Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Venice Beach, Santa Monica, Great Beer and Food. Beach and babes!

Yelp picture of The Daily Pint
Under the guise of a work trip, I was forced to stay at a nice hotel in Marina del Rey and labor around for 4 days and nights in Venice Beach and Santa Monica.  When life gives you lemons, drink beer.

I had The Daily Pint on my radar for while and really wanted to check it out.  I couldn't muster anyone to go with me, so a $20 cab ride later, I was in a dive bar with 36 taps and 300 types of Whiskey/Scotch.  I know people who could die happy at a place like this.  If you follow them on twitter, you will be up-to-date on their tap list. For example: posted yesterday: "New on cask: Stone Arrogant Bastard w/Chinook Hops & Stone Pale Ale w/Centennial Hops."  That sounds pretty damn good to me!
I usually do OK at a bar alone, but I felt a little out of sorts at this place. That being said, do not let that stop you from going here.  Their tap list is epic and the bartenders don't leave you thirsty.
No food is served there, however, a food truck pulled in front and started making cheese steaks, which you are allowed to bring into the bar!

I was picked up at the airport on my first day by a friend I am doing business with.  As my hotel room was not ready for check-in, he took me to lunch at Venice Ale House.  It is on the north end of the craziness that is the Venice Boardwalk, but this place breaks the mold from the kush doctors and crazy homeless guys.  Although you will see them in full force!  It can be quite entertaining. 
On top of having an excellent beer list, the food is pretty freaking good here.  To start, I had Deschutes Black Butte Porter, one of my favorite all time beers.  If you get a beer sampler, it comes on a custom made skate board with slots for sample sized beer glasses. I walked there from my hotel on the third day and had the burger which was really good.  I also had a Ventura Surf Brewery South Swell DIPA freshly tapped. Really good!
Venice Ale House is a great place to sit in the sun, people watch, eat great food and drink great beer.
p.s.  I was smitten over our waitress the first day.
Venice Ale House pint glass

Half pours at Library Ale House
One day for a late lunch, I went to Library Ale House.  The place has a good tap and bottle list and decent food.  The theme is obviously library, and they show it on their menu, calling items stacks.  Service was good and food was decent.  Go to check out the great beer list.  Don't get the ribs, I thought they were below average.  The complimentary chips and salsa are nice.  The salsa was great actually.  You can order half glasses, or full glasses of beer, which is nice.  It allowed me to try a lot of DIPAs
Awesome burger at Larry's

I found Larry's by accident, but glad I did.  I went in for a drink with a friend one night and was stoked by the beer list.  I had an offering from Smog City that night.  I went back for lunch the next day with a different friend who had heard great things about the place.  The food was really good.  The burger really nice.  We also shared a chicken tandoori masala pizza that was excellent.  For beer, I had Dr. Tongue from Bootleggers and really liked it.
Larry's had a really cool layout and a nice fire place as well.  I highly recommend going.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sam Calagione: Founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewing - Interview

Sam Calagione founded Dogfish Head in 1995 in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Since that time, Dogfish Head has grown to be one of the largest and most cutting edge breweries in the country. Have they gotten too big? Are they overrated? The Better Beer Authority took their first-ever road trip to Delaware and hunted down the face of the company. Listen to Sam Calagione and decide for yourself.

Dogfish Head welcomed us with open arms and gave us a behind-the-scenes look at their operations - we happened to be their when they were bottling 120 Minute IPA! I will also be releasing videos about the Better Beer Authority's experience at Dogfish Head's brewery and their brewpub, as well as a video about touring several other Delaware breweries like 16 Mile, Evolution and Fordham & Old Dominion.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Infinium (Samuel Adams & Weihenstephan) - Beer Review

Love it or hate it - this is an interesting beer. Samuel Adams and Weihenstephan collaborated to create this champagne-like beer. The boys are definitely not agreeing about whether this is a beer worthy of a special occasion. See where they are divided in this fun debate.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ready for Spring Break in Florida?

The author at Knightly Spirits
While visiting a friend who lives in South Daytona Beach, I was on a mission to find some good beer places in the area, and I found them.  When you think Daytona, you might only think of Spring break, but if there are any craft beer enthusiasts who make the trip to this area, the BBA is here to help!

Where To Buy Beer:  
If you fly into Orlando, go straight to Knightly Spirits on South Orange Blossom Trail.  That is what I did, you can read about them in my previous travel blogs.

Once you get to the beach area, all of the craft beer places I am mentioning are west of the inter-coastal (a big river looking thing that divides the barrier lands adjacent to the ocean and the main land).

Port Orange is is a gold mine for drinking and buying craft beer.

ABC Port City
Andy's Liquor and Tobacco has a really good bomber selection and good single/six-pack options. They have a lot of Cigar City bombers, as well as Great Divide, Lagunitas, and Stone.  One massive drawback to Andy's, the prices. For example, everywhere I saw Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout, it was between $4.99-$5.99.  it was $8.99 at Andy's.  Everything there was marked up rather high.  But if you don't mind, then by all means, the selection is very good.

Not too far from Andy's is one of many ABC Fine Wine & Spirits stores at 1198 Dunlawton Avenue. This is a new location that is super clean and has ample space.  Plenty of singles available, and a nice cold beer selection to boot.  The selection isn't as good as Andy's but the prices are much better!

Bottle Caps is in Daytona in a neat little area attached to Mick's Tavern.  I only had a few minutes in the shop before I had to bolt to the airport, but it was a nice, cozy bottle shop with good prices and a helpful employee.  Make sure to check out this gem.  I wish I had more time to shop and more room in my luggage.

Where To Drink Beer:

I hit two bars for drinking, both in Port Orange.
House 4 Beer Taps

hmmmm, my first 4 beer sampler
House 4 Beer is a nice spot to sample a ton of different beers. Samples are served on a nice wooden plank, and either arranged in what beer to drink first, or how the taps are lined up on the wall.  The selection was great the day I was there.  I fell in love with Cigar City's Tocobaga, an amber, but hop forward beer.    The bartenders were really helpful and friendly.

World of Beer is a chain that is growing.  They didn't offer samples per say, but the friendly bartender did offer some up to us.  There had been a big event the day before and a lot of kegs had been kicked and/or replaced, but it was not indicated on the menu as it only changes on Fridays (I was there on a Sunday).  This was a bit frustrating a beer I wanted was not available.  Overall I really liked the bar and would go back,  Don't be off-put that it is a chain.  They have 21 locations with 9 coming soon.
World of Beer Bottles


Two blocks away from Bottle Caps is an awesome divey taco joint called Tia Coris.  Go and thank me later!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Greg Koch: CEO of Stone Brewing Co. - Interview (2 of 2)

When Greg Koch came to the Better Beer Authority studio I thought I had about 20 minutes with him, but when we stopped the cameras he said that he was just getting started and that we should tape some more. It was a great getting to pick his brain on the Ohio beer scene, responsible drinking and to hear more about his evangelical love of craft beer.

He has a new book called "The Craft of Stone Brewing Co.: Liquid Lore, Epic Recipes and Unabashed Arrogance". You can BUY THE BOOK through at this link:

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Surly Furious Beer - Blind Taste Test

Our Chimay Blue blind taste test was so popular and well-received that I thought I would tweak the format a little and do another blind tasting. This time it was with a beer the guys hadn't even heard of, Furious from the Surly Brewing Company in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. This brewery has been receiving rave reviews for their lineup of canned beers and Furious is listed as the #1 IPA on for 2012. This is a beer that is worth hunting down for your own blind tasting.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Falls Church: A Small Hamlet With Big Beer

Just inside Washington DC's beltway, and bordered by interstate 66 is the two-square-mile autonomous city of Falls Church, VA.  Until recently, it was known for its high school, with famous alums like Richard and David Hartogs (from the BBA), and for having a nice little farmer's market.  That is until people got wise and started selling and making craft beer there.

Keep your eyes peeled for this, park in the back.
Red White and Bleu occupies a space next to a bank and small office park.  It isn't the easiest store to find, but well worth the effort.   First, the staff is super friendly and helpful.  Every beer they sell is available to buy via single bottle, and most by 6-pack.  I have never seen any B.M.C. crap there and suspect I never will, which is awesome.  Aside from choice beer, they also have an excellent selection of wine and cheese.  And when it is time to check out, fresh baguettes are piled in a basket, giving off an amazing smell next to the register.  I recommend the Beemster XO aged Gouda.  The small salt crystals and lingering flavor give me goosebumps. There is a nice tasting room on the side; if you are lucky, you can catch a beer or wine tasting.

Older Picture ripped from their website.

Back to the matter at hand, BEER!  With a good local selection (three hour drive or less), Port City, St. George, DuClaw, Heavy Seas, Dogfish Head, Lost Rhino, Flying Dog, and DC Brau, they cover their local bases. For national brands, they don't skimp on selections from Great Divide, Stone, Lagunitas, Left Hand, Founders, New Holland, Sixpoint, Brooklyn, Full Sail, Widmer's, Epic....I can go on and on.  There is also a nice selection of Belgian beers.

I recommend following their newsletter for new releases, tastings and more.  And the staff will help you find the right beer/wine/cheese/charcuterie for you.

Mad Fox is a large brewpub that started off with a lot of hype and hasn't slowed down.  I wanted to write about them a year ago, but I had a lot of issues with their service and I couldn't recommend the place.  However, that has been tidied up and I would happily recommend going.  There is ample parking in a garage next to the restaurant.

selections of the day
Their beer is kind of based from English Pub style.  The Wee Heavy Scotch Ale is very good, as is the Orange Whip IPA and their Barleywine.  In fact, they are  having a Barleywine Festival February 11, which sounds awesome if you are into Barleywines.  If you have not been to Mad Fox before, I recommend getting a beer sampler. They also have beers on cask.

The food is pretty good there as well.  Duck Pizza, Steak and Frittes, Grilled Cheese, wings, and pretzels all stand out.  I love the fact that they make their own ketchup. If you follow them on Facebook, they post mouthwatering pictures of their daily specials.

Next Week's Blog, preparation for a Daytona Craft Beer Spring Break!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

"Give Me A Beer" - Song

James Knott performs the song "Give Me a Beer" with his band, Fragile Hum, at the Velvet Lounge in Washington DC in 1993.

Here's more...

I love recycling! That's why I thought I would bring out this classic song from my band the Fragile Hum. You thought I only liked to make talk shows about beer, but what most of you don't know is that I also wrote a song about beer. This performance of "Give Me A Beer" was recorded at the Velvet Lounge in Washington, DC in September 2003. It features James Knott on vocals, Todd Huyghe on guitar, Gene Moore on bass and Nathan Lorentz on drums. The Fragile Hum was the best band ever - better than the Beatles. :)

Here is a link to a demo recording of "Give Me A Beer" that you can download for your iPod or MP3 player.

If you use the song to make a music video about beer I will post it to our website!

Thanks for watching and listening.

Let me know if you'd like me to upload more Fragile Hum songs.