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Huntington Beach

Taking a self-guided craft beer tour in Orange County

For the second installment of my mapped self-guided craft beer tours, I will map out a beer tour I made of Orange County back in January. If you would like to see photos of the locations visited on this tour, you can find my photos and comments here. For the uninitiated, please be aware, there are a lot more craft breweries in Orange County than these; in fact, there are new locations that have opened since I wrote the initial article in January. I chose to visit those locations simply because I had never been there before; I chose the order for a couple of reasons. The first is that individual one day tours are going to start and end at home, so I always try to make the journey circular. You should be able to plug in your own home address and create your own circle by using the same order I have them laid out in; even if you start with Location C instead of Location A. The second thing I take into consideration is food; so I try to include at least one brewpub and I do my best at avoiding two in a row.

The locations visited were Bootlegger’s Brewery in Fullerton, TAPS Fish House & Brewery in Brea, Noble Ale Works in Anaheim, Tustin Brewing Company in Tustin and Brewbakers in Huntington Beach.


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A visit to Orange County microbreweries and brewpubs

At the beginning of the month I paid a return visit to Anaheim Brewery during which time I happened to get into a conversation with a couple that came into the tasting room. While our conversation naturally began with discussing the beers we were sampling, it did not take long for it to switch to our favorite local craft breweries. It was during this discussion that it dawned on me that I had barely skimmed the surface when it came to how many craft breweries in Orange County I had visited. This past weekend I decided to do something about it by visiting a few production breweries and brewpubs in the OC.

Tanya and I started off at Bootlegger’s Brewery, a production microbrewery located in Fullerton, CA. I must admit, I was a little surprised when we pulled up to the tasting room because it appeared to be extremely small from the front. When we went inside I saw close to 20 beers available on tap; it was then that I figured out that the brewery and the tasting room were at two different locations. Since I knew we would be making several stops over the course of the day, we opted to share a flight of four for a very reasonable $6.00. The flight consisted of a Sucker Punch IPA, Miss Double D Pale Ale, Double Dry Hopped Palomino Pale Ale and a Spiced Black Phoenix on cask. Bootlegger’s Brewery is open seven days a week and have bottles and growlers to go. While they are a production brewery they do not offer food, but you are welcome to bring food in. I noticed a pizza place next door. They have a very large patio area and there was a private party going on in one section so I think it is safe to say that if you want to have a party there, it can be arranged. The Bootlegger’s tasting room is located at 130 S Highland Avenue in Fullerton.

After enjoying Bootlegger’s we headed out to Brea and Taps Fish House & Brewery. As can be guessed by the name, Taps is a brewpub; in fact, it is a huge brewpub. The first thing I noticed, besides the large number of guests, was the number of awards that Taps Brewery has on the walls. Apparently Taps opened in 1999 and it looks like they have been consistently winning medals for their beers ever since. Since football was on, the place was packed and finding seating for two at the bar was not going to happen. We found a couple seats at one of the bars community tables and sat down to enjoy a Reuben sandwich and we split another flight. The flight was made up of an MJoe mead, Seaward Pale Ale, Azacca IPA and a Neo-Colonial Stout. I am becoming a big fan of Azacca hops, that is for sure. Taps Fish House & Brewery is located at 101 E Imperial Highway in Brea and they are also open seven days a week. Continue reading

Damn You Dengue Fever Benefit for Helen Kral

If there is one thing I can say about the craft beer community in Los Angeles, it is a very tight-knit group. This goes beyond the brewers for the numerous breweries we have in the area, who are known for being eager to help each other out. It extends to those that own or manage bottle shops and gastropubs, people that write about craft beer and the sales teams for the various craft beer distributors in the area. This community and camaraderie was displayed again Saturday evening as friends and family of Firestone-Walker Regional Sales Manager, Shane Kral gathered in Huntington Beach for the ‘Damn You Dengue Fever Benefit’ for Shane’s wife, Helen.

During what should have been a dream vacation for Helen and Shane’s Hawaiian getaway last July, Helen apparently was bitten by a mosquito carrying Dengue Fever; an infectious tropical disease caused by the dengue virus. While the symptoms can be as minor as a fever or headaches, Dengue Fever can be life threatening. In Helen’s case, she became paralyzed. As time continued, Helen’s condition improved and she is now able to maneuver her wheelchair and last week she was able to stand with assistance. Prayer, positive thoughts and physical therapy are helping, but as Helen must stay in a nursing home and expenses are piling up. Saturday evening’s benefit was held to help alleviate the family expenses.

For a small donation at the door we were treated to food and drink with plenty of Firestone-Walker beers available. There was also a raffle and silent auction for the host of items that were donated to the cause. Some of the items donated included tickets to selected performances at Club Nokia from Yo Gabba Gabba to Mushroomhead, skate decks from Attic, artwork from Bernie Wire and Stork, gift certificates from restaurants and gastropubs from Manhattan Beach to Newport Beach, signed sports memorabilia, brewery tours and hard to find-one of a kind-blow your mind beers including Firestone X-XVII. Continue reading

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