It’s that time of year! It’s my birthday, it’s the Holidays, it’s time for OC Brew Ho Ho. This event is one of my favorites, where the dark and sticky beers flow, and people get weird. The people watching is like an event within an event, and I highly recommend getting the tasting out of the way early and post-up someone to watch all the hilarious costumes and tipsy attendee’s shenanigans.
It’s the beer event where local breweries pull out all the stops, and bust out all the dark, high ABV, special beers for one last hurrah before the year ends. I’ve had everything from White Russians, to Egg Nog, to whales at this event, and one thing I’ve never had was disappointment… (see what I did there?)
If you go to one party this Holiday season, make it a beer party.
When: Saturday, Dec. 9th from 12-4pm
Where: The Phoenix Club,1340 S. Sanderson Ave, Anaheim, CA 92806
Cost: $55 for unlimited 2oz tasters + taster glass
Music: The English Beat (cue fangirl moment – I am a ska kid at heart)
I had a blast at this year’s OC Brew Ha Ha! It was the first time the weather was super mild, and it made me very happy not to be a sweaty mess. In addition to great weather, the overall vibe was chill – partially due to the event not being over crowded. Most of the booths had little to no lines (minus Bottle Logic, where I couldn’t get a break in those damn lines for a beer) so we were able to bounce around the event and try most of everything relatively quickly.
Overall it was a great time. The corndog from Viking truck was satisfying as hell. The VIP area had some really interesting beers (rare beers, sours, etc.). I am really late getting this review out there, so most of the details are already covered. I’ll just leave the pics here for your enjoyment!
This year at the OC Brew Hee Haw event something magical happened: I was blessed with close parking to the event entrance. For those of you who have attended the OC Brew Hee Haw events, you know that because this event is located within the OC Fair you are likely gonna park super far away that will typically require a shuttle to get to and from. Not this year, I attended the 12-4pm event and there was parking really close, it was magic.
It was a hot summer day but luckily this event had several water stations and shade so I was able to avoid being burned or dehydrated. Most of the outside booths had a nice breeze or shade from trees so I was hot but not too bothered by the weather.
The DJ was really fun – it always makes for great people watching after the event has been going for a few hours and people loose their inhibitions a bit and start dancing. There was a funny moment when I spotted a man taking a photo that almost looked to be an “up-skirt” photo, so naturally I took pictures of him intending to report him to security. That’s when I noticed he was actually taking pictures of his companion’s injured foot, so that was even more interesting. As I photographed them, my friend and I was approached by a guy who asked what I was doing. I told him, and he was like “oh, I thought you had a thing for feet.” So we ended-up having a whole conversation about how there’s always porn out there for strange fetishes, and maybe this dude runs a “Misery-porn” instagram (ya-know … like the movie Misery? The one where she breaks his ankles?). I’ve met some fun people at beer events, and some of these people have ended-up being close friends who I hang out in real life (outside of beer events), and this dude was hilarious. He ended-up hanging out with us for like an hour after the event, walking around the fair, then walking off into the sunset never to be heard from again. I prefer to think he was a ghost, who walks around Costa Mesa and brightens people’s day with his antidotes.
I had a lot of fun at this event. It was well organized and I was able to enjoy the fair after the event which is always a good time. My only suggestion for next year is to have a few less IPA’s and more lighter beers like Kolsch’s Pilzners, and Pales. I met a lot of interesting people at this event, and ended-up becoming a group photographer of sorts in the end. Thanks for a great event!
This year the OC Brewers Guild Invitational event was hosted at the Center Street Promenade in downtown Anaheim, where there has been many events like the Fest of Ales, etc. It’s a unique space where it’s almost like a lowercase t, with a long main strip and two small off-shoots. What’s great about this space is the parking, there are two big parking structures and it’s easy to get in and out of the event. As we walked up we noticed the long line that snaked its way through an entire side of the parking structure and around the corner. Thankfully most of the people who where waiting were in the shade, but nevertheless they looked pretty unhappy to be waiting. I heard claims that it took some people almost an hour to get in. There seemed to be a few issues with this event, so I will break them down into likes and gripes:
Like: Having the event in the early evening, it helped a little because the day was super hot and having it be later in the day helped quell the heat just a little. Plus it’s nice to take photos in the magic hour!
Gripe: Only 1 water station in the whole place. This is a major gripe of mine, to have an unlimited drinking festival without ample water is dangerous, especially on a hot day. It’s almost reckless in a sense, and the level of drunkenness I saw at the event was likely caused by the lack of water availability.
Like: Lots of great beer selections! There was super rare beer poured, especially by The Bruery. I mean, they had Chocolate Rain in bottles, that’s just nuts. But – the problem with that was Chocolate Rain is 18.5%ABV, so serving that when it’s hot and lack of water = really drunk people.
Gripe: There seemed to be a lack of fun music options, and the space in the small part of the t shape of the street seemed to be under-utilized. It was mainly lined with port-a-potties.
Like: The glassware was really nice, the gold leaf option for those who got VIP was a nice touch.
Gripe: In general, there was a lack of organization from what I heard from my friends who worked the event. There was beer that was overly foamy because of the heat levels, people had to move their stations after they were set-up, and I noticed extremely intoxicated people were still being served.
Like: I think the event has really great potential and I am glad to see the OC beer scene being celebrated. I think events like Firkfest is a good example of a well-run beer event in Anaheim, with several water stations, a well-known and well-liked DJ, and several people running the line check-ins. A few small tweaks and next year could be a fantastic event!
Me and my husband are huge Rick and Morty fans so when I came across a Tiny Rick cookie cutter on etsy, it had to be mine! This time, I made them with Bottle Logic’s Recursion IPA. I know Bottle Logic is huge fans of the show too, so it just felt right. So wubba lubba dub dub, it’s time to get schwifty!
4 cups of sifted AP Flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 cup or 2 sticks of unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract (or beer!)
1 lb. of powdered sugar
1 tablespoon of light corn syrup
2/3 cups of beer
1 tablespoon of lime juice
Gel food coloring
1. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together into a bowl.
2. Beat butter and sugar together on medium speed in an electric stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Mix until pale and fluffy, for 3 minutes or so. Add in the vanilla (or beer) and eggs and mix until incorporated. Add flour mixture in slowly until incorporated.
3. Put cookie dough in plastic wrap and let chill in the fridge about 1 hour or until firm. I wrapped it into three disks and only used two of them and froze the third. This yields a good amount of cookies.
4. Roll-out the dough in between two sheets of plastic wrap until about 1/4 inch thick. Using the plastic wrap will help keep the cookies from getting too dry from adding extra flour during the roll-out process.
5. Cut out the shapes and place on cookie sheets with parchment paper or silpats. Put in the freezer for 15 minutes so the cookies will keep the shape while baking.
6. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Cook for 15-18 minutes until the edges are brown. Let cookies cool before icing.
7. Whisk icing ingredients together, make sure that the icing is very thick so it will keep the piping shapes you want. Make sure to add more powdered sugar if necessary. I made three colors of frosting: one black for the eyes and pants, and one light blue for the hair, eyebrows and shirt and white for the lab coat. They will get completely dry overnight and will be pretty hard so they can be put in an airtight container to travel if needed. If it gets too hot the frosting will get melty again.
These turned out great. I got the bitterness and beer flavor, but it wasn’t overpowering. The cookie wasn’t really sweet, it just had a nice crunch to it. The frosting was an interesting balance of sweet, tangy and hoppy. I am a bit of a perfectionist so I wish my frosting was a bit neater but everyone loved them so much I didn’t feel that bad. I got my cookie cutter from this store – but it looks like it’s gone now!
The 4th Annual Sabroso taco, craft beer and music festival was a huge hit. It sold out two weeks in advance (which is untypical of most beer festivals – especially in Orange County) and I had a bunch of people asking me if I could get them tickets last minute. Besides from always killing it in the taco and beer game, for the music they booked some heavy-hitters footing the bill with the likes of: Offspring, Sum 41, Lit, Unwritten Law, Rival Sons, and Metalachi to name a few. The event changed locations this year and was located at Doheny State Beach, and thus was able to accommodate a swelled crowd of over 8,500 people.
I was asked to be a judge of all the tacos again this year, this time besides the loveable Frosty from KLOS (yes, that Frosty from Fosty, Heidi and Frank) and FoodBeast. It was really cool to be able to meet Frosty because I’ve listened to their show on and off for years, since they were on the indie station over 10 years ago. He was so nice! We were tasked with judging over 21 tacos (up from the 16 last year) and I think this was the best year yet! There was so many creative and interesting taco choices, it was such a fun time.
Onto the tacos! Let’s jump in. I had documented what was in each taco on my phone and my tasting notes, and would you know it – my phone took a dump so this is all from memory.
This was the first taco. It was blind judging so I have no idea who made what, but this taco was good. It had decent heat, but was overall a bit soft. Besides the carrots, it needed more crunch!
This taco was beautiful – just look at all that color! It had good flavor, I just was frustrated by the meat, it was kinda chewy and stringy – and that made it harder to eat. I liked the addition of the bell peppers, the texture overall was really good.
I wasn’t a big fan of this one – the green apples made it pretty sour. Plus – if you guys read my last year’s post – I am not a fan of the crumbled cheese. Not this taco’s fault. It had way too much cabbage for me, but I liked the meat! It was slow-cooked and juicy.
This taco was pretty basic – it had nothing too remarkable. It was not terrible and not amazing, it was like someone on top chef who wanted to play it safe.
WTF taco. It was hard to get past all the stuff on top to the fish buried under there. Also, the tomatoes had no business being on this, was it salsa or just fresh tomatoes? You confuse me, taco.
I’m pretty sure this was the teriyaki beef taco, and it was interesting. It was a one-degree separation from being a Kogi-inspired masterpiece but it was missing something. Kimchi maybe? The meet was super flavorful with sweet notes, it was tender, and the heat from the sriracha balanced it out.
Ok – so I know I said the other taco had way too much on it, and this one looks crazy as well – but this worked in a strange way. If you move the lime and sauce and veggies, it’s just a true street taco, and that green sauce was on fire. Where can I get that green sauce?!
This was not for me, stringy meat and the dreaded cojita cheese, it was destined for failure on my palate. I wasn’t a fan – but that’s just my taste – I am sure my husband would’ve loved this cuz it was a meat bonanza. It could’ve also used a bit more brightness in color with some fresh herbs or something!
Another taco that could’ve done without the added tomotes, but it was not terrible. I liked the red cabbage addition, and the tortilla was nice and fluffy with a nice chew to it.
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