I start the year off with a List of 10, Flights and Bites returns, membership has its benefits with Local Craft Beer, KRBC is slinging JO in cans and more On Tap This Week.
Wednesday 1/4 – The weekly Steal the Glass event over at Eureka Burger starts at 6pm. No word yet on what the featured beer is. Stay tuned to Instagram for the announcement.
Wednesday 1/4 – Flights and Bites returns! This Wednesday marks the return of the always popular beer and food pairing event at Moo Creamery. The pairing starts at 2pm and goes until 9pm. Here’s a look at the featured beers:
Modern Times Fortunate Islands Pale Wheat Ale, Maine Brewing Lunch IPA, Firestone Walker Barrelworks Krieky Bones Wild Ale, Almanac Sunshine and Opportunity Saison and 2015 Hanger 24 Barrel Roll Pugachev’s Cobra Imperial Stout.
List of 10
Goals, Expectations, and Dreams for Bakersfield’s Craft Beer Scene in 2017
Everybody loves a good list. Even an underwhelming list has a slight level of satisfaction. I’ve compiled a list of my hopes and dreams for our growing local craft beer scene specifically directed at the industry we love and support. Some items are extremely doable, some require work, cooperation, and determination and some yet are simply pipe dreams of a delusional optimist.
- Distribution Parity – I know; we’ll never see anywhere close to the same level of attention that the LA market gets when it comes to distribution. I do feel we are unfairly overlooked, though. Bakersfield and Kern County has too frequently become a “fly-over city/county” when it comes to craft beer/micro beer distribution. I’m not talking about new breweries bringing their core lines to our “pint-sized” local market, I’m looking at the brands that are already here and opt to pass us up or at best, get to us late with their special releases, seasonal brews, and limited runs. This treatment was on full display recently with the noted absence locally of Lagunitas One Hitter Series: High West-ified Imperial Coffee Stout. Fresno got it, Valencia got it, and we were left out in the cold.
- Less Frozen Glassware – Sure, it’s nice to have options but when everything is poured into a subzero pint, mondo or glass bucket it really grinds my gears. What’s worse is when said glassware was dipped in the sanitation solution then promptly placed in the deep freeze to lock in that liquid gold that’s less Star San and more Dawn Ultra only to be released into a slushy head on top of my imperial stout. There are local establishments that pour exclusively in room temperature glassware and those that offer an option of one or the other. Hopefully, we will see more local watering holes move to at least having the option to have our favorite beer poured into a room temp glass for those of us who like to taste the beer.
- More Rotating Taps – Consistency is great. Distributors like the logistics of it, it’s easy on beer procurement personnel and for some, it’s comforting to know their go-to will always be on the board. The rotating tap, on the other hand, offers exciting new choices, exclusivity, and a great way to encourage return traffic to your local establishment. A lot of local places do rotate taps often but some of the less craft orientated locations that have a line of taps tend to keep bringing back the same beers either out of lack of knowledge, laziness or not putting value in the variety a hand full of rotating taps offers.
- Promoting Your Brand/Event – Here’s more constructive criticism for our local breweries and venues. Some do a fantastic job of promoting and getting the word out about events and releases. Others seem to lag behind a bit. With the reach, ease of use and affordability of social media outreach it’s disappointing how under-utilized this avenue of promotion is. In the last year, we’ve seen events seemingly pop up out of nowhere, poorly attended and even canceled due to “lack of interest”. Appoint a young (responsible) crew member who understands the ins and outs of social media to take the reins of your presence. Give them the tools and information needed to promote your brand, keep it relevant, create buzz about events and sustain the public’s interest. You can also take this on yourself if you don’t mind cutting into your “me” time when you’d rather be watching reruns of Frasier.
- Beer and Food Pairing – Moo does it practically flawlessly with their weekly events. Other locations around town have hosted dinners with great effect when promoted sufficiently (see above item about promoting your brand/Event). Beer is meant to be enjoyed with food. This town has so many amazing restaurants and chefs that could really put together some nice pairings. I would like to see beer and food pairings more common, even on the regular menus. The breweries that serve food are in a perfect position to do this with their core lineups.
- Shelf Turds – For this list, a shelf turd is as follows; Brand X IPA that’s been on the shelf since the President-elect was a reality TV star. This hurts the brand and could dissuade the customer from reaching for that brand again. Those need to come off the shelf and inventory forecasting adjusted for reorder.
- Room Temperature Storage – Room temperature storage isn’t going away anytime soon. Refrigeration isn’t cheap and the general consumer probably doesn’t put a lot of value into proper storage of their beer unless they are headed to the lake and need their 30 pack rocky mountain cold. Chalk this up as a dream.
- Mexican Craft Beer – Cervezas artesanales are surprisingly elusive here in Bakersfield and California for that matter. With the local population nearly half Hispanic or Latino and the majority of that being of Mexican decent you would think we would have better exposure to Mexican craft beers. Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of distributors moving Mexican beers other than the tried and true list of the usual suspects. I would love to see some of our local Mexican restaurants embrace craft beer and do the leg work to import some authentic Mexican craft beers to go with their authentic cuisine.
- Event Coordination – We are certainly small enough still to accomplish this. We saw quite a few instances where two or more local events were scheduled on the same day. I don’t care how you look at it; this cuts into your attendance and event profitability. We may be a big enough market to adequately support two local craft beer events at once but the results will be, in my opinion, subpar. Until the local market grows a bit more, instead of two events competing for market share on the same night if the event coordinators communicate regularly and know what the other venues are planning on a given night each could have a better-attended event on different days of the week. I know there are only so many Friday’s and Saturday’s in a week but there are plenty of weekend nights (and weeknights for that matter) that go eventless that a little cooperation and coordination could translate into better profits for everyone.
- Bakersfield Beer Week (Kern County Beer Week) – Every major city in the US has a beer week. We’re ready for it. This really shouldn’t be that hard to accomplish. A little coordination and planning and we could put together a nice week devoted to this hobby/livelihood of ours. It boils down to a relatively cheap marketing campaign, getting the major players to get together and agree on a schedule (see above item about coordination), distributors and venues working with out of town breweries to acquire some special kegs, glassware, swag and participation from their reps, and local breweries bringing out some big guns and showcasing their products. Start small and grow, with the goal of eventually capping the week off with a festival. The results should translate into increased revenue for the week for involved parties but more importantly, exposure, sustained brand awareness, and new customers. Certainly, there is work involved to make this happen; it’s time to form a committee and get this ball rolling.
For Your Ears
Mash Time – A Brewing Podcast – A local station for discussing home brewing and craft beer. Hosted by Stuart Hoetker and John Agee out of Bakersfield CA. Mash Time returns with new episodes this month.
IPA Today Podcast – A local podcast critiquing beers and wasting time. Hosted by Kenny and Richie with frequent appearances by Uncle Frank and Joey. Most recent release: Episode 22 – Kenny and Richie with Special Christmas Guests. This is the second half of a recording I was a part of and if I remember right, we had already gone through a bunch of beers. Listen with caution…
Bakersfield Craft Beer Blogging
The Local Mash – A blog about the Author’s adventures in fermentation, beer brewing, and commercial beer reviews.
Things to Click
Click the links; you know you want to…
Craft beer, High-Speed Trains, and China - Read this before you go: China’s New High-Speed Train Will Be Making Plenty of Stops for Craft Beer Enthusiasts from Brew Studs
Modern Times 2017 release calendar is up and has an interesting line-up of monthly special releases including a couple of can offerings.
Short and Sweet (or Sour)
Kern River Brewing Company is hard at work canning and bottling fresh beer. Yes, canned versions of your favorite KRBC beers are coming mid to late January starting with Just Outstanding IPA 12oz. cans available at the brewery and local bottle shops. Also, the first week of the year will see River Buddy Pale Ale in bombers available around town and at the brewery. Keep an eye out for Think Tank #12 Experimental IPA on tap, fresh Winter Ale DIPA and Shuttle Bunny DIPA in bottles and on tap early in January. When you visit the brewery don’t forget to pick up a pair of River Buddy sunglasses, conveniently outfitted with a bottle opener.
Tehachapi’s friendly neighborhood brewery, Local Craft Beer, announced a bottle membership program for 2017. Membership includes 8 bombers of Barrel Aged beers released quarterly starting on February 1st. Another membership perk is the option to buy other special release beers only available to members. Check out their Facebook Event for more info. Here’s a list of the scheduled releases:
Release 1: Heaven Hill Bourbon Barrel Aged Barleywine
Release 2: Jim Beam Bourbon Barrel Aged Coffee Stout Aged on coffee beans
Release 3: Jim Beam Bourbon Barrel Aged Coffee Stout Aged on vanilla
Release 4: Woodford Reserve Bourbon Barrel Aged Coffee Stout
On tap now at all three Lengthwise locations is Midnight Restoration Session Ale. The hop bill for this easy drinker includes Dr. Rudi and Galaxy hops.
Dionysus Brewing Company is upping its public bottle offerings in 2017, starting in January with Super Funkadelic with Apricots and Peaches and then Berlinersfield Berliner Weisse with Passion Fruit. No word yet on distribution but these will certainly be available at the brewery.
Coming in 2017, a new locally owned bottle shop setting up in the southwest a couple of doors down from Dionysus called Bakersfield Beer Company is making progress towards opening their doors. They’ve secured their conditional use permit and are in the process of submitting final plans to the city and are waiting on ABC to give their blessing. If all goes well expect to see these guys opening up sometime in the middle of the year.
Available at Imbibe Wine and Spirits, a super limited run of Crux Fermentation Project Tough Love Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout. Other Crux offerings available are Gimme Mo IPA, Crux Pilz and Crux Stout.
New on the shelves over at Save Mart is: Unibroue Brewery A Tout Le Monde Saison (collaboration with Megadeath lead singer Dave Mustaine) is available in four packs, Almanac Beer Company Peach de Brettaville, Hoppy Sour: Citra, Farmer’s Reserve Nectarine Wild Ale, Farmer’s Reserve Blackberry Wild Ale and White Label Wild Ale. Also at Save Mart, check out the Rare Beer Table with tons of limited one-offs from Stone Brewing, Founders, Modern Times, Sierra Nevada and more.
I’m sure there is plenty more to talk about that I missed. Comment below or send me a message if you have something that needs to be included next week or have a beer related event you want to promote.