Showing posts with label beer tasting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label beer tasting. Show all posts

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Global Day of Discovery at The Renaissance Long Beach

by guest blogger Bryan Tsunoda

On Thursday, June 16 from 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m., The Renaissance Hotel in Long Beach will play host to its 5th annual Global Day of Discovery, a signature event that all Renaissance Hotel locations participate in during the month of June. During Global Day of Discovery, guests and the local community are invited to come together to experience hot spots for food, beverages, nightlife and entertainment. I was recently invited to a pre-event tasting for the Long Beach location.

The event for their Global Day of Discovery is called Taps + Tastes, and The Renaissance Hotel has assembled an impressive collection of craft beers from 6 local breweries. Delicious food to pair with the craft beer will be prepared by Top Chef Janine Falvo. In addition a DJ will be on-site spinning tunes and self-parking that day will be free! Tickets are only $20 each and a portion of the event proceeds will be donated to Washington Middle School in Long Beach.

Before getting on with the beer tastings, we had one of signature drinks that SIP Bar and Lounge offers each night. For the tasting, we were served the Shandy: Sam Adams lager, fresh orange juice, Perrier sparkling water and bitters over ice.

Crispy Pig Ears - These were delightfully crispy and if no one told me what they were, I would not have know that they were pig ears. They were delicious with or without the salsa verde dipping sauce.

Lobster Jalapeno Poppers - Curry tempura was applied to the exterior to give these poppers a unique crunch. The top was drizzled with a cilantro mint chutney.
The Dudes’ Steamed Clams - The Surfrider Pale Ale from The Dudes’ Brewery is used to make these clams. Smoked pieces of garlic significantly enhanced the sauce.

Street Corn - A small section of a corn on the cob is rolled in fresh cilantro and smashed Cool Ranch Doritos. Everyone universally agreed that this item was worth trying to make at home.

“R” Mac and Cheese - Falvo gives her mac & cheese some additional depth by adding diced tomatoes and bits of pecanwood smoked bacon.

Two beer samplers were provided with each offering. Depending on your taste, you could either veer towards the lighter beer or the amber or IPA style. Beers included: Firestone Pale Ale, Sierra Nevada Summerfest, Strand Brewing Atticus, Firestone 805, and Peach Berliner Weisse from The Dudes’ Brewery.

Duck Dog - I’ve never seen pretzel rolls this small and that was a great idea to pair with the housemade duck dog.

Duck Confit Steamed Buns - Duck is combined with salt, fresh rosemary and duck fat sous vide style for approximately 8 hours. This results in a crisp duck with intense flavor.

The Dudes’ Blood Orange Ice Cream Float - This arrived to the table steaming away as they had prepared it with liquid nitrogen. 
Falvo likes using liquid nitrogen because the ice cream freezes faster and avoids any crunchiness. This reminded me of an adult creamsicle.

At only $20 this is an incredible value. Don’t hesitate because this event will sell out. You can purchase the ticket using this link.

Renaissance Hotel
Long Beach, CA

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Tour and Tasting at Alaskan Brewing Co (Juneau, AK)

If you find yourself in Juneau, whether you're passing through on a cruise or spending some time there to hike the glacier, be sure to stop by the Alaskan Brewing Co.

No mini tasting glasses here, very generous pours
If you don't have a car in Juneau, that's fine. There's a shuttle that runs hourly from their downtown store location (the "depot") on Franklin St to the brewery. The shuttle costs $15 round trip but, hey, once you get to the brewery you get to taste all their beers for free! The shuttle driver even gave me some fun historical anecdotes about Juneau. The brewery itself is in a somewhat industrial part of Juneau, with not much around it.
You first get ushered in to the tasting room for their four standard beers while listening to the history of the brewery.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

A Tripel Tasting and Brewing Workshop at Wurstkuche Venice (LA Beer Week)

Tripel is perhaps my favorite style of ales, so when I had my choice of beer making workshops at the Wurstkuche in Venice during LA Beer Week, the choice was easy. They don't regularly do this but they had set up their small outdoor area in the back for the events.

The workshop also consisted of tasting a few Tripels (because why would you make beer while sober, right??)

We started off with the Westmalle Tripel, which was also the recipe we based one of our own brew of.
The Westmalle originally started in the 30s, and the monks took it over in the 50s. Westmalle is a classic, the original Tripel, so to speak. The number "dubbel" or "triple" refers to the number of fermentations the ales go through.

So, back to the homebrewing course. The first step is to steep the barley.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Girls' Night Out and Beer 101 at Tony's Darts Away

Beer 101If you hadn't noticed, there are quite a few women in the beer world in the area. Women brewers, beer writers, beer bar managers, etc, and they want to get more women out there to learn more and fall in love with beer. To that end, some of them decided to hold a girls' only beer 101 tasting class at Tony's Darts Away in Burbank, which houses over 30 California craft beers.

The beer tasting was led by Paige from Tony's Darts Away and Ting from Eagle Rock Brewery. For those of you who are interested, Ting actually holds girls' only beer classes at the brewery on the third Wednesday of every month.

Before the tasting, we had to first learn about the four major ingredients: water, hops, barley, and yeast.

Malt/malted barley gives color and body to the beer. Pilsner malt is the base malt (used in lagers) and determines the gravity (how much alcohol and sugar) of the beer. In addition, crystal malts are added. Named by numbers (like C-120), the higher number indicates a darker roast, which also gives more fruit characteristics.

Hops give bitterness to the beer (which comes from the alpha acids) and without them, the beer would be overwhelmingly sweet and have no balance. They showed us what the original dried hops look like (right) before they're packed into the pellets used today (left). The pellets save space and also make it easier to obtain consistent flavors.

Monday, April 25, 2011

How Girls Roll: Beer, Cupcakes, and Beauty Treatments

When The Beer Chicks throw an event with a female brewer, it was only natural to gear it towards the female bloggers out there. That was exactly what happened with Veronica Vega, the only female brewer at Deschutes Brewery (from Bend, Oregon) - and it was a blast.

Black Butte Porter
My fave Deschutes: the Black Butte Porter

Our little party took place at Benefit Cosmetics in Santa Monica, where we also got beauty treatments while sipping beers.
Benefits Cosmetics Santa Monica

OK, first thing's first: the beers!
My favorite of the Deschutes beers was the Black Butte Porter (5.2% ABV). I personally prefer this type of beer, rich and malty. This particular porter is rich in flavor and creamy, yet pretty light and smooth, which makes it a good entry point to darker beers. Christina Perozzi, one of the Beer Chicks, said that she wanted to clear up the misconception that women have that dark beers are heavy and bitter by introducing them to dark-yet-light-and-crisp like this porter.

Monday, September 22, 2008

From Pils to Grut Beer, and Beyond

LearnAboutWine, an LA-based wine education company, has also been routinely hosting unique, non-wine classes/events that seemed very interesting, so I contacted Ian Blackburn (the owner) and he invited me down to their German Beer Tasting event with beer scribe Tomm Carroll on Sunday (disclaimer: I joined this event for free per Ian's invitation).

Although LearnAboutWine started out holding events at different restaurants, they have now acquired Loft218 and hosted most of their classes there, which logistically probably works a lot better for them.

Loft218 is actually a loft in industrial downtown LA. You have to buzz in to get into the building, but the setup that Ian has created was a wonderful white tablecloth setting that took me somewhat by surprise.

They had also set up a cheese and dried fruits platter that can be paired with the beers we were drinking, including some wonderful dried cherries from France, smoked gouda, and gruyere.

So. Beer. Before this, I didn't know much at all about beer. Sure I drink hefeweizen, and sure I have a few beers that I like. But my knowledge about different beers extend only to the difference between lager and ale. So after tasting these twelve german beers at this event, I came to learn more about beer than I thought there was to know.

And luckily they gave a handout of the beers with description, history, etc, and I took notes! Because after about 3 oz X 12 beers, I was definitely feeling a buzz ... Let's get on with the beers, shall we?

1. Reissdorf Kölsch
From the town of Cologne (Köln), hence the name. A very light and dry ale - a nice one to start off with.

2. Bitburger Pils
A very dry and bitter beer, IMO ... I didn't like it that much although I got used to it after a few gulps.

3. Hofbrau Original Munich Helles
First lager of the day. Bitter, but maltier than #2.

4. Bayrischer Banhof Berliner Weisse
Arguable the most interesting beer we had! Originating from Berlin, this wheat beer is surprisingly sour, due to the additional lactic fermentation (on top of yeast fermentation). A lot of people would be turned off by it and that's why it is typically served with some woodruff or red raspberry syrup. In our case, we were given some woodruff syrup ("waldmeister").

I actually liked this beer the way it is. Although sour, it had a nice crisp taste with a clean finish that is refreshing. The waldmeister does cut the sourness and adds a nice fragrance, but I think I prefer the taste of the beer itself.

5. Bayrischer Banhof Leipziger Gose
This might be my favorite beer of the day. A wheat ale made with coriander and salt, this beer reminds me of champagne. It's on the sweeter side, but a little malty and you can taste the salt in the finish.

6. Schneider Edel-weiss Hefeweizen
Let's learn some German: "Hefe"=yeast, "Weizen"=wheat.
A nice ale that is a little acidic.

7. Spaten Oktoberfestbier (Märzen)
The original Oktoberfest beer, this was named Märzenbier because it was brewed in March. Since this beer predates refrigeration and the cold temperature is necessary to brew lagers, they had to brew in the winter.
Amber-colored, medium-bodied, but crisp and a little bitter. I thought this went well with some of the smoked gouda.

8. Einbecker Mai-Ur-Bock
Named so because the last cases leave the brewery towards the end of May. A sweet, heavy, and a little malty, this pretty brown-colored beer is at the same time dry & crisp as it has a sharp, bitter finish.

9. Uerige Sticke Dusseldorfer Altbier
A very dry beer. Acidic and bitter. A pretty strong beer with ABV of 6.5%

10. Köstritzer Schwarzbier
This is a dark lager beer that has a roasty, coffee-like aroma, but is surprisingly light and acidic with a dry finish. Because of this, it is aptly known as "the black beer with the blonde soul."
Because of the slight chocolaty flavor, this beer paired very well with the dried cherries!

11. 13th Century Grut Beer
A wheat ale made with ginger, caraway, rosemary, anise, and other spices. It has a nice, strong, "spice" aroma and doesn't taste at all bitter. One of my faves of the day.

12. Aecht Schlekerla Rauchbier
My very first smoked beer. Unpasteurized and made entirely from smoked malt, this beer has a very strong smoked nose. Take a whiff and you'd think you were smelling smoked jerky. It has a lo~ng malty finish, and (as you can imagine) paired well with the smoked cheeses.
I definitely would not drink this on a casual basis. Might be nice for a bbq party though.

Although the class is not cheap ($50 if you register in advance), I thought that it would be worth it, since it isn't just about drinking the 12 beers and eating cheeses, but also the information you get out of it. Not sure if it is worth $75 though, so please do register in advance.

It was a very informative class where I got to try not only beers I've never had before, but beers I never even knew existed.
We also learned a lot about the histories of German beers and of the different types of beer. We all had a great time (the alcohol helps, I'm sure). We also got a souvenir glass :)

Ian has set up an enjoyable class setting and also a series of great classes!
I'm really looking forward to the Port, Chocolate, and Cheese class in December (I hope it won't sell out after telling you guys this ...)!

He has also started a more comprehensive, perhaps more geared towards trade professionals, credentialing program, that he calls the LAW school (and you take the BAR exam at the end -- cute).

LearnAboutWine is definitely a source of great events in Los Angeles, on top of a resource of wine knowledge. I hope to see it maintain and expand its unique series of classes! I've also heard great things about Ian's knowledge on wine and so will probably drop by for a wine (perhaps wine & chocolate? :) ) class.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Another Sunday Offering

Another event to keep in mind for this Sunday (especially if you like beer!) is LearnAboutWine's German Beer Tasting.

This Sunday (Sept 21), 3-5.30 PM.

530 Molino St
Los Angeles, California 90013

You will be tasting the following beers:
Berliner Weisse
Dortmunder Export
Märzen (the original Oktoberfestbier)
Munich Helles

That's a lot!!
You will learn about these beers from "beer scribe" Tomm Carroll, who has written for LA Times, among others.

This class costs $75. There's an advance special price of $50 (may be too late now ...) or if you become a member of LearnAboutWine, then the event is $40.

This will be my first LearnAboutWine event, so I will definitely report back after Sunday!

Gourmet Pigs   © 2008. Template Recipes by Emporium Digital