Halloween is coming, don your masks and grab your bags and get ready for some old-fashioned trick-or-treating! Did you know the history of Halloween in the United States is also wrapped up in its long tradition of great beer.
In 1620 the Pilgrims had been at sea for nearly two months and were off-course by the time they sighted land. While they had set a course for the Virginia colony they ended up in New England, and they had a problem—they were running out of beer. This was no small matter—water aboard ship was likely to become brackish and potentially deadly, while beer remained drinkable.
When the first pilgrims settled in the vast sweeps of New England, there were pumpkins everywhere. Green pumpkins, blue pumpkins, yellow and pink, and mottled ones littered the ground along with the traditional orange. Their proliferation guaranteed that the thirsty settlers would use the sweet squash, first called "pompions," to make the first pumpkin beers.
Pumpkin brews proliferate in San Diego this Halloween. There’s Green Flash Fire Roasted Pumpkin Ale, Ballast Point Pumpkin at Sea, and Coronado Brewing Punk'in Drublic, not to mention many other great locally made pumpkin brews. This Halloween try some of these delicious holiday beers a on San Diego Brewery Tour with San Diego Beer and Wine Tours.
Shira Bliss, Boo-zer
You know how we keep saying this is the best time of the year for beer and wine lovers? We do, because it is!
It's not only a gorgeous time to experience all of southern California's unique and unforgettable beauty without contending with too much crowding and traffic, but it's also harvest time, when the grapes are squeezed and the hops are threshed.
This is also when great events take place for those who love their wine and beer. One such happening is Oktoberfest, a loosely-knit series of beer festivals. There's the huge one in Munich, which draws at least 6 million visitors a year (!) and then the various local Oktoberfests that showcase local brews all over the world. We like those better, because not only do you save yourself hundreds to thousands of dollars in airfare, we think you might even be getting better beer. Don't tell anybody we said that.
But seriously, you can imagine that in a place like San Diego, where the beer is so divine that we are actually exporting breweries to Germany at this point, you're going to be in hops heaven. Don't just take our word for it, though! Go see for yourself how amazing San Diego's brews can be. Here are a few upcoming events to get you started.
San Diego's first Oktoberfest celebration of the year is in Encinitas today: September 21st. It's fudging the definition of Oktober ever so slightly, but they more than make up for it with their great beers and wonderful music with which they fill the streets of their beautiful coastal city.
If you like the beach and can't make it to Encinitas, Ocean Beach's Oktoberfest will take place Oktober – pardon, October- 10th and 11th, and it's the only such celebration right on the waterfront.
If staying dry is more your thing (or you just don't want to wait!) go east to La Mesa's venerable Oktoberfest, which gets more fun every year. It boasts vendors, live music, and a HUGE beer garden (trust us, it's HUGE!) and will be filling the streets of downtown La Mesa on October 3rd, 4th, and 5th. It's even right on a trolley line so you can roll on in and not have to worry about either parking or driving, which is a huge bonus.
There are so many more that we just can't name them all, but here's a list of some of the rest of Oktoberfests around San Diego to get you started.
Go have fun, and we'll see you there!
Brooke B., Oktoberfestaria
We know we're called San Diego Beer and Wine Tours, but we don't just deal with beer and wine. In fact, we never have. We understand that beer and wine without wonderful food pairings is like having peanut butter without the jelly, ice cream without the sprinkles, yin without yang – you get the picture.
All of our tours, as a matter of fact, include food tastings to go with your beverages – the equivalent of a full meal. We don't just tour the finest wineries and breweries in San Diego. Our tours are filled with the best food this town has to offer, no matter what you're in the mood for!
It's a great way to savor the best gourmet, farm-to-table fare while you sip without having to commit to the price of a full meal. Plus, you get to answer one of life's eternal questions: what's better with pizza, beer or wine? (Answer: Both, of course. And don't forget champagne, too.)
Worried about calories? Don't be! First of all, you won't be getting overprocessed food – we deal with only the best food made with the highest-quality ingredients, and our walking tours will burn them right off.
We don't stop with beer and wine pairings. We also have whiskey tours – we've found that Chedi Thai Bistro's food works beautifully with owner and chef Pia's creations.
And in case you're not in a drinking mood, rejoice. We have suggestions for wonderful non-alcoholic drinks to pair with food as well!
In other words, we have something for everybody and we proudly support the small businesses that produce the tastiest and freshest foods in San Diego.
Here's to health, good food, and lip-smackingly delicious libations!
Brooke B., Epicure
Posted in Beer, Breweries, bus tours, Food and Vine, Happy Hour, Health, Local Business, San Diego Wine Country, San Diego Winery Tour, Theme Tours, Tours, Uncategorized, Walking Tours, Wine, Wine Train, Winemaking, Wineries |
It's Labor Day!
If we lived anywhere but this absolutely beautiful part of the world, this would be the unofficial end of summer and beginning of fall. But since we're in southern California, the march of the seasons are a good deal more subtle.
However, this is a great time to start planning outdoor barbecues and backyard parties with friends, and we're all for that!
Labor Day is actually a day to celebrate the rights and achievements of workers, long pressed tightly under the thumb of the manufacturing industry. After the Industrial Revolution, the average American worked more than 80 hours a week, with no days off, simply to put food on the table, and children as young as 5 were already working in the mines.
Labor unionized and revolted, organizing strikes and rallies. On September 5th, 1882, thousands of workers marched from New York City Hall to Union Square, agitating for change. And the change came. 40-hour weeks became the standard, and child labor was criminalized.
Twelve years after that historic march, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September a national holiday. Thus was Labor Day born. Over time, this day became a way to celebrate community through parties and parades. That's our favorite part!
So, whatever you end up doing, tilt a glass for the history of Labor Day and the courageous people who made life better for the rest of us… and remember, it's perfectly acceptable to drink white after Labor Day.
Brooke B., Proletariat
International Beer Day is almost here!
The worldwide celebration is going on anywhere there's beer, all over the word. We'd be thrilled to not only help you celebrate it, but also perhaps introduce you to some brews you might not have known exist. There's so many wonderful beers in the world to choose from!
San Diego Beer and Wine Tours will take you to the best local breweries to celebrate this special day (and all year round!). Think globally, drink locally!
International Beer Day is nothing to sneeze at, either. The party, which takes place every first Friday in August, was first celebrated in 2008, and the idea, like all great ideas, quickly spread. Now, International Beer Day is celebrated in at least 50 countries and 207 cities, all over the world!
San Diego has one of the best beer scenes you'll find anywhere, but we also love the world – just like you. So come tilt a pint with us. We're bringing the world together, one brew at a time!
Brooke B., Cerevisaphiliac
The second Sunday in August is a very special day. As of 2010, it's been “Spirit of `45 Day.” It was passed unanimously by Congress, and the first Spirit of `45 Day fell on August 14th, the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II.
Spirit of `45 Day was created first and foremost to commemorate the ordinary people who lived through the Second World War and the mettle shown by surviving members of the Greatest Generation as they rebuilt the United States after the end of the war. Another, very important reason was to remind the world that the United States is committed to never allowing a world war to happen again..
We, too, would like to honor these ordinary heroes, the men and women of World War II, so in the Spirit of `45, we are offering $4.50 off any of our Train Tours or our Chauffeured Wine Country Tour between now and the end of August. There's no better way to celebrate than tipping back a locally brewed ale. San Diego's beer scene emphasizes the solidarity and the can-do spirit that characterizes the United States at its best.
Here's to the Spirit of `45, and we'll see you on a tour!
Brooke B., Andrews Sister
Happy Independence Day!
Today's the day the United States formally declared its independence from Great Britain, way back in 1776. Fourth of July celebrations include displaying the American flag, parades, and fireworks, not to mention the all-important barbecues.
All of those are wonderful, but we’d like to suggest a slightly different way of celebrating this great day. If you are thinking, “Hmmm, we bet this involves beer,” you’d be absolutely right. Here’s our idea for a patriotic afternoon of leisurely local craft beer sippin’:
Green Flash Hop Head Red (1 bottle)
Avery Brewing Company’s White Rascal (1 bottle)
Repeat as necessary. The red ale and white beer represent, of course, the red and white stripes of our great nation’s flag.
But what about the blue? we can hear you asking now. That took some special legwork, and you have to go outside the United States to find it – all the way to Hokkaido, Japan, where Abashiri Brewery has begun selling beer that is made with melted icebergs and colored with seaweed dyes.
We’re not too sure about this one, so we’ll leave the final decision about how far to take your patriotism up to you. We’ll be over here, celebrating the Stars and Bars with our favorite local reds and whites (beer, that is.)
Here’s to US!
Brooke B., Patriotette
Did you know that June is San Diego Craft Beer Month?
Yes, we know it's almost over. We have been out sampling all the delights San Diego's beer scene has to offer! But if you've missed it so far, don't worry. There's still a solid week of events left, and plenty of beer to go around. Here's a smattering of them.
If you like beer flights – and who doesn't? – stop by Carnita's Snack Shack in North Park. Their tastings are $7 per flight, every night, and always local beers. And they're all delicious! Try some of their food, too.
Modern Times Brewery is dropping a new beer this week, just ahead of its first anniversary party next month. What a year it's been for them! If you haven't tried out their beer before, now's the time. No, really. Try their beer!
This Friday, Ska Brewing's throwing their launch party at Hamilton's Tavern. It starts at 5pm. Head out there and get in on one of Colorado's best breweries — but without having to leave San Diego. If you can't stay to sample a beer you'll just have stop by to pick it up, pick it up, pick it up.
There are plenty more events going on this week, so get thee to a brewpub! San Diego's beer is among the best in the world, and it's right out there for the sipping.
Salud! See you out on the town!
“I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine.”
–Oberon, A Midsummer Night's Dream
Happy Midsummer! This is the shortest night and the longest day in the northern hemisphere. While it's not cooling down any time soon, this is the end of the lengthening days, and it is a slow march to winter from here on out.
Astronomically speaking, this is the beginning of summer and precursor to the hot Dog Days. In many European traditions, this is the night to burn bonfires and pluck golden flowers to keep evil spirits from your doorstep for the rest of the year. It is also traditionally thought to be the night of the year that magic is strongest, so watch out! After all, look what happened to poor Bottom in Shakespeare's play.
Southern California has a mild semi-arid climate, so while things do get hot around here, it's not as much of a shock to the system as it might be in other places. That's not to say we can't use a little refreshment! That's what this time of year is traditionally all about. In fact, there's a famous British (and slightly gruesome) folk song about to scything down barley on Midsummer's Day to make it into beer:
They’ve let him stand ’till midsummer’s day,
Till he looked both pale and wan.
And little Sir John’s grown a long, long beard,
And so become a man.
They’ve hired men with scythes so sharp,
To cut him off at the knee.
They’ve rolled him and tied him by the waist,
Serving him most barb’rously.
The greatest Midsummer traditions involves feasting and drink, and those are our favorites. We look forward to partaking in them with you!
Brooke B., Midsummer's Maiden
Posted in Beer |
We're not gonna lie – Earth Day is one of our favorite days of the year around here. Since our inception, we've been all about saving the planet. Just check out some of the information on our carbon-footprint-reducing train tours and our emphasis on buying local!
By the way, if you're a beer and wine nut, one of the best things you can do is buy locally. It's not just that you'll get better beer and wine, even though you will, or feel more connected to the local environment while you sip, even though you are.
No, the best reasons to drink locally is twofold: first, you're supporting our vibrant Californian wine and beer culture and keeping local jobs coming, and second – and this is a biggie – by directly supporting all the local brews, you're reducing the enormous, gigantic fuel consumption that comes when global mass producers of beer and wine ship it to your neighborhood.
Plus, there are all the benefits that come from getting out and getting to know your beers and wines and the communities and neighborhoods around you that passionately love and support them.
So remember: Think globally, drink, locally!
To your health and the health of the planet,
Brooke B., Recyclist