OOZEFEST is This Weekend!

I’ve been to a lot of boozefests. I’ve been to Ozzfest. I’ve been to a couple blues fests. I’ve even shot an Uzi at a dude’s chest, but I have never been to an OOZEFEST.


Treatery – Sweet and savory s’mores, toasted marshmallows with a variety of cheeses and herb/spiced grahams.

What is OOZEFEST? It’s a celebration of all things CHEESE. The kind of cheese that pulls into long strands, long enough to play the banjo on if you were in a cheese-inspired jug band. *CODE: ocbeerblog – Tickets can be purchased at: oozefestival.com


Sgt Pepperoni’s – ‘Balls Deep’ mozzarella-stuffed meatball wrapped in dough and deep fried

OOZEFEST is like breaking into a creamery, where you can milk all the goats, sheep, and cows, steal all the squeaky curds, then laugh your cheese breath at a box of hungry kittens.


Messhall Canteen Truck – ‘War Pig Grilled Cheese’ BBQ pulled pork, bacon, fried mac and cheese patty stuffed with queso oaxaca, topped with napalm sauce, ranch, and bleu cheese on texas toast

Special OOZEFEST beer will be on hand from local breweries such as The Good Beer Company, Modern Times, Unsung Brewing, Four Sons, and more. You can buy an “all you can consume” VIP ticket, or buy as you go. Saturday has a slew of incredible eats, as does Sunday…seriously the hardest part about OOZEFEST is choosing which day to go, although Saturday has a smaller font, so I would choose that day. And use code OCBEERBLOG to knock $5 off.


The Cut – ‘Gaucho Slider’ Smoked Mozzarella, Cilantro Chimichurri and Roasted Banana.


Kebab – open-faced style gyro with cilantro ‘ooze’ (green cilantro with jalapeno house sauce)


Shuck Oyster Bar – Shrimp and beef Yakitori-style Meatballs stuffed with sharp cheddar and dressed in spicy cheese sauce

goodbeer george

Good Beer Company! Although I’m sure they’ll bring “La Cheese”



A Peek at Some New Good Beers

They say that your sense of taste and smell is heightened in the morning, which is exactly whey I opted to taste a flight of The Good Beer Company’s offerings Monday at 10am.

goodbeer georgeGeorge – 4.1% abv. There’s no better way to celebrate presidents day than to put a beer called George in my mouth. Shouldn’t this beer be cherries in honor of the cherry tree George Washington allegedly chopped down? Oh, it’s not about the 1st president? Damn. Turns out George honors owner Brandon Fender’s grandpa, who made killer peach dumplings every summer. But is it fruity? George bursts of peach preserves. French oak takes a back seat in the flavor, but does offer up some tannin in the mouthfeels. Lactic acid sourness also adds to the drink, hitting the brakes on any potential chugging. I’ve heard complaints about some of their low abv beers being thin, but George is not. He’s fit, full of peaches, and ready to party.

goodbeer nectarine oroNectarine Oro – 4.2% abv. Much like George, this Oro variant is so jam-packed with fruit, you’ll actually start to think the beer is part of a balanced breakfast. It’s so fruity, I swear juice ran down my arm on the first drink. As it warms, I could envision the fuzz from the fruit, the pithy flesh, and even the sense of nibbling nectarine off of the seed. The tart bite is there as well, if you follow my titratable acidity scale, I’d place both in the 5-7 range (mid).

If you’re not in The Good Beer Company’s ‘The Stable’ beer club, both beers (and others) will be available Friday, Feb 19th. Check out their facebooks. Go early, grab a sandwich from C4 Deli to keep you company in the crazy long line.

The Good Beer Company, 4th Street, DTSA

the Copper Door | Santa Ana

Wandering around the exterior of the Santora Arts Building in Santa Ana’s Artist Village lie some steps leading down to a curious door. A Copper Door. As I walk slowly down the creaking steps and open the door, I feel like I’m in some sort of eighties horror movie. Heart thumping, hands clammy, high violin shrieks rhythmically going through my head. I check the time on my phone as its glow provides an ominous faint blue shadow on the walls. “Hi, I’m here for a beer tasting event?” I tell a tall slender blonde woman. “I sent the invitation…thanks for coming”. I firmly shake her warm hand, my nerves twitch my grip, just enough to hear and feel a subtle pop from her fingers. “Sorry my hands are freezing” I say nervously.

Stairway to the unknown…the ominous Copper Door!

I settle into a beer and and meet Joe Corona of Wine Warehouse, a stout fellow in his thirties with a penchant for Belgium beers. He pours me a Blache De Bruxells; the quintessential Wit from the Belgian motherland. Its subtle orange and coriander aroma enters my nose like a ghost taking over my soul.

Joe Corona stands and delivers. Such an ironic beer rep name!

The Copper Door is a gorgeous hip place reminiscent of a dark cozy ski lodge. What was once a former Jazz club in the 1930’s now sits a high end beer bar with live music and DJ’s. Walking the spacious room, I nearly feel the energy of the former tenants. I can easily envision the room packed with people dressed nice, flapper dresses swinging, and cigarette girls mulling about the crowd as music bellows and thumps from the stage. A circular fireplace warms this vast space as large golden candles flicker and glow. Centered in the room lies a mammoth solid wood table with more than adequate bench style seating. 

As we are seated, Joe starts off with a brief introduction on the beer offerings at The Copper Door. The beer menu is broken down into three sections: Beer Connoisseurs, Beer Lovers, and Beer Drinkers. Most selections are between $5-10 which includes a daunting selection of Belgium Trappist, Abbey, and Belgium style beers on draft and bottles. Other craft selections and macros are available, however the waitress informed me most guests are there for the imported Belgium beers. We quickly sample ten beers and jot down notes.

My favorites: Unibroue La Fin Du Monde (A+ Beer Advocate) is a stellar beer; the nose reminds me of the aroma you get when opening the door to Krispy Kreme Doughnuts…yummy bready funky sweetness. Three Allagash beers were poured, White, Black, and Curieux; the latter being my favorite as it’s probably the most readily available Bourbon Barrel aged beer (A on BA). Chimay Blue and North Coast Brewing’s Pranqster Belgium Strong (A+ on BA) went particularly well with The Crosby provided appetizers.

Yummy appetizers from The Crosby. credit www.kylerlocke.com

Of the appetizers provided by The Crosby, the Gruyere Cheese Tuile was my favorite; it included smoked sausage with Goosberry marmalade. The Red Cabbage Tart was also remarkable, containing beer braised red cabbage currants and carrot mustard puree on a dill puff pastry. Also served was a German Tea Sandwich that included Fennel sauerkraut, head cheese, smoked gouda, sweet & spicy mustardon on pumpernickel bread. The strong pumpernickel flavor really overpowered the bite. I must say, after power-housing through that many beers, I could have easily eaten my Chimay goblet! 

The Copper door is ideal for large parties due to its vast space and hip cozy atmosphere. The large table also makes it a great spot to come alone and meet new people! Most nights the live music kicks off at 8 and may require a small cover charge. They also have pool tables if you’re feeling sharky! 

They’re located at 225 ½ N. Broadway in Santa Ana; basically underneath Chapter One. Valet parking is available off of 3rd Street, however the nearby parking structure on 3rd is only $2. Meters are free past 8pm on weekdays, but don’t quote me on that. The area also goes nuts on the 1st Saturday of the month for the Artist Village open house. Check http://www.aplaceforart.com/ for details, the next one is Dec 3!



OC Beer Week | Chapter One: The Modern Local

Foraging around Orange County for unique food and craft beer is becoming easier thanks to modern technology. I still find word of mouth is best to find the true gems. Yelp? Yeah, it’s handy to find places, but the reviews are written by self-proclaimed foodies that rate everything either a 1 or 4 and rely heavily on adjectives like “awesome” or “yummy”.

Thanks to word of mouth from friend and food writer Richard Manning; he suggested we try Chapter One: the Modern Local in the Artists Village of Santa Ana. What once was a culture rich beautiful Hispanic area of Orange County is fast becoming a hipster enclave with some decent art and restaurants scattered about. Monument-like historic buildings anchor eateries such as Memphis (contemporary Southern cuisine), Proof Bar, and Lola Gaspar (Tapas). Nearby sits the Gypsy Den (cafe), Original Mikes (trad American, Creole) and The Crosby (lounge). Chapter One is nestled nicely in this mix. Don’t let the hipsters scare you off, there’s some really good food to be had at all of those places!

My draw to this place was knowing Jeff Hall from Haven Gatropub in Orange was part owner. That alone makes it a worthy spot! Aside from the crafted “culinary” cocktails, interesting appetizers, and a diverse menu with gourmet comfort food, the beer menu is flocked from Beer Advocate’s Alström brother “A” ratings. Nothing wrong with that! I foolishly started the night with an Avery Dugana, an American Double IPA, and prayed it wouldn’t wreck my pallet as a DIPA can do.

We stopped in on “Tentacle Tuesday”, which sadly had no reference to Hentai Tentacle Porn. After seeing my blonde waitress’ widely opened low cut blouse, hooo boy, my dirty mind went there in a bad way. The special was Octopus or Squid Tacos paired with whatever Pilsner is on tap. Funny story from my inaugural visit a few months back: On the menu was a small pasta dish with squid ink: “What can I get for you?” asked our Waitress. For some reason I involuntarily gestured the milking of a squid by pinching my fingers in a downward motion, “I’ll have the pasta with Squid Ink” (ala Ben Stiller in Meet the Parents). “Did you just gesture the milking of a Squid? BAHAHA!!!”. I watched our waitress echo the story to the kitchen staff and they all burst into applause. Well done, Greg. Oh yes, that’s how I roll.

As the evening rolled on, my 8.5% ABV Dugana began to buzz as the pre-storm weather turned ominous outside. A litter of lawyers deliberate at a table nearby from the Santa Ana courthouse. Two artists top a nearby parking garage painting the eclectic Santa Ana landscape as the sun peaks under the clouds.

I order from the OC Beer Week menu which consists of several tapas and beer pairings. I grab the Stuft Squid (stuffed with Kalamata olives, sundried tomatoes, and mushrooms, breaded and served with a tomato coulis dipping sauce. The beer pairing was Maudite Unibroue Belgium Strong out of Quebec Canada. I’ve never had a Canadian craft beer, and beer geeks probably know that this beer scores an A+ from the Alström bros at Beer Advocate. The beer is soft on the pallet like a rose petal; very subtle hints of spice and clove. The Stuft Squid is also mild and the beer attenuates the flavors ever so slightly without changing directions. The beautiful thing was how delicate and un-salted it was. The Kalamata Olives fill that role nicely. $10 for the pairing and worth every penny.

Maudite, Such a lovely and delicate beer! It’s on tap at Chapter One!

Speaking of beautiful rose petals, my lovely wife ordered the Mini Mac with La Fin Du Monde Belgium Tripel also from Unibroue of Quebec (another A+ from BA!). I dare you to say this out loud without salivating: Bacon Panko Crusted Mac and Cheese. <DROOL!> The beer had more of a lively carbonation than mine which is great for cutting richness in a dish. She, of course, loved it and enjoyed the pairing.

La Fin Du Monde was bottle poured properly with yeast left on the bottom. Mine was keg draught.

I heard Chapter One wasn’t kid-friendly, which I totally get, but our experience was great with our girl! They served her a lidded and watered down lemonade in a plastic cup (per request). She also ordered the $5 mini-mac and enjoyed some duck fat fries. She was incredibly close to ordering Escargot as I explained that’s what Madeline (French themed kid’s show) would eat; in two straight lines no less.

  • OC Beer Week menu runs through 10/8.
  • Parking is easily done across the street in the parking garage; $1/hr. Avoid the meters as SA tediously tickets tardiness.
  • Also check out the area on the first Saturday of every month for the Artist Village open house. Click for details.