Archive for August, 2011

Shelf Talkers: Revisited

I have been working hard on a design that would incorporate my HopHeadSaid logo and introduce some more elements that I would like to start branding.  I have also been working hard to make sure the shelf talker was easy to read and understand.  I thought I had covered all the bases until I took my design into a local beer store.  There I learned of a real world problem with shelf markers.  Many are made to stand up in the portrait position but when they are attached to the shelf they get knocked around and often get pulled off because they extend well past the shelf and get snagged on the bottle that is being pulled from the shelf.

So when I got back home I started redesigning a landscape version of my shelf talker. This new orientation will significantly reduce the overhang of the the shelf talker and reduce the chances of it being knocked to the floor. I will be adapting all of my reviews to the landscape orientation.  In fact, today you will get to see the first three landscape food pairing shelf talkers.


Double Jack


California Beer Festival-Ventura

This is gonna be a great event!

Scroll down for some “insider” info.

California Beer Festival

Click image to visit the official website.

This will be the second stop for the California Beer Festival this year.  The first event was held in Santa Cruz and the last stop for this event will be in Claremont on October 8th.  So if you can’t make this date be sure to book your tickets for the Claremont event.

The Ventura event will feature 68 breweries represent’n from all over California and over 150 different beers!  Is it hard to see why I am excited for this event?  But the fun doesn’t stop there,  I am gonna be one of the beer judges!

Vincenzo, the mastermind behind this event, started the festival three years ago and it has steadily grown into the festival we will be enjoying in a few weeks.  He expects there to be 4,000 people attending the two day event.

Don’t overlook the second day of the festival.  There will be a BBQ cook off with free samples all day long, not to mention $5 beer to help keep you hydrated.  All this and 5 blues bands will be supplying the sound track while you enjoy a beautiful afternoon in Mission Park.

Beer festivals are always fun but it is easy to get carried away if you don’t have a plan.  Visit to see what I have listed and/or add your own tip.

Finally, I will have a bag full of HopHeadSaid schwag that I’ll be giving away, so be sure to track me down early before I give everything away!

homebrew.label: Jailhouse Bock

A few are good, some are OK, most are BAD and all are my homebrew labels! Let me know what you think, or better yet let me know what you think of the beer, even if you haven’t had it.

I love this label! I intended it to look this amateur-ish. In-fact, I did all the graphic work in Microsoft Paint. I scanned the DVD insert for Shawshank Redemption and cloned Rick’s and my face into the photo. My favorite part is Morgen Freeman’s hands.  Can you tell who was Andy?  “I wish I could tell you Andy put up a good fight” …  This was my first bock I brewed and I freeze distilled it, ’cause that sounded like a good idea.  It ended up around  8.5% which is pretty good for a lager.

Jailhouse Bock

Name that mystery beer schwag giveaway.

How to enter and Rules:

  1. Read the paragraph below and guess which beer this describes.
  2. Post your answer and your name and your e-mail. Your e-mail can be listed as:  name[at]server[dot]com
  3. Incriminating names in the passage have been replaced with ###
  4. All correct entries submitted by 11:59PM TONIGHT will be considered.
  5. Winner will be chosen by random for qualified entries.
  6. Winner will be announced right here, tomorrow.
  7. Good Luck!
This is what you are playing for:

Click to Visit HopHeadSaid's store

In the 15 years since we entered the craft brewing world, change has come not in a straight line, but as an exponential curve. The craft brewing movement has long been called a “revolution.” But today the air is so thick with revolution, it’s palpable. No longer is it only an awareness among the faithful; the unconverted are beginning to feel it as well. Denial and ignorance are disappearing in favor of opened eyes, curiosity and the sense that there’s something larger out there. For far too long we have been lied to. For far too long we have been oppressed by the notion that dumbed-down-lowest-common-denominator-mediocrity was all that we could, and should, expect. You might think we’re talking only about the world of brewing, but we’re not. There is a myriad of products out there masquerading as cheeses, coffee, chocolates, breads…hell, there is stuff pretending to be ‘food’ that our great grandmothers would not recognize as such. Yet the craft brewing movement, together with the artisanal food movement, is making much progress. Where the industrial companies can’t dismiss or bury us, they are attempting to copy us with cheap facsimiles. Yes, chances are if you are holding this bottle, you understand these things to be true about the world of brewing. You also likely understand the importance of our fight at ### against accepted ‘norms’ over the last 15 years. We believed that America was ready to embrace things made with artistry and passion. You have spoken. Your response has been clear. We are not merely consumers to be spoon-fed whatever commodities need to be unloaded for a profit. We have only just begun to move the needle of this revolution, & mediocrity still reigns. Consider that when you reject dumbed down, industrialized food and drink, you also support craft brewing. The line is nearly seamless; we are fighting the same battle. We will not win in our lifetime, as the powers are too entrenched, and the masses too fooled. And shackled. However, this is a revolution of ideas and of taste, and we will win. How do you want to be viewed by your children, and your children’s children? As a hero, or as the oppressed? (Those that don’t think they have been oppressed are already lost.) Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide. We hope you’ll stand with us. Strong and unyielding. You are needed. This bottle and its glorious contents are a celebration of you, brothers and sisters, and your importance in this fight. Cheers to all we’ve accomplished together in the past fifteen years, and cheers to the adventure ahead!

Salute! VIP TOP 10


By the time you finish this Top 10 list you will kicking yourself for not paying the extra $$ not to attend! The good news is that there is always next year!


Shade. While there was a big ass tree and umbrellas in the parking lot you can see that shade was highly sought after commodity.  Fortunately for VIPers we could hang out in their covered patio after we got a plate full of food and a beer.

Shade Drinkers

Click to enlarge


Drinking at the bar.  Another place that was full of shade and BEER was the bar.  A handful of the  festival beers were being represented and a few others like the OBC beers and a beer or two from Avery.

Click to visit OBC.


The limo ride.  I was riding in style because of my VIP status.  While anybody could catch the early bus to the event only the VIPers could get a ride in limo where there was room to stretch out and relax.


Early happy hour.  The Friday night pairing dinner started off with an hour to taste some beers OBC was showcasing but wouldn’t be available at the festival.  Great idea!  The pairing tips for each beer were excellent recommendations.

Click to view larger picture.


Dr. Bill Sysak.  Dr. Bill is Stone Brewing’s beverage coordinator. He was a great host and I enjoyed his pairing descriptions. Be sure to visit his Facebook page and get some great pairing tips!

Click to visit Dr. Bill's Facebook page.


Hour early entrance.  This is what the “crowd” looked like right before general admission attendees started flowing in.  Pretty great, no!?  I used the extra hour to visit all the food booths to get my food on before the gates opened so I wouldn’t have to worry about food when all I wanted to do was taste beer.

early entry


The Food! Cafe Zack catered the event for 100+ people.  Look at the menu below and I dare you to not start drooling!-)

Click to visit Cafe Zack

The first course gave us just a hint of what we were in for.  The beef melted in your mouth while the arugula and the beer spices collaborated and complimented each other making the dish something greater than the sum of its parts!

Click to enlarge

This was definitely my favorite course!  This pairing used every taste bud I had.  The savory oils and lobster juxtaposed with the sweet crisp corn and oranges while curry creme sauce and the beer rounded up all the flavors and mixed them together with their unique spices made this an incredible eating experience.

Click to enlarge

There were more course but by the third course it was too dark for me to get a good snapshot with my phone.  Suffice it to say that each plate looked as beautiful and was as tasty as the last!


New friends.  Again with the new friends?  Well yes, because I wouldn’t have met this goofy bunch if we hadn’t shared the limo ride to the event!


New drinking tally system.  I had lost track of the beers I tasted and found this unique tally system written on this VIPers wrist.  As a side note, I sat with these two at the VIP dinner.

beer tally


Best dinner in a parking lot, eva!  It truly was a wonderful evening.  Great beer, excellent food, no pretentious table clothes, good friends, happy times and perfect weather.

parking lot

HopHeadSaid to host “The Session” on 9/2/2011


On September 2, 2011, it will my pleasure to host The Session. The Session is a group writing project that was conceived by Stan Hieronymus of Appellation Beer and hosted by Jay Brooks at the Brookston Beer Bulletin.

On September 2, bloggers from around the world will converge at HopHeadSaid to write about the fabulous world of beer art found on coasters, labels and caps. I am guessing that I am not so different from other beer enthusiasts – I like to collect beer labels, bottle caps and coasters. I think they are perfect souvenirs from beer travels or drinking sessions.  Judging by the size of my collection you could say that I have had many enjoyable drinking sessions over the years!

Now it is time to dig through your stash and share your favorite label, coaster or cap art.

Posting Directions:

  1.       Choose your favorite label, coaster or cap art.
  2.       Scan, download or take a picture of your label, coaster or cap art.
  3.      Write a paragraph that explains your affinity to your entry. Your explanation can be as shallow as or as deep as you want.
  4.      If the brewery name or beer name is obscured be sure to label your entry to give credit where credit is due.
  5.      Please limit your entries to commercial examples. Homebrew labels will be a topic for another session.
  6.      Extra karma points will be awarded to those who write about two or more categories (label, coaster or cap art).
  7.      Post your blog entry on or before Friday, September 2, 2001 and e-mail your link to curtis [at] hopheadsaid [dot] com.
  8.      Alternate posting method: Post your picture and explanation on my HopHeadSaid Facebook page and I will copy your post        to the “official”location.
  9.      I will collect the entries throughout the day and post them on this page: The Session: Label, Coaster and Cap Art

Thanks for participating!


Car Show and Brewfest Ticket Giveaway!

Two (2) pair of  tickets will be given to two lucky HopHeadSaid Readers!

Click to visit official website.

How to enter and Rules:

  • You must be 21 to enter.
  • Leave a comment below that contains your real name and an e-mail address.  E-mail can be written like this: name[at]server[dot]com to help eliminate spam.
  • Only entries that contain an e-mail address and are time dated by 11:59 PM on September 6, 2011 will be in the running for the tickets.
  • Two entries will be picked at random and each entry will receive one pair of tickets.
  • The winners will be notified by e-mail on September 7th, 2011.
  • These tickets are for the event only and do not include any transportation costs, duh!

I have missed this event the last two years but I will be hanging out and handing out some HopHeadSaid schwag this year so be sure to track me down. I’ll be wearing my HopHeadSaid schwag, for sure!