The Badass Beer Advent Calendar: December 10th: Port Brewing Santa’s Little Helper

A day late on the advent calendar means TWO delicious brews for you today!

(Editor's note: It's my fault this is a day late; apologies! -mb)

Santa's Little Helper is a delicious Russian Imperial Stout made by a brewery in Southern California, a little to the north of San Diego. Perhaps you were thinking it's a dog belonging to a certain well known cartoon family. Well, yes, it's that too.

Port Brewing has an interesting history and is closely associated with a couple of other local breweries, one well known, the other less so. It started off in a small way when brother and sister Vince and Gina Marsaglia expanded their homebrewing setup and turned their Pizza Port restaurant into a brewpub. The beers were excellent and customers had a big thirst for them. So much so that Vince and Gina had thoughts about expansion, and when another local brewery--one you might have heard of called Stone--moved to bigger premises, Pizza Port moved production into Stone's old brewery and the beer side of the business became Port Brewing LLC.

One of the co-founders of Port Brewing, along with Vince, Gina and Jim Comstock, was a man by the name of Tomme Arthur who had already been brewing for Pizza Port. Vince had a dream of a range of Belgian abbey ales, and Tomme helped to bring this idea to fruition, eventually heading the Lost Abbey brewery which is an offshoot of Port Brewing and is housed in that same building once occupied by Stone. Lost Abbey has a reputation for brewing some seriously good Belgian style ales, including a range of sour beers and wild ales (which we talked about a few days ago).

Earlier this year Pizza Port collaborated with Green Flash and Stone on a beer called Highway 78, a rich, malty Wee Heavy named after the California highway that all three breweries are either on or very close to.

Sadly, neither Port Brewing nor Lost Abbey beers are to be found on sale in Texas, yet. The only way you're likely to get any of them is to go there and bring it back yourself or to trade with someone who lives there.