Monday, August 10, 2009

A 221 Mile Brewery Hop

221 miles of driving took us to three of the best breweries in America Sunday afternoon. Granted we've been to each of these places many times before, but this was the first time that I've ever hopped over to Orange County and then down to SD just for the afternoon. It was worth it. We started up at The Bruery in Placentia, about 25 miles from my house. JRhode and JTH ("The J's"... no connection to our friend from the Plantae kingdom... well... maybe....) came up from SD to check it out for the first time and reserve a couple bottles of The Bruery's new 19.5% ABV barrel aged imperial stout called Black Tuesday. After having a few tasters of it, I noticed JTH rated it his first 5.0 ever... nice! I started off with one of my favorites, a Hottenroth Berliner Weisse, at barely over 3% ABV and super tart and funky it's an awesome breakfast! As we sampled beers, a couple blokes from the East Coast had brought in some beers to share. Got a little taster of Southern Tier's Cherry Saison. Not bad, quite a fruity Saison obviously, but not sure how much I could drink of that as it didn't seem dry enough for a saison. The J's brought up a growler of Alpine Duet to share and people seemed to like it (how could you not??). My last glass was their new Humulus Lager, which could probably place in competitions in the IPA category if they kept the lager part hush-hush. We all agreed this beer was strikingly similar to the amazing Ballast Point Sculpin IPA. Hops abound, orange citrus, tropical fruits, a swift bitterness... it was delicious. After just under a couple of hours at The Bruery the fellas helped me talk myself into heading back down to SD with them to hit Stone and Pizza Port.

We set out from North OC, a little 91 fwy to the 15 and before ya know it (1:15 min later?) we were at Stone. Only 1 Alpine growler casualty occured, and the cause of death was determined to be from JTH's small bladder. Ok maybe it's not small (the bladder part), after all he was waxing off the rest of that Duet growler in the car on the way down. Stone's taplist was solid and other than those bush league little "8oz" tumbler glasses they pour like half of their beers in, we didn't have much to complain about. Please, Stone, for the millionth time, please get better glassware for your small pours! No way should a barleywine and a saison be poured in the same 8oz tumbler glass! In fact, get rid of like 75% of those 8oz pours and put them in regular glasses... it's making American's look bad (errr worse)! I digress. First round consisted of Firestone Double Jack, one of Dupont's saisons, and a Lagunitas Lil Sumpin' Sumpin' Ale. Lil Sumpin' was refreshing, moderately bitter, hoppy, with just a tinge of wheat. After some munching on Stone's new soft pretzel dish (which is delicious, but only 3 for $8.50?? --> NOT worth it) and another round of brews (not for me) we headed for the main course at Pizza Port.

Pizza Port's selections were kinda strange today. Guest taps were just ok and Blind Pig is obviously solid, so we got a pitcher of that first, but Pizza Port's own beer selection seemed bland. A couple bitters/milds, a couple wheats, Wipeout IPA (good, but I prefer El Camino IPA and Swami's IPA which can be found at the other locations), a couple Stouts (Sticky Stout and Night Rider) and some other stuff. We ended up also getting pitchers of their new Double Wheat Ale and the Imperial Red named 547 Height Street (after the Toronado SF). And for the record, I've decided Pizza Port is my second favorite pizza (behind Grimaldi's in Las Vegas and of NY fame).

After that, it was back home from Calrsbad, back up through OC and into the armpit of Southern California known as the Inland Empire. 221 miles, about 3/4th's of a tank of gas, and a handful of beers. Just another Sunday around here.


Dave said...

Awesome you got to try Black Tuesday. I want a bottle so bad and would be willing to pay or trade a lot for it. I just want to move to Cali!

Ryan said...

Wow, great trip. We went the opposite way this weekend. From LA on Sat, down to (Lolita's for some California Burritos and then to) O'Brien's for some hoppy-goodness. After being soon hopped out, we went up to Lost Abbey to give some of there beers a taste. Can't remember all we had, but the Lost & Found stood out in my mind. Next up was a trip to Stone to grab a few more beers and eat dinner before staying at a hotel near by. At Stone, you can hardly go wrong, but we decided to pick up a vertical epic growler for our enjoyment.

The next day we decided to hit up another brewery, so, The Bruery it was. Ordered a few of the tasters and tried the Black Tuesday and the Humulus Lager. Both excellent. Finally ended our day on Sun at a trip to Simmzy's in Manhattan to check out their selection. Which was pretty decent, except for at least 5 of our selections being tapped out.

Great blog by the way.

Steve said...

Dave, yeah I'm sure Black Tuesday will be coveted very highly within the trading forums soon. I didn't buy any bottles myself, just getting try it on tap was enough for me. I generally am not a huge fan of Imperial Stouts as it is.

Ryan, great trip you had. It's hard to beat the old Lost Abbey-Stone 1-2 punch. Where else can you go in the country with breweries that awesome only 2 miles away from eachother? I've heard of Simmzy's recently, though I'm rarely all the way out on the west side so I doubt I'll make it there anytime soon. Thanks for sharing!

BeerGuy said...

Lazy ass!

Rational Realist said...

Was impressed with Lil Sumpin' Sumpin'at Stone last week, too. I need to somehow have to figure how to get to The Bruery for its tasting hours.

Anonymous said...

I feel for you. Blind Pig and Wipeout on tap, that pretty rough.

Steve said...

I know right ;-D