This past Friday was the 4th Anniversary celebration for Fullerton, California’s BOOTLEGGER’S BREWERY. This year’s event was held at the Muckenthaler Culture Center in Fullerton and added a nice sense of prestige to the party.
We arrived shortly after 6 pm and made our why to the building. It had rained all day Friday, but thankfully it was looking like the storms were over for the evening (and they were). The entrance was divided into two lines: Last names A-K and L-Z. I was the only one of the seven of us who fell into the L-Z category and, of course, the line was twice as long. They all made it to the front before me, but thankfully I had ordered the tickets and was able to jump ahead. They handed us our tickets, event map and taster glass (which was 1-2 ounces larger than last year’s) and we headed inside.
The majority of us were “sourheads”, so we headed toward stations 5, 6, and 7 where the bulk of the sour beers were located. I was intrigued by the fact that they had used Kambucha cultures in a beer, so I selected a glass of SOUR #1.
It was very interesting to watch our friends Bob and Savannah experiencing sours for the first time. I don’t think they were sold on the style, but I enjoyed them not enjoying it. hahaha
Round 2 called for something a little different. My roommate and I are big fans of bourbon barrel aging and chili peppers, so we made sure to get a pour of BOURBON BARREL AGED IMPERIAL PHOENIX early (in case it ran out). It was definitely a step in a different direction and one that I’m glad we got under our belts.
Round 3 took us back to the land of sours. SOUR #4 was a very unique American Wild Ale, that had flavors of pear and green apple flooding through the taste. One of my favorite sours of the day.
It was about this time that I decided that food was starting to sound like a good idea. However, the gods had other plans. After waiting in line for 15 minutes and then watching the two people in front of me not being served by the people at the food truck for another five minutes I bailed. I figured I came to this event to drink beer, not to stand in line for food. Considering my roommates spent almost an hour waiting on their food I think I made the right decision.
I realized at this point that I should try to mix things up in order to allow for maximum flavor. In doing so, I made sure not to have two beers of the same style in a row. Beer #4 was a step in a different direction. 77th ANNIVERSARY ALE (BELGIAN-STYLE BARLEYWINE) was my first hoppy beer of the day, but the big malts and alcohol kept it in line with the sour->boozy->sour->boozy pattern I had going.
At this point I had met back up with my friends (who were actually successful at getting food) and we starting scanning the tap list. I felt that it was time to see what the other breweries had to offer, so we headed over to the Bruery’s table. I had originally planned to get the Mother Funker, but instead decided on BURLY GOURD after reading the label. This was a great choice! Every since last October I’ve been enamored with the idea of peppercorns in beer; even though I’m not sure Burly Gourd actually uses them the flavor was still there. It was also very fitting getting a taste of autumn on that cold rainy evening.
With the success of the Burly Gourd tasting (beer #5), I stuck with the Bruery for beer #6. MOTHER FUNKER is a sour Blonde Ale that was deliciously well-balanced and the exact opposite of Burly Gourd. Sadly those were the only two beers available from the Bruery at the event, but they were both winners.
Beer #7 brought me back to Bootlegger’s beers and back to the bourbon barrel. BOURBON CHAOS is a bourbon barrel aged version of their Belgian Strong Pale Ale. Since I wrote a review of this beer at last year’s Anniversary Party I decided to take this time to simply enjoy a taster and put my phone away for a minute.
Now I’m not quite sure why I didn’t take notes on beer #8, BOURBON BARREL AGED 78th ANNIVERSARY ALE. I’m fairly certain I’d never had it before, but still I’m didn’t write anything down about. Maybe it was due to the fact that time was winding down and I still had a pocket full of taster tickets (given to me by a couple of my less-than-beer-loving friends). Either way the beer was good, but exactly how good we may never know.
My hophead roommate and I had wanted to try their Lupulin Thrill IPA for beer #8, but had to settle on the BBA78thAA since Lupulin was tapped out. With beer #9 we were determined to not be denied. FAR OUT IPA was one of only a handful of Bootlegger’s IPAs available at the event. Sadly, they didn’t have Knuckle Sandwich, but Far Out wasn’t no slouch. This was also the last beer I took notes on.
At this point in the night we were nearing crunch time and trying as many different Bootlegger’s beers as possible becoming the priority. I went on to sample their Galaxian Barleywine, Dr. Tongue, and Rocco’s Red. They were all well put together and were stylistically close enough to not send my taste buds into revolt in the waning minutes of the event.
Even though the weather didn’t cooperate and the food lines were mismanaged, I still had a good time. I’ll definitely be back for Bootlegger’s 5th Anniversary Party next April.