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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

San Diego 2012 - Part VI: Let's Wrap This Shit Up!

OK, even I think this epic trek to San Diego is taking forever to wrap up.  So, what do you say we end it?  Ready?

We're at Monday, June 18th, and its time for our daily visit to Pizza Port OB.  Today, we're enjoying the $3 Pint of the Dizzle, which happens to be the tasty yet sessionable Longfin Lager by Ballast Point.  This is one of those simple yet poundable session beers that you can drink all day at an outside party. 

After a quick beer, we headed over to Toronado, the kinder, gentler southern California counterpart to the more gruff, original San Francisco location.  We bellied up to the bar, perused the tap list, and made our selections.  I went with Bear Republic Double Apex, while Brewslut opted for Maui's Hawaii 90.  Immediately, we were pegged as "not locals" by the friendly bartender.  Perplexed, we asked how he deduced this phenomenon.  He informed us that most regulars order Alpine beers, and most other Californians will tend to go with Pliny the Elder.  I kindly retorted with, "Well, we just visited Alpine yesterday, and just had Pliny at O'Brien's* before that."  With such a great, varied tap list, we decided to have seconds, so we went with New Belgium Vrienden (sour collaboration with Allagash) and Port Older Viscosity, the latter of which I enjoyed, but not quite as much as I was anticipating.  It's definitely not for the faint of heart!  At any rate, being out-of-towners definitely paid off, because not only was it happy hour, but the bartender also comped our first round as a "welcome" to San Diego.  A nice gesture, indeed!

Chillin' in front of Toronado
*Editor's Note: I somehow neglected to mention our visit to O'Brien's, one of the premier beer bars in San Diego and coincidentally the hoppiest place on earth.  Regardless, the place is awesome and always worth a visit.  I must have been too busy basking in the hops to have bothered to jot down what we were drinking.  Well, it was Russian River's most excellent Pliny the Elder.

After a pleasant experience at Toronado, it was off to a brand new brewpub called Monkey Paw.  Upon entering, it was clear that they weren't monkeying around.  OK, that was a bad pun.  This place is adorned with all that is monkey.  If you don't believe me, check out some cool Brewslut approved pics below.  This time, we decided to share a sampler tray, which included the following house beers: Rich Man's DIPA, Monkey Stones American Black Lager, Pineapple Express Extra Pale Ale, and  Bekantan Farmhouse Saison, the latter of which was a collaboration with Stillwater Brewing Co.  The beers were commendable, although the one that stood out was the Pineapple Express, simply due to the beer's uniqueness. 

Monkey Paw was definitely Pleeps' favorite place of the trip!

Clever chalk artwork @ Monkey Paw

More cool chalk artwork @ Monkey Paw
 After monkeying around at Monkey Paw, we headed over to Coronado Island to meet up with Dano, Andy and Tony (two of Dano's co-workers) at Coronado Brewing Company, where we enjoyed the delicious Idiot IPA and Coffee Stout.  If you read my previous San Diego blog, you may remember that during our last visit, they were plumb out of Idiot IPA, much to the chagrin of this beer geek.  Nevertheless, it is always an enjoyable visit, especially since Dano is a mugger there and knows just about everyone.  So this time, I was happy to imbibe in idiocy of Idiot IPA.  It is an often overlooked West Coast DIPA in the grand scheme of things, but I think it stands up with the best of them. 

The next day, we headed down to South Beach again for Taco Tuesday and Sculpin.  Taco Tuesday rules because all of the tacos (save for the lobster tacos) are $2.75 each.  They also have a great happy hour with cheap drafts daily.  Brewslut went with a Port F.N.G. Pale Ale this time around.  Tasty as always.  South Beach will always be a San Diego staple for us. 

Next up was an amazing visit to The Lost Abbey, Port Brewing's Belgian-style offshoot brewery.  We were definitely both excited to get back here after having only visited one other time during our inaugural trip to San Diego.  As with AleSmith, Green Flash and Ballast Point, The Lost Abbey also boasted a newly expanded Tasting Room, and we were happy to indulge.  We started off with a pair of typical brews: Serpent Stout and Dark English Mild.  We followed these up with Mo' Betta Bretta, a sour collaboration beer brewed in conjunction with New Belgium.

However, the highlight of this particular trip (and Brewslut's favorite beer of the trip), was enjoying a bottle of the extremely rare Box Set series beer called "Track 6: Highway to Hell."  Despite being a 375ml bottle, these were extremely limited and only available for purchase and consumption at the brewery.  Also, each "Track" is limited to 450 bottles.  So, we were indeed lucky to get our hands on one of these bottles!  Described as "Deliverance in reverse – Brandy barrel-aged Serpent’s Stout blended with bourbon barrel-aged Angel’s Share," this beer was a powerhouse.  Brewslut is still upset that we couldn't bring this back home with us.

...and he's going dooooown!  Pleeps is on a Highway to Hell!!!
Oh yeah, they also had a "hidden" tap, which happened to be Bourbon Barrel-aged Angel's Share, so I had to have one of those too, right?  Right!  By the way, the reason I discovered this "hidden" beer was due to the fact that I counted the tap handles and then counted the beers listed on the chalkboard.  Noticing this discrepancy, I asked the bartender if something new had just gone on.  He said, "No, but that's Bourbon Barrel-aged Angel's Share.  We just don't have it listed.  Do you want one?"  Um, yes sir, please!

Bon Scott's remains are hidden in one of these barrels!
Since I discussed the tour in some detail last time, I will spare you most of the details.  So fast-forwarding to the end of the tour, we were able to sample four of Stone's flagship beers: Levitation, Smoked Porter, IPA and Arrogant Bastard.  Afterwards, we stuck around for dinner and enjoyed a tasty ceviche appetizer and almond-crusted tilapia as our entrees.  We paired our meals with double dry-hopped Sublimely Self Righteous and Saison du Buff, two very different (but tasty nevertheless) beers. 

Yum, yum, gimme some!
Unfortunately, our visit to Stone was cut a bit short, because we had to head back down to Coronado to pick up Dano, who was experiencing car trouble.  Now, the average beer novice or even intermediate drinker would have been on his or her knees by now.  But not the Pour Travelers, for we were back at Coronado for a second time in two days. While we were there, I tried their new Frog's Breath IPA and Brewslut had another Coffee Stout.  I mean, we were there, right?  But it doesn't end there, either.

Yup, you guessed it... it was back to old reliable, Pizza Port OB for pints of California Honey and Jetty IPA, the latter of which was my "Sunshine Pils" of the trip (ie: my go-to, or fridge, beer).  Tasty stuff for sure!  And with that, we cap off another momentous day of beer hunting.

On Wednesday, we tried going to Mission but were foiled by a Padres home game.  And again we find baseball ruining our plans.  With the downtown area in clusterfuck mode, we bolted as quickly as possible and went to the Ballast Point homebrew shop.  To our surprise, Dorado had just been released for the first time in a few years!  This was the beer responsible for getting Brewslut into hops.  Thank God!  We enjoyed samples of this liquid grapefruit and also purchased a bomber for consumption at home.  I wanted to send this back, but couldn't resist cracking it open back at Dano's due to the freshness of the bottle.  In addition to the Dorado, we also samples Barrel-aged Piper Down, Ginger Big Eye/Black Marlin blend and Tongue Buckler.  I also picked up a cool Victory at Sea T-shirt, which is perhaps my very favorite of all Ballast Point's amazing beers.

After a nice visit to Ballast Point, we headed over to the brand new Rough Draft Brewing Company.  Just opened in March 2012, Rough Draft boasted a comfortable, spacious tasting room and ample bar area.  They definitely have room to grow, too.  We settled on a sampler again, which featured the following cleverly-named beers: Eraser IPA, Frontal LaBottleMe IPA, Hop Therapy DIPA, and Freudian Sip Strong Ale.  Brewslut opted for the three following samplers: Rye Ale, Belgian Vanilla Stout, and the Hop Therapy DIPA.  The beers were all pretty solid, though nothing really stood out or was that memorable.  Still, this place has tons of potential and we will definitely come back next time.

Inside Rough Draft's tasting room
After Rough Draft, we settled on Rock Bottom (yeah, yeah, I know... it's a chain), but you know what?  Their beers are almost always solid and they are pretty consistent from location to location (we've been to several across the country).  Best of all, they have a pretty bangin' Happy Hour.  So, we snacked on a chicken quesadilla and chicken BBQ pizza and washed them down with Hop Bomb DIPA and a Kolsch.  The Hop Bomb was quite commendable, I must say. 

Afterwards, we checked in for our daily Pizza Port OB visit.  This time, I enjoyed a Port Mongo DIPA and Brewslut went lighter with a PP Hawaiian Hefe. 

Back at Dano's, we watched an excellent documentary on Wesley Willis and shared a bottle of Firestone Walker Wookey Jack I picked up at Olive Tree Marketplace earlier.  Without going into too many details, Wesley Willis was an artist and musician from Chicago who was also a chronic schizophrenic.  (Click on the link above... he was a really interesting person.  Plus his music is hilarious!)

OK, so I failed to finish this bitch tonight.  Stay tuned for the final four days of this jaunt!

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