TapHunter Awards SD Brewery of the Year
The votes are in and 1st Place of TapHunter’s 2010 San Diego Brewery Awards goes to AleSmith.
Well deserved, if you ask me. From the crispy X Pale Ale to the numerous & formitable Speedway Stouts, AleSmith runs the gamut with grace. I also really like Decadence.
Around the corner, Hess nanobrewery earned 2nd place. Tiny in production and physical size, Hess has been making serious flavor waves in the San Diego Craft Beer Community. The smooth robust dichotomy of Amplus Acerba brings a delicious symphony of hops and alcohol, while Deceptio is a fantastic black-IPA with a name that reminds me of an X-Men villain.
Ballast Point & Stone Brewing Co. tied for 3rd Place. It’s weird to talk about industry front-runners in 3rd place, but the people have spoken. Both are phenomenal breweries. Stone is expanding into South Park & Europe, while Ballast Point is upgrading it’s distillery and winning European awards.
Strong Ale Festival
Organized by Tom Nickel of O’Brien’s, The 14th Annual San Diego Strong Ale Festival took place on the 3rd and 4th of December at Pizza Port Carlsbad. I opted for the VIP Session @ 1PM because, after speaking with Tom, I knew what was coming.
What began “from humble beginnings on a rainy Thursday night in 1997 with only 12 local beers,” grew into a loaded festival with 84 brews. The backyard of the Pizza Port Bottle Shop was packed to the brim.
What struck me was the simplicity of the event. Emphasis was placed on the wall of taps. Pizza Port employees stood between the wall and the table bar to transform tickets into beer. On the other side, after yelping your number and obtaining your brew, you’d be left to find your friends or struggle to find space to drink. The sheer amount of humans around made this tough. After a few rounds, however, everyone became your friend. 8 tasters was plenty for me, and made for a sleepy ride home.