Saturday, June 29, 2013

Crash The Bruery's Website

The Bruery is having a one-hour beer sale on its website Monday night, July 1, from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm PST.  The Bruery is trying to drive traffic its website to stress-test it, as it prepares for releases of highly anticipated beers like Black Tuesday.  According The Bruery, it has had problems with its on-line store crashing during high traffic events, and with Monday's short sale The Bruery is attempting to attract a large number of visitors to see how its website performs.  Here are the special beers:

10 cases available, 2 bottle limit, $19.99

2011 Mélange #3
10 cases available, 2 bottle limit, $29.99

2012 Mélange #3
20 cases available, 4 bottle limit
Special Stress Test price: $26.99

2011 Smoking Wood
10 cases available, 2 bottle limit, $19.99

2012 Bourbon Smoking Wood
10 cases available, 2 bottle limit, $19.99

2012 White Chocolate
10 cases available, 1 bottle limit, $29.99

In checking the prices, it looks like the beers will be for sale, but not at sale prices.  I am sure the beer geeks will gobble up the beers above, but The Bruery's on-line store has other, cheaper beers that look more interesting to me, including Saison Tonnellerie, Sans Pagaie, a cherry sour, and Imperial Loakal Red.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Anticipating Modern Times

I have been looking forward to the opening of Modern Times Beer brewery since I learned it was not far from my home.  Modern Times owner, Jacob McKean, is excellent at promotion and publicity, which is critical for a new brewery, or any business.  Modern Times has already had two plugs in BeerAdvocate magazine (that I've read), and this before Modern Times has even released its first beer.  Skill at public relations is one thing, but a quality beer is another. 

Modern Times' first four beers reach the public this week, and I'll admit, McKean's marketing has worked on me and I am more than curious to try Modern Times' beers.  The beers are in a few select locations, including Fathom Bistro, a craft beer bar/eatery located in an old bait shop on a small fishing pier that juts into San Diego Bay.  I have been wanting an excuse to visit Fathom, and Modern Times' release gives me an opportunity to stop by one of the most unique places to drink a beer in San Diego.

I am approaching Modern Times with an open mind.  Brandon Hernandez, the usually positive San Diego beer journalist, has been cautious with Modern Times, at least that is how I've read his posts on the new brewery.  The passage below is from Hernandez's latest column:
So, last week, I visited McKean and company and got the scoop on all things fermented from this new biz, which will begin funneling its beers to the local market this week. The plan is for Modern Times to produce four year-round beers while leaving room in their brewing schedule for rotating specialty selections. Those brews will be mostly hybridized styles as the foursome is choosing not to let traditional style guidelines rule their recipe-building. Blazing World is a key example. Though McKean calls it an amber IPA, there is no such official style. Modern Times will also produce a wheat beer that drinks like an extra pale ale or IPA called Fortunate Islands, an IPA diversified with the addition of Brettanomyces, and a saison made using 95% Dupont yeast augmented by 5% Westmalle yeast in order to help the beer more efficiently and expeditiously finish out its fermentation.
In addition, Modern Times has a coffee stout, brewed with beans Modern Times roasts itself.  Modern Times' website states that the brewery has four year-round beers, but Hernandez's article lists five available beers:  three IPAs - Amber, Wheat and one with Brettanomyces yeast - a saison and the coffee stout.   The Belgian IPA is not part of the regular line-up.

Modern Times' decision to "not let traditional style guidelines rule their recipe-building" is why I am willing to give it some initial leeway when tasting its beers.  Style stretching doesn't bother me, as long as its not trying to mask flaws, because a good beer is a good beer whatever its style.  It's time to find out whether Modern Times' beers are as good as their packaging.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Hop Addict News

If you're a hop addict, Stone Brewing is re-releasing last summer's Ruination Tenth Anniversary Ale today, and has made it an annual release.  The name has been changed to Stone RuinTen IPA, but the beer is the same.  The name doesn't matter, this is one big-hopped beer.  At 110 IBUs and 10.8% abv, RuinTen IPA's abv is higher than Stone's other recently introduced IPA, the highly hopped Enjoy By, which weighs in a paltry 9.4% abv.  

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Beer Map

I saw a link to this New Yorker interactive beer map on a tweet from the excellent beer store Bottlecraft.  It's easy to get lost for a few minutes scrolling through the various screens.  When I see lists of top brewers based on sales volume, I'm always surprised to see the maker of Shiner Bock, Gambrinus Co., near the top spot at No. 4.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Pizza Port Pine Bomb

If you're near Ocean Beach I recommend stopping at Pizza Port Ocean Beach and grabbing a pint of its new Bronx Bomber IPA.  It is a sharp, pine-forward IPA - so piney George Brett would be proud.   This year I have had several IPAs with amorphous flavor profiles - pine? citrus? earthiness? - I couldn't tell.  There is no ambiguity with Bronx Bomber, it's piney through and through.  In a world where the IPA is now ubiquitous, it's rare when one jumps out at you.  The draft-only Bronx Bomber IPA is a stand-out beer.  A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Bronx Bomber are going to support ALS, or Lou Gehrig's Disease, but altruism, while important, is not why I recommend this beer.  I like this beer because it's a flat out delicious IPA.