Tuesday, January 31, 2012

It finally happened

I paid $10 for a pint!  Actually, it wasn't a pint, it was an 8 ounce pour of St. Bernardus Abt 12 in a matching chalice.  The beer was awesome, taking me back to a time when all beer was new and each sip an adventure.  I am still on that adventure, but a bit more seasoned now, and perhaps a bit cynical.  I digress.  My rant has turned in to a walk down memory lane, which is not the direction I am traveling in at the moment.  As I was saying, the beer was awesome.  The price was less awesome.  You may recall my rant here, where I mentioned that a pint of beer in San Diego was nearing the $10 mark.  Imagine my surprise when I got my bill at Slater's 50/50 and saw $10 next to the St. Bernardus entry!  Mind you, this beer retails for around $5 for an 11 ounce bottle, and I had just paid $10 for an 8 ounce pour!  Did I mention that I paid $10?  I know there will be a mark-up when a beer is served in a restaurant or bar, especially when it is on tap, but that's quite a mark-up.  I paid $7 a while back at Hamiltons for a decent pour of The Bruery's Coton, a much more expensive beer.  How did Abt 12 ring up at $10?  How did I miss this hefty price tag when I ordered?  Perhaps the prices aren't listed on Slater's extensive beer menu.  I would like to say that they are not and then proceed to complain about it, but I honestly didn't look at the menu with an eye to price, just palate.  Was I so blinded by the killer selection that I completely missed the high dollar figure next to each beer on the list?  That debate won't be concluded until my next visit to Slater's.  I will let you know what I find.  Slater's 50/50 is awesome.  The manager personally visited our table a couple of times, and even gave us a coupon for a free dessert on out next visit.  Their food is superb.  Their beer list, 111 strong, speaks for itself.  However, the beer prices deserve a second look.  Now that I've gotten that off my chest, I feel much better.  I've also made myself hungry and thirsty!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Frosted Glassware Is Not Cool

This is a nice article about proper beer storage and serving temperatures.  Be sure to download the cheat sheet and take it to your favorite offending establishment.  Let's educate bars and restaurants about the do's and don'ts of craft beer.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Wet Reckless?

I recently heard this term, but was unaware of its meaning.  A Wet Reckless is a plea used to reduce the charge of drunk driving when the amount of blood alcohol was borderline illegal, there was no accident, and there is no prior record for the driver of the motor vehicle.  The result of this plea is a lesser fine, no minimum jail time, and no record of a drunk driving conviction.  I had no idea this plea existed.  While interesting, I'm sure you will never need to use this plea because you're smart enough to not drink and drive in the first place!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Barrels o' fun!

Homebrewers, have you tried barrel aging your beer yet?  I haven't, but have been wanting to.  This may be the time to start.  The following is a Facebook post from Port Brewing / The Lost abbey.

"Want a used Bourbon barrel?  We have 30.  $25 each, you pick it up.  But you need to contact Ruby in Cust Svc. quick!  http://ht.ly/8HSyz"

I don't know if they have any left, but it seems like a good deal to me.  Get on it!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Beer, wine, and rot

Dogfish Head has always been synonymous with experimental beers, and Noble Rot will be no exception.  Read all about the new beer here, and be sure to watch the short video as well.  Touted as "the most ambitious hybrid of beer and wine in thousands of years", I can't wait to get my hands on it.  Could this be the brew to finally unite beer and wine drinkers once and for all?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Fox 5 San Diego ran this piece yesterday on Starbucks adding beer and wine to their menu.  It features Karl Strauss's Paul Segura theorizing on the placement of local craft beer on the mega-chain's regular lineup.  The addition of the libations is meant to boost evening traffic and diversify their offerings.  The alcoholic addition is currently scheduled for 6 San Diego locations by the end of the year.  I'm all for it, but the reaction of locals has been mixed.  Should Starbucks stick to coffee, or does this seem like a natural progression for the beverage giant?  Only time will tell.

Monday, January 23, 2012

A good happy hour

I complained here about the price of a pint around San Diego, and said that I like to find beer specials for around $3.50.  I found one for just that.  I have been to both Village Pizzeria locations in Coronado a number of times, but until this past Friday didn't realize how good their happy hour is.  Monday through Friday, from 3:00-6:00pm, every pint of beer is just $3.50.  Don't let the Budweiser and Coors Light logos on their website turn you away, they have a nice selection of local crafts to choose from.  I snapped this picture of the beer board at the "Bayside" location.  I wish I had taken a better shot, but didn't look at it until I got home.  I had an Oceanside Ale Works American Strong Ale (9.2%) which was awesome, and a Karl Strauss Two Tortugas (11.1%) which was served in a tulip glass and equally awesome.  To get beers of this caliber at that price, to me, was stellar.  Whether you get there by bridge or by ferry, make the trip to Village Pizzeria for some great beer and fantastic food!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Rough Draft Brewing Co.

I'm always keeping an eye out for new breweries coming to town and was just alerted to Rough Draft Brewing Co.  I know nothing about the brewery other than the fact that they are located in the Miramar/Mira Mesa area and are planning to open next month.  Their website looks good, but has no information on it other than their address and phone number.  Their Facebook page is also very cryptic, but does have pictures of their growlers.  I will keep you posted as I lean more about this new addition to the San Diego beer scene, and look forward to its opening.  For me, when it comes to breweries, the more the merrier!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Where, in Colorado, I was!

Where was I this time?  The Mayor of Old Town in Fort Collins, Colorado.  Whenever I hear of a place with 100 or more taps, it goes on my short list of places to visit.  I was very impressed with The Mayor of Old Town, and apparently so was DRAFT Magazine, as it was on their list of America's 100 best beer bars: 2012.

"Fort Collins is famous for its homegrown crafts; now, The Mayor of Old Town ups the "beercentricity" with 100 globe-spanning taps, about 30 of which favor northern Colorado's best.  The selection rotates pretty rapidly, but fear not: Every time a new brew's put on tap, the list automatically updates (presto!) on three enormous HD projection screens above the bar, and on the bar's Twitter feed and Facebook page."

The atmosphere is casual, with Farkle score pads and the bar's own branded dice (one of which may have hitched a ride home with me) at each table.  I particularly liked the staff's knowledge of the beers, considering how extensive the selection was.  You can order a flight based on style, which was another thing I really liked.  I got a taster set of IIPA's, and wasn't disappointed by any of them.  Fort Collins is one of the most beercentric cities in the country and has many beer bars to choose from, but for a truly great beer in a laid back setting, be sure to check out The Mayor of Old Town.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Beer Poetry

Dave the Speck - Angie Thomas-Swader

In a world so often grey
lived a tiny speck named Dave.
This tiny Dave was a speck no less,
a particle, in the grey.
For this speck named Dave was a super guy,
a real wise crack and slick.
He could make some bread and brew a beer
and was loyal as a tick.
But the problem with being a speck
is you're often overlooked
By every Tom, Dick and Harry
and every other jerk.
So Dave got no recognition
for his societal contributions.
Yet without him there would never be
flavorful libations.
You see young Dave was yeast
a smallish sort of beast, but
without him there wouldn't be
bread or beer or pastry.
So the story goes,
in a town so grey and dreary
to never dis Dave the speck
or your bread and beer
will be flat and icky.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Best Craft Beer of 2011

What do you think the best craft beer of 2011 was?  The Full Pint wants to know!  Navigate over to their site and let them know.  If your favorite isn't listed you can write it in.  Be sure to do it before the deadline of January 26th, and let's see who wins.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Craft beer growth can't be stopped

This is a nice piece on craft beer growth just north of San Diego County in the Inland Empire.  One of the quotes in the article mentions that they hope the increase of breweries doesn't reach a "saturation point".  I just can't see that.  For me, the industry offers enough space and variance that having a particular area reach a "saturation point" seems almost impossible.  We'll see.  For now I'm just excited by all of the growth, both here in California and nationwide.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Do your body a favor

Have a beer!  This article lists 10 health benefits of the frothy beverage.  Moderation, however, is the key.  Most of the studies listed seem to use 2 beers per day for men and 1 for women as the general rule of thumb.  It turns out the key to good health has been in your refrigerator all along.  Go get it!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Get schooled!

Want to learn to brew your own beer?  Maybe you are an extract brewer who wants to graduate to all grain brewing?  Want to learn from Yuseff Cherney, head brewer for Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, this post is for you!  UCSD is offering beginner and advanced brewing classes, and you don't even need to be enrolled at the university to take them.  For just $52 you can learn to brew like a pro, and with the classes limited to just 12 people each, you're sure to get the personal attention you need to take full advantage of them.  The beginner class appears to be overbooked, but there is a waiting list you can join.  This is a great opportunity to hone your skills, or begin a new endeavor.  There's always room in the beer community for more brewers, so get out there and get schooled!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Life is too short!

A good friend of mine was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer today.  Needless to say, my thoughts and prayers have been with him all day.  My thoughts also drift to my own mortality.  Years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes, seconds... they all fly by so quickly.  It's so easy to put things off.  It's so easy to make future plans.  Plans that may or may not ever come to fruition.  Why?  Who benefits from "someday", "later", or "another time"?  No one!  I say live!  Live every day!  To quote Harold and Maude:

"A lot of people enjoy being dead.  But they are not dead, really.  They're just backing away from life.  Reach out.  Take a chance.  Get hurt even.  But play as well as you can.  Go team, go!  Give me an L.  Give me an I.  Give me a V.  Give me an E.  L-I-V-E.  LIVE!  Otherwise, you got nothing to talk about in the locker room."

Do you love someone?  Tell them!  Do you want something?  Ask for it!  Do you want to brew beer?  Then brew it!  Don't put it off!  Life each day to the fullest.  If you don't, all you will be left with is regret.  I will be bottling my next beer soon, now named "Stuart's Ale", and I look forward to enjoying one with my friend.  That's exactly what I'm going to do.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Bottle Opener and Cap Catcher

This is a pretty cool gadget.  I probably wouldn't use it all the time, but it could come in handy once in a while.  It's perfect for the beer lover who has everything!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Can't we all just get along?

When it comes to beer, we can and do!  That's the beauty of the industry.  Not only do breweries get along, they work well together, too.  This is a great article about the growing trend of collaboration between brewers.  When several breweries get together to create something special, everybody wins.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Come see me at Manzanita!

I've talked a lot about volunteering for various beer events, and today my volunteering exploits take me to Manzanita Brewing Co.  I will be working in the tasting room a few times a month, pouring and talking about some wonderful beer brewed right in the heart of East County.  If you haven't been to the tasting room yet, stop by for a taster or pint of the best beer Santee has to offer.  If you're a regular there, I'll see you soon!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Visit San Diego!

San Diego has always been known for fun in the sun, but in recent years has risen as a true craft beer mecca.  This has been recognized by The New York Times in their list of The 45 Places to Go in 2012.  In fact, San Diego made it to number 14, just below exotic locales such as Panama (number 1), Tanzania (number 7), and Moscow (number 11).  Way to go!  It's nice to see some nationwide recognition of what beercentric locals have known for years.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Where, in Colorado, I was!

Where was I this time?  Estes Park Brewery of Estes Park, Colorado.  Estes Park is a beautiful mountain town, and the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park.  It's a quaint, rustic town full of little eateries, gift shops, and a brewery that matches all the quaint rusticness of its namesake.  Estes Park is home to The Stanley Hotel, inspiration for Stephen King's The Shining.  The brewery pays homage to this fact with beers such as Redrum Ale and The Shining Pale Ale.  There is a small tasting bar in the rear of the gift shop offering petite pours of their beers for free, which I had a couple of.  A venture upstairs reveals a very casual, family friendly restaurant where pints can be purchased.  I had a fresh hop ale and was pleasantly surprised with how good it was.  I didn't get to spend much time at this brewery, but definitely plan to stop again the next time I'm in Estes Park.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Will Farrell loves Old Milwaukee

Click here if you don't see the video.

Click here if you don't see the video.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Beers Resolution

It's January 3rd, 2012 and most of the resolutions that have been made for the new year have already been broken.  Why not make a "New Beers Resolution" instead?  Vow to expand your beer-drinking horizons this year by trying something new each week.  If you can accomplish this, by the end of the year you will have over 50 new beers in your repertoire.  You may find a new favorite.  You may decide you don't want any of them ever again.  Either way, you'll have taken a journey that will give you a better appreciation of the wonderful world of beer!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Sunday, January 1, 2012

On the first day of the year...

The sun is shining outside.  The smell of bacon permeates the air inside.  Brewing ingredients inhabit my kitchen cabinets.  My mind drifts to ways of combining that heavenly bacon with my next batch of beer.  This year is off to a great start!