Surprise! Free beer!

1 Jun

Well, folks, I’m back in San Diego. I have returned from Fargo up one sister-in-law and down a few bottles of homebrew. I was a bit sad to be out of San Diego for American Craft Beer Week and miss the events going on here, but I was pleasantly surprisedimage by what Fargo brought to the table. Before I got on a plane to head to the Midwest, conversations with my parents included a beer tasting at the local bottle shop, Happy Harry’s. My mind went to a vision of a folding table set up in the corner with a few bottles of beer being cracked open to support what ever sale was going to be put on for the week. Looking back, this is something I’m ashamed to admit. Happy Harry’s basically became a little beer fest. There were 10 tables set up through the store each hosting one or two craft breweries, and each brewery brought at least four varieties of their beer. Oh, did I mention it was free? Handing out generous tastes and having really good markdowns on the packages is a bit of a genius move on Happy Harry’s part, people were doing some serious shopping by the time we left, and our cart was no exception. Spending two hours drinking beer I don’t get access to out imagehere was a pretty great way to start my vacation. One table that really stood out for me was Tallgrass Beer out of Kansas. I was initially drawn to the fact that all of the beers are packaged in cans, and upon further inspection I saw the cans were kind of a funny size. Not a standard 12oz can, but not a huge tallboy either. Chatting with the brewery rep, I found out that the cans are pint sized. Heh. I tried three of their four beers: IPA, Buffalo Sweat Stout, and Oasis. For me, the Oasis was the one that came out the winner. The rep said it was a “double ESB slash IPA thing” which was a pretty accurate description. It had a strong bread-y malt character, and a nice balance with the hops that were on the earthy and spicy side, which worked really well with the malt. My dad liked the Buffalo Sweat, the sweet stout. No surprise there, my dad is a self-proclaimed porter man. One more point of note about Tallgrass Beer was the rep they had working for them, he was one of the best people to talk to at this event. A few of the other people representing breweries had that “wine snob” attitude that I’m really disappointed to see associated with craft beer. Fortunately, Tallgrass, Boulder Brewing, and Lucky Bucket had people there that really stood out as advocates for their brand.

On each trip to Fargo, I continue to be happily surprised by the growing craft beer scene there. I’m hoping that The Fargo Brewing Company will be up and running by my next trip home. I’m looking forward to see what F-town will add to the world of beer.

 

Guest Post: Bekah on Cider

20 May

For American Craft Beer Week I want to bring in another voice or two of women who enjoy beer in San Diego. Firstly, I bring to you my good friend Bekah. Bekah is a fashion maven and blogger, you can check her out at The Fashion Doll.

I never knew beer could be so booshy … that is until I met my dear friend Leah AKA the beer whisperer 😉 I was never really much of a beer drinker aside from the occasional Miller Lite at Super Bowl or Newcastle I ordered at a restaurant (insert laugh, go ahead and laugh, it’s ok) You can imagine my surprise when I realized all the flavors and intensities different types of beers were ready to offer me. By no means am I an expert, but I definitely think I’ve stepped up my game! I’m really into ciders right now … more specifically the Julian Hard Cider. I’ve had friends who ordered ciders from time to time, but I never
really paid much attention to trying them out. A few months ago on a shopping trip with my husband to Costco, I saw they were selling the Julian Hard Cider for $6! I figured I HAD to try! Once I got my new friend home, poured myself a nice refreshing glass, had a sip and I was hooked! I love its crisp, light, refreshing taste. Ahhhhh. It has a slight bite to it, but it’s nothing to stress over. My favorite places to enjoy some cider are either at Small Bar or Toronado because they always have my Julian Hard Cider on draft, ready for me to drink! Or if you want to have a night at home with your cider, pick up a 22oz bottle at Costco. Either way it’s a win – win.

Happy American Craft Beer Week!

17 May

So many things are happening this week! My brother’s getting married, the Armageddon is apparently upon us, and most importantly its American Craft Beer Week! ACBW is sponsored by The Brewers Association  and, “will be held May 16 – 22, 2011 and offers an exciting opportunity for small and independent craft brewers and the community of better beer retailers to feature craft beer in their community. Plus, tens of thousands of today’s beer beginners, beer enthusiasts, and hard-core beer geeks make time to toast the week.” Because my Fargo-dwelling little brother will be tying the knot on Saturday, I will be leaving the beer Mecca of San Diego and heading to the good ol’ Midwest for the bulk of the week. I won’t let that stop me from doing my beer drinking duty. I will be attending a craft and international beer tasting at Happy Harry’s Bottle Shop on Thursday, and hitting JL Beers to try out Bell’s Batch 10,000. If you don’t know how you’ll be celebrating yet, start here to see the official ACBW events.  If you can’t go to an event, celebrate in your own way: go to your bottle shop and find a new beer, tell a friend your favorite craft beer, visit a local brewery, read the Declaration of Beer Independence, buy a stranger drinking a “domestic light” a craft beer, host a tasting party, or visit a new craft beer bar. I started the week by writing a piece on a local bottle shop for taphunter.com. Go, drink beer, and be merry!

Friday Afternoon Club

4 May

In February, Hess Brewing began a monthly event: Friday Afternoon Club, affectionately known as FAC. As the Hess Blog tells, this event is a reincarnation of owner Mike Hess’s tradition from college days at the University of Colorado. There, Fridays were spent, “soaking up the sun, drinking from plastic cups, jamming to bands like Big Head Todd or The Samples.” With a stroke of genius he decided to bring that idea to San Diego once a month. I attended the first FAC on February 25th, which boasted “$3 draughts for three hours – from 4 until 7 pm – but only in our Hess Brewing pub glasses. Already own a glass? Great, bring it. We’ll fill it for $3. Don’t own one yet? No problem, for $8 you get your own honest pint keeper full, and refills are $3.” Although the weather was a bit brisk and holding a glass full of beer made your fingers cold; the promise of a great deal on beer, live music, and food from Ranchwood Deli and Catering brought people out in full force. The line to get beer was out the door and around the corner, and staff was scrambling to get the beer poured. By the time the second FAC rolled around on April 15th, the kinks got worked out with two taps for each beer and rearranging the bar area for better flow. There was also the notable addition of a guest beer, Anvil ESB from Alesmith just a few blocks away. Although I felt like a bit odd to order an Anvil for one of my refills, it was nice to see evidence of camaraderie between the breweries in that area. Perhaps we’ll see some joint events in the future? The April 15th FAC was tax day themed, so beer was sold tax free, or $0.50 off of each beer putting them at $3.50 to $6.50 a glass. Although it was a little disappointing to not Caught Awesome Beer Drinkers Team in actionhave the killer $3 beer deal, the weather was beautiful, the crowd was having a great time and the beer was tasty. What else could I as for? Running in to the guys from Awesome Beer Drinkers of course! I had a nice little chat with them and sounds like Beer Con is going to be an amazing event, check it out: Beer-Con.com. 

If you’re in San Diego on May 20th and are looking for a great way to watch the sun go down, I highly recommend checking out FAC as Hess Brewing 4-7PM. I’d like to say I’ll be there, but while you’re enjoying a beer and some BBQ I will be at a rehearsal dinner for my brother’s wedding. So have an honest pint for me!

Its been a year already?

2 May

Today is a special day for me. This marks the one-year anniversary of She Likes Beer. A year ago I was having a tough time. I was coming out of a phase in my life that I felt I’d really lost some of my identity. I was starting to get back into art, just moved into my own place for the first time, and discovering that I really liked beer. I’d known for a while that I wasn’t interested in what the super commercial beer world had to offer, and had been giving a try to a lot of the beers listed as “Import” on menus. The big change came when I went to Toronado for the first time and it hit me how little I knew about beer besides “Its good.” Knowing that I wanted to learn as much as possible, I grabbed Tasting Beer by Randy Mosher and started writing about my experiences. Thinking that writing a blog would be a way for me to have a creative outlet in a bleak point in my life, I never imagined how much it would really enhance my life. I knew that I would be gaining some beer knowledge and exploring some new places in San Diego, I never expected to be part of a community. It still astounds me to this day the level of camaraderie that is present in the craft beer community. From meeting other beer lovers at Fests, brewery events, or Beer for Breakfast to sending one tweet with a question about a homebrew, and I’ll have 5 answers almost immediately. And homebrewing! Who’d have ever thought I would utter the words “I brew my own beer”? Yet, now it would seem strange if I didn’t have carboys bubbling in my closet and empty bottles drying on my kitchen table. 

As great as all of that is, the most important part of She Likes Beer is you. The people that click my link and read what I have to say. If no one were reading, there’d be no point in writing. I’m thankful that you’re here reading and that you continue to come back. Thank you for helping make this last year amazing for me!

Aren't we cute?

I don’t know what this next year will bring. I’m hoping an even more amazing experience, and meeting a lot more of you in person. I’m still working on the direction I want this blog to go, but in the end it will go where it wants to. After all, you can’t dictate where knowledge will take you.

Is there anything you want to hear from me? Let me know, I love the comments, tweets, and Facebook interaction. Links are to the right.

The North Park Festival of the Arts is coming up!

21 Apr

 

 

If you’ve been a long time reader of my beer adventures, you might recall that one of my first beer related outings on She Likes Beer was to the North Park Festival of the Arts last May. It’s a great event that happens to be practically right outside my door. This year, I will be volunteering at the Craft Beer Block pouring beer. So, if you’re in the North Park area on May 15th come check out some great local music and art, and then say hi to me!

North Park, San Diego, CA – Put on your dancing shoes and open your eyes to the music, art and fun encompassing the 15th Annual North Park Festival of the Arts! Over 35,000 friends and family will gather for this local tradition Sunday, May 15, 2011 from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM to take in the sights and sounds surrounding historic North Park. This FREE festival will feature six stages of live entertainment and over 100 specialty booths showcasing the talents and creativity of local merchants, artists and musicians. Kids can hang out at the “Hands-On Arts” area where they can participate in free, interactive activities designed to stimulate and inspire their own creativity. Festival goers should come thirsty to the Craft Beer Block and experience ten 4 oz. samples from San Diego’s best breweries for $25 in advance or $30 the day of. This year’s Juried Arts area will feature 40+ local artists competing for the grand prize: $250 cash! Forget the nanny and bring the whole family to the North Park Festival of the Arts, we’ve got something for everyone! All proceeds benefit the North Park Main Street. To learn more about the 15th Annual North Park Festival of the Arts visit http://northparkfestivalofarts.com/ or call North Park Main Street at 619.294.2501.

Bonerific

20 Apr

“There is more to brewing and tasting beer than putting a royal wedding label on it, so we’re showing everyone just how ludicrous it is.” That’s was what BrewDog says in their blog post about Royal Verility Performance, a “limited-edition beer containing herbal viagra to mark the forthcoming royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton on April 29th” The announcement of this release has really tested the polarity of opinion in the craft beer community. There has been talk of how irresponsible and illegal adding drugs to beer is, how it’s a gimmick for gimmick’s sake, that a true good brewery would only make good quality beer- no exceptions. So on and so forth. My personal opinion is “That’s hilarious!” Reading the blog post it’s evident that the lads at BrewDog produced this beer with a heaping spoonful of sarcasm, and point out the silliness that surrounds cashing in on any major even surrounding the British Royalty. By stating they want to make a beer with a purpose instead of just jumping on the royal wedding bandwagon, and then making a beer infused with multiple aphrodisiacs is a pretty good joke. Yeah, it a has a purpose, to make for a great royal wedding night, ba dum dum. The photos on the blog are a good giggle as well, the shots in the brewery of the “Viagra” being added could be considered back up to the “irresponsible to add perscription drugs to beer” argument. Except those are obviously not Viagra pills. Unless the men in Scotland need huge doses, I’d wager those “pills” are candy. I had a good chuckle from the folks at BrewDog on this one, and think that everyone else could benefit from doing the same. See it as the mirror held up to bandwagoning it is, and just take a breath. Craft beer should be fun, that’s whats great about this community. Beer is something that can bring people together for good conversation, good laughs, and great memories. If we start taking it too seriously, it loses part of what makes beer great. Although I agree that good beer should be heralded and what we strive for, there is also room for humor. This is just my take on it, take a minute to check out the BrewDog blog and form your own opinion

**photos from BrewDog.com**