Thursday, 10 May 2012

Sunny San Diego

So last week was exhausting.  Let me tell you why.

It was the CBC.  No not the peoples radio, but the Craft Brewer's Conference.  An annual event that brings the world of craft brewing together for 5 magical days.  This years conference was in sunny San Diego, California.  A drag, I know.  Here is the view from the house we rented

That's the ocean right across the street.  A drag, I know. Thanks to the good folks at TAPS Magazine for finding and renting this wonderful house.

Like I said, we were there for 5 days and each day was filled to the brim with craft beer goodness.  Day one saw us head up to Escondido to visit the beautiful Stone Brewing Co. facility.  About 30 miles north of San Diego, this brewery is a must for anyone heading to the area.

The event being thrown that night was Saison Du BUFF-et.  A play on words, the name of the event refers to the BUFF (Brewers United in Full Flavour...or something like that) group started back in 2003 I believe by The Stone Brewing Co, Dogfish Head and Victory Brewing.  Back in 2010, the three brewers got together and made a Saison and the event saw them serving this beer, the 2012 re-brewing and a number of other collaboration brews between some fantastic craft brewers. Oh yeah, there was also some fantastic food.  Here's what the Saison looked like -

An all you can eat, backyard BBQ at one of the most gorgeous breweries you'll ever see.  A drag, I know.
Thanks to Mike Laba and the good folks at Muskoka Brewery for giving us a lift out to Escondido.

Day 2 started with a bar crawl through some of San Diego's local awesome craft breweries.  First stop was Ale Smith, which was highlighted with too many samples of their astounding Speedway Stout. So good.
Next up was Green Flash which had too many good beers to name.  But ultimately it was their wonderful brewery and brewhouse that stole the show.  Seriously this place was perfectly laid out and executed.  A template for how a brewery should be designed.  Here is picture (a bad picture) of their facility.

After we left Greenflash it was off to Pizza Port for some lunch and more delicious beer.  Located in the Oceanside district of San Diego, this is a must visit for anyone who likes pizza or beer. So basically anyone on the planet.

From there we headed to Ballastpoint which has some of the hoppiest IPA's you'll ever done taste.  Big Eye and Scullpin.  Crazy.  I think I had a few too many samples, cause then this happened

It's so great that everyone has camera on their phones now.  Big thanks to Rob Morra from Beau's for doing the heavy lifting and putting this tour together.

After the tour it was off to the San Diego Zoo for the CBC opening ceremonies.  With beer stands and food tents set up throughout the park, this was a well put together event and a great way to kick start the conference.  It was also a way to say hello to some old friends and to make a few new ones.

Day 4 was the first day of the actual event.  The conference, as always, started with an awards ceremony and the Key Note address.  This years Key Note speaker was Steve Hindy from the Brooklyn Brewery.  From this picture it looks like that guy in the blue shirt had too much fun at the Zoo the night before.

The opening speeches were once again filled with positive information and statistics from last year.  With massive amounts of growth and many inroads made by the craft brewing world, the speeches were also filled optimism and a rosy outlook for the near future.

Along with the Key Note address and a number of seminars directed at helping brewers and breweries grow their businesses the CBC also features a massive trade exhibition.  And guess what we saw on one of the tables

Thanks to the good folks at Stanpac for bringing Sawdust City along for the ride!

Day 4 was Friday and back in not so sunny Toronto, this happened

Another great review by Chris Schryer and Fearless Fred of Edge 102.1, this time of our newest release, The Princess Wears Girlpants.

Meanwhile back in sunny San Diego the CBC saga continues.  This time on a boat.  Thrown by the good folks at GEA, this boat tour was a fantastic event. Firstly, the San Diego harbour is beautiful.  Even more so at night.  Secondly, they loaded the boat with enough beer, sushi, scotch and cigars to satisfy the entire US Navy.  Infact three of them made the trip.  Look how happy they are

Oh wait, that's us.  But seriously, this is a snippet of the beer that was available.  These stations were all over the boat.  What to choose, what to choose.  Decisions can be tough.  A drag, I know.

Thank you GEA for putting on a great event.

Day 5 was mercifully the last day of the conference.  After a few more seminars and a little more smoozing we could finally head back to our oceanside house and relax with a few San Diego sized beers

Thank you Stone Brewing Co for providing way too much Ruination IPA.

All and all it was another successful CBC.  It was great to see so many Canadian brewers, breweries and beer bar owners make the trip down to San Diego to represent our wonderful and growing brewing scene.  I'd list you all, but seriously there was just too many....okay I will try

Grand River
Microbrasserie Charlevoix
Brasseur des Temps
Dieu du Ciel
Central City
The Junction
Burger Bar
Kensington Brewing Co
Niagara Teaching Brewery
Great Lakes
The Indie Alehouse
Le Trou de Diable
Cheshire Valley
The Rhino
Toronto Brewing
The Griffin

Sorry if I missed you, like I said, there were a lot.

Anyhoo, that's about it for now.  Until next time, keep the beer in your mugs and the sawdust beneath your feet.

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