Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Clipper City Heavy Seas Winter Storm "Category 5" Ale

Didn't know much about the Clipper City brewery out of Baltimore, Maryland, until a fellow trader threw in this Winter seasonal, Heavy Seas Winter Storm "Category 5" Ale, as an extra. The brewery classifies it as an Imperial ESB and this is the only beer of that kind I've ever seen.

The aroma starts very similar to Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, with piny and earthy hops coming through pretty big, but there's also a combo of lots of pale and caramel malt behind it. The taste starts off with a hop blast but then fades into a caramel sweetness (or maybe melanoidin since it's reminiscent of that oktoberfest sweetness) . As I drink it more and more I get a lot more of the malt making this a really tasty winter-warmer type of beer at 7.5% ABV. I'd have to say this was probably one of the most "drinkable" beers I've had in a while. I could see myself ponying up to a bar and having a few of these throughout the night and enjoying it immensely. 4.35 / A

Monday, January 28, 2008

Robust Porter Homebrew

I got into homebrewing a couple years ago but it's been about 1 1/2 years since my last batch, and since my buddy Steve wanted to learn how to do it we decided to get one going. Inspired by great sweet, chocolaty, and semi-roasty porters like Deschutes Black Butte and Sam Adams Holiday Porter, I wanted to see if I could create something anywhere near these.

I searched through a couple of my homebrew books and for recipes online to get a general sense of the ingredients and amounts that go into a porter, and I concocted this recipe...

Malt Bill (for 5 gallon batch)

  • 8.0 lbs Pale Liquid Malt Extract
  • 8 oz American Crystal 60L
  • 8 oz American Crystal 120L
  • 10 oz American Chocolate
  • 3 oz American Black Patent
  • 3 oz American Roasted Barley
Hop Bill
  • 0.75 oz Challenger (AA% 7.0) @ 60 min
  • 0.50 oz Willamette (AA % 3.9) @ 15 min
I'm trying to hit an ABV of ~ 5.0 - 5.5%. I'm using Wyeast London Ale yeast and during primary fermentation that bug was throwing off so many esters I couldn't believe it. It was actually making my room smell like banana. We just racked to secondary today and it smelled really good. I have a phobia of drinking yeast in such concentrated form, but my friend Steve siphoned himself a glass of highly unfiltered brew and seemed to like the product. My dad (not a craft beer drinker) described it as tasting like chocolate milk, which to me is a good sign coming from him, so hopefully I'm on to something here and get somewhere close to a nice chocolaty porter out of this.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Bell's Hopslam - Not Your Average Double IPA

I'm a big fan of good beer art, and I gotta say two of the best labels I've seen have come in the last week. First it was Troegs Nugget Nectar, and today it's Bell's Hopslam. With a name like "Hopslam" and a picture of a dude (I presume) just getting annihilated by the world's biggest hop cone, this 10% ABV double IPA better deliver some serious hops. The good news is this was also just specially released this January (just like the Nugget) from Bell's, located in Kalamazoo, Michigan, so I know I'm getting it at it's best. And I know I've mentioned before but I have disliked a fair share of the double IPA's I've tried. It's something about the syrupy sweet mouthfeel that turns me off. But what keeps me going is I know there are great double IPA's out there (Pliny the Elder, Ruination, Hop Wallop, Pure Hoppiness for example) and the only way to keep finding new great ones is to keep trying.

It looks pretty hazy poured cold in the picture, but clarifies a bit as it warms up. That's actually a good sign, since I'm sure this beer was dry hopped and then some, and that tends to cause haze. Upon taking a whiff you get a really intense citrus aroma. It's a little different than a lot of the other IPA's you would call citrusy. This one has that resiny sort of feel. Now usually my brain only wants to associate the word "resiny" with some of the piny hop varieties. So anyway, that was something a bit different with this beer. What kind of citrus you might be asking? Well grapefruit of course, and I can pick up some orange peel as well. The taste is an extension of this, especially with the grapefruit. The bitterness is pretty high. It's not that high-alpha-acid bitterness most beers attack you with. No, this is a more like citrus bitter, like sucking on orange or grapefruit rind. And the bitterness is sticky too. It assaults your mouth long after the liquid has descended into the stomach. So while I don't feel as "hopslammed" as the guy on the label, it's a pretty big and tasty double IPA, definitely deserving of it's reputation. 4.3 / A.

Belgian Style - New and Old - Jolly Pumpkin and St. Bernardus

Onto my third Jolly Pumpkin beer in the last month or so. This one is named Luciérnaga, The Firefly. It is a Belgian Pale Ale brewed with coriander and grains of paradise, and of course, aged in wood barrels. The foam threatens to take over your kitchen if you're not careful while pouring, but if you are gives a nice smooth rocky head. The smell is a little fruity, a little funky, and as it warms up gives off some banana. The taste is earthy, slightly tart, and has this unique old wood sort of taste to it that is common to all the JP brews that I've had. An interesting Belgian pale ale, and pretty good. 4.2 / A-.

I can't say I've had the original St. Bernardus Witbier before, so I can't compare this specially released Pierre Celis Signature St. Bernardus Wit to it, but it stands alone as pretty great by itself. It pours a beautiful pale pale gold with a light, airy, webby head. The smell is mainly tart wheat and the taste has a lot of that too. In addition I can taste a lot of lemon with moderate acidity. As far as thirst quenching goes, I'm not sure how a witbier can get any better than this. 4.75 / A+.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Strike Up Another Perfect 5 - This Time For Nugget Nectar

Last year I heard a lot about a seasonally released beer called Nugget Nectar from Tröegs Brewing Company in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. I didn't really have the motivation to pursue it then but this time around I decided to take the plunge, and a fellow Beer Advocate from NJ helped me out with a 6-pack. It's released towards the beginning of each year, so thankfully I was able to get this super fresh (this particular one was bottled 1/11/08).

Nugget Nectar is defined as an Imperial Amber Ale by the folks at Tröegs, containing 7.5% ABV, 93 IBU's, and a combo of Nugget, Warrior, Tomahawk, Simcoe, and Palisade hops (5 hops per their website, but only 3 are listed in the description on the bottle). The bear pours a really crystal clear light orange (my picture makes it look darker than it really is) and the head forms generously into a frothy top. I smelled the cap before anything else and knew I was in for a hoppy treat. Upon inspection of the aroma, if your mouth doesn't immediately start to water then hops aren't your thing. Nugget smells piny and citrusy- pretty much what a million other IPA's can be described as right? Well, one thing that sets it apart is the balance of those aromas and their freshness. When you get to the taste it has a front end of citrus and a back end of pine. Again, the resiny hops that come through just taste so amazingly fresh and crisp. Being an Imperial Amber you would think the body is pretty beefed up. Not so much. This is one of the lighter bodied IPA's (or anything hoppy for that matter) that I've had, and it's perfect like that. It has a bit of a sweet malt background but nothing out the ordinary. The mouthfeel is what makes it all work to me. If it had been viscous or syrupy as I might have expected a highly hopped, 7.5% Imperial Amber to be, then I would have been pretty disappointed. But the light and crisp mouthfeel rounds everything out perfectly (I haven't overused that word have I?).

For you Southern Californian's, I would liken this beer to Alpine Pure Hoppiness, though a little lighter in body. The main thing I learned from this beer is I need to get more right away, cause the 5 more I have left ain't gonna be enough. Score it a perfect 5.0 / A+ for me on BeerAdvocate.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Southern Tier Oat & Dogfish Head Chateau Jiahu

My friend Steve came over in the morning to help brew a batch and he brought a couple beers from his stash to help get us through it. The Southern Tier Oat, from the brewery located in Lakewood, NY has been making a splash recently. Originally well known for their Unearthly IPA and Jah-Va coffee stout, Southern Tier has also been a hot topic lately with their imperial stout titled Choklat (which I will review soon enough). The Oat pours a very dark, as you can see, and that head stuck around for a while. The main thing that stood out was this beer's thick, viscous body that contains 12.5% ABV. You might find yourself chewing on it, almost. The roastiness is there as it should be, but not overwhelming. The oat gives off a mild sweetness in the finish which combines with some chocolate. Pretty good flavor overall, but this beer is heavy. It got a 4.05, or A- from me on BeerAdvocate.

Next up was Dogfish Head Chateau Jiahu, a beer brewed with Wildflower honey, Muscat grapes, barley malt, hawthorn fruit, and Chrysanthemum flowers. If you hadn't heard of it already the recipe was based off remnants of beer found in China that were about 9,000 years old. To me, this beer was very earthy and floral. A bit of fruitiness is present as well as the honey. My friend Steve said he could easily taste the grape, but I couldn't. It was light but had a smooth texture. Overall it was an interesting beer. Not one I would sip on all the time but it was alright. I graded it a 3.75, or B, on BeerAdvocate.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Saturday Fun In San Diego

Well, maybe not San Diego, but North San Diego County as in San Marcos and Escondido. We arrived down to the 10am release of The Lost Abbey Red Poppy at 9:30 to a much bigger line than we experienced at the Angel's Share or Older Viscosity release. With a half hour to go until the doors open we were about #60 in line and when the doors opened at 10 there were plenty of people behind us. As usual the whole process was flowing nicely, and making it easier is the fact that they (mostly Beer Molly) serve you beer while standing in line. We all had tasters of Red Poppy and some pints of Old Viscosity and Red Barn.

We got our bottles by ~11am and took off relatively fast to get to Stone and do a tour. While waiting for that to start we sat at the bar and had some beers. I went with the Ballast Point Victory At Sea Imperial Coffee Porter. Now I've had a few beers who's coffee character is big, namely Kona Pipeline Porter and Founders Breakfast Stout, or hell even Alesmith Speedway Stout, but this beer trumped all of those in the coffee category. In both aroma and taste this was just like dark, cold, roasted coffee. And it was amazing.

After the tour we went to Churchill's for lunch. They had a pretty good rotating tap lineup of Pliny the Elder, Alesmith Speedway Stout, and Alpine Duet IPA, among others. I had a pint of the Alpine Duet. This IPA is ALL citrus. There's not much bitterness to it either as they really go for a juicy citrus punch, and it's very tasty.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Elysian The Immortal IPA

The last time I had a beer made in Washington had to have been a few weeks ago drinking Redhook Winterhook out of a bottle at a friend's birthday party. Before that it was nearly 3 years ago when I had my first and last Redhook ESB. That sums up the experience I have with Washington craft beer. That was until I was given a great tip by a group from Oregon and Washington who I met at Port Brewing a few weeks ago. They told me to seek out Elysian Brewing Company if I'm ever up there. Why wait? I set up a trade for Elysian's main lineup of four beers and now I'm ready to see what Washington is all about (other than rain).

The Immortal IPA
pours a clear dark brownish orange with a pretty dense and fluffy head that initially is hard for form, but when it does looks beautiful. It doesn't recede too fast either, it sticks around as a frothy finger thick cap. The smell at first is pretty citrusy, but you can pick up pine in the aroma as well. In the taste I get the opposite- lots of pine. After a few sips the citrus starts to come out and gives you a really nice juicy citrus beginning to each sip (I get orange peel), followed by piny hops. The hop flavor of this is strong, exactly the way an IPA should be. It isn't one dimensional though, it's built on a pretty generous body, almost reminding me of Surly Furious. It seems to come across mostly toasty, but not so strong as to overshadow much of the hoppy goodness. This was a great introduction into Washington beer, and I have high hopes for the ESB, Porter, and Stout that remain in my Elysian lineup. The Immortal IPA gets a 4.3, or a BeerAdvocate grade of A from me.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Port Brewing Old Viscosity

While watching my DVD of Three Sheets season 1, the Ireland episode with all the Guinness they were drinking made me thirsty for something rich and dark. I don't have any Guinness at home but thankfully I have something better, albeit a bit different. That would be a Port Brewing Old Viscosity. Surprisingly (at least to myself), I've never had more than a taster of this, though I've had its big brother Older Viscosity that I loved and then some.

I don't know if I can completely do this beer justice in a review. It's got a lot going on for it. If you weren't aware, this beer is actually a blend of both bourbon barrel aged Old Viscosity and non-barrel aged Old Viscosity. What I get from it is a sweet cocoa like aroma along with some roasted malts. The taste has a nice rich chocolate, those roasted malts, and a good amount of alcohol that is visible to my taste buds. As far as bourbon or oak character, I can't really detect much, though if I lined up an Older Viscosity next to it I could sure tell you which one was more bourbon-like (hint: Older Viscosity of course). Old Viscosity just rolls over the tongue, nice and slick. I can't think of a whole lot of better alternatives for someone who is in the mood for something strong, roasty, and rich.
It got a 4.2 on BA from me, or an A-. Goodnight now.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Cranberry Lamic, Black Butte, and Elysian

Got home from class today and figured that I'm about over most of my cold so I reached for a cold one as I opened my notes to study for a quiz tomorrow. I've heard the Sam Adams Cranberry Lambic referred to as "cough-syrup-like" so thought what better to combat my nasty cough still lingering. I went into this brew with very low expectations, realizing that it's the butt of most Sam Adams jokes among the beer geek internet forums. Well, at least now I can be the judge of that. It looks pretty nice on the pour, a clear light orange body with a light, airy, pillowy head. That's just about where anything good about the beer walks out the door. The aroma is reminiscent of Sam Adams Light, although I could pick up a faint tartness after really trying hard. The taste wasn't so good either. It hits the tongue with a very low tartness and then tastes like nothing the rest of the sip until a dryness sets in the tongue when it's over (I assume from the cranberry). Maybe nobody takes it as a serious lambic, but even as a cranberry fruit beer this one falls ridiculously short. I could see the trendy, uninformed female population drinking this though so...

I've been waiting for like a week to finally have another beer so I couldn't leave it on that note. A little Deschutes Black Butte porter for the soul...

And then I was pleasantly surprised by a package showing up today. I had set up a trade with a fellow BA who lives in Washington. Two weeks ago when I was at Port Brewing I ran into some chaps (heh, that's a funny word, I think I'll start using that more often) from the northwest who said if I was ever in Washington I needed to go to Elysian Brewing Company. Since I likely won't be there any time soon I decided to set up a trade for their main lineup which consists of an ESB, IPA, Porter, and Stout. I was also able to finally get a Deschutes 19th Anniversary Golden Ale I've been wanting to try for a while. I plan on sampling all of these real soon.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Beer Events and Stuff

The next couple weeks should be filled with some very nice opportunities to have great beer. On Saturday, January 19th, The Lost Abbey is releasing its Flanders-style red ale Red Poppy. I will be down there standing in line before 10am to buy the 4 bottles they are allotting each person who gets there in time. I've said it before but Red Poppy was my favorite beer amongst all the great beers tasted at the Lost Abbey First Annual Barrel Tasting.

The following Saturday and Sunday, January 26th/27th, is the start of a 2-day grand opening party for the recently relocated Liars' Club, now in Alpine. The tap list blows away anything I've ever seen before with some of these special treats on tap- Russian River Toronado 20th, Pliny the Elder, Blind Pig, Damnation; Pizza Port Carlsbad AtTENuation; Alpine Duet, Pure and Exponential Hoppiness; La Folie; as well as stuff from Alesmith, Green Flash, Allagash, Craftsman, Moonlight, Rubicon, Ballast Point and others.

Also on Sunday the 27th starts the Stone Winter Storm, an event in which all 30-something taps will be filled by Stone beers alone. If last year was any indication we'll be seeing most, if not all, of the Vertical Epic's, many of the Anniversary ales, and many vintages of certain beers (last year I think they had Stone IRS back to '02 or so). There will also be a bunch of the standard beers with altered hops or hopping processes (ie Double Dry Hopped Stone IPA, or Stone IPA with "X" hops). This event runs though Saturday, February 2nd.

That gives us a good 2 week break before the next big event which thankfully happens to be a bit closer to home. I'm talking about Lucky Baldwin's 9th Belgian Beer Festival taking place from February 16th to March 2nd. It will be at both the Pasadena and Sierra Madre locations.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Some Rankings - Part 2 - Strong Ales

The main point of these "ranking" posts I've started is to take up some space while I take a very very short pause in beer tasting while having another cold virus. The other intention is to give props to some of my favorite things in the beer world and those who make them possible.

Top 5 Beers Over 10% ABV I've Had

1. Stone Imperial Russian Stout (2004 vintage tasted in 2007), 10.8%: In the last year I have been able to try 3 vintages of Stone IRS, the 2004, 2005, and 2006. I still haven't gotten around to my 2007 bottles yet unfortunately. When I had the 2004 version this last December it had about 3 1/2 years worth of age and man was it tasty. The '05 and '06 were great too but that '04 had to have been at it's peak. Dark chocolate and a subdued roasty malt, with no trace of an alcohol burn. Rich and tasty.

2. Port Brewing Older Viscosity (December 2007 vintage), 12.0%: This was poured from the tap at The Lost Abbey itself on release day. This missed out on #1 by the thinnest of hairs. The potency of this brew is front and center. The bourbon is meant to be there, and it is. Rich chocolate is there too, and although there's no way this beer is as relatively "quaffable" as the Stone IRS, it is to be savored.

3. The Lost Abbey Cuvee de Tomme (May 2007 release), 12.0%: The harmony between oak, sour cherry, and alcohol was amazing, and way beyond my expectations. Another sipper, though not too many beers >10% wouldn't be.

4. Russian River Toronado 20th Anniversary Ale (released August 2007), 9.93%, 10%, 10.43%???: Ok so when I had this beer on tap at the Russian River brewpub this last Summer the chalkboard said 9.93%, the website said 10%, and the bottle said 10.43%. I'll just round up in this case. Thank God I got around to trying Russian River's sour beers a few weeks before I went up there, otherwise I might not have understood this amazing blend of their barrel aged wild ales. I thought Supplication was very good, but the acidity really got to me. This beer seemed very similar to Supplication but with a toned down acidity and a slightly beefed up body. It was still tart enough to satisfy your wild ale cravings.

5. Alesmith Horny Devil 11% (bottle): I love the 'Belgian Strong Pale Ale' style and this has been my favorite so far. It's got a candi sugar sorta aspect to it while still carrying a lot of the Belgian yeast earthiness and fruitiness. I had it on draft once and wasn't impressed as much, so I'll probably be sticking with the bottled version from now on.

So that I don't have to do a whole post on the worst beers, I will just mention the reason Dark Lord isn't in the top 5 (hell, it's ranked in the top 5 best beers in the world) was because I hated it and would never try it again.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Some Rankings - Part 1 - Breweries

Top 5 Favorite U.S. Breweries

1a. Russian River - I've tried 12 beers from this brewery and the lowest score I've given one on BeerAdvocate is a 4.3, which is not even low enough to get into A- range! Every beer I've had from them is very good to amazing, most falling towards the latter. A couple of my absolute favorites have been lip puckering beers like the 100% brettanomyces blonde ale Sanctification, wild ales Temptation and the blended Toronado 20th Anniversary Ale, along with American style beers such as Lap Dance Pale Ale and Blind Pig IPA.

1b. Port Brewing/Lost Abbey - A wide range of beers are available from this collaboration with Port Brewing's general (but not so general) American style and The Lost Abbey's Belgian-inspired beers. Port is home to some amazing hop treats such as Wipeout IPA and Hop 15. The show stopper for Port Brewing in my opinion is Older Viscosity, the 100% bourbon barrel aged version of their strong ale Old Viscosity. The Lost Abbey provides for some very complex and tasty beers such as Cuvee de Tomme- a Quadruple turned into a barrel aged sour cherry dark ale, Red Poppy- a brown ale turned into a Flanders Style Red Ale that bursts with sour cherry flavor, and Red Barn Ale- a spicy and effervescent Saison.

3. Deschutes - Deschutes was one of the first breweries I really started feeling a sense of loyalty to when I first started my craft beer obsession. The first one to get me was Black Butte Porter, which remains to be one of my favorite beers. I then experienced the ever popular Mirror Pond Pale Ale, which will never be a bad choice, but if you want something more exciting then Inversion IPA is a great treat. They have some other great beers, but the Hop Trip fresh hop pale ale I had a couple weeks ago is to me the standard of what a fresh hop pale ale should taste like.

4. Sierra Nevada - If Deschutes was one of the first breweries I really explored with passion, then Sierra Nevada was THE first. I might be picking this more with my heart than my head due to the role they played in the early phases of my craft beer obsession. The Pale Ale is NEVER a bad choice when one is in the mood for a pale ale- I don't care how ubiquitous it is. However, when Sierra Nevada starts to experiment even more with the hops the result can be sublime. Exhibits 1, 2 and 3- Harvest Ale, Celebration Ale, and Torpedo IPA.

5. Stone - With all the debate that goes on about whether Stone's reputation is a product of their beers or a product of their crafty marketing, you can find me on the left side of the fence enjoying the beer. I'll admit that I won't go to some of their BIG beers too often. I'm talking mainly about Double Bastard along with 10th & 11th Anniversaries. On the other hand they can make delicious big beers like the Russian Imperial Stout, which is especially amazing with a little age on it. One of their more standard offerings, the Pale Ale, is one of the best you might find of the style, especially taking into account they don't bother using any Cascade hops in it. Now where else can you find a pale ale like that? The Smoked Porter is good but wait till they throw in some Vanilla Bean and then you have yourself a treat. It's quite convenient that I can cap off this little blurb about Stone and then entire blog with mention of an amazing double IPA- Ruination.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

My First Orval

It's been raining here in So. Cal so I decided to have a fire and kick back with some beer. It may seem impossible that it took me this long to get around to trying one of the classic beers of today but the main point is I finally did.

The closest thing I had to proper glassware was a Chimay glass, which looks pretty similar to the Orval glass. The head that is generated by Orval is bright white and airy- almost like whipped egg whites. The retention is pretty amazing too, though the etched bottom in the Chimay glass may have been helping that by sending constant streams of CO2 bubbles upward. The only smell I could get from it was a pretty faint wild yeast sourness. The taste was even harder to describe than the smell. Of course you get a touch of sourness and the standard earthiness probably from the Belgian yeast strain with a fairly moderate dry finish. An interesting beer and an easy drinker. I thought it deserved a 4.15, or A- on BeerAdvocate.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

BJ's Grand Cru, and a Bold Statement?

Throughout the months of January and February all BJ's will have their Grand Cru on tap, which is a Belgian Strong Pale Ale. I had my first one tonight. It was poured into a special BJ's tulip with a gold rim and a fancy "BJ's GC" logo. The beer was a very cloudy yellow. It had the appearance of a hefeweizen, and while on that subject it had a few of the same aroma and taste characteristics as well. It definitely had a strong Belgian yeast aroma and taste- lots of that musty/earthiness to it, but the taste also seemed have some clove to it. There was a bit of sweetness in there as well but overall this beer leans toward the Belgiany earthiness. I enjoyed it and plan on having a couple more glasses before they run out.

I also had a pint of one of my favorite beers, BJ's Piranha Pale Ale. I am declaring this beer "Alpha King West" because it has all that Alpha King offers that I can remember (I've had Alpha King twice). This pale ale is so juicy, pine and citrus hops that are amazingly tasty. Of course nobody would believe me that a chain brewpub like BJ's could make such great beers...

New Year's Eve & New Year's Day

New Year's Eve was pretty simple. Nothing too exciting except for a couple new beers. The first one was from that Christmas in Belgium gift pack I received, and it was the Pere Noel from Brouwerij De Ranke. This beer is a 7% ABV strong pale ale. The smell was all Belgiany, earthy and fruity, but the taste was much more American at first. This brewery actually uses its hops for a purpose! The first thing to hit the tongue was a earthy hop bite and bitterness, while the Belgian yeast character comes in more towards the end. Overall I would say it wasn't too bad... one of those worth a try sorta beers that you will probably like. The second beer was Sam Adams Cream Stout, from my Sam Adams Winter Classics pack. This beer is a sweet stout for sure, with a good mix of chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, and a lactose type sweetness. None of them dominate, but they meld into a nice mix that is tasty and easy to drink. A good stout I would drink every day and what I would call a home run by Sam Adams. That now makes two winter home runs for them along with their Holiday Porter.

I got up early New Year's Day to head to the Rose Bowl and tailgate. We got situated and started tailgating around 7:45am and for breakfast was a growler of Firestone Unfiltered Double Barrel Ale that Pat had brought back from his trip up there last weekend. I've written on the the unfiltered DB before, but I must reiterate that, although not the most complicated beer, it sure is tasty for something so smooth and easy drinking. After that was polished off in a few minutes we had a growler of Stone Smoked Porter and two growlers of Stone Ruination, which is starting to become a big game tradition to have. One weird thing I happened to pass by at the Rose Bowl was a Deschutes van. I can't say I've ever been to a college football game (and I've been to many) and seen anything promoting craft beer. Most of the time you just see huge tailgate parties thrown by Miller or something. Actually, I have to take that back because I just remembered that about 4 years ago Sam Adams was sponsoring tailgates for USCfootball.com that I always attended. But still, you don't see that in Los Angeles too often.