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San Diego Beer News

SD Brewers Take Home 60 Medals from LAIBC

Apr 28

Beers made in San Diego earned 60 medals at the 2017 Los Angeles International Beer Competition (LAIBC). Additionally, seven beers were given honorable mentions. Check out the full list of winners here.

GOLD – 22

  • AleSmith Brewing Company: AleSmith Anvil ESB (Extra Special Bitter)
  • AleSmith Brewing Company: AleSmith Horny Devil (Belgian-Style Strong Specialty Ale)
  • AleSmith Brewing Company: AleSmith Nut Brown Ale (Brown Porter)
  • Ballast Point: Ballast Point Russian Imperial Stout (Export Stout)
  • Belching Beaver Brewery: Peanut Butter Milk Stout (Specialty Beer)
  • Coronado Brewing Company: Orange Ave Wit (Honey Beer)
  • Council Brewing: Woofle Dust with Apricots (Belgian-Style Lambic or Soul Ale)
  • Indian Joe Brewing: IJB Pineapple Passion Fruit Gose (German-Style Sour Ale)
  • Intergalactic Brewing Company: Alpha Mensae (Other Belgian-Style Ale)
  • Intergalactic Brewing Company: GalactoberFest (German-Style Maerzen)
  • Intergalactic Brewing Company: Gold Leader (English-Style Summer Ale)
  • Intergalactic Brewing Company: Space Oasis Coconut Porter (Field Beer)
  • J & L Eppig Brewing: IWCBD Kottbusser (American-Style Wheat Beer)
  • Karl Strauss Brewing Company: Singularity Black IPA (American-Style Black Ale)
  • Kilowatt Brewing: Roggenbier (Historical Beer)
  • Legacy Brewing Company: Founding Fathers Nut Brown Ale (American-Style Brown Ale)
  • Mike Hess Brewing: Habitus (Rye Beer)
  • New English Brewing: Brewers Special Brown Ale (English-Style Brown Ale)
  • New English Brewing: Pacific Storm Stout (Classic Irish-Style Dry Stout)
  • Pizza Port: A.B.L.E. (American-Style Stout)
  • Pizza Port Bressi Ranch Brewing Company: Sharkbite Red Ale (American-Style Amber/Red Ale)
  • Resident Brewing: Urbanite (American-Style India Pale Ale)


  • 2kids Brewing Company: Rattlecan Red (Imperial Red Ale)
  • AleSmith Brewing Company: AleSmith Private Stock Ale (Old Ale or Strong Ale)
  • Ballast Point: Barometer Drop (Baltic-Style Porter)
  • Coronado Brewing Company: Waylaid (American-Belgo-Style Ale)
  • Council Brewing: 2nd Anniversary Flanders Style Red Ale (Belgian-Style Lambic or Sour Ale)
  • Indian Joe Brewing: IJB Lichtenhainer (Historical Beer)
  • Intergalactic Brewing Company: Dark Sun Imperial Black IPA (American-Style Black Ale)
  • Iron Fist Brewing Company: Ken Schmidt Chocolate Mint Stout (Herb and Spice Beer)
  • J & L Eppig Brewing: Natural Bridge (German-Style Schwarzbier)
  • Kilowatt Brewing: Grand Entrance (Export Stout)
  • Mike Hess Brewing: Peppa Habitus (Chili Beer)
  • Monkey Paw Brewing Company: Ol’ Colo (German-Style Altbier)
  • Mother Earth Brew Co.: Mother Earth Four Seasons Winter 2016 (Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Beer)
  • Pizza Port: Junk In Da Trunkel Dunkel (German-Style Wheat Ale)
  • Resident Brewing: Golden Kiss (Belgian-and French-Style Ale)
  • Rip Current Brewing: Bodysurfing Belgian Blonde (Belgian-Style Blonde Ale or Pale Ale)
  • South Park Brewing Company: Grassmarket (Scottish-Style Ale)
  • South Park Brewing Company: Scripps Pier (Oatmeal Stout)
  • South Park Brewing Company: Tongues of Angels (Australian-Style or International-Style Pale Ale)
  • Thorn Street Brewery: Cocomotive Coconut Porter (Field Beer)


  • AleSmith Brewing Company: AleSmith .394 San Diego Pale Ale (Australian-Style or International-Style Pale Ale)
  • AleSmith Brewing Company: AleSmith Lil’ Devil (Belgian-Style Blonde Ale or Pale Ale)
  • Belching Beaver Brewery: Batch 2 (Wood- and Barrel-Aged Sour Beer)
  • Belching Beaver Brewery: Beavers Milk Stout (Sweet Stout or Cream Stout)
  • Belching Beaver Brewery: Dammed IIPA (Imperial India Pale Ale)
  • Bitter Brothers Brewing Co.: Aunt Joy (Field Beer)
  • Council Brewing: Beatitude Cherry (Belgian-Style Fruit Beer)
  • Council Brewing: Liminal Spaces (Belgian-and French-Style Ale)
  • Intergalactic Brewing Company: Brown Coat Ale (Brown Porter)
  • Iron Fist Brewing Company: Aloha Plenty (Specialty Beer)
  • Karl Strauss Brewing Company: Mosaic Session IPA (Session India Pale Ale)
  • Kilowatt Brewing: Chocolate Macadamia Stout (Chocolate Beer)
  • Kilowatt Brewing: Gin Barrel Aged Rye IPA (Experimental Beer)
  • Mike Hess Brewing: Coffee Umbrix (Coffee Beer)
  • Mother Earth Brew Co.: Mother Earth/Bruery Four Seasons Spring 2017 (Specialty Saison)
  • Pizza Port Bressi Ranch Brewing Company: Swamis IPA (American-Style India Pale Ale)
  • Rip Current Brewing: Rescue Buoy RIS (Imperial Stout)
  • South Park Brewing Company: 2 Griffs (Extra Special Bitter)


  • Council Brewing: Broken Wand (American-Style Sour Ale)
  • Indian Joe Brewing: Imperial Red Sour w/ Blackberries & Black Currants (Wood- and Barrel-Aged Sour Beer)
  • Iron Fist Brewing Company: Spice of Life (Belgian-and French-Style Ale)
  • Mission Brewery: Dark Seas (Imperial Stout)
  • New English Brewing: Pure & Simple IPA (American-Style Strong Pale Ale)
  • Pizza Port: Rhino Chaser (Imperial Red Ale)
  • South Park Brewing Company: Herb and Honey (Historical Beer)

Beer of the Week: 2kids Winning! Chocolate Stout

Apr 28

Winning! Chocolate Stout from 2kids Brewing Company in Miramar

From the Beer Writer: Back when the married owners of 2kids Brewing Company first told me about their chocolate stout, the nano-brewery had just opened, the beer wasn’t yet on tap and we weren’t that far removed from the Charlie Sheen meltdown that partially inspired its name. But there was far more than the zeitgeist-riding intent to the handle 2kids Winning! Chocolate Stout. The moniker conveys the medal-garnering status of this beer from Rob and Sam Dufau’s pre-2kids homebrewing days. Hearing them describe its recipe and pedigree, I grew excited to come back and check it out. When I did, Winning! did not disappoint. Rich in chocolate flavor but just 6.2% alcohol-by-volume and extremely drinkable, it fits in with 2kids’ largely sessionable and occasionally confectionery-inspired portfolio of ales, and is a no-brainer for aluminum-containment now that the Dufaus are putting canned offerings up for sale at their Miramar digs. The beer will make its debut in four-packs starting 3 p.m., today at 2kids’ tasting room during an official release event, providing the basis for a victorious weekend.

From the Brewer: “Winning! Chocolate Stout is an amped-up milk stout that we brew with organic cocoa, Madagascar vanilla beans and fair-trade cacao nibs. We’ve been working on this recipe almost as long as we’ve been brewing, and as homebrewers it was our most decorated beer at competition. It has a big, roasty malt backbone that helps balance out the sweetness and supports the dark-chocolate flavors that dominate the flavor profile. It’s dessert in a glass, but balanced enough to enjoy a pint of. We also like it with a big scoop of vanilla or coffee ice cream, or half and half with our Tribute Blonde Stout for the most intense black-and-tan ever.”—Rob Dufau, Co-owner, 2kids Brewing Company

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Battlemage Brewing set to open in Vista

Apr 27

You can scarcely throw a 100-sided die in Vista without hitting a brewery, and come the weekend of May 6, two guys used to utilizing that role-playing game tool will debut the latest entrant into that sudsy community—Battlemage Brewing Company (2870 Scott Street, Suite 102, Vista). Best friends and fermentationists Ryan Sather and Chris Barry named their interest after a hybrid class from a game they’ve been playing for the past 20 years: D&D (Dungeons and Dragons, non-RPGers). Sather has spent the three years working at Home Brew Mart. Barry’s Ballast Point Brewing experience is a bit shorter—he’s been there the past year after moving on from managing Mother Earth Brew Co.’s homebrew shop. In opening Battlemage, they are going from advising people on brewing to doing it themselves on a professional scale.

As far as the beers they brew on their five-barrel system, they’re not limiting themselves. Both have medaled in a plethora of categories as homebrewers—IPAs and wide-ranging American, Belgian, English and German styles. The duo expects to offer traditional styles as well as classic styles given twists that make then “truly magical.” A white ale that comes across as a light-hopped blonde ale with the drinkability of a lager will share beer-board space with a aromatically hoppy American amber and a variety of IPAs because, as Sather says, it wouldn’t be San Diego without them. When Battlemage’s doors open, 8 to 10 beers will be on tap. Initial kettle sours will give way to future barrel-aged sour ales, as well. They hope to have a bottle release or two at some point and can once they have the funds to do so, but for now, draft is the name of their game.

The tasting room is designed so customers feel as if they are entering a medieval castle. Weapons and mystical creatures will grace the walls in the smallish space. Sather says he and Barry intend to embrace their nerdy side by putting on a variety of different gaming nights, ranging from fantasy to classic D&D. An event where the comic-book artist who developed Battlemage’s logo teaches patrons how to draw dragons and other graphic delights is under development. Also in the works is a collaboration with the distillery two doors down, Henebery Spirits, where Battlemage will age beers in used barrels, while the distillers will age whiskey in those same barrels once the beer is drained from them.

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Q&A: Zack Knipe

Apr 26

Owner, Kensington Brewing Company

After several years in operation, Kensington Brewing Company gained a name for itself last January when it opened its brewery and tasting room to the public. There was just one oddity—that tasting room is in Grantville versus the business’ namesake community. Owner Zack Knipe lives in Kensington and has wanted to set up shop there from the beginning, but was forced to compromise to bring his vision to fruition. But over the past year, he’s kept his eyes open for a space. One day, a sign went up in the iconic Kensington Video storefront and he pounced on it—along with a number of other suitors for that space. In the end, he won out and soon his brewery’s name will make sense. He knows he has big shoes to fill, supplanting a hometown business of nearly four decades, but thinks his goods have the goods to do right by Kensington and hopes his new venue becomes a hub for the community he harbors so much affinity for.

West Coaster: What factors made it difficult to setup shop in Kensington?
Zack Knipe: “Downtown” Kensington is an amazing place, but it just isn’t that big. Most of the businesses on the block have been operating for a very long time, so it limits the amount of real estate available for newcomers. Only a couple of opportunities to establish a tasting room on the block have come up over the past four years, and there was heavy competition for those locations. It was difficult! There were a lot of really good businesses competing for our new location, and we pushed very hard to make sure we got the opportunity this time.

WC: What’s so special about the Kensington community?
ZK: As part of my proposal to lease the Ken Video space, I wrote the owners a letter that talked about how I first found Kensington. I am from a small town in Northern California and came to San Diego to attend USD. Go Toreros! San Diego was such a big city to me that I always envisioned returning to NorCal. Part of my college coursework had me taking some cinema classes. One of the only places in the city to find foreign films or less mainstream films was Kensington Video. During my many trips out to the video store to pick up class materials, I explored the neighborhood and saw that it really has that small-town vibe in a big city. Long story short, being a part of a community like that means a lot to me. It has been where I wanted to raise my family and brow my business for a very long time. Sixteen years later, not only do we have the opportunity to be a local business, but also to setup in a space that first brought me here.

WC: How do you plan to convert this iconic space to fit your needs?
ZK: Our brewing operations will continue in our current facility in Grantville. We wanted to make sure we are able to have as much room as possible for the community to not only come in and enjoy a great beer, but host an event or community gathering. We will have a large amount of both bar and table seating, and we intend to be as kid-friendly as possible. The space also has a great audiovisual system we hope to use to show some of Ken Video’s classic collection. I don’t want to give everything away, but, aesthetically, we are aiming to have some historic Kensington elements blended with the Spanish and Craftsman-style architecture seen throughout the neighborhood.

WC: What’s the plan for the Grantville brewery?
ZK: We originally ended up in Grantville to stay as close to Kensington as possible. Being right down the hill from the neighborhood, we felt we would still serve it. In the process, we learned what great people we have in Allied Gardens, Del Cerro, Talmadge, Normal Heights and a lot of other nearby communities. Many of our regulars love he vibe that we have going in our current tasting room. In the short term, with our current staff, we will solely produce beer in Grantville while retaining the current setup for special events, using our Kensington location as our main tasting room. In the long-term, we hope to reopen the Grantville tasting room with some permanent hours.

WC: When do you expect to open the new location?
ZK: All of our paperwork is currently being reviewed with the ABC and we are awaiting our posting, which we hope to receive in the next couple of weeks. It is ambitious, but if everything goes as planned, we would like to be open in July. We want to thank everyone who has supported us over the four years it’s taken to get to this point. We look forward to more fun times to come!

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Chula Vista Brewery opening Cinco de Mayo

Apr 25

Craft beer’s “South Bay Uprising” has slowly been picking up steam over the past few years, but now things are getting real. The uprising is finally hitting the main drag in Chula Vista, the municipality where it’s most important that it make an impact—Third Avenue. That thoroughfare is already home to Third Avenue Alehouse and will soon be joined by the area’s first fully functioning brewery and tasting room, Thr3e Punk Ales Brewing Company. Much fanfare has surrounded the latter while another interest bearing the city’s name has quietly gone about the business of going into business right across the street: Chula Vista Brewery.

Located at 294 Third Avenue, Chula Vista Brewery is the product of Timothy and Dali Parker, a couple who live in the area. As the company’s name suggests, the Parkers aim to be ultra-local, which will include teaming with other Chula Vista businesses. They feel there is a misconception that Chula Vista lacks craft-beer drinkers, which has led to the community’s underserviced status from a brewing perspective. So, they’re taking it upon themselves to give their community the ales they feel it deserves.

Russell Clements, a veteran brewer who worked at Rock Bottom‘s La Jolla brewpub under (current Second Chance Beer Company brewmaster) Marty Mendiola before moving on to Ballast Point Brewing, will be the one manning the brewhouse. He will be assisted by Timothy, whose brewing background has all been gained on the home-front. Together, the duo will craft enough beers to stock CVB’s dozen taps. They are currently developing a blonde, red ale, American pale ale, IPA and stout on their five-barrel Premier Stainless system. A double IPA, porter, imperial stout and hoppy lager will come later.

While the business may open as soon as this weekend (the Parkers advise that they will post information about any soft-opening on their website), the official grand opening will take place on Friday, May 5. CVB will have Third Avenue to themselves for a little while. Their cross-street colleagues at Thr3e Punk Ales are currently scheduled to open to the public by the end of June.

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