Your Guide to Local Oktoberfests

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Image courtesy of IEShineOn.com

Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, is now officially underway, which means Southern California will soon be filled with assorted Bavarian-style beer events from now through the end of October. While the official German event concludes on Oct. 2, many of our Inland Empire versions haven’t even begun. Let’s take a look at our local lineup at IEShineOn.com.

 

“Summer Send Off” Kicks Off Inaugural Inland Empire Beer Week

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The Inland Empire will celebrate its first official “Beer Week” on Saturday, Sept. 17, with a series of special events around the region that will spotlight the area’s rapidly growing world of craft beer.

The Inland Empire Brewers Guild, a cooperative effort among craft breweries throughout San Bernardino and Riverside counties, will get the week off to a big start with the inaugural Summer Send Off Beer Festival on Saturday, Sept. 17, at Riverside Municipal Airport.

Breweries from the Inland Empire and throughout Southern California will combine forces to celebrate the region’s blooming craft beer culture with an event to officially close the summer season. More than 20 Inland Empire breweries, plus many out-of-town breweries, will pour some of their finest brews. The event will also feature food trucks, live entertainment and much more.

Activities are planned throughout the week. Check out my full articles at IEShineOn.com on both the Summer Send Off Beer Festival and Inland Empire Beer Week for participating breweries and the week’s activities. Cheers!

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Cocktails of the Month for September

ieshineon-september-cocktail-of-the-month-623While the weather outside still says summer, the calendar shows we’re on the cusp of fall and the transition to some cooler temperatures ahead. And with the change of seasons comes a shift in the types of cocktails that are most appealing. Specifically, that means a transition from light refreshing drinks, to those that feature dark distilled liquor. There’s no better place to start than with a couple of classic whiskey cocktails – the Manhattan and the Old Fashioned – along with a few other variations. I’ve got my take on a couple of my favorites at IEShineOn.com. These are heavy on the alcohol, so, as always, please be careful and drink responsibly.12072825_1085262341491843_5867455890284977700_n

Beer and Wine Events for September

1994-ieso-inland-empire-september-beer-wine-guide-623Summer’s just about over, but there is no shortage of events where you can quench your thirst and sample great craft beers and fine wines. Check out IEShineOn.com for my guide to some of this month’s special events in the Inland Empire.

Beer and Wine Events Guide for August

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Image courtesy of IEShineOn

What else would you do during the dog days of August than find a good event to sample wines, beers or spirits? Okay, there’s probably a lot, but this is the only place to find a comprehensive guide to alcoholic beverage tasting events in the Inland Empire. Check out my Inland Empire Beer and Wine Guide for August at IEShineOn. And check back periodically for updates. If you know of an event I’ve missed, please let me know and we’ll be sure to add it. Better yet, let me know well in advance so it doesn’t get overlooked in the first place. Thanks!

Cheers! 12072825_1085262341491843_5867455890284977700_n

 

Kings Brewery is Their Castle

thumb_IMG_4133_1024There must be something to the idea of selling your house to build a craft brewery.

At least that seems to be the case in Rancho Cucamonga, where the origins of the recently opened Kings Brewing Co. have a remarkably similar storyline to those that led to the launch of Hamilton Family Brewery in 2014.

Founders of both local breweries sold their respective homes to build their new businesses. In the case of Josh and Crysten Hamilton, they sold their house, moved in with Crysten’s parents and raised enough capital to chase Josh’s dream. Now open for more than two years, their investment in Hamilton Family Brewery seems to have paid off.

thumb_IMG_4134_1024The case of brothers Jeremiah and Demetrius Cooper is a bit different. They took ownership of their Pomona childhood home when their parents retired and moved away. That wasn’t enough, so they cashed in their 401ks and took out a sizable loan. They also launched a crowd-funding campaign to help fund the start-up, which unquestionably contributed to a strong opening day crowd on April 30. That, or the fact that the brewery is one of the few places in town that carries Dodger games on Time Warner Cable.

“We wanted to open big – not with just four or six taps like most new breweries when they open,” said Demetrius, who prefers to go simply by “D.”

thumb_IMG_4129_1024Despite operating with a negative financial balance when they opened, the Coopers came charging out of the gates with 10 beers on tap. Two months later, brews were flowing from 20 taps. D says he and his brother hope to have 30 taps in operation soon. That means brewing a lot of different kinds of beer.

“We’re already doing some things that it takes some breweries a long time to do,” says D. Cooper. “Even though they won’t be ready for a while, we’ve already got some beers in bourbon barrels, which most breweries don’t even think about at this stage.”

More taps means more beer styles, but a smaller opportunity for visitors to truly gauge the overall quality with just one visit. That’s not a problem, because going to breweries is certainly not a personal sacrifice (especially when they have Dodger games on TV). Nevertheless, I was impressed with the quality of the products I sampled.

Most craft breweries take months and even years to work out the difficulties of moving from smaller home brewing equipment to much bigger commercial systems. The challenges are even more pronounced when brewing 10, 20 or even 30 different styles of beers.thumb_IMG_4130_1024

The four beers I had were solid. Fans of hoppy West Coast IPAs might not be partial to the Juice Bomb IPA with its fruity aroma and very little bitterness, but it has plenty of flavor for both new and seasoned craft beer fans.

The Draw Bridge Double IPA is somewhat similar to the Juice Bomb, but a bit maltier. Still, a bit light for a DIPA. The Jensen Porter is roasty with hints of coffee, and the Biscocho Lechero Milk Stout was also very good. The list also includes beers brewed with Reese’s Pieces, pineapples, jalapenos and more, but not all in the same beer.