Two Tides Brewing Company, Savannah, GA

I stopped in at Two Tides Brewing Company in Savannah, Georgia with a colleague for a beer.  Well, I couldn’t decide so a flight of sours made sense.  The Chromatose Blackberry Sour and the Obvious Answer Morello Cherry and Plum Sour were absolutely amazing.  Enough fruit flavor to cut the sour but still sour and not sweet at all.  Delicious.  Dry.  Would have been great with food.

Tasty Bois Imperial Stout with toasted marshmallow and coconut will go down in the record books as the perfect dessert beer.  I’d throw vanilla ice cream in this all day long.  Amazing!

The artwork is really cool too!

Prairie Brewpub, Tulsa, OK

I stopped in at Prairie Brewpub in Tulsa, Oklahoma to try their beers.  The beer I was most interested in is BOMB.  This must be the most complex beer I’ve tried and I’ve tried a lot of beers in the last ten years (at over 500 breweries).  BOMB is an Imperial Stout aged on espresso beans, chocolate, vanilla beans and ancho chile peppers.  Sipping this fantastic beer is a taste treat.  Each of those flavors is present and can be distinguished.  Although it sounds like a lot going on, and it is, it tastes fabulous and those flavors complement each other and make for a delicious beer.  This was a great way to end the evening.

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The Actual Brewing Company, Columbus, OH

I stopped in at The Actual Brewing Company in  Columbus, Ohio.  It’s not easy to locate.  But it’s worth the stop.  Fat Julian Imperial Stout is amazing.  It’s rich in chocolate flavor.  Well worth  the time spent looking for it!

I stopped in again and found tremendous progress.  I tasted Thermal Conductor Habanero IPA.  This must be the HOTTEST beer I’ve ever tasted.  I could have  gone with this.  Really.  I’m not weak.  But, it was late.  I wasn’t in the mood.  And, the bartender recommended the Wiener-Munchen Festival Lager which was delicious.  Smooth.  Malty.  Perfect for my mood and the time of day.  Relaxing.  Can’t wait to stop back again!

Coastal Empire Beer Company, Savannah, GA

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There are two reasons I write this blog.  The first is that I love craft beer.  The second is that I love meeting the people who make craft beer.  This is a story about both reasons.  When I recently traveled to Savannah, Georgia for business I contacted a few breweries that offered hours only on days I would not be in town.  I heard from one brewery that they would not be able to accommodate a visit from me.  However when I reached out to Coastal Empire Beer Company, the co-founder, Kevin Haborak, told me that I was welcome to drop by.  So, I did.  Today, on the way back to the airport.

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Kevin arranged for his brother Chris to meet me, show me around, and allow me to taste practically everything on tap.  These guys make awesome beer.  Let me try to step you through a few of these.  The Savannah Brown is a delicious brown ale, caramelly, sweet, malty, solid and very drinkable.  The sort of brown ale you’d drink several of, especially say in the fall when there’s a slight chill in the air.  The barrel aged version of this is like putting it on steroids.  Wow!  The flavor from the barrels makes it all that much richer.  This puts it in the category of a sipping beer that I would enjoy after dinner instead of dessert, in a snifter.  Perfect.  Going a completely different direction is the Tybee Island Blonde Ale.  This is a great option for hot summer days.  Cans of this are perfect for the beach.  One of these after cutting the lawn would be perfect.  I also tried a pineapple, coconut and sea salt gose which is basically a secret weapon.  Wow!  This beer is off the hook!  Its sweet and salty and tart all at the same time.  My tastebuds were all over the place.  Let me wrap with Dawn Patrol.  Think Imperial Stout.  Think Chocolatey goodness.  Think Mole.  Think Peppery Spices.  Wrap all four of those together.  KaBam!  This is crazy good.

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If you line in Savannah or are visiting Savannah you must stop in here.  There’s at least one beer for every person’s tastebuds.  You will love this beer.  I need to figure out how to get distribution north to Maryland.  The rest of the country needs these beers.  Chris and Kevin, thank you for taking the time to meet with me.  Thanks for the snifter.  I will eagerly anticipate drinking Dawn Patrol from it in the comfort of my own home some day.  And, I’m hoping to bring my wife to Savannah at some point and will definitely stop in to see you when I do.  Keep up the great work!

Epic Brewing, Salt Lake City, UT

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I stopped in at The Annex by Epic Brewing in Salt Lake City, Utah.  The Big Bad Baptist Imperial Stout was outstanding.  A great sipping beer.  Huge flavor – coffee, chocolate, rich, malty.  It is very strong – a short pour was plenty.  Also the bratwurst with local sauerkraut and the house made pickles was delicious.  I would eagerly recommend Epic Brewing and The Annex.

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Drake’s Brewing Company, San Leandro, CA

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I stopped in at the Drake’s Brewing Company Barrel House back in June of 2013.  Unfortunately, I’m not sure what beer I enjoyed at that time.  However, Drake’s recently brought several of their beers to a conference social event and I enjoyed a few of them.  The first one I tried was the Denogginizer Imperial IPA.  This is a bold, hoppy and malty beer that really packs a punch.  The next one I tried is the Jolly Rodger Imperial American Black Ale.  This was both smooth and crisp.  And, finally, I tried the Drakonic Imperial Stout which was smooth and creamy with a flavor of coffee and chocolate.  A great way to end the evening.

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Saint Arnold Brewing Company, Houston, TX

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Saint Arnold is the patron saint of brewers.  How cool is that?  When I stopped in at the Saint Arnold Brewing Company in Houston, Texas, the tour that day was being given by none other than the owner, Brock Wagner.  How cool is that?  Wow!  Almost like meeting Saint Arnold, himself.  The tour was fabulous, covering the entire brewing process.  The beer tanks, see below, are all named.  And, the tour ended in the tasting room which is spacious enough for really large groups.  The Saint Arnold Fancy Lawnmower is a crisp summer beer and since my sons have a lawn business I just had to bring them home t-shirts.  Saint Arnold Endeavor Double IPA is my favorite, a strong and flavorful beer.

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So, while in Houston I need to cover two other related items.  One evening I enjoyed the Saint Arnold Pumpkinator pumpkin ale with dinner at a Mexican restaurant.  It was a dinner package that ended with a pumpkin empanada.  What a great meal.  And, I was able to bring the special glass home with me.  Also, one other evening I enjoyed a Saint Arnold Bishops Barrel I at Local Foods.  This special release was a bourbon barrel imperial stout.  I enjoyed this beer so much I asked if I could buy one to go and due to the local laws this was impossible.  I then checked several local beer stores, none of which was able to get this beer.  At one small beer and wine store I spoke at length with the owner and he identified with my interest.  He was a real beer guy.  Well, I stopped in that store a few days later and he had found the beer for me and sold me a couple of bottles.  I was amazed at his customer service.  What a champion.  To this day I saved one of the empty bottles as a reminder.

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