Check out Orange County’s newest home brewing staple, Windsor Homebrew Supply Co.

 Let’s talk about Orange County’s newest home brew shop, located in beautiful Costa Mesa, off of Baker and Randolph, Windsor Homebrew Supply Co. First of all, Scott is the man, Me being a newb and all to the vast world of home brewing, my insecurities based on my lack of experience, gave me some reservations about walking into his beautiful new shop, but Scott with his cool-as-a-cucumber bed side manner is a very mellow dude, and answered all of my questions in a very approachable way.  

 The vast amount of equipment from the small space alone is very impressive as well as inviting. Everything from 15 gallon fermenters to an array of glass bottles, numerous varieties of all-grain malts, extracts, hops, beer kits, wine kits, even multitudes of spare parts for the advanced home brewer. Needless to say I wish Scott all the best and will definitely be returning in the near future for all of my brewing needs, along with a barrage of rookie brewing questions. As an added bonus, he is conveniently located across the street from my recently most favorite place to get a crafty pint- Barley Forge Brewery! These two places are sure to get the ever growing OC craft beer scene a run for its money. The two businesses even have a great deal during the month of June where if you show your receipt of $20 or more Barley will take a buck fifty off your first pint! You can’t beat that…So I urge all of you local home brewers or home brew wannabes like myself, to stop by this great spot.

I should also mention while I was there I picked up a case of bottles, and a capper, for my soon to be bottled batch of Punk Ipa. Using an awesome one gallon kit from Brooklyn Brew Shop my first experience so far has been a thrill. Scott mentioned that they can convert any large kit into a one gallon batch however for those of us that don’t have the extra space. Definitely a game changer, at least in my amateur-hour home brewing endeavours. Go check it out then fill up a growler at Barley Forge. Until next time, cheers!


Spring updates

First of all, I want to wish everyone a happy Memorial Day! And a sincere thank you to any followers of this blog  who have served our Country! 

I know it has been a long time since you’ve gotten an email from me about a new update on here, six months to be exact. Let me tell you, it’s been quite a busy, yet eventful few months for me, maybe some of you can relate. Having a lot on my plate, I found it very easy to put off writing and blogging, even though I truly do enjoy it when I can find the time. So what have I been up to? Starting the new year, back in January, I attended a conference for university chefs, put on by NACUFS, up in gorgeous Santa Barbara. Learning tricks of the trade from local chefs, and industry professionals throughout the west coast. Instantly I fell in love with SB, having never been there before.  To my surprise, that town is full of great local breweries, my favorites were Figueroa Mountain, and Telegraph Breweries. Along with great food pretty much everywhere, as well as amazing farmers markets nearly everyday of the week, it was hard saying goodbye. Also since it was my birthday, I decided to take a road trip up the central coast, and make a few great stops along the way, I highly recommend Firestone Walker brewery up in Paso Robles, as well as the hidden gem Bacon and Brine in Solvang, if you get a chance! 

Delicious finger limes from a Santa Barbara farmers market    Ramen! 

Breaking down cuts of pork.

Not a bad view from UCSB campus


Chocolate, caramel, citrus, and bacon bread pudding! From Bacon and Brine, in Solvang.

This semester, aside from my day job of lead chef for production in the cafeteria, and our ever growing catering and events, I picked up a couple of classes as chef instructor for our culinary program. For the first time one of these included being responsible for the lecture, which in turn meant being responsible for all of the grading, assignments, and homework, all of which has been a great, yet humbling task, to say the least! I still felt the desire to make time for teaching several community education classes as well. This semester we offered several classes, including the popular knife skills class, as well as old favorites like cooking with herbs and spices, and cooking with craft beer! I also included a new addition to the lineup, ” we can quick pickle that” which yes it is a play from an episode of Portlandia. As far as I can tell, it was a success, and the students had a great time, my assistant even mad hats!  

A few end- products from the knife skills class! Not bad for beginners…

  Below: Dukka, an Egyptian blend of toasted nuts, seeds, and spices great for grilled meats. Pistachios, hazelnuts, coriander, and sesame make for a great combination.


Flank steak with chimmichuri and Caprese salad   

  Spiced nuts, balsamic strawberries, savory caramel, over ice cream
The cooking with craft beer class featured several local breweries, including two of my favorites, Barley Forge in Costa Mesa, and Four Sons, located in Huntington Beach.


  Making stout chocolate peanut butter cups!

  Hand pressing fresh tortillas made with beer


Beer battered avocado tacos!

Recipes courtesy of The Beeroness, check out her amazing blog and website!

The Beeroness


Being offered for the first time, we can quick pickle that, showcased several recipes utilizing basic methods of quick pickling using vinegar based brines, and short cooking times.


Pickled asparagus, like a boss!

Mexican style escabeche  bread and butter pickles     Homemade Sriracha! (Recipe in link below!)

Just a heads up, I will be offering several classes this summer, for anyone who wants to learn more about the basics of cooking, as well as a fun day out! 

Also I had to make a couple of changes to the schedule, which are NOT mentioned in the community education booklet that was mailed out, so here are the changes followed by a link to the online brochure.

June 20: Cooking with herbs and spices 

June 27: Basic knife skills

July 25: We can quick pickle that

August 8: Re-discovering Ancient Grains

OCC community education Culinary Classes
Here are some other links you may enjoy! Until next time!

Barley Forge Brewing Co.
Four Sons Brewing
Homemade Sriracha
Bacon and Brine


Unless you’ve been living in a cave, or you’re not into beer, or if you are into beer, it’s the yellow fizzy mass produced stuff, God forbid…then you are probably aware of the rise in popularity of craft beer. What is craft beer? Basically it’s real beer, made by real people, with a real story, with real, quality ingredients…beer with a soul some might say.

California craft beers
The line up for this class included beers from Bottle Logic, Golden Road, Cismontane, Saint Archer, and Stone Breweries.
I’ll include a link to each brewery throughout this post. I highly recommend checking them out, especially if you’re in Southern California.
A few notes about pairing food with beer
Start with lighter beers, hefenweizen and wit beers make for great companions with lighter fare such as salads and fish. Gradually build up stronger flavored foods with stronger beers, lagers, ambers, pale ales, and IPAs go great with heartier meats, fried and spicy foods…ccheck out for more info on pairing suggestions.

Candied bacon wrapped brats!
Made and paired with Golden Road Brewery’s 329 Days of of Sun Lager.

Smoky beer cheese fondue with warm pretzels
We also made and paired these with 329 Days of Sun Lager.
The lager cuts right through the fattiness of the brats and the cheesy fondue
If you’re a fan of Bud, Miller, or Coors, I recommend checking this great beer out as an alternative.
Check out the brewery here!
Pale ales and IPAs go hand in hand with rich and spicy foods. The bitter and hoppy notes will cut right through the spice and richness, and when the two worlds combine, you’ll wonder how you ever lived this long without being part of such a wonder ours combination…

Pasta with spicy beer-tomato sauce
We paired this dish with Holy Jim Falls XPA from
A smooth easy drinking California pale ale. Cismontane is located in Rancho Santa Margarita CA, a great local OC brewery, which names most of their brews after famous local landmarks.

Fried Chicken Sliders with pickled Peaches
This recipe is from the amazing Beeroness blog.
I highly recommend checking this humorous blog out for some amazing insight and recipes with craft beer.
The chicken, brined with buttermilk and beer, Saint Archer IPA in this case, was extremely crunchy and full of flavor. The pickled peaches were on another level, simple and delicious. is a relatively new brewery based out of San Diego, with a great line up of craft beers. Comprised of fourteen owners hailing from the surfing, skating, and entertainment world, it’s definitely a brewery worth checking out.

Chocolate Stout Brownies paired with Stone Milk Stout Ice Cream Floats
Chocolate and stout are best friends, soul mates, kindred spirits, and lovers. When a stout or porter style beer is made, the barley malt is roasted, similar to coffee, and naturally the result is a strong chocolate or coffee like aroma and flavor. One misconception with most stouts is that it’s a heavy, filling beer, in fact most stouts are actually lighter and have less calories than most beers. A 12oz bottle of Guinness for example, only has about 120 calories, where as a bottle of IPA may have around 200 calories.
For this dessert I used Stone’s new milk stout, which is a light, refreshing stout, not too sweet or hoppy, which Stone is know for, whether it’s their Arrogant Bastard ale, or one of their latest collaborations. If you have a free day, go out to Escondido to the Stone bistro and gardens it’s a beautiful venue, full of amazing food and craft beers.
Until next time, cheers!
-Chef Bryce Benes

Drink your craft beer, and eat it too!