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Friday, July 5, 2013

Pilgrimage for the Tao Brewers Fellowship

The pilgrims
I mentioned in my post on Societe Brewing that the Tao Fellowship (one of the many brewing groups I'm in) was planning a pilgrimage down to see them.  A couple of weekends ago a group of us (Steve C, Steve S, Greg N, Daniel F and myself) got together and headed south in a rented mini van (complete with a free screw in a tire).  Our journey south of the Orange Curtain took us to several destinations, some good, some bad and some outstanding.

We met up at the historic home of Greg Nagel (world renown beer blogger) to assemble and try a few beers.  Once Daniel and his lovely wife HsiHou (who had graciously volunteered to be our DD) arrived we loaded into our "screwed" minivan and took off to sit in traffic for nearly three hours.

Our first stop of the day was the brand new Pizza Port Bressi Ranch location which sometime this year will become their production location canning Pizza Port beers.  Hopefully one of the first through will be Poor Man's IPA but I highly doubt it.  It was a gorgeous and shiny facility, I want to say that they were still in the middle of a soft opening as I'd not seen any official grand opening announcement.  The only reason I knew it was open was cyber-stalking some of my beer buddies on Untappd.

I got two beers while I was there and split a pizza with Greg.  The first beer I had was El Toronado an IPA they brewed up for the San Diego location's 5th anniversary.  Overall it was a solid IPA loaded with pine and citrus aromas and a clean bitter taste.  The next beer up was a half pint of RuinTen from Stone.  I really enjoyed Ruination Tenth Anniversary last year, I even split a bottle with Bonnie to celebrate our Tenth Wedding Anniversary.  I therefore wanted to give RuinTen a try, however tracking down a bottle was proving tough so I was jazzed to find it on draft. Another top shelf dank IPA with even more resiny pine and citrus resin.  The pizza I paired the beers with was a brilliant jalapeno and pineapple that Greg suggested.

After filling up on pizza and beer we set out for our next destination. 

I've been using White Labs yeast almost exclusively for the last couple of years and enjoyed what I've read in the Yeast book co-authored by Chris White.  I'd also noticed on their site for their new tasting room that they were offering pours of beers brewed with different yeasts.  I thought that was a great way to really understand the effect yeast could have on a beer.  It was therefore on my recommendation that a group of homebrewers stop by... unfortunately nothing that I drank there lived up to the promise of the concept.  

The biggest problem was the quality of the base beers did little to highlight any noticeable differences produced by the different yeast strains.  Overall it tasted like mediocre homebrew that was fermented without temperature control or water profile adjustments.  While I was glad to have gone it's definitely not a place I can recommend and if I was to do the trip again I've opt to go to AleSmith or Ballast Point instead.  

Leaving disappointed we headed to our next and final destination... 

There's not much more to say on Societe outside of my previous post but once again Societe proved to be one of the highlights of our journey.  I enjoyed a glass of the latest Bachelor, which is their series of single hopped IPAs this one with Mosaic hops. I also had half pours of Pupil, Apprentice and the Widow and got two fills to send to my Minnesota buddies.

Overall it was a great trip and I would love to do it again soon.



Historic homes are historic
We're all screwed 
Pizza Port
The Tanked tank
The soon to be production facility 
Surfs up
White Labs
The tasting room looks nice
Rick does this better
The appearance tells a large part of the story
There can only be one OC beer
blogger Scott! 
Everyone else took this shot
Next stop MN

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