this month's issue free!

San Diego Beer News

Beer of the Week: Mason Ale Works Vera Lynn Double IPA

May 26

Mason Ale Works Vera Lynn Double IPA

From the Beer Writer: The first year of Beer to the Rescue (the charity campaign established to raise money for the Lupus Foundation of Southern California) numerous local breweries crafted specialty beers to tap in the name of humanitarianism. The majority of them were kind enough to ask me what I’d like them to brew or for input on what they wanted to brew. I took this as an opportunity to try to hit all beer styles and take many of them in interesting directions. They all turned out nice, but their esoteric nature hurt their sales. So, this year, when kindly brewers asked what I’d like, I consistently responded with one word: HOPS! As a result IPAs and other hoppy brews make up the majority of the beers that are riding in to the rescue. One that’s on tap at all three of Urge Gastropub‘s locations in Rancho Bernardo, San Marcos and Oceanside is Mason Ale Works Vera Lynn Double IPA. I can’t take any credit for the hop-bill, because it was made without any of my influence other than the “hops” mandate, but in using Citra, Mosaic and Nelson Sauvin hops, they pretty much read my mind. These are some of my favorite, big-flavor varietals and they did a brilliant job with this imperial, massively flavorful and aromatic charity beer!

From the Brewer: “Vera Lynn is the latest release from Mason Ale Works. It gets its name from the Pink Floyd song ‘Vera’ and serves as a reminder that, over time, all vanishes. The song references Vera Lynn, who turned 100 this year, and has dedicated her life to supporting charitable causes. Her relentless efforts to better this world should be an inspiration to all. Vera Lynn IPA is a collaboration to promote Lupus awareness and support Lupus research so that one day we quote the lyrics in regards to Lupus and ask, ‘What has become of you?’ This bright and juicy imperial IPA has been dry-hopped with two-pounds-per-barrel of Citra, Nelson and Mosaic hops, bringing some serious tropical fruit and pine to your nostrils. At 9.2% alcohol-by-volume, this sneaky little lady will have you sipping till the blue skies drive the dark clouds far away. As hazy as these times seem, I know we’ll meet again some sunny day…”—Jason De La Torre, Research & Development Brewer, Mason Ale Works

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Reckless Brewing’s new tasting room

May 25

Miramar’s Carrol Way is home to a pair of businesses that couldn’t be more different from each other. On one side of the street is the colossal manufacturing headquarters of Ballast Point Brewing, a business with such astronomical growth and distribution of award-winning, to-style beers that it garnered $1 billion from Constellation Brands when that company took it over in 2015. Equipped with a large restaurant outfitted with an expansive, outdoor deck, it is the largest brewery and brewing entity in San Diego County.

Directly across the street is Reckless Brewing Company (9040 Carroll Way, Miramar),  a quirky little brewery producing beer on a much more modest scale. But it’s not just size and quantity that form a Grand Canyon-sized divide between these otherwise similar businesses. The beer is worlds different, as well. And that’s just how owner Dave Hyndman likes it. An outlier who revels in marching to his own beat, he crafts beers that defy numerous style guidelines and has cultivated a clientele that sees the beauty in that non-conformity. Ditto the unique design of his tasting room, which draws together innumerable random and disparate items to further illustrate the nature of Hyndman and his brewery. But that sampling space closed last week…because Hyndman recently finished construction on a new tasting room in the suite next door.

Reckless Brewing’s new tasting room is still one of a kind. In time it will surely be equipped with the bric-a-brac and visual accessories that made its predecessor such a standout. But for now a colorful Twister grid painted onto the floor goes a long way to communicating Hyndman’s spirit to visitors. And while there are still amateur-constructed pieces of furniture making up most of the bar, the cold-box is outfitted in a nice-looking brick façade. Back at ground zero, Reckless Brewing’s original suite will now be devoted solely to brewing.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Best San Diego Beer Futures: North

May 24

The project site for Wild Barrel Brewing in San Marcos

This is the third in a series of four posts taking a look at some of the most promising brewing venues currently in the works around San Diego County. The first two examined spots in the eastern and western communities. Today, we switch our attention to North County and the Hops Highway.

Wild Barrel Brewing Co., San Marcos: Two ex-Stone Brewing employees are teaming up to produce a wide variety of beers steps from Stone’s original brewery (now home to Port Brewing and The Lost Abbey). Renowned beer-expect Bill Sysak is leading the charge while Bill Sobieski (formerly of Anaheim’s Hoparazzi) will do the brewing using a brewhouse procured from El Cajon’s since-closed URBN St. Brewing Co.
Click here to read more about this project

Horus Aged Ales, Oceanside: Creating a portfolio made up exclusively of barrel-aged beers is no easy feat, but it’s one Kyle Harrop is eager to attempt. And he’ll do it with a little help from his friends, namely brewers from all over the country, including local interests such as Abnormal Beer Co., Rip Current Brewing and fellow North County work-in-progress White Fence Brewing. This is a boutique brewery if there’s ever been one.
Click here to read more about this project

Ebullition Brew Works, Vista: While information on the beers that this long-time work-in-progress will debut are hard to come by, details uncovered about the environment they’ll be consumed within are promising. A stylish tasting room with plenty of bar space and a special beer-delivery system in which glasses are placed onto pop-up taps and filled from the bottom up will provide a pretty cool differentiator that doesn’t exist in any brewery in the county.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Beerfish: Into Uncharted Waters

May 23

Photos courtesy Beerfish

The initial idea with this Plates and Pints column was to provide readers with a great recipe for a seafood classic – the humble yet luxurious lobster roll. The process for preparing one is far from complicated, but the devil’s in the details and I wanted to dial in the amounts with a local business that had this simple art down to a science. Knowing the commitment to honoring the creatures from the deep blue sea, including sustainable sourcing of those fish and shellfish, I thought of Beerfish on Adams Avenue. And the fact this offshoot of longtime Point Loma craft-beer standout, Sessions Public, sports an excellent ale and lager list sealed the deal.

So, I cast my line to this web-footed shoe-in to gauge the interest of executive chef RoseAna Peyron (formerly of Bay Park’s The High Dive). She and her cohorts were game, but they had one request: to focus on something besides Beerfish’s lobster roll. To them, while delicious, it was too traditional, and they preferred to share recipes for some of their more unique and creative spins on seafood classics. A fan of turning recipes on their head, I was happy to cut bait and chart a new course. And I ended up reeling in a pair of whoppers.

The Crab BLT Burrito

First up is Beerfish’s BLT. In addition to bacon, lettuce and tomato, theirs is stuffed with a hearty helping of sweet crabmeat. Mayonnaise infused with fresh-squeezed lemon juice brightens the dish and helps it pair with sunny weather that can be taken in on the restaurant’s patio.

Then there’s the purely SoCal take on a British-pub favorite Peyron has come up with – a fish and chips burrito. Alaskan cod fried up in a batter built using Plenty For All Pilsner from nearby Fall Brewing Company gets California burrito treatment, rolled up with French fries and a pair of condiments – malt vinegar mayo and tartar sauce—plus some cole slaw for good measure. These innovative and similarly easy-to-make recipes eliminated any sadness I had over the (temporary) abandonment of my quest for the perfect lobster roll.

The F&C fish & chips burrito

That said, folks who would appreciate a good lobster roll, or other seafood staples like clam chowder in a bread-bowl or fresh-shucked oysters can still find them all in a pinch. All of that and more, including clam sourdough toast, line-caught Coho salmon on focaccia and crispy oyster sliders – plus 30 taps of rotating and reliably tasty beer – can be had at this intimate seafood spot.

Click “read more” for Crab BLT and F&C Burrito recipes.
Read more »

The War of Words Intensifies Before 10 Barrel’s Debut

May 22

Many San Diegans aren’t happy that Anheuser-Busch InBev-funded 10 Barrel Brewing Company will soon open in the East Village, and the war of words has intensified in recent weeks.

A “San Diego Beer Fan” — now identified as Robert Esparza, a local beer festival organizer — came up with the idea to fly a banner reading “10 Barrel Is Not Craft Beer” over the company’s fundraiser block party this Saturday. A crowdfunding campaign posted on May 13 surpassed the $900 goal in four hours, reaching $2,015 as of this afternoon.

The chartered plane will take off from Gillespie Field in El Cajon around 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, with the pilot planning to bring the banner within eyesight of 10 Barrel’s event between 6:15 and 6:30 p.m. The banner was recently amended to include the URL, a website purchased by Esparza that links to a video by Whats On Draft TV denouncing the arrival of 10 Barrel, while promoting the release of 11 Barrel IPA, a collaboration beer made in protest by downtown brewpubs Monkey Paw, Resident, and Half Door. Starting on Sunday, a portion of proceeds from each pint of that beer will go to homeless and hunger causes in the neighborhood.

The San Diego Union-Tribune noted that “several donors to the GoFundMe campaign represent local beer interests. They include Pat McIlhenney, co-founder of Alpine Beer; Virginia Morrison, co-founder of Second Chance Beer; Pariah Brewing; Wiseguy Brewing; Thunderhawk Alements and even Rancho Cucamonga’s Kings Brewing.”

The story was picked up by 10 News reporters, who interviewed Esparza’s friend Brian Mitchell, proprietor of Pariah Brewing in North Park. “These guys [Anheuser-Busch InBev] aren’t buying these companies because they like them or want their products to do well, they’re buying them because they’re losing market share,” Mitchell told the station in a segment that aired on May 18. “So how do you beat your competitor? You buy your competition.” Mitchell and others point to illegal pay-to-play practices as additional reasons to reject A-B InBev and the breweries they own.

Screenshot from 10 News

10 Barrel co-founder Garrett Wales provided this statement to 10 News regarding the controversy: “While we really appreciate these efforts increasing the awareness of the opening of the pub, it’s a shame these folks aren’t putting their time and money into more important civil causes and helping those truly in need. With that, we’ll be pouring some great beers on May 27th and hope many new friends come join us.”

And in a cheeky tweet, 10 Barrel referenced the aerial banner, saying, “We’re matching every $ raised for this campaign and giving it to @SDHungerCo & @SD_Coastkeeper. Lemonade anyone? ;)”

Via Twitter @10BarrelBrewing

The responses incensed Esparza, who has shunned Anheuser-Busch and their stable of acquired breweries from participation at his events. “What they said was just another slap in the face of the local beer community,” he told West Coaster. “They’re acting like our local breweries haven’t been giving to charities for years, decades even. This just shows me how ignorant they are.”

Further Reading:

San Diego Reader’s report on 10 Barrel Brewing San Diego, which includes some interesting twists: 10 Barrel’s founders aren’t listed on the brewing license, but “Anheuser-Busch, LLC” is, along with new Bud Light VP Andy Goeler. Also, 10 Barrel will operate a 20-barrel brewhouse.

Paste Magazine’s recent breakdown of the “BS Arguments of Craft Beer Sell-Outs” which is reminiscent of Modern Times’ blog post “What ‘Selling Out’ Is Actually About” published in September. Market Watch takes a markedly different perspective with “Opinion: Anheuser-Busch buys its 10th craft brewery, and the stigma of selling out wears off”

Good Beer Hunting’s in-depth article “Watch the Hands, Not the Cards – The Magic of Megabrew”… although you can’t read that post if you follow “The Cut Off” list proposed by