Monday, November 29, 2010

Port Brewing Wing Wednesday

I never seem to get into any of the shots of our friends because I'm the tourist of the group but here's us minus me at Port Brewing's Pizza Port in San Clemente for their Wing(and cheese stick)Wednesday. 35 cent wings! You can't beat that, and with friends, good beer, and cute babies. It was a great night.

I had Russian River's Blind Pig which, I know this is blasphemy, I liked better than their Pliny the Elder. It had a LOT of pine on it, with a little citrus zest mixed in, but the body was solid and the bubbles were low. It must have been good because I finished it before anyone else had and that's not normal for me. Oh, and I put the picture of the cute baby in because now you HAVE to like this post. I promise, the beer was mine and she had her own bottle....... of milk that is.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Black Velvet

I don't like Guinness. There, I said it. I'm not a fan. There are so many more stouts that I would rather drink. North Coast Old Rasputin, Deschutes Obsidian, Avery Out of Bounds, Deschutes The Abyss, the list goes on and on.

This is the reason that that monstrous looking layered drink was ordered. No, not by me. That puny looking port glass next to it is mine. No, this was ordered by a girl. Yes, I was teased mercilessly for my choice of drink. Yes, it was one of the worst ports I have ever had, but that is beside the point. That aberration of champagne and Guinness is the best thing that has happened to Guinness since the pub was invented. I hope I don't have an angry mob of Irishmen and leprechauns knocking at my door but it's too late now. It's on the internet so it must be true.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

New Belgium Hoptober

I'm getting tired of New Belgium. Aside from 1554 which, unless they change it like they did with Fat Tire, I will always love, there is just nothing coming out that excites me. I thought, hmm, Oktoberfest? Maybe they'll throw some spice in there. At least the typical fest style. Nope, I was wrong, boring. Clean, done well, but boring. I could knock these back like silver bullets but I'm not in college anymore. I haven't yet tried any of their Lips of Faith series beers and supposedly they are amazing but nothing they've done of late has wowed me. I'm not giving up though. I promise, that my next purchase will be a Lips of Faith Series beer. Please New Belgium, I love your bikecentric attitude but you are losing me with your blah beers. Renew my faith!

Friday, November 19, 2010

"Boo"ery Night at Bootlegger's

Beer and Halloween at Bootlegger's in Fullerton brought out all kinds. No I did not dress up but my lovely wife did. I'm just really really glad she eschews the whole, Halloween is a night for girls to display their whorish side. Here she is without her witch's hat and the Barnes' over her shoulder. We haven't been to Bootlegger's since they left for Germany so it was nice to be back. Justin is high school friends with the owner and head brewer Aaron.

Bootlegger's makes a LOT of different styles of beer and all of them are high quality. The thing I like the most about them is that they are not only true to style but their descriptions are spot on for flavors. If they say that there is chipotle and coffee in their Black Phoenix Stout then you are for sure going to taste it. The only exception I've found so far after tasting ALL of the beers that they have on regular offer and MOST of the beers that they have ever brewed to my knowledge is their current pumpkin ale. I got a little bit of the nutmeg, cinnamon, and normal pie spices in there but there was not much pumpkin to be had. It was still good to be sure but not a hit you over the head pumpkin ale. Here it is to the right in their half pint mason jars. Bootlegger's serves pints, half pints, growlers, and even kegs. They don't skimp on the pours either as you can see. Over the course of the night as we ate our Greek food from the food truck outside, tasted all of the beers on offer, including "the hopinator" which is their Palomino Pale that has been run through a hop back of an undisclosed variety. Citrusy to be sure. The night was great with great friends drinking great beer.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Ballast Point Sculpin IPA

No pic of this one because I was in a VERY crowded bar called The Waterfront in San Diego. It was so crowded it conjured up old college days when the loud music, crushing crowds, and swill beer was a prelude to a good night. Now, I just want to run away. It was even so bad that I committed a cardinal sin. I left half of a good beer still in the glass. I know, I know! I just couldn't take it. D and the Hale's were of the same mind and we ended up going back to the British pub in Little Italy we had frequented earlier.

Sculpin is a cult favorite down in SoCal. It's not brewed all the time and it gets some fanfare when it does. I was excited to see that I would get to try it and I sucked up the noise, jostling, and body odor for a few minutes and sips.

The verdict? Ehh. It was good for sure, but typical IPA fare. It had a decent body for a non DIPA but there was nothing really interesting about it. Pine, some floral aromas. Higher on the IBU's than a typical IPA but nothing groundbreaking. All in all a solid beer but not one I would go back to.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Old Thumper ESB

Good, very good. This is one of those beers that you smell and you can pick out all of the aromas. Bread, malty, yeasty, bread. SO much so that I had D smell it because it was so strong and so different. I've smelled bread before obviously but not like this.

The body on this was thick, low carbonation, and chock full of flavor. ESB stands for Extra Special Bitter and it strikes a perfect balance between sweet and pucker. There was definitely some grain lurking in their but it wasn't grainy, which to me is unrefined. Check out the lacing on that glass.

Sorry about the picture it was dark, we were in San Diego, staying at a Spanish named hotel, in Little Italy, at a British pub, some of us were drinking Irish beer(Guinness), and we were listening to the Beatles(British) sung by Americans(Glee Cast).

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

San Diego Mini Vacation

D and I have been looking forward to getting out of town for a LOONG time. It's so nice to get away from the day to day routine and even though it was only a little over an hour away in San Diego it was really nice.

We were invited by our friends the Hale's. They are newly weds like us and share the same wedding date just a month later so this weekend was our 3 month anniversary (1/4 of a year! woohoo!) and their 2 month.

We stayed in a nice hotel called La Pensione in Little Italy. The rooms were small but very clean and everything was literally right outside our door. Like this street market on Sunday. There also was a really cute dog that was in the lobby that somehow I didn't get a picture of. We could have attached a broom handle to his collar and used him as a mop. Our first meeting with "Rosie" involved her pilfering food from the refrigerator.

Dinner was Italian of course. There were several beers that preceded, and followed after the meal. Including Old Thumper ESB and Ballast Point's cult hit Sculpin IPA. I was shown up by a girl too. No, the weirdly layered concoction of Guinness and champagne is not mine. The itty bitty little port is mine. The big one? It's called a Black Velvet and it definitely made the Guinness better. I'm not a fan of Guinness, I know, blasphemy.

We ended the weekend at Hash House A Go-Go. This place is INsane. We all took turns walking around the room looking at everyone's food. Did you see the steak? I think they threw the whole cow on the grill! How is the table holding up the bathtub filled with salad? People, they put an entire branch of rosemary in the dish. Steakhouses use knives to hold their burgers together sometimes, this place used rosemary. We just wish that the taste was as big as the novelty. The food was so-so. Underseasoned, very underseasoned. Nevertheless it was a great two days and it left us with Sunday to relax and veg

Friday, November 5, 2010

Drake's Denogginizer Imperial IPA

This beer was a big surprise. Not for how good it was(coming from Drake's I expect nothing less) but for where it came from.

My brother, he of the fruit beer picked this one out and it was really, and I mean, really good. I thanked T for bringing it by sending him home with some Arrogant Bastard and a home brew stout.

The first thing I noticed about the pour was that it was much darker than most IPA's. Aside from a Cascadian Black this might be the darkest in color IPA I've had. Drake's said they added crystal malt to it so maybe they added a darker malt.

The head was huge and really sticky. It looked like mousse floating on top. The aroma was not overly aggressive but it was definitely heavy on the pine. I also got a whiff of some caramel and sugar so I knew the hops had some serious malt backing.

The first taste left me wanting a larger one and for the bottle to never empty. Aside from Deschutes Hop Henge this vaulted straight to the top of my all time IPA's. The body was thick and creamy with just enough bubble to keep it refreshing and the line between too bitter and too sweet was drawn perfectly down the middle.

This won a silver medal at GABF 2009 but it should have won gold in my eyes. Damn you Hopworks Urban Brewery in Portland, OR. See you soon though.