$45 The Bruery Beer Dinner at Haven Gastropub +Brewery in Pasedena (Closed)

Haven15When two of my favorite things collide, I usually assume a Benjamin or two is at stake. Not this time! Haven Gastropub +Brewery in Pasadena is hosting a beer dinner with the Bruery with some pretty nice courses for a meager $45. Here’s the goods:

Tuesday, December 10th at 7 p.m.

Pre-Course – The Bruery Humulus Lager

First Course – Pan Seared Dayboat Scallops, Parsnip Puree, Pear Gel, Prosciutto, Brussels Sprouts, XO sauce with The Bruery Rueuze

Second Course Beer Grain Gnocchi, Duck Confit, Black Tuscan Kale, Roasted Squash, Crispy Duck Skin with The Bruery 6 Geese-a-Laying

Third Course Dry-aged New York Steak, Duck Fat Roasted Potatoes, Porcini Mushrooms, Smoked Bleu Cheese Saba The Bruery Melange 3

Dessert Course Brioche Bread Pudding, Poached Pear

Dinner is $45 per guest (plus tax and gratuity) Seating is limited

RSVP by calling: (626) 768-9555
Haven Gastropub +Brewery
42 S. De Lacey Ave, Pasadena, California 91105


2014 Russian River Pliny the Younger Releases (OC)


Russian River Brewing’s Pliny the Younger release dates in Orange County! Read my review of last years release! Cheers!!


Orange County

From Russian River Brewing’s Website:


We will begin distributing Pliny the Younger on draft the week of February 10th in and around Sonoma County and the Bay Area. Stone will likely pick up their shipment for Southern California that week or the following week. We will be sending kegs to our distributors in San Jose, Sacramento, Oregon, Colorado, and Philadelphia sometime in February, ship dates TBD. At this time, we do not know what accounts will receive kegs of Younger, but it will likely be available at many of the same accounts who received it last year since the production numbers are very similar. It is our recommendation that our accounts tap it as soon as possible after receiving their delivery to preserve the freshness and integrity of the beer. This beer is not meant to age AT ALL! Pliny the Younger is very much like the fresh catch of the day and best enjoyed right away!

Haven Brewing debuts in Orange for their 3rd Anniversary!

courtesy Anne Watson Photography www.annewatsonphoto.comUpdate, as of 2014, Haven no longer brews.

It’s 5:00 P.M. on a balmy Monday night, nerves shot from an emotional day sending my kid to Kindergarten. At Haven Gastropub in Orange, I bet brewmaster Dave Larsen is having the same feelings. Debuting his beers for the first time in his native Orange, I’m sure It feels like an artist’s first show or the first time a stripper shows her junk on stage. Making the jump from a homebrewer/sou chef at Haven to brewmaster is astonishing. Tapping ten beers in five months is equally ambitious! Although the beer isn’t brewed in OC, this event is essentially the welcoming of yet another craft brewer to our growing list in Orange County. Are the beers good? We shall see. (Pretty photos courtesy of blog collaborator Anne Watson Photography www.annewatsonphoto.com)

courtesy Anne Watson Photography www.annewatsonphoto.comI pull in a bit early, drop anchor on a stool and snap a few shots. At the stroke of six, Haven’s front door looks like the tube of an arriving flight. A constant flow of people attack the tables and bar area like an army of well dressed ants. My goal for the evening? Sample every beer and have fun! Sampling every beer is not an easy task given brewmaster Dave Larsen’s average ABV with ten beers is 8%.

courtesy Anne Watson Photography www.annewatsonphoto.comAlong with ten Haven beers, the special 3rd Anniversary menu is an ode to Haven Gastropub and spinoffs.  Taco Asylum, Burger Haven and special gatropubish offerings are layed out in a proper celebratory fashion. The thing I’m most excited about are menu items in the $5-10 range for small plate foods. I would love to see more of these items in regular rotation! Thirstier than a beerblogger at a bar, I get hit with a paddle of Gross National Happyness (cream ale), Hafen Hef, upRYEsing (rye IPA) and Diana Brown with a side of Taco Asylum Wild Mushroom Taco. My flip flops rhythmically clap my heels to the beat of Fiona Apple’s ‘Fast As You Can’ playing obliviously over the heads of this full house.

courtesy Anne Watson Photography www.annewatsonphoto.com

Brewmaster Dave Larsen gingerly watches like a lifeguard at a pool. No splashing Dammit!

The last time I saw Haven this busy was a month after they opened! The tiny alcove window seats are sealed thick with bodies chomping at the bit for a beer. Jeremy the bartender scans the bar left and right like he’s watching a tennis match with two Russian gals playing. Dave Larsen stands nervously near the bar, scratching his red beard, like he’s about to be married. Lets get down to business!

Diving into the flight:

GNH Cream Ale is a light and herbal beer with low bitterness and a dry finish. Notes of sage, honey and spearmint ring the nose. I’d recommend this for someone that doesn’t like dark beer or the bitterness of an IPA. Fun fact: It’s brewed with some special heirloom red rice. Bitches love heirloom red rice.

courtesy Anne Watson Photography www.annewatsonphoto.comHafen Hef is just that, a traditional Bafarian Hefeweizen. It has some nice bubble gum flafor up front, yet mild banana and clofe. [Geek note – Drinking a hef in a 4oz taster on draft is not ideal. Most of my excitement drinking a trad Hef is how pretty it looks when poured in proper glassware. The bright golden-orange beer topped with a frothy meringue-like head is a necessity!] Bottom line: If you like Hef’s you’ll like Hafen’s version. It is heafenly. Skip the lemon, you heathen. (v’s replaced with f’s on purpose you feluptuous fagina fulture.)

* Fave of the evening! upRYEsing – I loves me some rye malt all up in my beers! Up front this is still a hoppy IPA with some juicy grapefruit and tropical notes chased with a slick pepper spice on the finish. It goes perfectly with my Wild Mushroom Taco! Each bite and sip found heat in the taco and complements the huge umami/parsley/garbonzo flavors going on. If Taco Asylum carries upRYEsing, I highly recommend this pairing. I can only imagine how the Ghost Chili Pork taco would fare with this beer. I’m salivating and clenching thinking about it.

Diana Brown – Sadly, my flight was mis-poured and I didn’t get a chance to sample this beer.  I got two Hef’s on my paddle. Dammit.

courtesy Anne Watson Photography www.annewatsonphoto.comOn to bigger and better things, I sample the oaked and non-oaked versions of Bremasters Breakfast Oatmeal Stout. Whoa there cowboy! This is a monster! Wait… what? This is damn near Old Rasputin Imperial Stout! An Oatmeal Stout shouldn’t be this big, bold, dry and boozy. When I think Oatmeal Stout, I think smooth, creamy roasty-roastyness!. I assume this is a mis-poured 100 Rubles, Haven’s Russian Imperial Stout. The oaked version, assuming it is also the 100 Rubles on Oak, really mellows out the mouthfeel, adding in some pleasant oak tannins and booze while boosting the dark fruit notes.


Sosigenes Double IPA is a huge hit with the crowd around me. The draft board is numbered and people order fast-food style. I overhear, “I’d like a number 6” many times. Haven’s bartenders, despite standing next to the draft board force people to say the name, causing some pretty hilarious mispronunciations.  Winner of the night: “I’D LIKE A SNAUSAGES PLEASE!” Haha! I personally thought it was soh-sih-JUH-knees, but I heard Wil Dee (Haven’s Bev Mgr) say it as soh-sih-jen-nis. Potato, Potato. It’s a damn tasty DIPA with tons of hops sitting on an easy drinking malt backbone. Paired with the Taco Asylum Short Rib Taco doesn’t do the taco any favors. The ‘salsa verdi’ in the taco is reminiscent of Italian salad dressing, perhaps a mis-douse? it was weird, although I still inhaled it.

damn auto correct

Changing my luck, I grab a sure-fire pint of Hello World Pale Ale to cap off the evening. I lift anchor on my bar stool and chat with Dave for a bit. “I need a beer” he says wiping sweat off his brow. “This tastes exactly like my Organic Pale Ale homebrew, which I love” I say. We both stare awkwardly at Greer Wylder nearby. “Welp, have a good night!”. “You too”. I’m like the Ryan Seacrest of beer blog interviewers. I was going to ask about growler fills, kegs, bottles, what’s coming up through the end of the year, why rice in a cream ale, what other fun adjuncts are you brewing with, is the moon made of swiss cheese, who trims your beard, etc. I drew a blank. Sorry readers!

I’m mildly annoyed Kate Upton has a tiger.


Despite the mis-steps, Haven is still Haven. She’s like a beautiful girl that slightly annoys you from time to time, but you keep coming back because she’s super hot, ready for action and delicious. I’d like to see some more session beers to round out the beer repertoire; a 3-4% English Bitter, Porter or Mild might be pub friendly. I’m still impressed with this initial public offering after five short months. If they keep it up, they will surely increase my gross national happiness!


Hours of operation are 11 a.m. – 2 a.m. daily. Walk-ins welcome. For more information, including address and phone number, visit http://www.havengastropub.com (on Facebook,http://www.facebook.com/HavenGastropub).

Haven Gastropub on Urbanspoon

Haven Gastropub +Brewery = Smiley Face (Closed 2014)

It’s a rare day when I find myself up in LA. When friend and food writer Richard Manning simply stated, “you’re going, that’s final”, I knew I had no choice but to hit Haven Gastropub‘s new northern spawn. I got my haircut. I manscaped. I washed my car. I even cooked pizza for the babysitter. My wife dolled herself with a mini skirt, thigh high boots and a black cardigan. Rich and wife Heather arrive at our house, punctual as ever, looking fresh-faced and ready to party. Magic is happening tonight, folks!

Order by the number if you don’t know how to pronounce Haven Brewing’s “Sosigenes!”

As we arrive, winter’s last gust blows us into Haven’s foyer and a nearby open table sweeps us off our feet. The electronic tap list of forty beers seduces me into a lengthy starting contest. “Can I get you started with a beer or wine” says our waiter, an older gentleman looking like a mix of Harvey Keitel and Wolf Blitzer, but with a German accent. A mild version of stage fright overcomes me. “I’d like a flight” I say like a kid at 31 Flavors. “Hello World, Victory At Sea, TAPS Irish Red and Humulus Lager sound good.” I scan the differences between Haven in Orange and Pasadena; most notably the “addition” of the +Brewery screams for my attention off to the side of the main dining area.

Haven’s stainless steel brewery sits behind sheets of glass; steam bellowing over the top into the pub. There are few aromas in life that can tap directly into my soul: freshly made tortillas, lighter fluid on a charcoal barbecue, or the smell outside after a fresh rain. To a brewer, the smell of freshly mashed grain, boiling wort, and hop additions tack on to that list. Haven’s aura is all that. I found myself inhaling deeply through my nose as if a beautiful stranger passed close by. I moan the word “GRAINS” like a creepy vegan zombie as my wife predictably rolls her eyes.

As my flight is delivered, I immediately suck down ‘Hello World’. Dubbed as an American Pale Ale, this beer quickly grabs my attention with a full body and pleasant, yet “not-quite-IPA” hop character. It’s damn close to an IPA. Hell, if this beer and an IPA walked into a bar, the barkeep would promptly ask, “Is this some kind of joke?”. Indeed. Be careful, as ‘Hello World” is also right on the cusp of IPA-land at 7%. Note that Ballast Point Sculpin IPA, arguable one of the finest IPA’s available anywhere, is also 7% ABV. $5 for a pint of Haven’s first beer makes this an easy choice.

Hello World (left) and Sosigenes.

The stars must have aligned perfectly as Wil Dee, Haven’s beverage manager, hand-delivers a flight of their second beer, ‘Sosigenes’ Double IPA (8.7%). “You’re the first customers to taste this, cheers!” Historically, Sosigenes (pronounced soh-SIJ-uh-knees) was an astronomer noted for creating the Julian calendar that incorporates a leap day. Brewed on leap year day and the fact Pliny the Elder (not the Russian River beer) actually named Sosigenes, makes this a perfect name! The beer is bright golden in color with a lively yet creamy carbonation. Boasting many of the big ‘C’ hops along with Warrior and Glacier give it a notable but pleasant earthy aroma. The maltyness is there as well, similar to Avery Majaraja; although it was tough to nail down with a 4oz taster. I grabbed my wife’s to be sure (she drove).

credit Haven's blog

I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that.

Head brewer Dave Larsen stopped by table-side in a Cismontane shirt and a tell-tale brewers beard. “I was a home brewer and sous chef at Haven in Orange. They decided to promote within.” David’s new office is an ample 15bbl brew system that is sufficient for keeping up with Haven’s needs. During my tour, Dave is cleaning up after a Breakfast Stout brewday. Grains strung about with random buckets full of sanitizer. “I brewed with Evan at Cismontane, Victor Novak at TAPS, and Tyler at the Bruery to learn the ropes of a big system” says Dave. I’m curious if having Chef Greg Daniels in the kitchen is going to drive some crazy and inventive beer recipes. “We shall see, however Greg gives me full creative license”.

I see keg, people.

Furthering our tour into the depths of the kitchen and dual cold storage rooms, Wil Dee shows off one of the most revolutionary beer delivery draft systems I’ve ever seen. One keg can be delivered to multiple taps. When a keg is dusted, it flushes on the fly. Quick disconnects allow kegs to be changed in four seconds flat. Cellared beer, cask and draft wines are delivered at a different temp than the regular cold storage. Bottle list? Very similar to Haven Gastropub in Orange. One of the most impressive things to me is the well balanced and thought out tap list. Not too much style overlap with sufficient seasonals and a good representation of local breweries. This Wil guy…he’s a keeper!

I fought for foie and the foie won.

It might be a while until Haven beers make their way into Orange County. Haven has to get a special license to have their beer distributed and do growler fills. With our three tier system (brewer > distributor > consumer); brewpubs cannot simply throw a keg in a van and put it on tap wherever they want even if you own each location. I’m sure this is a priority for Wil and gang and we will start to see their beer in OC soon.

I highly recommend the drive up either way. Parking was a snap with a garage across the street. Like the Orange location, Haven Gastropub +Brewery in Pasadena has plenty of shopping and people watching in the local area. I’m jealous Pasadena has a better Haven! At least we have a Taco Asylum. Hah, LA!

If you must know, I ate a lamb burger, brussels sprouts, house olives and nibbled on a charcuterie plate. They were all great. This isn’t a food blog, ya’ know.

Liney for the Pliny! Or, Presidents and Their Beer

courtesy Haven's facebook page.

Haven Gastropub’s line. Facial hair required! The lady with an Abraham Lincoln beard FTW!

Our founding fathers would be proud. Standing in line for one of the biggest hype…oops “Hop” bombs on the market; Russian River Brewing’s Pliny the Younger on Presidents day. Historically, presidents and beer have quite a bit in common. George Washington knew his beer! Here’s a note from our first president on how to make beer:

“To Make Small Beer
Take a large Siffer [Sifter] full of Bran Hops to your Taste. — Boil these 3 hours then strain out 30 Gall[ons] into a cooler put in 3 Gall[ons] Molasses while the Beer is 
Scalding hot or rather draw the Molasses into the cooler & Strain the Beer on it while boiling Hot. let this stand till it is little more than Blood warm then put in a quart of Yeast if the Weather is very Cold cover it over with a Blanket & let it Work in the Cooler 24 hours then put it into the Cask — leave the bung open till it is almost done Working — Bottle it that day Week it was Brewed.”

Jimmy Carter signed HR 1337 back in 1978, a bill that legalized homebrewing beer and wine. I honestly think this sparked the craft beer movement more than anything. Thanks Jimmy!

Obama’s kitchen staff brews their own Honey Ale and Porter made from honey produced by the White House beehive. Obama is quick to share it with guests at his Superbowl party, Saint Patrick’s Day, or with a deserving Medal of Honor winner.

I wonder what kind of line the White House Honey Ale would bring.

Back to Orange County, a mile or so away from Haven Gastropub, Hollingshead Deli has an even longer line:

courtesy Chad Limpanukorn, Brewluminati.

courtesy Chad Limpanukorn, Brewluminati. Brown-jacket man is the line enforcer.

Needless to say, if you’re not standing in one of these lines, you’re probably not getting any today. Your last chance in Orange County is next Monday the 27th at Selmas in Ladera Ranch. Check their fb/twitter for details.

“Beer, if drank with moderation, softens the temper, cheers the spirit and promotes health.” – Thomas Jefferson