Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Tree flavor in a bottle.

Best one of the last few years by Anchor I would say.
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Mid day snack

Nothing like piney hops in the afternoon around Christmas!
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Moving Day

Our reward for helping Spencer and Monika move into their new house. These beers bottled less than 2 weeks ago. Yum!
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

JTH's Birthday Bash

Barrel Aged Alesmith Speedway Stout
This beer was absolutely phenomenal. Probably one of the 3 best imperial stouts I've ever drank (Black OPS and Black Tuesday might be the other two). The normal big coffee flavor of regular Speedway goes into hiding with the barrel aging, but what is left is smooth, chocolatey, bourbony, and mellow roasty perfection. Nobody disagreed that this was an amazing beer.

Lost Abbey Veritas 04
JTH was determined to consume his Veritas 04 so we headed back for an outdoor garage session. Veritas was deemed very similar to Cable Car. It probably had the sourest, quenching smell of any sour I've had. Just a faint whiff stimulated my saliva reflex immediately. The flavor was like that super sour lemon bubblicious (the one who's flavor disappears in like 10 chews).

Captain Lawrence Nor' Easter
This NY-brewed beer was the first I've had from Captain Lawrence. It's a Belgian dark ale brewed with Elderberry and aged in bourbon barrels. The elderberries give of a grape or plum type character. I use to have to take this Sambucol elderberry extract when I was sick and that flavor was easily detected here in the beer. There is a slight hotness to it, not unexpectedly, being 11% and aged on the bourbon. Interesting and good brew.

The Bruery Two Turtle Doves
Two turtle doves is a Belgian dark ale brewed with cocoa nibs and pecans. How delicious does that sound? This was a really interesting beer which we probably drank too cold. I was trying to find out where the pecans factored in and I'm not sure I was able to figure it out. There did seem to be a big flavor of unsweetened chocolate. At 12% ABV the alcohol was hidden really well. I'll have to revisit this soon.

Ballast Point Sculpin IPA
This was probably not the best idea at this point in the night.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A picture dump of what I've been drinkin'

Kona Longboard Lager and Newcastle as we were getting dressed at my Sister's and soon-to-be brother-in-law's house before heading out to the wedding.

One of the many reasons I like to go back home to Upland when I can. San Biagio's New York Pizza. Now that I think of it, that wasn't even my beer, it was my friends. I find it hard to drink the day after USC tailgates.

1903 Berliner weisse at Hamilton's. The flash makes it look like orange juice.

Stone/Maui/Ken Schmidt Kona Coffee Macadamia Coconut Porter. Shared this bottle with my buddy The Baltimore Beer Guy when he was out here in October.

My beer happiness can be satisfied at all times now that The Bruery's Hottenroth Berliner Weisse is now being bottled!

My first Sierra Nevada Celebration this year. Always a treat in the winter. I came down with a nasty infection which hit me about 2 hours after consuming this beer.

Lightning Pilsner at The Brigantine seafood restaurant. Best fish tacos ever. Was watchin' the morning Colts/Ravens game there a couple weeks ago with a friend. I love the Brig's bar area. It's really classy and has a couple super nice plasmas.

Brigantine makes some very good margaritas too!

Cheap pitchers ($12.95) on Sunday of Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale at Phileas Fogg's.

In the middle would be a Victory Kolsch, at Toronado.

Stone Ruination, our annual toasting beer for when we play the bRUINS, because we RUIN them. Get it? 28-7!

Such a good porter and I hadn't had one in nearly 2 years.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Founders Breakfast Stout

Always have one of these on Thanksgiving morning. 3 year tradition.
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Pizza Port Solona Beach Swami's IPA

Easily one of the best IPA's in southern california. Tastes great even before 10am! Sister thinks it's not bitter enough, says it doesn't have enough bite. Seriously? This is a very dry beer with an above average bitterness (the dryness factors in there). She must be having a Lupulin Threshold Shift- such the life of an IPA lover.
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Very tasty IPA, quite a nice bitterness, pretty dry. Underrated IPA in the So Cal area. Very consistent from year to year too.
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

TAPS Pumpkin Ale

My first pumpkin ale of the year. Not really a big fan of this style but do enjoy it in limited quantities. TAPS makes a very tasty one.
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Friday, November 6, 2009

Guinness Cupcakes... Psshhhhh. How About Southern Tier Choklat Cupcakes!

Just to confirm how little I really know about my sisters (whom I've always been super close with) I find out my older sister is quite the flourishing baker, and has started a little blog called Cupcake Wednesdays. I have been bugging her to make beer cupcakes for a long time, and I think she did for my graduation party back in May. If memory serves correct she used Firestone Walker Reserve as the beer. Blame alcohol induced retrograde amnesia for the foggy details. However, I still have a couple bottles of Southern Tier Choklat, an uber chocolatey stout which I think can take a chocolate beer cupcake to the next level (forget that recipe of Guinness beer cupcakes you see everywhere) . If you haven't had it lemme just say it tastes like alcoholic dark chocolate milk, and is by far the most chocolatey "chocolate" beer I've tasted (way beyond Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout and Foothill's Sexual Chocolate). Looking forward to this experiment!

Newport Pizza & Alehouse, Ocean Beach

Yesterday I had the opportunity to stop by Newport Pizza & Alehouse in Ocean Beach after work. My first interests were sparked by a review from The Beer Rover. I can see this being a densely packed party spot in the summer, but when I arrived it was the late afternoon and getting chilly which seemed to limit the amount of people hanging around. I got a spot at the almost empty bar and ordered a Lagunitas Lil' Sumpin Extra. I was pretty stoked to see this after having had the regular Lil' Sumpin a couple months ago. The bartender went over to the Lagunitas Brown Sugga tap handle and drew me a pint. I thought it was a bit strange but often bars won't have the tap handles matching the exact beer. I drank it, thinking "wow this is more like a (very) sweet East Coast DIPA or barleywine." Only a bit later did I realize there actually was a Lil' Sumpin Extra tap handle when a guy ordered a pitcher of it. Great, they poured me the wrong beer. I don't have a huge problem with Brown Sugga, but it definitely wasn't what I felt like.

The pizza is pretty good, it's a fairly thin, light, and crispy crust. The deals were good during happy hour too (from 3-6). $6 for a slice and a pint I think.

To end things I ordered a small pour of the Stone Double Bastard that was on cask. Just like how IPA's really suck on cask, Double Bastard lost all of its domineering flavor- the bitterness is quelled to an amber ale level and the hops aren't bursting with bitterness. Double Bastard on tap is where its at if you want that pint-punch to the face.

I'll be returning to this place at some point. Good pizza, great beer, potentially cool atmosphere in a great location, and I'll have to get the breadsticks next time.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

San Diego Beer Week

I probably won't get the chance to get out to the San Diego Beer Week festivities too much with the sister's wedding on the horizon and sucky work hours, but if I can find a few minutes here is what I'd like to do.

Monday 9th - The Tomme Arthur Experience @ Stone. This will be slammed, but maybe good enough to brave the crowd. For the most part I'd rather hit less popular/crowded destinations but like I said, this would probably be worth it.

Tuesday 10th - Small Brewery NorCal Night @ Hamilton's. All the beer we normally don't try when we head up north (save for the awesome Moonlight brews). This could be a good chance to be introduced to them. With Valley Brewing on the list, I'm guessing there's a good chance their highly respected DIPA could be there. Hamilton's will surely smell (and I'm sure feel) like a sweaty sock this whole week.

Thursday 12th - Liars Club Redux @ Hamiltons. Holy Shit!! The old Liars Club Fuego Melt makes a return to Earth for one night only!!! Plus the tap list for that night is even better than the A+++ it usually is.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Winter Beer Is Here

It's always good to see Sam Adams Winter Lager out in the Fall. Except for it being 90 degrees in So Cal in November. Cheers
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Small Bar, San Diego (University Heights)

Thanks to a tip from the J's at BoozeReviews I learned about a newer San Diego beer bar called Small Bar. It's located a few blocks north of all the great stops on 30th street on an unassuming little strip of peculiar bars. And Small Bar fits that genre. A glowing neon red sign with the words "Small Bar" greets you at the front. There is a small patio outside the door with two bench style tables (can hold around 8 people each) and as you walk inside you'll see old barrels which are now masquerading as tables along with clubby couch style booths. To go along with that neon red sign, the inside is lit partly by red lights. Sometimes that sorta thing is annoying, but it works here. The bar is long and the chalkboard taplist is deep. Without knowing anything about this place going in you get the feeling you've been here before. The chalkboard looks vaguely similar to a certain bar on 30th street and the glass I was served my sour beer in (Rodenbach) was the same exact one I had an 1809 Berlinerweisse served in at said 30th street bar last week. The food menu - long and intriguing - and oh, yep, that confirms it, they have "Hamilton's Hop Sausage" on their menu. Small Bar must be owned by the same people at Hamiltons. No wonder the beer selection is so great.

Their mission statement is:
We’re very excited to bring the kind of bar you previously could only find in big cities like New York or San Francisco right here to San Diego. Premium beers, spirits, and food, at reasonable prices with a touch of rock and roll. Small Bar.

So I went with a glass of the Rodenbach and a pint of West Coast IPA. They chill their pint glasses in ice here which I LOVE (don't bite my head off beer geeks, I like my beers below proper serving temps). I got there around 8:30 on a Monday night to only a handful of people in the place. I figured they were slowing down for the day. Nope, not so. By 9:30 the place was packed and there was even a happy birthday being sung to a couple people.

Back to the food menu, it looked really good. I haven't ever eaten at Hamilton's but I know their burgers, hop sausage and beer cheese soup are real popular there. They were all on the menu along with a bunch of other things. I had the chicken sandwich.... which was good, and their fries are really good. My friend Alicia had the corndogs... or about like half a corndog and 3 fries, with positive reviews.

One other thing to note about the Small Bar. It's not just beer. They have a full bar and specialize in great classic drinks like Old Fashioned, Sidecar, Mint Julep... you get the point. Small Bar is definitely going to be a regular stop for me. It's got a unique vibe to go along with the great beer.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

USC vs. Cal drinkin....

A week ago USC played the hippies up in Bezerkeley and we cracked open some good beers. The first was Hangar 24 Pale Ale, from a local brewery who is making very good beer in Redlands. This beer has a big caramel flavor to it offset by mildly spicy hops. It has a nice little hop bite. Hangar 24 also makes a pretty tasty, albeit quite malty IPA and a nice light flavored beer called Orange Wheat that is similar to a witbier to me.

Next up was Sculpin IPA, which has overtaken Minneapolis Town Hall Masala Mama as the #1 IPA on BeerAdvocate. I've had both and there's no doubt people got this one right. Orange citrus and tropical flavor explosion and a nice bitterness to back it up. Oh, and dry. It has to be dry.

Lastly for our Friday night pregame drinking we opened an '08 Stone IRS. I love this beer with some age on it, and don't generally prefer it fresh. With 3 years this beer becomes amazingly smooth and chocolatey. With only a year age it's still a big improvement over fresh.

Onto Saturday, we started off with a growler of Hop 15 I got on my way home from moving that morning. This was our toasting beer with The Baltimore Beer Guy for the USC game. There was also an old Michelob Ultra sitting in the fridge, left over from a golf tournament in June, so Pat polished that off (he's been known to double fist Michelob Ultras). Hop 15 was tasty, but man is that a syrupy DIPA. On the other hand, what do you expect when it's 10% ABV?

Next up was a growler of Lost Abbey Red Barn. This was a fairly big crowd pleaser. One of my favorite beers of all time. Light, spicy, tropical, a little Belgiany.

As we got towards the end of the game we broke out some Stone/Maui/Ken Schmidt Kona Coffee Macadamia Coconut Porter. Pete had bought like 10 of them when he was at Stone and he said he didn't think it was that great so he brought over his last 3 bottles or so. I think everyone really liked it, but I forget at this point. All I know is I really like it. Love it actually. After some harrassement Pete admitted to thinking it was really good, but only after it warms up quite a bit. That's what a lot of people have been saying.

USC dispatched Kal 30-3.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Station, South Park San Diego

Located just a couple seconds from the famed Hamilton's Tavern is a little burger joint I stumbled upon tonight. It's called The Station Tavern. They have about 6 beers on tap. The ones I can remember are Stone Levitation, Spaten Oktoberfest, Mission IPA, Lightning Hefe, and some other real light lager. The menu is very small, they specialize in burgers. They do regular and turkey burgers. I got a cheeseburger which was delicious (came cooked about medium, maybe medium rare). The sides to choose from are tater tots(!), sweet potato fries, garlic fries, and regular fries. I got the sweet potato fries which were awesome and my friend got the tater tots which were cooked to perfection. The Mission IPA I ordered didn't taste so fresh, it tasted somewhat stale/oxidized. The Spaten Oktoberfest I had next was very good.

The vibe was pretty cool and the staff is friendly. It's just a little bar area that has a big patio out back and both areas are joined by a big door that stays open, so they are somewhat connected. The bar is open to the outside portion too, so they can serve people who are sitting inside at the bar and outside at the bar. Pretty cool and a setup you don't see often. Here is a look at the front of the place from Google Maps street view. If you are down around Hamilton's in South Park often I would make a point to hit this place for a brew and a burger.

Friday, October 9, 2009

More Sneak Peek- Bruery Black Tuesday

Patrick and Jonas(sp?) shared another bottle with us, this of the famed Black Tuesday which will be released later this month but is already a top 10 beer in the world (#4 to be exact) on beeradvocate. You gotta have a sweet tooth to love this beer... But who doesn't have a sweet tooth? Wait until the release date later this month, people outside of So Cal have already been going nuts trying to set up trades for this beer, it's only gonna get crazier.
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Bruery Night at Downtown Johnny Browns

On tap we have Autumn Maple, Snicklefritz, Hottenroth Berlinerweisse, Mischief 3, Black Orchard, Humulus India Pale Lager(!), Trade Winds Triple, White Zin.

Pictured is a taster of barrel aged Autumn Maple so graciously provided by the Bruery staff here. Good stuff-- Yams and then some-- and potent.
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Summer Lives On

Seasons change, but the Summer of Beer has persisted for 2 1/2 years. It was a fun release to write about beer while going through the grind of grad school. Now I actually have a job (never thought that day would come, and didn't want it to either) and a new place in San Diego. The amount of work I've put into this blog has dropped considerably over the last few months but I expect it to pick up soon with all the anticipated San Diego beer excursions. I'm looking forward to it but I've gotta try not to overdo it... ya know... I want to buy a house with a little picket fence and a couple of dogs soon.

Anyway, anticipate some changes here in both content and approach as I get back into the beer swing of things.

My new humble abode is located:
1.5 miles from Ballast Point Old Grove
2.7 miles from Alesmith
6 miles from Lightning Brewery
8.6 miles from O'Brien's pub
14 miles from 30th Street
16 miles from Pizza Port Solona Beach
18 miles from Stone
19 miles from The Lost Abbey
And only 35 miles from Alpine Beer Company, instead of 135 miles!

Monday, September 28, 2009

German Beers

Steve's Uncle from Germany brought these beers over the pond for us to try. Apparently it's a very local brewery to them. These beers were really tasty... The pilsner and hefe were awesome. We returned the favor and let him taste Sculpin and Serpent Stout and he spit both of them out... Germans...
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Monday, September 21, 2009

Friday's San Diego Beer Run

Thanks to an interview I had in Rancho Bernardo we had an excuse to hit some of the San Diego beer circuit last Friday. I hope one day it will be as easy for me to get a day off whenever I want as it is for Pat and Spencer who accompanied me. Guess that's how it goes when you work for mom and pop or the government. They dropped me off at my interview destination around 10am and went searching for beer. Nothing was really open so I guess they hit a Denny's that had some Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. By the time I was through with my stuff they were at the Chili's in the parking lot of where I was. Chili's had Stone IPA in bottles-- Nice!! I think that's better than what Chili's up in our area offers.

After a beer at Chili's we hit Ballast Point around noon. Unfortunately nothing great on tap, I chose the lager (4.2%) while Spencer and Pat went with the Big Eye IPA and Sextent Stout, respectively. I love the beer color spectrum covered here. The better news was that Sculpin IPA was just bottled the day before so I picked up a few bottles of that.

From Ballast Point we headed over to O'Brien's for lunch. To accompany the heaps of garlic fries we ate I had an Alpine Duet which tasted A LOT like Nelson to me (very grapey, really sweet). The second beer I tried was Pizza Port Belgian IPA (I forget its exact name). It was ok, but nowhere near as good as Green Flash Le Freak, which to me is the standard of an American made Belgian IPA (and still better than all the real Belgian IPAs).

On our way back north to go home we stopped at Stone. I had a Perdition (pictured in the middle) but was a little tired at this point and didn't really enjoy it as I usually do. I still contend that the best time to enjoy a Russian River Perdition is before noon, preferably between 8 and 10am.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Beer in the Inland Empire

There are better beers out here in the IE - think Hangar 24, BJ's, or places that carry Stone - but sometimes you find yourself where ya gotta drink this stuff, it's horrible but in good company it's fine. On second thought, you should really never have to drink this stuff.
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile