Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Brewery Project: Oggi's Mission Valley

With the number of new craft breweries opening up around the county, it's easy to forget about places like Oggi's Pizza & Brewing Co.  I went to the Mission Valley location, where I didn't think they actually brewed any beer, and lo and behold they do!  I've been to this spot numerous times, but never noticed all of the brewing equipment in the rear of the restaurant before.  I've tried each of their core beers on different occasions, but when I saw that they had ditched their Light Lager for an 8.5% alcohol selection called Double Up Double IPA (a bit of a strange swap), I knew what I needed to try first.  A solid brew, I found nothing to dislike about the beer, but nothing really stood out about it either.  I would definitely order this beer again, but wouldn't go out of my way to find it.  Originally passing it over for the Double IPA, I then decided to try a special release called Presidio XIPA.  Also at 8.5% alcohol, this one was created and only available at this location.  I was really impressed with this one.  It looked and drank like it's Double IPA brother, but was more complex and offered more depth of flavor.  I would choose this beer over the Double IPA any day, but being a special release I'm afraid I won't have that option for long.  I encourage you to rediscover one of San Diego's often overlooked breweries, sitting quietly in plain sight.  I'd do it soon, though, before the XIPA disappears.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Mad Lab closes its doors... for now

Mad Lab Craft Brewing, open less than a year, has officially closed the doors to its current facility.  The following excerpt is taken from a Facebook post earlier this week.

"Mad Lab Craft Brewing is excited to announce their new project!  We are moving the brewery production area to a large facility in Otay Mesa, which is a few miles south of Caliente Exit.  The facility will be a production plant ONLY; therefore..., the Mad Lab Craft Brewing product line will only be available in retail stores.  The original location will no longer be available to the public due to all finances will be concentrated on the new location.  The projected time frame for the new production plant will be summer of 2014."

I had a chance to talk to Mike, the owner, who told me the move will provide time to regroup and take care of a few personal matters.  He even plans to write a book about his experiences opening and operating a brewery in the most beercentric city in the country.  His plan is to have the new production facility up and running by July of next year.  Mike has a true passion for his craft, and I look forward to the renewed enthusiasm he will put into the brewery reboot.  Until then, I wish Mike and his wife Daphne well, and look forward to a bigger, better, and crazier Mad Lab!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Who said that?

"Happiness is buying your friends a beer."
- The Hop Daddy

Monday, June 24, 2013

Beer-loving statue?

Click here if you don't see the video.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Brewery Project: On The Tracks

Walking into On The Tracks Brewery I got the impression they had just recently opened.  Outside of a small sign hanging inside the front window, no formal signage adorns their industrial park suite.  They don't bottle or can and keep very few draught accounts.  The tasting room is very rudimentary, with just a couple of barstools and a whiteboard listing what's currently on tap.  A tiny brewing system occupies a separate space, and when I asked to snap a picture of it I was told that I couldn't because it was "kind of messy" at the moment.  That, by the way, was the first time in the history of The Brewery Project that I was told I couldn't take a picture at a brewery.  The beer was decent, but nothing out of the ordinary.  Of the 3 nameless beers I sampled, which included a "Wee Heavy" and a "Barley Wine", their "Green Tea Session" (that's "Session", not "Saison" as I originally read it and was quickly corrected.  Perhaps a neater job of writing on the whiteboard would solve this issue, or better yet, something other than a whiteboard in the first place.  Calling the brew a "Session" beer touches on yet another of my pet peeves.  I don't believe a beer should ever be called a "Session" beer, because what is or isn't a "Session" beer should really be up to the consumer.  A "Session" beer to me might be too heavy or high in alcohol for someone else, and vice versa.  However, I digress.) was the most unique and had some real character.  The fact that I had a hard time reconciling, taking all of the above into consideration, is that the brewery has actually been open for over 2 years!  After that length of time I would think a brewery would have grown a bit more that this one has.  I can understand wanting to stay small, but in San Diego, with the number of breweries currently operating and with even more opening soon, if you don't grow you eventually go away.  It will be interesting to see what the next year holds for this brewery, as I was told a larger brewing system is to be implemented "soon".  My only question is, will it be soon enough?

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Who said that?

"The mouth of a perfectly happy man is filled with beer."
- Egyptian proverb

Friday, June 21, 2013

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Kudos to Stone!

I love the phrase Stone put on the back of their new RuinTen t-shirt.

"A Stage Dive Into A Mosh Pit Of Hops"


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Treehouse Brewery

No, "Treehouse" is not the name of a new brewery, it's the location of a new brewery.  Animal Planet has a show called Treehouse Masters, and this week's show has a brewery theme.

"An Ohio family enlists Pete to build a brewery-in-the-sky on their massive rural property.  With the help of a few Amish locals, Pete crafts a barn themed tavern with a brewing system in the trees accessible by a rope bridge 25-ft off the ground."

While I don't know much about this show, I'll be tuning in this Friday night at 9:00pm!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Bear Whiz Beer

My jaw left dropped, I couldn't help but laugh.  Enjoy!

Click here if you don't see the video.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Brewery Project: Saint Archer

I'm a bit bewildered by Saint Archer Brewing Co.  I tasted their Blonde Ale prior to my visit and wasn't impressed, so I was skeptical going in.  I was greeted by nice signage outside, something lacking in smaller breweries I've visited lately, and was impressed by the spacious tasting area inside.  With only 3 core beers, the aforementioned Blonde Ale, a Pale Ale, and an IPA, I was pleased to find they had a special release on tap, a Scotch Ale.  It was actually quite good.  I also tried the IPA.  I found it a good, solid representation of the style, although not the best IPA I've ever had.  With such a nice facility and surprisingly good beer, what is the cause of my bewilderment?  The focus of this brewery seems to be on its owners, an extensive group of skateboarders, surfers, and snowboarders all coming together to... make beer?  Do any of them have a background in beer?  If they do, they don't go into it at all on their website.  They've hired a head brewer and a lead brewer with some brewing chops, but they seem to be the only ones focused on the beer.  And, after all, isn't that the important thing?  When I walk into a brewery, I prefer the owner of the brewery to be the same person brewing my beer.  I know that won't always be the case, but I'd like to think that the person who started the brewery is a person who has dedicated their life to the craft, whose prime focus is craft beer, and that their desire is to share their passion through the product they offer.  Perhaps I'm too idealistic,  but the thought of a group of athletes deciding to pool their money into a project, which just happens to be a brewery, holds little interest for me.  I can see this being a great spot for fellow athletes to hang out at after a long day at the skatepark, beach, or mountains, but I just don't see myself fitting into that crowd very often.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Home Brewing

Thanks to Home Brew Mart for this bit of humor today!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Listen to your beer!

This is pretty cool and worth a watch.  I wouldn't mind having one of these bottles, but I would have no way to play it.  I just wish they would put the same time and effort into the beer itself!

Click here if you don't see the video.

Thursday, June 13, 2013


This is too awesome!  Thanks to Matt Bilyeu for sharing the following on Facebook yesterday.

"I thought you guys would appreciate this.  This is the fizzy yellow beer dispenser at a new craft brew pub in Newhall, CA called Newhall Refinery!"

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Pizza Port Bressi Ranch...

...opens tonight!  I posted about the new location here, and gave you a sneak peek at the interior and their cool fish tank addition here.  Now it's time to see it for yourself!  The following was posted on Facebook just a little bit ago.

"Soft opening of our new Bressi Ranch location is finally here!!!!!  Tonight.  You.  Us.  And some delicious grub and grog  :-)  See you at 5pm."

Right on!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Brewery Project: BNS

Open for just over a week, BNS Brewing & Distilling Co. already seem to have a good thing going.  Instead of starting small and building from there, they decided to burst out of the gate as a homebrew supply store, brewery, and distillery all at the same time.  As ambitious as that may sound, East County appears to be welcoming them with open arms and thirsty gullets, as evidenced by their packed soft opening last Saturday.  The expansive interior leaves plenty of room for growth, while the outside beer garden provides lots of space to enjoy your beer along with sunshine and fresh air.  I was most impressed, though, by the bar.  It features a decorative strip of copper running its entire length.  At least I thought it was decorative.  It actually has copper cooling lines running beneath it, providing a chilled spot to set your glass so that it maintains the proper drinking temperature the whole time.  That's attention to detail!  A detail I've not seen anywhere else.  I was also impressed by the beer.  I particularly liked their Revolver American IPA, so named for the 6 different hop varieties used in the brew, like the six bullets found in a revolver.  Clever and delicious.  The tasting room is open every day, as I believe all tasting rooms should be, so it's easy to find the time for a visit.  Their grand opening is set for June 22nd, which I'm sure will be a good time.  Check them out now or wait for the grand opening.  I recommend sooner rather than later, but don't worry, they're not going anywhere.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Friday Fun Fact

San Diego is on track to have 100 working breweries by the end of this year!  What other county in the country can say that?  Brewya!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

UCSD Extension Brewing Certificate program

Back in January I posted about the free informational sessions being offered for the new UCSD Extension Brewing Certificate program.  I will be attending one of the sessions this evening, so it should be interesting to see how comprehensive the program will be.  I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

And the winners are...

The results of the San Diego International Beer Competition have been going around for the past couple of days, but I haven't had a chance to post them until now.  Check out all the winners here.  Perhaps you'll get a chance to sample some of these beers at the festival later this month.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

When to drink out of the bottle

Drink out of the bottle?  I've talked numerous times about how important the right glass for the right beer is.  Have I somehow changed my mind?  Have I recently learned something new?  Yes and no.  No, I haven't changed my mind.  Yes, I have learned something new.  Great craft beer should be enjoyed, not from the bottle, but out of a proper glass.  However, what if you are faced with mediocre beer?  I have learned that there are certain beers, let's call them "supermarket beers", that can actually taste pretty good out of the bottle.  A hot summer day is the perfect time to reach for one of these "supermarket beers".  They can be refreshing and delicious.  However, if you were to pour one of these beers into a glass, any glass, let's just say they become less impressive.  Much less impressive.  I'm not advocating drinking mediocre beer, but we've all had the occasion to be handed a bottle that we wouldn't necessarily choose for ourselves.  Don't be rude.  Don't be a beer snob.  Just keep it in the bottle.

Monday, June 3, 2013

True craft beer lovers are not drunks!

It's time to address another one of my pet peeves.  I like craft beer.  Lots of people do.  Call it a hobby, pastime, or even a passion.  It's true.  I like to drink good craft beer on a regular basis.  I like to go to beercentric restaurants, pubs, and the like that have a respect for craft beer and those who enjoy it.  I like to visit local breweries so that I can see where my beer comes from and taste it at its absolute freshest.  I enjoy various beer festivals throughout the year that allow me to sample brews from near and far with people who share my interest in the craft beer culture.  What can I say, I'm a beer geek.  I'm proud of it.  I'm not a drunk.  I don't drink quality craft beer to get drunk.  If I did, I certainly couldn't call myself a true craft beer lover.  I have to believe the same of my fellow craft beer lovers.  Drinking to the point of drunkenness shows no respect for the beverage you are drinking, let alone the hard work that went into creating it.  There are plenty of people who do drink to get drunk.  You can typically see them toting their 24-pack of junk beer home on a Friday night.  Maybe they're hanging out in front of their local watering hole or liquor store, clutching a wrinkled brown paper bag containing 40 ounces of swill.  Perhaps you'll even see them at beercentric restaurants, breweries, or even beer festivals from time to time.  It happens, but I believe it to be more of the exception than the rule.  For the most part beer lovers, true craft beer lovers, enjoy and respect the beer they consume.  I can certainly say that is true of myself.  So please, those who don't share this same love of craft beer, those who don't drink beer, those who don't drink at all, if you know someone who does, if you know someone who enjoys beer, good quality craft beer, don't assume the worst.  Don't equate a craft beer drinker with a drunk.  Don't assume someone who enjoys beercentric establishments, breweries, or festivals must get drunk at those places.  Educate yourself.  Explore craft beer for yourself.  At the very least, give credit to those who do.  Now, before I fall off of my soapbox and hurt myself or an innocent bystander, I will simply step down and go back to what I was doing.  Thank you for listening, and thank you for your support.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Brewery Project: Stone Liberty Station

There is only so much I can, or will, say about my visit to Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens - Liberty Station.  I made mention of the opening of the new location here and here.  After being open just 11 days, I was able to pay them a proper visit.  A proper visit is exactly what is needed to fully appreciate the awe, grandeur, and splendor that has been captured in this establishment.  Few words that I could find would be able to fully express the professionalism of the large staff, who are there for no other reason than to make sure your experience is nothing less than stellar.  Nothing I could type would ready you for the massive interior, one bar are leading to another, one spectacular dining room leading to another, even more spectacular dining room.  I could hint at the many outdoor spaces, including a huge beer garden, several open grassy areas, and even a courtyard set aside for complimentary Bocce Ball tournaments, but you would have to see these areas to believe them.  That goes for the whole place.  Yes, the food is great.  Of course, the beer is awesome.  Without question, the restaurant itself is unbelievable.  Everything here comes together perfectly, creating an experience like no other.  An experience you need to have for yourself.  Go alone.  Go with friends.  Go with family.  However you go, just go.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Sore Eye Cup Vote Down

I don't know much about this competition, but why not support friendly beer rivalries and vote for your favorite.  Check it out here.  It should be interesting to see how this turns out.