2014 in Review

Derek & Erin

2014 was a year of new experiences. We moved from Sonoma County to Sacramento to be closer to family. We started new jobs in new industries and have continued to travel to various beer destinations. We added 102 new breweries this year, more than any other year. Our most memorable were San Diego, Los Angeles, and Southern Oregon. Here is our best attempt at a “Top 10” list of 2014.

Our Top 10 New Beers:

1) Sourtooth Tiger – The Rare BarrelFramboise de Amorosa

2) Framboise de Amorosa – Lost Abbey

3) Cellar Palette Raspberry – Sante Adarius Rustic Ales

4) Earl’s Grey Dinghy – Noble Ale Works

5) Bourbon Barrel Double Milk Stout -Bike Dog Brewing

6) Black House – Modern Times Beer

7) Double Dry Hopped General Sherman IPAHochata Imperial Milk Stout – Tioga Sequoia

8) Cap Tap’s 2nd Anniversary IPA – Device Brewing

9) Xocoveza Mocha Stout – Stone Brewing

10) Horchata Imperial Milk Stout – Belching Beaver Brewing

Our Top 10 New Breweries:

1) Noble Ale Works – Anaheim, CANoble Ale Works

2) Modern Times Beer – San Diego, CA

3) Golden Road Brewing – Los Angeles, CA

4) Anchor Brewing – San Francisco, CA

5) Sante Adairius Rustic Ales – Capitola, CA

6) Beachwood BBQ & Brewing – Long Beach, CA

Golden Road Brewing7) The Bruery – Placentia, CA

8) Fall River Brewing – Redding, CA

9) Smog City Brewing – Torrance, CA

10) Klamath Basin Brewing – Klamath Falls, OR

Top 5 Beer Moments:

1) Reaching 300 Breweries! – 300 sounds way better than 200

2) A whole week in San Diego and Los Angeles dedicated to beer

3) Meeting fellow beer travelers Brandon Wurtz & Michael Roberts of Brews Travelers 365

4) Earning my 2500 Unique Beers on Untappd

5) Finally getting to tour Anchor Steam Brewing. They don’t lie when they say 6 months out. We have been trying for a couple years and finally got in!

Happy New Year!

SD Beer Week pt 2

Automatic BrewingWe continued our beer adventures on the second Saturday  in November during San Diego Beer Week. Our first brewery of the day was Automatic Brewing, we hadn’t been here before, but knew they brewed at/behind Blind Lady Alehouse. For beer week they had flights of Automatic ales. Nothing really excited us except their Ghost Town Brown. I would like to return because they had a ton of guest taps that were tempting. We had a full list of breweries planned so we were on our way.

Mother Earth Brew CoWe drove north to Vista where you can basically throw a rock at a brewery, there are just that many. This trip I wanted to visit Mother Earth Brew Co. We had their Cali’ Creamin’ Vanilla Cream Ale in our BeerCraft shipment a few months back that was just delicious. They were having an open house to tour their new Brew House at the original Thibodo Brewery location. The place was crowded with beer enthusiasts and the staff was so nice to take sampler after sampler orders. We toured their brewery and Mother Earth was a really a delight. Great beers, awesome environment and standout staff. One of our favorites of the trip.

Barrel Harbor BrewingWe drove down the road to Barrel Harbor Brewing, which we found out had only been open a month. We find this common every time we visit in San Diego. Their tasting room was nautical themed with lots of bar space and room to hang out. Their brewer brings experience from Sweden and his style shows through. Of course since its San Diego they have IPAs, but the lower alcohol beers shown through. Their Pilsner and Brown Ale were the standouts. Another brewery to visit once their training wheels are of and they get really going.

Booze Brothers BrewingOn our way to another brewery we saw a sign for Booze Brothers Brewing that we just couldn’t ignore. They had been open a week and had a few beers on tap. Their brewery was rustic in style with reclaimed mis-matched wood, vintage lights, and deer antlers as their tap handles. Their C.O.P Coffee Porter was my favorite. They warmed me before ordering if I liked bitter coffee. It was bitter, strong, and delicious, but I can see it wasn’t for everyone. Another brewery I would defiantly hit up again.

Our last two stops were practically neighbors On the Tracks Brewing and Arcana Brewing. We didn’t like the beer nor the bartender at On the Tracks. They could have cared less that we were there and there are just too many other great breweries in San Diego to put up with that. Luckily Arcana Brewing was in the same parking lot and couldn’t have been more hospitable. They used to be called Fezziwig Brewing, but had to change their name because of Sam Adams Old Fezziwig Ale. Luckily they still kept the steampunk theme in their tasting room. Their beers ranged from English Ales to IPAs to darker beers and a lot of them were really tasty.

San Diego is always a treat. We added 10 new breweries and revisited 2 favorites. Can’t wait til we are back in March. We will be there for a FULL week! Wonder how many new breweries we can fit in!?

Cheers, Sparklinglover

2013 in Review

Beers at Spring Training2013 has been a crazy beer exploration year for us. We visited 74 new breweries and drank numerous numerous new beers. This is our best attempt at “Top 10” lists….this was much harder than I thought. Hope everyone also had an eventful beer year!

Our Top 10 New Beers:

1) Dayman Coffee IPA – Stone Brewing Beatification

2) Parabola – Firestone Walker

3) Heady Topper – The Alchemist

4) Peanut Butter Milk Stout – Belching Beaver

5) Beatification – Russian River Brewing

6) Pumpking – Southern TierSam Adams Utopias

7) Hazelnut Porter – Rip Current

8) Syndicate No 1 – Speakeasy Ales & Lagers

9) Blueberry Ale – Cascade Brewing

10) Utopias – Boston Beer Co

Our Top 10 New Breweries:

1) Firestone Walker – Paso Robles, CA Rare Barrel

2) Drakes Brewing – San Leandro, CA

3) Belching Beaver – North Park – San Diego, CA

4) The Rare Barrel – Berkeley, CA

5) Heretic Brewing – Fairfield, CA

6) Rip Current Brewing – San Marcos, CA

7) Bike Dog Brewing – West Sacramento, CA Rip Current Brewing

8) Faction Brewing – Alameda, CA

9) Out of Bounds Brewing – Rocklin, CA

10) Discretion Brewing – Santa Cruz, CA

 

Our Top 5 Beer Moments:

1) Our first beer interview with the North Bay Bohemian for beer traveling!

2) Attending San Francisco Beer Week for the first time!

3) Meeting my two beer travelings favorites Chris & Meredith Nelson from thebeergeek.com and Maria Scarpello & Brian Devine from The Roaming Pint

4) Earning our 1000 Unique Beers on Untappd – getting closer to 2,500 now!

5) Visiting San Diego for San Diego Beer Week.

Wishing you the Best New Year!

– Sparklinglover & my fantastic husband

SD Beer Week pt 1

Derek & I

San Diego Beer Week 2013 – 10 New Breweries

San Diego is my BeerCity USA. Asheville, NC has won this award for years and Grand Rapids, MI won this year. View Results  We haven’t been to either yet…dying to though. No offense Asheville or Grand Rapids, but San Diego is my BeerCity. San Diego currently has 82 breweries in operation and 32 in planning. Those numbers are just insane, especially for beer travelers! Check out West Coaster fantastic blog with all these fun stats and San Diego beer buzz.

We visited San Diego a few weeks Helm's Brewingago during San Diego Beer Week. Our first stop was Helm’s Brewing in Kearny Mesa, which opened in 2012. In traditional San Diego style the tasting room was located in the brewery behind a rolled up garage door. After our 2 hour delayed flight (on the runway!) we opted for a full pint…no tasters. Their 7C’s Double IPA was a standout with over 100 IBU’s and a mouth full of hops. Their Wicked as Sin IPA was also really good. A must needed brewery to return too and a perfect first pint.

Belching Beaver BrewingOur next stop was Belching Beaver Brewery. They had recently opened a tasting room in North Park. Their brewery is in Vista. They had THREE Milk Stouts on tap and I just couldn’t resist. This was probably our favorite brewery of the trip. Awesome location, staff, and the beers were ridiculously good. Their Milk Stout, Peanut Butter Milk Stout & Pumpkin Spice Milk Stout were all standouts. It was hard to not just stay here all night. Also that damn beaver was so adorable. My husband just couldn’t stop all beaver jokes though!

Thorn Street BreweryNext we drove a few minutes down the road in North Park to Thorn Street Brewery, which also opened in 2012. The place was hopping, but the staff was really quick to get our sampler. We tried their Golden Hills Pils, Mosaic IPA, Relay IPA, The Menace, Santos Coffee Stout, The Dark Tsar, Coconut Porter, and O’Conners Oatmeal Stout. Santos Coffee Stout was terrific, but really all their beers were good. They have a small bar in the front and you wouldn’t even know there was a second area in the back. Down the hall opens to a large room with a huge bar, lots of tables and all their brewing equipment. This is defiantly a neighborhood brewery with lots of support. Highly recommend. They have food trucks all the time.

Normally we don’t find three awesome breweries in one day, but these were standouts. Part II will include our other 7 breweries visited!

Cheers, Sparklinglover

San Diego Beer Week

San Diego Beer Week

Two of my favorite things happened to coincide this weekend. My best friend and craft beer….and we do it quite well together. So I jumped at the chance of my best friend getting engaged and San Diego Beer Week. We added 5 new breweries (makes 139!) to the list and some wonderful beer bars.

1) Amplified Ale Works

Brand new to the San Diego beer scene. Amplified Ale Works opened 7 days prior to our visit on November 2nd 2012. A three barrel operation inside California Kebab & Beer Garden. They only had one house beer on tap, a blond called Leggy Blonde. It was really a silly name for how serious this beer was. For those musty Saison lovers, like myself, you will love this beer. Truly one of the best beers of the trip and I’m not a blonde lover.

2) Hess Brewing

A very popular brewery in San Diego. This place was hopping on Saturday afternoon. We weren’t able to taste samples because they ran out of glasses. Tried their Pallidus Belgian Pale Ale, which was excellent and one of their IPA’s. They had 750ml of their Anno Duo Imperial Saison (oximouron, perhaps?) in bottle, which I will return for. Very curious of a 9.5% Saison. For Hess being the first licensed nano brewery in San Diego (according to their website) they are doing quite well and opening a second brewery in the North Park district.

3) Wet ‘N Reckless Brewing

One man operation, Dave Hyndman does it all from making his beer to pouring it. Located in an office park like so many San Diego breweries. They opened earlier this year and Dave makes the beers he likes not defined by style. There has been lots of good vs bad arguments about this brewery. Either way, support local breweries by trying out their beer.

4) Rough Draft Brewing

My favorite of the day! Rough Draft has only been opened since March (16 new San Diego breweries opened in 2012) but they really thought the layout through. Spacious tasting room with long granite bars and plenty of room for brewing and possibly expansion. The sampler dressed to impress with some of the stand outs being their Belgian Vanilla Stout, Eraser IPA, Emboozlement Tripel, and Hop Therapy a DIPA. They have plans for distributing what people drink the most of. < — Great business model.

5) Poor House Brewing

A new addition to the North Park area just open a couple of months. Rustic feel with opened windows to the street and beer served in mason jars. I only tried one of their beers the IPA Experimental Batch #4. Delicious! For those that love the floral/citrus notes in IPAs you will love this. We will be back, especially because its in walking distance.

Our Own San Diego Beer Week Pup Crawl

Pup CrawlPoor House Brewing –> Ritual Tavern –> Toronado San Diego

I love having friends that live in North Park. So many amazing beer bars!

PS: Yeti is my new favorite beer.

Yeti

Yumm….