Sunday, August 28, 2011

Racer 5 IPA - Beer Review

There are four hops called the 4 Cs - Cascade, Centennial, Columbus and Chinook. Racer 5 IPA has all of them. They are commonly used together because their flavors and aromas blend well. Did Bear Republic use them to great effect in their flagship beer? Take a trip to Wine Country with the Better Beer Authority and learn more about this popular craft beer.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Bottle Shops of San Diego

Royal Liquor

So far on my West coast trip I have taken you to a tap house and a brewery tasting room. Now, where to buy the bottles you have sampled! I will highlight three stores that I highly recommend.

Pizza Port Bottle Shop in Carlsbad, Ca. Next to the Pizza Port Carlsbad location. From their website, "Local’s tip: The Bottle Shop has lots of great beers from San Diego breweries that you won’t find outside of the area. Make sure to ask about some of the local rarities!"
There is also a great selection from outside of San Diego, Avery, Russian River, Deschutes, Dogfish Head, and a selection of European labels. I have been to this bottle shop two times. The first time I found everything I was looking for and the guy running the shop was very helpful. The other time the selection was more limited.

Two draw backs: The bottle shop hours are not the most convenient, so check with their website for details. If you want to grab a draft next door at the Pizza Port bar (they do have an awesome selection), it can be a zoo inside with lines for the bar.

Bristol Farms is what I would consider a high-end grocery store. Given their location in La Jolla only supports my claim. Their beer selection is fantastic. And one amazing thing about it, given the price of the food there, the beer prices are very reasonable. My brother cleaned them out of Life & Limb, I bought some Deschutes Black Butte Porter and picked up a bottle of Idiot Imperial IPA from Coronado Brewing Company.

The third place we went to was an unassuming liquor store in Encinitas, Ca. - Royal Liquor There is no website or Facebook page for it, but you can read my review at Beer Advocate here for full location details. My brother and I were very surprised at this place. We had been looking for Pliny the Elder to ship back to the BBA reviewers all trip, and we finally found it here! To save you from reading a lot more, just go to this place and thank me later. It is also very close to our favorite surf break in that area, Beacons!

Since most of the time I was in board shorts, I only have one picture, which is of Royal Liquor.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald - Beer Review

Edmund Fitzgerald from Great Lakes Brewing Company is an award-winning porter from Cleveland. Will the boys support this brew from their home state of Ohio? Where do they think Great Lakes ranks amongst other Ohio breweries? Tune in and find out!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Green Flash Tasting Room, San Diego

 David Hartogs (left) and author Richard
Hartogs (right) enjoying multiple tastings
after a fun surf session.

This is the second blog from my West Coast vacation. There will be a few more over the next several weeks.

San Diego is known for many things; surfing, fish tacos and beer. I could write a separate review for the Better Surf Authority and Better Fish Taco Authority, but they don't exist.

As far as beer goes, San Diego is a hop-head's paradise. Green Flash Brewing Company has one of the quintessential IPAs - West Coast IPA.  The newly relocated brewery and tasting room near the Mira Mesa area of San Diego was on my list of places to visit. (P.S. How great is it that the parking lot is on Top Gun Rd.???)

The "menu and description of each
Green Flash Beer available.
It's located in an office park, where a brewery felt a little out of place. But it's a great location for them at happy hour time!  Check their website for hours. We arrived at 10 minutes before the 3pm opening and were followed in by many thirsty people.

Pretty much every beer they make is available, and at very reasonable prices too. $1 samples, and $4-$6 pints. Given the samples and pricing, three of us were able to try almost every beer on tap, including the Palate Wrecker Double IPA; which was surprisingly good and not really a palate wrecker.

One of the neat things about the tasting room is that it is located on the Green Flash factory floor. There is virtually no travel distance between tap and source.

They don't have a restaurant on-site, but food trucks come by. The one the day we were there was set to arrive at 5pm and have truffle tater tots! I didn't try them, but wish I did!

There is outdoor seating, picnic tables and such, but I hesitate to call it a beer garden. That being said, I highly recommend a visit to the Green Flash tasting room. One bartender was happy to talk to us and stoked we came from the East Coast.

Stay tuned for next week's travel blog. Will I write another report from the West Coast, or mix it up?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Lagunitas Hop Stoopid - Beer Review

I went to brew beer with Youtube Beer Reviewer Kyle Klaiber, also known as hophedbrewhaus. After brewing two beers (That I can't wait to taste) we shot two beer reviews. This is the first of two reviews that we shot together.

Make sure you check out Kyle's channel on Youtube and subscribe. Here is the link:

Samuel Adams Boston Lager - Beer Review

I had never spent that much time thinking about this beer and I was pleasantly surprised by the nice balanced flavor and the citrus notes from the hops. Is it a good session beer? Is it a craft beer? We touch on all that in this great discussion.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Going Yard in Orange County

Quick note from editor first.
While on a 10-day vacation ending earlier this week to Las Vegas and Southern California, I made an effort to sample as many beers as possible from as many different places as possible. This will be the first travel blog of a few from that trip.

I met up with a friend and took her to an Angel's game in Anaheim, CA. It was baseball and I had zero rooting interest in the two teams playing, so I was bored. I noticed plenty of advertising for Yard House and asked Shannon what it was. She told me it was a restaurant with 100 taps! We left after the fifth inning, and even missed a grand slam!

We drove to the Yard House location at the Irvine Spectrum, some kind of mall. I didn't know it at the time, but Yard House Tap Room is a chain with locations in roughly 10 states.

The amount of taps is impressive there. The quality of the taps at Irvine Spectrum location was pretty good. It did have a lot of BMC stuff on tap, but also a lot of craft selections. Since I was driving I had to limit myself. I started with Deschutes Black Butte Porter which quickly put a smile on my face.

I decided to order a sampler of 6 beers since I figured it was the best way to stay under the limit and be able to drive back to my hotel. I did not get to choose the beers, they were chosen for me, but I was given a 7th by request as I wanted to try Moose Drool Brown from Big Sky (it was great). Other than that, the selection was weak. Rasberry Cider, Shock Top (bud product), Harp (so unnecessary) and three average selections of their home brew. The bar tender saw I was unhappy and took the sampler off my bill without my asking.

I also had a great appetizer there, the Hawaiian Poke Stack. I was happy with the service and overall selection of beer and would return again. I would stay clear away from the sampler though. I think Yard House serves communities well that don't have a craft beer scene or a very small one.

Next week I will write about our experience going to the Green Flash Brewery tasting room....stay tuned!