Tom Becham’s Beer Review: Port Brewing/Lost Abbey and Karl Strauss

Written by Tom Becham

My wife and I recently visited two of the many icons of San Diego’s lively beer community.

The first is the semi-legendary Port/Lost Abbey Brewing Company. While Port/Lost Abbey was started in 2006, it has its roots in the Pizza Port brewpub chain, which has been a fixture of the San Diego County beach scene for more than 20 years. The brewery’s brewmaster, Tomme Arthur has impeccable brewing credentials and multiple awards to his credit.

Port/Lost Abbey is actually in the town of San Marcos, an inland community in northern San Diego County. In fact, in a bit of trivia of interest to beer geeks, Port/Lost Abbey is located in the building formerly occupied by Stone Brewing before they moved into their new digs in Escondido.

Of course, calling the Port/Lost Abbey HQ a “building” may be charitable. It’s pretty much just a small warehouse in an extremely non-descript industrial tract. But don’t let that put you off. When you go inside it is still basically just a warehouse, with a bar along one wall, and wooden barrels of aging beer everywhere else. The “chairs” at the bar are old kegs with large barley sacks on the top of them for “seats.” Don’t be fooled. It only adds to the fun.

Another level of fun in the tasting room is added by the two ladies at the bar. (Ladies, if you read this article, forgive me for not remembering your names. You were a bit too generous on the pours for sampling!) They tell you they “won’t be gentle” and indeed, they give all the patrons some great sarcastic banter.

Finally, the brewery website has a “beer cam” which shows the activities going on at the tasting room bar. They’ve also set up a monitor so you can watch yourself on the webcam while you sit and drink at the bar!

Now to the important part: What is the beer like?
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Beer Profile: Lazy Magnolia’s Gulf Porter

Profiled by Ken Carman

Last night we came home and cracked open the growler. Perhaps it was because we had just had a few beers but at first all we got was Black Patent: a bit ash tray-ish. That’s not a good start because you really have to over do Black Patent to get that comment out of me. Unlike many quaffers and homebrewers, I like Black Patent and use it in higher amounts than most.

Tonight we cracked the growl again and, yes, perhaps too much BP, but it seems more complex now. Nice head: even for a day after apple cider jug growler opened. Nice clarity. Nice deep malt aroma: more chocolate and/or Marris Otter-ish.
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Escambia Bay Brewers at the Chili Cook Off: Seville Quarter

Ken Carman reporting for

Last Saturday the annual Pensacola Chili Cook Off was at Seville Quarter in downtown Pensacola. As usual Escambia Bay Brewers were there in force with chili and beer. What a gas it was!

Yes, that was a bean joke. Get over it.

The picture above is of one half of our chili cook off crew. They made some really fine chili. We had Jim and Kellie as one team and Butch, Julie and Diane made up the second team. As always we put on a masterful presentation and made some scrumptious chili. We also provided beer: including, but not limited to, two pale ales and a grand smoked porter provided by Hal. Wow. And he thought “too much smoke?” I told him to submit it for competition. I’d make sure I was the judge who beat him down. No, seriously now, it was incredible, Hal.
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Dead Beer Brands

By Garland Pollard for


Walter’s BeerMissing your old friends in the fridge? It could be that your favorite beer brand is gone. While some brands are making a comeback, other brands are still in the tank.

Fortune magazine’s Beth Kowitt surveyed the top 99 oldest beers in the U.S., according to manufacturer and year of establishment. They turned the list into a handy-dandy interactive list. While many great old brands that one thought might have disappeared are still around (Piels, Hamm, Pearl, Shiner Bock, Tuborg), others have gone away.

Some of the below brands had second lives as discount brews; others just disappeared. Some appear that they might have some potential to be revived, as they are still known by consumers. If any BrandlandUSA readers can help us with other missing beer brands, it would be a big help.

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Ye Olde Scribe’s STUPID Beer Report

“Because some marketeers will do anything to avoid focusing on making better beer.”

The public knows little about good beer. What to do. What to do. Ah, this guy knows! Make a stupid gimmick: a device that makes your bottle float in mid air. What’s next, making scalpels that also serve as bottle openers? Surgeon to nurse: “Did you see where that cap went when it popped off? Oh. see, now it foamed over. We’ll never get all that out. We’ll just close up; he won’t know the difference.”

Here’s a link to this idiotic device.

What was the First Beer in Space?

By Jesus Diaz for

Sure, the Soviets had the first cosmonaut and the Americans won the moon. But leave it to the Japanese to brew the first space beer in history. Called Space Barley, it uses barley grown in the International Space Station.

Made with the collaboration of the breweries, Okayama University, and the Russian Academy of Science, the Space Barley is made only of barley and has no additives. And even while Adam says that it must taste like metal and loneliness, and Jason says that it probably comes out of Bender’s ass, I would like to try it. Or precisely because of that.

Sadly, Sapporo has only made 100 litres of this extra-terrestrial beer with a 5.5% alcohol content, which will only be available for a limited tasting in Japan. [AFPBB (Japanese) — Thanks Mona]