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Beer

26 Jun 2015
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With the help of nature’s unpredictability, experienced brewers are adapting traditional European techniques to bring bursts of tart and tangy flavors to beers. Yep. We’re talking about sours. In the mid-19th century, when beer was aged and shipped in wooden barrels before the advent of refrigeration, nearly all beer was, to some extent, sour. Today, good sours can take up to two to three years to produce. But the wait is worth it: All hail Pediococcus, Lactobacillus and Brettanomyces. The remarkable flavors in sour ales can be attributed to these wild yeast strains. We recently spoke to people at three Southern California breweries that are helping lead the sour resurgence. The Bruery: A Chat with Benjamin Weiss Benjamin Weiss is the marketing director of The Bruery, in the Orange County community of Placentia. The Bruery celebrated its seventh anniversary in May. Benjamin became a professional brewer at The Bruery in…
26 May 2015
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La Quinta Brewing Co. has been busy making beer for Coachella Valley locals and visitors since late 2013. Last year, the brewery delivered 1,000 barrels from its Wildcat Drive location in Palm Desert. This year, the brewery is on pace to brew 2,000 barrels. Owner Scott Stokes said La Quinta may be expanding even more in the near future. “We’re gonna have to get a couple more fermenters, probably a couple of 60 barrel-fermenters. These are 30s,” he said, pointing to brewery’s fermenters. However, it looks mighty crowded at the brewery’s current location. “Well, we would have to modify some of the ceiling, and (the new fermenters) would be taller. There are a couple places. Some people say there’s no room, but I say there is,” he said, smiling. The quality of the beers at La Quinta—one of the valley’s three microbreweries—has been verified by several awards. Brewmaster Ryan Pearson…
04 May 2015
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Spring is in full bloom—and so is beer-festival season! Beer weeks and festivals celebrate the culture and community of craft beer and give fans options to enjoy new and special brews—and there are a lot of these special events coming up in places that are fairly close by. The Brewers Association celebrates American Craft Beer Week May 11-17. You can enjoy this craft-beer celebration just about anywhere: Many craft-beer establishments are celebrating with rare beers, dinner menus or specials. During ACBW, celebrate with Angelinos at the sixth annual Los Angeles Vegan Beer and Food Festival (www.veganbeerfest.com). It takes place Saturday, May 16, at Rose Bowl and will feature a vegan smorgasbord, the best of the region’s craft beer and live music. It’s put on by Tony Yanow and Nic Adler—the same guys who brought craft culinary selections to Coachella. Tickets cost $50 to $80 and include unlimited pours of more…
20 Mar 2015
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A little more than three decades ago, Coors Banquet Beer was the best beer that American breweries had to offer. It was brewed with Rocky Mountain spring water near Golden, Colo., and was only available in the West. President Eisenhower had supplies of it airlifted to the White House via Air Force One. Keith Richards would keep cans onstage; Clint Eastwood and Ray Charles even sang a duet praising the beer. Heck, bootlegging Coors was part of the plot line of Smokey and the Bandit. Yep, there even were Coors connoisseurs. I’ll give you a moment to let that sink in. In 1974, a story in TIME magazine, “The Beer That Won The West,” told the tale of one enterprising fella who made weekly runs with a refrigerated truck from Denver to Charlotte, N.C.—making a nice profit along the way. A different fella, named Tom Del Sarto, witnessed this beer…
20 Feb 2015
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More and more restaurants and bars are offering amazing craft beers in the Coachella Valley—and now there’s a new, responsible way to sample these tasty brews in Palm Springs. Introducing the Buzz Crawl. The concept behind the Palm Springs Buzz is simple: It’s a trolley that allows locals and visitors alike to explore Palm Springs for free. The bus is bright and retro, with vintage lettering, plush seats and wood paneling. The Buzz runs every 15 minutes from Via Escuela to Smoke Tree Lane, from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., every Thursday through Sunday—again, for FREE! And, yes, there’s an app for that. According to city officials, from Feb. 5-8, the Buzz picked up about 4,500 people. The following week—which included Valentine’s Day and Modernism Week’s kickoff weekend—that number rose to nearly 6,000. John Raymond, the director of community and economic development for the city of Palm Springs, is keeping…
30 Jan 2015
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Beer culture stretches back more than 4,000 years—and for much of that time, beer was primarily made by amateurs. The more things change, the more things stay the same: Homebrewing today is on a meteoric rise in the United States. Since 1978, the American Homebrewers Association (www.homebrewersassociation.org) has promoted the joys of homebrewing. The organization now has more than 43,000 members. An American Homebrewers Association survey done in the earlier part of 2014 estimated that there were at least 1.3 million homebrewers in the U.S. The hobby has been growing at a rate of 20 percent per year in the last five years—oh, and a lot more women are joining in, too. I recently spoke several notable local homebrewers to get their two cents on the growing trend. Joshua Kunkle has been brewing since October 2007 and is now the president of the Coachella Valley Homebrew Club. Club meetings are…