Behind the Beer List: with Kip + Roder

words + interview by Dana Ball

You know that feeling that rushes through you when you hear your favorite song? The instant happiness that hits you as you sing along to every word? That is the exact feeling I get when tasting my favorite beer or having a conversation with a fellow beer enthusiast. I recently sat down with Kip Snider, Lazy Dog Beverage Director, and Roder Montenegro, Lazy Dog Bar Operations Manager, and talked about their history in beverage and their process for curating the bar program in our restaurants.

Beer has been a staple of the Lazy Dog beverage program since the beginning. We are currently in the process of launching a new beer program; keeping the list fresh and exciting, with offerings that allow our guests to discover the diverse styles and flavors of beer, with an easy–to-navigate progressive beer list. 

Dana: So Kip, how did you get into the beverage game? Start from the beginning

Kip: Back in the 60’s…

Everyone: (Laughs)

Kip: My beverage career started in the late 80s as a server. I always had a passion for drinking (laughs) and that progressed into wanting to be a bartender. In Texas it’s legal to pour as a bartender at the age of 18, that’s when I had my first opportunity to get behind the bar. I spent a few years as a bartender, until I became a bar manager and started stepping into the development of beverages. It was an easy decision for a career, I love being around people and have a passion for beverage.

Dana: I love hearing stories like this, it was meant to be! Roder, let’s hear how you got your start in beverage.

Roder: It’s funny I got into the industry the opposite way, I finished college…

Kip: He’s trying to say he’s smarter than me

Everyone: (Laughs)

Roder: Kip caught the bug early. I didn’t start working in hospitality until after college, I enjoyed it so much that I went to bartending school. I found the process of creating drinks that people enjoy to be fascinating. From a young age I was an introvert, bartending gave me that push I needed to be comfortable around people. Once I got the bartending bug, it became a passion of mine. As I learned more it enhanced my passion and career in beverage.

Dana: So cool! Noted, beware of the bartending bug. Let’s talk favorites…what style of beer comes to mind?

 Kip: I was always a hop head and I love the Belgian beers, the Belgian Tripel is probably one of my favorites. For easy drinking, the German & Czech Pilsener would be a top runner.

Roder: Belgian Tripel is also my favorite, but my style of beer drinking depends on the season. A witbier when it’s hot during the summer, reds to stouts during fall or winter, and Belgian styles all year round.

Dana: Can’t go wrong with a Belgian beer, also my favorite style! Just watch out that ABV can sneak up on you J Kip, you brought up something about being Knighted in Belgium the other day, I am dying to hear that story!?

Roder: You were Knighted in Belgium? (Laughs)

 Kip: The story of Sir-Kip-Alot… I worked work with a Belgian beer group in my past life, during that time I was one of about fourteen people from all over the world nominated by the Knighthood that year to receive this honor for promoting Belgian beer in the United States. I traveled to Belgium during Belgian Beer Week where the ceremony took place in Town Hall. The ceremony starts when the musketeers carry the beer to the cathedral and bless the beer, the Knighthood talks about how each person has achieved the promotion of Belgian beer in their country, we toast and that starts off beer week.

Dana: Wow! You must be proud of this accomplishment.

Kip: I am very proud, there have only been about twelve hundred people who have been knighted, it’s a true honor to be a part of. It was eye opening to see the history, culture and family traditions in Belgium. Drinking beer for breakfast is the way of life, they respect the fact that beer has given their country a way to prosper.

Dana: Amazing, I can’t wait to see the photos. Let’s talk about your process for selecting the beers served at each Lazy Dog location.

Roder: I think the vision has always been that we want to give guests the best product out there. We support local breweries as much as we can, ultimately offering the freshest product and it varies by market. 

Kip: I agree. We look for feedback from the bar teams, our guests, and look at what beer is popular in each restaurant. Beer drinkers of the world have come to understand what they really like and will follow certain breweries no matter what style it is to try their product, because of their loyalty to the brand.

Dana: Tell me about the idea behind the progressive list.

Kip: Just like a wine list, beer drinkers or people interested in beer expect the list to be in categories; a start to finish guide of styles. Starting at the top of the list with the intro section, a House Blonde or Lager. The mid-level drinkers looking for something like a Hefeweizen or Red Ale would move to the middle. The advanced drinkers or those who want to be adventurous might try an IPA, Stout or Belgian beer.

Roder: It’s a cool thing to see the guests make the jump from a light beer to a pale ale, the progressive list lays it out with the next beer in line.

Kip: It’s really a training tool for our teammates and guests, the menu answers all of the questions. We want our guests, who are familiar or unfamiliar with beer, to be able to navigate through the list with ease.

Dana: Definitely makes finding a beer user-friendly! Word on the street there is a new Lazy Dog Nitro Stout comin’ to town, what’s the story there?

Kip: We wanted a House Stout that was similar to Guinness that would layer nicely for beer blends, giving us the best of both worlds. We went to our House beer partner, Golden Road, and asked them if they would be willing to try a nitro stout.  They were on board and provided us with a couple of kegs to test in our Brea restaurant. Our previous House Stout was an American Stout, which was too heavy to layer for blends. The new stout is a classic Irish Stout with a lower ABV, rich and roasty, with a smooth and creamy balanced finish.

Dana: Awesome, I love nitro stouts, can’t wait to try it!

Roder: We are very happy with how the Irish Stout turned out and are excited to revamp the beer program focusing on the progressive list, seasonality, and bringing attention to the great beer on tap and having something for everyone.

 (Visit your local Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar April 14th to try the new Lazy Dog Nitro Stout!)

Dana: As far as beer trends go, what do you guys think is next? 

Kip: We think people will start trending towards Session styles, which maintains their flavor profiles at a lower ABV, so people can have more than one or two per visit. We feel that Ciders will probably be on the decline with craft ciders still in the running. Hoppy brews will remain trending higher than other flavor profiles. Beer cocktails will continue to evolve and is something we plan to take a look at for the future.

Farmers Market: Mouthwatering Winter Citrus


sweet, juicy, easy to peel and almost always seedless

cross between a mandarin and sweet orange

sweeter than many oranges (less acid), making it one of the most popular citrus for snacking

in season: november-january

side note: nicknamed the “christmas orange”  because clementine season is very short and typically peaks around…you guessed it, christmas



perfect balance of sweet and tart

look for a slight pinkish blush rind and medium-sized fruit rather than huge, which can be dry

in season: december-april

side note: these are my absolute favorite of all the citrus and not just because the name is fun to say out loud



tiny, tart and delicious, you can eat these whole – rind, seed, everything

in season: november-march

side note: cutest in the citrus family



mostly grown in texas

sweeter and juicer than other types

in season: october-april

side note: wait until you try our saint ruby cocktail –available at all locations soon….texas friends, you know what i’m talking about



beautiful crimson fruit/juice inside, sweet and tender, great for cocktails

in season: december- april

side note: juice these and add to your fav margarita recipe- so. friggin. good.



cousin to the clementine, small, not as sweet as the clementine and seedy

 in season: october-january

 side note: all though it sounds like i have something against tangerines, i swear i don’t



pale green to yellow when ripe, with sweet white (or, more rarely, pink or red) flesh

tastes like a sweet, mild grapefruit

in season: fall- april



rounder than a true lemon, skin is fragrant and thin

color appears a deep yellow with a slight orange tint when ripe

taste sweeter, less acidic then true lemons

in season: december- may

side note: my mama grows these at home and they are just divine – i eat them straight, great for salads and desserts

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    These ombré hued blood oranges were grown on a private farm in Malibu, California. Photo by Chef Sarah Hendrix

These ombré hued blood oranges were grown on a private farm in Malibu, California. Photo by Chef Sarah Hendrix

On a non citrus-related note: Have you guys heard of Print Guest? This rad photo above is being featured right now- along with a couple of other awesome images. They offer poster prints of images created by Instagrammers who inspire them. So cool, right? Check it out at

words by (self proclaimed citrus enthusiast) R. Simms

Kale + Cranberry (Sauce) Smoothie

words + photos by Sarah Hendrix, La Femme Epicure

With the holiday season well underway, it is important to squeeze in a smoothie here and there to keep yourself feeling balanced. We are surrounded by a plethora of traditional holiday ingredients, some of which are surprisingly delicious when used as nontraditional smoothie ingredients. 

Recently, Williams-Sonoma reached out and asked me to help them celebrate their "Smoothie Week" and so I recruited the help of gal pal and smoothie-maker extraordinaire, Lydia Howerton, of Apples and Onions LA. Together we created this festive take on one of our favorite green smoothies filled with lots of of our favorite superfood, kale! The nontraditional ingredient is one of our holiday favorites, cranberry sauce. It adds just the right amount of sweetness and tang along with tons of antioxidants. The other ingredients are some of the usual suspects including almond milk, banana, and apple.  

Before we share the recipe we wanted to share some of our smoothie insider tips: 

1. Don't be afraid to FREEZE your fruit, especially bananas! Frozen fruit is a smoothie's best friend and frozen bananas provide increased creaminess. 

2. Don't forget to WASH YOUR KALE. Nothing is worse than a gritty smoothie. Also, if you don't have a vitamix blender, be sure to remove the ribs from the kale as they won't break down very well in a regular blender. 

3. Looking for a little more sweetness? We love using Coconut Water interchangeably with almond milk for added hydration and loads of potassium. 

Shop List:

1 Tbsp Cranberry Sauce

1/2 Honeycrisp Apple (or your favorite red apple)

2 cups Kale (use your favorite type)

8 oz Almond Milk (Recipe below to make your own!)

1/2 Banana, frozen

Ice (to taste)



1. Blend all ingredients together in your blender until smooth. 

2. Enjoy immediately. 



No store bought almond milk will ever top the kind you can make in your own kitchen.  I like to make mine thick and creamy so it's perfect for using in my morning coffee or adding to a smoothie. 

You can determine the thickness of the milk by altering the amount of filtered water that you add to the soaked almonds during the blending process. Additionally, you can sweeten the almond milk in a number of ways, my go-to method is with some dates and a drizzle of honey. I also add fresh vanilla bean and a pinch of flake sea salt to round out the flavor. 


Homemade almond milk is best consumed within 3 days so making it in small batches is best. The recipe below makes about 2 cups. 

Shop List: 

1 cup raw almonds

2 cups filtered water

2 large dates

half of 1 vanilla bean

1 tsp honey

pinch of sea salt 



1. Soak almonds for 24-36 hours in water.  Once soaked, drain water. 

2. Add soaked almonds to blender with 2 cups of water and rest of ingredients.

3. Blend until smooth. Using a nut milk bag or cheesecloth, drain well. 

4. Store milk in refrigerator. Shake before using. 

Sarah is a Private Chef // Food Stylist // Culinary Consultant based out of Los Angeles. She is a native Californian with an old soul and a serious knack for all things food, wine, and entertaining. Sarah lives for all things pretty and delicious and has a strong belief in sourcing seasonally and locally. She also posses a strong affinity for rainbow sprinkles and a deep loyalty to chives.

We follow her blog and Instagram for daily inspiration >>>  site: La Femme Epicure + IG: @lafemmeepicure




Bar Recipe // Handcrafted Ginger Beer

Nothing hits the spot like an ice cold glass of ginger beer.  We are happy to announce that we are now serving a housemade ginger beer in all of our restaurants and now thanks to Chef Gabe, you can serve it at home too. 

Make a batch for the fridge and enjoy over ice or use to whip up cocktails at home. 

Moscow Mule anyone?

Seize the weekend y'all.

recipe by Chef Gabe Caliendo // photography + art by R. Simms

Lazy Dog Home Brew Society

I harbor this secret fantasy of moving away from the big city, living off the land, brewing beer and feeding the people I love. This fantasy will become a reality one day- mark my words, but until then, I am thankful to be able to work for a company that shares my enthusiasm for these things. Most recently, Chef Gabe invited a handful of fellow beer enthusiasts from the Lazy Dog team to join him for a home-brew class. Gabe taught the class and supplied all of the materials- nothing fancy or expensive, just a chance to share and learn (and drink) with like-minded colleagues. 

It started with a brief email from Chef Gabe that went like this:

Here’s the plan: You come here, I show you how to brew, we brew, we laugh and talk, we leave, we get back together to bottle and taste, you leave with some bottled beer and lots of good memories. – Chef Gabe”

Epic email. I know.

So I marked the calendar “BEER DAY” with 5 shades of highlighter and braced myself for the best Thursday ever. Fast-forward to the Wednesday before and we are in the middle of a new menu change, and the Marketing Team is swamped, so we can only send one participant to partake. Dana Ball.

Dana, a Lazy Dog veteran server turned Marketing Assistant extraordinaire, is the first person that comes to mind when I think “beer lover” and the obvious choice to send to the front line.  So come Thursday, after promising to bring back beer to share, she was off to the Brea Test Kitchen for a day of beer making.

The following day, we sat down at the office and she filled me in.

Me: Hey Dayday (her nickname in the marketing department), tell me everything.

Dana: Where do I start? I mean being a craft beer advocate, I was super excited when Chef Gabe offered to teach a class on home brewing at the Lazy Dog Brea test kitchen. I was also very happy to learn we were brewing one of my favorite styles of beer being a Belgian Saison.

Me: Rad. So what is it about Belgian Saison that you admire? Do you have a favorite Saison you would recommend?

Dana: I love the complex taste. Light, yet sweet, and kinda funky flavors that a Belgian Saison offers. A few of my favorite Saisons are Ommegang Brewing – Hennepin, The Bruery – Saison Rue, and Epic Brewing - Elder-Brett Saison…

Me: Hold on, adding to my grocery list now….. OK, so tell us how the day went.

Dana: Remember that email Gabe sent? That was pretty much how it all went down. Long story short, beer is made of 4 ingredients; water, malt, yeast and hops. We boiled gallons of water to make a final 5 gallons of beer. We mashed at 153 degrees. Mashing means to combine the grains and water to create a malty liquid called wart. The next steps require a lot of waiting so I’ll skip that. But we picked our own hops from Chef Gabe’s garden, we tasted some craft beers from other breweries and had a great time bonding over and learning about beer.

Me: Sounds like a casual day at the office.

Dana: Dream day.

Me: So how long until you bottle the brew? Does it have a name?

Dana: It took a little over a month for us to bottle it –

We are calling it the Brea Estate Hopped Honey Saison

Me: Is it drinkable right away?

Dana: Yes, it is drinkable right after bottling. I would recommend letting the beer get cold first. 

Me: Cold Beer. Check. Speaking of cold, what is the coolest thing you learned about beer making?

Dana: [insert courtesy laugh] ….just learning the whole process was the coolest part. With only a few ingredients in beer, it's amazing how many different flavors and types of beer there are out there. It’s really awesome. 

Me: Do you have any advice for someone who wants to try this at home?

Dana: Patience and the right equipment. Chef Gabe recommended this store called Addison Homebrew Provisions, where you can purchase everything you need and find recipes. They also offer classes to learn about the brewing process. 

Me: Sweet. Looking forward to tasting the fruits of your labor.

 >>> Fast forward a little over a month to the bottling day.

Me: Dana…it's judgment day… do you have any final tasting notes for me? What did you think of the Siason you made? How would you describe it?

Dana: The saison is soooo good! It was golden in color, a hint of spices and sweetness, with a smooth finish. Delicious! I vote to make it a seasonal Lazy Dog beer. :)


Chef Gabe’s Process Notes:

1.    Place milled grains in group #1 into a mash ton + add 3 gallons of 155 degree water- stir + cover –  allow to mash for 60 minutes

2.   Open lid + add second pitch of malt + sparge with 2 gallons of 170 degree water- allow water to slowly filter through the grains + continue to sparge with 170 degree water until you have a yield of 8 gallons of wort

3.    Place the 8 gallons of wort over medium- high heat + bring to boil

4.    Once boiling –reduce heat + add the first batch of bittering hops- simmer for 45 minutes

5.    Add second round of bittering hops + whirlfoc tablet – set timer for 10 minutes

6.    Add the spices and the estate grown hops – set timer for 5 minutes

7.    Turn off heat and immediately chill down to 70 degrees

8.    During cooling lift the hop bag out of the liquid to allow for draining

9.    Once 70 degrees - take hydrometer reading + log into recipe

10.  Using sanitized transfer tubing, move the wort from the pot to the fermentation carboy + slowly add the yeast to the carboy + put the airlock in place

11.  Aggressively shake the beer and yeast inside of the carboy to aerate

12.  Ferment at 68-70 degrees for 2 weeks + then at 74-46 degrees for two more weeks

13.  Using sanitized thief, pull sample and check hydrometer reading – if it falls within the style guidelines, it is time to filter- if not, allow to ferment longer + check every 4 days until desired reading is attained

a.    Click here to see the Brewers Association Beer Style Guide

14.   Using sanitized transfer tubing, move the beer from the carboy to the keg + seal with the correct amount of Co2 pressure based on the style you desire

15.    Enjoy!

Stay Tuned for Updates! We entered the OC County Fair Homebrew contest!

[Fingers crossed ya’ll] 

Until then, stay thirty my friends.

Published by Rebecca Simms