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And away they go…Part two

As we move south from San Clemente, we make a short detour in Carlsbad to visit the 10 beers that Jeff Bagby is sending to the festival this year. My liver was threatening to go Screen Actors Guild on my ass and require a stunt double to get through this side of the tasting. My agent of liquid refreshment calmed him down. For those playing along at home, Jeff tallied 5 medals last year. Most expect that he’ll “fall” back resting on his laurels if you will to only 3-5 this time. I’m in the 3-4 camp myself.

First pony out of the gates for Carlsbad was:

Good Grief Brown Ale: This beer was on top of the world at the San Diego County Fair competition in June. A great English Style Brown Ale with loads of depth. Unilike little boy Chuck who never seems to actually make contact with that ball, Jeff booted this recipe straight through the uprights. Unfortunately, this one may find him more on his back this time. A great beer that lacks “La Cruda.” Ask me why…the psychiatrist is in. .05 cents please.

Port Truck Stout: This is essentially the same recipe as the Seaside Stout that is brewed in Solana Beach. It is an awesome Dry Irish Stout when it fires. This one is so close to being perfect. We loved the finishing power of this beer. This category can be quite the dog and pony show but I like some of Jeff’s other beers better. Would be in my Superfecta pix with a nod to sympathy and the recipe I love.

Great American Brown: This is a recipe that Jeff developed to send to the GABF for the first time last year. Guess what? It won. Seems to have all the properties required of a winner. It’s on my list of beers with ??? marks which is better than the ones I wrote nothing about. Maybe for some. I’m ambivalent which means I’ll pass at this time.

Sticky Stout: The beer that “shocked” the world last year. This is basically your Gold Medal American Stout winner. Anybody else remember the two headed monster of Noah on Jeff’s Shoulders across the stage? Don’t expect the monster this year. Noah moved on to San Clemente…Could this be Yiga’s Year? Me thinks so. Go for Gold.

Sharkbite Red Ale: Jeff has pretty much owned some version of the Red/Amber/Imperial Red category since he was with me in Solana Beach and then on his own at Oggis. The man knows Red Ales. Me, I am raising a Red Head. Either way, they’re both special and his beer shines. I’m reserving the right to say I told you so. But, I am not betting this one as I want to wager on other beers. A Sunday favorite with the others.

Beech Street Bitter: Jeff knows hops. Really, he does. This is an example of great skill with those little cones. An English Style IPA that brought home the eggs and bacon last year. I am calling for a two peat. A very tasty beer worthy of our judges attention this week. Bank on this one. I am.

Wipeout IPA: Your basic well hopped American Style IPA. I liked the taste of this beer. Hard to find ways to stand out in a sea of 120 beers. This one has potential. It has won in the past and is poised. Although, if I am betting IPA, I go San Clemente by a nose. A very small nose indeed.

Poor Man’s IPA: This was your runner up last year to Pliny the Elder in the double IPA category. Since Vinnie built in Santa Rosa, we’ve pretty much all been Pliny’s Bitch (even me once). That being said, I am staking my handicapping skills that this is the year that Pliny takes a half step back so that a Poor Old Working Man can bring home the goods. Gold Medal. Nothing else matters here.

Hop Suey: It’s a little known fact that a Pizza Port based Double IPA has won a medal at the GABF every year since they launched the category some 5 years ago. No other brewery can make that claim. This beer has never won but damnit it should. With that being said, Jeff wins two medals in the same category this year. Gold and Bronze. This beer wreaks. It wreaks like Fuzzy Bud. Very Fuzzy indeed.

547 Haight Street: The world famous Toronado had a 20th anniversary party this past summer. Perhaps you sampled this monster then? If so, you’d know like me, this is a WHOA Joey Lawrence sort of beer. I like it. I prefer the Shark Attack more. However, the sentimentality kicks in here. There are at least 3 of the Toronado 20th Anniversary beers entered in the competition. Would be pretty kick ass to see all three win. It could happen.

That’s it for Carlsbad. Jeff owned the Pizza Port Stage last year. I don’t see any reason for slowing down. It may not be 5…3 certainly wouldn’t suck. The cream rises to the top. Here’s hoping the Carlsbad boys have the ability to rise above the altitude one more time.

By my count 3-5 medals. I am taking the middle road of 4.

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