Thursday, June 2, 2011

MAXED OUT: Forget Abby, Max is here

And where Max digs into the mail bag.

Hey, hey my weary wonderers of the world of wort (wort is unfermented beer.) Look at that, already droppin’ some knowledge on y’all! How do ya like them apples? Welcome back to Mad Max’s Thunderdome and thanks for hangin’ out with me today because today I’m giving back. There have been a few of you guys that have commented regularly on my posts and today I aim to address some of your comments, suggestions and concerns. I was going to mix in my forth favorite beer, but upon further review there are more pressing issues at hand. As Macho Man would say (RIP) ‘OOOOOOOH YEEEEEEEEAH! LET’S DOOOOO THISSSS!

First, Sarah B, I am sorry, but I even asked Dean if he would be willing to oblige you with a picture of him on the stripper pole on our next go around on the brewery tour. An emphatic scoff, eye roll, and machismo were thrown my way in the resulting thirty seconds or so, so unfortunately I don’t think that tough guy is going to get me that six-pack. Have I mentioned how tough he is?

And Mr. Atkinson, yes, the group consensus is that an East County brewery tour is desired by all. I am going to spend the next few months attempting to arrange this, although it is a logistical nightmare for several reasons. First off, Alpine could NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS accommodate 40 people while operating during regular business hours. This gives us two options. Either a) See if they will open early for us or just block out an hour or so for us, or b) We take a smaller group of people. A few other reasons that I question this “E.C. Brewery Tour” include the fact that Manzanita has 1 good beer, several mediocre beers and their tasting room is, from what I understand, smaaaaaaaall!

Going to Alpine would be great, but there just isn’t that much else out there. I thought of, on this trip, also hitting up San Diego Beer Co. located just off of Mission Gorge Road. Once again, smallish and kind of out of the way, although I think that it may be a good destination as most people I have talked to about it, don’t seem to know just how good their beers really are. I would love any other recommendations/suggestions about other beer bars and/or breweries that we could stop by on this next adventure.

Next, Sarah B on Karl Strauss’ ripple-effect and how Stone is helping the entire community of Escondido. I LOVE Stone for several reasons: their saving the farm and building the hotel are just a couple of them. I appreciate what they have done to help put San Diego on the beer map as a whole, which was paved by, as Dean stated, Karl and Port. For all you San Diegans out there, just so you know Stone is already in the process of building a new Restaurant and Bistro in Point Loma, and have plans to build a tapping room in the heart of South Park. Should be interesting to see what they roll out in their near future, especially with plans to open another brewery in either Belgium or Germany. This topic will be discussed in much more detail and certainly in a more heated forum as Dean and I are going to tackle this in a future Video Blog to be featured on this site. Stay tuned!

The topic that I wanted to address the most was something that Sarah B, Road Dawg, B-Daddy, and Dean have all touched on, and that I feel as though I have not for some reason… GATEWAY BEERS!!!! I promise to dedicate an entire entry to this very soon, but in the mean time I wanted to give you all something to chew on (and by chew on I mean DRINK!) For quite some time there has been a social stigma of sorts around beer, and the difference between beer and wine in social situations has been “KEG STANDS AND BEER BONGS” as opposed to a nice bottle of wine for $50 and a nice dinner party for mom and dad. Why? Just this past weekend my friend Vince went up to Lost Abbey to try and acquire a $35 bottle of 2009 Veritas. It has been aged in Pinot Noir barrels, bourbon barrels, and has been babied for over 2 years. Why is that any different than a bottle of 2009 Zinfandel? It’s not, in fact it’s the same quantity, similar ABV, and is, in fact, more rare than most bottles of wine that you’ll find for a similar price as there were only 117 cases made.

So here’s my challenge to those “non-beer-drinkers”: Go to a boutique brewery/bottle shop, grab a 750 ml bottle of beer with a description that sounds like you might enjoy... Belgian beers in particular… make yourself and your significant other/friend/brother/sister/mom a nice meal. Make it a salmon dish, or something from the sea. Keep the bottle in the fridge until you start to cook then take it out. Let it sit there on the counter until you are ready to get your grub on, then open said bottle, pour into wine glasses, preferably red wine glasses (the bigger ones) and SIP the beer, don’t gulp! If you need recommendations or are debating between a few different beers please shoot me a message. I know I’m going a little crazy here and skipping the whole “gateway beers” like Hefes and Pilsners, but I’m feeling feisty. I know, I know, what’s new? Try this out and if you don’t at least kind of enjoy this beer and food pairing, I will buy you a bottle of wine of equal value. Stamp!

So you got it kids. The gauntlets have been thrown. Like I said, if you need a recommendation and you don’t have my number, shoot me a message on Facebook at Christopher “Max” McClain and I will most likely get back to you within the hour. Otherwise shoot me a comment in the section below, or at I double dog dare ya!

Until next time my beer loving brethren, have a beer for me.

(ed. note: Such is Alpine's sterling reputation, we think that people will tolerate some inconvenience in way of a longer bus ride just for the opportunity to go to the Brewery... Our own gateway beers: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and then stepping up to Red Hook's Long Hammer IPA... What we would recommend as a gateway beer if you think West Coast IPAs are too gnarly on the palate: Bear Republic's XP Pale Ale. An outstanding beer in its own right. You get that under your belt and you'll be able to cast off the training wheels in no time)


SarahB said...

OK, I'll take the gateway beer challenge. Historically the only alcohol I can stand is rum-based mixed drinks or sweet martinis. Wine is evil and gives me an instant headache. Enough of my gay friends have brought over good bottles, so I think I've vetted that genre. But, I admit I've never really sampled boutique beers. We're heading to the Breakwater Brewing Co for a rare weekend date tomorrow night, so I'll head in with an open mind. Not sure if the house brews there are reputed to be any good, but it's proximity to the babysitter and the beach make it ideal none-the-less.

Thanks for the suggestions!

B-Daddy said...

Max, sampled a Lost Abbey Devotion on tap at The Offshore. Very flavorful ale. Strong clove taste, and a little extra ABV made it a nice compliment to my steak sandwich. However, Mrs. Daddy sampled it, and it is definitely not a gateway beer. Her gateway to an ale was Ballast Point Yellowtail Pale Ale, which I have heard described as "Kolsch style." That confused me because I thought Kolsch was a lager.

SarahB said...

OK, back from the field. The mead @ Breakwater Brewery was not unpleasant but the appetizers were blah. Had to move on. The Coronado Idiot IPA later @ Union was undrinkable. Oranges & apricots SOUNDED good, but ewe. I didn't realize we were walking into a beer bar...I just liked the look of it (didn't you actually review it a while back?), and it was busy. Thankfully the food there was TO DIE FOR.