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02-20-2007 , 01:14 AM
So I stumbled upon this thread "Newbie to The Lounge" and think this thread is awesome. I'm a huge fan of good beer from micro brews. Next month I will be attending 2 beer festival's one in Philly (March 3) and the other in AC (March 10). Both events are around 30$ for 4 hours of drinking great beer from more then 50 brewers.

I was wondering if any of you will be attending either of these events?

Also I am going to try to get my one buddy to post some reviews along with me here. Since he trys to drink something different each week.
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02-20-2007 , 02:11 AM

Great to have you, and I look forward to the input of you and your friend. I think someone mentioned one or both of those beer events specifically a while back, but you'd have to peruse the last 100-200 posts.
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02-24-2007 , 12:29 AM
Wook et. al.,


Tonight I picked up 4 brews: two 750 mL from Ommegang: Three Philosophers and Hennepin (Farmhouse Saison); a 4 pack of Duvel that came with a nice tulip glass (not gonna lie.. a big incentive to buy it); and a 6 pack of Sierra Nevada's Bigfoot Barleywine (a great beer at a great value). Tonight's review is the 3 P's. Sorry no pics.

I first tried Ommegang's dubbel last weekend (no review). My main appeal to it is it's brewed in Cooperstown, where a good friend of mine is from. I was very impressed with that brew, so I had high hopes for 3 P's.

I poured it into a tulip glass. It pours a dark amber color, bordering on red. Very aggressive head. The nose was pretty dynamic; notably cherry (as the bottle indicates) and some other dark fruits, as well as maple and caramel.

The taste is much the same. The malt character of this beer is amazing. Very rich. Tastes of caramel and maple come through, again very rich, with the maple and cherry really coming through in the aftertaste.

As I slowly progressed through the 750 mL bottle, I was impressed with how drinkable it was, and how the flavors came through as the beer warmed.

Very drinkable, very delicious. I really dig this brewery and look forward to trying the Saison. I give this beer

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02-24-2007 , 01:48 AM
Well, it appears we've been called out. I actually have quite the backlog of brews to go over. The first one is another Jolly Pumpkin brew, Luciernaga - The Firefly, which they describe as their Grand Cru. A 750 ml bottle ran me $9 in PA, and it weighs in at 6.5% ABV.

According to the label, Luciernaga is brewed with coriander and grains of paradise. I looked up grains of paradise on wikipedia; apparently it'll contribute some sort of peppery taste/smell. It poured a light, cloudy orange with ample head. The aroma was full of citrus, coriander, and some yeast funkiness. The taste was pretty interesting, in that it was dominated by citrus and pepper; quite the combination. It finished pretty dry and citrusy. I shared this with some friends and we weren't really sure what to think. It's certainly quite different than any beer I had previously tasted and I enjoyed it for what it was. and a half

Next up was Founders Breakfast Stout. It's described as a "Double chocolate coffee oatmeal stout" on the bottle. It contains 8.3% ABV. It poured inky black with a thin layer of tan head. The aroma was predominantly coffee and chocolate, as to be expected. The taste was similar to that of the Kentucky Breakfast, in that it seemed that the roastiness was overdone. However, it wasn't as overdone as the Kentucky version. The flavor was predominantly coffee, though the chocolate and oatmeal were present as well. The finish was coffee and chocolate as well. The mouthfeel was very nice on this one...very full. The sort of overdone roasted flavor is rather different than the one I experienced with Dragonslayer; it's tastier IMO. So while it's not my favorite stout, it's still pretty good. and a half

Last, but certainly not least, is Kuhnhenn's A Few Shillings Too Many Scotch Ale. I had this last night over at Hop Devil Grill, as it was Kuhnhenn Night there. It's been aged for six months in bourbon barrels and weighs in at a huge 12.5% ABV. I got a 12 oz. glass for $6.50. It came in a goblet and was dark brown with a trace of tan head. The aroma was full of malty sweetness, caramel, bourbon, and cherries...very inviting. The taste was lovely; huge malt flavor, toffee, caramel, and cherries. The texture was silky and clung to roof of my mouth. Definitely some alcohol presence in there, but you'd never believe 12.5%. There must have been a lot of effort put into this one...what a wonderful treat. and a half
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03-01-2007 , 12:54 AM

Shortly after this last post, I went to drinking strikingly little beer for about a week, as I had to get my data together for a conference on the beach in GA. Then I was at the conference, and all I was drinking was copious amounts of (free) Bass. Now I'm back!


Time for a review. Tonight's beer is another brew from Allagash, this time their Tripel Reserve. I paid $6.79 for a 750 mL bottle of 9% beer -- really, not all that expensive. Apparently this is from batch #83. I believe this is the beer that is dumped into the bourbon barrels to make the Curieux, which has been the best beer I've reviewed in this thread.

The beer pours the usual cloudy gold color, but for the style, it has surprisingly little head. Many tripels have almost uncontrollable billows, but this beer didn't really start foaming until I swirled the stuff in the bottom to mix in the yeast.

The aroma is good, but, well, pretty standard for the variety. There's a little bit of spice, some apple, apricot, and peach, but they're somewhat mild. That's largely how I'd describe the flavor, too. It's not as sweet as some tripels, nor is it as acidic. The depth of flavor is good with the spice, fruit, and malt, but it is milder than, say, the LFDM. There's no doubt that this is a great beer, but I must confess it's somewhat of a disappointment. I'm going to award it . Calling that a disappointment is kinda funny, but Allagash has set the bar extremely high with their Curieux and their white. It's a little cheaper than the LFDM, and it's a little milder, so this might be a good beer to pick instead if you're unsure if you'll like tripels. Another fine beer from Allagash, but it does benefit from the time in bourbon barrels.
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03-01-2007 , 02:21 PM
Last night, my gf and I attended a five course dinner at Turtle Mountain Brewing Co. in Rio Rancho, NM. The dinner was a promotional event for Stone Brewing Co. from San Diego. I’ve seen their beers mentioned throughout this thread, so I’m probably not breaking any new ground here. Each course was prepared by TMBC’s head chef and paired with a beer from Stone. At $50 a plate, I was expecting some excellent food and brew. One of the head marketers from Stone, a guy named Arlen, was at the event to talk about the beers, the history of Stone, and to answer any questions we had. TMBC makes some great brews also (like a molasses porter), and their head brewer was in attendance, as was the head brewer from Tractor Brewing Co. in Los Lunas, NM.

Before we started, Arlen talked about how Stone got started. Their thing is making beers with a lot of flavor. They are designed to challenge your palate, not to be popular with everyone in America. They freely admit that they go to the Great American Beer Festival and don’t win medals. They are actually proud of that. Stone is definitely anti-big beer and all about being a unique microbrewery. Anyways, on to the dinner! I’ll concentrate on the beers, but the food was pretty damned good too.

First course – Stone Pale Ale with sun-dried tomato and fennel salad

This was a good choice to start the evening. It is a flavorful Pale Ale, more robust than Bass. It has a good balance of hops and malt flavors, with a deep amber or copper tone. It’s not a typical pale ale…I wouldn’t make a black and tan out of it, because it might actually clash with the Guinness. It looks and drinks more like an Amber. This is the first beer that Stone started brewing, and they consider it one of their flagship beers. The salad was made with a Stone Pale Ale dressing, and had just sun-dried tomatoes, fennel, celery, and onions in it. No lettuce or spinach. They went pretty well together, or maybe I just like sun-dried tomatoes. Pale Ale – 4/5.

Second Course – Stone Arrogant Bastard Ale with green chile and cherry beef ribs

Arrogant Bastard doesn’t taste like any other beer I’ve ever had. Arlen asked us what fruit flavor profile this beer has, and someone said “grapefruit.” “That’s right!” This ale has all kinds of different flavors, and it is a little tart like a grapefruit. Others at the table suggested banana and raspberry. It’s a very dark copper, almost brown, and has some hops to it. The closest thing I can compare it to is a dubbel or trippel with a lot of kick and more pronounced fruit flavors. It has an ABV of 7.2%, and you can taste that alcohol. I enjoyed the glass they gave me, but I don’t think I could drink this all the time. Arlen said they submitted this beer at the GABF in some category (it really doesn’t fit into one), and a judge wrote on the comment card “too much flavor.” You got that right. The beef ribs were huge, a meal all by themselves. The sauce combined spicy green chile with the sweet-tartness of cherries and really complemented the beer. They may have even put some of the beer in the sauce as well. Arrogant Bastard – 3.5/5.

Third Course – Stone IPA with cinnamon and nutmeg-roasted game hen, rice, and vegetables

The Stone IPA is the first Stone beer I ever had. Stone brews an anniversary IPA every year, and this is their first anniversary IPA. My friend turned me on to hoppy beers, and this one fits the bill. Arlen mentioned that Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. introduced Cascade hops to the California market, and that Cascade hops is what most California brewing companies use. Not Stone. They use Centennial and Columbus hops for this IPA, and they dry-hop it for two weeks. It comes in at 77 IBU’s and 6.9% ABV, but you can’t really taste the alcohol over the hop profile. If you like IPA’s, this one is awesome. Hops seems to be all the rage nowadays, but this one isn’t too hoppy. The game hen was also a meal by itself, and paired well with the beer. The smell reminded me of Thanksgiving. Stone IPA – 4.5/5.

Fourth Course – Stone Ruination IPA with goat cheese and pear pizza

Arlen told us that for each anniversary IPA, they doubled the hops from the previous year…until it got so hoppy that it would actually clog the tanks. Ruination IPA is a blend of their second, third, and fourth anniversary IPA’s. Three hops profiles combined into one beer. It is one of the hoppiest things I have ever had, more hoppy than Hazed and Infused. You can smell the hops just floating up from this thing, very floral. The only beer I’ve had that is hoppier than Ruination is something called “Hop God” at Il Vicino and maybe a couple barley wines. Ruination has over 100 IBU’s and 7.7% ABV, and it will knock you on your butt. It does have a little more malt than the regular IPA, but it’s no match for the additional hops. I like hoppy beers, but this is too hoppy for me to have more than one or two. Out of four people at my table, only two of us could finish this one. The pizza was interesting…it had goat cheese, pears, and roasted macadamia nuts on it, but I didn’t see how it went with the beer. Ruination IPA – 3.5/5. It’s a good beer, just too hoppy for my tastes.

Fifth Course – Stone Smoked Porter with porter crème brulee

I love porters, and I love scotch. So what happens when Stone blends the two? Although this porter has the usual coffee and chocolate tones, it also has peaty and smoky flavors you might find in a scotch like Bowmore. This comes from a peat-smoked specialty malt that they use in the brew. It only has an ABV of 5.9%, and it’s something I could knock back a couple of on a cold winter night. Like all of Stone’s brews, this one is packed with flavor. It is an odd combination, but it works out somehow. It’s also got the dark mahogany or even black color, dark tan head, and a great mouthfeel. I chewed it like the guy on the Sam Adams commercials. The crème brulee was excellent and had a little flavor and color from the porter. They complemented each other very well. Stone Smoked Porter – 4/5.

We had a great time and ate way too much. My only wish was that they had let us sample some of their other beers, like the Anniversary Ale, Vertical Epic, or the Imperial Stout, instead of giving us two IPAs. But the five beers we had are the ones they brew year-round, and the others are special releases. You can check them all out on the website. They should be available in 21 states for purchase by the bottle or six-pack, and I can find the IPA, Arrogant Bastard, and occasionally the Smoked Porter on tap in some bars around Albuquerque. Overall, I recommend anything from Stone Brewing, but be prepared for a jolt to your taste buds.

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03-01-2007 , 02:37 PM
Excellent trip report.
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03-01-2007 , 04:52 PM
Cool trip report Scottie. I agree with you though.. that beer selection is suspect. Ruination, Arrogant Bastard, and the IPA are all hop bombs. Would've been nice to see some more variety. That being said I like all those beers a lot, so I wouldn't complain too much.
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03-05-2007 , 06:44 PM
I don't think people here are drinking enough beer. Regardless, tonight's review is the Benchwarmer Porter from the Cooperstown Brewing Co. This brewery has a lot to live up to, as Cooperstown is also the home of Ommegang, one of my favorite US breweries. Their line up (har har) is a little more traditional, though, and they're all named after baseball. I paid $1.89 for one 12 oz, so this is on the cheaper side. The ABV is not specified.

(I took the pic of the bottle after I'd already poured it into my glass.) The beer pours with much, much more head than I've come to expect from porters. It was foaming at the top of the bottle even after I opened it. It's again on the lighter side for porters, but not as disappointingly light as, say, the Yuengling.

The smell is a little different from some porters. It doesn't smell as much of coffee or hops. There's a little bit of vanilla and wood. The taste, though, it a little more traditional. The coffee is there, but still subdued compared to some. There's a little creaminess to it, and some of the bubbly sharpness from the high level of carbonation. The vanilla comes though a little, too, and it's nice and malty. It's very light on the hops. I'm going to give this beer . It's not my favorite porter, but it's pretty reasonable, esp. for the price.
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03-07-2007 , 07:39 PM
To follow up on the above review, tonight I'll review the Strike Out Stout. This was the same price, $1.89.

The beer pours with a LOT of head. Like, uncontrollable, overflowing head. Not the usual dense stout head, either. More like cheap beer that's improperly tapped.

It smells slightly of coffee, but there's not a whole lot there. The taste, well, sucks. This is another hollow, empty beer. The porter is more robust than the stout, wtf? Don't bother with this one, folks. and a half . Strike Out, indeed.
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03-08-2007 , 07:36 PM
Tonight, I'll review the last beer from Allagash that I bought my last trip out, their Grand Cru. I paid $9.35 for a four pack; this is not cheap beer. It weighs in at a somewhat mild 7%, though. This is much weaker than Avery's Grand Cru.

The beer pours a nice cloudy amber color with a modest head. It's a little darker than the triple, but it's a fair bit lighter than Avery's. Honestly, I'm not really sure what it means to be a Grand Cru, so I can't comment which brewer got it "right."

The aroma is malty and yeasty with a little bit of apricot. The flavor is pretty mild. It's not nearly as bold as the Avery, which bore some resemblance to an English-style barley wine, where as this is more like a milder, somewhat darker Belgian trippel. I'm going to award this beer and a half . It's good, but it's seeming like Allagash's quality is going down as their beer gets darker. Their white, their trippel, and the Curieux are all-stars, the Grand Cru doesn't live up to it, and the Dubbel is lower still. I can't recommend buying this beer. Nearly $10 for just a four pack of 3.5 beer doesn't cut it. There are better ways to spend your money.
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03-08-2007 , 11:29 PM
This past Saturday me and a few friends attended the Philly beer fest. I was very excited for this since it was the first beer fest in Philly in a very long time. The event took place at the navy yard in one of the warehouses. There where alot of people there probably to many. The over all set up of the place was not very good which made it very crowded. The warehouse was a rectangular shape and most of the well known beers where stationed in the middle. So it was almost impossible to move around. One thing I really disliked about the event where all the college kids that attended just to get really wasted.

There where alot of very good beers there and I am a huge fan of darker beers. One of the beers that stood out to me is from a local brewery in Philly called Dock Street they brought back a beer they have not made in a few years. The "Illuminator" The beer is a dark walnut color and has a tan head. The beer had a light hop aroma with a scent of caramel. It had a nice malty flavor with a caramel and fruitiness taste. Very drinkable.

Another local was Independence Brew Pub's "Imperial Stout" This beer was very very dark in color with a nice brown head. It had a nice aroma to it sweet and malty. This had a really good taste to it not overwhelming in alcohol and bitterness like other Imperial Stouts. I was very surprised with this beer and think it was one of my favorites at the show.

Overall i was very pleased to have tried this beer and look forward to purchasing it in the future. There where also alot of other great beers there but these 2 where completely new to me.

Next trip report will be sometime next week after I attend the AC beer fest.
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03-09-2007 , 09:55 PM

It looks like I've finally exhausted the supply of all the un-reviewed beer I've purchased since the end of January . Hopefully some of the rest of you (thanks steelcmg!) can fill in while I polish off the rest of the six packs and before I can justify dropping another hundo or two restocking at Beers of the World.
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03-09-2007 , 10:32 PM
Went to DuClaw in Arundel Mills Mall a week ago and just now getting around to writing up the report.

Their IPA has a sweet floral smell. The taste isn't much different. It has a bite of hops which is largely overpowered by the sweetness of the brew. 1/4

Their American Wheat had no discernible smell and was a very hollow beer. The malt is really the only taste here and it's not very good. Tastes a lot like Budweiser Select. .5

Their APA was a bit better. I don't remember much about the nose of it, but the taste is a bit bitter with hops with an understated sweetness. Overall pretty well balanced.

Their porter smells of coffee. Tastes of chocolate and coffee.

Their stout was more impressive. Smells fruity with a hint of alcohol. It tastes like raspberry balanced with chocolate and even a little bit of coffee. 3/4
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03-09-2007 , 11:26 PM
I've got a bunch coming. No need to fear.
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03-09-2007 , 11:34 PM
Excellent. I knew you guys would come through.
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03-10-2007 , 01:40 AM
Tonight I tried Samuel Smith's Taddy Porter.

Standard porter color. Not much of a head, perhaps a weak pour on my part. Hints of roasted coffee in the nose.

The taste was pretty interesting. I had only tried American porters up to this point. The English variety is notably lighter. Low carbonation. This beer is very smooth, the roasted malt and coffee come through very nicely without beating you over the head with it. Goes down pretty easy with a sweet after taste, and maybe just a hint of the alcohol flavor.

All in all a really strong beer. I give it 3.75's. On a side note, it went well with my roasted chicken dinner.

Here's a review of Sierra Nevada's Bigfoot Barley Wine Style Ale. This is from memory of the six pack I finished off earlier this week.

The color is a bit dark in that picture. It pours reddish amber that is typical of the style. Not much of a head. On later attempts I had to pour very aggressively to get close to a 2 finger head.

Two words: HOP BOMB. Wow. This beer packs a punch, both in hops and in alcohol (9.something%). Lots of flavor. The hops are delicious. Dry, bitter, and citrusy, with hints of grapefruit and pine. There's a decent malt character, too. I wouldn't exactly call this beer "balanced", but the malt adds some complexity and gives your taste buds a break.

I really like this beer. It's not the most drinkable beer in the world, but pretty darn drinkable given the amount of hops they load into this thing.


More to come later.
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03-10-2007 , 04:19 PM
For dessert last night I had North Coast's Brother Thelonius. It's a dark Belgian ale.

The pour results in a rather unimpressive head. The nose is considerably better. Dark fruits for the most part, noticeably cherry. Both tart and sweet. I was intrigued.

Unfortunately, that was about the best part of the beer. Upon tasting, the cherry flavor dominates, and it's wayyyy too sweet. The beer is also very syrupy. Between the flavor and the mouthfeel, each swallow makes you purse up your mouth and lips a bit, really hurting the beers drinkability.

As I progressed through the beer it did get a little better, but not much. All in all, it's not an AWFUL beer, but it's just not that enjoyable. Given the availability of other Belgian style beers for around the same price, I just don't see the point (Maudite, for example, is league's better than this).

Meh.. 2.5's
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03-10-2007 , 04:58 PM
Man, I'm sorry they wasted such a good name on a crappy beer. And North Coast, too? They have been putting out solid stuff for the most part.
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03-10-2007 , 06:47 PM
Yeah the fact that it was North Coast and the bottle looked so cool was the reason I tried it. I checked it out over at beeradvocate after I tried it.. they aren't quite as harsh on it, but many reviews there are of the "good, but not up to par for the style" variety. Could just be a personal taste thing, and maybe I'm being a little too hard on it based on its style.

I don't know much about the place, but North Coast makes a contribution to the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz for each bottle sold. So it's got that going for it.
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03-13-2007 , 07:11 PM
Next year I'm going to be a senior, and i've decided with one of my good friends to drive back to school all the way from arizona to new york. but this isn't going to be your typical roadtrip.

We have decided to make it 'The Great US Beer Brewery Roadtrip '07.

We want to stop at the country's greatest microbreweries: drink some pints, watch the hops ferment, and just experience the US of A.

Do you guys have any suggestions? Any particular microbreweries/beers/places you would recommend going?

As of now, there are a few musts on our list: Stone brewery and Anchorsteam brewery in CA, New belgium in Fort Collin's, Brooklyn brewery in NY, and maybe Magic hat in vermont.

any and all suggestions are much appreciated. We want to see this amazing country and be tanked while doing it.

We're looking for places that are somewhat on the way back to NY. We don';t have to make a straight line, but we're probably not going to any breweries in Alaska.

Thanks guys,
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03-13-2007 , 08:24 PM
Well, here are a few of the favorite breweries that have been posted about in this therad:

Stone (CA)
North Coast (CA)
Alesmith (CA)
Rogue (OR)
New Belgium (I forget, actually)
Great Divide (CO)
Three Floyds (IL or IN)
Ommegang (NY)
Brooklyn (NY)
Dogfish Head (DE)
Allagash (ME)
If you're feeling really adventurous, there's Unibroue in Quebec.

There are some recommended brewers in St. Louis, MN, and MI posted about in here, but I don't recall their names off the top of my head.

Of those, Brooklyn and New Belgium don't quite have the reputation of the rest, and Allagash and Unibroue are pretty well out of your way.

Milesdyson actually made a post that's in here from about a 9-12 months ago on beer that's excellent. It contains not only many great beer recommendations, but also some trip reports to some of the breweries you're thinking of visiting.
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03-14-2007 , 12:03 AM
Color me jealous...I'd love to do that some time. You really can't go all that wrong with the stuff Wookie suggested. If you're cool with not going in a straight line, then I'll have to suggest Michigan as one of the top places to go. Within Michigan you'll find the following awesome breweries:

Bell's (Galesburg): produce some awesome stouts, e.g. Kalamazoo and Expedition, among other great brews that I hope to try eventually.

Kuhnhenn (Warren): produce(d) my favorite beer, their Raspberry Eisbock, but also make a bunch of other extreme beers like A Few Shillings Too Many.

Founders (Grand Rapids): produce the famous Breakfast Stout and a Triple IPA known as Devil Dancer, among other things.

Jolly Pumpkin (Dexter): if you feel like going off the beaten path, beer-wise, then look no further. If La Roja and Luciernaga are any indication (by my standards, maybe yours if you get a chance to try them), then any brew they make is quite an adventure.

Outside of Michigan and the stuff Wookie suggested, I'll also suggest the following places:

Victory (PA)
Great Lakes (OH)
Hair of the Dog (OR)

Be sure to post an awesome trip report after you go on your beer trek!
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03-14-2007 , 12:52 AM
If you're up in SF for Anchor Brewery (which I'm not a big fan of), you're pretty close to Sierra Nevada (~2-3 hours from SF). Anderson Valley is about the same distance North of SF, too (might be a little more than that, but I think I'm right). I'm not too familiar with Bear Republic, but they make a great IPA (Racer 5) and I've heard good things about their brewery tour.
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03-14-2007 , 01:01 PM
To fill in the stretch between Denver and the east coast, look into Boulevard in Kansas City and Schlafly in St. Louis. There's also a great little brewpub right off I55 in St. Louis called Square One. Last time I was in town I ate there and was really impressed with their beers, and the food was decent as well. I doubt they do "tours" exactly, but if one of the brewers is there I'm sure he'd be ecstatic to show you around and just chat.

I definitely second MaxxDaddy's recommendations if you're going further north, and if you're going further south check out Yazoo in Nashville and Bluegrass Brewing somewhere in Kentucky.
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