Sunday, November 30, 2008

Part 1 Of A Good Friday Night: Masala Mama IPA

In honor of my good friend Brian, aka The Baltimore Beer Guy, returning back to San Diego on one of his bi-(or tri)-annual trips from Maryland to California, I decided to arrange for us to be able to try what is the #1 ranked IPA on This would be the aforementioned Minneapolis Town Hall Brewing Company's Masala Mama IPA. The trader I acquired it from said that Town Hall purges their growlers with CO2 upon filling, so that's nice because this growler was filled on 11/20, got to me on 11/25, and was consumed 11/28. I like my IPA's as fresh as possible.

It was apparent this beer made the haul from Minnesota to California in good shape. It smelled and tasted really fresh. As you can see it pours a pretty clear but dark amber to brownish-orange in color with a really nice creamy head that can build up to as many fingers deep as you want. The smell is pretty pungent and the word "oil" keeps popping into my head. Probably somewhat citrusy as well. What really jumps out in the flavor is what I perceive to be a high alpha acid, somewhat harsh bitterness. There's a nice juiciness to it overall though. Pine without a doubt, but it ends with a somewhat harsh dry bitterness. I don't mind harshness in an IPA... sometimes I like a hoppy beer to hit ya hard, but this was kinda weird.

Reviewing well crafted beers is often like splitting hairs. This was a good beer. I would drink this beer a lot if it were on tap at a local establishment. But in relation to all my other favorite IPA's (Blind Pig, Stone, Alpine O'Brien's, Racer 5) it has a harshness to it that is kinda distracting. Pretty good overall though. I give it a 4.05/5, or A- on BeerAdvocate.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I Was Past Due For A Cold Virus

I had the pleasure of coming down with a cold Sunday night and have been popping Cold-eeze, Emergen-C, Sudafed, Claritin, Ibuprofen and doing the salt water gargling around the clock. I don't really feel horrible but I'm just dreading this thing moving into my chest, which will cause a lingering cough for a couple weeks. I know the minute I drink a beer my health will go downhill even more, it happens every time. The worst part is I just received a growler of Minneapolis Town Hall Masala Mama IPA, which has long been the #1 ranked IPA on BeerAdvocate, in the mail. I plan to share that with The Baltimore Beer guy, when he comes over Friday, whether I'm cold-free or not.

I've been looking forward to trying Masala Mama for a loooong time now, but as far as I've been able to tell it's only available at the brewery and then maybe on tap at some local establishments- although I'm not sure about the latter. In reading reviews, this IPA definitely gets the most compliments of any IPA in terms of "drinkability," or as I would say, ease of finishing the glass in front of you. I actually like to replace that with the term "enjoyability"... it just makes more sense to me and is a bit easier to define for each individual if you ask me. Will probably have a review up Friday night sometime.

Monday, November 24, 2008

San Diego Needs Its Own "Beer Week"

Philly started the revolution and San Francisco promptly followed with plans to host their own in February of 2009. Even Baltimore has fallen off the beer-week-wagon and has started to plan for one in the Fall of '09. After the great success that was the 2008 Craft Brewer's Conference hosted in San Diego, this great city shouldn't be far behind from naming its own beer week. I haven't heard any talk about this in the past, but maybe I'm just out of the loop. I think it's obvious that the people of San Diego would embrace this, but I also think this event would draw droves of beer enthusiasts from the Los Angeles and Orange County areas. Lord knows us Angelenian's are semi-deprived of a great beer culture and would jump at the chance for any sort of assemblage of events like this that's less than a couple hours drive away.

Photo from Today's Local News

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout, For Breakfast

Nevermind that I haven't ever ventured further East than family trips to New Mexico and Texas when I was 7 or 8 years old, but here is a beer that lets me experience the state of Kentucky at its finest. The fact that it's made in Michigan you can just ignore. This beer is the Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout, which I've been holding onto for a year and a half or so now. Maybe I was scared to drink it, figuring that so many imperial stouts have let me down in the past- making me decide that for the most part this style just isn't for me. What I've also realized is there are a few imperial stouts that are crafted truly well for my tastes. Founders' regular Breakfast Stout is one of those. I love it. So I was really hoping their Kentucky Breakfast Stout would buck the trend of bad to very average imperial stouts set by Dark Lord, Jah-Va, and others.

Kentucky Breakfast Stout pours as seen in the photo into my mug. There's no mistaking that this is one viscous brew while pouring. The initial smell is boozy, the bourbon/wood character is noticeable, but even more so is the coffee and bittersweet dark chocolate. The taste mirrors that. Coffee dominates, as it should, but there's a nice bit of chocolate and wood flavor, all the while having that roasted coffee bitterness. The soy flavors of stouts that I hate so much are limited in this. The licorice or anise flavors that can be way overdone are non-existent. This is a good stout. Founders has done a remarkable job of finding great flavor combination of roast and chocolate in their big stouts to make them enjoyable. At 10% ABV, Kentucky Breakfast Stout might qualify as a sipper, but it goes down pretty easy, especially in the morning.

My BeerAdvocate Score
Appearance: 4
Aroma: 4
Taste: 4.5
Mouthfeel: 4
Drinkability: 4
Overall: 4.2 / A-

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Power of Pliny

Pliny the Elder doesn't just pack a ton of flavor, it packs some magic too. A few weeks ago I was watching TCU play an undefeated BYU and we really needed BYU to lose (for the good of college football). I decided to crack a Pliny open and proclaimed that I would give them "Pliny Power" and the game was basically over before it started with TCU blowing them out.

Today, while watching a fairly close Syracuse vs. Notre Dame game, Notre Dame took a 23-10 lead. Figuring that this horrible Syracuse team (2-8 overall) needed a little extra help I decided to open up a Pliny and give them some "Pliny Power." Well, the sequence of events unfolded like this...

Here is the Pliny, opened up as Syracuse had just gone down by 13 points to Notre Dame. If you look real closely you can see all the magical power contained within it.

As I started to enjoy my Pliny, the power became evident pretty quick. Syracuse drove down the field the first time they had the ball after uncapping, and pulled to within 23-17.

After looking like all the power might have run out, Syracuse got back on track and scored a TD with just under a minute left in the 4th quarter to take the lead 24-23.

Notre Dame got the ball and after a couple long incomplete passes they had one last gasp. "The Chosen One" Jimmy Clausen heaved one of his trademark jump balls down the field to Golden-Hands-Tate who as always, miraculously came down with the ball. At this point it was The Power of Pliny vs. Touchdown Jesus. As one might think, Pliny won out as ND missed a long FG with time expiring.
The Power of Pliny is real people.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Beachwood Happy Hour Is Back!

Per Beachwood BBQ's November newsletter:

We've brought back the Beachwood Happy Hour.
Tuesday-Friday, 3pm-6pm
Great deals on appetizers, $5 sandwiches and $1 off all draft beer
If you haven't been there you really should drop what you're doing and get to this awesome beer spot in Seal Beach ASAP- happy hour or not.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Walking 3,000 Miles Deserves Something Good Right?

And that good should be beer. Well, other than the good amount of money that must have been raised for the the American Legion Legacy Scholarship fund by Nick Moffatt who decided to walk from New York to California over a span of 5 months. To celebrate, The Daily Pint in Santa Monica will be throwing a nice little "Victory" party which will feature what looks like 4, maybe 5 casks.

This event starts at 8pm, Wednesday, November 19th.

Here is the lineup for tonight:

  • Stone Pale Ale with corriander
  • Stone IPA with Centennial and Amarillo hops
  • Dean's English Style IPA
  • Dean's ESB
  • And quite possibly Stone Ruination with Simcoe and Strisselspalt hops if ya'll drink enough to make room for it.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Late Birthday Present

Pete the Greek "A-14" brought over a growler of Stone Smoked Porter with vanilla bean. Our favorite porter.

Pete enjoying some vanilla bean smoked porter. No he's not related to Petros Papadakis

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Features Of A Good Beer Bar - The Online Tap List

The Baltimore Beer Guy had an excellent commentary about what features a good craft beer bar should have. His post was concerned with a bar's ability to non-verbally communicate to the patron what beers are on tap. This has been a big issue for myself as well. Especially being in the Los Angeles area, most people can't just skip down the road a few miles to a great beer joint. Nope, you really have to venture out, almost always on the freeway, and who knows how long it could take. Who wants to do that when they don't know if anything interesting is on tap? Let's face it, there are some places we all love to frequent, but sometimes we just wouldn't go unless we knew something was there that piqued our interest.

That leads to the point of emphasis; pubs advertising what is on tap via website or newsletter, so that the patron doesn't only have to find out the minute they pony up to the bar. This is a good thing. Some great examples of this in the Southern California area are O'Brien's, Beachwood BBQ, Toronado SD, Hamilton's Tavern, and to some extent Hollingshead's Deli and Churchill's Pub and Grille. Each of these places has a website that is updated frequently- from Beachwood BBQ's HopCam of their tap board that refreshes every 15 minutes to the other places who update their webpages every couple days to a week. The key here is to keep those lists updated! I've seen pubs completely forget about them for weeks or months, leaving those in the dark who have to travel relatively far. Is that a lot of work if an establishment already has a website? I doubt it. I can't imagine it taking more than 10-15 minutes to update what is on tap at least once a week. And at least as far as I go, these online lists do a lot in terms of getting me to want to make a trip. If I didn't know what was on tap, I wouldn't make it to these places near as often.

I really do wish more places would embrace the online, frequently updated tap list.

Thanks to The Daily Pint, a beer bar in Santa Monica I've heard more than a fair share about via Hair of the Dog Dave's website for alerting me that they also have updates on their taps, which can be seen on their draft list and on their blog which updates about new beers.

Soon I'll put a category in the sidebar with a list of all the bars and links to their frequently updated tap lists. If you own a bar/pub that does this or know of one, let me know here with a comment or at my email address and I will add it to the sidebar when I make it.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Another College Football Saturday, and Beer

Been watching all the boring Big 10 games that come on at 9am here, as usual. They are starting to wind down now and I decided to pour my first beer coming from a growler of Pizza Port El Camino IPA that I picked up last week. This is a beautiful IPA, in appearance and taste. It has a real crisp and very piny and grapefruit zest oil bitterness to it. At the same time it's got a faint orange sweetness to it and some grainy, or maybe bready malt like cracker behind it. Just a really nice beer that shows off some great hops and aggressive bitterness.

After a couple pints of El Camino IPA I switched gears and pulled a Stone out of the fridge. I meant to pull an 08.08.08, but instead I grabbed an 07.07.07 and didn't realize it. I thought it looked different as it poured...ha. It's much more carbonated with an orangish color. The smell is quite fruity, and very remarkable. The taste has a good amount of earthiness in it, but the fruit comes across quite a bit still. I can't remember that well how this tasted when it first came out, so I'm not sure how it has changed, if at all. I think the fruit may be dominating more now after 1 year.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Birthday Drinkin Tonight

Tonight was my lil' sister's birthday, and the end of a long week for me so we got right to the drinkin. Well, first of all, when I got home I had a package waiting for me from Maryland. It was two beautiful Brewer's Art chalices sent to me by The Baltimore Beer Guy as a birthday present (mine was a few days ago).

I started off by tasting my just fully carbonated homebrew. I call this Leftover IPA because I made it with a bunch of hops I had leftover (Magnum for bittering, then Simcoe, Centennial and Columbus for flavor/aroma). It was a really simple beer with a really simple procedure- just a bunch of malt extract, a little bit of steeped crystal 40L and that was it. Only did a 10 day primary fermentation and then crash cooled for 2 days then bottled. It turned out ok... tastes fine... like hops, which was my goal. Has a nice orange citrus flavor to it, a fairly aggressive bitterness, but I think the extract got a bit too caramelized during the boil, turning the beer much darker than it should have been and giving it a little bit sweeter color than it was suppose to have (it finished dry too, which is good, with a final gravity of 1.011- not a whole lot of residual sugar). It basically reminds me of your standard East Coast IPA... nothing special and kinda misses the mark. Sadly, right now it's just too expensive for me to make a really good IPA with tons of kettle hop additions and lots of dry hops. Those hops are expensive.

Moving on we went with a Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere wet hop pale ale I've had sitting in my fridge for quite some time. Thankfully the fridge stopped the aging process quite nicely, as this tasted similar to when I had it on tap after it was released. I enjoyed this beer a little more this time than I did last time. It's got a real nice soft caramel sweetness to it, and just the right amount of bitterness and pine flavor to be a good pale ale. Reminded me of a slightly smaller Deschutes Hop Henge, in terms of balance.

Next up for dinner was a Weihenstephaner Dunkelweisse with our lasagna dinner... not sure if that looks like smart pairing or not, but it was good anyway, and the beer was delicious as always.

Lastly, and what put me to sleep for a few minutes was the Southern Tier Choklat. I wanted both of my sister's boyfriends to try this, since they are somewhat enthusiastic about beer, and it really blew them both away, in terms of flavor and strength. And I fell asleep. The chocolate milk smell of that beer amazes me every time.

Plus my favorite pup came over for a visit today. Kirby is still under a year old, but he's a great lookin' rotty. On the other hand, our cat is just a lazy bum.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Collaboration Brew For The Holidays

Sudoku, speed dating, reality TV, those huge ass sunglasses chicks wear, and now collaboration beers. Yep, you can add collaboration beers to the recent fads, because they're popping up like crazy now days. Just after Stone released a collaboration tripel along with Alesmith and Mikkeler, they announce a festive holiday beer brewed along with Jolly Pupmkin and Nonge-O. I've never had a Nonge-O beer, so I don't know exactly what angle they'll put on the beer, but you can guess it's gonna be hops from Stone and funk from Jolly Pumpkin. The beer will also supposedly feature Southern California white sage, juniper berries, chestnuts, and caraway seed per

That's a lot of weird ingredients, especially to accompany the large amount of hops Stone promises to use in this beer. I'll probably grab a single bottle or try it on tap in a taster if I get a chance, and then I'll wait for the next collaboration beer to come out.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Toasting USC's Victory With A Taste of Wisconsin

There aren't too many teams USC enjoys beating more than the California Golden Bears. Yesterday's 17-3 victory by #7 USC over #21 California is the perfect reason to celebrate with a nice beer the day after.

So on a nice sunny, chilly, windy Sunday that is today, I toast a New Glarus Wisconsin Belgian Red to another USC victory over one of their longtime rivals, the Cal Golden Bears. USC's winning series record over Cal extends to 61-30-5.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Pizza Port in San Clemente + A Bruery Stop On The Way Home

My friend Pete and I went to Pizza Port in San Clemente, which is about an hour drive from our house, and met my buddy Steve "Milton" Timmins there and his girlfriend. We shared a few good rounds of beer. To be honest I was disappointed by their selection. For the Pizza Port side they had on their Carlsbad Chronic Amber Ale, a golden ale, wheat beer, oatmeal stout, scotch ale, barley wine, and an English Pale on cask. I started off with the Ripper English Pale on cask. It was ok, nothing to write home about.

I was sorely disappointed when I didn't see any of Pizza Port's IPA's listed on the wall. I was really looking forward to a nice dose of hops in the morning. However, on their white board list of beers they had "El Camino" listed, which I know is one of their main IPAs, so I asked the bartender and he told me they had ran out. Then 5 minutes later he comes back and says they just put another one on. Score!!! I ordered a pint of the El Camino IPA and it was awesome. I got a growler to go for the Kal vs. USC game tomorrow.

I finished off with their T-Street Wheat since I was driving. A good wheat beer. I love the banana part of wheat beers, and this had plenty of that.

On the way home Pete and I stopped by the brewery where we tried their new release Humulus Gold from both the tap and cask. Tap was much more pungent, but cask had a much bigger orangy smell to it. It was advertised as having Simcoe + Amarillo hops which is one of my favorite combinations (think Alpine Duet IPA).

Patrick (owner of The Bruery) was also nice enough to share a bottle of Pizza Port Killer Dana Double IPA which I have heard people talk about. I guess he got the bottle at the GABF. I would probably have not been able to try this beer for many years if it wasn't for him so I thank him greatly for that opportunity. Killer Dana (named somewhat in part for the city of Dana Point which neighbors San Clemente, that I spent many months of my childhood in) is a double IPA, about 9% ABV. It's a different take than the prototypical DIPA Pliny the Elder for sure, but it's still tasty. It's pretty sweet with a resiny bitterness in the taste. I wish it had a more pungent hop aroma, but it smells pretty sweet. Either way I really enjoyed the taste, so thanks again Patrick!

I knew The Bruery wouldn't be doing growler fills of the cask Humulus Gold, but little did I know it would be on tap as well, and they were filling growlers of it from there, but I hadn't brought my growler so I missed out on that for now.

Good day so far, now I gotta go eat dinner with my family and my soon-to-be-brother-in-law's family at Downtown Disney.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Racer 5 - Lesson Learned

Bear Republic Racer 5 is one of my favorite beers. That was not the lesson I just learned. I bought a 6-pack of this last week, the first one I had was shaken up that day and had a lot of yeast still unsettled in it, and thus when I poured it into a glass (with a real careful pour) it appeared very hazy (see picture)...

(yeast in the glass, average taste)

I looked at all the beers in the fridge, that have been sitting there for a week, and still noticed lots of yeast suspended in the upper quarter of the bottle that would absolutely not settle to the bottom. It made me wonder what the hell was going on because when I look at the bottles at the store the liquid is super clear with all particles sitting on the bottom. So I took 1 bottle out last night and placed it in the house, just sitting at room temperature. This morning it still looked like there were particles suspended towards the top again so I just threw it back into the fridge. I went back and looked at it tonight and the beer was CLEAR. Everything had dropped to the bottom. VERY weird if you ask me, but the main thing is this beer without the yeast tastes LIGHT YEARS better than the first sample did with all that yeast in it. This one is so much more crisp, hoppy, juicy, fruity. It's wonderful. So the lesson is, by whatever means, make sure that yeast is on the bottom of the bottle in your IPA's before pouring!!!

(super clear, no yeast = super good)

Parallel Blog Tasting #5 - The Bruery Batch No. 1 - Levud's

Tonight's Parallel Blog Tasting, between myself and my good friend and fellow University of Southern California Alum The Baltimore Beer Guy, is brought to you by The Bruery's Batch #1 - Levud's. The story behind this goes that The Bruery, an upstart brewery in North Orange County, CA, held a homebrew contest to determine the first beer that would be brewed at their new brewery. It turned out to be an 11% ABV Belgian Strong Pale Ale. I'm ballparking that this was actually brewed at the beginning of May sometime, because when we were there for their Grand Opening Party at the end of May this beer was already conditioning in unlabled bottles.

Brian, aka The Baltimore Beer Guy has tried a handful of The Bruery's beers. He's had Orchard White and Black Orchard I believe when he was in San Diego, and I've sent him Saison Rue which he reviewed on his site and Trade Winds Tripel which was the subject of Parallel Blog Tasting #4.

Starting Off...

BBG (6:17:47 PM): Levud's? Yes, yes, yes you will
SOB (6:17:57 PM): Let's git er done
SOB (6:18:18 PM): lemme get my Bruery Glass
BBG (6:18:26 PM): Which glass should I use?
SOB (6:18:43 PM): hm, belgian strong pale.....
SOB (6:18:47 PM): i would use tulip
SOB (6:23:17 PM): ok got my bottle from the fridge
SOB (6:23:23 PM): #953/2157
BBG (6:23:29 PM): 1038
SOB (6:23:36 PM): it's really cold tho, i think my fridge is around 34F
BBG (6:23:48 PM): Mines a little warmer
SOB (6:24:37 PM): alright uncapping
SOB (6:24:55 PM): ideal serving temp is 50, per bottle

Pouring - The Appearance and Aroma...

SOB (6:27:41 PM): carbonation looks spot on
SOB (6:27:45 PM): if not slightly low
SOB (6:27:49 PM): ever so slightly
SOB (6:28:03 PM): wow i can smell the fruit from a foot away
SOB (6:28:23 PM): deep golden color
BBG (6:28:24 PM): Smells good
SOB (6:28:46 PM): white head forms a sea-like foam on top after receding real fast
SOB (6:29:00 PM): somewhat opaque
BBG (6:29:17 PM): sea foam like, exactly
BBG (6:29:19 PM): bright white
SOB (6:29:23 PM): the fruit is big here
SOB (6:29:35 PM): grape-like maybe?
SOB (6:29:44 PM): melon ?
BBG (6:29:57 PM): Im thinking pear
BBG (6:29:59 PM): and passionfruit
SOB (6:30:30 PM): yes, all those remind me of the same smell so yeah heh
SOB (6:30:38 PM): really like the smell in this

Time To Taste...

BBG (6:31:20 PM): Oh yeh ripe fruit taste
SOB (6:31:42 PM): taste contains more of the earthiness from the belgian yeast, and then I get a bit of that alcohol burn type taste (very slight), with fruit pretty dominant there the whole time
BBG (6:32:44 PM): What I just wrote is that it is more malty and fruity than most BSPA's, less yeasty and hoppy
SOB (6:33:14 PM): I would agree
SOB (6:33:39 PM): I actually don't think I've had a BSPA in a while, maybe since mid summer? I can't even remember
SOB (6:33:42 PM): oh yeah, Brewer's Art Ozzy you sent me a month ago.
BBG (6:33:52 PM): Just had Ozzy Tuesday night
BBG (6:33:57 PM): This is a world apart
SOB (6:34:22 PM): they are definitely different takes
BBG (6:35:21 PM): It's (Levud's) a white wine meets BSPA
SOB (6:35:46 PM): Yes I'm getting a big similarity to wine in this, was just thinking that a few min ago
SOB (6:36:02 PM): that might've been where I got grape from
SOB (6:36:28 PM): 11% though, I can notice the alcohol here, which isn't unpleasant... but it's there... I usually don't notice it in any beer

Drinking and Drinking...

BBG (6:44:54 PM): Man this beer is going to take forever to drink, its so sweet
SOB (6:45:32 PM): at least it's not DFH 120
SOB (6:47:44 PM): I like the fruitiness of this, changes it up a lot
BBG (6:48:02 PM): Yeh
SOB (7:10:30 PM): i'm starting to be able to tell this beer is 11%
SOB (7:10:40 PM): I only pours about 350 of the 750 mL
SOB (7:26:40 PM): alright............................. Final grade
SOB (7:26:45 PM): 3.95, B+
BBG (7:28:21 PM): Look = 4
BBG (7:28:30 PM): Smell = 4
BBG (7:28:31 PM): T = 3.5
BBG (7:28:44 PM): MF = 4
BBG (7:28:47 PM): D = 3.5
BBG (7:29:03 PM): (would like it) A little more foamy yes but the presentation was gorgeous

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

San Diego Plans Derailed

Well that didn't take too long. Right after becoming really stoked about my Friday-off plans to hit new stops in San Diego I get a call and realize I need to be at Downtown Disney in the evening so my little sister's boyfriend can pop the question. Shouldn't I be more excited you ask? Well, not really, they've basically been married for the last few years, all this is doing is making it official.

Since Downtown Disney is only a half hour away from the house it's not too far of a trek, but having to get over there by 7pm on a Friday pretty much makes heading to SD for a few hours during the daytime not worthwhile. This leaves me with basically just my standard options for beer-hunting on a Friday along the Orange County coast- Hollingshead's Deli, The Bruery, Beachwood BBQ. However, since I really wanted to try some new places this week, I may stray away from these, at least at first, and head just a bit more south in Orange County, and head to Pizza Port in San Clemente. Other than that there's really not that much around this area to hit that's great as far as beer goes, that I haven't been to.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

San Diego Trip This Friday - Mixing Things Up

My last day of this rotation in Fontucky is Friday and my preceptor isn't making me come in so what better way to spend a day off than hanging out down in San Diego? So while I've done more San Diego beer trips in the last few years than I can count on my hands and toes there are still a bunch of places I have yet to hit, namely those places that are further down in the heart of SD. It's only Monday but it's not too early to start thinking about the day's agenda.

There are the obligatory old stops to hit such as Port Brewing & The Lost Abbey, O'Brien's Pub, and Stone, I really want to throw in some new stops such as the tasting rooms of Green Flash, Ballast Point, and Lightning, with bar stops at either Hamilton's Tavern or Toronado or Downtown Johnny Brown's. I haven't exactly decided which yet.

A stop that is almost a must right now is to the Brigantine seafood restaurant during happy hour for some of their excellent Fish Tacos. I would have never known about this if my friend The Baltimore Beer Guy didn't take me there when he use to live in SD. I'll probably try to get to the Escondido location.

I won't be going way off the beaten path out to Alpine because right now the only hoppy beer they have on for growler fills is Pure Hoppiness, which is one of my favorite beers, but I probably won't be driving out there just for that. The city of Alpine has a great 1-2 punch with Alpine Beer Co and the Liars Club only a minute away, but it's an extra 25 miles or so east of all the stuff in SD.

I'll be aiming to arrive down there around 11am when O'Brien's opens. I will have to get back home in the early evening as we are having joint birthday celebrations at the house, but I should be able to squeeze a bunch of stops in this trip, and fit in a couple good beers ;-)

Thanks to all these places having their tap lists updated regularly online, here are some of the beers I've got on my radar for this trip:

  • O'Brien's - Alpine Ichabod, Drake's Hopocalypse (if any left on cask after Thurs night)
  • Toronado - Pizza Port Pint to Plant
  • Hamilton's - Deschutes Hop Trip, Green Flash Palate Wrecker
  • DJB's - Pizza Port Hop Suey, Alpine Duet

Monday, November 3, 2008

What's Happening in Southern California Beer This Week

The Bruery will be tapping a new firkin, as they do the first Friday of every month. This month's (Friday, November 7th) will be a hoppy strong golden ale called "Humulus Gold."

Lucky Baldwin's 12th Anniversary in conjunction with Stone Brewing Co. still has 1 week left. The tap list was posted here a week ago, the only new thing I know of that is on at the Sierra Madre location is a keg of Wipeout IPA.

Then of course on Saturday is the Firestone XII release at their Paso Robles location, which will surely attract beer geeks from many miles away. Then again it doesn't get much geekier than a dude wanting to fly from the west coast to Indiana just to pick up a keg of Three Floyds Dreadnaught IPA (a highly overrated beer) for his home keg system (saw this on

And if you're big on barleywines, Naja's in Redondo Beach will be holding their Barleywine Fest starting this Wednesday the 5th. Looks like they'll have some nice vintages on tap too, including Bigfoot and Old Gaurdian back to '04, and Old Crustation to '05.