Posts Tagged ‘port brewing’

bottle reuse, lost abbey comp

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

first off, I’m sure most, if not all, overcarbed visitors know about the SOPA/PIPA issue – if not, please read up a little and formulate your own opinion.

I always cringe a little when I cruise past the thousands of empty bottles packaged and stacked for sale at my local homebrew store – not only are they expensive, but I feel they go against the DIY lifestyle that homebrewing embodies.

  • don’t get me wrong, clean, ready-to-go bottles can be a huge time saver when bottling a large amount of brew, and I occasionally purchase a box or two of bombers for purposes of uniformity when I forgo kegging to bottle a portion of my specialty beers, but with used bottles available in great supply and at low cost (read: free), it seems a shame not to engage in eco-friendly bottle reuse.
  • when saving bottles, I like to rinse the bottle immediately after it has been emptied, and maybe shake some hot water in the bottle to release any caked-on dregs.  no beer bottle in my household touches human lips, but I do get bottle donations from neighbors and friends (CB and others have also had good luck talking to bottle shop owners for cases of empties).  in that scenario, after rinsing I hold the base of the bottles up to a light and peer through the mouth to look for any mold/bacteria growth.  if any is present, I toss the bottle into the recycle bin, as in my experience it’s not worth the time and effort to clean an infected bottle.
  • after the bottles have been rinsed and inspected, they are sent to the basement soaking station, where one by one they are soaked in a plastic pitcher overnight.  individual soaking avoids the monotony of a group soak/clean as well as the use of a large soaking bucket.  some people add cleaners like PBW and oxyclean to their soaking water, but I have found that plain water works fine and is cheaper in the long run.
  • after the overnight soak, I peel the label off with my fingernails and rub any leftover residue off with a scrubber sponge.  in the case of hard to remove, multi-layered plastic-type labels (such as those from lost abbey and russian river), I stick a single bottle in the microwave for sixty seconds and peel the label off with my fingers or a razor blade while holding the neck with an oven mitt.  any annoying leftover residue can be removed with a little olive oil and a paper towel.
  • after a quick final internal and external rinse, the bottle is ready to be toweled off and stored.  I store my bottles on their side on a rack, but if you store yours upright I recommend placing a piece of paper, foil, or saran wrap over the tops of the bottles to avoid dust settling inside over the long term.
  • with traditional bombers running over a buck each and belgian bottles trading hands for over three dollars a piece, and with bottle shipping being prohibitively expensive, reusing bottles can save you significant cash while offering a solution much greener than even recycling.

on a completely different note, in a fortuitous turn of events, yours truly won a contest over at port/lost abbey.  go figure.  well, technically I got second place, but my idea is going to be turned into a commercial and there is a high likelihood that I will be able to participate in/be part of the filming some time in february, so I’ll be sure to post updates as they come.  stoked!


pizza port carlsbad

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

pizza port carlsbad

after visiting my parents down in carlsbad, AP looked over at me while we were driving back up to LA and we both knew we had to stop by pizza port for a quick pint and a slice.

  • back in the days before I wised up, I used to brown bag a bomber of hog heaven barleywine over at pig liquor with the likes of PC to get my craft beer fix.  little did I know that a veritable brewing wonderland lay mere blocks away.
  • pizza port has a huge interior, with communal picnic tables both inside and out and a sizable bar wrapping around one side of the facility.
  • despite a less than enthusiastic (read: rude) bartender who was probably pissed he was working at noon on a sunday, I managed to get a pour of plant to pint, a fresh hop pale from port brewing.
  • plant to pint was mellow and drinkable, with a fresh citrusy hop aroma and a palate-coating bitter finish.  I actually preferred this to port’s other fresh hop offering.
  • the kicker is that their pizza is pretty awesome as well.  AP and I were contemplating trying another pint, but when AP was refused service at the bar(!) since her ID was in the car, we took the cue and headed out.
  • pizza port also has an incredible bottle shop (somewhat similar to city beer store) next door that was closed when we rolled by but will get reviewed in the near future.

plant to pint

some of the tanks in pizza port

the bar at pizza port

tap list at pizza port

port brewing high tide fresh hop IPA

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

high tide in the glass

last week AP and I swung by the local bevmo while we were down in socal.  one of the better finds there was port brewing’s high tide fresh hop IPA.

  • high tide wasn’t as subtle as other fresh hop beers I have tried recently-  it had a strong citrusy hop aroma and strong resiny bitterness (amarillo pellet hops are used as an early addition, and fresh centennial and chinook are used as later additions and for dry-hopping).
  • that isn’t to say that this beer wasn’t great – it definitely had a lot more hop flavor than what I was used to with fresh hop beers (including my own fresh hop beer).
  • overall, I would say this beer is the hop-head’s answer to fresh hop beers, and would definitely stand out next to other fresh hop offerings (as demonstrated over at toronado’s wet hop night a while back).

port high tide harvest fresh hop IPA

22 oz of hoppy goodness

naja’s place

Monday, October 5th, 2009

sculpin and the view at naja's

if you don’t know, now you know.

  • naja’s place in redondo beach is my favorite bar on the planet, and is one of the most overlooked spots to grab a brew in california.
  • it’s located right on the water, and has 88 beers on tap (tap list doesn’t look current), a great bottle selection, good food and live music.
  • best of all, the staff is always friendly, laid back, and knowledgeable about their brews.
  • AP and I went there multiple times over the weekend, and over the course of our visits we sampled numerous brews.  one of my favorites was sculpin IPA from ballast point.  it had an intense, fresh hop aroma and was surprisingly sessionable.
  • I also got a chance to try  sierra nevada’s estate harvest ale, a good APA with a great story behind it.
  • next in line was port brewing’s old viscosity – a blended strong ale that tastes like a smooth, strong imperial stout.
  • I also managed to grab an old blarney barleywine from moylan’s – it was malty and smooth, a good example of the style.
  • I even managed a taster of the bruery’s autumn maple, but I don’t think I could finish a whole glass of the stuff – toss me a punkin ale instead.
  • AP was feeling the spirit of the season and stuck with spaten’s oktoberfest.
  • note: LA beer week is coming up in a couple weeks, and naja’s is going all out for it.  martin was talling me about a stone brewing night, a new belgium specialty night, a belgian import night, and other events.
  • thanks again to martin, darren, and the rest of the crew over at naja’s!  we’ll be back soon!

part of the tap lineup at naja's

old viscosity and spaten oktoberfest

bottle fridges at naja's

the grill at naja's

sculpin IPA at naja's

the band at naja's

two happy customers at naja's

port/lost abbey 3rd anniversary party recap

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

in the barrel room

mother’s day 2009 happened to coincide with port brewing/lost abbey‘s third anniversary party at the brewing/aging facility they acquired from stone brewing in san marcos.  since my parents live in north county san diego, they agreed to head over to see what all the fuss was about.

  • the place was PACKED, as expected, so it took a little while to get a pour (although parking was not a problem, since the brewery is located in a business park).  also, a band was banging it out in the middle of the brew space.  the setup was definitely not for the faint of heart.
  • however, once you sided up to the bar, the selection was worth the wait.  I started off with a round of cuvee de tomme, an oak-aged sour quad that I had heard a lot about.  this beer was GREAT, as it combined two of my favorite beer genres (quads and sour beers) into a highly drinkable combination.  I was in love at first pour, but the keg kicked soon thereafter, so I was left to explore other options.
  • the next round was angel’s share brandy barrel, another great barrel-aged strong.  one word of advice to those with recent carbonation issues with bottles of this beer – place it in a warmer environment for a while and agitate the bottle occasionally.  hey, it works for homebrewers who do in-bottle secondary fermentations…
  • we also snagged a round of angel’s share broubon barrel.  see where this is going? all of port/lost abbey’s greats were available, and  sample sizes were generous.  since others like phunky duck were kicked, a few more angel’s shares got tossed around in their awesome barrel room before we called it a day and got out of there.
  • on a side note, pizza port pizza was being served as well, and although there was a considerable wait for that as well, it too was worth it.
  • note to self for future anniversary parties: 1) bring earplugs, 2) get there earlier and set up shop, 3) take a deep breath before entering and know what you are in store for.
  • also, check out the comment on this blog post for some enlightening information about the details of port brewing.

the whole gang

not a bad place to be