Thursday, January 31, 2013

What's up with all the four-packs?

I was in the mood for a Coronado Idiot IPA the other day and wanted to buy a six-pack, like this came out of just over a year ago.  I grabbed what I thought was a six-pack, but when I took it off the shelf turned out to be a four-pack!  Outside of the 22 ounce bottle I would normally purchase, this was the only packaging available.  Now, I hardly ever buy six-packs of beer.  I love variety, and usually tire of a beer after 3 or 4 bottles.  I prefer to buy 22 ounce bombers.  That being the case, I rarely look to see what other packaging my favorite brews come in.  As I perused the store shelves, I realized that a lot of beers are now being sold in four-packs!  Has the price come down dramatically with the absence of 2 bottles, or 24 ounces, of beer?  Not particularly.  Why is this?  Do the breweries feel 6 beers would be too expensive to produce for the average consumer?  Are they trying to get us to buy multiple four-packs in order to increase revenue?  Do they think their beer is better in smaller increments?  Perhaps they feel we will tire of their beer after 3 or 4 bottles and that "less is more".  Maybe they believe that a good number of craft beer drinkers prefer to buy 22 ounce bombers and love the variety that they afford.  Hmmm... I didn't see that coming.  I'm not sure if I've proven my point, disproved it, or made an entirely new point all together.  Perhaps this is a good place to leave off and let you come to your own conclusions.  Now I really feel like an Idiot!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Become a professional brewer!

Have you every wanted to brew your own beer?  Are you a homebrewer looking to take your brewing to a professional level?  Perhaps you've considered it in the past, but didn't want to travel or relocate to a place that offers the schooling you would need.  Procrastinate no longer, for UCSD Extension is bringing the training you need here, to America's most beercentric city!  West Coaster did a nice writeup on it here.  Go here to sign up for a free informational session about the program.  The first of 3 scheduled sessions is already full, so sign up early.  Let's get brewing!

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Brewery Project map

With over 40 brewery visits under The Brewery Project's belt and plenty more to come, I'm hard at work on an interactive map to chronicle said visits.  I post this both as a teaser, and as self-motivation to complete the new project.  I will post the map when it's finished, although, like The Brewery Project itself, it will never truly be "finished".

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Brewery Project: Poor House


I've been to large, lavish breweries that were kept so immaculately spotless that you could practically sip beer off the brewing floor.  I've been to breweries the size of a postage stamp, with a tasting room big enough for just a handful of people and the brewing area not much bigger.  Now, I've been to Poor House Brewing Co.  The very definition of a "dive bar", this is a hole in the wall that you would miss just driving by.  That could be due, in part, to the small chalkboard sign over the door, the only permanent signage they have.  I initially wondered why the name wasn't Pour House, but it all became evident as I walked inside.  The already small room loses half of its space to a pool table brightly lit by a novelty Bud Dry light hanging above, leaving just a few barstools around the bar to quaff your beer from.  Decorations are sparse, with customer decorated dollar bills lining the wall behind the bar.  A Firehouse Brewing Co. t-shirt hangs from the ceiling in memoriam of the defunct brewery, a previous venture by founder Chris Finch who wasn't ready to give up on his brewing dream.  Proper glassware will enhance a beer-drinking experience, as will proper surroundings.  I had a hard time enjoying my beer in the "poor" surroundings.  That being said, both beers I had were actually pretty good.  Santa's Panty Dropper Ale, weighing in at 18.5% alcohol, consumed in larger amounts than the 2 ounce pour they offer, could do just that!  It tasted like liquid hard candy, if that makes any sense.  The Hopportunist Double IPA, a 9.2% alcohol brew served in a Ball canning jar was fine, but lacking.  Perhaps it was lacking the proper glass.  Perhaps it was lacking the proper surroundings.  I don't know.  I liked their beer enough to try it again.  Somewhere else.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Provisions, reborn

The following was announced today.

"Known for showcasing the finest in craft beer, haven collective, owners of Haven Gastropub in Old Towne Orange, has announced that it will keep the spirit of The Bruery Provisions alive with the opening of Provisions next month (143 N. Glassell Street, Orange).  The tasting room, bottle shop and specialty market, once owned by OC-based The Bruery, closed earlier this month after more than two years of business, and has been placed in the caring hands of the haven collective team.  Provisions, as it will now be called, will continue to operate as a space where guests will be able to enjoy great craft beer and craft eats.

“The Bruery Founder Patrick Rue and his team are friends of ours – they came and strengthened our confidence in the future of craft beer in Orange County when they opened Provisions shortly after we opened Haven Gastropub,” commented Wil Dee, Beverage Director of Haven Gastropub, and Partner in haven collective, alongside Chef Greg Daniels and Ace Patel.  “Provisions is about community and togetherness – it’s about sharing a great appreciation for beer; and we want to help carry on the vision that was started a few years ago.”

Provisions will continue to feature craft beers on tap with a rotating tap list that will complement those of its neighboring Haven Gastropub, and will feature a deeper selection of wine, for both in-house consumption and retail purchase.  Executive Chef Greg Daniels will oversee the culinary aspect of the operation, with emphasis on great cheeses, charcuterie, fresh breads, deli sandwiches and an expanded prepared food selection.

“The goal is to create a true ‘provisions’ location, where anyone can walk in and pick up a few items needed to create a proper meal,” explained Chef Daniels, who oversees the kitchen at Haven Gastropub in Orange.  “There will be a few more surprises to look forward to – we hope to make the most of this great space.”

Opening date and hours for Provisions have not been determined at this time.  Please direct all media inquiries for any haven collective brands to Mona Shah-Anderson at mona@havencollective.com.

ABOUT HAVEN COLLECTIVE
Partners Greg Daniels, Wil Dee and Ace Patel formed haven collective in 2009, when they opened the doors to their first restaurant, Haven Gastropub, in the heart of Historic Old Towne Orange.  In early 2011, they opened their second eatery, taco asylum, at The CAMP in Costa Mesa.  Later that same year, they opened their third restaurant, Haven Gastropub +Brewery in Old Pasadena, and more than a year later, they come full circle to open Provisions, a tasting room and specialty market in Old Towne Orange.

Find more information on haven collective’s Haven Gastropub restaurants at www.havengastropub.com and on taco asylum at www.tacoasylum.com."

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Cap'n Porter?

Ballast Point is is featuring a special cask at both locations tomorrow.  Check out the humorous and intriguing announcement below.

"The hits just keep on coming.  People are asking and we are happy to be able to oblige.  Both breweries will tap CASKs of Victory at Cereal tomorrow.  That's a cask of Victory at Sea with Cap'n Crunch and primed with lactose.  No, there are no crunchberries because that would be silly and we are very serious.  Put on a stern face then try not to smile as you sample a beer that is truly one of a kind."

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Coronado growler fill special

Coronado Brewing Co. posted the following on Facebook today with regard to their new Knoxville facility.

"$7 (64oz) growler fills @ the tasting room M-F till the end of February. Come fill up and check us out! (Core Beers Only: Gold, Orange, Red, Islander, Coffee Stout)"

Head on over to check out the new digs and take advantage of this great special!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Awesome age verification page!

Many beer websites are equipped with an age verification page, designed to filter out those who are not of legal drinking age.  Some are a bit tedious, asking you to fill out a form or select your age from drop-down menus.  Others simply ask you to click a box that states that you are over the age of 21.  They can be annoying, but are a legal necessity.  Lagunitas Brewing Co. decided to have a bit of fun with theirs, which includes the following welcome message.

"Welcome to the Lagunitas Brewing Company...

It's not important for us to know exactly how you arrived here, but it is important for both of us to acknowledge that you ARE here... Acceptance is always the first step.

Many souls have arrived here at the end of arduous and sometimes difficult journeys and we want you to know that you are welcomed and that we will always be here for you. Your complimentary blanket and bowl of soup will be along in a moment.

So, it is in a genuine spirit of mindful compassion that we will share this time. You are good, you are beautiful, and you are a sentient being on the planet Earth. You may or you may not have lint in your navel.

Therefore make peace with your God, whatever you conceive him to be; Cosmic Muffin or Hairy Thunderer, and take solace in the knowledge that your dog is finally getting enough bacon.

Namaste."

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Brewery Project: Automatic


Ranking a spot on Draft Magazine's list of America’s 100 best beer bars 3 years in a row, it's no secret that Blind Lady Ale House (BLAH, as it is affectionately known) sports great food and a killer beer lineup.  What may be a lesser known fact, at least to the casual patron, is that it is also home to Automatic Brewing Co., brewing quite literally in and around the building.  Even so, their beers are not always present on the beer board, so when I saw they had a brew currently on tap I knew it was time for another visit.  The beer in question was Blacktagon Black Ale.  As dark as this beer poured I was a bit hesitant, as I'm not a huge fan of dark, roasty brews.  My fears were quelled with my first sip.  The bitterness I was expecting was not present.  It was a smooth, balanced, and very drinkable beer made with a black wheat malt called Midnight Wheat.  With only 5.5% alcohol, I could have had several of these and been quite happy.  I liked this beer very much, even though it was out of my usual comfort zone, and look forward to having it again.  In fact, I'm anxious to try more of their beers as they become available.  Great beer and a great place to enjoy it.  I'm in!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Thursday, January 17, 2013

America's 100 best beer bars: 2013

It's time, once again, to live vicariously through Draft Magazine's tantalizing list of the most beercentric joints this country has to offer.  San Diego boasts 7 entries this year, and sadly I have only been to 3 of them!  It looks like I've got some work to do!  Check out the list here to see how many of your favorite spots made the cut.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Thanks, Jim, for the kind words!

Cyberspace can be a very dark, lonely place.  Words, thoughts, and ideas are put out there for any and all to see, hear, and react to.  Seeing and hearing is one thing, reacting to is another.  I put out words, thoughts, and ideas which I know are seen and heard.  Unless they are reacted to I just don't know how they are received.  That's the interaction.  That's the communication.  That's what truly matters.  Jim, a friend of mine who I see much more rarely than I would like, reached out the other day to let me know how much he enjoys my beer ramblings and that he knows others do as well.  That meant a lot.  Thanks, Jim!  I do my best to keep myself and others up to date, in step with, and excited about all things craft beer.  A kind word goes a long way.  Let's interact.  Let's communicate.  Let's all play our part in exploring, expanding, and enjoying our passion, shedding a light on an otherwise dark and lonely place.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Snap to it!

West Coaster is looking for your "California Craft Beer" themed photos for its upcoming Photo Issue.  Hurry though, because the extended deadline for submissions is this Friday, January 18th at 5:00pm.  Get the details here, and get snapping!

Monday, January 14, 2013

San Diego Brew Project

I have heard mention of this a couple times recently, including a Facebook post from West Coaster today.

"The San Diego Brew Project is a bar dedicated to creating more growth and exposure for local, San Diego breweries.

Relax in our tasting room while enjoying the San Diego skyline.

Our 28 taps and beer bottle selection will pour only locally brewed, San Diego craft beer.

It is a collaboration with, and located within, the beautiful wine bar, 57 Degrees (scheduled opening- Jan, 2013)."

You can keep an eye on their progress here, and I'll post when I hear more.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Brewery Project: New English


A true destination spot, New English Brewing Co. is tucked snugly into a sprawling Sorrento Valley industrial park.  Owner-brewer Simon Lacey was happy to serve up his brews and cheery banter on this, my first visit to his new facility, now a year old.  Not too familiar with the beers, I decided to start with a taster flight consisting of Why ? Not American Wheat Ale, Bees Knees Honey Wheat Ale, Troopers Tipple IPA, and Explorer ESB.  Although they were all good, the standout for me was Bees Knees.  The honey really rounded out the beer making it smooth and extremely drinkable.  Unfortunately, this is not a regular release and is not on the brewing schedule again in the immediate future.  I also sampled Big Sting Rye Honey Ale, a big, 10.5% beer that lives up to its name.  Boozy yet smooth, it too was well rounded by the addition of honey.  I enjoyed the beer, Simon's hospitality, and the general camaraderie of the other patrons.  Although not on my regular travel route, I will be finding my way back to this brewery again in the future.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Stone takes over URGE American Gastropub

I had to share the following photo and Facebook post from Stone Brewing Co.

"This is happening right now!  49 specialty Stone beers - Vertical Epic Ales, Anniversary Ales, barrel-aged beers, pepper beers, cask beer, Arrogant Bastard Ales.  This just may be the largest selection of Stone specialties ever offered outside Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens.  If you're in the vicinity, be sure to get over to URGE American Gastropub!"


Well, what are you waiting for?  You know what to do!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Meet Imbibe's Beer Person of the Year

San Diego's very own Mr. Scot Blair!  Scroll about halfway down this page for highlights, or pick up the January/February 2013 issue for the full spread.  Congratulations, Scot, keep up the hard work!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

700

700.  Why?  Why not?!?  I love beer!  I like to share my love of beer.  If I can reach just one person with some special insight, idea, preview, photo, news, laugh, answer, question, quip, quote, tip, thought, tidbit, or randomness each day, then I've done my job.  We learn from each other.  Let's share.  Share the love.  Share the knowledge.  Share the beer.  700 posts.  700 chances to share.  700 chances to learn.  700 chances to connect.  700.

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Bruery Announcement

The Bruery made the following announcement today.

"We at The Bruery regret to announce that we will be closing our retail shop & tasting area in Old Towne Orange, The Bruery Provisions, on Sunday, January 13th.  Provisions has been an important part of our company, spawned by our passion for craft beer and the opportunity to introduce others to it.  Our decision to shut the doors did not come easy.  However, after examining our growing business, increased production capacity, barrel aging efforts, enhanced Tasting Room, and growing membership societies, it became apparent Provisions is not the best use of our limited resources.  We believe that this change will help us focus our efforts on brewing and distributing the best and most creative beer we can possibly brew and provide our customers with the best craft beer experience they can find.  We encourage you to read some words on the closing from The Bruery’s Founder & CEO, Patrick Rue at http://www.thebruery.com/farewellprovisions.

Between Thursday, 1/10, and Sunday, 1/13, our entire stock of craft beers, wines, cheeses, charcuterie and other artisanal products will be on sale for 30% off.  Beer from The Bruery will not be included in this sale and will continue to be available at our Tasting Room located next door to our production facility in Placentia as well as at many fine establishments around Southern California and beyond.  The tasting area and patio of Provisions will be closed starting Today.

Please visit http://www.thebruery.com, http://www.brueryprovisions.com for further details."

As sad as this announcement is, hopefully the move will meet their desired expectations and make an already great brewery even better.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Brewery Project: Coronado Brewing Co. Knoxville facility


I always leave a brewery with an impression, whether it be positive or negative.  Most of the time it's positive, but there are times when my experience is less than stellar.  Then there are times, rare times, that I just can't keep a smile off my face when I leave the brewery.  Everything aligned, from the product to the people, to create an awesome experience.  My visit to the newly opened Coronado Brewing Co. Knoxville facility was just such a time.  I've been anxiously awaiting the opening since posting this last August.  The unadvertised opening of the large production facility was kept fairly quiet, and so was the brewery at the time of my visit.  With a spacious tasting area directly connected to the brewing floor, it's the perfect place to sip on your favorite brew while watching all the action take place.  There are also a couple of flat panels hanging above the bar to add further entertainment.  I treated myself to a couple new beers.  Holly-Daze, a 7.8% Holiday/Winter Ale was warming, spicy, and delicious.  Hibiscus IPA, their collaboration with Maui Brewing Co. benefiting Beer 4 Boobs, bears a beautiful pink hue in support of breast cancer awareness.  Floral from the addition of hibiscus flowers, yet hoppy from the Centennial, Chinook, and Nugget hops, this was a very drinkable, refreshing, and delightful brew.  With beers like these and this beautiful new space to enjoy them in, I can't imagine ever having a bad time hanging out here.  Word will spread, people will come, and good times will be had by all.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Blue Moon is craft beer, right?

Learn the facts about your brew!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Albertsons, redeemed!

I posted here about my frustrating attempt to purchase a single 12 ounce beer at Albertsons and being told I could only purchase the single beers they feature in mix-and-match six-pack form for $8.99.  My visit to the Chula Vista store tonight redeemed them in my eyes.  Scanning the 12 ounce singles I noticed Dogfish Head 90 Minute Imperial IPA among the bottles.  They sell the standard four-pack of this great beer for $11.99.  I was able to fill up my own six-pack of the brew for $8.99, essentially getting it for half-price!  Getting this kind of deal, I can no longer find fault with their policies, and will be searching their selection much more often.  Redemption never tasted so good!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Kudos to SeaWorld, sort of

Imagine my enthusiasm walking into Seaport Marketplace at SeaWorld San Diego, the old home of the Anheuser-Busch Hospitality Center, and finding local favorites on tap from Karl Strauss, Stone, AleSmith, and even Julian Hard Cider!  Taps that once dispensed mass-produced macros such as Budweiser and Michelob now house offerings from some of San Diego's finest craft breweries.  So, what's the problem?  The cost!  I realize that amusement park prices are always going to be higher than the usual markup, but $9.99 for a local craft beer seems excessive even by those standards.  These beers are being produced just miles from the park, not imported from halfway around the world!  They still sell InBev products for $6.99, but hoist the price up another $3 for decent beer.  I find fault with this.  I love seeing local brews represented in the park, but the price has got to come down to a reasonable level.  They made a good move by bringing in local beer, now they just need to bring the price down where it belongs.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Hoppy New Beers!

What new breweries, beers, and events are you looking forward to in 2013?