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On The Hunt For Some Interesting New Beers? Signup For The Bruery’s Reserve Society.

I’m all about spending your money this week!  I dropped some details earlier this week about the Crooked Stave Cellar Reserve club and the signup info which began this past Monday.  Now it’s time to talk about The Bruery’s Reserve Society.  The Bruery, out of Placentia, CA has a beer club geared towards total beer geeks, nerds, connoisseurs, lovers, collectors, whatever…, that is a great way to acquire exclusive and hard-to-find Bruery beers.

The Reserve Society is entering its’ 4th year and shows no signs of slowing down as they continue to grow and cater to their loyal following.  I joined the club last year and have been very impressed by their wide variety of beers, collaborations, parties and other benefits that are exclusive to Reserve Society members. This year’s $295 fee will guarantee you:

— 1 bottle of Melange #3 (Initial Package, January 2013 pickup)
— 1 bottle of White Chocolate (Initial Package, January 2013 pickup)
— 1 bottle of Otiose (Initial Package, January 2013 pickup)
— 1 bottle of Chocolate Rain (Available in March 2013)
— 2 bottles of Black Tuesday (Available in late October 2013)
— 2 bottles Barrel Aged 5 Golden Rings (Available in December 2013)
— 1 bottle of Mystery Beer #1 (Mystery Release Date)
— 1 bottle of Mystery Beer #2 (Mystery Release Date)
— 1 piece of high quality merchandise

As a Reserve Society member, you’ll also receive 15% off purchases on the Bruery website, Provisions Store and Tasting Room, a membership card, climate controlled storage of your beers until 3.31.2014 and access to a ton of releases throughout the year.  Here’s a tentative list:

— Sour in the Rye
— Chocolate Rain*
— White Oak
— Sans Pagaie
— Bois
— Bois Aged in Rye Whiskey Barrels*
— Bois Aged in Brandy Barrels*
— Bois Aged in new American Oak Barrels #4 Toast*
— Kumquat Sour In The Rye*
— Barrel Aged English Barleywine with Portola Coffee* (Name pending)
— Blueberry Sour* (Name pending)
— Mystery Beer #1
— Mystery Beer #2
— Tart of Darkness
— White Chocolate
— Barrel Aged Apricot Strong Ale* (Name pending)
— Bourbon Barrel Aged Smoking Wood
— Cherry Oude Tart*
— Oude Tart
— Black Tuesday
— Grey Monday*
— Melange #1
— Bourbon Barrel Aged Autumn Maple
— Melange #3
— Rueuze
— Barrel Aged 5 Golden Rings*
— Smoking Wood – Rye Barrel Aged
— Approximately 8 very exciting Provisions Series releases

* = Exclusive (Reserve & Hoarders Society Only, not included in Preservation Society membership or to general release)
Black Tuesday, Chocolate Rain, Oude Tart and on and on and on.  Did you see the lines at GABF this year for 1 oz. pours of Black Tuesday?  If not, here’s a shot from the Thursday release.  You can skip all this madness and get secure your bottles through the Reserve Society.
Reserve Society members were given 2 bottles of Black Tuesday with their membership this year and were allowed to purchase up to 5 additional bottles.  The guaranteed bottles of the amazing 18.2% ABV, Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout is worth the price alone.  Don’t forget about Chocolate Rain, Black Tuesday’s big brother, which is a 19% ABV, Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout brewed with vanilla bean and cacao nibs.  Yeah, that’s included too.

Don’t even get me started on sours.  Name a fruit and they probably make a sour beer with it.  It’s ridiculous.  I love it.
The only catch with the club is that you either have to live in CA or have a “trustee” that lives in CA. My trustee is a beer trading friend that happens to live near The Bruery, is also a Reserve Society member and doesn’t mind picking up my beers and shipping them to me.  In exchange for his troubles, I send him some local Colorado brews every now and then and obviously pay for shipping costs through my FedEx account.  It’s actually quite easy and keeps me up to date with all the latest releases.

If shipping’s not your thing, you can always use the club as an excuse to make a road trip or fly out for a fun weekend.  They’ll even hold onto your beers for you until March 2014.  Mrs. Brewtally Insane and I flew out earlier this year to attend their “Initiation Party” and try a ton of one-offs and past Reserve Society releases.  There were plenty of mind-blowing beers to sample and I met some great beer peeps from all across the U.S.  Here’s a scan of the menu from the party.
It’s a quick flight and makes for a great 2-3 day trip.

Sorry to drain your wallets this week, but hey, it’s that time of year.  Sign up and get rewarded or miss out and get out-of-the-way.  Beer freaks looking to join for the first time can enroll on Thursday, October 25th at 11AM.  More details are HERE and your direct link to sign up can be found HERE.

Owner Patrick Rue is good people and I can’t say enough good things about his amazing beers. Definitely worth your time and money.

Ten Breweries You Can’t Afford to Miss at GABF

Here we are, just a few short days away from the Great American Beer Festival and I’m as giddy as a little schoolgirl.  But whether you’re a seasoned veteran or this is your first time attending, the GABF can be a little overwhelming.  580 breweries pouring 2000+ beers will do that to you.  You’ve got to have some sort of plan of attack.

For me, I print out the GABF Map and mark the breweries that I’d kick myself if I were to miss.  The floor is divided up by regions of the U.S.  I can generally breeze through the Colorado breweries since I’ve either had or can easily get most of the beers pouring in that area.  That’s not to say you shouldn’t stop by and say hi to your favorite brewers.  It’s also worth nothing that some are planning on bringing some pretty special beers.  Avery Brewing will be pouring both Oud Floris and Odio Equum from their hard-to-find Barrel-Aged Series, while Crooked Stave is rumored to be bringing the super delicious and rare Persica.  I’d certainly recommend spending some time in the Mountain Region at the GABF, but for me, I’ll probably limit my time there and focus on breweries I don’t normally have easy access to.

So where do we begin?  Russian River, Lost Abbey / Port, Cigar City, Dogfish Head all seem like obvious choices, but there are some really interesting, smaller breweries that don’t distribute out this direction at all.  Jonathan Shikes wrote a great article in the Westword last week with his picks, many of which would have made my list as well.  Three Floyds, Bell’s and Cambridge are all top-notch breweries.  Check out the entire article HERE.  I’d like to add a couple more of my favorites for you to check out this weekend.

1. The Bruery, Placentia, CA.  Patrick Rue is brewing up an empire and a loyal following through his Reserve Society and awesome lineup of beers.  Whether it’s mouth-puckering sours or thick, inky stouts, you can’t go wrong.  While they do distribute a handful of beer to Colorado, quite a few never leave California.  Recommendations: Oude Tart, Black Tuesday.

2. Upland Brewing, Bloomington, IN.  Upland makes quite a few quality beers, but their Lambics are not to be missed.  The bottles, which are sold online a few times a year, always sell out within minutes.  Recommendations: Any of their fruit Lambics, which range from Strawberry to Kiwi to Persimmon to Peach.

3. Surly Brewing, Brooklyn Center, MN.  Beer for a glass, from a can.  For the hop heads, they make two great ones, called Furious (IPA) and Abrasive (Double IPA).  They’ve also got a Coffee Brown called Coffee Bender that goes great with a brownie or doughnut.  Keep an eye out for any of their big, seasonals like Darkness (Russian Imperial Stout) or this year’s anniversary ale, SYX (Strong Ale). Recommendations: Anything.

4. Allagash Brewing, Portland, ME.  The little brewery from Maine makes some might fine Belgian-style beers.  As a sour fan, I’ll be looking for anything from their Coolship series.  If you lean towards the sweeter side, look for their Dubbel, Grand Cru or Quad.  Recommendations: From sweet to sour, you can’t go wrong.

5. Foothills Brewing, Winston-Salem, NC.  As the South catches up to the craft beer movement, Foothills has taken the lead with their big stouts and barrel-aged experimentation.  They produce solid beers across the board.  Recommendations: Seeing Double IPA, Sexual Chocolate Russian Imperial Stout.

6. Iron Hill Brewery, PA, NJ and DE.  This east coast brewpub, which has 10 locations in 3 states, always brings a huge beer selection to the GABF Floor.  From sweet to sour, light to dark, hoppy to malty, they’ve got something for everyone.  There’s a reason why they’ve won a GABF medal, every year, for the past 15 years.  Stop by they’re multiple tables and get ready to be impressed. Recommendations: With an ever-rotating beer menu, there’s no telling what they’ll be pouring this year.  But, they always have detailed descriptions of every beer and plenty of brewers around to answer your questions.

7. Founders Brewing, Grand Rapids, MI.  Where to begin?  I don’t remember ever seeing Founders at a previous GABF, so when I saw them on this year’s list, I got pretty excited.  These guys are famous for their KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout), which is brewed with vanilla and coffee and aged in bourbon barrels.  In addition to their seasonal and specialty brews, they make an exceptional lineup of year-round beers.  Recommendations: Centennial IPA, Devil Dancer (Triple IPA), Cerise (Cherry Beer), Backwoods Bastard (Scotch Ale) or any of their Stouts (KBS, CBS, Breakfast Stout or Imperial Stout).

8. Shorts Brewing, Bellaire, MI.  I think I did enough preaching for Short’s earlier this week with my post about their limited release of 6-packs to Denver for the GABF.  Still, I want to make sure you’ve got them on your list.  They love to experiment and take chances, which makes for some very fun and unique brews.  Recommendation: Peaches & Creme and any of the other experimental brews they decide to bring with them.

9. Weyerbacher, Easton, PA.  Another east coast gem serving up a wide variety of beers, ranging from Belgian-Style Ales to American IPA’s.  Although their distribution range has steadily grown over the past few years, they still haven’t made it to our market.  Recommendations: Imperial Pumpkin Ale, Riserva Sour, Heresy Imperial Stout and Double Simcoe IPA.

10. Société Brewing, San Diego, CA.  Founded in 2012 by Travis Smith and Doug Constantiner, who met while working together at The Bruery.  They decided to join forces and open their own brewery this past June.  Since then, they’ve been releasing west-coast IPA’s, Belgian-Style Ales and a Russian Imperial Stout.  They’ve also got a spacious barrel room, with a variety of sour beers aging away. Recommendations: This brewery’s only been open for a few months and I haven’t had a chance to try them yet, but I’ve heard good things and would highly recommend stopping by their booth for a sample or two.

I hope this list helps introduce you to at least a couple new breweries this year at GABF.  Get out there, have fun and discover some new beers.  Feel free to e-mail me at with any other suggestions you might have.  Hope to see you this weekend!


Beer Trippin’ in California. The Bruery, Orange, CA

In my last two posts I covered our stops at The Provisions Store and The Reserve Society Party during our trip to California.  Our last stop of the day was at The Bruery’s actual brewery.  It’s  kind of tucked away off the highway and doesn’t look like much from the outside.  In fact, if it hadn’t been for the big grain silo out front, we probably would have missed it.

They have a huge, heavy door leading into the tasting room and we were greeted by their big chalkboard o’ beer.

mmm, beer.

As you can probably tell from the picture above, there were plenty of tasty options to choose from.

Patti and I both went with the BeRazzled, a raspberry sour beer.  Hey, I can’t resist a good sour and this was right up my alley.

Patti double fistin’!

The tasting room has a small, 4 or 5 seat bar area, with a row of taps on one side and a large fridge with bottles around the corner.  There were about a dozen picnic tables throughout the tasting room and nearly all were full.  We shared a table with a group of guys from Las Vegas, NV, who had also been at the Reserve Society party.  They were beer traders, had been to GABF a few times and knew their stuff, so we had plenty to talk about.

I explored the area and snapped some pictures of the brewing equipment, fermentation tanks and some of their barrels.  I was really surprised at how small the place was.  For the amount of beer they pump out, I really thought the place would be bigger.  We didn’t get a formal tour or anything, but I’m sure there’s a barrel room hidden in the back somewhere.  With the St. Patrick’s day holiday and all, it was just too busy to ask the bartenders any questions.  The three guys working behind the bar were busy, busy.

The Bruery doesn’t offer any food, but have different food trucks park outside on the weekend.  You can bring in whatever you’d like to snack on or eat there.  This seems to be the way more and more places are going, which is fine by me.

For our next round, I went with a glass of 2010 Saison De Lente, which is a slightly spicy farmhouse beer, with a touch of pepper and fruit.  Really nice beer.  Patti got the Humulus Lager which was pumped through a Randall with ginger.

The Bruery tasting room has a fun, laid back atmosphere and everybody seemed friendly and outgoing.  I could get used to a place like this.

Barrels lining the tasting room.

Someone at our table shared the bottle list with us and it was solid.  The prices were the same as retail and even cheaper for us, given the 15% off we get from the Reserve Society membership.

The Bruery tap list.

I couldn’t help it, I wanted to end the night on a sour note, so we split a bottle of Provisions: Mother Funker.  Funker is a sour ale that was aged for several years in Chardonnay barrels.  This beer is fantastic!  Tart green apples, enamel stripping acidity, lemon and citrus and a very dry finish.  I could have sipped this beer all night long.  At $12.75 for a 750mL bottle, it’s delicious and reasonably priced.

The Bruery Provisions: Mother Funker

Eventually, it was time to wrap it up and head back to the hotel for some much needed sleep.  It was a bit of a whirlwind day, but it was certainly a fun one.  If you’re ever out that way, be sure to stop by and pay them a visit.  You won’t be disappointed.  Be sure to check their hours though, as they’re currently only open on fri, sat and sun. 

Hope you enjoyed some of the highlights from our trip to California.  It was a whirlwind of a St. Patrick’s day, but we had a ton of fun.  I’ve got tons of other beer news to share with you, so check back again soon to stay up to date with everything.  Until next time, Cheers!

Beer Trippin’ in California. The Bruery Provisions, Orange, CA

After having a nice trip to catch some baseball and beers out in Arizona, it was time to move further west to California.  My parents took the kids and caught a flight home to Denver, while my wife and I hit the first flight out to Ontario.  No, not Canada eh.  There’s another Ontario, which  is east of Los Angeles, CA and only about 30 minutes from The Bruery in Orange, CA.

I was pretty happy with my $9 / day rental car through Enterprise, until I noticed that gas prices are pushing up to nearly $5 / gallon out there.  That’s crazy talk.  Luckily we didn’t have too far to go.  There was a steady, cold rain coming down as we started our journey south from the airport.

Our first stop was at In-N-Out for some early lunch.  We rolled in just as they were opening their doors at 10:30AM.  If you’re coming from an area without In-N-Out, into an area with In-N-Out, you must stop there first for a bite to eat.  I don’t want excuses people, just make it happen.  It’s inexpensive, delicious and send me one while you’re at it.  E-mail me and I’ll get you shipping information.  Thanks and well done.

Now with that out of the way, we could begin some southern California beer-trippin’.  Our first stop was at The Bruery Provisions.  Back in 2010, The Bruery Provisions opened as a specialty market filled with some of the finest beer, wine, cheese and other grocery items around.  They have several coolers filled with some very nice Belgians and a wide variety of American microbrews.  They’ve also got a huge selection of Bruery beers, including a line of beers that is made exclusively for the store.  The cheese section was pretty impressive with dozens of different types available for purchase.  The Provisions is also the pick up point for members of The Bruery Reserve Society, which we’ll talk about later.

In the back of The Provisions is a tasting area with an extensive beer menu, as well as meat and cheese plates.  Patti picked up three different wedges of cheese and I ordered a flight of beers for us to try.

Specialty flight and delicious cheese!

From left to right: Filmishmish (oak aged sour apricot), Humulus Lager (hoppy imperial pilsner), Sour in the Rye (oak aged sour ale), White Oak (bourbon barrel aged wheatwine) and Chocosaurus Rye (collaboration with Bootlegger’s; lager brewed with cocoa nibs and vanilla beans).  The cheeses were brie, cambozola and goat.  It was quite the start to our day.

The Provisions also offers free wifi, so we got our laptop and tuned in to American Craft Beer Radio to hear Gary V’s broadcast and catch up on what was happening back home in Colorado.  The staff was busy filling orders for Reserve Society members picking up their orders.  I’m a member of the club, but because I had a large order, I’ve got a friend who’s going to pick it up and ship it out to me.  It’s easier than trying to fumble with it at the airport or trying to pack it up for FedEx.  We had limited time and my hookup said he’d take care of it for me.

There were quite a few guest tap offerings to go along with the extensive list of Bruery beers.  They had Russian River’s Pliny the Elder, Allagash’s Odyssey, Ballast Point’s Sea Monster Imperial Stout and Great Divide’s Espresso Yeti to name a few.  There wasn’t a bad beer on the menu and the staff seemed knowledgable and able to help with pairings and suggestions.

They periodically host tastings and offer classes where they pair up flights of beer and cheese or wine and cheese.  Tune into their facebook page to keep up with the tap list and new beers arriving in the store.  They are also working on getting approval for their patio.  Once that happens, you’ll be able to enjoy a beer outside!

We could have easily spent an afternoon in this place.  Friendly staff, great beers and cheese.  Orange is a nice little town with antique stores and family restaurants.  We’ll be back for sure and this is a must-stop if you’re ever out that way.  Not to mention, Reserve Society members get 15% off purchases.  We need a place like this in Colorado!  Their address is: 143 N. Glassell Ave, Orange, CA 92866.

We had such a beer filled trip to California, that I’m going to split this into three parts.  Check back soon and we’ll take you inside The Bruery’s Reserve Society Initiation party and then finish up with a stop at The Bruery’s prodcution facility and tasting room.  Until then, Cheers!

Beer Trippin’ in Arizona. Baseball and Beer Hunting.

My family and I are big baseball fans and every year we find ourselves heading to Arizona for a few days to take in some Spring Training games.  We got up bright and early on Wednesday morning to grab the first flight from Denver, CO into Phoenix, AZ.  As we were waiting for our bags at baggage claim, we realized that we had accidentally left the kids bag at home…  NOOO!!!

In the past, my wife and I would always share a bag with them and fit their stuff in with ours.  But, since they would be flying back to Colorado with their “Mimi” and “Pap” and my wife and I were heading to California for the weekend, we decided to give them their own bag.  Unfortunately, since we got up at 2:45AM on the day of our flight, we packed the bag and had all their things in it, but we forgot it at the top of the staircase at our house.  Not a great start to the trip.  Hey, it’s not like we pulled a “Home Alone” and left our kids behind.  Trying to stay positive about the situation, it gave us a chance to get them some new clothes and was a way to kill a few hours before In ‘N’ Out opened.

mmmm, in-n-out!

So a few hours later, after a trip to Target, they had clothes and we were off to get checked into our hotel in Scottsdale, AZ.  When we got in, everyone was tired and ready for a nap.  With not much else going on, I decided to head out for a little beer hunting.  I always try to track down new and interesting beers when I’m out-of-town.  I like trying beers I’ve never had and usually keep a mental list of things I’ve been wanting to try from different regions around the U.S.

Within a few miles of our hotel was a Bevmo! and a Total Wine.  These places are practically next door to each other.  It’d be like having Argonaut and Lukas Liquors across the street from each other back home.  Kind of crazy, but it makes an out of towner like me happy to not have to drive far for good beer.

Bevmo! was solid and had a wide variety of beers, both local and imports, but Total Wine was just awesome!  They had a sign advertising 2500+ different beers.  I liked the setup quite a bit.  They divided their beer section up by style.  For example, all the IPA’s were in one section, in alphabetical order, with notes about some of the beers and staff recommendations.  They even had a section for special releases and limited beers.  It was almost too easy.

Total Wine offers classes every month educating consumers and offering samples of different styles of beers.  They had some deep discount beers to get rid of their past seasonals.  I saw quite a few xmas seasonals for great prices.  For example, Sierra Nevada Celebration and Odell Isolation for $4 / 6-pack.  Great idea that I wish stores back home would adopt.  It prevents beer from just sitting around for months and keeps inventory fresh.

Anyway, the store was great and I got lost in their beer section for nearly an hour.  I made a mix-6 of some locals and grabbed several bombers to open during our stay or take home to the cellar.

Arizona locals.

The next day, we headed to Salt River Fields to watch the Colorado Rockies take on the Chicago Cubs.  We had perfect seats about 20 rows back behind home plate.  We were in the shade and it was 84 degrees.  Glorious!  You couldn’t have asked for a better day.  There’s not much of a beer scene at the stadium, but you can get an $8 Blue Moon or a $10 bomber of Fat Tire.  I stuck with my bottle of water and enjoyed the game.

The view from our seats. Perfect day!

Yeah, the Cubs still suck and the Rockies won 7-5.  Hey, there’s always next year Cub fans.

After the game, my parents offered to watch the kids for a few hours, which gave my wife and I a chance to visit a few local breweries.  Our first stop was at Papago Brewing in Scottsdale, AZ.  As soon as I walked in, I knew it was our kind of place.  The walls were completely covered with beer signs, tap handles, mirrors,  posters and so on.  Papago has 30 beers on tap, which featured both their beers along with a great selection of guest taps.  I decided to try their Hopago IPA and Patti went for their Oude Zuipers Tripel.  Both were well balanced and very drinkable.

An impressive tap lineup at Papago Brewing.

Oskar Blues was there doing a promotional deal with their Deviant Dale’s.  The rep, who was from Denver, spent a long time chatting with us about the Colorado beer scene and gave us some swag to take home.  I had a tough time trying to deciding on a second beer.  Papago has about 9 glass door refrigerators full of bottled beer that’s out in the bar area.  They allow you to buy bottles or make 6-packs to take home or you can pick out a bottle, bring it to your table and drink it there.  I LOVE this idea!  First, the fact that you can actually look at the bottles and not have to order from an out-of-date menu was nice, but also being able to take things to go or share with friends at the bar…  Brilliant!

They had all kinds of locals, but some nice out of state options and imports, including all sorts of beers from Dogfish Head, Epic, Marin, Ballast Point, Lost Abbey and so on.  They even had big time beers like Firestone Walker’s Sucaba, their highly sought after barleywine. named this one of the top 20 places to have a beer in the entire world and Papago has the beer to back it up.

I was pretty impressed and for my next beer, I went with a Three Floyds / Mikkeller collaboration called Boogoop.  This was a new one for me and is listed as a 10.4% wheatwine.  Big hops, sweet, sweet malty backbone.  I loved every drop of it.  Patti got a Bear Republic Racer 5, which is a classic American IPA from Healdsburg, CA.  You can spend a pretty penny in this place if you’re not careful.  Well done Papago.  We will be back.

Shuffleboard in the back at Papago.

Our next and final stop of the day was at Four Peaks Brewing in Scottsdale, AZ.  We got a table outside and took a look at the beer menu.  Patti went for the sampler and I ordered a Hop Knot, American IPA.  Their sampler consists of 8 different beers which range from a Peach Ale to an Oatmeal Stout.  It wasn’t anything mind blowing, but they were all well made and were pretty tasty.  They had good food and a friendly atmosphere (think Rock Bottom).  They sell growlers and bottles to go as well.

Four Peaks sampler.

Arizona is slowly transforming into a decent beer town.  Every year we come it seems that another brewery has popped up and is trying to educate the locals on choosing better beer.  Arizona Beer Week was two weeks ago and they have various beer festivals throughout the year.  It’s not exactly Colorado out here, but they’re working on it.

Today was another perfect day of baseball.  We sat 8 rows behind home plate to watch the Brewers vs. the Royals.  Spring training is tough to beat!

Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day and we’re heading out for a big ol’ throwdown at The Bruery in Orange, California.  This should be a pretty epic party with nearly 50 small batch, hard to get beers being poured, plus 4 guest breweries and a ton of food.  We’ll be making a few other stops along the way, so stay tuned.

Tomorrow’s schedule will consist of The Bruery, The Bruery and The Bruery!