The Day in Gaming, September 24, 2019: Brass: Birmingham

I’m posting about a game every day in September! Here’s a link to yesterday’s post.

Tonight I got to play one of my favorite games, Brass: Birmingham. I’ve previously reviewed it on The Five By, so please click here to hear my thoughts on this heavy Eurogame.

I met my buddy Jake at Congregation Ale House in Pasadena for board games and beers. It was my first time at a Congregation (there are a few locations in different parts of L.A.) and I instantly fell in love with the place. Big game-friendly tables, good beer, and tasty pub food are a combination that I cannot resist.

The church-inspired decor is really cool, giving Congregation a sort of goth feel. The music was generally a mix of old and new rock, and the volume wasn’t obnoxiously loud, which is something I appreciate more with each passing year. It was the perfect setting for board games and beers.

It’d been a while since I played Brass: Birmingham and I forgot how much there is to the game. The basics are easy (take an action, discard a card), but the rules of consuming beer/iron/coal always trip up new and experienced players. Thankfully, Jake knows board games and was able to make sense of what I was trying to explain.

After our game I wanted to play Brass: Lancashire, which is closer to the original Brass game rules (Birmingham being its standalone sequel). Lancashire doesn’t have Birmingham’s funky beer rule, where you’re required to consume beer when selling certain items.

Speaking of consuming beers, Congregation Ale House is an outstanding choice for your next beer-centric outing. I had an excellent Russian River Blind Pig; it was a refreshing, citrusy IPA that reminded me why I still enjoy the occasional beer. It also reminded me that I need to visit Congregation Ale again real soon.

Day 360: Good Cause

Hamilton Family Brewery

Hamilton Family Brewery

It was cold and windy today, but that wasn’t going to stop me from grabbing a beer or two from Hamilton Family Brewery.

Even though I’m not much of a beer drinker anymore and the weather wasn’t conducive to drinking ice cold brews, tonight was all about a good cause: Hamilton was donating all of tonight’s proceeds to the families of the San Bernardino shooting victims.

The brewery was packed, but nobody seemed to mind the wait. I ended up buying a 32 oz. crowler of Midnight Cafe (stout) and a 22 oz. bomber of their excellent Double Mango IPA. I’ll find some time this week to finish my beers.

I can’t imagine what the victims’ families are going through this holiday season, but hopefully the money raised tonight can help out with some basic needs.


Day 281: Oktoberfest

Octoberfest has begun.

Octoberfest has begun.

I met a buddy of mine to watch football, discuss our fantasy football teams, and have a beer tonight. A local brewery brewed its annual Oktoberfest beer last weekend so we celebrated with our mugs filled up with the tasty concoctions. For $9 we each received a beer in a souvenir mug and refills were $4.

We talked about Octoberfests past and laughed at the memories, which were basically the same: learn a few German words while drinking beers with friends and family. For years, I saved my souvenir stein from the Alpine Village Oktoberfest in Torrance. I never drank anything out of it or displayed it or even remembered I had it until I was packing up my stuff during my last move. When I found the stein it brought back some good memories.

It went straight into the trash. There’s nothing that I drink that requires a 64-ounce tankard.

My new Oktoberfest mug is a more reasonable 16 ounces. It may not have as many memories yet, but it will certainly be used more often.

Day 231: Happy Hoppy Hour

Hamilton Family Brewery.

Hamilton Family Brewery.

I’m not much of a beer drinker anymore, but I make an exception whenever it’s fantasy football time.

Tonight I met my buddy who’d invited me into his league, which will be my second league this season. We had excellent craft beers at Hamilton Family Brewery in Rancho Cucamonga.

I’m a huge fan of Hamilton’s Double Mango IPA, but wanted to change things up this time around, so I went with a Gold Rush (nice and easy blonde ale) and a 909 (wheat beer with oranges). Pictured above is my 909 next to my buddy’s Double Mango IPA.

We’re still a few weeks away from the draft, but like the NFL, you have to start with the preseason first.


Day 147: Happy Hours


My buddy Ricardo and I put together an Unofficial Yelp Event tonight and it was a blast. A dozen of us Yelpers enjoyed craft beers at the Hamilton Family Brewery in Rancho Cucamonga, California, and chowed down on some snacks that my wife and I brought: salt-and-vinegar cracklings and chicken empanadas. There were plenty of laughs and good times during our two hours at the brewery; hopefully this is the first of a regular series of events.

Day 92: Friendly Rivalry


I love the friendly rivalry my wife and I have going with our current obsession: Ticket to Ride. She was killing me over the last few days, winning 7 straight, before I won 4 of the next 5 games.

Did I gloat? Of course! And tonight my choice of beer could not have been more appropriate. The laughs were long and hard, with both of us ready for the next match.

Day 53: World Record

World Record for Largest Beer Tasting.

World Record for Largest Beer Tasting.

One year ago today, my wife and I helped set the Guinness World Record for Largest Beer Tasting. Yelp hosted the event at Santa Anita Park, the historic racetrack in Arcadia, CA. To set the record, 490 people blind tasted three different beers. My wife isn’t much of a beer drinker and didn’t care for two of the beers, but she liked the Shock Top Wheat Chocolate Stout beer. I liked them all, of course.

Alas, fame is fleeting: our record was broken at the end of last year. It’d be great if we could get another crack at the title. Until that happens, we’ll have fun referring to ourselves as former world record holders … and we’ll always have the glassware to prove it (as seen above).

Day 32: Super Bowl Sunday

Sasquatch Double IPA

Sasquatch Double IPA

The Super Bowl is my favorite unofficial American holiday, right up there with opening weekend of the NCAA basketball tournament, and my fantasy football league’s annual draft. The excess, the pageantry, the commercials: I enjoy all things Super Bowl. Yes, its silly, unnecessary, and over-the-top, but it’s fun. As a card-carrying member of the Raider Nation, I haven’t had much to cheer about in over a decade, but no matter who plays in the season’s final game, I know that the entire spectacle will be entertaining. From crazy proposition bets like “Will the national anthem go longer than two minutes and one second?” to the praising/panning of the halftime act, the Super Bowl has a little something for everyone, even the most casual fan.

While I love Super Bowl parties, the last few years I find myself enjoying the big game with an increasingly smaller crowd. It’s nice not having to worry about driving after a few beers, the bathroom being occupied, or if there’s enough food to go around. Tonight, my wife and I watched one of the better Super Bowls, as I scarfed down carne asada fries and a Sasquatch Double IPA from Six Rivers Brewery. We loved the Walter White commercial and I gave myself a geeky high five for having the appropriate glassware for the occasion (picture above, my fellow Breaking Bad fans).

Carne asada fries.

Carne asada fries.

Day 25: Happy Hour


Now this is my idea of a relaxing Sunday evening: a Stone IPA for me and a mojito for the missus. Happy Hour at Paul Martin’s runs every day, including weekends, from 3-8pm. After being cooped up in the house all day, this was a terrific night out.

This is the Fleming’s owner’s other restaurant, so our expectations were high. Thankfully, the experience was top-notch all around. The craft beer choices were solid and the food was tasty. Get the $13 Burger + Fries + Beer special and you’ll be happy any day of the week.