Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Brewery Project: Societe

I drove into the industrial park right off Clairemont Mesa Blvd. looking for Societe Brewing Co.  What could have proved to be a daunting task, as there is no visible signage on the outside of the building, was made easier due to the current trend marrying breweries and food trucks.  If you find yourself in an industrial area and see a food truck pulled up to a suite, it's a pretty safe bet you've found a brewery!  The moment I stepped into the tasting room, now in its third month of operation, I knew these guys were on the right path.  The space is large, but not grandiose.  Rustic is the word that came to mind, and I believe that is exactly what they were shooting for in the design of the space.  Yes, I said design.  There was thought put into the tasting room/brewing facility.  Anyone can put a couple of taps on the wall and let people stand in a cold, empty space drinking beer.  This room has character, as do its patrons.  Not only was the room full of happy beer drinkers, the crowd was as diverse as the beers they were consuming.  I have had limited exposure to their beer, so I opted for the IPA flight.  Each one was unique in its own way, yet had a similarity that identified them as coming from the same family.  I like it when I can try a beer I've never had before, but am able to name the brewery nonetheless.  Based on the steady stream of people coming through the door and the quality of the brews, I believe this young company has already secured their place in the thriving San Diego beer community.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Brewers everywhere are rejoicing!

This little snippet about eBay pulling alcohol sales after a 20/20 sting should make a lot of brewers happy.  Several brewers have been quite vocal about their distaste for "black market" beer sales (see my previous posts here and here).  I wonder how many brewers truly share their staunch view?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Second hops harvest of the year

I posted about my first hops harvest of the year here, and thought my second harvest would be much smaller.  I was wrong!  The second harvest yielded almost as much as the first, and the hops looked much better.  I can't wait to brew with these beauties!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Brewery Project: Rock Bottom La Jolla

Being a nationwide chain, I've never really looked at Rock Bottom as being much of a force in the local craft beer scene.  With a couple of locations around town, I decided to visit my favorite one in La Jolla.  I have always found their food and beer solid, but not outstanding.  I went in with a different eye this time, putting my main focus on the quality of the beer.  Right away I noticed several prestigious awards on the wall, and learned that San Diego Brewers Guild president Marty Mendiola was at the helm of the brewing operations.  This was a good start!  I ordered the sampler, which included all of their core beers, a rotating "Dark" beer, and a "Brewmaster's Choice", for which I picked their Rocktoberfest.  Once again I found them all solid, and the Rocktoberfest was quite good, but I wasn't blown away by any of them.  I also ordered another seasonal called Legally Red, which was good, but filling.  I was impressed to see it served in an imperial pint glass, something you don't see too often, especially in a chain restaurant.  I left feeling about the same as I do every visit, satisfied but not awed.  I've had bigger beers from this large franchise which were excellent, but these were absent this visit.  I enjoyed the visit and will be back, but still can't see them as a formidable contender in the world of San Diego craft beer.

Saturday, September 22, 2012


I can't believe, in this day and age, there are still states that outlaw homebrewing.  Alabama and Mississippi are the only states upholding these outdated laws, and this article shows just how serious they are about it.  Can you say, "reform"?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Growler On Board

I don't think this belongs in the front seat, but for the rear of the car it's genius!  Sure, there are other, cheaper solutions, but you've got to applaud the concept.  Check it out!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Brewery Project: Mission

After my visit to Mission Brewery Plaza last week, I felt it only fitting that I visit Mission Brewery this week.  It had been some time since my last visit, so I wondered if anything had changed.  I was pleasantly surprised.  I had been to their massive downtown facility for a couple of events which packed out the space, but on my other visits the place was a ghost town.  It made me wonder if the spot they chose was just too large for the product they produced.  This time, around 5:00pm on a Thursday afternoon, they had a nice group of people filling up the bar.  The staff was friendly and helpful, and made me feel welcome right away.  They offer food now, as well.  Tortas, salads, and small bites are available to snack on while sipping your brew and enjoying the large flat panels above the bar.  I have tried all their core beers before, which I find average.  Where I think they truly shine is their bigger beers.  I enjoyed a pint of Shipwrecked Double IPA, a weighty 9.25% brew that I thoroughly enjoyed.  I also treated myself to a sampler of Dark Seas, their 10.5% Russian Imperial Stout.  I was saddened to find out that Warship, an Imperial Red Ale, would be added to the tap list the following day.  That’s a beer I’d like to try.  After a great visit, and with Warship calling my name, I’m already planning my next visit.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

How about a Stone casket?

Click here if you don't see the video.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Who said that?

"Beer - life's lubricant!"
- Richard Sutherland

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Disappointed in Albertsons

I previously posted about the growing beer selection of Albertsons, and have been impressed with the increasing number of locations dedicating shelf space to craft beer.  The Lakeside store has continually improved their beer section over the past couple of years.  The Coronado store has a nice selection of local craft brews, and recently installed a prominent cooler on an endcap of the liquor department dedicated to fine, craft beer.  They have now followed the lead of the Chula Vista store with a large array of 12 ounce singles, with empty cartons to put together your own six-pack for $8.99.  Progress, it's great to see.  I was extremely disappointed with their "progress" when i attempted to buy a 12 ounce Stone Ruination last night at the Chula Vista store.  I was told that the single bottles were only sold in custom six-packs, and not individually.  If I wanted the beer I would have to complete the six-pack with other selections.  This, to me, is not cool.  If you're going to put singles on the shelf, with no signage indicating that they aren't available for individual sale, then you better be prepared to sell them individually!  I'm not sure why this rule is in effect, but I hope to see it change in the future.  Until then, Albertsons will reside near the bottom of my list of beer destinations.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Brewery Project: Mission Brewery Plaza

Every time I drive past Mission Brewery Plaza I think about the rich brewing history of the San Diego historical landmark.  I posted this back in 2010 as New English Brewing Co. was getting ready to move in, revitalizing the building after years of sitting empty.  Shortly thereafter, 5 Points Brewing Co. cohabited the space, brewing their own beer and contract brewing for others.  New English outgrew the space and moved into a larger location in January of this year.  I decided to pay the brewery a visit to see how things were going since New English moved out.  What I found, sadly, was an abandoned brewery.  Apparently 5 Points slipped away without anyone taking notice.  I could find no mention online about the brewery closing, just a couple of disconnected phone numbers and their old website address, clearly not featuring beer anymore.  It saddens me when a local brewery closes its door, and I always wonder what went wrong.  It saddens me even more to see this wonderful building, with a full production brewery sitting inside, going to waste.  Perhaps another brewery will take over the space and turn it into a thriving San Diego craft beer hotspot.  Perhaps the space has already been procured and will open again soon.  Perhaps it will remain forever vacant.  Whatever the case, the strong brewing heritage of this building will remain, as will memories of times past.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Assault with a deadly tap handle?

This has to be a first.  Then again, maybe not.  Check out this article about an alleged assault with a tap handle at a Madonna concert that landed a woman in the hospital and the assailant in jail.  I suppose if I had to be assaulted with something a tap handle would be as good as anything!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

K&B Wine Cellar... Brewery?

I type my 600th post with excitement for a new San Diego brewery in the works.  The name is familiar, the concept, for them, is new.  K&B Wine Cellar has established itself as one of the county's premier beer destinations, as highlighted in my post from 2010.  Now, according to the following job listing on, it appears that we can expect some house-brewed beer in the near future.

"KnB has become a competitive and unique piece of the San Diego beer community and has acquired a location next door that will house our small production brewery.  It is a blank canvas and we have the license and the capital to turn it into a very special brewing operation- if you have the right tools it is yours to paint a masterpiece with.  If you are an enthusiastic, experienced maniac you will fit right in.  We are a family business and nurture individuality and creativity, and we must find the most motivated, passionate and competent person to run this part of our business.  If you are qualified we would love to have you join us on this adventure and become the face of our new brewery."

I think this is a great move for the company, and one that several local hotspots could benefit from emulating.  This will be another great reason to hit up this Del Cerro landmark, as if I needed another reason.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Abandoned brewery Diamant Brauerei, Germany

I came across this set of photographs from an abandoned brewery in Germany.  These are some great shots, and you can truly feel the history of the building.  It is sad, however, to see a brewery in ruins.  I would love to visit this site someday.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Brewery Project: Breakwater Brewing Co.

When I'm in the coastal North County area and it's time to eat, there's no mystery where I'll end up.  Pizza Port Carlsbad is, and most likely always will be, my go-to spot for pizza and great craft beer.  That being said, I had to venture out of my comfort zone to check out Oceanside's Breakwater Brewing Co.  I don't like to compare one brewery restaurant to another, but I feel the fact that owner Shannon Sager used to be the district manager for Pizza Port gives me some license to do so.  Both places are in North County, are extremely laid back, and feature gourmet pizza & house-brewed craft beer.  As similar as they are, what's missing here is the indescribable vibe of Pizza Port.  Pizza Port, in my opinion, excels in all areas.  The food is great, the beer incredible, and the vibe is always welcoming, energetic, and alive.  I wasn't disappointed with this new spot, it was fine.  Just fine.  The pizza was good, but not better than any other pizza I've had.  The beer was good, but not memorable.  I had the Maverick's Double IPA and Tripel A Downgrade, a Belgian Tripel.  The atmosphere was more like a bar than a restaurant, though there were a few families there.  At the end of the day it was a good experience, but not a great one.  Perhaps I've just been spoiled by Pizza Port, I don't know.  Will I go back?  I guess that depends on whether or not Pizza Port is open at the time.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Presidential Beer: The Recipes

You may recall this post about homebrewing going on in the White House.  Apparently, enough buzz was generated that the homebrew recipes, along with a behind the scenes video, have been released.  Check them out on The White House Blog.  Is this a show of Obama's love for craft beer, or a political move to win the vote of America's craft beer fans?  Either way, I think it's pretty cool.