Saturday, June 16, 2007

Pink Boots at Port

"Adventure is my only reason for living." ~Alexandra David-Neel

June 15: Knock knock. It's 5:30 am, and whereas I thought I was parked in an out of the way spot at Stone Brewing Co., I was actually in the middle of the early morning action. Stone ships their out-of-area kegs and bottles by 4:30 pm. The local deliveries depart by 6:30 am. Plus, the employees wanted to park in those spots I was using. So, I fired up the van and pulled Big Buddy to the top of the "upper lot" near the restaurant. Then I went back to sleep. Stone's owner Greg Koch had generously offered the use of the shower at his old house, which is for sale and empty, so I headed there to freshen up upon waking.

After a quick lunch at Albertsons grocery store, I headed for Port Brewing Company. Port is housed in Stone's old facilities in San Marcos. Brewmaster Tomme Arthur was out of town on an East Coast beer safari, but owner Vince Marsaglia welcomed me. Vince was in the middle of cooking up a seafood penne pasta extravaganza on Port's loading dock. It smelled so good, I had to have a second lunch.

Afterwards, Vince fired up Port's 8-head "Skip-Built" bottle filler. Vince mentioned that until today they'd only filled bottle-conditioned beers with it, but today he planned to counter-pressure fill Shark Bite Red into special private-label bottles for Qual-Com. I fetched my safety glasses (more like sunglasses) from my van. Vince showed me how to run the gas-powered bottle crowner, and he and I tag-teamed most of the afternoon. (Photos above.) Bo Winegarner manned the bar as Port's faithful fans filed in to get their Friday afternoon growlers filled.

Vince took off, Bo cleaned the bottling mess, and dynamic duo Terri and Sage Osterfeld took over bartending and growler-filling duties. The bar atmosphere morphed into a friendly living-room sort of place. Patrons brought their dogs and their babies. Homebrewers shared their beers. A local guy nicknamed the "Beer Hunter" shared his latest finds. I enjoyed the Devotion, Red Barn, 10 Commandments, Angel's Share, and a few others. Terri gifted me three bottles of tasty treats to take with me.

Every time I asked for a "taste," I was served half a glass. I moved from the twilight zone to the danger zone, as most of Port's beers are unique, delicious, wood-aged, and quite strong. The bar is only open on Fridays from 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm, and if you make it there, you were trying because it is not so easy to find.

After closing, Terri, Sage and their friends and crew took me to dinner at Churchills, the No#1 beer bar in the area. I had very nice Fish & Chips and a Kolsch. Adam Tillotson and his wife dropped me off at my van at Port Brewing. I keep an Alchohawk breathalizer in my van for these occasions. Needless to say I sat in the parking lot and chatted with my husband for about 45 minutes until I was legal to drive. Also needless to say, I had a well-earned headache in the middle of the night. Although Port's beers were excellent, I hope not to repeat the hangover experience during the rest of my trip.

L to R: Adam, Teri, Bo, Terri and Sage
P.S. Thank you to Stone Brewing Company for the free wireless in their Bistro.

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