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Beer Trippin’ in California. Part 6 – Mission Brewery

Our final stop during our San Diego brew adventure was at Mission Brewery.  Mission has a long history of brewing in San Diego, dating all the way back to 1913.  The brewery closed their doors in 1918, but the name was revived in 2007, when owner / founder Dan Selis launched a new line of Mission beers.  In 2011, Selis moved his brewery from Chula Vista to its current location in a former Wonder Bread bakery in downtown San Diego.

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The 14,000 square foot brick building dates back to 1834 and lends a beautiful setting for the brewhouse, tasting room and bottling line.  Mission is conveniently located in downtown San Diego, next to Petco Park (home of the San Diego Padres) and only minutes from San Diego International Airport, making it the perfect beginning or end point for your brew trip.

Inside, local history gets a modern upgrade, as the 150+ year old building and its’ metal chandeliers, combine with the shiny stainless steel brewhouse and black leather barstools.  It strikes a pleasant balance for beer lovers competing amongst one another on the shuffleboard table or while sitting at the bar watching the local sports teams on TV.

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Mission makes 4 year-round beers in 12 oz. bottles: Amber, Hefeweizen, Blonde and an IPA, which took a Bronze medal at the 2007 GABF.  Their big beer lineup consists of a 9.25% ABV West Coast Double IPA called Shipwrecked and a 10% ABV Russian Imperial Stout called Dark Seas, both of which are available in 12 oz. and 22 oz. bottles.  In addition to Mission’s lineup of bottled brews, they also offer a variety of draft only and seasonals releases ranging from a Dunkelweizen to a Coconut Brown Ale to an Imperial Red Ale and more.

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Last month, we spoke with Mission’s National Sales Manager, Martin Saylor, at Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines in Vail.  He mentioned that Mission is looking to bring bottles to the Colorado market in the near future.  Beer hunters, keep your eyes peeled, as our first shipment from Mission should be heading our way in about 4 weeks!  Mrs. Insane and I can’t wait to have some Shipwrecked Double IPA in our fridge.

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Mission Brewery is located at: 1441 L St, San Diego, CA 92101.  619-544-0555.

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Cheers!


The Inaugural San Diego Winter Brew Fest

The team behind the annual Winter and Summer Brew Fests in Denver, known as RightOn Productions, has decided to take their beer, food and fun fests on the road.  Last weekend, they brought the Inaugural Winter Brew Fest to Broadway Pier in lovely San Diego, CA.

Lucky for us, we got invited to come out and cover the event.  Trust me, we didn’t need much convincing.  We LOVE a good brew fest and we love San Diego.  Yep, count us in!

The event was held at the Port Pavilion at Broadway Pier, which is a modern, environmentally friendly Cruise ship terminal.  Port Pavilion is easily accessible by car, bus and train and offers scenic views of the USS Midway and San Diego Bay.

The San Diego beer scene is on fire right now, with more than 63 breweries in operation and 32 more in various stages of planning.  The San Diego beer scene is almost as exciting as the current Denver beer scene.  The inaugural festival gave us the opportunity to try beers from some of the local up and coming breweries such as Iron Fist and Manzanita, but we were just as excited to revisit old favorites from our friends at Mission and Ballast Point.

The food trucks parked outside along the bay were no joke either.  They had prepared beer-centric menus just for the brew-minded crowd.  We couldn’t get enough from the guys at Underdogs, who were serving up some mean sausage creations.  I went with the “Mac Daddy”, which was a Stone Porter Sausage, topped with macaroni and cheese and bacon.  Oh delish.  The cheese sauce on top was made with a Saison from Iron First Brewing.

Inside the pier, the crowd sipped on beer, nibbled on Cabot cheese and grooved to the sounds of local bands.  All in all, a great time and another well run festival from the RightOn crew.  No word yet on whether they plan to expand the event to include a San Diego Summer Brew Fest.  We can only hope.

Until next time, check out some of the sights from the San Diego Winter Brew Fest.

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To see more highlights from our San Diego adventure, visit the Beer Trippin’ portion of our site.

Cheers!


Beer Trippin’ in California. Part 3 – Green Flash Brewing

After two great stops at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens and Port / The Lost Abbey, it was time to start heading South towards San Diego.  So for our last stop of the day, we decided to visit Green Flash Brewing.  This place caught me completely off guard.  From the outside, Green Flash looks like a place where they should be programming satellites or making sketches for the next hybrid car.  Not your average looking brewery by any means.

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While we were scratching our heads on the way in, we slipped through the glass door and made our way down a long hallway lined with beer posters.  The hallway eventually led us to a tasting room surrounded by a large brewery, bottling line and pallets and pallets of beer.  Oh glorious beer!  It was clear we were in the right place.

We happened to hit Green Flash while they were pouring all 10 of their Anniversary Ales.  The brewery releases a different style one-off each year to commemorate the special occasion.  Past releases have included Barleywines, Strong Ales, Double IPA’s, Imperial Stouts and most recently a Flanders Red.  The prices were stupid good at just $1 for a taster and $4 for a full pour.

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In addition to their anniversary collection, there was also a variety of beers to sample from their year-round lineup, seasonals and special one-offs just for visitors to the tasting room.  Palate Wrecker Double IPA is a favorite of mine and I rarely pass up the opportunity to try a splash of this west coast hop bomb.  Luckily for me, a fresh keg was on tap.

The 9-year old Barleywine was tough to beat too.  I don’t remember the last time I’ve had a beer that was nearly a decade old and this was my second one in under 4 hours.  (Stone was also pouring beers going back to ’03!)  I think I need to “beer trip” through CA more often.

Visitors can make a day of sampling the more than two dozen offerings in the tasting room.  On brewing and bottling days, guests have the perfect vantage point to watch the Green Flash team go to work.  The small beer garden on the side of the building is a nice little hangout and a great chance to try some of the local food trucks.

While Green Flash may look a little different on the outside, Mama always said it’s what’s on the inside that counts.  And on the inside of Green Flash, is great beer.  Seriously tasty, great beer and that’s what really matters.

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Green Flash Brewing is located at: 6550 Mira Mesa Blvd, San Diego, CA 92121.  858-622-0085

Cheers!


Beer Trippin’ in Wisconsin. Part 4 – Lakefront Brewery

If you missed any of the previous posts from our Wisconsin trip, click on the links and catch up: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

For our last stop, we made the short drive from Miller Valley over to downtown Milwaukee, for a visit to Lakefront Brewery.  Lakefront Brewery is located in a large warehouse on the Milwaukee River.

Lakefront was founded in 1987 by Russ Klisch.  In 1988, they produced 72 barrels and have managed to grow every year since.  Last year, they produced nearly 25,000 barrels of beer!

For $7, you can jump on one of Lakefront’s daily tours.  The tour comes with four – 6 oz. pours and a pint glass.  Tours that start prior to 4 PM also come with a coupon for a free Lakefront pint at a number of bars and restaurants around Milwaukee.

I’ve been on a ton of brewery tours, from a self guided tour at Brasserie Cantillon in Brussels, Belgium, to basically watching a movie at Shipyard Brewing in Portland, Maine and everything in between.  Lakefront Brewery takes a very fun approach by keeping visitors engaged with jokes, contests, hootin’, hollerin’ and plenty of beer throughout the tour.  In fact, they start the tour in their Palm Garden, where you can grab your first, full glass of beer before heading out on the tour.

Too many breweries hold off to pour samples until after the tour.  Well done Lakefront on starting your tour the best way possible, by serving fresh beer!

Our tour guide was knowledgeable and good-humored.  She took us right onto the working floor and let us get up close with the brewhouse.

If you’ve never had any beers from Lakefront, I’d recommend giving them a shot.  They distribute to quite a few states (including CO) and make a nice line of sessionable beers, including an IPA, Red, Coffee Stout, Pumpkin Ale (seasonal) and many more.

They also recently created a line of beers called “My Turn”, that will allow each employee to brew a favorite style.  So far, they’ve created “Dan”, a Baltic Porter and during our visit, they were pouring “Stan”, a Scottish Ale.

A very cool idea and a great way to thank their team of hard-working employees.

Be sure to stop by and stay for the tour if you’re ever out that way.  Lakefront Brewery is located at: 1872 N Commerce St, Milwaukee, WI 53212.  414-372-8800.

Cheers!


Beer Trippin’ in Wisconsin. Part 3 – Miller Brewery

During Day 1 on our visit to Wisconsin, we hit New Glarus Brewing, Tyranena Brewing and Romans’ Pub.  Catch up on the previous entries by clicking HERE and HERE.  After grabbing some much-needed sleep at our hotel (we got upgraded to the Penthouse Suite!!!), we headed out for another full day on the town.

For our first stop, we headed over to Miller Valley to visit, yep, you guessed it, Miller Brewery.

I know, I know…  But who can argue with 150+ years of history and tradition.  I just wanted to see it for myself.

I’m not going to bore you with stats about how many tens of thousands of cans they can fill in a second.  Because honestly, who cares?  They make a lot of beer and they pump it out quickly. Enough said.

It’s an impressive place and fun to see how it’s grown from a little wooden house into an entire “valley” of buildings in Milwaukee.

My favorite part of the tour was a visit to Miller Caves.  The caves are 60 feet underground and were created in 1849 to keep beer cool. It might smell like old, funky cheese down there, but it’s a neat place to visit.

A visit to the caves is followed by a beer in the historic Miller Inn.

So yeah, the beer might taste like, well… nothing, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth the price of admission.  Because, well, it’s free and comes with several samples on the house.  It’s tough to beat and is an important piece of American Brewing history.

Miller Brewery is located at: 4251 W State St, Milwaukee, WI 53208.  414-931-BEER.  Tours run nearly everyday, excluding holidays, every 30 minutes between 10:30 AM and 3:30 PM.  Tours generally last about an hour.

Cheers!