A few months ago we ran a nifty little campaign on this website Kickstarter and it was such a HUGE success that I have just finished getting out the rewards (there are always a few stragglers). One of the rewards was a cupcake-paired brewery tour. And let me just say, we had a BLAST!!!
Quick note... my phone/camera was out of commission for the day, so all of these pictures were taken by the lovely people who attended the tour. - You guys rock!!!
With this tour, I really wanted to make sure to use one of each of the flavors of PubCakes' new Craft Beer Cake Mixes to really show how different every flavor is. And I promise, I will be posting the two recipes I made for the tour that are not on the blog just yet. ;)
We started the day at Hess Brewing North Park where we paired their refreshing Jucundus Honey Orange Wheat with our Belgian Spice Cake Mix (yes, I know it isn't a Belgian wheat beer, but the spices are what we really care about). I baked up a spice cupcake, with a orange blossom and orange zest buttercream, with a vanilla glaze. It was DELICIOUS.
Unfortunately, Hess is not able to do tours at their North Park location, however, it's such a beautiful set up that you can just look down at the brewery and see all the goings on for yourself... and we did.
On to Brewery #2
Oh, did I mention that I rented and DROVE a 15 person shuttle van!?!?! Yeah... that was part of the entertainment. - I did a good job, other than that one turn...... but we won't talk about that now. ;)
Next we made it to Karl Strauss Brewery's new tasting room off of the 5 freeway and Santa Fe Street.
The folks over at Karl Strauss don't actually offer tours, but they were so nice that they gave us our very own personal tour. It was tons of fun, and really informative. Did you know that when you are drinking a PBR you are actually drinking Karl's recipe!?!?! I love the history behind this brewery!!! Oh yeah, and the beer is pretty good too. ;)
We were lucky enough to get to pair our cupcake made with the Chocolate Stout Cake Mix with their bourbon barrel aged vanilla bean Wreck Alley Imperial Stout. Damn... that was tasty... and my only full taster of the tour. The cupcake was a chocolate stout cupcake with a bourbon vanilla bean buttercream. Oh, and the recipe for that frosting is right here. And seriously, it's one of my personal favorites.
Green Flash! If you haven't been on a beer tour at Green Flash Brewing Co, then you are seriously missing out. The energy and personality at this brewery was just entertaining beyond belief. Thank you Shawn (hope I'm spelling that right) for the very fun tour and all the beard spotting... I think it's a requirement to work here.
I went EXTRA hoppy on this cupcake. You have to mix it up, right?? Using our Vanilla Ale Cake Mix and their Palate Wrecker I baked up a vegan version cupcake. I did this because I really wanted those hops to shine through, and the vegan cupcakes use almost TWICE the beer!
We enjoyed a Palate Wrecker cupcake, with a jalapeno lime curd filling, a coconut lime whipped frosting, topped with spicy jalapeños - I love supporting other farmer's market vendors.
The FINAL Brewery, #4
And finally, we headed over to Ballast Point Brewery's Old Grove Tasting Room. We got here a little late, so there wasn't time for a tour... but that doesn't mean the cupcakes didn't taste great! I brought back an oldie, but a goodie, the Malted Marlin Cupcake. This cupcake was made using my personal favorite mix, the Cocoa Porter Cake Mix and Ballast Point's Black Marlin Porter.
This light chocolate cupcake has a raspberry coulis filling, a cocoa malt frosting, and a chocolate swirl. It's decadant, and tangy, and overall just awesome.
Finally we all returned to our vehicles (or taxis) back at Hess. I wish I had more images of the people, because we all had so very much fun. In fact, I can't wait to do this again! I am already talking to a tour group to see about scheduling these more regularly... you know, where I won't have to drive. ;)