Half Moon Bay Brewery

I had been hearing about Half Moon Bay Brewery for months it seems. One of my friends is a regular and spends quite a few afternoons there working and having a beer. I don’t know about you, but I am always a little bit more creative with a beer in hand! So while I was in the San Francisco Bay area I made my out to Half Moon Bay to finally Visit the Half Moon Bay Brewery.

The brewery sits back a little bit from the water and has an amazing patio to watch the sun go down. It is right next door to a popular area for surfers too! This world-famous surfing spot is what their beers are named after – Mavericks Beers & Ales. As you can see, they have quite a selection of craft beers. They are also continually trying new recipes and doing special releases of seasonal ales, porters, and my favorite, stouts!

AIB - HMB Brewery List

When you are not sure what you will like at a brewery, order a beer flight and try a few that speak to you. I went ahead with Bock Bock Easter bunny – holy yumminess Batman, the Russian Imperial Stout, and the Bootlegger’s brown Ale.

AIB - HMB Brewery Beers

Their Maverick’s Amber Ale was a Bronze Winner in the 2010 World Beer Cup. It was back in the bottling area ready for the batch to finish brewing so it could be sent out all over the US for thirsty ale drinkers.

AIB - HMB Amber Ale

It was a busy day in the brewery and I was lucky to have a few minutes to talk to BrewMaster James Costa. He has been brewing for most of his life and can’t imagine doing anything else. I asked him what beer he would have if he couldn’t have his own, and we had another nod to Ballast Point. He is a big hops guy and he loves the flavor of Mosaic hops right now. James and I talked about the upcoming craft brewers beer festival in Boonville and what I should expect there. Let me tell you, Boonville was amazing and I had the chance to talk to James a bit more – he is an awesome brewmaster, but more importantly, an great guy!

AIB - HMB Brewery Tanks & James Costa

While tasting the beers that day, I had the privilege of talking with a couple of the investors, Ken Pearlman and his wife, and also Christine Mendonca. Ken has been working on improving the wine list at HMB Brewery (my other love!). Christine and I had a great discussion about how men and women taste beer differently. Most women taste on the top of their tongue and tend to like things sweeter. Men on the other hand, taste first on the sides of their tongue and can handle beer a little more bitter. Who knew, right?

They both suggested I not go anywhere until I tried their Chocolate Porter Float made with the Pit Stop Porter. Who am I to argue? Can I just say, that was utterly delicious. I had to refrain from ordering another!

I had a really great afternoon hanging out at Half Moon Brewery. I’m looking forward to going back and tasting their seasonal beers, having more of their delicious food, and watch the surfers in the bay.

AIB - HMB Stout Float.jpg



Adventures In Brew Visits Black Diamond Brewery

Black Diamond Brewery

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Black Diamond Brewery welcomed me with open arms on my way through San Francisco. They are located just north of the city in Concord, CA in an industrial park. I’ve noticed a few breweries doing production in industrial parks lately, kind of awesome really. Their beautiful tasting room was not in a traditional bar-type building or a strip mall and you would have never know from the outside the awesomeness that awaits when you walk through those doors. I walked in on the night of their annual pig roast and was greeted by over 500 people enjoying craft beer and having one helluva good time.

Black Diamond Pig Roast edited

At first I was a little nervous of going to a big event on a Friday night solo. That quickly changed when I met Mike Pierce, their National Sales Manager in the bathroom line! We had been going back and forth for weeks and neither of us were supposed to make it to the pig roast. Love how things work out just the way they should!

Black Diamon - Mike Pierce edited

Mike poured me the Whiteout Wheat which was just about perfect after a long day of writing. It was smooth, had a very slight bitter taste but evened out by the sweet orange taste. I also picked up coriander which I love to taste in a wheat beer. THis is the beer you grab on a hot summer day for a quick refreshing taste. Yumm-ee!!

4-18-14 Black Diamond Brewery

Before Mike took off for the night he introduced me to Black Diamond Brewery’s head Brew Master Paul Mallory. To say I was stunned by how young Paul was would be an understatement. At 27, he had been doing home brews for just seven years and loved to make beers he could relax with at the end of a long day. When he was made the head brew master last year, he increased the brand’s value and started to create some stellar beers. Paul has a taste for what works well together and I for one am looking forward to see what he comes up with in the coming years!

Paul’s Fave Beer: Black Diamond Mosaic IPA
Pauls’s Go To Beer: 
Sculpin from Ballast Point
Collaborate: Sierra Nevada for a hop-forward with new exciting hops
Wet Hops: One beer every year that has four different types of wet hops that are local to California. It is a fun challenge as their systems aren’t designed for it so they must get creative.
Quirky fact: Paul puts plants up throughout the brewery for a zen-like feel and for air purification – need more plants there, Paul!

Black Diamond Brew Master edited

I came back the following week to tour the brewery and to ask a few questions. I got the guys in the middle of brewing their stellar IPA and this is a picture of the hops with steam boiling up over creating an amazing scent. They need to bottle that up and sell it as cologne as it is enticing!

Black Diamond Hop Shoot_02

The Story of Peak 15: Originally it was an illustration  art of Tenzig Norway who was the first Sherpa to stand on top of Mt. Everest. The first 22 0z Bomber by Black Diamond was an Imperial Porter and was going to be called Tenzig. They later found out that Tenzig was a celebrity and his estate wanted a $100,000 for the image rights! They couldn’t come up with a cost that would work and make the beer affordable. They changed the image and renamed the beer to Peek 15, which was the original name to Mt Everest and now the image is no longer Tenzig, but just a Sherpa. I loved this story – so very cool in my honest opinion.

Black Diamond Peak 15

The infamous barrel room… barrel aged beers are all the rage these days. I am personally a BIG FAN. I had their Bourbon Barrel Aged Peak XV which was mind-blowingly awesome. I might have took home a growler of this bad boy. I don’t think I want to share it either! That good!

Black Diamond Barrel Room_1

A Black Diamond selfie with the crew after a hard day’s work. These guys are personable, down-to-earth, and have great friendships between them. The Black Diamond crew is a lot of fun to hang out with.

Black Diamond Crew edited

They are hard at work tasting beers. It is a tough job, but somebody has to do it!

Black Diamond Guys edited

I love Black Diamond’s stainless steal growlers especially this one that is filled with my favorite Bourbon Barrel Aged Peak. I am one lucky girl!

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