Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I Gotta Stop

I have a habit of ending a blog post with a hint of what's coming in the next installment. Those promises never seem to come to fruition. Here I go again. I promised that this edition would be about my second trip to North San Diego County to visits breweries but that's not what this is about.

I was waylaid by a spur of the moment beer and cheese tasting event hosted by Marian the Foodie at The Bruery Provisions in Old Towne Orange. Spur of the moment for me, not for Marian, who had planned this event for some time. She had a couple of last minute cancellations and through the power of Twitter and SMS, I was able to snag a spot at this private event. I had not discovered Marian's popularity on the Interweb but now know all about her blog, YouTube channel, Facebook fan page and her Twitter feed. She did a great job with this event. I had a great time!

This was not my first time to The Bruery Provisions so I knew what to expect and I wasn't disappointed. Great beer & cheese are always on the menu and tonight was no exception. Special tasting menus were printed just for use with thorough descriptions of each beer and cheese.

Beer Flight (All by The Bruery)

  • Orchard White - A very light witbier, perfect if you're new to craft beers. 5.7% ABV
  • Saison De Lente - A nice Spring Saison brew with that wonderful Brettanomyces yeast. 6.5% ABV
  • Loakal Red - A wonderful blend available only in The OC. My favorite. 6.9% ABV
  • Rugbrod - A very tasty strong brown ale. 8% ABV
  • Old Richland - A nice hoopy barley wine. 9% ABV
Cheese Plate
  • Ibores - A spicy Spanish goat cheese.
  • St. Agur - A creamy bleu cheese.
  • Geitost - Great caramel flavored cheese that doesn't look like cheese.
  • Pop Candy Pistachio Fire - Not cheese, but a wonderful brittle with a kick.
Did I stop there? No. My thirst was not quenched so I ordered a Stout and Porter flight and reveled in five wonderful dark beers with exquisite flavors. From right to left.
  • Great Divide Espresso Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout - Coffee!
  • Taps Porter - A nice creamy porter.
  • Telegraph Stock Porter - Oak-barrel aged and delightful.
  • Stone Imperial Russian Stout 2010 - A very black, slightly hoppy stout.
  • Flying Dog Wild Dog Coffee Stout - Coffee again with a wonderful dark rusty head. My favorite.
I also took home a nice loaf of bread. I have no idea what it's called or who made it. One of the very attentive staff told us that it's made mostly of crushed grapes. After the juice is extracted for wine, a bit of flour is added with some other spices, such as rosemary and fennel, to create a wonderful purple bread. It's a perfect accompaniment to the fantastic cheeses we sampled.

Thanks to Twitter, The Bruery Provisions and especially Marian the Foodie for a great time tasting new beers and new cheese. You can see all my beers posted on @Untappd

Next time? Well, I'll be at a Bootlegger's Brewery tasting tomorrow night at Versai Wine Bar...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Okay, So I Lied

How did I lie? Not really a lie but I did mention a couple of things in my previous posts that I have not followed through with...

My intention was to write a new blog post each week and I've fallen far short of that. October to January? Not exactly once a week. I also closed my last post with a promise that the next post would be about Cuban cigars. I have collected a few Cuban's in preparation but I thought I would share my latest adventure first...

The San Diego craft beer industry has been growing by leaps and bounds in recent years. With Stone leading the way, a number a breweries have sprung up all over the county. The highest concentration seems to be in North County so I thought I'd take a road trip.

It took me three weekends to visit all of the breweries on my list. Not because there are so many but because of logistics. I planned on stopping at Stone on the day before Thanksgiving but I arrived too late and the place was packed. So I drove up the road to The Lost Abbey and was not disappointed.

Lost Abbey
Located in Stone's old facility, Port Brewing has created a haven for fans of Belgian ales. The staff was very knowledgeable and friendly and I even met one of the pastors who participated in the blessing of the water for their brews. I was able to taste an Old Viscosity and an Older Viscosity. Essentially the same beer but Older is aged in Bourbon Barrels. Quite a difference. Both beers are fantastic! As you may know, those are two Port Brewing American Strong Ales. You may also be aware that Lost Abbey is part of the Port Brewing Family that also includes Pizza Port. Quite a family!

On January 22, 2011 you can tour their new expansion. They are doubling in size! A visit to Lost Abbey is well worth the trip. You won't be disappointed. The brewery was decorated for the holiday.

In the next installment I'll tell you about my trip to Stone Brewing Company and World Bistro.