A beer exuding New Zealand terroir, the latest release of Firestone Walker Luponic Distortion No. 18 consists of four hops from the island country: Nectaron, Nelson, Motueka and Riwaka.
“It’s a celebration of our new grower and merchant relationships that we’ve forged over the past couple of years in the Southern Hemisphere,” said Brewmaster Matt Brynildson. “It’s the first time we’ve had enough supply to go all-in on a blend of 100% New Zealand-grown hops.”
The flavor. That enticing aroma. Ah yes, there’s just something special about that first hoppy-beer experience. When Adam Firestone and David Walker founded Firestone Walker 25 years ago, West Coast IPAs helped convert multitudes of beer fans into craft beer fans. These days, of course, the IPA is more than just a West Coast treasure as hops are now grown and distributed throughout the world, and that’s demonstrated fully by the Firestone Walker Crafted Thru Hops IPA Mixed Pack.
Indeed, the Firestone Walker IPA Mixed Pack expresses one of IPA’s most favorable attributes: versatility. Each case comes with three cans each of the classic Union Jack West Coast IPA, the Hazy Mind Haze IPA and two New Zealand hopped beers: the 18th batch of Luponic Distortion and the hazy, single-hopped Propagator Series.
The Ichthyosaur was a marine reptile that lived during the Mesozoic era. They were big: The largest known specimen was 75 feet long. They were also a little terrifying—imagine being chased by a monster the size of a greyhound bus with the speed of a dolphin and the jaws of a crocodile. The last Ichthyosaur died about 90 million years ago but in 1993, the Ichthyosaur was reborn as Great Basin Brewery’s flagship beer, the Ichthyosaur “ICKY” IPA.
Now in its fourth decade, Anderson Valley Brewing Company (AVBC) is now owned by the McGee family, namely Kevin McGee, an attorney who previously opened the one-barrel, nano brewery called Healdsburg Beer Company (out of his garage). Although buying an “OG” craft brewery just in time for a global pandemic was not ideal, AVBC has managed to not only survive, but do well. It helps that AVBC beer remains in the hands of the well-respected, longtime brewmaster (and author) Fal Allen. Under his direction, the brewery continues to produce its famed Gose series, run a laudable barrel program and offer a slew of “regular” beers such as its Boont Amber Ale. The beer is produced in part with power from the sun, as roughly 40% of the brewery’s power is solar (and soon to be 100%). And why not? When you can look outside your brewery and view gorgeous scenery, you might feel inspired to protect the planet that provides it.
We wanted to know a bit more about Anderson Valley so we asked Kevin McGee, owner and CEO of AVBC, five questions about the brewery and its beer.
January is often a popular month for craft beer drinkers to take some time off from the “hobby.” It’s important to be able to do so and to drink in amounts where you’re comfortable. We recently offered 30 Reasons Why You Should Skip Dry January in 2021, but if you are taking the time completely off, you can still help your local breweries.
Ah, January–that month when the misdeeds of the previous weeks (or more) of debauchery catch up, and New Year’s resolutions are front and center. For some, this means getting back into an exercise routine or “eating better”. For others, Dry January is the key to starting the year off right.
I completed my first Dry January last year. To be honest, it was easier for me to simply stop drinking altogether than try and find a non-alcoholic (NA) beer that was worth drinking. However, this year’s experiment might look a bit different because of Hairless Dog Brewing Co.
We all remember the first time we waited in an exceptionally long line for an exceptionally small pour of a notable beer. On a sunny SoCal day in May 2015, at The Bruery’s 7th Anniversary party, a beer from local upstart Bottle Logic Brewing named Fundamental Observation showed up like Lindsay Lohan as the new queen bee of The Plastics. An explosion of vanilla followed by the soft cuddle of high-end bourbon barrels, this beer was a delicious needle in the four hours of unlimited tastings haystack. With the next public release of this beer came a block-spanning line, providing a delicious 8oz reward for an hour of your time, and the first memory of waiting in extended anticipation for a single draught of excellence.
Fresh off a win from the Food Network’s “Tournament of Champions” this spring, Los Angeles chef and restaurateur Brooke Williamson is teaming up yet again with the creative minds at The Bruery for a second round of collaborations. Their previous collaboration included two beers; Girl Grey, which featured the cool character of a Belgian-style Ale with sweet ribbons of almond flavors balanced by the piquant qualities of Earl Grey tea, and Kyuri Dragon, a refreshing, bright, tropical collaboration featuring The Bruery’s oak-aged Sour Blonde Ale with cucumbers, dragon fruit, rambutan, kaffir lime leaf and lychee. Those beers were such a hit that the pair just had to team up again to create another palate-pleasing collaboration designed to pair seamlessly with food.
Whether it’s the defining scene in your favorite show, the climactic mission in one of your favorite games, or the beer you order at your local pub, we all have our holy grails that set the standard.
These beloved experiences evoke a certain sense of nostalgia for a lot of us. For me, sitting around and sharing a bomber with my closest friends is one of the best things there is, no matter how often it happens. Immersing yourself in video game stories is no different. The carefully crafted worlds, narratives, action sequences and emotional decisions can impact the gamer for years to come.
If you’re native to the Central Coast of California, summers filled with picking blueberries at local farms might be a tradition of yours. Gathering the family together in the summer heat. Driving down the dusty dirt road to a local farm. Grabbing that galvanized tin bucket and picking off the freshest berries you can find. Chances are you couldn’t resist popping one, two or a couple dozen blueberries into your mouth as you filled your bucket. These are just some of the fond memories during summertime in the Central Coast.
During this medical pandemic, let’s have some childhood fun! Let’s think back to when we were growing up, before the time of hand sanitizers and coughing into your elbow like Count Dracula. What better way is there to bring history into the present situation than to consider the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, who were named for Renaissance artists who were around when the first quarantine originated? What might these fun-loving mutants of the sewer choose to drink, pouring one to enjoy with their pizza? Let’s find out.
What do you get when two fire-eaters trade in their torches for mash paddles? You have Burning Brothers Brewery, Minnesota’s only gluten-free brewery.
Dane Breimhorst, head of brewing operations and Thom Foss, head of business operations, formed the St. Paul, MN-based brewery, which is celebrating its sixth anniversary in April. The duo, who are life-long friends, was working at Minnesota’s Renaissance Festival but decided to embark on a passion project when Breimhorst was diagnosed with Celiac Disease.
“Now, instead of eating fire, they run a dedicated gluten-free facility where they mix their own blend of quirkiness to brew great-tasting gluten-free “Craft Beer for Everyone,” said Dom Liljenquist, sales and marketing manager.
February 8 marked the much anticipated Brewbies Festival at Bagby Beer in Oceanside, CA. For 11 years, the Brewbies organization has worked to bring breweries and the public together in support of breast cancer awareness. Working with the Keep a Breast Foundation, the festival has donated more than $540,000 to breast cancer research to date.
It’s that wonderful time of year again where Craft Breweries and Craft Beer lovers alike rejoice in copious new beer releases, fantastically planned events, and can all relate to being both excited for San Francisco Beer Week (SFBW) to be here and counting the days until their livers aren’t screaming at them. Our writers in the San Francisco Bay Area were invited to preview some of the local wares and can releases for this year’s SFBW and we wanted to share the good word you!
You know the scene in Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure where he’s saving pets from the burning pet store, and he keeps passing over the snakes because they gross him out? Eventually he bites the bullet, grabs the snakes and runs out screaming. Sometimes that’s how I feel about the Sours in my cellar. I know I’m going to drink them all eventually, but aren’t there any Barrel-Aged Stouts I can rescue first?
That’s probably a little dramatic. Just like with Sours, some snakes are pretty cool. I used to have an empty field by my house where we’d go and collect garter snakes to take to school and put them in teachers’ desks. That’s not really relevant other than now you know I was kind of a dick as a kid. I’m sure I’ve outgrown that through the years. Anyway, to push myself out of my cozy, hoppy, comfort zone, several times a year I like to sit down and get personal with a bottle of funky tartness. This month’s offering to the Sour Gods is Karl Strauss‘ fan-favorite Queen of Tarts.
This past summer a trip ended with good luck and bad. The good started with a layover in Las Vegas. You can probably guess we met success at the airport slots. Not a jackpot, mind you, but enough to cover dinner and drinks! The bad luck started at our destination, Salt Lake City. Because our schedule was full with stuff like ziplining and hot air balloon launches, we had enough time to visit just one brewery. One.
It’s baaaaaack. At the beginning of the month, Fair State Brewing Cooperative reintroduced its highly regarded seasonal collaboration with San Diego’s Modern Times Beer – Spirit Foul, a double dry-hopped hazy IPA for the ages.
Chapman Crafted Beer is located in Old Towne in Orange, California. It’s a family-owned brewery that’s, in their own words, “community focused.” This includes brewing beers honoring the local university’s homecoming and the city’s festival.
For many people, the expectation is that breweries must always be innovating to be relevant. While smaller breweries have the luxury of chasing a trend and nimbly playing the field, many larger and established breweries find this a challenging task. Firestone Walker, though one of the larger craft breweries, has continued to find a way to create their own space. Whether it’s through unique beer releases or highly curated events, they always seem to be up for the challenge.