Posts Tagged ‘dogfish head’

freakin frog las vegas, pellicle update

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

last weekend my buddy EH and I hopped on a plane to vegas to meet up with some old friends for some catching up.

  • unfortunately, our hotel was a hike from my go-to beer spot on the strip – burger bar.  that, and a rigid weekend schedule prevented much exploration once we set up shop at the hotel.  if only I had time for rosemary’s
  • the only answer was to stock up on some quality brews straight from the airport and stash them in the hotel for the weekend.
  • a few minutes on beerfly netted a couple promising spots – aces and ales and freaking frog.   the latter’s close proximity to the airport and supposedly extensive beer cooler clinched it, and as soon as we could grab a cab we headed over in the triple digit heat.
  • unfazed by the lack of windows and goofy exterior signage of the frog, we slipped in and were immediately welcomed with a decent draft selection.  however, the real action was in the frog’s walk-in cooler, where a fantastic variety of brews from all over awaited our perusal in a refreshingly cold environment.
  • after poring over the selection, a bottle of fantome’s saison was popped for immediate gratification, and bottles of DFH fort (boozy, sweet, and fruity, would do well with a few years on it) and olde school (warm, fruity, and full-bodied; great with a padron ’64 anniversary exclusivo), as well as a bottle of cantillon kriek (easily in my top 5), were nabbed for weekend enjoyment.
  • after checking out the impressive whisky attic at the frog (which supposedly stocks the largest variety in the US), we grabbed our stash and headed for a nearby liquor store, where significant quantities of swill were picked up for those in the party with less discerning palates.  that’s not to say a few crown-embossed tabs weren’t popped by yours truly that weekend…

 

  • upon returning to LA on sunday, I was greeted by a dramatic increase in the pellicle crowning my cuvee de blanc (possibly due to the recent increase in temps).  AP’s reaction was less enthusiastic than mine – hopefully she’ll forget about it next year come bottling time…

homebrew projects and burger bar revisited

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

last week I managed to put some finishing touches on some home brewing components.

  • remember this old post about the chill wizard?  you know, the one for $830?  well, with some helpful tips from the folks over at homebrewtalk (my new must-read forum), I scored a march pump from a forum member and got a plate chiller for a steal via germany (email me for more info), then picked up a bunch of stainless hardware from bargainfittings (fast shipping!) and made my own pump/cooling setup for less than half the cost.
  • basically, I picked up a small toolbox off of amazon for cheap, installed the pump into a base end of the box, and strapped the plate chiller to the other end.  I tossed on extras like a air purge valve on the pump out and an in-line thermometer at the wort out of the plate chiller, as well as a pump switch on the top of the box.  the whole thing is plugged into a GFCI outlet so I don’t shock the shit out of myself.
  • after tightening everything with some plumbing tape, I ran my portable pump setup through my (almost finished) brew setup to test it, and after a few leak fixes everything worked like a charm.  this thing might not be the prettiest setup out there, but it gets the job done just as well as the high-end options and is simpler/significantly less expensive.
  • I also kegged up my bohemian pilsner and tapped the second keg of my belgian date barleywine, which recently celebrated its first birthday.

in other beer news, AP and I were in vegas at the end of last week, and after very little persuading we headed over to burger bar for another visit.

  • as usual, the selection was outstanding, especially for a burger joint in a casino.  I started off with a st feuillen saison on draft, while AP went local and had a pint of sin city’s amber ale (which she thoroughly enjoyed).
  • after my initial pour, I couldn’t resist any longer, and went straight for one of my hard-to-find favorites: dogfish head’s 120 minute IPA.  I pulled the same stunt as last time and ended up cruising the strip with a cup of this liquid gold (which might not have been the best idea, as outside temps were in triple digits).
  • AP and I managed to return twice more during our stay, and partook in specialties such as new belgium’s la folie ’10 (significantly more sour than last year’s, according to my palate), kiuchi’s commemorative ale (spice ain’t my thing, but these guys have the belgian complexity down pat), and bitch creek ESB from grand teton.
  • I was even debating ordering up the firestone 11-13 bomber flight, but lousy luck at the craps table prevented any celebratory splurging.
  • again, the service and burgers were great and the beer selection made me feel right at home.  if you’re a beer fan in vegas this is without question the place to be.

AP’s birthday beer tour: santa monica

Monday, June 21st, 2010

a little over a week ago AP’s birthday rolled around, so we headed off to santa monica, one of our old stomping grounds, to celebrate.

  • our first stop was library alehouse (not to be confused with library bar), a great little beer bar on main st.
  • I remember stopping by library alehouse many years ago and excitedly grabbing a downtown brown before I really caught on to the craft beer scene.
  • that tap handle is still pouring after all these years, but I have come to appreciate the finer offerings that this beer bar has to offer.
  • AP and I spotted the tap for eric’s ale and immediately ordered up a round.  we were bummed to discover that eric salazar from new belgium was going to be stopping by the next day to pay a visit.  that would have been sweet…
  • the beer was great, the scene was mellow, and the food was tasty, but AP and I packed up and moved on to our next destination.
  • our next pit stop was at wine expo on santa monica blvd.  the selection was varied, and we grabbed a reissdorf kolsch, a berliner weiss, and a geuze for later in the evening.
  • if you’re ever in the area and looking for a brew, wine expo is a good place to check out.  they have a bunch of interesting imports, but stock a pretty ordinary domestic selection.
  • we continued the bottle hunt at whole foods on wilshire, which I remembered as having a pretty decent beer selection.
  • “pretty decent” was an understatement – they had a great selection of hard to fund find beers.  after staring at the lineup for a good while, I could tell AP was done with bottle shopping, so I grabbed a bottle of port’s older viscosity, allagash’s confluence, and dogfish’s burton baton and hit the road.  this whole foods is definitely the place to go with paycheck in hand to grab some rarities for a special occasion.
  • AP and I then cruised down 3rd street promenade, ending with a stop by the fifth amendment alehaus.  I didn’t know what to expect when we stepped in, but the bar was cozy and the bartender/owner was friendly and knowledgeable.
  • my only gripe was the price of a pint – I can see $8 for a pour of eric’s ale or delirium tremens, but for port’s hot rocks lager? gimme a break.  I think the price will keep me from coming back on a regular basis, but if you’re stranded on third street shopping with your lady this place is the ticket.
  • I also tried a taster of the bruery’s coton, and let me tell you, it was one of the first old ales/barleywines that I actually disliked.  it was super hot with an overwhelmingly boozy finish.  all I could taste was alcohol.  come on guys, just stuff it in barrels for a year or two and push it for your usual $30 pricetag!
  • afterwards we grabbed some great italian at a BYOB joint where we shared some beers and then headed home.  our samo excursion was a great success – happy birthday AP!

beer [pop] culture

Friday, March 5th, 2010

you know beer culture is nearing its peak of trendiness when:

  • there is a line snaking out of city beer store longer than one at a nightclub.
  • at 6:30pm.
  • on a thursday.
  • I mean, sure, it was a special dogfish head night (pouring sah’tea, theobroma, and burton baton), but shit, when I saw that line I started thinking that maybe sam himself was in there on the bar spraying people down with 120-minute or something.
  • I was stoked for craig and beth (they always have great beers and prices), but toronado seemed a little more my speed that night.
  • after the usual half hour test of my patience over at rosamunde, I screamed out “never again!” and ran over to memphis minnie’s, where they had me fixed up in a heartbeat.
  • CB, TB, and DW met up, and we conspired regarding rosamunde’s demise over moonlight’s misspent youth, a pale with great aroma, and some ’09 temptation.

dogfish head raison d’extra 2006

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

raison d'extra in the glass

after trying dogfish head’s raison d’etre over at burger bar las vegas, I was excited when CB pulled a bottle of their raison d’extra from 2006 out of the fridge during a recent visit.

  • raison d’extra is DFH’s turbocharged version of the d’etre – it clocks in at an insane 18% abv!
  • the pour was syrupy smooth, with good carbonation.
  • the aroma was fantastic, and the beer had a syrupy mouthfeel that was malty, caramely and slightly fruity.
  • close to 4 years in the bottle had mellowed the beer significantly – there was only slightly noticeable alcohol heat and any booziness was not overpowering.
  • what can I say, this beer was great.  it reminded me of aged brown shugga, except this beer was twice the abv!  incredible.  this brew was definitely one of my favorites in recent memory.  thanks again CB!

raison d'extra bottle

raison d'extra in the glass

naja’s redux

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

pint trio of dogfish head punkin, oskar blues old chub, and green flash west coast IPA

last weekend AP and I were lucky enough to roll by naja’s place for the second weekend in a row.

  • we met up with DP to enjoy a few brews on a beautiful day.
  • since I had a few cans of oskar blues’ dale’s pale ale earlier in the weekend (hoppy with a sessionable maltiness – check out this interesting story about the brew), I decided to roll with oskar blues and ordered up an old chub first (on draft!).  it had a balanced malty sweetness that was not cloying, and has a substantial, satisfying mouthfeel.
  • I also ordered up an east/west combo – a glass of shipyard’s XXXX IPA (maine) followed by green flash’s west coast IPA (carlsbad, CA).  what can I say, I’m partial to the home team.
  • the afternoon came to a celebratory close with a bottle of russian river’s temptation.  tart, funky, and complex with great carbonation and a crisp drinkability, this is one of my favorites.  I grabbed a couple more glasses and passed around some samples to help change some people’s perceptions about how far beer can go (especially in CA!).
  • in fact, I was sipping on this brew while I watched the dodgers on TV spraying each other with nothing other than budweiser tall cans after their sweep.  yikes.
  • AP and DP both thoroughly enjoyed dogfish head’s punkin ale, my favorite example of the style.  it has subtle spicing that meshes well with brown ale characteristics and doesn’t overwhelm the beer.
  • remember to check out naja’s for LA beer week, it should be epic!

guardian bat of the taps

punkin and old chub checking out the view

usual parkng scene at naja's

temptation in the glass

more halloween decoration at naja's

amsterdam café

Friday, October 9th, 2009

coolers behind the bar at amsterdam cafe

I had recently heard about a new place called amsterdam cafe in the tenderloin, so last night CB and I rolled by to check it out.

  • I like the layout of this place – there is a covered outdoor patio area up front and a bar immediately behind it, with a few tables opposite the bar.
  • the owners and bartenders were very friendly, as was everyone else in the bar.  the place has an honest, neighborhood feel to it.  prices are a little steep though.
  • there were 14 or so beers on tap and quite a few bottles available – mostly the usual suspects, but there was a solid dogfish head showing and they carried quite a few belgians.
  • I started the night off with stone’s oaked arrogant bastard on draft.  this beer had a great creamy mouthfeel and seemed to be much more drinkable than other oaked bastards I have had in the past.
  • I them moved on to ommegang’s three philosophers.  the mouthfeel/body seemed a little light for a quad (probably due to the kriek addition), but it hides its alcohol very well, clocking in at close to 10% abv.
  • I closed the night out with a bruegel amber ale from brouwerij van steenberge.  it was very drinkable, and I definitely liked the yeast profile, but it has to be the lightest amber I have ever seen and at 7 or 8 bucks a bottle here, there are plenty of other options available.
  • CB picked up an oaked bastard as well as a gulden draak, again from brouwerij van steenberge.  gulden draak is a belgian strong that seemed a little too sweet to me – take away some sweetness (and toss in a little brett) and I would order this up in a heartbeat.
  • note: I had grabbed a burger from pearl’s to take over there, but when I arrived I discovered that they had started cooking up sausages themselves, so keep that in mind if you want to grab a bite as well.
  • overall, amsterdam cafe is a breath of fresh air in the area.  swapping out a couple of the usual taps and bottles for some more niche brews (e.g., a geuze, lambic, some russian river, or better yet, dutch beers to run with the namesake, etc.) would make this place exceptional.

tap lineup at amsterdam cafe

oaked bastard

left side of the covered front

right side of the covered front

three philosophers

brugel amber

gulden draak

naja’s place

Monday, October 5th, 2009

sculpin and the view at naja's

if you don’t know, now you know.

  • naja’s place in redondo beach is my favorite bar on the planet, and is one of the most overlooked spots to grab a brew in california.
  • it’s located right on the water, and has 88 beers on tap (tap list doesn’t look current), a great bottle selection, good food and live music.
  • best of all, the staff is always friendly, laid back, and knowledgeable about their brews.
  • AP and I went there multiple times over the weekend, and over the course of our visits we sampled numerous brews.  one of my favorites was sculpin IPA from ballast point.  it had an intense, fresh hop aroma and was surprisingly sessionable.
  • I also got a chance to try  sierra nevada’s estate harvest ale, a good APA with a great story behind it.
  • next in line was port brewing’s old viscosity – a blended strong ale that tastes like a smooth, strong imperial stout.
  • I also managed to grab an old blarney barleywine from moylan’s – it was malty and smooth, a good example of the style.
  • I even managed a taster of the bruery’s autumn maple, but I don’t think I could finish a whole glass of the stuff – toss me a punkin ale instead.
  • AP was feeling the spirit of the season and stuck with spaten’s oktoberfest.
  • note: LA beer week is coming up in a couple weeks, and naja’s is going all out for it.  martin was talling me about a stone brewing night, a new belgium specialty night, a belgian import night, and other events.
  • thanks again to martin, darren, and the rest of the crew over at naja’s!  we’ll be back soon!

part of the tap lineup at naja's

old viscosity and spaten oktoberfest

bottle fridges at naja's

the grill at naja's

sculpin IPA at naja's

the band at naja's

two happy customers at naja's

city beer store

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

at the taps

City Beer Store is one of my favorite places to grab a beer, mainly because I can sip on one of six taps while perusing an impressive bottle selection.  I wish more bottle shops were able to do this.

  • if you’re claustrophobic, I would recommend coming here at an off time or during the week.  the place isn’t that big and can get super crowded.  yesterday night (tuesday) all tables were full, but there were some seats available by the taps.  it’s not a big deal though, as I’m usually on my feet checking out their fridges or shelves.
  • I have also noticed that city beer has good prices compared to their competition.  many times I will go here to price out somewhat hard to find beers that are going for a few bucks more at other places.  the owners are great too, very friendly and accomodating.
  • CB started with the bruery’s hottenroth berliner weiss, which is a great example of the style.  word on the street is that they are planning on bottling this one, so that is something to keep an eye out for.
  • I ordered up a mini-flight of dogfish head palo santo marron 2008&2009.  the ’09 was a little hot, but not overwhelmingly so.  I dont normally drink  a lot of browns, but I’m glad these guys got poured, they were definitely tasty.
  • to finish off the night, a bottle of allagash victoria 2009 was popped.  when we ordered up the bottle, CB asked me what style it was, and I told him we’d have to figure it out firsthand.  However, after a few sips, I was still at a loss.  beer advocate labels it a “belgian strong pale.”  it was very drinkable (kinda sweet and fruity) with a floral aroma, but I  don’t think I’m gonna be stocking up in the near future.
  • the best part about drinking at city beer? I left with a fresh bottle of fantome saison, cantillon cuvee des champions, new belgium la folie, Brouwerij Van Steenberge’s monk’s cafe, and ichtegem’s grand cru!

palo santo flight

back fridge

allagash victoria

burger bar las vegas

Monday, August 31st, 2009

view from the back bar

view from the back bar

In Las Vegas for a close friend’s bachelor party, I happened to stumble across Burger Bar in Mandalay Place on the strip.  Well, more like “actively seek out as a result of BeerFly research” than “stumble across,” but you know what I mean.  This place emerged as an oasis in a desert of aluminum budweiser bottles and foot-tall plastic margarita glasses.

  • don’t fret if mandalay place (the building between mandalay bay and luxor) seems far.  a tram at excalibur drops you off less than a 5 minute walk from where you need to be.
  • when I got there, the place was packed, and there was a line to get in.  however, bar seating is first come, first served, and there were open bar seats the entire time i was there, so if you are in a group of 2-3 I would recommend that option.  they are also open until 2am on weekends, so you can always go in at an off hour to avoid the rush.
  • if the front bar is packed, check out their back bar – it seemed less crowded to me and was where I got a seat the first time I was there.
  • over the course of the weekend, I visited this place multiple times.  I started off with a favorite, stone’s 13 anniversary, while picking out a burger.
  • they also have an impressive dogfish head selection here, bigger than I have found in SF.  I had a DFH raison d’etre with my burger, and had them pour a draft DFH 90 minute IPA in a cup to go.
  • later that weekend, I rolled in for another burger.  I started off with another favorite, Cantillon Iris (in a 375ml bottle), and left with a DFH 120 minute IPA in a cup (ask for it, I don’t think it’s on the menu).  I think I can safely say that I was the only guy rolling through the casino with that beer in his hand.
  • Everyone working at burger bar was very friendly (and incredibly busy).  I had a good conversation with Dean, the resident “beer guide” at burger bar.  He’s the guy to look for for good beer stories and recommendations.

Also, another burger bar will be opening in the city in macy’s sometime soon, so hopefully theire beer list will come with it and we can all enjoy yet more beer variety here in SF.

p.s. for some decent shots of the interior of burger bar go here.

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