Pulling From The Boneyard: Bend’s Most Notorious Brewery

One of the biggest obstacles to starting a brewery is those pesky little green pieces of paper we call money. Or rather, a lack thereof. Renting a building, acquiring a proper brewing setup and buying the supplies for beer is very expensive, and unfortunately many breweries don’t experience a financial return on their investments until quite some time after opening. Shiny new equipment isn’t always an option, and recycling and reusing used brewing setups can provide a more budget-friendly alternative, especially in a brewery’s early days. One brewery in particular has embraced this approach wholeheartedly, even going so far as to name themselves after the hodgepodge of refurbished and recycled brewing equipment they used to start making their brews.

Thats right, folks, I’m talking about Boneyard Brewing.


Established in Bend, Oregon in May of 2010, Boneyard Brewing met the challenge of producing good beer in large amounts without huge sums of money in a creative way. Named for the secondhand brewing equipment obtained from the “boneyards” of 13 different breweries, Boneyard has achieved success and become a staple in Central Oregon’s craft beer scene in a remarkably short amount of time.

Bend is home to over 20 breweries, is very supportive of craft beer. But with a plethora of new breweries opening up in the city and the surrounding area every year, it is important for breweries to find their own niche and offer something unique to the craft beer consumer. So what sets Boneyard apart from the rest? It turns out there is more to their success than just a thrifty approach to brewing equipment.

According to the brewery’s founder and owner, Tony Lawrence, Boneyard’s success comes from a combination of good decisions, staying true to themselves, and a whole lot of elbow grease.

Having moved to Bend as a snowboard bum in the late 1980’s, Lawrence became friends with one of the head brewers at Deschutes Brewery and got a job cleaning and filling kegs. A fast learner and a hard worker, he quickly progressed to working in the brewhouse, as well as learning about quality assurance, quality control, and manufacturing techniques and practices. In 2002, Lawrence left Deschutes and went on the work for a handful of breweries throughout the country, including a stint at Firestone Walker Brewing in California, as the head of the packaging department.decal After leaving Firestone Walker, he spent the next five years welding, building and installing breweries around the country, as well as spending lots of time talking to brewers about raw materials and usage rates, as well as brewery production techniques and equipment. Lawrence credits this time with fine-tuning the many skill sets that would prove to be so valuable in starting his own brewery, as well as being exposed to the nuances of different beer flavors in various regions of the country. Inspired by these experiences, he decided he wanted to bring a new flavor to the Pacific Northwest, and moved back to Bend to open Boneyard Brewing.

Boneyard’s approach to beer sets them apart from other breweries in a variety of ways. With many breweries in today’s craft beer scene focusing on innovation and one-off experimental brews, Boneyard instead follows a philosophy of, in Lawrence’s own words, “Balance and quality first, and interesting last.” That isn’t to say that they don’t produce interesting beers -in fact, I would argue quite the opposite. Boneyard instead chooses to focus on producing a set number of beers, brewing what they call “occasional beers” (as opposed to “seasonal beers”, since they are not released at particular times) boneyard-patchonly when their brewing schedule and capacity allows for it. The brewery’s focus on hoppy beer styles, and its reputation for having a clean, balanced, and consistently good product has made it not only a favorite in Bend, but throughout its distribution territories in Oregon and Washington. So much so, that even after their much-anticipated expansion to a 40-barrel system this past year (also refurbished, in keeping with their name), the brewery can barely keep up with demand. (I can think of worse problems to have.) In fact, the brewery has been so busy recently that plans to start canning and distributing their beer this past year had to be set aside in order to keep up with their draft obligations. They ended up selling their canning line to their neighbors, Bend’s Goodlife Brewing, who now distribute two of their flagship beers in cans.

pint-glassSome of Boneyard’s best-selling beers have reached a sort of cult status, selling out almost as soon as they are put on draft. These include hop bombs such as their Hop Venom double IPA (One of my all-time favorites and a staple at The Yeasty Beasty), Notorious Triple IPA (So drinkable and balanced its almost dangerous), as well as their big, rich imperial stout, Suge Knite (Yep, just like the infamous gangsta rap producer).

With the recent growth of the craft beer movement in Central Oregon, there can sometimes be a sense of competition between some of the new and previously established breweries. Boneyard, however, seems happy to be part of the industry’s overall success. When it comes down to it, Lawrence says that he believes that the reason Boneyard has been so successful as a brewery is their commitment to being true to themselves, working hard, and doing what they are passionate about: making great beer.


To enjoy and sample a lineup of eight different Boneyard beers, join us tonight (3/24 @ 6:30pm) at the Yeasty Beasty for our Boneyard Brewing beer promo event & Tuesday Night Trivia. Cheers!

For more information and for resources used to write this article, check out the following links: Tasting Beer by Randy Mosher, Boneyardbeer.com, thefirebellychronicles.com (Interview with Tony Lawrence)beeradvocate.comratebeer.com,  and newschoolbeer.com.

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Getting on Board with Barrel Aged Beer

Once upon a time, a long time ago (probably on a Monday), someone dropped their ceramic pot of beer, smashing it to smithereens. Devastated over the loss of perfectly good beer and determined to avoid a future repeat of this unfortunate event, they invented the wooden barrel, and lived happily ever after. The End.


Okay, okay, it probably wasn’t that simple.


Beer and the barrel DO have a long shared history, however, and  the use of wooden barrels has played a significant role in the development and evolution of beer as we know it today. Characteristics from different varieties of wood and spirits impart intense and exciting flavors, and can transform beers into big, bold, and unforgettable creations.

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Enjoying a glass of Firestone Walker Brewing’s Sucaba, a barrel aged barleywine…mmmm.


Although the Ancient Egyptians used open, straight-sided wooden buckets, the first use of closed, curved wooden containers is generally attributed to Celts, or Gauls. Both durable and portable, barrels quickly began to replace the previous use of amphoras (large containers made of clay or various other materials) to store and transport wine and beer. In Rome, organized coopers guilds were created, eventually leading to widespread use of barrels across Northern Europe. In addition to transporting beer, wooden barrels were also used for brewing, fermenting, and aging the popular beverage.

Out of all the varieties of wood used to make barrels, oak has proved to be the most common choice. Oak offers many advantages as a source for barrels; the trees are large and sturdy, with wood that is bendable yet durable.  The fact that the oak shrinks only minimally, yields straight-grained staves (the long pieces of wood that make up the barrel), and contributes desirable flavors has made it a popular both in ancient times, as well as with craft brewers today.

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An informational breakdown of the structure and types of oak, provided by Firestone Walker Brewing and their Barrelworks program.


Because of it’s porous texture, oak is incredibly difficult to clean and makes and excellent home for live bacteria and wild yeast to reside. In a pre-industrial world, reusing wooden barrels could lead to unintended bacterial infections causing spoilage in the beer. (A few select styles of beer actually depended on particular bacterial infections in order to produce certain characteristics, such as sour beers, which historically came about through the reuse of infected barrels.) With the advent of industrial brewing in the United States, easily cleaned brewing equipment became more readily available and by the mid-20th century, most brewers had abandoned brewing with wood in favor of using the more modern metal kegs, fermenters, and storage tanks.

Despite their many advantages, making wooden barrels is both expensive and labor-intensive. The first step in barrel construction is to season the oak staves. This is typically done by open-air drying the long pieces of oak for a period ranging from one to three years, relying on the elements to reduce harshness and develop flavor in the wood. When they are deemed ready, the staves are cut and shaped very precisely in order to fit together to form a watertight barrel without the use of any glue or seal.

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An info graphic on the anatomy and seasoning process of oak barrels, from Firestone Walker’s Barrelworks program.


Heat helps to bend the staves forming the barrel, along with pressure from several metal hoops. Finally, the barrel is toasted over a flame for varying amounts of time depending on the desired flavors.

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A helpful breakdown of the flavors and characteristics from oak barrels found in the beers you drink, from Firestone Walker Brewings’ Barrelworks program.


Though some beers are aged in neutral oak barrels, most barrels used by brewers for aging once contained spirits of some sort. The most popular of these is of course, bourbon. By law, bourbon must be aged in brand-new, charred oak barrels to be called straight bourbon whiskey, meaning said barrels can only be used once for bourbon. Rather than discarding them, the barrels are sent all over the world and used for storing and aging other spirits or, (you guessed it) beer.


Firstone Walker Brewing, in Paso Robles, CA, uses a rare system of barrel fermentation known as a Burton Union system to brew their beer. This means that all of their beer spends at least a little time in barrels, some gaining significant robust flavor profiles from certain barrels and aging times, whereas the barrel flavor can be very mild and hardly noticeable in others.


Barrel-aged beers, especially those aged in spirit barrels, tend to be fuller flavored brews thanks in part to the flavors imparted by both the barrel itself, and whatever remaining bit of booze was left inside. Bourbon barrels in particular are known to contribute rich, intense flavors that complement robust brews with big roasted dark chocolate flavors such as imperial stouts or porters. These styles, as well as others such as barley wines, bocks, and a variety of Belgian and strong ales, can often be beautifully matched with the toffee and vanilla notes of bourbon.

Wine barrels have also been popular for barrel-aging beer, particularly in regards to sours and saisons/farmhouse ales. Matching the body of these lighter beers with wine barrels allows for additional complexity without drowning out or overpowering the original base beer’s characteristics. Breweries such as Russian River in Santa Rosa, CA, are known for their series of sours aged in local wine barrels for sometimes up to five years.

It is important to note the distinction between barrel aging and barrel fermentation. Some beers do not go through a secondary fermentation in the barrels, but instead are aged in barrels post-fermentation in order to take on some of the barrel’s flavors and characteristics. However, other mixed-culture beers undergo a secondary or even primary fermentation and aging in barrels.These barrels are necessary as they provide the environment needed by microorganisms for fermentation, but do not generally contribute significant wood flavors to the beer.

Blending liquid from different barrels together helps round out the final flavor in barrel-aged beers; using both young and old barrels is often key to creating a consistent product, and time and patience is often the name of the game. This is also why barrel aged beers tend to be a bit pricier and have more limited availability than your average brew. Aging and tinkering with blending beers is a process that takes time and large amounts of space, making it an expensive and often unpredictable endeavor.

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Although big, robust barrel-aged beers (particularly those aged in spirit barrels) make their biggest appearances in colder months, you can find them year-round in a variety of forms and styles. Check out the Yeasty Beasty on taplister to check out our current selection of craft brews and to try some delicious barrel-aged beer for yourself! Past selections have included Deschute’s The Abyss barrel aged imperial stout, Black Butte XXV, XXV and XXVI imperial porters, Firestone Walker’s Oaked and Bourbon barrel aged versions of its Arrogant Bastard Ale, as well as many others. Head down to the Yeasty Beasty today to try Epic Brewing’s Big Bad Baptist whiskey barrel aged imperial stout.

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For more information and for resources used to write this article, check out the following links: Tasting Beer by Randy Mosher,  Firestone Walker Brewing & Firestone Walker Barrelworks Program, Epic Brewing, westcoastersd.com, eckraus.comVine Pair Wine Blogrussianriverbrewing.comtaplister.com, anchorbrewing.com, UCSD Brewing Program, A History of Brewing by Ian S. Hornsey, and The Illustrated Guide to Brewing Beer by Mathew Schaffer.

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Breaking it Down with Breakside Brewing

I already knew I liked Breakside Brewing. When they won gold for their flagship IPA at the Great American Beer Festival this last October, I liked them even more. And just when I thought they couldn’t be any cooler, I found out that the idea for the brewery was conceived while on a backcountry kayaking trip to Alaska…

Be still my heart.


Established in the Woodlawn neighborhood in Northeast Portland in 2010, Breakside began as a restaurant with a tiny brewery in the basement. With a focus on environmental consciousness and sustainability in addition to serving good beer and good food, Breakside was an instant hit with Portland’s craft beer community. So much so that the brewpub quickly outgrew its nano-brewery and switched to a 3.5 barrel system.

Breakside’s popularity continued grow, however, and in late 2012 the brewery opened a second location in Milwaukee, OR, in the same industrial park as Bob’s Red Mill. (Yes, the very same Bob’s Red Mill used by the Yeasty Beasty for its delicious pizzas!Mmm…) Breakside’s 7000 square foot second location functions primarily as a production facility, complete with a 30-barrel system and plenty of room for their barrel program and experimental wild and sour brews. Despite being a little ways away from Portland’s main beer destinations, the Milwaukee location has a popular tasting room with 20 taps and tours of the brewery open to the public.

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/78958850″>Hopstories #7: Breakside Brewery</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/ericbuist”>Eric Buist</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Breakside-IPA-bottleCelebrating its five year anniversary later this year, Breakside Brewing has accomplished a lot in a short amount of time. In addition to becoming a staple in the Portland beer community, the brewery has received much recognition throughout the state as well as on a national level. Winning their first medal at the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) in 2011 for their Irish Stout, Breakside has proudly earned medals in various categories at the prestigious event every year since. This past October, the Portland brewery brought home gold in the coveted American-Style IPA category for their flagship beer, the Breakside IPA, as well as bronze in the American-Style Strong Pale Ale category for their Wanderlust IPA.

La-Tormenta-Final-ArtworkIn addition to their success with the West Coast’s hoppy beer styles, Breakside brewing is also building a name for themselves in the world of experimental beer styles. The additional space and facilities added by their expansion has allowed the Breakside brewing team to focus on their barrel program and wild and non-wild/sour beer projects. This includes unique offerings such as their Passionfruit Sour Ale, Bourbon Barrel-Aged Aztec Strong Ale, La Tormenta Dry-Hopped Sour Ale, and the New World Bruin Flanders Red/Brown Ale, as well as many other seasonal and limited-release brews.

The La Tormenta and the New World Bruin will be available at the Yeasty Beasty tomorrow night (Thursday, 2/26) at our Breakside Brewing beer promo event, don’t miss an opportunity to try these specialty limited-release beers!

La Tormenta, Dry-Hopped Sour Ale – 7% ABV, 22 IBU

“[…] an experimental sour ale made with a unique blend of citrusy, tropical and fruity hops. Bracing-yet-balanced sour notes combine beautifully with West Coast hop flacor in this sweet and tart ale. […] Notes of blueberry, guava, grapefruit, and lemongrass are offset by a juicy acidity, medium body, and a moderate sweetness from caramel malt. ”

New World Bruin, Sour Red/Brown Ale – 7% ABV

“Our tribute to the sour beers of West Flanders, reinterpreted to suit West Coast palates. This unique blend of old and young beer is a deep red ale, lightly soured with lactobacillus, with notes of raisin, prune, cherry, toffee, and hazelnut. The aged beer is sharper, more sour, and oakier. The tart, tannic, and funky notes from beers that have spent over a year in barrels add a darkness to the flavor profile that make the finished blend truly beguiling.”


To taste and enjoy these beers as as well as several other delicious Breakside Brewing selections, head on over to the Yeasty Beasty tomorrow night for our Breakside Brewing Beer Promo Event starting at 6:30pm. Cheers!




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Burnside Brewing Brings The Heat

Located in the heart of Portland’s central eastside neighborhood, Burnside Brewing embodies some of the Oregon’s beer capital’s best qualities. The locally-owned and operated brewery focuses on easy-drinking, food-friendly beer and creativity in the brew house; philosophies that have won them many loyal followers in Oregon’s craft beer community.Burnside Brewing Co_

Founded in 2010 by Jason McAdam, Jay Gilbert, and Adam Cassie, Burnside Brewing has quickly found its niche in Portland’s bustling brewpub scene. The brewers use a new 15-barrel system to brew a combination of traditional beers, such as their ever-popular Oatmeal Pale Ale, in addition to more unique and creative offerings, and rotating seasonals. These are available daily at their Burnside & 7th St. location during their “fermentation hour” (happy hour to those not familiar with Portlandia speak) and during regular hours as well as at a variety of other locations throughout the city and across Oregon.

Burnside_bw_glassBurnside’s beers are unfiltered, instead using a lagering process to remove particulates in the beer, in order to avoid some potential side-effects that can result from certain filtration processes.  These side-effects can include a loss in color, flavor profiles, and body, and although it is more time consuming, the team at Burnside believe that it is worth it. They believe it is important to preserve the natural goodness of the beer and allow the consumer to experience the intended depth of character and flavor profiles intended by the brewers.

BreweryAlthough known for a number of draft favorites, there are several of the Portland brewpub’s most popular offerings that stand out. Burnside’s IPA, the brewery’s flagship beer, is brewed using six different hop varieties bringing out big notes of pine and grapefruit, with a solid malt backbone to create balance. This single IPA comes in a 6.6% ABV and 84 IBUs and is pub favorite that pairs well with food, or can stand alone.

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Hmm, might be time to bring back Yeasty Beasty’s Spicy Chicken Apricot Chutney pizza special…

Another of Burnside’s noted offerings is the Sweet Heat; a wheat ale brewed with 200 pounds of apricot puree and dry-hopped with imported Jamaican Scotch Bonnet peppers. At 4.9% ABV and 9 IBUs, this beer is a tug-of-war between the sweet and subtly tart fruit flavors and the slightly spicy burn from the peppers. Described by Burnside as being reminiscent of Caribbean chutney, Sweet Heat is a fun switch-up from standard offerings in the Pacific Northwest, and pairs well with food. BurnsideImage1Burnside’s spicy brew has proved it can also bring the heat in competition, taking home a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival in the Herb & Spice beer category in 2012.

Having just celebrated their fourth anniversary and their 500th batch of beer this past December, the brewery plans to carry on their successful pairing of easy-drinking, food-friendly beer and innovative suds for years to come.


A passion for good food and good beer? That sounds familiar…To sip on some tasty Burnside brews and come up with some creative beer-and-pizza combos of your own, head down to the Yeasty Beasty tonight and join us for our Burnside Brewing beer promo and trivia, starting at 7pm!


For more information and for resources used to write this article, check out the following links: craftbeer.com, Tasting Beer by Randy Mosher, burnsidebrewco.com, beeradvocate.com, ratebeer.com, allaboutbeer.com, brewpublic.com, newschoolbeer.com, jupiterpdx.com

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Tall, Dark & Creamy: Nitro Beer on the Rise

Chances are you have stumbled across the term “nitro” at some point in  your exploration of the beer world. Whether spotted on the draft list at your local watering hole, seen on a beer bottle label, or heard during a conversation with your favorite beertender, the term can be a little vague and confusing. What exactly is nitro beer? What does it taste like? And why should you drink it?

What is beer on nitro?

6522_553613008017655_659279999_n“Nitro” is a term in the world of beer typically used in reference to beers carbonated with greater amounts of nitrogen and served using a special faucet. Typically, most beer is carbonated with mainly carbon dioxide (CO2), which provides the fizzy, prickly sensation and fluffy, bubbly head many of us are familiar with. Nitro beers, however, are carbonated with a blend of 70-75% nitrogen and 25-30% CO2. Nitrogen is largely insoluble in liquid, so the gas can be forced in, but when the pressure is released the nitrogen breaks out of the beer and forms into lots of tiny bubbles. A special piece of tap equipment, known as a restrictor plate, forces the beer through tiny holes before it lands in the glass, creating a sort of cascading effect as bubbles on the edge of the glass appear to be falling, while bubbles in the middle are rising. This leaves the beer very lightly carbonated with a thick head and creamy mouthfeel.

What does nitro beer taste like?

094d739d968df36a87418643dcb9d4ac_XLNitrogenizing a beer creates a smooth and creamy element to the pre-existing flavors already present in the original beer. If the beer put on nitro has roasted notes, and hints of coffee and cocoa nibs it is still going to retain those flavors, however they may appear less sharp, and more smooth and rounded. Nitro versions of beers often highlight their malty notes and tend to subdue extreme bitterness and sharp aromas. This is why you tend to find maltier styles such as stouts, porters and English ales on nitro, and less IPAs and hoppy styles. That isn’t to say that hoppy beers can’t be good on nitro. brew_label_l_redchairRecently, more and more pale ales and IPAs have been making their debut on the nitro scene, some with notable success, such as Deschutes’ Red Chair Northwest Pale Ale, and Epic Brewing’s Hopulent Double IPA. The nitro versions of these hoppy ales highlights their malty backbones, while still maintaining a bright hop flavor, which is enjoyable, albeit a different experience from their CO2 carbonated versions.

Why should I drink nitro beer?

Well, for starters, it makes your beer look really, really cool.

I just can’t stop watching. Can’t…look…away…

In addition to the mesmerizing qualities of nitro beer, its interesting to try a different version of a beer. Some of the qualities that might pop in a traditional highly-carbonated CO2 version of a beer might present themselves differently when served on nitro. The malty, sweet, rich components of a stout might be highlighted and appreciated to a greater extent, and those who normally shy away from hoppy beers might find themselves enjoying a creamy pale ale for the first time.

1d0ae6f70c2fc6c7eb456fd04ea789c0-6aafac98f247dc1863b95fa7502248deWhile most people who think of nitro beer think of Guiness, the style has seen an increase in popularity in recent years, and you can now find a great variety of beer styles on nitro at your local bars (ahem, the Yeasty Beasty). Some favorites on nitro include Boulder Brewing’s Shake Chocolate Porter (fondly nicknamed “chocolate milk” by the Yeasty Beasty staff) as well as Rogues’ Shakespeare Stout. Head down to The Yeasty Beasty  to check out our rotating nitro tap and enjoy a pint of our current nitro beer for yourself!


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For more information and for resources used to write this article, check out the following links: craftbeer.com, Tasting Beer by Randy Mosherdeschutesbrewery.com, thestreet.com, today.com, cooksinfo.com, beeradvocate.com, lefthandbrewing.com, boulderbrewing.com, ratebeer.comtaplister.com.


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Stone Brewing: Beers With Attitude

arrogant b 2“This is an aggressive beer. arrogant bYou probably won’t like it. It’s quite doubtful that you have the taste or sophistication to be able to appreciate an ale of this quality and depth. We would suggest that you stick with safer and more familiar territory…”                              -Arrogant Bastard, Stone Brewing

With a beer label full of attitude, and an unapologetic disdain for “fizzy, yellow beer”, there is no doubt that Stone Brewing is not your run-of-the-mill brewery.

Known for their big hoppy IPAs, creative approach to beer, and their in-your-face attitude, its no wonder that Stone Brewing has made a name for itself in the beer world.

Established in San Marcos, CA in 1996 by Greg Koch and Steve Wagner, Stone Brewing has played a huge role in the development of Southern California’s craft beer scene. In fact, it is hard to think of the San Diego beer scene without Stone Brewing coming immediately to mind. With flagship beers such as the aforementioned Arrogant Bastard Ale, which unapologetically takes a shot at “fizzy, yellow beer” turning 18 years old this coming November, Stone has absolutely become a staple in the craft beer community, and has paved the way for West Coast IPAs as we know them today, as well as beer innovation and creativity. With a wide selection of beer styles, experimental series, collaborations, and innovations, Stone Brewing shoes no signs of slowing down. After moving its headquarters and main production facility to Escondido, CA in 2005, Stone has opened a number of additional locations in Southern CA, including two farm-to-table restaurants, several growler-fill stations and merchandise stores, an airport pub, and even a 19-acre organic farm.

In fact, Stone Brewing has recently decided to go where no American brewery has gone before. In July of this past year, Stone Brewing announced plans to be the first American Craft Brewery to own and operate a brewery in Europe, located in Berlin, Germany. This will allow them to produce and distribute beers in Europe that taste the way the brewers intend them to taste, without overseas shipping and transit environments altering the flavors and condition of the hops and beers.photo 1 (4)

Stone’s expansion is also occurring on a more domestic level as well. This past October, Stone Brewing also announced its plans to open a brewing and packaging facility, as well as a farm-to-table restaurant in the Eastern US. Stone’s new location in Richmond, VA is slated to open in late 2015 or early 2016, and will enable the brewery produce and distribute beer on the East Coast more easily and efficiently.

Thankfully, there is no need to travel far from your homes in order to taste and enjoy Stone Brewing’s bold an innovative brews. The Yeasty Beasty will be featuring a number of their specialty beers on draft, including the following selection:

Ruination IPA – Double IPA, 8.2% ABV, 100+ IBUs

Double Bastard – American Strong Ale, 11% ABV, IBUs: Classified!

Lukcy Basartd – Dry-hopped blend of Arrogant Bastard, Oaked Arrogant Bastard, and Double Bastard Ale, 8.5% ABV, IBUs: Classified!

Enjoy By 2.14.15. – Double IPA, 9.4% ABV, IBUs: Classified!

Master Of Disguise -Imperial Golden Stout, 9.7% ABV, 50 IBUs

Xocoveza Mocha Stout – Milk Stout, 8.1% ABV,  IBU: Classified!

See you tonight! Cheers!

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Ballast Point Brewing: Do What You Love & Love What You Drink


photo 3 (3)What do you do when you develop a taste for beer and can’t find any good options locally? You brew your own in the backyard. And what do you do when you have trouble finding the ingredients you want? You open your own homebrew store. At least, that’s what Ballast Point Brewing’s Jack White did.

After developing a taste for good beer while attending college, White was frustrated by the lack of selection available to him in the San Diego area. Home brewing seemed like his best bet, so he delved in and began his journey into the world of making beer. Two things quickly became apparent. Getting his hands on particular ingredients for brewing photo 1 (3)was a challenge, as well as finding other people to dialogue with about home brewing ideas. In 1992, White opened up the Home Brew Mart. Stocked with home brewing supplies and interesting ingredients, Home Brew Mart became a gathering place for local home brewers to talk about their projects and ideas. As business picked up, White brought on fellow home brewer Yuseff Cherney to help, and the two opened up a “back room” brewery in the back of their store. Ballast Point Brewing was officially established in 1996.


One of Ballast Point Brewing’s secrets to success seems to stem from their philosophies on brewing and life. With a strong belief in the intersection between science and art, Home Brew Mart played a major role in the development of the San Diego craft beer scene. Ballast Point also began to establish themselves in the brewing world, photo 2 (3)striving to reinterpret and reinvigorate the industry, and helping to define San Diego’s as a hop-lover’s paradise. The Ballast Point philosophies are also represented in a very visual manner. Enjoying fishing almost as much as creating great beer, White and Cherney live by the motto of pursuing your passions. For this reason they chose to name their beers for and depict various fish on their labels as a homage to the brewery’s origins and a reminder to always do what you love.


Having outgrown the backroom brewery location, Ballast Point opened a larger production facility in Scripps Ranch in 2004. There, they also began a new project; a distillery under the same name that produces photo 5 (1)seven different spirits, including gin, rum, vodka, and whiskey. With consumer demand continuing to increase, an additional location was opened in the Little Italy neighborhood of San Diego in the Fall of 2013, complete with a brewery, tasting room, and restaurant. The expansion didn’t stop there, however, and construction was completed on a fourth brewery location earlier this year in Miramar.

The future is bright for Ballast Point Brewing, and they certainly have the resume to prove it. In addition to a long list of awards, the San Diego brewery brought home a gold and a silver medal from the Great American Beer Festival this past October. Their Grunion Pale Ale won gold in the American-style pale ale category, and the Piper Down Scottish Ale won silver in the Irish-style red ale category.


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With seven year-round beers and a variety of seasonal and limited releases, Ballast Point Brewing has something for everyone. Head down to The Yeasty Beasty for our Ballast Point Brewing event tonight and try the following drafts for yourself!

Calico Amber Ale: Inspired by English ESBs and balanced out by American hops, this complex amber ale has an award-filled past, including a gold medal at GABF in 2001. 5.5% ABV, 35 IBU.

Big Eye IPA: Brewed with Centennial and Columbus hops, Big Eye IPA carries on the San Diego tradition of generous hop additions for big bitter flavors and aromas. 7% ABV, 71 IBU.

Grapefruit Sculpin: A twist on Ballast Point’s signature IPA, the added grapefruit accentuates the citrus aroma and complements the brew’s big tropical fruit notes. 7% ABV, 70 IBU.

Habanero Sculpin: Originally an experiment, Habanero Sculpin has taken on a life of its own. Bright fruit notes and a hoppy bite are taken to the next level in this IPA with a kick. 7% ABV, 70 IBU.

Dorado Double IPA: Big brother to the Sculpin IPA, the Dorado is brewed with Crystal and Mt. Hood hops in order to create another San Diego-style beer that is both big and wonderfully balanced. 10% ABV, 90 IBU.

Victory At Sea Imperial Porter: Infused with whole vanilla beans and local San Diego coffee, this bold yet drinkable brew boasts chocolate and espresso notes, subtle roastiness and malty sweet undertones. 10% ABV, 60 IBU.

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For more information and for resources used to write this article, check out the following links: ballastpoint.com greatamericanbeerfestival.com, westcoastersd.com, thefullpint.combeeradvocate.com, and ratebeer.com.

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