Sunday, February 12, 2012

Brown Sunday

My goal for this year was to post at LEAST once every month. That has obviously failed pretty successfully (what do you expect? This is a blog about me drinking beer).

I am going to move on regardless of my little new years eve goal set back.
Currently, I should be studying for two exams that I have in the next few days. One regarding Ancient Mesoamerica, the other focusing on the historical landscape of the United States. Instead, I am going to write about yummy beers.
We have all been not so patiently awaiting Pliny the Younger release from Russian River. This is their triple IPA released once a year, and draws quite a crowd.
As you should know, I HATE CROWDS. So, Aussy and I have been trying to find the bars that are "secretly" tapping a keg. The problem is.. it is a secret... and therefore it is really hard to find!
I am currently drinking a Black Tuesday, and glad I skipped dessert today because this is sufficing.

In other news, Austin and I are planning a spring break trip to Costa Rica. A really awesome work friend of mine is from Costa Rica and is planning to show us the ropes.

Graduation appears to be around the corner. I am hopefully taking my last required upper division courses for UCLA in Spain. I have signed up for their travel study program.

I will try to keep you all up to date.... but no promises!!!

P.S. my best friend Jessica has moved to lake Tahoe after one AWESOME year in Los Angeles. It has only been like two weeks, but I miss her like crazy!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

It's all falling together

I am so excited that Fall has finally arrived! Although today was more like an ideal beach day in the summer, the much anticipated cool, crisp Fall weather has crept up with the setting sun. With the new season comes a whole new batch of pumpkin beers, stouts, and porters that I enjoy most on a chilly evening like tonight. Currently, I am sipping on a limited release "Oaked Jack Imperial Wood Aged Pumpkin Ale" that has the perfect balance of spices and sweetness with hints of bourbon. Mmm! Austin bought me four of these bad boys for the season!

It has been a productive and fun Saturday. Frank received a much needed bath, I got some school work crossed off the list, and had a great lunch at Cha Cha Chicken with Jessica and Austin. Jessica was fully prepared for our outing and called her order in before we got there and she got to skip the line and relax in the sun. While I waited in the not so long, but extremely slow line, I took my time deciding what I was going to get, to make sure I was ready when my time to order would finally arrive. After finding out my brunch choice of chilaquiles was not served after 2 PM, and it was 2:20, I had to quickly make a new choice. In the mean time I was getting nasty glares from the inpatient patrons behind me. Oh well! I settled with the guiso de puerco and was happy with my decision when it arrived with a healthy portion of fried plantains on the side. Good lunch and great company, coupled with some good beers (Cha Cha is BYOB, making it even more awesome).

Jessica and I made the journey to the East side on Thursday to see Furthur. Thanks again Daniel for DDing!! It was my first experience with The Greek Theater, and I don't think it could have been any better. We had to park about a half a mile from the venue down a mountain road in Griffith Park that made for a really funny and pretty walk to and from the show. We got there towards the end of the first set, so we decided to try to find a good spot close to the front, even though it was not general admission. We ended up dead center and up a level behind the soundboard (not sure if that is what you call it). Jessica claimed she recognized the two old dudes in front of us, which I figured was someone famous I didn't know of (I am really out of the celebrity loop). Turns out they were regulars from Pizza Fusion/Pour house. They had extra seats, which worked out perfect because I was informed by a paranoid husband that the seats we were occupying belonged to him and his wife would be back any minute, so we needed to move! The rest of the show was truly awesome. The set list was really great, and watching all of the beyond dedicated fans twirl around was quite entertaining as well.

Our show exit consisted of:

 wearing a chicken head borrowed from a drunk fan, weaving our way through the masses of wookies trying to sell pipes and other oddities, almost scoring what Jessica claims is the most perfect jacket ever (it resembled something Paula Abdul would have worn in the 80's) from a woman who was about to the hand the thirty year old jacket over to Jessica before her 14 year old daughter decided she wanted the jacket for herself. Jessica reluctantly turned the sparkly jean bundle over to daughter. We did turn back to let Jessica try the jacket on and snap a picture. We decided that before we made the trek back to the west side we should pee. Since we were walking down a dark road on a mountain, there were plenty of good peeing spots. Thankfully, I chose a spot next to a trash can, because after I stood up from my squatting pee position, I realized I had soaked part of my cheap H&M purse in urine (at least the purse was already yellow before I pissed on it). I carefully collected the contents inside and tossed it in the conveniently located trash can. Jessica let me borrow a tupperware container in her car to act as my new clutch, which we decided was the new preschool chic style. We made it back to West LA safely with my purse being the only causality. It was an epic evening!!

Looking forward to the rest of this fall. I am feeling overwhelmed (in a good way) by all of the opportunities to travel that could be in my near future. Austin and I are talking about a quick weekend trip to Portland in a month, Jessica and I still have to follow through with losing our Vegas virginities together, and Kendra and I are discussing a Christmas break trip after Austin, Frank and I drive home for December (making brewery stops along the way, of course!). I am getting excited for the next few months!!!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Bacon and Beer

I've got several old posts I need to finish, but I will get there in time. For now, here are some pictures of my trip to the Great American Beer Festival in Denver. It was a great weekend to say the least. I am detoxing and eating strictly veggies for a week (okay, at least two days). My stomach is NOT happy with the wide variety of beer, bacon, and cheese I consumed for four days straight. I don't think the person sitting next me on the plane trip back was very happy either!

Waiting outside of the convention center

Bacon and maple syrup at Trinity Brewing in Colorado Springs. We also had a bacon wrap followed by bacon mac and cheese in a bread bowl! 

Mountain Sun Brewpub in Denver. By far my favorite place in Denver and Boulder.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I like my beer hot

  I am sure that many of you were on the verge of deleting Beer Culture from your bookmarks. Thinking this was just another one of my many adventures that I half start and never finish, just as things were starting to get interesting. In fact, I was only letting your faith in my drinking and writing skills almost completely diminish in order to prove you all wrong! Besides, I have been mentally keeping my blog updated!!

  Since my last update I have changed jobs, schools, and hair color. My beer tastes have pretty much stayed the same. In the job department, I left managing Pizza Fusion for a less stressful serving position at The Misfit. The restaurant has been open for a little over two weeks and seems to have a lot of potential. As for school, I got accepted into UCLA and plan to start taking summer courses in August. I am majoring in Anthropology (hence the blog name Beer Culture) and minoring in Environmental Systems and Society. I have a decent amount of residency paperwork to fill out proving I actually live in California. Oh joy! Can I send them a picture of my hair that was starting to turn orange from all of the California sun as proof? Not to worry, Rene at Carlton Hair is a pro at turning my awkward hair color (thanks Mom) into a natural brown curly mop. Speaking of brown, in case you were wondering, my poops have been regular!

  Back to the real reason that I wake up to go to work for a paycheck... to buy and drink beer! I have done a lot of beer drinking since my last post, and I have decided to pick out some highlights of the past two months for this post.
There was a recent homebrew competition at Hangar 24 Brewing Company in Redlands, CA. Of course, Austin and I  find out about this competition the day that the beers are supposed to be submitted. This would not have been a problem if Redlands was not 88 miles away and we were not driving on The 10 (yes, that is what we call it here) during rush hour traffic, which are between the hours of 8AM-10AM and 2PM-7PM. Being the awesome girlfriend and person I am, and knowing how tasty Austin's recent batches of beer have been, I got up early the next morning and drove trafficless to Redlands California to drop off three of our home-brews. Austin had been in correspondence with someone at the brewery to make sure it was okay to submit them a day late, thankfully it was. All of the driving and hour long lunch break I spent at the brewery with a tasty DIPA, double India Pale Ale, paid off. Check out categories 21 and 23 for the results.

Hangar 24

  We recently got a package from Colorado containing Twisted Pine Brewing's Ghost Face Killah, which is as awesome as it sounds. The beer is brewed with ghost chilies and claims to be the hottest beer in the world. The first bottle we opened had a very earthy smell and was not near as hot as we anticipated. However, the second bottle we drank at a later date definitely had some burn. The guy who sent the package also threw in a Billy's Chillies which is a beer that Delia, Austin, Chris and I tried at the brewery on our brewery tour for my 21st birthday. The base is a wheat beer that is infused with Serrano, Habenero, Jalapeno, Anaheim, and Fresno chili peppers. The spicy pepper aroma is more intense than the flavor. All in all, a really good beer that would go great with Mexican food. I just wish that Delia and Chris were out here to drink it with us. 

I will try to post more frequently and include some fun photos. Have a lovely day! 

Current beer: Great Divide, Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti 
Current music: Led Zeppelin, Four Sticks 
Current book: Oscar Zeta Acosta, "The Revolt of the Cockroach People" 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Spring(I need a)Break, Staycation 2011

A quick update from my last post... The beer arrived safely with only one causality from the Captain Lawrence Smoked from the Oak Series. I was tempted to wring out Austin's clothes for a sample, but I know Austin and hygiene pretty well and decided to skip the dirty clothes cocktail. However, they did smell deliciously like an oak aged beer.

The past weekend/week my best friend from Georgia, Kendra, came to visit us for her Spring break. She hasn't been out here in about three years and was much overdue for a trip. Where to begin? I am on the verge of complete exhaustion just thinking about how much we fit into five days, without every really leaving the Westside of LA. Thankfully, Kendra has already come out here twice with me to experience all the popular touristy shit you have to do at least once. Which meant we got to just hang out, drink a lot of beer, and eat ourselves into a carb coma every night. We managed to eat out for every meal, as well as consume some type of's Spring Breakkkk!!! We hit up a lot of happy hour, went to the taping of the Chelsea Lately Show, which had the power-hungry desperate loser Security Guards you only see in movies that were trying to find a way to kick me and several others out of the show (I never realized I was that threatening to be rowdy, or as he put it "Don't try to deceive me, or I will throw you out!!!"all because he said my mesh purse may or may not fit under the seat....which IT DID!!!)  Did I mention we drank a lot of alcohol on Kendra's trip? Because we did A LOT of that. The weather finally proved to be all that you would expect for Southern California. We got to watch the sunset cloud free and under the influence of cheap pitchers of Lagunitas IPA, at TheWailer in Marina Del Rey. I also took Kendra and Frank on a hike to one of my favorite spots in Malibu, Solstice Canyon. It was the perfect cure for a hangover after days of indulging on cheesy appetizers and beer at every cute little bar/restaurant in a six mile radius of my home. We went to Bay Cities Deli for the famous Godmother Italian Sub after sweating out some of the toxins from the previous night on our 2 mile hike overlooking the ocean. It's day like those that make me realize I actually like LA.
We only rode bikes once, which is rare when company comes because it is easier to get around on the bike than try to find parking by the beach. Our bike riding was cut short when we all three almost wiped out within a three minute time span. I take that back, Jessica and I DID wipe out. We were crossing the busy intersection on Lincoln and Pico, almost to my house, when Kendra followed me across the road as I saw the light turn yellow and thought I should signal her to wait. I was a few seconds too late as I hear car horns from the cars turning directly into where Kendra is riding. Thankfully she makes it across safely as the pedestrians look at us like we were idiots. We wait a few minutes for the light to turn green and for Jessica's passing of the tricky intersection. I continue to ride towards my house as a green honda comes speeding from an alleyway and takes my bike down. My cat like reflexes and graceful demeanor prevent me from getting hurt, it may have been the two pints of Pliny as well, and I am unscratched. I wish I could say the same for Austin's rim. As I am waving the shocked reckless driver back off of Austin's bike, using some language not fit for a lady such as myself, Jessica arrives to the scene laughing hysterically because a pedestrian with a suitcase just wiped her out causing yet another scene in the intersection. The beer gods were telling us to walk from now on!!! That was our only near death experience for the whole trip, which I would say is pretty good considering what we could have gotten into.
All in all, it was a great Staycation Spring Break and I am so happy I got to hang out with my "girlfriend" (I am saying that in my favorite high pitch Kendra voice)! Austin and I are heading to Reno, NV tomorrow to meet up with his parents and do some skiing in Squaw Valley!! I am looking forward to some fun exercise (I am talking about skiing) and gambling. I am sure we will drink some beer too! Now I am enjoying a glass of Sea Monster Imperial Stout and about to finally get some rest, but not for long, it's going to be an early morning. Until next time, Cheers!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Pizza, Beer, and Pickles

Warning: this blog contains little beer talk, and mainly goes into detail about all of the food I consumed over the weekend... I wouldn't recommend continuing reading if your hungry.
We made it back from New York City in one piece, but I can't speak for our luggage, or my shoes. I arrived Friday afternoon, just in time for Austin's hangover to clear up and for me start working on mine! We ate pizza at Fornino in Brooklyn, supposedly famous, along with every other corner pizza spot, but this was the real deal. We had the Margherita Classica and I enjoyed a glass of sangria (the beer list was not worth the calories).  Preston and Ginger live a few stops from this joint, so we went back to digest, drink a beer, and head out for a second meal at their restaurant Peels. We got treated like VIP, yes I am using that term because we received the royal 'your a badass' treatment for being related to/knowing the head chefs, when we arrived to a very full and adorable restaurant. They led us upstairs to our corner table, where the drink and food menu was overwhelmingly full of delicious options with a unique twist on classic southern fare. I was having a hard time deciding, when Ginger came from the kitchen to recommend the fried chicken. She didn't have to mention any else, fried chicken it was! It was covered with gravy and came with a side of the most amazing chunky mashed potatoes. I was having a hard time keeping any on my plate, because Austin was helping himself to the one thing he swears he doesn't like, mashed potatoes. We also shared the potato dumplings with kale and mushrooms, which were very similar to Italian gnocchi and melted in your mouth!  we had creamed collards and Austin got the pork loin steak with hominy, which we learned is the corn that is used to make grits. This dish was all around perfect, Lane you would love it, the sauce reminded me of mole and the meat was so tender it made me forget I usually don't like meat. They tried to send up dessert, but we were both on the verge of falling asleep at the table and we still had some beer drinking to do. Back at the apartment we drank a Cantillon Classic Gueuze and Guava Grove from Cigar city while playing a few round of darts. I surprised myself at my aim, considering I haven't played darts in about a year, regardless of the fact we have a dart board. The next day came quickly and we had lunch reservations, excuse me...Brunch reservations, at their other restaurant Freemans. We walked down the long alleyway to the door which you would not guess was a restaurant until you pass the black curtains keeping the cold air out, to a completely full, bustling, and obviously very well known restaurant. It has the rustic feeling of a southern gentlemen's hunting club, with tastefully stuffed deer and birds strategically lining the walls.  I never knew taxidermy could be so hip! We were waiting for our friend Richard, who also shares a passion for beer and we occasionally have the pleasure of drinking with in LA. He was in NYC for business and had a free afternoon to meet up. Where to begin? We ate ourselves silly, and I drank enough coffee, bloody mary's, and grapefruit/champagne cocktails to fill a 200 LB man's bladder four times. Yet, I only peed once before we left Freemans to go on a beer buying adventure (not the brightest idea I had....although my pee was pretty fluorescent when I finally made it to a bathroom). For food, we had the famous artichoke dip, poached eggs and grits with a side of thick cut bacon. Preston sent out lamb ribs in a spicy apricot thyme sauce which had just the right balance of spicy and sweet with the tender meat falling off of the bone. I have only had lamb chops, this was my first experience with lamb ribs and hopefully not the last....sorry cute baby lamb, you're just too damn delicious. Not sure what everyone else ordered because I was so excited and focused on my grits (it's been at least six months since I have had them, and those are one thing that will make me miss the south, especially since I have such a sweet Mamma to cook them for me when I go home). After leaving Freemans, we made it two beer stores in the Bowery and just about broke my wallet, which ironically did actually break right after we left the second beer store. We got some things I am excited to try from goose island (I don't want to talk about the recent purchase of the majority shares of the brewery by Anhueser-Busch, but maybe it will make the beers we got, which were supposed to be for onsite composition only, have that ahh! factor for being pre-sell-out beers). We also bought the Captain Lawrence Smoke from the Oak gift set and a few other beers that will hopefully arrive safely.
On to more food...The Pizza Trials:  our last day in New York was upon us and we decided to make pizza at Preston and Gingers, which was what I was looking forward to the whole time. They recently got a wood fire pizza oven for their back yard and we needed to try it out. Preston made the dough, Ginger made the sauce, and we all watched as Preston worked the dough in to prefect round pies, just enough for us to each get a slice per pizza. They made a total of four pizzas which each were prepared, cooked, and then eaten separately. We had a mushroom and thyme pizza, mushroom and sausage, a white pizza, and another mushroom and sausage because it was of the three. Due to the cold weather outside, Preston was having a hard time keeping the surface hot to crisp up the bottom, but after a little critical thinking it was decided to put the coals on the surface while we made the next pizza and then brushing them out of the way when it was time to put the pie in (it worked!) During this time, Austin packaged all of our beer up and it was decided that we would check his luggage with the beer and pay the $25, instead of having Preston and Ginger ship it (their schedules are fairly full and it might have been awhile before we got the beer). The next dilemma was if the bag was under the 50 LB limit? After each of trying to do arm curls with a rolling suitcase, comparing the bag to a 60 LB container of liquid sheet rock(not sure why they had this?) and Ginger throwing the bag over her shoulder to compare it a 50 LB bag of potatoes she frequently carries on her shoulder, it was decided that the bag was too close to the limit to make a valid estimate without a scale. After asking the neighbors if they had a scale, which they didn't (whats wrong with these people in New York, who doesn't have a scale and obsessively weigh themselves?) Austin took the bag to the local laundry to put it on an industrial scale. The moment if truth, 47 lbs!!!! Whew, we were good to go, so I thought. We said our goodbyes to Preston, Ginger, and the cats Clementine and Pickles, and headed to the airtran. We arrived just in time to find out we were five minutes too late to check a bag! The options given by the Delta Concierge were to take the bag with us (It has $200 worth of beer...a liquid, we can't carry it on)..."Why don't you leave the beer here", "It's $200 dollars worth of beer". "You could put it on the next flight tomorrow morning". "Okay, great, I'll leave it here and put it on the next flight", "No, sir, you have to travel with your baggage, I can put YOU and your bag on the next flight tomorrow morning" We obviously needed another option and were running very low on time before our scheduled flight was scheduled to depart. Austin ran to the International terminal where he paid $80 to ship his entire bag to our home, and had to convince the FedEx guy not to open his luggage and he wasn't sending a 'boom boom' bomb (as the FedEx guy put it). He also couldn't say it is full of expensive beer, as it is illegal to send alcohol via FedEx. I am last in the line to board the plane trying to come up for ways to stall if Austin doesn't hurry up....he was cutting it REALLY close by now. Finally, a sweating red faced Austin comes running to the terminal just in time for the last final boarding call. At this point he looks like he could pass out from heat exhaustion and decides to strip his long sleeve shirt off in the line for the short sleeve one he had. Almost to our seats, with absolutely no overhead room for my bag. We get to our seats which were suppose to be one in front of the other in the middle seat (really looking forward to that!) but thankfully two ladies wanted to sit next each other and we got to switch for a middle and aisle seat next to each other. And to my surprise there was only a coat in the overhead bin that could be moved to fit my bag. But wait, the guy across from me needed his jacket to be in that spot, and it couldn't move because it was an expensive jacket. The guys behind us start yelling at the guy to move his jacket for my bag, but I was over it at this point and just sent my bag to the front to be checked underneath.....which resulted in my brand new shoes to fall out and disappear. But don't worry the trip isn't over yet, we left Austin nice light jacket in the seat when we de-boarded!!!
All in all, it was great trip minus the mishaps on the way home. We are still waiting for Austin luggage to arrive, I will keep you all updated on its status. Thanks for reading this rather long post about food and how much I dislike Delta!

Saturday, March 12, 2011


For those of you not up to date with the current beer scene, I'll let you in on a little secret... it is all about stocking your cellar with limited release, barrel-aged, high ABV beers, with prices that could have bought you a decent pair of shoes or an hour-long thai massage. Sure, we may be straying away from the trend of drinking quality accessible beers at reasonable prices, to trading for four year old barley-wines at 11% ABV to complete a vertical (collecting the beer, usually only released once a year, and then opening the collection at one time to compare each year), but that is the fun of the game!! Being able to flaunt your spreadsheet of rare cellared beers only to be opened on a special occasion, or a really bad day, is part of the commitment to joining the 'beer community'. Don't get me wrong, a good beer is a good beer, regardless of price, style, or brewery. Just because there is a lot of hype, the beer is hard to get, and probably cost more than my dinner, does not mean it is going to be worth the trouble either, but maybe it is! I'll take my chances and drink the $50 bottle of Bourbon County Stout 'Rare' . The perfect way to end/begin a Saturday night if you ask me.

We have not had time to go on any fun beer trips lately, but don't worry, we have been drinking plenty of tasty brews. Austin is a great trader, sending local California beers to people across the country that he has met through the beer forum Beer Advocate, in return for equally good beers that are not distributed to our area. Last night we enjoyed a Cantillon Rose De Gambrinus after our hike in Malibu. We decided if a Tsunami was going to hit, we were going be high up on the mountain watching it. Thankfully, my Aunt and Uncle, who live in Japan, were not effected by the Tsunami, but my thoughts go out to all of those that were!

Wishing my parents a happy weekend in Charleston celebrating the final payment of our house (yes, I plan on inheriting it in the future, and I am grateful they went ahead and paid it off before that day!) In all seriousness, I am very happy for them and glad they are able to spend the weekend somewhere fun. I wish I was with them, drinking some local beers of course!

In other news, Austin is off to visit his brothers in Boston and New York City next weekend for a week during his spring break. I am meeting him for a few days in NYC. I am very excited to eat at his brother and sister-and-law's restaurant Peels. Thanks again, Preston and Ginger, for letting us stay at y'alls house. I am sure I will have lots of fun events, beer and non-beer related, to blog about. Until then, I've got Rare on my mind.