Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Brewery Project: Aztec

The most fascinating part of my visit to Aztec Brewing Co. was learning about the history of this brewery brand.  Way back in 1921, shortly after the start of Prohibition, Cervecera Azteca, SA was founded by a group of San Diego businessmen in Mexicali, Mexico.  When Prohibition was repealed in 1933, the brewery moved to the Barrio Logan area of San Diego and became known as Aztec Brewing Co.  At one time it was the third largest brewery west of the Rocky Mountains.  Its flagship beer was called A.B.C. Beer, and an original can is on display at the brewery, which can be seen in the photo below.  It was purchased in 1948 by Altes Brewing Co. of Detroit, Michigan who retired the Aztec Brewing Co. brand a few years later.  The original brewer then moved back to Mexico and helped found Tecate Brewing Co.  In the summer of 2011 Aztec Brewing Co. was revived, and the rest, as they say, is history.  I had a sample of the Chipotle IPA, which was quite good.  It packed a warming heat, but the heat didn't overpower the hops.  Chipotle flavor was definitely present, making for a nice, complex IPA.  I also had their Sacrifice Red IPA.  I had tried this one before, the first Red IPA I had ever had, and was just as happy with it this time.  Full bodied, thick, and rich, combining what I like best of both styles, this is a beer I could enjoy on a regular basis.  Now that they bottle a few of their selections, including this one, I can!  I would like to make another visit to this brewery to try some of their other selections.  If they keep doing what they're doing, I foresee a future for Aztec Brewing Co. as rich as its past.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Who said that?

"We old folks have to find our cushions and pillows in our tankards.  Strong beer is the milk of the old."
- Martin Luther

Friday, March 29, 2013

Thursday, March 28, 2013

BLAH, a class act!

Blind Lady Ale House has been trying to win this Saris Bike Corral by rallying their Facebook fans to vote for them.  Today they posted the following regarding the contest.

"DON'T VOTE FOR US!  We signed up for the Saris bike corral contest, but then realized schools need them more."

Kudos on a classy move from a classy group of people.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Something new from Coronado Brewing Co.

What exactly is this new venture?  I don't know, but I know where we need to be to find out!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Brewery Project: Indian Joe

What would have been a stellar review of Indian Joe Brewing was unfortunately tarnished by this event.  However, I can't let poor tasting room staff and management distract me from great beer.  Despite the strange turn of events, the highlight of this visit was a truly great beer.  #9, as it's called, an Apricot/Peach Hefeweizen weighing in at 8.2% alcohol, was spectacular.  Why they can't come up with proper names for their brews I don't know, but this beer transcends any name they could possibly give it.  Tart, almost like a sour, the wheat body and balanced sweetness makes this beer exceptionally drinkable, masking its hefty alcohol content.  I could drink this beer all day long, though I'm sure the alcohol would catch up with me at some point.  If they brewed nothing but "#9" they could be successful.  You need to try this beer, but hopefully you can find it outside of the tasting room.  I will search out more beers from this brewery and its talented brewer, but I won't be going back to this tasting room.  There are a lot of places I could go to get hassled and questioned, but a San Diego County brewery, among the best in the world, shouldn't be one of them.  Seek out the beer, skip the tasting room.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

It's a boy!

Today I welcomed a new member into my already "hoppy" family. I wonder if this hospital has any beer?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Oh, Albertsons!

I've chronicled my rocky beer relationship with Albertsons here, here, and here.  Another step backward was taken when I discovered the following new signage, advertising the price for their mix-and-match six-pack as $9.99, up $1.00 from my last visit!  Not happy, Albertsons.  Not happy at all.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Get brewing, Mississippi!

At long last, homebrewing is legalized in Mississippi!  Read about it here.  What's up, Alabama?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Bottled & Kegged

A new craft beer themed exhibit is set to open next month at the San Diego History Center.  Bottled & Kegged: San Diego's Craft Brew Culture should prove to be an interesting and educational excursion into San Diego's rich beer heritage.  NBC's 7 San Diego put together this piece on the coming attraction, but I'm wondering why they used a picture of a Brooklyn Brewery tulip for the lead photo?  Journalists.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Brewery Project: Iron Fist

Although I've been familiar with Iron Fist Brewing Co. for quite some time, I don't get to Vista very often, so it took me a while to actually pay them a visit.  I wasn't disappointed.  The energy was high on a Saturday afternoon around 5:00pm, and the place was packed.  The friendly, casual staff made me feel right at home and were more than happy to pour me a beer, even though it was well past the posted last call time of 5:00pm due to a private event at the brewery later that evening.  I've tried a few of their beers before, but the bulk of the brews they were pouring were new to me, so I chose a beer that combined two of my favorite styles.  Uprising, their 12% alcohol Belgian Style Trippel IPA, seemed like the right choice.  To be honest, I don't know if it was a Belgian Style Trippel IPA or a Belgian Style Trippel IPA.  Either way it was good, and I thoroughly enjoyed it!  I enjoyed the whole experience, and look forward to my next visit.  There are quite a few breweries in Vista to choose from, but this one should definitely be at the top of your list.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

What do you have to hide, Indian Joe Brewing?

Furthering my quest to visit all the breweries in the county, I visited Indian Joe Brewing in Vista.  No, this isn't their review, that will come at a later date.  The experience I had when I left the brewery was just so bizarre that I had to share it, and it left me scratching my head and asking the question, "What do you have to hide, Indian Joe Brewing?"  With 47 brewery visits documented and under my belt, visiting a new brewery is becoming old hat to me.  I know what to look for, I know what to try, and I know what to photograph.  The last one is what got me into trouble this time around.  Apparently, the folks over at Indian Joe are a bit camera shy!  Taking the usual pictures while I enjoyed my beer and my visit, I paid my bill and went happily on my way.  The beer I tried was spectacular, but I will save that for the actual review.  I left the building and joined the rest of my family in the car a short distance from the entrance to the brewery.  The Hop Mommy asked why there were people standing outside of the brewery looking at me as I got into the car.  I recognized the guy as the pleasant bartender from inside, but didn't recognize the woman he was with.  I sat there for a minute as they talked, and then the woman walked over to the car.  She said that the bartender was concerned because "I took a lot of pictures but didn't ask a lot of questions" while inside.  I identified myself and explained why I was there, and she introduced herself as the owner's wife, Geri.  We talked for a couple of minutes and she was pleasant enough, but this was truly the first time I had been followed out of a brewery and given the third degree about why I had come to the brewery to drink a beer!  Still confused I ponder the question, "What do you have to hide, Indian Joe Brewing?"

Friday, March 15, 2013

Be smart this weekend!

I couldn't resist sharing a Facebook post from TailGate Beer earlier today, as it went so nicely with my post from yesterday.

"It's time to get Irish, it's time to get green.  Have fun at the pub, if you know what I mean!  They'll have beer that is dyed, but keep a straight head.  It's really not good, drink craft beer instead!"

Well said.  Whatever you do this weekend, be smart.  Drink good craft beer, drink in moderation, and don't drink & drive!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Really, Mission?

I'm all for special releases to match the season, but do we really need this, even for St. Patrick's Day?  Perhaps you remember my Public Service Announcement from 2010.  Perhaps not.  Either way, I find this unnecessary and just plain unappetizing.  Sorry, I just do.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Ommegang of Thrones

If you like HBO's "Game of Thrones" and enjoy beers by New York's Brewery Ommegang, then you've got to check out the partnership they've formed here.  The question is, will these beers be available nationwide or just regionally?  Stay tuned!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Brewery Project: Culture

Just a couple blocks away from the original Pizza Port in Solana Beach sits the county's newest brewery, Culture Brewing Co.  This is what I love about the San Diego craft beer scene.  Only a couple weeks old, this brewery was hopping on a Sunday afternoon, with 50 to 60 people and several dogs enjoying the new digs.  The basic, unfinished, industrial space, with tanks featured behind the bar and an open concept allowing ocean breezes to flow throughout, was the perfect environment to enjoy an IPA from this fledgling brewery.  And enjoy it I did!  I would put this 8.1% alcohol IPA, which at this point lacks a proper name, among the best IPA's I've had in recent memory.  I didn't get a chance to try the other beers they were pouring, a Pale Ale, an Amber, an Imperial Stout, and a Black IPA, but if the IPA was any indicator, these are beers I need to try!  With a Brown and Blonde coming soon, they don't seem to be shy about keeping new beers coming.  I will definitely be keeping an eye on this brewery, and expect great things to come in the near future.  Get in on the ground floor now and check them out right away!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Friday, March 8, 2013

Happy International Women's Day!

Thanks to Girls Who Like Beer for sharing the beer love with this picture on Facebook today!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Karl Strauss 4S Ranch update

My profile of the Karl Strauss Brewing Co. 4S Ranch location from last August, found here, may have been a bit premature.  As the post states, the location, food, and beer were all awesome.  What I just learned is that they were not yet brewing at the time of my visit.  However, as of today, they are officially brewing at this location.  It looks like I'll have to make another visit for some fresh beer soon!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

An Imperial Post

An imperial thanks goes to The Bruery for posting this great information about the origins of the term "imperial" on Facebook today.  The Bruery always provides great beer and great information.

"The word "imperial" is quite often thrown around recklessly in the craft beer community when referring to stronger than typical beers, but do you know where the term actually originated?

In the early 18th century, Peter the Great fell in love with the classic English porter, but when trying to import the beer to the imperial court in Russia, it spoiled.  So, the Barclay brewery of London came up with a new recipe that was higher in alcohol and higher in hops, both of which serve as a preservative.

And thus, the Russian Imperial Stout was born and the term "imperial" has now been borrowed to describe any beer of higher than average alcohol percentage and hop additions."

Monday, March 4, 2013

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Brewery Project: Wet 'N Reckless

Braveheart Scottish Ale, Heaven's Belge, Hell's Belge, Super Destroyer, Golden Boy.  You've probably never heard of these beers.  You've probably never heard of the brewery who produces these beers.  These are the beers I tried when I visited Wet 'N Reckless Brewing Co.  One man, Dave Hyndman, on a simple mission to brew beer his way.  There is no rhyme.  There is no reason.  He brews what he loves, serves it, and moves on.  I don't even know if he has any "core beers".  Chris, a volunteer manning the bar for the first time, was extremely friendly and open.  He made the experience great.  That's a good thing, because "great" is not a word I would use for the beer.  I would classify this beer as decent homebrew.  It wasn't bad.  It lacked polish.  It was thin, lacking any real character.  Each sample blended together, with no defined distinction.  Super Destroyer, the IPA, had a fairly good hop profile, but again, lacked any other memorable quality.  If a friend handed me an unmarked bottle of one of these beers and told me he had just bottled it in his garage, I would be impressed.  Would I go to a "commercial" brewery and pay for a sampler, pint, or growler of this beer?  No.  However, he has a fan base that he's working on building.  As this happens, perhaps the beer will improve.  I can't bash the man, the brewery, or his vision.  He's doing what he loves and making it work the best he can.  We should all be so bold.  I should be so bold!  While I can't recommend this brewery based on the beer alone, it's worth a visit to see what Dave's working on next.  Who knows where he'll be a year from now.  Who knows.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Photo of the week

Thank you, Jacob, for the perfect end to the "Photo of the week" series!  If I wasn't ready for the weekend already, I am now!