Saturday, December 19, 2009

Third Thursday Drink About

On Thursday night, we joined the inaugural Third Thursday Drink About hosted by local bars. Our friend Kara flagged this opportunity at the last minute and Michelle and I knew it would be good times. Two buses from Brewery Tours of San Diego traveled in opposite directions making stops at 8 local craft beer bars. The bus was FREE and was in operation from 8pm-midnight. Bars would simply ring a bell to let you know the bus is outside. Typically, the buses were about 20 minutes apart.
We started at Small Bar, then took the bus to Hamilton's, and finally to Toronado. We were a bit worried that the bus would simply abandon the route at midnight, leaving us stranded. If that happened, we knew we'd only have to walk home which would have been less than a mile, albeit unchillindamos. The buses did one more loop beyond midnight to make sure everyone got where they needed to be at the end of the event, nice touch!
The buses were mostly busy and full. With word of mouth, this may be an epic event every month around here. Towards the end of the evening the bus crowd was a little rowdy but all in good fun. There were probably more drinkers than beer fanatics on the bus; quite evident with one person opening a grocery bag and distributing cans of Tecate and numerous others vulgarly expressing their inebriated mission for the evening. As with any other tasting event, I ran into a few QUAFFers and recognized a handful of the local beer fanatics.
I did have another beer from Hollister Brewing Company in Goleta (just north of Santa Barbara). A person on the bus told me that the brewer of Hollister was hosting a tasting at Toronado and some of the beers were still on tap. I had their aged bourbon barrel (porter, I think) served from nitrogen and a creamer faucet and it was quite tasty. Michelle also had another of their beers. Its a bit foggy, but I remember it tasting like an imperial wheat ale. They had several other on tap but I tried to visit their website to recall what we had and there's nothing beyond their home page. Shout @ Hollister Brewing - You guys need to get your website going so we can see your beer list!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

45 Gallons Enqueued

Yesterday, I finished racking all of the recent brews. I will post current gravities in the original brew recipe entries. Temp of beer during racking was 66° F. Gotta love that carboy lineup! (9 5-gallon carboys)

Update 12/22: Massive kegging operation ensued. Final gravities and calculated ABVs are located in the original recipe post, One Weekend, 8 Batches - 40 Gallons of Homebrew. Doing tasks like this in bulk is time consuming yet very efficient. 6 of these beers go up to Big Bear for our New Year's Bash and 2 go to Ed to resupply his kegerator in Pacific Beach.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

13th Annual Strong Ale Festival at Pizza Port

Pizza Port Brewing Company has a number of festivals throughout the year but this one is typically my favorite. I was in chillindamos mode so no detailed tasting notes to be found here. I did see one person taking detailed notes. In fact, this guy is a beer fest regular. After spending a number of years going to beer festivals in San Diego, you start recognizing the crowd! I don't think I had any San Diego beers this time since I've been well versed in local brews and had mostly local brews at the San Diego Brewers Guild Festival a few weeks ago.
I sampled a number of brews and as you can imagine, my mental notes increasingly became foggy as the night went on. From the above list, I had:
  • Baltic Porter from Alaskan Brewing (anything I've had from Alaskan Brewing has been great so this was an easy selection)
  • Very Noddy, an Imperial Schwarzbier from Buckbean in Reno (Schwarzbier is a rare find and a type of beer I've been wanting to brew)
  • Hopsquatch, a Barleywine from Four Peaks in Tempe (insane beer, 'nouf said)
Above is the backside of the list for a total of 67 beers. There was also a VIP list but we never got around to asking for any of those brews. On this list, I had:
  • Hip Hop IPA from Holister Brew Co (near where I went to college [UCSB] so I had to sample their beer)
  • Moylander, a Double IPA from Moylan's (gotta love Moylan's, good brew from what I remember)
  • Salvation, a Strong Dark Ale from Russian River (I've had this before, awesome brew)
  • The Empire Strikes Black from Sierra Nevada (this is a collaboration beer from one of my all-time favs, very awesome beer)
  • 10th Anniversary Double Alt from Tenaya Creek in Las Vegas (Tenaya Who!? I was surprised that in ten years of operation, I had never heard of Tenaya Creek Brewing. Being an Alt at a strong ale festival, I had to try it. This beer is my best of show! Their Double Alt was surprisingly well balanced and exemplified the altbier style [doubled, of course].
  • Yakima Twilight, an American Strong from Victory Brewing in Downingtown, PA (after our trip to Philly last summer, I felt inclined to try have a Pennsylvanian beer, good brew)
As usual, the fest was packed but I did spot a number of great pro brewers, homebrewers, and general beer fanatics. Wrangling the operation was Tomme Arthur and Tom Nickel/Jeff Bagby (saw either Tom or Jeff - couldn't remember who's who) of the Lost Abbey and Port Brewing. I also saw Patrick Rue of The Bruery and Dean of San Diego Brew Co. Members of White Labs were there as well as a handful of fellow QUAFFers. Said hi to Doug, who's friends with Seanywonton, and has been working in the Pizza Port bottle shop. Doug had great news. He just started working at The Bruery and just did his first mash. Congrats and good luck, Doug!
Cheers and Chillindamos!