Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Local News Fail

Check out the photo gallery to the left of this NBC San Diego article on new restaurants.  Major fail as the first picture is of Bud and Goose Island beer bottles.  The picture below is part of a slide show, but I tried to capture it:

Sorry for quality of the picture.

Hey NBC, there are a few local San Diego brewers that bottle beer.   It'd be better get pictures from them rather than from the biggest brewer in the world. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Firestone Walker's Wild Side

I saw the link to this article from LA Weekly about Firestone Walker's Buellton Barrelworks tasting room on Beer Samizat's twitter feed.  The article is worth a read.  The beers I've had from Firestone Walker have been good, but I wouldn't categorize it as an edgy brewer.  That perception has changed.  It sounds like Firestone Walker is doing some creative, experimental brewing: 
In addition to being a place where brewery-only releases can be created and tapped, Barrelworks is an ode to the flavor complexities of the oak barrel and the warehouse is in the beginning stages of a grand experiment to invite in bacteria and wild yeast and create a house flavor like all those wacky Belgian farmers did by mistake centuries ago. It’s a created terroir concept akin to Bear Republic’s Sonoma County open inoculation for Tartare except there is a room of 400 used and fresh char oak barrels and everything from Lil Opal to Double DBA within the staves.
I need an excuse to get to Buellton to try some of these wild beers, although I'll pass on the barfing part. 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Finally, A Best Beer City List To Believe

I have shaken my head in disgust or disbelief at more than one "best beer city" list.  This article from Seattle's Seattle PI (not sure if I'm writing this correctly) is the most realistic, beer-centric list I've read.  And, it's not because San Diego is ranked first, it's because the article's author, Steve Body, obviously knows beer and what makes a great beer city, and did the research to prove it.  He eviscerated weak articles to make his his point:
I read a total of 23 lists, including one in which the author names a tiny, ramshackle brewpub in rural Montana in his top five and left off Portland and San Diego altogether.
 His list of top-ten best beer cities:

1.  San Diego
2.  Portland
3.  Seattle
4.  Denver-Boulder, CO
5.  Grand Rapids/Kalamazoo, MI
6.  San Francisco
7.  Longmont-Ft. Collins-Lovelace, CO
8.  Bend, OR
9.  Boston
10.  Chicago

Most beer geeks have already had compiled a similar list for future beer travels, regardless of what other articles may have proclaimed.  Read the article and decide for yourself.  Mr. Body gives an Honorable Mention to the State of Vermont and Asheville, NC, but I'd add New York City, too, as you can get good beer in a variety of places.

A Hop Battering Ram - Stone's Enjoy By

I have had three iterations of Stone Brewing's Enjoy By IPA - 9.21.2012, 12.21.2012 and 2.15.2013 - and I've started this post more times than that.  (Here's a link to a Stone video on Enjoy By for those that don't know the story behind it.)  What to say about this beer?  A single sentence can tell you all you need to know:  Enjoy By is a freaking massive double IPA. 

Stone brews two of the best IPAs ever in its flagship Stone IPA and its Ruination double IPA.  Enjoy By is a double IPA, too, but when compared to Ruination, Enjoy By is aggressiveness squared or cubed.  Enjoy By is the new arrogant bastard.  It challenges your IPA preconceptions, and ultimately mocks you.   Don't take this beer lightly, it'll knock you down with a hopped-up sucker punch you won't even see coming.

You can smell the rich pine resin before the first taste, and pine dominates Enjoy By's hop assault on your palate.    I thought I noticed a bit of tropical fruits alongside the pine (I can't believe I just wrote that). It's redundant to say Enjoy By is bitter.  It's ABV is 9.4%, but it drinks bigger, although the alcohol is well masked by the bitter taste of hops except for some heat on the finish.  Enjoy By is sweet, but here lies the brilliance that went into crafting it.  Rare is the double IPA with Enjoy By's hop strength and alcohol level that isn't cloying and syrupy.  Enjoy By is neither, which makes it drinkable and leads back to my point about mocking you while knocking you down. 

Did I enjoy Enjoy By?  Yes, I liked this beer.  Ultimately, I am not a beer masochist and don't like keeping one eye on a beer while I drink it, so Enjoy By is a periodic treat. Stone has done a fantastic job marketing Enjoy By, it sells out in a matter of days, or even hours wherever Stone releases it.   Be careful with this beer, respect it or you'll regret it.