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!

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