Stone Vertical Epic 12 12 12 1 year later

I’ve had this bottle aging for almost a year in my wine fridge. It really comes through in the plum flavors behind the spice. Much nicer than I remember it being the last time. Remember you can usually age these specialty beers for a year or two. It tends to mature the flavor.

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Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney focusing on serving the San Diego LGBT community.

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Intergalactic Brewing

I’ve been to this brewery a few times in the past. The first time I went there I was satisfied by the Perseus IPA, a solid beer that was primarily a hoppy IPA with a nice yellow color. When I returned later, they were already out of the Perseus but assured me they will have some again later. Most of their beers are pretty small batches so expect to see the menu change frequently. The Andromeda IPA didn’t impress me the first time but when I returned a few months later, the batch on tap tasted closer to what I like. This is quite normal for IPAs because the flavor of a batch can change as it gets older. There is a certain taste when it is fresh and then that changes a few weeks to a few months out.

Many of the smaller breweries in San Diego are hard to find and Intergalactic Brewing is no exception. You might be surprised by the bare look of the building but don’t let that keep you from trying their selections of beers. They have enough of a variety that you are likely to find something you enjoy no matter what you like to drink.

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Today when I stopped in, I tried The Companion, an English Summer Ale with Honey, Peaches, and Lavender, and Space Oasis, a coconut porter (6.9%). The Coconut Porter was recently added to the menu and so the coconut is prominent in the taste. It isn’t too sweet and the bartender told me that people who say they don’t like coconut enjoy it as well. After my tasters, I got a pint of Space Oasis. The flavors were outstanding to the last drop of the pint.

 

32oz Growler overflowing with coconut porter foam.
32oz Growler overflowing with coconut porter foam.
Pint of coconut porter from Intergalactic Brewing.
Pint of coconut porter from Intergalactic Brewing.

Before I left the brewery, I filled a 32oz growler with the Space Oasis to share with my fiance when he gets off work. He only drinks porters and stouts so he should enjoy this one.

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Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney focusing on serving the San Diego LGBT community.

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Are you ready for Double Bastard 2013?

Somehow I didn’t notice Double Bastard until the 2012 batch was released. Of the specialty beers released by Stone Brewing, I found Double Bastard to be one of my favorites. This year Stone is going for the gold with multiple different versions of Double Bastard. Beerpulse reports that we should see two spicy versions and a barrel aged version along with a new batch of Double Bastard. It is unclear what peppers will be used in these beers but the article claims one is ultra-hot and another is even hotter. Will we finally have a widely available beer that will satisfy fans of strong beer and fans of spicy?

EDIT Nov 4, 2013: Through the official press release from Stone, we finally have an idea of what sorts of peppers were used in the making of this beer. The list of scorching edibles includes red and green jalapeño, Fatali, Caribbean Red Hot, habanero, Ghost, Black Naga, Super, Moruga Scorpion, 7 Pot, Aji Amarillo, Scorpion, Giant White Habanero, 7 Pot Douglah and Douglah peppers. To put this into perspective, consider that to the average person some of the hottest Jalapenos can be considered spicy. To the burgeoning pepper addicts, habaneros are pretty hot. Ghost peppers used to be considered the hottest peppers in the world until people discovered the Moruga and the Naga. These are some seriously insane peppers and will mean that the average person will not want to try this beer if they are not interested in a mouth of fire. More for me!

Stone Double Bastard
Stone Double Bastard

Stone recently posted this image on their facebook to get everyone excited about the upcoming release of Double Bastard. It looks like they should be in stores next week (November 4). Did you try any previous versions of Double Bastard? Are you a fan of this crazy beer?

Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney focusing on serving the San Diego LGBT community.

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Stone Suede Imperial Porter

You can count on stone to release specialty beers every few weeks (if not in reality it sometimes seems that way).  No I am not complaining. When I saw the Suede Imperial Porter brewed with Calendula Flowers, Lavender, and Honey I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it. Hey I love floral IPAs as much as the next guy but lavender in my beer? Not sure if serious.

Stone Suede Imperial Porter split nicely in two Green Flash glasses.
Stone Suede Imperial Porter split nicely in two Green Flash glasses.

So how was the beer? It has the usual texture of a high alcohol porter. The flowers aren’t as heavy in the flavor as I might have worried. The tastes are overall balanced and will satisfy fans of porters. It lacks the chocolate, coffee or vanilla flavors typically used in this style. As a result it might also appeal to people who usually find porters too sweet. The alcohol content really hides well in this one. It is easy to forget it is a whopping 9.6%.

Though I was impressed by the flavor overall, it isn’t something I’m going to rush out to buy another bottle of, especially with the new batch of Victory at Sea coming out this week from Ballast Point. Still, for those of you who were wondering if it is worth the money to buy a bottle, I say yes. I prefer Stone’s latest batch of Russian Imperial Stout though because of the coffee, especially in the Espresso version. I’m waiting patiently to try all the different varieties of Double Bastard that we should see pretty soon.

Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney focusing on serving the San Diego LGBT community.

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El Segundo Brewing

El Segundo Brewing
El Segundo Brewing

I happened to be at Loyola Marymount over the weekend so I couldn’t resist checking out El Segundo Brewing. From their web site I could tell that they were inspired by San Diego IPAs, and I was right!

El Segundo Brewing
El Segundo Brewing main tap heads.
El Segundo Brewing
El Segundo Brewing tap list as of 10/27/2013.

 

They had a decent selection of beers on tap. What makes it unusual when compared to San Diego tasting rooms is the tasting room is downstairs from the entrance on the street. At first you wonder if you are in the right place because you see a few offices before you go down and turn the corner to enter the tasting room. The tasting room is not very large but the beer is up there with what you would expect from some of the bigger breweries.

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I started with three tasters, the Citra Pale, Bluehouse IPA, and the Tap Tanker Double IPA. My fiance got a taster of the Vanilla Stout on tap. I found the Citra Pale to be solid for 5.5%, though after having some stronger pale ales from other breweries it was a little too light for me. Still, it does a good job with the crisp citrus flavors of the citra hopps. I don’t remember much about the Bluehouse IPA. As you can tell from the color (middle one) it is a bit heavy on the malts. I didn’t taste enough up front hops so I ended up focusing on the double. The Double IPA was good enough for me to follow up with a pint. The beer was well balanced so I didn’t get too much heavy malt flavor and had a nice piney taste with the crisp hopps flavor.

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Though El Segundo Brewing is a bit far from where I live down in San Diego, it was good enough that I will absolutely stop by the next time I am in the area. If you like stouts, they tend to have a number of different varieties throughout the year, including an Imperial Stout that they didn’t have when I stopped in. As always, check the hours before you schedule a visit to a tasting room because the hours are not always what you might expect.

Have you been to this brewery? If so, what did you think? Do you have a favorite?

Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney focusing on serving the San Diego LGBT community.

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Budweiser’s Ironic ad Resurfacing

I don’t usually watch sports but I happened to catch a World Series game while visiting El Segundo Brewing. I typically go to breweries to get away from sports but the beer was good enough that I didn’t mind. What I thought was absolutely hilarious was the Budweiser ad they showed. An article on Business Insider describes some of the branding issues currently faced by Budweiser and shows two of the ads (originally aired in April of 2013). Though it is a huge step up from the type of advertising they usually use, suggesting that drinking cheap beer will make you popular, it still won’t make you want to buy it if you have already experienced craft beers.

What I found most ironic about the ad was how they ask people if they know where their beer is brewed. This was even more ironic because I was drinking beer in the building where it was brewed at the time. Not only do craft beer fans usually know where their beer is brewed but when we support local breweries, we know the brewers. Most IPA fans know Greg Koch from Stone Brewing Company even though he is not usually out there greeting fans. When you stop by a microbrewery such as Wet N Reckless the brewer is usually the one pouring your beer as well.

I realize that Budweiser’s new beer ad might be useful to introduce the masses to the process of brewing beer. Simply brewing beer the right way doesn’t insure taste. I’ve had my share of tasteless pale ales from big craft beer names. Sometimes I can’t tell the difference between the big name pale ale and Budweiser. If anything, I hope that baseball fans will be intrigued enough by the new Budweiser ad to search out local craft breweries. Stop by the nearest craft brewery and ask them if they do tours. It might give you a renewed excitement for your beer. Or just stop in for a taster flight and explore the variety of different styles available.

Keep an eye on this blog as I explore over time the many breweries that San Diego has to offer. I don’t take the name hop addict lightly. Thankfully, I have friends who live for porters and stouts so I will share their thoughts on the beer I taste as well.

What did you think about the new Budweiser commercial? Do you think it is good marketing?

Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney focusing on serving the San Diego LGBT community.

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Alesmith Halloween Beers

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I’ve been going to Alesmith for so long that I can’t remember exactly when I first tried their beers. It may have been when the guy at Bevmo suggested I try their Speedway Stout. Over the years I have been to the brewery a number of times. This time, I stopped in to try their new collaboration beer with Monkey’s Paw Brewing called Ashes of the Dead, a brown ale at 6.66%.

Seasonal Beers at Alesmith on October 28, 2013.
Seasonal Beers at Alesmith on October 28, 2013.

I only had a taster of Ashes of the Dead. It had a solid flavor for a brown ale and the smoky flavor wasn’t too much to become overpowering. Still, I was craving some hopps so I had to have an 8oz of Evil Dead Red. I had this one before in a bomber (22oz bottle) but I had to try it fresh on tap. It is hard to explain exactly the difference but every beer tastes better fresh on tap.

Evil Dead Red on Tap with my bike helmet.
Evil Dead Red on Tap with my bike helmet.
Evil Dead Red
Evil Dead Red

On tap you could really taste the hop flavors in the Evil Dead Red. It has a nice citrus kick to it that balances out the otherwise malty flavors of the beer. I asked whether these two beers are exactly 6.66% and was told that they get as close as possible. There is a certain amount to which you can’t control the percentage no matter how much you try but it is close enough.

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Alesmith has long been one of my favorite San Diego breweries. If you like stouts and don’t mind them a little sweet, the Speedway Stout is always worth drinking. They have some solid darker Belgian style beers and occasionally some seasonal beers that highlight the hopps. Come by the tasting room to see what tickles your fancy.

EDIT: 2014

Alesmith brought back the Evil Dead Red for 2014 in 22oz bombers and on tap around town. As always, it is slightly more hoppy in the bottles than on tap and still the same great beer!

Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney focusing on serving the San Diego LGBT community.

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La Verne Brewing Company

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I happened to be stopping by University of La Verne so I couldn’t resist checking out La Verne Brewing Company while I was there. The brewery is quite small and has a decent selection of beers. There isn’t a lot of room to sit and like most tasting rooms they only offer beer, no food. Being a hop addict, I went straight for the double IPA.  There were no IPAs or Pale Ales on tap when I was there.

The Double IPA was not what I would normally have expected, considering the heavy hop flavor we typically see down in San Diego. Still, the beer had a solid Apricot taste that combined with the malt flavor to give it a nice thick sweetness. Though I normally don’t like my double IPAs too heavy on the malts, this one was enjoyable. Though the beer was good, I wouldn’t recommend going out of your way to check it out. It is worth stopping in if you are in the area and craving a pint of craft beer.

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Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney focusing on serving the San Diego LGBT community.

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Stone Liberty Station

I feel it is only fitting to start this blog with a post about Stone. Not only were they the brewery that introduced me to the IPA but they are also one of San Diego’s biggest breweries. Though I don’t drink Stone IPA very much I still enjoy many of their specialty beers, including the Enjoy By IPA, Anniversary beers, and Double Bastard. Recently I got a chance to check out Stone’s new brewery/restaurant at Liberty Station and found it to be quite nice.

Nothing beats fresh IPA on tap and so I had to have a glass of the Enjoy By IPA while I was there.

I didn’t get a chance to try the food while I was there but they have a full menu just like the original location in Escondido. At the main bar they have beers from many different breweries so that even if you aren’t a fan of what Stone brews, you may find something to enjoy.

Stone Enjoy By IPA
Stone Enjoy By IPA

I look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments. What is your favorite Stone beer?

Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney focusing on serving the San Diego LGBT community.

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