The Craft Beer Movement

There are certain things that I hold near and dear to my heart, one of which being breathing, the other being craft beer. I don’t want to get started on the differences of craft brewing and mass produced beers, because if you clicked on this post in the first place, you probably won’t set down your “nectar of the gods” (i.e. Coors Light) long enough to appreciate the difference between well made beer and whatever it is you’re drinking.

Skull Splitter

Last week I had the pleasure of drinking with a New Zealander, that was also 6’6 and a former rugby player. We sat and introduced each other to a few beers across the world; he introduced me to some Scottish beers that I had no idea existed, as well as giving me a lot of background on the country. I had no idea that Scotland was the only country that the Romans couldn’t conquer – the fun facts you learn just by having a few beers with someone. I introduced him to my favorite brewery, Allagash. This is a brewery that can do no wrong in my eyes, every beer they create is the best beer that I have ever had. One of the beers that he introduced me to was Skull Splitter, a Scottish beer that was really good; it had a malty finish with a deceptively strong 8.5% ABV. Let me tell you, a few of these could be very dangerous.

Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale

Another flavor of beer that I have been obsessing over since I first tried it is pumpkin; I had the Pumpkin Porter – yes, you read that correctly – from Alcatraz brewing out of Orange, CA back in 2003 and have been hooked ever since. Every year around Summer/Fall ever since, I have been running to the stores to find the best pumpkin beer around. Sadly, there was a pumpkin beer festival in Washington that I wasn’t able to make it to, but I had friends that went and returned with rave reviews. A few years ago, Oggies Pizza here in San Diego had an amazing pumpkin on draft, but I haven’t seen if they have had it the last couple years. I am generally limited to the local beer stores in the area, so the best that I find are within a 30 mile radius. A few days ago I was in a local beer shop to pick up some drinks and found the Shipyard Pumpkin – I couldn’t believe it was pumpkin season already! Anyway, I ended up picking up some and I have to say it’s the best that I’ve had this season – BlueMoon always disappoints, so don’t even waste your time with theirs, it doesn’t even have a hint of pumpkin…

Another amazing beer that I had yesterday – actually three amazing beers – were from Ballast Point:

Victory at Sea

Victory at Sea, Barmey, and Thai Chili Ginger Lemon Wahoo Wheat (that is a LOT of ingredients). Let me just start with saying that Ballast Point in San Diego is quickly moving up to the top of my list for favorite breweries, and that’s not just because my girlfriend is the accountant there, but because they are literally always on point with all their beers.

Funny story involving this – one time the girlfriend and I were out at Neighborhood, a local craft beer bar, and this guy randomly comes up and starts talking to us. The girlfriend went to the bathroom and the guy continues to talk to me; he orders a beer and goes, “you know what brewery always nails every single beer? Ballast Point.” It seems that I’m not the only one that agrees.

Victory at Sea is a very full-bodied beer that has the hint of vanilla and chocolate. Let me just start by saying that I hate vanilla and I especially hate chocolate – the fact that Ballast Point can pull this off is amazing. My only wish is that they would have this beer on nitro, I could only imagine how great a creamy version of this would taste.

Another style that I have been introduced to recently are the spicy beers – I have no idea how I have gone this long without ever trying one (this shows

Thai Chili Wahoo (back) and Barmey (front)

the elasticity of Ballast Point, that they are willing to try different things that other places don’t). The Thai Chili Ginger Lime Wahoo Wheat is very original – first drink you get a mixture of the orange and coriander with a little spice. The big finale’ comes at the end when you are blasted with the mixture of the chili and ginger, and what a unique blend it is! I can’t tell exactly where the kick is coming from, I’m assuming the chili, but you can tell the ginger is adding to it a bit. For the Barmey, I only had a sampler of it because it is a very dangerous 12% ABV, and I had to drive. This taste is almost that of a Fruit Roll-up; it is a very unique taste as well, but a definite recommend.

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