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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 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 .

Pliny the Younger Orange County Watch 2012

Pliny the Younger Orange County

February is a special time of the year for any beer lover, and no I’m not talking about anything “V related”. Over the span of two weeks, hundreds, if not thousands, of beer enthusiasts line up outside of Russian River Brewing Company with the hope of tasting the all elusive and ever scarce, Pliny the Younger.

Orange County is fortunate enough to be a part of Pliny the Younger’s yearly distribution but that doesn’t mean finding it will be easy or quick. Year after year, craft beer bars experience huge lines of thirsty beer geeks at the slightest mention of “Younger”. This area will be no exception but if you’re willing to brave out the elements (current temperature: 73° and sunny), I’ll do my best to help you find a pour.

Inspired by San Diego Beer Blog’s, Pliny the Younger in San Diego 2012 post, this is Orange County’s guide to finding Pliny the Younger in 2012.

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Hangar 24 Pugachev’s Cobra Release at Brü Market & Grill

Hangar 24 Brewing Company Redlands Taster Flight

You should probably know by now that I have an affinity with anything that spends time in oak. I have a theory that you could urinate in a bourbon barrel and still get something good. That might be going a bit far but you get the idea.

Over the last three years, Hangar 24 Craft Brewery out of Redlands CA, has been putting out some phenomenal session beers from the tangy Orange Wheat to the toasty Alt-Bier. I used to think they were a great craft alternative to Blue Moon and Shocktop crowd however, recently, this perception has changed completely with the introduction of the aptly named Barrel Roll Series.

PUGACHEV’S COBRA: The brainchild of Victor Pugachev — not for the faint of heart. Pilot suddenly raises the aircraft nose to near vertical before dropping back to attack mode.

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The Official San Diego Beer Week 2011 Survival Guide

San Diego Beer Week 2011

San Diego Beer Week is officially under way and anyone who has attended before knows that drinking craft beer for 10 days is no easy feet. That’s why, we decided to ask three SDBW veterans, Kevin Spindt, Paul Estrada, and Abby Vacula for their best advice on making it through the week unscathed.

1. With over 400 events to choose from, how do you go about deciding which ones to attend?

Kevin: I honestly just go to the website and try to pick events that are close to one another so I can hit as many as possible.

Paul: I normally go through the events page and look at what beers are being offered at different places. I would rather go to an event that is offering 2-3 beers that I have never had before and will have a hard time ever seeing again versus a huge event that has dozens and dozens of beers that are more common.

Abby: Being that this is my third beer week, I find myself trying to attend the events at the newer establishments around town, or the ones that I haven’t been to yet. I’m really excited to check out both Tiger! Tiger! and Monkey Paw since I have yet to visit either establishment since they opened.

2. As many events as possible for a short amount of time each or fewer full events?

Kevin: I love the BIG events but I also like to hit some of the breweries with tasting rooms before each event. If there is a drink-about, I like to stop by a place like Ballast Point in Linda Vista and taste all of the specialty beers.

Paul: I like seeing lots of events jammed together and seeing which places really step up their game and have some really unique events.

Abby: For me, having to balance both industry events (working at AleSmith) and personal interests, I’ve learned that Beer Week is an endurance test, it’s not about attending the most events. It’s about drinking a lot of water and planning out the best week possible that satisfies what I’m looking to get out of Beer Week. Beer Week is great because every person can tailor their week to their own individual beer/event wish lists. I really enjoy attending as many AleSmith events as possible because it’s a great way to connect with a lot of our fans that don’t get a chance to make it into our tasting room.

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Deconstructing Firestone Walker XV

The last time I was at the Avalon in Hollywood wasn’t for a beer tasting event, but that’s a story for another day. On November 12th of LA Beer Week, we arrived at the usually bustling nightclub to a long line of eager attendees anxiously anticipating what’s to come, Firestone Walker Deconstructed. Once inside the venue however, there was no world renowned DJ or high tempo club music, just really good beer and really great food from world renowned Firestone Walker and Homebrew Chef, Sean Paxton. I use the word “just” loosely because there was nothing minimal about an event that featured 8 food courses paired with a selection of 11 different beers.

The real star of the night was the highly anticipated Firestone Walker XV, their annual blend of barrel aged beers. Hailing from the wine country of Paso Robles, blending is nothing new to the region however it wasn’t until Matt Brynildson, head brewer at Firestone Walker, had a “eureka moment” to bring the technique over to the craft beer world. We had the pleasure of asking Matt some questions as the night went on and got more insight into the blending process.

LA Craft Beer Crawl

LA Craft Beer Festival

Los Angelenos, put on your walking shoes and bring an empty belly because this Saturday, August 13th is the annual Los Angeles Craft Beer Crawl. This event will feature over 50 different taps at 7 different bars, all walking distance from each other. There will also be local food trucks in between the bars, oh and one more thing… UNLIMITED TASTERS!

Event organizers, The Beer Chicks and 213 Nightlife have also decided to graciously donate a portion of the events proceeds to Heal The Bay. General Admission tickets are $49, and something I’m a huge fan of, Designated Driver tickets are only $10. Tickets are being sold until the event sells out so don’t miss out on a great afternoon of beer tasting.

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