Sour Summer

A summer full of sours, well the title suggests it’s been a sour summer but it’s been a really good one on the beer front.

Phoenix is a very hot place and my favorite way to escape the heat is by drinking a nice refreshing sour. There is just something about having some tart fruitiness with a little bit of alchohol mixed in to pretend I’m not in the land of 100 non stop degrees.

My favorite sour thus far has got to be Razzing Arizona by College Street Brewing.

Razzing Arizona 5.2% ABV

I first had this in a can, Kevin Schiro from King’s let me try one. Also photo credit goes out to him on this one! Probably bad choice on his part I ended up drinking all four of his four pack… but he does work in a convenient place to pick up more beer so I only feel slightly bad. I’m not sure if it was because it is a kettle sour, but this had the perfect amount of sour to me! Puckered my lips but not too overwhelming, hence why I drank two more (the fourth one was two weeks later). There was a slight malt taste, but mainly just raspberries, salt and sour. If they made raspberry flavored Laffy Taffy’s they would taste like this beer!

Razzing Arizona 5.2% ABV

Kevin and I went to Headquarters for dinner and saw that it was on draft so we both had to try it. Sadly, the flavor didn’t settle as well on draft as it does with the can so the fruit and tart balance was missing, the sour was really the only taste there. This is not the only beer we’ve felt this way during sour summer either: Rainbow Sherbert from Prairie Artisan Ales is also better in the can. This is our humble opinion, but I mean Kevin tries thousands of beer a year so I trust his judgement. Have you tried this in a can and on draft yet?

Kevin and I at King’s Beer and Wine

First time I had Rainbow Sherbert was on draft at King’s. A lot of the fruit flavors jump out at you to start: raspberry, pineapple and orange, then it is pretty tart but nothing like the Razzing Arizona tart. Another low ABV that’s just easy to drink and 100% tastes like Sweettarts. Just like the candy, it’s pretty sweet so I couldn’t have too much of it at one time.

Now the crazy thing is the can tastes way more creamy and actually like sherbert. I grew up eating sherbert and mixing with 7Up, drinking this beer from the can I got the same sensation! The flashbacks were real. Sorry for the below picture quality, I thought the lights were cool but it was hard to really capture the can. I really enjoy the can art, go grab one and check it out!

Rainbow Sherbert 5.2% ABV

My third favorite sour of the summer has been Boom Box (Triple Berry) by The Beer Research Institute, which you can check out my review on in my last post!

Humble runner up: ASMR Fission 003 by Stillwater Artisanal, which I drank warm after hiking Cibecue Falls with my lovely friends Alexandra and Monica! The water wasn’t pretty, but still an amazing hike. You can checkout my rating of this beer on Untappd: kylied312.

ASMR Fission 003 6% ABV

What sour beers have you had this summer!? Any I should be on the lookout for?

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Beer and research!?!

Two things I enjoy most are reconnecting with old friends and making new ones, while enjoying beer!

Seemed only fitting to try a new brewery for both scenarios and what better place than Beer Research Institute in Mesa, AZ!? To me getting to know people is research because you form a hypothesis about said other person and find out by asking questions if your hypothesis is right.

I’ve had BRI’s beer at some other places, like King’s Beer and Wine, but hadn’t been to the actual brewery so when my friend I haven’t really talked to in two years wanted to hang out I knew exactly where I wanted to go and I was not disappointed. You may all remember Josh from back when I first started my blog, if not check out Monday Reflection.

Before, I had only seen BRI IPAs at places, which by now you may know I’m not a huge IPA person. At the actual brewery I was super happy to see their list of many styles! In true Kylie fashion, I ordered a flight to start off. Josh looked at me and said “dang you’re not messing around.” Not when it comes to beer and trying a new place. 😂

I’m pretty mad at myself for not getting a better picture of this flight holder. This is the fucking coolest flight holder ever! The holder is metal, shaped like brass knuckles and the glasses are little beakers! The science nerd in me had a little 5 year old response and got all giddy how awesome this is. Then the brewery made it even better by replying to my Instagram post saying “Thanks for the love. And yeah, we have the coolest fucking beer flight EVER!! ❤” Have you seen a cooler flight holder?

They have bartop, large stool tables and booths. Some bar food and then all the yummy craft beer. The staff is super friendly and it’s just one of those chill atomspheres you want to hang out and talk forever.

Barrell Aged Dark Side Until I Die 9.5%

This wasn’t my favorite barrell aged, but it wasn’t horrible. This was the first BA I’ve had from BRI so I wasn’t disappointed but just another slightly boozy and coffee beer. But they did have one of the best fruity sour beers I’ve ever had, Boom Box!

Boom Box 4.2%

This is a berry smoothie with alcohol and some tart! Okay, for most a lot of tartness, but for me it was perfect. I showed my coworker a picture and there in case comes to our second research project because they said they wanted to try it so I of course with no hesitation said lets go! Back and forth IMs and we ended up going for their lunch and I was off work! They concur this beer is amazing. Sour, fruit and alcohol nothing is better for the heat here in Phoenix. It’s not strong but it’s a tad filling due to the fruit pulp.

I’m a person who needs to go twice to a local place before writing about it because sometimes one time is just too good or too bad to do just once.

Well with the second coworker liking the beer and the service being also super friendly, the second time I really enjoyed BRI and will be back. I mean…. it’s 15 minutes from work without traffic so why not!

Gose for the Kill 6.2%

Had to try a new beer to see if anything else stood out and the Gose was really bomb. The grapefruit flavor was very upfront but that salty gose tartness lingered in the mouth. It was very well balanced in my opinion and my coworker Quay who is new to craft beer thought it was really good or just being nice to me.. who knows, hence the research!

The point is if you’re in Mesa, AZ go. Their IPAs are really good, just not my thing. They have a bomb selection of bar food and awesome people who work there. All in all a good brewery.

Kombucha… Beer!?!

I’m pretty sure most of us saw Kombucha beer coming, but did anyone expect it to actually be so tasty?
Normal Kombucha has less than 0.5% alcohol so when places started adding more and we could pretend that drinking 7.0% Kombucha Beer is actually a good alternative, happiness arouse. Does anyone else wonder though why IDs do not have to be checked when buying Kombucha but it does for non-alcoholic beer!?
The first time I tried Kombucha beer was at Mellow Mushroom on Mother’s day…. my mom lives in another state so what else was I supposed to do? Tanner was in town so we had to hit up Mellow for old times sake.

6% ABV

Anyways… I had Bourbon Peach American Wild Ale by Unity Vibration Kombucha. Honestly, I wasn’t really a fan because it was super sweet and oddly had very little carbonation, which is highly unusual for Kombucha. Initially I was like meh this is sweet, but I can get through it and half way through I was actually really struggling to finish it. I’m sure if anyone is a peach flavor fan and does more of the ciders they would like this beer, but the flavor was too syrupy for me vs an actual peach. That’s probably what led to the over abundance of sugar in my mind.

I really thought Kombucha Beer may not be my thing until Alexandra Nelson said that we should go get some from Whole Food’s.
After work we were going over to her house to work on more work and homework so me being me, loved the idea of getting beer before going to do that. Pretty sure I’m a bad influence on people… I hear way too often “I don’t really drink unless we’re hanging out.” Is what it is… my goal is to just help people understand the finer things in life 🙂 like yummy craft beer.

Alexandra and I

Booch Craft is the brand that Alexandra wanted to get and so grateful she did! We are both huge ginger fans so the Ginger, Lime and Rosemary one of course had to be tried and I didn’t want to get the same one so I reluctantly grabbed the Grapefruit, Hibiscus and Heather one. I remember how my first experience went so I was a little worried that Grapefruit was going to be too sweet.

I was pleasantly surprised that the hibiscus and heather notes really blended out the grapefruit so it was neither too sweet or too acidic! The fruity up front taste was evened out by the floral back notes; combination was great. Unlike the Unity brand Booch Craft had a good amount of carbonation. Think for a different style of beer it would be too much, but Kombucha is generally really carbonated so it was perfect. For being 7% ABV there wasn’t really any noticeable strong alcohol flavor, but Alexandra did get a little tipsy so it was real… sometimes why I need my low tolerance friends around otherwise I’d never know ha. 4/5 stars for me on this one!

Organic Grapefruit, Hibiscus and Heather Kombuch, 7% ABV

Like I mentioned before we are huge fans of ginger! I make homemade juice weekly with ginger, lime and kale so already knew ginger and lime work great together. The ginger was a little more mellow than I would like but you for sure get hit with that taste up front since it’s such a strong flavor and then a floral taste lingers on the tongue. Really balanced and probably a good amount of ginger for people who don’t really drink it all the time. Again carbonation was on point. I highly enjoyed these 4/5 for me for this one as well.

Great way to welcome Alexandra to the NSE Adventure!

Organic Ginger, Lime and Rosehips 7% ABV

Drinking craft is a “Great Notion”

Great Notion Brewing has been on my go to list for quite sometime mainly because I haven’t seen it here whatsoever and my lovely social media beer friend Wolf @beerguypdx posts about them all the time.

While looking for a place in Portland I didn’t try to specifically find one close to Great Notion but I did know it was in the Alberta area and that’s where I looked… only found an Air BnB a 10 minute walk from Great Notion Brewing! Needless to say I was a happy camper or actually Air BnBer… (may have just made up a word).

Now since we went out and explored so much didn’t take advantage of being so close to the brewery until the last night, which was a true crime and I would redo that mistake next time I go to Portland.

Great Notion has two locations and the Alberta one had bar top, table top and outdoor seating. Just a really fun and chill vibe, but I mean most of Portland is that way in my opinion. The Alberta Arts District especially just some really great places to hang out and drink!

Since Great Notion was after being at Rogue, I may have been a little tipsy but dear lord the two beers I had were amazing and the food was spot on. They, like most places in Portland, had vegan, vegetarian and of course meat options. The tacos I had were so dang good.

To start I ordered something bold and strong, which I mean after already being tipsy was it necessary nope! But go strong or go home right!? Bourbon, Berries and Cream sounded like a wonderful start to the night.

Bourbon, Berries and Cream 12.5% ABV

Normally sweet stouts aren’t my thing because it’s either like cough syrup or should be a mead. This though was like blueberry pie without the nasty bready crust flavoring and washing it down with some yummy bourbon. Of course the best part of pie is the yummy berry filling! Even with the high ABV I couldn’t tell there was a strong alcohol taste, but I think the hint of bourbon is what mellowed out the sweetness. A 4.5/5 rating from me.

I ordered Jammy Pants to end the night because hello Jammy Pants, great name I couldn’t stop laughing! I also needed something with little less of a punch since still needed to walk home.

This is a lovely sour with Bosenberry, Blueberry and Marionberry puree with only a 7% ABV. Since it was a sour all the yummy berries didn’t taste overly sweet at all. Honestly tasted like mixed berry greek yogurt, minus the creamy flavoring, but with that blend of berry, sweet and tartness. A 4/5 rating from me!

Jammy Pants 7% ABV

I cannot wait to go back to Portland where the food is great, weather is perfect, craft beer and wine are on point and it’s so beautiful! Great place to celebrate my 26th birthday. 5/5 will return or some cliche review line like that!

When in Portland, we drink!

Oregon’s craft beer scene is pretty great in my opinion! I may have gotten a little tipsy at Rogue Ales and told the server I wish I lived there and he was from Phoenix so he totally understood!

The first time I had Rogue was pretty recently because our Fry’s grocery store had a few cans and they were all really good, but being at their brewery was heaven! Probably 2nd favorite flight holder, Wilderness Brewing Company still holds number 1 for me.

Until I saw them at the Saturday market in Portland I didn’t realize they had a location there. Drinking their Hazelnut Brown Nectar on tap was amazing, not as sweet as it is in a can!

Kurt and I

I started with the Marionberry Cider since the berries are great in this area. This was a little tart, medium carbonation and the berries made it sweet. Tasted like a yummy Marionberry pie without the crust. 5 oz pour was enough for me since it was a little too much sugar, but no more than ciders normally have. Switched gears to The Helles is a Bock? Mainly got it for the name, I laughed for quite awhile over that one. German style is great and this was a nice bready, light, clean and a tad wheaty. Had the perfect golden color and hardly any smell to it.

Then tried out the Tree-D barelywine. 10.87% ABV had that intense boozey sweet smell that most barelywines have. This was a syrup thick texture with a piney medicinal taste. Lastly, tried out the Rhubarb Schmubarb because again a great name and I love Rhubarb. Sadly, I wasn’t a fan. The color matched perfectly but was pretty light on the fruit flavor, was a little tart and overrall an easy light drink.

Rolling Thunder 2019 12.8% ABV

Rogue does the Rolling Thunder every year and this one sounded amazing since whiskey barrell aged and coffee. This definetly had the whiskey, chocolate, coffee and boozey notes blended together in such a balanced beer. Pretty heavy hitter the 10 oz gave me a nice buzz.
Didn’t try the food here, but everything smelled so great and looked amazing. The atomsphere here was just really fun. I could see myself hanging out there quite often. They have events throughout the week and give back to the community.

They grow all their own hops and ingredients at their Rogue Farm since 2008.

Portland… Deschutes Brewery

Wandering around charming Portland and just couldn’t resist stopping into Deschutes Brewery. Deschutes is one of those beers I always pick up because it’s from Oregon and I’m prone to trying anything from OR or WA, so going to the actual location was a must.

Normally, I’m not a sampler because whatever I’m going to finish it if I like it or not but I’ve had quite a few of their beers in bottles and knew we were only stopping for one so I wasn’t going to waste it. I tried The Dissident, a great sour that for sure has some cherry notes and you can taste the Pinot Noir.

The Dissident 10.5% ABV

Kurt got The Blushing Brut Róse IPA, which I was eye because Oregon and beer/wine is amazing! But to my dissapoint it was dry and floral like a good Róse should be, but the hoppy IPA aftertaste was way too much for me. To each their own of course because Kurt liked it. I wanted something more because not going to lie the Wonderlust Lager and Black Butte Porter are some of my go to’s so I wanted something great…. then the bartender recommended the Thai Chili Sour!!!!

Thai Chili Sour 4% ABV

I won’t lie I was skeptical because Thai Chili I never expected to be a sour, but holy crap would I drink this everyday! I’m obsessed with sours and LOVE ginger so the lemongrass sour bitter up front leveled out with the ginger aftertaste to settle out the pallet was amazing! Couldn’t have been more happy to drink a beer in the perfect temperature cool atomsphere of Portland!

They have food, indoor, outdoor and bartop seating with some super intricate wood carved arches, which I didn’t get a picture of but they are having a sour fest on Saturday so we may or may not go back 🤗 if we do I’ll take more pictures. Didn’t try the food because we went to Black Water Bar for the vegam food because vegan food in Portland needed to be tried…. 100% not disappointing, but for sure go check out Deschutes!

Hop Central Brewery and Tap Room

Pretty sure co-workers from time to time need to go out and enjoy a few drinks every now and then. It’s healthy to vent and actually get to know the people you spend at minimum forty hours a week with.

The first time I went to Hop Central was due to a Yelp find with some co-workers: Angel Hernandez, Liam Bourke and Daniel Perski.

On Wednesday’s, Hop Central does their Happy Hour and Wine Wednesday which is $2 off a glass.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year (Our Special Ale) 2018

To start I had Merry Christmas and Happy New Year (Our Special Ale) 2018 from Anchor Brewing Company.
A winter warmer sitting at 6.8% ABV and man it’s a bold but laid back beer to drink. The little notes of pine, slightly sweet from the brûlèed sugars and banana bread blended really well with the nutty yam flavors. It 100% reminded me of Christmas dinner and all I wanted to do wasbe in a forest somewhere sitting by a fire. The 6.9% is that perfect amount in my book so that you can have more than one and not feel like you over did it on the alcohol. 4/5 in my book but maybe I’m just partial to the winter spice style of beers.

Even though Hop Central has over 36 taps I decided to switch to wine, but all my co-workers started to drink the Merry Christmas and Happy New Year so if 4/4 people liked it probably a pretty good beer! Hop Central has some games to play there and I have never played such an intense Jenga game before in my life. Daniel Perski is a Jenga wizard I swear.

Leaning tower of Jenga

Hop Central does not have food, but are fine with food being brought in. They have beer on tap, to go and wine. The owner is a fan of German beers so they have a pretty good selection to go of German imports.

The second time I went with my some other co-workers: Melissa Campos, Effrin Castillo, Daniel Oliver and his wife Jessica and they also quite enjoyed the atomsphere of Hop Central Brewery and Taproom.

I did try a flight of Hop Central brewed beer, but was none too impressed with their brews. Nothing bad, but just nothing unique about any of them that I would go back and have. Melissa did like the Anchocolate Stout.

Hop Central Brewed Flight

Happy Hour prices and the specials they have are pretty good and the atomsphere is that laid back kind of hole in the wall, so I will be back for sure. I would check it out if your in the Chandler area!

The Chase Crew

Eve’s birthday bash!

The amazing Eve Vincent is the lady that really got me into craft beer and wine! When it came to her saying I’m in charge of her birthday I knew just the place to go…. Angel’s Trumpet Alehouse.

Back in June of 2018 they opened a second location here in Phoenix and we had not gone to it yet, so no better time then now! Eve wasn’t a fan of me taking this picture, but oh well.

Creepin on Eve… as per usual

The new location on 44th street and Thomas is huge. I think twice as big as the one downtown but has the same great vibe. Slightly mad I didn’t take any pictures… the front part is just like the first location with the patio area, wood tables inside and the board of beers on tap! The back part has a bar, some couches and cushioned chairs and these large booths that have a 70s theme to them. The more intimate but still casual part of the place.

Living the flight life

In true Angel’s tradition: Eve and I picked flights for each other. I’m sad to say nothing really stood out to me other than the XXII Anniversary beer from Firestone. A stout, barely wine that was barrel aged in Rum, Gin and Bourbon barrels…. it’s dark, boozy and happiness.

The good thing is that it’s not overly boozy or too sweet. The rum barrel aged beers can run a little sweet in my book and the bourbon barrel aged beers are super boozy normally, but the blend of all three I think evened this beer out just right. It’s suprisingly really smooth for 12.7% ABV. The beer itself had a nice bready taste with a few hints of caramel/molasses, but again not overly sweet. 4.5 out of 5 in my book! Failing again and didn’t get a picture… sorry all.

Eve’s Clan

Such a fun night with great people, amazing food and many memories…. well until the liquor came in at the drag show. Many of our first times going to a drag show; Club Volt was a blast. Thanks to Mary, Diane, Alexandra, Anthony, Melanie, Rachel and Kurt for making the night so great for Eve!

In the face of adversity…. Drink Beer

The hiatus was real and I apologize for being absent for so long.

2018 brought about a lot of challenges. Everyone has stuff they are dealing with, I never doubt that just interesting how much motivation one can lose when life seems like it’s just fighting against your goal of being happy. I’ll be honest here, I’ve always fought against my balance of my body being in control of my life with the migraines I get, but I never fought so controlled as when I got the concussion and even going outside of my apartment sent my body into full fledged panic mode. So my motivation was gone and then I struggled getting everything back on track.
Not sure if I feel more ashamed that it took me so long or strong because even with the daily continued headaches I get and still semi hazy memory I’m back to normal.

Everyone deals with things differently, this I know and concussion, migraines, and depression it’s nothing new to anyone. I would never lessen someone else or say my experience was worse. I’m just oddly grateful for the struggle because I grew from it and I just know that I can bounce back no matter how long it takes, giving up isn’t an option.
I’ve probably started to write this post 25 times since I started getting life back together, but still something was missing and the words never sounded right. At this point, if I keep writing something over and over and never finish it I’ll probably never write a single post again.

At the end of the day, just know that if you feel like you’re drowning in your own existence you’re not alone. Most have been there, which doesn’t help in the moment but you’ll always learn from those moments more about who you are as a person than when everything is going great.

Now, to the reason we are all here: Beer!

One of my excuses for not writing was I need a good comeback moment, the beer that tasted so amazing I could not resist sharing with anyone who reads my blog or one of my favorite memories with my favorite people. Moments and beer kept passing by and nothing seemed good enough, so no more excuses!
The most lack luster moment, at home on a Saturday afternoon just relaxing after a long week at work. Really when I think about most of my favorite moments, they are all just being able to enjoy the simple things because too many people focus on big events/moments and more than anything I enjoy the quiet, peace and beauty of everyday. Ah please ignore the annoying super cliche positive words, trust me I’m not always positive and I fully think life is complicated and sucks at times no fake BS here!

So… I’m pretty sure I’ve spoken about how hard it’s been for me to find a beer from California that I’m like Wow and that doesn’t just taste meh…. I think Ballast Point did it! White Wine Barrel Aged Sour Wench. What else can I say then way to go Ballast Point!

Wine has been on my go to list more than beer lately, I know how dare I, but every once in awhile a good glass of wine just seems super fitting.

Kurt wanted to go to Total Wine and More, so as I was strolling down the aisles and wondering if I should just grab two bottles of wine rather than some beer when a bottle stands out to me because it has the words Chardonnay, Sauvignon, and Barrel Aged on it… so build your own 6 pack it was. Slightly dangerous at Total Wine since you pay per beer and at times I do not always have the cheapest taste.

Now most barrel aged sour’s I have come across haven’t really been that impressive, they normally are missing that slightly boozy more intense flavor that barrel aged beers have. The Sour Wench though did accomplish in actually being more than just a sour. The wine notes really shown through and of course, the blackberry made it the perfect slightly fruity but not overly sweet at all, essentially a tart and stronger sangria.

Blackberry, sour, wine and barrel aged way to go Ballast Point.

the old chokecherry tree (and raw apricot cheesecake)

coffeeandwoodsmoke

An almost imperceptible shift in the light. A slant of golden, the earth’s turning reflected in sunflowers’ faces. The skies blue again after a good night’s wind and rain scrubbed the smoky haze that had descended over the mountains, stacking them like so many cardboard cutouts. Around the edges the air is cool, threaded with the promise of chill. The creek meanders along, more leisurely than lazy, having left the frenetic pace of runoff behind. A grasshopper symphony plays from grassy fields, blanched seed heads bowing in the breeze. Walking along the path I see these musicians leap, a striking resemblance to butterflies in flight, all yellow threaded wings and suspended animation.

Chokecherries ripen along the creek corridor. One old tree at a prominent crossroads always produces a good crop, which I never touch for want of leaving them for the wildlife that needs them far more than I. My…

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