Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Beer Celebration !!

I had a great time this past weekend hanging out at Stone Brewing's 11th Anniversary Party in Escondito, CA.

It was a fabulous event with thousands of craft beer fans and LOTS of really great beer.

Highlights were talking and filming with Stone Chairman, CEO and fellow beer blogger
Greg Koch whose mantra, "Fizzy Yellow Beer is for Wussies," resonates in every one of his company's beers; and getting to walk around the event tasting and comparing beers with Mark Jilg, Owner and Brewmaster at Craftsman Brewing Company.

Other great things were Port Brewing's own Vince Marsaglia in a tent making Arrogant Bastard Ale Onion Rings (yummy), and getting freshly brewed soda's (my favorite was bright blue, tasty and refreshing) from people who call themselves The Society of Barley Engineers.

Here are some of my favorite beers of the festival:

Craftsman Berliner Weiss - Pasadena, CA
This is a style of unfiltered wheat beer that traditionally uses two different types of yeast that produces a light, bright, lemony, zesty and slightly sour beer. I had this paired with bratwurst and sour kraut and was a very happy chick. This is a new release from Craftsman shouldn't be missed. According to Mark, this beer is less than 4% abv. Perfect for the hot last dog days of summer.

Green Flash Summer Saison - Vista, CA
I loved this beer. This is a GREAT example of a well-rounded, perfectly balanced
Saison. I find that some Saison styles made in the United States, although good beers in their own right, are much more similar to an American Hefeweizen than a true Saison, but Green Flash nailed it with this one. Rustic and earthy, but with a round finish, distinctive dryness and spicy high notes, this beer killed.

Victory Brewing Prima Pils - Downingtown, PA

This beer was a refreshing break from all of the really BIG beers that I was drinking. It was light and nuanced, reminding me of a true Czech Pilsner. Once again, I remind you girls that lager beers, even though we associate them with the bad tasting, industrialized beers of today, can actually be great beers if made with noble ingredients in a craft environment. This Pils is a nice example of that. Good balance, nice hop finish, malt-roundness, not too bitter.

Thomas Jefferson Ale -
Taps Fish House & Brewery - Brea, CA

I was glad to see my friend Victor Novak from Taps at this event. I really liked this beer, which he said is a beer Jefferson would have had brewed at Monticello two hundred years ago. They describe it as "deep reddish-brown, very full-bodied, with a hint of toffee and a complex, malty finish. " It was a delightful ale at 9.5%.


  1. After a career of neglecting them, I FINALLY discovered pilsners this summer. Who needs 'em?, I always thought. Give me something with flavor! Well. The hot and humid Wisconsin nights showed me why pilsners, kolsches, and commons are so awesome. Prima Pils has figured prominently in my personal revolution. Glad to see you enjoyed it!

  2. ahh im so sad i missed the stone fest this year! i agree prima pils is great. like you said, light and balanced.

  3. Shouldn't Prima have reminded you of a Northern German pilsner, not a Czech pilsner? Much bigger hop presence all around in Prima than, say, a Pilsner Urquell or other Bohemian pilsner.

    Plus it was modeled after the classic N. German pilsner, Jever.

  4. DW...good call. There was a definite lemon presence that could put it in Germany....for me the grassy saaz quality rang out and the balance reminded me of a czech. BUT the hop quality of the beer was probably diminished for me because I had just been tasting huge San Diego hop head beers! (The Jever's herbaceousness and grassiness reminds me of a czech pils as well - but I did get the snap of hops in that one!)

  5. Yup - but if there's one East-coast pilsner that can stand up to those West Coast hopmonsters, it'd be Prima. Glad you got it as fresh as you did.