A beautiful day in north San Diego, a pleasant 70 degrees in the shade, a relaxing garden setting, and hundreds of like-minded flavor connoisseurs was the perfect way to kick off the San Diego craft beer festival season.
Lines were manageable, patrons were considerate and conversational and the beer was exceptional. Possibly the only challenge for festival goers was dwindling down the list of craft beers they must try with their 15 tasters.
Highlights of the craft beer choices for me included: Great Divide oak aged Rumble IPA, Stone IRS in Templeton Rye whiskey barrels, Coronado Brewing's award winning barleywine Scallywag and the 2012 FiftyFifty Eclipse stout in Elijah Craig 12 years barrels.
As an attendee of this particular craft beer festival for the fourth time, I can say that the list remains impressive each year, and does not stay stagnant, with new styles and offerings working their way onto the list.
Stay tuned for the Stone Sour Fest and Pour It Black festivals later this season.
Oak aged Rumble from Great Divide Brewing to start the festivities; one of only a few IPA available in a sea of aged stouts, sours and porters
A definite highlight of the day for me, 2013 Stone Imperial Russian Stout aged in Templeton Rye whiskey barrels; bold, robust and the whiskey really popped
Evil Twin/Stillwater/Stone “The Perfect Crime” black smoked saison aged in red wine barrels; I am not usually a saison guy, but the combination of flavors was quite surprising
If not my favorite, a definite top five brew of the day; The Lost Abbey Angel's Share Ale 2011 bourbon barrel; bold, smooth, boozy, warming
Mid festival palate wreckage; Moylan's Old Blarney barleywine aged in Heaven Hill Barrels; this festival makes beer guy want to become bourbon guy