1st Annual Cali Uncorked: Topsy Turvy Fun

Wino’s and beer snobs and reggae heads OH MY! As a combination wine, beer, food, and comedy festival, Cali Uncorked is the first of its kind, generously presented by the folks from OC Brew Ha Ha, Brew Ho Ho, et. al. This festival is unique at that, in addition to offering the general public 100’s of local craft brews, the many stages offered the crowd local wine, food, and laughs.


Ringleader Cameron Collins controlled the many acts of this festival with the finesse of a lion tamer; food, music, beer, and wine all hanging in balance. While headliner David Koechner served as the finale, there was amusement abundant for the duration of the day.

Immediate entertainment was provided by local reggae bands, which continually cultivated a large crowd of an tenders while they were between drinks. Weather certainly didn’t hurt, with classic California sunshine providing just enough warmth for a cool, clear day. The biggest problem? Deciding what to do! The center stage (and many side stages) provided ample opportunity for exploration.

Matt Costa singing Astair (one of my favorites)! Fun fact Costa and I shared a few beers together when I was working as Exceutive Chef at The Iron Press – Photo Credit – http://www.beerandbaking.com


Cotton Candy is Good, but Savory Dishes Satisfy. Let’s Check Out This Year’s Food Performances:


Chef Danny Godinez of Anepalco’s (soon to open MERCADO in #DTSA) was serving a ‘ceviche amarillo’ in a refreshing oceanic broth with crisp cucumber, chile manzano and micro cilantro. On a tepid day, this chilled dish hit the spot.

Chef Shachi Mehra of ADYA (Anaheim Packing House) was serving up Bombay style Sloppy Joe’s, with both spiced lamb or vegetarian options to please carnivores/herbivores alike. Merha was all smiles 🙂 when we congratulated her on her recent illustrious Golden Foodie Award Win!

And now, presented for your amusement, today’s wine offerings!

Chronic Wine Cellars 2013 Sofa King Bueno (Red Blend), ABV N/A

Aromas of rich jammy berries and red currants linger fancily on the nose. Flavors of ripe plums, leather and mild tannins usher in a silky finish.

Food Pairings – Irish Cashel Blue Cheese (Cow’s Milk), Speck Wrapped Dates & Flat Iron Steak

Rob Murray Vineyards – Mossfire Ranch in Paso Robles, CA


2014 Force of Nature: Zinfandel, ABV 14.7%

This zin exudes bright bouquet of ripe raspberries in lavender fields and plump strawberries picked on a summer day. The mouthfeel is smooth alike to sugar glazed rhubarb with an uplifting finish and lush tannic quality. The finish is uplifting, with layers of bright acidity dancing on fine lush tannin.

Food Pairings – Moliterno Black Truffle Pecorino (Sheep’s Milk Raw), Brisket & Venison

2014 Force of Nature: Chardonnay, ABV 14.1%

Aromas of jasmine flowers and apricot playfully linger on the nose. Mouthfeel is dry with smooth drinkability and unoaked medium body. The finish is succulent with soft minerality and juicy citrus.

Food Pairings – Baramundi Fish, Scallops & Fleur Vert Goat Cheese.

Ladies and gentlemen, I know bring to your attention the main event: beer!


Artifex Brewing (San Clemente, CA)

Unicorn Juice – American Wheat with Passion Fruit, ABV 5.0%

Unicorns are like whalez (whalezzzzz bro!) mysterious, graceful and full of surprises! This american wheat goes down smooth with fruity acid, sweetness and pleasant hopiness. If beer travelers seek to find this elusive creature venture down south county and grab a pint at Artifex!


Hoppy Colada – Black IPA with Toasted Coconut, ABV 7.5%

Malty. Hoppy. Smooth. This black IPA is true to style with inviting notes of toasted coconut to give this brew full body. Hoppy Colada is brewed like a traditional American IPA, but bringS more to the table. Yum! Coconut & hops = PERFECTION!

Almanac Beer Company (San Francisco, CA)

Paris of the West – Quadruple Ale brewed with Flame Raisins, Candi Sugar, and Oranges, ABV 9.5%

San Francisco (AKA) “Paris of the West,” has long been home to a diverse culture of bohemians and a bastion of art, creativity, and progressive thinking. This rich dark quadruple-style ale is sweet, citrusy and warm. Glowing colors of purple and mahogany remind me of watching the sunset eating caramelized plums and sticky toffee pudding.

Gabby Fata (Whole Foods DTLA Beer), Andrea Machuca (The Culinary Underground) & Patricia Barkenhagen (Bootlegger’s Brewery)

Craft Beer Offerings All in all, while attendees can attest to some difficulties (e.g. long lines), this unique event was tamed as best as any wild beast can be. While the circus may be leaving town, the carnival continues, and all wait in anticipation of the annually festive Brew Ho Ho!


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