There are craft beer aficionado, beer purists, beer idiots, and then me…an in-between of all of them. I know the differences between pale ales, IPAs, and stouts, but normally I’m just as happy with a $2 Miller Lite.
Something I didn’t know: there are tour companies that pick you up and take you on a beer bus around various cities. Or at least this exists in San Diego. BS and I got picked up by the Brewery Tours of San Diego at 10:30am (yes, in the morning) to start a drinking adventure. First we arrived at Ballast Point and I was kind of confused, it looked like we were in an industrial park at an office building and not a place where I could get wildly drunk. I went inside anyway. Leave no stone unturned.
They had at least 20 beers on tap; many of which (if I remember correctly) were brewed one-time only. I, for the second time in my life, read the word “sculpin” on a menu; the previous night we had the fish, and today all of the beers were named after various catches. I knew we only had a limited amount of time and only so much I could drink, so BS and I went for the craziest ones:
Habanero Sculpin, serrano pale ale, and a smoked IPA. The smoked beers were great but not mind-blowing; like the difference between eating roasted pork and smoked pork. They’re both kick-ass pork, but one tastes smokey. However, the complexity of the pepper beers completely blew me away; they embodied all the flavor of the peppers, with maybe half of the heat. If you blindly took a sip of either one, you could distinctly taste which was habanero and serrano, not just pepper. I think the serrano pale ale would make a kick-ass beer mac-n-cheese, although I haven’t figured out how to procure it in Pennsylvania yet. I’m taking suggestions.
We continued on to San Marcos Brewery and perhaps most famously Stone Brewing Company, where I insisted on sitting around the stone (pictured above). Things were fuzzy at this point; after hours of beer tasting in the sun my brain cells started to fry. But I knew the beers were good, and I knew that next time I should probably take it easier on the first stop. I’m not getting in on the craft beer war, but I’m just going to say this. What’s better than a guy driving you around, leading you to drink?