C’mon Get Hoppy

The hops are on the right...

The hops are on the right...

So, you’ve heard about how San Diego has one of most exciting craft brew scenes in the world and you want to come explore for yourself.   

Maybe you’re a hard-core hop head who wants the insider scoop on cult favorites.  Maybe you’re a newbie looking to broaden your beer horizons.  Maybe you just want to relax and enjoy without worrying about driving. 

If any of the above apply, I’d highly recomend a guided, chauffeured beer tour with Brewery Tours of San Diego  or BrewHop.

Recently, I spent an afternoon with the later touring a few breweries around town.  BrewHop is great because they do custom tours – just you and your group – with tons of personal attention and lots of craft beer insight from their expert guides.

I got to chat with the brewers, sip some blow-your mind beers and hip to barrel-aging, the technique San Diego brewers are using in the country’s most sought-after small-batch brews. 

Check out photos and all the details after the jump…

Our first stop was Green Flash Brewing – named for the optical phenomena seen at sunset – where brewmaster Chuck Silva poured us his hoppiest Imperial IPA (among others) and explained how he’s aging some brews for up to 8 months in bourbon barrels to impart rich, complex flavors.

Those kegs are just chillin...waiting for some Hop Head Red.

Kegs, just chillin...waiting for hoppy goodness.

Those are some mighty fine barrels there Chuck!

Those are some mighty fine barrels there Chuck!

Next, it was off to Stone Brewing for a tour with beer expert Ken Wright who explained the brewing process – showing off a beaker of wort (beer before its fermented – trust me, it made it all seem very educational) and Stone’s own collection of fine-looking barrels.

Wort is where it's at.

Wort is where it's at.

Ken explains the finer points of Stone's barrel aging.

Ken explains the finer points of Stone's barrel aging.

Finally, we  stopped at Port Brewing/Lost Abbeywhere brewer Tomme Arthur sat down with us to talk beer.  He gave us a peek into his barrel room (he’s the king of the technique) and shared the limited release Cuvee de Tomme 2009 which has just been released the weekend before. 

Tomme Arthur breaks it down from behind the tasting bar.

Tomme breaks it down from behind the tasting bar.

This is the jam.  Actually, it's kinda the sour-cherry jam.

This is the jam. Actually, it's kinda the sour-cherry jam.

Tomme has the most barrels of them all.

Does he with the most barrels win?

The best part?  No one had to worry about skipping out on tasting any of the amazing beers we were offered because BrewHop was in the driver’s seat.

Summer, BrewHop guide.  Your best friend in brewery tours!

BrewHop. Your best friend in brewery tours!

This entry was posted in Insider Tips, Tours & Sightseeing and tagged , , by Kate. Bookmark the permalink.

About Kate

I own, and use, a library card, a record player, a sewing machine and a meat smoker.  Ride my bicycle every day and will, sometimes, wear my roller skates in the house. Have a wealth of useless knowledge – for which you will be thankful when we’re teamed up in Trivial Pursuit.

How would you describe your ideal San Diego day?

Hike through the spring wildflowers in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Watch the July 4th fireworks over San Diego Bay. Eat Julian Apple Pie a la mode and check out the autumn leaves. Ice skate and enjoy the twinkling holiday decorations at the Hotel del Coronado. All in the same day.

If you were invisible, where would you go?

I’ve always wanted to be able to stop and restart time like that Twilight Zone episode back in the 80’s, “A Little Peace And Quiet,” but, you know, without the a-bomb at the end. Basically, I just want to avoid waiting in lines.

What is your favorite San Diego outdoor activity?

Brunch, without a doubt. Also, cocktails by the pool, outdoor movies in Balboa Park, scouring the swap meet for vintage finds, hanging out on the patio at the Casbah between sets, lawn games and backyard barbecues.

Do you prefer burgers and beer or linguine and red wine?

Give me uni plucked from the sea by local divers, a warm, crusty loaf from Bread & Cie, luscious Carlsbad strawberries, sweet local lobster in season and creamy Fallbrook avocados. And, most definitely, a grass-fed beef burger with Winchester gouda and a cold San Diego craft brew.

Latest music purchases for my iPod/MP3 player are…

Honestly, I buy my records at the thrift store and depend on my husband to download new music. Lately he's been stacking the deck pretty heavy with 90's indie rock, bluegrass covers and drone metal.  Go figure.

For more San Diego dining dish, follow Kate on Twitter @katebuska.

One thought on “C’mon Get Hoppy

  1. Pingback: What’s Smaller Than Small? | San Diego Travel Blog

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