The Kettle Room @ Ballast Point ~ San Diego

Some time the best laid plans go to waste and you discover something new. Originally me and Justin, beer contributor for North County Food, were going to a beer dinner at Biga. It was cancelled, so I rallied and have been wanting to check out The Kettle Room. Basically the Ballast point brewery opened a fine dining room in the back of their place. Probably seats 30ish. We were the only 2 there on Sunday. This is probably one of my favorite dinning experiences of my life. Food . service, atmosphere. I do not say that lightly.

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The adventure begins.

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That mural, that art, is insane. It is vinyl “I had to touch it” This just made me happy.

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To our backs, basically we are sitting in the heart of the beast.

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There was lots of beer:)

We had the whole place to our selves. It was like a private dinner. Service was on point, food on point. This cost me $100 with tip, I would have paid 3 times as much.

On to food.

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Grilled Octopus ~ Ramp Kimchi, 3-Herb Salad, Peanut Crisp.

This is probably the best octopus dish I have ever had. I know, but honestly it was so good.

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Mussels ~ Normally not a huge fan of mussels. This dish changed me. I had the Chef come out at the end of the meal because the broth was so good and I wanted to pick his brain. I was expecting “we boil down fish bones for 18 hours…” Nope, he was like”lots of butter” Again so good.

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See, told you.

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Halibut. Perfectly cooked, perfectly sweet, simple but not simple.

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rhubarb w/ doughnut. Not a huge dessert person but this was great.

I wish I had better menu descriptions but it changes all the time. I should have stolen the menu:) What I can say is this is in my top 5 dinning experiences. It is not just about the food it is when everything comes together. Food, service, atmosphere. The Langham when Micheal Voltaggio was there, Saam by Jose Andres, and The Mansion at the MGM, and now the Kettle Room, and I’ll hold the last one.

Highly recommend going.

The Kettle Room @Ballast Point

2215 India St, San Diego,

#food #foodporn #beer

Belching Beaver Brewery Refresh Party / Belching Beaver Tavern & Grill ~ Vista

Belching Beaver Brewery Brand Refresh Party.

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Patio setting

Belching Beaver Brewery out of Vista is spicing up their logo and giving it a new look.  To mark the occasion, they hosted a beer and food event on their back patio on what turned out to be a gorgeous, warm sunny day in downtown Vista.  The event provided some new beers, an array of old favorites, and tasty food in a relaxed atmosphere.  The clincher was getting there early enough for a shady corner of the patio, only facing the sun to grab thirst quenching pours of Belching Beaver.  It was worth the sun exposure.  Having just experienced Chef Ramiro’s food pairing concoctions for The Bruery, I was excited to see what he could do with beers brewed just feet away from him.  All of his creativity is discussed below.

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Carnitas Tostada with Mango IPA

San Diegans know you can never go wrong with tacos and beer.  An IPA paired with spicy pulled pork on a fried tortilla was a fancy twist on the classic, as the mango salsa on the tostada married well with the Mango in the IPA.

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Green Papaya with Me So Honey Blonde

I was pretty skeptical when I grabbed this dish, curious how slaw would survive a hot afternoon.  I was pleasantly surprised by the flavor of the green papaya, mixed in a Me So Honey mustard.  It was a light, sweet, refreshing combination that reminded me of mid summer BBQ’s.

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Grapefruit Blintz with Hop Highway IPA

This fancy pancake was likely meant for last as a dessert, but my beer instincts told me to save the dark beer for last as I barbarically folded the fancy cake in half and ate it like a taco.  Washing down the sweet cream and sour grapefruit with a solid IPA made for a lovely “dessert.”

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Vegetable Mole with Viva La Beaver

The final dish and drink was a vegetable mole paired with their peanut butter and chocolate milk stout.  This beer is so delicious and creamy, and the bitter chocolate was a nice addition.  It helped to wash down the little bit of spiciness in the mole.

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To end the day, we tried one of the new beers released at the party.  It was the Coffee-Maple-Vanilla Scotch Ale.  If the name sounds like a mouthful, you should try the beer.  All the flavors mesh beautifully in this unique pour.  I noticed the maple mostly in the aroma, and the vanilla and coffee collapse onto the palate and end with a smooth, creamy finish.  It was on the sweeter side, so if you are not into sweet beers I suggest starting with a taster.  But this beer, among others, is definitely worth making the trip over to the Vista Tavern to drink and enjoy the outdoor patio as we get closer and closer to summer.

All Words & Photos by:  Justin Kunert

Belching Beaver Tavern & Grill

302 E. Broadway, Vista

#Vista #food #foodporn #beer #brewery #craftbeer #belchingbeaver

Bruery Beer Dinner @ Belching Beaver Tavern & Grill ~ The Beers

As promissed here is Justin Kunert’s run down of the beers featured at the Bruery beer dinner @ Belching Beaver Tavern & Grill in Vista.

I had the pleasure of joining Chris at the Belching Beaver Tavern and Grill in Vista for their beer paring dinner with one of my all time favorite breweries, The Bruery, out of Orange County.  As Chris mentioned in his article (see link below), I will be talking up all the delicious liquid companions to our incredible dishes This event kicked off The Bruery tap takeover at Belching Beaver Tavern – so you can go taste the beers in this article, or elect a different selection from their 15 tap handles at the bar, while supplies last.  The 15 beers on tap include options from both The Bruery and The Bruery Terreux.  The Bruery specializes in Belgians and barrel aged beers, and their sour and wild beers fall under The Bruery Terreux brand.

As an additional perk to the dinner, we were given early access to this tap list.  Taking advantage of this I grabbed the Sour in the Rye, a 7.7% abv wild ale.  I loved this beer, and if you’re a sour enthusiast it is a must try.  Soon afterwards, we went on to what would but my first beer dinner that actually included food.  It started off with the 7.1% abv OR XATA Blonde Ale.  This is their twist on Horchata, a sweet milk drink.  Delightful aromas of vanilla and cinnamon accompany this blonde ale, before reaching your mouth with a slightly creamy, refreshingly light touch on the tongue.

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The OR XATA welcome beer

With dessert like aromas, I found this an interesting beer to start the evening with.  But as a blonde ale, it was really drinkable and transitioned nicely to our first dish.

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Al Pastor Tostada paired with Frederick H.

The al pastor was definitely my favorite meal of the night, and the 4.4% abv Frederick H. was the perfect companion.  It is light, refreshing, and its slight tartness paired nicely with the mild spiciness of the al pastor.

The next pairing included a beer that will reign more familiar with the palettes of IPA fans.  Mosaic hops are added to this wild ale to create the 6.3% abv Humulus Terreux, which drinks like a pale ale, but with an appropriately funky flavor and dry finish.  The bitterness matched well with the sweetness of the melon.

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The next installment provided one of my favorite moments of the evening.  The beer was one I had enjoyed many times: the 7.5% abv Oude Tart.  It’s a favorite of mine, for its subtly sweet oak aromas and sourness that tingles your cheeks at the back of your jaw.  Chef Ramiro paired this with Venison meatballs, a creamy gravy, and lingonberry sauce.

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Call me uncultured, but I had never tried a lingonberry before. The chef mentioned that when he first tried this beer, it reminded him of lingonberries.  After trying my first lingonberry, the resemblance was uncanny, and it gave me a whole new perspective on the beer.  For me, this defined the intrigue of these events, and stoked my fascination in different experts’ tastes and experiences with beer.

Already 4 beers deep, The Bruery showed no mercy for the last couple pairings, and brought out some heavy hitters with their 11.1% abv Share This: Mole and the 11.3% abv 9 Ladies Dancing.

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Mole Skewers paired with Share This: Mole

The Share This: Mole has a forward, in your face boozy aroma, but is supported by welcomingly sweet roasty and cinnamon smells.  Upon tasting it you start to notice the spiciness from the added ancho chiles and poblano peppers, and sweetness from the cocoa nibs and vanilla.  It is a pretty complex beer with lots of competing flavors, but ends up providing a superb balance between the high alcohol, spiciness, and sweetness.  Chef Ramiro said the mole skewers were an obvious choice to pair with the beer, and they were indeed a great match.

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Grilled Pound Cake paired with 9 Ladies Dancing

The last dish and drink combination was the tiramisu inspired 9 Ladies Dancing paired with Chef Ramiro’s unique take on tiramisu.  This was delicious.  The beer, with sweet overtones from the added vanilla and chocolate, matched perfectly with the sweetness of the dish as the dessert helped cut the booziness of the beer.  The coffee chantilly on the dessert brought out the coffee flavors in the beer.  The intertwining of layers and flavor made for a wonderful finish to the evening, or so we thought.

For a surprise night-cap, The Bruery generously brought out their 6.1% abv Sourrento, a sour blonde ale inspired by the southern Italian liqueur Limoncello.  Lemon and vanilla aromas filled your nose before the sour ale provided a sweet, refreshing pucker and a dry finish.  This beer, among the others, speaks to the creative innovations that come with beers from The Bruery.  They push the limits of originality and play with flavors that keep your mind guessing and your taste buds craving more.  Go out and try some of their brews at the Belching Beaver Tavern and Grill!

Words and Pics by: Justin Kunert

You can read about the food from the event Here

The Bruery

Plecentia, Ca

Belching Beaver Tavern & Grill

Vista, Ca

Churchill’s Pub & Toolbox Brewing Co. ~ Sour Beer Events ~ San Marcos, Vista

Editors Note * I would like to introduce and welcome Justin Kunert to the North County Food team. Justin Will be covering local breweries and beer events. Here is his inaugural post.

For my first beer article, I decided to stick to something I know and love: sour beers.  Coincidentally enough, September obliged and provided back-to-back sour packed Saturdays.  To start off, Toolbox Brewing in Vista celebrated its 2-year anniversary on Saturday, September 8.  It was an awesome event for the brewery and its fans, given the great turnout at the event.

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To commemorate its 2nd birthday, Toolbox served up its specialty by offering a dozen sour beers on tap, including barrel aged sours, wild ales, and saisons.  Our group managed to try six of the options on tap, and damn they were all good.  Four are shown below, my favorite being the 7.5% alcohol by volume (ABV) “Pinkies Up” – a barrel aged sour saison with plums, lemongrass, and kaffir lime leaves.  This beer carried a remarkably unique plum flavor and along with it an awesome pucker, like alcoholic pop rocks that make your lips shrink and eyes shut.  A phenomenal beer drinking experience.  We also tasted the Bramble on Rose, a bronze medal winner at the 2016 World Beer Cup and a gold medal winner at 2016 San Diego International Beer Competition.

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Given my sour cravings, it is great to see this brewery make outstanding beer and to witness all of the support that it is receiving.  Check them out at their website (http://www.toolboxbrewing.com/home/) and in this article from Draft Magazine (http://draftmag.com/25-breweries-on-the-rise/).

 

The following Saturday, September 10, Churchill’s Pub and Grille in San Marcos hosted the 7th Annual Peter Reeve’s Memorial Sour Fest.  Churchill’s had over 40 different sour beers on tap!  Our group managed to make it through 12 different tasters, 8 of which made it into the picture below.  New Belgium’s “Le Terrior” was my personal favorite.

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As for local representation, North County breweries contributing sours on the list included Belching Beaver, The Lost Abbey, Pizza Port, and the afore-mentioned Toolbox.  I would recommend getting your hands on Pizza Port’s “Halle Berrylicious” for some local sour flavor, though any of the options are solid choices.  The event attracted a huge crowd of sour enthusiasts and I am sure some kegs will still be around for sampling for those interested.  Check out Churchill’s here: http://churchillspub.us/.

Churchills Pub

887 West San Marcos Blvd., San Marcos

Toolbox Brewing Company

1495 Poinsettia Ave. #148, Vista

All words and pictures by Justin Kunert

Belching Beaver Grand Opening & So Rich Chocolates ~ Oceanside / Double Post.

So, trekked my way up to the Grand opening of Belching Beaver’s new brew house and tap-room in Oceanside. I do mean trekked, I took the train to the College station and walked a mile up Avenida Del Oro to their location at 1334 Rocky Point Dr., Oceanside.

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They have had a soft opening earlier in the month, but this was the official grand opening. I had hoped to get there early and avoid the crowds (there was no avoiding the crowds)

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Belching beaver oceanside

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There was already a line for beer out the door when I got there. They should have had one bartender handling the line and the rest helping people seated or coming up for refills. Still, everything got handled.

Batch 1 sour

To accompany the grand opening they brought out a new American Blonde Sour, called batch 1. Created by Peter Perricone the beer was aged in French oak wine barrels for 9 months on a pound per gallon of raspberries. This is only available at the Oceanside location and extremely limited.

I loved this Sour ( Sours are my new jam ). Light perfect hot weather beer. I bought a bottle as a special occasion beer…which did not make it to Monday:)

Also at the grand opening were the delightful and talented women of So Rich Chocolates.

belching beaver so rich chocolates

So Rich Chocolates specialize in making handcrafted chocolates specifically to pair with beer, wine, and spirits. You will find them at local breweries and wine events throughout north county. In fact, they will be at Stone Brewing’s anniversary party Aug. 19th 20th for a chocolate and cigar pairing. It’s sold out, so if you managed tickets say hello and try some of their delicious creations.

Owners Jona Nilson and Toni Howe both come from culinary backgrounds working in confectionary. They met while Toni was working for Le Creuset and started up a craft chocolate business based out of Vista, Ca.

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Said owners and chocolatiers.

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I am not a huge sweets person, yet I can appreciate great chocolate when I come across it due to talking and learning from talented Chefs like Beau Bonham, and Christine Loyola, as well as working for a major confections company in my 20s. These ladies are legit.

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Chocolate knows no age barrier.

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White Chocolate Salted Honey Caramel Truffle. Made to pair with double and triple IPAs. I also recommend their Cucumber Melon truffle.

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My to go purchase, two dark chocolate ginger, and two dark chocolate raspberry truffles.

Belching Beaver Brewhouse and Tap-Room

1334 rocky Point Dr., Oceanside

So Rich Chocolates

@ north county breweries and wine events near you.

A monthly calendar of “where” and “when”  is available on their website.

August Events ~ North County

Lots of great food events coming in August. Here are some of the major ones.

Chefs dinner mock

Tuesday, August 9th at 7PM. Only 12 seats left. call 608 @ 760291-1040 for reservations.

Flying Pig 1 year aug 7th

Flying Pig’s 1 Year anniversary. Starts at 10am Sunday, August 7th.  Vista location.

Culinary surprises will abound, I’m sure.

belching beaver

Belching Beaver’s Oceanside Taproom opens with a limited edition Sour and food. Festivities start at 1pm.

gc mead dinner

Gold Coast mead is hosting a limited seating (20 people) farm to table dinner and mead pairing. Aug 18th @ 6pm.

Wrench and rodent event

Cool stuff at Wrench and Rodent August 21st.

Linkage….

608 Restaurant 

Flying Pig, Vista

Belching Beaver

Golden Coast Mead

Wrench and Rodent

SD Beer Works

As we all know, weekends bring beer adventures. This past Sunday I was able to FINALLY hit one of the spots that has been on my list for a long time. SD Beer Works. This place is a lovely little bottle shop in Solana Beach, tucked into a little shopping mall off of Coast Highway (also very close to Culture if you feel like making another trip).

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Entrance to SD Beer Works

A couple of reasons I have been wanting to make it to this place is because 1. They have a fantastic bottle selection. Their bottle range from local San Diego breweries, to California, to national and even imports from all over the world. They are organized nicely by style and offer a great opportunity to try some new styles.

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And 2. They constantly feature different San Diego breweries, offering customers an opportunity to try a flight from a brewery that may be located in San Diego and is not as easy to get to their tasting room. That was the case for me this week and SD Beer Works was offering a great selection of beers from Intergalactic Brewing (along with many others).

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From draft they allow you to get a number of different size pours (they have a build-your-own-flight) that is $5.50 for 2 5oz tasters, which I think is a great deal and offers drinkers the chance to try a numbers of beers.

My selection included The Cake is a Lie, which is a coffee cream ale. I have to say that I have tried a number of blonde/lighter ales brewed with coffee lately and I. love. it. This beer was smooth and creamy with a vanilla-coffee flavor. It kind of seems like cold brew to me in comparison to the typical coffee stout, which tend to have much heavier, dark roasted mouth feels to them. This was a beer that I would like to drink all day long while strolling the sunny warm towns of north county.

I also tried the Space Oasis Coconut Porter, a sweet, smooth beer, and the Red Shirt #35, which is an IPA brewed with pineapple and cucumber. This IPA was particularly unique because the cucumber flavor was actually pretty distinct. I felt this made the beer very refreshing and a little fancy. Like cucumber water at spas or country clubs or wherever people actually drink cucumber water. Crisp, hoppy, and refreshing.

Lastly, I had to have some Campfire Stout on Nitro. This beer, by High Water Brewing out of Chico, is just one of my favorites. Always. I have had it so many times and I love it, and it is delicious, and they had it on nitro, so I just had to. This just shows the wide range of beers that SD Beer Works features. They have a good number of creative, rare beers, as well as the classics that we all love.

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Lastly, SD Beer Works offers a list of small bar bites, such as pretzels, corn nuts, charcuterie, etc., but they also allow you to bring your own food. I highly recommend stopping at the sunset market across Hwy 101, and making a picnic to bring over.

So overall I give SD Beer Works an A for providing the good people of Solana Beach with great beer from everywhere else (but mainly San Diego, because, you know, drink local 😉 ).

Go there. Drink there.

SD Beer Works

437 S. Highway 101, Suite 107
Solana Beach, CA 92075

858-353-2815

sandiegobeerworks

Words and Photos by Katie Cobb

Golden Coast Mead ~ Oceanside

Hey there everyone. Today I am going to highlight Golden Coast Mead, Oceanside’s own and only meadery (that I know of anyway 🙂 ). They have two tasting rooms right now, one in Julian and the Other in Oceanside. The Oceanside location, however, is where the magic happens. Their tasting room is hidden in some warehouse space near the College Blvd. and Oceanside Blvd. intersection. Once you find it you will be so stinkin’ happy that you did.

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Each time I visit it seems they have changed the space around a bit to accommodate more people, which is awesome, because that means they keep gaining popularity. In fact, I have been here a number of times and each time there is a wider selection of meads with more creative ingredients. It is always wonderful to try to all the new stuff they have.

Reasons you should drink mead:

  1. It is the oldest of fermented beverages, like known to humanity, thus it is pretty much a human requirement.
  2. It is unique- now, I will be the first to admit I don’t always love mead. But I do love the idea of it and appreciate what it is. Most of the time I find it is on the too sweet side for me. However, Golden Coast continues to blow my mind with sour meads, hopped meads, dry meads, and many others that I can actually handle large pours of. They have truly broadened my horizons.
  3. Because these guys are just so dang wonderful. The guys that work for Golden Coast are welcoming, passionate, and always so excited to talk about the new cool shit their doing with their honey. It’s hard not to be equally excited about it.

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So now let’s talk about what I drank…

As you can tell, we all did some flights so we could try literally everything they had. Also, the guys were wonderful and brought out some things that weren’t on the menu for us to sample as well.

Coffee Mead: This is a meade brewed with dark roast coffee and it was oh so delicious. Probably my favorite one. It was mildly sweet and the smoky roast of the coffee was the perfect balance. The coffee taste appears more on the back end so that the sweet honey flavor doesn’t linger and has a clean finish. Delightful.

Viking Tears: This mead was my second favorite of the day. It is a mead fermented with french oak chips and lacto. This gives the mead also a drier, and a little bit tart flavor. However it remains very light on the palate. One thing I am always impressed with these guys is none of their meads are syrupy as I have found with other meaderies. This one was almost like a more flavorful champagne. So good.

Galley Grog: This mead was not my favorite, but it was the favorite of my friends. The reason for this is simply that it has a distinct scotch taste to it, which I can 100% appreciate, it’s just not my thing. This mead is super unique though. It is a limited release, only available in bottles. They made it from a rain forest honey which was very dark in complexion and had a very unique flavor profile. The result of this turned this mead into a toffee, scotch-like alcohol that was so smooth. If I had to drink something that tastes like scotch, I would definitely choose this. It was a great mead for anyone that wants to try it.

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Some of their award winning meads 🙂

 

As per usual, I enjoyed everything about my experience at Golden Coast. The staff, the experience of trying new meads, the ambiance. You should definitely make your way to their tasting room some time.

Also, they have a tasting room in Julian as well if you’re ever up there. both are 100% worth your time.

Golden Coast Mead

4089 Oceanside Blvd, Suite H
Oceanside, CA 92056

goldencoastmead.com

facebook.com/GoldenCoastMead

 

Words and Photos by: Katie Cobb

Texas Wine & Spirits ~Carlsbad

Today I wanted to veer from my usual posts on great places to drink beer in north county and shed some light on one of the best places to buy beer. Texas Wine & Spirits is true gem in downtown Carlsbad. This is my absolute go-to whenever I need to get beer for a party, camping, or just to drink by myself at home… Texas is an absolute Disneyland for the beer love, I can always find something new that I’ve never had before. Basically, anytime I walk in here I expect to spend at least 20 minutes staring at their wide selection and spending far too much money, but man is it worth it.

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Though this store does carry liquor and wine also, this is an image just of their  beer selection. This doesn’t even cover it. Over the years I have gotten to know the owners a bit and they guarantee that at any given time their selection includes over 1000 different beers from all over the world.

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More beer…

Now, I can admit that walking into this can be a little intimidating if you have no idea what you are looking for. Luckily, their selection is vaguely organized by categories and styles, including local breweries, Belgian styles, etc. I will admit though, half of the reason it takes me so long to choose beer here is because it is mildly overstimulating. I want to try them all. Maybe that is their goal….

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and still more…

Regardless, they are organized by brewery and they carry a beyond fantastic selection. You will be able to find your go-to brews that you know you love, as well as some absolutely splurge-worthy releases from, say, The Bruery….

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The Bruery bottles

To add some icing to that beer cake, the owners of Texas are wonderful, friendly, and extremely helpful. They always try to make sure you can find what you’re after, and are willing to do some research if they don’t carry what you are looking for. Additionally, when speaking to him about this post he let me know that they can also provide alcohol for events such as wedding and parties. I know I would be one happy guest at a wedding with this quality of beer 🙂

The moral of this story is if you want to buy good beer, go here.

Texas Wine & Spirits

945 Carlsbad Village Dr, Carlsbad, CA 92008

(760) 729-1836

Words and Photos by Katie Cobb

The Confessional by The Lost Abbey

Tonight, was a night for confessions. I had to admit to the beer gods that I had been spending far too much time on my school work, and not nearly enough time drinking the brews of North County. Thus, a trip to The Confessional by The Lost Abbey was an appropriate stop for me to celebrate turning in my thesis paper and repent of my sins ;). Okay, I’m being a bit dramatic. My point is, I went to The Confessional tonight. It is The Lost Abbey’s tasting room in Cardiff which features beers from The Lost Abbey, Port Brewing and a new, third brand of beers titled The Hop Concept.

Also, I apologize for the shitty photo quality, I forgot my camera and had to settle for my sad little camera phone.

The Confessional tasting room

The Confessional tasting room

The ambiance of this tasting room is fantastic. As opposed to many tasting rooms that are big open warehouse spaces, this one has plenty of seating and the decor is of an Abbey meets industrial feel. It’s not huge, so a big crowd would definitely be overwhelming, but tonight it was the perfect space for a relaxing time drinking some good beer with a few friends.

The Confessional draft list

The Confessional draft list

As mentioned, this tasting room features beers from three breweries/beer brands. The Lost Abbey, if unfamiliar, tends to create many old-world style beers, as well as many experimental beers such as sours and beers with unique ingredients.

Port Brewing does more American style beers but also includes a fair share of experimental brews.

The Hop Concept is a new brewing company along with these two. It is, as it sounds, centered on the hop-factor, creating many, deliciously hoppy beers.

Tonight I sampled Avant Garde from The Lost Abbey and Tropical and Juicy from The Hop Concept.

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Avant Garde- Okay, I have to be honest. This is not the first time I have had this beer. It is actually one of my go-tos. This farmhouse ale is crisp and bready. A truly easy-drinking beer. The farmhouse style gives it an earthy complexity that I just love. It is interesting, yet simple.

Tropical and Juicy- This is an IPA brewed with grapefruit juice. It has wonderful citrus aromatics. The hopiness, however doesn’t linger in your mouth but instead is taken over by a sweet malty flavor. This IPA is definitely unique for this characteristic. It is sweet and sour and a delightful beer for this beautiful place that we live in.

The Confessional also features some special release beers that you won’t be able to find anywhere else. By carrying beers from all three brands, there is truly something for every beer drinker out there. Whether you like old-world brews, lagers or IPAs, you will find something to quench your thirst here.

The Confessional by The Lost Abbey

2007 San Elijo Ave., Cardiff, CA 92007

theconfessionalcardiff

Words and Pictures by Katie Cobb