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December 1, 2010

California Brewery Trip Part 1: Port Brewing/Lost Abbey

Earlier this month I flew to Los Angeles to visit some friends and attend the second-ever show of Conan on TBS. And what's a vacation without cramming in as many breweries as possible? San Diego and its surrounding area is chock full of awesome breweries, so I convinced LA friends (and future purveyors of West Coast Ten Dudes Brewery operations) Ian and Josh to do a road trip with my up-and-coming-hop-head girlfriend Tash and myself.

Team Beertography gearing up for our first beers of the day.

Our first stop on our route from Los Angeles to San Diego was The Lost Abbey / Port Brewing in San Marcos, CA. Until planning this trip,  I hadn't realized that Lost Abbey and Port were one in the same. Another interesting fact we learned was that this building was actually Stone's old facility until they moved to their brand-new state-of-the-art one in Escondido, CA.

Look at that wonderfully huge list of beers. Having only had 1 or 2 Lost Abbey beers ever before, it was a real treat ordering half pints of as many beers as possible.

They may not look comfy, but what says "awesome brewery" more than seats made out of KEGS and grain bags? (they're actually very comfortable)

The tables are barrels. THE TABLES ARE BARRELS!

That's some nice lacing.

FACT: Every brewery needs a cat.

Staggering amount of barrels, all funkified. It was light headed-ness inducing.

Mash Tun, Platform, Lauter Tun

Sage, our awesome tour guide shows Ian the working of the bottling line. Everything at the brewery is crammed in at the moment, but that's only because they just bought the building next store and have just begun expanding into it. He also took us across the street where they have even MORE barrels. Like, hundreds upon hundreds of them. They're the barrel kings.

Not only did they gain their building from Stone, but this fermentation tank was shipped from Delaware by a dude named Sam Calagione (you may have heard of his new TV show, BrewMasters). You gotta love all of the collaboration and sharing that goes on in the beer world.

Special thanks go out to Terri and Sage who hooked us up with a fantastic private tour and also some limited-run beers in their "Hop Tea" series. I believe we got to try the Tea 4 and Tea 5 which were fantastic.

Stay tuned for Part II featuring Stone Brewing Company.

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