As much fun as it is to see new Las Vegas breweries on the horizon, it is equally great to see new names pop up in familiar breweries. Roughly a week ago, Tenaya Creek unleashed their new Easy Rider Pale Ale, the first release from assistant brewer Marcos.
What this pale ale does really well, is blend the crispness of a west coast pale ale with a solid, but drinkable body. You are met right away with a big, citrusy aroma, followed by slight malt sweetness, and finished off with a piny, grapefruit bitterness that is surprisingly refreshing. This is the kind of beer that you want to sit on your porch and sip on a mild spring day, and at a respectable 5.8% ABV, you certainly can!
Personally, I’m quite looking forward to what Marcos dreams up next!
Once again, Aces & Ales is holding their annual Stone Domination tap takeover. As always, Stone co-founder and CEO Greg Koch will be in attendance, probably signing bottles, probably preaching, probably stage diving off of the bar…
See below for the incredible tap list:
- 2010 Double Bastard Ale
- 2010 Old Guardian Barley Wine
- 2011 BELGO Anise Imperial Russian Stout
- 2011 Imperial Russian Stout Aged in Red Wine Barrels
- 2012 Double Bastard Ale Aged in Bourbon Barrels
- 2012 Double Bastard Ale w/Dark Toasted Oak
- 2012 Old Guardian Barley Wine Aged in White Wine Barrels
- 2013 ESPRESSO Imperial Russian Stout
- 2013 Imperial Russian Stout Aged in Templeton Rye Whiskey Barrels
- 2013 Old Guardian OAK-SMOKED Barley Wine w/American & French Oak
- Ken Schmidt/Iron Fist/Stone Mint Chocolate Imperial Stout
- Stone 9th Anniversary Ale
- Stone 14th Anniversary IPA
- Stone 16th Anniversary IPA
- Stone 11.11.11 Vertical Epic Ale
- Stone 12.12.12 Vertical Epic Ale
- Stone Mixtape Ale vol. 2 – CH & HS’s Blend
- Stone Mixtape Ale vol. 4 – RK & JM’s Blend
- Stone Mixtape Ale vol. 5 – The Winking Lizard Blend
- Ruination IPA – Tropical Heat Edition
Smoked Porter w/Vanilla Bean
- Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale w/Espresso Beans
- Suitable for Cave Aging – An Imperial Smoked Porter Tribute to Danny Williams aged in Bourbon Barrels
This past Friday, Dave and Wyndee Forrest launched a Kickstarter campaign to open CraftHaus Brewery. While I met with them to discuss their plans, a donor had just pledged $400, putting CraftHaus over the $5,000 mark, or about 26% to their goal of $20,000, in only four days.
CraftHaus isn’t the only new brewery in planning in Las Vegas, nor is it the first to use Kickstarter to raise additional funding. But one thing that sets CraftHaus apart from others, is the amount of time and patience that Dave and Wyndee have put into their business plan over the course of almost three years. One of the first things they did after putting together a plan, was scheduled a meeting with Tomme Arthur, Co-Founder and Directer of Brewing Operations for Port Brewing and The Lost Abbey. Tomme gave them feedback about the areas of their plan that was lacking, and made some suggestions on what needed to be changed. They rewrote their business plan and scheduled more meetings, and not just with Tomme, but also with Patrick Rue, CEO and Founder of The Bruery, and Dave Cole, Co-Founder of Epic Brewing Company.
Dave and Wyndee continued to write and rewrite their business plan, ensuring that they didn’t miss anything. They attended the Craft Brewers Conference last year to meet with other brewers and to be familiar with the type of business that they were entering. This isn’t just a couple that wants to open a brewery because they enjoy homebrewing. They understand the amount of work that is needed to run a successful brewery. They were advised by Jamil Zainasheff, co-author of Yeast and founder of Heretic Brewing, to not open a brewery. He reminded them that it requires a lot more non-brewing work than what homebrewers think it does. Hearing his insight on opening Heretic helped the pair to better understand and better prepare for the day to day life of running a brewery. In one of their visits with Patrick Rue, he showed Wyndee the pilot brewing system that he had just purchased. Despite the past five years of success that The Bruery has had with making some of the highest rated beers in the country, he stated how excited he was “to finally start brewing beer again!” Dave and Wyndee reached out to so many other professionals for advice and help because, as they told me, “we know our weaknesses, and we know where we need help and what to reach out to others for.”
All of the work that they have put into the planning of CraftHaus means that they are ready to open their brewery. Their Kickstarter campaign is already off to a great start, but even if their goal isn’t met, it won’t be the end of CraftHaus. The reason that they are using Kickstarter, is because they want the community to get involved with the brewery as well.
“We don’t want you to think of this as our brewery. We want you to think of this as your brewery.”
Through Kickstarter, they can invest in additional equipment which would mean better beer for their customers. A pilot brewing system would allow for additional experimentation, and oak barrels would allow for barrel aged beers. They hope that the tasting room could be used to not just talk about beer, but also as a place for people to talk with each other and to meet others in their community. They plan on having a rotating “community tap handle.” The proceeds of that beer’s sales would go to a different charity focused on Las Vegas, that way they can give back to the city and the community that is giving to them.
If you haven’t already, head over to the Crafthaus Kickstarter page and take a look at their offerings for donors.
While meeting with CraftHaus, I also got to taste a few of their beers. First, was Charlie’s Mantra, named after the father of American homebrewing, Charlie Papazian. In his book, The Complete Joy of Homebrewing, he constantly reminds the readers to “relax, don’t worry, and have a homebrew.” CraftHaus chose to name their pale ale after this saying because they want to keep the fun in brewing. The beer is a little bit more malt forward than most pale ales that are being brewed today, but it still maintains a sweet, citrusy aroma from the Citra hops. The beer is very light bodied and refreshing, thanks to it’s 5% alcohol level. The finish is clean and dry, with a lingering piney bitterness from the Chinook hops.
Next was Evocation, CraftHaus’ saison. The beer has a lot of fruity, Belgian esters in both the aroma and flavor. Banana was the standout flavor in the beer. Ginger is also added, giving the beer some spiciness in the aroma. This is also a very refreshing beer, with lingering sweetness that would make this great for Las Vegas summers.
Finally, I tasted Saboteur, a double IPA. This was a very interesting take on the double IPA style. Rather than loading the beer with bittering hops, Dave adds a lot of late addition hops, giving this beer an immense piney, resinous hop aroma and flavor. The beer maintains it’s balance with enough of a malt backbone to give the beer some sweetness to compliment the hop flavor.
Lagunitas’ CEO and founder Tony Magee took to Twitter late Thursday night with some interesting data about craft beer’s percentage of the beer market, and what that looks like for future growth, both with existing breweries, and with new breweries. It’s an interesting bit perspective from the 6th largest craft brewery in America, and I’ve always enjoyed Magee’s perspective on his business. I edited his statement slightly, only to fix all the “Twitter grammar,” to make it easier to read:
Was looking at IRA data. I added ALL the craft-type sales, meaning the narrow Brewers Association definition of craft beer, as well as Shock Top, Blue Moon, Craft Brewer’s Alliance brands, Guinness, Newcastle, etc… It turns out that the things y’all drink when y’all want flavor represent a freakin’ 12% market share, not the 6% share that is reported.
Could say that the extra 6% share represents the ACTUAL shortage of capacity within authentic craft beer. Makes building another brewery seem like a stoopid safe bet. I see Blue Moon & Shock Top, and the other faux beers as mere spackling in the cracks. A sort of beer-bondo that we can easily chip back out when we’re ready to use that market crevice ourselves. Maybe that sounds pompous, and maybe it is. And when I write ‘we’ I’m referring to all of us new brewers. Bottoms up!
In a recent newspaper thing I said that I thought Lagunitas could be as big as Anheuser Busch or MillerCoors. WTF does ‘big’ mean? Big is the result of something else. No one ‘owns’ big. It’s an artifact of your decision making. Could Lagunitas be that big? Sure. But in the end it’ll be up to you. We’ll just try. But like every mountain climber knows first hand, there’s nothing up there on the top. The trip is the thing, & we’re sure trippin’ lately.
This past weekend, my wonderful wife decided to make brownies using a recipe she found on CraftBeer.com. The result was absolutely delicious, and I thought I’d share the results for you here.
She did deviate a little bit from that original recipe. We did not have any bourbon on hand to mix in, nor did we put any sort of nuts in the brownies. If nutty brownies are your thing, then have at it. Secondly, we decided to use a french press to essentially make stout coffee.
North Coast’s Old Rasputin was the beer used, as opposed to using a sweet stout mentioned in the recipe. Old Rasputin, to me, is the perfect blend of dark roasted flavors, but balanced with an adequate amount of residual sweetness from the unfermented sugars in the beer. The recipe requires 1/3 of a cup of beer, but I recommend just pouring half the bottle over about 2 tablespoons of ground coffee beans. After a few minutes you can measure out the amount needed for the recipe, and then drink the rest. The coffee and stout mixture is incredible decadent and rich. Almost makes the beer taste like it is a higher alcohol percentage than it actually is.
These don’t taste like any brownies I had ever eaten. I should clarify that it doesn’t really taste like Old Rasputin, or beer for that matter. As for the coffee, it imparts more so a coffee aroma, or flavor, as opposed to any coffee bitterness. These have the perfect balance of dark chocolate and sweetness. The coffee balances out the dark chocolate flavors, creating a smoothed out bitter, chocolate taste. The beer, along with both the white and brown sugar, create a very flavorful sweetness, without just tasting sugary.
This recipe is super easy to make, and definitely worth a try!
This past Friday, I had the opportunity to take part in a Lagunitas beer pairing dinner at Mandalay Bay’s Fleur. The event was organized by Certified Cicerone Sarah Johnson, Mandalay Bay’s director of food and beverage. The event was wonderfully executed, and featured not only great beer, but also very delicious food paired with it. Without further ado, let’s discuss the incredible dinner that took place!
Lagunitas’ pilsner was the first beer that we were given, to help whet our palates and prepare us for what was to come. This beer is extremely dry and crisp. It has the firm bitterness that pilsners should be known for, with a nice, grassy finish.
Seared Cajun Albacore, Yuzu Soy Vinaigrette, Garlic Chip paired with Censored Rich Copper Ale
Censored is an amberish red ale. It’s got a very sweet and rich malt character. Hops are at a minimum here, only poking their head out to balance out the sweetness at the very end and give it a little bit of an earthy finish. However, what made the beer really stand out, was the tuna. It was beyond soft and tender; the pieces would just fall apart in the chopsticks when trying to pick it up. The light, delicate flavor of the tuna was complimented by the sweet, soy vinaigrette that matched the sweetness in the beer perfectly. However, my favorite part was the green onions that wait until the end to bitter up the palate and clear out all the sweet flavors, causing you to reach for another sip of beer!
Wagyu Beef Carpaccio, Truffle Vinaigrette, Shaved Parmesan paired with Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale
The beer is all fruitiness, but not quite as sweet as Censored was. The beer is made with three different kinds of wheat, creating a soft body and a lot of sweet bread flavors in the beer. A bouquet of hops pour out of the glass. It’s very fruity, with aromas of various citrus and tropical fruits. It smells like Fruity Pebbles. Thin strips of raw beef were wrapped around a bushel of arugula and topped with parmesan, basically encompassing the only ingredients worth putting in a salad. After chewing on the bitter, peppery arugula, the fruitiness of Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ was a refreshing palate cleanser.
Loup de Mer Veracruz Style, Caper Beurre Blanc paired with Lagunitas IPA
That’s a bunch of fancy words that really mean “sea bass.” The crispy skin of the fish covered the very light and flaky meat, which was surrounded by artichokes, peppers, and olives. The mix of spices and vegetables gave the dish an herbaceousness that matched in character to the IPA. Lagunitas IPA is a great middle of the road IPA. It has a moderate malt character that you don’t quite find in IPA’s anymore. The hops have some of the typical grapefruit like bitterness, but it primarily leans towards a piney, floral character. While I do love the super dry, overly citrusy IPA’s, this beer was a reminder of how good a balanced IPA can be.
Lagunitas Braised Shortribs, Celery Root Mousse, Coffee Foam paired with Wilco Tango Foxtrot
This was definitely the best dish of the night. The beef was super tender, and just fell apart upon touching it. The coffee foam was more amusing than anything, but still added an interesting texture and added flavor. Celery root mousse was like eating sweet, creamy mashed potatoes. What made this paring great, was that the beef was braised in Wilco Tango Foxtrot. This beer is awesome. It has a strong, almost chocolatey malt backbone, but is also filled with massive citrus flavors from the hops.
Imperial Stout Bacon Beer Float
Not only was there a strip of bacon sticking out of the glass, the ice cream also had bits of bacon in it too. Not much can really be said about this. It’s one of those desserts that needs to be experienced to understand. It’s sweet, salty, and chocolatey. It was just perfect.
2009, 2010, 2012 Brown Shugga
In closing, we were given a platter of stinky cheeses and candied fruits and nuts to enjoy along with various vintages of Brown Shugga. Brown Shugga is Lagunitas’ winter seasonal beer, and it encompasses all the things that you should want in a winter beer. It has a bit of caramel-like malty sweetness to it, but also enough alcohol to balance it out. Fresh beer is always delicious, but it is also fun to age a beer and see how the character changes and develops. The 2009 vintage was incredibly smoothed out, with very little heat, or sweetness overpowering it. The beer becomes dangerously easy to drink at that point. I personally preferred the 2010 vintage. This had more oxidative characters to it, primarily those associated with higher levels of alcohol. Whereas the 2009 was easy drinking, the 2010 was incredibly complex in flavor, so much so that it demands to be sipped and enjoyed slow.
Once again, this was fantastic event, and was a great example of how beer can play a part in fine dining. Sarah Johnson’s next event will be a Beer Garden that is taking place as a part of Vegas Uncorked. Expect to see lots of delicious beers and awesome food!
Nearly 500 photos have been shared on Hooked on Hops from all over the country by our readers!
In case you were not aware, all craft beer photos posted on Instagram and tagged #hookedonhops, are posted not only on the sidebar of hookedonhops.com, but are also shared from our Twitter account, and posted to our Facebook page for everyone to see.
It’s our way of helping to create an online community of craft beer drinkers sharing the beers that they love through their photography!