Tag Archives: beer

Harpoon Brewery

The middle of our Freedom Trail walk was highlighted by an awesome lunch at Neptune Oyster. That only kept us excited for a short while. After eating, we still hurried through our tour, because we had beer waiting for us.

It’s this way! This is the real trail to freedom!

The brewing schedule from the day before. Smells hoppy to me!

Some of the bottled offerings.

Their bar, where they educate people on their brews and get people drunk.

Michelle patiently waiting to get some brews.

Some more of their offerings.

Tasting some great beers.

Everyone crowded around to get their share.

The kettle closest to you is a steam jacketed kettle.

Michelle, learning the brewing process.

Cans from beers around the world.

Harpoon Brewery has a great set of brews that they offer, from their standard brews, their UFO’s (unfiltered offerings), to their Leviathan Series (big beers). It’s a shame that they don’t distribute west of the Mississippi River. Everyone should check this brewery out if they get the chance. Fortunately, I have my cousin shipping some beer I bought over to me. Now if I could just get him to actually ship it to me. I’m afraid it might all be consumed. Damn, college kids.

And then I went to Michigan

The reason we went to Chicago in the first place was because I had work in Michigan like I do almsot every year. I bid Michelle farewell and drove three hours west into the heart of Michigan.

At least the beds were comfy. Have you ever tried a Sleep Number Bed? It’s interesting. It sort of reminds me of a hospital bed but without having to have your butt showing out the back of your gown.

This is what I did for two days. It was school all over again.

It wasn’t all work though. 1964, The Beatles tribute band!

You can see that they’re pretty good. Ringo actually drums like Ringo and Paul is actually left handed.

There was one very bright spot to my visit to Michigan though. I found out that Bell’s Brewery is twenty miles outside of where I visit, and they have a second brand that resides in the city of Kalamazoo, MI where I stay every time I’m out there. Here I am with a taster. I think the tasting board is Lake Michigan or one of the other Great Lakes.

As you can see, they’re known for their stouts, and they are good at them. Their Two Hearted IPA and dry hopped lager Quinannan Falls are great beers too.

Deep Dish Pizza: Meh.

There is a constant war going on between the people, who love their pizza in the New York style versus the people who love deep dish pizza. To me this is like arguing whether you want to get a treat or kicked in the groin. I’m not a fan of deep dish pizza, and I remember disliking it a lot the last time I was in Chicago. Since Michelle had never tried deep dish pizza in Chicago, I figured why not give it another shot.

We decided to try our deep dish pies at the birth place of the deep dish pizza.

I have to say I did not hate the deep dish pizza this time around. It was flavorful, and the crust was crisp throughout each bite. The down side to these pizzas is that there are times you get a mouthful of almost nothing but tomato sauce. Also in order to get the pie crisp, it takes a lot of oil, which you can really taste in certain bites as the oil probably pooled to that one spot in the pan.

Still, Pizzeria Uno had other things going for it like a nice Bloody Mary.

Also, Goose Island beers make everything a little better. Honker’s Ale on the left. 312 on the right.

I’m still a fan of New York Style pizza over Chicago Style, but I won’t go as far as to say I hate the deep dish pie now. Each type of pizza has its place. Chicago deep dish’s place just won’t be my stomach if I’m given the choice.

The Beer Cabinet

Remember when I told you about the weapons in the war on sobriety? Here is the ammunition I am using. IPA, Abbey Style, Wit, and Stout. There are two more batches of bullets being manufactured right now.

I think that middle shelf is sagging in the middle. I better start using some of the ammunition.

San Diego Beer Tour: Day 3

Sunday morning we woke up and wondered why  brewery tasting rooms don’t open sooner. Noon seems kind of late to start drinking beer.

Also, we kept missing the free beer.

Stone is number eleven in craft breweries in the United States, and it was one of the places we had to stop. Being so large means they have the finances to build themselves a facility outside of the industrial parks, which includes its own restaurant.

They have a great restaurant that people come to eat, not even to partake of the beer necessarily.

You can tell a lot of work and detail went into making this facility. Of course, lots of stone is used in the construction.

They have a great outdoor patio with its own bar.

Their beer selection on tap is fantastic, including a lot of beers from other breweries. Knowing I would drink plenty of Stone beers, I opted to start with Russian River’s Pliny the Elder.

BBQ Pork Sandwich.

Prime Rib Melt.

Beer Float, featuring Stone Smoked Porter and Niederfranks Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. Both of these stand on their own, but when put together you get something very magical.

We took the tour of the brewery, which starts with propaganda about making good beer and walks you through the manufacturing lines.

If you drink four pints a day from the big fermentation tanks, it would take you sixty five years to finish the tank. That’s close to 12,000 gallons of beer. I’ll just stick to a small tank of beer, thanks.

Unfortunately all these kegs and bottles are empties.

Some goodies to take home. Stone is currently working on building a hotel behind their brewery. I guess people love their beer so much they travel just to get a taste. It’ll be Beer Disneyland!

Port Brewing/Lost Abbey had my favorite tasting room.  This location is actually Stone’s old facility. Although it was in an industrial park like the rest, they put together lots of space for people to sit down and enjoy their beers while watching a Chargers game.

More goodies to take home with us.

The final brewery on our beercation before we returned to our regular lives was Iron Fist. Another small brewery in an industrial park, they had customers drawing on butcher paper and designing their walls. I really like how locals come to these tasting rooms like they would a local watering hole.

Some of Iron Fist’s beers. Hired Hand, Golden Age, Dubbel Fisted, Trippel Fisted.

Totally off topic, but Iron Fist’s head brewer, Brandon looks like he could be the lovechild of Conan O’Brien and Andy Richter. It’s like the “If They Mated” sketch backfired on The Conan Show.

The day’s bounty: Port Brewing’s Wipeout IPA. Two bottles of Lost Abbey’s Judgement Day and a bottle of Ten Commandments. Bottle of Arrogant Bastard Ale, Self-Righteous, Belgo Anise, Cali-Belgique IPA, and two bottles of Stone’s Imperial Black IPA. Two bottles of Iron Fists’s Dubbel Fisted and a Renegade Blonde.

Day three was the close of the brewery tour trip, and I have to say it was quite enjoyable. I really enjoy the beer scene down south. They understand that good beer is about more than just inebriation. It’s about community. Sharing a beer next to a total stranger didn’t seem strange at all. It was familiar and comfortable. I like that.

Drinking beer as a marathon activity and hopping from brewery to brewery is very tough. First, you have to stay sober enough to drive. Safety first. Even while staying sober it’s hard to keep up when the beer makes you so full. I have to think that if I were a few years younger, I also wouldn’t have needed the naps. Still, it’s totally worth it. Life’s too short to drink bad beer.

San Diego Beer Tour: Day 2

The next morning we woke up ready for a day full of beer.

First stop, Green Flash! Look at Green Flash, all corporate with a glass front on its new building.

Green Flash has lots of room to grow into their new digs.

Even their tasting room setup gives plenty of space for visitors. There is a whole patio outside, where you can catch some rays while enjoying your beer.

Starting with one of my favorites, Le Freak.

Trippel, Summer Saison, Hop Head Red, and Double Stout.

I absolutely love that all these breweries are in industrial parks. AleSmith looks like it could be a retail store.

I don’t have very many pictures of AleSmith for some reason. I do recall enjoying their brews and that these women were looking at a dog.

Back to Hess Brewing for a pit stop. We couldn’t buy the growler Tim wanted the day before because of their special event. Another nitrogen pour of Ex Umbris and we were on our way.

Tim wanted to drive to the next spot, but I thought he might draw too much attention to himself with the Hess flag flying behind the all terrain golf cart.

The next stop was Ballast Point. While I enjoy their beers, this was my least favorite tasting room only because it was much too small. Even AleSmith’s tasting room was larger than this.

That still didn’t stop us from picking up a few drinks. This is a beer trip, right? Big Eye IPA, Marlin Porter, Sculpin IPA, and Amber Ale.

After finishing up we realized we should probably eat something, so we went with a friend’s recommendation of Lorna’s Italian Kitchen. He said it was the standard by which he compares all other Italian food. We showed up and were quite skeptical when we saw the address was in a strip mall, but we were too tired to look for something else. I don’t know if I would call this a measuring stick for Italian food, but it was very good.

Vegetable Soup. Nice hint of spiciness in this cup of soup.

Meat Lasagna. Cheesy goodness.

Linguini with Clams. This actually reminds me of some of the pasta I ate when I was in Italy.

Lunch was followed by one of the best naps I’ve ever had. We woke up trying to figure out if we could catch the Mayweather/Ortiz fight anywhere, but we just ended up at Oggi’s because all my beer drinking called for some wings.

I enjoy comfort food so much more when I drink beer. That only compounds the calories we drank earlier in the day.

Of course there were hot wings. The wings were decent, and the heat slowly built up, one wing after the other.

What better way to cool down the fire than with a pint of McGarvey’s Scottish Ale. Remember what they say. If it’s not Scottish, it’s crap!

The day’s bounty: Bottle of Green Flash’s Le Freak. Growler of Hess’ Ex Umbris. Bottle of AleSmith’s Grand Cru, IPA, and Wee Heavy. Bottle of Ballast Point’s Sculpin IPA.

San Diego Beer Tour: Day 1

My buddy Tim has been wanting to check out some of the breweries that produce the beer we enjoy so much. We finally booked a weekend and left an open invitation to our friends, but no one wanted to go. Michelle even declined to go saying, “I don’t want to be a third wheel.” Consequently, the beer we bottled before we left on the trip we called Third Wheel.

Our first stop on our way down was Phil’s BBQ, a very popular food joint that hasn’t made its way out of the San Diego area yet. It’s only a matter of time though, because this place is awesome.

Tri tip sandwich, smothered in Phil’s BBQ sauce. The tri tip was so perfectly smokey. I felt the BBQ sauce covered that too much.

Pulled pork over a bed of cabbage. Although the pork was plenty juicy, this is where I would put more BBQ sauce. The sweetness would compliment this sandwich well.

Their beer battered onion rings are incredible.

We really had no schedule for breweries on Friday, but Hess Brewery was doing an event to support the fight against Multiple Sclerosis. Ian, the guy on the poster, has lost the use of his legs due to MS but is still doing a 150 mile ride from Irvine to San Diego to raise funds to fight MS. Check out his site here.

Hess was busy with lots of people supporting Ian and enjoying good beer.

Hess’ Ex Umbris with nitrogen pour makes for an awesome, creamy stout that makes great cream mustaches.

Unfortunately for me,  I lack the mustache for the cream to take hold, so I get the pervert cream ‘stache at the edge of my lip.

The best part about beer is that you can sit on a curb and ponder life while drinking it, much like whisky, gin, and vodka.


We managed to score some inexpensive tickets to a Padres game.

It was Padres vs. Diamondbacks, two teams we care nothing for, so the game was pretty pouring. Fortunately they serve Stone and Ballast Point on tap at the stadium.

After the game, we headed to Roberto’s to get some carne asada fries. The asada was pretty dry. It’s probably been this way every time I went in college, but just like back in the day, it was pretty satisfying.

Still wanting to drink a few more beers, we headed to Pizza Port. I really enjoy Oskar Blues’ Gubna.

The pizza isn’t bad here other. The sauce doesn’t stand out very much from the big chain pizza joints, but they pile on lots of fresh toppings and the curst is fantastic. I would love to have a pizza joint like this locally that serves great beer.

Up next, more beer.

OC Brew Ha Ha Beer Festival

I’m behind in a lot of my blog posts, because I’ve been so busy at work. My work load has grown so I have no time to write, and that requires me to play even harder so the back log of events has grown.

Two weekends ago I got the chance to go to OC Brew Ha Ha. This was really my first time going to eat and drink since my little tofu accident, and I was ready to get myself out there and consume both beer and food.

This was a great way to come back to the world of food and drink. I’m back, baby!

Live Ale

When you brew beer, all your beer is essentially like this.

Yes, beer is made by living organisms, some of which are still alive in the bottles as you pour into your glass. Shocking. But this isn’t a beer that I brewed. It’s something you can buy off the shelf in a store. Let’s all stop and give thanks to these microorganisms that make getting borracho a reality.

Burgers & Beer: Lots of Both

I was lucky enough to win tickets to one of The Taste Los Angeles events. Courtesy of City Tavern and Eagle Rock Brewery, I got two tickets to the Burgers & Beer event on Friday night in Beverly Hills. Michelle and I went all out. There were burgers, wines, and beers everywhere.

Please forgive me if I get some of the descriptions wrong. I was trying to take note of which burgers were which, but there were so many it got confusing.

While that photo gallery of burgers I got to eat looks overwhelming, there were quite a few burgers I could not try due to my stomach quitting on me. The list of beers I drank was even longer than the list of burgers I ate. Some of my favorites include Brouwerij West’s Belgian Tripel, Firestone Walker’s Union Jack, TAPS’ Pumpkin Ale, and Oskar Blues’ Gordon, served by The Bowery.

While I couldn’t get to all the burgers or beers, I had a great time getting to as much as I could. Check out the full list of vendors below.

RESTAURANTS

25 Degrees | Restaurant
BLD/Grace | Restaurant
Blue Palms BrewHouse | Restaurant
BOA Steakhouse | Restaurant
Bru Haus | Restaurant
City Tavern | Restaurant
Delphine | Restaurant
Ford’s Filling Station | Restaurant
LA Market | Restaurant
Mickey Fine | Restaurant
Oliverio at Avalon Hotel | Restaurant
Osteria La Buca | Restaurant
Rosewood Tavern | Restaurant
Rounds Premium Burgers | Restaurant
Rustic Canyon | Restaurant
STK | Restaurant
Tasting Kitchen | Restaurant
The Bowery | Restaurant
The Cake Mamas | Bakery
The Cheesecake Factory | Restaurant
The Counter | Restaurant
The Glendon Bar & Kitchen | Restaurant
The Gorbals | Restaurant
The Green Teaist | Cafe
The Misfit | Restaurant
The Spice Table | Restaurant
The Yard | Restaurant
Waterloo & City | Restaurant
Westside Tavern | Restaurant
Wilshire Restaurant | Restaurant

WINERIES & SPIRITS

14 Hands | Wine
Black Star Beer | Beer
Blue Moon | Beer
Blue Moon Seasonal | Beer
Brassfield Estate Winery | Wine
Brouwerij West | Beer
Chang Beer | Beer
Coppola | Wine
Craftsman Brewing Company | Beer
Cupcake Vineyards | Wine
Deschutes Brewing Co. | Beer
Duvel | Beer
Estrella Damm/ Inedit | Beer
Firestone Walker Brewing Co. | Beer
Grolsch | Beer
House Wine | Wine
Justin Vineyards & Winery | Wine
Maredsous | Beer
Ommegang | Beer
Oro di Milano Beer | Beer
Peroni | Beer
Pilsner Urquell | Beer
Rosenblum Cellars | Wine
Royal Wine Corp. & Herzog Wine Cellars | Wine
Sierra Nevada | Beer
Singha Beer | Beer
Stone Brewing Company | Beer
TAPS | Beer
Victoria Beer | Beer

OTHER EXHIBITORS

Fiji
Kerrygold
Green & Blacks
Infiniti
The Chew