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Melvin Brewing San Diego Soft Open

These photos were taken Thursday afternoon at the soft open for the new Melvin Brewing which is opening in the East Village area of San Diego.

Melvin Brewing is a Wyoming-based brewery that is known primarily for their IPAs. I don’t think I was aware of them before I attended the 2017 Great American Beer Festival; but I think it would be difficult to not have noticed them if you were an attendee. The two years that I have attended, Melvin’s booth was an old school bus, which co-founder Jeremy Tofte apparently lived in for a year. Their booth included a DJ during each GABF session, and had WWE Hall of Fame wrestler “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan hanging out at the booth to shake hands, take photos and sign autographs. I seem to recall they had impromptu parades during a couple of the sessions that included their representatives in costume.

They were more than just a show though, as they walked away with the Brewery Group and Brewmaster of the Year award, along with a pair of gold medals for American-Style Strong Pale Ale (Hubert MPA) and Fresh or Wet Hop Ale (Wet Hop Melvin). So when I was invited to attend their VIP soft opening it seemed like a no-brainer as San Diego is significantly closer to me than anywhere in Wyoming. Continue reading

Craft Beer Tour 2018: Western Oregon

These photos were taken on the western side of Oregon on Monday through Friday, October 1 through 5, days 15 through 19 of my Craft Beer Tour 2018. I guess if I want to be specific, this part of my journey took me from Vancouver, Washington to Grants Pass, Oregon, all of it on the western side of the state.

When I left Bend I headed to Oregon City to visit my longtime friends, Matt and Dom. As someone that believes that anyone who says they don’t like beer just hasn’t tried the right beer yet, I had attempted, several years ago to find a beer or style that Matt would like. I was unsuccessful; however, Matt continued his quest and discovered that he did enjoy ciders. The point being, that while Matt and Dom did take me around Oregon, we spent a lot of time at brewpubs because of the ciders that are usually found; oh, and they both enjoy new culinary delights. Luckily, Matt and Dom are self-employed and insisted they needed some time off; I visited places I never would have considered as a result. Continue reading

Craft Beer Tour 2018: Bend, Oregon

These photos were taken primarily in Bend, Oregon on Saturday and Sunday, September 29 and 30, days 13 and 14 of my Craft Beer Tour 2018. I say primarily because the first set of photos was taken Thursday, in La Grande, Oregon when I was on my way to Yakima.

When I left Boise I had a few breweries in the back of my head as I had received suggestions from friends and Boise locals that named breweries I had to visit. As I did not really know which ones I would really be driving by, I pretty much just looked out for the names of towns that had been mentioned. As I entered La Grande, Oregon I noticed a sign on the side of the road for a craft brewery; I could not tell what the name was, but I figured this must be one of those that had been suggested to me. Continue reading

Craft Beer Tour 2018: Yakima, Washington

These photos were taken in Yakima, Washington on Thursday and Friday, September 27 and 28, days 11 and 12 of my Craft Beer Tour 2018.

To be completely honest, when I started this journey, I kind of figured that my Portland area friend might take me into Washington, but it would probably be a border town like Vancouver; but things have a way of changing when you try to juggle multiple friends, and their schedules.

The night before I left Boise, I contacted my friend Jon Urch to let him know that I would be meeting him in Bend, Oregon the following day; that is when he notified me that he would be leaving Bend pretty much as I arrived, and I should consider going to Yakima, Washington instead. When I contacted my Portland area friend Matt, I discovered he was going to be working a show over the weekend. That sealed it; I headed off to Yakima instead. Continue reading

Craft Beer Tour 2018: Idaho

These photos were taken between September 24 and 26 at Sockeye Grill and Brewery, Payette Brewing, Boise Brewing, 10 Barrel Brewing, White Dog Brewing, County Line Brewing, Home Brew Stuff, and Barbarian Brewing, which were days eight through ten of my Craft Beer Tour 2018.

When I left Rock Springs, I set my sights on Boise, Idaho as some good friends of mine moved there a little over a month ago. While Steve and Catherine are not exactly craft beer aficionados they do have some favorite restaurants; one of which is Sockeye Grill & Brewery on Fairview, so we made that our first stop.

Sockeye has been brewing since 1996 and has a production brewery as well as two brewpubs. The location I visited opened in 2012, where they started brewing and canning to keep up with demand as the production brewery could not keep up. Continue reading

Craft Beer Tour 2018: Wyoming

These photos were taken Sunday, September 23, at Wind River Brewing in Pinedale, and Square State Brewing Company in Rock Springs; which was day seven of my Craft Beer Tour 2018.

When I left Denver I headed out for an eight hour drive to Jackson Hole, Wyoming for Roadhouse Brewing, where a friend has recently become their California representative. It was going to be one of my longest drives of my journey thus far, so I didn’t visit any other breweries as I wanted to get to Roadhouse before they closed, and maybe hit up Melvin Brewing if there was time. I was about 10 miles north of Pinedale on Hwy 191, maybe an hour south of Jackson Hole when the road was closed due to a wildfire or forest fire.

I got out and spoke with the sheriff, who gave me a couple alternate routes to Jackson Hole. One was an additional two hours, the other an additional three. I tried to take to shorter of the two routes “around the mountain” but that road immediately went from a two lane highway, to a one lane paved road to a one-lane dirt road; my Dodge Charger is not meant for off-roading, so after a few minutes I gave up. After a couple minutes of turning around without going into a ditch, I backtracked 10 miles to Pinedale because I had noticed Wind River Brewing as I passed through. Continue reading

Craft Beer Tour 2018: Denver

These photos were taken Saturday evening at Colorado Plus Brew Pub, Goldspot Brewing and Blind Faith/DeSteeg Brewing, September 22, which was day six of my Craft Beer Tour 2018.

Like last year, I spent my days in Denver at the home of one of my nephews; so when I finished GABF Saturday afternoon, we went out to see what new craft breweries we could find in Denver. Our first stop would be Colorado Plus Brew Pub and Taphouse, because they are a brewpub and we both wanted food.

I first visited Colorado Plus almost exactly two years ago; but circumstances being what they were, I don’t think I even walked past their dog friendly patio. As we did not have any dogs with us, we sat at the bar. Continue reading

Craft Beer Tour 2018: High Altitude Hops

These photos were taken Wednesday, September 19, at High Altitude Hops Farm in Larkspur, and Lone Tree Brewing Company in Lone Tree; which was day three of my Craft Beer Tour 2018.

Before I left L.A. on Monday, my friend Desiree, a beertender at King Harbor Brewing Company, told me she was going to introduce me to her friends Kris Meese and his wife Aleece, the owners of High Altitude Hops Farm. So when I left Durango I set off towards Larkspur, which is about 40 miles south of Denver.

Kris has been growing hops for about five years, beginning with what was apparently nothing more than a divider between their property and their neighbor. After two years they made their first sale to a local brewery; at that point they decided they needed a larger area if they were going to grow enough to make this a viable business. That is when they moved to Larkspur and a five acre spread. Continue reading

Craft Beer Tour 2018: Colorado

These photos were taken Tuesday, September 18, in Durango, Colorado; which was day two of my Craft Beer Tour 2018.

When I left Flagstaff, I headed east on US Hwy 160 for a 300 mile drive through some very scenic areas. Along the way is the Four Corners Monument, where Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado meet; a volcano or two, and some dinosaur footprints you can touch, if desired. As I have already seen that stuff, I just made a mental note of yesteryear and continued on.

If you are in a hurry, this is not a good route to take; there are lots of two lane stretches, and even one one-lane stretch. You go through a couple Indian reservations so there are towns along the way that have 25 MPH speed limits. Continue reading

Craft Beer Tour 2018: Arizona

These photos were taken Monday, September 17, in Kingman and Flagstaff, Arizona.

On Monday I left the South Bay to head to Denver for the Great American Beer Festival. If you followed my journey to GABF last year you may recall that I traveled through Utah to get there. The lack of breweries on that route ensured that I take the southern route through Arizona this time. Day one was much better this year.

My first gas stop was in Kingman, AZ, which was about 330 miles from home using I-40. It has been a while since I was in Kingman, but it is a big enough town that I figured there had to be a brewery there. Google informed me that Black Bridge Brewery was only a couple miles from the gas station I was at, so I set it in my GPS for a seven minute drive. Continue reading

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