This is the time of year that the weather turns cool and the indoors start to look mighty cozy. By the way, did you know that turkey pairs with all wines, from delicate whites to rich reds to all types of roses? It's true! It's just one of the great things about Thanksgiving.
It's also a great time to try some new beers. Because there's so much caramelization in Thanksgiving meals, dark and chocolatey stouts are sublime, but the light hoppy brews are great as well. It's a veritable feast of beer and wine, and you can't go wrong with Thanksgiving! We're thankful for that, too.
Don't forget the champagne, either. Bubbly is great with everything, whether it's the meal, the post-meal game, or the post-game coma.
As you can see, we love to count our blessings while we're stuffing ourselves with cranberries and turkey. There are many things we're thankful for, but most of all, we're thankful for you.
Thanks for everything!
Brooke B., Stuffed Turkey
Halloween is almost here, and another special day is just around the corner: Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. In Mexico (and in other countries around the world!) it's a time that families remember their loved ones who have gone with altars and music. But it's not a sad holiday, at all – it's festive and happy, although it's perhaps just a little spooky.
Anthropologists have traced the origin of the holiday to a festival for the Aztec goddess Mictecacihuatl, the Lady of the Dead. It included marigolds and whatever things, including food and drink, the deceased person loved the best. If you see flower altars this October 31st and November 1st and 2nd, you'll see photographs, flowers, and sugar skulls and bread to help feed those loved ones in the afterlife.
Luckily, like us, the Aztecs also believed that you didn't have to die to get everything you love, and that included food and drink. In fact, they had 400 godlings all dedicated to wine – their mother, the goddess Mayahuel, was the goddess of the maguey and of pulque (a milky alcoholic drink made from the maguey plant) and fed those young gods, represented by rabbits, every night.
Like the ancient Aztecs, we appreciate the value of good wine. This November 1st, we'll tip a glass back to you – unless you want to come on one of our famous train tours or chauffered wine tours, and learn even more about the history of wine!
Feliz Día de los Muertos,
Brooke B., Mueca de la Catrina
Halloween is coming, so don your masks and grab your bags and get ready for some old-fashioned trick-or-treating! If you want a real treat, though, join us on one of our many craft beer or winery events, such as one of our guided walking tours through San Diego.
There are many good reasons to learn about craft beer and local wine, not just because San Diego offers such an exciting array of both, but also because the more we learn about beer and wine, the more we appreciate them!
This month is particularly interesting, especially in light of the great pumpkin beer debates, because the history of Halloween in the United States is also wrapped up in its long tradition of pumpkin beer.
You see, when the first pilgrims settled in the vast sweeps of what was now called New England, there were pumpkins everywhere. Green pumpkins, blue pumpkins, yellow and pink, and mottled ones littered the ground along with the traditional orange. They were so common and easy to grow in the fertile ground that they were seen as an everyday and delicious staple.
Their proliferation guaranteed that the thirsty settlers would use the sweet squash, first called pompions, to make the first pumpkin beers. A seventeeth-century poem went, in part:
If Barley be wanting to make into Malt,
We must be contented and think it no Fault,
For we can make liquor to sweeten our Lips
Of Pumpkins and Parsnips and Walnut-Tree Chips.
It wasn't until the 1800s, when Irish immigrants began swelling the ranks of the American population and bringing Celtic All Hallows' Eve traditions of carving gourds with them, that pumpkins were eyed as something other than food and the makings of beer. In fact, the fat orange pumpkins you see today were specifically bred for carving, which is why they don't make for very tasty eating. If you want to taste pumpkin pie like the Native Americans used to eat, try finding the multicolored squash at farmer's markets or growing them from heirloom seeds yourself.
But no matter what, despite how much fun it might be, don't knock pumpkin brews for being trendy. They're part of an ancient and proud American tradition! It was also considered a especially healthy drink.
So that's the not-so-scary story of pumpkin beer. You know what's really terrifying, though? Drinking bad beer in San Diego. That's why we're here, to help you get to know the craft brew scene around here. Call us at (858) 551-5115 to book a tour with us and we'll show you what we mean. Costumes, by the way, are always welcome.
Brooke B., Hallo-wino
We've said this before, again and again, but San Diego's best and most underrated season really is autumn. It's when the leaves on the trees change color, the low sun makes the water in the harbor look extra sparkly, and all the harvest activities are happening!
One of our absolute favorite autumn events is Oktoberfest. This Bavarian beer festival was first held to celebrate the wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese in 1810, and quickly became a tradition.
But you don't have to make a pilgrimage to Bavaria to enjoy Oktoberfest. San Diego, with its glorious craft beer scene, has taken the traditional Oktoberfest and given it a unique regional flair. Best of all, you can find them all over the county, from La Mesa in the east to Encinitas in the northwest, each chock-full of all the best beer San Diego has to offer — and believe us when we say that is beer well worth a taste, especially all the wonderfully crisp pumpkin- and apple-laced brews.
Want to come sample the best brews of San Diego like a true Bavarian? Come learn about San Diego's beer scene with us. We're offering a 10 percent discount on ALL tours throughout the month of Oktober — er, October.
Brooke B., Bavarian Humanitarian
We generally don't delve into politics, but we have to take this time to tip our hats to our great state, because it has done something wonderful and once again declared September California Wine Month.
You know how we feel about that – that every month should be California Wine Month – but we're delighted to have more of an opportunity to showcase our wines and the people who love them. We sincerely feel that developing a taste and an understanding of wines leads to a greater appreciation for subtleties in other areas of your life.
We are especially happy about the opportunity to talk about the great Wine Country in San Diego. Restaurants throughout the county are getting in on the action too, heading wine tastings and pairing dinners; you can also explore wineries or take a guided tour. And we know just the place you can go if you want a wine tour or a wine and food pairing tour, especially a safe and environmentally-friendly one.
Get in touch with us, and we'll show you how to celebrate this month in style!
Brooke B., Winette
It's nearly autumn in southern California. The sky turns a particular shade of dusty blue and the heat waves everybody thinks should come in June always arrive in September. It's also a very exciting time of year in the wine industry, because it's harvest time!
We absolutely love harvest time in San Diego anyway, and the fact that we now have a month dedicated to wine makes it that much sweeter. There are special events and grape stomps all over the place! This year's harvest has come a bit early due to warm weather and a huge crop that promises to make 2013 a banner year for California wine.
For all your stomping needs across San Diego County:
The Julian Grape Stomp Festa takes place on the 7th of September, from 11am to 7pm. Thousands of people show up every year to enjoy themselves and sample Julian's particular natural beauty and tasty delights.
If you want to stay a little farther south that day or want to hit more than one stomp, Barrio Logan Winery's harvest celebration is also on September 7th from 11am to 7pm. It's about five minutes from the middle of downtown San Diego and will be an excellent time, with live music, costume competitions, and stomping contests, all going to a good cause.
September 14th is Bernardo Winery's grape-stomping festival. They'll serve up music and wine while allowing you to squish grapes between your toes. The stomp starts at noon sharp, so don't be late!
We're positive we'll see you at one or all of these.
Enjoy the harvest and stomp responsibly!
Brooke B., Twinkletoes
Sometimes, we hear complaints that southern California doesn't have seasons. Nothing could be further from the truth. We have four seasons here just like nearly anywhere else; all it takes to fully enjoy them is developing an appreciation for the subtle. Which is, of course, a great way to learn to fully enjoy wine, as well.
That's our way of telling you that fall is on its way! In San Diego, you don't see many trees changing color, and frost doesn't begin to pinch at your nose until at least December, but you can tell when autumn gets here. The air is clearer, but with a tinge of smoke from chimneys and faraway forest fires, the sky is a perfect shade of chilly blue, and the grape stomps begin.
Did you know that there are more than 60 wineries in San Diego County? San Diego Beer and Wine Tours would love to help you to discover them all. They're especially delightful in the fall, which is harvest time! We'll take you to the stomps at local wineries, where you can taste not only wine, but sample delicious farm-to-table food as well. It's an autumn tradition we're happy to share with you. We'll pick you up and drop you off on our guided, chauffeured wine country tour! Late summer and early fall is a beautiful time to visit San Diego Wine Country on a special Fall into Wine Country Tour.
See you at the wineries. We promise you'll "fall" for San Diego all over again! (Sorry, we couldn't resist.)
Brooke B., Season's Greeter
Grab your big hats and your pin money, because it's horse racing season again! We can hardly believe it, but it's that time of year already — the track is open for business today!
The Del Mar Horse Races are among San Diego's best known events; the racetrack is a place where people go to see and be seen, to place wagers, to showcase their summer pinstripes and their elaborate hats, and most of all to enjoy themselves! It's a decades-old tradition, and it gets better every year, featuring live music, special events, and fine dining with great beer and wine at the Turf Club.
We love horses, big hats, cool outfits, and above all, great food, wine, and beer, so the Del Mar Races are, obviously, right up our alley. We think they'll be your thing, too. Join us to celebrate Opening Day at the Races with $5 off our chauffeured winery tour or winery train tour now through closing day September 4th!
See you at the races!
Brooke B., Horsey Honey
Happy Pride from San Diego Beer and Wine Tours!
Today and tomorrow, San Diego is holding its annual celebration of diversity: Pride Weekend. Much like our craft beer scene and Comic-Con, it started out a small gathering and turned into something much, much bigger. Every year, the Pride Parade, festival, and afterparties transform the always-lively San Diego neighborhood of Hillcrest into a gigantic, colorful (and sometimes glittery), and inclusive party.
We at San Diego Beer and Wine Tours love and respect the differences that keep life interesting. After all, who wants a world just full of Merlots when there are varietals like Albariños, Montepulcianos, and the ever-delightful and spicy Gewürztraminers to try, as well? And who wants to drink the same bland big brand beers every day when you can try a whole rainbow of craft stouts, pilsners, or IPAs?
That respect for diversity is part and parcel of who we are. That's why we're offering $5 off any of our beer and wine tours for the month of July, to help you appreciate the wine and beer world's rich pageant. Just mention "Pride" for your discount!
Celebrate diversity! It makes the world go `round.
Brooke B., Rain Beau
Posted in Beer, Breweries, bus tours, Food and Vine, Local Business, San Diego Wine Country, San Diego Winery Tour, Theme Tours, Tours, Uncategorized, Walking Tours, Wine, Wine Train, Winemaking, Wineries |
Hey baby, it's nearly the Fourth of July. We love this time of year! The days are at their longest and warmest and everybody is in a party mood for Independence Day. We prefer the annual San Diego rite of passage of heading out to the beach, where you can barbecue next to the surf, but really, there's fun to be had just about anywhere!
We know that you're probably going to have a cookout, so we won't waste our time recommending food. You know what to do. What we have done, however, is once again sampled some of San Diego's finest in order to help you best pair your favorite local brews with your meals!
We'll start off with an oldie, but a goodie – a classic in the vibrant world of San Diego's beer scene: Karl Strauss's Red Trolley Ale. This venerable red ale is a two-time winner at the World Beer Cup, and it lives up to its reputation and then some. Its toffee flavor and medium body pair beautifully with red meat and sharp cheese, so don't hesitate to have this on hand when you fire up the grill.
If you like ales but want to expand your palate into something a little more off the beaten path, try out Port Brewing Company's Shark Attack. It's a little more full-bodied than Red Trolley, but will still be delightful with a still-sizzling cheeseburger. If you want even more, Port's Older Viscosity is black as asphalt and so rich you might even want to forgo the burger. (Just get a little something in your stomach, though. Trust us.)
IPAs are also good for those hot, hot days by the shore. There's nothing more cooling than the citrusy finish of a nice, hoppy IPA like Big Eye from Ballast Point. Salty foods are the best with a lot of bitterness and hops, and so save your Big Eye for a sausage plate or for when you've just come out of the ocean with a mouth full of salt. Not hoppy enough? Try Stone Brewing Company's Ruination IPA or Green Flash's Palate Wrecker. Their bitterness will make you sing!
If you prefer coffee and caramel notes in a dark beer to cool you down, we would like to take this opportunity to point you to one of our perennial favorite all-around beers: AleSmith's Speedway Stout. We hate to play favorites, but this outstanding stout goes down so easily and pairs so beautifully with everything from coleslaw to ribs that you don't really need much else while you're watching the fireworks at the end of the night.
We are, of course, open to any additions that you would like to add. In fact, we welcome it! Any chance we get to try something new is a good day for us. And if you would like to try something new, put yourselves in our capable hands and join us on a chauffered winery tour, or a brewery and winery train tour. We're running "Celebrate America" specials from now through the end of July!
Here's to independent spirits!
Brooke B., BBQ Brewery Babe