#63: Bruxellensis Festival of Characterful Beers (93) [DEFUNCT]

Note: Finalizing blogs on “Places on the Growler List.”  

This is #93 on the list … I hit a milestone with this entry … I’m made it over halfway there on the All About Beer Magazine’s “Growler List” 125 best places in the world to have a beer.

However, this is also a substitution … if you’ve read through my blog, you will see that some of the entries I’ve modified slightly.  There are two types of modifications–first, if the venue is closed, I substitute (what I feel) is an appropriate replacement.  The other is a “suitable sub.”  For instance, I’m not a fan of SEC football, so I substituted another “experience” entry.  I did that for about 5 entries (I think).  This entry, #63 for me, is a substitute for a defunct festival: Bruxellensis.  I’m sad about that because the festival looked very interesting.  My replacement, though, is a fantastic option (I believe).

The Big Beers, Belgians, and Barleywines Festival (formerly in Vail, CO but now in Breckenridge, CO is incredible.  If you go to just more than the festival — you can spend the whole weekend celebrating beer at this event — all the better.  Sign up for seminars, sessions, cigar tastings, etc, etc.

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This event entered its 16th year in 2017 and you can really appreciate the maturity.  There are scheduled activities starting even earlier in the week and continuing through Sunday.  The basic format is — beer dinners/tastings/seminars/competitions early (Monday through Friday) and then the big Festival on Saturday.  And this is about Big Beers!  How about a 1994 Triple Bock from Boston Brewery?  The Utopias at 28%?

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Many of the craft industries long-time members really go all out in support of this (Dogfish Head, Avery, and the Lost Abbey to name a few (Oh, and Boston Brewery?  see above)).

However, you also get the newer entrants in the industry as well — all focused on big beers or Belgians … and not just big, but great beers.  If you look at the link above and walk through some of the activities, i’m sure you’ll agree … worthy of a place on the list and as a replacement for Bruxellensis.

Finally, this is also on Beermentor’s 100 Places list … now there are two officially, this Festival and Russian River Brewing.  I will be adding my list soon … really.  🙂

Enjoy!

Beer Mentor

Napa Alternative: Bear Republic!

I was recently in Napa Valley doing some “wine country” touring.  Having had my wine fix and needing to chase it with a beer AND since I was heading north from there (from Calistoga) I decided to roll through Healdsburg, CA and visit Bear Republic Brewing Co.

Located right downtown they have a nice location, excellent patio, and cool staff.  The beer is excellent, you can do the samplers, and the food is excellent as well.  Marcin Furmankiewicz, the restaurant general manager, really takes the time to make sure you feel welcome.  You can tell they like what they do!

Definitely west coast style ales!  The tasters are a nice size and they will give you related flights.

Although they are in a shopping plaza (aren’t most really cool craft breweries now??) they make full use of the space.  Check out the barrel room if given the opportunity … they even have some hops growing out back!

The Racer 5 IPA is their well known beer. However, drink them all and see what you think!  Enjoy,

Beer Mentor

Russian River Brewing: Great Selection/Awesome Place (Beer Mentor’s 100 Places)

Hello Beer Mentees!  As I have moved away from completing my “Growler List” I still have a couple of tasks on my list to complete … first, I’d like to post the entries for those places I did visit.  Secondly, I intend to build my own list of “100 Places to Drink Beer.”  This place is on that list!  Russian River Brewing!

Entrance to the Russian River Brewing “Brew Pub.”

If you are in San Francisco or are visiting Napa Valley or Sonoma Valley you can make a quick detour over to Santa Rosa, CA and stop at the BrewPub for a bite to eat and a few brews.   You can order a sample flight … and what a sample flight!

All the beers on the tap list at once … 18 beers.  Did anyone say Pliny the Elder?  Yes!  All the beers are excellent but there is an obvious focus on the Hops.  If you are a West Coast Hophead you definitely want to visit!

Not only is it a great place for beer, the food was excellent (and so is the service).  If you visit on the weekend you should plan on standing in line for a little while — and that includes your whole group!  They have a “no cut” policy in their line — so, if you think you might show up early and hold a spot you’ll be drinking alone for a while waiting on your group to clear the line!  However, it’s worth the wait!  There’s parking in back.

Here’s a look at the bar … even that takes standing in line!  🙂  Within 50 miles or so?  Worth a drive over.  If you don’t want to stop at just one place on the detour, you can also add Fogbelt or Third Street Aleworks to your list of places too.  Enjoy Santa Rosa!

Beer Mentor

Summary Update #5: Growler List – Final

FINAL ENTRY on the Growler List

Reference:  All About Beer Magazine’s “Growler List.”  125 best places in the world to have a beer.   As I’ve watched the Craft Beer explosion happen over the last 10 years (or so), the number of places to buy as well as drink beer has also exploded!  That’s why I’ve decided to stop pursuing all 125 places on this list.  I will scout out the classic places on the list but not the places I would consider the trendy spots.  For instance, of the four places I’m describing below, three of them (29, 32, and 38) would be classics … they don’t seem to change and are still great.  The fourth (as you can see) is a modification … so, this is my final entry about this particular list.  I will continue to update/describe places and beers … don’t worry.  The Beer Mentor is not going anywhere.  LOL.

Summary: Total (actual) places visited: 66 (59 remain on the list).  I visited 4 places since my last post:

29) Toronado (San Francisco) — well worth the effort … cool place with interesting vibe … cash only so be prepared!  The beer selection is exceptional.

Enjoying a cold one at Toronado in San Francisco.

32) Rogue Brewery (Newport, OR) — Wow!  Absolutely a great tour, wonderful location … and excellent beer!  The menu is also excellent.  I recommend an early stop, have lunch, stay for the tour and enjoy yourself!

Classic Entrance into Rogue Brewery

38) Anchor Brewing “tasting room” (San Francisco) — the history combined with the unique tour location makes this a must do on this list.

Tasting Room at Anchor Brewing

Special instance: #42) Sandlot Brewery … I’ve been to this place four times now and each time it’s been closed … I’m replacing it on my list with one of the newer places in Denver just down from there … the Great Divide Brewing Barrel Bar.    This is a great example of a new place that’s opened since the growler list first appeared.

Here’s the complete list of places I’ve visited …

1. Great American Beer Festival, Denver, CO (2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2016)
2. The Grand Place, Brussels, Belgium (2010) (2012)
3. U Fleku, Prague, Czech Republic (2012)
5. Oktoberfest, Munich, Germany  (1998) (2012)
6. Augustiner Keller, Munich, Germany (2012)
7. Abbaye de Notre-Dame d’Orval, Orval, Belgium (2009) (2012)
11. Hofbrauhaus, Munich, Germany (1997, 1998, 2001, 2012)
12. The Brickskeller (now Bier Baron), Washington, DC (2005, 2011)
14. The Market Porter, Stoney Street, London, England (2010)
15. Cat’s Eye Pub, Inner Harbor, Baltimore, MD (2011)
16. Camden Yards (Baltimore) [Substitute] (2008, 2009)
18. Horizon’s Cafe – CN Tower (Toronto, Canada) (2016)
19. Glengarry Highland Games Beer Tent (Maxville, Ontario) (2003, 2011) [Substitute]
22. German Bundesliga (Kaiserslautern) (1997) [Substitute]
24. Hopleaf, Chicago, IL (2014)
25. World Beer Festival, Durham/Raleigh, NC (2011)
28. Zum Uerige, Düsseldorf, Germany (2012)
29. Toronado, San Francisco (CA) (2017)
30. The Olde Mitre Tavern, Ely Court, Hatton Garden, London, England (2010)
31. Cowboys/Redskins, FedEx Field Skybox (DC) (2009)
32. Rogue Brewery, Newport (OR) (2017)
33. The Wynkoop Brewery, Denver, CO (2011)
37. Atelier am Dom, Cologne, Germany (2012)
38. Anchor Brewing, San Francisco (CA) (2017)
39. The Flying Saucer, NC, SC, TN, AR and TX (2010, 2013)
41. Blues Bar, Stone Town, Zanzibar (closed) [sub: mercury’s] (2013)
42. Sandlot Brewery (substitute: Great Divide Barrel Bar), Denver (CO) (2016)
43. Clark Street Ale House, Chicago, IL (2014)
44. Tailgating Frankfurt Galaxy NFL Europe Game (1996, 1997)
45. Selin’s Grove Brewing, Selinsgrove, PA (2010)
47. The Map Room, Chicago, IL (2014)
48. The Blue Tusk, Syracuse, NY (2010)
51. The White Horse Pub, Parsons Green, London, England (2010)
54. Falling Rock Tap House, Denver, CO (2011)
57. Andechs Monastery, Andechs, Germany (2010) (2012)
61. Krcma, Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic (2012)
66. Delirium Café, Brussels, Belgium (2010) (2012)
68. Gösser Bierklinik, Vienna, Austria (2012)
71. Brewer’s Art, Baltimore, MD (2010)
73. Schlenkerla Brewery Tavern, Bamberg, Germany (2012)
77. Die Weisse, Salzburg, Austria (2012)
78. Halve Maan Brewery, Bruges, Belgium (2012)
80. Le Bier Circus, Brussels, Belgium (2010) (2012)
82. Irseer Klosterbrauerei, Irsee, Germany (2010) (2012)
84. Goose Island Brewing, Chicago, IL  (2014)
85. Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2014)
88. Baumgartner’s Cheese Store & Tavern, Monroe, WI (2014)
90. Cantillon Brewery and Gueuze Museum, Belgium  (2012)
91. Dogfish Head Ale House, Rehoboth Beach, DE (2010)
92. Belgo Centraal, London, England (2010)
97. Clark’s Ale House, Syracuse, NY (2010)
100. Steamworks Brewing, Vancouver, Canada (2015)
103. Kelly’s Caribbean Bar, Grill & Brewery, Key West, FL (2007)
104. Rose & Crown Pub, Epcot Center, Orlando, FL (2006)
106. Brick Store Pub, Decatur, GA (2011)
108. The Ghost Bar at the Palms Hotel, Las Vegas, NV (2015)
110. The Gingerman, Austin, TX (2010)
113. beerbistro, Toronto, Canada (2016)
114. The Dubliner, Washington, DC (2010)
115. John Barleycorn, Chicago, IL (2014)
118. Top of the Hill Brewery & Restaurant, Chapel Hill, NC (2011)
121. Old Ebbitt Grill, Washington, DC (2010)
122. 5 Seasons Brewing, Atlanta, GA (2011)
123. Tim Schafer’s at Lake Norman, Sherrills Ford, NC
[CLOSED] Sub–In de Vrede (Belgium) (2010, 2012)
124. Stumbling Monk, Seattle. WA (2011)
125. The Happy Gnome, St Paul, MN (2014)

Beer Mentor

 

#43: Krcma v Satlavske (Český Krumlov) #61

I apologize in advance for the tardiness of this post!  As part of “The Gypsy Beer Experience” in October 2012 I visited #61 on All About Beer’s Growler List, Krcma v Satlavske (Český Krumlov).

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This was my 43rd place on the list.  It is located in Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic.  What a beautiful locale … check on google maps here.

It was an awesome place to eat AND drink beer.  Really quaint, down a narrow alley.

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The beer was excellent and the food was quite tasty!  We had just visited Pivovar Eggenberg (taken the tour actually … really cool).

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After we enjoyed our lunch, we went over to Budějovický Budvar Brewery, Karolíny Světlé, Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic.  Wow. This was an awesome day … two brewery tours and two places on the All About Beer Growler List: U Fleku was our final stop.

I will add posts for these other stops soon.  Again, apologize for my delinquency in posting.

Enjoy!

Beer Mentor

Brazil Microbrewery: Hop n’ Roll!

I visited Curitiba, Brazil (a city of 5 million) last week and my girlfriend and my new friends took me to a Cervejaria … Hop n’ Roll!

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Who knew Brazil was starting to brew beers other than Lagers?? Actually, Brazil is the fourth largest producer of beer (recently surpassing Germany in production).  Apparently there are microbreweries in all of the large cities … some notable ones are Cervejaria Colorado and Choperia Baden Baden.  

This was a very cool place — great layout and decor … check the photos here.  They had an outdoor beer garden and a nice indoor pub.  They had parking in the rear … no problem.

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Great artwork.  Below pictures show the chalk board with the available beers.  You could get local craft beer, American microbrews, and several Belgian options to include Trappists.  Really a nice selection of beer!

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Not only could you drink there, you could also brew!  They had a brew your own set up … it takes about 4 hours — if we had more time I was going to brew a batch for my friend to drink later.  Here’s a few photos of the setup …

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I can’t say enough about how nice the folks were — great location.  The food was good too.  They had an interesting way of tracking your consumption (thank goodness for my Portuguese dictionary … haha).  Here I am paying the tab … inexpensive too … $58 for all of us to have a bite and drink a few beers.  Very nice.  If you are in the area, stop in for a brew!

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Enjoy!

Beer Mentor

 

#56: Copacabana Beach (85)

I took the opportunity to travel to Brazil in January — you always need a break from the cold, right?  Soooooo … since I’m working through The Growler List, I figured I might as well add another to my list … #56 for me  … drink a beer on Copacabana Beach.

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I gotta tell ya, I wouldn’t put this place on the Growler List for “best places to drink a beer in your life.”  I would put it on there for “best places to drink a Caldo de Coco or a Caipirinha.”  IMG_2570

Definitely put it on your Bucket List.  Let’s be honest, Brazil is not really know for great beers … however, they do sport a wide array of Lagers/Pilsners due to a large German population the South.  As a matter of fact, the Blumenau Oktoberfest is one of the largest in the world.  Brazil is experiencing a small renaissance of microbreweries — we will see if they take hold.  I visited one in Curitiba and will have another post about it.  But back to Copacabana.  Wow.  What a great location and a great beach.  Whatever you choose to drink here, it will be memorable!  Highly recommend,

Beer Mentor.

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