Monday is here, and it’s time to start another week. Pick of the Weekend is our weekly post where we recap our favorite brews of the week-end past…
This weekend we traveled down to San Diego for a friend’s birthday party, and we were treated to many growlers filled with local SD brews. The birthday-boy was able to hit FOUR breweries within a 15-mile radius of his house: Lost Abby/Port Brewing, Mother Earth Brew Co, Iron Fist Brewing, and of course Stone Brewing. Other attendees brought more growlers, included a pair from Golden Road and one from Eagle Rock Brewing in LA, and even some home-brew. The selection was impressive, with everything from session-friendly milds and hefes to big double reds and imperial IPAs.
We sampled the Stone special release for the weekend, their “LaVariation” version of Levitation Ale brewed with their Belgian yeast strain. It was good, an improvement on the standard Levitation for us, and it was huge hit with the party goers. The Shark Attack Double Red Ale from Port Brewing was also very well received, but the real hit of Growlerfest was the Gauntlet double IPA from Iron Fist Brewing. The Gauntlet is a typical west-coast double IPA with a ton of hops in the nose and on the palate and a stout malt backbone matched up to all those hops, and the beer strikes the sweet-spot of balance between the hops and malt. It had a heavy, syrupy, mouthfeel that coated the tongue and allowed the finish to linger on with just a hint of hot alcohol to remind you that is was nearly 10%ABV. It was certainly the best beer that I’ve personally had from Iron Fist, and I’ll be looking for more of The Gauntlet.
The other highlight of the weekend was a complex and unique dark European lager from Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project called “Lovely Saint Winefride“. Brewers without a brewery, Pretty Things is based in New England and they make their delicious and unique beers by renting brewing capacity at other breweries. The St. Winnie is a decoction-mashed lager that is a deep ruddy brown with strong coffee flavors and a delightful clean and dry finish. It reminded me of a lighter-bodied porter, but the clean lager-finish really made it stand out. I paid a little over $9 for the bomber of it, but it was good enough that I’d pick up a second and third bottle if I come across it again. In fact, nearly all of the Pretty Things beers carry the Beer of Tomorrow BUY ON SIGHT recommendation!
What was the big hit for your weekend? Anything blow you away?