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

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Alpine Beer Co Newsletter: To Bodly Brew Where No Brew Has Gone Before

Just a copy/paste of Alpine’s recent newsletter. News that Expo will no longer be released in growlers, possibly bottles as well. Chex Moneiux also set for a release… ready for it? tomorrow.

“Since it has been too long since I’ve disrupted your life and “made” you buy good beer, it’s now time to turn up the heat and really get you all shook up. We have four beers to tell you about and some changes on how we announce our releases.

On tap, right now, at the pub and brewery for pints, pitchers, and growler fills, are “Bad Boy,” “Odin’s Raven” and “O’Brien’s IPA.” All are fresh and really good, since we brewed them for the upcoming “World Beer Cup.” If you are new to our lineup, here are just the facts, ma’am. “Bad Boy” is our other double IPA weighing in at 9.25% abv and it uses hops that weren’t around when our original double IPA, “Pure Hoppiness,” came out. “Odin’s Raven” is an Imperial Chocolate Stout that’s 10% abv and chalked full of roasty, chocolatey goodness as we use real Hershey’s Chocolate in abundance in this fine brew. “O’Brien’s IPA” is our Gold Medal winning Strong Pale Ale in the World Beer Cup beer that’s sure to put a smile on the face of any hophead. “O’Brien’s IPA” is 6.2% abv dryhopped-like-an-IPA pale ale that’s balanced with a sweet malt backbone.

On Wednesday, February 29th, bottles of “Chez Monieux” will go on sale. Limits on bottles will be enforced to a maximum of 4 bottles per person per day. If we suspect you are a retailer buying for resale, you will be denied sale, period. Since I don’t get out much, going to Belgium and concentrating of “Belgian Kreik” as a style to perfect was a big deal. I put my entire brewing prowess to work on making this edition one for the ages. We used very tart Balaton Cherries to infuse this sour, tart elixir into a beer we’re very proud of. Chez Monieux” is 7% abv and comes in a 750 ml Belgian style bottle for $23.95 plus tax and crv.

You have seen your very last growler of “Exponential Hoppiness” ever to be dispensed. http://www.ebay.com/csc/i.html?_from=R40&_sacat=0&_nkw=exponential+hoppiness&LH_Complete=1&rt=nc

Since I previously stated if I ever saw a growler of “Exponential Hoppiness” for sale on ebay there would never be another growler sold again. Don’t blame me, but you can see who to blame on the above link. As for bottles of “Expo” on ebay, I’m seriously considering never bottling it again. This is not just a personal issue, it’s illegal. The fact that people drove down from LA to make a quick buck and denying the locals the chance to buy some is also just plain wrong.

So, you can see the timing of the releases listed above. The first two beers were released last week, the next comes out today and the last one comes out tomorrow. That is the most advanced notice you ever receive. Our little operation is focused on supplying the local market with fine beer. If you live in the area you can now get first crack at our releases before they can drive in from points unknown. That’s the best I can do for you, my loyal locals.

Pub Specials every Friday and Saturday night, after 5 pm. Guest beers include “Le Freak” from Green Flash Brewing and “The Pope” from Hollister Brewing in Goleta. Pub hours 11am –10pm weekdays and 11 am – 12 pm weekends, 12am – 9 pm Sunday, closed Mondays, all of them. Brewery hours Tuesday – Saturday 12 am – 6 pm. 619-445-2337 (BEER). Closed Sunday and Monday.”

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!

Stone Winter Storm 2012

The new tradition of heading over to Stone Brewing Company before the Superbowl took its second anniversary for us beer geeks. We met up with a lot of our twitter friends: Cesar, Ken, Tony, Dante, and even got to meet Becker of @beckerink (sorry if I was awkward. It’s not you, its me). While it did take a while for the bartenders to get to us, the reward was well worth the wait. Ended up doing two flights of 4 beers (each 4oz) to split between my dad and I. Should have eaten before as didn’t purchase a beer below 8% ABV.

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We started off the way of the stout and went with the Barrel Aged 12th Anniversary Bitter Oatmeal Stout, 2008 Barrel Aged Imperial Russian Stout, 2002 Imperial Russian Stout, and 15th Anniversary Double Dry “Hopped” with Espresso Beans. All were fantastic. I found the 2002 to be overly oxidized and well past its prime, the 15th was excellent with the roasty espresso really playing nicely with the hopped up Black IPA. 12th Anniversary Stout was nice, maybe I was expecting more, but well off, and the 2008 Barrel Aged Stout? Well maybe my favorite Stone beer that they make. Needless to say after these four, the buzz was coming.

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Second flight went towards the strong ale/barley wine route: 2008 Old Guardian aged in Red Wine Barrels, 2006 Double Bastard aged in Brandy Barrels, Stonewall, and 8th Anniversary. Pictured below (one is missing), all these were pretty amazing. Liked the Double Bastard over the Old Guardian, but only by a tad. Stonewall, Stones’ strongest beer to date, is tasting pretty good right now, and I likely wouldn’t be holding onto it much longer if you happen to have it. The 8th Anniversary was a new one entirely for me, brewed by Lee Chase, and it has held up nicely for an Imperialized Mild (sounds like a weird style right?).

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Our gracious friends had offered some samples out of bottles like Sawyers Triple and StoneWall, so we contributed with a 2007 Imperial Russian Stout. It blew most people away, and really tasting fabulous. Having had a 2008 version only a week prior, the 3-5 year range on these stouts is where I like them the most.

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Dad got a pic with Stone Greg (he said he’s retiring the “Greg Face”) . My dad is not letting it die.

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Some random people who wanted a pic. If you happen to be these people, let me know if you want the big uncompressed version

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Would just like to thank Stone Brewing for putting on this awesome event. Great beer on a beautiful sunday afternoon, and with the awesome company of people who I’ve gotten to meet over twitter and this site.

Cheers to Stone and great friends!

-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)

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