Neither skyrocketing temperatures, long distances nor traffic as far as the eye can see will stop your faithful beer scribe from tasting beer. Such was the case last Saturday when my chauffeur/beer companion Richard and I made the annual trek to San Marcos and the 14th edition of the Stone Brewing festival of wonderful craft beer.
We got wristbands that enabled us to sample ten beers and rounded the beer booths with precision. Without further ado, here is what I sampled and what you should be on the look out for:
1. Espresso Oak Aged Yeti from Great Divide Brewing in in Colorado.
First beer and the best beer. Great big coffee taste with lots of malt backbone.
2. Maui Cruiser from Maui Brewing in Hawaii
Golden yellow color with nice amount of citrusy hop bite.
3. 2nd Anniversary Belgian Caramel Apple from Hangar 24 Craft Brewery in Redlands
Strange flavor combo that almost works. Candi Sugar very prevalent.
4. Modus Hoperandi from Ska Brewing in Colorado
Dark amber in color. Good floral amount of hops. Nice to finally taste this breweries offerings at last.
5. Collette from Great Divide Brewing in Colorado
I love this brewery ever since my visit during GABF last year. This is a powerful saison that delivers.
6. Tumbler from Sierra Nevada in Chico
Pretty solid brown ale. Very malty without being sweet.
7. Rye IPA from Black Market Brewing in Temecula
Strong in alcohol and in hops. Could use some extra rye spice but this is a brewery to watch.
8-10. Stone Brewing (it’s their party, I should try their beer)
Russian Belgo Stout, Saison du Buff, Emperial 14 with Bodicea hops
I will have to forgo talking about the Belgo Stout because with the other beers still rumbling through my system that one was too much. The Saison was good but I should have tried the Victory Brewing version to compare. But the Cask version of the 14 with Bodicea hops was a creamsicle of a beer and a great way to end the day.
Your homework is to hit up a new brewery with whatever vacation time you have left. You can go north and check out Figueroa Mountain Brewing in Buellton or Mother Earth Brewing in Vista. Either way you go, please check out the locals and support the new kids on the block.
The beer of the week is a pale imitation of it’s former glory but it is a beer to try nonetheless. Pilsner Urquell is the standard bearer of golden lagers and in this time of triple digit temperatures, it is a great choice to cool down while the AC works it’s magic. It’s a lovely light with a good amount of carbonation to dance on the tongue.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.