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San Diego Beer News

Super Saturday

Aug 26

GF_22oz-Treasure-Chest_noBG_RGB_webTomorrow San Diegans have a plethora of options for beer drinking other than just visiting the 120+ breweries in town. A few of those events benefit great causes, including Green Flash’s sixth annual Treasure Chest Fest, which raises funds for breast cancer charity Susan G. Komen San Diego.

Treasure Chest Fest promises to be multi-faceted, featuring 20+ restaurants & vendors, live entertainment to go with the luau theme, educational presentations, games & activities, meet-the-brewer sessions, a photo booth and more.

Here are more Saturday events, pulled from the West Coaster event calendar:

Pomegranate Green Tea (Beer To The Rescue) Release @ Kilowatt Brewing
91X BeerX Beer & Music Fest @ Liberty Station
Bay City Brewing Co. First Anniversary Party
Uncasked at UTC (Benefiting the San Diego Brewers Guild)
Firestone Walker Beer Dinner @ URGE Gastropub Rancho Bernardo
Beer 4 Breakfast w/ Second Chance @ Small Bar
Avery 23rd Anniversary Celebration @ Machete Beer House
Vegan Sweets Pairings @ 32 North Brewing
Big & Small ABV Guided Tasting @ Benchmark Brewing
Craft Brewed Comedy @ Mission Brewery

Know of more events? Tell us in the comments.

Beer of the Week: Stone 20th Anniversary Citracado IPA

Aug 26
Stone 20th Anniversary Citracado IPA

Stone 20th Anniversary Citracado IPA

From the Beer Writer: The writer in me who loves the intricacies of our language, gets an almost unrivaled kick out of wordplay. Applying it in the brewing industry, where hop puns and such run rampant, is a lot of fun. Often, it’s marketing personnel who come up with these clever gems (or poxes on liquor-store shelves depending on one’s opinions on such things), but back during my days at Stone, former brewmaster Mitch Steele employed a beer-name that not only referenced the company, but yielded an inventive recipe as well. Steele suggested combining Citra hops and local avocado honey in a double India pale ale, then calling that beer “Citracado” IPA as a nod to the street that’s home to Stone’s Escondido brewery and packaging hall. We all loved the idea immediately and there were plans for it to serve as Stone’s anniversary ale at least once, but it took nearly three years to come to fruition. In the end, it’s rather fitting that this beer serve as liquid commemoration of two decades in the brewing business. Stone 20th Anniversary Citracado IPA embodies the brewery’s hop-forward, often high-alcohol (9% alcohol-by-volume, in this case) style while incorporating an authentically “Escondidian” ingredient. Citrus flavors come on strong but are balanced nicely by a sturdy malt backbone that tastes more and more of that sweet, earthy bee nectar the more the beer warms up.

From the Brewer: “The recipe for Stone 20th Anniversary Citracado IPA has been alive for about three years. I came up with the idea as we were brewing the Suede Imperial Porter with Tonya Cornett from 10 Barrel Brewing and Megan Parisi, who at the time was with Bluejacket in Washington, DC (she is now a research brewer for The Boston Beer Company). In that collaboration beer, we used jasmine and calendula flowers as well as avocado honey. I had bought some avocado honey a few months earlier at a farmer’s market, and found that it was so delicious, rich and fully flavored that I thought it would be perfect in a beer. Plus, I thought it would pair really well with jasmine flowers. During the brew day for Suede, we tasted the honey and I immediately realized it would be great to also use it for an IPA recipe. That’s when I had the ‘a-ha’ moment: If we used Citra as the primary hop, we could then call it Citracado IPA and really have something cool that provided a nice tie-in to the address of Stone’s Escondido brewery–1999 Citracado Parkway. Unfortunately, we never had enough Citra hops contracted to use it for a Stone Anniversary Ale, as the success of Stone Go To IPA and Stone Enjoy By IPA set us back a few years. This year, we finally had enough Citra hops to pull it off. It also turned out to be one of the last beers I formulated at Stone, and I am really excited about it!”–Mitch Steele, former Brewmaster, Stone Brewing

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DIY Beer Ice Cream

Aug 24

Every now and then, as if a gift from the gastronomic gods, a package will arrive at my front-door. Sometimes they are foretold of, but more regularly than one might think, they come completely out of left-field. In this case, left-field being some magical place where culinary and bar tools, foods, ingredients, adult-beverages and apparatuses built to keep said libations cold on-the-go are crafted. It’s tough to make a fortune as a writer, but these occasional surprise perks keep us scribes going.

Companies and public-relations firms send out samples in an attempt to entice and inspire the media to help spread the word about certain products. I do the same thing in my capacity as a brewery marketing manager, so I understand the often-favorable risk-and-return odds associated with doing so. The marketer in me hopes for 100% media pick-up from such efforts, while the journalist in me realizes that the percentage of such products I’ve written about over my career is rather low. Even in cases where I absolutely adore the samples provided – I would love to tell you about a particularly tasty brand of pork jerky – there simply isn’t a publication or content fit at the moment.

image8So when a sample arrives that meets quality standards and can wedge its way into my writing schedule and a publication’s calendar, it feels good to get it in to share news of something I think my readers will legitimately enjoy. And if that happens to be jerky, check out Golden Island—

This particular column is about a product that arrived at my home one afternoon, and was so interesting to me that I made plans to give it a whirl straightaway. They had me at “DIY Beer Ice Cream.”

If those words piqued your interest, too, here’s the skinny on an ice cream mix from The Curious Creamery ( Aside from the fact this product allows one to make ice cream using beer, it eliminates the need for an ice-cream machine. No outlay of cash for a machine destined to be rarely used, no freezing of cylinders, no loud churning ruckus. This is a good thing. All an aspiring ice cream conjurer has to do is go to the store and buy this mix, which comes packaged in containers that, once opened, can be filled with the finished product.

The only things you need once the mix has been procured is your beverage of choice and one of the following: an electric stand-mixer such as a Kitchen Aid, an electric hand-mixer or an electric stick-whisk. This is maybe the only downfall of Curious Creamery’s invention, but even with the aforementioned devices set on high, it required nearly 10 minutes to churn the ice cream. A hand-whisk and human musculature simply can’t replicate that effort and get the necessary volume-enhancing air beat into the mixture.

Once the beer and powder mix are blended courtesy of modern culinary technology, the resulting custardy concoction can have light-weight mix-ins such as graham cracker crumbs or chocolate shavings folded into it. From there, it’s straight to the freezer to let the mixture firm-up to the consistency of traditional ice cream. This takes two to seven hours. If you want to toss in some heavier mix-ins like fruit, cookie-dough chunks or chocolate chips, fold those in about halfway through the freezing process, lest they sink to the bottom. It really is just that simple and produces some pretty tasty dessert fare.

I made a couple of batches using the Curious Creamery mix; one with AleSmith Speedway Stout and chocolate chips and another with Benchmark Brown Ale. The Speedway version didn’t work all that well, and it had everything to do with its 12% ABV; the alcohol doesn’t freeze and the ice cream wasn’t able to support the heavier mix-ins. The boozy flavor was unappealing as well. Curious Creamery actually recommends diluting beer that’s more than 6.5% ABV by 50% using a non-alcoholic beverage, so I can’t say they didn’t warn me, but I had to give it a shot.

But if you go with something that is plenty flavorful, yet lower in octane, like Benchmark’s 4.5% Brown, you’ll get the results Curious Creamery intended, and that’s something that’s rather good and relatively easy.

Read more »

Beer of the Week: Toolbox Saison Chene Rustique d’Abricot

Aug 19
Toolbox Brewing's Saison Chene Rustique d’Abricot

Toolbox Brewing’s Saison Chene Rustique d’Abricot

From the Beer Writer: It’s hard to believe they’ve been in business nearly two years, but Toolbox Brewing Company (which will celebrate its second anniversary at its Vista tasting room on September 3) has been cranking away at its wild-and-woody pursuits for some time now. During that time there have been obstacles to overcome, due mostly to a far-too-high-profile split between ownership and their original brewer. But Toolbox has done more than repair any busted cogs. Current brewer Ehren Schmidt (who’s been there a full-year now) has hammered-and-nailed the brewhouse to fit his brewing methodologies, and visitors to the tasting room—where the most impressive of the brewery’s stock is presented—are benefiting big-time. Toolbox’s line of wild and otherwise soured beers is varied and impressive, but when asked which they are most proud of, the owners and brewers unanimously point to Saison Chene Rustique d’Abricot. Smelling of apricot flesh and tasting both floral and herbal in its Belgian-yeast influence with subdued stone fruit character, this 7.8% alcohol-by-volume farmhouse ale is a thing of beauty. It’s easy to see why the crew is so quick to hang their collective hats on this one. And bonus: unlike most prized bottled beers up for sale online (which happened a short while ago), there is still some of this beer in-stock at Toolbox’s tasting room. And starting later today, bottles of two new beers—a barrel-aged sour farmhouse ale called Nyssa, plus a version of that beer flavored with white peaches—will be available on Toolbox’s website.

From the Brewer: “The Rustique Series of saisonswhich so far consists of Chene Rustique and this beerare Toolbox’s tribute to times past. Chene denotes that this beer came from our American oak fouder. This variant has apricots added to accentuate the already complex characteristics of hay, citrus and oak with deep stone fruit flavor and aroma. Close your eyes and imagine you’re a saisonier working in the fields of rural Wallonia in Belgium, sipping a quaffable beverage such as this. This is our homage to those hard-working farm-hands, and a place and time when beers like these were necessities, not luxuries.”—Ehren Schmidt, Head Brewer, Toolbox Brewing Company

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Meet Wiseguy Brewing Company

Aug 18

Wiseguy NameBrett Gent lived in Linda Vista and passed vaunted recreational supply-store, Home Brew Mart, almost daily. On one such day, he finally turned his steering wheel, pulled into the driveway, entered the store and purchased his first home-brew kit. Ten years after that watershed occasion, he is in the process of opening his own brewery, and its name was inspired by the movie that was playing during his first day using the aforementioned kit—Goodfellas. As he mashed in, boiled and lautered, one word kept getting thrown around via that cinematic classic…wise-guy. As a result, Carlsbad residents can look forward to receiving Wiseguy Brewing Company come the front-end of 2017.

Over the past decade, Gent won numerous awards for his home-brewed ales and lagers, leading him and his father, Tom, to take things to the next level. Wiseguy will be located near the McClellan-Palomar Airport off El Camino Real, and have a tasting room equipped with around 10 taps. Gent likes breweries where visitors have a communally driven experience that allow for the striking up of conversations and friendships, so he plans to lean in that direction with his sampling site. Aesthetically, the team will aim for a beach theme, using imagery from Gent’s brother—a professional photographer—to help convey that.

Wiseguy will have a 10-barrel brewhouse and a cellar consisting of five 20-barrel fermenters. Gent says he is a fan of all styles, but is a card-carrying hop-head. So, there will be a number of India pale ales and other hoppy beers augmented by a pilsner and German classics such as an altbier, doppelbock, schwarzbier, dunkelweizen and more. But don’t expect a Brett beer. Despite the fact it would be his namesake creation, Gent is a purist where beer is concerned, to the point where he also won’t be adding fruits, flora or other adjuncts to his beers.

Above all, Gent wants to create high-quality beer. With this being San Diego County, a hotbed of brewing ingenuity and success, he says he knows there will always be a bigger or better brewery than his, but also states he’s not in this for the money. He says getting into the brewing business is all about his legitimate love for beer, and that his main goal is for people to leave Wiseguy feeling every beer they had was really good.

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