Beer Humor

Tomme Arthur VS the World

A great little set of satirical comics about Tomme Arthur of Lost Abbey/Port Brewing were recently released (announced by the author/cartoonist himself on Beer Advocate) and it seems that Lost Abbey is appropriately amused – so much that they reposed it on their Facebook page!

If you have any sense of the awesome beers and beer-geek-dramas associated with this place, you’ll enjoy the humor too.

View them all on Flickr!

Subscribe to the feed if you like it.


Desert Birding and Babe’s

On New Year’s Eve day, we took a wonderful hike with Bob and Dianne in Carrizo and Dead Indian Canyons where we were thrilled to observe a beautiful male Desert Bighorn Sheep (aka Peninsular Bighorn Sheep) for quite a long time, and we climbed up a small waterfall in the canyon to take lunch a hidden oasis.  This was the last day to hike the canyon before it closes for the breeding season, so we were lucky to have such a beautiful day.

                         Desert Bighorn Sheep               D in Joshua Tree

After our hike, we dined and tasted beer at Babe’s B-B-Que Grill before returning home to relax. We needed to get to bed early because January 1 was the Joshua Tree Christmas Bird Count. At Babe’s, D had two beers which I may comment more on later. I opted out of beer and just tasted his, as I didn’t think there could be anything “that great” after our trip to San Diego.

It was cold in Joshua Tree today, and a little windy, but it is mostly the dry conditions that accounted for the lack of bird life. We had a nice time, exploring the park, but we didn’t add a lot of species to the list.  Birds included:

  • Loggerhead Shrike
  • Raven
  • Black-tailed Gnatcatcher
  • Greater Roadrunner
  • Ladder-backed Woodpecker
  • Golden Eagle
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • White-throated Swift
  • Rock Wren
  • California Thrasher
  • Gambel’s Quail
  • Phainopepla
  • Black-throated Sparrow
  • White-crowned Sparrow
  • Dark-eyed Junco
  • Western Scrub Jay
  • Red-tailed Hawk

Now for the long red-eye flight home…

Liar’s Club – Alpine, CA

This morning we got up and did a little last-minute shopping before heading for the desert. Because we got out of town so late, we had an opportunity to stop for brunch in Alpine at the Alpine Inn.

It is a funky little place – dark inside, and made me think it’s where the old people go – but we really enjoyed our “Sunday Country Brunch”.  For $12.95, we had a choice of one of many menu items. D had the huevos rancheros, which came with rice, beans and hash browns. I had the seafood omelette with the tomatoes substituted for the potatoes. All brunch meals come with biscuits and gravy, and handmade Bloody Mary’s on the house.  Pretty good food, and very interesting place.

Heading toward the highway, we decided to check on the Liar’s Club (located at 2806 Alpine Blvd, Alpine, CA 91901) – did they open last night? Are they open now?

The answers were Yes, and Yes!  It was 11 AM, and they were just opening for the first full day of business.  What a great time we had there, too.  There were 32 active taps, and a few in reserve, as well as a large bottle selection.  They offered 10-oz glasses and pints, and the selection was terrific! We had a few things from the taps:

  • AleSmith Speedway Stout (awesome!!)
  • San Diego Brewing Co. Chocolate Porter (on nitrogen with a Hershey Bar tap handle)
  • Fox Barrel Cassis Cider (yummy!!)
  • New Belgium La Folie
  • Rubicon Wheat Wine

We really enjoyed the people, too.  Pete, our bartender who moved with the business, and Heidi, a bartender in training, were great with us and all of the incoming customers, and we met Louis Mello, the owner, and a guy who I suspect may be Al Guerra, the new business partner. Despite the first day hectic feeling, they were all very willing to share information about the place, the beers, and the beer scene.

                    Liar’s Club             C and D at Liar’s Club

I know I’m not “from here”, but I can say with conviction that this is a great beer bar and so very worth the beautiful drive from the city. The selection is amazing – anything you could want (except a macro) – and the food looked great. It will get louder once televisions are installed, but otherwise, it’s got everything going right for it. Oh – and best bathrooms of the trip! The ladies room was really pretty, with a feminine selection of hand soaps and lotions. Hooray for a beer bar with a beautiful head!

C at Anza-Borrego

I’ve got some photos of the new place, and perhaps I’ll get some links and/or descriptions up later, but after a day in the desert (Anza-Borrego), and a long drive back to La Quinta, I’ve got to get to bed.

Congratulations on your opening, [New] Liar’s Club – we hope you are still around on our next visit!  BTW – anyone have a phone number for this place?

San Diego Breweries and Beer Bars

Our little hotel room was nice and dark, so we slept in a bit this morning before venturing south to check out the San Diego beer scene.  Several places were on our hit list, and we managed to get them all in.

  • Holiday Wine Cellar – where we drooled a lot, but only bought a few bottles. Great place for beer, wine and liquor selection, and terrific people who work there.
  • AleSmith Brewing Company – Peter Zien conducted the tour himself, and it wasn’t just an ordinary brewery tour. He really got personal with his information, giving some very specific examples of what he does at AleSmith, and why, and what he hopes to do in the future. It was a very interesting, and more in-depth tour than I’ve ever taken. At the end, for $5, we were offered 8 sample glasses and a “free” bottle of YuleSmith Holiday Ale (the winter Imperial Red) to take home. Our big miss was the Speedway Stout – he’s brewing a batch right now, and only had enough for 8 or so people to try. Here is what we did have:
    • Nut Brown – smooth and light
    • AleSmith X – an extra pale ale that would make a nice session beer
    • Lil’ Devil– sour, light Belgian-style with coriander
    • Horny Devil – a little sweeter than Lil’ and about twice the alcohol
    • IPA 
    • Winter YuleSmith – imperial red
    • Old Numbskull– American-style barleywine
    • Grand Cru
  • Ballast Point Brewing– Linda Vista Brewery and Home Brew Mart – because it is Saturday, we were unable to visit the Old Grove Brewery of Ballast Point, but we were pleasantly surprised to learn that Home Brew Mart is more than a homebrewer supply store – it is also a sampling house for Ballast Point Brewing. We were able to sample a few things ($1 for the regular beers and $1.50 for the specialties), and we took home some bottles.  They had 11 on tap; we tried several:
    • We were quite blown away by two of the special beers – Victory at Sea (an Imperial Porter that has an aroma of chocolate and coffee, but the first flavor was vanilla, and the finish was a dry oak flavor) and Three Sheets Barleywine.
    • We were thoroughly pleased with Big Eye Ginger IPA (7% ABV and 65 IBUs – created by making a sort of ginger “tea” and adding it in the secondary) and Dorado Double IPA (9.6% ABV and 90 IBUs; perfect – the grapefruit aroma and flavor we were looking for this whole trip!)
    • We also had Schooner Wet Hop Ale (4.5% ABV and 70 IBUs), Big Eye IPA (7.0% ABV and 65 IBUs) and Sea Monster (7% ABV and 35 IBUs)
  • Alpine Beer Company – we visited Alpine with the specific intention of purchasing a growler, and ended up having a nice, lengthy tasting with Pat McIlhenney, and the other interesting folks there (including a local homebrewer.)  There were 11 beers on tap, and we sampled 6:
    • Mandarin Nectar (6.5%)
    • Captain Stout (6%)
    • Ichabod (6.6%; a Belgian sour brown)
    • O’Brien’s IPA(6%; made in conjunction with the owner of O’Brien’s, who is a former award winner brewer at one of the Oggi’s locations)
    • Duet– (7%; made with Simcoe and Amarillo hops – my two favorites!)
    • Pure Hoppiness (8%)
  • O’Brien’s (The Hoppiest Place on Earth!) – they aren’t kidding with this tagline! With 19 taps and two beer engines, there is a lot of room for diversity, but they dedicate themselves to the hops, and the tap list shows it.  I started with the Hollister Beer with Hops IPA, which was on the handpump, and as a result, so smooth and perfect – like hops iced tea.  So glad that they allowed for 10 oz glasses, we also had:
    • HopTown DUIPA (Imperial Ale)
    • Russian River IPA
    • Craftsman Brewing Company Cabernale (our second glass of the trip)
    • Green Flash Le Freak Belgian IPA (also a repeat on this trip – yummm!)

While in Alpine, we checked out the new Liar’s Club location, which was not open yet (they said, “come back in one hour,” but we couldn’t wait since O’Brien’s closes relatively early.

We did a few non-beer related things today as well, and a few of those times, it was eating! When in San Diego, we always look for sushi, and because O’Brien’s kitchen closed, we were in need of late night munchies.  We visited the following:

  • Ra – a chain sushi establishment “where the music is pumping, the mood is upbeat and the atmosphere is as stimulating as a bite of wasabi”
    • Not really what I want in a sushi bar, and in fact, the music on the website is almost as annoying as the restaurant. It was so loud – outside and in. It felt like a dance club, and to add to the club atmosphere, the girl next to us was spewing extremely intimate details of her life to a first date – things I kept hoping the music would drown out. Good ponzu sauce with the Tunacado, and nice pickled ginger, but otherwise, nothing really impressive about this stop.
  • Los Palmitos Taco Shop in the Clairemont neighborhood
    • What a rare (for us) and wonderful little find! This place only has four tables and counter service, but the food was so delicious. D had a chorizo burrito with rice and beans, and I had a fish taco. My taco wasn’t quite enough, so I ordered a chile relleno, and it was OUTSTANDING! It was huge – probably 4″ x 6″ – filled with cheese and smothered with all the good stuff. Everything at Los Palmitos was really great (and the soups looked amazing), but this one blew us away. The flavors of every dish were so fresh and obviously hand-prepared, and the salsa bar, which included fresh tomato salsa with chunks of onion and cilantro, a thick and spicier red salsa, a mild green salsa, and hot carrots.

Thanks, San Diego – you rock!

North San Diego County Breweries

Our morning started with the excitement of a visit by Guillermo – the resident roadrunner who comes by the house to feed on crickets and cockroaches caught around the house, as well as mealworms to suppliment his diet. 

After a great (people) breakfast of enchilada tortillas and grapefruit fresh from the yard, we took a morning walk through the Coachella Valley Preserve, located on the San Andreas Fault near Palm Springs. We toured the Paul Wilhelm Grove and the McCallum Grove, adding birds to our trip list and enjoying the beauties of the desert. In addition to the birds, we were blown away by the number of fish, dragonflies and a crayfish hiding away in the cool oasis.

After our walk, D and I headed for the coast.  We’re on a two day tour of the breweries, pubs and beer bars of southern California.  Two days won’t cover it all, and will leave me too tired for details right now, but here is where we were:

We enjoyed some great beers, some really good food and met lots of fun new people.  Unfortunately, I’m so tired out from the day, I’m putting off lists and comments to a later date.

Desert Birding and Back Street Brewery

This morning we had a late start (we got into La Quinta after 3 AM in “our time” so we needed the sleep!), but finally got out to do some birding near the Salton Sea in the late morning.  Our hosts, Bob and Dianne, knew just where to go for nice views of the water birds at the Sea and a beautiful walk through San Andres Oasis.

After a day of birding, we stopped off at Oasis Date Garden for date shakes, and then visited the Coachella Valley Wild Bird Center to meet some of Dianne’s friends (Rodney the Roadrunner was one of my favorite!)  We stopped at Trader Joe’s because it’s always a treat to go there, and then returned to the house for a yummy dinner of homemade enchiladas.

Our after-dinner entertainment was the Mr. Christmas Santa’s Marching Band (this video is not HER set, but you get the idea…funny, funny stuff, and pretty darn talented!) 

We ended our night with a trip to Back Street Brewing in La Quinta, which is part of the Lamppost Pizza chain.  There were 7 beers on tap, with guest taps including Framboise.

  • Crossroads Cream Ale
  • Heritage Hefeweisen
  • Jagged Lil’ Pilsner 
  • Rita’s Red
  • Ron’s Pale Ale
  • E.R. IPA
  • Saint Nick’s Treasure

Our bird list for the day (not in order of appearance):

  1. Eared Grebe
  2. American White Pelican
  3. Brown Pelican
  4. Double-crested Cormerant
  5. Great Blue Heron
  6. Great Egret
  7. Snowy Egret
  8. Green Heron
  9. Canada Goose
  10. Northern Pintail
  11. Northern Shoveler
  12. Gadwall
  13. Ruddy Duck
  14. Osprey
  15. Northern Harrier
  16. Red-tailed Hawk
  17. American Kestral
  18. Gambel’s Quail
  19. American Coot
  20. Killdeer
  21. Black-necked Stilt
  22. Greater Yellowlegs
  23. Least Sandpiper
  24. Bonaparte’s Gull
  25. Ring-billed Gull
  26. California Gull
  27. Herring Gull
  28. Yellow-footed Gull
  29. Caspian Tern
  30. Rock Dove
  31. Mourning Dove
  32. Common Ground Dove
  33. Costa’s Hummingbird (at the house!)
  34. Northern Flicker
  35. Say’s Phoebe
  36. Common Raven
  37. Verdin
  38. Cactus Wren
  39. Black-tailed Gnatcatcher
  40. Northern Mockingbird
  41. American Pipit
  42. European Starling
  43. Orange-crowned Warbler
  44. Yellow-rumped Warbler
  45. Sage Sparrow
  46. White-crowned Sparrow
  47. Brewer’s Blackbird
  48. Great-tailed Grackle
  49. House Finch
  50. Lesser Goldfinch