Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tales from the Trip: Beer Bloggers Conference 14 - Part 1

What an amazing weekend we just had!  We spent four days with some of the greatest people you'd ever want to meet, drinking fantastic craft brew, and generally geeking out over our shared love of fermented libations. The Beer Bloggers Conference in San Diego exceeded our expectations on all levels.

We had so many good times we can't fathom cramming them into one post, so we'll break this out into at least a couple parts.

Cigar City Invasion Pale
The Magic Bus: Thursday

After hanging out in the LAX baggage claim for a few hours, we were seriously ready for some beers.  Fortunately we met blogger Carol Dekkers from MicroBrews USA who hooked us up with some Cigar City Brewing Invasion pale Ale as we boarded the Beer Bus bound for LA (thanks Carol, we really needed that).

We're really glad we met our new BFFs pretty much right away: Jeff and Chris from Bottle Makes Three, Dave from All the Brews Fit to Pint, and Mike from BrewDad.  Visit their blogs - these guys are hilarious and know their beers.

 Co-owner Meg Gill
First we rolled into Golden Road Brewing where Co-Founder Meg Gill told us her story about starting Golden Road Brewing in 2011. An impressive fact about Golden Road is they have been in business only three years yet expect to brew about 30,000 barrels this year - wow! After hearing from Meg, we were off for a tour where we were lucky enough to try a brand new India Pale Lager, Might As Well IPL, ice-cold off the shiny new canning line. We ended our time with a sampling of Golden Road Beers.

Entrance to Angel City Brewing
Next up, we hit Angel City Brewery, which is in East LA and coming from the
'burbs this one was kinda far out of our usual element (barbed wire and graffiti!) They served up some interesting brews including an Avocado ale which paired nicely with our turkey sandwich.  We loved the interior space, which featured a loft, a spiral slide they wouldn't let us use, and games like table tennis and cornhole.

 Bruery Barrel Warehouse
Next was  The Bruery's barrel warehouse, or Heaven on Earth, as I (Emily) like to refer to it. The aroma is incredible, not kidding, one of the finer scents known to humanity.  And there are hundreds of barrels in there, stacked to the ceiling, a really beautiful sight to a sour-beer fanatic like myself.  We got to sample an impressive variety of their beers including a sour straight out of the barrel!!  Standouts were the Oude Tart, the Tart of Darkness Sour Stout, and the Sour in the Rye with Coconut and Pineapple.  But literally everything The Bruery produces is awesome; we're looking forward to their new sour and wild ale brand, Bruery Terreux, coming out later this year.

Smog City 15 bbl brewhouse
After they forced me out of The Bruery (kidding of course), we went Smog City Brewing, which is a cool production facility and tap room that reminded us of Portland.  The Coffee Porter actually tasted just like a fine espresso - we were super impressed with the intense, yet not bitter, coffee flavor.  Plus Laurie Porter, the co-founder, was friendly and engaging - we enjoyed hearing their story. 

Monkish 15bbl Brewhouse
Monkish Tasting room
Last, but certainly not least, was Monkish Brewing.  Let me tell you, when I muse about my own future beer line it contains a lavender Belgian and I was pretty darn sure until this weekend that was a unique idea.  Well, Monkish not only beat me to it,  I think they perfected that one.  The Saison De Lilah wowed me - it's a farmhouse ale featuring lavender and lemon peel.  We also enjoyed Matrimonium, a Belgian-style Imperial Stout brewed with coffee.

Who knew LA had such an interesting craft beer scene?  We're glad to have experienced it first hand in such great company.

A looooong bus ride delivered us safely to San Diego, where we'll pick up for Part 2 of Tales from the Trip.

Golden Road's Pub entrance.

Golden Road brewing up some beer.
Mural at Angel City evoking TJ Eckleburg

Slide at Angel City...but no sliding allowed

Indoor cornhole at Angel City
The Bruery beer waiting to be sampled

A barrel at The Bruery filled with beer
Laurie porter and Chris Walowski talking about Smog City

Smog City beers on tap when we visited
Just a few of the many beers to be sampled at Monkish Brewing
One of the Foudres at Monkish Brewing

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