Hey guys, I know it's been a while since I've made beer posts in the thread, but I just got back from spending my Memorial Day weekend in San Diego. My girlfriend was attending an ABA (Association for Behavior Analysis) conference there and I got to tag along. Saturday was our designated beer day, and we did quite a bit. We had to rent a car, as we were staying in downtown San Diego, and everything we wanted to do was outside the city. Our first stop was Holiday Wine Cellar in Escondido. We arrived early for what was originally going to be our first stop, so we bumped up the beer store to 10:50 AM. I thought I was a kid in a candy store when shopping for beer in New York...After looking around for a while, I settled on the following brews to take home: Lost Abbey Judgment Day and 10 Commandments, and Alesmith Wee Heavy and Speedway Stout.
After that we hit up the relatively new Stone World Bistro, which unbeknownst to us, is attached to the Stone brewery in Escondido. It's the only building on one side of the street for a good half mile, so they have quite an extensive property. We decided to eat outside, which was absolutely beautiful. There's an entire garden out there along with a koi pond. Here's some pictures.
We ordered our food and started the day off right with some beer. They had quite a tap and bottle selection, as you may imagine. I opted for the double dry-hopped version of Stone Levitation Ale, which is their amber ale, just with more hop presence. My girlfriend said she could smell it from across the table. I really liked the hop addition here and there wasn't much of a malt presence; I guess I was very much in the mood for it at the time. My girlfriend is really into sour beers, so she ordered some Russian River Compunction, which Russian River lists as being a blonde ale brewed with pluots (plum-apricot hybrid). It had the typical sour aroma to it, and the taste very much backed it up. Really tart with a nice citrus and apricot taste to it. For lunch, I got their Buffalo Burger. Here's me and my meal:
After that we went to Port Brewing/Lost Abbey in San Marcos. We had talked to the manager/sales director Vince Marsaglia back in February at the Extreme Beer Fest. He was really nice and told us to come visit when we went to San Diego. This place was pretty awesome. Surrounding the bar were just tons of barrels; some full, some just having been brought in. Here's some pictures of that whole scene:
Interestingly, Port Brewing actually bought this building from Stone after they moved to their new Escondido location.
The way the tasting room works is really cool; you can order a $3 flight, in which you get 4 four oz. tastings of their stuff on tap. So that's a decent deal all by itself, but the kicker is that if you choose to buy a bottle or several there, then the $3 you spent on the flight goes toward your purchase of the bottle(s). The beers we tried in our flight were Devotion, Red Barn Ale, Lost and Found, and Judgment Day. Devotion was a hoppy blonde ale that I can't say I was a big fan of, it just seemed sort of bland with not much backing up the slight hoppiness. The Red Barn Ale is their saison, brewed with ginger, black pepper, and grains of paradise. I liked this one quite a bit; it had a familiar coriander and yeasty aroma, but the taste is where it stands out from other belgian ales. You could definitely taste the spiciness here, particularly the ginger, which I'm normally not a big fan of in large doses, but this worked out nicely. Third was their Lost and Found, an abbey dubbel brewed with raisins. The aroma was very malty and boozy, which was echoed in the taste, along with those raisins. I found this to be a bit too much on the alcoholic side for me. Lastly was Judgment Day, their quadrupel that weighs in at 10.5% ABV. This one was also brewed with raisins. The aroma and taste was much stronger than the Lost and Found, with a much thicker mouthfeel. Still, it was a little too boozy for me at the moment. Maybe one of the bottles I got will mellow out with some time. Before leaving I ended up buying a bottle of their imperial stout, Santa's Little Helper.
All in all, it was a really great day. I highly recommend all of those places whenever you're in the San Diego area. It was too bad we didn't make it over to Alesmith...maybe next time. Oh, and for all of the SoCal people, the Pizza Port Real Ale Festival is this weekend in Carlsbad, so go take a look if you can make it over there.