Thanksgiving is either a day of relaxing and epic feasting, or a nightmare of cooking and making hasty last-minute decisions for a group of ravenous friends and family members. It all depends what side of the cutting board you're on.
While we can't help you with the cooking, we can suggest a few wines and beers to pair with your meal to make everything go a little easier for you. We consulted with Stephen Ansley, our resident wine specialist, and did some "independent research" during San Diego Beer Week to find the best brews to sip with your deep-fried turducken!
The traditional Thanksgiving meal is especially wonderful, because turkey can be paired with just about everything. If you want a pinot noir, try Cycles Gladiator or an Au Bon Climat from Santa Barbara. The tartness of the pinot cuts through the richness of gravy and brings out the flavor of turkey. The fruitiness of merlots also works well, especially with dark meats or hearty stuffings. Try one of Flora Springs' or a merlot from McManis Family Vineyards.
White wine lovers, take heart! There's plenty of room for you at the table. The butteriness and oaky notes of a good chardonnay is an ideal complement to the sweet and savory combinations you get with turkey, stuffing, and cranberries. Try something from Columbia Crest Grant Estates or White Oak.
If you're in the mood for a brew but still want something to pair with the richness of the meal, try a hoppy (but not too hoppy!) brew or one that's complex enough to balance the stuffing and gravy. Our pick is either an Alpine Captain Stout for chocolaty malty goodness, or a Monkey Paw Patas Pale Ale, which has hops that shine through just enough to offset the richness of the food. We have also encountered some excellent saisons that we think would enrich your eating and drinking experience. Green Flash Brewery's Saison Diego has a clever name and a nice complex palate that won't overpower your meal. And last, but certainly not least, porters and their chocolate and coffee notes are a wonderfully rich way to end a meal. Our hands-down and bottoms-up favorite is, and has been, Alesmith Robust Porter. Try it with a tasty tender piece of turkey, dripping with gravy and juices, and you'll know we're right!
We hope these will make your Thanksgiving Day just a little tastier. We want the best for you, because, as always… we couldn't do this without you!
Brooke B., Thanks Giver
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 at San Diego Beer and Wine Tours would like to take a moment to address a serious issue, and one that is far more common than it should be: breast cancer.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. While everybody knows that cancer in general is a scourge and that breast cancer disproportionately affects women (yes, it affects men too!) what people don't know is how to detect the warning signs early or what they should do once they've discovered something irregular.
There are also many other websites that provide information or collect donations to spread awareness and do research to prevent breast cancer. Here are a few: Pink For October, Breast Cancer Awareness, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
That's why we "go pink" every year, both observing Breast Cancer Awareness Month and donating to National Breast Cancer Foundation. Good health is the most precious thing anybody can have, and we at San Diego Beer and Wine Tours raise a toast to you for the very best health always.
To your health!
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This week is San Diego Restaurant Week! It's a magical time of year when all participating restaurants offer deep discounts on a special (and extremely delicious) price-fixe menu.
We at San Diego Beer and Wine Tours absolutely adore San Diego Restaurant Week, because we think that San Diego's food scene is upcoming, underrated, and filled to the brim with deliciousness.
We also love Restaurant Week because we think great wine and beer, which San Diego has in abundance, is well and good, but it lacks a dimension if you don't pair it with tasty food. That's why we feature food and wine and food and beer tours, and why we're such happy champions of Restaurant Week. We think that developing your own palate, whether it's for food, wine, or craft beer, is an essential part of a happy life.
Eat, enjoy, and pair away!
Brooke B., Epicure
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
That special day is coming up. Your big day. Why not celebrate with us on a beer or wine tour? We will make you proud. Your guests will thoroughly enjoy the festivities we've planned for them. We'll have party favors especially geared towards your celebration. And games and prizes that will highlight the bride and/or groom to be. Not to mention over-the-top fun drinking the best wine, and beer in San Diego! Oh, and did I tell you we have gourmet food on all our tours. Now, we're talking!
And if you'd like a top tip on where to get your makeup done, Shira Bliss, owner of San Diego Beer and Wine Tours recommends Rock & Royal Makeup Studio in La Jolla. Mention "SD Beer Wine" for special pricing! Call Kristen 858-456-ROCK(7635)
Here's Shira Bliss before her makeover:
Here's she is after:
Thank you Kristen, you are a creative genious!
Here's some of our top events that our bachelorettes and bachelors love. And to make the deal even sweeter, we're offering 10% off these tours below for our brides and grooms to be! Call 858-551-5115 and mention "I'm getting married" for your special discounts.
TOP SELLER! San Diego Wine Country Chauffeured Tour (Wed.- Sun. Start time: approx.. 11am)
“Super special and relaxed day filled with terrific wine and food!” What a perfect way to celebrate! Paul Anthony took care of every detail so we could truly and fully enjoy ourselves. The wine was spectacular. The wineries were beautiful and very welcoming. What took this tour over the top is the food! Cheeses, chocolates, breadsticks and brick oven pizza with breathtaking views. Completely worth every moment and dollar. Don’t miss! Cheers! (Reviewed July 6, 2013. One of over 150 Trip Advisor 5-Star Reviews.)
On these popular tours we pick you up from your residence/hotel (from most San Diego locations) and take you to the vineyards of San Diego Wine Country. These fabulous tours are about 6 hrs. and include ample tastings at three wineries (about 18 tastes!). Your guide will entertain you with local history and a wine appreciation presentation. At our first winery we'll savor delicious fruits and cheeses with superb fine wine tastings. During this adventure you’ll get to stroll the vineyards and see how our local wines are made. We'll conclude this amazing day with decadent, local wines paired with a gourmet wood-fired brick-oven pizza dinner overlooking spectacular wineries grounds. Beer options available for purchase. Wine Country tour is all inclusive with door-to-door transportation, cheese platter, dinner, tasting fees, guided tour, bottled water, wine tote gift bag at only $149 per person.
TOP SELLER! Winery Train Tour (M-F Start times: 1.40pm and Noon) Easy to get to start location via walk/trolley/train-usually no need to drive.
“FUN TIME ON THE WINE TOUR - We had a great time on the winery train tour, the time went by quickly, the lunch was AMAZING and it was great that you could drink on the train so we bought a bottle and enjoyed it with the other guests on the tour.” Reviewed July 5, 2013 – One of over 180 Trip Advisor 5-Star Reviews.
Drink on the train! Enjoy local craft BEERS or WINE at two of the four tour stops!
These GREEN tours are about 5 hrs in duration. You'll enjoy ample tastes of fabulous, local wines – about 18 tastes! We start the tour with wine and food pairings (light lunch) at our partner restaurant (delicious fine dining Italian). We enjoy the beautiful coastal scenery as we travel by rail (wine tasting on the train is highly recommended!). We have delightful guided historic walks (about 2 miles total, about 15 minute walks at a time) into the villages for tastings at the boutique wineries (fully operational urban wineries, this is not our vineyard tour) for wine and cheese and wine and chocolate pairings. Optional stop at our brewery for our beer lovers! You can join us on this Coaster train tour easily from most locations by using public transportation (bus, trolley, train, coaster etc.). These popular tours are only $88 per person which includes all your food, wine/beer and fun guided tours. (Does not include Regional Plus Day Pass train ticket which is an additional $12 per person.)
*Above offerings may vary.*Above prices do not include tour guide gratuity (industry standard is 20% of tour ticket price) or $5 per ticket handling fee. *Groups 15 guests or more, please ask for quote.
Posted in Uncategorized |
Patriot Day and the National Day of Service and Remembrance – September 11th – is a somber occasion, and one that we wish to treat with respect. It is, of course, the anniversary of the attacks on the United States in 2001, in which nearly three thousand people lost their lives.
San Diego Beer and Wine Tours wishes to extend the deepest sympathy to the families of the victims and to those who continue to be affected by the events of 9/11. We hope to do our part to foster a love and hopefully, someday, peace for all of humanity by encouraging common understanding. We feel that can be achieved, in part, through learning about and appreciating different food and drink.
For the month of September we will be offering $5 off all tours to commemorate the lives lost and affected during the horrific events of September 11th, 2001. We also hope to do our part to honor the victims with service to our community.
Brooke B., Peacenik
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