Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Beer Bloggers Conference 2014: The Beers

Beer Bloggers Conference

One of the true perks for attending the Beer Bloggers Conference is the wide range of beer tastings that goes on throughout the conference.  It blows my mind how many breweries are in California that I've never had their beers. In general, Green Flash, Sierra Nevada, Lagunitas Brewing, and Stone Brewing are the major players but there are so many others.

 I’m not an IPA hop head but the Green Flash White IPA which is part of the Odyssey limited release series is quite good and not bitterly hopped with grapefruit notes that balanced the beer. Another one in this series that was surprisingly good was the Citra Session IPA. 

This was also the new breweries to add to my "need to go next time in San Diego" list.  What was really cool was that the brewers were pouring beers from Belching Beaver and New English Brewing. It was a treat to be able to taste their beers. Belching Beaver Peanut Butter Milk Stout is a silver medal winner. It's in the normal range of a stout at 5.3% ABV. and it's quite tasty but a little on the sweet side.

I really enjoyed New English Brewing, Zumbar Imperial Stout. It's made with 50 pounds of coffee and chocolate. This is a collaboration between the brewery and San Diego boutique coffee roaster. It's 9.3%ABV but doesn't taste that high in alcohol. The coffee notes are more pronounced than the chocolate but isn't overwhelming. 

Lagunitas Brewing hosted a party for the conference and brought beers that were amazing. Beer stations were along the four walls of the room that was dark with blue and purple lights which made for a party atmosphere.

The guys at Lagunitas out did themselves with setting up the party. The Lagunitas gang had another vaporizer station where you could smell different hops. Twitter posts were seen on a screen along with video of "I went Couch Trippin' with Lagunitas". But of course it was the beers that stand out the most.

Lagunitas Brewing brought some aged bottles of Gnarly Barleywine and an Imperial Stout,  Ruben and the Jets. The Ruben and the Jets is a tribute to the actual 1970's rock band. The Imperial Stout was so delicious. It was smooth but still a little boozy, yum yum.

Rogue Brewing had a table of some beers from their Rogue Farm series, like the Marionberry Braggot. It was one of those sweet tart beers with a nice fruit flavor.

Goose Island brought a few of their beers for us to drink. Bourbon County Coffee and The Muddy, an Imperial Stout both of these beers were very good. I've had the Bourbon County Stout but the Bourbon Coffee was like having a shot in the morning!

One of the other attendees Firkin Ron brought some beer for the unofficial bottle share from Beach City Brewing. He gave us a taste of the Belgian Triple aged in Tequila barrels, it was really tasty.

On Saturday the beers that stand out were from Stone Brewing. We piled into a bus that had two stripper poles but no one in my group got that wasted to pole dance. Stone Bistro & Garden in San Diego is huge but we had our beer and food in the central patio.

Appetizers with the
Imperial Hefeweizen

I must say that I have never been a real Stone Brewing fan but they changed my mind again. I am a beer geek in training.  So one of the beers that was over the top, was an Imperial Hefeweizen called Call It What You Want. It was brewed in the pina colada style (?) with pineapple and coconut. At the same station was the Witty Moron, a Black Wit bier.

At the Research and Small Batch station was a sweet tart beer on cask, Stone Cali-Belgique IPA with Montmorency sour cherries and Marionberries. This was one of my favorite beers of the day.
Steve Gonzales, small batch brewer

The last beer I had at the Stone Bistro & Garden was the Stone Wootstout 2.0, it was brewed with cocoa, pecans, wheat & rye, then 1/4 was aged in Bourbon barrels.

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