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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Manfish Brewing Comes to Town Part 2 + Bootlegger’s Brewery and Peace Brewing

When we last left our tale Ken from Manfish Brewing and Scott from SNB Brewing had teamed up to investigate rumors of outstanding beer and food in the port village of Long Beach.   After concluding that yes one could find dynamite suds and grub in the Aquatic Capital of the Nation they were trapped on the wrong side of the Orange curtain. For a while we wondered if our intrepid heroes would be able to break away from the Gateway Cities back into the OC… Fortunately Ken’s wheelman skills were more than a match for the mean streets of the LBC and soon they crusin the 91 toward Fullerton and their next destination Bootlegger’s Brewery.

Bootlegger's Brewery 

The Beer on tap board
Now that the intro is over I can dive right back into journey.  As I mentioned in part 1 the last time Ken was in town I’d taken him to Bootlegger’s to get a pint of Knuckle Sandwich and I knew he wanted to go back.  One of the biggest reasons for this was how much Bootlegger’s has changed and grown over the last year. Unfortunately due to a shortage of Simcoe hops Knuckle Sandwich has been very limited and increasingly hard to get so he was unable to enjoy another glass.

Fermenting Tanks
Bootlegger’s Brewery was founded in 2008 by homebrewer Aaron Barkenhagen, a great guy who I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a couple of times.

Bootlegger’s is one of those places I really want to love… unfortunately more often than not I am let down.  Don’t get me wrong they make some very good beer. Knuckle Sandwich is insane and lives up to the hype, Palamino is a very nice pale ale, the 77 Anniversary was great and one time I has a excellent spring ale.  For me I think it might be my own expectations for myself and them that is at fault. 

They have been growing a lot and I still love to see what they have going on.  They are by far the second best commercial brewery in the OC and are always worth a visit.  The thing I really love about them is their mission to be a small artesian brewery supplying the local community.  They have done a great job lately in penetrating local restaurants allowing me to often have a local craft option with dinner.

Eliminator IPA
For this trip I stared out by sampling the Black Lager, which in my opinion was pretty well made.  It was clean, dark and malty. Not want I was wanting by great in its own way.

Ken ordered a full pint of the Nose Job IPA, while I opted for a half pint of the Eliminator IPA dry hopped with some centennial and sorachi ace.  I’ve had a couple of beers now using sorachi ace and I don’t think I dig the lemoniness that the hop imparts.  The color though was a gorgeous golden orange with brilliant clarity.

Before leaving I had one last sample of the Plum Riot which is a “Belgian” brewed with plums while Ken grabbed a fill of the Rustic Rye IPA in the growler I had once sent him full of Knuckle Sandwich.

Peace Brewing

Really quick before I go on to Peace Brewing I want to point out that all of the photos in this section were taken by the amazing Brian Evans.  I first met Brian when he came over to a brew day I hosted to photograph my buddy Don Barnum of BackhouseBrew for his Thee Beer Book Project.  If you have a second I highly recommend you check it out as you will find tons of great pictures of brewing (both big and small) as well as getting an intro to the legendary Shawn!
Entry Sign to Peace Brewing
Photo Courtesy of Brian Evans Photography
While in route to Bootlegger’s I gave one of my BrewBrothers, Brad, a call to ask if we could stop by after hitting Bootlegger’s.  I wanted to introduce Ken to Brad who I have a lot of respect and love for and so he could check out the amazing pub/brewery that Brad had built in the back yard.

The Pub Side of Peace Brewing
Photo Courtesy of Brian Evans Photography
The house itself is an old craftsmen that Brad and his wife Daira had restored and the place is absolutely beautiful.  In the back yard stands a century old avocado tree that defines the space, next to it a tranquil fish pond.  On this visit I got a chance to see the deck Brad had recently been building between visits.  I still remember talking to him at a brew club meeting about how he was thinking of redoing the deck.  Three days later I was back over for an IPA tasting to find the deck gone, fish moved and in its place the frame work for the new deck.  In three days.  The new deck is absolutely outstanding, done in a gourgous stained redwood.  Trust me, I could go into serious detail about how much I love this deck and using redwood (I’ve built a few myself in the past) but this is not SNBDecking.com (hmm I should register that…).

Pub/Brewery is the house’s old garage which no longer has street access.  Brad converted it into a British style pub complete with a walk in climate controlled room that he houses his fermenting beer in, an industrial glass front fridge for beer and keg storage which is connected to the pub via a tap wall.  The pub also includes a gentleman’s restroom complete with a blackboard on the door warning that the elusive hopburglar is in the area, good to know.

The Brewery Side of Peace Brewing
Photo Courtesy of Brian Evans Photography
For his brewing set up Brad employs a hoist that always him to brew on a very small footprint. The premise is he heat his strike water in his hot liquid tank, hoists it up to fill his mash tun lowers it back down and repeats for the sparge water.  Once the mash is done he fires up his brew keggle and boils on the burner, it’s really a great set up.

Brad hooked me up a with an awesome pint glass that he etched the Peace Brewing logo onto using glass etching paste.  I’ll probably get around to doing the same for some SNB Brewing imperial pints later in the year. 

I wanted to break it in right away but Brad instated that I use another glass so I did.  Starting out in the pub I enjoyed a glass of his house porter on nitro! This beer was rich and silky smooth on the nitro really well done.  I followed that up with a pint of the house blonde and headed outside to relax on the deck.

I’ve mentioned before that there are few things I enjoy more that hanging out with my friends drinking great beer.  This was definitely one of those moments.  I was very pleased to have had the opportunity on an otherwise busy day of beer touring to make a decently long stop at Peace Brewing.

Here is a full video tour of Peace Brewing hosted by the man himself.

And with that we were off to our next destination, The Bruery



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