Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Maryland, Here I Come Again!

This Saturday the 21st I will be departing to Maryland to visit my friend The Baltimore Beer Guy, as we will be doing some heavy beering for a full week until I leave on Sunday the 29th. Last year's trip was a bit shorter but absolutely awesome, as we hit Baltimore city, all the surrounding suburbs and their awesome beer scene, and D.C. This year we have a trip to Philly planned, a roadie into Delaware to visit Evolution Brewing Company (who makes arguably the best IPA in the region, even this West Coaster was impressed last time) and Dogfish Head.

Aside from those short roadies, I'm most looking forward to re-experiencing the local Maryland beer scene in the suburbs outside Baltimore. If you're not from Maryland or don't know anyone from Maryland you would have no idea the quantity and quality of pubs and bars that focus on good beer. Outside some of the big hitters like Max's Taphouse, there are many smaller places that carry nice assortments of beers I can't get in CA, especially local fare like Flying Dog and Heavy Seas.

The beers I'm going to look most forward to hunting down are those from the small outfit known as Stillwater Artisan Ales. Each of the offerings I've had from them has been very good to stellar.

I will try to post some random updates here and there on this blog, and definitely on my twitter (@ssage) as usual.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

HOtD Blue Dot DIPA on tap in SD

Been waiting for this for a looong time! (BLAH)
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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

This is amazing!

PtY on tap and this is what the ToroandoSD looks like. Classic! I'm drinking an Alpine Hoppy BDay after 2 glasses of younger.
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Santa Rosa Recovery, Photo Dump

Some selected crappy blackberry shots from the Pliny the Younger trip.


A nice sunny day at the Pub the morning of the PtY release.

Obviously busy but perfectly controlled

The waiters....

The line outside RR on the first day. This was around 2-3pm.

Moonlight at the Flavor Bistro post-Younger

Hopmonk Tavern. Had a hard time finishing my Kellerbier. Hit the wall that day.

Finnegan's Irish Pub in Novato. Really cool bar where we caught the shitty Manchester United game at Saturday morning.

Moylans. This visit was much better than last considering I didn't have a wine hangover this time. Fresh Hopsickle here was one of the best beers of the trip.

Firestone taproom in Buelton on the way home to watch the Super Bowl.

Union Jack

Santa Barbara, the last leg home.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Day 3 Santa Rosa Road Trip

We drove down south and hopped (literally) our way back up from Novato up to Healdsburg. Watching the Man United game at a really cool Irish pub in Novato was both nice and disappointing (the result), but Moylan's tasted much better to me this time than it did when I went there last a couple years ago (I had a bad wine hangover that day). Hopsickle was so fresh and delicious. Next stop was the Lagunitas taproom which was pretty big. There were at least 100 people there, mostly on the outer "beer garden" area. Good beers, and the Hop Stoopid tasted more like weed than even Alpine Nelson IPA does. Next stop up the 101 was Bear Republic where we had a pint and hit a minor wall. I had their Nor Cal bitter which was meh. We mellowed out for a couple hours after that before heading back to the RR brewpub for the final time. The last night is always the best and this was no exception. When we got to the pub at 9:30 or so there was a still a line of about 15 people waiting for entrance... amazingly PtY was still pouring. After a short wait we went in and enjoyed a few beers, Kev going with Younger and Elder and myself going with Compunctions and Elder. Met some interesting people in that pub this weekend, good times. Time to hit the road and head back down South. Will be posting pictures soon.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Lagunitas Taproom

The taproom at Lagunitas is new to us... Last time we were up here we tried to get a tour but were too early... The whole taproom and patio is really cool. Excellent chili and a wide arrangement of brews. Liked the gift shop too!
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Hopsickle straight from the source. Also hit Finnegan's pub in downtown Novato... Really cool irish pub.
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Friday, February 4, 2011

Day 2 Santa Rosa Road Trip

We hit downtown Santa Rosa at 9:15 this morning to find a small crowd of about 10 people waiting outside the brewpub (they open at 11). It was a bit chilly but with clear skies... kinda like the Rose Bowl on Jan 1. The sun was out and eventually in the pub we didn't need jackets. Perfect weather for PtY release. We got in line around 9:30 and they strapped everyone in line with wristbands so no cutting was allowed. They actually started letting people in the pub around 10:30 which was awesome. It wasn't a mad rush, they seated groups one by one. We got a bar table and started ordering our Youngers and beer buddies. After about 3 hours of drinking in the pub we headed out and went to Flavor Bistro for a quick moonlight brew and a cheese plate. After that it was off to Hopmonk Tavern in Sebastapol where we finally hit the wall. It was tough to take down a 20 oz of the Hopmonk Kellerbier and a plate of fish and chips so after that it was back to the hotel for a bit of relaxation. In a little bit we will head back over to Russian River for some more pints.. Younger will be long gone for today, so maybe some Compunction? So many choices......... :)

Finally, Pliny the Younger

PtY at a packed pub in Santa Rosa. Huge line outside. They let us in at 10:30 instead of 11. Can't ask for a better day.
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Day 1 of Santa Rosa Pliny the Younger Road Trip

We made it to SF (~400) miles in about 6 hours and 1/2 tank of gas (hybrids are pretty cool I guess). Saw a license plate that said "JD Bode" on it... perhaps the spirit of the Booze Reviews crew is with us. We scored a parking spot right across the street from Toronado and had a couple pints there. Reality Czeck tasted great, and my 2nd beer was even better. It was actually the Moonlight Twist of Fate bitter that I had on hand pump, not Bombay by Boat (which is the IPA... Kev had that one). Twist of Fate on hand pump was really juicy and very easy to drink. Only being fueled by my little sister's brownies up to this point we headed over to 21st Amendment brewpub (should have gotten a sausage from Rosamund's or whatever it's called). Had the 21A Brew Free or Die IPA which I didn't like that much before and still don't prefer much. After that stop it was to our usual Friday night pre-USC NorCal weekender game spot, the Buena Vista irish pub for their awesome Irish Coffees. We ended the night at Russian River brewpub... the calm before the storm you could say. It is going to be a madhouse today and they were starting to brace for it. They said 200 people would be let in initially so if you're not in that batch it'll probably be a while before you get in. The question is, will the PtY allotment for today last beyond those first 200 people?? Since they open at 11, Kev and I are going to see what the crowd is like around 9... I'm guessing it'll be down the street even though PtY is going to be on tap for 2 weeks. Dammit, I told myself I would never wait in lines like this for beer again.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Russian River Sanctification

Its super sour again! Thank you!
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Buena Vista irish coffee

Its been 4 years since I've had one of these!! Way to long
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