HOPTOLOGY

San Diego Beer, Local & Independent!


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Ballast Point/COEDO – West to East IPA : A beer that Godzilla would approve

This past Tuesday I decided to make a rare indulgence and go for a beer in the middle of the day on what was simply a beautiful day here in San Diego.

I’d call it a spur of the moment decision, maybe even impulsive, but after reading this wonderful story over at Westcoastersd it sort become a mission for the day.

This mission was easily accomplished thanks to the good people over at The Local Habit in Hillcrest – if you’ve not been over there, they do a really excellent job of putting together a great tap list.

The beer in question that I was hunting for was the new collaboration beer from Ballast Point, here in San Diego, and COEDO Brewery, from Japan, on a beer they are calling “West to East”

It may be named that due to Ballast Point specialty brewer Colby Chandler going to Japan to brew it. Just a guess.

Well after drinking the final product I’m hoping he has plans to go back because this is an IPA that I found to be very enjoyable indeed.

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I got a great 16oz draft with a nice frothy head on top of a nice golden color. This brew has a really great nose on it. I’m pretty sure I was able to pick up the distinctive smell of Nelson hops, which I’m kind of crazy about, so that got things off to a really nice start. With the first sip you get that great hoppy flavor right up front that really gets your palette popping. The citrus is what I noticed the most of the back end of, but just the perfect amount. I’m not a fan of too much of that citrus flavor, but I may be in the minority on that. Regardless, it doesn’t even factor into this IPA. This was impressive, although I shouldn’t be surprised at this point, Ballast Point is probably my favorite brewery in town and I’m eagerly awaiting the day when I can get Sculpin in a can.

West to East comes in at 6.8%ABV, so it’s up there, but it right in line where it should be. It gives you a little kick in the teeth but not enough where you are sleeping at the bar.

I can’t recommend this collaboration beer enough! Quite a few of the best craft beer bars in town will be having it this week. Some are listed in the link above, or just put that great Taphunter app to work and track it down as soon as possible.

Well done to Ballast Point and COEDO Brewing in Japan. This team up is almost as good as when Godzilla and Mothra saved the world, remember that? Good times.

Cheers,
Tom

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Racer X 2012, better than a Japanese cartoon

I’m not sure this can really be called a problem, or even a dilemma. My refrigerator is stocked full of 22oz’s at the moment. I know, it’s terrible to be me.

This collection of beers mixed with the amazing kegerator we were given for a Wedding gift, has really thrown off my schedule for checking out new beers on a somewhat regular basis. Yes, it’s tragic. #sadtom

I was able to resolve one such injustice on the very excellent MLK Day.

I reached into the depths of the cold box and pulled out some buried treasure!

Racer X Double IPA by Bear Republic is just that. A true treasure to the hop head in us all.

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A wonderful floral aroma is the first thing you notice when you pop the cap. It’s almost mouthwatering in the way it stimulates your taste buds.

If you’re a fan of Racer 5, which if you aren’t you really need to slap your own face twelve times, you will notice a lot of familiar notes. You can get a hint of the English style roots from the yeast in play here. That said, Racer 5 takes that English style IPA and flips it on its head with the aggressive hops and strong malt to balance it. This is a double IPA that doesn’t disappoint and is insanely easy to drink.

Racer X comes in at 8.3% ABV so while it’s no light weight, it’s more that enough to cause a blackout till Padres season starts.

This beer hit the shelves in November so I have a very strong feeling that you can’t find it anymore. However, if you know a friend who is known to horde beer, stop looking at me, make them share this one with you.

Bear Republic has quickly worked their way up my list of favorites, I hold their beers in very high esteem and they have yet to let me down. If for some crazy reason an IPA isn’t your thing, why are you here?, try their Red Rocket Ale or Hop Rod Rye or anything with their logo on it, you won’t go wrong.

Cheers,
Tom

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Seeing Double…Bastards.

I feel like I’ve been spending quite a bit of time recently sharing with you a lot of beers from the good folks at Stone Brewing, well, here is another one.

The 2012 release of Double Bastard.

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As always, this beer is categorized as an American Strong Ale. This year the bastard brings an 11.2% ABV in a 22oz bottle and if you are planning to drink this by yourself you may want to cancel plans for later in the day. It’s not for the feint of heart! I’d also like to stat for the record that I poured mine into a 22oz pilsner glass. Would you like to know why? Because I’m a grown ass man and that’s how I roll.

Opening the bottle you get great nose of maltiness with hint of bread from the yeast right off the bottle. It pours a nice copper color into the chilled glass and it looks fantastic. I let it sit there for all of four seconds before I moved to take the first sip. You get a strong malt flavor upfront, but not sweet at all, the hops are added to wash that all out and give it what I can best describe as an aggressive flavor. This is Stone we’re talking about so aggressive is pretty much the name of the game. If you are not prepared to be punched in your palette, go get something else. You may also detect some spices and and a boozyness that isnt overpowering.

As usual, this is a beer from Stone that shows their continued commitment to excellence. Like the bottle says, this is a beer not to be wasted on the weak.

Go get yourself a bottle or two.

Cheers,
Tom

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Lukcy Basartd – 3 Bastards walk in to a fermenter, 1 Bastard leaves!

Happy New Year to everyone, hope you all had a wonderful holiday season. Too much eggnog and too many Christmas cookies has put me a tad behind in rolling out some blogs but like my waistline, lets get things back in shape.

Lets start with this tasty delight from the small, humble brewery in Escondido called Stone. They rolled this beer out in November so there is a good chance you’ve come across it already. I’m talking about Lucky Bastard, or Lukcy Basartd if you want to make my brain hurt.

This is a big, hopped up ale created to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Arrogant Bastard. The smart guys up at Stone created this concoction by blending three of the bastard brothers to create this brand new limited edition bastard. Stone is quick to point out however, it’s only limited until they decide to make more. Arrogant Bastard, Oaked Arrogant Bastard and Double Bastard all put together in what I imagine is a Thunderdome style fermenter overseen by Tina Turner and Master Blaster. If you get that reference, you’re welcome!

Being a fan of all three of those delightful beers, I was overjoyed to pop the cap of this 22oz. bottle of bastardy goodness. At 8.5% ABV, keep a few pretzels nearby if you’re drinking this alone.

As far as how does it taste? Listen, if you are a Bastard enthusiast, you’re going to like this beer. It’s got the slap you in the face boldness of the original arrogant Bastard, a big splash of the boozy-ness of the Oaked Bastard and then the Double Bastard kinda pokes you in the eye when you least expect it.2012-12-23 11.16.39

It has a nice complexity to it, big roasty flavors held together by the caramel notes from the malts and I really dig that oaked booze flavor. The beer has a great nose on it when you open her up and if you pour into a glass you get a gorgeous copper with a slight reddish tint. It’s a beauty.

Oh and have fun reading the label after you’ve had a few swallows off this monster. The arrogant style spelling gave me a headache. Other that that minor quibble, I absolutely loved this beer and believe that if you are a fan of any of the Bastard beers by Stone tis is very much worth your time. Plus at $5.99 can you really afford not to try it out? Of course you can’t, now go get it.

Stay tuned for my thoughts on the 2012 edition of Double Bastard!

Sláinte,
Tom2012-12-23 11.19.51