Coverage of 11th Annual Real Ale Festival
Held in the same location as the Pizza Port Strong Ale Festival was the 11th Annual Real Ale Festival, in Carlsbad, CA. I was accompanied by Jon, his lady Jillian, and my dad, Steve. It was beautiful weather in Carlsbad, about 80 degrees with no humidity. We bought our tickets when the box office opened around 11am, and first put some Pizza Port Pizza in our stomachs, so we wouldn’t get too tipsy.
Hosted by Tom Nickel of O’Briens Pub, the festival was on its second session. We attended the second session, but heard great things about the Friday night one. They had a cask of Lost Abbey Angel Share Bourbon, a sneak peak of Stone Brewing Co’s 12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout, and I believe Avery 15th Anniversary Ale. If we lived closer to San Diego, I am sure we would have attended. With all that said, we still were able to drink some fine ale in the beautiful sun.
I tried going in number order, and number 2 on the list was by B.J.’s Brewing. B.J.’s has a chain of restaurants that makes pizza and brews their own beer. Their offering was a version of their famous Jeremiah Red, aged in red wine barrels, and named Jeremiah Sauvignon. It was unique, but nothing I would have wanted more than 4 oz of. Jon and I really enjoyed the Rogue Imperial Red on cask. It was quite nice, and pretty strong. Other notable ones I had were Ballast Point Big Eye IPA with Ginger, Stone Imperial Russian Stout, and my favorite, hands down was Alpine Pure Hoppiness on cask. The flavor was just out of this world. Filled with citrus and sugary malts, I went back for multiple tastings.
Jillian and my father don’t care for the hoppier beers, so they stuck with the porters, stouts, and imperial stouts. There were plenty malty beers to be had in that department. Green Flash offered their awesome Grand Cru, Stone had their Russian Imperial Stout, and a few other breweries that I have not been introduced to had some very flavorful dark malty beers. While we should have been studying these new breweries, I can say I was too busy smiling and drinking to take notes. The beer that my lager loving father liked the most was Craftsman Southern Brown Ale. While not a fan of Craftsman myself, I agreed that it was a very great offering by the Pasadena brewery.
Compared to the scene at the Strong Ale Festival last December, this festival seemed more crowded. This might be due to it being warmer, and a good chance that there was a bigger turnout. Like every other time TheFullPint rolls to San Diego, we had the pleasure of meeting new, beer loving people that had a great time chatting about beer. While I only had a bit over a quart of beer in total, I felt like I had a night worth of drinking under my belt. While the theme was supposed to be real ale, drawn from a cask, there was plenty of strong ale offerings that made for a wobbly good time. TheFullPint would like to thank the Pizza Port family, Tom Nickel, and Tomme Arthur, who helped the team of sample servers.