Thursday, April 30, 2009

Lagunitas Undercover Investigation Shut-down Ale

I haven't had the opportunity to try this beer in a couple years, so thanks to the SD Booze Reviews crew for sending me home with this beer. Classified as a "double IPA" and/or "strong ale" by BeerAdvocate and Lagunitas, the aroma really gives off the impression of a barleywine... a big west coast barleywine with lots of hops. There's a sugary, slightly oxidized malt sweetness in there along with some greenery. The taste is sweet, candied almost, with a stiff hop flavor and bitterness. Interesting beer, not sure I like it as much as I loved it the first time I had it, but it's still tasty.

Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA Lands In So. Cal

The ever popular East Coast 60 Minute IPA from Dogfish Head has finally been added to Southern California distribution. I'm happy to see this because I don't particularly care to drink the others that are available (DFH 90 min IPA, Raison D'etre, Midas Touch). Unlike the 90 Minute IPA, 60 finishes nice and dry without a lot of under-attenuated malt competing for flavor with the hops. 60 Minute, being continuously hopped as opposed to only triple-hopped, is a touch fruity and mildly grassy, but drinks pretty well. It's a good beer but at around $10 a 6-pack I'm not sure I'd ever have too much of a reason to purchase it over a 6-pack of Union Jack IPA for a couple bucks less.

Cheers to Dogfish Head for stamping "bottled on" dates on their bottles too. This allows us consumers to find the freshest beer possible, and that is absolutely vital to enjoying your drinking experience with any sort of hoppy beer.

When Dogfish decides to distribute their best beer, Indian Brown Ale, to these parts I'll take back almost everything mediocre I've ever said about them.

Graduation Beer List

Graduation is coming up fast, and aside from making a list of who has to call me "Doctor Sage" (just kidding, kinda), I'm also finalizing the beer list for the party, and I think I've finally decided what will be pouring. BevMo doesn't really have any kegs that excite me, but Hi-Times has a great lineup. The feature will be a 5 gallon keg of either Green Flash West Coast IPA or Firestone Union Jack to go along with a few other growlers and bottles.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Cinder Cone Red - Another in the long line of Deschutes winners

I've tried pretty much every beer from Deschutes that is made available to us in Southern California in one way or another. Cinder Cone Red is the lone beer I never got around to trying. Being a seasonal beer it just arrived in So. Cal and I picked up a sixer at Beverage Warehouse when I was in Culver City yesterday. The guy there said they had just received this shipment today so it's pretty fresh.

I sit here drinking my first bottle while I watch the DVD I recorded of the 1-0 Manchester United victory over Arsenal today. For some reason I've always thought this was more like an Irish Red, but it isn't even close. It's definitely an American Amber/Red sorta beer, or like a darker pale ale without as much hop character. It's usually a style everyone finds boring but let me tell you this is a super drinkable beer. The light flavors of the caramel and slightly more kilned malts added to the base of this make the flavor surrounding the 5.4% ABV. The flavor is very clean and the finish is also one of the cleanest I've ever experienced. This thing has "session ale" written all over it. It's not a super exciting beer, but it's solid and although it may not be triple-hop-brewed (wait, yeah it probably is), it has that same sorta thing Bud Light has... drinkability.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Telegraph Reserve Wheat Ale

I had been walking through beer paradise (the Hi-Time Wine Cellar beer fridge) and spotted a beer I hadn't seen before, from a brewery I rarely see bottles from. That would be Telegraph Brewing up in Santa Barbara. Their beers are fairly well regarded around the Southern California area but you don't see a ton of their bottled beers around. This one caught my eye and I'm not really sure why. It was probably that word "reserve" on the label, cause if it just "Telegraph Wheat Ale" I probably would have passed. I began to read the bottle that said:

This intensely sour "wild ale" recalls the earliest rustic beers crafted centuries ago before brewers had an understanding of controlled fermentation. Brewed with the addition of lemon verbena, as well as lactobacillus and brettanomyces, Telegraph Reserve Wheat is an all-together different beast from modern beer. Not for the faint of heart, this special brew is available in extremely limited quantities.
That description cries out my name. As far as I can tell, because I've only ever had like 2 different Berliner Weisse beers ever, this beer fits that category. It's that gorgeous clear pale but still golden with tons of streaming carbonation bubbles and a light airy head. The smell is a little more than tart lemon juice, there's also some wheat and yeast phenolics going on as well. The taste contains more of all that. Not too tart, pretty mild actually, but enough to get your attention. It's also got a mixed wheat and Belgian yeast taste kinda like a toned down wit. Just a really great easy drinking beer. I'm about through the whole 750 right now and I wouldn't mind having another. 4.6/5

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Franziskaner Hefe

Top notch German Hefe... mayyyybe better than Weihenstephaner?

Sunday Morning Post-tennis Beer

Homebrewed Wit for Dad, fresh Lagunitas Hop Stoopid for me (thanks BoozeReviews!)

The fresh Hop Stoopid has an aroma strikingly similar to Pliny the Elder. There is a hop fruitiness in there, probably like grapefruit I guess, and something else that's really green. I wouldn't say it's tropical or anything but it does have that balance of citrus and greenery. It's absolutely vital to get Hop Stoopid as fresh as possible. The other two bottles I had in the past had this nasty floral oxidized hoppiness to it. Without the BoozeReviews crew this afternoon's drunkeness would not be possible.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Dark Lord Day; A Day of Entertainment

You may have thought you were going to find a Dark Lord Day recap here. We'll I'm a couple thousand miles away and will not/did not attend today, but that doesn't mean I don't get some entertainment out of the whole deal. For a quick recap, Dark Lord Day (DLD) is a beer release, festival, and just an overall beer geek gathering as the masses make their pilgrimage to Munster, Indiana for the release of Three Floyds' Russian Imperial Stout named Dark Lord. The event draws thousands.

I've had a Dark Lord and that bottle would be my first and last. Not because I can't easily obtain it, but because I didn't think it was very good (and neither did the 3 other beer friends I split it with). But I still enjoy this day immensely! Why you ask? Later this afternoon there will be report after report posted by beer geeks on their blogs or on beer forums such as Beer Advocate's Great Lakes forum that will outline the thievery, complaints of long lines, cutting in line, dishonesty, and the dejection and anger from those who stood in line for hours and were turned away with nothing. Yes, you read it right- people have actually had their bottles jacked if they don't pay close attention to them after purchase. Maybe I'm a sick person but I really do find all this entertaining.

Granted, the festival/beer-sharing part of DLD sounds nice, but why would anyone want to stand in a line consisting of thousands of people, in the sun, for a case of beer??? To end on a positive note, the $15/bottle price tag seemed a lot more expensive a few years ago, but as the craft beer market has recently been flooded with special release beers, $15 for a Dark Lord doesn't sound like the rip off it did a few years ago (if you happen to like the beer).

Here's to everyone enjoying Dark Lord Day, in one way or another!

EDIT: Yep, more reports of thievery. Why would you leave your bottles unattended at an event like this? I mean, just because we all like beer doesn't mean there aren't assholes out there. Other than that, it sounds like Three Floyds was actually organized somewhat well this year, for the first time. This seems to be the first year that nobody has mentioned eBay, and, only 1 person reportedly arrested...

Friday, April 24, 2009

Break From "Craft" Beer, Just For One Night

Little day-before-birthday gathering for my mom over at Nana's house tonight. She is not a beer drinker but always buys a single bottle for me from the grocery store when she anticipates me coming over. Last week I enjoyed a semi-stale Redhook IPA. Here's what was in her fridge tonight:

Nothing spectacular in terms of exotic craft beer, but who's gonna complain when Nana goes to the trouble of buying her grandson some beers? Tasted great if you ask me.

Monday, April 20, 2009

BoHo is the real deal!!! (Hollywood)

Had a couple hours to kill before meeting some friends in Koreatown tonight so I headed a few miles up the road to a place I absolutely dread- Hollywood. It is true, I hate Hollywood... the people... the traffic... the parking... mostly the people... but I heard great things about this BoHo Restaurant on Sunset and Vine so I decided to try and get a few drinks in. I showed up there at opening, 5pm, and saw a great looking lineup of about 25 taps. 5-7pm is happy hour and that means 1/2 price beers (basically $3 glasses of beer) and 1/2 price pizza). When I looked at the beer list I immediately ordered up a Ballast Point Big Eye IPA since I hadn't had one of these in like 3 years. Out. Said they had replaced it with Firestone Lil' Opal (more on that in a minute). So I decided to order a Green Flash Le Freak instead. Out. So I quickly spotted a Lost Abbey Avant Garde and ordered that up. Great beer on tap. I don't really prefer it in the bottle but on tap it's spectacular, and I really don't know why that is.

After enjoying the Avante Garde I decided to stick with something low alcohol so I ordered that Firestone Lil' Opal that they apparently just put on. The beer came to me in a pint glass looking about copper in color and very clear. I've had Lil' Opal before and it didn't look like that. The bartender, who was very knowledgable, noticed right away and said he didn't think that was Lil' Opal and thought it might still be Big Eye IPA on. So I smelled it and got hit with a big citrusy orange smell. Nice! A sweet IPA. Maybe it's Big Eye? I don't know, cause I haven't had Big Eye in like 3 years and it actually smells and tastes like a Sculpin Light (nothin' wrong with that). So the bartender gets on the phone with the beer guy who changes out the kegs and tries to find out what beer it is. After waiting for a call back, I say to the bartender, "it might be a Union Jack." The beer guy calls back 10 minutes later and the verdict is in.... Union Jack. Nice! I have no problem with this. It tasted very good though if I had one small complaint it was pretty still in the glass and kinda slick, though the smell and flavor were still excellent. It didn't seem to pop in the mouth the way it should (that might not be the best wording, but this was Hollywood after all).

After finishing off the Union Jack I still wanted to catch the end of the Bulls/Celtics game so I ordered an Alesmith Nautical Nut Brown, which was a great English style Brown ale (another beer I hadn't had in like 3 years). It'd be one of my more favorite Alesmith beers, along with Horny Devil.

The tap list there was a solid A-/A. I really loved the chill vibe there as well. The bartender working tonight was very knowledgable and the wait staff was very friendly (and pretty easy on the eyes if I might say so). I'll definitely be back, maybe as early as next week.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Breakfast and Football (English)

Heading to Lucky Baldwin's to take in the 8am Manchester United vs. Everton match. Get a couple eggs and bangers and a few Plinys. That's the way to start a morning.

I saw my mate,
The other day,
He said to me he'd seen the white Pele,
So i asked,
Who is he?
He goes by the name of Wayne Rooney
Wayne Rooney, Wayne Rooney
He goes by the name of Wayne Rooney
Wayne Rooney, Wayne Rooney

Will update with anything interesting beer-wise.

So, the game sucked balls. It was essentially Manchester United's second team playing without Ronaldo (Senior Greasy), Rooney, and Giggs. They still needed two extra 15 minute periods to end up scoreless and go into shootouts. That wasn't the worst part, that was fine, as it gave us more time to drink beer. However, in shootouts things unfolded very poorly for Man United after a good start with Everton's Tim Cahill's shot went over the crossbar. It went downhill from there as Manchester's next two shooters both missed their opportunities and Everton went through scoring on each of theirs.

The beer was fantastic though. Our roll call was:

Kevin: 4 Pliny the Elders

Spencer: 3 Old Viscosities

Me: Pliny the Elder, Craftsman Burley Barleywine (6 oz), Pliny the Elder, and Sam Adams Imperial Series Double Bock (6 oz).

(Pliny and two eggs and bangers, best way to start a morning)

(Old Viscosity, Craftsman Burley Barleywine, Sam Adams Double Bock)

After the game we headed out into Pasadena to complete our Quadrupel (with some Wham on the ipod... c'mon). The next stop was Whole Foods where we picked up some Pliny, Deschute's Buzzsaw Brown, and Hair of the Dog Blue Dot IPA (Spencer's favorite). We also got some cheese and Italian chorizo. The next stop as usual was Noah's Bagle's and then we finished it off with a BevMo Glendora stop to pick up some Green Flash IPA using a discount coupon.

(Chang beer- sponser of Everton, and Deschutes Buzzsaw Brown)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Bruery Saison de Lente

It's really exciting to see some of our local breweries producing more Saison these days. Lost Abbey makes Carnivale, Ballast Point has made the Brother Levonian Saison (which I guess Port Brewing will do this year), Stone's Vertical Epic 07.07.07 was fairly saison-y, Firestone has their Lil' Opal and The Bruery makes Saison Rue and Saison de Lente. Saison Rue is fantastic so I had high expectations for Saison de Lente, which were surely fulfilled. Saisons are fairly hard to describe for me. Good ones have pretty much all their flavor derived just from the yeast, and finish dry. Saison de Lente meets both those critera, though the dryness is something that will develop even further when cellared due to the presence of the Brett.

Looking forward to a Saison Saturday

But as for now, Friday night wound up like this...

Started off at Seven Grand in downtown LA. Spencer brought a couple cigars, I enjoyed the Rocky Patel Decade, as usual, and we had some Old Fashioneds (Sazerac Rye is the best choice of whisky in an Old Fashioned if you didn't know that).

We moved back up into Sierra Madre for Lucky Baldwin's Strong Ale fest. Loren and I started off with a Hop Rod Rye, a beer I love but probably haven't had in 2 years. Loren also had a Pliny the Elder, the freshest Pliny the Elder I may have ever smelled, and that includes up at the brewpub in Santa Rosa. Can't wait to get back to Lucky B's on Sunday morning for the Manchester United game, 2 eggs and bangers, and a couple pints of fresh Elder. Nothing like some beer, english breakfast, and "soccer" at 8am on a Sunday.

Here's the beer list at Sierra Madre. The Strong Ale list is most likely better at Pasadena, it probably even includes Pliny the Younger. But we love Sierra Madre because our favorite bartender is there. I didn't know North Coast made Kasteel Brown and that Lagunitas is in Chico. (sarcasm)

Loren downing the Hebrew Jewbelation 12 taster that we had so we could get home and get to sleep.

Tomorrow I got a few saisons on the menu to sit around in the back yard and enjoy the sun with.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Beer Wars Pre-Movie Beer Drinkin'

Not gonna say much about the movie other than I could have easily slept through the whole thing, but we did have some fun sharing beers before the movie. I got tickets for myself and my buddies Steve, Loren, Adam, and Pete the Greek "A-14."

I started out with a quick beer when I got home from work before we planned to head over to our friend Adam's house. The beer of choice was Green Flash Le Freak. I've only ever had a small taster of this beer at last year's Stone Anniversary party, and it was the dregs of the very last bottle Green Flash had no less. I figured I better get back to it with JRhode going on and on about it all the time. This beer blew me away last night. Perfect marks to Le Freak for aroma and taste. It's so complex and unique and works so well together. The Belgian yeast character is abundant, mostly with those phenolic compounds, but every so often I feel like I get banana and other fruits too. Course, the hops may contribute a bit to that, there's definitely a citrusy component that rides in the front seat along with those yeast products. I much prefer this to the Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel. That one has just way too much earthiness in it for me, maybe due to some of the hops they use, I dunno. I really like Stone's Cali-Belgique IPA and now Le Freak takes the top notch by far in terms of Belgian/American IPA fusions for me. It's all about using American hops in this style of beer.

When we got to Adam's we started drinking the beers I brought over, as well as his very first homebrew from his Mr. Beer kit. I was pretty shocked because I just recently got him into beer in the last year and he went ahead and brewed this batch without telling me. It was a Witbier of sorts, from how he described it. He said there was wheat (I guess a wheat extract), and he added lemon peel, vanilla, and I can't think of what else. He then bottled it in 2L coke bottles. It was actually a very good attempt for a first brew, especially for a Mr. Beer kit. I was pretty impressed.

I also brought some of my homebrew, my Wit and the Belgian Strong Golden that I brewed with the Baltimore Beer Guy back in January. I've already expressed my love for this Wit, but the Belgian Strong Golden (which seems to have turned out a bit closer to a Tripel due to the blend of yeasts we used) is fuckin amazing (and I'm probably my biggest beer critic). My friend Pete said his only criticism he could offer of it is that there might have been "too much flavor" in it. Yeah the yeast was ridiculously active. I'll take that as a great compliment. I only wish I had more than a couple 6-packs of it left.

Another big hit was the Brewer's Art Ozzy, Belgian Style Pale Ale that Baltimore Beer Guy sent me for Christmas. I loved this beer when I tried it back in the fall. It's very spicy/peppery. That's Petey fillin' himself up, he finally worse the Arrogant Bastard shirt that Steve bought for him last year. Wearing an Arrogant Bastard shirt to a Beer Wars movie.... isn't that like wearing the t-shirt of the band you're going to see in concert? I told him not to be that guy.

The last beer we went for was the barrel aged imperial coffee stout, Alpine Boris, generously given to me by the JRhode and the SD Booze Reviews crew. It was generous that they let me feed it to our sink drain rather than theirs. Just kidding fellas, thanks for giving us the opportunity to at least try this beer. This was an undrinkable stout, up there with a bad batch of Stone IRS 2004 I had last year. And it had the same exact taste. One word: Tangy. There was coffee in the nose and some astringent sourness/tanginess in the body. Just not good at all. However, I told Pete to chug his glass and he had no problem doing it, giving the thumbs up (not for the taste) when he was done.

We then headed to the movie and I was not entertained right from the start. But one thing I will say is that in the theater crowd of about 20 people, like half of them were douches. I haven't heard so many comments, just straight out shouting during a movie. It was like some people felt the need to express their beer geek knowledge supremacy while the movie was running. The first comment was kinda funny. The 2nd through 5oth wasn't so much.

Anyway, about the only entertaining thing I noticed all night was during a commercial before the movie started. They had this dude dressed up as Abe Lincoln and I had this ridiculous deja-vu.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Naja's Place IPA Festival - Redondo Beach

Festival starts on Wednesday, April 22nd at 2:00pm. I assume it runs until they're drained of kegs. Here is a partial list of the beers that will be offered:

1. Bear Republic Apex IPA
2. Stone Cali-Belgique IPA
3. Russian River Pliny the Younger
4. Russian River Pliny the Elder
5. Firestone Union Jack
6. Port Brewing Hop 15
7. Sierra Nevada Chico Harvest IPA
8. Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA
9. Victory Hop Wallop
10. Avery Maharaja 2009
11. Avery Maharaja 2008
12. Avery Maharaja 2007
13. Rogue XS I2PA
14. Stone Brewing 11th Anniversary
15. Mission IPA
16. Bear Republic Racer X
17. Speakeasy Double Daddy DIPA
18. Rubicon IPA
19. Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA
20. Stone IPA
21. Green Flash West Coast IPA
22. Mammoth IPA
23. Lagunitas IPA
24. ReaperAle Sleighor DIPA
25. Drake's IPA
26. Moylan's Moylander DIPA
27. Coronado Idiot IPA
28. Alaskan IPA
29. Angel City Belgian IPA
30. Bootlegger's Rye IPA
31. Marin IPA (cask)
32. Coronado Islander IPA
33. Ballast Point Sculpin IPA
34. Deschutes Hop Henge Experimental IPA

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Exponential Happiness

Since my friends aren't around to partake in my growler of Alpine Exponential Hoppiness I decided to open it up for a family get-together. I poured glasses for myself, my sister, her boyfriend, my brother-in-law, my uncle and my dad. The reaction to this beer was just amazing.

My uncle: Drank his first mug in about 5 minutes and asked if it would be possible to have more. Of course you can have more! (as long as I can videotape whatever happens after you finish your second mug). He's a light beer drinker, but also appreciates a Firestone Double Barrel, or Firestone Pale Ale, or Stone Pale Ale, or Stone IPA, but he doesn't venture too much and he isn't a beer geek. Well, he loved Exponential Hoppiness.

My Aunt: My uncle insisted that my aunt taste this beer. We gave it to her and she wouldn't stop sniffing it. She was blown away by the smell. Amazed by the taste as well. She described it as having "a little bitterness." (she was right, this is not a hugely bitter beer)

My Dad: He's still working through his mug. I poured him a half mug at first to make sure he liked it and he did, so he insisted I get him a full mug.

My brother-in-law: He nurses his Corona's anyway, but he said he likes the flavor of it although the beer is pretty heavy. I agree, it is a viscous beer. It doesn't go down like Corona water. He still finished his glass without complaints

My sister: She loves hops but she decided to pour the last 1/3rd of her glass into mine. I'm not complaining.

My sister's boyfriend: I think he appreciates it. Though I poured my homebrewed Wit for him before it, and of course it's hard for any beer to stand up to my Wit.

A Pliny A Day Keeps The Doctor Away

Put in a good morning of work erecting a canopy thing on the patio for the mom. Rewarding myself with a Pliny. I would have had a Pliny even if I didn't do the work.

I believe this is the first time I've seen a Union Jack bomber. I've been wanting to say this for a long time now, but I've been holding off waiting for Pliny bottles to really make a big leap, but Firestone Union Jack in the bottle is easily better than Pliny the Elder in a bottle. Not only that but as each gets further and further away from the bottling date, Pliny declines from its baseline way faster. On tap they may be a push, IMO, but in the bottle Union Jack is the champ.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Upland, Black Albert, and Fred (who did not get fingered tonight)

Had a little tasting session tonight while watching the movie Twilight with my buddy Spencer and his wife. Hadn't read any of the books but they said it was a good movie so we paired it with some good beer choices. The first was an Upland Chocolate Stout. No not the Upland I live in here in Southern California, the Upland in Indiana. They make some pretty coveted beers, but this chocolate stout is not one I'd heard of from them before. This stout had a very nice and drinkable balance between the subtle chocolatey, cocoa powder flavor, and the roasted barley coffee flavor. Not tilted too far to either side, made it easily quaffable. A good every day drinking stout if not one you would pay big bucks for in shipping for a trade.

Next up, the recently popular De Struise Black Albert. They self-classify this as a "Belgian Royal Stout." That might be pretty valid, cause it doesn't really follow any sorta BJCP style I can speak of, 'cept for maybe a Belgian Specialty ale or something. In addition to the motor oil pour and the densely packed tan head of tiny bubbles, the smell is ridiculously unique. The first thing that stands out is a crazy sweaty yeast smell, almost giving it a sour-like nose, without actually being sour. Entwined in this is a very light roast character and some odd fruit here and there. And that's just the smell. The taste is a bit of the same, but not so much yeast weirdness (which I never complain about). More of a light chocolate and fruit, and of course some Belgian yeast character. It's more complex than that but I can't remember as much being that I drank it a few hours ago. Overall it was an interesting beer, but I wasn't wishing for endless amounts of it. My 6 ounces was plenty enough and I was ready to move on.

The last beer of the night was good old Fred... or Freddie if you will (daddy would you like some sausage?). Hair of the Dog Fred. Here's a brewery I haven't had a crappy, or even mediocre beer from. From Blue Dot Double IPA, to the olde ale Adam, to Doggie Claws barleywine, these are some exceptional tasting beers. Fred was a bit of a disappointment in this regard, while still being a solid beer in its own right. Fred is a barleywine brewed with 10 different types of hops and some aromatic and rye malts. The hops come through with a firm bite, but Fred is still very well balanced, not even getting close to crossing into that DIPA distinction. There is a viscous body of malt behind it adding a firm sweetness. The thing I least preferred from it was its thick, very oily slick body. I rarely like that in any beer, but that's just me.

Dessert consisted of brownies, tater tots, and a Rocky Patel "The Edge" which was superbly smooth and chocolatey.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Deschutes Cinder Cone On Tap at Beachwood BBQ

This has to be the first time that Deschutes' Cinder Cone Red Ale has been available on tap in Southern California... I've never seen it before. It's over at Beachwood BBQ for the time being.

I have half a mind to get myself down there and try it, since I've never had this beer before while knowing about it for years. I haven't even had a bad beer from Deschutes' (unlike some of your Hop Henge experiences) in the 13 different flavors I've tried, and they have remained one of my favorite breweries since I got the craft beer bug 5 years ago.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Founders Porter

Another brew from the great state of Michigan. I was certain that this beer would fare much better than Michigan State in the NCAA tournament championship, or the Michigan Wolverines in a Rose Bowl. And I was right (it doesn't take much). This porter is heavy on the roast. Smacks you in the face on your first whiff and doesn't let up... much. As close to a stout as the Russian River Porter, which I noticed an equally large amount of roasted barley in. If you like your porters more on the chocolatey, caramely side, then this brew won't be for you. If you like the roasted grain, almost coffee type presence that comes through in a stout, but backed off just slightly, then you'll love this beer. Breakfast stout and Kentucky Breakfast Stout are still the best beers I've had from them, easily.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

San Diego Saturday Wrap-Up

It hurts to even think of beer right now but as I sit here watching today's Man vs. Food marathon I'll go ahead and try to recap yesterday with some notes on some beers we tried, although I can mostly just remember the ones I had.

Left Upland around 10:30 in order to hit O'Brien's at opening. I stopped at the Ballast Point Old Grove location to pick up a bottle of their newly bottled Tongue Buckler Imperial Red. When I got down to O'Brien's I started out with an Alpine Exponential Hoppiness. It was similar in flavor to what I remember from a few years ago. A pretty delicious beer which is overall fairly sweet but is loaded with hop flavor and that standard Alpine house flavor I pick up in all their hoppy beers. The taste of this reminded me quite a bit of their Bad Boy DIPA. As I finished up Expo, JRhode and JHamel met me there and started to get to work on Plinys. My next choice was a Hollister White Star extra pale ale served on nitro. This was one of the standout beers in the sampler I had when I was at Hollister last Summer. No hoppy beer (other than Pliny the Younger) should be able to stand up to Exponential Hoppiness but this beer was actually still tasty and had a nice hoppiness to it. I'm not sure nitro was the best way to serve it though. Around this time JTH joined us and started himself on a cloudy but still supposedly great tasting Pliny. The last beer I went with was an Avery Maheraja DIPA. Hadn't had this beer for a few years, and didn't love it back then but thought I'd give it a go after reading the recent tasting by Maheraja is still not my favorite DIPA. The alcohol is not well hidden at all, and it's just too hot for me. Thankfully it was only a 10 oz glass... I think I drank about 4 oz of it and the fellas did the rest. That concluded our session at O'Brien's.


We headed down to 30th street and hit the Toronado next. I made a dumb decision to order a Dogfish Head Aprihop IPA. It shouldn't be called an IPA... it's basically a fruit pale ale maybe. Grainy and apricotty, it's just not my favorite beer, especially amongst the great beers we were drinking today. I believe the Booze Reviews crew ordered an Anchor Old Foghorn, Telegraph Reserve Wheat, and Port Hot Rocks Lager. Then JTH ordered up an '08 Cable Car (still need to reimburse you for that!) that we split 4 ways. Light golden and sour it was. Reminiscent of Beatification to everyone. I think everyone really liked this beer and its balance between the sour and funk.

(Blind Lady Alehouse)

The next stop was at Blind Lady Alehouse where we met JHamel's better half. She knows her beer as good as anyone and was already working her way through a Bear Republic Apex IPA when we arrived. JHamel and myself decided to make sure we ordered a beer that would be served in their new .5L glasses so I ordered a Victory Prima Pils and he a Green Flash 30th Street Pale Ale. I would have to reiterate that the 30th street pale ale is basically an IPA. It's 6+% ABV and hoppy as hell. JRhode ordered Lee Chase's house Belgian Single also served in a half liter. This beer, called Automatic #1, is brewed with ginger, coriander, and toasted oak. The small sample I had of that beer was really good and I think it impressed everyone. After this round of beer our pub hopping for the day was over and it was on to the garage session.

We split a growler of Exponential Hoppiness when we got to JHamel's house, though nobody drank out of a boot this time. After picking up some burritos we continued the beer tasting in JRhode's garage where things started getting crazy. We started with the bottle of Ballast Point Tongue Buckler that I picked up earlier. It's a 10% Imperial Red, and someone on BA said it came back from White Labs as having tested to 107 IBU's. From what I've read it's nearly impossible to get a beer to 100+ IBU realistically (lab tested). We expected this beer to ruin our palettes but we were really just left wondering "where are the hops?" Not that it wasn't tasty, but I don't think anyone was able to get much bitterness out of it at all. The other beers tried were listed on the post before. I think we concluded that Stone IRS seems to peak around 3-4 years of age. Oh yeah, and I also learned how good a FRESH Hop Stoopid is, that regular otter pops are still better than "adult" otter pops, and plastic chairs were harmed in the making of this blog.