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San Diego Beer News

Beer of the Week: Pure Project Delphyne

Jul 29
Pure Project Brewing's Delphyne is a Berliner weisse flavored with dragon fruit

Pure Project Brewing’s Delphyne is a Berliner weisse flavored with dragon fruit

From the Beer Writer: After taking most of the past six months off, Beer to the Rescue returned to action this week (on my son’s 21st birthday, perfectly enough) with the Tuesday release of Pure Project Delphyne. Before even having opened their doors, the founders of Pure Project Brewing expressed a desire to participate in this Lupus Foundation of Southern California fundraising campaign, which saw more than 30 Southern California breweries contribute a portion of proceeds from specialty beers in 2015. In joining the cause, Pure Project head brewer Winslow Sawyer was kind enough to appease my personal tastes. His brewing MO is to select interesting ingredients—usually fruits of a citrus or tropical variety—then select an ideal beer-style for showcasing each. In this case, he took my requested ingredient, dragon fruit, and incorporated it into an effervescent, lightly sour Berliner weisse. The result is a blushingly magenta brew with a body well suited for summer and a generous touch of soul.

From the Brewer: “Delphyne is a bright, refreshingly tart ‘sunshine beer’ featuring lactic and sourdough-like notes on the nose. Based on a traditional German Berliner weisse, it’s brewed with raw, organic dragon fruit we sourced from San Diego-based operation, Pitaya Plus, whose non-GMO farms are located in Nicaragua. This exotic ingredient provides both color and depth of flavor. Berliner weisses—which were the most popular beverage in Germany during the late 19th century—are typically fermented using a mixture of yeast and lactic bacteria, but for this charity beer, I used a vegan yogurt to sour the wort before boiling, then utilized a German ale yeast for fermentation.”—Winslow Sawyer, Head Brewer, Pure Project

Note: Other breweries scheduled to brew beers for Beer to the Rescue include AleSmith Brewing Company, Bay City Brewing Company, Bitter Brothers Brewing Company, Bolt Brewery, Kilowatt Beer Company and White Labs. Stone Brewing is also providing the charity the opportunity to reach people as part of its 20th Anniversary Invitational Beer Festival next month. For more information about upcoming beers and events, follow Beer to the Rescue on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@BeerToTheRescue).

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Ballast Point COO/Head Brewer/Co-founding Distiller Also Departs

Jul 28

Screen Shot 2016-07-28 at 5.31.26 PMYuseff Cherney, who worked alongside founder Jack White at Home Brew Mart to build Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits, is also leaving the company, following departures this week of Earl Kight (CCO), Jim Buechler (President and CEO), and Julie Buechler (General Counsel). Constellation Brands president Marty Birkel will be stepping into Jim Buechler’s role.

Cherney posted a statement saying, “Starting as a Clerk at Home Brew Mart 24 years ago I never imagined where this voyage would take me. From gold medals to travels around the world my life has been one that I could have only dreamt for in my younger years. This voyage seems brief in retrospect but an eternity to others just beginning. The ship would never have sailed its course without assembling a world class team that furthered the vision that is Ballast Point. I have never seen a more dedicated, enthusiastic and genuinely happy group of people who live for the craft beer industry. This team brought Ballst Point to where it is and will continue to sail onwards with a very capable captain at the helm. As it goes I must raise the davit and deploy the dingy to begin my voyage on a new course. As I sail away I have due course and hope to embark on my new adventure with a short journey…and yes I hope to catch a few fish before the real work begins. Since I can’t reach out to everyone that has been part of my life personally I just want to let you all know that my passion was fueled by your belief in what we do and without the dedication and love that all of you have showed it could have never been possible. Always dedicated to the craft. Much love.” 

New COOs at Coronado; President at Ballast Point

Jul 28
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J.D., Kasey, Rick, Brandon & Ron

At Coronado, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this weekend, Brandon Richards and Kasey Chapman have been appointed from within as Chief Operating Officers. The remaining executive team at Coronado Brewing Company include Ron Chapman, CEO; Rick Chapman, President; and J.D. Douglas, CFO.

Over at Ballast Point, where we reported CCO Earl Kight had left the company on Monday, President and CEO Jim Buechler (who joined in 2012) is also out, being replaced by Marty Birkel, current president of Constellation Brands.

Urge rolling out unique anniversary beers

Jul 28
AleSmith/Urge Velvet Echo, Toolbox Pinkies Up and Mother Earth Very Bad Things will be served during Urge Gastropub's anniversary weekend, July 29-31 in Rancho Bernardo

AleSmith/Urge Velvet Echo, Toolbox Pinkies Up and Mother Earth Very Bad Things will be served during Urge Gastropub’s anniversary weekend, July 29-31 in Rancho Bernardo

There’s something that happens when a beer-centric business owner and their suds devotee staffers not only order beer, but forge relationships with the individuals who brew them. And not just in a handshake-and-a-chat way. I’m talking cramming a bunch of key personnel into an RV and driving around the country to visit breweries and secure some of their finest wares for special tappings back home. That is the level of nth-degree beer-geekism that makes it possible for attendees of Urge Gastropub’s (16761 Bernardo Center Drive, Rancho Bernardo) annual anniversary weekends to choose from such a varied list of next-level specialty beers, some of the best of which are concoctions brewed especially for the North County establishment by members of the local brewing community.

This year’s festivities will take place tomorrow through Sunday, July 31, and feature over a half-dozen venue-specific beers from AleSmith Brewing Company, Mother Earth Brew Co., Pure Project Brewing, Rip Current Brewing Company, Saint Archer Brewery (in collaboration with Urge-owned Mason Ale Works in Oceanside) and Toolbox Brewing Company. They are as follows:

  • AleSmith/Urge Pappy Speedway Barrel-Aged Coffee Imperial Stout
  • AleSmith/Urge Velvet Echo Barrel-Aged Coffee Imperial Stout
  • Mother Earth Very Bad Things Bourbon Barrel-Aged Scotch Ale served on Nitro
  • Pure Project Oni Triple IPA
  • Rip Current sURGEing Currents Session IPA
  • Saint Archer/Mason Your Goat Tart Saison with Peaches
  • Toolbox Pinkies Up Sour Saison with Plum, Lemongrass & Kaffir Lime Leaves

A pre-anniversary tasting of some of the above beers proved a no-brainer, AleSmith/Urge Velvet Speedway and its new variants still taste exquisite. Velvet Speedway was originally brewed for Urge last year. Building off AleSmith’s venerable Speedway Stout, it was brewed with coffee and aged in 23-year-old Evan Williams bourbon barrels, then dosed with a rye whiskey-infused Madagascar vanilla bean tincture and given extra java punch care of bourbon barrel-aged Jamaican Blue Mountain cold-brew from local roasters, Mostra Coffee. This year’s Velvet Echo (the same recipe aged in the same barrels used for the original Velvet Speedway) and Pappy Speedway (aged 15 months in a 20-year Pappy Van Winkle barrel from Kentucky’s Buffalo Trace Distillery, then dosed with Kona coffee) offer new riffs on this complicated but not convoluted concept. But reveler cannot live on 12% sippers alone. To that end, there are a number of more sessionable and normal-strength beers on this list, which was built by Urge manager Bri Kling.

Going back to personal relationships, hers helped her score a number of harder-to-procure treats such as a milk chocolate porter from Stone Brewing aged in a combination of reposado tequila, red wine and bourbon barrels; and Knotty Sparkles, a double IPA from Three Weavers Brewing Company made extra glam with the addition of edible gold sparkles. It’s a lily-gilding technique Kling first saw Three Weavers head brewer Alexandra Nowell employ at a Brewbies festival. After forming a friendship with Nowell over several beers, Kling pleaded for the sparkle-treatment and, as a result, this is the “first and last time” one of Three Weavers’ beer will feature this form of bling outside of the breast-cancer festival arena.

Then there’s Pinkies Up, which Kling had a big hand in. A drinking buddy of Toolbox owner Spencer Peters and friend of the company’s head brewer Ehren Schmidt, she approached them about brewing a beer for Urge’s anniversary. Through many a conversation over many a beer, they decided to brew a pair of rustic saisons and oak age them with wild yeast starins dosed in at different percentages over four- and six-month periods, respectively. Kling helped dispatch 350 pounds of plums for this recipe, which also extracted flavor from lemongrass and Kaffir lime leaves. The result is a bracingly sour, yet highly drinkable beer that smells like a verdant Life-Saver and tastes like some electrified version of pink lemonade.

There will be 51 total beers on-tap over the weekend, with a few being subbed out on different days. When asked about some of the more interesting selections on the list, Kling points to a version of Intergalactic Brewing Company’s coffee cream ale, The Cake is a Lie, brewed with a twist to bring forth a peanut-brittle character; Knotty Sparkles; and a key lime-flavored Kolsch called Killbox from Washougal, Washington-based Doomsday Brewing Company. You know, your everyday types of beers…at least for one enchanted weekend.

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Benchmark Brewing debuts Parks Collection

Jul 27

hopchunksWhen it comes to tag-lines, I think most of them are just silly. This comes from a career marketing professional who has developed dozens of tag-lines, including some you see out in the craft-beer world. But there’s one from a local brewery that I’ve been enamored with since I first saw it grace a piece of glassware that I reach for more often than any other liquid conveyance strictly because of the tagline. Beer Flavored Beer. The phrase and the traditional beer that inspired it are products of Benchmark Brewing Company (6190 Fairmount Avenue, Suite G, Grantville).

While others use fruit, extracts, peanut butter and flora with reckless abandon, brewmaster Matt Akin sticks to his guns and creates his flavors using hops, malt and yeast. So don’t expect fluid takes on your favorite dessert or cocktail from Benchmark’s new line of “specialty” beers. They, too, are beer-flavored styles that are simply made well and within the framework provided by their individual histories.

Dubbed the Parks Collection, each is packaged in four-packs of forest green 16-ounce cans. The first of the series, Hop Chunks Imperial IPA, made its aluminum debut last weekend at a pool party at North Park’s The Lafayette Hotel. That beer is currently available at Benchmark’s tasting room. Next up is Beaten Path Extra Pale Ale, which will come out the first week of August, followed by River Rye American Red Ale. The other three beers in the collection are Stargazer Scotch Ale, Voyager Belgian-style Dark Ale (formerly called Dubbel) and Primitive Camp pre-Prohibition-style Pilsner. However, the latter won’t be brewed until the company increases its fermentation space.

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