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Friday, September 9, 2011

Beachwood BBQ Sour Fest 2011

Poster for the event
On Wednesday the 7th of September, after attending a doctor’s appointment, I met up with some of my BeerAdvocate friends in the parking lot of a Best Buy.  The rendezvous was to achieve a singular strategic goal – attend the 2011 Sour Fest being put on at the Seal Beach location of Beachwood BBQ while minimizing the amount of cars needed.    I had reached out to this particular group the previous week as I wanted to go with a fellow assembly of beer lovers.  Included in this fellowship of craft beer were Sam (NoSignsOfPain), Scott (smarcoly), Ryan (corregidore), Zeva (Ryan’s wife) and Steve (Callmecoon).  It was New Belgian night so we wanted to get there a bit before the event was set to begin so that we could get a table for six.

Traffic was amazing smooth and we were in Seal Beach in no time.  On the way down Scott and Steve filled out heads with stories of vast palate treasures having gone the previous day.   Once we arrived we found the restaurant somewhat empty but definitely starting to fill, the bar area was definitely getting packed.  We requested a table for six and were quickly seated, after our excellent waitress moved a couple she had just sat to another table so that she could make a table of six for us! Talk about excellent service.  

Talk about a tap list!

Once seat we quickly executed a round of Double Framboise de Amorosa from Lost Abbey.  This was one of the beers we knew we wanted to get and had a feeling it was close to kicking.  It turns out we were very fourtuniate to have acquired our round as it kicked very shortly after we received our round.  Overall this was one of the top beers of the night… but not the top beer, we’ll get to that shortly.

After I finished my glass I ordered the Compunction from Russian River.  As a big fan of Russian River sours this definitely was on my personal hit list.  In the end it was a good sour but I can’t say it was as good as Supplication or Consecration.

Double Framboise de Amorosa
Next I hit up what I considered to be one of the two duds of the evening Zwet.be from Drie Fonteinen.  I was particularly let down because I love every beer I’ve had from Drie Fonteinen so I expected this beer to be on the same level, it wasn’t even close.  To me it came off as just a regular porter with a slight sourness, not something I would except at a sour fest.

Between Compunction and Zwet.be I’d gone through a little bit of a dry spell so at the same time I ordered the Zwet.be I also order a couple of New Belgian beers Eric's Ale and Le Terroir.  Talk about an interesting contrast.  I wasn’t overly found of the Eric Ale but absolutely loved the Le Terroir (or top left as I referred to it being unable for the life of me to actually pronounce it properly).  The Le Terroir had a very nice IPA citrus taste to it that I absolutely loved.  In reviewing a little bit about the beer I found that it is barrel-aged for two years and then dry-hopped with Amarillo and Cascade hops for 8 days.

While I was finishing my excellent Le Terroir we ordered a quick round Beachwood Blend (Hout Series) from Ballast Point.  This was a special blend of Ballast Point’s Hout Series that they put together just for this event.  It was a very well rounded sour and it was great getting to try a very small run beer.

Master tap list to make a drool at was still to come
Next up I ordered two of the most recent additional to New Belgian’s Lips of Faith series Kick and Clutch.  I don’t have a lot to say about these beers other than Kick was decent while Clutch was the other disappointing dud of the evening.

Le Terroir
Shortly after Double Framboise de Amorosa had kicked we’d observed the Beachwood staff start to put up a new sign.  Just before they put it up they mysteriously stopped and it remained empty for most of our stay.  The only clue we had was a brief glimpse of what appeared to be the word Love.  We pried at our waitress until we were able to discern that it was New Belgian’s Love (Peach Whiskey Barrel Aged).  Peach Love as we called it is New Belgian’s Felix aged in a peach whiskey barrel. We were told that they were holding off until the New Belgian event officially kicked off before they started pouring it. The problem we were running into was that the Eric Salazar the head brewer from New Belgian was running late and during Sour Fest 2011 Beachwood was enforcing a two hour time limit that we were quickly running into.  Just when all hope seemed lost we asked our waitress if we could pre-order the Peach Love and grab our bills.  Shortly after that we posted up the beer sign which was met with applause and hoots, mostly from our table.  This was followed shortly by the arrival of our round, it turns out that we got the first pours.   This was my favorite beer of the night.  It was an absolutely wonderful sour, very well balanced and drinkable.  

My Top BeerLove (Peach Whiskey Barrel Aged)
After we’d all paid we headed over to the very crowded bar to finish our Peach Loves.  While there I scored a New Belgian glass, talked to a group of LA bases BAs and ordered a full glass of the Peach Love.  It was a perfect ending to a great event.  Before I took off I had a chance to talk to Gabe and thank him for putting together an awesome event. I also asked if he had had a chance to try the BeanyTink’s Farmstead Ale I’d left for him and Julian at the Long Beach location.  He said no one had mentioned it and that he would check the next day.

I had an absolute blast and it was great to hang out with my BA friends drinking amazing beers.

My top 5 sours were, in order, Love (Peach Whiskey Barrel Aged), Le Terroir, Double Framboise de Amorosa, Beachwood Blend (Hout Series) and Compunction



BAs at Sunset - Thanks for the pic Sam

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