Tag Archives: TheBeerWench

TheArtofBeer and Life..2013

My Year in Review

TheArtofBeer

2013 kicked off with a new chapter in my career.  After a 2nd layoff in 4 years in my old industry, I decided to pursue something that I have passion for. ::Insert Legally Blond quote:: “Luckily” Stone Brewing Company took a chance on hiring this geeky beer girl and the rest is history.  It has not been an easy year for me.  Learning the beer industry is far more challenging on the inside than it appears from the outside looking in.  I have battle scars but I have also learned so much.  I have had respect for Stone Brewing Co from my very beginnings in San Diego in 2002.  Stone was the company that flipped me from a wine drinker to “TheArtofBeer” and that was no easy feat.  But wowser this industry is tough!  I cut my teeth on amazing craft beer because of Stone and I came to appreciate the heart and soul of the craft brewing industry.  I learned so much in 10 years and I developed friendships across the country because of this silly little blog and my life on Twitter.  How amazing is it that I ended up working in the industry?

Craft Brewing is not an easy row to hoe and I have respected just how challenging the path is from the very beginning.  Now that I have spent a year selling beer, I can honestly say that it is the hardest thing I have ever done.  Despite a conviction deeply set in the core of my being, I have had to face the reality that craft is still just a small blip on the screen that is the overall beer market.  The masses just haven’t caught on yet.  Since passion is something I have always had plenty of, even when selling mundane plumbing/hvac products , this became a very personal mission for me. Game on!

I am most thankful for the amazing wins I have been able to chalk up and I am thankful for some of the great chains that have been patient with me as I navigated my way through this very foreign industry .  I have made mistakes but hopefully I have learned from them.  I am also thankful for some of my Stone comrades that have helped me make it through some very challenging times.  My favorite motto learned “It’s Just Beer” has helped me through some rough days and every win I have made has meant the world to me.

Aside from World Peace, my wish for 2014 is that we are able to get more people to venture into the amazing world of craft beer.  As main stream retailers take a chance on bringing craft into their stores, I hope my fellow craft beer drinkers will remember to appreciate the fact that this is how we can expand our share from 8% to 20% and beyond in the coming years.  Don’t get caught up in beer snobbery and judging breweries for selling in more places than just our beloved Bottle Shops.  For every new consumer that passes by a corporate beer to pick up a Stone Mixed 12 pack or (insert any craft beer package) on the shelf, it’s a win for craft.  It paves the road for the tiny new craft breweries that open daily and gives them a path to success.  When we expand the base of craft beer drinkers, everyone wins.  The larger craft breweries are making it possible for new breweries to have a chance of succeeding.  Please remember that.

This year has not been without some personal hardship.   As I prepare to walk away from my home, the lesson learned is that home will always be where I make it.  Trust me when I say, this is the hardest thing I have ever gone through short of losing my parents, but… I will survive.  I also had another good health scare that left me minus some flesh but it’s a blessing that I was given the ability to make a difficult choice before it was too late.  My vanity has taken more of a beating but I feel good about the outcome.

Even my closest friends do not know that once again, I exposed my heart and once again I made a bad choice.  I guess I have resolved myself to having the worst taste in men EVER — but I blame myself for being a difficult person.  At the end of the day, I have to own my faults.  As much as I wish I could find love, I am beginning to find peace with being alone.  The holidays are always the hardest for me.  It has been so long since I have had family, I don’t remember what it even feels like.  But I do appreciate the friends that stand by me…no matter how difficult I tend to be.

I am thankful for so many good people in my life.  There are too many to name.  You know who you are and I appreciate each and every one of you.  Thank you for keeping me in your prayers and for putting up with me when I am being a royal pain in the ass.  Please forgive me if you are not in the photo montage  I did my best to capture as many people as possible but it was impossible to get everyone that matters.

My Year in Review

My Year in Review

Thanks for putting up with me…World Peace

xoxo

TheArtofBeer

The Hopocalypse Approaches… « DrakesBrewing

When times get a bit tough, I measure my life in segments of  “things to look forward to”, aka small adventures that make me smile and forget the hard parts of life.   The event below @DrakesBrewery is one of those things.  It is not a secret that I am a fan and friend of talented young brewer @brewsugar (#girlpower) and that I am also a huge fan-girl of Drakes!  If you happen to be in the Bay Area on the weekend of the February 4th — check out this “not to be missed” event. I’ll buy you a beer if you show up!

Maybe we can play “Pin the Tail on the Beer Advocate Douchebag” and I will donate rare beers as prizes for winners!!!

Be sure to make public transportation arrangements or have a designated driver.

The Hopocalypse Approaches… « DrakesBrewing

#DrinkResponsibly

TheArtofBee
xoxo

@BrewSugar

20 Most Compelling Beer Personalities on Twitter — 2011 Edition | Drink With The Wench

The Beer Wench (@thebeerwench) is my little sister in more ways than one…

I love her independence.  She is creative and talented.  Her palate for wine, beer and spirits is remarkable.  She knows food and is a creative cook.  She can be a complete nut!  There are times when she infuriates me but the the fact of the matter is — I am proud of her and I love her like family.  She keeps my perspective and my mind young, and on days when I am feeling old and tired, I read her blog to whip myself back into shape.  She has a way of saying things that lift my spirits on days when I need it most.

At the end of 2011 she include me in this post and I must say I am proud to be in such good company.

20 Most Compelling Beer Personalities on Twitter — 2011 Edition | Drink With The Wench.

The Craft Beer community embraces a lot of different types of people.  Young, old, geek, trendsetter, liberal, conservative… You get the picture.  Of all the groups I have been a part of in my life, this is the one I hang my hat on.  I am honored to be included.

The Beer Wench is growing up and I like what I seeing…

Cheers..TheArtofBeer
xoxo

The Best of San Diego Craft Beer – Part One

Tap List at BLAH

If San Diego is in your travel plans for 2012, this post will offer up a few good suggestions.  If you live under a rock <kidding> in San Diego and have never checked out the places that make us known as one of the greatest Craft Beer Cities in the U.S. then you’ve come to the right place.

Part One of the series starts with an adventure in public transportation that will take you safely to South Park, North Park & Normal Heights.  That’s right – you heard me.  San Diego Metro Transit Bus Route #2,  aka The “Hot Deuce” < Hot Deuce Schedule – Saturday >  travels from downtown San Diego to the top of 30th Street (The Craft Beer Corridor of San Diego) at Adams Avenue.  Catch the Deuce at the Americas Plaza stop near the Trolley Station or on Broadway at 3rd Ave. For $5 you can hop on and off the bus all day, not to mention the fact that you can enjoy your beer responsibly.

During San Diego Beer Week, this is the route I chose for visiting Twitter Craft Beer Friends @TheBeerWench (Ashley), @JessHunter (Jess), @MllBess (Bess), @BisonBrew (Dan) and Amie.  There was side-splitting laughter and beer experiences that we will remember for years to come.  I hope you will enjoy it as much as we all did.

Here are the great Craft Beer spots you can hit and pace yourself please:

Hamilton’s – Hop of the Hot Deuce at the 30thstreet, about 15 minutes from the stop on Broadway.  Open the screen door and allow your eyes a few seconds to adjust to the darkness that lies within.  Don’t be surprised if there are several adorable pups hanging out at the bar; Hamilton’s is pet friendly!   They have 28 tap handles and 2 cask engines pouring a kick-ass variety of local craft beer as well as some world selections .  They have a cooler stocked with bottles that include rare finds like Firestone Walker Abacus and library selections from breweries like Stone and Lost Abbey.  You can order food from the take-out place next door through a tiny window located near the pool table.  Don’t expect anything fancy but rest assured that it is good pub-type fare.  On the second Saturday of the month, a local brewery is featured on all tap handles and there is a feast of “free” food to boot.  Plan on getting there early.  It gets crowded fast…
(619) 238-5460
1521 30th St, San Diego, CA
http://hamiltonstavern.com/

Next stop The Linkery on 30th just south of University Avenue.  The Linkery boasts artisan sausages, made on premise, and a terrific menu of farm to table selections that showcase the strength of the Slow Food movement in San Diego.  Fresh **Local** produce and pasture-raised meats are featured along with 10 tap handles and a cask engine. The Linkery has a highly innovative menu and the staff here tends to know their stuff when it comes to beer.
(619) 255-8778
3794 30th St
http://thelinkery.com/blog

Walk about 5 blocks north on 30th  (past University Ave) and you will find the infamous Toronado San Diego (left or west side of street) , the sister location to the original in San Francisco.  There are more than 50 taps and several cask engines showcasing the Best of San Diego, the US and the world!.  You can find them all listed on the gynormous chalkboard hanging above.  If you can’t find a beer here that you like then you are in need of therapy <enough said>.  Don’t faint when you look at the epic bottle collection in the cooler.  Last time I was there we enjoyed a 2 year vertical of “Cable Car”; a very special American Wild Ale brewed by Lost Abbey for Toronado.
(619) 282-0456
4026 30th Street
http://www.toronadosd.com/iWeb/Site/Welcome.html

Cable Car

Cable Car Vertical

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Across the street and up a block or so up from Toronado,  you will find Ritual Tavern , one of San Diego’s BEST farm-to-table restaurants, featuring old world, traditional cuisine with great beer pairings to compliment the food served.  Innovative and ethical; Ritual serves up great food. Ritual has 8 tap handles and a cask engine; plus bottle selections.  Prepare to have your socks knocked off at Ritual.  The food is as interesting as it is outstanding.  “Hop” back on the Deuce at the next stop north or back toward Toronado.
(619) 283-1618
4095 30th (& Polk)
http://ritualtavern.com/

Next stop Tiger! Tiger! Tavern – the latest brilliant venture by San Diego local favorites Lee and Jenniffer Chase along with Jeff Motch and Clea Hantman.  Located just off the now famous 30th Street Hot Deuce route at El Cajon Blvd, Tiger! Tiger! offers up a mighty selection of sustainable, seasonal small plates and sandwiches.   My fav is the Bánh mì (photo right) but I love the oysters as well!  There are about 30 tap handles on this custom built Direct Draw Draught System.  The selections include Belgian-styled beers.  Don’t be fooled by the pizza oven.  No pizza served here but they bake some terrific bread.  Save the pizza for the next and final stop on the Deuce; sister property Blind Lady Ale House.
(619) 255-2491
El Cajon Blvd (just east of 30th)
http://tigertigertavern.blogspot.com/

Last stop on the Hot Deuce loop is Blind Lady Alehouse (BLAH as the locals call it).  Exit the bus at the Adams Avenue stop on the corner of 30th.  DO NOT go inside the really scary bar on the corner unless you are missing most of your teeth and have a meth problem.  You’re going to stroll east on Adams Avenue for about 7 blocks where you will find BLAH on the left (north) side of the street.  By this time the walk will do you good if you have indulged in a beer at each stop thus far!  Blind Lady Alehouse is the original venture by Lee and Jenniffer Chase, Jeff Motch and Clea Hantman.  This group of friends turned their passion into a successful business that has made Draft magazine’s “America’s 100 Best Beer Bars” list.  Lee brought an impressive brewers resume to the table for the restaurant and Nano brewery (Automatic Brewing) as well as expansive knowledge of the craft beer industry in general.  All four owners are passionate about food ethics and chef Aaron La Monica serves up the finest in locally sourced, seasonal ingredients.  The thin crust pizza** selections are as tasty as they are creative and pair perfectly with the selection of 26 craft beers handles, a cask engine and a few bottled beer choices.  There are always vegan menu items at BLAH but fear not #Bacon lovers.  BLAH has pork products available! Order at the bar, grab your plates and utensils and find a seat.  This is the way it works so deal — the food is awesome and the beer superb!
Closed on Monday for Lunch
(619) 255-2491
3416 Adams Ave
http://www.blindladyalehouse.com
Do not order pizza here if your idea of great pizza is Papa John’s – You will not like it #justsayin

If you make it through all 6 of these locations you are A) Worthy of your SD Beer Card and B) A Craft Beer Consumption Rock Star.  Walk off a little more of your beer on the way back to 30th Street to catch the Hot Deuce back to the downtown area.  I sincerely hope you enjoy this adventure.  This beer geek is woefully proud of the San Diego Craft Beer Culture.
Stay tuned for Part Two of the series which focuses on the best places to sip good beers in Little Italy and the downtown area.  Part Three will highlight the other great Craft Beer spots San Diego County and last but not least, Part Four will offer up some top brewery picks.   These lists are based on my experience and opinions.  There are scads of other spots in SD that are also highly regarded so please do your own homework.  Please also check Hours of Operation.

Cheers —- TheArtofBeer

xoxo

Special thanks to @Goats_Udder for the crash html lesson!

Please Drink Responsibly

Map locations are not exact so pay attention to addresses listed above

The Hot Deuce Route Map

2009 Journey

I am not one for making lofty New Year’s Resolutions.  I am too hard on myself if I don’t accomplish my goals so I try to stick to something simple and meaningful.  As I reflect back on 2009 I realize I came a long way.  I worked on reshaping some of my values and dealing with my materialism.  It was not easy but I think I made some strides.  I spent the better part of 2009 without a relationship.  There were times when I was lonely but I learned that I have to be happy with myself to be happy with another person.  While fiercely independent, I am a habitual pleaser and it tends to suck the life out of me.  Being alone gave me the chance to focus on what truly made me happy.

Craft Beer & Slow Food emerged as two of the things that fueled my desire and enhanced my passionate personality.  I joined the Slow Food Movement and made a personal commitment to eat ethically and sustainably raised food a minimum of 3 days per week.  I gave up bottled water and bought a Zero Water Pitcher and a stainless steel bottle to carry with me.  I began taking my empty beer bottles to the recycling machine at Whole Foods.  Baby Steps…

Little Italy Farmer's Market

It ended up being much easier than I anticipated.  I sought out ways to buy more local food.  I started doing more of my shopping at my local farmer’s market.  I asked questions at Whole Foods about

What Local Looks Likes!

where and how the meat was being raised. I read books like Michael Pollan’s “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” and saw the movie “Food Inc.” during the early summer.  I learned so much it would be hard to list it all here.  With each step along the way I discovered new things I could do to make a difference.    I started telling friends about it.  Some listened intently, others rolled their eyes.  I reminded myself that my priorities are not always reflective of others.  I worked hard not to judge people and I started cooking again so my friends could experience the sheer pleasure of Farm to Table.  Suffice it to say I converted a few folks along the way…

Twitter was a big part of my journey believe it or not.  I selected “TheArtofBeer” because I wanted my identity to relate to how I felt about the amazing world of craft beer.  For some reason it just made sense.

Maggie & Chris

It was a little daunting to dive in to a public forum and express my feelings openly but my love for beer guided me through the process.  I was really tentative in the beginning but by Spring my confidence grew.  I started to connect with other beer lovers and I was shocked at how my connections expanded.   It was so great to share information about beer and learn from other people about beer that I had never tried.  My decision to go to GABF in Denver was a good one.  I got the chance to meet some of my Twitter friends in person and to experience beer that is not available in California.  It even inspired me to start this blog — something I had wanted to do for a very long time.

Beer Sisters!

While I did not meet her in person while in Denver, somehow TheBeerWench became a part of life about that time and when San Diego Beer Week rolled around it was a given that she visit San Diego.  Ashley became my little sister in beer.  I could see something in her that very much reminded me of myself a long time ago.  Hanging out with her made me feel a little younger and a little more alive.  For that I will be forever grateful.  It was a very busy week and one that I will never forget.  My next post will talk more about the other relationships developed during that week.  My Twitter presence became even stronger and more amazing craft beer people emerged.  These people represent a diverse group of people who come from many walks of life.  Age, race, religion, etc… don’t matter.  The common thread is a love for good beer and all the great times that come from being connected with people who share something in common.  If only the world could mimic this dynamic…I digress…

I will finish this post by saying that 2009 will end up being a major turning point in my life.  There has been some sorrow, but mostly there has been intense personal discovery and growth.  It may sound silly to some but Twitter helped me down the path, allowing me to explore things that needed to be explored.   I am not getting older, I am getting better.  I believe that with all my heart.

Thank you to those who took the time to read this.  Happy New Year!

Love & Peace…“TheArtofBeer”

Cheers!