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South Lake Brewing’s Nicole Smith at CCBA Summit

Calirornia Craft Beer Summit

It’s a long drive from Tahoe to Long Beach, but South Lake Tahoe Brewing hasn’t missed a California Craft Beer Summit since their inception in 2017. With the Summit kicking off this week they’ll be making the trek again soon! Co-owner Nicole Smith chatted with us before she hits the road.

Have you been to the CA Craft Beer Summit/Festival before? What were some highlights?

Yes I’ve been to the summit and festival since it first started I believe in 2015! A highlight for me was pouring our beer for the first time at the festival in 2017!!

What summit speaker are you excited about?

I’m most excited to listen to Virginia Morrison of Second Chance and Lynn Weaver of Three Weavers during the Pink Boots/CCBA inspiring women leaders session on Friday afternoon! I’ve personally met both women and have been so encouraged by them to keep crushing it in the beer industry!

Which summit educational sessions are you looking forward to?

The educational session on Thursday morning about setting the scene and Leveling Up your tasting room through design and customer experience sounds fantastic and super useful for my role at our brewery. I also think this is a new seminar for the summit or any CCBA conference so I’m excited to learn something new!

What do you hope to learn at the summit?

How to do my job better. How to be a better leader of my business and bring new ideas, tips and tricks of the industry back to my brewery to improve it!

What do you have planned for the fest?

I was pregnant during the last festival and both my husband and I are excited to enjoy ourselves and try super yummy beer during the festival this year. Especially since it’s in so-cal for the first time, we are looking forward to trying breweries that we do not normally get to experience.

What brewery are you excited to check out at the fest?

Beachwood Blendery! We have a friend that works there 🙂

How does this event compare to other beer events you’ve been to?

Besides CBC… the summit I think is the best networking, educational, and uniquely craft beer event to attend!! It’s not as crazy as GABF and it’s a 100% california craft beer festival. I think it’s the best festival in the nation for craft beer enthusiasts to attend.

What’s unique about the California craft beer scene?

The demographics and variety that’s offered. Over 700 craft breweries in the state – we have to differentiate ourselves. There are so many different styles and great beers being brewed by CA Brewers, it’s truly a scene that steers the industry as a whole.

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Russian River Intinction

Russian River Intinction

The base beer is a Pilsner aged in Sauvignon Blanc barrels with the addition of Sauvignon Blanc grape juice from the 2018 harvest for a secondary fermentation.  The juice and barrels are from Dutton Vineyards in the Russian River wine appellation here in Sonoma County.  There is no lactobacillus or pediococcus added to the beer, only brettanomyces.  The tart acidity comes from the wine grapes.  This beer is delicate and beautifully balanced, a perfect refresher on a warm summer day!

russianriverbrewing.com

Russian River makes world class sours and Intinction is a good example of their expertise. I can’t imagine a better blend of Pilsner malt, white wine grape influence, and sour acidity. Reading the label I imagined something muddy, not understanding how Pilsner malt and white wine would work together. I wisely gave Russian River the benefit of the doubt and was rewarded with a complex and refreshing beer, that manages to delightfully highlight each of its ingredients. The Pilsner malt takes the stage at first, but the beer has a lovely oaky white wine finish.

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CA Beer Fest Preview with Smog City’s Laurie Porter

The California Craft Beer Summit and Festival is quickly approaching! Before heading south I checked in with Smog City‘s Laurie Porter to get her take on this exciting event.

Have you been to the CA Craft Beer Summit/Festival before? What were some highlights?

I have been attending the Summit since its inception. I was actually on the original CCBA Summit Steering Committee to decide if the inaugural event was a success (it was!) and if we should continue to grow the Summit (wholeheartedly said YES) and now here we are, in Long Beach celebrating CA craft beer!

As for what Im looking for, I’m a huge fan of the Tap Talk- industry people sharing their experiences and knowledge always gets me excited. I also love the Saturday beer festival. An entire beer festival dedicated to California craft beer is like a dream come true.

What summit speaker are you excited about?

I have not had a lot of opportunities to hear Garret Oliver of Brooklyn Brewery speak plus craft beer icons David Walker(Firestone Walker) and Kim Jordan(New Belgium) always have words of wisdom to walk away with!

What do you have planned for the fest? What will you be pouring?

We have a beer and food pairing that is really exciting. We’ve partnered with Chef Minh of Porridge and Puffs to showcase our love of fruit, smoke, and alternative approaches to beer and food reuse. We’re bringing Echo Echo Echo, a foudre aged sour blended with second use peaches and culinary lavender. Chef Minh created an Echo of our Echoes beer using the peach pits from our beer, smoked lardon, black eyed pea miso with ginger and negi, cinnamon-basil pickled peaches with a lemongrass porridge and seasonal flora…now that’s a mouthful! 

For the Summit beer festival, we’re bringing California Love, an Imperial Red brewed with ingredients showcasing the best of NorCal and SoCal, From LA Wit Love, Better Weather Sweater South Bay IPA and Night Howler, a blend of dark saison aged in puncheon barrels with Brettanomyces blended with a yearling sour brown and a late black cardamom addition- it’s an exquisite beer from our Wood Cellar and I’m confident festival goers are gonna be super excited to try it!

What brewery/beer are you excited to check out at the fest?

I’m sure there will be a ton of lagers, so I’m going to work my way through all of them! We’ve been brewing Little Bo Pils for nearly 8 years now but this year we’ve seen a huge increase in “lager love”. We brewed 5 unique lagers over the summer and they have been very popular! Can’t wait to see what lagers CA breweries are brewing up too.

How does this event compare to other beer events you’ve been to?

The CA-centric approach to the Summit makes this a truly unique event. I love the focus on our industry and especially love highlighting CA beer. We’ve have such diversity of beers across the state and the Summit really showcases that!

What’s unique about the California craft beer scene?

The shear size of California lends itself to diversity of tastes plus we’re the nation’s agricultural center so many breweries in California love playing around with fresh fruits, herbs and food friendly beers. I’ve always enjoyed how wide ranging the craft beer palates are across the state and our breweries are a direct reflection of that range.

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Q&A: Do you Cook with Beer?

Jessica @themostprost

Yes! I have used Modern Times’ Black House Coffee Oatmeal Stout to make a delicious stout ice cream! I have a huge sweet tooth, so the chance to combine two of my favorite things, beer and ice cream? Uhm, yes please!! The beauty of an ice cream recipe is that you can get mega-creative with what beer you use in the mix… it’s fun to experiment with different stouts to see what you end up with. No matter what stout you use, it will almost ALWAYS end up delicious, so don’t be afraid to go wild with it!

Other than ice cream, I haven’t cooked too much with beer, but I am excited to! Beer-battered fish, beer cheese, and beer-marinated steak, are just a few on my list of beer-centric recipes to make! Cheers!

Brad @thatlastdrop

thatlastdrop

Yes, I do cook with beer. Mostly with curries however my favorite recipe is simply cooking a traditional South African dish we call “Potjiekos” which directly translates to “Pot Food” so like a stew and we cook using these big iron cauldrons on an open fire adding oxtail or beef with various vegetables and potatoes for a few hours.

I like to then add a strong flavorful IPA (my favorite is Devils Peak, King’s Blockhouse IPA) to the last half an hour or even marinade the meat in it over night. Absolutely delish! Cheers!

Taylor @mylovelyladyhops

I love cooking with beer! My favorite recipe is a Texas Chili with roast chuck (large chunks), lots of fragrant spices, onions, peppers, tomatoes and an imperial stout. I like to use an oatmeal stout. It’s rich, hearty and delicious!

Laura @southernbrewreviews

southernbrewreviews

Yes!

I love cooking with beer! Not only is it a great excuse to pop open a cold one, use a little in your dish and drink the rest, it’s a great flavor enhancer to most dishes!

Beer is so diverse these days, you can pretty much find any style or flavor profile you’re looking for to add to your favorite dish or sauce.

I make unique condiments based on brews. I love subbing vinegars out with tart sours in BBQ sauces, or stouts when I’m want something richer. Other than sauces, I have been known to add beers to the typical beer-friendly dishes: chili’s, appetizer dips, soups & chocolate cakes.

This year my goal is to make a cranberry sauce at thanksgiving with craft beer. (last year there were so many great cranberry sours available, it’d be silly not to try it!)

Drew @average_blokes_critique

Drew

I’m experimental. My Wife doesn’t think I’m an amazingly versatile cook because I generally cook the same things for us for meals but when I’m on my own and she’s away travelling I’ll get fancy and throw out the recipe books (that I can barely follow anyway). Beer wise I look at the style – Recently it was “Sticky Hand Shake” by Nomad Brewing which was a date paste infused imperial brown ale. I instantly knew I could reduce it into a sauce and whilst I was doing that decided to throw in some bananas for good measure. As it was reducing I fried up some french toast, pan fried some more bananas and the result was a delicious breakfast (which I ate in the afternoon). It paired quite well with the rest of the beer. I was only missing walnuts.

With so many different types of beers on the market these days and so many strange and wonderful flavours, how can you not think about trying some in a recipe or two!

Jackie @thatonebeergirl

thatonebeergirl

Yes but only as a novice. I’ve been only cooked beer cheese but would love more recipes. @beeroness is goals for cooking with beer!

@BeerDrankShawty

I use Imperial IPAs, with sriracha butter base, and a beef bouillon cream sauce , drizzled with egg whites as well as a balsamic vinaigrette spread over lettuce for my burger base.. LITERALLY!! The best burger dressing in the world. And It’s documented #duH

Monica The Italian Craft Beer

I’m a polysaccharides-girl (a girl that had cold pizza for breakfast), and I love to bake bread. It is so relaxing to work the dough and to observe it slowly rising. I also adore the scent of the fresh-baked bread in my house and to eat a warm slice of bread fresh out of the oven, with a pinch of salt and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. So, here you are my favourite beer-bread recipe: HONEY & BOCK BEER BREAD. It is simple and quick to make, although delicious. It has a soft texture, caramel/honey aroma and rustic touch of the Bock beer.

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Q&A: What Beer are You Saving for a Special Occasion?

Jen @pumpedtopour

The Holy Hermit from Moonraker Brewing!

I am saving it to share with my beer friends who have yet experienced any craftbeers from Moonraker. I am excited for them to try one of the best breweries in California. Sharing is Caring!

@_laura_brittany from @craftedandcuffed

I thought it couldn’t be more perfect than to save our birthday gift for a late night concert date coming up with my husband!!! Do you all know how great date nights end? Hopefully with dessert, am I right??? Well I’m not much for desserts but my husband on the other hand has enough of a sweet tooth for us both! So albeit despite my traditional taste choices like IPA’S, Sours or a Berliner Weiss, I recently have been allowing my pallet to try, savor, and appreciate the various different dessert style stouts out there. Now more often than not when we walk into a brewery, I find myself starting off with an imperial or pastry stout. Best part of it all is since we both enjoy great craft beer, this has turned into a dessert we both can enjoy. With that being said I’m saving this delicious mouth watering, pallet warming Imperial Stout with coconut, cocoa nibs and vanilla called “After Hours” by Arrow Lodge Brewing.

Haley & Jamie from @wanderbrewbc

We are terrible at saving beer! Every time we head out into the mountains or out on the road to live our vanlife we consider it a special occasion! Next beer we plan to drink on top of a mountain or lakeside is a Dunder Beist – Norwegian Farmhouse IPA by Another Beer Co., from British Columbia, Canada.

Eddie G. @Papi.Chulo.Of.Craft

Hard to say I have one beer I’m saving for a special occasion. I’d consider any occasion I get to share a beer with friends a special moment or occasion. However, with that said I am notorious for buying multiple bottles at once. Usually in groups of three. One to drink, one to save, & one to trade. At this point I have over 48 bottles waiting for their special occasion. They sit in a box awaiting the day they get put in my beer fridge for cooling along with the others in queue. But if I had to narrow the most special bottles I’ll continue to hold on to it would be non adjunct bourbon barreled aged stouts or Lambics.

Adam & Katie of Ale Adventures

TALKING WATERS BERZERKER IMPERIAL STOUT – BARREL AGED. We are saving this beer for Christmas 2019!

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Craft Beer Summit Preview with Moksa’s Derek Gallanosa

CA Craft Beer Summit

Beer Selfie will be at the California Craft Beer Summit and Festival in Long Beach this September! We’ve never been so we checked in with Derek Gallanosa, head brewer for Moksa Brewing, to find out what to expect.

This will be my first time at the CA Craft Beer Summit/Fest. What should I expect?

Be prepared to meet a lot of people in the industry. The majority of craft breweries will be in attendance so create a wishlist of who you would like to meet.

What are some highlights from past CA Craft Beer Summit/Fests for you?

I haven’t been to the seminars but the festival is definitely worth your time. You get to try breweries that normally do not travel outside of their areas.

What does Moksa have planned for this year’s Summit/Fest? Why should people stop by the Moksa booth at the fest?

We will be sending beer to the Long Beach Beer Lab for Thursday night and then Beer Belly on Friday. As far as our booth we always try to bring the best stuff we have. It’s no use attending a festival if you’re not trying to stand out.

How does the CA Craft Beer Summit/Fest compare to other beer events you’ve been to?

It’s more education and networking focused.

What do see as Moksa’s place in the California craft beer scene? How does California craft beer relate to the rest of the beer world?

Moksa is quite different from a lot of breweries in the fact that we receive over 90% of our revenue from our taproom sales allowing us to have more capital to put back into the business. Also the marketing plan is to “Market Globally, Sell Locally.” I travel to beer festival invitationals all around the world to promote Moksa and Sacramento and California. Basically I am using our platform to promote the beer communities that we are a part of.

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Q&A: What’s Your Favorite Beer Book?

Kristine @womensbeercollective

womensbeercollective

When asked ‘what is my favorite beer book’ I had to take a pause, and for a brief moment felt slightly down on myself for not seeming more studious! You see, I believe everything I’ve learned about beer has come from listening, doing, drinking and brewing. Not to say I’m not a lover of books, because I have many! However, the books I collect are gorgeous eye candy for the food and beer lovers out there, and so much more! … Because they are cookbooks! I am excited to share a few of my favorites with you!

THE BEER PANTRY, cooking at the intersection of craft beer and great food by Adam Dulye and Michael Harlan Turkell. Exquisitely illustrated with upscale recipes that all incorporate beer. The best part is they have made a list of suggestions for each menu item of what beer style to pair with it … even down to the brewery name!

THE CRAFT BEER COOKBOOK and CRAFT BEER BITES COOKBOOK, two that I have in my collection from Jacquelyn Dodd. Let me just say that this delightful woman and chef really knows how to have a good time! Anything I’ve made from either of these books, that include beer, have been crowd pleasers! To see all her amazing food photography her IG is @thebeeroness and I promise you will drool!

By all means, don’t be fooled into thinking that I am an amazing cook!! I just really enjoy cookbooks, and have always been this way since a child. It’s not always about actually cooking for me, but the enjoyment of turning the pages of each beautiful image and making a list of what could be. Cheers!

Marilyn @littlemariii

Food On Tap Cooking With Craft Beer by Lori Rice – This is my favorite book because it includes two of the things I love; craft beer and food. This book takes it beyond pairing beers with dishes, it has amazing photography and recipes for dishes that are cooked with beer. Just to see how it all comes together is an awesome process. I also love that you, yourself can recreate these dishes and have some friends over and have your own beer dinner.

Jackie @TheBeeroness

I’m not going to say mine, that would be lame. The first beer book I feel in love with is The Brewmasters Table by Garrett Oliver. He’s an absolute legend and the gold standard for beer writing. I also really enjoyed reading The Craft of Stone Brewing because I would read absolutely anything Randy Clemens wrote. And I firmly believe that The Beer Bible by Jeff Alworth is a must own, he’s just so damn brilliant.

Nick from PairingwithBeer.com

The Ontario Craft Beer Guide is an excellent survey of the Ontario Craft Beer scene (as of 2017 in the second edition of the book), with introductions to more than 200 breweries and 1000 beer reviews and tasting notes. Very accessible for the 90+ percentile of the market that is still unfamiliar with the craft beer scene: this book gets you familiar without any pretentious, snobby language. A fantastic reference, and an informative read.

Paul @beernerdtravel & Ashley @hoppinthemap

beernerdtravel

We loved Brewing Classic Styles by Jamil Zainasheff and John Palmer! It was a huge help and jumping off point when we first waded into the sometimes intimidating waters of home brewing. We haven’t done any brewing since hitting the road, but it was awesome to get to try some of Jamil’s beer (@hereticbrewing) while touring California and even used it as a prop in our favorite beer selfie!

Matthew Ellis Host of Heroes By The Pint

Books about beer, if only this would have been apart of English class maybe i would have been a scholar. Anyways I would have to say Business For Punks by James Watt Owner of Brewdog is a must read, and a book I always go back to. It has such a strong focus on the business of beer as well as business practices for any entrepreneur.

As a home brewer I’ve also spent hours doing my homework by reading Craft Beer for the People (and I’ve got the paper cuts to prove it). Again a Brewdog book bought to us by James Watt, Martin Dickie and Richard Taylor. CHEERS!

Liz @brew.babe

brew.babe

One of my favorite beer books is Beers of the World by David Kenning. When I first moved in with my fiancé, he always had this book on his coffee table and I spent a lot of time reading it. David Kenning covers all sorts of beers. From Canadian ones to Slovenian and New Zealand beers! He displays a picture of the bottle with the poured pint along with a background description of the beer, the Brewery, location, style, ABV, serving temperature, and food pairing. I have the book displayed on my dining room bookshelf along with my cooking and pastry books.

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Pales in Comparison

Kim and Jeff Jaxon have been taking epic road trips across the country and back each summer for the past few years. Dubbed Pales in Comparison, in homage to their favorite hometown craft beer, they’re visiting dozens of breweries along the way. I checked in with them as they head east on this summer’s journey.

Kim and Jeff

Tell us about Pales in Comparison. What are some highlights from past trips?

In July 2015, we meandered across the U.S. in search of good beer, kitsch locations, and beautiful vistas. Our main goal–and the inspiration–was to go from Sierra Nevada Brewery in our hometown of Chico, California to Sierra Nevada Brewery in Asheville, North Carolina. But we got there via Oregon, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ohio, Virginia…you know, the directionless route. We created Pales in Comparison as a site to share our road trip adventures and to create a hub for video blogs, Instagram, and other social media so we could more easily share with friends and family. We had such a great time and learned so much, we knew we needed to head out again. We’re now on our third cross country trip, increasing the travel time to 6 weeks on the road. 

Our favorite breweries in 2015 were Blacksmith Brewing Company in Stevensville, Montana and Laughing Sun Brewing in Bismarck, ND. Both places started as a labor of love, have deep ties to their community, and make great beers. 

In 2018, we stumbled upon an incredible nano brewery in Darby, Montana called Bandit Brewing. They didn’t have a bad beer in the list, and they are making clean, hoppy, delicious beer.

route map

What are some of the highlights of this trip so far?

By far, Palisade Brewing Co in Palisade, CO has been one of our favorite stops so far. We were able to sit with both brewers, try beers right off the line, including a farmhouse ale brewed with beets, which was so much better than it sounds. We also found Lost Cabin in Rapid City, SD and they had one of the best Pale Ales (Bruce Banner Pale Ale) on the trip so far. Just last night, we were at Devil’s Kettle in Athens, Ohio and had some amazing sours and an Imperial Blonde called Spider Silk that was full of honey-flavored goodness. 

What are you looking forward to on this trip?

As always, we’re looking forward to a return to Sierra Nevada in Mills River and trying out a few more of the 60+ breweries in Asheville. If you could only drive to one place in the USA and wanted the most beer selection, Asheville should be top of the list. 

What are some of the challenges of a long road trip and visiting so many breweries?

You really do have to do your research: there are a lot of variables like making sure the one brewery in a small town is open on the day you’ll be there (Mondays and Tuesdays are challenging). Finding a brew pub that’s the right driving distance, with a place you can stay nearby, and a brewery that is open and has beers you want to try can be a fun puzzle to solve. We start planning months before with multiple windows open: brewery map (which lets you search a route), google maps, Airbnb, hotel sites, camping sites, and of course, brewery sites. And the weight gain struggle is real; we try to walk or hike each morning, but when you’re drinking beer for 6 weeks with a side of cheese curds…you know, pounds. 

How can people follow along?

You can find links to Instagram, our YouTube channel, and Vlogs from each year on the website: palesincomparison.com

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