Every year New Belgium Brewing Company puts on the Tour de Fat, a travelling party celebrating the bicycle. This is the second year the Tour is coming to San Diego’s Balboa Park and it promises to be a good time. There will be a bike parade at 10am to start things off (get there early to register, and don’t forget to wear a costume). After that there will be some bicycle related performances and one person will trade their car in for a free bike and promise to ride for a year. Oh yeah, there will be beer too, this is put on by New Belgium after all.
Green Flash Brewing Co. is set to release their new Silva Stout tomorrow, Friday October 1st from 4-8pm at their tasting room in Vista. This limited release stout, a blend of fresh Green Flash Double Stout and Double Stout aged in oak bourbon barrels for seventeen months is only available in four packs at the brewery during their normal tasting hours. Green Flash’s Double Stout is often over looked (in my opinion) for some of their hoppier beers, but it is an excellent double/imperial stout and I’m looking forward to this barrel aged blend.
The Green Flash Brewing Co. tasting room is located at 1430 Vantage Ct. Vista, CA 92081 and is typically open Friday 4-8pm, Saturday 12-5pm and Sunday 12-4pm. Below is the email from Green Flash with a bit more info.
Kern River Brewing Company’s Just Outstanding IPA is named after a mountain bike trail of the same name near the brewery in Kernville, CA. If there’s one thing I like as much as craft beer it would be cycling. And while I haven’t gotten a chance to ride Just Outstanding yet, after watching that video it’s high on my list.
At 6.8% ABV Just Outstanding is just on the border of the IPA/DIPA split but drinks very easily. Dry hopped with Simcoe and Amarillo hops it has a nice citrus and floral aroma, I don’t pick up much pine from the Simcoe hops. It’s hot here in San Diego right now, so I made the mistake of trying to drink this far too cold. The first sip was not a good representation. I let it warm up a bit before drinking more and was glad I did. It has a good citrus hop flavor balanced by sweet caramel malts. It’s far less hoppy than I expected, neither the hops nor the malts overshadow the other.
Hopheads looking for the hoppiest IPA might be disappointed, but Just Outstanding is a very balanced and drinkable beer, one I look forward to drinking more of at the brewpub in Kernville after a long day of riding the nearby trails.
Green Flash Brewing Co. in Vista has plans to move south to San Diego proper, just off Mira Mesa Blvd. I read this on the always good, but infrequently updated Beerandburrito’s Weblog but additional details were sparse.
Melodee at Green Flash confirmed that they have begun construction on a new brewery off Mira Mesa Blvd. in order to increase capacity and meet demand and are currently slated to be brewing out of the new facility in just under a year, September 1st, 2011.
Green Flash will be in good company here joining Karl Strauss, Hess Brewing Co., Alesmith, and Ballast Point in the Sorrento Valley/Mira Mesa/Miramar/Scripps Ranch areas. This will add another option to what is already a pretty easy brewery tour about 15 minutes north of Downtown San Diego.
Stone Brewing Co.’s Stone Smoker Porter with Vanilla Beans is a beer I’ve wanted to try ever since hearing about it over a year ago. But being a limited release brewery only beer I didn’t get a chance to try it until recently. When I noticed it on the tap list while dining at the Stone Bistro a few days ago it was the first beer I tried to order, sadly I was told the keg had run dry. Lucky for me they had it available for growler fills in the store, so I picked one up on the way out. And since I came home with 2 liters, rather than just enjoying a pint at the restaurant, I’m happy to say it’s damn good.
Stone Smoked Porter with Vanilla Beans is the creation of Stone brewer Laura Ulrich. It pours a dark brown, it looks opaque until you hold it up to the light and can see that it’s more of a ruby-tinged brown as it lets the light through. The thick tan head dissipated fairly quickly as I let the beer sit in the glass and warm up a bit. From the smell alone I was a little worried, I don’t have a regular Stone Smoked Porter here to compare it to, but the smell tells nothing of the vanilla beans. There might be a hint of something sweet in the aroma, but I wouldn’t guess vanilla, and it could easily be the power of suggestion, it’s that mellow.
The lack of vanilla changes immediately with the first sip. A rich taste of vanilla is the first thing I tasted. A slight smoky bitterness comes in, followed by more vanilla and a slightly bitter aftertaste. There isn’t much hop flavor or bitterness, which is perfect in a beer like this as it allows the vanilla to stand out.
The regular Stone Smoked Porter is 5.9% ABV and I don’t expect this would differ too much. It’s easy to drink and the rich vanilla isn’t overpowering although I stopped after drinking one pint. It seems like an excellent beer to pair with dessert.
Stone blogged about the origins of this beer a while back on their blog, click here to read that post.
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Great Divide Brewing Co. is one of my favorite Colorado breweries that doesn’t get distributed in California, but that’s about to change next week. Stone will be distributing Great Divide in San Diego and they’re hosting kick off parties at bars and restaurants throughout Southern California next week. Great Divide’s founder Brian Dunn will be on hand at some of the releases in addition to the many delicious Great Divide beers.
Wednesday September 29th they’ll kick things off at KNB Wine Cellars in Del Cerro from 5-8pm. They’ll have an awesome line of Great Divide beers, on tap will be: Titan IPA, Hercules Double IPA, Yeti Imperial Stout, Hibernation Old Ale, Smoked Baltic Porter, Hades Stong Belgian Pale Ale. All of those minus Hades will be available in bottles (either 12oz six packs or 22oz bombers) and they’ll also have bombers of Old Ruffian Barley Wine and Espresso Oak Aged Yeti.
Saturday, October 2nd they’ll finish things out at Pizza Port in both Ocean Beach and Carlsbad.
For you LA folks, it looks like they’ll be at Blue Palms for a lunch event Wednesday Sept 29th. Thursday they’ll be at Farmer’s Harvest and Beachwood BBQ. Friday October 1st they’ll be at Whole Foods in Tustin and Saturday they’ll stop by 38 Degrees.
All the events are subject to change, please check with the individual establishments to confirm times.
Ray Daniels is well known in the beer community. Author of the book Designing Great Beers, he’s a well known beer judge and senior faculty member at the Siebel Institute of Technology. He’s also the founder of the Cicerone Certification Program. The Cicerone Certification Program is a three level certification for beer industry folks to show that they know what they’re talking about when it comes to beer. From various flavors, styles and brands to proper storage and serving techniques, the Cicerone Certification Program covers much of the beer spectrum.
There are three levels of certification. The first is “Certified Beer Server”, an online quiz which must be passed with at least 75% correct answers. It covers popular beer styles and beer culture, beer tasting and flavors as well as the brewing process and beer ingredients.
The next level is the “Certified Cicerone”. Certified Cicerone’s must have already passed the Certified Beer Server test and have a year’s experience in the beer industry (or a recommendation from someone in the beer industry. This test includes both an in person written test and a beer tasting test. The skills needed build upon those in the Certified Beer Server test and include indentifying off flavors in beer and the ability to recommend beer pairings with common foods among other skills.
The last level is the “Master Cicerone”. This highest level Cicerone Certification is not to be taken lightly. It requires mastery of all areas covered in the Master Syllabus. As of this writing there is only one certified Master Cicerone.
Ray Daniel’s wrote a short article on the CraftBeer.com blog called, “Blowing your Credibility as a Beer Expert”, and while it’s not Cicerone specific, it does cover many common mistakes bars and restaurants make that are almost certainly covered in the Cicerone program.
Locally, Neighborhood in the East Village has made it a point to get all of their staff Cicerone Beer Server certified. Craft and Commerce in Little Italy (which shares an owner with Neighborhood) is currently working on getting their staff certified. We checked with Daniel’s to see if he could verify this and he said that certifications are granted to individuals not entire establishments, but that bars and restaurants around the country have pursued widespread certification for their entire staff, so he couldn’t say if an entire staff was certified, but we’ll take Neighborhood at their word.
Know of any other San Diego bars or restaurants making an effort to get their staff certified? Leave a comment below.
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To say that Pizza Port, and specifically Pizza Port Carlsbad did well at the 2010 Great American Beer Festival would be an understatement. Pizza Port Carlsbad took home the award for Large Brewpub of the Year for the second year in a row, along with seven medals including 3 gold. Pizza Port San Clemente took the award for Small Brewpub of the Year. In addition to Pizza Port Carlsbad’s seven medals, Pizza Port Ocean Beach, Port Brewing Co., The Lost Abbey, Stone Brewing Co., Ballast Point Brewing Co. and Karl Strauss Brewing Co. all brought home medals.
In all San Diego County breweries took home 15 medals listed below. The full list of winners can be seen here.
- Category 13: Out of Category – Traditionally Brewed Beer, Ballast Point Brewing Co. Fathom IPL
- Category 44: English-Style India Pale Ale, Pizza Port Carlsbad Beech Street Bitter
- Category 55: Irish-Style Red Ale, Karl Strauss Brewing Co. Red Trolley Ale
- Category 68: Belgian-Style Strong Specialty Ale, Pizza Port Carlsbad Revelations
- Category 77: Scotch Ale, Pizza Port Carlsbad Reed’s Wee Heavy
- Category 5: Herb and Spice or Chocolate Beer, Stone Brewing Co. Stone Smoked Porter with Chipotle
- Category 6: Coffee Flavored Beer, Pizza Port Carlsbad Coffee Monster
- Category 11: Other Strong Beer, Port Brewing Co. Panzer Pilsner
- Category 51: English-Style Mild Ale, Pizza Port Ocean Beach Skidmark Brown
- Category 56: English-Style Brown Ale, Pizza Port Carlsbad Good Grief Brown
- Category 76: Imperial Stout, Pizza Port Carlsbad Night Rider Imperial Stout
- Category 13: Out of Category – Traditionally Brewed Beer, Port Brewing Co. Hot Rocks Lager
- Category 16: American-Style Sour Ale, The Lost Abbey Red Poppy
- Category 58: American-Style India Black Ale, Stone Brewing Co. Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale
- Category 71: Classic Irish-Style Dry Stout Pizza Port Carlsbad Port Truck Stout
The SD Park 2 Park shuttle isn’t running on a regular basis any more, but that seems to have freed them up to organize special events and tours.
Saturday October 23rd they’re teaming up with a couple local businesses to do a beer tasting and homebrew demonstration. For $35 they’ll pick you up at one of their designated stops and take you to Blind Lady Ale House where you’ll be guided through a six beer (5 oz. each) tasting by Blind Lady co-owner and Automatic Brewing Co. brewer Lee Chase. Pizza will be served and then you’ll all hop back on the bus to head to Homebrews and Gardens for a homebrewing demonstration. All participants will get 15% homebrew supplies during the event.
This event is still a month away, but according to the Park 2 Park blog they have already sold 5 out of the 25 seats (maybe more now). If you’re at all interested in homebrewing this would be a great way to get an overview and discounted supplies, as well as a beer tasting with one of San Diego’s beer elite. Click over to the Park 2 Park site to purchase tickets.
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The Great American Beer Festival is set to get under way in Denver tomorrow (September 16th). Beer geeks and industry folks from around the world travel to Denver for the event, including many from San Diego. But fret not if you’re stuck in San Diego this weekend with no travel plans for Denver, because even though the biggest beer event in the country is going on a few states away, there are still plenty of great beer to be drank right here in San Diego.
Tonight Wednesday, September 15th
- Blind Lady Ale House will be tapping a keg of Sierra Nevada’s Ghidorah at 5pm (which BLAH’s Lee Chase helped brew at Beer Camp)
- The September DrinkAbout is happening from 7pm-11pm. Click here for more details.
Thursday, September 16th
- The Linkery is holding a Vegetarian Cask Beer Pairing Night. Each plate with half a pour of beer is $9. They have some great casks and the food sounds delicious. See the full menu here.
- Toronado will be hosting a Dogfish Head Night. They’ll have Punkin Ale, Palo Santo Marron, Midas Touch, Theobrama and 90 Minute IPA on tap and bottles of Festina Peche, Burton Baton IPA, Worldwide Stout.
Friday, September 17th
- Hamilton’s Tavern Firkin Friday with Mission Brewery. They’ll have Mission IPA on cask and Shipwrecked Imperial IPA, Blonde Ale, Amber Ale, and Hefeweizen at 5pm.
- O’Brien’s Pub is hosting a night of beers from Manzanita Brewing Co. in Santee. (We stopped into Manzanita when they first opened, check out that post here)
- Make sure your Stone Brewing Co. growlers are clean as they have three excellent growler fills this weekend. Friday they’ll have Stone Smoked Porter with Vanilla Beans
Saturday, September 18th
- Blind Lady Ale House will have Firestone Walker’s Union Jack IPA on cask at 11:30am. Pints are only $3.50 until 3:50pm.
- More growler fills at Stone Brewing Co. today they’re offering Stone Smoked Porter with Vanilla Beans again, and if you go after 8pm they’ll have 2010 Stone Imperial Russian Stout available as well.
- Hamilton’s Tavern is hold a “Shuffleboard for Charity” event. We don’t have any more details, but you can’t go wrong with shuffleboard and good craft beer.
Sunday, September 19th
- Pints for Prostates Fundraiser (DrinkAbout Part 2) Check Facebook for more info.
- Blind Lady Ale House will hold a Blind IPA Challenge. 11.30am to Midnight. Judge six IPAs which out knowing which is which. Click here for more info.
- If you only get one growler fill from Stone Brewing Co. this weekend this is the day to do it. Starting at 11am they’ll be filling growlers with 2005 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine