Sunday, September 14, 2008

Evacuating to San Diego

Well, not exactly, but with a family vacation already planned we got out of Houston early well ahead of hurricane Ike and headed to San Diego, well out of Ike's path. Over the past days we've learned that our neighborhood is a mess, our house is not. With the exception of some lost shingles and a blown down fence our house made it through relatively unscathed. The other good news is that having a couple of extra days in San Diego allowed us to visit some breweries which we didn't have in our original plans. What better way to take your mind off of a Hurricane than trying out some tasty craft brews. So where'd we go? So glad you asked.
Friday morning we headed out of SD and up the coast to Salana Beach to hit up Pizza Port for lunch. For those that don't know Pizza Port at Solana Beach is a craft brewer pub that serves good beer and tasty food. The head brewer used to be Tomme Arthur who now runs Port Brewing along with the great Lost Abbey Brewing Co. There three Pizza Ports each with a different head brewer free to brew the beers they want. Besides serving their own beers Pizza Port also serves guest taps featuring some of the best beers from the SD area. At the restaurant my wife and I shared a rather tasy pizza with shrimp and clams along with a couple of beers. I started out with the Big Wednesday Belgium, a Blonde IPA that was quite taste. My wife had the Hefe which was oustanding. I washed down the rest of my pizza with the amazing Russian River Pliny the Elder, an oustanding IPA. Absolutely wonderful.
Being filled with food we headed to the beach where we walked around for a while before walking through the Solana Beach shops. Afterwards and feeling thirsty we headed further north to the Lost Abbey brewery. I've heard so much about this place and it's one so many awards that I couldn't pass up an opportunity to check it out. Needless to say this place deserves all of its accolades. We tasted many beers (and I bought quite a few so detailed notes will come later) and chatted up the folks about the place. All in all a good time.
By this time it had gotten late in the afternoon and we learned from the folks at Lost Abbey that Stone Brewery wasn't too far away. My wife looked at me with a smile and asked if I wanted to go. I said HECK YES!!! and off we were. When we got there we were amazed, I didn't realize how big the brewery would be and that it was not only a brewery but a restaurant and a bier garten. As soon as we arrived we found out they were doing a tour in 30 minutes so we headed to the bar where I got a taste of Ruination on cask. Not having my notes, all I can say is WOW, so good. The tour was really good and our guide was petty knowledgable. Its amazing to see how big Stone is, only now is Houston getting many Stone beers so I've always thought of them as a smaller craft brewery so this experience was pretty eye opening. After the tour we were hungry again so we headed to the restaurant. This isn't just pub food, this is up scale American Cuisine. Very well made food. For an appetizer we had home made kimchi, for dinner I had Duck tacos that were absolutely amazing along with a craft beer from California brewery (yes they serve more than just Stone). This capped off a an outstanding day of craft beer drinking in So Cal. Even though worried about my house, I was able to enjoy myself and am really glad that I got to come out here a little early. Now that I know my house is ok, and I have another week in So Cal I plan on enjoying the beers I bought from Stone and Lost Abbey. For everyone else in the Houston area that checks out this blog I hope that you all are as lucky as I was and things find you safe and your house ok.


Brian Yaeger said...

Hey Tedo,

Glad you made it out of Ike's path. I head to NOLA every year and hate seeing that a hurricane's aftermath can last for years.

I got to meet the owners of Dixie Brewing and turned it into a chapter in my upcoming book. In my attempt to promote supporting local beer markets I set out on my odyssey some time ago. The result is: "Red, White, and Brew: An American Beer Odyssey" (St. Martin's Press) which comes out in a few weeks.

FYI, I'm heading on a book promo tour and will be at Opal Divine's in Austin on Oct 27. I know that's not exactly Houston. But if you're going to GABF, lemme know. Would love to share a beer (or 20 samples).

Barleyvine said...

Thanks for posting a comment. I've heard about the book, and can't wait for it to come out. When I get back to Houston I had planned on pre-ordering it.
Unfortunately I won't make it out to GABF this year (its my one year wedding anniversary). But if I can, I may try to make it out to Austin for you book tour.
Take Care.

Brian Yaeger said...

Hey Tedo,
It was actually a blog by someone I met in Seattle that led me back to the Barley Vine. Bummer you couldn't make it to Austin a few weeks ago. In case you go to Jazz Fest over in NOLA, I'll be there (as always, as you know now). And good news: There'll be a brand new brewery, NOLA Brewing, open around Jan.

Thanks for the awesome book review, too. Much appreciated. (and as an aside, that cute girl I mentioned at the Brewhouse in Santa Barbara is my ex-girlfriend, so that was my in-joke w/ her.) Best part is, the Brewhouse invited me to do an event there on Dec 3, in case you find yourself in the SB area.

Cheers. (and PS, added you to my blog roll)