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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

San Diego 2012 - Part V: No rest on the Seventh Day

You know, Sunday is an underrated day for drinking.  It's easily one of my favorite days to imbibe.  I guess you could say I pray at the altar of Ale and my prophets are Hops, Yeast and Barley.  But enough with the religious analogies, because this day we were off to one of my favorite and severely underrated breweries in all of California - Alpine Beer Company.  Nestled in the small town of Alpine, CA, about thirty miles northeast of San Diego, Alpine brews some serious IPAs... some of the best I've ever consumed, as a matter of fact.  Pure Hoppiness, Duet and Nelson are just three of the world-class hoppy beers concocted at Alpine.  The brewpub itself is a tiny establishment, with seating for perhaps forty people at the most.  Two doors down is the production brewery, which is equally as small.  We didn't get to visit the actual brewery this time, because they are closed on Sunday.  Also, our friend Cy had moved on from Alpine to a brand new brewpub at California Kabob called Amplified Aleworks, but more on that later.


This was our second visit to Alpine's brewpub (the first time was during last year's brief trip during our West Coast venture).  This time, the tap selection was equally impressive, with a whopping FOUR IPAs on draught: the aforementioned three IPAs plus a brand new offering, a DIPA named Bad Boy.  I opted for the Nelson first (one of my favorite beers of all time - an IPA hopped with nothing but the zesty Nelson Sauvin variety from New Zealand, the country's best export since Flight of the Conchords).  Following the pint of Nelson, I went with the Bad Boy and also Odin's Raven, a delicious bourbon barrel-aged Imperial Stout.  Brewslut opted for the Odin's Raven first, which promoted me to get my own snifter... yeah, it was THAT good!  She also tried the Captain Stout and the Chez Moneiux Kreik, the latter of which was the only clunker of the bunch.  For lunch, we both agreed that the Southwestern salad was the way to go.  With spring mix greens, black bean corn salsa, cheese and avocado served in a tortilla bowl and topped with chipotle ranch dressing, this proved to be a delicious (and filling) lunch. 

Pleeps lookin' cool and sharin' my Odin's Raven.
Our next stop on the itinerary was a new place called Manzanita Brewing Company in Santee, CA.  The brewpub itself is a fairly small and boxy yet modern-looking room with dim lighting.  We sat at a high-top table and got a round of beers.  I chose an American Pale Ale brewed with Cluster hops and cleverly named Cluster's Last Stand, while Brewslut opted for a light wheat ale called Riverwalk.  Since we spent quite some time at Alpine, we decided to go with a "one and done" approach.  The beers were pretty solid, but overall it wasn't one of the more memorable spots on the trip. 

Joking with Pleeps as he poses with the coaster at Manzanita.
After visiting Manzanita, we made a quick stop at Beverage For Less, a great liquor and bottle shop we discovered on our inaugural trip to San Diego.  I picked up several bottles to ship home for consumption and to share with my beer peeps, the most notable being a bomber of the Alaskan Brewing Co. Pilot Series named Birch Bock and brewed with birch syrup.  I can't wait to try that one!

Surf's up at Pizza Port OB!
 Up next was our daily visit to Pizza Port OB, where I sampled Foam Ball, an English style Pale Ale.  Then, it was up the street to the famous Newport Pizza and Ale House, where Brewslut and I enjoyed the amazing Firestone Walker Parabola, a delicious Russian Imperial Oatmeal Stout aged for eight months in circa 1990's Heaven Hill bourbon barrels.  Forget the snifter... this was so good that we enjoyed a full pint of this delectable treat.  Needless to say, after hitting three brewpubs and then offing a full pint of this bad boy, I was pretty wiped out for the time being.  We also happened to run into Cy, our brewer friend who we'd met through Dano on our first visit to San Diego.  We talked at the bar for a while, and I bought him a beer.  We were about to head out with Dano and Mags to an Ethiopian restaurant for dinner, so we made arrangements for Cy to tag along.  This was Brewslut's and my first foray into the world of African food, and let me tell you, it was well received!  The food is served family style, whereby your party orders several entrees which are served on a large communal plate atop of a spongy bread that is ripped apart and used to grab the various food items.  We found this to be a great concept, especially when dining with multiple people!  After our fantastic dinner, we headed across the street to Small Bar for a nightcap (aka another beer).  I ended the night with one of my favorite beers of the trip, Port Brewing's 6th Anniversary IPA. 


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The Pour Travelers thank you for reading about our beer travels!