Archive for the tag “Beer-cation”

Top Beers of the Beer-Cation – SoCal Taster

Our number one goal on our SoCal “beer-cation” was to sample new beers, and we especially wanted to find beers from breweries that we have never tried before.  In our five days in San Diego and the LA area, we managed to check 10 new breweries off our beer list:

Alpine Beer Company

Anaheim Brewing

Avery Brewing Company

Coronado Brewing Company

Founders Brewing Co.

Hess Brewing

Manzanita Brewing

Mission Brewery

Societe Brewing Company

Strand Brewing

In the whirl of brewery tours, bar hops, and taster samples, it was easy for some new brews to get lost in the mix, but there were some definite standouts.  These are my 5 personal favorite new beers that I sampled on the SoCal trip:

1) The Bruery – Smoking Wood Bourbon Barrel-Aged (@ The Bruery Tasting Room, Placentia)

2) Stone Enjoy By 09/21/12 IPA (@Stone World Bistro and Gardens, Escondido)

3) Alpine FiringsQuad (@Blind Lady Ale House, San Diego)

4) Societe Every Man’s DIPA (@Blind Lady Ale House, San Diego)

5) Port Ocean Beach Bacon and Eggs (@ Pizza Port – Ocean Beach)

* * * * *

Here were 5 more especially good beers that we sampled along the way, in no particular order:

Founders Dirty Bastard Scotch Ale (@Toronado, San Diego)

Ballast Point Three Sheets – Rum Barrel-Aged (@Ballast Point/Home Brew Mart, San Diego)

AleSmith Speedway Stout brewed w/ Arabian Mocha Java (@ Alesmith Tasting Room, San Diego)

Left Coast/Pizza Port/Cismontaine Band Wagen Berliner Weisse (@ The Regal Beagle, San Diego)

The Lost Abbey Saison Blanc (@ The Lost Abbey Tasting Room, San Marcos)

 

Smoking Wood (Bourbon Barrel-Aged) – The Bruery – SoCal Taster

13% ABV
Purchased at The Bruery Tasting Room ($7/6 oz. serving) and poured into tulip glasses.

This bourbon barrel-aged version of The Bruery’s Imperial Smoked Porter pours an incomprehensible black with a quickly settling, brown sugar-colored head.  With its intoxicating nose of bourbon and slab bacon,  Smoking Wood is quite possibly the best-smelling brew I have ever sniffed.  It packs a walloping first swallow of whiskey, barrel wood, and delectable smoked and dried meats, up to and including prosciutto, salami, and pepperoni.  Smoking Wood is rich and velvety but also immensely well-structured, a beer that seems almost specifically tailored to my “ultimate beer” mantra of “full flavors in perfect balance”.  The jerky-like taste is given amazing body and complexity by the barrel-aging process – it’s zesty, rich, challenging, and inviting all at once.  I will dream about this beer for a long time.

    5 Toasts


   5 Toasts

Road to Helles – Port Brewing – SoCal Taster

5.19% ABV
Purchased at Lost Abbey/Port Tasting Room ($4/16 oz. serving) and poured into pint glasses

Road to Helles from Port Brewing pours a clear hay-yellow with a discreet white head, and has a lovely nose of wet grass, apricots, and other stone fruits. This brew is light in texture and appearance, but with plenty of flavor, including understated stone fruits and a touch of pilsner-y sweatsock, although not enough to perturb the palette. More honeycomb comes in on the nose and tongue upon subsequent swallows, in the vein of grilled peaches and apricots, but without any syrupy-sweet residue. It’s a very nice and session-able brew with relatively complex flavors, (it would pair beautifully with peach cobbler), and ultimately it’s like an unusually flavorful cross between an amber and pilsner. 

    4 Toasts

   4.5 Toasts

Friendship Brew – Green Flash/Brasserie St-Feuillien – SoCal Taster

5.7% ABV
Purchased at the Green Flash Tasting Room ($4/13 oz. serving) and poured into tulip glasses.

This black saison was brewed in collaboration between San Diego County’s Green Flash and Belgian stalwart Brasserie St-Feuillien.  It pours a murky black with a tight, cola-colored head, and a lively nose of Belgian yeast, nutmeg, dried figs, and black olives.  Friendship Brew offers unique farmhouse flavors on the first swallow, tempered by savory spices but fairly devoid of barnyard funk.  The taste never quite gets sour, but there is a tantalizing, ever-present tang, while dusky spices confound the tongue and peppery yeast settles on the palette.  There is a rye-like structure and a surprisingly light mouthfeel to this dark farmhouse ale, but Friendship Brew is well-hopped enough to stay true to the Green Flash ethos while remaining a mysteriously pleasing beer. 

 

   4.5 Toasts

 

   4 Toasts

Ale Epiteios – Left Coast Brewing Company – SoCal Taster

10% ABV
Purchased at Small Bar in San Diego and served in goblet glasses.

This barrel-aged Imperial Stout pours jet black with a miniscule, sawdust-colored head, and a nose of coffee, cocoa nibs, and fermented grapes that suggests a red wine-and-chocolate vibe.  Instead, blackstrap molasses, black licorice, and bit of booziness hit you on the first sip, and yet the flavors are surprisingly balanced and mild.  More cocoa notes come in on subsequent swallows, but the alcohol aftertaste remains while never straining the barrel-wood backbone.  Ale Epiteios has a light mouthfeel given the strong dark flavors, and those promised red wine flavors emerge as the brew warms, but I would have appreciated a little less sweetness and a little more complexity. 

   4 Toasts

   4 Toasts

A SoCal Taster

During the last week of August, His & Hers Beer Notes took a long-desired trip through the thriving San Diego beer scene, with brief stopovers in Escondido (Stone), San Marcos (The Lost Abbey), and Anaheim (The Bruery).

In San Diego, we hit many of the city’s notable brewery tasting rooms (including Ballast Point, Alesmith, and Green Flash) and bars (we made it to Small Bar, Toronado, and Blind Lady Ale House) during our three-day stay. Our goal was to try as many new and interesting brews as we could while leaving time for sober sightseeing in the sunlight hours, and San Diego did not disappoint on either count.

On the ride from San Diego to the LA area, we stopped at the immense and impressive Stone World Bistro and Gardens in Escondido, as well as The Lost Abbey’s much more scaled-down business park tasting room a few miles up the road.

Anaheim led us to the thriving upstart Anaheim Brewery, and our first-ever trip to His and Hers’ Holy Grail of Tasting Rooms, The Bruery’s recently renovated space in Placentia.  We also made a return browse through the eminently tasteful bottle selection at The Bruery Provisions Store in Orange, scoring a few unseen-in-Sacramento treasures for the cellar.

Over the next couple of weeks, we will be reliving our Southern California beer-cation with sketches and reviews of some of the new beers we sampled, also spotlighting some of our favorite new discoveries along the way. 

Cheers!

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