Sunday, December 19, 2010

Terri's Holidaze cookies

Although I once heard from a fool (although he was not on a hill at the time) that it never rains in sunny California. Today and this week would certainly make that... uh... well... idiot seem even a bit more silly than usual. It's Nor-Cal monsoon... with no let up in sight.
Which of course is perfection in the making when it comes to baking. ( channel lyrics); or at least a great excuse for having the oven on all day in your kitchen.
Seasonal cookie master Terri choose a prime day to whip up her yearly doughy offerings.
Peanut Blossoms led off the show and when the dust finally settled there were in excess of 22 dozen (Top photo obviously).
A couple of Sierra Nevada Celebrations later the chocolate/butterscotch chip cookies started popping out of the oven at breakneck speeds followed by a healthy dose of something called Noodle Clusters At this point our focus has switched to a growler of Idiot double IPA from Coronado Brewing (How did that thing end up in my fridge?) But the damage is done. 300 cookies and who will sample them? Mine!!!! ha ha all mine!! In reality I'm sure my in house cookie monster will have more than a little to say about that distribution. Go Chiefs!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Epic II HopSoberFest gathering Part 1

Once again the Gods of beer gathering summoned me from a restless night of sleeping and commanded me to travel about the lands and gather the finest hoppy nectars to be found and share them with the faithful.
Well....actually it was Terri that woke me up one morning and said "Screw all this working....lets go to San Diego and do some brewery hopping" and so we did.
Hopping was the key word and catalyst. Well....that and driving.
With 4 days to spend in San Diego prior to Thanksgiving we waisted no time getting out of Roseville on a Sunday morning....packed and on the road by 5am. First stop was Fullerton and Bootleggers Brewing. After hours of mindless due South driving on I-5 (and a bunch of Joni Mitchell CD's) we finally arrived at Bootleggers front door 10 minutes prior to opening and were the first customers of the day. They had one of their seasonal doubles on called Knuckle Sandwich which was very growler worthy but they refused to sell us any of it. Apparently supplies were low. We grabbed a couple of samples and a growler of their Rye IPA to share on Thanksgiving and jumped back on the road. It was a very frustrating yet efficient stop ....18 minutes.
Our next stop was The Bruery in Placenta just about 5 miles South of Bootleggers. The Bruery is another interesting gem, in a little tucked away commercial zone they had almost a dozen Belgian style beers but only one hoppy beer to sell. It was lite pale called Humulus and was actually quite tasty...but at less than 5% abv wasn't going to hold up to the beers we were looking for. It became another Thanksgiving day treat.
After sharing a pint of the Humulus we were getting hungry and so immediately got back on I-5 and set our sights on San Clemente Pizza Port.
That particular PP (there are 4) is home to the GABF medal winning (or so the sign said) Pseudo IPA which we really enjoyed so we helped ourselves to three growlers of it. The pizza was excellent and we wanted more pints but we were on a mission and tore ourselves away and resumed our Southern traveling in search of the thriving community of Vista.
Vista is home to one of our favorite breweries ...Green Flash...makers of West Coast IPA, Imperial and hopefully a batch of their seasonal Pallete Wrecker. Boy were we disappointed.....they were out of all three. Three empty GF growlers destined to return North with no more than dust in them. Well two anyway....ever aware of Thanksgiving consumption we filled up one growler with their excellent Hop Head Red.
Our mood was a little shaken but our resolve was merely stirred as we made our way East just a few miles to Port Brewing in San Marcos. Now then ...this was more like it....a bustling place (it's housed in the old Stone Brewing facility) full off numerous legends such as Hop 15 and Wipe Out IPA as well as lots of Hoppy and Belgian style seasonals. We grabbed a couple of stools and ordered pints of High Tide and Mongo 2IPA. We could have left with 6 growlers but decided to be a bit more conservative (room in the trunk was limited) and only left with two growlers of the Mongo Double IPA.
Finally our long day was starting to wear on our old bones but we still had one stop to go before heading to our sleeping quarters. That stop is the Disneyland of beer....Stone Brewing in Escondido. The place lived up to it's name and was packed with tourists...well beer we fit right in. We sampled a couple of pints including Ruination and a beer from Temecula Brewing called Black Market Rye IPA. Very tasty.
We finally had to surf the crowd in the gift shop to get a couple of growlers of Ruination filled.
Back on the road South to Chula Vista and our home in a little log cabin at the Metro KOA.
Twas a bit chillier than usual for San Diego but the weather was fine for November so we set out on our long awaited bicycle ride around San Diego Bay after a breakfast of swine and chicken products. The ride was very interesting with Salt flats, ocean views and all manner of riding surfaces to keep our interest and maintain our motivation. Coronado was particularly interesting to ride through although half the time we just ignored the directions and more or less just aimed for the Coronado Bridge which we knew was near where the 'ferry boat docked'....sorry... all those Joni Mitchell lyrics are still bouncing around in my head. We made it to the Ferry launch just in time to wait for the next one an hour away. So we did just what beer cyclists would do in that situation...we rode off in search of Coronado Brewing to see if they were stocking their double not you...the beer.
Our hop radar did not let us down and we rode straight to it and verified that indeed they did have the beer we require in stock.
The final 10 miles of the 32 mile ride was the most hair raising...traveling the busy Harbor Blvd just as all the dock workers were getting off work and heading home. But luckily we rode over more of them than they ran into us and we ended the ride with a nice tailwind that had come up late in the day. Riding East when you are near The Specific Ocean is always good.
All that cycling is just what is needed to work up a proper beer thirst and that's just what I had as we headed North towards Ocean Beach. We found the Pizza Port and got lucky to nab a parking spot on the side street right near the entrance.
The Ocean Beach PP is typical of all the other PP's I've been in...lost of surf and ocean motif and a plethora of proper hoppy beers.
Although they didn't have their famed Cho Saiko Double IPA they did have copious amounts of their Jetty IPA which we put the screws to while watching the home town Chargers win their Monday Night NFL game. We walked out carrying 2 growlers of The Jetty IPA for our coffers.
One the way back to the cabin we took the Coronado Bridge exit and made our way to Coronado Brewing. The place was uber busy in the bar so we grabbed a table and ordered a pint of IPA and one pint of Idiot their tasty 2IPA. After sampling the Idiot I gave the beautiful wench my empty growler to fill and also ordered another. Epics require more than one growler.
After sharing a nice apple Cinnamon dessert thing we packed it in and headed 'back to the Cabin' (David Crosby lyrics this time) and found our bunks.