San Diego Beer Week #5 New English Brewing Company

It was only a short time ago someone suggested that I try a pint of Ballast Point’s Sextant Oatmeal Stout (on nitro!). Beer? I was skeptical, to say the least. I’ve had sips of The Husband’s brews for nearly three decades, why would I want to try yet another sip of what I used to describe as carbonated soy sauce (the dark ones) or a bitter cross between pine needles and lemon peel (the San Diego IPAs)?

IMG_9164I tried it. Whammo! A stout fan is born.

Here I am, a few years later, and I find a second beer that I like as much as my favorite oatmeal stout- New English Brewing Company’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Brown Ale. Holy Cow and a Heeeeey Macarena we have another one! I know that coffee pairs well with malty, heavy, dark beers, but put it in a barrel that was once home to bourbon? What a great flavor combination.

IMG_9166Liquor can taste about as smooth as rocket fuel- you should always follow my father’s advice: “Don’t drink cheap booze.” Even a good scotch tastes like an old campfire to me. New English’s brown ale aged in old bourbon barrels gives the rich, full ale all the fabulous flavors of the liquor with none of the chest hair singeing fume-like punch in the throat quality of your Old Man’s drink.

IMG_9156To top it off, I didn’t hate The Husband’s IPA- the Humbly Legit West Coast Style IPA. This is a sure sign of the Apocalypse, you know. Look it up. I kid you not.

And I haven’t even mentioned their Zumbar Chocolate Coffee Imperial Stout. This is the same Zumbar, our ultra-favorite coffee shop, which you can walk to from the New English tasting room. I already know that brew is good- we just happened to be getting coffee at Zumbar one weekend morning when New English was offering tastes of this stout at the coffee shop. Talk about being in the right place at the right time.

Pull up a barstool in the big main room with the taps, sit in the smaller room with squishy seats, but get down here to Sorrento Vally Road, kind of between La Jolla, Del Mar and Sorrento Valley. Eat something first, buy a bag of Doritos at the bar, or double check the website to see if a food truck will be at the brewery when you visit, but do visit.


A great write up on New English Brewing Company can be found here, San Diego Magazine’s article “San Diego’s Best Brewery That You Never Heard Of: New English Brewing Co.

Captain Stout- Green Flash Helps Bring Alpine Brewery Down the Hill

Captain Stout by Alpine Beer Company
Captain Stout by Alpine Beer Company

Green Flash Brewing Company‘s collaboration with Alpine Beer Company put a big smile on The Husband’s mug. Now he doesn’t have to drive up to Alpine to enjoy what he identifies as his overall favorite San Diego brewery. High praise from a guy who loves his San Diego style IPAs.

I’m still on my quest to find beers that I like, still amazed by the fact that I do like beer… it’s just the hops that I never cared for. So on my inaugural visit to Green Flash in Sorrento Valley, we found Captain Stout and I’m here to say that I loved it!

IMG_7865I also love that I can get small pours instead of half pints. I’m small, a lightweight, and am quite obnoxious sober… no need to add much alcohol. Really.

After a mighty busy couple of weeks of people moving and school craziness, I’m back on my blog, yea! I really did do something new every day, even when moving The Girl into her dorm room out of state- If you don’t think that counts as new enough, just know that I’m still not quite ready to talk about it very much. It is a powerful phase to transition into, I gotta say. Blogging about committing to try new experiences daily was one of the smartest things I have done recently.

As for Green Flash, I’m looking forward to touring the brewery soon.


Peñasquitos Preserve, Waterfall to the West End

I have hiked in the Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve, but always approaching from the east and hiking to the waterfall. By “hike,” I mean easy walk. I knew that the preserve trails continued all the way into Sorrento Vally, just east of the 5 and 805 freeways… by the way, you know how to peg a Native Californian? By how they refer to all highways and freeways as “The + Number,” no matter where they live. My Indiana friends always thought I was nuts to say “The 465,” or “Remember that 4th of July weekend when Bryan’s accident shut down The 65 North to Chicago?” If you would like an easy, but long-ish hike, I recommend this walk. And it was a beautiful day for this beautiful walk.

Looking north, towards Del Mar and Rancho Penasquitos
Looking north, towards Del Mar and Rancho Penasquitos
Looking South, towards Sorrento Valley
Looking South, towards Sorrento Valley

These two photos are taken from the same spot, I just turned 180 degrees. The south slopes of the canyon received more rain this winter, maybe?

One of the sages that grows in California. Smells soooo good!
One of the sages that grows in California. Smells soooo good!

This is one of the native sages that grows in California. I mentioned the chaparral in this earlier post- Two Mile Monkey is Off My Back

Purple Nightshade... don't eat it.
Purple Nightshade… don’t eat it.

Wildflowers, trees and scrub were blooming everywhere thanks to the earlier rains. We passed bunches of Purple Nightshade and Blue-Eyed Grass… fortunately, we didn’t cross paths with any rattlesnakes.

The Headache-Preventing Nice Guy Award goes to....
The Headache-Preventing Nice Guy Award goes to….

And all of these photos? Taken with my iPhone 5s. Because when I went to take the first picture of the waterfall, with my Christmas Nikon D3300… that’s when I figured out that the battery was dead. Duh. But what a nice guy is The Husband? He carried the dead weight the whole three hours so I didn’t get a headache from having it hang around my neck. What a guy!

View of Sycamore Crossing, looking west toward La Jolla and Sorrento Valley
View of Sycamore Crossing, looking west toward La Jolla and Sorrento Valley

The walk we took was about four miles starting at the western entrance of the Peñasquitos Preserve accessed on Park Village Road, and ending all the way west on Sorrento Valley Blvd.

West end of the walk. There is parking somewhere around here... look it up.
West end of the walk. There is parking somewhere around here…  go look it up yourself. Just kidding. Click on this photo and it will link you to a map of this area, parking, and trails.

The weather was perfect- lots of clouds, some sun and a nice onshore breeze. From the start of our walk to the end the paths were hopping with mountain bikers and other walkers, dogs and horses. It was a beautiful day! The round trip 8.2 mile walk totaled just over three hours. Did I mention what a beautiful day it was? Gorgeous.

Pancit, Paneer, and Ponzu- Dining Diversity, YEAH!

We returned to our home state about five years ago after twenty years and three states. One of the best things about being back, besides returning to family, is that we are back in the land of diverse dining options!

Central Pennsylvania and Indiana had great restaurants, (Facia Luna and Three Sisters come to mind, respectively) but when you go into a grocery store intending to make salsa, ask in produce where the cilantro is, and get a puzzled look in return… you know you are in for some bleak years. Penn State students celebrated when Taco Bell arrived in town.

Back in The Southland, it seemed that we patronized strictly the little taquerias, with an occasional In-N-Out stop. I could have eaten tacos every day… and at times we did! After about a year the kids were fed up with our limited dining-out diet and we moved on to more variety, but we really didn’t branch out too far. Japanese, mainly (yum!).

We live smack in the middle of a huge Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean and Indian neighborhood. Half of our church is Filipino, with a monthly pancit and lumpia sale- it doesn’t get any better than this!

Wednesday nights are a good fast-food night for us, and tonight we are branching out to Indian Food! Sitar, buried in a little Sorrento Valley food court, was highly recommended. Check them out here: Vetted by my Indian neighbors, it should be great (no pressure on you, Raja, har).

This is what we tried, and here’s our thoughts:

Lamb Vindaloo, Chicken Biryani, Samosas, Coconut Curry Soup, and more...
From Sitar- Lamb Vindaloo, Chicken Biryani, Samosas, Coconut Curry Soup, and more…
Yum.  Dinner for me, and it was great! I liked the Lamb Vindaloo best.
Yum. Dinner for me, and it was great! I liked the Lamb Vindaloo best, and the Samosas were delicious.

Is this how Samosas are supposed to taste? Wow! Crispy, fried, savory, spicy pockets of veggies and meat. The dal was tasty, too, and we all liked the lamb vindaloo better than the chicken biryani. I think my kids enjoyed making naan jokes the best- “Dal? I’ll have naan of that, thankyouverymuch! Naan for me!”