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San Diego Beer News

Brewery Igniter’s ready-to-brew facilities

Aug 4

breweryigniter_01Even small breweries can involve a great deal of upfront risk for entrepreneurs. From initial investment of funds for facility buildout and brewing equipment to the fact no money can be made until a business is fully licensed, operational and producing beer; the inhibitors are many. Local company H.G. Fenton recognized these obstacles and, in doing so, realized the potential in developing ready-to-use breweries so that prospective brewers can cut to the chase. Their answer, a two-brewery campus dubbed Brewery Igniter (9030 Kenamar Drive, Suites 308 & 309, Miramar).

breweryigniter_03In June, we broke the news that Pacific Beach’s Amplified Ale Works will be Brewery Igniter’s first tenant. Lease negotiations recently closed with the second tenant, Pure Project Brewing Co. After developing the Brewery Igniter suites, H.G. Fenton leveraged relationships with brokers who regularly work with brewing industry entrepreneurs to help locate potential clients. So far, the lease-to-brew concept has been well received by a number of them.

Brewery Igniter tenants each take run of a 1,625-square-foot space unit that includes a seven-barrel brewhouse, four 15-barrel fermenter, four 15-barrel bright tanks, a two-stage glycol chiller, mill, cold box, automatic keg-washer and bar-equipped tasting room. The brewhouses were produced by local company, Premier Stainless, and designed so that they would be approachable since they will likely be operated by brewers with less experience on larger-yield equipment.

breweryigniter_02Brewery Igniter’s aims were to eliminate what H.G. Fenton representatives cite as the three greatest inhibitors to entering the brewing industry: huge upfront cost, investment risk and long timelines to profitability. Adding to the attractiveness of the Brewery Igniter breweries are the fact they come with a good amount of parking, 10-foot-by-12-foot rollup rear doors and a strategic location in brewery-dense Miramar.

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Guild Fest Tickets Now On Sale

Aug 4

San Diego Beer Week is just around the corner — November 6 through 15 — and our local guild has already released tickets for the week’s kickoff Guild Fest @ Broadway Pier.

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Mark your calendars!

Two-day passes are available for $100, including one ticket for the VIP Brewer Takeover on Friday, November 6 from 6 – 9 p.m. + one Premier Access pass to Saturday’s Guild Fest from 1-5 p.m. That’s $20+ in savings versus buying separately.

VIP Brewer Takeover tickets alone cost $75.

Before September 30th, “early bird” ticket prices for Saturday’s Guild Fest are $35 for General Admission ($15 off day-of prices), or $45 for Premier Access 1 hour early ($10 off)

In other Guild news, the San Diego Craft Beer Job Fair is three weeks from today: Tuesday, August 25 from 4 – 7 p.m. @ SILO in Makers Quarter; register for free at the link provided.

August Events Sampler Flight

Aug 3

sf0815_01Perhaps you never noticed, but August is a month containing zero holidays. In situations like this, it’s up to fun-seeking individuals to come up with their own reasons for a good time. Fortunately, San Diego County’s brewers ascribe to this philosophy and have plenty of killer events on tap for their fans. Check out some of the big-ticket affairs, then consult our full list of local beer events.

August 8 | 19th Anniversary Celebration: Have a good time toasting 19 years of Coronado Brewing Co. beers with a commemorative pint glass filled with CBC’s Anniversary Imperial IPA at the rather economic rate of entry (just $10). From there, enjoy any of the myriad beers on tap along with vittles from on-site food trucks and tunes from Ron’s Garage Band. | Coronado Brewing Company, 1205 Knoxville Street, Bay Park, 5 p.m.

August 11, 20, 21 & 22 | Beer to the Rescue Events: The charity campaign raising funds for the Lupus Foundation of Southern California has a busy month, with three breweries releasing innovative beers (New English Brewing Co.’s Too Legit Double IPA on Aug. 11; Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station Rainbow Triplin’ tripel brewed with strawberries, oranges, lemons, limes and grapes on Aug. 20; and Kilowatt Brewing Co.’s Biere Du Monde chicory café au lait porter on Aug. 21). Still thirsty, BeerNerdz is having a pairing competition using Beer to the Rescue brews at Quad Ale House on Aug. 22. | Multiple Locations, Times Vary

August 14 | San Diego Brewers Guild Golf Tournament: A Friday off is already a thing of beauty, but spending it on the greens, enjoying local craft beer with the boot-clad artisans who produced those fine suds takes a hooky-generated three-day weekend to the next level. Sign up on line to be a part of this second-annual event from the county’s brewer consortium. | Rancho Bernardo Inn Golf Course, 17550 Bernardo Oaks Drive, Rancho Bernardo, 10 a.m.

August 14 & 15 | 19th Anniversary Celebration & Brewer’s Reception: So big, it takes two days and three sessions to fit all the quality beer in, Stone Brewing Co.’s annual two-day tour de fermentation is broken down into a rather intimate Friday Night Brewer’s Reception featuring specialty beers and shorter lines, followed by a dual-session Saturday brewhaha that registers as the West Coast’s largest beer festival. | California State University—San Marcos, 333 South Twin Oaks Valley Road, San Marcos, Times Vary

August 22 | Festival of Dankness: IPAs are everywhere on a daily basis. ‘Tis one of the reasons San Diego is such a wonderful place for hopheads to live and play. Yet, one can always take things to the next level, as is the case with this festival devoted to the mighty India pale ale. Put on by Modern Times Beer, it will feature hoppy brews from some of the country’s most respected lupulin-forward beer-makers. | Waterfront Park, 1600 Pacific Highway, Downtown, 2 p.m.

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Vista breweries retooling

Aug 2

toolbox_logoToolbox Brewing Co. (1495 Poinsettia Avenue, Suite 148, Vista) has built a solid reputation for making a number of interesting and tasty sour beers. Enough that, earlier this year, the Toolbox crew decided to convert the operation to a 100% wild ale brewery. Doing so presents a number of challenges as far as keeping beers on tap and producing enough stock to keep the business profitable and healthy.

Ownership says that, while head brewer Peter Perrecone showed great talent, it was necessary for them to part ways with him in order to bring on a brewer with more professional experience. As of Thursday, Perrecone is no longer a part of Toolbox. But it didn’t take him long to catch on with another brewery. He has accepted a position to head the upcoming sour program at Belching Beaver Brewery, another Vista interest not far from his old digs.

Back at Toolbox, the company has signed Ehren Schmidt to man its brewhouse. Schmidt was slated to open a new business called Gaslamp Brewing Co., but that wild ale brewery project turned out to be a no-go. His previous industry experience includes consulting for start-up business Lake Tahoe Brewing Co., serving as head brewer at Tucson’s Nimbus Brewing Co. and brewing at Schlafly Beer in St. Louis.

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Beer of the Week: Welk Stout

Jul 31
Iron Fist Velvet Glove bottled as a private-label offering for Escondido's Welk Resort

Iron Fist Velvet Glove bottled as a private-label offering for Escondido’s Welk Resort

From the Beer Writer: Recently, I found myself at Escondido’s Welk Resort, a sprawling property with spacious suites, a golf course, theater and more. Having vacationed there with my family a decade prior, it was a pleasure to return, but I went there expecting little-to-nothing in the way of craft beer. So, you can imagine my surprise to discover the resort had its own private-label, locally-produced craft beers. And you can imagine my delight to discover that one was my favorite beer offering from Vista’s Iron Fist Brewing Company, Velvet Glove. An imperial oatmeal stout, it wowed the powers that be at Welk Resort (as did Iron Fist’s Blond Kölsch-style ale, which is also available under the getaway spot’s name), and is now available in a 750-milliliter bottle that sports unique artwork, while crediting the brewery that made the sultry yet powerfully delicious brew. A luxury property like Welk Resort realize the significance of craft beer—San Diego County craft beer, no less—represents another forward step for the artisanal brewing industry.

From the Brewer: “Velvet Glove was originally one of our homebrews that we made before opening Iron Fist, so it has a particularly sentimental place in our hearts. It’s an imperial oatmeal stout brewed with nine different grains, four of which are roasted, leading to a very well rounded, complex, dark chocolate and coffee flavor. The addition of oatmeal to the mash gives the beer a velvety, smooth mouthfeel. You can also get hints of vanilla, dark fruit and just the slightest touch of anise. As it ages, more and more chocolate begins to emerge. Finding the patience to cellar it is about as tough as brewing the beer in the first place. One of the challenges of brewing this beer is trying to keep the mash from getting stuck. The huge dose of roasted malts, the oatmeal and the fact we overload our mash tun to brew it make it a constant concern. One fateful day, we lost the battle. After collecting about one-fifteenth of the wort we usually do, the lauter came to a screeching halt. After several hours of trying everything I could, I finally gave up and opened the mash tun door. The entire mash evacuated onto the brewhouse flour, covering it in its entirety with one-to-three inches of what can only be described as “malt mud.” I spent the next six hours disposing of it. That was a late night!” —Brandon Sieminski, Brewmaster, Iron Fist Brewing Company

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