September 3, 2006 I was driving from a crazy party in Phoenix, Arizona to meet with my business partner and future ex-girlfriend (Tanya) for the first time in Wheatfield, Indiana. I don’t recall which day it was, but I do remember driving along and thinking, “I should get a dog.” On the morning of September 5 Tanya took me out to her barn to show me the litter of puppies her dog had; that is when I met Buddy and informed her that I would fly back in a month or so to bring Buddy back to California. I told her that Buddy would be a definite “chick magnet”; I had no idea just how much of a people magnet he would become.
Since he was so young, I did not feel comfortable taking him from his mother and subjecting him to a 2,000 mile car ride; my plan was to fly back to Indiana, buy a small carrier box and bring him onboard as my carry-on luggage. Unfortunately, the only airline that was non-stop was Southwest, and they did not allow animals on flights. I ended up booking on American Airlines (AA), which had connecting flights with five hour layovers coming and going if I did my layover in Dallas. I didn’t really want to keep my new puppy in a box for an additional 5 hours, so I arranged my return through O’Hare in Chicago, which only had a 45 minute connecting flight layover; this should be doable. Continue reading
As the year comes to an end it is time for me to sit down with a beer and try to figure out what I did that made this year go by so quickly. To be honest, I feel like I have really slowed down on my coverage of the local craft beer scene, but the growth has been so rapid that I cannot keep up. Heck, there were two new breweries getting ready to open in El Segundo that I did not know about until three months before they opened! Oh well, I will continue to do what I can; if I don’t visit a particular brewery as much as I used to it is probably because there are so many breweries around here now. In fact, while my personal craft beer life may have slowed, the growth over the past year is kind of mind blowing. Let’s see what happened in 2019.
In my review of 2018 I had mentioned there were two new local breweries that I still had not visited, one of those was Tortugo Brewing. I started off 2019 by remedying that. If you have not been, it is a nice location and they have some good brews; you should check them out. Continue reading
These photos were taken Sunday, October 20, day 21 of Craft Beer Tour 2019; my annual craft beercation taken before and after the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) in Denver. These photos were taken at Berryessa Brewing and Hooby’s Brewing in Winters, California.
When I arrived in Chico for the Hop Harvest Festival at Sierra Nevada, I had some decisions to make; primarily, where would I go from here? Do I hang out in Northern California, or head home? I sent out some messages to friends in the general area, and then I headed to Sierra Nevada. Continue reading
These photos were taken Saturday, October 19, day 20 of Craft Beer Tour 2019; my annual craft beercation taken before and after the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) in Denver. These photos were taken at Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in Chico, California; primarily of their 2019 Single, Fresh, Wet & Wild Hop Harvest Festival, which was put on by Sierra Nevada Brewing Company and the California Craft Brewers Association. I say the photos are primarily of the Hop Harvest Festival because I did go to the taproom a couple hours earlier just to figure out where everything was; and it was a little too early for me to check in to my room.
Since the entire reason that I returned to the Pacific Northwest two years running is fresh hop IPAs, attending this event seemed like a match made in Hop Heaven. I have to give credit to HopSaint Brewing Company owner Steve Roberts for putting this event on my radar. A few days before I left for Denver, and GABF, I went to HopSaint where Steve same up to say hello. After chatting a bit about GABF he mentioned they would be pouring at Sierra Nevada’s Hop Harvest Festival shortly after GABF ended. When I saw that it was being held on the 19th I took it as a sign, since that was the date I would be entering California anyway; and I would be driving right by Chico anyway. Continue reading
These photos were taken Friday, October 18, day 19 of Craft Beer Tour 2019; my annual craft beercation taken before and after the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) in Denver. These photos were taken at Mt. Shasta Brewing Company and Weed Ales & Lagers, both of which are located at the same location in Weed, California.
When I left ColdFire Brewing I still had a 6 1/2 hour drive to Chico, and that was just not going to happen. When I do these trips I try to avoid driving at night because I cannot see this new landscape in the dark. I knew if I stopped in Weed it would only be a 2 1/2 hour drive to Chico, and the Hop Harvest Festival didn’t start until 2:00 PM. I also knew that Weed Lager & Ales was located there; so I head south for four hours to Weed, CA.
I know I have driven south on I-5 through Mt. Shasta before, but I must have gone through at night because I do not recall ever seeing the view I had of Mt. Shasta before. It was truly magnificent with its snow caps and the cloud of snow above it; I had to stop and take a couple photos, but it was cold and windy as heck so I didn’t spend a lot of time there. Continue reading
These photos were taken Friday, October 18, day 19 of Craft Beer Tour 2019; my annual craft beercation taken before and after the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) in Denver. These photos were taken at Falling Sky Brewing House and ColdFire Brewing Company, both of which are located in Eugene, Oregon.
I bid farewell to Matt and Dom on Friday morning and began my drive south to Chico where I would be attending Sierra Nevada’s Hop Harvest Festival on Saturday. After a couple hours of driving I realized I would be going through Eugene. I visited Eugene last year when I went to Ninkasi. I knew I was arriving in Eugene too early to return to Ninkasi, so I pulled over at the next rest stop to see if Eugene had additional breweries, and whether or not they would be open. As luck would have it, they had two that were open and not too far from each other. Continue reading
These photos were taken Thursday, October 17, day 18 of Craft Beer Tour 2019; my annual craft beercation taken before and after the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) in Denver. These photos were taken at Initiative Brewing, Wild Ride Brewing, and Porter Brewing, a few of the breweries you can find in Redmond, Oregon. The first few photos were taken on the drive from Oregon City to Redmond.
Those of you that follow my travels closely may recall that last year I stayed with Matt and Dom like I am doing this year. Last year they drove me all over the state to different breweries, and they don’t even like beer! They like me, and they like ciders; and Matt really likes to opportunity to show off his home, Oregon. This year Matt and Dom were getting ready to leave to country; so Matt could only spare one day to show me the state. When I arrived at his home he asked me if I was familiar with Central Oregon; I wasn’t sure what that consisted of. He responded by asking if I had visited Bend or Redmond. I spent a couple days in Bend last year so suggested we try Redmond. While he had a friend he needed to visit there anyway he was okay with it, but he didn’t think Redmond was big enough to have a brewery. I had a feeling they might have one, or two. Continue reading
These photos were taken Wednesday, October 16, day 17 of Craft Beer Tour 2019; my annual craft beercation taken before and after the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) in Denver. These photos were taken at McMenamins Oregon City, and Shattered Oak at The Hive Taphouse, both of which are in Oregon City, Oregon.
I awoke to a wet and dreary Oregon morning, so any plans I had of returning to Portland went down the drain; walking for blocks with a dog just wasn’t as enticing a proposition as you might think. I decided that I would do a little more exploring of Oregon City, which is where I have been staying with my friends Matt and Dom. Since Matt and I are planning a mini road trip tomorrow, I used today as an opportunity to get lunch as a group so we headed to McMenamins. Continue reading
These photos were taken Tuesday, October 15, day 16 of Craft Beer Tour 2019; my annual craft beercation taken before and after the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) in Denver. These photos were taken at Breakside Brewery and Great Notion Brewing, both of which are brewpubs in Portland, Oregon.
Unlike my last visit to Oregon, the friends I am staying with are taking care of business before taking their own vacation, so I am guiding myself for the first couple of days here. I asked on my Facebook page about dog friendly breweries, but it seemed every recommendation was for places that specialized in sours. While I enjoy a good sour as much as the next guy, I am here for fresh hopped IPAs. Continue reading
These photos were taken Monday, October 14, day 15 of Craft Beer Tour 2019; my annual craft beercation taken before and after the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) in Denver. These photos were taken at Grains of Wrath (GOW) Brewery & Restaurant in Camas, Washington.
I decided I was going to visit Grains of Wrath as I was walking from the GABF Awards ceremony to the morning session of GABF. On the way, I ran into Michael Hunsaker of Grains of Wrath Brewery, who had just won a silver medal at GABF for their Vienna lager. We had only met once before, in February of 2017 at their collaboration release with El Segundo Brewing of Super Beer Bros, but we both immediately recognized each other. I knew he was somewhere in Oregon or Washington, but wasn’t sure where relative to Portland it was. When he told me they were just across the river, it became my destination. Continue reading