On our way to Julian for apple picking, Prez and I came up with a great idea - our very own brewery tour! See, San Diego has 35 breweries located throughout the county and was named by Mens Journal as the "top beer town" in the country. Thatboy and I are fans of most of the local brews, although since they tend to be on the hoppy side, he enjoys a wider selection than I do.
Realizing that Thatboy's birthday was coming up, we decided that would be a perfect time to implement our genius. Thatboy picked three breweries he wanted to visit, we invited his nearest and dearest friends, rented a giant van to cart them all around in, and we were off!
Our first stop was Green Flash Brewery.
Thatboy swears up and down I've had their beer before, but I don't know if I believe him. This brewery production is not widely available. In fact, I think I have only seen it in one store in the area, and even then they only had 2 different beers. Going to visit gave everyone an opportunity to sample most of their wares.
Everyone looked at me with apprehension as we pulled up to what looked like an industrial warehouse, but sure enough, they were handing out beer inside amidst giant metal tankards.
They also had cheese and salami laid out, which was a nice touch. Almost every opted for the "try everything" sampler.
I think there were 9 different beers, but I also think most people lost track.
Well except for Prez, who made it down to number 4 before deciding she was going to use all her "samples" to drink the first beer she tried.
Since I was driving, I stuck with one beer - the pumpkin ale.
I am SUCH a sucker for pumpkin beer, and Thatboy isn't a big fan. But even he admitted that this one didn't have the overpowering spices that most pumpkin ales have.
By the time everyone was loaded back into the van, the difference between "sober" and "drunk" was already beginning to become evident. Undaunted, I headed off to our next stop, Lost Abbey.
Thatboy and I were really looking forward to this one since it's our favorite local brewery. This time when we pulled up to an industrial looking building, no one was phased. We were quickly becoming pros.
At Lost Abbey, everyone was given 6 tasting tickets. And because everyone was so drunk from Green Flash, NO ONE used all their tickets. Luckily, the nice people at Lost Abbey let our group trade tickets for bottles to bring home before we left.
Lost Abbey was far more crowded than Green Flash, but had actual seating. It was clear that people treated it like a bar, coming on a regular basis to sit and drink. In fact, Thatboy was adopted by some of these "regulars" who filled him in on the good stuff. By the time we left Lost Abbey, Thatboy had become a die hard advocate for their "Inferno."
When I rounded up the troops to leave, "drunk" didn't even begin to describe the atmosphere in the van. Thatboy decided it would be a good time to call customer service for his new phone (he has the best wife ever) and complain about not having internet yet. When customer service couldn't hear what was going on (what with all the yelling and woo-hooing), Thatboy hung up and informed the van they were all being too drunk and ruined his chance at internet. He spent the entire ride screaming about how there was homemade cake and it was so good.
Luckily, our third and final stop had food. Because drunk people? They like food. And you know what goes well with beer? Pizza! So we ended our journey at Pizza Port, a brewco that is as equally well known for their beer as their pizza.
More drinking ensued, but this time tempered by something to soak it up. Of course, the illustrious cake was presented and everyone sang. And there was eating and talking and comparisons drawn between our party and the teen party beside us, which had a magic show performed by someone's little brother (not mine).
Myrtle and her husband couldn't make it to the "beer tour" part of the party, but met us at Pizza Port. Because they didn't get enough of drunk Thatboy, as people sobered up and dispersed, they invited us out for another pint of beer. This time at a local Irish Pub in the area that they loved. So we headed out for one more drink, this one a little more exotic since it wasn't from San Diego County. Alas, the Irish Pub had changed ownership and wasn't as quaint as when Myrtle was a frequent visitor. We drank our beer and made a quick exit as the band came on and began playing Pink Floyd.
I brought Thatboy home and did my best to tuck him in to bed since he was showing no signs of sobering up. He fell asleep with visions of pints, casks, and bottles floating through his little head. I think it was a pretty successful birthday.
And for those of you that want to play along at home, know what you do with massive amounts of beer?
Use them to make hot dogs!!!! There is nothing more delicious than some franks boiled in beer and onions. Because hot dogs and beer are almost as good as pizza and beer!