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Posts Tagged beerfest

Beer of the Week: Rock Bottom Devil’s Thumb

Mar 17

Rock Bottom La Jolla’s Devil’s Thumb Belgian-style golden strong ale

From the Beer Writer: As I wrote a short while back, many are the brewers who tell me, “I brew beers that I like drinking.” Judging by the quality of her hoppy offerings, particularly her Mosaic-heavy IPA, I’d say Rock Bottom head brewer Carli Smith has an affinity for lupulin-laced ales. I like when brewers do right by their taste-buds, but find it particularly impressive when they defy them, crafting styles they aren’t as fond of so others may enjoy them. Case in point, Rock Bottom Devil’s Thumb. This Belgian-style golden strong ale is utterly traditional in its look, scent, taste and feel. Its bouquet contains notes of lemongrass and gardenias, while the beer itself offers a vast array of flavor components—honey, lemon rind, white peppercorn, bubble gum and thyme. At 8% alcohol-by-volume, one would expect something overly impactful, but this beer is balanced and drinkable; enough that the beer-menu warns about its tendency to sneak up on imbibers. Smooth, sweet-smelling and delicious…what’s not to like? For that, we’ll have to ask Smith, because she harbors staunch distaste for Belgian beer-styles, making the quality of this ale all that more remarkable.

From the Brewer: “Being at a brewpub, I am able to keep my beer-list stocked with lots of stuff that I like to drink. Belgian beers not being one of those things, they rarely make their way onto my board, but I have a few regulars that really enjoy Belgian beers and they have been bugging me to make one. One of the things that I dislike about Belgian beers is the high amount of residual sugars that are usually present in the final product. So for mine, I wanted to make something that had a pretty simple grain-bill, pretty much just Weyermann Pilsner malt. This way the yeast is the star of the show, and if I could get it to totally ferment out, I knew the finish would be clean with just enough Belgian-ester sweetness. I am really happy with how it turned out, which was extremely surprising to me and everyone else. I get lots of weird looks when I say, ‘Here, try my Belgian beer,’ when everyone knows I strongly dislike the style. When I carbonated it and put it on tap I was able to drink almost a whole eight-ounce serving in one sitting, very big for me…ha. I was inspired to enter it into the San Diego International Beer Festival competition, because I felt that it was an almost perfect representation of the Belgian golden strong ale style. I also thought it would be hilarious if the brewer who hates Belgian beers won a medal for one. Oh, the irony! “—Carli Smith, Head Brewer, Rock Bottom La Jolla

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September Event Sampler Flight

Sep 1

sdfob15Summer is fast coming to a close (but not before some record-breaking mercury spikes). Soon, session ales and lighter golden liquid fare will give way to pumpkin- and spice-laced concoctions of a more amberish hue, but not before local beer interests send another wet hot American summer out in style. Check out some of these premier happenings then refer to our full list of local craft beer events.

September 4 | Padres Beerfest: Much as the great-on-paper San Diego Padres have yet to demonstrate mastery of the diamond, this fest isn’t perfect (tasters are 12 ounces, essentially a full-pour), but stocked with local MVPs, the brewery roster is star-studded. And by the time this game rolls around, the Friars may be in the midst of a playoff run. (A lifelong fan can dream.) | Petco Park, 100 Park Boulevard, East Village, 5 p.m.

September 12 | Carlsbad Brewfest: Rotary clubs aren’t what many people look to for a hoppin’ good time, but it appears two such groups in Carlsbad definitely know how to party, and will be proving it via this second annual suds gathering, featuring more than 30 craft breweries including local interests, Arcana Brewing Co., Guadalupe Brewery and Pizza Port. | Holiday Park, 3400 Pio Pico Drive, Carlsbad, 12 p.m.

September 12 | Peter Reeves Memorial Sour Fest: Any day at Churchill’s Pub and Grille promises a solid array of 50-plus beers, but one weekend each year they break out a tap list dealing exclusively in the tart arts. It’s a six-year tradition honoring a fallen friend celebrated with rarities from the likes of Cascade Brewery, The Lost Abbey and Russian River Brewing Co. | Churchill’s Pub & Grille, 887 West San Marcos Boulevard, San Marcos, 11 a.m.

September 18 | San Diego Festival of Beer: San Diego County’s longest-running beer festival is now old enough to drink. And like a headstrong young-yet-legal 21-year-old, it’s going as strong as ever. One-hundred-percent volunteer-driven and fortified by plenty of ales and lagers plus numerous live music acts, it’s the fest that inspired the many, many others that sprouted up after it. | Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier, 1000 North Harbor Drive, Downtown, 6 p.m.

September 26 | Tour de Fat: It’s almost that time of year again, when New Belgium Brewing comes rolling into town in all its outlandish, traveling-circus glory, all in the name of beer-fueled (responsible) biking and support of a smaller carbon footprint. A costumed bike parade through South Park will close out in Golden Hill with entertainment, games and, of course, beer! | Golden Hill Park, 2590-2596 Golden Hill Drive, Golden Hill, 10 a.m.

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