Festivus Barley Forge

Coining the familiar Costanza holiday from the Seinfeld series, beer Chef Andrea Machuca teamed up in December with Barley Forge Brewing Company, in Cost Mesa, for “A Festivus for the Rest of Us” beer dinner inside the brewery on Randolph Street. Chef Andrea and The Culinary Underground, a chef-driven group of craft beer and culinary focused folks, created six-plus courses to pair with seven beers from Barley Forge. The Barley Forge brewing and ownership team worked with Machuca prior to the event in an effort to choose beers to accompany each course. Barley Forge founders husband and wife Greg Nylen and Mary Ann Frericks were in attendance along with Brewmaster Kevin Buckley, Operations Manager Sean O’Shea and Brewer Dave Moody. They shared info about the beers as they enjoyed the evening with guests.

The Amuse Bouche cheese a Cowgirl Creamery Mt. Tam sphere, chestnuts, cranberry and bread plate married fittingly with Don Perfecto Horchata-style Wit, a Barley Forge core beer that successfully combines Horchata essences with the soul of a well-appointed Belgian-style wit.

The salad course with mache, kolrabi, shaved fennel, beets and pomegranate was dressed with a vinaigrette made with Two Louder triple IPA. It was paired with Grandpa Tractor, a Dortmunder-style export beer. This lighter style brew cleansed and refreshed the palate as a contrast to the tart and sweet flavors that emanated from the salad.

The third course, a tribute to the chef’s Grandma Lupe, was a re-creation of her squash tamale recipe. It was seasoned with epazole and queso, and served with a tamarind mousse. The beer for this course was the hearty Two Louder, a tripel IPA. With more hops and malt than One Louder, this beer really goes to 12, possessing a hefty 12% alcohol by volume ABV. As it warmed in the glass its flavors became increasingly intensified. It was surprisingly dry without any over cloying sweetness. In addition to complementing the flavors in this dish, some would find later in the meal that it also paired very well with the
main course.

As an Intermezzo palate cleanser, a jicama sorbet with Anjou pear, sorrel and jellied sweet potato was matched with Nom Nom
Mango Hefeweizen.

The main course included a substantial organic free-range Cornish game hen on a bed of roasted pureed parsnips and winter root veggies. The smoky demi-glace was created using the skins and a reduction of bourbon barrel aged Fugue State Russian Imperial Stout RIS, a beer aged for eight months in first-run High West Bourbon barrels. Flavors were abounding in this multifaceted dish that was paired with El Tecnico, an amber ale brewed with agave extract. Its maltiness complemented the roastiness of the dish. As mentioned earlier, a few guests had set aside some of the triple IPA to try with this course. The intense flavors in that beer really enhanced those of the hen and vegetables. In turn, the essences of the dish served to expand the hops and heartiness of the Two Louder.

Though appetites were more than satiated at this point a large dessert, and more, were still to come.

For dessert, Chef Andrea combined a multitude of sweet holiday tastes. Mint, egg nog, peppermint, gingerbread and panettone came together in an Italian panettone bread pudding with eggnog ice cream, chocolate mint, gingerbread crumb and peppermint Chantilly cream. This competition of flavors was settled by the delicious High West BBA Fugue State RIS, which sipped nicely.

Platters of delightful chocolate bark crafted with hazelnuts, caramel and black Mission figs would soon arrive along with the approving Vanilla Pecan Maple Amber Ale, provided as a digestif. The bark was also infused with Stumptown Slay Ride sic Coffee. They provided a perfect topping off or overflow of abundance to complete the evening.

Chef Machuca and her Culinary Underground participate in several events throughout the year. She and her team are also available to work with you or your business on your own special event. Check out The Culinary Underground
on Facebook.

Laguna Beach Beer Co/Cismontane Brewing

Laguna Beach Beer Company opened in 2014. Lack of capital funds initially prevented founders Brent Reynard and Michael Lombardo from building and operating a brewery of their own. Instead, the label’s beer was contract brewed. The two established their label and marketed Laguna Beach landmark-named brews within Laguna Beach and Orange County and a goal of eventually opening close to home.

In early November it was announced that the two had reached an agreement with Cismontane Brewing Company owners Evan Weinberg and Ross Stewart to purchase Cismontane’s original Ranch Santa Margarita location. A cooperative agreement allowed brewing of Laguna Beach beer at Cismontane prior to the sale closing and LBB officially moving in. At press time Brewbound showed that Reynard and Lombardo were recruiting for a head brewer.

Plans also call for a Laguna Beach tap room 869 Laguna Canyon Drive with a 7-barrel brewhouse and kitchen. The lease was signed in late November. They are hoping to be open by spring.

Since opening their sizable facility in Santa Ana in 2014, Cismontane’s Weinberg and Stewart have planned to move brewing operations there as well. Whether or not to keep the RSM location had also been a subject of debate. This sale provides an equitable exit strategy while Evan and Ross work to secure and set up new brewing equipment at their Santa Ana site. Cismontane beers will continue to be brewed at the RSM brewery until the new brewhouse is up
and running.

Bootlegger’s Redlands

Just before press time Aaron Barkenhagen, owner of Bootlegger’s Brewery in Fullerton, announced the brewery would be opening a second location. Redlands will soon be home to Bootlegger’s second tap room with pilot brewery. Bootlegger’s will occupy the space at 2351 W Lugonia Avenue, a space recently vacated by the now defunct Wild Donkey Brewing Company. Wild Donkey ceased operations in November after a four year run. The property is conveniently located across the street from Ritual Brewing Company, so beer travelers can look forward to another award-winning brewery to visit in town. In addition to the aforementioned Ritual, Hangar 24 Craft Brewery is also not far away.