December 19 –January 13
We returned to Los Angeles mid-week and began preparations for a baby shower we’d be hosting for our daughter and son-in-law, Jessica and Kris, as happy an occasion as one can imagine. Family and friends came together, and a fine time was had by all.
A week or so later I crashed my bike on the bike path south of the Marina del Rey, my rear tire blowing off the rim as I descended a small hill on a curve, the bare rim providing no traction when it hit the concrete road surface The bike went out from underneath me and before I knew it, I found myself on my rear end skidding down the pavement watching my bike slide along in front of me. Painful? You bet and the damage from the impact would linger for a number of months after. We did learn a few things about how to properly inflate a tubeless tire though, but we won’t go into that here.
Later in the month, we flew to Charlotte to celebrate the holidays with Joanna’s family and the many friends we left there when we moved back to the west coast. Just a short four-night trip, we rented a very nice unit from Airbnb (Walk to Light Rail from a Roomy Apartment in a New House). As the listing correctly describes, it was a brand-new basement level unit, thoroughly modern, with a spacious front room and kitchen, comfortable bedroom, great walk in shower and should you need it, washer and dryer.
With just a few days for the visit we met up with as many friends as we could, starting with a usual rendezvous at the Wine Vault on Thursday, watching the UNC Charlotte football team play in their first bowl game ever with Doug at his place on Friday, enjoying our Christmas gathering with Joanna’s family on Saturday and a small party with the Piedmont Adventure Club folks on Sunday. A whirlwind trip but a good one.
We returned from the west coast, celebrated Christmas Eve at our house with Jessica and Kris and then drove to Solana Beach the next morning for a few nights at what has often become a home away from home for us, the Condo. We hit our usual favorite spots (Pizza Port, The Confessional, Juanita’s, etc.), got in a bike ride or two and one night, ventured down towards north San Diego to visit a new brewery, New English, where we enjoyed a round or two.
We then moved on to Ballast Point Brewing’s Miramar satellite operation, where we were seated outside on the spacious patio, staying toasty warm under the very effective heat lamps and a balmy December evening. Originally slated to close down by its owners Constellation Brands:
Today Ballast Point closed its Temecula brewpub and announced its Miramar warehouse will soon shutdown. Ballast Point’s parent company, Constellation Brands, says their billion-dollar investment “has not met expectations” and are closing the doors to the two locations due to “declining craft trends.”
This location enjoyed a reprieve when all of Ballast Point was sold by Constellation Brands (who had purchased it from the original owners for $1 billion in 2015) to Chicago-based brewery Kings and Convicts in December 2019 for undisclosed terms, roughly estimated to be between $75 million and $200 million. At its peak under Constellation, Ballast Point’s sales were at 431,000 barrels. At the time of the announcement, early estimates for 2019 were north of 200,000. Meanwhile, Ballast Point’s trademark value had dropped over 90 percent from $223 million in January 2018 to $17 million in October 2019.
Regardless, we enjoyed our beers and quite good food, that being a hallmark of those breweries that serve food because, honestly, what doesn’t go well with good beer but good food and vice-versa. We finished up our time at Solana Beach and returned home to Los Angeles for one night, then traveled north to Oakland on Sunday to spend one night with Jessica and Kris.
While there we’d enjoy beers with Stephanie and Lee, friends from Charlotte who now live in Corpus Christi, (we visited them in 2016: https://3jmann.com/2016/04/03/south-east-spring-swing-part-three/ and https://3jmann.com/2016/04/05/south-east-spring-swing-part-four/) at a local favorite, The Trappist, and then dinner at another that had closed a year or so ago and now reopened, Tribune Tavern. I didn’t record what we had to eat that night, likely splitting a couple of appetizers and certainly an order of the Fish and Chips, always a good choice.
And so, we got to catch up with good friends and prepare for the next week or more of travel up north. We’d leave the next morning for a night in Chico and a rendezvous with Rhonda, a good friend of Kim. We looked forward to spending time in town neither of us was familiar with and likely good food and beer at the Sierra Nevada brewery. More on that to follow.
New English Brewing: https://www.newenglishbrewing.com/home
Ballast Point: https://ballastpoint.com/location/miramar/
The Trappist: https://www.thetrappist.com/
Tribune Tavern: https://tribunetavernoakland.com/