6 Years – Still soaked in beer after all this time

Hey there, it’s Beer Soaked Erik and I have posted way more on Instagram than here on the blog or Facebook, I’m not apologizing, just saying that micro-blogging with photos on Instagram has been my way of staying in touch with folks in the beer world lately. You can see some of my recent posts in the sidebar on BeerSoaked.com, and if you follow me on Twitter then you’ve probably seen the shift from traditional long form posts to much shorter photo based beer commentary. But having said that, there’s still a place for blog posts.

Here we are in the sixth year of BeerSoaked.com. It’s hard to believe that 6 years ago this site was just a drunken thought with Beer Soaked Scott and Kevin at an IPA tasting event at Hi-Time Wine and now it’s a reality. We’ve been documenting our discovery and appreciation for craft beer for 6 years now. Six years! Wow, time flies when you’re having craft beer. So I just popped the cap on a 2011 Sierra Nevada Bigfoot from the Beer Soaked Fridge and made a few top 6 lists to celebrate our sixth Beer Soaked year. Cheers, and thanks for reading!

Beer Soaked Erik’s Top 6 lists…

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Tips for the 4th Annual OC Brew Ha Ha Craft Beer Festival

The 4th Annual OC Brew Ha Ha Craft Beer Festival is this Saturday, Sep. 7th, 2013, and here are our BeerSoaked tips and tricks.

  1. MAP– BrewHaHaMap2013Here’s a link to the 2013 OC Brew Ha Ha map of the event. It’s a PDF that you can print out ahead of time so you’ll know where your favorite breweries and food vendors are located and make sure that you don’t miss anybody. Plan a meetup spot with your group when you get there since cell reception is spotty at best.
  2. Stay hydrated, keep cool – There will be FREE soda and water at the event, be sure to take advantage of it. The weather forecast says that it’ll be in the high 80’s to mid 90’s (same as last year) so drink plenty of water. We generally try to drink a bottle of water after every three tastes. It’s near Irvine Lake and there are plenty of trees providing shade, but hot is hot. Last year, the misters were a favorite way to cool down.
  3. Take your time – Ten 4 oz. tastes in three hours (or 15 tastes in 4 hours if you scored VIP tickets) allows you to take your time in between beers. Use that time to walk around the venue, listen to some music, chat with brewers, play games, eat some food, and plan your next beer while enjoying the one in your hand. No need to burn through all your tastes in the first hour. And there’s no need to push and shove while in line. (Don’t be “that” guy.)
  4. Eat some food – Last year one of the guys in our group decided not to eat. He said, “It’s over at 4, I’ll just eat after.” Let’s just say that he had the window seat on the drive home and had to wash the designated driver’s car the next day. There are going to be plenty of great food trucks again this year; The Viking Truck, Sausage King, Burnt Truck, Dos Chinos, Rancho A Go Go, and more. Last year the Slater’s 50/50 burger was a highlight for me. The line was a bit long, but it allowed me to drink two much-needed bottles of water while waiting. I also had a slice of pizza from the fire truck that hit the spot. And for dessert don’t forget to checkout BrewCakesCJ and Sarah are very friendly and make delicious craft beer cupcakes.
  5. Reel Big Fish – Every year the Brew Ha Ha stage has great music, and this year they stepped it up a notch and booked Reel Big Fish. In my opinion Ska music is perfect beer drinking music, and Reel Big Fish are a fantastic live band. They bring so much energy on stage that it’s hard to resist skanking along.
  6. Beer Geek Island – It’s a little late to be mentioning it now, because it’s already sold out. So my “tip” is to join the OC Beer Society Facebook group so you’ll be able to take part next time.OC Beer SocietyOne of the best bottle share events in the OC is perhaps Beer Geek Island sponsored by the OC Beer Society. The spots on the “island” fill up pretty fast every year. This year was no exception. There is no cost other than the bottle you choose to bring. By donating a bottle to the island you get to taste some amazing beers provided by other beer geeks like yourself.I usually try to bring a bottle of something with some age on it, so two years ago I brought a 2006 Anchor Christmas and last year I brought a Stone 15th Anniversary Escondidian Black IPA to share. This year I’m bringing a bottle of Founder’s Doom that I got in a beer trade, so it’s something not distributed in California. It’s an Imperial India Pale Ale aged in bourbon barrels. I’m looking forward to trying it out while sharing it with others who also appreciate interesting craft brews.
  7. Drive Safely – We always bring a designated driver to beer events like this one. If you find that you over-indulged at the event and didn’t bring a driver with you, then please take advantage of Uber or the Yellow Cabs at the event. You can leave your car overnight if necessary and pick it up the next day. Stay safe.

If you haven’t already got tickets for Saturday, head on over to OCBrewHaHa.com or you can pick them up at the door (for $10 more) if it isn’t sold out.

Hope to see you there.

I’ll be posting my photos from the event next week, Cheers!

Beer Soaked Erik

OC Brew Ha Ha ‘HOP MONSTER’ Collaboration Beer

 

Orange County Brew Ha HaBeer Soaked readers should know by now that our favorite Orange County craft beer festival is approaching. That’s right, it’s almost time for the annual OC Brew Ha Ha on Saturday, September 7th, 2013.

Did you know that they are brewing a special collaboration beer for the event? We were invited to brew day for the OC Brew Ha Ha ‘HOP MONSTER’, and here’s the story…

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Three local Orange County brewmasters; Aaron Barkenhagen of Bootleggers BreweryEvan Weinberg of Cismontane Brewing Company, and Jerrod Larsen of Tustin Brewing Company, all came together to brew a commemorative beer for the OC BrewHaHa festival. They sat down over some beers and after taking a look at the graphic novel themed artwork for the 2013 BrewHaHa they decided on a massively “hopped up” Red Ale that would consist of Citra, Nelson, and Galaxy hops. “It was a no brainer. It had to be a hoppy red. I mean, just look at the artwork.” – Aaron Continue reading

Cellaring and Aging Beer

Aging beer, what’s all this about?

2013-05-11 16.38.39Some beers are barrel-aged by the brewer. That’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about the bottle-conditioned beers that are meant to either be enjoyed now, or stored away for later.

Just like wine, the flavors in beer will change over time. Hops lose their intensity, malts gain a richness, and yeast does all sorts of things in the bottle. In short, you age a beer to see what happens.

Years ago I was invited to my first bottle share event and brought with me the freshest double IPA I could find at the local store. Most of the other folks brought Belgian ales, imperial stouts, saisons, and barley wines. Some of the beers were a few years old and tasted almost like sherry. My hop bomb was a good palette cleanser between the other brews, but didn’t get nearly as much praise as the bottles with some age on them. I got to taste some fantastic beer that day and wanted to have something impressive for the next bottle share. That’s when I started cellaring beer.

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Beer and Cigars

Years ago I was really into cigars. It was around the time I started playing golf with some friends from work. We played 9 holes of golf after work on Wednesdays, and a full round of 18 on weekends. Golf led to cigars on the course, and cigars led to whisky at the 19th hole. That’s three fairly expensive hobbies all at once. I look back now and miss those days.

Gray_Cloud_Arroyo_Trabuco

I don’t golf as regularly anymore, and don’t smoke cigars nearly as often either. I still have a fairly decent collection of Single Malt Whisky, mostly Islay Malts, but haven’t poured myself a dram in a while. Why? The Craft Beer Revolution, that’s why!

Ever since I started exploring craft beer, I’ve put my other hobbies on the shelf. Slowly I’ve been integrating them back into my routine. For example, I play beer soaked golf now and then with the guys thanks to canned craft beer. And I’ve popped the cork on some Single Malt Scotch after enjoying a really bold IPA or a barrel-aged stout. What’s next? Cigars! So when I heard about the Gray Cloud event I was intrigued. Beer and Cigars? At a local golf course? Really!?! Yes, really.

Gray Cloud 2013 Continue reading