Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Stone Brewing In South Park - Is Beer Near?

I had a hunch something was up when I heard my two dormant Stone Brewing growlers rattling in the cupboard.  I checked Stone's website, tweets and blog and could not find any updates on Stone's proposed South Park location.  I was out this morning and decided to make a small detour and see for myself if anything was happening at the 30th Street location Stone chose last year for its new store.  I saw the sign below, which was posted late last week:

I don't have any more information than what is posted on the sign above.  I see that the business is still listed as a "Beer Manufacturer," so maybe the original plan of a small brewing operation is still moving forward.  The location Stone chose is great.  It has plenty of small, local restaurants and shops and is gentrifying fast.  It is also close to the historic Burlingame neighborhood (info here and here) that dates from before World War I.  It is my opinion that Stone's corporate personality would enhance and fit perfectly in South Park.  

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Tarantulas 2.0 Black Strong Pale Ale

I know its kind of beer douchey to write about a beer that is only on draft at one location (that I know of ), but I'm going to do it anyway.   Pizza Port Ocean Beach is now serving Tarantulas 2.0, which it calls a black strong pale ale.  I've never had a black strong pale ale before, but have had black IPAs.  Tarantulas 2.0 is black, like a porter or a stout, and its puffy foam is mocha.  The initial taste is roasted malts.  The hop bitterness appeared in the middle and stayed through the long finish.  The initial tastes had a faint caramel sweetness, but this was soon smothered by the hops.  I found this beer's bitterness more prominent than its roasted malt.  Tarantulas 2.0's body is thinner than I was expecting and belies its dark color, but it's appropriate for the level of hops and keeps it from slipping towards a porter or stout.  I have no idea the ABV of Tarantulas 2.0, as it was not listed at Pizza Port.  I would guess it's ABV at 7% to 8%.

This beer reminded me of a black IPA, and I am not sure why it's not a black IPA.   It was hoppy like a black IPA.  Maybe its modest mouthful kept is from being a black IPA, but it wasn't that thin.  About a third through my first glass I quit looking for distinctions and just enjoyed Tarantulas 2.0.  This beer is another solid beer from Pizza Port. 

Some Pacific Northwest bloggers are trying to co-opt the name black IPA and call it Cascadian Dark Ale.  I am not going to fall into this scheme and let black IPAs get hijacked by pretentious bloggers.  The Pacific Northwest has no more claim to this style than other parts of the country.  Plus, I didn't find Deschutes' Hop in the Dark Cascadian Dark Ale all that great, and surely not a beer to define the style.  Stone's Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale, brewed far from the Northwest in Escondido, California, is an excellent black IPA and was likely many peoples', including myself's, introduction to black IPAs.   To be fair to the Northwestern bloggers, I never bought into the idea of calling double IPAs San Diego IPAs either, although this idea came from New Yorker Garrett Oliver, not bloggers, writers or brewers in San Diego.  To get back on topic, get a pint of Tarantulas 2.0, you'll enjoy it.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Lost Abbey / Port Brewing's 5th Anniversary Party

This is my third anniversary party posting in a week.  The Lost Abbey / Port Brewing's 5th Anniversary Party is May 14, 2011, and does this sound like a party.  There are two, four-hour sessions, and $15 gets you eight tasters and additional taster tickets are $1 each, which is a great idea.  There will be two bands, food, and Tomme Arthur will be dipping into the barrel reserve beers throughout the sessions.  The link above will provide more details.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Bruery's Third Anniversary Celebration and Brew Fest

I received an email from The Bruery this afternoon announcing its third anniversary party on May 29th.  It looks like quite a party, and this year it has morphed into a  beer festival.  It's at Anaheim's The Phoenix Club, not at The Bruery.   In typical Bruery style, the festival includes some interesting names, (i.e. breweries I have not heard of (Cismontane and Noble Ale Works) along with some familiar names, including Stone and Ballast Point.  Here is the text of the email:

Hello Bruery beer lovers,

On May 29th we'll be holding our 3rd Anniversary Celebration and this year it will also be a small beer festival featuring some amazing Southern California breweries!

For further information, please visit our website or continue reading below.

Tickets are available through Brown Paper Tickets and 100% of the proceeds will be donated to the Lestonnac Free Clinic.

The party will be held at The Phoenix Club in Anaheim and will be split into two sessions. Session A runs from 10:30am - 2pm and Session B runs from 3:30pm-7pm

General Admission tickets are $35 and VIP tickets, which include access to a special section with our limited beers will be $50.

•The general admission ticket includes a souvenir glass and 10 four oz. tasters
•The VIP admission tickets are limited and include a souvenir glass, 10 four oz tasters and 3 tastings of our Limited Release beers which will be poured in a separate VIP area
•More tasting tickets will be available for purchase at the event
•Food will be available for purchse from The Phoenix Club at stations around the festival
•The Bruery Provisions will be providing cheese and snack stations
•To alleviate lines, we will have hard tickets for this event, allowing for quick entry, and we will be recruiting a large number of volunteers to man the multitude of Bruery beer stations on top of the many guest beer stations and food stations
•93.1 Jack FM will be providing music and other support

•Beers from The Bruery will include: Orchard White, Saison Rue, Rugbrød, Hottenroth Berliner Weisse, Mischief, Trade Winds, Seven Grain Saison, Loakal Red, Humulus, Cuir, Batch #300, Bierbauch,
Iniquitous & More

•The Bruery's VIP beers will include (in limited supply): 100% Barrel Aged Cuir, Melange #1, Melange #3, Bottleworks XII, The Wanderer, Black Tuesday, Chocolate Rain, Marrón Acidifié, ISO:FT, Oude Tart,
Acer Quercus, Pinotlambicus, Barrel Fermented Autumn Maple

•Breweries attending (so far): Ballast Point, The Bruery, Cismontane, Coronado Brewing, Craftsman Brewing, Firestone Walker, Hanger 24, Inland Empire Brewing, Kern River Brewing, Noble Ale Works, Stone Brewing Company, TAPS Fish House & Brewery

Get your tickets here

Hope to see you there!

The folks at The Bruery
Like Stone's Fifteenth Anniversary Celebration, The Bruery is offering a VIP section that gives you the chance to try some rare beers for an additional cost.  The Bruery's VIP tickets include a few extra beers, while Stone's premium ticket gets you entrance to the rare beer tent, but no extra tasters.

No, No, No...Three Drain Pours In A Row

I was cleaning a closet yesterday and found three old double IPAs high on a shelf.  Tucked behind some boxes were Ballast Point's Dorado, AleSmith's Summer YuleSmith and Avery's Maharaja.  I must have bought these three beers in 2006 or 2007, put them in the closet to keep for a later date and forgot about them.  After finding the old double IPAs, I put all three in the fridge so that I could taste them cold in the evening.  I was expecting that all three had gone bad, and I was right.  All three had that sharp, nasty, old, IPA taste, plus the alcohol in these already big beers was magnified.   Booze and stale hops made all three undrinkable and I poured them down the drain after verifying their state of decay.  It was unfortunate, but necessary.

At one point I thought hoppy beers would age better than less robust beers, which is probably why I put them in the closet in the first place.  Weren't hops the natural preservative that gave IPAs their name, by allowing beer to be shipped for the long journey from England to India without spoiling?  I believe there is more myth than fact to that story.   The beer that arrived in India must have been unique, to say the least.   I am beginning to better understand British reserve and their "stiff upper lips."  Now I know that the fresher a hoppy beer the better.  No more aging hop bombs for me.  

I also found a bottle of Stone's famous Tenth Anniversary double IPA.  I didn't open it, but reckon it's gone bad, too.  This beer lost all its initial hop aroma and taste, which gave it it's deserved reputation, within six months of release, so I can only guess what it's like after five years.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Alesmith Tasting Room Hours - Updated

I posted last fall on AleSmith's new tasting hours.  A couple of months ago AleSmith expanded its hours again.  Here are AleSmith's tasting room hours, reposted from Alesmith's most recent email:
Please drop in to visit our Tasting Bar for beer samples, half-gallon growler fills, bottle/keg & AleSmith merchandise sales on Thursday 2:00pm-7:00pm, Friday 2:00pm-7:00pm and Saturday 12:00pm-6:00pm. Please call us ahead of time if you are planning on bringing a group of (7) seven or more.

If you'd like to purchase a 5 gallon or 15.5 gallon keg(s) of AleSmith beer, please send an e-mail to with the following information: name, phone #, beer name, keg size, and the ready date/time.  Thank you!

An informative tour of the brewery is conducted on the last Saturday of each month, starting at 12:30pm.  You will learn how AleSmith beers are brewed and have an opportunity to sample AleSmith beers at the conclusion of the approximately 1 hour tour.  Please call (858.549.9888) and follow the voice prompts to find out more about our tour-only specials and to reserve your space on the next tour.
I have complained before that AleSmith's tasting room hours were too short.  There is no excuse not to visit AleSmith and have a few tasters and fill up a growler with these extended hours.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Stone 15th Anniversary Celebration

Tickets for Stone Brewing's Fifteenth Anniversary Celebration are now on sale at the Stone website.  The party is Saturday, August 20, 2011.  Like past years there are two sessions, a late morning/early afternoon session that runs from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm, and an afternoon session that runs from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  Forty dollars will get you ten tasters and admittance to one session.  Stone has a special All-Access pass that provides entrance to both sessions and a special rare beer tent.  This pass is $70 and includes ten total tasters.  Check the link above for more details.

I wonder what the anniversary beer style will be this year?  The last few years have been hit and miss, so I hope Stone dips into its vault for something similar to the tenth (massive double IPA) or eleventh (black IPA).  The good thing about the release of the anniversary beer is that it doesn't coincide with the celebration and is typically released in early summer.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Oceanside Ale Works on Bloomberg TV's Mentors

This is old news, but I just watched a show on Bloomberg TV called Mentors, and it featured Oceanside Ale Works.   (OK, no comments on a beer blogger watching Bloomberg TV on a Friday night.) Oceanside Ale Works' two owners are shown discussing growth plans and getting advice from Boston Brewing's Sam Koch.  The episode originally aired on November 5, 2010.

Above is the link to the episode, but if it only takes you to the Bloomberg Mentor page, the episode with Oceanside Ale Works is Episode 1.  The show is interesting and informative, and filmed in a reality TV style.   I have never tried a beer from Oceanside Ale Works.  After watching the episode I plan to try an Oceanside Ale Works beer the first chance I get.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Local San Diego Beer News

There was good news and bad news in San Diego beer this week.  Two posts from San Diego Beer Blog are worth reading.   The bad news is that Firehouse Brewing Co. has closed shop.  Firehouse has been around for a number of years, but I've probably had two or three of its beers since it opened, all the pale ale.  I am guessing I am not alone, as Firehouse never seemed to court the craft beer market.  The Beer Rover's Traveling Correspondent enjoyed Firehouse's patio and cheap beers.  

The second post states that Mission Brewing's new East Village (i.e. near Petco Park) brewery and tasting room are now open.  The tasting room is apparently not fully operational but is serving beer before, during and after Padre games.  Mission Brewing's website does not detail too much on the opening.  I need an excuse to visit this tasting room.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

North County Times' New Beer Reporter

I read on a Stone Twitter that San Diego's North County Times has started a new, monthly beer column.  The column's title is Hop Head and the columnist is Marc Figueroa, and it runs on the final Thursday of each month.  Here is the initial column.  I look forward to the column (if I remember to check monthly) and hope he starts a blog for beer information that happens during the four weeks between columns. 

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fools

It looks like Stone is at it again:
We've all seen them. Sitting next to liquor store cash registers or in your co-worker's desk drawer. Little plastic sacks of booze. Laden with cartoonish logos, encouraging marketing slogans, and lowest common denominator liquid. Portable shots seem to be a category designed for nothing but despair and the desperate. Those who's pockets are lined with neither money nor good taste.

No longer.

Stone Brewing Co. is proud to announce the release of BastardSHOTZ Gel Pakz, perfect for the Bastard on-the-go who wants to upgrade to first class. Oozing all the flavor and alcohol of a 22 oz. serving of Arrogant Bastard Ale, reduced to a classy, airport-friendly 3-ounce pocket pouch. Designed for connoisseurs with an abundance of taste and a dearth of time, BastardSHOTZ brings sorely needed panache to the pouch-based booze business.
I'll admit, I have heard of more unappealing ideas, like a Stone Extreme Lemony Lime beer.  I want to get a BastardSHOTZ, stick it in the freezer and wait until it's just getting slushy before tearing it open.  OtterPops for grown-ups.