Rip Current Brewing 1st Anniversary Recap

Congrats to the crew at Rip Current Brewing on their 1st Anniversary. There were 20 beers available on their taps and 2 available via cask. The IPAs were the ones that stood out the most. By far, my personal favorite was the Caught In a Rip IIIPA. As we posted before, we fully believe that Caught In a Rip can compete with Pliny the Younger. See our Pliny the Younger Alternatives post here. Beer Advocate rates Caught In a Rip as Outstanding, and we are in complete agreement. See the tower of our scrumptious tasters.

Caught In a Rip

Caught In a Rip IIIPA by Rip Current Brewing

While Caught In a Rip was the highlight of the event, the most eye-opening beer was the Lupulin Lust IPA. The Rip Current chalkboard captioned the beer with “Big Citrus + Pine / F*CK YEAH.” I nodded my head in approval after the first taste.

Lupulin Lust IPA by Rip Current Brewing

Lupulin Lust by Rip Current Brewing

Mid way through our tasting, we were graciously greeted by Co-Owner Guy Shobe. As a group, we thanked Guy and the staff for brewing quality product, and contributing to the amazing Craft Beer community in San Diego. Guy also intimated that Rip Current should have some big news to announce very soon. We were told that a plan for a North Park tasting room is close to fruition. What exciting news for us craft beer lovers living south of Interstate 8.

While the Rip Current IPAs were quite impressive, their collection of Porters, and Stouts were also very delicious. As seen below, the Vanilla Rescue Buoy, their Vanilla Russian Imperial Stout, was the stand out of the Stout selection. It was a treat to taste the beer side-by-side along the regular Rescue Buoy to see just how the vanilla had imparted a nice sweetness to complement the beers roasty coffee and dark chocolate notes.

Vanilla Rescue Buoy by Rip Current Brewing

Rip Current Vanilla Rescue Buoy Impenetrable by light

Lastly, we’d like to thank Rip Current Brewing for hosting everyone and producing such amazing beers. As a parting gift, each attendee was gifted a bottle of Bourbon Wood Aged Old Man Ale. They hand bottled 332 of the 1st Anniversary brews. Cheers to Rip Current and their continued prosperity.

Cheers to Rip Current's 1st Anniversary

Cheers to Rip Current’s 1st Anniversary

 

-David E. and Manny O.

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.

Exponential Hoppiness 2013

photo (1)

22oz single serving

EH=PH^2. Most of my readers know that equation to Exponential Hoppiness. The biannual release is the most popular beer at Alpine Beer Co. and one of the most coveted. This year’s batch as compared to others seems a little more juicier. No big hop bite, but full of that grapefruity citrus hop flavor. The oak I think also plays a big role as compared to years past. Perhaps the result of extra conditioning time. Would reccomend. 10/10. Thought I missed the boat on Bad Boy this year. They had the nitro version on at the pub. I liked the regular CO2 version better. Also pictured is Token and Nitro BA Odins Raven (non-infected, and really good). I haven’t gotten any Pliny the Younger despite my efforts of tracking the releases, but Expo will do.

Awesome Alpine flight

Pliny the Younger – San Diego 2013

February is Younger season, the time of year that sees the release of the most anticipated beer made in America. This triple IPA is currently ranked #2 in the world according to beeradvocate.com. 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 and shed some of the craziness that goes along with a beer release like this. According to the sandiegobeerblog.com (@SDBeer on twitter) 19 places received kegs last year. This year I am not quite sure if that number will increase or drop. 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.

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

Toronado:  Got 4 kegs, all done. 1st two kegs will be tapped consecutively on Thursday 10:30am and you guys killed the first one in 50 minutes.  They announced another keg for Thursday at opening, 11:30. Another scheduled keg is supposed to be tapped Sunday the 17th at opening.

Hamiltons: Pliny going to be tapped 2/14/13 at opening, 3pm. No info yet if they will get another keg, they blew through two of them on the 14th.

O’Brien’s: 1st keg will go on Saturday, the 16th at 5pm. Second keg is being reserved for charity on Wednesday the 20th, which I believe is already sold out. Another keg is scheduled for March 1st at 11am.

Stone World Bistro & Gardens: Website currently lists a “Seasonal release” imperial IPA from Russian River available at 5pm, finishedA keg is confirmed for their beer and cigar dinner March 5th, 7pm. Info here . Cigar dinner sold out. They also put out another keg 2/21.

San Diego Brewing Co: Tapping their keg Saturday  Feb 23rd at 10am.

Neighborhood: Keg went on at 2:30pm 2/18 . Tweet  Hinted that they got another keg to be put on. Saw some checkins on 2/25

Pizza Port Carlsbad: Went on tap 2/22 at noon.

Pizza Port Ocean Beach: Went on tap 2/26

Pizza Port Solana Beach: No info yet.

Pizza Port San Clemente: Posted via twitter that they tapped it. Killed the keg in 2 hours (02/15/13).

Churchill’s: Confirmed via twitter that they got kegs. March 2nd will be the tapping coinciding with Renaissance March 2nd. Tap list is crazy. I hope to be there.

Blind Lady Ale House: March 10th 11am. Ticketed event. Tickets can be purchased March 1st 6pm here . $15 gets you .25L of Younger and Elder

Downtown Johnny Brown’s: Keg went on tap Friday 2/15/13 at 6:00pm. Confirmation tweet

Encinitas Ale House: 2/25 at 4pm. Members of their “80 beers in 80 days” will be allowed first crack. Info here.

El Take it Easy: No info yet.

Tap Room: Will have two tappings: 2/25 at 11am and 3/4 at 5pm. Limiting to one serving per customer. More info can be found on their website

Urge Gastropub: Tapping on 2/21 5pm along with a number of other IPA’s.  Confirmation tweet

Tiger!Tiger!: Saturday March 9th 11am. Tickets go on sale here on March 1st 5pm. $12 gets you a .4L glass of Younger.

Breakwater Brewing: Breakwater posted via twitter that they got a keg. Scheduled for 2/21/13 4:30pm.

Eleven: Got sold, I say no kegs this year for them.

Livewire: Tapped a keg 2/24 at 1:00pm

Newport Pizza and Alehouse: No info yet

Thats it. With Eleven being sold, I would not be surprised to see a keg surface at either Small Bar or Monkey Paw.

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.

Updated 03/1/13 at 12:37pm

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.

photo
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.

Craft Beer on a Budget

Here’s a list of deals I’ve found around town to grab a great beer at an even better price.

Everyday:

OB Noodle House
2218 Cable St, Ocean Beach

Happy Hour 3p-6p: 1/2 off all taps

11a-5p: $1 beer special

This Vietnamese place in OB specializes in Pho, but backed by an awesome beer list. $1 daily specials on beer is excellent ($4 pitchers?!) make this an easy spot to check out especially on a rainy day where some Pho hits the spot.

Monday:

Toronado
4026 30th St, North Park

$3 local pints (all day)

This special is really great if your trying out some local beer, as they are one of the only places to have Alpine on tap. Maybe the best beer bar in town, and with this special, makes it hard to miss.

Wednesday:

KnB Wine Cellars
6380 Del Cerro Blvd, Del Cerro

$3 beer (all day)

This Wednesday deal makes it quite the popular hang out nearby SDSU. They heavily discount most of their beer offerings to just $3. You will find some premium beers discounted to $5, but you will find they are normally priced at $8 or higher. Great bottle shop attached as well with a wide selection on beer, wine, and liquor as high as the ceilings.

Thursday

Local Habit
3827 5th Ave, Hillcrest

$2+ Progressive cask ($2 from 4:30-5:30) +$1 every hour after that to a max of $4

Local Habit is one of the newer bars to open up in San Diego, but they have made waves with their beer dinners and focus on locally sustainable food. This is a great deal for the after work beer, and just an excuse to get the weekend started a little early.

Friday:

Blind Lady Ale House
3416 Adams Ave, University Heights

$2 cask (11a-2p)

Every week Blind Lady will tweet out their cask offering for friday. They open at 11am,and get there early as you will find the cask killed before 2pm. Recent beers have included Green Flash 30th Pale Ale, Sierra Nevada Celebration, and Hangar 24 Pale Ale. Named in Draft Magazine’s 100 best beer bars, you will not be disappointed.

Karl Strauss Brewing
Multiple locations

$8 1/2 gallon growler fills

Karl Strauss puts out a growler “code” on their Twitter or Facebook to get any growler fill for just $8. Doing the math, it comes to just $2 a pint, and when you can get some good/strong beer like Off the Rails, or their Imperial Russian Stout, the deal is really worth it.

There are many more local deals around town, and I suggest to check out WestCoasterSD.com as well as KingofHappyHour.com for other great deals. You don’t have to sacrifice your wallet to enjoy great beer.

Cheers,
Manny O.

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)

Airdales’ Closing and San Diego Craft Beer Market Saturation

The news this morning that Airdale Brewing Company has gone belly up and closing its’ doors has some people talking about the San Diego craft beer market and if we have hit a saturation point and if we are to see more breweries close shop.

Airdale Brewing, founded in 2008, ran its production up to an estimated 1,200 barrels in 2011 according to Peter Rowe of the Union Tribune. With a portfolio of seven different beers and being a mostly draught only company, “The Angry Panda” was its’ only bottled beer. Production levels for Airdale puts it about equal to Alpine, Lightning, and Manzanita Brewing. While these breweries are looking to expand and Lightning just having secured distribution through Stone, things looking to be going well for these three.

I do not know the story behind Airdales’ closing and can only speculate. According to Taphunter, an already 14 breweries are in planning or have opened up this year. What it means to the new comers to the market? I do not know, but to survive, it will have to be backed up by quality. San Diego is full of award winning breweries and it is a tough market to enter, but I do not think we have hit a saturation point. A bubble may be in the future, but as long as San Diego keeps being the leader in awesome beer, there will be room to grow.

More to come.

Cheers!

Manny O. (the younger)

Beer Review: Alpine Hoppy Birthday

Released 1/17/2012, reviewed on 1/19/12. 1/2 gallon growler picked up at the brewery.

Appearance: Super pale gold/yellow. Only a tad darker than your standard blonde/golden ale.  Head retention is great, but small to begin with.

Smell: Deep citrus: mango, pineapple, some apricot notes. Definitely hop forward.

Taste: Big dose of American and west coast style hops. Juice flavors rounded by a piney-like sharp finish. Finishes very dry, little to no malt backbone, only providing a slick and crisp flavor. Malt is of light biscuits.

Overall: Hoppy, crisp, dry, juicy. As an american pale ale, it hits all of its strides in being very light, crisp, and refreshing brew packed with serious hop flavor. Perfect session beer. A+. Get it while you can.

Cheers,

Manny O