San Diego Beer, Local & Independent!

It’s a group thing.


It’s not often that we entertain guests at Casa de Hoptology, but on those rare occasion that we do I like to go grab a couple 22oz bottles from the local store so that we can have an impromptu beer tasting. Now what I normally try to do is grab something that is a little different, a little out of our comfort zone of the hopped beers that I love to talk about. On this particular evening I decided I would split the difference and grab a bottle of something new, and then a bottle of something new but familiar.

I decided to roll with the Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale and New Belgium Brewing’s Rampant Imperial India Pale Ale
Old Guardian - drained.
Old Guardian – drained.

First up was the Old Guardian. This is an 11.6ABV and a few sips in will have you slurring in a hurry. Barley Wine is something that I do not drink at all. It’s not for a lack of interest in this style of beer, it’s a simple matter of it being a cold day in hell when I order anything other than an IPA. After filling up the tasters and placing them on the table everyone took a glass and held it close to get a nice whiff of the scents before putting glass to lips and giving it a taste. Now, an important detail to keep in mind is that I didn’t tell people what the beers were, thinking I’d get some good honest reactions . So how did the tasting go?

“Delicious.” “Sweet” “Slightly fruity”
The consensus was that it’s very good but nobody was quite able to put their finger on the exact style of beer.  I think this speaks volumes about what Stone is doing with beers because in many cases you know when you are having a barley wine style. Stone reminds that this is an ale as well, so it has a more well rounded flavor profile and isn’t what you would normally get in many barley wines on the shelves today.
Next up we had rolled out the new Imperial IPA from the deviants in Fort Collins, Colorado; New Belgium. It comes in at 8.5%ABV. New Belgium’s standard IPA is Ranger which is a very good IPA. I like to consider Ranger a solid and reliable beer but I personally don’t put it in my top 5 IPA’s. My good friend and taster at this event, Pete, does. I was insanely curious to see what he thought of this new big brother to Ranger. One of the first words out my buddy’s mouth was “lemony”. Comments from the others included statements like “tastes like IPA”, “Citrus” “great for a summer day” “refreshing” only one person picked up the notes of sweetness and it wasn’t me. The citrus seemed to be the most prevalent flavor but again, the beer met with approval all around the room. After an impromptu rating system was constructed out of 5 it rated a solid 3.5. It was fun revealing to Pete that this was in fact a creation of New Belgium.
All in all, I thought the tasting went well. I’m working on making this sort of little experiences happen more often just because I love being able to get a really good conversation about the flavors of beer going. I’m sure there are a few bottles of Old Guardian available along with it’s brother, Old Guardian Oaked. New Belgium is currently ramping up with marketing for Rampant, be sure to check out their channel on youtube under NBBFILMS.
Pete eyes up the tasters

Pete eyes up the tasters

In the meantime, I hope spring is finding it’s way to wherever you are and get ready for a flood of new posts over the coming weeks. Fingers crossed that some of the new developments I have in mind for the site start to be made known as well.

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.

2 thoughts on “It’s a group thing.

  1. Is that beer talking to Pete? Or is Pete a Beer Whisperer? Hmmm. And I love the idea of getting friends together for this kind of casual tasting. Let the games begin!

  2. Fun night at casa de hoptology! We’ll have to avoid the steep parking rates next time. 😉
    I’ll tell Pete that his pimple–I mean picture–made it to your blog.

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