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San Diego Beer News

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.

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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.
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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

Beer of the Week: Dos Desperados Nelson Lager

May 19

Nelson Lager from Dos Desperados Brewery

From the Beer Writer: You know that feeling when you arrive at a bar or a friend’s house and, before you can even say a word, you’re handed a beverage that you hastily take a sip of and instantly find yourself completely blown away by? Of course you do. It’s one of those magic moments beer-lovers live for: the exciting discovery of something brand new and exquisite. That happened to me last weekend at Dos Desperados Brewery. I arrived at that San Marcos establishment to help staff one of my Beer to the Rescue fundraising events and was greeted by a full pour of a lovely golden beer with a fluffy white head, Dos Desperados Nelson Lager. Happy to be there and off State Route 78, I dove right in…and fell in love. It was the perfect beer for the sunny day I was in the midst of—light in body yet big on hop and lager-yeast character in the nose and on the palate. The limestone and floral notes from the yeast dovetailed beautifully with vinous flavors from the Nelson Sauvin making up the beer’s entire hop-bill. It was simple yet special, so much that I could have spent hours drinking pint after pint, something that wouldn’t have been too tough given the beer’s 4.9% alcohol-by-volume stat. The recipe for this all-day pleaser (which, as good as it was, is only in its R&D phase) was developed with fellow San Marcos operation, Prodigy Brewing Company, with assistance from a noted lager expert at Mission Valley’s Gordon Biersch brewpub. I’m glad to report it will be on-tap and helping Beer to the Rescue tomorrow, and soon become a staple in Dos Desperados’ year-round portfolio.

From the Brewer: “Our Nelson Lager is a Prodigy Brewing, Gordon Biersch and Dos Desperados Brewery collaboration for Beer to the Rescue that benefits the Lupus Foundation of Southern California. A special thanks goes out to Dean Rouleau and Doug Hasker for this Czech-style lager with rich, crisp maltiness and freshly crushed gooseberry flavor—think Sauvignon Blanc grapes from New Zealand, which come care of the Nelson Sauvin hops we used.”—Steve Munson, Owner & Brewmaster, Dos Desperados Brewery

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OMBAC’s First Beer Festival: Saturday

May 18

OMBAC’s first beer festival is this Saturday

The Old Mission Beach Athletic Club (OMBAC), known for its annual Over-The-Line tournament, is adding a beer festival component into the mix this Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. at Mariners Point. This tournament is actually a pre-cursor to the World Championship, held in July. We caught up with OMBAC reps for more details:

Q: Why a beer festival?
A: This event is a fundraiser for the smaller events we do throughout the year that are not money making events. Some of those include OMSurf that benefits Junior Lifeguards, OMShoes which are horseshoe tournaments that benefit various cancer research centers (most recently UCSD Moores Cancer Research and the Helen Knoll Foundation which benefits breast cancer prevention for younger women). We are also a sponsor of the America’s Finest City Marathon, operating numerous “rainforests” which are misters set up for runners to cool down while staying on pace. We support dozens and dozens of local beneficiaries, and you can see a list here.

Q: Which breweries are joining?
Aztec, Ballast Point, Belching Beaver, Benchmark, Bitter Brothers, Bolt, Dos Desperados, Fall, Helms, Indian Joe, Ironfire, Iron Fist, Left Coast, Little Miss, Resident, and Second Chance. Cutwater will be serving cocktails. Food vendors include Tabe BBQ, Epic Eatz Food Truck, and Simply Fresh California Delicatessen.

Q: How much are tickets?
A: $30 pre-sale, or $40 at the door.