Thursday, November 29, 2012

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Monday, November 26, 2012

Julian Brewing Co. update

Yesterday's post profiling Julian Brewing Co. had some outdated information.  I was contacted by the new head of brewery operations, Mike Gabbard, and informed that Tom Nickel and his wife Lindsey have not been affiliated with the company since June.  That means that my kudos on the great beer I had go to Mike.  Sorry for posting incorrect information.  Thanks for setting me straight, Mike.  I look forward to my next visit!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Brewery Project: Julian Brewing Co.

When I heard that Gina and Vince Marsaglia, owners of Pizza Port and Port/Lost Abbey, had opened a barbecue restaurant in Julian and a subsequent brewery headed by local craft beer guru Tom Nickel, I new this was a spot I had to hit up.  The Bailey Wood Pit Barbecue proves that Gina and Vince know barbecue every bit as well as they know pizza, and the addition of Julian Brewing Co. to the operation proves that Tom is right at home overseeing the brewing side of things.  Now, I am not a huge barbecue fan, but the Burnt Ends Beef Brisket Sandwich was out of this world.  The sides I tried, including beer battered onion rings, french fries, and potato salad were all excellent as well.  I sampled each of their current house beers, which included Drew's Double IPA, Pale Ale, and Smoked Pumpkin Ale.  All of the beers were good, but I was blown away by the Double IPA.  As one of, if not my favorite, types of beer, I've had really good and really bad interpretations of the style.  This particular beer hit the mark!  Its style was obvious, powerful without being cloying, and it had the smooth, dulled finish that I always look for.  If this beer was ever bottled or widely distributed, it would definitely be one of my go-to brews.  That being said, I can't wait for my next trek to the mountains for some more tasty grub and grog!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Wiens Brewing Co.

As promised, the following is from Jacob, my Temecula correspondent.  Nice job, Jacob!

"My wife and I took an anniversary getaway to Temecula wine country and one of our favorite wineries, Wiens, has the best reds in the valley, amazing stuff! If your already rolling your eyes, don't worry stay with me, they recently sent us an email to check out their new brewery that has just opened! We stopped by on a Friday afternoon armed with our curious but inexperienced palates. It was pretty empty inside so at least we didn't have to fight our way to the taps. The employees were very friendly and recommended the eight board taster of all of their beers. It was nice to see a lot of activity in the background, one guy was comparing, smelling, swishing, then he looked up and smiled as if to say yes this job is awesome. We moved thru the tasters from the lighter more forgettable brews, got hit hard with a very good, yet smoky porter, both of us laughed as we almost choked a bit. We recovered with the Red Ale, then we nervously paused just before our last two which were IPA's. Here we wish we had the more seasoned taste buds of the Hop Daddy, but we bravely pressed on knowing he'd be proud. As I pressed my nose deep into the first glass of their Insomnia IPA, I was greeted with amazing scents of grapefruit, citrus, and plenty of hops, inviting me, no daring me to let it flow across my tongue. I bit and was well rewarded, I was surprised that both of us really enjoyed this IPA. It had a nice Brandy like mouth feel finish. We ended our visit with their Descend IPA, a robust dark bitter chocolate taste along with notes of caramel and raisin, it was a welcome assault on the senses. Overall it was a nice shiny new brewery, great people, and quality beer, and that's a formula for success, we hope to be back to try the Braun IPA coming soon!"

Monday, November 19, 2012

Thanks, Jacob & Ellice!

My Temecula correspondent and his wife brought me a growler of Descend Black IPA from the newly opened Wiens Brewing Co.  If you are familiar with the Temecula wine scene you probably know of Wiens Family Cellars.  Once focused solely on winemaking, they have opened a brewery now, as well.  I have yet to try the beer, but am anxious to do so.  I am also anxious to make my own journey to the young brewery, but will post Jacob's review in the meantime.  Until then, I've got a growler to open!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Brewery Project: Karl Strauss La Jolla

This week I found myself at a Karl Strauss Brewing Co. brewery restaurant that I had never been to before, La Jolla.  The exterior is understated, blending in with the surrounding architecture.  Inside you find tall ceilings with lots of windows making for a bright, open, airy space.  The staff, as usual, was friendly and attentive.  The bartender told me they were reaching the end of a cask of Big Barrel Double IPA, so that is what I chose.  I was drooling as the beer was cascading directly after the pour.  This is a rich, filling beer and was the perfect choice for my visit.  I really liked this location and am sorry it took me so long to get to it.  That being said, I've got some lost time to make up for here!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The state of beer in California

This is a fair article, but the following snippet made it a worthwhile read.  I'll make sure to pass this along to all of my Colorado friends.  Colorado makes awesome beer, but I've got to be loyal to my home state!

"California is home to more breweries and produces more craft beer than any other state in the U.S., according to statistics provided by the California Craft Brewers Association, a non-profit trade association.  When the craft industry reemerged in the 1980s, the movement was centered in the state, and now 1 in 5 bottles of craft beer made in the U.S. is brewed in California.  According to the association, “California’s craft brewers have been the drivers of innovation in the beer industry,” because as small and often independently owned businesses, they have the ability to respond quickly to market demands and experiment with new techniques."

Friday, November 16, 2012

Take the helm!

You may remember my visit to Helm's Brewing Co., still in its infancy, last month.  Well, they're all grown up and ready for business.  The grand opening is tomorrow, so let's get out there and show our support for this great new brewery!  Watch the video below for all the details.

Click here if you don't see the video.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

This is Epic!

Vertical Epic, that is.  As we quickly approach the arrival of the final beer in the renowned series, Stone Brewing Co. whet our appetites today with a live tasting of each edition, ending with the forthcoming 12.12.12 release.  Relive the experience below.  If you'd like to have your own tasting experience, check out details of the upcoming Stone Epic Festival here.  I told you this was Epic!

Click here if you don't see the video.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Karl Strauss renovation update

I've been anxiously awaiting the completion of renovations to the Karl Strauss Brewing Co. main brewery in Pacific Beach.  They were hoping to unveil the changes during San Diego Beer Week, but that obviously didn't happen.  The following is from their website.

"When we kicked-off our brewery renovation project earlier this year, we were hoping we’d be open to the public by now.  However, as with most construction projects, we’ve run into a bit of a delay – but don’t worry, it’ll be worth the wait.  Look for the Karl Strauss Main Brewery and Beer Garden to open to the public in early 2013."

I'm sure it will be worth the wait!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Who said that?

"Payday came and with it beer."
- Rudyard Kipling

Monday, November 12, 2012

Oh, so true!

This was floating around Facebook last week when I originally shared it there, but I felt it deserved another posting as San Diego Beer Week officially ended yesterday.  Happy San Diego Beer Year!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Brewery Project: Rock Bottom Downtown San Diego

While the food and beer are generally the same at each Rock Bottom, the look and feel to the Downtown San Diego location is decidedly different.  I originally paid them a visit here.  A large bar dominates the lower level of the brewery restaurant, with additional seating sprinkled around the main floor.  A small bar with more seating is located upstairs, overlooking the aforementioned space.  Not as family friendly as other locations, in my opinion, the layout here better matches the nightlife that San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter is known for.  Familiar with each core beer they offer, my eye was drawn to the current cask beer on their beer engine.  A sign read, "Smoked Porter aged 8 months in a Woodford Reserve barrel  ABV 7.5%".  Naturally, this was the choice I made.  The pour was a deep, dark mahogany with an ample head.  The taste was dry, bourbon hitting you right up front, smooth, almost a little thin, and had a strong, boozy finish.  What I didn't detect was any smoke.  Perhaps the bourbon barrel aging masked any smoke the beer originally had.  There was a lot going on in the glass, but it was an overall good beer.  Making the beer even better was its modest price of only $3.75.  I'm always looking for specialty or seasonal releases, so to find one of this caliber, at this price, made me very happy with this stop.  I'm look forward to seeing what other innovative beers they come up with in the future, and will definitely be back to try them!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Does your glass have class?

Here is a really good article that gives food for thought about what vessel you choose to drink your favorite craft beer out of.  Does glassware really make that much difference in the taste of the beer?  Read the article, test out the theories, and come to your own conclusion.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Happy International Stout Day!

If you love a good Stout, pour one for yourself and check out the official website dedicated to the style.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

SDBW marches on!

Just past the halfway point, and almost 100 new events have been added to the San Diego Beer Week festivities!  I'll definitely be at Manzanita Brewing Co. tomorrow night for this.  If you don't feel like clicking, see below.

"For the last two years Santee and San Diego county have been very supportive of our little brewery.  To say thank you San Diego we would like to invite to come down to our facility and enjoy $2 pints on all available Manzanita Ales.  Once again thank you for your continued support and CHEERS!!"

Nice!  I'll see you there!

Monday, November 5, 2012

San Diego beers make a cameo on Food Network show

Last night Food Network premiered the fifth season of its hit show, The Next Iron Chef.  If you blinked, you may have missed identifying the beers that were used by a couple of the chefs in their main challenge.  A keen eye, and a lot of rewinding followed by slow motion playback, revealed the beers to be Stone IPA and Green Flash Double Stout.  It's nice to see San Diego's world-class beers getting the exposure, and use, they deserve!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Brewery Project: Amplified Ale Works

With a grand opening on the first day of San Diego Beer Week, Amplified Ale Works picked a great time to join the local craft beer community.  Premiering a new three barrel craft brewery inside California Kebab & Beer Garden's Pacific Beach location joins great craft beer, great food, and a great beach atmosphere harmoniously together.  The grand opening celebration included free food, which was awesome, free swag (I'll be sporting my new hat at the Brewers Guild Festival today), and, of course, fresh craft beer.  I had their Electrocution IPA, which came with a signature .5L pub glass.  The IPA was very good, and I look forward to future offerings which will include a "super hoppy" Pale Ale and a Belgian quadruple.  The vibe was hip and energetic.  Even Mayor Jerry Sanders was on hand to tap a special cask of Electrocution IPA dry hopped with Cascade & Crystal hops.  I didn't get to try this version of the IPA, but did manage to snap a picture of the Mayor with my buddy Neal.  I had a great time, and am already making plans for my next visit.  As if you needed another reason to head to the beach, you've got one now!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Start SDBW off right!

I've posted numerous times about Karl Strauss growler specials, including their $8 fills of ANY beer, every Friday, with a weekly code given out on Facebook.  Today is no exception, except for the fact that they have an exceptional beer available starting today, just for San Diego Beer Week.  I have yet to try their Peanut Butter Cup Porter, but can hardly wait!  Head down today and mention "Untappd" to get your own 64 ounce fill for only $8.  What are you waiting for?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

San Diego Beer Week 2012

All things craft beer will be celebrated around the county for the next 10 days as San Diego Beer Week kicks off tomorrow.  With over 413 events at last count, visiting the official website is the best way to plot your course for the coming days.  I can't even scratch the surface here, but I've chosen an event for each day that I feel worthy of a mention and that I'd like to make it to myself.  Hopefully this will help you put together a list of your own.

Friday, November 2nd  Grand Unveiling of Amplified Ale Works
Saturday, November 3rd  San Diego Brewers Guild Festival
Sunday, November 4th  BINE&VINE Bottle Shop hosts a Rare-Beer BottleSHARE at Blind Lady Ale House
Monday, November 5th  Mission Brewery Tap Takeover at Village Pizzeria Bayside
Tuesday, November 6th  Tiger!Tiger! hosts AVERY SUPER-RARE Wood-Aged & Sour Beer Tasting w/ the BarrelMaster, Andy Parker
Wednesday, November 7th  Belgian Glassware Night w/ Rare Belgian Beers at Main Tap Tavern
Thursday, November 8th  New Belgium Lips of Faith Night at Pizza Port Ocean Beach
Friday, November 9th  Ballast Points Clean Sweep featuring chance to win Brewdog Collaboration at High Dive
Saturday, November 10th  All you can drink beer brunch at the Glass Door