I used to do a round up of upcoming events, ones that I’ve been to and some that were new to me, nearly every year. Not sure why I stopped but, honestly, my wine world has grown so much – with more events than even I can ever go to – I think I just got busy! Let’s rectify that today. These are events coming up that you may just want your own “taste” of:
Valentine’s Day Dinner at Newhall Refinery 2/14: Once again Chef Dustin Boole is creating a 4 Course dinner, accompanied by a Beer or Wine Flight, Candlelight, Live Music, and Complimentary Valet. $195 Per Couple. Menu and wines can be seen here in the discussion portion of the event page on Facebook. This is their third year I believe and our favorite.
Lodi in Los Angeles in Marina Del Rey 2/21: wineLA has teamed up with LoCA – The Wines of Lodi, California to showcase some of the best wines, wineries, and winegrowers of Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s 2015 Wine Region of the Year. Held at the Marina City Club in Marina del Rey, this event will feature a wide variety of wines to taste, and a large assortment of foods to pair with! See many more events and classes on their website here: http://www.winela.com/
World of Pinot Noir in Santa Barbara March 2-3: The annual World of Pinot Noir event gathers the planet’s foremost Pinot Noir wineries and winemakers, renowned chefs, sommeliers and leading wine scholars in a weekend-long seaside celebration of this delicious and storied wine.
Family Winemakers in Pasadena March 17: The Saturday tasting is a one day event of award-winning small, family-owned wineries that create wines from many of the state’s fabled wine growing regions. Imagine the opportunity to taste over 500 wines offered by over 125 wineries. You’ll find upwards of 40 different varietals or blends from 60 of California’s famed appellations. If you can’t get to the wine country let them come to you! Whether you’re adding to your wine list, retail shelves or your private cellar, this is an opportunity to Taste California!
Vintage Paso March 16-18: Once a year Paso Robles toasts our heritage variety, Zinfandel. The 3-day celebration features events at more than 100 wineries, a Zin seminar, and the Z After Party, pairing Zin with dessert and live jazz. For more events in Paso Robles check out: https://pasowine.com/events/
Santa Ynez Winter Pass ends 3/31/18: With the pass, you’ll receive one tasting flight at each of our 15 Association winery tasting rooms for just $45. Your pass will expire when all 15 tastings have been used, or on March 31, 2018, whichever occurs first. Reservations are not required and passes are valid every day except February 16-19, 2018. (This pass has been extended, as the 101 is now open + more events in Santa Ynez area wineries can be found here)
Universal Whisky Experience April 4-7 at Wynn Las Vegas: The Nth 2018 will be a spectacular whisky master event, showcasing the best whiskies and brands in the world. This affair is a singular opportunity for serious whisky aficionados to come together to taste, savour, discuss and learn more about fine rare whiskies in the lavish, opulent atmosphere of the Encore at Wynn Las Vegas. During this 4-day destination event in exciting and entertaining Las Vegas, you’ll indulge in exceptional whisky tasting opportunities, mingle with master distillers and blenders, and take pleasure in epicurean delights.
The Wine Affair Sip, Stroll and Savor the Sounds April 15 at Westfield Valencia Mall: This event benefits the work from our local Soroptimists of Greater Santa Clarita Valley, aka SIGSCV. Stay tuned to their website for updates.
Hospice Du Rhone in Paso Robles 4/26-28: Three days in the late spring have been reserved for an exclusive weekend surrounding all things Rhône. A palate provoking weekend embracing the enchantment, history and tastes of the twenty-two Rhône varieties. Throughout the weekend, tip your glass with international Rhône wine producers, journey through the largest collection of Rhône variety wines on the planet and savor exceptional Rhône cuisine all while taking in the inspiring and spirited Rhône community.
Wine Under the Stars is slated for 5/17 and brought to you once again by Yours Truly and the Wish Education Foundation: Welcome to “Wine on the Roof,” which will be held atop the new Laemmle Theatre parking garage now under construction at the corner of Lyons Avenue and Main Street in Old Town Newhall. The city has guaranteed that we will be the first group to host an event in what will be a very popular space…Read on for more of our latest out of the box idea:
Eve has secured Steve Lemley as our co-host for this unique never-before-seen event. Lemley is a well-respected SCV winemaker that co-owns the SCV Custom Crush Services. Lemley will curate our wines from his local facility that houses over twenty different wineries – most if not all will be making their debut that evening – and we will have a winemaker at each table to allow for interesting and knowledgeable discourse. Local restaurants are providing the incredible, multi course meal that will be paired exclusively for you.
Wine in the Pines in Pine Mountain 6/9: The Village of Pine Mountain Club has hosted wine festivals in June of each year beginning in 2003, and this year is no exception. Mark your calendars for the second Saturday of June each year for Wine in the Pines in Pine Mountain Village. From 1pm to 4 pm (with VIP entry starting at noon), you’ll be able to taste exciting wines from throughout California’s top wine-growing regions, with dozens of premier wineries to choose from. If you need a break from fine wines, there will be many craft breweries to choose from. And then there’s the food: some of Kern County’s, Santa Clarita Valley’s, and our own local (Pine Mountain) favorite restaurants will be on hand to serve you everything from classic European finger food and gourmet pizza to good-ole western barbeque. There’s nothing like pine-scented air and the shade of tall pines to complement the taste of good wine and equally good food, unless it’s live music—loud enough to set the mood, but smooth enough not to ruin it. Wine-themed art will also be on display to round out the afternoon.
Wines Around the World wine tasting dinners at Newhall Refinery is ongoing.
Quick links from the Dear Wine Friend e-newsletter: World of Pinot Noir 3/2-3, Family Winemakers 3/17, Vintage Paso 3/16-18, Santa Ynez Winter Pass ends 3/31/18 (Pass has been extended, 101 now open + more events in Santa Ynez area wineries can be found here), the Universal Whisky Experience 4/4-7, The Wine Affair 4/15, Hospice Du Rhone 4/26-28. Ongoing: Bev Mo on the Old Road Friday 4-7pm tastings, Events locally at Reyes Winery, Wine House events in WLA, LA Wine Tasting, Monopole Wine events in Pasadena and Eve does Wine Themed Parties.
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a “certification in first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video, authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits. You can also seek her marketing advice via Eve@EveBushmanConsulting.com
3-day festival kicks off the Southern California summer season by celebrating the best of BBQ and craft beer
(Santa Clarita, CA) – Celebrate the most refreshing craft beers and mouthwatering BBQ in the state at the BBQ & Beer Festival, California Beer Festival’s 2nd annual end-of-spring celebration in Santa Clarita on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, May 5-7. This three-day event features the very best in BBQ and beer, served alongside some groovy beats from live, celebrated bands and musicians.
Friday evening at the BBQ & Beer Festival is a celebration of craft beer, bringing in a fresh wave of brews on tap and offering attendees the ultimate craft beer experience. With a multitude of microbreweries pouring over 50 different handcrafted beers and ciders on tap, beer enthusiasts are invited to discover new favorites and to enjoy established and well-loved choices.
Participating breweries include some California favorites such as House Beer, Santa Maria Brewing Company, MadeWest, Rincon Brewery, Poseidon Brewing Co., The Dudes Brewing Co., St. Killian Importing, The Bloody Cure, Angel City Brewery, Golden Road Brewing, Goose Island Beer Co., Sierra Nevada, Stella Artois, Wolf Creek Brewing, Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits, Pocock Brewing Co., Lagunitas Brewing Company, Island Brewing Company, Elysian Brewing, Coronado Brewing Co., Firestone Walker and more. Friday attendees must be at least 21 years of age to enter the festival, and will receive an exclusive souvenir tasting cup for sampling with entry.
Saturday at the BBQ & Beer Festival is a family friendly BBQ extravaganza, designed with chowing down on the best hot, delicious BBQ and BBQ sauces from around the state in mind – and, of course, refreshing craft beer pairings for interested adults. A perfect family outing, Saturday’s event will feature live entertainment and a fun Kid Zone to keep everyone in the family entertained to their hearts content. Saturday’s BBQ participants include Black Sugar Rib Company, Carter’s Smoked BBQ, BBQ Smokehouse, Cowboy John’s Smoken BBQ and It’s in the Sauce BBQ, among others to be announced. (Note: there is no craft beer sampling on Saturday.)
New this year, the BBQ & Beer Festival has added a 3rd day of festivities. Sunday’s Blues, Brew & BBQ Festival will feature live bands including renowned blues band Tommy Castro & the Painkillers alongside its delicious and expansive BBQ and craft beer fare. (Note: there is no craft beer sampling on Sunday.)
Tickets are available for purchase online now. Tickets will also be sold at the door. Friday beer festival tickets range from $20 to $40 and BBQ Festival/Blues, Brews & BBQ Festival tickets are $10 (entry must be purchased per person for each day), with free entry for children 12 and under. Both days will feature a variety of live music and entertainment. Individuals must be 21 years of age or older with a valid ID to enter the Beer Festival on Friday and to consume alcohol for the duration of the festival. For more information, please visit www.BBQandBeerFestival.com.
About California Beer Festival
Since 2009, California Beer Festival has been hosting a variety of California’s favorite food and brew events. Though events such as California Beer Festival in Ventura, Marin, Santa Cruz and San Dimas, the Tequila and Taco Festival in San Diego, Santa Cruz and Ventura, the Winter Wine Walk in Ventura and Burbank, the Burbank Beer Festival, the BBQ & Beer Festival and the Champagne on Main Wine Walk & Spring Street fair, California Beer Festival shines a light on the craft beer movement and gets people together to celebrate and enjoy the best in craft brewing. California Beer Festival offers a chance for guests to expand their minds and educate themselves on new and old styles of craft beer. Individuals must be 21 years of age or older with a valid ID to sample beer.
Where does one go after a restaurant garners the “ultimate burger” honor in the Santa Clarita Valley? Humbled by the award, Alex Rush, co-owner of Rustic Burger, upped his burger game when he held a tasting event for members of the local press in which he showed exactly how his craft burgers pair with his craft beers.
“It’s not always the best idea to start with a lighter styled beer and end with a dark,” Alex began. “it’s too crazy on the palate.”
The press learned just that as they dove head first into the appetizers like Mac and Cheese made with creamy Mornay sauce, panko and chives alongside the Belgium St. Bernardus abt 12 that “accented the mellow dish” according to Alex. As the dish and the drink disappeared, which would be the trend of the night, all agreed it was a great pairing.
The Weinhenstephner Hef (pronounced Wine-stephan-er) balanced well with the three different housemade dipping sauces (just like all of the meat is made in house) for the toasty Tater Tots.
The Ballast Point Sculpin IPA calmed the wings in their sweet chili sauce.
A Weinhenstephner Lager also complemented the classic Chuck n Brisket. A later pairing of the Chuck n Brisket, with the addition of blue cheese and a pretzel bun (the only bread not made on the premises) was paired with a tart red-colored New Belgium Transatlantic Kriek. Alex said the pairing was “a play on a fig jam and brisket pairing, and that the bitter arugula leaves worked well with the fruit beer.” And a third pairing had this burger, with the addition of bacon, cheese, mushroom, thyme and aioli, alongside a Firestone Nitro Merlin that was one of Alex’s favorites. The Firestone was similar in taste and color to a classic Guinness, yet “smoother and slightly sweeter.”
The salmon burger on brioche with an Allagash White, with notes of “lemongrass, coriander and orange peels”, was another outstanding pairing, both visually and on the palate.
Of course we had their signature burger, The Farm (OMG this “sow and cow” combo included pork belly and bacon, egg, arugula, pepper jack cheese and aioli) this time with Bootlegger’s Muscle Sandwhich. And then came the subtly marinated Seoul, Seoul burger on brioche with and Oskar Blues IPA.
“People have an affinity to food especially when it invokes memories,” Alex said. “Things like the burn of raw white onions, the fresh snap of a pickle and the comfort of a tomato remind me of burgers I had growing up with my dad. We respect those memories here.”
And with that, we finished up the remarkable tasting with one of Rustic Burger’s homemade shakes, this time blended with one of their beers: Choco Toffee Stout – Humboldt Brewing Black Xantus Imperial Stout, that though the group was over sated, not one left a single drop in their glass.
Come see these burgers and beers, a rotating selection of the latter not found in any other Santa Clarita Valley restaurant, as this is not something to miss!
Watch our tasters here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KfInGKwmmXk&feature=youtu.be
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, a “certification in first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video, authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits. You can also seek her marketing advice via Eve@EveBushmanConsulting.com
The invitation from Wolf Creek Brewery that got my attention: Vlad from Truffles ‘N’ Toffee has returned! He’s brought 7 chocolate truffles to be paired with some of your favorites here at Wolf Creek including our Howlin’ Hefe with Bananas Foster Crunch and Over the Moon Stout with a Triple Threat Dark Chocolate...purchase tickets in the Tasting Room or email Laina@wolfcreekbrewery.com
The Set up
You will be having “Vlad’s amazing chocolates paired with Rob’s amazing beers” Wolf Creek Brewery and restaurant co-owner Laina McFerren began. “See Vlad’s step-by-step instructions on your tables…Vlad will talk about chocolate while Rob talks about the beer. What I love about Vlad is that he is just as passionate about chocolate as Rob is about beer.”
“We’re so excited about what we’re presenting,” Vladimir said. “These are new yet-to-be released chocolates. Please, have a lot of fun. And know that all the chocolate is gluten free but the beer is not. Now…don’t eat all of the chocolate before the beer comes, or dink all the beer before the chocolate comes.”
The instructions (which can be seen in this 1-minute YouTube along with the other shenanigans) are as follows:
#1 Taste your beer.
#2 Take a bite of half of your truffle, and chew it a couple of times without swallowing.
#3 Take a sip of your beer to mix and swallow.
# Repeat steps 2 and 3.
Tasting B and C
Bananas Foster Crunch Truffle in Milk Chocolate
Tasting the beer alone I got hit by a lot of banana. This is made in the style of German wheat beer, unfiltered, German yeast strain and hops with filtered Valencia water, according to Rob. Besides the banana, Rob said apricot could also be found. Together…I thought that the sweetness of the chocolate, and caramel notes, grew with the beer. Very cool.
Snow Wolf White IPA with Blood Orange
Blood Orange Vodka Goat Cheese Truffle in Milk Chocolate
Aromas of the beer alone was like a freshly sliced orange was popped in my glass, like the way a bottle of Corona is served with a lemon wedge in its neck. Rob said it’s half wheat and half barley malts (that combo is what gives it the white name) with lots of citrusy hops, then they add in real blood orange at the end. The beer was tangy, dry, and did have great citrus. With the chocolate it was a genius blend of “orange peel” (according to Vlad), cigarette (from the IPA according to the beer expert sitting on my left) and tangy cheese. The goat cheese is from local Soledad Goats farm. This was my fave pairing so far.
Lemon Pie Truffle in Dark Chocolate
The beer on its own was all malted barley and smoke, well done. Rob said it had more malt, and more balance than some other IPAs, and more citrus and hops that he thought would go well with the lemon in the truffle. The candy was made with real Meyer lemon that Vladimir had zested himself. Together both the chocolate and the beer became creamier.
Hazelnut Praline Truffle in Milk Chocolate
Yummy beer, nice and dark, with strong notes of coffee grounds and chocolate. Rob said it’s a dark wheat beer, some banana, and that traditionally Dunkelweizens are made in Germany. Lots of creamy caramel in the candy came out with the beer.
Cinnamon Bun in Milk Chocolate
The beer was our darkest yet with notes of prunes and black tea. Rob said cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla were added. “A dessert all by itself” said my tasting mate. Vlad told us to expect an explosive cinnamon finish on the chocolate. The chocolate was “the icing on the cake” another guest remarked.
Midnight Howl India Black on Nitro
Milk Chocolate Hazelnut Praline Solid Chocolate
The beer tasted like Italian espresso, 90% cacao chocolate, bitter. Rob said they’ve been doing this one for four years, a basic dark IPA with the dark malts. The chocolate on its own is my second favorite after the goat cheese vodka truffle. Together it’s like candy, or even better: a chocolate croissant and espresso. Vlad caramelizes and then grinds the hazelnuts himself. It’s only hazelnut and sugar to make it into a praline. Vlad said he was working on a hazelnut butter next.
Over the Moon Stout on Nitro
Triple Threat Truffle in Dark Chocolate
The beer, dark black coal colored, “Texas Tea”, chewy and akin to a double espresso. Rob said he used Intelligentsia coffee, oatmeal, lactose and organic cacao beans. Vlad said that his chocolate was made with three different alcohols but he wouldn’t tell us what they are, they are proprietary, he describes it as having ” big, coffee notes with a Baileys and cream like finish.” We were guessing Baileys, Kahlua and either a Port or red wine.
The Tasting Room @ Wolf Creek Brewery 25108 Rye Canyon Loop Valencia, CA 91355 661-294-9977
Vladimir Litt, firstname.lastname@example.org
Eve Bushman has been reading, writing, taking coursework and tasting wine for over 20 years. She has obtained a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, has been the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video, authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and recently served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits that may be answered in a future column. You can also seek her marketing advice via Eve@EveBushmanConsulting.com