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San Diego Beer News

Short Pour: Wild Barrel

Oct 21

12651150_941104225975494_7468404234676239436_n“Dr.” Bill Sysak, Stone Brewing’s craft beer ambassador for more than seven years, just announced his intention to open Wild Barrel Brewing Company in San Marcos in spring 2017.

It was not immediately clear if Sysak was impacted by last week’s layoffs, and a press release stated that he had been working on this new project “over the last couple of years.”

Wild Barrel’s 15-barrel brewhouse will produce “San Diego Weisse” sours implementing a variety of fruit additions, plus rotating “San Diego style IPA’s” as well as an American stout with seasonal coffee additions from local roasters, and a “crushable” Belgian witbier.

Staying true to their name, a barrel program will age “a variety of barrel aged sours along with Bourbon-barrel Imperial Stout variations.” The company will begin with 300 barrels and expand to 1,000 “within the first few years.”

Short Pour is a new segment for brief news updates.

Beer of the Week: The Lost Abbey Madonna and Child

Oct 21
The Lost Abbey Madonna & Child

The Lost Abbey Madonna and Child

From the Beer Writer: Over the past two years or so, with the rising popularity of goses, salt-infused sour ales originating in the Goslar region of Germany, beers with added salinity have become more common and given way to multiple breweries’ attempts at ales brewed to taste like Margaritas. Most of these beers fall far short of the promise of a brightly citrusy, salty quaff that comes anywhere close to resembling Mexico’s tequila-laced flagship cocktail. But when San Marcos’ The Lost Abbey announced it had tried its hand at a Margarita beer, I felt pangs of hope. Their attempt, The Lost Abbey Madonna and Son, was more involved than others’ attempts, a blend of beers aged in tequila barrels with lime and salt added. It certainly sounds like a logical go at a Margarita beer, but like most, if not all, it’s a fail at mimicking that tipple. But that doesn’t mean this beer isn’t interesting as all get out. Dark brown and muddy in appearance, it’s rich with oak and spirit notes, but uplifted by intense lime tartness. The salt is all in the finish and, even then, its very faint. Unlike any beer anywhere, it’s an anomaly that tests the limits of one’s palate. It’s not a Margarita, but it is a step toward a brewery’s growing understanding of the most rangy and unpredictable type of barrels around.

From the Brewer: Madonna and Child is a beer we have been wanting to create for some time now. A base agave-ale spiked with lime and salt, and aged in resposado Tequila barrels, it’s our take on the flavors of a Margarita, which is a staple in our world. While it did take close to 30 different blends to get to the finished product, thanks to the patience exhibited by [our director of brewery production and quality assurance]  Gwen Conley and her crew of blenders, we’re extremely happy with how Madonna and Child turned out. This is the second Tequila barrel-aged beer The Lost Abbey has released, Agave Maria being the first, and with how well we think it came out, it has us excited to create another!”—Tomme Arthur, Director of Brewery Operations, The Lost Abbey/Port Brewing Co./The Hop Concept

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Best Beer Futures: South

Oct 20

eppig_01Last week, I wrote about four upcoming brewing companies showing the greatest potential for success (in my personal estimation). I kept my focus on projects located in the northern half of San Diego. Today, I’ve panned to the county’s southern half, and the many new breweries and brewery-owned venues currently in the works.

Eppig Brewing Company, North Park: There’s a generational gap between the current regime heading the revival of this legacy interest, but familial pride and a brewing team hailing from billion-dollar baby Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits should make for a solid mix of beers, running the full spectrum from hoppy West-Coast ales and more outlandish, modern creations to the traditional lagers that formed the basis of the original Eppig Brewing’s portfolio and allowed the business to boom in New York from the mid-1800s to 1935. This reboot is scheduled to open the first week of November at the new Brewery Igniter complex on El Cajon Boulevard in North Park.

Thr3e Punk Ales Brewing Company, Chula Vista: What started as brew-buds and business partners renting time on Butchers Brewing’s (since re-concepted to Finest Made Ales) Santee brewhouse is being grown into a full-on business that will call a three-story building (if you count the brewery and barrel-storage base-floor in the cellar) in downtown Chula Vista home. This operation’s brews have been decently distributed and mostly well received over the past year-plus, and should only get better once the brewers have their very own machinery and all the time in the world with which to utilize it.

Pariah Brewing Company, North Park: Local brewer Brian Mitchell spent the first years of his career toiling away executing the agendas of owners he didn’t see eye-to-eye with at (now closed) La Jolla Brew House and Helm’s Brewing Company, before becoming part of the small-batch brewing team at Stone Brewing. Now, he’s hammering out the final phases of his very own passion-project, one which will aim to churn out beers that please—and periodically challenge—drinkers’ palates. Mitchell will be neighbors with Eppig Brewing and fellow Brewery Igniter North Park tenants San Diego Brewing Company.

Barrel Rescue Brewing Company, Kearny Mesa: It’s one of the smallest and most unique “boutique” concepts being taken from fantasy to reality status currently, but it’s coming along nicely. A couple whose love of rescuing canines and penchant for beer brought them together have collected a wealth of used barrels from parts far-and-wide, for use in aging extremely small batches of various beers at their future home in Kearny Mesa. Governmental hoops are currently being leaped through, but already a lovely, contemporary outdoor patio has been erected, insuring a nice place to sample their eventual ales.

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Last Call for Beer Week Events

Oct 19

Today is the last day to submit events for the print version of our calendar. This is a free service.

After today, events submitted to us will be added to the online list, which will be updated daily throughout Beer Week.

Be sure to check out what we’ve already posted… SDBW is just 16 days away!

Catching up with Belching Beaver

Oct 18
The facade of Belching Beaver's new tasting room in Ocean Beach

The facade of Belching Beaver’s new tasting room in Ocean Beach

Belching Beaver Brewery’s growth has been some of the fastest and most obvious of any local brewing company. What started as a single, Vista-based brewery operation has come to include (in order of construction) a North Park tasting room, Oceanside production brewery, Vista indoor-outdoor brewpub and, as of last month, a second satellite tasting room in Ocean Beach. It’s a lot of properties to manage. Might there be some sort of potential consolidation in the works…or perhaps even more expansion. A recent conversation with Belching Beaver owner Tom Vogel confirms that anything is possible, but nothing has been decided.

Even with two brewhouses in Vista—a 15-barrel system at the original headquarters plus a 10-barrel system at the brewpub—and 60,000 annual production capacity at its current Oceanside base of operations, Vogel would like to add a small production facility to his empire. This one would be outside San Diego, within Los Angeles’ budding beer-scene. He would also like to see a tasting room or two connecting the dots from SD to LA in Orange County.

Belching Beaver is currently scouting both LA and the OC for potential sites. Vogel is currently focusing on Tustin and Huntington Beach on the tasting-room front, and sees Culver City as an advantageous spot for a production facility. He actually attempted to sign a lease on a space within that community, but parking issues squashed the deal. Should a brewery be installed in LA, it will be much smaller than Belching Beaver’s others, likely a system coming in at under 5,000 barrels in batch-size.

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