Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Bootleggers Brewery

Far far South of our home in Northern California there is a land widely known as the OC...and neatly tucked away in this land is a brewery with the obvious yet clever name of Bootleggers Brewery. Despite it's location smack dab in the middle of this massive swath of humanity BB is a bit off the well beaten path behind some old neighborhoods in a small industrial park backed up against the metro tracks.
Finding it wasn't that difficult.... it's just one of those breweries that you can barely believe really exists where you are nonetheless expecting to find it.
It's also one of those little gems of a place you are just happy as hell you spent the time and made the effort to seek out. Brewer/Owner Aaron Barkenhagen was on hand when we arrived and patiently answered all of my typical beer geek questions while patiently supplying us with an endless supply of tasty 2oz samples. My first sample from their extensive lineup was their Old World Hefeweizen which utilized traditional Bavarian yeast strains and just oozed clove and banana attributes. I immediately started my shopping by setting aside three 22oz bottles for the trip home. Next up was Golden Chaos a Belgian style Golden Ale ..... a nice crisp representation of the style and I couldn't stop with one sample.
I tried the Palomino American Pale Ale next. Once again...very well done version of a standard style .....and like all their beers I tried...very well crafted...fresh crisp and tasty.
I was already growing tired of the 2oz sample limitation but Aaron explained to me that in a couple of weeks their licence was scheduled to be adapted to allow full pint pours.
Due to the Brewery rapidly filling up with happy local patrons and their empty growlers I was unable to learn the name of the Plum beer they were all of a sudden sharing from their cold storage..but I did manage a taste and it was excellent. Obviously another Belgian style...most likely a double.....big and hearty with perfect Plum undertones and a controlled sweetness.
Perhaps the most interesting beer on the menu was the Black Phoenix.... a coffee and Chipotle Stout! The chipotle came through late in the finish and added a delightful little smokey kick.
Of course the entire time I was running through the house samples my beautiful wife Terri was jumping back and forth between their two Ipa's on tap.....trying to figure out which one to put in growlers for the trip home.
Her eventual favorite, as well as mine and daughter in law Oralia's, was a contract brew they did called Director's Cut IPA. I never learned who they brewed it for but I soon just humorously assumed it was for our visit and had them fill us up three growlers. The aroma told tales of Simco and Amarillo and Brewer Aaron assured me there was also some Columbus hops in there somewhere as well. Light in color and body it had a bit of a grassy finish but was just what the doctor ordered.
The other IPA was the one I'd read about and eventually got me radared in on Bootleggers in the first place... Rustic Rye IPA. The Rustic offered a more balanced and maltier profile than the Director's Cut .... finishing clean with a very pleasing hop and rye interplay. I added some bottles to my growing shopping cart.
Bootleggers also offers an German Alt style beer called Amber that I somehow failed to try. As well as a few other seasonals that you'll just have to show up to sample.
If you happen to live in Orange County, Fullerton, or the greater LA/So-Cal area you owe yourself a visit to 401 S. Richmond Avenue, Fullerton CA 92832. They even offer a growler club deal. Fill five growlers and the sixth one comes for just a buck.
Be there....or just go thirsty.

Friday, January 15, 2010

A fun tribute

The evening of my fathers Memorial Service I decided that we really needed to do some kind of tribute to the old man. One befitting the ole gun slingers love of all things guns. A tribute aside from our consistent daily attempts at filling an entire recycle trash can with green and brown 12 oz containers.

The first couple of nights in town I slept in his gun room and every morning the first thing I'd see when I woke up (well, besides my beautiful bride of course) was an old can of black powder sitting on his book shelf next to one of his quick draw trophies and an old bayonet that he must have picked up at some gun show or found out in the desert.

At dusk I grabbed that can off the shelf...found his stash of other reloading powder to use for a fuse and set out to make a mushroom cloud in the street in front of the house. The fuse material proved to be a bit slower burning than I'd anticipated but that turned out to be a good thing as camera operators and the saluting toasts of the bystanders weren't quite as ready as they thought they were. We also burned up a few boxes of some old sparklers I found whilst looking for his powder supply. Judging by the age of the sparklers I think the old man must have gotten them from Poncho Villa.
After much anticipation the half pound conical tower of black powder did it's thing, mildly surprised a few skeptics and bringing a smile to everyone's face.

"That's gonna leave a mark" which just like my Dad ..... was an understatement.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Here's to you Dad

On the first day of the year 2010 my Father, Chuck Lybarger, passed away in his own home ... in his own bed. He succeeded in his ardent desire to die at home and not in some hospital bed. He was 138 days shy of his 79th birthday.
Technically speaking Chuck was my step-father and I only mention that to explain the difference in our last names. Other wise it was never an issue. Considering that he became my Dad when I was just five days past my fourth birthday it's easy to understand why.

That's not to say we always saw eye to eye and got along well .... in my teenage years and early adult life we were always at odds and tended to avoid each other. Despite our animosity and feuds I'm proud to say neither of us ever brought up our lack of matching DNA, not once ... ever. Sometimes it seemed it was the only thing we got right between us.

In my Little League years we actually got along famously..... he always made sure I had the best glove on the team and despite his lack of history playing sports always had time to play some catch with me, especially if I had a game to warm up for.

As I related during his memorial service on January 6th the only thing he ever held against me (and supposedly wouldn't forgive me for) was the fact that I hit my first Little League home run in the one and only game he ever missed. He joked and chided me about that until his last days.

I was also the first kid in my neighborhood to get a 10-speed bike that possessed some contraption called a derailleur that made the gears change. He spent nearly a half weeks wages putting that French bicycle under the Christmas tree for me.

So ya...he was a very generous and giving soul that truly enjoyed surprising his loved ones, going above and beyond the expected and making them happy. His yearly Christmas gifts to my Mother are legendary.

I realize now how unfortunate it was that he was never quite as generous with himself throughout his life. He had episodes of drinking and violence that he would later deeply regret. Yet despite these grey and turbulent times he never faltered in his mission of providing first and foremost for his family.

I used to joke that I learned from him a great many things NOT to do, but the fact of the matter he provided much of the framework that I live by and have passed to my own children. His absolute refusal in taking any unwarranted crap from anyone was instilled in me early on and has generally served me well over the years.

One of my favorite things he left with me is my understanding and appreciation of firearms. From and early age he set down some carved-in-stone safety and handling procedures that are as spot on and pertinent today as they were in 1958 when he started teaching them to me. I passed these learning's onto my own kids as well and fully expect they will do the same for their own offsprings when the time comes.

Over the years I have also come to realize the simple fact that kids need their parents to love each other no matter what happens between them. This was always the case with my parents despite the envelopes that we all pushed from time to time. I've always been grateful for that.

I suppose I could go on and on about my old man, especially about his 9 lives and all of his amazing array of health problems, family drama's and totalled vehicles but I will leave that for the spoken word stories and the retelling of his life....which I suspect will be going on for a long time to come.
Thanks Dad...... I miss you already.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy Birthday Rick ... Pub Crawl

It was Rick's birthday on December 27th (amazingly like it seems to be most years) and so naturally all he wanted for turning 33 years old was a local Pub Crawl. With his Mom visiting from Oregon and willing to be the designated Driver it seemed like a natural excuse for some excessive drinking on a Holiday Sunday.
Rick, Tracy, Dave and Mom were joined for the opening 1pm salvo's at CONSTABLE JACK'S in Newcastle by Jeff Scammon and a few of the Sober's....MS, Terri, Zack and Oralia. After a quick couple of Chimay's and Schneiderweisse Dunkels we were off to Auburn to the newly opened WORLD PUB at the corner of HWY 49 and Bell Road. Once ensconced in the friendly confines of the WP the group grew ever larger as Cody and Breann Sober, Brewmaster Peter Hoey and beer guru Martin Loudall all joined in the celebration. Video Bowling, Darts and take-out Mexican food helped to enhance the festivities even further. The WP has a nice 20 tap selection as well as an impressive array of bottled beer to choose from. The Birthday Boy seemed to be doing pretty well at that point...still drinking from a pint glass and hardly spilling much beer on his shirt at all.
After a couple of enjoyable hours we had to finally bid WP owner Eric adieu and traveled the short distance to our next stop......PISTOL PETE'S BREW and CUE on Harrison Street near the Liquor Outlet.
At Pete's the Beer du jour turned out to be some very fresh Racer 5 which Rick decided tasted much better straight from the Pitcher. A few more of the the expanded S.O.B.E.R. group regulars showed up as well and the party continued on. Pizza, Pool and bad to marginal DJ music was the backdrop of the evening at Pete's and a splendid time was had by all.
Pete's was the end of the line for many of the crawlers ....but not for the Birthday lad who took the opportunity to hoof it from downtown to Old Town where we met up again for some final PU-240 double IPA's at the AUBURN ALE HOUSE.
I don't remember too much after that......and I'm not sure Rick does either. But one thing is certain...it was good times to remember...and maybe to be forgetting portions of...depending upon your perspective. I'm just glad I was there....and I doubt I am alone in that sentiment.
Happy Birthday Porno Boy.... Oh .... and sorry about the Rose Bowl.