Memorial Day, once known as Decoration Day, is a federal holiday with somber roots. It's a day that was specifically created after the Civil War to honor the memory of the men and women in uniform who died fighting wars. Over time, it has evolved into a day to acknowledge all those who are departed, not just those in uniform, and to spend time with loved ones.
We at San Diego Beer and Wine Tours honor our women and men in uniform and hold them in the highest esteem. That's why we are offering a special military discount and $5 off all tours throughout the month of May. And you better believe that we'll be drinking a toast to you!
Brooke B., Hero Worshiper
It's May Day!
Today is also a great day in southern California, because it's when the weather turns the corner from April Showers to May Gray. After that we have June Gloom and then our requisite six months of summer – so as you can see it's the perfect time for a feast!
This traditional spring holiday is a festival day in many cultures, often related to the ancient Celtic feast day of Beltane. In many pagan cultures, this was officially the first day of summer, and lest we be accused of getting off-topic, we would like to direct you to Sir James Frazer's epic historical book, The Golden Bough:
Thomas Pennant, who travelled in Perthshire in the year 1769, tells us that “on the first of May, the herdsmen of every village hold their Bel-tien, a rural sacrifice. They cut a square trench on the ground, leaving the turf in the middle; on that they make a fire of wood, on which they dress a large caudle of eggs, butter, oatmeal and milk; and bring besides the ingredients of the caudle, plenty of beer and whisky; for each of the company must contribute something.
The Beltane sacrifice escaped with his life, however; he got fed beer and whisky and then pelted with eggs. We carry on that proud tradition, only without the eggs, in our beer tastings. Join us on a beer or wine and food tour and celebrate springtime with us during this wonderful time of year!
Brooke B., Walpurgis Wassailer
Posted in Beer, Breweries, Food and Vine, holiday, Local Business, San Diego Wine Country, San Diego Winery Tour, Theme Tours, Tours, Travel, Uncategorized, Walking Tours, Wine, Wine Train, Wineries |
It's Cinco de Mayo. Did you know that in Mexico, Cinco de Mayo isn't widely celebrated? It's true. However, that shouldn't stop you from enjoying the day by experimenting with Mexican libations!
If you're feeling like making a day trip, you can visit the legendary BCB Tasting Room near downtown Tijuana where they have hundreds of beers on tap, or range a little farther afield and head off to Mexico's wine country. The Guadalupe Valley is renowned for its wines, which don't get a lot of airtime in the United States because of steep tariffs.
If leaving the country isn't your thing, it's possible to find excellent Baja California beers and wines in the United States, although not as easily for the aforementioned tariffs, but since Mexico's getting into the craft beer brewing business just as enthusiastically as the United States has, there are plenty to choose from, including this beauty from Cucapa, a barleywine aged in tequila barrels.
As you can see, there is no reason not to get out there and celebrate Cinco de Mayo in a tasty way. But if you want to have an over-the-top San Diego celebration, join us north of the border on a Cinco de Mayo Tasty Adventure!
Brooke B., Vinoense
From left to right: son Ben, daughter RaeAnne, daughter Jade, grandson Coleton, Shira's mother Malka, daughter Shayna, daughter Leeyah
Mother's Day is a very special time around here. Our very own Shira Bliss is an extraordinary mum, raising five beautiful children of her own, so she understands what mothers go through very well. That's why we go out of our way to make our Mother's Day tours very special ones for hardworking moms and their grateful kids.
Jean "Shep" Shepherd, the humorist best known for penning and narrating "A Christmas Story," once famously proclaimed that "beer is the mother of us all." We agree that beer is a wonderful invention, and one that's even been credited with helping create civilization.
So, what better way to treat your mother on Mother's Day than to introduce her to the delights of the mother of civilization as we know it? This year, we're offering $5 off each ticket for our special Mother’s Day tours, offered from now through the end of May so that you can celebrate motherhood everywhere! (Mention “MothersDay2013” to get your special discount.)
Happy Mother's Day, all you hardworking moms! We salute you. To Motherhood!
Mum's the word,
Posted in Beer, Breweries, bus tours, holiday, Local Business, San Diego Wine Country, San Diego Winery Tour, Theme Tours, Tours, Uncategorized, Walking Tours, Wine, Wine Train, Winemaking, Wineries |
Sure, the flowers are popping up and birds are singing and it's warming up, but the true sign of spring is nearly here: the San Diego Padres' home opener against the Dodgers at San Diego's Petco Park.
While we love baseball in all its permutations, and will support the Padres in the face of any evidence to the contrary, we feel as though the true story about Petco Park is being ignored – the existence of “Craft Beers of the Padres.” Yes, you can stop by Petco Park and choose from an amazing array of beers from local microbreweries while you take in a game.
No more watered-down stadium beers with inferior ingredients –San Diego local craft beer are the winning team for us. We’d say that alone is worth a stint at Petco Park, whether or not you're a baseball fan. Warm spring evenings, the crack of the bat against the ball, a cheering crowd, and a San Diego IPA in your hand… who could ask for more? Unless you want to take one of our wine or beer tours before or after the game. Now, you’re really living!
Brooke B., Beer Batter
Green beer is okay, but "going green" on one of our train tours is much better!
We have barely recovered from Valentine's Day, but St. Patrick's Day is nearly upon us. As we adore Ireland with every fiber of our being (that's where our lovely Shira Bliss is from!) we are happy to share some insider love with you.
Now, you could celebrate the old-fashioned way – by pinching people and drinking green beer until you can't look at anything green for the next month – but why go that route? Celebrate in style. Here are our suggestions.
Don't let its reputation fool you. Ireland is not just a country of craic and Guinness. It is also a land of epicures and microbreweries, which in recent years have started springing up like mushrooms after a rain.
Unfortunately, not many Irish microbrews are available in the United States. We can only find two brands, but they're well worth hoisting.
Carlow Brewing Company, out of Carlow, Ireland, puts out beers like O'Hara's Irish Red and O'Hara's Celtic Stout. Its Irish Stout will have you singing – it's legendary! Pair with a good, thick Irish stew (that's where you'll be using all extra Guinness you bought last week) or boxty for maximum authenticity.
Porterhouse is arguably Ireland's most famous microbrew. They offer the notorious, and extraordinarily well received, Oyster Stout. But you don't need to stop there. We highly recommend their creamy-headed Porterhouse Red or their Templebrau Lager if you can find it, especially with a piping-hot bacon and cabbage dish.
For those of you whose culinary tastes run closer to home, try Karl Strauss's Red Trolley Ale, a McHale's Irish Stout or a Seaside Stout from Pizza Port Brewery, or a Scrapper's Irish Red from Coronado Brewing Company.
Enjoy, drink responsibly (drink, don’t drive, on our St. Patrick's tours), and avoid drinking too much green beer. You'll thank us for that last bit of advice later!
Erin Go Bragh!
Brooke B., Cerveza Colleen
Happy Mardi Gras!
Today is Fat Tuesday, a tradition that hails at least back to medieval Europe, when revelers would slaughter a fatted calf and party the night away before the next day, Ash Wednesday, marked the beginning of Lent. That meant an enormous party as people consumed their best food, beer, and wine to steel themselves for the Lenten fasting season.
In some cultures, this time of year is also known as Carnival or Carnaval, which comes from the Latin root "carne," meaning "meat" (there's that fatted calf again.) It also marks the end of winter as it turns the corner into springtime.
In New Orleans, which arguably has the best-known festival, people dance in the streets all week long, wearing elaborate masks, beads, or (in some cases) nothing at all, while sipping Hand Grenades or Hurricanes and watching the musical parades.
Here in San Diego, we carry on the tradition by throwing our own big party in downtown's historic Gaslamp District. And we do mean big. Up to 40 thousand people will be participating in tonight's party, which will include floats, dancing, and wonderful food and drink!
Come on out and dance with us, or if you’d like to party with a little less ruckus, join us for one of our beer or wine tours and learn about San Diego's history while tasting San Diego’s finest wine, beer and food. In the spirit of Mardi Gras, we'll give you $5 off the tour of your choice through the end of the week.
If you ask nicely, we'll toss you some beads as well! Fasting tomorrow is optional.
Brooke B., Masqueradrix
Posted in Beer, Breweries, bus tours, Food and Vine, Happy Hour, holiday, Local Business, San Diego Wine Country, San Diego Winery Tour, Tours, Travel, Uncategorized, Walking Tours, Wine, Wine Train, Winemaking, Wineries |
It's Groundhog Day! This is the day, so the story goes, that Punxsutawney Phil emerges from his hibernation to check the weather. If he sees his shadow and skitters back into his burrow, we'll have six more weeks of winter, but if the famous groundhog doesn't get startled, it will be an early spring. (This year, according to Phil, we'll have an early spring.)
San Diegans don't have much to worry about, no matter what the groundhog does. We're lucky to live somewhere that has beautiful weather, no matter what. We are, however, fans of the movie "Groundhog Day," in which an increasingly hapless Bill Murray is subjected to the same day again and again until he finally gets it right.
We at San Diego Beer and Wine Tours want to help you get it right every day. That's why taking one of our tours is so important. Not only do you learn about pairing gourmet foods with fine wines and craft beers, you're also having fun. We think that's a recipe to a successful day — one that you get right the first time, and don't have to repeat like Bill Murray's character.
It's only because we care!
Brooke B., Woodchucker
Today is a very special day. Not only is it Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, it's also the day the President of the United States of America gets sworn in for his second term.
We at San Diego Beer and Wine Tours have enormous respect for both of these events, and we love to celebrate special days! That's why we're offering $5 off any wine or beer tour until January 28th so we can share our regard for them.
We salute you, Martin Luther King, and we salute you, President Barack Obama. And if there's one thing we've learned, it's that respect is best communicated while toasting with a really fine wine or an excellent craft beer.
Brooke B., Political Sipper
The holiday season is almost over, and 2012 is about to go out with a bang!
At San Diego Beer and Wine Tours, we don't really believe in the standard New Year's resolutions. What's the point of a year filled with thirst and deprivation? Plus, nobody ever sticks with them. That's why we have decided to make 2013 the year of the Resolution Revolution. Instead of taking things we love away, we've decided make changes by adding more good things into our lives. We've decided to take better care of ourselves by eating more good food and drinking as much rich wine and tasty craft beer as we can handle.
If your New Year's promises run in the same vein (and why wouldn't they?) we have any number of delightful tours for you to enjoy to kick next year off in style. Join us for a walking exploration of San Diego's best restaurants and microbreweries, or a chauffered tour of our little-known Wine Country. After all, we're only going to get one 2013. You might as well make the most of it!
Cheers, prosit, and Happy New Year!
Brooke B., Resolutionary
Posted in Beer, Breweries, Company News, Food and Vine, Happy Hour, Health, holiday, Local Business, San Diego Wine Country, San Diego Winery Tour, Tours, Uncategorized, Walking Tours, Wine, Wine Train, Wineries |