Five in Five

What do you get when you cross two guys, the Inland Empire, Orange County, and five hours?  Five Breweries in Five Hours, that’s what.

This last Saturday marked one of the most epic beer weekends I’ve had in a while, and despite the massive amount of beer that was had, it was one of the most memorable.  We started off with a tasting of the Los Angeles Ale Works beer at Inland Empire Brewing Company.  It’s been fermenting for about a week now, so the beer is still in primary mode.  It’s difficult to know what the beer is going to taste like at this stage, but it was still a fun experiment.  John and Steph met Mike and I at the brewery before they set off for their Palm Springs wedding anniversary weekend.  We picked up a growler of Hefe and a bottle of Pepin the Short Porter for the road.

The next stop was I & I Brewing in Chino.  I’ve been to a lot of cool breweries within the last few years, but I have to say that this is one of the coolest.  I’m not going to go into too much detail about their operation as Mike is writing a full post dedicated to it, but I will say this: I & I is a true nano brewery in every sense of the word.  Extremely artistic, extremely small batches (40 gallons), limited staff, no kegs, just incredible beer.  I highly recommend to everyone that reads this post to make I & I a destination on their short list.  They are doing a great job, and I’m looking forward to seeing what these guys do in the coming years. A tasting flight and 2 growlers later it was time to go to the next stop.

The next destination started out as Alkatraz, but quickly changed when Mike’s Tire Pressure Sensor gauge started to blink.  The only course of action was to stop off at the nearest Bruery! See what I did there?  The Bruery just opened their new tasting room recently, but our invitation to the press event was lost in the mail.  We forgive you, Bruery, and that’s only because you make incredible beer, with incredible people, at an incredible brewery.  Without going too far down the Bruery’s sour alcoholic rabbit hole, Mike and I shared a taster of Sans Pagaie, a pleasantly tart cherry sour.  I’m still trying to get over the Kriek I had from the Bruery.  It’s one of those beers that haunts your dreams with deliciousness.  You almost don’t want to have it again because the memory is so great; although, I have a feeling that if I had it again it would still be great, unlike Ninja Turtles 2.  Mike couldn’t leave the Bruery without a few bottles of White Oak, and he also picked up a bottle of Burly Gourd Milk Stout.  I picked up some Hottenroth and Tart of Darkness.  Yippee!  Next please.

Back on the road, with a fully functioning tire sensor, it was time to visit Alkatraz Brewing Co. I’m a little confused about Alkatraz’s theme.  Okay, I get it, it’s all about the Rock, but why is it in Orange, CA and not San Francisco?  The place is complete with a mini Golden Gate Bridge, a giant guard tower outside, and crime themed beers.  My favorite part about this brewery was the tagline “Best Beer Behind Bars.”  It’s simple and clever.  The food consisted of your standard brewpub fair: burgers, sandwiches, and big portions.  Mike and I split some hot wings and 2 tasting flights.  This stop was actually the whole reason we were touring; Mike had purchased a groupon for two tasting flights and two growlers and needed a wingman.  After the flight, I can safely say that the beer is for the masses.  It was really tough to top I & I’s inovation and The Bruery’s, well, Bruery-ness.  Alkatraz has a lot of light post-prohibition style lagers and even a Pabst clone.  If you are looking for extremely sessionable and quaffable beers, a burger, and French fries, look no further.  Still, I can’t really recommend the beer to an extreme beer geek, but that’s okay because that’s not who they are marketing to.  I would definitely go back for the hot wings though.  Next!

Our final stop, not including the home brewery, was Noble Ale Works.  Noble got its start contracting with Dale Bros. Brewery while they opened their full fledged location near Angel Stadium in Anaheim.  This is the first time I’ve had their beer past the Beer Festival this year at Paramount, and I can safely say they are doing a great job.  The brewery was top notch, and the tap room was really nice.  Located a stone’s throw away from the stadium, the location is prime for drinkers and baseball fans.  I ordered a Night Changer and took home a bottle of Breakaway Pale.   I’m going to keep my eye on Noble; they recently hired a new head brewer, Evan Price, who worked at Taps under Viktor Novak.  That information alone got me excited.  It sounds like they have a lot of really cool things coming down the pike for them, so it’ll be exciting to see what sorts of beers Evan comes up with.   Next!

Back to Mike’s place in Cypress we went.  Take a look at all the cool beers we picked up!




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