CENTRAL: Temblor Brewing opens in Bakersfield

Driving back from SoCal today I had the opportunity to check out the opening of Temblor Brewing Company.

This fantastic space is located on Buck Owens Blvd., just off Highway 99.

Six beers were available at the opening. I enjoyed a Streets of Bakersfield IPA and my wife had a Under a Blood Orange Sky Belgian Wit. Both were great.

The kitchen was overwhelmed, so we weren’t able to try the food in our allotted time. Kudos to the staff though — they let us know ordering had been stopped temporarily when we came in. 

Temblor has stage space and will feature live music and comedy.

This is going to be a great venue for locals and a refreshing stop for weary Highway 99 travelers. I look forward to stopping in again soon!

3200 Buck Owens Blvd., Suite B, Bakersfield. Open Monday – Wednesday  11a – 9p; Thursday 11a – 10p; Friday – Saturday 11a – 11p; Sunday 9:30a – 8p.

   
    
    
   

CAPITAL: Sacramento’s Beer Scene Worthy of Attention

By Nathan M. Barron
Brew California Correspondent

With the recent news that Jeremy Warren is leaving Auburn’s Knee Deep Brewing Company, I wanted to share a recent road trip I took through the Sacramento Valley discovering other outstanding breweries in the area that don’t get as much attention as Knee Deep (not that we should turn our focus away from Knee Deep; I’m sure Warren will leave it in very capable hands).

I left the Sacramento region incredibly impressed with the craft beer offerings. Per capita, this might be the best beer region in the state. At the very least, it’s definitely the most underrated craft beer region in the state. Take a weekend trip to California’s capital and check out these impressive breweries.

Device Brewing Company
Located in a swath of land more suited for power lines and warehouses than a brewery sits this up and comer. Founded by Ken Anthony, an avid home brewer who found his love for craft beer while attending school in San Diego, this brewery was the highlight of my trip through Sacramento. The brewery is in a nondescript business park, but is comfortable and inviting inside, complete with mash and fermenting tanks in the tasting room.

Anguish Double IPA’s aroma packs a powerful punch of dry hopped magic. Delicately balancing between earthy and citrusy notes, Anguish is a strong contender in the vast California IPA market. Their lineup of IPAs also include Integral, a traditional West Coast IPA, and Basilica 3xIPA, a smack-you-in-the-face triple that ranks up there with the Knee Deeps of the world.

Speaking of Knee Deep, Device will be introducing a collaboration DIPA with Knee Deep in August – a perfect excuse to go visit this great new brewery.

Device Brewing Company is located at 8166 14th Ave. Suite A, Sacramento CA 95826. Hours: Thursday 3-8 p.m., Friday 3-9 p.m., Saturday 1-9 p.m. and Sunday 1-6 p.m.

New Glory Craft Brewing
After visiting Device, we drove half-a-mile away to New Glory, founded by Frenchman Julien Lux. Lux’s passion for wine – and his fascination with beer – has led to incredibly well made Farmhouse and barrel-aged ales.

I started off with (but probably should have ended with) the Honey Springs Bourbon Barrel Ale. Not lacking in bourbon-oaked earthiness, this ale had delicious notes of vanilla, wildflowers and spices. The ale holds up well, but I’d be curious to try the same recipe with a heartier malt that could hold its own with the bourbon notes.

The highlight for me was the Wild West American IPA, a seasonal Brett IPA. This yeasty masterpiece might have been the best beer I had on my trip to the Valley. Unlike any IPA I’ve had, the Brett wild yeast adds a complexity to the hops that are unmatched. With notes of lemongrass, grapefruit, and caramel, the flavor complexity never stopped. A first-class IPA worth the trip to Sacramento.

New Glory Craft Brewery is located at 8251 Alpine Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95826. Hours: Wednesday 4-8 p.m., Thursday 4-9 p.m., Friday 3-9 p.m., Saturday Noon-9 p.m. and Sunday Noon-5 p.m.

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Bike Dog Brewing
Located in a maze of warehouses in West Sacramento near the Port is this well-known Sacramento brewery with a nod to the cycling community (and a great logo). Founded by four cycling buddies (Raef Porter, Sage Smith, Pete Atwood and AJ Tendick), this small but impressive brewery is as clever with marketing as they are with their beer.

In typical California fashion, their lineup includes a list of IPAs that are as impressive as any in the region. Double Down Under and San Dog IPAs both shined while the Pacific Oats left us a little underwhelmed. But the highlight of the IPAs was the Lost & Found Black Session IPA. Well balanced with chocolate and caramel notes against a solid foundation of piney hops, this is an IPA that knows its role. Too often I have black IPAs that are far overpowered by the roasted malts – they might as well call them Porters. Not the case with Lost & Found. It’s the type of dark beer you can have on a 100-degree day and not feel like you ate a loaf of bread.

While at Bike Dog, try the American Wheat as well. Citrusy, floral, yet hearty – this wheat had character that holds up much better than the direction of most watered-down wheats Americans are steering towards. A perfect beer after a long ride.

Bike Dog Brewing Co. is located at 2534 Industrial Boulevard Suite 110, West Sacramento, CA 95691. Hours: Thursday 5-9 p.m., Friday 5-9 p.m., Saturday 2-9p.m. and Sunday Noon-6 p.m.

Auburn Ale House  
No stranger in the Northern California beer scene, Auburn Ale House has perhaps lost local attention to its trendy neighbor. That is a shame, because Auburn Ale House makes great beer, has great food (fried pickles!) and is in a fantastic location in beautiful downtown Auburn…possibly the best brewery location in Northern California.

Right off the bat, you can’t go wrong with the appropriately named Gold Digger IPA. A solid West Coast IPA that provides all the earthy characteristics and citrusy notes of Magnum, Simcoe and Chinook hops. Another highlight was the PU240 – an Imperial IPA that packs a serious punch of hoppy bitterness (100 IBUs). This Imperial should be a household name in the beer community – a serious contender for those who love maximum hops.

I was also impressed with Shanghai Stout, an oatmeal stout that holds its own with coffee, chocolate and vanilla flavors. The creamy texture and easy-drinking balance makes this a nice contrast to the hoppy-centric beers the area is known for. Save it for last and you won’t be disappointed.

Auburn Ale House is located at 289 Washington Street, Auburn CA 95603. Hours: Monday-Tuesday 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Wednesday-Thursday 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Friday 11 a.m.-Midnight, Saturday 10 a.m.-Midnight and Sunday 10 a.m.-10 p.m.

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Ruhstaller Farm & Yard
With the mantra “We Grow Beer” and an actual hop farm in Dixon to back up the mantra, Ruhstaller’s marketing centers around the idea that they are “farm to bottle.” Looking at the small hop farm off I-80, that may be debateable as there clearly aren’t enough hops for more than a special small batch brew. So some people in Sacramento claim they are deceiving. Perhaps, instead, they should focus their marketing on the fact that they use Northern California farmers to get their hops and grains.

That said, who cares? Perhaps the goal is to continue growing said farms and they will eventually have something that rivals the hop farms at Sierra Nevada or Rogue. You gotta start somewhere. And bringing back the tradition of growing hops in this region once known for it is admirable.

The great thing about Ruhstaller is the tasting “room” on the farm. You sit on bales of hay, enjoy the shade and heat and take in the scenery of the Dixon farm and dairy lands. They have food trucks at the ready and plenty of outdoor games such as darts, corn hole and horseshoes. It was a pleasant setting and a great way to enjoy their well-made beers.

I was most impressed with their Frank J IPA, the second of their “Test IPA” series that made it to the permanent lineup. Their most recent Test IPA (5.0) might be the next to make the permanent list. An impressive and refreshing taste of orange peel, grapefruit and honey, this IPA was perfect for sitting outside on a hot day. Their farmhouse ale, Santos, was nice as well – with crisp apple bite, floral notes and the slightest sour punch to complete the experience.

The Ruhstaller Farm & Yard is located 15 miles west of Sacramento at 8949 Olmo Lane Dixon, CA 95620 (Exit 69 off I-80 – Kidwell Rd). Hours: Thursday-Friday 4 p.m.-Sunset and Saturday-Sunday Noon-Sunset.

Nathan is a craft beer enthusiast, originally from Texas but has lived in the Bay Area for more than 10 years. He was raised by a dad who worked in the beer industry all his life, so it must be in his blood. But he credits his girlfriend and fellow homebrew partner, Alexis, for getting him hooked on the craft scene.

BAY AREA: Fieldwork Brewing Grand Opening this weekend

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I had the opportunity to visit Fieldwork Brewing Company in Berkeley this past weekend.

The brewhouse, which opened in February, will hold its Grand Opening Weekend April 24-26.

Give that the co-founder and Head Brewer is Alex Tweet (formerly of Ballast Point and Modern Times in San Diego) I expected to be wowed by its IPAs, which I was, especially Little Ships Session IPA.

However, I was caught off guard by the Chocolate Milk Brown. So smooth, so tasty, so refreshing.

The brewery itself is located in a 10,212 square foot building at the corner of Sixth Street and Harrison Street, and anchors a block in an area of West Berkeley currently undergoing steady urban revitalization. Fieldwork joins current neighbors Covenant Wines and Makers Workspace, with Urban Adamah soon breaking ground on its educational farm and community center.

“The City of Berkeley has welcomed us with open arms, and we plan to thank its residents by providing the best beer and beer-drinking experience they could possibly imagine,” said co-founder and Owner Barry Braden.

Fieldwork Brewing Company’s Grand Opening Weekend includes something for everyone.

Friday, April 24
Ribbon Cutting With Mayor Bates and Beer Releases

Culminating in the ceremonial cutting of the ribbon and opening remarks by the Honorable Tom Bates, Mayor of the City of Berkeley, at 4 pm, the Taproom opens at noon for the release of two new beers:

  • Eliza – Infusing the character of New Orleans Iced Coffee with a beastly Imperial Milk Stout. 
  • Torrential – A big, dry, hugely aromatic double IPA, bursting with tropical and fruity hop flavors.

 Saturday, April 25
“Release the Hounds!” and Mardi Gras in April Grand Opening Celebration Dinner

In homage to dogs and best friends everywhere, Owner and Head Brewer Alex Tweet has crafted two ales named after Fieldwork’s resident brewery dogs. The dogs and brews will be available at Fieldwork starting at 11 am. The question to be answered is, are you a Hannah or a Hugo?

  • Hannah – Hannah, the brewery dog, is the most sentient of guard dogs. Still an active hiker and traveler at the age of 14, Hannah’s namesake is this Biere de Garde, a malty high ABV Belgian-style ale similar to a Saison, meant to age well over time and be durable over distance.
  • Hugo – Hugo, the brewery puppy, is a spry little five-month-old with energy to no end. His namesake is a French Table Beer, a 4.8% ABV Table Beer, which exclusively uses French Malts, yeast, and hops. 

The Grand Opening Mardi Gras in April Dinner Celebration starting at 7 pm. This unique food and craft beer experience is the collaboration of Fieldwork’s Tweet and Chef Mike O’Brien (Mikkeller Bar, Perdition Smokehouse, and The Trappist). The Taproom and Brewery will provide the setting for a five-course, Creole tasting menu prepared by O’Brien and paired with Fieldwork Brewing Co. beers selected by the dynamic duo. Seating is limited to 50 people (tickets may be sold out now – send an email to info@fieldworkbrewing.com to find out if tickets are still available).

Sunday, April 26
Doughnuts, Cheese Curds, and Beer… oh, my!

Doughnut Dolly will be on hand serving their delicious cream-filled doughnuts made with Fieldwork beers, including Chocolate Milk Brown and Eliza NOLA-style Iced Coffee Imperial Milk Stout, from 11 am to 2 pm.

Pugs Leap Cheese of Petaluma will follow-up with a pairing of three of their delicious cheeses with Fieldwork beers from 3 to 6 pm. Cheeses will also be available for purchase.

(On a personal note, I am sooooo bummed I won’t be able to attend Sunday’s pairings!!!)

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SOCAL: 1st Anniversary Celebration at King Harbor Brewing Co. on April 11

King Harbor Brewing Co

King Harbor Brewing Co. will celebrate its first anniversary on Saturday, April 11

Tickets include eight 12oz pours with access to all beer tents, cask beers procured by Cask Ale LA, commemorative anniversary mug, photo booth, dunk tank, live music, and all ticket holders will go home with a bottle of King Harbor Brewing Co. Anniversary Ale.

The Anniversary Ale is an Imperial Brown Ale brewed with Graham Crackers and has been aging in Corsair Whiskey Barrels.

Tickets can be purchased on eventbrite.com for $50.00 or on-site at the tasting room located at 2907 182nd St., Redondo Beach, CA 90278.

A portion of proceeds will benefit local non-profit, Richstone Family Center.

TRAVEL: Craft Beer in Barcelona

After a few day of mediocre pilsners, I found a place in Barcelona for craft beers only steps from our apartment, La Cerveteca. I had an Anarchy Knuckle Dragger DIPA. Pretty good! Great atmosphere. Nice selection. No California beers at this time, but I did find a library of Rogue, one Anchorage beer and one Maui beer. Nice way to end a great day.

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NEW BEER: BJ’s Hoppy Scotsman Ale

My wife and I visited our local BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse in Folsom for a bite to eat and to try the new Hoppy Scotsman Ale released today (full disclosure, BJ’s comped my bill).

I’m not keen on “chain restaurants,” however, I have some fondness for BJ’s. It’s the place I really discovered there were different styles of beer — beer with flavors and aromas. I enjoy their Nutty Brewnette and HopStorm IPA and pretty much hate the LightSwitch Lager. Ugh!

But that’s the great thing about BJ’s; as a beer novice, it allowed me to ease in to Craft Beers. I could discover what I liked and didn’t like before I hit some of California’s premier breweries.

Unfortunately, as I developed a thirst for California Craft Beers, I sort of tossed BJ’s aside a not “serious” craft beer. That’s a mistake. BJ’s is the 44th largest craft brewery in the United States and they DO make good beers. Plus, I love Brewmaster Michael Ferguson‘s Beer Geeks television show!

The Hoppy Scotsman Ale was developed by the Huntington Beach-based BJ’s and Caledonian Brewing of Edinburgh, Scotland. Click here to see BJ’s promo video. The beer had a nice balance of malts and hops and went well with my deep dish pepperoni pizza. I also had a wedge salad; the combination of the beer and blue cheese was a bit bitter for my taste.

The food was plentiful and tasty, but I wish the restaurant’s atmosphere was more like Stone World Bistro than T.G.I.Fridays (just a personal preference). Also, do yourself a favor and DO NOT look  at the menu item calorie counts. Scary!

The service was pleasant and efficient.

There are 64 locations throughout the state and though the company is based in California, the beer appears to be brewed out of state in Reno, NV, Chandler, AZ and Boulder, CO.

Hoppy Scotsman Ale
Hoppy Scotsman Ale
Wedge Salad
My wedge salad
Pepperoni Pizza
My deep dish pepperoni pizza

 

Auburn, CA

My wife and I took an impromptu drive to Auburn yesterday and enjoyed some fine beers at Auburn Alehouse and Knee Deep Brewing Company.

At Auburn Alehouse I enjoyed a terrific macaroni and cheese (made with goat cheese, fontina, sharp cheddar and Parmesan) with a glass of ZZ Hop.

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After lunch, we drove a few miles up Interstate 80 to the new home of Knee Deep Brewing Company, home of some of the happiest beers around!

I sampled four beers: Imperial Tanilla, Simtra Triple IPA, Hoparillo 3X IPA and Hopaholic 4X IPA.

Wow! So fantastic.

While tasting, I enjoyed watching the patrons enjoy games of cornhole.

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