Saturday, December 29, 2007

Patron Saint

I joined Lost Abbey's Patron Saint beer club. It was a Christmas present to myself. It should be a year of good beer.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Losing Lost Abbey Opportunities

Lost Abbey is releasing three winter ales on Saturday, November 24. I am out of town and will miss Lost Abbey's second special release this month (Waaahhh (in the voice of Artie Lange)). I missed the release of Angel's Share earlier in the month. I will try to find out if any of these Christmas beers survived the weekend and try to get them next weekend.

Avant Garde

I brought an Avant Garde for Thanksgiving. I will share it relatives as we snack on a cheese plate while preparing dinner. I had a Belgian (Stone Verital Epic 05.05.05) with Thanksgiving a few years ago and did not go very well, so I'd rather enjoy the Avant Garde before dinner. I wonder how a big double IPA would go with a Thanksgiving Dinner? Its big smash-mouth taste may be the right choice, because subtlety gets destroyed with all the various flavors at Thanksgiving. Something to try next year.

UPDATE: The Avant Garde was excellent as a pre-dinner drink. I did not get to have it with the cheese as I was picking up a relative, but did manage a glass during food preparations, and it was fantastic. Everyone commented on how good it was and wondered why I only brought one bottle. Something to remember next year, or better yet at Christmas.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Lipstick On A Pig

OK, maybe the title is too harsh. Seriously, I am not going to drink Michelob just due to marketing (except at Seaworld). Any beer from AB is not going to compete on taste with a good craft brewer. No way. The Bud Light add at the opera is pretty funny.

Devotion to Devotion

I had a Lost Abbey Devotion with dinner last night. This has to be the most sublime beer I have ever tasted. It is not the hop-bomb I usually favor. It is so good and drinkable without loads of alcohol. This beer was originally a seasonal beer from Lost Abbey but is now part of its regular offerings, which is good news for all beer drinkers.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Holiday Brews

I saw the first six-pack of Sierra Nevada's Celebration Ale the other day. This ushers in the Holiday Brew season. This is my favorite beer-time of the year with all the interesting concoctions. (Although I guess May and June are becoming IPA season so my seasonal preference is subject to change, but not yet.) Celebration Ale is a good IPA/DIPA, and my favorite Sierra Nevada offering. I will keep posting on other Holiday Beers I come across.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Ballast Point's Cup Runneth Over

Ballast Point recently had its 11th Anniversary party. It brewed multiple specialty beers for this event. A visit to the brewery is in order to sample these rare offering. I picked up a growler of the Sculpin IPA. Other brews include Rocktoberfest(?), an Imperial lager and Dorado. I know Dorado is getting to be a standard, but it is still not always available. There are other beers, too, that I don't remember. The Tongue Buckler may be there, too, but I am not sure. Best to get to the brewery (I went to Linda Vista) to see for yourself.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Hidden Brew Pub

A few weeks ago I found a brew pub that is not on BeerAdvocate. It is a Stuft Pizza in Thousand Oaks, California. Stuft Pizza was a local Southern California chain of brewpubs. It went corporate and changed its name to Oggi's. The Stuft Pizza in Thousand Oaks did not make the switch and its beers are now contract brewed by Firestone. It is tucked into a strip shopping mall, behind a Mimi's Cafe, on Moorpark Road. It is about a quarter- to half-mile east of the 101. I did not eat there, but did get a growler of Firestone's new IPA. Not bad, but not a hop monster either. There were also guest beers on tap. When I was there it had Sierra Nevada's Anniversary Ale.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Stone XI

Wooa. This is a good beer. Pours dark like a porter but drinks like a double IPA. It is very mellow, if you can apply that adjective to a DIPA. The head was average sized and had the color of a porter or stout. The beer left no lace on the glass. There is a faint, roasted taste that emerges as you work your way down the glass, but it stays faint even as the beer warmed allowing it to keep its DIPA structure. It did not have the stick-to-your-mouth high alcohol taste like some DIPAs and last year's Stone Anniversary Ale (which also was a DIPA). In all a most enjoyable beer and a tribute to Stone's craftsmanship.

I am going to pick up a couple more as they will go well with the cooler weather. I bought mine this morning at South Bay Drugs in Imperial Beach, a great beer store in the most unlikely place - a beat up strip shopping center a stone's throw from the Mexican border. I picked up a couple of other beers in addition to Stone XI that I hope to write about later.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Michael Jackson

When I grow up I want to be a beer writer and traveller like Michael Jackson. I received one of his books for my birthday last month. It was sad to hear of his passing. Todd and Jason Alstrom, the founders of BeerAdvocate, have a thoughtful article on Michael Jackson that has many links.

Punting in Portland

I took a working mini-vacation to Portland, Oregon with the family in mid-August and passed on Portland's craft beer offerings. My wife did not want me to drag her and my girls to a brewery so I did not push the matter. I did make a late night trek to a Whole Foods and picked up a Pelican Pub & Brewery IPA that I have not drank yet. (Ironically, my one chance for a detour involved Pelican Pub. We went to the coast and my wife was up for the detour to Pacific City, but I passed, partly due to not wanting to be tempted to drink (as I had to drive the two hours back to Portland) and partly due to not wanting to force the craft beer issue. A buddy brought some Pelican beers down from Oregon last year I really enjoyed them.) There will be other chances to visit Portland so I am not that disappointed.

Stone World Bistro and Gardens

I went to Stone Bistro and World Gardens for my birthday. I love this restaurant. It is not a brew pub, but a fine restaurant with a focus on local, organic and sustainable food. This means the food tastes good (and with a little more consistency it will be great). I had a Stone Ruination with appetizers and lunch and a Lost Abbey Devotion to finish the meal. Outstanding beers. I probably did not drink them in the proper order, but it was my birthday so who cares.

Were are the Posts?

The posts have been light the past month. And I have beer news and finds, too, so I am going to try to catch-up over the next several days.

Thursday, August 2, 2007


I finally got a summer Yulesmith last week and it exceeded expectations. Its color was a rich British tan and the smell was floral. Alesmith has had carbonation issues in the past. Carbonation was not a problem on this beer as a standard pour resulted in half the glass being head. The head was pure white and it took a few minutes for it to dissipate enough to drink the beer. The hops were prominent, like all good double IPAs, and the finish was balanced not overly bitter. I love the sweet and bitter conflict in a quality IPA. I have two Yulesmith's left and will buy more if the opportunity arises.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Return to Dallas

I had to return to Dallas today and my return flight was delayed. I was in Dallas / Ft Worth Airport's new D Terminal. It sure is nice, a huge improvement from the older terminals. Spacious with shops and restaurants. I looked around trying to find an interesting beer - something more exciting than Bud Light. I found an Irish pub, well, as much of an Irish pub as can be in an airport terminal. Its name was Tigin and it's located near gates D-17 to D-21. It has the staples, Bass, Guinness and Bud Light. The interesting beer was a Smithwick's Irish Ale. It's billed as Ireland’s oldest beer. It tasted OK. It had a mineral aftertaste that's in other British Isle ales. I paid $8.00 for the pint! It was a 20 oz. pint, but still at $8.00, it was outrageous. Smithwick's is owned by Diageo so I guess it's not that interesting.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Pizza Port Pitstop

I drove by Carlsbad this evening and stopped at Pizza Port for a growler refill and a couple of pizzas. It was jammed - on a Tuesday. Incredible. I got a growler of the Girabaldi, a strong pale ale. It has a deep copper color and its a hoppy pale ale, but balanced with the right mix of malt. The alcohol (6%) was subdued despite the "strong" moniker. I wanted to try the IPA that was on tap - I think it was called Right Turn - but it was a double IPA and I did not want that much alcohol on a Tuesday. There are no reviews of either the Girabaldi or Right Turn on BeerAdvocate.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Where's the Beer? - Vegas

Went to Vegas for a few days. The hotel I stayed at (Ritz Carlton at Lake Las Vegas) had nothing on tap and the only craft beer was Fat Tire. Went to the strip one night and, again, the only interesting beer was Fat Tire, but at least it was on draft. I know there is craft beer in Vegas, but not at the places I went.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Membership has Its Privileges

I am a Founding Subscriber to BeerAdvocate Magazine. Boston Beer Company is sending all Founding Subscribers this cool glass:

I guess I'll have to take back what I said about Sam Adams being BORING.

DFW Beer Desert

The Dallas/Ft Worth airport is a beer desert. I was there yesterday and popped into a couple of establishments to check the beer selections and the most exciting beer was Sam Adams. BORING! And what is up with Widmer's Hefeweizen? A lemon in a hefeweizen is not correct and you'd think the brewer would know this, but Widmer celebrates this gaffe by putting a lemon on its beer tap handle. This faux pas puts Widmer on my beer exclusion list (as does its relationship with Anheuser-Busch). Since DFW is a beer desert I drank what you are supposed to in a desert - water. Life's too short to settle for crappy beer.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Yulesmith Stays Elusive

I am not going to make it to South Bay Drugs today. Yulesmith stays close but still not in my stomach or beer closet.

Yulesmith Today

I have to go to San Diego's south bay area today. I will go a little further, time permitting to get Yulesmith at a store that has it - South Bay Drugs in Imperial Beach. This little pharmacy has a great selection of craft beers and imports with a focus on Belgians.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Where's Yulesmith?

Alesmith Brewing makes a holiday ale, Yulesmith, which is an Imperial Red Ale. It is a good beer. Around the 4th of July it releases a second version of Yulesmith, which is a Double IPA. It's Christmas in July for beer lovers. So far this year I have been unable to put my hands on one. None of the grocery stores, liquor stores or markets in my area have had any. I was in Pasadena last weekend and the BevMo there did not have any (but it did have an Avery 14th Anniversary, but that is for another post since I have not tasted it yet). I know I can get it directly from the brewery, but it's almost thirty minutes away and its retail hours are limited to a few hours on Friday and Saturday afternoons.

Welcome to the Beer Rover

I like good craft beer and will chronicle my quests here. I like in Southern California and my search will likely be here, but as I travel and will note any good finds. I will note new releases from the local breweries in the Link section. I like hoppy beers, India Pale Ales and Double India Pale Ales and other distinct styles.