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Posts by Ryan Lamb

Super Saturday

Aug 26

GF_22oz-Treasure-Chest_noBG_RGB_webTomorrow San Diegans have a plethora of options for beer drinking other than just visiting the 120+ breweries in town. A few of those events benefit great causes, including Green Flash’s sixth annual Treasure Chest Fest, which raises funds for breast cancer charity Susan G. Komen San Diego.

Treasure Chest Fest promises to be multi-faceted, featuring 20+ restaurants & vendors, live entertainment to go with the luau theme, educational presentations, games & activities, meet-the-brewer sessions, a photo booth and more.

Here are more Saturday events, pulled from the West Coaster event calendar:

Pomegranate Green Tea (Beer To The Rescue) Release @ Kilowatt Brewing
91X BeerX Beer & Music Fest @ Liberty Station
Bay City Brewing Co. First Anniversary Party
Uncasked at UTC (Benefiting the San Diego Brewers Guild)
Firestone Walker Beer Dinner @ URGE Gastropub Rancho Bernardo
Beer 4 Breakfast w/ Second Chance @ Small Bar
Avery 23rd Anniversary Celebration @ Machete Beer House
Vegan Sweets Pairings @ 32 North Brewing
Big & Small ABV Guided Tasting @ Benchmark Brewing
Craft Brewed Comedy @ Mission Brewery

Know of more events? Tell us in the comments.

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.

A Departure from Ballast Point

Jul 25
Kight (right) w/ Zach Borba: "The final Longfin from my man Zach Borba...all good things must come to end...my last day at Ballast Point...on to the next project (s)...."

Kight (right) w/ Zach Borba: “The final Longfin from my man Zach Borba…all good things must come to end…my last day at Ballast Point…on to the next project (s)….”

Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits’ Chief Commercial Officer Earl Kight posted online that today is his last day with the company.

Kight joined Ballast Point as a consultant in 2008 and became the company’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing in 2012.

In that year, Ballast Point broke into the Brewers Association’s Top 50 craft breweries by sales volume at #46. In the 2015 rankings, the brewery stood at #11.

The San Diego company was acquired by Constellation Brands in November 2015 for $1 billion.

A spokesman for Ballast Point would not comment on this story, and Kight could not be immediately reached.

Local & National Hop News

Jul 21

In San Diego, August, September and October bring the release of beers brewed with freshly-harvested hops. This year, more than a dozen farms in the county are providing hops to pro brewers and/or homebrewers. As of today, we know of a few brew plans; stay tuned to WestCoasterSD.com in August for more details from farmers and brewers.

– Star B Ranch is again providing hops to Tom Nickel’s Nickel Beer Company for a brew day in the first week of August. The farm, which doubles as a buffalo ranch, is likely to work with local breweries ChuckAlek, Burning Beard and Latitude 33 as well.

– SD Golden Hop Farm is hosting multiple “picking parties” for groups like Pink Boots Society (August 14), Culture Brewing (August 21) and the Women’s Craft Beer Collective (August 28). They’re also providing hops to these local breweries: Coronado (Cascade and Chinook for a San Diego Pale Ale); Reckless Brewing (Golden Boy); Pure Project (100% Californian ingredients collaboration with Everyday California); Culture (Cascade hops for a wet-hopped IPA); Ballast Point (Cascade and Chinook varieties for GABF entries); and Amplified Ale Works. A big collaboration beer— “Fallbrook Homegrown 2.0” — is in the works, featuring Cascade, Chinook and Galena hops with North County natives Chuck McLaughlin (Fallbrook Brewing), Ryan Brooks (Coronado), John Maino (Ironfire), Lucas Nelson (Green Flash) and Bradley Miles (Firestone Walker).

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Monkey Paw’s Cosimo Sorrentino checking out the hops yesterday with Nopalito Farm’s Jordan Brownwood; via Facebook

– Monkey Paw is planning “Same Day XPA” utilizing Nopalito Farm hops, specifically Cascade and Centennial varieties. As the name implies, those hops will be harvested on the same day the beer is brewed, either the second or third week of August.

– Nickel Beer Co. is crafting four wet hop beers this year. Besides the aforementioned collaboration with Star B Ranch, Nickel is making My Way IPA with fresh Chinook and Cascade from Nopalito Farm, Green Truck Double IPA with fresh Columbus from Nopalito, and a fresh hop brown ale with Scot Blair and hops from SD Golden Hop Farm.

– For homebrewers interested in picking your own hops, Hopportunity Farms just outside Julian is opening its gates for select dates in August and September: August 6 and 7, August 13 and 14, August 20 and 21, September 4, and September 11. Priced at $2 an ounce or $20 a pound, the farm grows Cascade, Nugget, Brewer’s Gold, Magnum, Centennial, Goldings, Willamette, and a local variety brought to Julian by gold miners in the 1890s. Contact Phil Warren for more details: prwarren46@gmail.com, or 858-735-2977.

– San Diego is now home to more than a dozen hop farmers in the northern and eastern parts of the county: Vista (Red Alpha Hops, Goat House Hops); Ramona (Big BoulderHops, Star B Ranch, ZZ Hops); Alpine (Hopatul Farms); Valley Center (Renquist Farms, Vine Ripe Farm, Bear Valley Organic Farms, Nopalito Farms); Julian (Hopportunity Farm); Fallbrook (ZP Growers, Mission Hops, San Diego Golden Hop Farm).

Note to brewers and farmers collaborating on wet hop beers: please e-mail ryan@westcoastersd.com with details so you can be included in the next web post.


On a national scale, hop acreage has grown for the fourth straight year. After a 15.4% increase in acres harvested in the US in 2015, a 10.2% increase in 2014, a 10.3% increase in 2013, and a 7.2% increase in 2012, acreage has jumped up once again, this time a whopping 18.5% from 2015. Total acres strung for harvest in the U.S. this summer is 53,213, or 8,303 more than last year.

According to a report from the Hop Growers of America, the Pacific Northwest represents the vast majority of domestically-grown hops, with 51,115 acres a new record for the region. That number is a 17% increase, or 7,482 acres, from last year. Washington’s Yakima Valley leads production with 37,475 acres, or more than 70% of the country’s acreage. Oregon and Idaho follow with 7,669 and 5,971 acres, respectively. Michigan is top dog outside the Pacific Northwest, with an estimated 650 acres in production and more in development. The total acreage outside the PNW increased by 64% this year, with 26 states reported 2,098 acres in production, collectively.

Pete Mahoney, Vice President, Supply Chain/Purchasing at John I. Haas, a hop supplier based in the Yakima Valley, said that, “The US hop industry has been in catch-up mode in recent years as the supply of craft-popular US aroma hops has lagged behind the dramatic growth of the craft brewing sector in both domestic and overseas markets. The 2016 acreage expansion is once again a direct response to market demand and does not happen overnight. It requires significant planning and commitment of industry resources.”

According to the USDA National Agriculture Statistics Service, craft-popular Cascade continues to hold the lead with 7,371 acres, and Centennial overtook bittering hop CTZ this year for second place with 5,009 acres.

“We’re very pleased with the U.S. hop industry’s ability to respond to the demands of a burgeoning craft brewing industry,” said Kevin Riel, fourth generation US Hop Grower and Hop Growers of America President. “However, we caution growers and brewers alike to remember the cyclical nature of a mature hop market, and the fine line between ample and over-supply which causes instability in supply and prices. Given the permanent nature of planting additional hops and the significant investment required to do so, restraint and an understanding of long time partnerships will be required from all involved to ensure a steady supply in the near and distant future.”

In California, the hop grower’s association (CHGA) is hosting an annual meeting on July 30 in Paso Robles. There, they’ll formalize bylaws and elect an executive team, as well as set a strategy and direction for the next year of hop growing.

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