This past weekend, Squirrel and I went on a beer tour organized by North Bay Brewery Tours. Of course, it involved a social coupon (when you drink as much beer as I do, every little bit helps) that made it two for one, and it was worth every penny. The tour guides know their stuff and will make sure that you get to try a lot of local beers that you can’t find out here. Plus, you’re essentially on a beer bus with a lot of people who like beer. Really hard to go wrong with that in any situation.
The tour started off at Lagunitas before moving onto HopMonk Tavern (brewpub), a homebrew store, and Third Street Aleworks (brewpub in Santa Rosa). Consequently, this update is going to be California heavy, and most of the beers can’t be found here, but perhaps it’ll give you some insight into beers to look for if you’re ever in the Bay Area.
Widmer Bros Dark Saison (found at Wagner’s; reviewed here)
Auburn Alehouse Gold Digger IPA
Port Brewing Hot Rocks Lager
Magnolia Proving Ground IPA
Lagunitas Censored Rich Copper Ale (aka The Kronic)
Lagunitas Lucky 13.alt
Lagunitas Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale
HopMonk Tavern Dunkelweizen
HopMonk Tavern Tavern Ale
Third Street Aleworks Hedrick & Hagen
Third Street Aleworks Puddle Jumper
Third Street Aleworks Armstrong
Southern Pacific Amber Ale
Southern Pacific Helles Lager
Caldera Brewing IPA
Those weren’t all the beers that I had, just the ones that count towards my 366. Lagunitas’ tasting included their Czech Pilsner, IPA, and Pale Ale, and HopMonk served us Russian River’s Pliny the Elder and Moonlight’s Death and Taxes. If you do go to SF anytime before I finally finish a SF bar guide, try to hit up Southern Pacific’s brewpub in the Mission; they brew some pretty great beers and carry some of the other awesome West Coast brews.
Going into Savor Week, I had hoped to really blow the lid off this whole 366 beers. Unfortunately, I was a bit tied up with various activities, and then I realized that Savor only poured 2 oz samples (probably a good idea with three and half hours of drinking…)
Anyways, I didn’t let the 2 oz thing from keeping me going for seconds on some of the beers I can’t find here (for instance, Cigar City, and I’m pretty sure I did it with Summit’s IPA, too but can’t remember). Additionally, I did manage to meet up J Street’s other bloggers at District of Pi for the Schlafly take-over, which was fantastic! You really can’t beat a Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout.
This week’s star beer would be Cigar City Tocobaga (so damn good), but (1) it didn’t even make it on the list since I only managed to get one sample, and (2) the star beer should be something you can get easily here. As a result, I would recommend picking up a bottle of Boulevard’s Double-Wide IPA. Despite the hop-bomb smell, I found the taste to be extremely well balanced. Welcome to DC, Boulevard!!!
6/2/2012 5 Rabbit Cerveceria 5Vulture
6/3/2012 DC Brau Ground Wolf Session IPA
6/6/2012 Schlafly Pi Common
6/6/2012 Schlafly Dry-Hopped American Pale Ale (APA)
6/6/2012 Schlafly Maibock
6/6/2012 Schlafly Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout
6/7/2012 Heavy Seas Sea Nymph
6/7/2012 Sam Adams Grumpy Monk
6/7/2012 Boulevard Double-Wide IPA
6/7/2012 Ommegang Art of Darkness
6/8/2012 Boulevard Rye on Rye
6/8/2012 Revival Double Black IPA
6/8/2012 Cigar City Kalevipoeg
6/8/2012 Maui/Jolly Pumpkin Sobrehumano Palena ‘ole
This next week has me heading out to the West Coast where Squirrel and I are visiting the Lagunitas’ and Bear Republic breweries. Going to be a good weekend!
Some of our readers might remember that at the beginning of the year, Tonzi talked me into trying 365 (then Leap Day happened) 366 new brews this year. I’ve been doing pretty well (a full month ahead of schedule) but thought that as I try new beers, some of y’all may be interested in knowing where I found them. Consequently, I’m going to try to update our readers on Friday/Saturday with my weekly beers. Why Friday/Saturday? Well, those are the days that most people drink, and I get most of my new beers on Thursday. That said, if I do find some awesome stash of new beers, I’ll do my best to get those up the day after. Just trying to do my best to help y’all find new beers to try.
On to this past week, 25 May – 2 June 2012
5/25/2012 Independence Pale Ale — Austin, TX
5/25/2012 Real Ale Full Moon Pale Rye Ale — Austin, TX
5/25/2012 Real Ale Devil’s Backbone — Austin, TX
5/26/2012 “(512)” IPA — Austin, TX
5/26/2012 Thirsty Planet Thirsty Goat Amber — Austin, TX
5/26/2012 Thirsty Planet Buckethead IPA — Austin, TX
5/26/2012 Live Oak Liberation Ale — Austin, TX
5/27/2012 Spotzel Shiner Blonde Light — Guadalupe River, TX
5/30/2012 Redhook Pilsner — Bought at Wagner’s on Wisconsin, Washington, DC
5/31/2012 Aying Franz Ayinger Celebrator — RFD, Washington, DC
5/31/2012 Firestone Walker Robust Porter — RFD, Washington, DC
6/1/2012 Long Trail Long Trail Ale — Justin’s Cafe, Washington, DC
6/2/2012 Half Acre Cipher — Santa Tonzi’s Care Package, Washington, DC
6/2/2012 Boston Beer Infinium — Pzyocha’s beer fridge, Washington, DC
6/2/2012 Half Acre Double Daisy Cutter — Santa Tonzi’s Care Package, Washington, DC
So, yea, I spent some time last weekend in Austin, and the beers reflect that; however, there are some good ones that were found here in DC. I would recommend trying to find the Firestone Walker Robust Porter.
This next week should provide a nice boost to my numbers with all the Savor events, in particular, the Schlafly take-over at District of Pi, Sierra Nevada at Churchkey, or the Savor Our Suds at Scion. We’ll just have to see how it turns out. Hopefully my liver survives.
During the first week of the new year, J Street’s founder, Tonzi, contacted some of our drinking buddies and me with a challenge: Drink a new beer for every day in the year. (Originally, it was 365 beers until Tonzi updated our tracking system to note the days in the month and realized it was a leap year…) Naturally, I was in and want to invite any of our readers to join us on our epic journey through the beer-iverse.
The rules are simple:
- You must not have ever had the beer before. The challenge is not to have 366 different beers in 2012 but to have 366 NEW beers in the new year. It might not be easy at times, which is why it’s a challenge.
- Homebrews do not count. Tonzi and I discussed this by decided against counting homebrews. To ensure the challenge’s integrity, we are using the Untappd app as a basis for deciding whether a beer counts. Last night though, I hit a snag when having a beer brewed by 901 (Cap Brewing); however, the beer was verified by a fellow challengee and allowed.
- Drink a beer, not taste a beer. Some beers grow on the drinking as the go-down (particularly strong ones), so anything less than 4 oz does not count. Yes, Savor, brewery samples, and beer fests/events, such as our Annual Beer Hunt, could well be the equivalent of hitting the motherlode.
Of course, these are just our general rules; you are free to tweak them or make your own. For instance, I have made a side deal with fellow J Street-er, X, that I won’t drink a Shiner Bock until my number of beers for the year matches the number of days, i.e. we are 20 days into the year, and I have had 25 new beers, so I could drink a Shiner. Thankfully, I have a couple of months to build up a headstart into the 2012 football season…
Whether you join in the challenge or not, I would highly recommend downloading the Untappd app and befriending me (Shintern1909). It’s a great way to track beers that people are drinking, know which bars those beers are currently available, and get quick beer reviews. Information available here: http://www.untappd.com
If you are up for the challenge, let us know in the comments. Depending on the amount of participation, I may discuss with Tonzi about ways to facilitate everyone’s progress through the interwebs. Right now, we’re just using the honor system and a shared Google Doc spreadsheet.
Happy (belated) New Year, and here’s to exploring!
P.S. Hopefully this will help lead to more postings on Brew Review Wednesdays, but I am not going to promise reviews of each beer…