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The Beer Goddess

22 Feb 2014
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The Southern California Homebrewers Festival is held every year in early May. The festival, hosted by the California Homebrewers Association (CHA), is held at Lake Casitas, in Ventura County—about a three-hour drive from Palm Springs. Commercial breweries and homebrewers pour their beers; award winning homebrewers and brewmasters speak at the wildlife recreation area. With more than 40 homebrew clubs in attendance, and unlimited tastings, it’s a beer and camping extravaganza that attracts a couple thousand beer-lovers every year. However, its future was temporarily thrown into doubt, thanks to a potentially damaging piece of legislation. On Oct. 1, 2013, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 1425. The bill was supposed to do good things—namely, make home-brewed beer and wine easier to share. However, it included this phrase: “A nonprofit organization established for the purpose of promoting home production of beer or wine, or whose membership is composed primarily of…
03 Feb 2014
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About 45 miles northwest of Palm Springs, you’ll find a brewery that has taken off—and plans to reach new heights in 2014. Hangar 24 has an undeniable charm. Perhaps it’s the fields of oranges you pass on your way there; maybe it’s due to the old-school feel of the converted Norton Air Force Base building this Redlands brewery occupies. At the end of a dusty road, with the San Bernardino Mountains serving as a backdrop, the brewery and its large patio is often occupied by a slew of locals enjoying Hangar’s beers. Even if you’re not an aviation geek, it’s is unequivocally cool to watch small airplanes take off and land at the nearby Redlands airport. Hangar 24 is named after the hangar where owner Ben Cook—a licensed pilot—and his friends would relax after a day of flying. Like most brewery owners, Ben started home-brewing years ago and fell in…
23 Dec 2013
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The colder winter months not only bring us sparkly lights, spiced aromas, family gatherings and tryptophan-induced naps; they also bring us sanity-saving winter warmers and Christmas ales with malt, spices and fruit. Unlike gifts under the tree, these smile-makers can be opened and enjoyed before or after Christmas. (During Christmas is OK, of course, as well.) Here are some winter beers worth checking out: Alaskan Winter English Olde Ale (Alaska, 6.4 percent alcohol by volume): Supposedly made with ingredients based on Captain Cook’s historical recipe, this holiday beer has clean, slightly sweet, bready malts, and is accented by fresh Sitka spruce tips. Citrus and fruity flavors like orange zest, blueberry and peach cream pack this beer with some serious holiday revelry. The ale, made with glacier-fed water from the Juneau Ice Field, is brewed in the old ale style, which means it’s a little heavier on the alcohol and the…
22 Nov 2013
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The land of martinis and honey is undergoing a seismic shift toward summery saisons, infused IPAs, savory stouts and bourbon-barreled beers. So, where in the Coachella Valley can you go to find these intoxicating craft creations? With locations in New York, Los Angeles, London, Seattle, Portland and, of course, Palm Springs, the Ace Hotel (701 E. Palm Canyon Drive) keeps up with trends in music, art, food and drink. The boutique hotel boasts a nice selection of craft beer in the Amigo Room. In fact, the ever-changing craft-beer variety gets its own chalkboard near the bar. Ace is also home to the popular “Craft Beer Weekend,” a pool party complete with music, grub and beer—perfect for craft connoisseurs and beer beginners alike. Up Palm Canyon Drive to the north lies a restaurant offering a farm-to-concrete-table dining experience that’s industrial chic and progressive. While the menus at Workshop Kitchen + Bar…
18 Oct 2013
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I like my beer like I like my men: tall, dark and handsome. And what is the darkest beer of them all? Well, hello, stout! Stout originally meant “proud” or “brave,” but morphed into “strong” after the 14th century—and this handsome, brave and strong beer now has its own day of celebration. International Stout Day will be celebrated for the third year on Friday, Nov. 8. How did this boozy holiday come to be? I’ve always been intrigued with the idea of celebrating a beer style or locale. Just like vineyards and the resulting wines tell the story of the people, the weather and the land behind them, beer also tells a story about its creation. In 2011, I reached out to other beer bloggers and breweries—and the day was born. The first stouts were produced in the 1730s. The Russian imperial stout was inspired by brewers in the 1800s…
09 Sep 2013
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The soon-to-open La Quinta Brewing Company is part of a deliciously welcome trend. According to the national Brewers Association, as of June 2013, 2,483 craft breweries were operating in the United States. That number is up 6 percent over just a year—and it’s the most craft breweries the U.S. has ever seen. Whether the craft-beer boom is due to new beer-friendly state laws, or the fact that more Americans are realizing that beer can have a variety of flavors that are perfect for food-pairings, the boom means there’s more choice for all of us. The Coachella Valley has taken part in the recent craft-beer boom. Coachella Valley Brewing Co. opened in August in Thousand Palms, and the folks at Palm Desert’s La Quinta Brewing Co. are busy getting ready for production. The County of Riverside approved La Quinta Brewing’s conditional-use permit in August. By the end of September, the owners…

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