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


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.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Great American Beer Festival 2011: The Event

This year's Great American Beer Festival didn't disappoint! The hall was filled with fans, brewers, and aficionados from around the country, all coming together to celebrate the wonder of the American beer scene. San Diego didn't disappoint either, taking home scads of awards. A complete list of all awards given can be found here, and I have highlighted the awards that our local boys took home. The Hop Mommy & I poured for Pizza Port San Clemente all day, which was flooded after the Pizza Port chain raked in a host of awards, including Small Brewpub of the Year (Ocean Beach) and Large Brewpub of the Year (Carlsbad). Congratulations to all of the San Diego brewery's who prevailed at the 30th annual event. Already looking forward to next year's festivities? Save the dates of October 11-13, 2012. I'll be there pouring, will you be there sampling?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Home again!

I'm back from Colorado and the Great American Beer Festival. The weather was warm, the festival was great, and I was able to visit several breweries and local beer spots that I have never been to before. I will have upcoming posts covering the main event as well as other stops on my beer trek, so stay tuned.