Friday, March 9, 2012

San Diego County Brewery Tour + Board Game

My wife knows me pretty well. For my Christmas present she got together with a good friend's wife to plan a full brewery tour for the both of us. And together they picked out some of the best breweries in San Diego, but not necessarily the most convenient driving route. To me the breweries mattered more than the time spent between breweries. The wives even figured out a way to make the driving fun. They rented a 12 passenger van and invited some of our close friends. And to help time pass as we drove, they created a beer board game.

Here are the basic rules of the game:
  • You are read a description of a beer from one of the breweries we visited and you must correctly identify the beer (you are given a cheat sheet to narrow down the choices).
  • A correct answer advances your piece on the game board (they used a cork board and the pieces were decorated push pins - genius). For every consecutive correct answer you get to move an extra space.
  • Follow directions of whatever space you land on (see picture for examples)
  • If you get "Slammered", you must finish your drink to get out.
  • Winner gets a growler from the last brewery
Results: The board game needs some work with the details (Impossible to win due to the move back a space squares (the girls were drinking as they invented the game)) - so we'll try again next year.

Start: @ 11:00 am at Alpine Brewing 
They make fantastic beer and the big hoppy beers they are know for are very good. Make sure to get here early as the place feels up quickly. And the back patio is really the place to be, especially with our great San Diego weather.

This place is huge including their tasting room. We ordered one of everything, we enjoyed 13 samples. They have a very nice spread of beers, so it is easy for everyone in the group to find something they like. Also on the weekends, they have food trucks right by the patio. The hot french fries paired nicely with the "Brisk" San Diego winter weather and a Green Flash Double Stout (my favorite).

By now we needed some food to soak up the copious amounts of beer we "sampled". And what better place than one that has won Brewpub of the Year several times. And their pizza is pretty darn good, big on the toppings to really fill you up. A couple glasses later of their Bourbon 15th Anniversary Blend  and it was time to go.

Fourth Stop: Iron Fist Brewery
They might be somewhat new in the San Diego beer scene, but they make the style of beer I really enjoy. Their selection is mostly Belgian styles and a few American classics. They make a great Belgian Dubbel and thanks to their Velvet Glove (Stout), Ben has a new nickname. This is a great family run company that is producing great beer.

Probably my favorite brewery from a sour and Belgian beer standpoint and their tasting room is great. They have all their barrels out and you can see what is aging in each. And for some of the barrels they just put a sack of grain on top to make a seat. The beer speaks for itself and I happily took home a growler of Red Barn (and a bottle of Cuvee de Tomme) - I won the beer game!

It was a very enjoyable time and can't wait to keep up the tradition. We have another 35 breweries to still visit.

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