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Camping with the Widmer Brothers and Samuel Adams (Not literally)

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Camping isn’t something that I’ve done a whole hell of a lot of in my life, but when I’ve done it, I’ve really enjoyed it.

The term “roughing it” can really only be loosely applied since, as I’ve gotten older, technology has really taken the “rough” part out of the expression. Roughing it now mean your cell phone died at some point and you need to go sit in your car for an hour or two if you are getting jittery without it (This MIGHT be the reason I have no photos for this blog). I kinda feel like our ancestors would laugh at us, but screw it, I don’t like sleeping on the ground. It’s really, really hard.

This past weekend we ventured into the remote forested area of Julian, CA – yes, I’m being sarcastic, to celebrate a good friend’s 40th birthday at William Heise Park and campground. The main objective here was to have a good time and imbibe copious amounts of alcohol. A challenge I’m always up for.

The dilemma I faced was buying beer for a group of people who’s beer tastes had the potential to be all over the map. I’m perfectly happy to sit around and drink IPA’s until my eyes roll into the back of my skull, but I had a feeling I might be in the minority in this instance.

I opted to play it safe and essentially put together a variety pack. I decided this would be a good time to try some beers that I’m not uber familiar with and a chance to mix in some fall seasonal brews that have been ending up my refrigerator lately.

The brewers with the strongest presence in the cooler happened to be Samuel Adams and Widmer Brothers. I know, these are not San Diego brewers, but you got to mix things up to keep it fresh right?

I’ve been consuming a lot of Oregon beers lately and while I was passingly familiar with Widmer this was my first time buying it for home or, in this case, camping. After going back and forth on what to pick up I eventually settled on three. Grabbed a six pack of the Rotator IPA series, this was the Spiced IPA, a collaboration with a San Diego group: Quality Ale and Fermentation Fraternity aka QUAFF. Grabbed another six pack, this time it was the Okto Festival Ale. Finally I settled on a four pack of the Nelson Imperial IPA.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. You might wondering why I bought so much IPA if I was concerned about the drinking habits of my camping partners? Well, that’s where my friend Sam Adams comes into play.
The thought of spending the weekend in the woods got me feeling a little nostalgic for my days on the east coast and autumn season with leaves falling and all that goes along with it. Low and behold I stumble on the latest Samuel Adams fall seasonal variety pack. That should cover the bases for any who are not interested in those lovely IPA’s.
We make the drive up and are instantly surprised to find the temperature here at the park is fantastic! Easily ten degrees cooler here than San Diego which was roasting already when we left at 9am. Sounds like a perfect reason to celebrate! Let’s crack open that first beer of the day.
I decided to come out of the gate hard and I open the Spiced IPA from the Widmer Rotator series. It’s a surprising IPA to say the least. Coming in at 7.0% ABV it’s got a nice kick to it. Flavor-wise the hops are up front but balanced out by the malts along with black tea, cinnamon, clove and a few other spices any baker would have in their pantry. It’s a very good brew and makes for an excellent change of pace if you still want an IPA but you want something different from it.

Next up was the Okto Festival Ale – Basically a marzen all dressed up to celebrate Oktoberfest. I’ve been on a bit of a marzen kick lately as I’m mentally preparing to go to Germany…even though I have no plans to go there in the near future. This crisp, malty treat comes in at 5.3% ABV, I liked this beer, but probably would have enjoyed it a little more if the weather had been a shade or two chillier.

The third entry in my Widmer experience was the Nelson’s Imperial IPA – I’m a big fan of the Nelson Sauvin hops brought over from New Zealand so it was only natural that I pick this beer up…and then I picked it up again and again and again. It’s really pretty fricking fantastic. Great hoppy profile with a little bite that’s rounded off by the malt flavors that are used to balance it. Really easy to drink a few and these and find yourself in some trouble. At 8.6% ABV, that won’t be hard to do.

I spent most of the day working my way through these three beers while the Samuel Adams variety pack was getting picked over pretty well too. In fact, I really didn’t get to have any of it until I snagged a lager shortly before we put the fire out for the night. My future Mrs. was enjoying the Dunklweizen quite a bit. I do have to talk to you guys about Sam Adams, but I’m saving a few things for a blog post that is about two weeks away from seeing the light of day. I will say that Sam Adams is a brewery that I have the bad habit of taking for granted sometimes, but they turn out some great beers and they are the #1 craft beer brewer in the world for a reason.

The camping trip was a big success and I’m looking forward to going again sometime soon. I’m also ready for some more flip cup…

If anyone has a recommendation for what to drink on my next camping adventure, I’d love to hear it.


Author: hoptologysd31

Beer lover living the dream in San Diego, CA. I'm always looking to find great beers in places where I'd least expect them.

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