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San Diego Beer News

Mother Earth building second brewery in Idaho

Oct 5
The future home of Mother Earth Brew Co.'s second brewing facility in Nampa, Idaho

The future home of Mother Earth Brew Co.’s second brewing facility in Nampa, Idaho

There are few San Diego County businesses viewed to be as locally focused and engrained in their community’s fibrous being as Mother Earth Brew Co. This family-run operation started as a tiny nano-sized brewery and homebrew supply store in a single business suite measuring just over 2,000 square feet. It has since taken over most of its home-base business park, moved the recreational retail component to a large combo homebrew store and bar in the heart of Vista’s old town area, grown into a “mid-sized brewery” (per classification of industry group, the Brewers Association) with a staff of nearly 50 employees, and upped distribution to seven states. All that without leaving what has become one of the county’s densest municipalities, brewery-wise (with 11 operating brewhouses, it’s second only to the City of San Diego). But the next step in Mother Earth’s evolution will take it far from Vista—namely…Idaho?

MEBC chief branding officer Kevin Hopkins reports that the company is building a second, much larger brewery in Nampa, about 20 miles west of Boise. At first, it may seem a bit of an odd choice, constructing a second production facility so far from home, and in a part of the country that lacks a defined craft beer culture. But the decision falls in line with Mother Earth’s geographically strategic growth plan, which sees the company attempting to build out across the country in a regional manner. Idaho presents a cost-effective option with the potential for increased distribution to the Pacific Northwest and various markets where MEBC beer is not currently sold west of the Mississippi.

The Nampa facility will come in at 40,000 square feet and include room and options for expansion. A four-vessel, 40-barel Mueller brewing system will also be configured for add-ons, as needed. There will also be a public tasting room and corporate office space. Adding the second brewery should allow MEBC to double its current beer barrelage. Initially, Nampa production should mirror that of Vista—which will support distribution throughout California, Arizona and Hawaii, with remaining markets being supplied by the new brewery—but should demand justify it, the Idaho facility can ramp up so that total annual totals exceed 100,000 barrels.

Mother Earth founder and CEO Dan Love and head brewer Chris Baker will relocate to Nampa to head the new project. Back in Vista, expansion will continue until maximum capacity is reached. Hopkins estimates that will occur sometime next year. Items on the nearer horizon for the company include the release of several limited-edition beers, including a barrel-aged Belgian-style quadrupel and barrel-aged version of MEBC’s Sin Tax imperial peanut butter stout for the autumn and winter editions of its Four Seasons of Mother Earth line, plus the return of a Russian imperial stout called Quit Stalin during San Diego Beer Week.

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Beer of the Week: URBN St. I Am Gruit

Oct 2
URBN St. Brewing's I Am Gruit

URBN St. Brewing’s I Am Gruit

From the Beer Writer: In collaborating with the team at URBN St. Brewing Co. as part of the Beer to the Rescue charity campaign raising funds and awareness for the Lupus Foundation of Southern California, I had the favorable opportunity to reunite with two cherished cohorts from my days at Stone Brewing Co.—brewmaster Callaway Ryan and co-founder Alex Carballo. Both kindly jumped into the funds-for-fermented-fluids fray (now that’s some alliterative poetry), which was very kind. I am a huge fan of URBN St.’s flagship farmhouse ale, so I was happy to hear Ryan would be employing the use of his house saison yeast. After we determined the time frame for the release of URBN St.’s Beer to the Rescue offering, he and I decided it would be good to bring in some honey and herbs to convey a somewhat autumnal flavor palate. Ryan took that and ran with it in a big way, eschewing dry-hopping in favor of heavy spicing in the style of ancient brewsters. The result is a big, Gruit-style ale evocative of something one might have come across in Germany as far back as a century ago.

From the Brewer: “I’ve wanted to brew a Gruit-style beer since I started seriously studying beer. There are so many different flavors one could put in a beer other than hops to balance out the malt. It’s an extremely old style, but at 9% alcohol-by-volume, this beer is definitely a modern interpretation. We brewed the base beer with floor-malted Bohemian Pilsner malt, Summer hops, a good deal of honey and our house saison yeast. After fermentation, I flavored the beer with tarragon, oregano, sage and ginger. We used more tarragon than anything, as its anise-like flavor plays really well with our yeast’s phenols. I’m really happy with how the beer turned out, and brewing it for a good cause only makes it better.”—Callaway Ryan, Brewmaster, URBN St. Brewing Co.

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October Events Sampler Flight

Oct 1

sf_1015Fall arrives with the promise of brats and lederhosen, but there’s more to October than its namesake festing period. Don’t believe us, then read on and see for yourself the plethora of ale- and lager-fueled events that so admirably fill the period in-between Oktoberfest and next month’s San Diego Beer Week. Still not enough for you? Consult our events page for even more fun.

October | Oktoberfest Celebrations: Everyone is embracing German culture (and beer) to varying degrees, from ‘hoods like Carlsbad, El Cajon, La Jolla, La Mesa and Ocean Beach, to local breweries including AleSmith Brewing Co.Ballast Point Brewing & SpiritsGreen Flash Brewing Co. and 24-7-365 Germanic Lightning Brewery. Consult our events page and brewery websites for more deets. | Various Locations, Dates & Times Vary

October | Beer to the Rescue Releases: It’s another big month of one-time-only beer releases for this charity effort benefiting the Lupus Foundation of Southern California. Half Door Brewing Co. will debut its extra special bitter (Oct. 12, East Village), followed by 32 North Brewing Co.‘s dry-hopped Irish-American red ale (Oct. 22 in Miramar) and Rip Current Brewing Co.’s red rye imperial IPA (Oct. 28 in North Park). | Various Locations, Times Vary

October 10 | Birdies & Beers: It’s the official unofficial sporting pastime enjoyed by just about every pro brewery in the Greater San Diego area. That’s right…disc golf? Go figure, but the only thing San Diego’s fermentation specialists seem to love more than ales and lagers is a good fling. Get in on a great day on the greens that includes beer, food, music and helping out a good cause. | Sun Valley Golf Course, 5080 Memorial Drive, La Mesa, 11 a.m.

October 18 | Pour It Black: As autumn sets in and the temperature “falls” from 85 degrees to a chilly 82, the time for darker, heartier beers presents itself and Stone Brewing Co. is more than prepared. With more than 100 different brown-to-onyx hued sour ales, porters, stouts, IPAs and barrel-aged brews, quantity, quality and variety are all well represented at this annual fest. | Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens, 1999 Citracado Parkway, Escondido, 10 a.m.

October 21 | Drinkabout!: Yes, this event happens every month, but having the fun and value of taking part in free transport to a handful of standout imbibing strongholds offering special deals and beers within San Diego’s sudsier neighborhoods can’t be understated. Get on the bus and get in on a good time. | Various Locations; Normal Heights, North Park, South Park, University Heights; 7 p.m.

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Best Beer Futures: East

Sep 30

A rendering of Depot Springs Beer Co.

We are wrapping up our four-part series citing some of the most intriguing work-in-progress breweries and brewery-owned venues in San Diego County. Over the past month, we’ve outlined standouts in North County, the best of the West and gems from South of Interstate 8. Today, we’re scouring East County to see what the future has in store for the inland communities.

Depot Springs Beer Company, La Mesa: It’s been in the works for some time, but that’s understandable considering a brewery, distillery and restaurant comprise this complex 20,000-square-foot project. Much of the anticipation is fueled by the pedigree of master distiller Phillip Soto Mares, whose two decades of spirit-conjuring experience lend clout to the entire operation. Meanwhile, the beer will be the charge of a GABF medal winner whose résumé includes stints at Port Brewing Co. / The Lost Abbey and Silver Moon Brewing. Strategically sited, it will be in close proximity to La Mesa’s popular Grossmont Center shopping mall as well as the municipality’s only other two breweries, Bolt Brewery and Helix Brewing Company.

Karl Strauss Brewing Company, Santee: Uncle Karl’s crew likes to stay busy. Over the past few years, the business has taken a break from opening new restaurants, instead focusing on expanding distribution of its packaged beer. Now, San Diego’s longest continually operating post-Prohibition Era brewing company is shifting its attention back to the home front and working to bring its latest brewery-restaurant to Santee, where it will fall right in with nearby breweries including Twisted Manzanita Ales, Butchers Brewing, Pacific Islander Beer Co., BNS Brewing and Distilling Co. and Karl Strauss’ most directly comparable competitor, Oggi’s.

Knox Corners Brewing Company, Lakeside: Originally slated to touch down in El Cajon until City regulations and red tape inspired its founders to move the project elsewhere, this project makes the list primarily because it will bring craft beer to a community that currently has very little and none produced within its geographic limits. El Cajon’s loss will be Lakeside’s gain and expose a town dense with macrobeer drinkers to something hand-crafted and a local business citizens can proudly support. That’s potential that goes beyond what’s in the glass based solely on what’s in the glass.

NOTE: The items above have been selected from a list of public projects. There are a number of projects that are quite exciting throughout San Diego, but cannot be disclosed as they are confidential in nature and must be kept under wraps by request of the business owners.

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Beer & Coffee Bash @ Ballast Point Little Italy

Sep 29

LittleItaly_CoffeeDay_Poster_11x17-01-01For a local beer fan, what better way to celebrate National Coffee Day than with a beer dinner featuring three local coffee roasters: Bird Rock, James Coffee, and Caffe Calabria.

Check out this beer dinner happening tonight at Ballast Point’s Little Italy location from 5:30 – 9 p.m.

The roasters themselves will be on hand to talk with guests.

E-mail for reservations.