Belly up to the bar at the Port Brewing Co./The Lost Abbey taproom on any given day and you will find yourself surrounded by fermenters, wood barrels, and taps galore. Sound familiar? If you are lucky, Jason, their taproom manager, will help make your decision on what to drink easier, and he will definitely encourage you to taste some of the best damn beers you can get your dirty little hands on. Feeling something West Coast? Belgian? Sour? You came to the right place.
In May, 1997, Tomme was hired as the head brewer at Pizza Port in Solana Beach. In his eight years there, he won thirteen (yes, thirteen) Great American Beer Festival medals and was named Small Brewpub Brewer of the Year. Twice.
On February twenty-seventh, we hosted Tomme Arthur, the co-founder and director of brewery operations for Port/Lost Abbey to work side by side with us in the creation of Famine, our Belgian pale ale collaboration. Can you hear me screaming with joy on the inside? While living in San Diego, I was about fifteen minutes from their facility, where I made frequent trips with friends and family. Needless to say, when I heard that we here at Solemn Oath were going to be making a beer with Port/Lost Abbey and Tomme was coming out, I was just a tad bit excited. Okay, a lot more than a tad.
If you don’t know who Tomme is, then I should tell you to stop reading here and go back under your rock. But since I am an SOB and a gentleman, I will give you some quick background. Tomme began brewing at Cervecerias La Cruda (The Hangover Brewery) in 1996 in San Diego. The brewery closed soon after and Tomme went to White Labs, a brewers' yeast supplier, for a brief period of time. In May, 1997, Tomme was hired as the head brewer at Pizza Port in Solana Beach. In his eight years there, he won thirteen (yes, thirteen) Great American Beer Festival medals and was named Small Brewpub Brewer of the Year. Twice. Pizza Port owners then re-positioned him to take over as Director of Brewery Operations for Pizza Port in 2005. By May, 2006, Tomme had co-founded Port Brewing Co. and The Lost Abbey. Now he makes some of the most bold, complex, and sought-after beers in the world. You get all that? Good. Pretty rad huh?
Although the brew day was cold and crappy, the energy in the brewery was all unicorns and rainbows. In Tim’s words, “Hosting Tomme at Solemn Oath to create Famine was great. We made every effort to produce a balanced, memorable Belgian ale that you can't help but want to drink more of. It is humbling, to say the least, to have someone with Tomme's experience and reputation make a trip across the country to make beer with a brewery as new as us. I can only assume that it means we're very awesome.”
Tomme was on the same page when he said, “Working with the crew at Solemn Oath on a fun Chicago Craft Beer Week collaborative effort was great. The start-up energy and enthusiasm combined with exceptional brewing practices made this a rewarding experience for me. I look forward to fostering the relationship further and being able to host them for a new batch of beer out West when the time is right.” Sign us up!Now that you are full of knowledge and I have brought you to a much higher level of beer cool, I ask of you two things. One: when you are in sunny San Diego next, make a trip about thirty miles north to San Marcos, and enjoy the Port/Lost Abbey awesomeness in their taproom. If you don’t, I have no words for you. Two: keep an eye out for Famine to grace you with its presence at a release party during Chicago Craft Beer Week.