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
Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
The weather's warming up, the sun's out, birds are chirping, and the sunburned tourists are arriving. It's springtime, one of our favorite times of year around here! Everything is new again, the cold and damp of winter has passed, and we can't get enough of the daffodils, johnny-jump-ups, and nasturtiums that are making our gardens burst with color.
Spring is also a very important time in the wine world. It's when the vines start to wake up and start popping out buds, so we need to either store or drink last year's vintage to clear away room for the new, whether it's a cool flowery riesling, a delicate rosé, or a thick, sweet icewine. It's a very nice ritual, and dare we say, it's far preferable to spring cleaning.
Springtime also means green – green leaves, green buds, and green living. We're happy to say that our tours remain the greenest around, because by taking the train we reduce our collective carbon footprint. That keeps our gardens and grapes – and all the rest of us – very happy.
Stay gold (as in the LEED certification), and here's to spring!
Brooke B., Daffodil Sniffer
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 |
San Diego Beer and Wine Tours invites you to join us November 14-18, 2012, for the week-long wine and culinary celebration: San Diego Wine and Food on the Bay's 9th Annual Classic!
It's San Diego's premiere event for foodies and oenophiles, and that means we'll be there. Join San Diego Beer and Wine Tours for a great time with star sommeliers, wine makers, beer mavens, and some of the biggest names in the culinary arts.
Be sure to stop by and sample the superb local wines by winemaker Tony Tiso of La Serenissima Vineyards, Warner Springs, San Diego (love your wines Tony!) and Bernard Guillas Executive Chef of La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club (mmm…Bernard you keep us coming back for more).
There will also be a taste-off for the "Chef-of-the-Fest" competition and some of San Diego's famous food trucks. It'll be five days of fantastic food and drinks! If you want to travel outside the festival to the source of some of these great local wines, join us on Thursday as we celebrate the San Diego Wine and Food Festival on the Winery Train Tour, or we'll pick you up this Saturday and take you on a San Diego Chauffeured Wine Country Tour! We're offering $8 off per ticket on each of these tours through Monday Nov. 19.
See you by the Bay!
Brooke B., Epicure
Greetings, fellow beer lovers! As you're probably already well aware, Oktoberfest kicked off in Bavaria over the weekend. October is one of the best months for cerevisaphiles and those who love them for many reasons. First, you get all the wonderful fall ales and pumpkin-brewed specials. Second, the cooler weather just makes beer taste better – we don't know why, but it does. Instead of watching the leaves turn around here, we just watch the new brews appear.
The most important reason why October is one of the best months for beer lovers is Oktoberfest, and all the good things that come with it! Since we're not in Munich, we can't attend the biggest fair in the world – but we can fake it by drinking our favorite traditional Oktoberfest brew.
You probably already know about the Oktoberfests around town and where to go, so we're not going to list those here (except you really must know about this great San Diego Beer and Wine Tour Oktoberfest celebration.) Instead, we're going to suggest some great beers to celebrate with so you can impress your friends with your know-how. We got our very own wine and beer expert, Stephen Ansley, to weigh in on which he thinks are the best.
While American Oktoberfest brews are delicious, he says, the more authentic brews are the way to go for a traditional experience. Stephen says that the true traditional Oktoberfest beers have a very specific taste profile: toasty malt with no more than a hint of caramel.
“I've sampled a few dozen different Oktoberfest/Marzen beers over the years, and my 4 highest rated are Ayinger Oktober Fest-Märzen; Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest Märzen; Spaten Oktoberfest Ur-Märzen; and Paulaner Original Münchner Märzen,” he says.
We can tell you from experience that a toasty malt brew goes perfectly with a juicy bratwurst. Six million festivalgoers a year can't be wrong!
Brooke B., Bräuliebhaberin
Let's talk about the top best things to do in San Diego. Utter the words San Diego to a person from out of the area and immediately images of palm trees, beaches and pristine weather fill the imagination. To so many, San Diego means visiting some of the most beautiful beaches in California, but this city has so much more to offer for a holiday getaway or staycation. Great activities abound. You’ve heard of a beach vacation yes, but how about a “beer vacation”?
To describe San Diego as a Mecca for craft and micro brews is an understatement. A more accurate description would be: The Land of Fantastic Beer.
San Diego’s beer history dates back to 1989, when Karl Strauss opened the area’s first brewpub in over 50 years, and it was only a matter of time until other brewers followed in Strauss’ footsteps.
Pizza Port opened its doors as a restaurant in 1987 but by 1992 they solidified their place as one of San Diego’s major micro brews. In 2003 and 2004 Pizza Port was named Small Brewpub of the Year by the Great American Beer Festival. Despite all the publicity and popularity, the Pizza Port’s owners have not strayed away from their goal of creating traditional San Diego micro brews.
If you feel like drinking beer and want to experience the cozy community of La Jolla, try La Jolla Brew House. They are "the place to be" in the village. And you can bring your pup with you! The pub patio is dog friendly. We'll be there, so join us for Yappy Hour!
And there’s more: Stone, Green Flash, Ballast Point and Mission, Coronado, Alesmith, Rough Draft, Lightning and The Lost Abbey– to name a few – all call San Diego home, and in total San Diego boasts a total of 44 microbreweries, all worthy of a visit. And if you don’t want to drive, we offer the perfect beer tour or party. San Diego Beer and Wine Tours can chauffeur you to these awesome breweries.
More great things to do in San Diego:
1. San Diego Beer and Wine Tours offers wine and beer tours on the train, chauffeur driven and by foot! Tours sell out quickly so please contact us asap. Easiest way to book is to call with contact and credit card info (or we can send you a paypal invoice).
2. Did you know, San Diego Zoo has wine pairing dinners? Now, that’s something to write home about!
And don’t forget to check out San Diego Beer and Wine Tours Pairing Parties.
3. Imagine experiencing life at sea aboard one of America’s longest-serving aircraft carriers with Midway’s Self Guided Audio tour
4. Experience Bernardo Winery located 25 miles north of downtown San Diego, nestled inside the quaint town of Rancho Bernardo, lies one of the best-kept secrets in the county…The Bernardo Winery 121 years old, and still fully functional as a producing winery. Relax, for a very special day out San Diego Beer and Wine Tours can drive you to this quaint winery village and to more wonderful wineries in San Diego Wine Country.
5. Take the ferry to Coronado Island. Free concerts at 2pm every Sunday! Enjoy the ocean front shops, visit the historic Hotel Del Coronado, and take in a brew at one of our favorite breweries: Coronado Brewing…Try the mussels appetizer with Red Devil, for an over the top amazing pairing.
6. Try a stroll along Ocean Beach pier. The pier at Ocean Beach, measuring 1,971 feet, is the second longest pier on the West Coast and the longest concrete pier in the world. We really enjoy Happy Hour at South Beach, the fish tacos are delicious! And there's plenty of great brew stops in this fun town including Pizza Port.
These are just a few of the great Things to do in San Diego! We welcome your ideas, visit us on Facebook.
If you’re looking for a top-notch hotel in San Francisco/Sausalito we highly recommend The Inn Above Tide. This is a great place to stay when you’re planning on touring the nearby wine country. The scenic vineyards of Sonoma and Napa are just a short drive north.
The management at Inn Above Tide go above and beyond the call of duty. We were greeted by generous, kind staff that were more than willing to attend to our needs. Once escorted to our luxurious room we were thrilled with the special tokens of appreciation there to greet us, such as the personalized welcome note and beautiful bottle of local wine. The view of the bay from our room was unparalleled. The cozy fireplace a welcome addition; they even built the fire for us.
The afternoon wine reception in the drawing room was delightful and we thoroughly enjoyed partaking in the gorgeous wines and cheeses. The breakfast the next morning was fabulous; we especially loved the freshly made quiche and the fruit tasted freshly picked. A huge thank you to Inn Above Tide. We sincerely hope you’ll all take our recommendation and stay at this beautiful place when you’re in the area. Check out our video above for more about the glorious amenities of this delightful hotel.
Shira and Paul
For those of you who follow soccer (or what the rest of the world calls football) today is an important day: it's the final day of the Euro Cup, the little sister of the World Cup. Today, football fans all over the world will watch with bated breath as Italy and Spain square off for the European championship.
We would like to take this opportunity to toast both teams. For Spain, we recommend a lovely Priorat from the northeast, but if dropping $50 on a bottle isn'tyour thing, we of course think a Rioja would be superb, or a garnacha blend from the Campo de Borja region.
Of course, if you want to be non-partisan and yet still stay in the spirit of the Euro Cup, look to the host countries: Poland and the Ukraine have a rich and varied selection of beers and, yes, wines to choose from.
Cheers, bottoms up, and may the best team win!
But not on penalty kicks.
Brooke B., Eurovisionary
One of our favorite days of the year is here – it's National Wine Day in the United States, and we'll definitely be celebrating!
How are you going to celebrate? If you need ideas, we've got plenty. You could learn about local wineries on one of our walking tours, you could sit back and enjoy a coastal train tour, or a take a guided tour with us through San Diego's Wine Country.
Don't know your blends from your varietals? If you want to more fully appreciate National Wine Day, why not throw yourself a tasting party? We'll lend our expertise and put together a great dinner to go with your drinks so you can pair like a champion.
Happy Wine Day, with love from everyone at San Diego Beer and Wine Tours!
Brooke B., Wine Lover