Big Brew Ha Ha: Beer lovers hoppy with review site that’s good for what ales you

By Jenna Jay

Pat Tugend and Scott Van Vugt might not know every frothy brew on the market, but they’ll gladly put their palates to the test. Childhood friends and now co-hosts of their beer review website TheBEERSgoneBAD (thebeersgonebad.com), Tugend and Van Vugt are on a mission to share their drinking experiences with the virtual world.

Pat Tugend (left) and Scott Van Vugt. Courtesy

Through a series of videotaped episodes posted online that review an ongoing list of beers, Tugend and Van Vugt have in less than three months, become an integral part of San Diego’s booming craft beer scene.

“We’re in such a unique spot. San Diego is like the epicenter for craft beer,” Tugend said, explaining why TheBEERSgoneBAD fixates on beers from local breweries such as Stone, Karl Strauss, Green Flash, Ballast Point, and Coronado Brewing Co.

Though the pair did not originally plan to focus on local microbrews, that has been the trend for the San Diego natives. Tugend and Van Vugt provide their basic and stripped-down opinions on a one-beer-per-episode review, feeding off each other in a makeshift studio through one-take videos that appeal to beer meisters across the expertise spectrum.

“Our intentions were that we’re going to learn along the way and let everybody else know what we learned,” Tugend said. “We’re still learning the process, we’re relating the things that we find in our normal day lives.”

For TheBEERSgoneBAD reviewers, it’s all about being able to relate to their viewers. Giving the most honest and unpretentious reviews, Tugend and Van Vugt have found themselves describing the tartness of Julian Hard Cider as “shock tarts in water,” and deeming Port Brewing Co.’s WipeOut IPA an “IPA Light.”

Part of the appeal of TheBEERSgoneBAD, according to the connoisseurs, is that anyone who drinks beer can relate to their reviews.

“We have the platform to be the liaison between the Average Joe Shmoe, who grabs things off the shelf and doesn’t know a centennial hop from a cascade hop, and the brewer who does,” Van Vugt said.

If there is one demographic of viewers that TheBEERSgoneBAD collects, it might be the gaggle of 20- and 30-somethings, like Tugend and Van Vugt themselves, who grew up entrenched in the “Bud Light phase” and have transitioned into the finer side of beer drinking.

This is evident through original segments such as rating beers by shot-gun ability (giving a 1-10 rating on the easiness to chug, with 1 being “tomato soup” and 10 being “Bud Light”) and also with a shot-gun challenge, in which Van Vugt invites viewers to beat him in shot-gunning a beer of their choice.

For both Tugend and Van Vugt, who work in real estate and at the Bird Rock Surf Shop by day, TheBEERSgoneBAD is a new way to channel a mutual hobby.

“This thing started out as just an experiment,” Van Vugt said. “It was us tasting beer and talking about what we thought, and it turned into us having to fight ourselves from doing it five nights a week.”

In the last two months, Tugend and Van Vugt have launched a blogging assault on the local beer scene. What began as an informal discussion between friends on craft brews has blossomed into a new career opportunity, and with Tugend’s technical skills and Van Vugt’s writing capabilities, TheBEERSgoneBAD just keeps growing.

“Realistically right now we’re focusing on just making sure what we do have on the website is 100-percent original and engaging,” Tugend said.

Plans for the future of the blog include the incorporation of UStream live broadcasting, as well as onsite taping at local breweries and restaurants. Tugend and Van Vugt will also host a craft beer and food event in Coronado on Oct. 8. For the details, go to thebeersgonebad.com.

Best Beers

1. Mana Wheat – Maui Brewing Co.

2. Islander IPA – Coronado Brewing Co.

3. Ruination IPA – Stone Brewing Co. “For one of those nights we want to get rowdy quick.”

— Source: Pat Tugend and Scott Van Vugt

Basic Building Blocks of Beer

Four ingredients: water, malted barley, hops and yeast.

The factors that go into deciding the style of beer to be made are the type and amount of malt used; the type, amount and method used when adding the hops; and the strain of yeast used to ferment the beer. To get a broader range, brewers will use specialty grains (malts) in a way that adds color and flavor to the beer without adding fermentable sugars. In specialty beers, people will use spices, fruit juices, candy, and just about anything else you can think of.

Beer Glossary

Ales: An ale yeast is called top fermenting because of its tendency to flocculate (gather) at the surface of the brew during the first few days before settling to the bottom. To brew an ale, fermentation must take place in warmer temperatures for the yeast to multiply and do its magic. Ales are usually higher in alcohol and will be noticeably fuller and more complex.

Lagers: The lager yeast simply flocculates (not at the surface) and sinks to the bottom, ergo bottom fermenting. Lager yeasts need cool temperatures during fermentation to perform their magic. Lagers tend to be lighter in color and usually taste drier than ales. They are generally less alcoholic and complex. This is the most common beer type sold in the U.S.

Specialty Beers: Either ales, lagers, or a hybrid of the two that will contain other ingredients that cause it to not fit into a true ale or lager style. — Source: 2basnob.com

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Posted by Staff on Sep 27, 2011. Filed under La Jolla Life, Life. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

1 Comment for “Big Brew Ha Ha: Beer lovers hoppy with review site that’s good for what ales you”

  1. Martyn Cornell

    That is one of the worst headlines I have seen for a long time. Seriously – does it not occur to anyone at La Jolla Light that tired, dull puns made a thousand times before do not make for an inviting introduction?

    And you don't understand what "flocculating" means, either.

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