Saturday, December 31, 2011

On the last day of the year...

I'm sitting in front of a roaring fire, burning a year's worth of receipts, paid bills, and memories.  I'm nursing a snifter of Karl Strauss Russian Imperial Stout.  Outside, fog has socked in my small beach community.  I'm typing my 400th post, pondering what the next year will bring.  Will I be doing this same thing, in this same place, a year from now?  Reflection on the past often opens up the future.  What comes next, I don't know.  For now I will continue to bathe in the glow of burning paper, and bask in the warmth of this rich stout.  I'll talk to you next year.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Be safe this weekend!

New Year's usually means drinking.  A lot of drinking.  Don't do it.  Be safe and smart this weekend.  Enjoy yourself, but use restraint.  A fine craft brew is meant to be savored, not guzzled.  Whatever you do, don't drink & drive!  It's not about getting caught, it's about doing the right thing.  DrinkingAndDriving.Org has a lot of information, statistics, and tools to help you make the right decision when the time comes.  I've said it before and I'll say it again, think when you drink!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Beer 4 Boobs

Like Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Beer 4 Boobs wants to stamp out breast cancer.  So do we!  How can we help?  By drinking beer, of course!  Ballast Point, Stone Brewing Co., Coronado Brewing Co., Brewers Supply Group, and White Labs all donated ingredients for the following beers that will be available for tasters, pints, and growlers today only at Ballast Point in Scripps Ranch, with all proceeds going to Beer 4 Boobs.

bOOb check
7% ABV
18 IBU
Premium English Malts are combined with Galaxy Hops and British Ale Yeast to form the base of this Hibiscus, Honey, Cherry and Lime Ale.  A crystal clear, deep pink hue invites you in with your eyes.  The complex fruity aroma comes from all of the ingredients, not just the Cherry.  Hibiscus adds some bitterness and color, while lime adds some acidity.

Ingrid's 1 in 8
8% ABV
31 IBU
Premium English Malts combined with Cascade Hops and California Ale Yeast are the base of this Strong Amber Ale.  The brew is then spiced with heavy toasted oak chips, cocoa nibs, fresh ginger and sweet orange peel.  A two hour boil helps create a candy sugar flavor.  Think of a beer that a Chocolatier would make.

Beer, boobs, charity... what are you waiting for?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Beer in space?

Click here if you don't see the video.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Now, that's dedication!

I love craft beer, but these people really love craft beer!  Check out some beer themed body art over at CraftBeer.com and ask yourself if you love your beer as much as these people do.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

Beer Me, Sommelier

Here is a great article introducing "Cicerone" into your beer-drinking vocabulary.  If you are not already familiar with the term, this article and the included links are a nice introduction to what I believe will be a great thing for the expanding beer industry.  The writing is fair, but the message is clear: beer deserves the same kind of expertise as wine.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Don't tell me what to taste!

I appreciate that brewers work very hard to bring out certain flavors in their beer.  I'm not discounting that.  However, when I'm told that I should taste hints of honey and clove with an orange peel finish, or oak infused black current with a peppery back note, I get a bit annoyed.  What if I don't taste those things?  Maybe I'm drinking the brew at a temperature a few degrees off of what was intended.  Maybe I'm eating something that masks those flavors.  Maybe I have a cold.  There are any number of reasons that I may not distinguish the flavors that I'm being told I should taste.  Now I feel like I'm missing something because my palate is not mature enough to taste what the brewer intended.  Am I not "good enough" for this beer.  What's wrong with me?  Nothing!  If I taste those things, great.  If not, that's fine as well.  I can enjoy my beverage without being told what to taste and how to taste it.  If I needed a road map to enjoy my beer I would have switched to wine long ago!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Costco Beer

Now I've seen everything.  Costco has their own private label beer under the "Kirkland Signature" name.  I was blown away at the thought of a big box store offering their own beer.  Apparently they contract with Gordon Biersch Brewing Co. for West Coast distribution and Saranac - Matt Brewing Co. for the East Coast.  I have only tried the IPA, which I found to be quite malty for the style, but not too bad.  I will reserve judgement until I have tried the whole line, but still can't hold back a chuckle every time I see one of these beers.  I harken back to memories of that classic black & white "BEER" can of yesteryear.  Do they still make those?  Maybe so, but with a different label.  Perhaps one that reads, "Kirkland Signature".

Monday, December 19, 2011

Free Stella Artois Chalice?

Call 1-800-MY-CHALICE.  If you are able to navigate the phone system you may be able to score a free glass, er, "Chalice".  Even if you don't, it's a fun phone call.  Kudos to Stella for putting this cool time waster together.  Have fun!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Grillin' & Chillin'

It's Sunday!   Relax, grab a beer, and fire up the grill.   Just don't end up like this guy!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Where do you stand?

I posted about the growing beer "black market" here.  There was a very interesting thread on The Bruery's Facebook page (you must be logged in to Facebook to view their page) based on owner Patrick Rue calling out the wrong person for reselling their beer on eBay.  Where do you stand on this topic?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Worst beer of the year

I'm not one for retrospection, and I would be hard pressed to tell you the best beer I had in 2011.  I also would not have hazarded a guess at the worst beer of 2011, had I not just had it a couple of days ago.  With this beer I learned, yet again, that you truly do get what you pay for.  Fresh & Easy, while far from a beer mecca, has a few good selections at decent prices.  They recently added a couple "craft" brands to their lineup that looked interesting, and at $5.99 a 4-pack I figured I couldn't go wrong.  I did.  Very, very wrong.  How could you go wrong with a beer called Gargoyle IPA?  Let's start with the brewer, or should I say brewers.  The label reads "Ballistic Brewing Co.", but in another place states "Brewed and Bottled by Indian Wells Brewing Co. Inyokern, CA."  I read something on the Indian Wells Facebook page that they do contract brewing for private label beers, so maybe that is the case here, who knows.  Who cares.  Speaking of labels, that is what drew me to this beer in the first place.  It had that edgy, craft beer feel to it, emblazoned with a large purple gargoyle staring you down.  A gargoyle on a beer bottle, where have I seen that before?  Further investigation of the label finds the beer touting it's "Big Head" and a serving temperature of 14 degrees.  One of the bottles was actually double labeled, one label covering half of the other.  That's what I call attention to detail!  How, though, did it taste?  I'm not sure how to describe it, but IPA certainly doesn't come immediately to mind.  As I drank it I imagined that this is what a Bud IPA might taste like.  The color was light amber, the "Big Head" was quite small and dissipated quickly, and the aftertaste was an odd combination of bitter, tart, and unfortunate lingering.  A beer like this beckons the question, "Why?"  Why am I drinking this?  Why did I buy this?  Why did they make this?  Each bottle was worse than the last, and I gleefully finish the last of the four as I type this.  That begs one last question.  Why did I drink all four?  I can't honestly answer that, except to liken it to the same reason people can't help but rubberneck and stare at an accident on the freeway.  People are sick.  This beer is sick.  It's my pick for worst beer of the year, and this is the last you will hear of it from me.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

No. 1

Los Angeles landmark, The Roxy, has teamed up with our very own Karl Strauss Brewing Co. to create their own private label beer.  They started pouring "No. 1" on Monday, which will be available indefinitely.  Read more about the venture at The Full Pint.  This brew is sure to become as iconic as the venue it's being served in.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Monday, December 12, 2011

Beer Facts

A full keg holds 1,984 ounces of beer.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Beer Arcade

If you are a gamer and a beer fan, you have to check this out. Now, where do I put it?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

It's the weekend!

What will you choose?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Where, in Colorado, I was!



Where was I this time? The Fort Collins Brewery of, well, Fort Collins, Colorado! I didn't actually make it into the tasting room of this brewery, but opted to eat at the in-house restaurant, Gravity ten twenty, instead. Why "Gravity ten twenty"? Find out here. I really liked the modern design of the brewery, and the food matched the aesthetics of the facility in both look and taste. I felt their beer, which can be found in limited quantities at your local BevMo!, to be middle of the road. I tried samplers of everything they had, but aside from Z Lager, a smoked amber lager, and their Chocolate Stout, there were no real standout brews. Even so, I recommend a visit to this Fort Collins namesake for some cool architecture, a decent pint of beer, and some creative food.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

West Coaster

Most of the better beer establishments in town have free copies of West Coaster magazine for your perusing pleasure while sipping your pint. If you're familiar with the magazine you know that they usually include a nice map of the county pinpointing local breweries, beercentric bars, and restaurants. That map, viewable with several filters such as establishment type and amenities, can be viewed here. Check out the rest of the site as well, as the current issue is available for download. Whether you are at your favorite watering hole or in front of your computer, when it comes to local beer news West Coaster has you covered.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Monday, December 5, 2011

78 years ago today...

Prohibition ended! Think about the appeal of the Repeal as you enjoy your brew today.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Avery IPA garlic mashed potatoes

I got this recipe from Avery's e-newsletter, The Monthly Mash. Enjoy!

"Much thanks to Sean Z. Paxton, The HomeBrew Chef, for this recipe! Please go to www.homebrewchef.com for more of Sean's recipes.

INGREDIENTS:

POTATOES

2 lbs. Potatoes, peeled & cut into chunks
Cold Water
Sea Salt

GARLIC MIXTURE

2 Heads of Garlic
2 T Olive Oil
8 Sprigs of Thyme
Sea Salt and Pepper
1 Cup Unsalted Butter
1 Cup Heavy Cream
2-4 T Avery IPA

DIRECTIONS:
1. Cook mashed potatoes according to your favorite recipe, but hold off on adding too much butter or milk.
2. Preheat oven to 300° F.
3. Take each head of garlic, remove papery skin. With a sharp knife, cut the top 1/5 of the head off, exposing the tops of the garlic cloves. Take a small square piece of foil and place the cut head in the center. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil on top of each head then a sprig of thyme. Season with a touch of salt and pepper; wrap each up and place in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the smell of garlic fills your kitchen. Remove from the oven, open each pouch and let cool for 5 minutes. Squeeze insides into a bowl and mash with a fork.
4. In a medium pan, add butter, cream and 2 sprigs of thyme and turn heat to medium. Bring the mixture to a boil, turning down to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the sprigs and add garlic paste and simmer another 3 minutes, using a whisk to stir and breakup the garlic. Season with salt and pepper and add Avery IPA.
5. Add 1 cup of the garlic cream to the mashed potatoes and fold in. Taste and see if you need more flavor, depending on your garlic and hop need!"

Friday, December 2, 2011

Monkey Paw Pub & Brewery

What do you know about Monkey Paw Pub & Brewery? To be honest, other than liking them on Facebook and driving by their downtown operation a couple of times, I know nothing about them. That may change next Friday, as I would like to know how their brew is. The following is taken from a Facebook post today.

"Next Friday, December 9th! Monkey Paw releases our first four beers into the wild!

Sweet Georgia Brown is a 5.8%, medium bodied brown ale, lots of roast, chocolate, bread, and earthy notes that will make you happy. A great, brown with a ton of flavor.

Pineapple X-Press is our XPA with a big tropical, citrusy nose! Light bodied and easy to drink, full of hop flavor and and a balanced bitterness that will let you drink this beer all day long. And at 5.4% ABV, you probably could.

Mighty Joe Young American Stout! Aggressive, roasty, bitter, with a great hop presence. Finishes with bitter coffee, roasted malt, assertive hops, and even some malt to hold it together. 5.9% ABV.

Santa’s Pet Monkey is a 9% Chocolate Imperial Porter that we let sit on cacao nibs, added some real vanilla bean, and brewed to be a smooth, malty, choco-good time. Let your winter be warmed with our special beer just for the holiday!

Come celebrate!"

Let's go see what these guys are all about!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Mmmhop???

This is something you have to see to believe. See and taste, actually. If you are familiar with the band of brothers that go by the name "Hanson" (remember 1997's "Mmmbop"?), check out their latest venture here. Wow.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Ridiculous, useless, & probably untrue beer facts #5

According to The Code of Hammurabi of ancient Babylonia (c. 1750 B.C.) a merchant could be put to death for diluting beer.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How much is too much for a pint?

Prices of everything are going up, food and drink included. From the hops crisis of a few years back to the general increase in cost of ingredients, equipment, and labor, beer prices have been increasing as well. How much, though, is reasonable to charge for a pint of beer? There are still places in cities such as Las Vegas where a pint (yes, pint) can be had for under $2. On the other hand, I have seen pint (yes, pint) prices here in San Diego broach the $10 mark! Specialty beers surely cost more to make, thus the final cost will be more, but when does the dollar amount make the beer cost prohibitive? Personally, I don't like to pay even $5 for a pint, and try to find specials or happy hours that feature brews as low as $3.50. I'll pay more, especially for limited releases, but I wonder how many establishments raise the prices as demand rises instead of keeping them fair to us, the beer drinking public, all the time. Even if they have to keep their prices a bit higher during regular times, at least give a decent discount during happy hours or late night time frames. And please, don't advertise $5 pints, whatever time of day, and expect us to thank you for it! Will prices drop? Not likely. Do I want the quality to go down? Not at all. All I ask is a fair price for the product. How do we accomplish this? We all have to keep restaurants and bars in check and let them know that we expect them to keep their prices reasonable. If you know of a place doing just that, let us all know. Spread the word about your favorite places so that we may all enjoy them. When the demand becomes clear, others will follow. Supply and demand works both ways. Demand fair prices and the supply will be there.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

A beer for every occasion

One of my favorite things about beer is its versatility. You truly can find a beer to pair with any meal. Tables are about to be loaded with one of the biggest meals of the year, but what beer (or beers) will pair with your turkey feast? Dr. Bill Sysak of Stone Brewing Co. has put together a nice guide that can be found here. You now have no excuse for not having the perfect beer for this, or any other, perfect meal.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Saturday, November 19, 2011

WWWD?

What Would Washington Drink? This is a fun little article exploring just that. The recipe it references looks like it would be fun to try. I like the simple terms and items the recipe at the bottom of the article uses. This is a recipe anyone could try, and a good introduction to home brewing. What would Washington drink? Grab some supplies, try the recipe, and find out!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Sour beers becoming mainstream?

There is no doubt about it, sour beers are an acquired taste. I have tried to open the eyes of many to the wonders of a fine sour, but have made very little headway. In fact, I fear that each sour I try to introduce to the uninitiated may in fact be pushing them further away from giving the style the chance it deserves. Maybe it is my presentation, who knows. The style is, however, making its way into the mainstream, sort of. The Food Network show, Chopped, gives chefs a mystery basket of ingredients that must be incorporated into a serving of food. The ingredients are usually very unique, and would not normally be put together. In a recent episode, "Sour Beer", as the generic label read, made an appearance. Is it the growing popularity of the brew that catapulted it onto the show, or the fact that is it a "weird" ingredient? I don't know, but I was happy to see this fantastic style of beer represented in any way on a popular cooking show. Who knows, this may be the start of great things to come for this sleeping giant of a beer.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

What has bacon, peanut butter, and 111 taps?

Slater's 50/50 San Diego, and it's now open! I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of this Orange County institution since I posted this last month. Check out this great piece, along with a mouth-watering video, on Thrillist. After watching that video there is nothing left to do but get in the car and drive to Liberty Station. Just try to beat me there!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

El Cajon Brewing Co. grand opening

With the soft opening almost a month ago to the day, El Cajon Brewing Co. celebrates its grand opening today at 4:00pm. The following is their Facebook post from earlier today.

"Today is the BIG DAY!!! GRAND OPENING! GRAND OPENING! We start at 4 PM with free appetizers like, Buffalo Wings, Jalapeno Poppers and a few other delights.......then we have our special release Bourbon Barrel aged Honey Nut Brown Ale that is really really good.....festivities start at 4 PM !!!!"

Go show your support for this fledgling brewery by drinking their awesome beer and eating their free appetizers!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

American Beer Blogger

Here is yet another attempt at a craft beer themed TV show. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for it, but these shows never seem to last (remember Brew Masters with Dogfish Head's Sam Calagione on Discovery?). It seems that funding for the show is not even secured yet, and we are being invited to help. The promo looks good, and it may be a worthwhile investment if it gets off the ground. I wonder if anyone would pay me to travel the country drinking beer? Stay tuned!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Sunday, November 13, 2011

What do I like about the world of beer?

This question is way too broad to be answered, period. However, a big reason I am drawn to all things beer is because no matter how much I know about the subject, there will always be more that I don't know. I will never be an expert, rather a student. It would be impossible to know everything there is to know about this frothy subject. That's the beauty. Learning from one another. I learn something new every day. I would, in turn, like to think that I am able to pass on a nugget of knowledge to someone else each day as well. I will never be done learning, so I must always proceed forward in my beer exploration. I encourage you to do the same. Learning from each other about one of the most wonderful substances on earth. What a wonderful concept.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Friday, November 11, 2011

11.11.11

I am always excited about a new release from Stone Brewing Co., particularly when it is another edition to the Vertical Epic series. While I find this year’s release to be an acquired taste, in terms of depth and complexity it doesn’t disappoint. The beer poured a deep reddish amber, with a fairly dense one to two finger head. Although the head was thick, it dissipated fairly quickly. The nose of the brew was very malty at first, and the base of the beer, with it’s 9.4% alcohol content, reminded me of an Imperial Amber. The twist to this year’s tale is the addition of Anaheim chilies and cinnamon. The cinnamon blended seamlessly with the chilies which were quite predominant, although no heat was present. The chili flavor, while nice, made the beer extremely rich. Had heat accompanied the flavor, this beer would have been very difficult to get through. As I got acclimatized to the chili flavor, the nose took on the aroma of chilies as well, bringing the beer full circle. I have had several chili beers which were much more assertive than this one, so I must respect the balance shown in the brewing of this unique beer. A thirst quencher it may not be, but for an intriguing journey into some flavors not usually associated with beer, I recommend this second to the last installment in the Vertical Epic franchise.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Where, in Colorado, I was!



Where was I this time? I'll give you a few hints. White Rascal. Old Jubilation. The Reverend. Maharaja. The Beast. Do any of these fine brews sound familiar? They come from an awesome Colorado brewery that's one of my personal favorites, and can be found quite readily on store shelves and flowing from taps all around San Diego as well. If you haven't guessed it yet, it's Avery Brewing Co. of Boulder, Colorado. If you've spent any time around beer, you are most likely familiar with this brewing giant. When I say "giant" I refer to the beers, not necessarily the brewery. It's situated in the back of a small industrial complex, and driving down the road there is no hint of the thriving brewery that sits just behind a carwash and auto repair shop. As seen here, they have a nice sized barrel-aging room for their more experimental brews, which usually include wild and sour ales. The tasting room has been expanded recently, and now bleeds onto an outside patio area. The atmosphere is fun and loud, but it's laid back enough that you can bring the whole family. If you're already a fan of Avery, or if you're just looking for something different and happen to be in the Boulder area, stop by for a taster, pint, or even a tour. You'll be glad you did.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Where, in Colorado, was I?







I'll let you know tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Who said that?

"Not all chemicals are bad. Without chemicals such as hydrogen and oxygen, for example, there would be no way to make water, a vital ingredient in beer."
- Dave Barry

Sunday, November 6, 2011

World Beer Awards 2011

I'm not familiar with the World Beer Awards, but the following is from their website.

"Welcome to the winners guide to the World Beer Awards 2011, the global awards selecting the very best internationally recognised beer styles from around the world.

Judging is blind with regional style heats held in Europe, the USA and Asia under the careful eye of a regional Chairman.

They select the style winner in each region, which is then tasted against the other regional winners to select the World’ss Best Style.

From these world winners judges can then select the World’s Best Ale, Lager, Stout & Porter and Wheat Beer. The pages of this year’s World Beer Awards guide identify winners by style and by category, we hope you enjoy this year’s findings and the fantastic range of beers they represent.

Enjoy exploring this incredible selection of outstanding beers."

Check out the winners here.

Friday, November 4, 2011

San Diego Beer Week 2011

It's finally here. Let's all cheer. Yay for beer! That was cheesy, I know. Who cares. Let's get out there and have some fun this week. Safe fun, but fun nonetheless. Check here to learn about the growing list of activities for the next 10 days. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Happy International Stout Day!

Yep, another day dedicated to a beer. That doesn't bother me a bit! Today we honor the glorious stout. While not one of my favorite styles (gasp!), when treated to some barrel aging it rises to the top of my list (ahhh!). Go to the official website to celebrate this wonderful brew. However you choose to celebrate, make sure to set some time aside today to enjoy this classic style.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

America's foamiest city

Here is a nice article about "San Diego's Top Brewers", a new book that profiles 18 of the county's most successful breweries and the San Diego beer scene. Check out this post from July for more details. The book makes a great addition to your collection, so pick up a copy and take it to the release party at Mission Brewery this Friday, which you find out about here. The San Diego beer scene is thriving, and it's great to have that energy put into book form for all to enjoy.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Drop the Macros!

We are all used to seeing the standard macro brews on tap at most beer-serving restaurants. This is a scene I would love to see changed, but sadly won't happen anytime soon. However, why in the world would a self-respecting beer bar, let alone a brewery restaurant allow a macro on the tap list at all? This fact is beyond me, yet it happens time and time again. Stand behind craft beer! Don't give in to distributors trying to hock the fizzy yellow stuff. Don't feel pressured to please those who choose to put that kind of rubbish into their bodies. You won't lure them in with macro beer and then convert them to the craft brew scene. I have seen pint after pint of lame lager consumed while sitting right in front of dozens of craft taps. Can the uninitiated be converted? Yes, but only by the conviction of those consuming and serving the product. Offering a large, corporate brew right alongside fine craft concoctions will only validate the fact that the macros deserve to be there. I'm not saying that macro beers should be done away with (or am I?), I'm just asking to keep them out of establishments that are claiming to tout craft beer as supreme. Most chain restaurants and supermarket shelves house plenty of macro products to go around. Those who desire such a beverage have plenty to choose from. Let's just keep them where they belong.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Who said that?

"A fine beer may be judged with only one sip, but it's better to be thoroughly sure."
- Czech proverb

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Put away the pie, pick up a glass!

The sight of a pumpkin brings pie to mind for many, but for some the pumpkin vessel of choice is a glass, rather than a plate. That's right, pumpkin beer is an integral part of the season for some, and this article ranks 8 brews from around the country sure to satisfy the pumpkin craving in us all. The beers in this list mostly center around the eastern part of the country, so I would like to add my pick to the list. Witches Hair Pumpkin Ale by Manzanita Brewing Co. is far and away the best pumpkin ale I have had. The following is a description from their website.

Festive holiday pie spices accent this magical brew.
Warm and wicked pumpkin squash elements.
Taste the 'Fall of Yore' in a pint glass.
Good, friendly malt and hop partnership.
Strong and slightly spooky surreal sensations.
Availability: October - November
ABV: 9.0%
IBU: 44

Whatever pumpkin beer you prefer, or if you are new to the genre, pick one up and enjoy it with our cool, crisp fall weather.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Now, that's a tasting room!

On my many beer travels through Colorado, I have come to the stark realization that they know how to put together a better brewery tasting room than we do here in San Diego! I'm not trying to put down our local breweries, who are finally starting to realize that when it comes to a tasting room bigger truly is better, but Colorado identified this fact long ago and has been reaping the rewards ever since. What rewards? The consumer benefits because they can visit a large, comfortable tasting room complete with tables and chairs (what a concept!) and sample the many offerings of their favorite brewery. I have visited quite a few of these tasting rooms that were packed with people all the time, which correlates to more revenue for the brewery, recognition and demand for their beers, and helps establish them as a true landmark in the community that beckons visitors from near and far.

These pictures were taken at Odell Brewing Co. in Fort Collins, Colorado. They currently only distribute to 10 states, but are quite big in Colorado and are growing fast. I would be surprised if we don't see distribution here before too long as they continue to grow. I believe that their growth is due, in part, to the beautiful facilities that they offer to their guests to enjoy their brews.

Can San Diego, as a brewing community, learn anything from Odell's success? I hope so. Even though we have several nice tasting rooms now throughout the county, I would like to see large tasting rooms become more of the rule, rather than the exception. Our beer here is awesome, so let's make the venues we enjoy them in equally awesome!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Why do beer steins have lids?

Aside from being the coolest guy at the bar, flicking open the lid of your ornate stein as you took a drink of your frothy brew, it is believed that the lid was implemented as a means of keeping diseased flies, possibly spreading the Black Plague, out of your beer. Apparently, if the flies got to the food you could simply not eat, but the beer could not be sacrificed. At least they had their priorities straight!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Who said that?

"I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts, and beer."
- Abraham Lincoln

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Friday, October 21, 2011

My favorite week of the year!

That's right, it's time for San Diego Beer Week 2011! Don't make any other plans for November 4-13, because your calendar will fill up quickly with events all over the county. As usual, all the details can be found on the official website. Don't miss the San Diego Brewers Guild Festival, it always kicks the week off right, and this year's festivities won't disappoint. What events are you looking forward to most? Please share, because with so much to choose from, it's impossible to hit them all. There's no harm in trying, though!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

El Cajon Brewing Co. lowdown

I finally made it through the doors of the new brewery yesterday and had a lovely lunch. I had the Ultimate Stuffed Burger. I'm not going to give away any details of this monster, I'm going to make you go try it for yourself. I will tell you that the patty is beer battered and deep fried! Enough said. Now on to the beer. They currently have 4 of their own beers on tap, with about 20 guest beers. This number will eventually grow to a total of 40 taps as they put new beers on the line. Their offerings at this point are an American Pale Ale, Belgian Pale Ale, IPA, and a Stout. I felt that the APA and Stout were about on par with others I have had, nothing special. The Belgian Pale Ale is very well balanced, not too hoppy and not overwhelmingly "Belgian". I liked it a lot. I also liked the IPA a lot. It had a nice balance between citrus and pine. I would go back for that beer alone. I look forward to trying more of their beers as they become available. As far as the building itself, it is very nice from the outside and fits in perfectly with the downtown El Cajon theme. The inside is a different story. It is very light and airy, especially for a "brewpub". There are a lot of windows which bring in lots of natural light. That in and of itself is not a bad thing, and I'm sure it has a different feel at night. My main concern is the lack of wall decorations. I saw none. It almost had a cafeteria like feel to it. I will contribute this to the fact that we are still in the middle of the soft opening, and maybe the decorating has not been completed yet. That being my only complaint, I was quite satisfied with the whole experience, and look forward to visiting again soon. Even if you don't find yourself in East County or El Cajon very often (if ever), I recommend a trip out east to visit El Cajon Brewing Co. I think it will be a worthwhile trip, most likely the first of many!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011

El Cajon Brewing Co. is open!

I just found out (thanks Misty!) that today was the official soft opening, with an eye on Friday as the grand opening. Get over there and check it out!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Hungry?

Homemade chocolate chip cookie and bacon ice cream sandwich with a Gordon Biersch Blonde Bock beer.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Thursday, October 13, 2011

What is a Braggot?

I was turned on to this style by a Facebook post from Karl Strauss Brewing Co. I could try to explain it, but I'll let the experts over at BeerAdvocate do it for me. In the spirit of trying something new, or if you are a braggot veteran, seek out one of these unique brews for yourself!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Beer Googles

Online giant Google has teamed up with craft beer behemoth Dogfish Head to create a beer using 100 ingredients from around the world. The beer is called "Urkontinent" and you can read about it here, where there is also a 13 minute video on the venture. I look forward to trying this beer when it is distributed later this year. Until then I guess I'll just have to Google it.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

El Cajon Brewing Co. update #3

In my ongoing effort to keep you abreast of the impending opening of East County's newest brewery restaurant, I give you a quote from Facebook yesterday.

"My brother and I are working 15 to 17 hour days, 7 days a week to get the place done and we have been working very hard for almost two years! And now we are almost done. After so much red tape we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Final inspections are all scheduled this week and then, if we pass, we'll open a few days after that. Ok?"

Could we be looking at an opening date of sometime next week? Only time will tell, let's just hope it's not too much time!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Slater's 50/50

I did a "Where am I?" post back in July that can be found here. I was at Slater's 50/50 in Anaheim. Aside from their great beer selection, the food is awesome! The "50/50" comes from their signature hamburger patty that is 50% ground beef, 50% ground bacon. You can build your own or choose from their crazy burger designs, either way you will leave completely satisfied. Why do I tell you all of this? Because I just found out they are coming to San Diego! Their new location will be inside Liberty Station, and will take it's place beside other San Diego icons such as Corvette Diner, Wine Steals, and the forthcoming Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens. Great food, great beer, and a great location all come together for a dining experience like no other. Whether you wait for the San Diego location to open up later this fall or decide to head up north to one of their other stores, go check out Slater's 50/50!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

How did Pizza Port start out?

Check out this great promo for Pizza Port. It's really just a Bank of America commercial, but they did a really nice job on it. I love Pizza Port, and it's nice to see what can happen if you just follow your dreams.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Where, in Colorado, I was!



Where was I this time? I was at Funkwerks in Fort Collins, Colorado. Funkwerks is located in the old home of The Fort Collins Brewery, on the north end of Fort Collins. Their beers are very unique and seem to focus on Belgian Saisons. The following is from their website.

"There is something about Ardennes region of Belgium. It's not just the land and the microflora? We believe it is the people: individualistic, ideocyncratic, rustic yet refined. They are as difficult to pigeon-hole as the beers they produce: strange, unique, and in a word, funky. Welcome to Funkwerks, ales with character in the spirit of the farmhouse breweries of Wallonia, but uniquely different."

If you like experimental beers that seem to defy categorization and happen to find yourself in Fort Collins, then go check out Funkwerks!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Thursday, October 6, 2011

What's up, Big Beaver?

I was temped to stop into this unassuming brewery, tucked right on the outskirts of Loveland, Colorado, when I stumbled upon it in my travels through the home state of the Great American Beer Festival last week, but alas, it was closed. After reading this snippet from an article about the aforementioned festival in a local newspaper, I'm kind of glad I didn't find it open. A lone brewer who doesn't care about making friends in the industry, or a bitter old codger with a grudge to bear? You be the judge.