Monday, October 26, 2009

Vampires Bypassed

It looks as though Rock Art Brewery has gotten the attention of the big corporate Monster that was after them. RAB and those that pestered the bad guy have prevailed. Do you think this would have happened if they hadn't taken it to the public?

Looks like the main people went around the lawyers and spoke man to man. Wouldn't this have been a better way to start this whole thing in the first place?

Have a look at the Rock Art Brewery website. They're attempting to start a crusade against the Trademark system. ("Trademark" isn't trademarked is it?)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Mission Brewery Trifecta

The Mission Brewery is here in San Diego "less than a mile from the very hill where Friar Junipero and his scurvy-ridden crew drove their stake into the ground"(from their website). Where the hell that is, I don't know. Possibly by Mission San Diego de Alcala that is near old town. It is a brewery name that has had life breathed back into it by two homebrewers on a mission. I'm not sure how long they've been on the market, but the website (humble as it may be) claims they "re-established" it in 2007. They won a couple of GABF awards in 2007. I bought three of their beers recently and they were all quite tasty.

The IPA was not bashful. Nor did it make apologies. This was a good SoCal IPA. It will register on my list as one to look for when desiring an IPA. A strong IPA. A good alternative to Stone's IPA.

NOTES: 7 out of 10 (6.8% ABV)
Sight: Clear, Amber with a little red. Good lookin' beer. Nice Curves!

Smell: A little malt, a lot of hops. A vegetal rooty smell from the hops. Some hops just have a little bit of a funk to them. It's what makes the special (awww).

Sound: Ocean breeze with a hint of background noise (is that Pee-Wee Herman's Big Adventure?)

Feel: Medium thickness. Good medium level of astringency.

Taste: Good strong hoppy IPA. There's enough malt to keep it drinking well all the way through. The hop flavors stick to your tongue. I get a slight peanut butter taste that goes well.

Blond Ale

This was a well rounded beer that was nice to drink all the way through. A beer one might consider a "session" beer. It's a little sweet at the finish, so one might trade off with a drier beer during their session. While this beer is pretty tasty, I didn't give it a super score because it's not super-duper "wow" kinda beer, nor do I think that was the intent. It's a good "drinkin" beer.

NOTES: 5 out of 10 (5% ABV)

Sight: Clear and light straw color.

Smell: A light malt smell with a lager chaser.

Feel: Larger bubbles and low viscosity. (That means on the thinner side)

Taste: There's a little green apple flavor and a light spice of hops. The kolsch yeast strain gives it (from the bottle): "a peck of fruitiness that complements the blend of noble hops. Lager-Like with delecate dryness." I think that's actually a pretty good description.

Amber Ale

Being the nimrod that I am, in my race to complete this trifecta, I forgot to take notes on the Amber. Musta been really good! I do remember it being well balanced and something I would definitely try again. Next time I'll take notes. Meanwhile here's what's on the label:
A covenant of light and dark, of refreshing and full-flavored, making for one majestic session beer. With a crisp lager-like spirity and a toasty charackter, the bitterness is bolstered yet balanced. The lingering sweet caramel taste is buttressed by the generous use of Munich, Vienna, and Pilsner malts.

I'm impressed by these efforts. I hope to find their hefeweizen somewhere soon. They've done well with the basic not-so-basic beers. I hope to see some special beers from them soon, say, a double IPA? Check their website for locations that are carrying their stuff.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Ad Hoc

I didn't see a whole lot going on this weekend. Best thing to do is check the San Diego Brewer's Guild website for events.

The brew from a week ago looks like it took a turn for the worse. It has turned very cloudy and has a pungent medicinal smell. Yep, something got into it. Polluted, punked, tainted. Still tastes pretty good, though.

I made another batch of beer this Friday. I wandered into Homebrew Mart knowing only that I wanted to do a dark beer. This is what I came out with:

8# Domestic Pale
1# Special B
1# Victory Malt
1/2# Chocolate Malt
1/4# Black Malt
1 oz Simcoe 60 mins BEOB (Before end of boil)
1 oz EKG 10 mins BEOB
White Labs WLP001.

It's dark. Slightly lighter than motor oil. Starting gravity of 1.070. That means a ABV of around 7-8%.

I had an interesting beer last night. It was AleSmith's Horny Devil. I've had it before, but remember it being more of a white beer. It now has a bit of a tart sour taste to it. It was really quite enjoyable. I didn't take tasting notes. Sometimes you just gotta drink for drinking's sake.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Our legal system has developed to the point where it is most useful for vampires. It's not for people who just want to get an honest shake in this world. It's for lawyers to bleed people to death.

The Rock Art Brewery has a beer that is similar in name to a large energy drink company. I don't have anything against the existence of large corporations, but this is ridiculous. The large company will gain nothing, the small one will lose everything. Anyway, have a look at the video.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Lowe Brewery

I brewed beer this last Sunday. I was aiming somewhere in the general area of a Saison. After the boil, looked too light and smells like I got a little carried away with the cardamon seeds and Curacao orange peel. That may be bad for the particular style, but looks promising, overall.

All went well, despite letting a gallon or so of the first runnings run onto the floor. Word to the wise: always check your valves after cleaning.

2# Wheat Malt
1# Rye Malt
5# Briess Pilsner Malt
2# German Pilsner Malt
1 oz bitter curacao orange peel.
Several pinches of cardamon seeds
1# Amber Belgian candi sugar
1 oz Challenger Hops 60 mins BEOB
1 oz American Saaz 10 mins BEOB.
White Labs Saison Yeast (WLP565, I think)

Starting Gravity: 1.060

Too bad it won't be ready for this weekend's party. That saison yeast is like the Energizer bunny, it just keep fermenting and fermenting. Maybe I'll pull some off early and just see what happens.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Things you might want to do this weekend

Belgians anyone? O'Briens is having a Belgian weekend. 10 Belgian beers on tap from breweries like Allagash, New Belgium, and Val Dieu. Saturday is USA soccor, and Sunday there's Beer and Cheese for $40.

Hamilton's Tavern is having it's 3rd anniversary celebration.

Green Flash Brewery is having a special release of their Nut Brown Ale this weekend.

West End Pub & Cafe is having a "Beats 4 Boobs" benefit. "A breast cancer research benefit hosted by the Hooters Hotties and accompanied by Airdale beer. (Airdale is a new brewery here in San Diego. I haven't gotten a chance to try their stuff yet.)

And a heads up: San Diego Beer Week is coming up November 6-11th. Stay tuned for more on that in future posts. There's a lot going on that week. You may want to plan ahead.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

09.09.09 Stone Vertical Epic

Stone Vertical Epic 09.09.09

Overall: 8 out of 10
The short of it: Great and complex dark stout beer. Spicy, Chocolate, and vanilla.

This year's Stone special release in the vertical epic series takes a trip to the darker side. It's a complex stout with flavors described on the bottle that come true.

Drink this one warmer or you will rob yourself of several of the intricacies of this beer. Pour aggressively and you are rewarded with a nice thick head from fine bubbles. A more conservative poor lets you get to the meat of the matter with less foam invading your mustache. Swirl it around and it willingly sticks to the glass leaving a smooth film.

I recommend drinking some to get the flavor or until you're content, and then eating something that is slightly spicy. The spice desensitizes you to the spiciness of this beer, and you get a better sense of the vanilla bean flavor.

Smell (That's "nose" to you wine snobs): it has that Belgian smell to it. That and the pointed chocolate malt smell of a stout. Indeed, the bottle says they used a Belgian yeast and chocolate malt. There's a little smoke and rye smell to it, too.

Taste: roasted malt and bar-b-q, good smoked bar-b-q, not that sweet weird stuff you get some places. After that, you get a good chocolate malt and honey/vanilla flavor (try the spicy). There's a bit of a clean rye taste to it, or maybe it's he alcohol, at 8.6%, peaking through. Either way, it's probably good for the aging part of this campaign. That flavor will mellow a bit, but keep it from turning to syrup.

Mouthfeel: This one sticks to your tongue a bit, a little tannic, but offset by smooth feel. Fine carbonation from the bottle conditioning (although I didn't see any yeast at the bottom of this bottle. Maybe I stirred it up too much. Maybe the Belgian yeast hasn't seen fit to precipitate yet).

Overall, a great to excellent stout with a lot of complexities. The combination of Belgian yeast with a slightly hoppy stout makes a good combo. I think with age, it will develop more of the vanilla, and will smooth out a bit. It's the smoothing that I'm a little worried about. Will it make it more complex like a tawny port combined with Kahlua, or will it smooth out to a somewhat disappointingly flat stout. I hope it's the former, because I'm saving a couple for 12.12.12 and looking forward to it.

It's good and complex now. That bodes well for the future. Buy enough. Drink some, save some.