Lost Abbey Brewing, San Marcos, CA

After Zion, we headed back to Southern California. Lost Abbey specializes in abbey-style ales. Their “Angels Share” bourbon barrel trappist ale is smoky and rich. There’s a food truck just outside most days of the week. It’s a relaxing place to spend an afternoon.


Hoodoo Ski Resort, Sisters, Oregon

On a clear day, you really can see forever. Miles of views at Hoodoo. We recommend the $19 lift tickets on “Tightwad Tuesdays”, the curving gullies of the Three Creeks ski run, and  the view from the Over Easy run. A beer at Three Creeks Brewing is a delicious way to finish off the evening. At the Best Western in Sisters, enjoy the view of the neighbors — Alpaca sheep.

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Drink Everybody’s Beer…

… is the slogan of Everybody’s Brewing in White Salmon, Washington. Chatted a bit with the friendly brewer, who strives to make well-balanced and full flavored beers, bucking the trend of aggressive “hop monster” brewing. We curled up with a porter on the sofa and watched the snow fall.

Victor Idaho

Victor is a small town just over the Teton Pass from Jackson. Many people who work in Jackson commute the 10% grade over the Victor. There’s good camping all along the Teton Pass. Campsites further up the pass have large pine trees, a flowing creek, and damp air that reminds us of Oregon. Mail Creek Canyon Road was one of our favorite spots. Sites downhill near Victor are flat, dry, and feel a lot like developed campgrounds.

Eat well in Victor on the patio of slow food-inspired Scratch. Good local beer is brewed at Wildlife and Teton breweries. The Wildlife Bison Brown is rich and well-balanced, and their brewery has a family-friendly game area with a pool table and dart board. The Thai pizza is spicy and satisfying. Grand Teton offers brewery tours daily, and also makes non-alcoholic sodas. The Emporium sells huckleberry milkshakes.

Coming soon: photos of spelunking in Wind Cave and Ice Cave.

Green Flash Brewery and The Gooch

Tasting Garden at Green Flash

Had a taster fest at Green Flash Brewery in central San Diego. Thanks to $1 tasters, we tried everything on the menu for $13. Favorites included the “Le Freak” ale, Hop Head Red, pale ale, and Double Stout. There were also some beers that were made for tasting — odd flavors that stretch the tastebuds but aren’t exactly drinkable in abundance. These included the syrupy Barleywine, a Trippel that reminded Katherine of dirty socks, a spiced winter brew reminiscent of vintage herbal cordials, and an ale that tasted of cilantro and lemon.

Tasting Room at Green Flash

Green Flash is in a large office park near the corner of Top Gun Drive, Genetic Center Drive, and Sequence Drive. So, it’s at an interesting nexus of military and genetic engineering firms. The crowd was packed with folks in khakis and polos, many still wearing their corporate badges.  The large tap room extends into a fenced patio with picnic tables and lighted trees. The patio wraps around the food truck parking pad, and the brewery website keeps an updated food schedule. It looks like there’s a different food truck almost every night of the week.

The Gooch Food Truck

Gourmet food trucks are a West Coast innovation, arising out of Portland and expanding to San Francisco and San Diego. Sure, every town has loncheras selling soggy sandwiches and pop. But these West Coast trucks are a whole other concept. “The Gooch” (slang for bully) bears the slogan “Give Us Your Lunch Money”. In return, they served the Baby Momma, a Vietnamese-inspired slider topped with pickled vegetables and siracha aoli. Peter eyed a cheeseburger topped with bacon jam. Yep, bacon jam.  Not a good place to be a vegan, though the menu did please locavores with a farmer’s market-sourced menu and grass-fed meat.

A nice family-friendly environment. We saw many picnicking families and strollers, as well as people of all ages. There’s plenty of parking up front, and even a parking attendant to guide you to a spot.

If you’re in the neighborhood, this is a great place to stop by for happy hour or dinner.

Brewery Tour, part 2

Over the last week we visited the Lost Abbey, Aztec Brewing, Stone Brewing, and Relm wine bar in North County San Diego.

The Lost Abbey specializes in abbey and saison style beers that are fermented with Brettanomyces yeast. A Latin sign over the door translates to “In Brettanomyces we trust.” Most of the beers are fermented in oak casks to transmit the yeast cultures.

En Illa Brettanomyces Nos Fides

The tap room is a mellow, amber-lit, and features and impressive draft beer selection from both Lost Abbey and Port Brewing. $1 mini-tasters are available for all beers, so it’s easy to try a lot while still drinking moderately.

Mini Taster Glasses

A rotating group of food carts keep drinkers well fueled. We enjoyed a pierogi and a polish sausage from Pierogi Truck of San Diego. There’s abundant seating on beer casks that are topped with 40# bags of dextrose.

Pierogis from Pierogi Truck of San Diego

Aztec Brewing is the new fermenter on the block, having just opened in August. The founders were at the bar pouring drinks and checking in with a multigenerational crowd of happy drinkers. We ordered a 2 flights of 4 beer tasters for $5 per flight. The beers included a jalapeno wheat, ESB bitter, IPA, British ale, chocolate porter, red ale, and imperial stout. It’s really fun to try small sips of such a wide variety of beers. The ESB was Katherine’s favorite. Peter liked the IPA, though Katherine thought it tasted musty. The jalapeno wheat tasted like nachos. We both enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere and the taster portions.

We returned to Stone Brewing to explore their hiking trail. A roughly 5 mile trail winds through the Coronado Hills, conveniently starting and ending at Stone Brewery. The trail has some great views of the hills surrounding Escondido and Fallbrook, and a built in fitness course helps us earn our lunch. We finished off the day with a smoky porter and a game of Settlers of Catan in the Stone garden.

Relm in Carlsbad is one of our favorite places to unwind. It’s got cushy sofas, mellow music, and delicious wines by the glass. The business name is an acronym for Relax Enjoy Laugh More, which seems quite appropriate. Now that’s a New Year’s resolution!