Posts Tagged ‘Great American Beer Festival’

San Diego Beer Week Releases First Events

October 1, 2010 1 comment

Alpine will be at O'Briens for a special beer night on 11/8!

Earlier this month, we discussed the Second Annual San Diego Beer Week in an article on this site. SDBW will be going down from November 5, 2010 to November 14, 2010.

After San Diego brewers cleaned up at the Great American Beer Festival, I think that there will be a bit more interest in this event. The 10 day festival of SoCal grog will feature some 500 events, including two official San Diego Brewers Guild events on the opening and closing days.

SDBW is finally releasing events, by posting snippets on its website. You can check out the events by following this link. They have finally released enough information to help you make a decision about when to head to the festival.

Don’t miss out on the Brewers Guild events. The November 6th event will take place in Liberty Station from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m, showcasing 10 brewers and a special VIP event for you crazed beer nuts. The Lodge at Torrey Pines (this place is incredible) will play host to the closing event on Sunday, November 14. The Lodge will offer 12 brewers and 24 chefs the opportunity to show their stuff.

One recommendation: Do not miss O’Briens Pub. O’Brien’s will be holding some of the best events of the festival, including a special Alpine Beer Co night on November 8th and Barrel Aged Night on November 12th.

Stay in tune with the fest by following them on twitter (@sdbeerweek).


Timperial Stout: “I hate to say I told you so but…”

September 22, 2010 Leave a comment

It's true, I did.

If you are at all involved in the beer world, you are probably a bit sick of reading about GABF by now, so I’ll make this brief.  Remember reading our Top 25 Breweries to Check Out at GABF? If you had taken our advice, these are the award-winning brews that you would have tasted.

Flossmoor Station

Category: 69 Brown Porter – 33 Entries

Bronze: Pullman Brown

Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Category: 17 Wood- and Barrel-Aged Beer – 32 Entries

Gold: Velvet Merkin (100% Barrel Aged)

Category: 45 American-Style Pale Ale – 109 Entries

Gold: Mission Street Pale

Silver: Pale 31

Category: 46 American-Style Strong Pale Ale – 84 Entries

Silver: IPA Nectar

Category: 49 American-Style Amber/Red Ale – 83 Entries

Gold: Red Nectar

Category: 52 Ordinary or Special Bitter – 47 Entries

Silver: DBA

Ballast Point Brewing Co.

Category: 13 Out of Category – Traditionally Brewed Beer – 66 Entries

Gold: Fathom IPL

Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

Category: 4 Field Beer – 28 Entries

Bronze: Imperial Pumpkin Ale

Hoppin’ Frog Brewing Company

Category: 4 Field Beer – 28 Entries

Gold: Frog’s Hollow Double Pumpkin Ale

Portsmouth Brewery

Category: 8 Rye Beer – 32 Entries

Silver: Portsmouth Brewery Rye Not

Category: 74 Sweet Stout – 29 Entries

Bronze: Portsmouth Brewery Milk Stout

Short’s Brewing Co.

Category: 12 Experimental Beer – 43 Entries

Gold: Key Lime Pie

Founders Brewing Company

Category: 10 Session Beer – 30 Entries

Silver: Endurance IPA Jr.

Category: 78 Old Ale or Strong Ale – 38 Entries

Silver: Curmudgeon

Clipper City Brewing Co.

Category: 40 Golden or Blonde Ale – 55 Entries

Bronze: Heavy Seas Gold Ale

Category: 31 Vienna-Style Lager – 35 Entries

Bronze: Heavy Seas Marzen

Three Floyds Brewing Co.

Category: 32 German-Style Märzen – 41 Entries

Bronze: Munsterfest

New Glarus Brewing Co.

Category: 3 Fruit Beer – 75 Entries

Bronze: Raspberry Tart

Dry Dock Brewing Co.

Category: 28 Dortmunder or German-Style Oktoberfest – 21 Entries

Silver: Noble Stuff Export

Category: 59 German-Style Altbier – 37 Entries

Silver: Bismarck Altbier

Category: 61 South German-Style Hefeweizen – 65 Entries

Silver: U-Boat Hefeweizen

Category: 63 Belgian-Style Witbier – 45 Entries

Silver: Whale Tail Wit

Kuhnhenn Brewing Co.

Category: 15 American-Belgo-Style Ale – 47 Entries

Silver: Simcoe Silly

Category: 78 Old Ale or Strong Ale – 38 Entries

Gold: Fourth Dementia Olde Ale

Foothills Brewing

Category: 33 American-Style Amber Lager – 39 Entries

Bronze: Foothills Oktoberfest

Category: 19 Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Stout – 34 Entries

Gold: Bourbon Barrel Aged Sexual Chocolate Imperial Stout

Pizza Port/Port Brewing/Lost Abbey

Large Brewpub and Large Brewpub Brewer of the Year

Pizza Port Carlsbad, Carlsbad, CA

Small Brewpub and Small Brewpub Brewer of the Year

Pizza Port San Clemente, San Clemente, CA

Category: 6 Coffee Flavored Beer – 52 Entries

Silver: Coffee Monster, Pizza Port Carlsbad, Carlsbad, CA

Category: 11 Other Strong Beer – 48 Entries

Silver: Panzer Pilsner, Port Brewing Co., San Marcos, CA

Category: 13 Out of Category – Traditionally Brewed Beer – 66 Entries

Bronze: Hot Rocks Lager, Port Brewing Co., San Marcos, CA

Category: 16 American-Style Sour Ale – 39 Entries

Bronze: Red Poppy, The Lost Abbey, San Marcos, CA

Category: 44 English-Style India Pale Ale – 32 Entries

Gold: Beech Street Bitter, Pizza Port Carlsbad, Carlsbad, CA

Category: 47 American-Style India Pale Ale – 142 Entries

Gold: “Pseudo” IPA, Pizza Port San Clemente, San Clemente, CA

Category: 48 Imperial India Pale Ale – 97 Entries

Gold: Doheny Double IPA, Pizza Port San Clemente, San Clemente, CA

Category: 51 English-Style Mild Ale – 27 Entries

Silver: Skidmark Brown, Pizza Port Ocean Beach, San Diego, CA

Category: 56 English-Style Brown Ale – 46 Entries

Silver: Good Grief Brown, Pizza Port Carlsbad, Carlsbad, CA

Category: 68 Belgian-Style Strong Specialty Ale – 54 Entries

Gold: Revelations, Pizza Port Carlsbad, Carlsbad, CA

Category: 71 Classic Irish-Style Dry Stout – 23 Entries

Bronze: Port Truck Stout, Pizza Port Carlsbad, Carlsbad, CA

Category: 76 Imperial Stout – 50 Entries

Silver: Night Rider Imperial Stout, Pizza Port Carlsbad, Carlsbad, CA

Category: 77 Scotch Ale – 34 Entries

Gold: Reed’s Wee Heavy, Pizza Port Carlsbad, Carlsbad, CA

McKenzie Brew House

Category: 64 French- and Belgian-Style Saison – 52 Entries

Gold: Saison Vautour

Iron Hill Brewery

Category: 70 Robust Porter – 53 Entries

Gold: Pig Iron Porter

Category: 70 Robust Porter – 53 Entries

Gold: Pig Iron Porter

Category: 76 Imperial Stout – 50 Entries

Gold: Russian Imperial Stout

Cigar City Brewing

Category: 17 Wood- and Barrel-Aged Beer – 32 Entries

Silver: Humidor India Pale Ale

The Bruery

Category: 66 Belgian-Style Lambic or Sour Ale – 33 Entries

Gold: Oude Tart

Only 6 of my 25 choices left the competition without a medal.  Not too shabby.  If you went to GABF and followed any of our recommendations, please let us know about it.

A Quick GABF Review: Washington Shows Up, Pizza Port Destroys.

September 20, 2010 2 comments

The results are in. Washington takes 7 medals.

Well, the results are in. GABF 2010 is officially over and the results have been tabulated. Thanks, Pizza Port, for not taking all of the medals.

While Washington put up a reasonable fight, the show was stolen by several Southern California brewers, who swallowed up all of the best brewpub awards this year at the GABF.

Here is what we see.


Washington shows up.


Washington appears to have turned in a respectable finish, earning a total of 7 medals (well, if you count Pyramid). Out of the total 237 Medals, Washington will take 1/34th of the medals. But, in a year where the event seems to have been dominated by San Diego brewers, its an ok finish.

Washington award winners include the following:


Hales Ales – Kolsch Ale  – Gold Medal


Chuckanut Brewing – Vienna Lager – Gold Medal


RAM Tacoma – Total Disorder Porter – Gold Medal


Elysian Brewing – Dark O The Moon – Silver Medal


Pyramid Brewing – Apricot Ale – Silver Medal


Boundary Bay Imperial Oatmeal Stout – Bronze Medal


Chuckanut Brewing – Pilsner – Bronze Medal


San Diego is on fire.


This was the year for So. Cal. San Diego brewers, Port Brewing/Lost Abbey/Pizza Port, Ballast Point, Karl Strauss and Stone Brewing, took home a total of 14 medals. Los Angeles brewpub, TAPS, took home three medals, as well.

Pizza Port Carlsbad is the big winner with a total of 6 medals (almost matching Washington state). The brewpub is one of several brewpub locations for the retail line of Port Brewing/Lost Abbey. The Carlsbad location is headed by brewer Jeff Bagby, who took home the Best Large Brewpub of the Year, for the second straight year.

Pizza Port’s San Clemente pub took home the Small Brewpub of the Year, while also collecting the Gold Medals in the two most hotly-contested categories – American-Style IPA and Imperial IPA. We cannot wait to get a taste of these ales during San Diego Beer Week.

One other note: Fathead’s Brewery took home the Silver Medal in the American-Style IPA category. This is the same IPA that floored us during a recent trip to the Cleveland brewer’s pub. Try to get this if you ever visit.

Check out the complete list of winners by following this link. Start planning your trip for next year’s September event!


Top 25 Breweries to Check Out at GABF, Part 1

September 3, 2010 6 comments

"Great" is in the name for a reason.

The 29th edition of the Great American Beer Festival is just 2 weeks away.  Sadly, I’m not going to make it this year.  Even sadder, I’ve never made it.  It’s on my bucket list, I assure you, but I can only really afford one big trip a year and the last few years…well, it didn’t make the cut for one reason or another.  I already took my trip this year.  I went to Belgium.  I think that that’s a pretty good excuse.

But, just because I’m not going doesn’t mean that I can’t pretend.  I’ve decided to make a list of the 25 breweries that I would visit at the fest if I where going.  Hopefully, this will be of assistance to some of our readers out there that are going.  Of course, this list is strongly influenced by my beer experiences, which are most likely very different from yours.  Maybe you grew up in WI and have had all the New Glarus you can handle.  That’s OK, but I have had a very minimal experience with NGB and given that it is a very well-respected brewery with minimal distribution, I’d visit their booth.  Just a small example of the way this will go down.

Considering that there are roughly 460 breweries pouring at the fest, one needs to develop a game plan.  Otherwise, ones head would likely explode.  My general rule would be to make sure that all of the brewery’s booths that I visit fit into 1 of 3 main categories.

These categories are as follows:

1) Breweries whose product I have never tasted, due to never living or visiting within the distribution area, and whose product is met with great respect in the beer community.  Breweries who I may have never heard a “buzz” about before but have been big winners in past GABFs would also fit into this category.

2) Breweries whose product I have tasted before, but whose product is met with such a profound respect in the beer community that I would desire to drink said product at anytime, anywhere.

3) Breweries whose product I have tasted before in my time living and drinking in the Northeast, but are either missed greatly by me or have released new products since my departure that I have not yet tasted.

With as many breweries as are attending this year’s fest, these rules alone would by no means whittle the list down to 25.  I’ll tell you right now that I will be forced, quite painfully I may add, to leave some true gems off the list, but no one ever said it was easy to make lists like this.  Here’s my first 10 choices, in no particular order.

New Glarus Brewing Co. – I mentioned these guys above so I might as well put them on here first.  NGB only distributes to WI.  That makes it a bit of a challenge for a lot of us to get.  Thanks to a good friend’s willingness to share, I was able to taste a few of the standard releases about a month ago.  They were quality brews with great ratings from the community, but it’s their rarities that really put NGB up on a pedestal.  If they were pouring Raspberry Tart I just might get in line twice.

Dry Dock Brewing Co. – This is a very small brewpub out of Aurora, CO but it was awarded the Small Brewery of the Year at last year’s GABF.  That’s enough to pique my interest.

Kuhnhenn Brewing Co. – I hope to visit this Michigan brewery in December when I visit my girlfriend’s family.  Their Raspberry Eisbock and 4th Dementia Old Ale are both subject to a cult following in the beer community.  These are two of my favorite styles and I would have a hard time coming up with many beers in the world that I want to get my hands on more.

Foothills Brewing – This North Carolina brewery is mostly famous for their imperial stout called Sexual Chocolate.  Not only is it massively hyped on the internets, but it won the bronze metal last year in the Impy Stout category.  That gives it some pretty respectable cred if you ask me.  Timperial wants.

Pizza Port/Port Brewing/Lost Abbey – This is Tomme Arthur’s world.  Tomme is a living beer legend for a reason.  I’d steer more toward the Pizza Port offerings simply because I have not tasted their particular brand of grog.  There are four different Pizza Port locations that enter beer, and they all seem to do very well in the competition.  I’d lean more toward the San Clemente and Calsbad locales.

McKenzie Brew House – Even the biggest beer junkies in the West may have never heard of this one.  It’s actually in Glen Mills, PA which is the town that I grew up in.  The “town” (no actual downtown) is so small that I very rarely tell people that I grew up there in order to combat the blank stare that I would no doubt receive.  I just tell people that I grew up in West Chester, PA because there is at least a remote chance that they would have heard of that one.  Anyway, this is not only on the list because it fits into category 3 above but because they have been winning a bunch of awards lately.  Check them out, you won’t be disappointed.

Iron Hill Brewery – Another small brew pub that is near and dear to my heart from back east.  I’d venture to say that these guys make some of the best beer I’ve ever had.  Not a single trip back home will pass without a stop here.  Seattleites just may have sampled some of their product at Elysian’s Pumpkin Fest.

The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery – I couldn’t really name one particular reason to check these guys out, I just know that I have read about them for various reasons for quite some time now.  Another very high quality brewer from North Carolina.

Cigar City Brewing – If you have never heard of Cigar City, you need to read more.  These guys are absolutely blowing up the world of craft brewing right now, and they are still super new.  If I could get a little bit personal with you for just one moment.  I have a goal that I’m working toward.  That goal is to open my own brewery in the next few years (I know, aren’t I just so unique).   With this in mind, I am constantly analyzing breweries – learning from their positive and negative attributes.  There are two American craft breweries that have opened in the past few years that exploded in popularity right from the onset.  Obviously, I want my brewery to open in such a way as well.  Tampa, FL’s Cigar City and the next brewery on my list are two businesses that should be analyzed by all future entrepreneurs.

The Bruery – I feel like we talk these guys up on the blog all the time.  These guys are amongst the top ten breweries in America, hands down.  I really shouldn’t have to go into it any deeper.

I have 15 more to choose, so check back frequently in the waning days of the pre-GABF calendar.