Archive for May, 2013

Memories Are Made of This

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013
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With its breathtaking shores and beautiful foothills, the Monterey Peninsula has long been known as one of the country’s foremost places for a destination wedding. Thousands of couples, their families and friends flock to Monterey and beyond to celebrate their nuptials and enjoy the wide-ranging choices in location, world class food and other activities. Everyone knows Pebble Beach of course,  and if you are Sean Parker, the founder of Napster and Facebook’s first president you can pretty much build your own venue in Big Sur. (Yes, he is actually doing that to the tune of $10 million!) A special perk, however, for those who make the Peninsula home is the “insider” knowledge about some of the most beautiful locations that fly way under the radar.

 

One of those hidden gems is the Memory Garden located at 20 Custom House Plaza in Monterey. The garden, located just outside the Portola Hotel & Spa, was designed by Fredrick Law Olmstead Jr. in 1927 and is enclosed by eight foot adobe walls which gives this venue a peaceful and private tranquility. The Garden is managed by the California State Parks and counts the Monterey State Historic Park office and the historic Pacific House Museum as part of the property. Featuring a 15-foot diameter fountain, a beautiful historic flower garden and a 5×16 foot barbeque, the garden has Southern Magnolia trees throughout the grounds that offer peaceful shade and lend to the park-like quality of the venue. The grounds also include a small dressing room and bathroom, but with its proximity to the Portola Hotel, wedding guests will often make their way directly from the hotel. The natural beauty of the garden juxtaposed with the historic adobe of California’s first state capital create a photographer’s dream and a location that can serve as wedding or reception location, or both!

The staff at the Portola Hotel can provide you with information on group rates for you and your guests and the folks at the State Parks can offer additional information on the Memory Garden itself. So if you are looking for something more intimate than Pebble Beach and don’t quite have the coin to build your own venue in Big Sur, consider the Memory Garden on Monterey’s Custom House Plaza. As the song goes, Memories are made of this!

Alvarado Street Raspberry Wheat Release

Thursday, May 16th, 2013
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Imagine if Michelangelo got to take another crack at the Sistine Chapel or Leonardo Da Vinci repainted the Mona Lisa? It’s not often that an artist gets to recreate a masterpiece, but that is exactly what Peter B’s Brewpub Brewmaster, Kevin Clark has done with his re-release of his award winning Alvarado Street Raspberry Wheat craft beer. After winning silver medal at the BTI World Beer Championship in 2012, Clark figured he could improve on his work and what better week than to re-introduce the beer world to his genius than American Craft Beer Week, 2013.

Clark refined the process and tinkering here and there with the recipe and the outcome is one of the most highly anticipated releases in the area. Clark has become one of the hottest Brewmasters around garnering nine total medals from the World Beer Championships in two years including three bronze, four silver and two gold.

 

Rooted in sustainability, Clark’s process includes locally harvested hops from the Salinas Valley, re-use of salvaged grains for cattle feed and a system that a mad scientist would love that saves 40,000 gallons of water per year by reusing boiled water. With this hometown presence, it is no wonder that the name of his beer is derived from the historic Alvarado Street that ends just outside the Portola Hotel & Spa where Peter B’s is located.

So stop by Peter B’s Brewpub and rediscover the wonderful taste of Kevin Clark’s Alvarado Street Raspberry Wheat and be introduced to a true artist!

Summer Festivals in Monterey

Friday, May 10th, 2013
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As many know, the Monterey Peninsula is one of the most beautiful places on earth. From the rugged coastline of Big Sur and the serene inlets of Moss Landing’s Elkhorn Slough to the winding trails of Carmel Valley and the Fort Ord National Monument, there is something for everyone. While those attractions are available throughout the year, some of the Peninsula’s most popular attractions only come around every 365 days.

Monterey and the surrounding area have long been synonymous with music and art of many kinds and nothing exemplifies that better than the summer festivals that make Monterey their home. The granddaddy is the Monterey Jazz Festival September 20-23, 2013. The longest continuously running jazz festival in the world, the MJF has continued to hold its September dates since 1958 and has features some of the biggest names in Jazz and popular music. Not to be outdone is the Carmel Bach Festival which is celebrating its 76th year with 15 days of performances, talks and educational events July 13-27, 2013.

 

Monterey stamped itself on the counterculture scene with the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, which was the blueprint for future musical spectacles like Woodstock and Lollapalooza and continues the tradition today, although with a slightly mellower vibe. The California Roots Music & Arts festival gets the summer started right, Memorial Day Weekend May 24-26, 2013. The good times continue August 9-11, 2013 with the Monterey Bay Reggaefest. In its 18th year, the festival is one of the largest in Northern California and features over 20 performers.

The ear has been satisfied, but how about the mouth? The food festival season kicks off with Cooking for Solutions at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The three day event, May 17-19, 2013, focuses on sustainability and environmental stewardship in the food and beverage industry.  Also that weekend is the 54th annual Castroville Artichoke Festival. Celebrate California’s newly crowned State Vegetable and soak in a bit of history as the Festival counts a young Marilyn Monroe as one of their first “Artichoke Queens.” Memorial Day weekend features the Great Monterey Clam Chowder & Calamari Festival as two of the peninsula’s favorite seafood dishes collide at Custom House Plaza behind the Portola Hotel & Spa. If you are a wine lover, the area also plays host to the Monterey Wine Festival, June 7-8, 2013 and the Winemaker’s Celebration on August 10, 2013.  Both showcase the best of Monterey County’s vast winemaking region which was recently named one of the “Top 10 Wine Travel Destinations” by Wine Enthusiast Magazine.

Ear; check. Mouth; check, but what about your eyes? Monterey also hosts a number of summertime art festivals and while music and food are certainly considered art, these are the traditional forms are highlighted at events like the Carmel Art Festival May 16-19, 2013. With its origins as a bohemian artist colony, Carmel-By-The-Sea plays host as the 20th annual event that showcases visual arts, sculpture, a judged plein air painting competition and much more. Three weeks later, the Valley gets into the act with the Carmel Valley Art & Wine Festival June 8, 2013. Carmel Valley Village comes alive as over 60 artists and art galleries display their works. Sand City, Monterey County’s hotbed of alternative art and vision hosts the Sand City West End Celebration August 23-25, 2013. Known for its independent and irreverent artistic atmosphere, the West End Celebration features and open air artist’s fair throughout the streets and the public is invited into the many studios and creative spaces that call Sand City home.

So if the dog days of summer are getting you down or you need to break for the coast to beat the heat, cruise into Monterey County and enjoy the eclectically rich summer festival scene. There truly is something for everyone!

American Craft Beer Week 2013

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013
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In the United States, beer has long been synonymous with sports. Whether it is enjoying a couple of cold ones at the ballpark, tailgating with friends and thousands of others at a college or NFL football game or simply kicking back at home, sports equal beer. While dominated by the mass produced mega-brewers for years, Craft Brews and Breweries are quickly becoming a favorite for the sports-crazed American populace. Good times at the game do not have to mean a bad tasting beer.

If a professional football junkie’s nirvana is Superbowl week, then American Craft Beer Week is the equal for the casual and hardcore fans of the Craft Beer movement. May 13-19, 2013, America embraces Craft Beer in all its glory and locally, Peter B’s Brewpub, recently voted as Monterey County’s Best Brewpub and Best Beer is offering a full lineup of awesome events.

Brewmaster Kevin Clark is leading the festivities and the week kicks off in style on Monday the 13th with the release of the highly anticipated Alvarado Street Raspberry Wheat. Tuesday features a Mug Club Mixer from 4-6:30pm and complimentary Raspberry Wheat tasters for all Mug Club members. Pubtalk with the Beer Geek holds down its usual Wednesday place at the pub, but this week is extra special as Host Chris Nelson will feature a special American Craft Beer Week show and giving away two sets of Monterey Beer Garden Tickets (must be present to win). Want more? Peter B’s will also be offering Growler specials and its always popular Firkin Wednesday small batch tastings.

 

The week continues on Thursday the 16th with a 6pm Brewers Dinner featuring guest brewery Bison Brewing and special guest, The Beer Wench! (Reservations are highly recommended – (831) 647-4805) And if that was not enough, Peter B’s celebrates American Craft Beer Week at the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Cooking for Solutions Event on Friday the 17th from 7:15-10:30pm.

Each day, Peter B’s Brewpub will also offer Brewery tours from 4-5:30pm and daily Special Guest Brews featuring $3 pints. With so many great events, it might be hard to choose just one, so why don’t you choose them all. If you love beer, this is the week for you. Cheers!