Archives for May2014

Monkey Paw Pub & Brewery: Bernadette’s Birthday Weekend Pt. 2

Following the Vegan Beer Festival, my work week was hectic. I longed for the Memorial day weekend continuing the birthday celebration of my good friend Bernadette. For her birthday, Bernadette chose to spend Friday night in San Diego aboard the Hornblower yacht for a Stone inspired Brews Cruise. We had our plans to get into San Diego Friday afternoon, though my sincere intentions were to be in San Diego as early as possible to enjoy the luxury of the hotel pool accommodations. Unfortunately, the weather was not cooperating, neither was my curvaceous figure. Getting into San Diego at noon, I opted instead for a place to have some good food and of course, awesome selection of beer.

It was suggested by a friend of mine that I start at the hotel bar, though, I had to disagree. Typically, the hotel bar would be the place to start except for the fact that, I’ve already been there. I wanted something different and being in the Mecca of California breweries, I wanted something local, something I’ve never tried before. The beer gods must have heard me because after entering my room, I spotted the local San Diego Magazine with the cover titled The Beer Issue. In it was a breakdown of all the local San Diego breweries and the one that caught my eye was in the section titled Beer Bars: Reader Favorites which was Monkey Paw Pub & Brewery.

Monkey Paw Pub & Brewery was not far from where I was staying which was a major plus, though, that is not the reason I wanted to visit. Instead, I wanted to visit because after the description in the San Diego Magazine stated “Homebrewer-turned-pro Cosimo Sorrentino crafts 45 to 50 beers throughout the year at this boutique-style brewery”(128), I knew I had to go! Off I went via taxi so anxiously, that I didn’t even properly charge my cell phone. Arriving at Monkey Paw Pub & Brewery I walked in, took a seat at the bar where Kevan graciously greeted me and asked what I would like to drink. From the selection Kevan mentioned, I chose the Great Ape Nectar, a hazelnut chocolate milk stout at 5.60% abv.
The Great Ape Nectar
I’ve only had two milk stouts in my past and have loved them for the rich, creamy, chocolate profile they deliver. The Great Ape Nectar by Monkey Paw was the complete opposite and instead, I loved it for it’s mild body, chocolate and nutty profile. It was deliciously well made and definitely not what I was expecting for a milk stout.

Next, I had the Oatmeal Pale Ale which was incredibly interesting. Most Pale Ale’s I’ve tried had been light body with a medium hop presence however, the Oatmeal Pale Ale was something different. Oatmeal Pale AleCaramel in color with a nice, foamy head that breaks down into a beautiful lace. There was a richness to it that I loved which highlighted the fruit flavors in the hops. Days later, I was still trying to figure out why this Oatmeal Pale Ale left such an impression on me.Oatmeal Pale Ale LaceIn describing this Pale Ale to my friend Victor, he helped me figure out what I was tasting that made this beer a unique and unforgettable experience… Oatmeal!

My friends Bernadette and Jon were still hours away so I decided to stay awhile and talk to Kevan about the other beers on draft. Bartender Morgan came in shortly after and I saw her make a mixed drink that caught my eye. Lime, Vodka, a quick swirl of the glass and topped off with an IPA. San Diego Vodka Soda
The name of this beer cocktail, San Diego Vodka Soda. The cool thing about this drink is the hop infused Vodka that was used. If like me, the taste of Vodka is too harsh, the bitterness of the hop helps ease the taste. San Diego Vodka Soda was the perfect way to end my afternoon adventure! Special Thanks to Kevan, Morgan, Cosimo and the all at Monkey Paw Pub & Brewery!
Kevan working the handles at Monkey PawCosimo of Monkey Paw

Later that evening, my friends and I boarded a yacht filled with beers by Stone Brewing Co. My favorite Stone brew is Matt’s Burning Rosids, 10.5% abv imperial saison brewed with cherrywood smoked malts. Named after Matt Courtright, brewmaster at Stone who has passed, this imperial saison is a celebration of malt goodness. Matts Burning Rosids

Reading up on this amazing beer on Stone Brewing Company’s website, I became a little teary eyed as I learned how much Matt’s Burning Rosids means to the people at Stone. At the end of the description of the beer on Stone’s website it says:

Enjoy, and please remember that life and those we hold dear are precious gifts to be cherished every day. Consider sharing this beer, conversation on life’s passions and, again, lots of laughter, with good friends as we remember ours.

Berna's Bday

We did indeed!


Vegan Beer Festival & Berna’s Birthday Celebration Recap Pt. 1

What can I say about these last two weekends other than I have the sweetest exhaustion! It was not school or work related for a change. Two weeks ago, Saturday May 17th, my friend Bernadette took a long train ride from Riverside to LA so she could join me at the LA Vegan Beer and Food Festival in Hollywood. This was her first year attending and my second year, though, this will not be our last!
Soon as we crossed the gates, we went for our first brewery, North Coast and sampled Le Merle, a Belgian Style Farmhouse Saison at 7.9%abv. The taste was fresh for that long wait at entrance into the festival and hit the spot cooling us off from the heat that day. We visited other notable breweries such as Noble Ale Works to sample Gosebusters, a German Style Gose beer and a blond ale called Pacific Ale by Ohana Brewing Company. Both offered the perfect style of beers; refreshing, crisp and satisfying especially since Los Angeles was coming off of a heat wave. I am familiar with blond ales and I did enjoy Ohana’s Pacific Ale, however, the Gose style of beer is one that peaked my interest that weekend and is one I will further explore.
While enjoying our sample beers, Bernadette and I found a nice little shade which we shared with vegetarian food blogger Taylor of who gives a fantastic review of the food that was offered. We moved forward and tried a few others till we landed at Bootlegger’s Brewery where we had the Rustic IPA and the Palomino Pale Ale. I fell in love with Bootlegger’s Brewery last spring when I had Mountain Meadow and just about everything they had the following seasons after. I wish I could go in depth of what I liked about the Rustic IPA and the Palomino Pale Ale offered however, it is difficult for me because Pale Ale’s and IPA’s are two styles I am just starting to explore. However, I can honestly say that the Rustic IPA and the Palomino Pale Ale were impressive enough for me to want to explore those two styles more in the near future.
Winding down the event, we had a taste of the Ginger Saison from Eagle Rock Brewery and the Swami IPA from Pizza Port. By this time, the heat had relaxed a little and a cool breeze blew through the festival. I wish I could say that we wandered our way back to Bootlegger’s but in reality, we never really left. IMG_82530718518698Jose Luis of Bootlegger’s was way too nice to let us cramp his style in the booth and so we just stayed. He was kind enough to give us a taste of the Chango, a Mexican style lager while we were there. ResizedImage_1401161508958 Light gold in color and just easy to drink all day!
I wish I had more pictures to offer from this event however, in a rush to get to the event, I left my camera in my apartment that day. In all honesty, this event shouldn’t be one to shy away from simply because it is a “Vegan” beer festival. If you love food and you love beer, then there is no reason why you should miss next year’s event. Hope to see many of you out there next year!


United We Shall Stand

These last few weeks have been hard on me. Both school and work have consumed just about every ounce of energy I have, which makes it hard for me to blog. I’m finally at a point where I am feeling mighty inspired so I am taking a mental break from the school/work duel for my sanity to do something I love…drink beer and write about it.

In March on International Women’s Day, Women from the beer industry around the world joined together to brew one beer, Unite Pale Ale. The finished product by this amazing group of women had a fresh hop aroma with a flavorful bitterness to match. It was important that I be at the release of Unite Pale Ale by Angry Horse Brewing Company because I believe in supporting the female base in the beer industry and also locally crafted beer. My friend Victor of the Yeastside Brewers Organization thought it would be a good addition to my blog and I agreed 100%. What was so great about this event was having the opportunity to meet the ladies, and the opportunity to help Angry Horse Brewing Company, who are looking to open their own tasting room in Montebello, California. IMG_50908843291038

A month ago, when my life was a little less crazy, I attended the Unite Pale Ale event at City Tavern Culver City with my friend Missy Tate. Missy Tate is in the process of relocating and this is how I convinced her to go with me to the event “are you sure you don’t want to go, the Yeastside Brewers will be there. You can ask them all you’re burning questions about homebrewing”? Her response “Fuck this i’m on my way”! That’s my girl! So there we were on a mission to try this pale ale brewed by a group of women from the Angry Horse Brewing Company and the Yeastside Brewers Organization. For the hot weather present that day, the Unite Pale Ale was beer drinking perfection!

With the purchase of a drink ticket, we also received raffle tickets which,for me, is a huge distraction because I love to gamble. Soon after, I found myself buying more drink tickets to increase my chances of winning, forgetting completely, that it also increased my chances for a good buzz.Loot from the Angry Horse Brewing Co's United Pale Ale Event
I didn’t get to ask the ladies of Angry Horse Brewing Company the few questions I had and instead just enjoyed the day with them. Thankfully, Gayle Michel President of Angry Horse Brewing Company and co-head of the Los Angeles Chapter for Pink Boots Society was able to share with me some of her experience on International Women’s Collaboration Brew Day. Brewja & Gayle Michel from Angry Horse Brewing Co. Lots of luv in this pic!

Brewja: Who were the ladies representing Angry Horse during the Women’s Collaboration Day?
Gayle Michel-AHBC: Georgia Bell, Heidi Michel, Gayle Michel, Mary Novokhovsky, Kelly Beach and up-and-coming brewer from Transplants Brewing Sarah Luker. All of us are members of The Yeastside Brewers Organization

Brewja: How long was the brewing process from start to finish?
Gayle Michel-AHBC: 5 hours

Brewja: What was your take on the finished product and if there was something you could add/change to it, what would it be?
Gayle Michel-AHBC: It turned out so good we plan to brew the Unite Pale without any changes for next years IWCBD which will be brewed on our new 10 barrel brew house at Angry Horse Brewing. (With the support of our family & friends that is… the launch of our indiegogo campaign is May 12th and we need everyone’s support to open our doors).

Brewja: It is my experience when working toward a cause for empowering Women, the journey is inspiring. How was the experience of collaborating with other women inspiring to you?
Gayle Michel-AHBC: Going into this I never really thought much about it being a cause for empowering women. Rather, it was another opportunity to hang out and have some fun with some great girls while brewing. It was that very day while brewing that my eyes swelled with tears thinking about the effect we were having on women and young girls around the world on this 1st IWCBD started by a wonderful woman from Stone Brewing, Denise Ratfield (Global IWCBD Organizer).

Gayle Michel, the ladies of Yeastside Brewers Organization, and Pink Boots Society are truly an inspiration to women looking to take that step into a world dominated by men. The Pink Boots Society has done a fantastic job of organizing and empowering these amazing women in their pursuit to advancement within the beer industry. Que Viva Pink Boots Society! Que Viva Angry Horse Brewing Company!

As the event was winding down, my friend Miss Tate and I were listening to some of the members of Yeastside Brewers Organization (my buddy Victor included) talk about their home brews. I posed a question that I knew was on Miss Tate’s mind and asked, “Does every batch of the home brew you make come out perfect”? Their response, a collective NO! They explained to us that no matter how good the brew turns out, they have a taste and immediately think of ways to make it better. I can relate to that because I love to cook and with every dish I make, I wonder, how can I make it better. The event was exactly what I had hoped it was going to be, uplifting and motivational. IMG955033
With that said, I have made a contribution to the Angry Horse Brewing Company indiegogo campaign and wish them all the very best! I highly recommend those of you reading to visit the Angry Horse Brewing Company indiegogo campaign and help get this local brewery tasting room started!
Angry Horse Brewing Company Campaign