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San Diego Beer Week 2010

Okay, I have to admit I didn't do much for Beer Week, so I'm curious to hear what my fellow Chowhounders thought. My favorite beers from the week are as follows:

Green Flash Citra Sessions - a hoppy "American Pale Ale," but definitely tasted more like an IPA, good citrus aroma, and pretty bitter. I tried this on cask and on tap, and I preferred the tap version. For whatever reason, the cask version was more bitter on my palate. Not a must try, but a decent beer to drink over an evening.

Ballast Point Victory at Sea - Its a nitro porter (nitrogen is pumped into the tap during pouring, a la Guiness), aged in bourbon barrels, and mixed with Caffe Calabria coffee and vanilla. The nitro gave the beer a creamy texture, while the coffee, vanilla and dark malt was reminiscent of chocolate, with a high alcohol content (10%) to round everything out. It tasted kinda like chocolate milk, but the adult version. Definitely worth a try.

Allagash Interlude - I tried this one at Toronado on Saturday. Its a belgian style ale, in the best possible use of the term, where the brewers are playing around with various wine yeasts. The end result is a beer similar to Rodenbach, but less sour, and very complex. If you love Belgian beers, this is a beer worth drinking (and I happen to love this style of beer), but I can see it putting off some beer drinkers because it is so different.

So, what were your favorites? Is there anything I need to rush out and try immediately?

Toronado San Diego
4026 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104

Ballast Point Brewing Co
5401 Linda Vista Rd, San Diego, CA 92110

Green Flash
701 Thomas Ave, San Diego, CA 92109

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  1. I didn't do as much as I wanted either. I was out of town the opening weekend and missed the SDBG brew fest that I really enjoyed last year. Due to proximity to a corporate event I attended I wound up at the South Park Abbey on Friday, a relatively new beer bar in South Park. They specialize in Belgian's but had an Airdale special for beer week. I've had a couple of Airdale beers in the past and wasn't particularly impressed. But at SPA I was privileged to sit at the bar next to the brewer, Dave Lusk, and try a few Airdales while talking with Dave. Tasted the Homecoming, a spiced holiday porter which was very good. Also had the Bombshell, a Belgian style golden ale that was also impressive. Also tasted he Altitude American pale ale that wasn't particularly memorable but my tastebuds were fried by then. It was good to talk with the brewer and hear about Airdale's plans. Apparently they are virtual now, brewing up in Irvine, but looking for their own facility in SD. Dave lamented that being virtual really limits his creativity. I guess what I learned here is to keep an eye on Airdale as they appear to be off to a good start and have a lot of potential.

    South Park Abbey was also interesting. Kind of a divey place but they are committed to good beer and good food. They had two specials, one of which was a piece of pork belly served on a polenta cake with a sauce made from the Airdale porter. Very tasty and well presented. I'll definitely return to the Abbey.

    Extra double special bonus was that the Mariscos German truck was parked across the street. Based on everything I read on this board I had to stop and have a couple of fish tacos. I wasn't disappointed. The best I've ever had.

    Mariscos German truck
    Cable St and Santa Monica Ave, San Diego, CA

    1. Add my vote for Victory at Sea.

      Unfortunately, SDBW isn't very work-friendly (for me, at least)... can't go out drinking every night and expect to be functional all week. And what was up with Stone's rare beer breakfast? Friday morning? Damn near took the day off just to attend.

      Definitely look forward to hearing what other 'Hounds thought. Toronado still has some BW beers around, so they're worth a stop.

      1 Reply
      1. re: geekyfoodie

        Oh, I found Allagash Interlude at Super Junior's, but its expensive.

      2. I had a nice time during beer week but wished I could have gone to more events. My poor liver and wallet...

        The most surprisingly good beer I tried was the Tiny Bubbles by Hollister Brewing Co. A Gose-style beer finished with salt. Toronado had it on tap for HH before the Russian River event. Went nicely with my burger and is the only wheat-type beer I have enjoyed in years.

        The night of a million zillion speedways was a great event. I have been wanting to try the Speedway Stout made with Kopi Luwak coffee and it did not disappoint. The toasted coconut Speedway was another highlight of the event.

        Also really enjoyed my flight of Firestone Walker beers at BLAH on Sunday. The Union Jack and Double Jack are very good IPAs. Was happy to try Black Xantus so that I never have to try it again.

        Was sorry I didn't get a chance to hit Ballast Point. Managed some barrel-aged Victory at Sea at a bar outside of SD during beer week but the three-sheets event looked great.

        1 Reply
        1. re: JRSD

          Big second to Tiny Bubbles. Fantastic beer.

        2. Having indulged in Sea Rocket Bistro's prix fixe menu of three courses made of beer, accompanied with a beer pairing as well, my favorite was Karl Strauss' Vanilla Bean Imperial Porter.

          Stats:8.5% ABV
          A robust Imperial Porter, cask conditioned with fresh vanilla beans for a delicate complement to the beer’s espresso and dark chocolate flavors.

          It was rich and felt like dessert. I've had flashbacks about it ever since. And they're all favorable.

          Sea Rocket Bistro
          3382 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104

          1. I basically lived at Toronado during the event! I wished I would have hit more beer-pairing dinners though. The only one we made was the MIHO truck that had "pairings" at Ballast Point Linda Vista. I went to several other bars but didn't make any restaurant events because we had other stuff going on during the weekend. I skipped O'briens completely because of the crowds.

            My favorites were the Kern River Citra and Class X stouts, Hop Suey from Port Carlsbad, some of the Barrel Aged 3 Sheets, and Barrel Aged Victory at Sea.

            2 Replies
            1. re: MrKrispy

              That's really cool you liked the Citra from Kern River Brewery, I really enjoyed it too. I have hung out with Kyle since before he started brewing beer and I was amazed at the following down there. Guess I am not the only one that likes his beers! We came down and went to the Toranado, Obriens and Downtown Johnny Brown's. Beer week is on my list of things to do next year!

              Downtown Johnny Brown's
              1220 3rd Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

              1. re: MrKrispy

                I agree on Kern Citra and Class X but I wasn't that big of a fan of Hop Suey.

                Some of my other favorites were Kopi Luwak Speedway Stout, the coconut Speedway Stout, and the barrel aged Judgment Day. But man do I wish I would have gone to the O'Brien's Lost Abbey night for Yellow Bus, Veritas 007 and Angel's Share Grand Cru.

                The Lost Abbey
                155 Mata Way Suite 104, San Marcos, CA

              2. Can I buy any of these great beers in SD?
                Tiny Bubbles sounds delicious..
                I went to the Allagash brewery in Portland, Maine a couple of years ago and we loved their beer!
                My DH loves good beer and is there a tour in town that you all would recommend?

                6 Replies
                1. re: Beach Chick

                  many of the stuff that was hauled out during beer week is draft-only or only available in bottles for a very very short time. If you are truly a beach chick, check out Olive Tree Market in OB, they have a wonderful tasting room for beer and wine, and have a fantastic beer selection. The guy that runs the Tasting Room, Mike, is a great guy and will be happy to help you out.

                  If you think Tiny Bubbles sounds good, pick up a bottle of Bruery Hottenroth or a German import called 1809. Both are available at Olive Tree.

                  Here is a picture of the 1809 bottle so you know what to look for:

                  1. re: MrKrispy

                    Thanks Mr.Krispy, Josh and jmtreg!
                    Used to be a LJ Beach Chick until I built a house out on a golf course near Poway..
                    Can't wait to try the Bruery, Tiny Bubbles, and the 1809.
                    Tasting room at Olive Tree sounds fab too..

                  2. re: Beach Chick

                    The beer selection at Super Junior's Market is shockingly good. Like beervana good. Its on 7th between C and broadway.

                    1. re: jmtreg

                      Sunshine Liquor in Hillcrest is also shockingly good. If you like Super Jr. you should check it out.

                    2. re: Beach Chick

                      Due to proximity, Barons Marketplace in RB, Holiday Wine Cellar in Escondido, and Distiller's Outlet in Poway are my usual beer haunts. Barons is a surprising gem.

                      1. re: psychotron

                        Thanks so much psychotron..this is in my hood!

                    3. Mesa Liquors in Kearny Mesa, on Convoy, across from Yakitori Yakyudori Ramen is a great spot for local/craft beers.

                      Last week they had a nice selection of Alpine, Blind Pig, Pliny, Port Brewing, and a whole bunch of belgians.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: cookieshoes

                        I was there last Saturday. The only Alpine I could find were Duet and Nelson in the refrigerated section - was I missing something?

                        Definitely a good selection of Belgian beers. Sort of a "wow", really.

                        1. re: RB Hound

                          Those are the only ones you generally find at most stores that carry Alpine. Pure Hoppiness shows up occasionally, and sometimes the Stout.

                          Exponential Hoppiness is made 1-2 times a year, and select accounts get bottles now. It is pricey though, generally >$10 a bomber.

                          Unfortunately Alpine doesn't date the bottles and most of their beers are best very fresh.

                          1. re: MrKrispy

                            I'm not sure how old the Nelson I got was, but it tasted pretty darned good to me. :)