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

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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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Return to Colorado

The best way to experience some good beer is going to the brewery. Made an adventure to Denver, Colorado with some of my favorite people to go to Warped Tour! Did not get a single good picture of everyone…. Angel always looked mad, Tanner was a space cadet and Kurt always makes faces.

The Crew

When in Colorado must try beer! After driving 14 hours, I was ready for a beer so told my friends that we were going to Odell’s brewing company. I’ve had the 90 Schilling from Odell’s before but nothing else so figured this was a good opportunity. Odell just opened up a location in Denver from their original location in Fort Collins.

90 Schilling Taster

If you ever want to be a skeptical, order a taster of everything on the board. There was four of us so four tatsers a peice is not a lot in our books, but a bunch of people there were taking pictures of us and all the beer. They have a lot of IPAs and light beer so no happy stout life for me. The sours are what stood out! The guava sour tasted just like eating an actual guava that might not be fully ripe yet. I haven’t come across a guava flavored beer before.

In true fashion of my lovely friends, the below picture is not the most family friendly. 16 beers later and we all remembered that higher altitude meant drinking for cheaper because we were all a little tipsy. Luckily, there was a burger shop next door for the guys to get some food.

Flight of 16

Unfortunately, we were not able to go to The Great Divide brewery while in Denver since Warped Tour was a whole day ordeal (so worth the sunburn) and we all left Denver the next day, but next time it’s on the list. After warped tour the hotel we were staying at had The Pint Brothers in it and after 12 hours in the sun I was super ready for a beer. I got Buffalo Gold from Boulder Beer Company.

Buffalo Gold 4.95%

I’m assuming this tasted so good to me because of the very long day spent in the sun, which is not normal even though I live in Phoenix. From the whole trip this was my favorite beer. The combination of malts, hops and touch of honey made this so easy, light and smooth to drink. Draft is always better but if I found this in Phoenix it’d be a great after work beer that is always stocked in the fridge.

Kurt and I headed off to go camping the next day and he asked if I wanted to stop anywhere along the way… luckily Breckenridge Brewery was on the way… sort of. The Vanilla Porter from them was the first porter I ever had, so I have always wanted to go!

Breckenridge is a super tourist town, but it seemed quaint. It’s pretty far off the main highway so that was nice, other than it was an hour out of the way because of that fact. Good thing we were in no rush! The Littleton, CO location was actually closer but I wanted to go to the actual town. Even though after trying to find some parking pretty sure Kurt was wishing I chose a differently place.

Crazy enough they had the best edamame! Kurt was basically just drinking the residual sauce at the end. In vacation mode so I wanted to try something light and fun, which luckily they had their Honey Lavender Saison. Not many beers that I’ve come across have tempted lavender, but I’m slightly obsessed with the smell and taste. This beer had that weird Farmhouse taste up front, then the lavender kind of mellows out your taste buds and your left with the slight sweetness of honey lingering on your tongue. Light and calming, which is highly fitting for the Colorado vibe in my mind since it’s only a 5.4%.

Honey Lavender Saison 5.4% ABV

For the nostalgia and wanting to know if the tap is better than the bottle, which pretty sure 99% of people can agree draft is better, I got the Vanilla Porter. I was not disappointed at all! The tap really made the vanilla more prominent of actual vanilla bean vs the bottle being that artifical sweet vanilla flavoring and there was more of a coffee taste in my opinion. Bottle I had this beer at a 3.75, but on draft I put it at a 4.75.

I think the only downfall is it’s really low ABV for the style of beer it is, which I just find makes it seem like it’s lacking in some body and could use more bold flavors.

Vanilla Porter 5.4% ABV

To me, the experience was well worth the detour and Kurt was just happy about the edamame. After camping for two days we headed into Glenwood on the 4th of July and went to Gleenwood Springs Brewery. The problem with being on vacation is sometimes I hard core slack on logging beers, I only ended up logging one, which is horrible since I got a flight and two beers after.

Hanging Lake Honey Ale 5% ABV

The Hanging Lake Honey Ale was a nice chill Blonde Ale with a tinge of honey and hops to balance out the sweetness. I’m not some honey conessiuer, but I feel like you can tell the difference between fresh good honey vs super artifical tasting honey. This beer had that right off the honeycomb taste.

The altitude change seriously got to me a little, I finished my flight of four and probably would have been good to go without more but I wanted to try more! Too bad I didn’t actually log them so now I have no clue what the names were. Yeah… sorry I was a slacker and failed here.

Living the Flight life

They had one of their barrell projects and Kurt wanted to try it and split it… well it ended up being super boozey, which is right up my alley so I drank most of it. This was around a 12.7% and a porter, which back in AZ is a starter beer for me but in Colorado that was an instant tipsy state. I just remember the yummy smokey, hint of dark chocolate, that weird sweet but bitter molasses taste and the lingering bitterness of coffee. Really was one of my favorite barrell aged porters that I sadly couldn’t tell the name of.

Barrell Project Porter

This was a great little brewery. Had a pretty good sized list of different styles that they brew and some good food. All the furniture was wood, which was really fitting to the surrounding area of the town. On the wall near where we were sitting hung some really cool paintings of old drawn up beer making equipment and techniques. The had a good amount of seating inside, outside and a bar top.

Colorado Lager 5% ABV

While out camping, Kurt picked up the Colorado Lager from Odell Brewing. Honestly, nothing to write home about but I really love this picture. This just captured the serene week that was spent in Colorado. Had such a great time and if I would recommend anything I’d say stop in at Glenwood Springs Brewery.

Dino DNA

Dinosaurs, beer and Wren House Brewing oh my! 

Dino DNA 6.5%

For those of you new to the adventure, Wren House Brewing Company is in Phoenix, AZ and is going to have their three year anniversary next month! Check out my full thoughts on them: https://wp.me/p8Z8Xu-1r

This brewery is in a quaint location and they’re always brewing up something exciting. Summertime does mean IPA’s everywhere. Guess there is just something about hops and heat that go very well together. 

When I first started going to Wren they had dinosaurs up on the taps and I instantly knew this was a great place. For sure was highly obsessed with dinosaurs as a kid so even though I’m not a huge IPA person, as soon as I saw this can release announcement on Facebook I was sold. 

Tanner at the can release with me

Tanner had been working out of town for awhile so once I found out he’d be in town for the can release I knew it was meant to be. Wren opens at 9am for special releases, which meant I defaulted to the trusty Jomax. Amazing as usual! Coffee stout with some nitro cold brew they keep on tap as well. I wanted to save the IPA for home. An excellent morning spent with the best friend!

Wren’s can art!

This New England IPA has a tropical hoppy fruit smell. Upon pouring, it’s really in between hazy and that normal citrus IPA color. 

Again, I’m not the biggest IPA person but Wren normally knows what they are doing, which is proven again here. The Galaxy hops can be tasted for sure, but the passion fruit cuts the bitterness. Instead of the hops lingering on your tongue, the pineapple slightly sweet kind of sour is what remains. To me the carbonation was a little much, which isn’t really horrible since I just drank at a more normal pace for a 6.5% ABV. Could feel the bubbles in my stomach though. This really is a refreshing beer that helps beat the annoyingly high temperatures in Phoenix. 

Overrall a 4 out of 5 stars in my book. The IPA they released before, Robotic Grasshopper, is a creamier IPA that I would strongly recommend. I sent Dino DNA to David Keith in Florida so we’ll see what his take on it will be! In the meantime, while waiting for his take check out his other reviews: https://connoisseur.beer/

Dino DNA is paw approved by Rossi! 

Rossi (newest NSE member)