Chasing Down the Rhino: Catching Up With REV Brewing’s Alex “Rhino” Rebollo

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I really like jazz.  I bring up jazz because I’ve always loved one thing in particular about it…the way groups shout out their “personnel.” If you are part of a good jazz band (even a bad one)…odds are you’ll be called out by name during a show to acknowledge your contribution to the ensemble. When they do, it’s time for your solo. Everyone gets their shine. But with that comes responsibility…you have to show and prove–you  know, be able to keep your seat. You can’t f— it up. One bad note and it’s a wrap. Craft beer is a bit like jazz. It takes a solid squad to produce great beer. No slouches. Everyone has to play a position…and play it well. You have to do your part; otherwise, things can go to sh-t very quickly. Improvisation is encouraged, but you better nail it. Everyone’s watching and waiting to see what you’ve got.

So for this post, I wanted to give some shine to Alex “Rhino” Rebollo…a guy who has contributed his everything in helping build a true LA beer culture—one we can be proud of. I credit him for being an integral part of sparking this whole pedo. Like in jazz, you gotta give props where props are due. Have you heard of this guy called Rhino? If not, then you’re probably not deep in this beer game. Let me explain.

About 4 years ago, I was trying to bring a craft beer from Tijuana called Insurgente into the LA market. You may be familiar with these guys now after their collaboration with Stone and Chris Banker for “Xocoveza.” But back then, they were one of the few Mexican craft beers really killing it at beer competitions around Mexico…and even getting some attention in San Diego. Man, I was so eager to get them into LA. Only issue, I kept hitting bumps in the road. I was so ready top throw in the towel.

But  I kept hearing the name “Rhino.” Everyone I spoke  to told me I had to meet this guy. I heard he was from East Los (like me), knew his stuff, and had been cool with Greg from Stone from Day 1. He was even around when Greg was trying to slang a brew that would later be known as “Arrogant Bastard” back when LA was not really ready for it. Dude also wrote for the Beers In Paradise guys, was a fixture in brew circles, and would most likely be someone who’d be able to help me–or at least point me in the right direction. Funny, he started to sound like a “Godfather” figure or something. I was told you were not legit unless this guy said you were. Long story short, the Insurgente thing fell through, which sucks, but I gained a good friend nonetheless. Word on the street is he is now part of REV Brewing out of Covina…a new brewery that has been gaining a gang of buzz. I’m really looking forward to checking them out when they open to the public on Friday, December 5– AKA Today. Hope to see you there.

Without further ado…let me introduce you to my friend, Rhino. Salud!
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Beyond Oktoberfest: 12 Top German Brews Picks

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I know…I’m late for an Oktoberfest post, but I still wanted to share with you some great brews you can enjoy during and beyond the season. Ahhh, Oktoberfest. You know how it goes down– 16 days beginning in late September where all your friends try to convince you to roll out to an overcrowded beer festival where most people end up getting too wasted.  Hey, I’m not knocking anyone, as long as they’re responsible enough to have a designated driver to get them back home in one piece.  Because I’m not a big fan of crowds, and surprisingly a lightweight, I tend to stay away from big fests and turn my attention to drinking at home or with a close group of friends.

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Master of Fermentation: An Interview with David Ehreth of Sonoma Brinery

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Sonoma Brinery makes the best pickles we’ve ever bought from a supermarket. We’ve wanted to interview founder and master fermenter Dave Ehreth, a former engineer, for a long time just based on his kosher pickles, but were surprised and thrilled to find out he’s also interested in Mexican and Central American foods. Here we discuss the art of pickling, and his new products which include a curtido and Jalapeños en Escabeche…

Do you remember the first great pickle you ever had?
Yes. My father took me to a restaurant in San Francisco when I was young, Tommy’s Joint. He wanted to show me what a true kosher pickle was like; fermented, no vinegar, completely fresh. He was from New York and knew what a great kosher should be like. From that moment, when I was about 10 years old, I have been in love with real kosher pickles. I mean, really in love with these pickles. I used to drive 40 miles to San Francisco just to get a few of these pickles. Later in life, when I traveled on business to New York, I would round up kosher pickles and bring them home on the plane.

What got you into the pickling business?
After 30 years in the tech business, I decided to launch a second career; I was going to bring this great pickle to the West Coast. I saw the food revolution change our bread from white bread to baguette, iceberg lettuce to arugula. But our pickles were still vinegar and chemical soaked imitations of the real kosher. The true kosher is a harder pickle to make and manage, but just like the white-bread-to-baguett transition, worth every bit of the effort.

What, in your mind, makes a truly great pickle?
Great pickles begin as great cucumbers. A truly great pickle should be fresh, crisp, lightly acidic, mildly salty and have all the character of the cucumber it was made from. When you eat a great pickle, it should feel light on the pallet and should not leave you feeling like you just drank a cup of battery acid.

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Brews with the Brewjos: Talking Home Brew and Tacos with Brewjeria Co.

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I’ve been covering beer for a few years through my beer page and Instagram account, @inthesuds, and now I’ve been asked by the fine folks at L.A. TACO to bring some beer coverage to their street art and street food mix. I’m calling my new beer column here “Carbonacion,” and I hope you enjoy reading it! Thanks to L.A. Taco for having me…

It has been both a pleasure and a challenge navigating through all the new breweries sprouting up with all over LA. Some are better than others, but at the heart of every beer is home brewing. Everyone has to crawl before they can walk, right?

This is particularly true with making the leap from home brewing to commercial. If you’re a nerd like me, you can appreciate when guys and ladies get resourceful and put together their own brew kit. Investigating the L.A. scene, I wanted to see if there were some home brewers making noise who were on the verge of making that leap from their backyard shed to a brick and mortar location. The name Brewjeria came up in several conversations…

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Bang for your Burger Buck: Dog Haus Biergarten ~ Pasadena, CA

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Hi, my name is Freiburger, I’m a triple topping monstrosity made by men who worship hot dogs and sausages as much as burgers. I live in a Dog Haus. You will like me.

A lot can be said of a restaurant when describing the ambiance. At Dog Haus, the extended drum solo of Rush’s Closer to the Heart, playing in the background, is all you need to know. Shiny, ultra skinny flat screens broadcasting all manner of sports? Check. Full Bar? Check. High Caloric Burger Concept menu that you will gladly hit the repeat button for, like your favorite Rush album loaded on your 10 disc trunk mounted cd magazine? Um, Check.

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Photos: The Wild and Delicious Food of the Los Angeles County Fair 2014

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The L.A. County Fair is on now through September 28th. Our events editor Erwin Recinos filed this report on his picks from the proudly over-the-top food you can try this year.

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Newest Craze in Downtown L.A. is Pizza Taco Tuesday

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Instagram sensation @IMHUNGRYTHO has a unique tuesday ritual in DTLA that he wants to invite you to check out. This mad food scientist combines pizza, tacos, and booze into a food lovers orgy of meaty delights in DTLA. When reached for comment, he sent us the above photo of one of his creations and some more information…

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DJ Yella And Lil Eazy ~ Live at Amor Y Tacos ~ Cerritos

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Photos by Andrew Bangs and Carl Larsen

 Amor Y Tacos ~ 13333 South Street Cerritos, CA 90703 ~ 562-860-2667

We love tacos and we love N.W.A. So when we learned that the group’s OG producer DJ Yella and Eazy E’s son, Lil Eazy, were coming together to play at Amor y Tacos in Cerritos, we had to come for what might be the closest thing to an N.W.A. reunion as the world may see. Amor y Tacos comes from Tommy Ortega, a Cerritos-bred chef with a fine dining background and the owner of Ortega 120 in Redondo Beach. We knew good things were afoot when we laid our eyes on a woman making tortillas in the restaurant’s front and a painting of El Chapulin Colorado on the back wall.

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Amor y Tacos’ chef and owner Tommy Ortega (center), with Eazy E 3, Yella and Lil Eazy

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Score Tickets To The 5th Annual LA Street Food Fest ~ June 28 ~ Pasadena

 

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The big one is back. No, not Circus Vargas. But LA Street Food Fest, featuring close to 80 food and dessert vendors from across the city at The Rose Bowl on June 28. You can check out the long list of vendors already planned to be there down below. And if you want tickets, here’s a link giving LA Taco readers a little discount. See you there!

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Most Popular Combo ~ 3 Japanese Men Attempt to Eat at 10 L.A. Burger Chains

OK this is an hour long and I didn’t watch the whole thing, but the first one is hilarious. The gist is these three guys, with limited amounts of English pronunciation, attempt to eat at “all 10″ L.A. burger chains in one day. The first episode finds them at Jack in the Box, where “Falcon” attempts to order the “most popular combo” and hilarity ensues. You really have to admire their sense of adventure as they pilot their Prius around Santa Monica / Venice attempting their challenge.

Bang for your Burger Buck: Burger Hut ~ Glendale, CA

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Once upon a time, the Geto Boys famously coined a phrase “my mind is playing tricks on me”. Sometimes I wonder if they really meant to say that about a good old fashioned Los Angeles heat wave. Delirium, hallucinations, or even taking a lunch at an unassuming strip mall joint cluttered with promises of wifi, boba and burger combos. But sometimes it is good to get out of the heat and in front of something like this:

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