Ok, so the opening weekend of San Diego Beer Week 2012 is in the books, and while I didn’t get a chance to do everything I had hoped, I did have an absolute blast. With lots of quality time with good friends and (of course) some great beer to pair with the company, it was easily one of the better weekends I’ve ever spent in this fine city.
We started things off at Monkey Paw to try the Karl Strauss peanut butter cup beer, which tasted exactly as the name would suggest. From there we were on the move to the kick-off party and Brew Food book signing at Mission Brewery, which appeared to be a smashing success with a great time had by all in attendance. (Even if they did cover up the shuffleboard table for the event. Oh well, nothing’s perfect.) On Saturday I tried to work my way through 50 different IPAs over at Toronado, but was pulled away early as friends wanted to make a move to Monkey Paw to try the aforementioned Karl Strauss specialty, but sadly it was gone. (Luckily I was able to sample an 8 oz. pour of the Citra IPA from Kern River before we left Toro, which may have been the best beer I had on draft all weekend.) We were back at it again early on Sunday getting to Local Habit in Hillcrest bright and early to sample a cask of The Bruery’s “5 Golden Rings” a very interesting Golden Ale that is part of their “12 Days of Christmas” series which releases once a year. I haven’t had all the other releases, but this was my favorite that I have managed to try so far. After that we traveled over to Blind Lady Ale House who teamed up with the folks at Bine & Vine on Adams Ave. to throw what might have been the coolest bottleshare event ever convened. I had WAY too many special tastes to try mentioning them here (and boring you to tears, probably), but it was definitely the highlight of the weekend.
The best news? There are still SIX more full days of SDBW before it officially wraps up on the 11th. Like Part I, what follows is a brief listing of events that caught my eye. I’d recommend getting there early and often. If I missed anything too great to pass up be sure to let me know on the twitters (@mikebeebe). And if you see me out and about, please say hello!
Hess Happy Hour
Toronado (again!) will “welcome” their (soon to be) new neighbor to the ‘hood with this event featuring several Hess beers and (from what I’ve been told) a really fantastic keeper glass.
Beer, Art and the Artists!
The cool cats at Bottlecraft are hosting an art show, featuring art from (what else?) a beer label artist! Specifically the Ballast Point artist Paul Elder. Also, BP’s Colby Chandler will be on hand discussing beer. And drinking beer. And it’s free. Get some culture whilst you drink!
BEER WEEK BINGO
Bingo at Eleven is nothing new, but it is always fun. Plus all drafts are just $3. Bingo starts at 7pm.
Kern River Brewing Co
Surprise! Another Toronado event. (I may just move in for the week.) This one features the crew and (more importantly) the beer from the fabulous Kern River Brewing.
Night of a Million Zillion Speedways
If there is one event that is on everyone’s radar, then it is absolutely this one at O’Brien’s. With that in mind, expect lots of great beer but also lots of people. Is it worth it? That depends on your tolerance for crowds, but frankly...yes, it is worth it. The OB’s newsletter probably says it best: “FIFTEEN versions of AleSmith Speedway Stout on tap! It is pure insanity.“
(Also, it’s Election Day, so depending on the exit polls and your politics you may need several of these very strong beers.)
Beer Week!! Green Flash Night
A Green Flash event at my home base, bar Eleven. Delicious casks and walking distance home is a great combination. Incidentally, Eleven is also “home base” for a lot of GF employees...so this may end up being just like any other night. Which is fine with me.
Loci Habitus Returns!
If you missed out on this Rye IPA from Hess to celebrate Local Habit’s 1st anniversary, then here’s a second chance to give this a shot. And if you were lucky enough to try it earlier this year AND scored the keeper glass, then bring that back in for $4 pours! (Note: an “I voted” sticker will get you this great price as well.)
Monkey Paw Welcomes Sierra Nevada!
I love the Paw, I love Sierra Nevada. The lineup hasn’t been posted yet, but you really can’t go wrong here.
Movie Night: Strange Brew
One of my most favoritest movies ever (“Steamroller!”) screened for free at Sea Rocket in North Park, with drink and food specials as well. Go to there, ya hosers.
Ommegang vs Lost Abbey - Battle of the Best Belgian Style Brewers in the Country
Sublime Alehouse in San Marcos (SMBW?) hosts this “throwdown” between our very own Lost Abbey and Brewery Ommegang (Cooperstown, NY) - two of the finest (THE finest, probably) brewers of traditional Belgian style beers anywhere in America. Just like the title would suggest. Seriously though, this will be a delicious evening. Ommegang was my introduction to “craft beer” back in New York, and it still one of my favorites breweries to this day.
Brewmasters Dinner with Hess Brewing at Local Habit
This two session event sold out so fast they had to add a third session...which also promptly sold out. So unless you have your ticket, you’re not going. Which is really too bad because Chef Nick Brune is hands down the best chef in Hillcrest and Hess is one of the finest (and busiest) breweries in San Diego. If I could only attend ONE dinner during all of Beer Week, this would be the one.
She Likes Beer Pairing Dinner at The Range
While not strictly a “ladies only” event (as far as I know) this She Likes Beer will put the focus on all the women craft beer fans in San Diego and features “a four-course meal that will show off some of San Diego's greatest beer with a paired dish that compliments their flavors.”
Hess Brewing Featured Flights
Another Hess event at Local Habit (one of my favorite spots in town) will feature no fewer than SIX beers from Hess, including the delicious Loci Habitus Rye IPA, brewed up special just for Local Habit’s first birfday.
Enjoy a tour and tasting of Home Brew Mart and Ballast Point Brewing (Linda Vista Road location)
This “event” is actually happening several times a day EVERY day during Beer Week. Get a free tour of the BP brewing facilities in Linda Vista, and get a couple of samplers to boot.
And that’s it for me. I know I left off a couple of days at the end, but I just won’t be able to attend any events next weekend, so I am wrapping things up on Friday at Local Habit for lunch. There will be tons going on next weekend I am sure, so check out sdbw.org or sdbwplanner.org to see what’s happening.