Archive for the ‘Travels’ Category

A new brewery on the big island of Hawaii

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

Big Island sunsetAnother beautiful sunset on the big island.

A great trip to the big island of Hawaii is now in the books. Love the weather there and unfortunately it’s not so great here right now in the Bay Area. Oh well, I still have NHC to look forward to.
The other great news about the trip is that the big island now has a third brewery. Armed with only my trusty point and shoot this trip, we went up to Waimea to check it out. The temps are about 10 degrees cooler or so up there in the high country (as in the low 70′s and windy). Actually a little better weather for a variety of beer styles as opposed to only wanting to only slam pilsners on the 85 degree beaches.
The Big Island Brewhaus is hard to miss since it is right on the highway. They mix guest taps with their own beer and mexican food is on the menu.  The beer menu was impressive. Outside of a variety of standard styles, it looks like they also plan to venture into a range of belgian beers and DIPAs. Works for me.
With a plate of tacos, I tried the paniolo pale, the big red, and the IPA. All good beers that I would try again if I had the opportunity, very drinkable. But alas, with tired kids and more things to see, we were out of there and onto others things. I did notice that the brewing equipment was located in a building behind the actual pub. Looked to be standard pub size equipment with a standard amount of fermentors. Two folks were working back there on the latest batch. This place is worth the drive if you are on the big island.

Also, Kona brewpub is still terrific and is worth a stop or two. The lavaman red is fantastic and the IPA is very drinkable as well. Plenty of others on their beer menu including a barleywine. Now if only I could get those guys to can their beers. Would be better for the beach.
I Didn’t make it to Mehana/Hawaii Nui this trip but always a worth it stop as well if you are in Hilo.

See you in San Diego. I’ll be pouring beer at the Bay Area Mashers booth on club night. Come by and say hi and try some of my smoked porter.

big island brewhaus frontThis is what you are looking for in Waimea. Right on the side of the highway in town.

beers on tap at the brewhausGood range of styles along with some home brewed soda and guest taps. I like how the “coming soon” beers have checkboxes for what stage they are at.

the brewing equipment behind the pubThe actual brewery behind the pub.


Beer Obsessed on the road: Cambridge Brewing Co. in Cambridge, MA

Friday, July 16th, 2010

cambridge brewing sign

If you are in Boston, you need to get your brewpub hit by taking the T (Boston subway) over to Cambridge and making the quick walk to Cambridge Brewing Co.
Butted up against M.I.T., you get a younger but respectful crowd in there. On this Thursday it was quite crowded but once again, since I was solo, I was able to sneak a seat up at the bar. The first thing that caught me off guard was the beer tube. Not sure what they actually call it there but is a clear tube that holds 100oz of beer. You order it and you receive this tall tube at your table with a tap at the bottom. It clearly makes sense as there were several groups that were six plus people and I don’t think that sized group is unusual here.cambridge brewing pale ale
I wanted to cross the beer menu and I started with the Pale which was very good. I mean real good. Could have stuck with it the rest of the night. Amber was next and that was good too but the pale is still the stand out. With dinner, I had the IPA not bad but the p-a-l-e a-l-e was still on my mind. Dessert was a barrel aged porter that had Brett in it. That was a real sipper.  Interesting beer and would love to try it again in a few months to see how it evolves.
Food is standard pub fare and I went for the fish and chips, heavy on the vinegar to help work with the IPA.
Again, a very worthy pub to hit while in Boston.

cambridge brewing brewsystem
Earlier in the day during the Boston trip, I thought it appropriate to swing by Cheers. I caught a photo of the exterior, which was used for the TV show. There were a few groups there getting pics of themselves next to the sign so catching a good angle was tough (see my photo at bottom of this post). I took a look inside but there isn’t much there to go with the TV show that many love. Just some memoribilia and a very crowded bar with a lot of Sam Adams on tap.

Other:
Other than that, the family and I are off to family camp this weekend for our traditional outing. I am packing some Odonata Saison, Nostrodamus Begian Brown, and some Racer 5. Funny enough, the Safeway in the nearest town has a pretty good beer selection so I won’t be hurting.
Cheers. Oh and more shots below. Clicky any pic for a full size view.

cambridge brewing amber

cambridge brewing fish and chips
cheers sign

Beer Obsessed on the road: The Publick House in Boston, MA

Friday, July 9th, 2010

The Publick House

The Publick House was probably one of the first beer places to get jotted down on my “things to do in Boston” list. I believe it was about 2 years ago some important media thing listed this place as one of the top 5 beer bars in the country. Funny enough, while cruising around on yelp, many folks listed Publick House’s mac and cheese as the thing that can’t be missed. Besides loving beer, I love mac and cheese so off I went.
The Publick House if very accessible from the T (Boston’s “subway”). You get off at Washington Square and walk all of about a block. Its location in the Brookline area seems mellow in a Portland Oregon kind of way but that’s just a generalization for a guy who was there for all of one evening. At 7pm on a Tueday, the place was already filling up. It was just me so I was able to easily able to slot myself into a place. drinking Pretty Things field mouses farewell at The Publick House
My focus for the beer part of my trip was on local/regional beers so I ordered a bottle of Pretty Things Field Mouse’s Farewell. A “rustic golden ale” brewed with barley, wheat, rye, and oats. Of the Pretty Things I have tried in the past, I discovered they don’t worry much about keeping to style (not a bad thing). This beer was bright with orange and spice. A clean beer and interesting. Somewhere in here I put in my order for the mac and cheese. The beauty of the dish is you can customize it…so I added broccoli and bacon. publick house mac n cheeseThe dish soon showed up in all of its steaming glory. They use eggshell pasta and they had put it in the oven to get that nice baked on surface. While I was waiting for it to cool down, I ordered a Brooklyn Brewing Brown Ale to go with my meal. The beer was a clean and classic brown. It supported the mac and cheese nicely but ultimately a brown’s roastiness is probably a hard too much for this dish. The mac and cheese? Wow! Completely worth the trip on that meal alone. Here I am in a “top beer bar” and I’m going on about the mac and cheese. That is the beauty of travel I guess.publick house old rasputin on nitro
For my final beer, I broke my own rules and I ordered a North Coast Old Rasputin on nitro. I couldn’t pass this up as I kept seeing this setup around Boston. Man, why haven’t I seen this on the west coast? Old Rasputin + nitro = brilliant. It smoothed out any high octane edginess that the standard version has and envelopes you in a bed of lush creaminess. Fantastic.
You can’t go to The Publick House without walking up the street to their bottle shop. The Publick House Provisions. A nice bottle shop with an incredible selection of glassware on top of it. After making a few laps, I purchased a bottle of Brooklyn Brewing Local 1 publick house provisionsand DIPA that was under the Publick House name. Helping me with the latter beer was Josh, who was working the store that night. A very cool guy and we talked East coast beers and West coast beers and a few other beer things.

Worth the trip? Absolutely but if you are a beer person, you don’t need me to tell you that. What I can tell you is that you should definitely check out the mac and cheese!

josh at the publick house

Beer Obsessed on the road: Redbones BBQ in Somerville, MA.

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

Redbones BBQ

 I spent a week in Boston and the first place I hit was Redbones BBQ since I was on my way north of Boston proper. Redbones is in Somerville which is an easy drive from Boston and it is also accessable via the T (subway). This place first popped onto my radar after reading about it in the All About Beer magazine travel issue. This place made the top 150 world beer destinations. Works for me.
It was a warm and muggy June night and the place was crowded on a Sunday. Fortunately it was just me and I was able to get a spot at the bar after a few minutes.
While I knew I wanted ribs and some side dishes, I was a bit daunted by the beer board. Part of my mission in Boston was to stick with local/regional beers and I didn’t know where to start. I ended up grabbing a Chester Street Amber and I quite enjoyed it. First success.
Tip #1
I think next time I do a trip like this, I’m going to order a half pint of beer list for Redbones BBQa calibration beer. I think a Sierra Nevada Pale sitting there would have helped me quite a bit as I really didn’t have much to go on after being a bit dazed and hungry from traveling all afternoon.  
Sometime during the course of my meal, I also tried both the Harpoon IPA and the Ipswitch IPA. They definitely weren’t left coast IPAs but I expected that. This would take some getting used to. Maybe I was just tired. I hit the road about 10pm in order to get farther up north and I needed rest.
I would hit Redbones again later in the week and try the hushpuppies which were fantastic. A couple more beers….one IPA that was quite bitter. Don’t remember the name.
Regardless of the ramblings above. Redbones should be on your to do list if you are beer traveling around Boston. I even got the thumbs up on this place from Lew Bryson who commented back to me via facebook during the week. Screw me, if Lew likes it then you go!
Pics below…click for bigger versions:

cornbread at Redbones BBQThe cornbread was awesome. The beer is the Chester Street Amber. I enjoyed both.

ribs at Redbones BBQRibs were Memphis dry rub. Very very tasty and the sauce (mild) worked well.

Dave from Redbones BBQDave was the bartender for the night. I was tricked as I thought he had the classic Boston guy Irish look about him but he is an original west coaster who arrived in Boston via some time in Honolulu. Go figure.