The unofficial kick off to the San Diego Craft Beer Festival Season begins this Sunday at 2pm at the luxurious Stone World Bistro and Gardens in Escondido. The 5th annual Oakquinox festival of barrel aged brews is every “big beer” lover’s fantasy with over 100 aged beers to sample.
Delicious rare and hard to find beers, sunshine and an inviting garden setting along with food from their award winning kitchen. Do yourself a favor and shell out the for an amazing Sunday afternoon.
The Oakquinox draft and bottle lists, curated by Stone’s “Dr.” Bill, read like a beer snob’s ultimate beer dream. Barrel aged versions of AleSmith Speedway stout, Ballast Point barleywine in Syrah barrels, 2012 and 2013 releases of FiftyFifty Eclipse for vertical tasting excitement. The list goes on and does not disappoint. View the entire(?) list here: http://www.stoneworldbistro.com/oakquinox/
Must tries in my humble opinion are: Deschutes Black Butte XXIII, Almanac Bourbon Sour Porter, anything Mikkeller, The Lost Abbey Angel's Share Ale 2011 and Great Divide 18th Anniversary Wood Aged Double IPA (one of only a couple IPAs at the fest).
Pacing yourself for the four hour Oakquinox onslaught of heavy beers is key. Fifteen 3 oz pours of beers mostly 8% ABV and up can catch up to you quickly. I recommend a huge breakfast beforehand, and 60% of your tasters before a quick lunch break. Soak up some of the booze with a meal, then wind down the final hour and a half with the rest of your tasters. Mix in lots of water. And in between water and beer, drink more water.
This is a gathering of hundreds of like minded people with the pursuit of pleasurable consumption, by all means talk to the beer drinker next to you and make a new friend, or learn something you did not previously know about a beer or flavor. The craft beer community is one of sharing and rapport and this festival is the perfect place to meet people with some of the same interests you have. Cheers!