CVIndependent

Mon07222019

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Beer

17 Jan 2019
by  - 
Ladies and gentlemen, residents of and visitors to the Coachella Valley: The state of craft beer in our fine desert community is … meh. Let's start where it makes the most sense: Our breweries. I'm going to need to leave much to the imagination here, because I work for one of them, and that presents a conflict of interest. As my colleagues and bosses will attest to, I would never root against any brewery here. I am a fan of craft beer first, and if all of our breweries were pumping out only great beer, that would mean more great beer for me to try. Alas, this is not the case … but it is actually trending in that direction. The truth is that there is room for all three current local breweries to grow when it comes to beer quality. Brew great beer, and I (and many others) will…
14 Dec 2018
by  - 
It’s that time of year again: Saturnalia. Sorry, I mean: Christmas. (I think this column’s new Latin name is getting to me. Although, seriously, Saturnalia—the wild ancient Roman winter festival—seems way more fun than Christmas. However, I digress.) I won’t be covering Hanukkah or Kwanzaa beers, although I have celebrated Hanukkah multiple times, because my mother’s side of the family is Jewish; therefore, according to the matrilineal tradition of Judaism, I am considered a Jew. Sadly, there is not a wealth of Hanukkah beers; that, plus my ignorance of Kwanzaa outside of Lionel Richie references in “All Night Long,” means I’m forced to stick with Yuletide-themed beers. I will be doing the very cliché thing of recommending some of favorite holiday beers to you. But isn’t that what Christmas is really about, anyway? (Yeah, yeah, there’s that Middle Eastern guy who people have carried on about for the last two…
14 Nov 2018
by  - 
The year is 1994. Nelson Mandela has been elected president of South Africa; Amazon.com is founded by Jeff Bezos; the Chunnel between France and the United Kingdom is newly opened; famed athlete and actor O.J. Simpson is in a white Ford Bronco going somewhere with his friend Al Cowlings; I am a junior at Palm Desert High School, just getting into craft beer. OK, it wasn’t yet “craft beer”; it was called “microbrew” back then, and it was beginning to gain traction with the public thanks to breweries like Samuel Adams and Sierra Nevada. Enter Erik Neiderman. He decided to be way ahead of his time, and opened the Palm Springs Brewing Company in downtown Palm Springs. To put this in some context, San Diego’s craft-beer scene was just getting under way. Today, there are more than 150 breweries in San Diego County … and three here in the desert.…
11 Oct 2018
by  - 
I have a lot on my mind. However, I will spare you from all but the beer things on my mind. I thought the best way to handle this would be to kinda-sorta do this à la Larry King’s odd USA Today column from some years ago: I’ll just hit on random topics that don’t necessarily have any relation to each other besides the overarching theme of craft beer. In other words, I was lazy and didn’t come up with a one-topic column idea. Now that I have raised your expectations to such a soaring height ... • I want to give a shout-out to Andrew Smith and his Coachella Valley Beer Scene blog and Facebook page. In 2011, I created the Facebook page, and after mentioning Schmidy’s Tavern (R.I.P. … you are missed), the Coachella Valley Homebrew Club, and Babe’s BBQ and Brewhouse, I quickly ran out of things…
13 Sep 2018
by  - 
After my last column on American breweries selling out to huge multi-national conglomerates, I thought I would shake it up a bit … and review beers from a world-famous European brewery owned by a British conglomerate named Diageo. That brewery is the St. James’s Gate Brewery of Dublin, Ireland, that makes the most iconic stout in the world: Guinness Draught. Yes, Guinness, while brewed largely in Ireland, is no longer truly Irish. I am magnanimously putting aside my almost-universal rule of not buying from “Big Beer” for the sake of you, my readers. I know, I know: How very selfless of me, right? I have not tried a vast majority of the special releases from Guinness largely out of cynicism. However, I have more therapy sessions in the books now, and I think it’s high time I push aside the sneering attitude of my past; pull some beers off the…
21 Aug 2018
by  - 
It’s not easy to know exactly where your money is going when you buy something. Some large corporations take great care to intentionally obscure this knowledge, at least when looking at products superficially. You might despise a certain large conglomerate, and vow to boycott it … only to later find out that the paper towels you bought are made by a company that is wholly owned by that same conglomerate. For decades in the craft-beer world, we didn’t have this problem: If you liked the beer you were drinking, you could find out who made it by looking at the label—and that was that. Well, the craft-beer market steadily grew … until the bigger boys in the industry could no longer stand by and watch its massive market share erode. The plan was simple: Buy up craft breweries around the country. “What’s wrong with that?” you might ask. Not a…