Being Beer Friendly: An Interview with Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait


I’ve interviewed plenty of brewers since starting California BrewMasters. If you haven’t noticed by now, it’s kind of my thing. I’ve spoken to brewers in depth about primary and secondary fermentation methods, and listened closely as they pontificated the philosophies of good recipe formulation. For me this information is thought provoking, but as someone that has never brewed, either at home or on a commercial level, these pieces of brewing knowledge are not why I got into craft beer journalism.

I got into beer because of the community that was every bit as intriguing as the beer itself. The nuances of my favorite farmhouse saison are every bit as interesting to me as following the rise of a new brewery in an untapped neighborhood. And just as beer doesn’t make itself, a beer community is only as strong as those that foster and create it. As journalists and fans our appreciation most likely begins after the doors have opened, but we should take into consideration the incredible determination by each brewery to pry the doors open in the first place. It takes months and years, and the process is oftentimes fraught with red tape due to a lack of information or misinformation by the city and county it hopes to call home.

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No, Thank YOU Firestone Walker: LA Bloggers Take Acid and Drink in Barns

   a photographic perspective 

Last weekend I took advantage of an incredible opportunity. Like a story involving a Nigerian Prince and his bank account, someone approached me months ago and said, “Nick, we’d like you to join a group of beer savvy, like minded individuals on a weekend excursion to Firestone Walker in Paso Robles, to build relationships with their staff and gain an inside look at some of their programs. There will also be multiple parties which take place in barns.” Fighting off a first response of, “Get the fuck outa town!” I followed up on the off chance that his could, possibly, maybe, be true.

Fast forward to the sunny afternoon of Sunday, April 12th in Venice Beach. It was the sort of day where if you were a productive member of society, you’d be wearing your Sunday best, skipping around to farmers markets and indulging in the newest brunch spot with a French Bulldog in tow. I, however, required sunglasses and Panda Express to give my body the relief it so desperately required. The weekend had taken its toll.

I rolled off the bus, our weekend chariot manned by mustachio bus driver Frank Frankowski (real name). I collected my things and gave hugs and hand shakes to new friends and old. I left slightly smelly, slightly hung over, and a bit buzzed. I climbed into my girlfriend’s car, gave her a smooch, and settled in for the ride home. A fat grin slid across my face.

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Train Your Tongue Like a Brewer

Please note: an annotated version of this article appeared in the April edition of BeerPaperLA – be sure to pick up a copy! 


The human tongue is a thing of evolutionary beauty. An organ equipped with the working force of 10,000 taste buds, we owe countless palatable fads throughout history to a complex series of receptors that respond to whatever chemical make up it encounters. When a stimulus activates these receptors, neurons send the information to our brains, registering its interpretation in the form of taste. The ability for human beings to understand the complexities and nuances of what we taste is nothing short of spectacular. What’s even more amazing is that this feature comes standard. So whether we choose to use this tool or not, make no mistake that it is in everyone’s toolbox. The question then becomes this: are you doing your tongue justice? Read more


500 Follows On Instagram

Thanks to everyone for the support, this week enjoy a $5 off coupon towards the purchase of a signed California BrewMasters book. On check out use coupon code “instagram” to receive your discount. If you haven’t followed me yet, be sure to check out the feed on Instagram at @CABrewMasters . ORDER HERE 



Times Flies When You’re Having Fun

Hey Craft Beer Fans,

So guess what, this blog has been inactive for far too long. Since our book launch at the Firestone Invitational in MAY a LOT has happened. And I mean, a lot a lot. I’ve gone to beer event after beer event, met some wacky, crazy, amazing fellow beer drinkers, and we’ve made great strides with the success of the book. But the concept of California BrewMasters is not one that will live in the rear view just because the book is out. No, my dear friends, there is just so much more to talk about, so much more to do… so much new beer to drink and breweries to try. Dammit we have hands to shake and babies to kiss! So from now on look for this to be a little more active, I’ll just talk about whatever suits my fancy. Stay tuned for a post on GABF which ran in a great LA Beer blog, Beers In Paradise. I’ll be reposting it here but take a look if you’re THAT impatient.

GABF, A Photo Perspective: http://www.beersinparadise.com/?p=19421

Much more to come, new content on the way. Love you all much.




Cheers for a Book Update!

Hello Craft Beer Fans,

It’s been far too long since we’ve spoken. How are you? Have you tried these new sessionable IPAs yet? I mean, wow… right? Okay, so down to business, because we could be sitting here yammering about whether or not Go To is better than Easy Jack for hours. We have a book! Did you know that? There’s just so much to cover, I’m bursting at the seems to get it all out to you guys. First off – I haven’t written this on this blog yet, but in case you didn’t know, we got funded on Kickstarter!!!! A huge thank you to the 197 backers of our project, and all the help from friends, family, and craft beer fans everywhere that have helped support this project. Huge props to many industry friends as well for their invaluable support. We had killer events at Urge Gastropub, Tiger!Tiger!, Toronado SD, City Beer Store SF, Anthill Pub in Irvine, AleSmith, The Side Door in Corona del Mar, and the Rookery in Pomona, all supporting this book. I’m honored to have raised over $26K through Kickstarter, what a great amazing thing you guys all helped achieve. If you haven’t seen yet, check out our Thank You page for a big thanks to all the donors.

So you haven’t heard from me since then, and that is for a very good reason, I assure you. We made the book! As of today pages were sent off to the printer. In just a few short weeks, I will have beautiful 196 pg hard cover coffee table books to share with you all. Have a peak inside!   CA_BM_Final_CoverScreen Shot 2014-04-29 at 4.03.13 PM

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So there’s just a few pages of this awesome book, there’s so much more to share and see. And the best part: You can pre-order your copy today!   So, we’ve been busy. And there’s a lot to share… and more cool surprises on the way! If you did donate to our Kickstarter, you will be receiving all the cool stuff you ordered come June, when we can package books and t-shirts, growlers, key chains, etc… out to you at the same time. We figure that’s the best way to keep track of it all. Thanks everyone for their support, and I’m so looking forward to premiering this book and sharing the awesome stories of these California BrewMasters with you all.




20 Days Left!

Hello Craft Beer Fans,

There are only 10 days left in our Kickstarter campaign! Thanks to everyone that has already donated, but for those procrastinators out there: the time to donate is now!  Do so HERE.

We have a couple more great events coming up that we hope you can make it to. The first is TONIGHT, at Anthill Pub on UCI’s campus. Will be an awesome event with a lot of craft beer fans in attendance due to a Pliny the Younger release. If you can’t get your hands on Pliny, there will be a big list of other amazing beers on tap – and a portion of the proceeds will be going towards the Kickstarter campaign, so come thirsty!

The last event we’ll be having is at one of my favorite SD breweries, AleSmith! This coming Thurs, March 13th, from 5-8pm, come hang out with us as we have a last final event! Food trucks, specialty beers, all will be flowing. Peter Zien will even be on hand to say hello and answer questions. Open to the public, so bring lots of friends!

Lastly, I wanted to reiterate how amazing this journey has been so far. I’ve been working on this project for over two years now, and it’s been nothing short of all consuming, in the best way possible. Craft beer is now an integral part of my life – and I feel honored to have been welcomed into the craft beer community with full pints and warm hand shakes. Throughout my trips to breweries and in the promotion of this book I’ve met some of the kindest, most interesting people I can imagine working with.This industry is really communal at its roots, so what better for me to give back than to showcase those responsible for not only the way California beer tastes, but also how those in this industry conduct themselves: through innovation and a with a willingness to help others. With that I say to you – help me help them. Let’s tell their stories and celebrate the men and women responsible for beautiful, yummy craft beer.

Donate today.

Cheers to you all,Nick

CBM By the Numbers

50 Backers, 40 Days Left!
Hello Craft Beer Fans,

Just wanted to give everyone another big thank you for the support so far. We have 40 days left and we’ve just reached 50 backers. Can’t thank everyone enough for their support and donations to make this awesome craft beer book happen.Of course, we have a long way to go! With over $3,500 pledged so far, that leaves around $21,500 left! If you’re thinking about backing this project, I’d encourage everyone to take another look at the great rewards we’re offering our backers. This book is filled with amazing content, more of which we’ll be sharing with you guys on our Kickstarter page, and we can’t wait to get it out to craft-beer fans everywhere.

For those that have already backed, you can guarantee that your rewards make it to you by encouraging friends to donate! Tell them why you think this is a worthwhile project and tell them why you decided to back it. And again – thank you SO MUCH for supporting California BrewMasters!


Book Progress & Promotion

In other news, we’re getting some great promotion for the book. We have several blog posts going out across craft beer media. While this book is based in California, I used to live in Washington, DC. I was very excited to do an interview with ExposedDC, a great photography blog in Washington. Check out the interview I did with them here:


I’ll be sure to share other media and promotion with you guys so you can follow the progress.

We also had an awesome release party last Saturday at City Beer Store in San Francisco. We had an awesome turn out! The prints of brewer portraits will be up at City Beer until the end of March, so be sure to stop by if you’re in the city and check them out for yourself. Here are some pictures from the party.


What a great turn out!




Fans donated to our project on laptops provided at the event


Me and the lovely Beth Wathen, owner of City Beer Store


Myself, Marin Brewing Co’s Arne Johnson, and Triple Rock brewer Jeff Kimpe

As for book progress, we’re working hard to bring this book together and have it out by this June! We’re beginning to come up with cover concepts, and we’re busy editing interviews and photographs to include in the book. As we go through this process we’ll be sharing our progress with you guys.

So thanks again to everyone for your support and donations, if you’re on the fence, send us an email! I’m happy to answer any and all questions. Together, we can bring this book to life, and with it, share the valuable insight from California’s best brewers with beer fans everywhere. Cheers to you guys!

Kickstarter is Live! Donate Today


Hello California Craft Beer Fans!
The big day has finally arrived, the California BrewMasters Kickstarter campaign has officially launched! Check it out at the link below:View the Kickstarter HERE
Once again, the California BrewMasters project is a collection of interviews and portraits with some of the Golden State’s best brewers, over 45 in total up and down the state. We hope to bring all of this content directly to you in the form of a beautiful coffee table book perfect for any craft beer enthusiast, but we need your help to do it! We need to raise $25,000 in the next 45 days. If this goes successfully, this book will be out by June for you to get your hands on. Hurray! However, if we fall short of our goal, this book will not happen! Womp womp…
To sweeten the deal, we have some great rewards for donors large and small to show our appreciation for your backing. Check them out on our Kickstarter page, but you can get anything from a custom stainless steel key chain, t-shirts, posters, even a custom made beer growler specifically made for this campaign. We know that the main reason you’d be backing this project is to get your hands on a copy of this book, so on Kickstarter you can pre-order the California BrewMasters coffee table book for $5 off the retail price. We’re also offering photographic prints of the brewers signed by the photographer, and if you’re feeling really really generous, you and your friends will be treated to a private brewery tour and tasting with a brewmaster from the book. How awesome is that??
One of the best ways YOU can help, besides your donation, is to help spread the word. We want to reach as many craft beer nerds as possible, and we can’t do it alone! So follow us on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram to let your friends know about this project, and encourage them to donate.
Lastly, we have a number of awesome Kickstarter parties planned throughout California to help raise money for the book. If you’re in San Francisco today, come visit City Beer Store from 3-10pm. We’ll have prints on the walls and beer flowing! Stop by and say hi!
We really can’t thank you enough for your support in turning this project, two years in the making, into a beautiful hardcover coffee table book for everyone to enjoy. Remember, visit Kickstarter page and donate today!