's breakfast meal.  No bueno.  It's not a bad burger, in terms of fast food burgers, but the bacon does suck.  Skip the burger and order a pastrami sandwich or...



...their acclaimed ½ chicken, fries and coleslaw combo.

The fries remind me of In n Out's, which I actually hate.  On their own, they are thin, dry and hollow but add animal sauce, or the drippings from the chicken marinade here and the result is far better than it's initial iteration.  Still, the fries are not worthy of bringing people back, in my opinion.  The chicken though; that's can be debated.  For one, the chicken is moist throughout.  It has a good charbroiled flavor and the marinade/sauce come through in spades.  The flavor ends up being a little spicy, tangy and vinegary.  None are overwhelming though so the balance is good.  I wouldn't hype the place up as much as others have done, but I'm not about to knock it either.  The chicken dish is good but not worth "dying for," as many people like to say these days.  It's worth trying at least once but not something I'd crave on a regular basis.  Good but not great.

   
        

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Mission Brewery's Shipwrecked Double IPA

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A look at the bomber.



Blah blah blah.

I don't know why, but I've read a couple of their brief descriptors, and I can't help but feel like I'm reading a press release from their public relations guy or some used car salesman.  I'm not talking shit, but I I can't help but scan through all the fluff waiting for something meaningful to jump out at me, and it never materializes.



Shipwrecked Double IPA.

All bs aside though, I've tried 2 beers from this brewery out of San Diego, and I'm impressed.  I'm gonna have to add yet another brewery to visit on my next trip down south.  This particular beer was well-balanced.  It was maltier than most double IPAs but I liked it as it countered the hoppiness of it.  The carbonation was also higher which made this almost too easy to drink.  If you don't watch out, this one will creep up on you.  



Simmzy's (Long Beach - Belmont Shore)

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Signage.



They have an excellent beer menu worth checking out.



Mmmm Beeeer.

I asked for a sour and barley wine and these are the bad boys that were brought to us.  Sadly, I don't remember either one of their names.  I need to start writing stuff down or blog a lot sooner.  We made this visit roughly a month ago.  



Not just any fries.

We saw blue cheese fries on the menu and even though we had just eaten fish tacos across the way, we just had to try them.  Pete's Cafe in downtown LA, still has the best ones we've tried.  These needed more sauce and punch from the cheese.  The addition of hot sauce was nice though.



Part of the decor.

I don't quite get the theme, but I really don't care - not now anyway.  I'm just happy for their craft beer selection.



A look at the bar.

When we arrived, the place was jam packed, except for a couple of seats at the side of the bar.  I wasn't able to see drink specials or other chalkboard specials from my vantage point but I'd really like to return for more beer.  Wait, didn't I already say that?  Well, perhaps I'll return for food as well.  



Monday, March 18, 2013

Downey Brewing Company (Downey)

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Signage.

I'm on the fence as to whether or not I'm a fan of the "Brewing Company."



Tasting menu cover.

But there is no mistaking my allegiance to Thee Bruery.



The scene minutes before commencement.

Tickets were sold in advance for $12.  That got you seven or eight, 4 oz tasters, a raffle ticket for merchandise, snacks and a keepsake Bruery goblet, which I left behind.  :(



 Humulus Lager.

I am not an IPA hop head like so many people these days.  Neither is The Bruery, which is probably why I love these guys so damn much.  Most IPA heads would probably think of The Bruery as being a mediocre brewery because they don't care to make them.  The fact of the matter is, there are plenty of breweries around here that excel in that style so they prefer brewing Belgian style, bottle conditioned, barrel aged, unfiltered beer.  But, if you love hops, you should enjoy their Humulus Lager.  Yes, it's a lager but it's a double standing in at 7.2%  I've never had such a full-flavored lager.  This was a great eye opener for me and a fantastic introduction to what the Bruery does.



Chex mix?

Like I said, I just don't know if I am a fan of this place.  Couldn't you guys have at least made your own spiced nut mixture?  Is it laziness or lack of creativity?  Ughh.



    Trade Winds Triple.

I've had this numerous times over the last couple of years.  It's not their strongest effort but a good one nonetheless.  They use rice in the mash to bring some levity to the body and flavor this one using Thai Basil.  It's an interesting yet not overly complex brew ideal for the Spring and Summer months to come.  It's more of a session beer than Mischief but on a similar level.  This one has soft bite.


  
Trade Winds and accompanying bottle.

 I was kind of surprised that most of the beer was poured straight from bottles.  I know for a fact that many of the ones we tried from bottles are available in keg form.  What gives here? 



Saison de Lente.

Sorry, I don't remember much about this one other than it was a little spicy from cloves or nutmeg and it had a citrus quality to it.  It actually reminded me of a hef but with more malt character. 


  
Mexican Habanero & Duck Sausages.

This snack was better than the last but how about a condiment?  Whole grain mustard, at least?  Not that I'd order either one, but the habanero was the better of the two. 



Rueuze.

This was our introduction to their sours.  It wasn't well received, as I expected.  I figured most people weren't well-versed on this style but I was borderline pissed at the bullshit spewing out of homegirl's mouth sitting near me.  I heard her say it tasted like dirty socks.  Wow!  I'd hate to have her diet.  And prior to that remark, she had made other negative comments about the previous beers we had been served.  Based on her opinions, It seemed to me that this self-proclaimed beer-loving-chick was all about watered-down, generic shit.  Who let her inside?!



 Homemade potato chips.

Dip, please?  Ketchup?  Sheesh.  Well, at least these were good.



Autumn Maple.

This was one of the first beers I ever had from this brewery.  I remembered being drawn in, not by the label, or brewery but by the contents within.  This beer is brewed with 17 lbs of yams per barrel and it's flavored with cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, vanilla, maple, molasses and allspice.  It's their take on a pumpkin beer.  I didn't like it a whole lot years ago, but I was able to appreciate it more this time around.


 
5 Golden Rings. 

This is their winter seasonal release and homage to the "12 Days of Christmas."  It's essentially a pineapple upside-down cake in the form of a beer.  It's semi-sweet and tangy spiced with ginger and cinnamon.  This is probably my least favorite beer from the Bruery.  Having bought a 750ml bottle just a few months ago, I couldn't finish it.  It was just too much for me.  I think, if it were cellared for several years to allow the yeast to do it's thing and boost the carbonation and alcohol level up, it could work.  But I didn't like it in it's current form.


     
More sausages.

We were given a pour of beer and introduction to said beer a total of 9 times.  We took brief breaks after every third beer.  In that time, they raffled off merchandise, beer glasses and other interesting items.  Yours truly did not win anything this time.  Now, although I don't like the food much, and I don't like some of the bartenders for their unprofessional service or lack of knowledge of their beer selection and rather lax dive bar attitudes, I will probably return because the owner/manager seemed like a cool dude and they do have good beer and beer-related events.  Maybe next time, I'll win something.   Even then, the price is cheap enough that you're getting a great deal, so it's well worth it.



 Sour in The Rye.

This was another great example of a mouth-puckering sour.



Buffalo Wings.

Not bad!  I'm glad they are fried crisp with a thin coating of flour or cornstarch to ensure a good fry.  The sauce was semi-spicy.
      


White Oak.

This is a 50/50 blend of wheatwine aged in bourbon barrels and Mischief.  I had never had this beer before but I loved it.  Despite it's demure appearance, it packed a solid punch at 11.5% ABV.  You definitely got the bourbon traits of vanilla and caramel but with a yeasty coconut nose.  If I see this around, I'm either ordering a glass or buying a bottle.


   
Smoking Wood.

We meet again.  This is just awesome.  It tastes like a summer bbq.  Seriously, bottle the aroma of award winning que and that's what this is.  Balanced smoke, bbq rub, pig (yes pig), molasses, coffee, dark chocolate, booze; just some of the words I'd use to describe this whopping 13% ABV smoked beer.  This was the closing explosion one anticipates at the end of those fireworks displays.  Fantastic finish and great display of what tremendous variety of beer there is out there beyond the world of India Pale Ales.



? Beer on Nitro.

 Weeks before the tasting, I stopped by to support the homie's band, Robot Room. While there, I tried ordering 3 different beers, all of which they were out of before getting this one.  Looking back, I have no idea what I drank.  I wish I could remember because I liked it. 


 

 Pepperoni and Margherita pizzas.

If you absolutely have to get one, get the pepperoni.  If you don't have to order pizza, the wings and chips are a better bet.