Take a look at the recently-released Brewers Association Top Craft Brewers list and you’ll see several local names pushing the limits of beer produced locally in San Diego. Green Flash is even undertaking a new brewery location on the East Coast. Everywhere you look, there is growth and expansion. Local beer is booming, with seemingly no end in sight. Amongst this bonanza, several of the local breweries that have opened in the past few years have taken a decidedly more local and intimate focus. Since Hess Brewing and Automatic Brewing Co. first opened in 2010, an ever-growing group of brewers in San Diego have chosen to focus on extremely small-batch brewing. These nanobrewers, sometimes producing as little as 20 gallons of beer at a time, are redefining what local, artisan beer can be.
While there is no clear origin for the dividing line, most nanobrewers consider a nanobrewery to top out at about three barrels (93 gallons) of beer per batch. On the low side, some nanobrewers still use the same 10-gallon homebrew system that they worked out their original recipes on. Sam Calagione famously started Dogfish Head of Delaware on a 10-gallon system, and they have since grown to producing over 200,000 barrels of beer a year. While still not legally recognized as a distinct class, “nano” simply came into use as a descriptor for a brewery that is, well, smaller than a microbrewery. For comparison, most brewpubs have a brewhouse that makes seven-10 barrels of beer per batch, and most distributing microbreweries start in the 15-20 barrel range, with regional breweries like Stone pumping out about 120 barrels at a time from their brewhouse, typically brewing multiple times into even larger fermentation tanks.
Common industry wisdom several years ago was that if you weren’t a brewpub, you were wasting your startup cash, as well as remaining sanity, by opening with anything smaller than 15 barrels. This idea was based on the assumption that you would distribute your beer in kegs to draught accounts, and possibly also bottles to bars and stores, either by yourself or a third party wholesaler/distributor. You might have a tasting room, but it wouldn’t be very significant as far as the volume of your beer that you would move out of it. This sizing rationale is based on the analysis of fixed versus variable costs.
A batch of beer takes the same amount of time to make on a one barrel or 15 barrel system, and the amount of space needed is not significantly different between seven and 15 barrels (though one barrel can be made in a much smaller space). So your fixed costs, including the same licensing and fees for starting up, would not change much, though your variable costs, mainly ingredients, would. At under 15 barrels per batch, the idea was that your cost-per-unit would be too high for you to charge what the market would bear and still make a profit. Your fixed costs would essentially eat your profit and you would eventually be forced to upgrade to a larger-sized brewery in order to become profitable enough to survive, or you would go under.
This economic model has changed somewhat in the past several years as brewery taprooms have become more prevalent and popular. Many locales, San Diego included, allow breweries with a certain license to sell full pints of beer and growlers to go out of their tasting rooms. This turns the old thinking on its head because small breweries can now make a survivable profit on a smaller amount of beer due to the higher margins on pints and growlers versus wholesale bottles and kegs. When going this route you are essentially a brewpub without a kitchen that may or may not also distribute some of your beer. Add on regular visits from the plethora of awesome local food trucks now doing business, and you have some of the benefit of a kitchen without the risk and cost of starting a restaurant, a decidedly more risky venture these days. Most nanos are selling all or most of their beer out of their taproom, though some, like Cold Bore Brewing Company of Jamul, are packaging all of their beer for local distribution.
Amongst brewers, there is essentially a consensus that the nano step is chosen mainly because it’s simply far less expensive than a 15-20 barrel brewery. Without a sizeable trust fund, it can be very daunting to go into massive debt or give up control to investors in order to get started. Starting small allows for more personal control and less risk. At the same time, almost all of them agree that their first brewing system is only a launching pad to larger capacity and production down the road. Dave Hyndman of Wet ‘N Reckless embodies this enthusiastic outlook. He enjoys the freedom of artistic experimentation that brewing on a 45-gallon system provides, but also acknowledges the downsides. “The disadvantage is that for every keg of beer I produce there is much more time and labor that goes into it,” he says. “It’s a labor of love but it’s also a reality of the business model.” As demand for his beers grows, he plans to expand capacity in his current space.
Vista brewpub Prohibition Brewing Company brewed 350 barrels of beer last year on a three-barrel system, though they already realized the need for more brewing capacity and have just installed a 10-barrel brewhouse built by local San Marcos brewing industry equipment supplier Premier Stainless, on which they plan to brew over 1,000 barrels this year. To head brewers Matthew Adams and Jonathon Rielly, nano is less about the absolute size and more about the local distribution of beer and connection to the community. “In our minds a nano brewery is an establishment that brews beer for their friends and family in their local community,” they said, adding, “between the two of us we agree that nano signifies a connection to the community that you are brewing for. Nano is connecting with the people who drink your beer and catering your product to their tastes, even if it conflicts with style guidelines.” While many consider nano to be all about size, I do think there is something to be said for the local state of mind.
Another brewery that walks the line is Amplified Ale Works in Pacific Beach. Located inside California Kebab, they were limited by the amount of space they had to build a brewery. They were able to fit a 3.5-barrel brewhouse in a former office, and two seven-barrel fermentation / conditioning tanks behind the bar. They double-batch on brew days, producing seven barrels at a time, so owner JC Hill is reluctant to use the nano label, preferring to call Amplified a “small craft brewery.” Right now, they can brew about 150 barrels a year, a nano-amount by most measures. Hill hopes that will change. “If we can add another seven barrel fermenter and some brite tanks to carbonate in, we’ll be able to brew a lot more” he says. Even within this limited capacity, Hill and head brewer Cy Henley have already experimented with bourbon barrel aging and plan to get into more sour and wild experiments in the future. Nano or not, Amplified is exemplifying creative brewing engineered to fit the constraints of a given space.
One of San Diego’s newest breweries, Intergalactic Brewing Company, is set to host their grand opening party on May 4, but owner Alex Van Horne already understands the freedom as well as constraint that starting nano has placed on them. He’s decided to start on a 20-gallon system, and would like to be able to brew 100 barrels in the first year, with expansion allowing more after that. “I am constantly changing recipes and improving the beer,” he says of the advantages of brewing on a small scale. “So the more I brew, the more opportunities I will have to make my beer better.” At the same time, Van Horne has a keen eye for expanding capacity as the business grows. “I don’t think anyone starts nano with the thought that they are going to stay that way. There is always some other end goal.” He says, finishing with an assessment that I think sums up the essence of brewing on such a small scale:
“Nano is great for starting out, getting a name, getting credit and a following. But when you start to realize it takes about the same amount of time to do 15 gallons as it does 15 barrels or 150 barrels and you have to hire 10 employees to keep up with demand on a small system you know that nano is not sustainable. I will add one thing, San Diego is different. With the tasting room culture that is here, nano can work. Just prepare to work 80+ hours a week if you want to make it work.”
So all you aspiring homebrewers thinking of starting a nanobrewery in the future, get ready for long hours, mountains of paperwork, and pressure to grow. We brewers are generally a crazy-determined bunch though, and I know more than a few who are up to the challenge.
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?!
What’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 chefspress.com 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.
With a chef uprooted from Louisiana, it’s no surprise that Local Habit’s cuisine is a tad bit more flavorful than other organically-themed restaurants. Traditional California dishes are improved upon with additions pulled from the famously flavorful cooking of the South, and the result is what Local Habit likes to call “Cali-Creole” cuisine.
Executive Chef Nick Brune was raised among the spicy culture of Baton Rouge. His first experiences with food involved fishing and hunting for the evening meals of fried whole bream, speckled trout, and duck and turnip gumbo – all prepared by his self-taught Southern family. Chef Brune is constantly whipping up an array of whatever is currently in season and able to be locally sourced. He continues to develop his Cali-Creole cuisine and makes this zesty style the basis of the restaurant’s fare.
Once you have your first taste of Local Habit, you will realize that it is much more than your ordinary organic and sustainable eatery. From the strictest of vegans to comfort food lovers alike, Local Habit stands out as a dining option that serves all tastes and preferences. Everyone will appreciate Local Habit’s efforts to prepare and present home-made and local offerings with creative dishes such as House Smoked Pork Loin & Piperade pizza, Roasted Garlic and Tahini Chicken Sausage with Smoked Paprika Oil, and Chef Brune’s authentic Louisiana Gumbos.
Beer enthusiasts will delight in Local Habit’s rotating selection of California craft beers. Each tap pours forth a fine craft beer, and as the well runs dry, Local Habit quickly gets to work replacing the dry tap with a new variety to entice an entirely new range of tastebuds.
Local Habit is located at 3827 5th Avenue in Uptown Hillcrest and offers two hours of free parking in the lots at 6th and Robinson. Please see a manager for a parking validation ticket.
3827 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 92103 – (619) 795-4770
The craft beer scene continues to explode in San Diego and throughout America. By the end of next year, San Diego county is expected to be home to more than 90 breweries. In recent years, tens of thousands of people all over the county and state have acquired an appreciation and taste for great craft beer. Now that all those people have learned to DRINK craft beer, it’s time for them to learn how to COOK WITH craft beer.
Brew Food celebrates the incredible range and versatility of beer and its adaptability to the home kitchen. The recipes in this book have been developed by an impressive collection of professionals, each deeply entrenched in the beer-and-food industry. The book highlights the culinary creativity of San Diego’s best chefs, dessertiers, pro brewers, brewery staffers, restaurateurs, and craft-beer-bar owners. It provides recipes that will inspire home cooks of all skill levels and interests–everything from Hefeweizen-Coriander Baked Sea Bass to Quad-Braised Osso Buco to Spicy IPA Burgers and IPA Mac-n-Cheese. No matter what your tastes are, if you love beer, you’ll love Brew Food!
San Diego first gained international notoriety as the new capital of craft beer, and now that the culture of beer has taken firm hold, the city is quickly becoming known for its cutting-edge beer-and-food scene. Special events showcasing local chefs and brewers are held every week all over town, and many kitchens regularly offer diners new and interesting menu items that incorporate and highlight the many beautiful flavors of beer. Brew Food boasts more than 90 recipes collected from pro brewers, craft beer bars, and top San Diego chefs, including Katherine Humphus, Ryan Studebaker, Jeff Rossman, Karl Prohaska, Bernard Guillas, Ron Oliver, Nick Brune, Kyle Bergman, Shane McIntyre, Brandon Brooks, and Matt Gordon.
SUDS COUNTY USA
Curious as to how San Diego became such a booming beer county? It didn’t happen overnight! Director Sheldon Kaplan delves into the rich history of the century-old brewing industry of San Diego in his feature length documentary film Suds County USA. Through exhaustive research and interviews, Suds follows beer in San Diego from the pre-prohibition breweries to the established brands we drink today. Suds features interviews from AleSmith, Alpine, Ballast Point, Coronado, Green Flash, Karl Strauss, Port / The Lost Abbey, Pizza Port, Stone.
Suds also documents how the local homebrewing community is responsible for much of the great beer on tap today. Respected homebrew club QUAFF (Quality Ale and Fermentation Fraternity) is featured; many of the professional brewers in San Diego can trace their roots to this club.
Suds doesn’t focus on how beer-crazed our county has become, but rather how it came to be – serving as a reference piece that gives context to the present-day beer boom. More importantly, it shows the faces and names of people who have worked very hard to create San Diego’s brewing industry. This film is a must-view for any serious beer geek in town! Click to sudscountyusa.com to watch a preview, purchase the movie download or buy the DVD.
CRAFT BEER GEAR
Looking to get a gift for the beer geek in your life? Craft Beer Gear offers a variety of fun, creative and affordable options online. For the ladies: earrings made right here in San Diego from the bottle caps of her favorite brewery starting at just $5. And for the gentlemen: a Wild-West style beer bottle holster (handmade in Austin, TX) for his next beer fest – only $25.
Visitors to “America’s Finest City” know it is almost impossible to not make at least one brewery stop – a rare few have the opportunity to see all of them. Launched in 2012, Craft Beer Gear carries an increasing number of logo merchandise branded with craft brewery names – making for a perfect keepsake that you can order online anywhere and anytime.
To view the growing inventory or to purchase something in time for the holidays, visit craftbeergear.net. See Craft Beer Gear’s Facebook page or website for upcoming events where you can purchase in-person. For West Coaster readers, CBG is offering free shipping through December 31, 2012. Use coupon code FREESHIP at checkout.
Looking to try a different kind of brewery experience? Scavengers offers unique tours starting at $89 per person. Ideal for groups of 2-24 people, Scavengers provides guided tours to world class breweries in San Diego by way of the Pinzgauer (pronouced pinz-gow-er). A Swiss Military 6×6 safari vehicle with seating for 12 and an open-air design, this 6 wheel drive BEAST is the perfect mode of transportation when you’re on the road to drink great beer from the source.
A company comprised of avid homebrewers, Scavengers has developed a passion for hand-crafted beer. This passion has inspired the creation of a quality brewery tour service that highlights San Diego’s scenic beauty, awesome food, and most of all – radical micro-breweries. With free pickup in North County, the tour heads off to three breweries and includes a meal. Tours can be public or private, great for meeting like-minded folks or focusing entirely on your private party. Breweries on the tour map include Stone Brewing Company, Iron Fist Brewing Company, The Lost Abbey, Port Brewing, Ballast Point Brewing Company, and Green Flash Brewing Company, among others. Scavengers also offers mixed beer and wine tours – great for couples split on what beverage reigns supreme.
Exclusively for West Coaster readers, mention you heard about Scavengers in this issue and get 10% off your next tour. Some restrictions apply; valid until 12/31/11, limit one per customer.To book your tour, please call (760) 717-2551 or visit brewerytoursandiego.com
The Lightning Brewery was the ninth brewery in San Diego when it opened in early 2006. With about 60 breweries now around the county today, the brewery continues to maintain a roster of enjoyable beers that are often unfairly overlooked by the overall beer community – despite their uniqueness and quality. Two founding, core beers, Thunderweizen Ale and Elemental Pilsner, are both remarkably popular at bottleshops in San Diego. To meet demand, Lightning has purchased a capable bottling line and will start offering 6-packs of both Thunderweizen & Elemental beginning in early 2013! If you are looking for special holiday brews, you may want to consider the warming Electrostatic Ale or robust Black Lightning Porter. Electrostatic Ale is a high gravity farmhouse ale that pairs very well with all holiday meals. Black Lightning Porter is a great top-off to any evening, particularly ones with chocolate or coffee desserts. Lightning Brewery is open for tasting and growler fills Friday 1:30-5:30PM and Saturday 1:00-5:00PM.
13200 Kirkham Way, Poway, CA 92064 – (858) 513-8070
With a fleet of luxury vehicles that includes SUVs, stretch limousines and party buses – let Brew Hop treat you to the ultimate brewery tour offered in town. With guided tours to San Diego’s best breweries, the size of your party determines your ride; vehicles range from Lincolns to Limo Buses. Additionally, every Brew Hop vehicle is permitted so that you can enjoy adult beverages on the road from one brewery to the next. Brew Hop is ready to deliver you and your friends to the world’s best breweries in style.
Much more than a pretty face, Brew Hop offers two tour packages: The Beer Connoisseur tour is a 5-hour party experience that stops at 3-4 breweries with tasters at each. The Beer Tasters tour is a 2.5 hour session to 1-2 breweries, including tasters. Each tour group is led by a Brew Hop tour host, and at each brewery there’s a VIP private tour of the facility, a chance to meet the brewery staff to ask questions about your favorite brews, and, of course, taster flights of beer.
Brew Hop was founded in San Diego and also operates in Seattle, with future sights set on Portland, Oregon. Since November 2011, the company has maintained a 5-star average on Yelp.com and TripAdvisor.com. Brew Hop was recently featured in Time Magazine UK.
Mention West Coaster and receive 10% off your next booking (tour must be booked by 12/31/12, some restrictions apply). Contact Summer for a customized party proposal and browse BrewHop.com for more information.
Celebrate the season with an Iron Fist! For the month of December, Vista’s Iron Fist Brewing Co. is offering a 15% discount on cases of beer purchased at the brewery. Mix and match bottles of Spice of Life, Hired Hand, or Uprising for your next holiday party. Be sure to check out the brewery’s new apparel, which now includes hoodies and long-sleeve t-shirts.
Don’t forget growlers! Now in stock, Iron Fist’s glass growlers are German designed with a sturdy pewter handle and are filled with 2 liters of fresh beer (pictured). Reusable and stylish, a full growler is a great way to not arrive empty-handed. After the initial cost of the glass, growlers provide an economical way to enjoy a large helping of beer.
New expansion in 2012! If you haven’t been by recently, Iron Fist has grown its tasting room into the adjacent industrial suite. The extra space affords more room for beer tasting as well as increased beer production. Expect more draft, bottled, and barreled beer in 2013!
1305 Hot Springs Way, Vista, CA 92081 – (760) 216-6500
80+ Grains, 60+ Hops, All White Labs Yeast, and a selection of wine & distilling yeast. Starter kits & mucho, mucho mas! Holiday Special: one gallon “Brew In A Box” kit – a perfect gift. Ideal for trying out the hobby for the first time, or experimenting on new recipes. Very little space required! Includes everything you need to brew a one gallon batch of beer: recipe, ingredients (grains, hops, yeast), one-gallon Jug, thermometer, air lock, sanitizer, nifty instructions, & tubing. The Homebrewer also offers brew classes for both beginning and experienced brewers. Go online, call to check the schedule, and read our reviews on Yelp!
2911 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA 92104 – (619) 450-6165
Only available in December: Winter Seasonal PubCakes! This year marks the return of the AleSmith YuleSmith Gingerbread PubCake. New for 2012, the special Irish Carbomb PubCake aka “Christmas Carbomb” (pictured) is made with Peppermint Schnapps and candy canes.
Simply put, if you’re hunting for gifts for the craft beer drinker with a sweet tooth – there’s nothing better. Perfect for entertaining: purchase PubCakes with their corresponding beers and create an easy and decadent pairing for the holidays. Or, come by and pick up a gift certificate for a great stocking stuffer. In addition to the previously mentioned Winter Seasonal PubCakes, don’t forget the year-round ‘Cakes such as the Irish Carbomb, Stoned Portzilla, Beer Breakfast and Punkin’ Vegan. If you mention West Coaster, you get 10% off your next PubCake purchase! Visit pubcakes.com or the PubCakes storefront at 7229 El Cajon Blvd., San Diego, 92115. Hours are Wednesday through Saturday from 10am-6:30pm and on Sunday from 10am-4:30pm.
7229 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA 92115 – (619) 741-0530
BREWERY TOURS OF SAN DIEGO
With so many breweries in San Diego county, it’s tough keeping track – let alone physically visiting each one. After just one tasting flight at one brewery, you are probably legally intoxicated. Driving to multiple breweries is a definite risk. While working at the tasting room of Ballast Point in 2006, Brewery Tours of San Diego Co-Founder Mindy Eastman noticed many customers were attempting to taste at multiple breweries – often while noticeably intoxicated. Inspiration struck, and shortly after, San Diego’s original brewery tour company was born.
With a fleet consisting of buses, shuttles and vans, Brewery Tours of San Diego puts an emphasis on beer education (rather than just inebriation!). A typical session runs 5 hours, stops at 3 breweries, and includes tastings at each. Also included is a guided tour behind-the-scenes at one brewery with an introduction to commercial beer production.
Both private and public tours are offered, seven days a week. Private tours allow you to choose which breweries to see and reserve the vehicle exclusively for your use. Public Tours follow fixed routes and are open-seating – a great way to save a few dollars and make some new friends. Brewery Tours of San Diego also provides transportation to and from beer festivals, concerts, and more!
To book your next tour, go to BreweryToursofSanDiego.com!
ALE TRAILS AMERICA CALENDAR
2013 San Diego Craft Beer Calendar by Ale Trails America™
Looking for the perfect Holiday gift for your craft beer lover? One that keeps on giving for the whole year? No, it’s not a Brewery! The 2013 San Diego Craft Beer Calendar takes you on a monthly pictorial journey to 12 of San Diego County’s best breweries – and at under $15, it’s way more affordable.
Including an Ale Trail Map and Craft Beer Timeline of important milestones on San Diego’s way to becoming the “Napa Valley of Craft Beer,” the monthly Ale Trail starts at San Diego’s original Beer Pioneers, Karl Strauss, and then treks over the Bay Bridge to idyllic Coronado where CBC reigns supreme.
Turning North along the historic El Camino Real brings us to La Jolla’s Rock Bottom, Sorrento Valley’s New English, Carlsbad’s Pizza Port and the “pride of the ‘side”, Oceanside Ale Works. Heading East through the hotbed North County area leads us to the newest spots on the trail, Iron Fist and Stumblefoot.
From here it’s a short hop over to Stone to rest and replenish before the final leg south to Ballast Point, AleSmith and the big finish at Green Flash! So leave your car in the garage and take a brew tour the easy way – with the 2013 San Diego Craft Beer Calendar!
This unique gift idea is sure to please any Hop Head on your list! Published by Ale Trails America – a North County San Diego-based company devoted to promoting better craft beer experiences – it’s available at the featured breweries, craft beer bottle shops and other beer-centric outlets around San Diego’s brewing community, or by contacting Steve Mayer at firstname.lastname@example.org or (760) 803-0691.
BOTTLECRAFT BEER CLUB
The inspiration behind Bottlecraft began with the simple idea of exploring the flavors of well-made beer and sharing that experience with a like-minded community. Out of this same founding spirit, the Bottlecraft Beer Club was born.
The goal of the monthly beer club is to not only put together a package of great beer, but also tell the stories behind those beers. To accomplish this, we’ve invited some distinguished members of the San Diego beer community—Beer Curators—to select a few of their favorite beers, and tell us why they love them.
A Beer Club membership includes 6 bottles of hand-picked beer each month with the curator’s tasting notes and reflections on the beer. Other perks include members-only events, discounts, first dibs on rare beer and more.
Join the Bottlecraft Beer Club today and join us in the continual appreciation of craft beer!
The First Six Curators Include: Dr. Bill, Mel Gordon, Scot Blair, Colby Chandler, Chuck Silva, Juan and Kevin from MIHO.
2161 India St, San Diego, CA 92101 - (619) 487-9493
BEST DAMN HOME BREW SHOP & BEST DAMN BEER SHOP (LOCATED INSIDE KRISP BEVERAGES + NATURAL FOODS)
Now is a great time to visit downtown San Diego’s only home brew supplier, Best Damn Home Brew Shop. Located inside Krisps Beverages + Natural Foods, this store has everything you need to make excellent beer. Shop a variety of specialty grains, hops, brewing books and more. Once you have your ingredients, be sure to browse Best Damn Beer Shop’s insane bottle selection located inside the same store. Between the bottle selection and brew supplies, this is the Best Damn one-stop beer shop in downtown San Diego. Mention West Coaster and receive 10% off all starter kits for the month of December (expires 12/31/12).
1036 7th Ave San Diego, CA 92101 - (619) 232-6367
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 email@example.com
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”
Happy San Diego Beer Week eve! As of this posting, there’s 363 events on SDBW.org. I’ve picked just one event for each day – which was pretty difficult. Please note that this list is VERY SUBJECTIVE and you should choose your own adventure for SDBW 2012. However, if you were curious as what/where I’d be drinking – here you go.
Friday, November 2
Grand Unveiling of Amplified Ale Works @ California Kebab PB
Cali-Kebab’s menu is solid with fresh Mediterranean-esque food, a fine tap list and a beer garden that overlooks the ocean. After some hiccups, the in-house brewery Amplified Ale Works officially launches this day with two house drafts and a cask. Mayor Sanders will tap the cask at 6PM.
Link to this event
Saturday, November 3
San Diego Brewers Guild Festival @ The Port Pavilion, Broadway Pier
Much effort has been spent in rectifying the problems from this festival in 2011. A new and larger venue has been secured and emphasis on crowd control was made a priority after last year’s beer lines stretched far. In addition, the San Diego Brewers Guild hired paid staff to organize this year’s festival (previously, this was a volunteer-organized event). All the pieces are in place and I’m betting this is going to be the best Guild Fest yet.
Link to this event
Sunday, November 4
Firestone Walker 16th Anniversary Release Party @ Stone Brewing Co.
Into the Brew columnist and Firestone Walker brewer Sam Tierney will be at Stone’s bistro outside bar serving ~12 Firestone specialties. If you have ever dreamed of getting into professional brewing, you should talk to Sam.
Link to this event
Monday, November 5
The Five Chef Societe @ The Handlery Hotel
I’m a big fan of every event the team at Handlery puts out. For this event, five local chefs pair five Societe Brewing Co. beers with five courses. Much thought has been put into this beer pairing dinner; while the ticket price is high at $80, this won’t be a light meal in portion nor flavor.
Link to this event
Tuesday, November 6
Lost Abbey Beer Pairing Dinner w/ Tomme Arthur @ Chuchill’s Pub
I’ve got high hopes for this one because Churchill’s and Lost Abbey are bringing their A-game. Five course meal with two food and beer pairings per course.
Link to this event
Wednesday, November 7
4th Fling Frisbee Golf Tournament
3rd Fling was my favorite event of SDBW 2011. Breakfast at Morley Field’s disk golf course and followed by a shotgun tournament. Afterwards, you visit Hamilton’s where there’s nonstop food and beer. I’m not going to say any more because it’s sold out, but if you are reading this and want to go – mark your calendar for next year.
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Honorable mention (because the above event is sold out): Big Wednesday @ Toronado
Thursday, November 8
Dogfish Head Tap Takeover @ Neighborhood
There’s going to be a few DFH beers that I really enjoy on draft, such as Midas Touch and 120 Minute. In addition, it’s been a while since I’ve been to Neighborhood. I’m looking for this day to be a “relaxed” beer day.
Link to this event
Friday, November 9
Phil’s BBQ & Beer Fest w/ Monkey Paw, Manzanita & Societe
We teamed up with Phil’s BBQ for this one. For $25, there’s 6 five ounce beer samples and 6 BBQ tasters. This is being held in Phil’s Event Center (across the parking lot of their Point Loma location). We designed this event to promote San Diego beer to newbies, and with Phil’s seating ~3,000 daily we figured we might win a few converts. Keep the taster glass and win some raffle prizes while enjoying beer from some of SD’s best new breweries.
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Saturday, November 10
Best Damn Sour Fest 2 @ The Beer Co.
If you love sour beer, look no further. Best Damn Beer Shop and Bine and Vine Bottleshop have raided their respective reserves and assembled a mighty list of beers to be poured. Cost is $55 for ten 3-4oz pours (tickets here).
Link to this event
Sunday, November 11
The Beer Garden @ The Lodge at Torrey Pines
The official closing event of SDBW. Unlimited beer and food from San Diego’s finest chefs and brewers paired together overlooking Torrey Pines Golf Course. If you are on the fence, take a look at the lineup, below.
Link to this event
San Diego Beer Week is also very special for us at West Coaster. Our very first issue was published for SDBW 2010. I wanted to give a big THANK YOU to all of our readers, supporters and friends for helping us get here. If you haven’t already, check out our November 2012 issue.