Friday, December 28, 2012

Vancouver, BC, Canada Craft Beer WalkAbout

So, once again I took a loooong break from posting. I actually went to Vancouver a couple of months ago and I never got around to blogging about it, luckily I took some notes and pictures.

Vancouver and the surrounding area has quite a few breweries and craft beer bars. As in my previous WalkAbouts (NYC and Denver), I only went to places that were within walking distance from my hotel. "Walking distance" can mean a lot of things for different people, for me it is usually anything under 2 miles, especially if I am trying to hit multiple places on the same day.

I will be discussing the bars as well as the beers I drank at each one. The beer reviews will be brief compared to my single beer reviews. The locations are listed in the order that I visited them.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

New York City Craft Beer Bar WalkAbout

I had the pleasure of going to New York City a couple of weeks ago and had some time to visit a couple of bars that featured large craft beer menus. It would have been great to have more time to visit some other locations, but this was a work trip and my only available time was at lunch and dinner on a couple of the days I was there.

In this review I will be discussing the bars themselves as well as the beer I imbibed while at each one. The beer reviews will be brief compared to my normal reviews.

Unfortunately, I did not take any pictures of the restaurants or the beers (except one). So I will just throw in a couple of pictures from Central Park and the one beer I did take a pic of... ;)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Pizza Port Bressi Ranch Update: The Walls Go UP!!

Click on the picture for a larger image
Click on the picture for a larger image


I grabbed these pics from a Facebook post. Hope the author doesn't mind...

San Diego Beer Review: New English Brewing Troopers Tipple IPA

New English Brewing Co.
11545 Sorrento Valley Rd.
Suite 305
San Diego, CA 92121

New English Brewing has been around for a while and has won several awards. They used to run under the name La Jolla Brewery and then around 2007-2008 changed their name to New English. This is the first time I have seen and had one of their bottled beers, not sure if this is because they just started bottling or if I have just not been in the right shops...

IPA (ABV 5.1%)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

San Diego Beer Review: Stone 16th Anniversary IPA

Stone Brewing
1999 Citracado Parkway
Escondido, CA 92029

Stone was one of the first San Diego microbreweries I tried back in the late 90's. I loved it back then, and that still holds true today. Stone is renowned for coming up with great collaboration beers, as well as beers with interesting combinations of ingredients. Every year their Anniversary ales push the limits in one or both of these categories. This year is no different.

 The Double IPA they brewed was made with a little bit of rye malt, Amarillo and Calypso hops, as well as lemon verbena and lemon oil....How's that for a "combination" beer?

Double IPA (10% ABV)

Review hiatus... I took a few months off from doing beer reviews, obviously.  Sometimes you just want to drink beers without having to think about appearance, smell, taste, and mouthfeel... ;) I plan to get back on track today ,with at least one review a week going forward.

Lucky for me I just had a SUPERB new San Diego beer yesterday and will kick off the new round of reviews with it.

I hope you enjoy it!

The Parched One

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Lagunitas Wilco Tango Foxtrot Jobless Recovery Ale

Lagunitas Brewing Company
1280 North McDowell Boulevard
Petaluma, CA 94954

I was up in Hollywood a while back and had the opportunity to check out this little gastro pub called BoHo , they have a great craft beer selection and this is one of the beers they had on the list. Unfortunately they were all out of this beer when we got there (my wife really wanted to try it), so when I saw it at my local market I picked up a bottle.

I love the full title of this beer, especially the "Jobless Recovery" part. I also like the quote selection on the side, a mix of Grapes of Wrath, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, and Casablanca. They mesh nicely with the title of the beer...

Saturday, May 5, 2012

San Diego Beer Review: Mission Brewery Amber Ale

Mission Brewery
1441 L Street

San Diego Ca 92101

After the first two Mission brews I tried were very good, I thought I would check out another one. You can check out those previous reviews here: Double IPA and here: IPA .

Amber Ale (5% ABV)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Update: Pizza Port Bressi Ranch

Ground was officially broken yesterday, went by and snapped a picture.

Talking to Gina at the festivities on Monday, she said they expect to be completed in 9-12 months...

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Pizza Port Bressi Ranch: Unofficial/Official Groundbreaking

Pizza Port Bressi Ranch
2794 Gateway Rd (subject to change)
Carlsbad, CA 92009

I had the good fortune to be able to attend the unofficial/official groundbreaking for Pizza Port's newest location in San Diego... Bressi Ranch (East Carlsbad). It was a gloomy day but spirits were high among the 30 or so attendees. OB Pizza Port sent a bus full of employees up for the occasion. Shark Bite and Carlsbad Chronic were on tap along with a nice spread of assorted BBQ... brats, sausages, "pork wings", etc. There was some candy for the kids, though the OBceans decimated that ;)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Denver Brewery WalkAbout

I was in Denver last week and was able to take some time to hit up a few breweries that were within "walking distance" from my hotel. I wish I would have had time to check out a couple more that were near that area, but I just couldn't get away from work commitments.

I made some notes on my phone about the beers I was able to sample and would like to share them with everyone. Some are more detailed/complete than others...unfortunately, no pictures for these reviews.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye

Bear Republic Brewing Co.
345 Healdsburg Ave.
Healdsburg, CA 95448

Bear Republic has some solid brews, most notably Racer 5 IPA. So when I had the chance to try something a little bit different I thought I would give BR a shot.

They did not disappoint...

Rye Specialty Ale (8%ABV)

Friday, April 6, 2012

Lagunitas IPA

Lagunitas Brewing Company
1280 North McDowell Boulevard 
Petaluma, CA 94954

Lagunitas has become one of my favorite breweries over the past couple of years. I have been impressed with all of their beers that I have had the opportunity to consume.

The first beer from Lagunitas that I will review is their basic IPA.

IPA (6.9% ABV)

Pours super clear with a nice caramel color. Nice 1cm head on first pour. Very light lacing.  Small bubbles. Agitation will reform head of 3mm
Flowery, hints of melon and honeysuckle. Resin
Bright and bitter up front. Slightly sour with a smooth finish. Bitter aftertaste.

Medium bodied and astringent.

This beer is a clean easily drinkable IPA.  I would easily recommend this beer as a nice thirst quencher on a hot summer day.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

San Diego Beer Review: Coronado Brewing Mermaid's Red

Coronado Brewing
170 Orange Ave
Coronado, CA 92118

Coronado Brewing has been around for a few years now and I am starting to see more and more of their bottled beers carried locally. I haven't had the chance to visit the brewery yet, but based on what I have tasted recently, I definitely need to get down there soon.

This first review will be on their Mermaid's Red. This is actually the first beer they ever brewed, and is a great example of why they have been able to grow into the operation they are today.

Mermaid's Red Premium Ale (5.7% ABV)

Pours a cloudy amber out of the bottle. A 1.5cm head forms with with medium bubbles and leaves a light lacing.

Roasty malts. Hint of choclate and burnt sugar/caramel. Slight hop aroma, more of a spice than citrus/resin.

The roasted malts give a hint of coffee, chocolate and caramel. There is a little bit of spice that plays on the tongue and pops with the carbonation. The bitterness hits the back of the tongue and the top of the month.

Medium body with a nice bit of warming from the spice, not an alcohol heat.

This is a beautiful Red that really highlights the qualities of a "traditional" red beer. Roasted malts, spicy hops and a little bit of bitterness at the back of the mouth. The additional hints of chocolate and coffee are a pleasant bonus.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye IPA

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
1075 East 20th Street

Chico, CA.

As I mentioned in a previous post, Sierra Nevada has been one of my favorite breweries for quite a while. My wife brought this home for me from a recent trip to the is great when your wife supports your habit... ;)

I was very intrigued, I have just recently caught on to the Rye beer category and have had several different versions in the past few weeks. I know what you are thinking...where the hell is the review of those? I have been a bit lax on reviewing in the past couple of weeks, sometimes you just want to drink a beer and not worry about describing it...

Ruthless Rye IPA (6.6% ABV)

Pours exceptionally clear with a light amber/light caramel mix, think orangey brown. 1.5cm head on initial pour, good lacing, with medium sized bubbles. A 1cm head will reform with agitation.

Citrus and resin with nice malt aroma to balance it out.

Rye flavor up front, peppery with a bitter finish.

Astringent with medium body and carbonation.

This is a nice clean Spring/Summer beer. The other Ryes that I have had recently have been a bit more "rye" flavored, some like biting into a slice of rye bread. If your not a fan of rye bread, some of these would be a bit harsh. Sierra Nevada's version would be a good introduction to this beer flavor for the uninitiated or those who steer away from rye bread for their sandwiches....

Sunday, February 19, 2012

San Diego Beer Review: Iron Fist Velvet Glove Imperial Stout

Iron Fist Brewing
1305 Hot Spring Way #101
Vista, CA 92081

First off I need to thank my bro SG (you know who you are..) for the gift of this sweet bottle of Iron Fist VG!

Iron Fist Brewery is part of the growing North County Beer Triangle. This is an area that derserves exploring for any visitor to San Diego or Orange County. Hell, if you are anywhere is Southern California you need to make the pilgrimage to the North County of San Diego. You will find multiple high quality and nationally renowned breweries here, including but not limited to: Iron Fist, Port Brewing/Lost Abbey, Mother Earth Brewing,....hmmm...rather than go into this now I will make a separate post that discusses NC SD Beers in more detail...

On to the review...!

Velvet Glove Imperial Stout (9% ABV)

This beer pours thick and dark. The color is either a very very dark brown or it is pure black. I tried everything to get a hint of the true color..up to shining an extremely bright flashlight through the glass. The light did not penetrate any portion of the I am going with pure black here. On initial pour it forms a 2cm thick dark brown head with tight small bubbles. Beautiful lacing from the head on the sides of the glass.

Massive coffee notes (very roasty) with some malty sweetness.

First taste hits you with big choclate and coffee flavor. Hint of hops in the middle of the tongue but I believe the majority of the bitterness here is from the espresso/coffee that as been inserted into the brewing process. I am both a dark chocolate and coffee consumer...sometimes in larger than normal quantities... ;) The bitterness here is definitely of the coffee variety and not dark chocolate. The is a sense of the sweetness of the malt here as well.

Sliky and smooth. The carbonation provides a nice "pop" on the center of the tongue.

A nice clean rendition of a chocolate stout, with a coffee bitterness that offsets it from a traditional chocolate stout. I would definitely recommend this beer in bottle form to anyone who is a stout/porter connoisseur. If you are just getting into stouts or porters...this beer might not be for you.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

San Diego Beer Review: Port Brewing Wipe Out IPA

Port Brewing Co.
155 Mata Way, Suite 104
San Marcos, CA 92069

I have to admit upfront that Port Brewing/Lost Abbey is my favorite brewery. The people who own it are great and down to earth and the vast majority of their employees are the same. The fact that each Pizza Port brews a unique selection of beers is also a huge plus.

Wipe Out IPA (7.0% ABV)

Pours a mostly clear and very light caramel color. It is just cloudy enough that you cannot see all the through the glass. Has a mixture of small tight bubble and a few medium/large bubbles. The head rises to approximately 2cm on initial pour with a retention of about 5mm. The head reforms easily upon agitation.

Big citrus here....grapefruit

Definately taste the grapefruit with a hint of rind. This beer has a bitter, resiny finish that lingers around the tip and the top of the tongue. Carbonation also bounces off the tip and top of the tongue for a zestiness...

Silky. Grabs the tip and top of the tongue (I know this is getting redundant, but it the best way I can describe it...)

A bold West Coast IPA that sets the bar high for all others to follow. This beer is one of my favorites. I really enjoy drinking this beer with spicy food. One of my best experiences with this beer was going to a restaurant in Atlanta called TacoMac (ya weird name, Google it for the is pretty cool) and to my surprise seeing Wipe Out on tap. So I ordered a pint and a plate of their 3 Mile Island wings....spicy food beer heaven...  :)

Friday, January 20, 2012

San Diego Beer Review: Green Flash Brewing Le Freak

Green Flash Brewing Company
6550 Mira Mesa Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92121

I had the chance to taste Le Freak originally at the Belgian Beer Festival at Pizza Port in Carlsbad last year. I liked it at the time but wasnt sure if it was because of how different it was from a lot of what was being served there or if I was just hammered...

After trying it out of the bottle I would have to say that my original thought was correct, I liked it because it was different.

Le Freak (9.2% ABV)

Very frothy, has a tendency to pour with a large head, which is somewhat typical of most Belgians. The initial head was between 3-4cm with medium to large bubbles. Light caramel in color with a slight cloudiness. Upon agitation it will easily reform a head of approximately 3cm.

I definitely smell the sweetness of the Belgian yeast here. Even though I know the hops are there I dont seem to get any sense of them in the smell.

Carbonation dances on the tongue on the first sip. There is the slightest hint at the very front of the sweetness I normally assocate with a Belgian but the hops definitely take over from there...

The high carbonation gives a "bitey" feel on the outside of the tongue and on the palette. The bitterness grabs the tongue and hangs on for dear life.

It is different. Although it has a solid sweet Belgian nose, the normally associated sweet taste is minimal.  The hopiness comes through in the taste but not the smell.

If you like Belgians and IPAs, then this is a great marriage for you to try.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

San Diego Beer Review: Mission Brewing Shipwrecked Double IPA

Mission Brewery
1441 L Street

San Diego Ca 92101

Pulled this one out of the fridge to savor while watching the Green Bay/NY game today. I was pleasantly surprised by their standard IPA (see review here ) and was looking forward to trying this one.

Double IPA (9.25% ABV)

Dark caramel color, cloudy. Lots of medium to large bubbles forming a nice 3cm head. Great head retention with massive lacing.

Very flowery (sweet honeysuckle) with some citrus undertones

Malt sweetness up front with a bitter finish. No alcohol burn which is unusual for a Double IPA.

Coats entire mouth, lingers a bit but is not overwhelming.

Perfectly balanced with a brightness that helps bring out its flavors.Very refreshing for a Double IPA, none of the extreme bitterness or strong alcohol taste/smell that goes along with many Double IPAs.

After now reviewing two of Mission Brewing's beers, I am gaining a great amount of respect for what they are doing down there by Petco Park....I look forward to trying many more in the near future.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Bison Organic Chocolate Stout

Bison Brewing
2030 5th Street
Berkeley, CA 94710

I definitely needed to review something other than an IPA today... I dont want anyone to think that all I drink are IPAs, although I have been very partial to them lately. Before I really got on the IPA bandwagon 4 years ago, whenever I chose a beer I leaned toward stouts and porters. When I say "leaned" lets just say my dog's name is Guinness...

I picked up this beer up at my local beer supplier, Sprouts (I think I have given them enough plugs... Its not like I am getting any kickbacks here...) I had seen this beer there many times before but because of my recent penchance for IPAs I had never tried it....This blog is making me open up my brain to new beer selections, the way it was back in college when I was more willing to try new things to keep my roomates at bay.

Reviewing this beer while watching SDSU and UNLV play BBall...GO AZTECS!!!

Enough talk...on to the review.

Organic Chocolate Stout (5.0% ABV)

Pours a clear dark brown. Once in the glass you cannot see though it except on the very edges of the glass where it gives off a slight red tint. Medium brown head ~2cm in height. Lots of medium sized bubbles with very sparse lacing. The head will reform to about half its original size with agitation.

Chocolate and cocoa. Roasted oats and a slight hint of nutmeg.

Strong taste of cocoa and roastiness. Surprisingly light tasting for a chocolate stout. The medium carbonation actually gives it a very "bright" taste. Slightly bitter finish.

Sits on the tongue and the top of the palatte. Grabs the tongue lightly once swallowed.

Very smooth and drinkable. This is not a "typical" stout with a heavy/thick mouthfeel, the medium carbonation gives this beer a very light taste. I really enjoyed this beer and I would recommend it to anyone who likes stouts. I think this would be good beer to introduce stouts to someone who has never tried one before.

This stout is USDA Certifed Organic.

Friday, January 13, 2012

San Diego Beer Review: Mission Brewery IPA

Mission Brewery 
1441 L Street
San Diego Ca 92101

I have been near Mission Brewery many times for Padres games, but for some unknown reason I have never been inside or had any of their beers...a bit perplexing. My local beer supplier (Sprouts...) had some Mission beers in stock so I grabbed a couple to tryout. First up to the plate was...

Mission IPA (6.8%)

Light caramel coloring, cloudy. Beautiful 1cm head forms on first pour. Nice lacing. Head easily reforms after agitation to regain its initial 1cm height.

Floral with sweet undertones. Hint of red licorice or ...Cherry Tootise Pop..?

Medium carbonation, great hop character from front to back, from sip to swallow. However, it is not too bitter. Very clean and smooth. The slight maltiness comes through as you press your tongue to the roof of your mouth to swallow.

Hoppiness fills the mouth (again not too bitter) but it is not too heavy.

Extremely balanced and drinkable. I really like this beer. As I said earlier I have never had this beer before but I think it just became one of my "go to" beers... I stand IMPRESSED.

This IPA won a Bronze medal at GABF in 2007...I definitely see why.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

San Diego Beer Review: Butchers Brewing Mucho Aloha Hawaiian Pale Ale

I reviewed one of Butchers Brewing beers a couple of days ago, saw this one at Sprouts today and picked it up. Still waiting to find out where they are located exactly... ;)

"Hawaiian" Style Pale Ale (5.6% ABV)

Appearance: Light caramel color, clear, low carbonation. Small, fast dissipating head < 2mm. No lacing on glass. Medium bubble size. 1mm head reforms on agitation but quickly dissipates.

Smell: Malty sweetness with a slight hint of nuts

Taste: The malts are definately prominent here, although there is a hint of hops at the top. Bitter when it first hit the tongue then the malts take over.

Mouthfeel: Drinks smooth with a slightly bitter finish. Doesn't coat the entire mouth.

Overall: Drinks smooth, a bit thin in taste and texture. However, I can picture drinking this on a hot and humid Hawaiian day and having it be very refreshing. If that is was they were going for then, in my opinion, they have succeeded.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
1075 East 20th Street

Chico, CA.

I originally found this beer at the local Albertson's (a chain supermarket) a couple of years ago and I had never seen it before, even though Sierra Nevada beers have been a staple of mine for 10+ years. I was pleasantly surprised by the boldness of the hops, usually you dont find beer with this much hop character in a mass chain supermarket.

This beer has become one of my favorites when I am looking for something with a little edge to it, and by 'edge' I mean hops... anyway, ON TO THE REVIEW ;)

Extra IPA

Caramel color, slighty opaque, 1cm head on pour which easily reforms with agitation, head consists of nice tight bubbles which almost give it a nitro appearance. Head will hold 1-2mm for duration of drinking

Smell: Piney, resin, with some malt sweetness with agitation

Taste: Hoppy bitterness jumps on the tongue with first taste, carbonation "pops" on tongue for a "bright" taste

Mouthfeel: Hops grab the tongue and do not let go without a fight!

Overall: A classic American IPA with a very bold hoppiness. Mid range ABV at 7.2%