Wednesday, September 5, 2012

San Diego: The Mecca of Beer

In Russia, there is a saying, "There is no such thing as 'too much vodka' -- either there is none or not enough." Similarly, for San Diego, this translates into: there is no such thing as too much craft beer.

I agree with the Alesmith founder, who says that beer can be just as complex as wine, and nobody ever complained about the countless wine brands.

With over 40 breweries and counting, let's make San Diego the beer capital of America!

With a total of 17 medals wins from the 2010's Great American Beer Festival, San Diego County is proving to the rest of the country that it is a major player in the beer game. (By comparison, the whole state of Colorado took 45 medals, California 39, and Oregon 22.) Also awards include small brewery of the year, 2007: The Lost Abbey, and large brewpub of the year 2009: Pizza Port Carlsbad. San Diego’s local homebrewing club, the Quality Ale Fermentation Fraternity has been named “Home Brew Club of the Year” by the American Homebrewers Association going on three years now. Many hail San Diego as a dignified beer mecca, and it should definitely be included in any beer-centric road trip.

Most popular brews in San Diego are definitely the hoppy IPA's, IIPA's. My favorite IPA is Alesmith, Lagunitas, and Dogfish Head 90 Minute; but I also love the belgians, such as Van Steenberge's Piraat, which won Gold in the Belgian-Style Pale Strong Ale category (out of 33 beers)

Some of the most popular SD Breweries:
  1. Stone Brewing Co.
  2. Ballast Point
  3. The Lost Abbey/Mission
  4. AleSmith
  5. Green Flash
  6. Pizza Port
  7. Karl Strauss
2012 Beer World Cup was held in San Diego:

Pizza Port Ocean Beach won three awards; Pizza Port Carlsbad, Lost Abbey, AleSmith, Green Flash, and Karl Strauss all took two apiece; Alpine, Manzanita and Rock Bottom La Jolla one each, for a total of 5 Gold, 3 Silver, 8 Bronze Medals. In comparison, Portland, OR, only had 1 Gold Medal.

Category 8: Coffee Beer, 56 Entries
Gold: Bacon and Eggs Breakfast Coffee Imperial Porter, Pizza Port Ocean Beach, San Diego, CA

Category 56: French- & Belgian-Style Saison, 44 Entries
Gold: Carnevale, The Lost Abbey, San Marcos, CA

Category 73: English-Style Brown Ale, 30 Entries
Gold: Longboard Brown Ale, Rock Bottom La Jolla, La Jolla, CA

Category 82: Irish-Style Red Ale, 31 Entries
Gold: Red Trolley Ale, Karl Strauss Brewing Co., San Diego, CA

Category 89: Imperial India Pale Ale, 93 Entries
Gold: Poor Man’s IPA, Pizza Port Carlsbad, Carlsbad, CA
Bronze: Palate Wrecker, Green Flash Brewing Co., San Diego, CA

Category 64: Belgian-Style Dark Strong Ale, 41 Entries
Silver: Two Tortugas Belgian Quad, Karl Strauss Brewing Co., San Diego, CA

Category 80: Old Ale or Strong Ale, 51 Entries
Silver: AleSmith Decadence 2010 Old Ale, AleSmith Brewing Co., San Diego, CA

Category 93: American-Style Black Ale, 49 Entries
Silver: Tarantulas 2.0, Pizza Port Ocean Beach, San Diego, CA

Category 81: Barley Wine-Style Ale, 62 Entries
Bronze: Old Numbskull, AleSmith Brewing Co., San Diego, CA

Category 92: American-Style Brown Ale, 47 Entries
Bronze: Great American Brown, Pizza Port Carlsbad, Carlsbad, CA

Category 17: American-Belgo-Style Ale, 48 Entries
Bronze: Le Freak, Green Flash Brewing Co., San Diego, CA

Category 57: Belgian- and French-Style Ale, 22 Entries
Bronze: Gift of the Magi, The Lost Abbey, San Marcos, CA

Category 94: American-Style Stout, 34 Entries
Bronze: Achievement Beyond Life’s Experiences American Stout Brit Antrim Benefit Beer, 
Pizza Port Ocean Beach, San Diego, CA

Category 7: Chocolate Beer, 34 Entries
Bronze: Odin’s Raven, Alpine Beer Co., Alpine, CA

Category 14: Experimental Beer, 42 Entries
Bronze: Where There’s Smoke..., Manzanita Brewing Co., Santee, CA

Other notables and "to try":

Category 63: Belgian-Style Pale Strong Ale, 33 Entries
*Gold: Piraat, Van Steenberge, Ertvelde, Belgium
Silver: Thor’s Hammer, Bastone Brewery, Royal Oak, MI
Bronze: Prisoner of Hell, Dock Street Brewery, Philadelphia, PA

Category 51: South German-Style Hefeweizen/Hefeweissbier, 85 Entries
*Silver: Baltika N°8 Wheat, Baltika Breweries, St. Petersburg, Russian Federation

Category 18: American-Style Sour Ale, 14 Entries
*Bronze: Supplication, Russian River Brewing Co., Santa Rosa, CA

Category 61: Belgian-Style Dubbel, 39 Entries
Gold: Leffe Brown, AB InBev, New York, NY
Bronze: Ovila Dubbel, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Chico, CA

Category 55: Belgian-Style Witbier, 50 Entries
Gold: Allagash White, Allagash Brewing Co., Portland, ME
Silver: Hoegaarden, Hoegaarden Brewery, New York, NY

Category 58: Belgian-Style Blonde Ale or Pale Ale, 32 Entries
Gold: Ommegang Rare Vos, Brewery Ommegang, Cooperstown, NY
Silver: Leffe Blonde, AB InBev, New York, NY
Bronze: Troubadour Blond, Brouwerij The Musketeers, Ursel, Belgium

Category 59: Belgian-Style Sour Ale, 27 Entries
Gold: Oude Geuze Boon, Brouwerij Frank Boon, Lembeek, Belgium
Silver: Oude Kriek Oud Beersel, Oud Beersel, Beersel, Belgium
Bronze: Fifth Element Vintage 2011, Squatters Pub Brewery, Salt Lake City, UT

Category 86: American-Style Pale Ale, 84 Entries
Gold: Pale 31, Firestone Walker Brewing Co., Paso Robles, CA
Silver: Mission Street Pale, Firestone Walker Brewing Co., Paso Robles, CA

Category 21: Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Beer, 91 Entries
Gold: Samuel Adams Utopias 2011, The Boston Beer Co., Boston, MA

Category 47: Australasian-Style Pale Ale or International-Style Pale Ale, 22 Entries
Gold: 805 IPA, Firestone Walker Brewing Co., Paso Robles, CA

Category 87: American-Style Strong Pale Ale, 82 Entries
Bronze: Alaskan IPA, Alaskan Brewing Co., Juneau, AK

Category 77: Oatmeal Stout, 49 Entries
Silver: Stumblers Stout, Columbia River Brewing Co., Portland, OR
Bronze: Alaskan Oatmeal Stout, Alaskan Brewing Co., Juneau, AK

Category 22: Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Stout, 58 Entries
Gold: Barrel Aged BORIS The Crusher Oatmeal-Imperial Stout, Hoppin’ Frog Brewing Co., Akron, OH
Silver: Great Grandfather Raven, Black Raven Brewing Co., Redmond, WA
Bronze: The Event Horizon, Olde Hickory Brewery, Hickory, NC

Category 62: Belgian-Style Tripel, 57 Entries
Gold: Westmalle Trappist Tripel, Westmalle Trappist Brewery, Westmalle, Belgium
Silver: Nectar des Dieux, Bastone Brewery, Royal Oak, MI
Bronze: Steenbrugge Tripel, Palm Breweries, Steenhuffel, Belgium

Category 64: Belgian-Style Dark Strong Ale, 41 Entries
Gold: Batch 333: The Velvet Fog, Sun King Brewing Co., Indianapolis, IN
Silver: Two Tortugas Belgian Quad, Karl Strauss Brewing Co., San Diego, CA
Bronze: Grand Prestige, Hertog Jan Brouwerij, Arcen, Netherlands

Category 65: Other Belgian-Style Ale, 41 Entries
Gold: Seef, Antwerpse Brouw Compagnie, Hove, Belgium
Silver: Gauloise Amber, Brasserie du Bocq, Purnode, Belgium
Bronze: Rhinoceros, Telegraph Brewing Co., Santa Barbara, CA

Category 14: Experimental Beer, 42 Entries
Gold: Petit Obscura, Telegraph Brewing Co., Santa Barbara, CA
Silver: Noble Rot, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton, DE