Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Stone Brewing in South Park

Here are links one and two from San Diego Beer Blog providing updates on Stone Brewing's new South Park location.  Stone, apparently, plans on operating a small brewery at its 2215 30th Street address.  This could prove interesting, especially if specialty, tap-only beers are crafted at the new spot.  I am guessing that Stone South Park will be similar to other brewing tasting rooms, like Ballast Point's two tasting rooms, or the Stone store at Stone's Escondido brewery.  You will be able to get growler fills, bottled beer to go, merchandise and some tastings.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Italian Beer

Here is a link from the Atlantic.com's food blog on Italy's growing craft beer industry.  I'll have to keep an eye out for some of these beers.  This gaffe caught my attention:
One of the best known of this new breed of brew masters is Teo Musso, who's been crafting his Baladin beers in the small town of Piozzo since 1996. His beers are pretty much distributed not only all over Italy, but all over the world. And you're about to get to know him a whole lot better, since he is one of the masterminds behind the soon-to-be-opened beer garden on top of Eataly in New York.
Eataly is the huge Italian food emporium backed by Mario Batali. Dogfish Head's Sam Calagione is also helping brew some beers for the rooftop beer garden.  Eataly is a must-stop on my next trip to New York City.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Belated Beer Week Post

San Diego Beer Week was two weeks ago.  I did not hit too many events.  I went to three venues, but only one could be considered an event, and that was The Bruery's tasting at Ocean Beach's Olive Tree Market Place.  The Bruery brought down eight bottled beers and a keg of Humulus Gold, for nine total tasters.  The tasting started with Trade Winds Tripel and ended at Black Tuesday.  I did not taste all nine beers, but as best I can remember the following are my recollections.  Trade Winds and Saison de Lente are great.  Saison Rue is an acquired taste and I haven't yet acquired it.  Rugbrod is unique, not my favorite, but better than I was expecting.  It was a malty beer that, like Saison Rue, would take some time to build familiarity.

I skipped the Autumn Maple and the Three French Hens (I had just had this beer the previous weekend), and went straight to Coton, The Burery's second anniversary beer.  This is a big, sweet, dark beer.  It's difficult to get a beer's full measure with just a taste, but Coton's big syrupy, alcohol-laden profile was tough for me to appreciate.  Under different circumstances - four hours to kill on a quiet night - my opinion would probably be different, but in a crowded tasting room under time constraints, Coton's  complexities were lost on me

I can safely say I will never be part of the frenzy that is the Black Tuesday release party.  When I arrived at the tasting, I overheard someone say that Black Tuesday was amazing and he couldn't even taste the alcohol.  Black Tuesdays' alcohol is all I tasted - it's a whopping 19.5% abv.  I appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into creating a beer like Black Tuesday, and I get the appeal of this type of beer to the BeerAdvocate crowd. I just don't enjoy that much booze in my beer.  The aficionados can talk about subtleties and nuances, but really, with a 19.5% abv beer they are drinking to get drunk, fast.

The star of the show, hands down, running away, slam dunk and any other cliche you can add, was Humulus Gold.  It is a Belgian IPA that I thought amazing.  It kind of reminded my of Alpine's Nelson IPA, although it's not made with the same hops as Nelson, nor there is any similarity in ingredients.  Nonetheless, the comparison to Nelson is a huge compliment.  Humulus Gold is hoppy and approachable, the type of beer you could drink all night, every night.   I wish The Bruery would bottle this beer.

I met and had a good conversation with The Bruery's representative at the event, assistant brewer Doug Constantiner.  He told me that The Bruery has been tweaking its wonderful Mischief throughout the year, making it better each time.  I loved the Mischief I had in January and wonder how they were able to make that great beer better. 

The two other Beer Week venues I went to are not even worth posting about.  Overall, I think San Diego Beer Week was a huge success, and even better than last year's.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Fresh Hopped Beers

I had two excellent fresh hop IPAs last month, Port Brewing's bottled High Tide Fresh Hop IPA and on draft, Pizza Port Ocean Beach's Get Wet fresh hopped IPA.  The two beers seemed similar, but I didn't drink them side-by-side comparison.  Both were highly hopped, flavorful, yet approachable IPAs. The fresh hops allowed for an intense, juicy citrus flavor along with pine (yes, I didn't find these tastes mutually exclusive).  The alcohol in High Tide was 6.5% and Wet Hop's was 7.3%.  This was great, because usually a beer with such intense hopping is going to be 7.5% abv or higher.  I welcomed the lower alcohol without any loss in the beer's body or balance.

The one previous time I had High Tide was in the spring, long after the fresh hop flavor mellowed.  I know I am stating the obvious, but you must drink this beer (or any fresh hop beer) as close to its release date as possible.  We had Get Wet along with Rouge's weak fresh hop beer, whose name I don't remember and didn't write down, and Sierra Nevada's Estate beer.  Like most Rouge beers, its fresh hop beer was forgettable, and we realized that Estate was not really a fresh hop beer, it was Sierra Nevada Pale Ale with homegrown ingredients.  Estate was good, but we did not get to appreciate it after the hopped-up Get Wet.

I've never paid too much attention to fresh hop IPAs.  This was a mistake. The excellence of High Tide and Get Wet make me want more fresh hop IPAs. 

Friday, November 5, 2010

San Diego Beer Week

The second San Diego Beer Week (SDBW) starts today, November 5th and goes through November 14th.  There are way too many events to post here, but here is a link to the SDBW's official event calendar

Noodle House Challenge

I stopped by the OB Noodle House last night to pickup take-out.  I was shocked to see that OB Noodle House's dozen or so Belgian-centric taps had been expanded to nearly forty-five taps.  I was told the expansion happened within the past month.  The taps include a wide variety of Belgian beers, quality craft beers, including the Belgian-style craft brewers Unibroue and Allagash, and a few beers you'd expect at any Asian restaurant.  Prices ranged from $4 to $7 per glass, and all beers are half price from 3:00 to 6:00.  OB Noodle house had the best tap list of any Asian restaurant I've ever seen before the expansion, now, I'd be shocked if it didn't have the best tap list of any Asian restaurant in the United States.  Let me know if you know of an Asian restaurant with more quality taps. The only drawbacks to the OB Noodle House are that parking doesn't exist (typical Ocean Beach street parking), it's always packed, the noise level is deafening and it's tap list is not online.

Stone's Vertical Epic 10.10.10

This year's Stone Vertical Epic, 10.10.10 and the ninth in the Vertical Epic series, is one bumptious beer.  Drinking this beer is like a fight scene from the old Batman TV series.  WHAM!  BAM!  SOCKO!  First, the Ardennes Belgian yeast smacks you.  Then, you're clobbered with the tastes of wine.   Alcohol bitch-slaps you from the first drink to the last.  Balance be damned, this beer clobbers your taste buds in waves.  10.10.10 is an aggressive, belligerent beer that won't be ignored. 

I don't know whether this beer will mellow by 12.12.12, but I don't think I care.  Aggressive is good.  10.10.10's prominent wine flavor is from three white wine grapes, Muscat, Sauvignon Blanc and Gerwurtzraminer.  All three grapes produce sweet wines not known for their aging qualities.  Here is the Stone blog post on 10.10.10. I think I have read that 10.10.10 is in the style of a Belgian Tripel, but it doesn't resemble any tripel that I have had.

I think I liked this beer.  I bought several bottles and have only had one, so it definitely needs more exploration.  This beer is surely worth trying.  I know it's not my favorite Vertical Epic, that honor still goes to 08.08.08, but I do know I'll be drinking more of it.