Archive: December 2015 - Low Brau

Breweries | Ballast Point, Intergalactic, AleSmith, & Saint Archer

Breweries | Ballast Point, Intergalactic, AleSmith, & Saint Archer

We were visiting family for the holiday, and as normal always try and hit a few breweries while in the area. This trip had the addition of family from Germany so four of us headed out for some sampling. One of our party wasn’t feeling so well, so we had our designated driver. We decided to head north of Miramar (this is the base where Top Gun was based off of), as there is a cluster of breweries in the area, some of which are consider craftbrew leaders.

Our first stop was at Ballast Point. Driving up the road, it appears as a beacon. Finding road parking, being shared with the other industrial buildings adjacent has the potential to be more daunting on other days, but we found a spot not too far away. The smell of roasting malts hit us while still in the car, and after a quick walk, we were inside. The space inside is a bit smallish, with a keg pickup and merchandise area off to the left, and the tasting room off to the right. The outdoor seating area is larger, and on nicer days, the best place to post up. They had just had their Victory at Sea event, with a lot of specialty brews on tap (all of which were 10%), but we decided to hit their standard offerings. They did have a few snacks, such as nuts for purchase, but we didn’t see any food. It was a bit chilly for us, so after hitting the sampler and picking up some swag, we carried on.

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Ballast Point Brewery

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Ballast Point – Samples

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Ballast Point – Brewery

Beers Sampled: Longfin Lager, Even Keel Session IPA, Wahoo White, Pale Ale The Original, Grunion Pale Ale, and Calico Amber Ale

Our next stop was Intergalactic Brewing Company. This is a smaller brewery, but had some great reviews so we threw it in the mix. Located a short distance away we initially thought we may be able to walk. However, that would have required crossing a highway, so driving was the best option. Took us a minute to find the location, as it was hidden on the back of a maze of industrial/office buildings. Luckily there are many flying saucer signs pointing the way. This is a small brewery, open to the public by a roll up door leading directly into the tasting room. The tasting room has a bar and some bar tops, and is covered in plenty of space themed decoration. The propane heaters weren’t working this day, so the chill crept in the entry. They had a large fun assortment of beers, so we requested some recommendations to help build our flight. Cake is A Lie truly smells like cake by the way.

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Intergalactic – Building

151221 - Intergalactic - Entry

Intergalactic – Entry

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Intergalactic – Samples

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Intergalactic – Bar

Beers Sampled: Terran Sour Plum Ale, Galactic Milk Stout, The Cake is A Lie, Space Oasis and Coconut Porter

Onward and upward, after a quick drive down the road, we ended up at AleSmith. I’ve been familiar with their beers, but was in for a surprise when we pulled into their facility. It is always nice to see a brewery take design seriously, and AleSmith definitely does. They even had renderings located throughout showing some of the plans for the future. Walking up, you are first greeted a large outdoor patio with plenty of heaters and a food truck (Gwynn Gourmet Food Truck was there this day). The main entrance takes you into their retail space, where you can buy bottled beers and merchandise. Continuing through brings you into the large high ceiling tasting room. The volume of the space truly has a bit of an awe-inspiring effect, with the tasting bar anchored by the fermentation vessels behind. There are a variety of seating options, from the more loungey to bar tops. They have a kids area in the back, and even allow dogs to come on in. Surprisingly, with a volume such as this, it still felt cozy. The flights are broken up into a variety of profiles, for example, if you are into Belgians, they have a flight for that. We picked up a couple extras in addition to the Belgian flight, as they had some Xmas Specials going on. We were starting to get hungry, so the food truck provided a nice sustenance boost. It was a bit harder to leave our comfy couch seating, but we knew we had a few more stops.

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AleSmith – Building

151221 - AleSmith - Tasting Room

AleSmith – Tasting Room

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AleSmith – Samples

Beers Sampled: Lil Devil, Horny Devil, Grand Cru, Quad, Lemon-Ginger X, Nut Brown Ale, and Old Numbskull.

Another brewery that I have run into is Saint Archer, since it was nearby, we made sure to stop in. In a typical industrial building, and somewhat assuming (at least it was at night) is the entry. To the left of the entry is a small outdoor seating area for sampling. Inside comes off as a raw brewery space with a tasting room in the middle. There are some partial height walls and bars, clad in a mix of metal and rustic reclaimed wood. One bar sports some of the merchandise options, and there are a few bar tops for seating. The look is one that I have seen replicated a decent amount. They had a good mix and line up for options to sample, with one side being more pale malts and the other more roasted. Seemed to be a lot of stout and coffee options.

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Saint Archer – Signage

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Saint Archer – Brewery

151221 - Saint Archer - Samples

Saint Archer – Samples

Beers Sampled: Nelson IPL, Hoppy Pilsner, Wee Heavy, Gose, English Brown, and Coffee Brown Ale

At this point, we were ready to call it a night, but since we were in this great mix, figured we would try and hit Green Flash. We arrived a couple of minutes after 8:00 pm, and they were closed. Parking lot was already pretty empty by then. Was a shame, but I guess we can save it for the next time. It was a good time hitting this breweries, and offered a good mix of options and styles. I believe my family enjoyed exploring this wide variety of flavor profiles, some of which are not at all what they are used to. We picked up an updated Brewer’s Guild map, and will continue to check off more as we visit.

Ballast Point
10051 Old Grove Road
San Diego, CA 92131
9835 Carroll Centre Road
San Diego, CA 92126
AleSmith Brewing Company
9990 AleSmith Ct
San Diego, CA 92126
Saint Archer Brewing Company
9550 Distribution Ave
San Diego, CA 92121
San Diego Brewers Guild Map –

4Runner | Tie-Rods

4Runner | Tie-Rods

A while back when I had my brakes done, the shop recommended that I fix the steering bushing and my passenger side tie-rod, as it was starting to go. It was now noticeable to the steering wheel, as at some speeds there was noticeable vibration and twitch. Considering these were the original tie-rods from ’99, it wasn’t a bad idea anyway. I ordered Moog replacement parts, inner and outers, as well as the lower ball joints. These parts sat in my garage for a few months at least before I found a good weekend to try and tackle this and be able to bring it to a shop for re-alignment. I had done my research, watched plenty of videos, and read up on forums to make sure I was prepared. I had assisted on a tie-rod replacement back when we had the Jeep Wrangler, but this would be my first at it alone. From what I had read, 4Runner’s were easy to do, so that made me happy.

So on Black Friday, I decided to tackle this. Figured that I would get it done on Friday and be able to bring it to a shop on Saturday. After getting the tire off, I sprayed it heavily with PB Blaster to loosen up the old bolt and cotter pin. At this point, I took a measurement of how far the outer was threaded into the inner. This would allow me to get somewhat close when putting it back together. The pin came out with some jiggle, and nut loose with some effort. I had a pickling fork from the timing belt work (we used it to jam the flywheel), so I figured this would be an easy pop. After all, all the material I read and saw said you had to have the tool, and I figured I had the tool. It did not though. Some videos even recommended hammering on one part of the joint, and it would just pop out. Not so here. Nope, this was a pain and it was in there. After a few moments of frustration, I headed to AutoZone and Pep Boys to find a “The Tool”. I didn’t see said tool in the loaner book, and found a tie-rod tool on the shelf. When I got home, it was tool small and wouldn’t fit around the joint. So I returned this one and got a bigger one, though it was called a Pittman Arm tool. This one wouldn’t fit either. So, it was time to put the tire on, and limit driving the 4Runner (the pickling fork had killed the gasket and nicely removed all the grease in it). Day lost.

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Tire off (placed under for added safety) and view of old outer tie-rod with tie-rod boot.

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Measuring remaining threads on the outer. Took a picture so it would be easier to remember the measurement.

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Nut & cotter pin thoroughly doused in PB Blaster.

The following weekend, I made sure I got the right tool. I stopped in Advanced AutoParts and purchased the one I had seen in a couple of articles. This tool made all the difference. I was able to keep the Pittman Arm tool, as it worked on the lower ball joint, so that was a plus. However the bolts holding the old joint on was rusted and stubborn to remove, add in the difficult angle (it really wants you to access from below rather than the side or the top) and so this portion of the replacement was put on hold. Figured when I mess with the suspension and control arms down the road, I’ll just replace them then. Fiddling around with the LBJ cost me some time on the passenger side, however the driver side was done in 30 minutes. Truly amazing how quick this can go with the right tools.

So once the cotter pin and bolt is removed. Use “The Tool” to separate the joint. You will notice how bad your inner tie-rod is at this moment if it drops quickly. Loosen the finger clamp on the boot and push it back to gain access to the outer tie-rod. Since I was replacing the whole piece, I was hoping to just take it all off at once. I ended up cutting the boot clamps off at the steering rack, and then compressing it towards the outer to gain access to the inner tie-rod. Using a plumbers wrench, I loosened the tie-rod and removed it. I had to use my table clamp to separate the inner and the outer, as the locking nut that came with the new parts didn’t fit. Not sure why it was different. I used the old locking nut though. I also used the old inner washer, as these already had the nice indentions on them. If you use the new, you have to use a ball pein hammer to indent the washer around the new inner. I’m not too crazy hammering on sensitive parts, and since I couldn’t get under the vehicle for accurate swings, this was a better method for me. I put the inner into the steering rack end, and then screwed the outer to the measurement I took earlier. Make sure to put the boot on before you screw the outer on. Slide the joint together and used the wrench to tighten up. Used a new cotter pin, and put the tire back on. Since I cut the old clamps, put new ones on.

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Finally, the joint has been separated!

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New inner tie-rod. Notice how it holds itself up and is stiff. Worn out ones would flop down from it’s own weight.

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Everything going back together, joint secured again.

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Cotter pin and nut tightened. Nice new gasket ready to be filled with grease.

Now I just need to fix the steering rack bushing, but I already noticed a big difference in the steering. The shake and vibration is already noticeable much less than before. This truly was an easy replacement with the right tools. I would recommend having a plumber’s wrench, 27 MM wrench, Tie-rod tool, wire cutters, and of course “The Tool” in addition to your normal tire removal and jacks.

151127 - 4Runner - Tie-rod-Tool

“The Tool” that I wish I had from the beginning. This thing makes this job super easy.