Archive for May, 2012

Wireless Connectivity

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012
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In today’s modern and technologically advanced world, wireless connectivity at your hotel is almost a foregone conclusion. Nearly everyone has it in their rooms and most establishments have centralized connectivity in the lobby. But what if you had a hotel that had 100% connectivity across all guestrooms and meeting spaces? The Portola Hotel & Spa offers just that and in an effort to have one of the best guest experiences in the business, they have recently upgraded their system to provide unparalleled security, signal strength and ease of use. The hotel features 136 access points and 24 additional access points for flexible deployments which is especially helpful during corporate events and tradeshows. The system was designed by Cisco specifically for the Portola Hotel & Spa and offers some of the highest grade in class security measures available. While not the most “glamorous” piece of the guest experience equation, it goes without saying that it is one of the most important.

Monterey Movie Tours

Friday, May 25th, 2012
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The Monterey Peninsula is beauty personified. From the hills in Carmel Valley to the Lone Cypress Tree in Pebble Beach visitors and locals alike marvel at dramatically different settings located throughout the area. A group with a different take on the stunning visuals is Hollywood location scouts. For years, the Peninsula has been the backdrop for a wide variety of feature length movies, documentaries and commercials. See if you can remember the local flavor highlighted in these famous films? How about Play Misty For Me, Clint Eastwood’s homage Carmel and Jazz or the slobbering antics of the four footed star of Tom Hank’s buddy film, Turner & Hooch? Maybe you remember the whales in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home or the sandy embrace of Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr in From Here to Eternity? One of the easiest ways to experience the best of the best in locations and movie trivia is through Monterey Movie Tours. The tour takes you throughout the Monterey Peninsula in an air conditioned high seat backed luxury tour bus complete with audio narration and visuals on the overhead screens. Stops include three along the famous 17-Mile Drive and the tour is approximately three hours. The tour begins in downtown Monterey and is just a short walk from the Portola Hotel & Spa. If you are looking for a great addition to an already fun filled visit to the Monterey Peninsula, take a tour through this beautiful area with the magic of the movies as your guide!

 

Great Monterey Clam Chowder & Calamari Festival

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012
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Nothing says Memorial Day like the beach, barbeques and time with the family, but nothing says Memorial Day on the Monterey Peninsula like Clam Chowder and Calamari! The inaugural Great Monterey Clam Chowder & Calamari Festival will be held May 26-28, 2012 at the historic Custom House Plaza directly adjacent to the Portola Hotel & Spa.

Monterey’s waterfront will come alive with a full weekend of food, live music, cooking demonstrations and more types of chowder than you can possibly imagine! This free family friendly event will also feature a bevy of different food and beverage options with arts & crafts, marine-oriented educational organizations and local chefs teaching some of their culinary secrets. Live bands are scheduled throughout the weekend with the festival running from 11am-7pm on Saturday and Sunday and from 11am to 6pm on Monday.

So if you are looking for a reason to come to the Monterey Peninsula on Memorial Day Weekend, and seriously, who isn’t, make your reservations at the Portola Hotel & Spa today and plan on great food and good times at the Great Monterey Clam Chowder & Calamari Festival.

Firkin Kegs

Thursday, May 17th, 2012
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Peter B’s Black IPA Firkin Keg with Masterbrewer Kevin Clark

One of the best things to come out of the Craft Beer movement is the new and innovative brewing methods and equipment that have come into use. Many brewers and breweries will refer to a Firkin Keg in their literature. The term Firkin is actually an old Dutch unit of measurement, about ten gallons. Consequently, it is that measurement that refers to the Firkin Keg, which was an old wooden cask that ale used to be stored in. It holds about the same amount as a modern “pony keg”, but has a rounded shape that permits the flavor rich sediment to collect at the bottom without allowing it to escape the tap. Many beer aficionados and brewers refer to this as cask ale or cask beer when it is served directly from this specialized keg.

 

Tapping the Firkin Keg

Peter B’s Brewpub Master Brewer Kevin Clark further describes the use of the Firkin Keg. “Most larger batches of beer are force carbonated. A brewer will inject the batch to bring it to a certain level of carbonation. A cask ale or lager is naturally carbonated as the cask or keg is filled directly from the fermenting vessel. The yeast is still alive and active and continues to consume the additional sugar added to the cask thereby creating my natural carbonation. This creates a very special beer that is conditioned to be smooth and gentle.”

 

Peter B’s Firkin Keg Black IPA

Peter B’s utilizes this method and others to create a variety of specialty and seasonal offerings that are available at select times throughout the year. To learn more about this process and the brewing of beers in general stop by and the knowledgeable staff at Peter B’s Brewpub will introduce you to a whole new world of taste excitement.

Art of Craft Beer

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012
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For centuries, man (and woman) has brewed beer. The simple ingredients and natural process has made its creation a favorite the world over. As the traditional European Brewmasters began to immigrate to the United States in the late 1800’s, larger, more consolidated operations and standardized recipes began to appear. As the population exploded, so did the popularity of this increasingly available and inexpensive beverage.

The industry was dominated by huge multi-national corporations throughout the most of the 20th century and the true art and craftsmanship brought over from Europe was abandoned in favor of a mass produced product for the masses. It wasn’t until the early 1980’s that a new trend began to take hold. Small, “boutique” breweries focused more on the process than the profit of beer making, began to pop up all over the country. These “micro-breweries” made their products in small batches and catered to a growing number of people looking for the same experience with beer that they could have with wine.

As the popularity of micro brews swept the country, some breweries began to outpace their contemporaries in terms of sales and national recognition. Consequently, a new term was coined; Craft Brewery. A Craft Brewery, or Craft Beer officially refers to an independent brewery that is producing more than 15,000 barrels of beer per year while still holding to a more traditional and artistic style of beer making.

The term, however, is more commonly used to describe the actual artistic act or the “crafting” of the beer. As this process has grown, brewers have become as skilled and inventive as their counterparts in the wine industry and just as passionate.  In fact, many restaurants are offering beer tasting flights, pairing beer with certain dishes and, in the case of Peter B’s Brewpub behind the Portola Hotel & Spa, brewing their own beer. As Monterey’s only craft brewery, Peter B’s offers all that and more and is actively engaging and educating locals and guests about the process. So in celebration of American Craft Beer Week, stop by Peter B’s, raise a pint and see what all the excitement is about. Cheers!