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San Diego Beer News

1st Annual San Diego Sriracha Festival This Saturday

Sep 16
Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Coming up this weekend is something a little different in the land of seemingly-perpetual beer festivals: a food, beer & drink event focusing on Sriracha hot sauce. Produced by Food GPS & The Sriracha Cookbook, the first Sriracha fest was held last October in downtown LA and was met with success – spawning the 2nd Annual LA Sriracha Festival & the 1st Annual San Diego Sriracha Festival, which is this Saturday in Liberty Station.

A festival of spicy flavor with craft beer, chefs from local restaurants such as The Bellows, Slaters 50/50, Stone Brewing World Bistro, Urge Gastropub & Wow Wow Waffle will produce dishes unified by the iconic Rooster sauce. Beer will be poured from Iron Fist Brewing Co., URBN St. Brewing, Stone Brewing Co. & there will be mixologists creating tasty cocktails – all geared to pair with the food provided.

General Admission is $59.00 and VIP is $90 (with a ~$5 surcharge). Tastings are unlimited and a portion of the proceeds will directly benefit Mama’s Kitchen.

For tickets and much more info: click here
Use promo code: WESTCOASTER for $10 off!

To get an idea of what to expect, here’s a post recapping the LA Fest last October.

Disclosure: Randy Clemens, author of The Sriracha Cookbook & The Vegan Sriracha Cookbook is a West Coaster Southern California writer.

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Brews in the News September 2014

Sep 4


Our September 2014 issue is out around town and available online! Check it out by clicking here.

Busy Times @ Twisted Manzanita
In addition to putting the finishing touches on their Pacific Beach tasting room, the Twisted Manzanita team is also working on variations of their Witch’s Hair Pumpkin Ale, brewed in August. At time of print, the brew crew was looking to create more than 10 variations on the seasonal beer, buoyed by the fact that they’ll now have two tasting rooms at which to empty kegs. Be on the lookout especially for nitro versions, which the brewery is looking to do more of all around.


Bagby Beer Co. brewing team 9/3/14

New Breweries in August
Several new breweries began brewing in August. Now operational Ballast Point’s new Miramar expansion, Beer Brewing Co. in Oceanside, Bagby Beer Company and Bolt Brewery. None of those breweries are open to the public yet, save for Bagby – which is in soft opening mode with beers on tap. The total count of operational breweries as of late August is 93.

In addition, West Coaster is tracking 42 breweries that are planning on opening in San Diego County. Knox Corners in El Cajon, Belching Beaver’s brewpub in Vista, Bay City Brewing in Loma Portal, Green Flash’s Poway expansion, Jamul Town Brewery & Tap and 32 North Brewing Co. in Miramar all popped up on our radar in August. Check out for info on current and up-and-coming breweries.

Barrel Republic Expands
Pacific Beach’s pour-it-yourself beer bar Barrel Republic is expanding to two new locations in Oceanside and Carlsbad. Carlsbad’s Barrel Republic will have 52 taps and a kitchen headed by former Churchill’s chef A.G. Warfield and is slated to open by San Diego Beer Week 2014. The Oceanside location is still TBD.

If you can’t make it to Munich, there are plenty local Oktoberfest celebrations in San Diego.

Fathom Bistro’s 2nd annual Octo-Bier-Fest is Friday September 26th and starts at 3PM. The Smokehouse Kings, an offshoot chef collaboration from Carnitas Snack Shack, will have their huge smoker on the pier cooking up sausages. The bar will serve 8 German & German-style beers on tap along with a glass giveaway.

Beer drinkers looking for authenticity should seek the German American Society of San Diego’s Oktoberfest which takes place September 26-28 & October 3-5 in El Cajon. Enjoy bratwurst, ox-on-the-spit, sauerkraut and, of course, German beer. More info:

Perhaps the most SoCal Oktoberfest, Ocean Beach’s 10th annual celebration will be October 12 & 13. Gaze into the Pacific through the bottom of your glass, hear tribute bands jam in the Beer Garden Band Slam and cheer on the winner of the Ms Oktoberfest Bikini Contest. Pizza Port Ocean Beach will be serving beer, too. Buses depart to OB from Pacific Beach & Downtown. More info:

New this year: South Park’s version of Oktoberfest will take place on October 11th from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Dubbed Parktoberfest, the event will be held in the Gala Foods Parking. There will be a beer tent featuring 10 local breweries, a kid’s carnival, live music and more. Search Facebook for Parktoberfest to get more info.

There’s also Oktoberfests in La Mesa, Carlsbad, Julian, Ramona and Encinitas. Visit for a listing.

More Drafts in OB
With the recent openings of OB Warehouse with 24 taps and Bar 1502 with 40 taps, there’s now even more good beer flowing in the eclectic seaside neighborhood. The two new locations strengthen the existing beer circuit present with Raglan Public House, OB Kebab, Newport Pizza, OB Noodle House, The Joint, Olive Tree Market’s tasting room, Wonderland and Pizza Port OB.

This post was edited slightly from the original printed version that appeared in our September 2014 issue.

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Tasting Room Trend

Aug 6
via @amped_alex

via @amped_alex

More and more San Diego breweries are planning, or have already completed, satellite tasting room operations that don’t have a brewery component. Currently, under state law, brewers can receive an unlimited number of duplicate licenses to open these spots, but Assembly Bill 2010 may soon limit that number to six.

Stone led the charge, opening the first Stone Company Store in South Park in June of 2011. They have since created outposts on Kettner Boulevard by the train station, right outside Petco Park, in Oceanside, and in Pasadena.

Modern Times Beer was invited to build their “Flavordome” inside the burgeoning North Parker on 30th Street, and they held a soft opening in May of this year.

8/10 mile directly north, San Marcos-based Rip Current is planning to build out a tasting room/restaurant combination right across the street from Ritual Tavern, with a prospective fall opening. 2/10 mile north of there, Belching Beaver swung up their garage door-style windows for the first time in April of 2013.

AleSmith’s space is TBD, while Port Brewing is closing in on a date for the unveiling of their Cardiff digs. Fellow North County brewery Iron Fist just signed a deal in Barrio Logan (close to the space of Border X Brewing’s satellite operation). Also south of downtown, Coronado’s new restaurant is soon coming to Imperial Beach.

The next to set up shop will be Santee-based Manzanita Brewing Company, who are hoping to open their Pacific Beach operation just north of Bare Back Grill in early September, just in time for the release of their pumpkin beer. There, they’ll have 23 taps and two beer engines.

This post was updated to include a few more businesses-in-planning. Know of other San Diego breweries planning satellite tasting rooms? E-mail me at 

Fire Burns Wet ‘N Reckless Brewing

Jul 28

Dave Hyndman via Wet ‘N Reckless Facebook page

A two-alarm fire at Wet ‘N Reckless Brewery in Mira Mesa caused significant damage last night.

According to media reports, a welding touch being used to complete repairs started the fire as owner Dave Hyndman left the facility briefly.

60 firefighters spent 40 minutes extinguishing the blaze. It is unknown if or when Hyndman will rebuild and reopen.

On This Day In 1996…

Jul 26

18 years ago, on July 26, 1996, Stone Brewing Co. sold the first keg of Stone Pale Ale to Vince Marsaglia of Pizza Port fame.

Beer legends Gina Marsaglia, Greg Koch, Vince Marsaglia, and Steve Wagner. Photo by Marc Figueroa

Beer legends Gina Marsaglia, Greg Koch, Vince Marsaglia, and Steve Wagner in 2014. Photo by Marc Figueroa

This is a big deal, as there were few craft breweries in San Diego at the time, and this showed two local companies supporting each other.

Three years ago, Stone co-founders Greg Koch and Steve Wagner gave Vince Marsaglia a call to commemorate the fifteen-year anniversary of the sale, and uploaded the resulting video to YouTube.

In 2006, Stone decided to move operations to their current location in Escondido. And who ending up taking their place in San Marcos? Port Brewing/The Lost Abbey, a brewery project by none other than Vince Marsaglia and his sister Gina.

Stone has also been in the news recently for other reasons; as you have probably already heard, one week ago today the brewery announced that they are pursuing a brewery project in Berlin, Germany that they hope will be open in late 2015 or early 2016. Peter Rowe from the UT went more in-depth on the $25M project, which is being pushed forward with an indiegogo campaign. Stone is also looking to build a brewing facility “East of the Mississippi” — details for which are still under wraps.