Sunday, January 27, 2013

Pliny..... The..... Younger!!!

What might be considered the holy grail of craft beer, is about to make its yearly appearance.

Pliny the Younger is due to be released on February 1st at the Russian River brewpub in Santa Rosa and at some lucky bars and pubs. I you are lucky enough to be in the area, the next two weeks are sure to be a mad-house at the brewpub. Plan accordingly!

As for my friends here in Southern California, do not frown. There are a few accounts on the Orange County area that are sure to get a keg or two. Last year Tustin Brewing Co., The Crow Bar, and Haven Gastropub were only three among many other accounts that carried Younger. Keep your eyes and ears open for announcements at your favorite watering-hole for your chance to taste this magnificat brew.

Be sure to check out russianriverbrewing.com for more information.

As for yours truly, I'm taking the easy way out. I'm takin a trip to the Bay Area and will take a detour to Santa Rosa and grab some Younger directly from the source. I don't mean to brag, by I am so excited about this! Expect a post about this in the very near future.



Until Then, Cheers!!

Gilbert C. Perez

Happy 2nd Birthday, Noble Ale Works!





It was a cold, gloomy Saturday afternoon. There was the constant threat of rain looming overhead. On a day like this, January 26th, 2013, Noble Ale Works celebrated their entrance to the “terrible two's.” And no one cared about the ominous weather; for all it was worth, it was the perfect day to celebrate the 2nd year anniversary event.

Patiently waiting...
Almost time for Noble Ale Work's anniversary event to begin!
About 20 Noble brews available throughout the day (4 of which were casks, one every hour), ranging from tasty pales, robust stouts and strong ales, a refreshing pils, some spicy chili beers infused with habañeros or Serranos. From the first time I encountered Noble two years ago to this event, the quality of their beers has improved dramatically. There were some fantastic brews that I had not had before, some good classics, and a few pleasant and tasty surprises.

Royalty. Simply Royalty.
Of the pleasant surprises, one of the best ones was the unveiling of Royalty, a “Tripel IPA” that was a wonderful display of power, balance, bitterness, and all-out hop brutality on your tongue. If that sounds intense, it’s because it was! Intense in the, oh, so good way. Tropical fruit, citrus, a tingling hop-bitterness sensation, followed by the fact that you just had an 11%ABV Triple IPA... this beer just leves you wanting more!




Prizes, rotating bands, and delicious food trucks rounded out the event. It is events like these that make the beer culture so much fun. Plenty of happy people enjoying some fantastic beer. This is what it's all about.

Jerry (President) and Evan (Head Brewer)
 giving away a prize.

The crowd enjoying the festivities. Weather? What about the weather?

The event came to a climax when all attendees were treated to a display of government and business getting along. The last cask of the evening was tapped by none other than the Mayor of Anaheim, Tom Tait himself!

The Mayor of Anaheim, Tom Tait Tapping the last cask.
As resident of Anaheim, this was a climactic moment for me. Not only is the leader of my hometown here at the event, Tom became part of the event. There is something special when a passion you have and something so close to home (in this case, literally my home) become one in the same. I am not the slightest embarrassed to admit that being a witness to this display of commerce-government partnership made my eyes water-up a bit.

Mayor Tom Tait and Jerry Kolbly.
Evan Price checking the spile,
making sure the cask is vented
and ready to tap!


It has been two years since Noble Ale Works opened its doors to the public. This event was a celebration of the tenacity and resilience that all micro-breweries must have to survive in the unwelcoming business environment of California. To survive in a ruthless setting such as this, your product can not simply speak for its self. It takes tireless efforts from all the individuals involved in creating and serving a well crafted beer. I am referring to all the people that are involved at Noble Ale Works, from Noble's President, Jerry Kolbly, and Head Brewer, Evan Price to all the friendly servers at the Tasting Room; every person that holds a position at Noble are amazing individuals. 

Let it flow, let it flow, let it flow....
The final Cask, a Cascadien Dark Ale with Simcoe hops.


Hard-working servers.
All breweries need 'em, not all have 'em.
Noble Ale Works Commemorative Glass












In my point of view, the attendance at this event is a testament to all of these great people at Noble. This event was a testament of a great product and a friendly, amazing team to interact with your guests is the best formula. I can think of at least two more breweries in the Orange County area that have this same outlook and they are thriving, as well. 




Well, Noble has turned "two" and they are only starting to craw. They haven't even started walking yet! If this event has anything to show in the form of foreshadowing, we are all in for a ride once Noble begins to run! To all at Noble Ale Works, I give you my most sincere  and heartfelt congratulations. No, do not thank me....thank you.

Swirl it!!
Cheers to you Noble. I wish you many, many more years of success!! 




















Cheers!

Gilbert C. Perez
(Charlie)



** All photography above was generously provided by hordkoreom **

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Fürst Wallerstein Beers - Prost!

Greetings!

For this review, I will be talking about some beers that I recently had the honor to drink. They come from Germany and they are, in my opinion, a great representation of what the German brewing culture is all about.

Introducing, for the first time in the United States, The Fürst Wallerstien collection!


All five of the Fürst Wallerstein beers on parade!


According to an TotalWine, these beers have never been available in the States until recently. I will admit that I have never seen these beers before until I got my hands on them. The brewery's website has more beers listed than just these five, but these seem to be the only ones available here, at least in my area. It was exciting to have all these beers and write-up a review for them. Enjoy!

-First up, we will take a look at the Zwickel. What is a Zwickel? Well, according to the 2012 Beer Style Guidlelines from the Brewers Association, a Kellerbier or Zwicklebier are unfiltered versions of Alt or Kölsch for ales or unfiltered Pilseners, Helles, Dortmunders, or Dunkels. Below, you will find my tasting notes and a photo of the product:


Appearance: Hazy orange with a rich, creamy white head.

Smell: Just a bit of sulfur and German style lager yeast, grains, minerals from hard water.

Taste: Mineral flavors with a soft, tasty-bread malt core. Finish of noble hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Light-body, silky (most likely from the yeast minerals in suspension).

Overall: Drinkable and refreshing. The unfiltered quality adds a layer of complexity to a normally clean beer.





-Next, here we have the Classic Pils. This beer was rather nice. Although there are other German-Pilseners that have fuller flavor, this beer had some rather nice qualities. Here are my notes:


Appearance: It's a soft straw-yellow, bright with the slightest of veils, white head that dissipates with time.

Smell: Pilsener malt with bready undertones.

Taste: Same as aroma with bready notes. A snappy hop bite in the finish along with a bit I minerals. Quite nice!

Mouthfeel: Soft, light body with a refreshing feeling all around.

Overall: German Pilsener at its best. Soft and refreshing. Sure, there might be better ones available, but this one is nice in its own way. And that's fine by me!





-Now here we have one of my favorite styles: the German Dunkel. Dunkel means "dark" in German and the Landsknecht-Bier Dunkeles lives up to the name. This rendition of the style had a unique twist in it that I found rather surprising and welcoming. I found this Dunkel to to have profound hop-grassy character to it, along with the usual sweetness, almost chocolate-like, bread notes. Take a look:


Appearance: Dark brown with a sight copper hue in the light, off-white creamy head that fades quickly.

Smell: I had a strong aroma if grassy hops and minerals up front, but it was quickly over taken by the sweet caramel-like malts that gave off and an almost chocolate nose with some dried dark fruits.

Taste: Much like the nose, there is a grassiness up front but rounds out with toasty, sweet, caramel-like maltiness. A pleasant bready flavor lingers.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and medium-light bodied.

Overall: Although the almost grassy bite upfront might be grounds for docking points if you were grading the beer, I found it rather pleasant. Once you let the hop character balance out, it's just what you would expect from a Dunkel.


-For the next beer, I uncapped the Weißbierpils. This one was unexpected. Actually, I had no idea what to expected. A lager-brewed wheat beer? A Hefe with more Pils? Well, the best way to describe this beer would be to answer both of those questions with a "yes." Check it out:


Appearance: Hazy orange with a soft, white-ish veil that seems to glow when stuck by light.

Smell: lots of malt, bready, some bubble gum aromas. Think Hefeweizen.

Taste: A clean Hefeweizen, pils style cleanses year complex.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a rich texture.

Overall: It's an odd complexity having some wheat beer flavors in a Pilsener beer (?). Although it is nice, its leaking the luster of a traditional Hefe.





-Finally, I popped open (literally) my last beer in the collection. It was time to enjoy the Hefe-Weizen. In my mind, this beer did not standout as one of the best Hefeweizen beers I've had, this one has some pleasant characteristics that I rather enjoyed. Here you go:



Appearance: Hazy orange. Thick, fluffy white head.

Smell: Clove, strong banana, slight tartness from the wheat malt. Really nice and pleasant.

Taste: Banana and clove as expected along with an almost citrus tang in the middle. Some bright carbonation brings it all together in a refreshing finish.

Mouthfeel: Smooth yet thin with the high carbonation.

Overall: Yes. It is undoubtedly a Hefeweizen. Although I felt that the bannana/clove flavors were overtaken by the wheat a bit. Hefe's have a refreshing quality that few other beer styles can match.




So there you have it. These beers were all great in there own way. Of all five, I believe the Dunkel was the biggest surprise. It could be that I might be a bit bias and lean towards the Dunkel, but it was the only beer in the collection that made me take a second look at the label after I took a sip. So, what's your verdict? Are you going to try some for yourself? Perhaps you already have. If so, what did you think? Leave your comments below and let me know what you think. I will see you all in the next review!


Prost!

Gilbert C. Perez

Monday, January 21, 2013

Valiant Brewing Company Grand Opening!


Greetings, fellow beer lovers!

The more the merrier. A specialty ale brewery is about to open its doors to the general public in Orange, California. That brewery is Valiant Brewing Company!

February 9th, 2013 is the big day. Valiant will open its doors at noon and should remain open until 9pm. I urge you all to check out valiantbrewing.com to find out what amazing brews will be pouring. As always, be safe and drink responsibly.

I will be there. Will you?


Cheers!

Gilbert C. Perez

Noble Ale Works - 2nd Anniversary


Greetings, fellow beer lovers!

Mark your calendars for January 26th, 2013. One of the most underrated breweries in Orange County is celebrating their 2nd year Anniversary in style! Noble Ale Works in Anaheim will close off the parking lot of the brewery and have an all out festival.

Don’t forget to visit noblealeworks.com to view the official flyer and for more information on how to obtain tickets. I hope to see you all there so we can help Noble Ale Works celebrate this momentous occasion! Designated drivers are strongly encouraged. Be safe and drink responsibly.


Cheers!

Gilbert C. Perez

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Recommended Literature for the Nightstand


Like to read? The following books are quite informative and offer good insight. These are my recommendations on what you should get your hands on; regardless of how knowledgeable you may be, it never hurts to learn more. On the flip-side, all these books provide the perfect avenue for the "newbie" that wants to gain more traction on the subject. This list will be updated periodically. Check back sporadically for more fine recommendations. Enjoy!!

Literature I Have Read and Recommend 

  • "Tasting Beer: An Insider's Guide to the World's Greatest Drink" by Randy Mosher
  • "The Brewmaster's Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food" by Garrett Oliver
  • "The Oxford Companion to Beer" by Garrett Oliver
  • "Designing Great Beers: The Ultimate Guide to Brewing Classic Beer Styles" by Ray Daniels
  • "Brewing Up a Business: Adventures in Beer from the Founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery" by Sam Calagione
  • "How to Brew: Everything You Need To Know To Brew Beer Right The First Time" by John J. Palmer
  • "The Complete Joy of Homebrewing" by Charlie Papazian
  • “The Craft of Stone Brewing Co.: Liquid Lore, Epic Recipes, and Unabashed Arrogance” by Greg Koch, Steve Wagner, and Randy Clemens
  • “The Homebrewer's Garden: How to Easily Grow, Prepare, and Use Your Own Hops, Malts, Brewing Herbs” by Joe Fisher and Dennis Fisher


On Queue to Read

  • "Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation” (Brewing Elements Series) by Jamil Zainasheff and Chris White


Wish list

  • “IPA: Brewing Techniques, Recipes and the Evolution of India Pale Ale” by Mitch Steele
  • “Michael Jackson's Beer Companion: Revised and Updated” by Michael Jackson
  • “For The Love of Hops: The Practical Guide to Aroma, Bitterness and the Culture of Hops” (Brewing Elements Series) by Stan Hieronymus
  • “Water: A Comprehensive Guide for Brewers” (Brewing Elements Series) by John Palmer and Colin Kaminski

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Beer and Wine: Why can't we be friends?

Beer and wine should be on the same level of class, prestige, and respect. There, I said it.

Now that I have your attention, I have some rambling to share with all those who have an open mind and are willing to be intrigued. When you hear the word “wine,” what is the first thing that comes to mind? Be honest. I am willing to bet words like: classy, sophisticated, educated, elegance, snobby, or something to that affect. Now, what happens when you hear the word “beer” in the same context? Perhaps words like: party, wasted, drunk, belly, sports, or cheep. Why doesn't beer fall in the same categoryof words as wine? If the average person does not come up with the same words for beer AND wine or if beer falls in a different class, then more work needs to be done. Although there has been enormous improvement and acceptance of “real beer” in the past years, beer is still on an up-hill climb on this enormous mountain made of empty wine bottles.

Allow me to clarify one more thing here. I have absolutely nothing against wine. In fact, I love wine and I have quite a respectable collection in my cellar that I am very proud of. It is amazing to me how many craft beer drinkers and enthusiast are out there also love/appreciate quality wine as well. They are quite knowledgeable of the drink, too. It is a real shame that rarely is it vice-versa... At least the individuals I've met. I simply ask for the world to be fair and recognize that classy does NOT only mean wine. There is another choice out there. And that choice is clear... I mean, beer (I guess either one will work).

The beer anthropologists like me have an unbelievable passion, praise, and respect for beer and for the talented, hardworking artists who create this ancient beverage. We appreciate the dedication that the Brewmasters and Brewers of the world have for their craft. A true enthusiast (aficionado, geek, snob, or any other name we might go by) will respect all breweries, no mater the size, and all beer styles, regardless of how "light" or "common" or "typical" as it may be. Unlike wine, which only relies on the quality of grapes that the land was able to give, the flavor and uniqueness of beer is entirely up to the brewer. Every little detail is planned out, much like a chef planning to cook a distinctive dish; all ingredients are looked over and chosen to impose a distinct affect to the finished product. Speaking of food, beer finds so many affinities at the table that it can be almost frightening. To paraphrase the words of Garrett Oliver from his book, The Brewmaster's Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food, there are many holes in food pairings where wine simply can not fill, such as in rich desserts and complex cheeses, but beer gladly steps into the spot light and steals the show with a finesse that is uncanny.

My not-so-distant-cousins, the Sommeliers, are the most talented, gifted, educated, and knowledgeable individuals in the world in respect to wine. Sommeliers are identified by their ranking levels, which range from Level I though Level IV: Master Sommelier. In similar fashion, beer has the Cicerone® Certification Program. Most of the general public does not know this program exists, yet they might know what a Sommelier is. The Cicerone® Certification Program consists of several levels of certification, each one is a progressively more difficult than its predecessor. Just as in the increasing levels of Sommeliers, the Cicerone® Certification Program consists of three levels of its own. Those levels are named: Certified Beer Server, Certified Cicerone®, and Master Cicerone®. The difference in difficulty between the first and second levels is quite astonishing. And the Master level is titanic undertaking, worthy of the prestigious title. Likewise, the Master Sommeliers will agree if I say their accomplishment and recognition is a gargantuan achievement.

Beer is a magical drink; a welcoming, fun culture just like wine aficionados embraces wine in their culture. It is a long-time-coming that these two cultures merge and live in harmony. Let’s face it. Both cultures are full of snobs (I actually despise the word "snob," by the way), geeks, enthusiasts, aficionados, experts, novices, those who appreciate the drink, those that do not, those who abuse it, and those who enjoy it. Mutually, beer and wine have their proven educated individuals who have achieved prominent status and serve as a leading authority in the subject. So then, what’s the difference?

I am fully immersed in the beer culture and all the wonderful emotions it has to offer. I am surly not alone here and we love the company. We are tolerant, educated, respectful individuals. Setting aside the logistical aspects of beer brewing or wine making, there is no distinction between the two cultures. We are all human in the end. So, in my opinion, there is absolutely no difference between beer and wine.



Cheers!

Gilbert C. Perez
(Charlie)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

I am Gilbert C. Perez, Certified Cicerone® and this is my new blog, Terms of Enbeerment. More information and posts coming soon....