Tuesday, December 31, 2013

365

365 days.  365 blog posts.  As we reach the end of yet another year, I manage to accomplish yet another goal.  I enjoyed sharing something new each and every day of 2013, but I won’t be quite as prolific in 2014.  Although I will still post, the frequency of the posts will be less so that I can focus on other beer related projects.  I can’t give any specifics at this point, but I can say that education will play a key role in the accomplishment of my goals for the coming year.  I’ll keep you posted, and I’ll see you next year!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Assault with a deadly squirrel?

This assault with a tap handle was strange enough, but may be trumped by this assault with a ceramic squirrel!  Apparently, a man returned home without any beer on Christmas, as stores were already closed for the holiday.  His wife was so outraged by this that she beat and stabbed him with the aforementioned squirrel.  Although his manhood may be gone forever, I'll bet he never forgets to bring home beer again!  He has hopefully rid the house of any other ceramic woodland creatures as well.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Thursday, December 26, 2013

26 Interesting Facts About Beer

Click here if you can't see the video.


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Geek out on some beer physics

Do you like beer?  Of course you do!  Do you like physics?  No?  Check out 21 Geeky Facts You Might Not Know About Beer, Explained By Physics.  Now what do you think about physics?

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Beer Nog!

You know you want some!  Get the recipe here.  Enjoy!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Putting a cap on The Brewery Project

Back in April of last year I started The Brewery Project with the goal of visiting and posting about a different brewery each week until I had been to every single operating brewery in the county.  It took 20 months to do it, but I have officially accomplished that goal!  I visited some fantastic breweries, and some not so fantastic ones.  My travels took me as far north as Lake Elsinore (I know it's out of the county, but I made an exception), as far east as Julian, and as far south as Otay Mesa.  A few of the breweries I visited have since closed, including El Cajon Brewing Co., Mad Lab Craft Brewing, The Brew House at Eastlake, Rock Bottom Downtown San Diego, and La Jolla Brew House, which has now reopened with new owners as La Jolla Brewing Co.  On one occasion I even found myself at an abandoned brewery.  The only active breweries to elude me were Cold Bore Brewing Co., a very small brewery located in Jamul that is not open to the public, and Valley Center Brewery, which should have a tasting room open by February of next year.  88 visits in all, every week was an adventure and I hope you enjoyed the ride along with me.  As new breweries open I will continue to visit and post about them, but for now, at this moment, the project is done!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Brewery Project: Booze Brothers

 
I was a little nervous that the last official stop on The Brewery Project would be underwhelming, making for a weak, disappointing finish to an otherwise exciting journey.  Thankfully, my visit to Booze Brothers Brewing Co. was neither weak nor disappointing!  A large space featuring lots of natural elements such as hardwoods and hanging plants help to bring the outdoors in, creating an enjoyable atmosphere to enjoy your beer in.  Plenty of seating is available at the bar, and a freestanding bar with bench seating wraps around a couple of walls, providing a great view of everything going on in the brewing and tasting areas.  A nice selection of beers were on tap, but of course I started with their Ol' Grandaddies IPA, which was actually a IIPA.  As has so often been the case, I found myself amazed by the quality of beer put out by such a young brewery.  Although a bit filling, this 8.2% alcohol brew was true to style and delicious.  Another beer caught my eye called Olden Days, a 10.4% alcohol Stock Ale.  Delicious, rich, and malty, this was a big beer.  So big, in fact, that I had a hard time finishing it.  About halfway through the beer became cloying.  Per the beer board I was expecting a 12 ounce pour, but actually received a full pint of the massive brew.  Had the beer been the advertised 12 ounces, or even 8 ounces, I would have had no problem finishing it.  I finished it, mind you, but it was tough.  This was definitely a case of "less is more".  I was extremely happy with the brewery and the beer, and look forward to seeing what the future holds for them.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Reflection

Why do I have such animosity for someone I've never met?  Why do people swoon when his name is mentioned, and blush when he mentions theirs?  He samples beer, as do I.  He visits breweries, as do I.  He is a man, as am I.  Why is he considered an authority, while I am seen as an observer?  Perhaps I am not vocal enough.  Perhaps I am not seasoned enough.  Perhaps I will never be.  Perhaps I am looking at it all wrong.  He is an authority.  He is vocal.  He is seasoned.  He is known.  I am a work in progress.  I need to focus on myself, and learn from others.  Learn from him.  Perhaps if we met I would get it.  Perhaps I would understand.  Perhaps I would swoon.  I want to grow.  I want to be respected.  I want to be an authority.  He is not the problem.  He is the solution, or part of it anyway.  He can be a friend.  He can be an ally.  He can be a mentor.  I will turn my animosity into adoration.  I will hone my craft, my art, my passion.  I will not look at others as a stumbling block, but instead a stepping stone in the right direction.  A leg up when needed.  A pillar of support.  I am renewed, invigorated, and excited to see what lies ahead.  New directions, new paths, new goals.  All within my reach, all within my ability, all within my grasp.  Perhaps someday they will swoon for me.  Perhaps not.  Regardless, I move forward, never looking back.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Trouble for Port Brewing / The Lost Abbey

Check out this news story which details the dismissal of James Comstock as CFO for Port Brewing / The Lost Abbey based on allegations of grand theft and misappropriation of funds in relation to the nonprofit group, ArtSplash.  With ties to Pizza Port as well, which have also been severed, hopefully there will be no negative repercussions for either company.  Time will tell.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

10 Awesome Beer Names from the Great American Beer Festival

Here is a pretty good list of beer names compiled from winners at this year's Great American Beer Festival.  Pizza Port Ocean Beach made the list with Kung Fu Elvis.  What's your favorite?

Monday, December 16, 2013

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Brewery Project: Fallbrook Brewing Co.

 
About an hour north of downtown San Diego, just to the east of Camp Pendleton and 5 miles west of I-15, sits the quaint town of Fallbrook, California.  If you take a walk down picturesque Main Avenue on a warm Saturday afternoon, chances are your senses will be assailed by the heavenly aroma of beer being brewed.  If you follow your nose, which I highly recommend you do, you will find yourself at Fallbrook Brewing Co.  Once inside you will find ample seating with plenty of regular and bar-height tables, locally made artwork hanging on the walls, and, most importantly, great beer!  I shared a custom flight of 5 beers with my father-in-law, Milton, and wasn't disappointed by any of them.  Our tasting included 3 IPA's (imagine that) which were Sleeping Indian, an English style IPA, Ammunition, a West Coast style IPA, and Cran-Pa, a cranberry IPA.  With my affinity for hops I was surprised by the fact that my favorite of the group was Sleeping Indian, the least hoppy of the trio.  Malty and complex, I really liked this brew.  Rounding out the flight was "Merica", a Strong Ale that was decent, and a Vanilla Stout served on nitro that was remarkable.  Lacking the bitter coffee bite that I was expecting, I was greeted by a hit of menthol that was actually quite refreshing, followed by a smooth finish.  I would definitely order this beer again.  My first visit to Fallbrook certainly won't be my last, and that goes the same for its namesake brewery.  It's a bit of a trip, but well worth it!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Too easy

Click here if you don't see the video.


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Home Brew Mart is now serving pints!

Ballast Point's Home Brew Mart posted the following announcement on their Facebook page this morning.

"Be one of the first people to come enjoy a pint of beer at Home Brew Mart Today at 11am!  Starting today we are officially able to serve pints to the public.  We hope to see you come help us celebrate our new license.  Cheers!"

This is awesome news, and I can't wait to stop by for a pint soon!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Catbox!!!

You may recall this post from last week, which referenced Rough Draft Weekday IPA as having a "catbox" aroma.  As frightening the concept of a beer having such an aroma or flavor was, I decided to try the beer in question for myself.  Perhaps I was swayed by the power of suggestion, but I did pick up on the aforementioned quality!  Not just catbox, used catbox.  Shockingly, it wasn't offensive!  In fact, I really liked the beer and would highly recommend it.  Catbox.  Who knew?

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Brewery Project: Nickel Beer Co.

 
Tom Nickel... the man, the myth, the legend.  You can't talk about the San Diego craft beer scene without his name coming up.  Perhaps I gush too much, but I am just so excited that his new brewery, Nickel Beer Co., has finally opened up in Julian.  Just over a week old, I am confident that this young brewery will be a permanent fixture in the small mountain community.  Busy as a bee, caring for his new "baby", Tom was right at home tending bar the day of my visit.  With 3 beers available, a Pale Ale, an IPA, and a Stout, I was eager to try each one.  Try, I did, and disappointed, I wasn't!  I inadvertently sampled the Chinook IPA first, thinking it was the Pale Ale.  Once I tried the Pale Ale I realized my mistake.  Hoppy and easy to drink, a bit of smoke in the finish made for a unique IPA experience, a must if you want to stand out among all the other IPA's San Diego has to offer.  The Julian Pale Ale was exceptional.  Tom said it was "almost" where he wanted it, but I wouldn't change a thing!  Light and crisp, the hops are present but not overly so.  Given the choice between a Pale Ale and an IPA, I always choose the IPA.  This beer has me questioning that decision.  Finally, I tried the Stonewall Stout.  While I am not a huge fan of Stouts (like you didn't already know that) it was an excellent representation of the style.  I can imagine sipping this roasty brew while watching the snow gently fall outside the cozy brewery walls.  I was impressed, but not surprised, by the quality of each of the beers, and am anxious to try more as they become available.  Julian is a great place to go for a day trip, and now you have another reason to go besides pie!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Catbox?!?

Draft Magazine, citing Rough Draft Weekday IPA as one of the top 25 beers of 2013, used a unique term to describe the beer.

"The session IPA trend continued its ascent this year, and Weekday IPA sets a new standard for how hoppy the style can be.  A powerful aroma of peaches, grapefruit, pine and (pleasant!) catbox leads to an unfathomably light, bright sip that pleases the tastes buds with those same hop flavors.  It’s equally delicate and striking."

There's a flavor I've never picked out in a beer before, and kind of hope I never do!  Check out the rest of their top picks for the year here.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Brewery Project: Groundswell

 
New and centrally located in the county, Groundswell Brewing Co. shows great promise.  Although the interior was still unfinished and only 3 beers were on tap when I visited, the comfortable surroundings, friendly bartender, and delicious beer told me that this was a brewery to watch.  I sampled all 3 of the beers they were pouring, which included Bay of Plenty, a New Zealand hopped Blonde, Bier Der K├Ânige, a Bavarian Hefeweizen, and Pogue Mahone, an Irish Special Bitter.  While all of them were good, it was Pogue Mahone (politely translated, "kiss my butt") that stole the show.  Dark, dank, and completely opaque, this earthy brew was addictive enough for a full pour.  Based on this beer alone, I would make a return trip.  I don't know if this will be one of their core beers or just a special release, but I know there's only one way to find out... a return trip!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

A note about desert camping

When camping in the desert there is no Wi-Fi.  There is no cell service.  There is no blogging.  Lesson learned.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Say it isn't so!

I had a hard time reading this article about the destruction of 240,000 bottles of beer in Nigeria.  Oh, the humanity!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Monday, November 25, 2013

To get through Monday!

Click here if you don't see the video.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Liquor Laws by State

I found this page that outlines each state's liquor laws.  While California is lenient when it comes to liquor sales, Colorado still doesn't allow higher than 3.2% alcohol beer to be sold in grocery stores.  How does your state measure up?

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Brewery Project: Plan 9 Alehouse

 
Being a family man and a beer lover, I'm always looking for a place where I can spend quality time with my family while enjoying great craft beer as well.  I found that and more at Plan 9 Alehouse.  A family friendly atmosphere, great beer, and awesome food all come together to create a fantastic experience.  With an impressive tap list of world-class beers, including local favorites from AleSmith, Ballast Point, Green Flash, Hess, Modern Times, Saint Archer, and Stone, along with regional offerings from the likes of Dogfish Head, Firestone Walker, Great Divide, Maui, Ninkasi, Ommegang, and Oskar Blues, there is something for every taste.  Not to be sidetracked by the extensive lineup of guest beers, I ordered tasters of each of their beers that were currently available.  El Gourdo, a 7% alcohol pumpkin IPA, was very good.  The pumpkin and related spices came through without overtaking the brew.  I'm not a huge fan of pumpkin beers, but this one was good.  Government Rye-Down, brewed during the government shutdown, definitely made rye the star and was quite good.  Velvet Nothing, their Oatmeal Stout, was a pretty straightforward incarnation of the style.  Turd Ferguson, an unfiltered Brown Ale, was my favorite of the group.  Chewy and delicious, I'll be keeping an eye out for this one.  I would be remiss if I didn't make mention of how good the food was as well.  Pictured below is their BLT, which features pork belly, IPA mustard, spring greens, vine ripened tomato, bleu cheese, and bacon bread, along with their Shrimp and Grits, which features black tiger shrimp and cheddar grits stuffed into a poblano pepper.  Both dishes were incredible, but the BLT was probably the best I've ever had!  Even if you don't like beer, you need to go check out the food.  I recommend the food and the beer, and can't wait for my next visit!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Who said that?

"Whoever called it near beer was a poor judge of distance."
- Prohibition saying

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

That's not right!

Click here if you don't see the video.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Monday, November 18, 2013

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Brewery Project: Legacy

 
New breweries are popping up in North County faster than I can visit them.  Legacy Brewing Co. is one of the newest.  With an unassuming exterior and a nice, spacious interior, this brewery has the potential to be a real destination hotspot.  Although fairly quiet now, with some word of mouth and a little time I believe it will live up to its potential.  Chip, a friend of the owner who was manning the bar at the time of my visit, was happy to talk about the brews he was pouring and gave me a nice tour of the facility.  He kept emphasizing "balance" when describing the beers, and I definitely saw that balance in the Sedition IPA I was drinking.  An English style IPA by recipe, this brew drank much differently than most of the West Coast IPA's San Diego has become known for.  While fairly filling, the modest 6.8% alcohol and 67 IBU's along with the slightly sweet malt backbone and earthy English hops all worked together to make an extremely balanced, easy to drink IPA.  This is an IPA for someone who doesn't want to be beaten over the head with hops.  An IPA of days gone by.  It is with this sense of history that they brew all of their beers.  In an age of extremes, brewing with "balance" can be a tricky thing to accomplish, but it can also set you apart from the pack.  It's that approach to brewing that will bring me back to this brewery again, and it's the reason you should check them out as well.  After all, we can all use a little balance in our lives!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

2014 Beer Bloggers Conference comes to San Diego

I have been wanting to attend the Beer Bloggers Conference for the past couple of years, but distance and finances have prohibited it.  It looks like I will finally get my chance next year, as San Diego has been chosen as the host city for the North American conference.  Here is the official announcement with more details.  I am looking forward to the event, and the chance to get to know other bloggers who share my passion for all things beer.  Are you a beer blogger?  Hopefully I'll see you there!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Too sick for a barleywine?

I posted here that when I am sick I like a nice barleywine.  Sitting here now, sick as a dog, I have no appetite for a barleywine or any other beer.  It's a sad, sad day.  Hopefully I'll feel better soon, and perhaps even have that barleywine!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Whose slogan is this?

"Beer speaks.  People mumble."

Monday, November 11, 2013

How's your liver?

With San Diego Beer Week officially over, I reflect on the above question.  I can't tell you how many times over the past 10 days I heard that, or similar phrases, uttered.  So much so that I began to question the very idea of SDBW.  To me those 10 days were to be a celebration of all things craft beer in San Diego.  A way to spread the gospel of craft, if you will.  An opportunity to open the uninitiated eyes of craft beer virgins to what beer, real beer, can and should be.  When I hear people talking about the deterioration of their livers due to the extended week's festivities, even if in jest, I wonder if the event has somehow changed over the past 5 years, morphing from something more closely resembling this ideal I hold so dear into some kind of frat boy keg party brouhaha.  Craft beer is for savoring, enjoying, and sharing, not chugging, guzzling, and regurgitating.  Perhaps I'm too sensitive.  Perhaps I take myself and craft beer too seriously.  Perhaps I've given you something to think about.  Perhaps we've all got something to think about.  Perhaps, like San Diego Beer Week, this rant has come to a close.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Brewery Project: Prohibition

 
The good, the bad, and the ugly.  That sums up my visit to Prohibition Brewing Co.  I'm happy to say that "the good" was the beer.  Hef-U-Up, though sophomorically named, was quite good.  A 7.5% hefeweizen, the cloudy brew had the sweet notes I look for in a beer of this style, was full bodied, and very drinkable.  I would definitely order this beer again, and the finesse with which it was brewed makes me want to try their other offerings as well.  That, unfortunately, was the end of "the good".  "The bad" may be considered a matter of taste.  When I ordered the aforementioned beer the bartender asked if I wanted a slice of lemon with it.  Perhaps it was a slice of orange.  I was so thrown by the question that I honestly don't remember.  If I go to Chili's and order a Blue Moon, I expect the glass to be adorned with a piece of fruit.  This is not something I expect to encounter at a brewery.  Again, this is my preference.  Some people may like a piece of lemon or orange with their beer, and that's okay.  For me, it's not okay.  That brings me to "the ugly".  The bartender asked the guys sitting next to me at the bar what they wanted to drink.  They said they didn't really care and that they just wanted a beer, so to bring them an IPA.  As she was getting their beer she responded, "I know what you mean.  Beer is beer."  Really?  Again, if I was at Chili's I might expect the bartender to have this kind of attitude, but at a brewery?  How can a brewery expect to distinguish itself in the San Diego market when its main public representatives, their bartenders, don't care about the product they are serving?  This left a bad taste in my mouth, overshadowing the previous good taste from the beer.  The beer was good enough to have again, but I think I'll look for it elsewhere.  Someplace where "beer" is much, much more than just "beer".