Friday, March 30, 2012

Snow Angels and Craft Beer

So we thought we’d do a little something different to celebrate St. Patty’s Day.  Instead of going to one of the many celebrations here in the OC, we took a trip up highway 38 to Big Bear Lake.  The weather forecasters, who usually have a winning percentage in the 40 percent range, hit this one spot on…unfortunately for us.

We had a great plan to check out the Big Bear Mountain Brewery and sample one of their many fine craft beers along with a great mountain burger.  According to their website, the Big Bear Mountain Brewery and Restaurant building on Red Ant Hill is one of the oldest commercial buildings in Big Bear.  It was built in 1925 by a renowned pioneer of Big Bear named Bill Knickerbocker. The big pale yellow building was the original home of the Masonic Temple, but now the historic landmark building has a hand-crafted wooden bar and rustic ambience.  I was really looking forward to trying their Old Miners Gold, a honey blonde, Little Beaver, a Cali Pale Ale or The Grizzly, a Chocolate Porter.  I had hoped to speak with owner/brewer about attending Taste of Brews in Riverside on Saturday, June 2. 

That day may eventually come, but not on this weekend.  So the storm arrived a little late, but packed a heavy punch.  I’d estimate a good foot of snow dumped on Saturday afternoon to early evening making the roads treacherous.  The winds were whipping up and visibility was nil.  We would have given it a go but our good friends at Snow Summit left a sizeable berm of ice and snow at the end of the driveway making it impossible to get out.  OK, so we decided to give it a go on Sunday instead…better late than never!

We weren’t lacking for food having packed enough for an extended stay.  I really screwed up though and forgot to bring any beer thinking we’d hit the brewery and stock up on our favorites. Fortunately someone had left a 12-pack of beer.

The snow continued overnight on Saturday into Sunday; another 6-8 inches at least.  It took nearly an hour of digging snow tunnels for our dogs, Chip and Dip, to make their way around the yard.  Not used to the altitude and already exhausted, it then took another hour of trying to clear the now four foot-high wall of snow at the end of the driveway.  Fortunately for us, a couple of Snow Summit employees ventured by with a snow plow and cleared the berm.  Excited, we finished a couple of (literally) ice cold beer, made a few snow angels (like teenagers) and headed into the house for a well-deserved break.

Well, Mother Nature was having her way with us on this weekend.  The skies opened up again with heavy snow and high winds, dumping another eight inches—the snowboarders must’ve had a field day on the fresh powder.  It felt to me like Groundhog Day all over again, having to re-dig the dog’s paths and clear a route to the car only to find yet another huge berm! 

Alright, even I could read the tea leaves on this one.  I cleared as much as my exhausted body would allow and headed into the cabin to build a fire, grill some burgers and suck down another Blue Moon.  The snowflakes continued to fall well into the evening on Sunday, leaving me no choice but to watch the Walking Dead Marathon.  So much for best laid plans and the trip to Big Bear Mountain Brewery.  There’s always next time, but I do hope they pour at Taste of Brews.  I really would like to sample that Honey Blonde!

See you all on June 2nd at White Park.

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