Pliny The Younger – 2015 Shitstorm

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Hello all,

If attending the Kiwi Herman release at Alpine a few weeks back was any indication of how craft beer events will go in 2015, I expect an all out shitshow with the highly anticipated release of Russian Rivers’ Pliny the Younger. San Diego is pretty lucky to receive as much Pliny as it does, but even then, you guys swallow it up as if there are not any other Double/Triple IPA options in the double digit ABV range. Having started this tracking thing two years ago, it seems pretty consistent that places that got Pliny last year will again see it this year. However, I do expect more locations to be pretty hush-hush about its tappings along with ticketed events that sold out rather quickly and a lot easier to manage.

I’d like to preface this post by saying that I do not have any kind of insider information. People do email and tweet me with leads and insights, however, don’t blame me when all the bros drank all the Pliny while you were standing in line outside the bar. So here it goes, your annual list of Younger tappings:
(I’ll post the list later), but thought I’d like to get out some preliminary info on a few locations.

O’Briens: Saturday the 14th @5PM and lunch time Tuesday the 17th. There will also be a charity keg that will be tapped on Wednesday the 25th at 5pm. The charity keg will be tickets only, starting to go on sale on Friday the 13th at the pub. Tickets are $20 for a 10oz glass with a max of 2 tickets per person.

Churchills: March 7th for their annual Renaissance festival starting at 11am. Taplist is crazy, expect a line starting early in the morning.

Thanks for reading and happy hunting,
-Manny

Feel free to email me updates at sdbeergeeks@gmail.com or through my Twitter account.

Pliny the Younger San Diego – 2014 (updating)

February is Younger season! Its the time of year that sees the release of the most anticipated beer made in America. Currently ranked #2 in the world according to beeradvocate.com, Pliny the Younger is a triple IPA. It’s annual release garners multiple hour waits at its brewpub at the Russian River Brewing Company in Santa Rosa, CA. Luckily in San Diego we are lucky to receive a good number of kegs. Most places will be pretty hush-hush about its tappings to avoid madness so do not be alarmed to hear about a keg getting tapped, a pub full, and a blown keg in a matter of minutes. I tried to keep up with news as it came out last year, but sometimes once I hear of a keg going on tap, it was tapped before most were able to make it there. Stone Distributing will be handling Younger this year and kegs according to sources will not be arriving in San Diego until February 18th. Here is a twitter list I put together for the bars listed below.

Here are the places that received kegs last year along with any speculative info about this year:

Toronado2 kegs going on Tuesday, 2/18 at opening, about 400, 10 oz servings. A third keg it will go on Sunday at 11:30am.

Hamiltons Hamiltons announced their PTY tapping for Feb 19 at 3pm. Expect there to be a line of 100+ thirsty patrons. See their post here1 keg blew in 40 minutes.

O’Brien’s: Last year got 3 kegs. 1st keg will go on Saturday the 22nd at 4pm. The charity keg will go on tap on Wednesday the 26th between 5-8pm. Tickets for the charity keg will go on sale on Thursday, the 20th, and is $15 for a 10oz pour. 100% of sales will be going to charity, 2 tickets per person, and cash only. Link to the newsletter can be found here.

Stone World Bistro & Gardens: Received 3 kegs last year. With the addition of Liberty Station I would like to think a keg would make it to Point Loma. Stone keeps their tap list up to date on their website, but did not post anything when their first keg went on. 1st of their kegs went on at their Escondido location 2/18 at 5pm.

San Diego Brewing Co: Sunday 2/23 at noon. The pub opens up at 11am and will begin handing out tickets for fills. One per person.

Neighborhood: Put on a keg at around 3:30pm 2/19, killed by 5:15.

Pizza Port Carlsbad: Single keg last year. Not sure if they will put it up on their draft menu as they do have a tap cam you can check on.

Pizza Port Ocean Beach: Single keg, went on tap without notice.

Pizza Port Solana Beach: Commenter, Scott, with a tip that it will be tapped at 6pm, 2/20.

Pizza Port San Clemente: Keg tapped at noon on 2/19, killed in an hour.

Churchill’s: Younger will be tapped at their annual Renaissance March 1st and noon.  Got the taplist for Renaissance here.  Looks like they will be a bit more strict on the Churchills Finest Hour bottle release. More info as it becomes available on their website.

Blind Lady Ale House: Last two years they have been ticketed events. Follow their Facebook and Twitter feeds for updated info.

Downtown Johnny Brown’s: Not sure how a change of ownership will affect if they get a keg of Younger or not. Last year notified the public via twitter for news of its tapping.

Encinitas Ale House: Used pre-paid tickets (already sold out) for a glass of Younger on Sunday, 2/23 anytime between 12-9pm. If there is any left over, it’ll go on to the public Monday at opening, 4pm.

Tap Room: Going to be tapped for their Anniversary party on February 22nd at 11am. Quite an impressive taplist for that day, more info can be found here.

Urge Gastropub: Received a keg last year and likely without prior notice. They did tweet out when it was put on however. 

Tiger!Tiger!: Like Blind Lady Ale House, a ticketed event. Follow their Facebook and Twitter feeds for more updated news.

Breakwater Brewing: Follow their twitter for notice of its tapping.

Livewire: They put their kegs on without notice, you’ll get it if you’re lucky.

Update log: 02/14/14 00:34am; 02/17/14 17:29; 2/18/14 02:57am; 2/18/14 15:53; 2/18/14 17:37; 2/19/14 13:58; 2/19/14 15:47; 2/20/14 16:57

If anyone has any information regarding a date/time by which Pliny the Younger will be tapped, send me an email to update the list.

Happy Hunting

Pliny The Younger San Diego Alternatives

Well, we all know it’s coming. Pliny The Younger season is upon us and we are all salivating in wait. While we still do not know when or where the kegs of PTY will be blowing at record pace, we do, however, know the best 5 alternatives in San Diego.

Pliny The Younger San Diego Alternative Exponential Hoppiness

Exponential Hoppiness Double IPA by Alpine Beer Company

Exponential Hoppiness – Alpine Beer Company

If there is one IPA in San Diego that is more sought after than Pliny the Younger, it’s Exponential Hoppiness from Alpine Beer Co. As a biannual release, Exponential Hoppiness garners huge lines outside its brewery for people seeking to snag a few bottles and/or enjoy it on tap at its neighboring pub. What sets “Expo” apart is its massive dry hopping and conditioning on oak chips that adds both an additional dryness to the beer followed by vanilla notes. Get it while you can. I encourage you to take the hike out to Alpine, and hope you’re lucky enough to try this beer since it is usually released without prior notice. It is only available in very limited quantities: 22 oz bottles and draft. On occasions, Alpine Beer allows just a few kegs to sneak out to local bars for special events.

Pliny The Younger San Diego Alternative Roustabout Double IPA

Roustabout Double IPA by Societe Brewing Company
Photo cred: Instagram user societebrewing

Roustabout – Societe Brewing Company

The Roustabout is the lowest ABV beer on this list clocking in at 9.2%, but it packs a hop punch that few beers can rival. The Roustabout took gold medal at last years San Francisco Beer Week IIPA festival where it beat out the likes of Double Jack and Pliny the Elder. Societe recently brewed another batch to send up to San Francisco to defend its gold medal so drink it while you can. Very limited draft offering.

Pliny The Younger San Diego Alternative Caught in a Rip Double IPA

Caught in a Rip Double IPA by Rip Current Brewery
Photo cred: Untappd user davidelizarraga

Caught in a Rip – Rip Current Brewery

Newcomer, Rip Current Brewing, has hit the ground running and they have brewed a winner with their Caught in a Rip IIPA. Founded by National Homebrewer of the year, Paul Sangster, the San Marcos brewery has produced an exquisite beer that typifies an IPA. Caught in a Rip IIPA has huge hop presence, and is high in alcohol content without having to sweeten up the beer with a larger malt bill. Available occasionally, draft only.

Pliny The Younger San Diego Alternative Green Bullet Double IPA

Green Bullet Double IPA by Green Flash Brewing Company
Photo cred: Instagram user greenflashbeer

Green Bullet IPA – Green Flash Brewing Company

The Green Bullet by Green Flash Brewing Company is the only IPA on the list using New Zealand hops. These hops from down under provide unique nuances of honey-dew and melon. Green Bullet was first introduced as Green Flash’s 9th Anniversary ale, and they decided to keep this beer around and for good reason. The fresh citrusy hop flavors mask the bitterness otherwise an attribute to most massive IPAs. Green Bullet is available on a rotating basis in both 22oz bottle and draft forms.

Pliny The Younger San Diego Alternative Dorado Double IPA

Dorado Double IPA by Ballast Point Brewing Company

Dorado Double IPA – Ballast Point Brewing Company

After a few years on hiatus, Dorado Double IPA is back. This gem by Ballast Point is easily found around the year as opposed to the past. Dorado utilizes hops in just about every stage of the brewing process: Mash Hopping, First Wort Hopping, Kettle Hopping, and Dry Hopping to produce a beer bursting in hop flavors and aroma. The beer does well to hide its 10% ABV. Dorado is available both on draft and 22oz bottles.

There you have it. If you want to escape the madness of Pliny the Younger this year or if the keg blows as its your turn to order, we leave you with some great San Diego alternatives.

-David E. , Manny O.

Cable Car Kriek

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Bourbon Maple Victory at Sea

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It’s maybe a good thing no one drinks cask ale in El Cajon and a great cask like this can hang around for a day. Bourbon maple added a caramel/toffee like sweetness. One of the better Victory at Sea casks I’ve had.

Fathom Bistro Bait & Tackle

So last Wednesday I caught wind of a new craft beer centric bar opening up on Shelter Island Pier. After having been tipped off that this location would be sold to Scott Blair, of the Hamilton’s empire, I had to check it out.

photo-2Turns out it is run by Dennis Borlek, who used to manage Hamiltons. This location has the familiar chalk board you would find at any Blair establishment but ups it an ante, with a nautical decor featuring diving equipment and ocean themed movie posters of years past. It is small, cozy, and just only slightly larger than my bedroom, but outdoor seating is available.

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Running on the television was  Sea Hunt, an old black-and-white television show that my dad used to watch about divers. Diving seemed to be a dangerous activity back then. But moving onwards, This location sits above the water , with what is likely the best views of San Diego available. At my table I was able to see the whole San Diego Bay to my left and the Coronado Islands to my right all while the sun is setting over Point Loma. At the time I was sipping on a New Albion Ale, just one of the great 15 number of taps available. At its soft opening, the tap list was excellent and provided something for everyone.

Running on the television was  Sea Hunt, an old black-and-white television show that my dad used to watch about divers. Diving seemed to be a dangerous activity back then. But moving onwards, This location sits above the water , with what is likely the best views of San Diego available. At my table I was able to see the whole San Diego Bay to my left and the Coronado Islands to my right all while the sun is setting over Point Loma. At the time I was sipping on a New Albion Ale, just one of the great 15 number of taps available. At its soft opening, the tap list was excellent and provided something for everyone.

photo-1Now that it is officially open, another visit is in order. The menu at the time of its soft opening consisted of mostly sausages, hotdogs, and the like but the plan is open it up more and have some soups available. Dennis Does not plan of making it a cliché seafood restaurant above the water (Although fish tacos along with a local IPA sounds incredible). Well in all, Fathom Bistro Bait & Tackle comes highly recommended, and although I cannot speak for their bait & tackle. It is likely you’ll find me one of these days with my line in the water and maybe you’ll join me for a pint.


photo-3Monkey Paw – Kong Barleywine


Cheers,

Manny O.

Book Review: Randy Mosher – Tasting Beer

This is my second book by Randy Mosher and they have been great in its wealth of information presented in an easy to follow narrative of beer history and culture. His first book, Radical Brewing, focused on the brewing history of beer from its incarnation all the way up to the stylized recipes for today’s modern beer styles. Tasting Beer shifts its focus as an “insiders guide to the worlds greatest drink”. Packed with a great deal of sensory evaluation, beer history, tasting profiles, and food pairing recommendations.

Randy Mosher does will in instructing the best fashion to drink beer from glass ware, serving temperature and pouring technique. There was a lot learned to serve the über correct beer. As the title of the book suggests, there is a lot of technical information to dissect individual flavors. Mosher instructs the cause and origin of individual nuances of beer both wanted and unintended. The book has instilled more confidence in my evaluation of beer as now I have some added vocabulary when it comes to identifying components in beer.

This book has been the greatest I’ve read when it comes to beer and food pairings. Each individual beer style is unique to food pairings that will both highlight or contrast competing flavors. My new pairing knowledge will certainly be fun in new found cuisine experiments.

Perhaps the only faults I find with this book are in its technical statistics of beer styles (gravity, ABV, color, IBU) as I found it overly simplified. For example when it comes to differentiating a Märzen and Vienna style lagers, they are completely identical when it comes to gravity, alcohol, attenuation, color, and bitterness. This only confuses me more if ever tasked with differentiation and explaining the two styles apart. While style guidelines are lengthy when it comes to writings such as the BJCP Guide Book, seen as the standard, this book just falls a bit short in truly evaluating beer as true to style with little to go off of.

Lastly American beer styles is the shortest and least detailed portion of the book. Seeing as Randy is from Chicago, I was wishing for a bit more. There are more typos as well, listing “Lost Coast/Pizza Port” as makers of American style wild ales. We all know it is Lost Abbey, not Lost Coast that is affiliated with Pizza Port. Another mistake is listing Lagunitas Brown Sugga (sic) in the double IPA category. Equally confusing is listing the same beer as an imperial brown ale (totally different style) on the same exact page. Perhaps it is American beer that I have the most familiarity with and can scrutinize more, but after finishing the book I couldn’t stop thinking about other missed contractions or errors when it comes to beer styles I know less of, like German lagers.

Overall, it is a good book, and the best when it comes to the tasting and evaluation portion of beers. There is a lot of historical information when it comes to the development of beer styles, but it did not really fit in with the theme of the book as a “beer experience guide”. Tasting Beer is an essential book to anyone looking to become a Cicerone, and highly recommend this book to anyone looking to appreciate and experience beer a little more.

Idea for Beer Releases: Release Components of Blended Beers

Thought of this idea with the recent Lost Abbey release of Track #2, the second release in its Box Set series set for monthly releases. While Track #1 was a new beer to begin with, Track #2 was a blend, and an interesting blend at that: 60% Bourbon Angels Share spiked with peaches, 20% Cuvee de Tomme, and 20% of Project X (Wild Fermentation Projection). I have not had two of these beers, the peach-infused Angels Share, and this Project X and it would have been nice to taste the individual components that went into these beers.

My suggestion then is for breweries to release in (super small amounts), the individual components that go into a blend. I’m thinking just 2 oz samples of each, and charge a little bit more on top of the beer purchase. For instance, Track #2, with 3 2oz samples of the individual components of the blend go for an additional $5. This could be an educational tool for the consumer as well, getting to taste the individual beers that went into the blend and gain a better appreciation for the brewmaster’s blending process.

Firestone Walker had done this exact concept with its 15th Anniversary release. A blend of multiple beers, Firestone Walker had put together “15 Deconstructed” an event in Los Angeles that offered every individual beer that went into the final blended anniversary beer.

The downside to this proposition is that it will lower the total yield for the final release. Especially so with these Track beers from Lost Abbey, which are super limited to release with, I am not sure if this concept is even conceivable. As a beer geek, I’d like to gain a better knowledge of the product I am enjoying, and with something like my proposition above, it would be a great opportunity to gain some knowledge in the trial and process that beer blending is.

Cheers!

-Manny O.

I’m going to head over to KnB Wine Cellars this evening. $3 beers!

2012 Beer Trends

I know I may be a little late to the game on this one, but with over 90% of 2012 left, thought I’d share my thoughts/predictions for what this year has in store for craft beer.

Beer style on the up? Berliner Weisse. Very limited and with few breweries actually producing sour beer, I think that the style will receive more attention this year, especially in the summer months. Low in alcohol, (under 5%) it is light, refreshing, tart, and with fruit or syrup additions, it’ll gain more female appeal.

Breweries will take greater control and have differing methods of releasing highly limited and pricy beers. With Stone last year, releasing the first of its 500mL barrel aged beers to have a raffle benefiting charity, Stone was able to allow more people a shot at the beer, escape the mayhem of hundreds of beer geeks lining in front of the brewery, and also benefit a local charity. There will be differing methods, The Reserve Society put on The Bruery is also a different avenue by buying into an annual membership that gives you rights to exclusive beers and events. Flying Dog, out of Maryland recently adopted a similar membership idea with their Junto Society. More local, The Lost Abbey, took a drastic step in their release of their monthy “Track #’s” beers. By limiting beers to be an on-site consumption only and not allowing any distribution, Lost Abbey was able to eliminate any second hand beer market or trading. Whether it is raffle, exclusive memberships, or limiting beer to be draft or on-site consumption only, I think breweries will take greater control in releasing sought after beers.

Lastly, beer mixology? Hmm.. not buying it, but what I do think may be on the rise is beer mixing. Weird for sure, mixing two different styles of beers in hopes of incorporating both flavor inputs. Mix an oatmeal stout with a vanilla infused wheat beer? Vanilla chocolate stout sure does sound awesome and more or less, that’s the result when you can find combinations that will work. Beer mixing is not going to huge, but I can see a few restaurants/bars advertising certain beer only cocktails on their menu. 

Cheers,

Manny O. (the younger)

Le post

Hmm looks like my contract with typepad ran out, looks like I’ll make a move to WordPress. Looks better, more customization and all that. So hopefully it’s a new start this year and improvements to the blog. Thanks for reading