Todays event, the Southern California Homebrewers Festival. This festival has been going on for 21 years now. Homebrewers and Homebrew clubs from all over California come together for a weekend and hold a monumentous beer party. I mean this as literally as I can say it. It's not like most beer festivals where you have 3-4 hour sessions and then the day is over. This goes from the early morning all the way into the late hours of the night, and with a large majority of the attendees camping overnight this means late-night-camp-ground partying on top of that. But even with all the fun comes serious beer drinking. There was over 40 clubs/vendors in attendance pouring their absolute finest to show off. There really isn't a sense of competition here but more motivation to learn and discover other peoples crafts.
Meet Kevin, Tyler, and Victor. These guys are the masterminds that continuously brew A+ beers over at The Bruery. Brewers don't always get the credit they deserve but Tyler King, the lead brewer, along with the rest of his team have become fairly well recognized people in the brewing community alongside the Rue family empire.
Tyler was guest speaking on 'high gravity' brewing. Referencing mostly one beer in particular, Black Tuesday. I've mentioned this beer before in an earlier post but never really got to mention how impressive it really is. It's an Imperial Stout aged in Bourbon barrels for over a year that can reach over 20% ABV, but varies every year due to its dependencies on several elements (yeast attenuation, temperatures, etc). It's not as potently fusel as you would think, its a decadently rich beer that has plenty of viscosity and complexity. Strong notes of bourbon, vanilla, caramel, oak, and whatever else your palette picks up in this multi leveled beer. Its really somewhat of a sensory overload and is easily one of the most impressive Imperial Stouts I've encountered. If you ever get an opportunity to try this, do yourself a huge favor and go for it. Hopefully you'll be lucky enough to get a bottle at release, otherwise you'll be paying a ridiculous amount of money.
Tyler's talk was extremely informative and helpful to those who took the time to check it out. And as a surprise to the audience, The Bruery staff brought several bottles to sample from.
If things couldn't get better.
Out of step.
Security guards are usually pretty overzealous and can tend to lack personality, but even that was an exception at the SCHF. A fair portion of the entertainment was provided by this guy. Greeting guests with genuine one-liners, complaining about his sobriety, and being an all around awesome dude. I don't remember his name, but where ever you are Mr. Security Guard, let it be known that all security guards should turn to you for advice and praise you for your righteous intellect and personality.
Addison Homebrew Provisions
My brain stopped functioning, the beer took over and I forgot to use my camera after this point. But it was a good day, a great day really. For anyone reading who's not already a regular attendee, find a way to go to this next year. I would recommend this festival to anyone from a beer nerd to an entry level novice looking to try something new. Its a perfect place to relax, enjoy the lakeside view, and appreciate all the unique offerings people have to offer. From year aged barrel projects blended between 10 other brewers to a 420 friendly beer. It's the perfect venue to experiment and take in all the awesome things offered here.
The end of the most valuable and important trip of my life. After dreaming to come here since I first saw and read into Japan as a young kid, this has been an experience of a lifetime and a trip I will never forget. I'm sure I'll be back, but you never forget your first time. In any case, we made the most of it.
First thing in the morning we headed to Tsukiji and went to Daiwa, one of the most popular sushi restaurants in the Tsukiji area. There is usually a two hour wait, somehow we beat the rush and made it in after only 5 minutes.
The most exquisite toro I've ever had.
This was still moving.
What are the odds?
We really wanted to do the tourist thing and check out the indoor Tsukiji area. I'm usually not a big fan of doing the general traveler activities, but this was a world I'd never seen before.
I don't even know how you'd use a blade that big.
Today is our last full day here in Japan. It's been beyond incredible, but it's not over yet.
I woke up to this for breakfast.
Sun drying tomatoes.
I found this in a kids toy store, I would think this was a mistake.
Cafe au lait's at Nescafe.
Our destination of the day. Craftheads, a well known beer and whiskey bar located just off of central Shibuya. Hidden down a staircase in an alley, it remains a well protected secret to general public. It's somewhat of a safe house for beer nerds. Any beer or whiskey connoisseur should check this place out. A large portion of their selection is actually from the United States (The Bruery, Three Floyds, Stone, etc.), a lot of their offerings being rare even to Americans. The bar owner, Koji Nomura is not only a man of great taste but has created something very unique to the area. If you drop in, you'll probably see him blending in with his customers nerding out on beers with the rest of the crowd.
If you have a hard time finding it, look for the waving KAWS Bearbrick.
I saw Dark Lord on the menu. One of the most sought after imperial stouts in the US right now. After a half second debate in my head on whether or not I should spend $50+ on a bottle, I realized it would be stupid not to.
Secret after-hours-tiny-door hotel entrance.
Back in Tokyo. We stayed in the Ginza area this time, just around the corner from the infamous Tsukiji Fish Market. It's not the most busy area, but there is still just as much to do and get lost in.
Fugu. After wanting to try it for years, we found a reputable blowfish restaurant that serves it. Blowfish or 'fugu' in Japan are known to carry a deadly poison in their vertebrate which can put you in a state of paralysis, coma, or even death. Although, in Japan you have to be properly trained and certified to serve it, and thankfully, there hasn't been a reported case in over 30 years. Anywho, we ate it.
This place takes a fish and cooks every part of it and serves you a large, multi-course "blowfish dinner". Sashimi, fried, boiled and stewed.
After having an awesome meal we headed to Delirium Cafe Tokyo. Delirium Cafe started in Brussels, Belgium and is known for having the largest collection of beer in the world, serving over 2000 different beers. They've branched out and opened a few locations outside of their home region. Though their Tokyo location may not have nearly that many to select from, they still carry a very impressive menu.
Take a bath, go to bed.
Kiyomizudera Temple. Kyoto's most popular temple.
I spotted this. A place to conveniently charge your iPhone or iPod. So when you're done being spiritual you can make a phone call or put on your favorite playlist and jam out looking like an idiot.
People were drinking the water falling down from the spring.
Someone dropped their water collecting stick. When I saw the staff go to collect it from the water, I snuck by and tried doing it too. I'm not sure why people do this, but I did it regardless.
After we did the general tourist stuff, we went to Izuju. A 100 year old sushi resturant with a renown reputation for preparing some of Japan's best 'Kyoto style" sushi.
Then we spent our night around Osaka and went to Key Coffee, which has been run by this man for nearly 40 years. Doing single cup pour overs and using a Bialetti stovetop espresso maker, this guy does things right.