Craft Beer Lover’s Wedding

Tomorrow (December 20, 2013) I will be getting married to a man. My husband was a bit slow to come around to enjoying craft beer but now enjoys a good stout and porter. If it had been up to me, the reception would be just beer, but he and others convinced me to have some snacking food. Though my selections aren’t perfect I had to keep in mind the varying tastes of my guests because not all of them love the bitter sting of an IPA. So I thought I’d share with everyone the beers I chose for the wedding.

Wedding Beer
Wedding Beer

San Diego beer drinkers will recognize that most of the beer here is from San Diego breweries. First off, two ballast point brewer’s selections. These multi-packs first became available this year and help satisfy guests who like a good pale ale and amber while including one of San Diego’s top IPAs, the Sculpin. Big Eye IPA is also solid and rounds out the pack. From Stone, another San Diego Brewery, I have six 22oz bottles of the 2013 Vanilla Bean Smoked Porter. This is for my husband and anyone else who prefers a good porter. Those same people might also appreciate the Full Suit Belgian Brown from Karl Strauss, one of the bigger San Diego breweries. Also from Karl Strauss is their Tower 10 IPA, a favorite of mine that looks like it was freshly released. To top it all off, I have two (though only one pictured here) of the delightful New Belgium Folly Pack 2013 (as I reviewed in my earlier post). This set is nice because it has some lighter seasonal brews and some IPA and even a Double IPA (the strongest beer of the night).

This gives us a total of 108 12oz bottles of beer and 6 22oz bottles of beer. Assuming 30 out of our 40 guests drink beer, that is about 3 or 4 drinks per person.

[NOTE: I purposefully did not get a bunch of Green Bullet or other beers over 9% because I want to be able to enjoy myself without going overboard. I also purposefully did not buy a bunch of growlers or a keg. It is better to have a variety than to assume that everyone will love my favorite IPA.

If you happen to notice that the boxes are empty, you are correct. The beers are all chilling in the fridge so I don’t have to put them on ice.]

What beers would you have at your wedding? 

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 serving clients in San Diego California.

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Peak Brewing Organic IPA

I like to buy things at Trader Joe’s fairly often. I can’t resist a 6-pack of IPA for less than $10, so I had to try the Peak Brewing Company Organic IPA, brewed all the way out in Maine. I must have gone through three six packs in the last month of this stuff because it is so good. At $7.99 for a 6-pack, you can’t beat it. Most local breweries tend to charge more than $10 for a 6-pack of their IPA.

Peak Organic IPA

The beer pours a nice amber color and yet has the hop flavors at the front. Initially it tasted very similar to a Stone IPA but a little heavier on the hops, though I haven’t had much Stone IPA lately. For the price, you can’t go wrong with this one and it is worth picking up if you see it at your local Trader Joe’s. It has quite a pleasant flavor and should be something you can share with your friends.

 

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 serving clients in San Diego California.

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New Belgium Folly Pack 2013 with Double IPA

Breweries love releasing different selections of beers depending on the season as if I change what I drink based on the season. Some would suggest that IPAs are summer beers although thankfully IPAs have been showing up in winter selections lately. For a few years I have been looking forward to each new selection of winter beers from New Belgium for a few reasons. One, I tend to buy so many IPAs I never have anything around to drink that is lighter in alcohol. Two, they brew some great beers and I usually enjoy most of the selections. Though I am a bit disappointed that the Belgium IPA is not included anymore this year, the new double IPA more than makes up for it. This is primarily a review of the double IPA although I will also briefly review some of the other inclusions. 

New Belgium Rampant Double IPA.
New Belgium Rampant Double IPA.
Though a bit on the darker side this doesn’t have the insane malt flavors that plague many of the imperials. It has a nice mix of peach and floral flavors. At 8.5% it is the right amount of alcohol to satisfy the hop craving without knocking you out. This beer comes with some of their IPA, Belgium Red, winter lager, and fat tire. Each of the beers has a unique taste, unlike some Sam Adams boxes where you might have a hard time telling one beer from another. It is understandable that you have to buy some of the lighter beers to get the IPAs because the IPAs are so expensive to produce. The winter ale and fat tire are both tasty for what they are. If you can find the Folly Pack in stores for around $12 for a 12pack, do yourself a favor and pick one up. 

 

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 serving clients in San Diego California.

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Green Flash Holiday Marketplace 2013

I had the pleasure of exploring Green Flash’s Holiday Marketplace in 2012. It was pretty small and not a lot of people showed up but I found some interesting things. This year I even got one of my friends who doesn’t drink to come along so she could do some Christmas shopping. Everyone loved it and Green Flash even had some special new beers to go along with it.

I was surprised when I got there because typically you enter the brewery through an ordinary sized door. However, the marketplace itself was in an area few regulars ever venture into, unless you like to take tours. When I was walking up to the front we actually entered through one of the big warehouse doors that was wide open, leading right into the first few vendors. Right as I walked in I saw one vendor selling hot sauce, and I was glad I stopped. There were many great tasting sauces on display but I was especially glad to see a Trinidad Moruga sauce that I could sample. I went home with a bottle and really loved it.

View of the tasting room from the marketplace.
View of the tasting room from the marketplace.
A few specialty beers that were available on tap.
A few specialty beers that were available on tap.

To start with, I had an 8oz pour of the barrel aged white IPA. On paper this sounded lovely until the bartender told me that this beer is actually aged in white wine barrels. OK, i thought, barrel aged is always good so let’s give it a try. At first I was pleasantly surprised by the flavor but by the time I was done with the 8oz pour I was not impressed. I expect people who enjoy a good white wine will like this one a lot more than I did. [When I drink wine I tend to go for red wine]. The white wine flavor really overpowered any hop flavors that might have been present before aging.

White IPA in an 8oz glass.
White IPA in an 8oz glass.

After some shopping and finishing this one I went back for an 8oz of the Belgian IPA. I always enjoyed the Le Freak, a heavier Belgian style IPA so I figured this one would be great as well. I found myself largely unimpressed. The flavor was a bit too bitter for what I expected and the hop flavors were not very prominent at all. I ended up giving most of my 8oz to my mom, who loved it.

8oz Belgian IPA.
8oz Belgian IPA.

I went back to the bar once again and went straight for a favorite of mine. I ordered a pint of the Symposium IPA. The Symposium IPA was released earlier this year as part of Green Flash’s Hop Odyssey series. Though it started out very light when it was first released, I found the color a little darker and the flavor a little more malty. I quite enjoyed the pine flavors at the front and a nice peach/grape flavor on the back end to round it out.

Pint of the Symposium IPA.
Pint of the Symposium IPA.

Before leaving, I had a 13oz of the Double Columbus IPA, one I wrote about in a previous blog. I was glad to see that the various merchants were set up inside this year because things got a bit cold last year when everyone was set up out in the parking lot. They also decided to end things a little bit earlier this year, perhaps to avoid any complaints of cold. I quite enjoyed the little booth Green Flash had set up to sell off merchandise from earlier in the year, including old T-shirts and glasses at a discount. You can see this in the first picture above. I picked up a few smaller Green Bullet glasses at a discount that I will use in the future when I crack open some stronger brews.

Green Flash Holiday 2013 06

To end this, I wanted to give a shout out to one of the merchants I met there who was selling little stickers to put on your glasses. Pictured above is a glass with two stickers they gave me, hunk for myself and stud muffin for my soon to be husband. I think this is a great idea if you have a party and a ton of friends who might get glasses confused.

I found the Holiday Marketplace to be overall a lot of fun this year. We had vendors selling a ton of different things, including candy, jewelry, hot sauce, knit items, and even things you could buy for people in third world countries. Sure there were quite a few booths selling beer-related items as well but that should be expected at a brewery. We also got our pictures taken with Santa, though those won’t be available right away.

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 serving clients in San Diego California.

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San Francisco Adventures Part 5 – Rogue

On Day 4 in San Francisco I wanted to explore Chinatown. Little did I know it was not going to entertain me for very long. It didn’t help that it was quite cold in the Downtown area because there was no sun coming through to warm me up. I finally hit noon just as I made it to Rogue just in time to warm up with some beer and lunch. Though Rogue is an Oregon based brewery originally, I don’t have an Oregon trip planned anytime soon and the other choices were a bit out of the way. I was glad I stopped in because I had previously thought of Rogue as not so good based on the beers that made their way down to San Diego. Now I am going to keep an eye out for some more beers.

Rogue Brewing 01

Just the night before some of the people I was hanging out with suggested I check out Rogue. Once I realized how close it was to Chinatown compared to the other breweries in the area I decided it was worth a shot. I ended up spending two hours here chatting with people and enjoying the food and beer.

Some beer tasters to start with.
Some beer tasters to start with.

I started off with a few tasters of beers I normally might not expect to like. Yellow Snow was not particularly interesting, nor was the dry hopped red ale. I didn’t get many notes down for either. The Red IPA was quite nice with a caramel flavor from the malts and a decent amount of hop flavors to balance it out. The Chocolate Stout was the exact opposite of the bitter brew I had at Southern Pacific the day before. It had a lovely sweet chocolate flavor that I quite enjoyed. Rather than ordering a pint of that though, I went for the Black Lager.

Dirtoir Black Lager.
Dirtoir Black Lager.

Rogue had an interesting selection of beers from their farm series, beers that were all brewed from materials they grew on their own farm. The black lager was one of these beers. It was quite tasty and would have been hard to distinguish from a lightly smoked porter. I took my time drinking this beer while I enjoyed the cheese bread and then a bowl of chili. I’m excited to see more of what Rogue makes another time and possibly in a store down in San Diego.

I hope you enjoyed my four part series on San Francisco breweries. I hope to continue the series as I take other trips.

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 serving clients in San Diego California.

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Exploring San Diego's Craft Breweries