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What Was the Last Beer You Drank?


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The Abyss release party was this last Tuesday at Deschutes Brewery in Portland. Still easily my favorite beer.


Also, I love finding beer buried in the beer fridge that I forgot I had. It's like an early Christmas present. As I was adding my new bottles of 09 to the collection I found two bottles of Mirror Mirror. Aged for almost a year now I thought I'd crack one open and give her a taste.


WOW. This one seriously needs a year before it can be truly appreciated. Much better. I'll be saving the last bottle for at least another 6 months to a year.


2009 Mirror Mirror released early this year.


'07, '08, '09. Now that's a beautiful sight. I'm looking forward to the ultimate vertical tasting soon.

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This past week I was down in Orlando, and finally had the time to visit a lot of the places that weren't there yet when I lived in the area.


Another good pumpkin ale, though I prefer Southern Tier's Pumking or Weyerbacher's when it comes to Imperial Pumpkin Ales


After a stop at Knightly Spirits by Dr Phillips, I picked up Heavy Seas pumpkin ale


In addition to some Oktoberfest in Germany, I had to go with a Black and Tan in England


The next night was Epcot time


Even Marlon showed up for some pumpkin ale. We were all happy to hear that they're going to start doing a new beer release every month here, instead of just once a season. Just another reason to go back to Disney!


I also tried the Steamboat Pale Ale, which wasn't bad at all.


Andrew joined me and also went with the pumpkin


Again I was happy to hear they had their Spiced Pumpkin Ale on tap. A little more spiciness than I like, but still good stuff


Time to return to Big River Brewing!


The next night it was off the Disney's Boardwalk, which can only mean one thing...


I just love me a spicy salmon roll and some mango roll


Though they don't serve food at the House of Beer, there's plenty of other places to eat nearby, like sushi!


I found being able to relax as it cooled down out by the fire a nice change of pace, definitely setting the vacation mode


I went with the Cigar City Hunahpu's Imperial Stout which was just delicious with lots of chocolate notes, vanilla, cinnamon, and a hint of chili


And a sweet tap selection of microbrews and international delights


Pretty laid back vibe with some comfy sofas and such in an adjoining room


Just recently opened in Orlando closer to the Kissimmee area is the House of Beer, a sweet beer bar in an upscale town center area


The unfiltered Olde Pelican was my favorite of them all, though the Blackwater porter was really good too


for round 2 I went with the Olde Pelican as well as the porter and stouts


The Doble IPA was my favorite of the bunch, as it had a nice sweetness and hop cling


I stuck to samplers, like this one featuring 3 different IPAs and the Miami Weiss


A look at their current selection


I just missed the tour, but was happy to have the tasting room pretty much to myself to watch the Gators game


Later that night I stopped by Orlando Brewing Partners, located not too far off I-4 in the Orlando proper area


Colin had a beer too! A root beer that is


I was happy to hear the Pumpkin Ale was on tap. A nice balance of spices and beer notes


The first stop was a BJ's located in the Millenia area

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Last weekend I headed out to Southern California for what seems to now be an annual event for me, the San Diego Strong Ale Festival. Of course, Disneyland for the holidays and some Magic Mountain for the new credit had to be included, but that isn't necessary to post or talk about here. Instead, here's me and my SoCal posse enjoying some of the finer points of the region!


But first....a layover in Denver, which is yet another awesome town for beer. So awesome, in fact, that the airport alone has a brewpub in each of the 4 areas, Boulder Beer Co in the main concourse (covered by me back in January 09), Denver Chophouse and Brewery in the A terminal, New Belgium in the B terminal, and Rock Bottom in C terminal. Let's check those out while we're here!


and to end the night, I grabbed a Ballast Point Victory at Sea, which Wagner also approved of


My pulled pork sandwich with hush puppies was just what I needed, even though I still like the combo at Pierce's Pit better.


Ribs are good. Girlfriends with sharp knives, not so much


Us guys all decided on the Alesmith IPA. (actually, I decided on it, they all enjoyed a taste, and ordered their own, but that's just minor technicalities)


This BBQ place has a penchant for good beer


After arriving in California and some time at Disneyland, it was off to Seal Beach to visit Beachwood BBQ for a late dinner


I went with the Dortmunder Lager. Not nearly as good as Great Lakes version


1.5 hours before my flight, plenty of time to check out the Denver Chophouse's chapter of airport brewpubs


Having worked on Thanksgiving, I was only too happy to enjoy a Thanksgiving turkey and cranberry sandwich and some sweet potato fries here with my Fat Tire. The food was really good, I'm surprised they don't add a brewpub to the real brewery in Fort Collins


I think there's a law that you must have Fat Tire when in Denver, especially when you're at the New Belgium brewpub


you can watch the smaller planes from the comfort of your brewpub chair


it was 10 degrees outside that day, so I felt a darker ale like 1554 was needed. Well received!


Even the tables were New Belgium inspired.


But a very nice little place


In the B terminal is the New Belgium brewpub, which is simply awesome. Too bad it's all the way down by the commuter flights


It's lunchtime where I flew from, so let's enjoy a 16th Street Wheat. Nothing too amazing, but it did have some coriander and clove notes


as fate would have it, my arrival gate and departing gate in Denver were the same gate just 4 hours apart, located right next to Rock Bottom

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Friday and Saturday was the Strong Ale Festival. This year I managed to sign up early enough to be able to do the VIP session on Friday. It had a limited number of tickets meaning less crowds, an extra 14 rarer beers, and was only $10 more. The total list this year was a lot less than last years, 84 total compared to 102 last year, but it was still all great stuff!


both were amazing! I should have read the sign better though, because after 3 Melange #3s, I was feeling it! That 17% was hidden quite well


Friday was special because both a firkin of Two Turtle Doves and some Melange #3 were on tap


A look at all the stuff they offer on tap when they're opened for tastings on Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons


Lots of barrel aging going on in the tasting room


Magic brewing


A few hours in traffic later I found myself back up in Orange County to visit The Bruery in Placentia


and I ended my drinking session with some Hopsquatch barleywine from Four Peaks. A great barleywine, I can see why they keep winning awards with this


Deschutes Black Butte XXI had a good alcohol kick


don't forget to rinse and drink with plenty of Holy Water


I've got a few bottles of this at home still, but may as well enjoy some Russian River Consecration when it's on tap and there's no line!


another collaboration beer, Sierra Nevada's Empire Strikes Black brewed with the help of Tomme Arthur, Tom Nickel, and Jeff Bagby.


Barmy was a very interesting high alcohol apricot beer from Ballast Point


gotta eat some free pizza to stay sober, none of these beers are under 8%


Pizza Port San Clemente brought a barrel aged version of their InFamous chocolate imperial stout. Bourbon notes mixed well with the chocolate


Much easier to get around during the VIP session. Picture trying to get a beer through this, only with 5 times as many people! Well worth the $10


The Sierra Nevada/Dogfish Head collaboration beer Life and Limb was next. Good stuff with a nice sweetness


I pretty much stuck with the stuff on the VIP beer list since I knew it would be the first things to kick. First up was Barrel Aged Speedway Stout from Alesmith, fantastic!


Let's get ready to drink


The line for the VIP session entrance, which went fairly quickly since you just had to show ID and get a bracelet and your glass


Always a lovely thing to see, Pizza Port Carlsbad

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Four hour layover? You could have driven to New Belgium, done a flight, and come back in that time!


Although my beer drinking days have slowed, I can't wait to get back out there in March. I need some Pizza Port. I could have hung out there all night.

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^My layover was only supposed to be 2.5 hours, but I can't complain to Southwest about getting me to Denver 1.5 hours early, now can I? Not to worry, we'll have plenty of time at Pizza Port again soon!


The following day we were headed to SeaWorld in San Diego, but since we were going there specifically for the holiday stuff which wasn't until the end of the day, we had the early part of the day to enjoy on the way there....Derek style!


and to end the trip, Elissa will now attempt to steal my Jeremiah's Red Ale, as that is her favorite style. Feel free to send her lots of Shark Bite from Port Brewing (or any beer for that matter)


No, I'm not in the backseat of a car, I'm chilling out at BJ's by Magic Mountain for lunch, enjoying some PM Porter on nitro


and to end my Pizza Port experience for the year, Booya Steez double IPA!


Looks like Pizza Port is a hit with another group of friends


Hello Pizza Carlsbad, my artichoke covered favorite


I'd say Chris is enjoying himself, but it's food, of course he is!


One of the best things about Pizza Port, the beer buddies!


I was sad Swami wasn't on tap, but was fine with the Wipeout replacement


The current tap list


I like Carlsbad for its selection and room, but I love the location right above the Pacific and the surfer vibe of this one the most


Flash forward a few hours beyond a now gotta-buy-it-if-you-want-to-drink-it SeaWorld and we find ourselves at Pizza Port Solana Beach for dinner


They're in the midst of redesigning this location, and just recently added drawers to the merch area so you can get the goods yourself instead of having to ask them to search in the back. Woohoo!


and finally, their Oktoberfest, which was fairly buttery


and the Even Keel reminded me a lot of the East Coast more malty IPAs like HopDevil, and was VERY low in ABV!


I couldn't pass up my current favorite IPA, Sculpin, on tap


a look at the current tap list


Next on the list, Ballast Point another awesome San Diego brewery


New for me there was the SPA, Summer Pale Ale, which wasn't very pale, in fact, very hoppy and right up my alley!


The new tasting room was pretty cool, with lots of stuff on tap to choose from, and chilled bottles of their rarer stuff up for grabs as well. (But those we'll save for home consumption)


"In Brettanomyces, We Trust"


Lots of good things come from here still, some even carbonated! ;)


After visiting the new Stone, it's only appropriate that we visit the old Stone, now known as Port Brewing/The Lost Abbey


This would make a sweet tattoo, someone should get it! Oh wait...already been done.


maybe next time it'll be warm enough to sit outside by the fire bar


and a BLT and mac and cheese for the Alvarez's


BBQ duck tacos for me


Stefanie gets a huge honkin Buffalo burger


Onto the food, where Wagner again gets ribs


They really made this place look nice, lots of attention to detail


Stef is thinking way to Christmas-y already and orders some white hot chocolate


While both Chris and Wagner get ready to flight with Stones


Double Bastard 2009 will start the day off right for me


but I'm mainly interested in the beer menu to start!


Stef and Wagner seem to be really deep in thought over the menu


Even though he's not that into beer (he can't even finish one!), Chris seems to like it here


First on the agenda, lunch at Stone's World Bistro

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^ I can't recall the popular sandwich shop......they had pretty good selection of Bell's there if I recall.


And go to Boston's if you can. That guy had an amazing selection, and is immensely nice! He let us in three hours before they opened, and just let us pour our own stuff from the tap while he got ready for the dinner shift.

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