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The Friday Five: 5Q w/ Bruce Glassman

Apr 12

Glassman, left, with Publisher Amy Stirnkorb and Executive VP/Photographer Michael D. Pawlenty at Mission Brewery

Today we speak with Bruce Glassman, President of Chefs Press, the award-winning local publishing company behind hits like “San Diego’s Top Brewers”. We ask him about the panel of beer experts he’ll be quizzing next week for the SDSU Business Alumni Network in Liberty Station — tickets are available to the general public for $40 online — plus what’s new with Chefs Press and more.

Can you tell us about the SDSU panel on the 17th?
It’s a symposium/discussion hosted by the SDSU Business Alumni Network and it’s part of their ongoing Signature Series called “The Business Of…” They wanted to do a program about our craft beer industry, how it has impacted San Diego, specifics about the brewing community and culture, and how aspects of it relate to other core businesses in town. They asked me to help assemble a panel of leaders in the field—people who would offer various important perspectives.

Whose perspective are you really looking forward to hearing?
Well, I’m thrilled to have the panel we’ve been lucky enough to assemble. We’ve got Chris Cramer, co-founder of Karl Strauss, Steve Wagner, co-founder of Stone, Mike Hinkley, co-founder of Green Flash, Peter Zien, owner of AleSmith, Doug Constantiner, co-founder of Societe, Scot Blair, owner of Hamilton’s Tavern, and Joe Terzi, President & CEO of the San Diego Tourism Authority. So, whose perspective am I looking forward to hearing? All of them! Who wouldn’t?!

sdsu-ban-bus-of-craft-brew-4-17-13-final1What’s coming up for Chefs Press?
Lots of new projects in the works. Most notable, for beer fans: “Colorado’s Top Brewers” will be pubbing in July and then “The San Diego Brewery Guide” will be pubbing in November. We’re also releasing an update of “San Diego’s Top Brewers” as an e-book in the next few months, and we’ll then follow up with an update print version. Check out and our Facebook pages for sneak peeks and news….

What beer trends interest you this year?
I’m seeing a lot of breweries that are working to develop what seems to be one of the brewer’s “holy grails”: a session beer—with all the satisfying qualities of a great IPA—that delivers all the flavor and body of a bigger ABV beer. I’ve had a number of these from lineups around town and some are very good.

What new breweries do you have your eye on?
So many, and more every day. I’ve been impressed by the quality of some of the new guys, particularly Culture, Belching Beaver, and Rip Current. Of course, my eyes are fully trained—as are many people’s—on Babgy Beer, Nickel Beer Co. and the new Hess opening in North Park.

Beer Week Kick-off Round-up

Nov 2

We’re not the only ones writing about our local beer scene; here I’ve rounded up coverage from some of San Diego’s top beer writers. *Alert me of more SDBW coverage via

Peter Rowe has put out a few great articles this week, including his 10 SD Beer Week picks, a “This Weekend in Beer” for Nov 2-4, and a story on Stone Brewing Co. Beverage Coordinator “Dr.” Bill Sysak that ran in today’s U-T.

Michelle Dederko also writes consistent articles on the local beer scene for the U-T/Discover SD. Read hers here.

Brandon Hernández writes for many fine publications in town; don’t miss his categorized “Best of Beer Week” on San Diego Magazine’s website, his day-by-day breakdown on The Reader’s site, or the four-page spread in Pacific San Diego Magazine’s November 2012 issue (pp 60-63).

Craft Beer Tasters has organized a tasting of Mexican craft beer on Nov 6 & 11 at The Beer Co. downtown. In addition, they’ve spotlighted the brewers on their website.

Three B Zine posted a good interview with Bruce Glassman, author of San Diego’s Top Brewers and the new book BREW FOOD that will be officially released tonight at Mission Brewery.

TapHunter has been collecting Tips from the Pros over at their blog; I was the first featured industry member before Andrew Killion of The Lost Abbey, Kory & Derek from LOVELIKEBEER yesterday, and “Dr.” Bill Sysak from Stone Brewing Co. today.

Ian Cheesman had his picks published in this week’s San Diego CityBeat, page 12.

LOVELIKEBEER just put up a vegan’s guide to SDBW, complete with pairing suggestions or go-to events for each day.

WC Publisher Mike Shess posted his picks for each day yesterday.

Here are a few more, just for good measure:

1 Beer, 13 Ways — 5 oz pours of 13 different varieties of Ballast Point’s Victory at Sea Imperial Coffee Vanilla Porter will be served at Hamilton’s Tavern Sunday, November 4th starting at 10 a.m. Check out all the varieties here.

Get Educated — Last year the lab manager for local yeast manufacturer White Labs, Neva Parker, visited Sea Rocket Bistro for a “Flavors of Yeast” class, and it was so successful that she’s coming back again Saturday November 10th from 2-4 p.m. Her presentation will include four saisons brewed at White Labs with different yeast strains.

First Sour, Available Once — Green Flash’s new sour, Flanders Drive, derives its name from the brewery’s cross street as well as its beer style (Flanders red ale). Bottles will only be available on Monday, November 5th at the special release party which is part of their 10 Years of Great Beers SDBW plans.

Tougher Than It Looks — Think you can tell the difference between Stone IPA, AleSmith IPA, Mission IPA, Ballast Point Big Eye IPA, Societe Dandy IPA and Green Flash West Coast IPA? If you can, you’ll get a $100 gift certificate from Blind Lady Ale House. Hurry, though, this event ends tonight at 6 p.m.

51 Taps, All Local — Just like it sounds: URGE American Gastropub is filling the taps with beer from local breweries this weekend. This includes the release of Mother Earth’s 100% Citra dry-hopped “Wet Hop Dreams”

12 To Watch In 2012

Feb 13

See the full spread in our February 2012 issue. Here we predict who is going to make news in 2012. An eclectic collection, the twelve mentioned in this feature are united in their involvement in the local beer community. This list includes a bustling commercial district; a vegan beer pairing troupe that fundraises for charities; an enterprising publishing company; a portfolio of righteous beer bars (plus a brewpub); an outstanding yeast laboratory; a brewhouse equipment manufacturer; a feature film focusing on SD beer; the prestigious World Beer Cup; and several brewing companies poised to offer something unique to our city. Created as a reference point, we’ll reflect back on these selections throughout the year. For now, the 12 in ‘12 is a snapshot of our county’s beer industry as of January 2012, with a focus on a huge year ahead.

Greg Koch speaking to the media about Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens - Liberty Station last May

Liberty Station
Why you should watch: Back when Stone announced their plans for a Liberty Station brewpub in May of 2011, Slater’s 50/50 and SOL Markets weren’t even on our radar. Who knows what else will pop up over the coming year in the developing district, which also houses Oggi’s Pizza, Sammy’s Pizza and Tender Greens locations.
Coming up: SOL — standing for “seasonal, organic, local” — Markets is currently under construction. 24 taps (correction: 12 taps) and cooking classes are just the tip of the iceberg. They hope to have their doors open by April 1st.
Fun fact: When Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station opens (estimated late Spring 2012), they’ll share Slater’s 50/50 current parking lot. The ACE hardware next door should be so lucky.

Founders Kory Stetina and Derek Humbard flank Chad White of Sea Rocket Bistro

Why you should watch: Founders Derek Humbard and Kory Stetina dedicate themselves to putting together creative vegan cuisine and craft beer events that support local charities, including SD Animal Rescue and the SD Chapter of Engineers Without Borders. All four of their 2011 events were well-attended and highly-praised, with the donation amount per night often reaching their goal of $1,200-$2,000.
Coming up: A Valentine’s Day multi-course vegan dessert and beer pairing at Tiger!Tiger! Tavern benefiting Jeans4Justice, a local non-profit geared to ending sexual violence.
Fun fact: LOVELIKEBEER’s San Diego Beer Week event at Sea Rocket Bistro also showcased vegan beers by a vegan brewer, Ron Jeffries of Dexter, Michigan’s Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales. All those photos @

Bruce Glassman at Mission Brewery for the book's Beer Week kickoff

Chefs Press
Why you should watch: The book San Diego’s Top Brewers, which mixes brewery stories with pairing recipes, has been a hit in the local beer industry since its November release, and a new beer cookbook is already in the works. President & CEO Bruce Glassman says the company is shooting for a San Diego Beer Week 2012 release of the new project which will feature more local brewers, chefs, personalities and establishments than before.
Coming up: Chefs Press will begin shooting images for the book in February, and we plan on tagging along for some new web content.
Fun fact: On the Top Brewers website there are nearly twenty “Have a Beer with the Brewer” videos you can watch.

Blairen, at Karl Strauss' 22nd Anniversary Party last February. Photo: Kristina Yamamoto

The Blair Empire
Why you should watch: Scot and Karen Blair opened some of San Diego’s most beloved pubs– Hamilton’s Tavern, Small Bar, Bar Eleven, and Monkey Paw Pub & Brewery – in under ten years. Beers from their newest venture, Monkey Paw, have started popping up at various locations around town.
Coming up: “Second Saturday” featuring Karl Strauss at Hamilton’s. If you haven’t been to a Second Saturday event, you’re missing out. 17 Karl draught beers and two “dueling” casks complement complimentary Cajun food on February 11th.
Fun fact: It is highly appropriate to refer to the couple as “Blairen” when you see them together.

Coronado's new facility is well underway and will open in the spring

Coronado Brewing Co.
Why you should watch: Coronado’s beers make it to several countries outside the US, including Japan and England. Stateside, the company has a new national sales director, Jeff Hansson, who has brought the brewery he was planning with friend Anthony Levas under the Coronado Brewing Company umbrella. “Tusk & Grain Brewing Co.” will begin with Stone Distribution in mid-2012, and Coronado is currently interviewing candidates to launch the new brand.
Coming up: A new brewery/tasting room just east of Fiesta Island, scheduled to open in the spring, is expected to double production to 15,000 barrels by the end of 2012. Long-term capacity at the new brewery will be 60,000 barrels.
Fun fact: Director of Brewing Operations Sean DeWitt has spent the past seven years as the San Diego Brewers Guild Vice President, and will take over Marty Mendiola’s role as President for a one-year term beginning in summer, 2012.

Yeast vials, including the San Diego Super Yeast, at White Labs production facility off Miramar Road

White Labs
Why you should watch: The local yeast production company has settled in to their newer, bigger facility off the I-15 at Miramar Road, and business is booming. Their educational program is in constant development, with an all-day seminar on yeast essentials for homebrewers and local pros set for March 24th.
Coming up: An experimental tasting room featuring beers brewed on-site. Some day’s beers will share the same ingredients except for the yeast, while other days showing the impact of varying fermentation temperatures as the theme.
Fun fact: Last year, Mayor Jerry Sanders declared June 15th White Labs Day in San Diego, the day before the start of the National Homebrewers Conference in Mission Valley.

The Julian Brewing Company brew house. Lots to come from this system

Julian Brewing Company
Why you should watch: Vince Marsaglia, owner of Pizza Port and Tom Nickel, owner of O’Brien’s, teamed up to revamp the Bailey BBQ property in Julian. Marsaglia is handling the BBQ side of the operation, while Nickel’s creative ideas for the brewery include an active guest brewer program.
Coming up: A grand opening party with live music and dancing once a few house-brewed beers line the taps. The first three are Bailey Pale Ale, which will be brewed with locally grown hops from Star B Ranch in Santa Ysabel, an American stout collaboration with Marsaglia that will be dispensed on nitrogen, and something hoppy in the IPA range. More details on that event when it hits our inboxes.
Fun fact: Nickel has some New Zealand hops that he wants to do single varietal beers with, and this summer he’ll craft some smoked beers with house-smoked malt in the wood pit smoker.

The Premier Stainless group, taking a break to strike a pose

Premier Stainless Systems
Why you should watch: President Rob Soltys has been in the beer business for more than 20 years, and the Escondido-based company he founded in 2000 pushes out an average of one brewhouse per week, ranging from 3 to 30 barrels. Forecasts for growth in 2012 look good, with Premier’s impressive international client list making for a solid reputation in the industry. Local breweries with full systems by Premier Stainless include AleSmith Brewing Company, Iron Fist Brewing Co., Mission Brewery, El Cajon Brewing Company, Mother Earth Brew Co., as well as Pizza Port Solana Beach, Ocean Beach and San Clemente.
Coming up: Premier Stainless will build the brewing systems for Rampage Brewing, scheduled to open in San Diego before May, Coronado Brewing Co.’s upcoming expansion off Morena Boulevard, and Temecula’s under-construction Ironfire Brewing Company, led by former Ballast Point brewers John Maino and Gregory Webb.
Fun fact: Soltys helped build the first brewery system at Pizza Port Solana Beach and plans on wearing the original T-shirt to the party celebrating the 20th anniversary of beers first being served in 1992.

OB Head Brewer Yiga Miyashiro uses the pizza oven for his more unconventional brewing ingredients

Pizza Port
Why you should watch: The Carlsbad and Ocean Beach brewpubs are riding a wave of success after 2011 Great American Beer Festival Brewpub of the Year awards, and two key staff members in director of brewing operations Jeff Bagby and San Clemente head brewer Noah Regnery have recently moved on to other ventures.
Coming up: Pizza Port is looking to break ground on a two-story fifth location in Carlsbad around April 1st. The facility will house a canning line and brewery-restaurant, acting as a hub for production, distribution and employee training.
Fun fact: Live cams on the Pizza Port website show you what’s currently on tap at each location.

Smith and Constantiner at Home Brew Mart

Societe Brewing Company
Why you should watch: Societe’s brewers are Travis Smith and Doug Constantiner, who both hail from the deliciously creative, Orange County-based brewery, The Bruery. Before that, Smith was brewing for Russian River. During a short stint at La Jolla Brew House in 2010, West Coaster staff got to try a few of Smith’s beers and they were outstanding. Smith and Constantiner plan to be unique from other San Diego breweries by focusing on sour beers.
Coming up: The opening of Societe will take place in the spring. The soon-to-be Kearny Mesa brewery just finished laying down their floor late in January 2012.
Fun fact: The guys at Societe recognize the importance of updating beer fans on the brewery’s progress, and are active on their blog, Twitter, and Facebook pages.

Kaplan, right, pours at GABF while showing film clips

Suds County, USA
Why you should watch: Well, it’s a film about San Diego beer, to start, and director/producer Sheldon Kaplan has been hard at work for the last few years piecing together the most comprehensive look at local beer history to date.
Coming up: The film’s release. Kaplan is planning to premiere the film during the Craft Brewers Conference in May, followed by screenings at local breweries.
Fun fact: The narration for the film is being performed by Kevin Murphy, best known as the voice and puppeteer of Tom Servo on the comedy series Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Attendees enjoy a variety of beers. Photo (c) 2010 Jason E. Kaplan

World Beer Cup and Craft Brewers Conference
Why you should watch: The World Beer Cup, a highly-prestigious international beer competition held every two years since 1996, returns to sunny San Diego for the third time (2004, 2008) this May. Entries to this year’s World Beer Cup from outside the U.S. increased by 28 percent over 2010, making up 32 percent of the close to 4,000 total entries. The judging and awards dinner book-end the Craft Brewers Conference and BrewExpo Trade Show, a huge draw for brewers from all over the world. Unfortunately, these are not open to the public, but there will be a plethora of beer events going on around town.
Coming up: Local brewers will be pulling out all the stops to brew great beers to enter at the World Beer Cup, and we’ll track down some of their brew days for web content.
Fun fact: San Diego brewers won 21 medals at the 2010 World Beer Cup in Chicago, and Ballast Point took home the Champion Brewery and Brewmaster award in the small brewing company category.

Midweek Musings 1/25/12

Jan 25

Upcoming Events —

Tonight's event will have great glassware too. Photo from URGE's Facebook page.

Tonight, URGE American Gastropub in Rancho Bernardo is throwing an event called “Blackout” featuring dark offerings from some of their favorite breweries, including AleSmith Double Coffee Speedway Stout, Port Midnight Expressions, Stone 15 Anniversary Escondidian Black IPA, Iron Fist Velvet Glove on Nitro, Port Old Viscosity, Ballast Point Barrel-Aged Sea Monster, Lightning Black Lightning Porter, Karl Strauss Black’s Beach, Hess Ex Umbris Stout, and Mission Dark Seas. There’s plenty more on tap, but these are just some of the locals. Also, the two beers on cask are both standouts: Ballast Point Peppermint Victory at Sea and Stone Vanilla Bean Smoked Porter. This event doubles as a book signing for San Diego’s Top Brewers, and will include appearances by Mitch Steele and Steve Wagner of Stone, Colby Chandler of Ballast Point/Home Brew Mart, Jim Crute of Lightning, Dan Selis of Mission Brewery, Dan Love of Mother Earth, and Mike Hess of Hess Brewing.

Lacey, middle, flanked by SD support

Tomorrow, New English’s tasting room in Sorrento Valley will open to the public for the first time at 4pm. The guests of the soft opening held about two weeks ago read like a who’s who of San Diego beer, with appearances by Lee and Jennifer Chase of Blind Lady, Greg Koch of Stone, Colby Chandler of Ballast Point, Bruce Glassman of Chefs Press/San Diego’s Top Brewers, Dan Selis of Mission, Gary Pitman of Manzanita, Chris White of White Labs, writer Brandon Hernandez, and more. It was a great show of support for owner/brewer Simon Lacey, who’s really been performing all his duties as a one-man team, with some occasional help from homebrewer Kenny who offered his services when Lacey spoke at a QUAFF meeting more than a year ago. Lacey’s Explorer E.S.B. — the brewery’s flagship — and Brewers Special Brown Ale were obvious hits, as both casks blew before the night was out.  New English’s tasting room will also be open Fridays from 4-8 and Saturdays from 12-8.

Check out our event calendar for more great happenings. If you don’t see an event listed that your brewery/bar/restaurant is hosting, there is a submission form on the top of the online calendar, or you can e-mail me directly at

Cast your votes — 

Voting for The Full Pint’s Best Craft Beer of 2011 ends tomorrow at 5pm, and there are some great locals in the running: Ballast Point Indra Kunindra, El Cajones IPA from El Cajon Brewing Company, Karl Strauss Two Tortugas and more.

TapHunter’s 2nd Annual San Diego Brewery Awards are underway, at least the first stage in the competition. TapHunter members are invited to submit their best brewery story through February 3rd. Between February 4th and 24th the voting begins, and the brewery whose story receives the most votes will be honored at a March awards party. Users are eligible to win a $200 gift certificate to Best Damn Home Brew Shop for first place in the voting.

Cast your dollars — 

Straight from Kickstarter, “the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects”: “Beer Hunter: The Movie is a documentary film about the British journalist and author Michael Jackson, whose books and television series about beer inspired the global phenomenon that is the craft brewing renaissance. An intimate portrait based on over 60 hours of rare, recent video footage, Beer Hunter sheds insight into the life and contributions of this brilliant and beloved man, who, while quietly battling Parkinson’s, became the leading voice and inspiration behind the craft brewing movement. For those who had ever met Michael Jackson, or were deeply inspired by his work, it’s hard to imagine that he is no longer with us.”

The filmmakers are asking for your help to complete this project. Although the $30,000 goal has already been met with three days to go, more archival material and more of Jackson’s story will come through with each dollar raised. A non-profit organization, Michael Jackson Memorial Foundation, is also being set up with the goal of organizing annual fund-raising events in Michael’s memory, with proceeds to benefit Parkinson’s Research.

We asked one local, Greg Koch of Stone Brewing Co., for his thoughts: “The first time I ever sat next to Michael Jackson was during a lunch at the 1996 Craft Brewers Conference. I was so nervous, and afraid that I’d say something dumb, I just sat there and never even said hello. Years later, confidence built up a bit, I had the pleasure of sharing beers with Michael a couple different times. He was worth being nervous about talking to when considering the weight and importance of his life’s work, but was actually as down-to-earth and easy to talk to as anyone in reality.  We miss Michael.”

If you can, please help make this film the best it can be! Here’s the press release.

Cast your beers — 

The last day to register for Holiday Wine Cellars’ homebrew competition is Monday the 30th. The winner will brew their recipe on Iron Fist’s system. Last year, homebrewer Alex Tweet won the contest, and his beer Indra Kunindra not only landed him on The Full Pint’s beer of the year shortlist, but also on the payroll at Ballast Point.

And you have a little under a month to register for Monkey Paw Pub & Brewery’s homebrew competition. The theme: Belgian-style beers.

More information for both competitions is available on our event calendar.

Brews in the News (Dec/Jan)

Dec 7

In each issue we publish a news-y section called “Brews in the News” where we talk about beer releases, event highlights and more. For the Dec/Jan issue (which hit the streets Dec. 1st), we discuss more tasting room space at two popular Miramar spots, Jeff Bagby leaving Pizza Port (+ updates), 11 businesses that made headlines in 2011, and some SDBW fallout. Enjoy:

Construction Day 1 in mid-November

Who doesn’t like more bar space? Both AleSmith and Ballast Point are renovating their tasting rooms for your beer-drinking enjoyment. The AleSmith tasting room will begin its transformation in January, and will include a new, larger bar with a built-in beer engine, additional restroom, and a display area for both AleSmith awards and its growing barrel program. Stay tuned to their newsletter or West Coaster’s website for information regarding temporary tasting room closure, and look forward to the grand re-opening party in the first quarter of 2012. Some of the tasting room changes at Ballast Point are already underway, and upon completion will include more floor space, a new look, and more taps. The tasting room will tentatively be closed right after the New Year, giving you a bit of time to get over that hangover before jumping back in the saddle.

Jeff Bagby, Director of Brewpub Operations for Pizza Port and head brewer at Pizza Port Carlsbad, who led the Pizza Port family to thirteen medals at the 2011 Great American Beer Festival, will be leaving the company at the end of the year to pursue his own venture. Stay tuned for more information as it comes via our website and future issues. Updates 12/7: follow-up coverage of this story is available on San Diego Beer Blog,, Brewery Rowe and According to a post by Jeff Hammett at San Diego Beer Blog, Bagby’s assistant at Pizza Port Carlsbad, Ignacio “Nacho” Cervantes will be continuing to brew as he and other members of the team fill most of Bagby’s duties. reports that the ideal location for Bagby’s new brewery will be in North County San Diego, but that nothing is set yet. A bit more commentary and quotes available at Brewery Rowe, too. Also, it looks like San Clemente head brewer Noah Regnery is on his way out as well. In other Pizza Port news, Barbara Henry at the North County Times then reported that Pizza Port has plans to build a new two-story, 37,050-square-foot facility in Carlsbad at Palomar Airport Rd and Gateway Rd that would serve as a production and distribution facility as well as Pizza Port’s fifth brewery restaurant location. Henry also reports that it will also house a canning facility. Pizza Port’s proposal goes before the Carlsbad’s Planning Commission tonight at 6 p.m. and a copy of the report to the Planning Commission can be seen here.

(l-r): Jeff Babgy, Vince Marsaglia, Ignacio Cervantes, Brandon Edwards, Mike Aubuchon, Yiga Miyashiro and Noah Regnery

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