Flight of Darkness 3.0


Who: Craft Beer Culture & The Iron Press

What: We’re teaming up with The Iron Press for another extravagant night of indulgence featuring some of our favorite dark beers and this year, we’re pushing that idea. Of course, big boozy beers like Hangar 24 Pugachev’s Cobra, Dogfish Head Olde School Barleywine, and a special barrel-aged variation of Ballast Point Victory at Sea will be on the board but we also plan to have a few other goodies on the high SRM spectrum. On the sour side, we’ve been graced with a special dark sour from Hoparazzi Brewing as well as the amazing Oude Tart from The Bruery. On the lower ABV side, Belching Beaver’s Peanut Butter Milk Stout and Saint Archer’s Coffee Brown will showcase the lighter side of dark beer. That’s only a taste of what’s to come so keep your eyes peeled below for the full tap list!

Where: The Iron Press @ 3321 Hyland Ave, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

When: Tuesday February 3rd 5 pm – 10 pm

Tap List:

1. Firestone Walker – Sucaba – BA Barleywine – 13.5%

2. The Bruery – Sucre – BA Barleywine – 15.0%

3. Dogfish Head – Olde School – BA Barleywine – 15.0%

4. Ballast Point Brewing Co. – Three Sheets Rum Barrel Aged Victory at Sea – BA Imperial Porter – 10.0%

5. Hangar 24 – Pugachev’s Cobra – BA Imperial Stout – 18.9%

6. Ritual Brewing Co. – Fat Hog (2013) – Barleywine – 11.6%

7. Hoparazzi Brewing Co. – Cherry Chocolate Tarte – Dark Sour – 5.5%

8. The Bruery – Oude Tart – Dark Sour – 7.5%

9. Lagunitas Brewing Co. – Scare City 2 – Imperial Porter – 7.8%

10. Smog City Brewing Co. – The Nothing – Imperial Stout – 10.0%

11. Epic Brewing – Big Bad Baptist – BA Imperial Stout – 11.8%

12. Modern Times – Monsters Park – Imperial Stout – 12.0%

13. Anderson Valley – Wild Turkey Bourbon Barrel Stout – BA Stout – 6.9%

14. Sierra Nevada – Bigfoot – Barleywine – 12.2%

15. Stone Brewing Co. – Sublimely Self Righteous – Black IPA – 8.7%

16. Noble Ale Works – Part of a Balanced Breakfast – Breakfast Stout – 5.7%

17. Good Beer Co. – Breki Stout – Breakfast Stout – 7.5%

18. Green Flash – Double Stout – Imperial Stout – 8.8%

19. Lost Abbey – Serpent’s Stout – Imperial Stout – 11.0%

20. Belching Beaver – Peanut Butter Milk Stout – Milk Stout – 5.3%

21. Avery x Russian River – Collaboration Not Litigation – Belgian Dark Strong Ale – 8.7%

22. Four Sons – Reaper’s Kiss – Black Hefeweizen – 5.6%

23. Beach City Brewing – One Legged – Black IPA – 8.0%

24. Golden Road Brewing – Get Up Offa That Brown – Brown Ale – 5.5%

25. Saint Archer – Coffee Brown – Brown Ale – 6.0%

26. Bottle Logic Brewing – Lagerithm – Dark Lager – 4.8%

27. Mother Earth Brewing Co. – Sin Tax Imperial Peanut Butter Stout – Imperial Stout – 8.1%

28. Alpine – Captain Stout – Stout – 6.0%

29. Tustin Brewing Co. – “Chocolate Milk” Stout – Milk Stout – 6.2% *Nitro*

30. Bottle Logic Brewing – Gravity Well – Imperial Stout – 9.0% *Nitro*

Flight of Darkness 2.0

Flight of Darkness 2.0 at Iron Press Costa Mesa

Who: Craft Beer Culture & The Iron Press

What: A night of our favorite dark beer

Where: The Iron Press @ 3321 Hyland Ave, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

When: Tuesday December 17th 5 pm – 10 pm

We’ve teamed up with Iron Press to bring you Flight of Darkness 2.0. It’s going to be another special night of dark beer and this time we’re going BIG. If you know anything about our “drinking preferences,” this shouldn’t come as a surprise.

As usual, you have the option of a flight of 4 beers for $12 ($10 with a waffle sandwich). If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, they’ll be available individually for $6.

This will be a high ABV night, so we highly recommend a designated driver.


More Cowbell Milk Stout – 5.9% ABV | Nitro | Milk Stout – Tustin Brewing Company

This milk stout is smooth, creamy, and sweet. We’re pouring this on Nitro which really helps bring out the “milky” creaminess that defines the style. It’s the perfect cure for what fever “ales” you.

Black Marlin Porter with Chipotle – 6.7% ABV | 42 IBU | American Porter – Ballast Point Brewing

A hoppy twist on the classic English Porter. A blend of roasted and caramel malts gives this beer a smooth, chocolaty, caramel profile while a healthy dose of American hops makes it worthy of its San Diego roots. Chipotle peppers were added for good measure, which you’ll definitely notice after a second or two.

Sublimely Self Righteous with Cherries – 8.7% ABV | 90 IBU | Black IPA– Stone Brewing Company

Don’t think we forgot about you hopheads! This Black IPA from our friends at Stone is an aggressive reminder that we’re still on the West Coast. This also isn’t just any ol’ batch of Sublimely Self Righteous. They added cherries which gives it a finish that nobly attempts to balances its 90 IBU bitterness.

Bourbon Barrel-Aged Drakonic – 8.7% ABV | Imperial Stout – Drake’s Brewing Co.

For an Imperial Stout, Drakonic is relatively smooth and drinkable while retaining strong flavors of licorice, chocolate and coffee. The additional bourbon-barrel aging takes it to a whole other level. If you’re a fan of oak-aged beer, this one’s for you.

Victory At Sea – 10% ABV | Imperial Porter – Ballast Point Brewing

Two of the world’s oldest beverages join forces to conquer your palate. Victory at Sea is a velvety Imperial Porter with pure vanilla flavor that matches perfectly with the hand roasted Caffe Calabria coffee that goes into it. The cold brewed coffee lends a subtle roasted flavor to this robust imperial porter.

Old Viscosity – 10% ABV | Imperial Stout – Port Brewing Company

“This is definitely not your Dad’s 30 weight!” A dense Imperial Stout, Old Viscosity is a special blend of both the fresh and bourbon barrel-aged version of this beer. The resulting ale has incredible depth and huge body making it a guaranteed sipper for even the most veteran of beer drinkers.

Santa’s Little Helper – 10% ABV | Imperial Stout – Port Brewing Company

“Everything but the kitchen sink.” We thought it would be fun to taste the difference between Santa’s Little Helper and Old Viscosity. In our eyes, this counter-part is roastier and more bitter, similar to coffee. It has an assertive malt bill that includes pretty much everything from Premium Two-Row to Black Barley. We recommend drinking this in a flight alongside Old Viscosity to taste two amazing interpretations of the same style.

Judgment Day – 10.5% ABV | Quadrupel – The Lost Abbey

Inspired by the Trappist tradition, this Quad is brewed specifically for the end of the world. Since none of us know when that’ll be, Lost Abbey recommends we all stock up on this beer. Don’t worry though; we can drink plenty of it now too. “Semper Preparatus” never tasted so good.

2010 Bourbon Barrel Aged OE – 12% ABV | Barleywine – Tustin Brew Co.

OE Barleywine has a special place in our heart. TBC has been making this incredible brew for a few years now and we think it’s time for it to stand next to the greats. This beer is big, boozy, and rich but what else have you come to expect at this point? We highly recommend tasting this side by side with Bourbon County Barleywine.

Bourbon County Brand Barleywine – 12.1% ABV | Barleywine – Goose Island

A new offering in Goose Island’s highly renowned barrel program, Bourbon County Brand Barleywine is rich, oaky, and downright delicious. The bourbon really shines without adding too much heat from the alcohol, leaving plenty of room for the amazing malt flavor which is reminiscent of toffee and caramel. At 12.1%, this is surprisingly drinkable but be forewarned, it’ll getcha.

High West Manhattan-Barrel Aged Big Deluxe – 12.4% ABV | Imperial Oatmeal Stout – Ritual Brewing Co.

As the name suggests, this is one big Oatmeal Stout. The style is usually brewed around 4% – 6% ABV and this one comes in at over 12%. This beer is really unique in that it was aged in barrels that were previously home to High West’s 36th Vote Barreled Manhattan. The Manhattan’s inclusion of sweet vermouth makes it different from the Bourbon-Barrel aged variety. “Big” thanks to our friends at Ritual for this one.

Bourbon County Brand Stout – 15% ABV | Imperial Stout – Goose Island

It takes 150 days to make this elixir of a beer. It absolutely reaks of the bourbon barrels that it spent that time in, obviously in the best way possible. The nose is a mix of charred oak, vanilla, caramel and smoke. In the words of Brewmaster Greg Hall, “One sip has more flavor than your average case of beer. It overpowers anything in the room. People have even said that it’s a great cigar beer, but I haven’t yet tried a cigar that would stand up to it.”

Pugachev’s Cobra – 16.5% ABV | Imperial Stout – Hangar 24 Craft Brewery

Get ready for an assault on your senses. This is a dark and rich beauty of a beer, literally bursting of chocolate, vanilla, oak, licorice and bourbon. Three different dark roasted malts and rich maple syrup are combined in a truly unique brewing process to create complexity and depth. Once fermented, it was aged for eight months in freshly emptied bourbon barrels which you will definitely be made aware of on first sip. This is the perfect dessert beer and we recommend pairing it with the special sweet concoctions that’ll be coming out of The Iron Press kitchen.

Grey Monday – 18.25% ABV | Imperial Stout – The Bruery

Around this time last year, Reserve Society members received a special variation of the revered Black Tuesday. Often referred to as “Nutella Black Tuesday”, Grey Monday is an insanely rich beer that literally drips of bourbon. This variation is special in that it’s brewed with Oregon-grown, roasted hazelnuts. This is The Bruery’s Ode to the Stout and the addition of hazelnuts really adds a decadent touch.

Pliny the Younger Orange County Watch 2013

Pliny The Younger On Tap

It’s legend that on the first of the month, the winds from the North flow toward Orange County carrying with it, the aroma of Russian River Brewing Company’s Pliny The Younger. Yeah… That might be a bit of a stretch but we’re excited that it’s coming and we’re here to help you find it.

I recently had a discussion with a friend about Younger’s stature in the Triple IPA world now that so many worthy competitors are in the ring. I mentioned a few of my favorite newcomers like Knee Deep Simtra and Nobel Ale Works Royal but I was met with a quick look of disdain. I was promptly reminded that there’s something undeniably special about Pliny The Younger.

Whether you’ve been dreaming about it since last February or you’ve yet to have a taste, keep an eye on this page as we update you on the local Orange County sightings of the famed Pliny The Younger. Suspected locations have NOT been confirmed but let’s have some fun and speculate based on 2012’s list.


Orange County

Haven Gastropub Orange Tuesday February 19th at 11 am. First come, first served. $8 for 8 oz or $14 in a flight with Pliny the Elder and Blind Pig. Tickets will be given if a line forms.

Tustin Brewing CompanyWednesday February 20th at 3 pm. Pick up a ticket starting at 11 am and come back any time between 3 pm and 7 pm for a glass at your leisure. Also, keep an eye on their Facebook page as last year, they spontaneously posted the tapping of an extra keg of Younger.

Selma’s Tap Room Rancho Santa MargaritaMonday March 4th at 11 am. Ticket sales start at 11 am and the deadline to drink your beer that day is 8 pm. Tickets will be sold on a first come, first served basis and there are only 25-30 spots so be sure to plan ahead.

Hollingshead’s Deli Monday Feb 18th at 10 am.

Crow BarTuesday Feb 19th at 2 pm. First come, first served. Two tickets will be handed out per person.

Los Angeles County

Beachwood BBQ Long Beach & Seal Beach – Monday February 18th. For the 2nd straight year Beachwood BBQ will be hosting the Pliny Fights Cancer Charity Raffle to raise money for the Melanoma Research Foundation. Raffle tickets are on sale now through February 15th for $5. There is no limit to how many you can buy. 130 winners will be drawn on February 18th.

Haven Gastropub Pasadena  Monday February 18th at 11 am. The details are the same as the Orange location above.

Mohawk BlendTuesday February 19th at 6 pm.

The Bottle Room – Tuesday Feb 26th at 12 pm. Prepare to stand in line for this one. Tickets will be given out for a delicious 9 oz pour of Younger for $9. The food specials are looking pretty incredible too. Can you say Pork Belly Tacos with Pinas Habaneras Salsa? My belly says yes.

Blue Palms BrewhouseSaturday Feb 23rd at 1pm. For $20 you can score yourself a 10 oz taster. Sure that sounds like an awful deal but it’s not. That’s because Blue Palms is shaking things up for charity. They’ve committed to paying for the costs of the keg so that 100% of the proceeds can be donated to the Los Angeles Police Activities League. I wonder if that makes this tax deductible. Oh wait, this is Pliny for charity, not tax savings. Bad Philippe.

Anthill Pub & Grille
Selma’s Tap Room Rancho Santa Margarita
Selma’s Tap Room Ladera Ranch
Slater’s 50/50 Anaheim Hills

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for the most up to date info. If you know when or where a keg of Pliny the Younger is being tapped, email me at philippeg@craftbeerculture.com and help your fellow beer lovers.

Last Updated: February 18th 2013 @ 7:00 pm

Philippe Gagnon is the founder and writer for Craft Beer Culture. Currently residing in Orange County, California, you can find him at the local brewery drinking craft beer or online through FacebookTwitter, and .

Airdale Brewing Co. The Angry Panda Review

Airdale Brewing Company The Angry Panda

“San Diego Brewery” Airdale, (actually brewed locally in Irvine) recently had to shut down its doors but that doesn’t mean they didn’t make good beer. Early last June, I walked into my local beer store, BottleCraft, looking for something interesting, something new, and really just something delicious. Store owner, Brian, made the great recommendation to try a new Imperial Red that they’d just started carrying called The Angry Panda. I took his suggestion and subsequently fell in love. This is my review.

Brewery: Airdale Brewing Company

Name: The Angry Panda

Style: Imperial Red Ale

ABV: 9%

IBU: 77

Look: Ruby color with a light off white head.

Smell: Hop presence covers up just about everything else with it’s earthy aromas. Slight bit of caramel mixes in with the hops but is still relatively subdued for a considerably dark brew.

Taste: The huge hop bill is surprsingly balanced by the sweet malt. It’s flavor really comes out as it warms so let this one sit for a half hour or so before finishing your glass. Once the hops fade away, notes of dark fruits, cherry, raisin and cranberry emerge as the sip tails off.

Feel: Resinous and sticky on the palate but not to the point of feeling heavy. This consistency helps keep the flavors around long enough to let’s the beers high IBU really kick your tongue to your ass, satisfying any true hop head.

Philippe Gagnon is the founder and writer for Craft Beer Culture. Currently residing in Orange County, California, you can find him at the local brewery drinking craft beer or online through FacebookTwitter, and .

Iron Fist Brewing Co. Renegade Blonde #299

Iron Fist Brewing Company Renegade Blonde Craft Beer

Brewery: Iron Fist Brewing Company

Name: Renegade Blonde

Style: Kölsch Style Blonde Ale

ABV: 5.2%

Look: Cloudy straw-like color. Highly carbonated creating tons of pIllowy soft white head.

Smell: The yeast aroma hits first, which taste Belgian to me even though it’s labeled as a German Style Kolsch. I could very well be wrong but it’s smells very familiar. Notes of orange and lemon peak through behind a surprisingly noticeable hop bill. Everything sits balanced and appealing, especially perfect for a warm weekend afternoon.

Taste: This beer is both smooth and drinkable without having to sacrifice any flavor which, to me, is the perfect recipe for a delicious blonde. In the flavor, the yeast comes out balanced and mild which lets the fruitiness of the hops come through on the finish. A subtle reminder that this is a beer from a San Diego brewery.

Feel: The mouthfeel is light and crisp with a slight texture created by the yeast. A nice resinous hop character lingers as the beer fades away.

Overall: There isn’t any single thing that stands out in this beer but that’s exactly what makes it so great. Iron Fist’s Brandon Sieminski created a perfect balance of yeast character, pale (maybe pislner) malt, and subtle hop flavor. This is a perfect beer for just about anytime.

Follow my Quest for 366 Beers in 366 Days on Tumblr and Untappd.

Philippe Gagnon is the founder and writer for Craft Beer Culture. Currently residing in Orange County, California, you can find him at the local brewery drinking craft beer or online through FacebookTwitter, and .

Zane Lamprey Interview – Part 2: The Career Drinker

Zane Lamprey Interview - Pt. 2 The Career Drinker

Continued from 

Philippe: We should probably talk a bit about craft beer since that’s what this blog is all about. Would you consider yourself a beer guy? When you find yourself thirsty, what do you drink?

Zane Lamprey: I am a beer guy. I’m definitely a beer guy. I like my cocktails but I’m also really into beer. I haven’t come out with a beer yet because there’s so much good stuff out there already and quite frankly, it’s already made. If I want a good beer, I have a really great selection to pull from. Compare that to what you could find 10 years ago and it’s just amazing. I love the fact that if I wanted to have a different kind of beer every single day, than I could.

Philippe: I’m going to have to take your word on state of the beer scene 10 years ago since I was still only in middle school at the time.

Zane: Well I wasn’t, trust me.

Philippe: Since Three Sheets was based mostly internationally, you must have travelled all over by now right?

Zane: Three Sheet’s is pretty much International while Drinking Made Easy is about North America. Last year, we did the US plus Vancouver and this year we’ll be shooting in three locations in Canada, I think we’re going to Montreal, Quebec, and maybe Ottawa.

Philippe: Ya they’re making some killer beer up there, for example, Unibroue.

Zane: Well there isn’t much to do up there but play hockey and drink beer.

Philippe: Ya well you’re talking to a Canadian so I think you should be careful what you say…

Zane: Listen, I grew up in Syracuse which is even higher than some places in Canada.

Philippe: Well, I think we have a lot in common between beer drinking and hockey. You definitely have an emphasis on craft beer in your show. During one of your earliest episodes, you were in Belgium drinking some really good stuff (looked like Westvleteren 12 to me).

Zane:  That’s when it really happened. That’s when I saw that there was more than just the fizzy yellow stuff. I’m pulling a line from Greg Koch of Stone by the way (of course). That was a real eye opening experience and I’ve learned so much more about Belgian beer consumption since I’ve left. When I was there, it was all too much to take in.

Continue reading »

Zane Lamprey Interview – Part 1: The Iron Liver

Zane Lamprey Craft Beer

When the opportunity came to interview, the man, the legend, the Iron-liver himself, Zane Lamprey, I couldn’t pass it up. Initially, I wasn’t even sure if he liked craft beer but the more I talked with him, the more I saw a true passion for the finer elements of the drinking experience.

In 2006, Zane started his first drinking related TV show called Three Sheets. The premise involves a man who travels the globe imbibing with locals and experiencing their culture, one drink at a time. Think, a version of Anthony Bourdain that drinks a lot. Well, I guess that doesn’t work very well but you get the idea. His current show on HD Net, Drinking Made Easy, explores the local drinking customs throughout North America which has recently seen a heavier emphasis on local craft breweries.

Zane and I discuss everything from his experience working at Foot Locker to drinking Maui Brewing Co.’s Coconut Porter. This first part focuses on the man behind the persona while the second half will take a closer look at his life as a professional drinker. From the fifteen year old boy working at the mall, to the aspiring actor taking any interview he can get. This is Zane Lamprey.

Philippe: Hey Zane, how are you tonight?

Zane Lamprey: I’m doing well, thank you.

Philippe: Sorry to keep you in the office so late. I’m sure you’d rather be somewhere else?

Zane: No, no it’s one of those days. I work long days. We record and put together our podcast on Monday and Tuesday and we release it on Wednesdays so there was a lot of pod casting happening today.

Philippe: Cool, well let’s start out with the basics. What’s in your glass right now? Are you drinking anything?

Zane: I do have a drink, not that I’m always drinking at my desk but we just did the cocktail mixology segment for our podcast so Jacopo Falleni came in and made something with St. Germain, and grapefruit juice. We made a big one as a joke but then he left and the podcast was done so I’m sitting in my office, meeting with one of my producers, and I’m sipping on it thinking to myself ,”wait a minute, why am I sipping on this drink?” Working I guess.

Continue reading »

Lagunitas Brewing Co. Little Sumpin’ Wild Ale Review

Lagunitas Brewing Company Little Sumpin Wild Ale

Kicking off The Quest for 366 Beers in 366 Days is one great beer. As a big fan of Lagunitas’ Wheat IPA named A Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale, I found the “wild version” had that little sumpin’ that really made it stand out from the rest.

Brewery: Lagunitas Brewing Company

Name: Little Sumpin’ Wild Ale

Style: Belgian India Pale Ale

ABV: 9.4%

IBU: 72

The label describes it best.

“Net Contents: 12 fluid oz’s…. of hops, malt, hops, hops, yeast, hops, water, and hops.”

Look: Golden yellow (like many IPA’s). Sticky and resinous with a slightly off-white head that sticks to the side of the glass.

Smell: Blend of belgian funk and lemon with a bit of honey on the finish. Super pungent and full hop aroma.

Taste: Starts out really hoppy and citrusy then bam… that Belgian yeast flavor hits. I actually found this nice and balanced even though I wasn’t a huge fan of the other Belgian IPA that I tried which was Stone’s Belgo IPA. The yeastiness was a bit much for me in that one but Lagunitas hit the spot with the amount of flavor from both the hops and the yeast. The finish is earthy and spicy fading into the taste of Belgian’s finest.

Feel: I wouldn’t call this beer dry but it isn’t particularly resinous either. It has just the right amount of sweetness to help counter the heavy-handed hopping, the high gravity and to ensure that it sticks around on your palate long enough to tease you as you anticipate the next sip. It’s definitely a solid beer and a great example of the “Belgian” IPA style.

Join me on my Quest for 366 Beers in 366 Days on Tumblr and Untappd.

Philippe Gagnon is the founder and writer for Craft Beer Culture. Currently residing in Orange County, California, you can find him at the local brewery drinking craft beer or online through FacebookTwitter, and .