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Posts by Ryan Lamb

5 Questions After 5 Years: Alex Pierson

Dec 4

Alex Pierson’s Amplified Ale Works celebrated 5 years during SD Beer Week. We caught up with him for a quick five questions:

1. If you could go back in time 5+ years, what would you tell yourself before opening the PB brewery?
Don’t do it! Hah, just kidding, no regrets here, but I would have told myself to really think through the longer term business plan beyond a single location, as there were definitely things we could have done from an investor and business formation perspective to better prepare us for growth. That said, I never imagined the local craft beer movement would blossom so fast, and so we’ve chosen to grow in a cautious manner.

Alex Pierson with then-outgoing SD Mayor Jerry Sanders (center) and Amplified co-founder JC Hill,  during SDBW 2012. Hill now runs Alvarado Street Brewery in Monterey, CA

2. What do you see for the next 5 years of Amplified?
Our goal is to be growing into a larger, more permanent brewery space and commissary kitchen in the next year that can support the growth of additional Amplified locations in Southern California. As for future locations, we would really like to partner or even create a live music venue where we can evolve the intersection of live music and craft beer. Being able to be a part of a community and a local gathering hub is something I’ve been really proud of in PB and something we hope to emulate in any future locations.

3. Which SD music venues have the best local beer selections consistently?
Casbah has a solid tap lineup these days and is the venue I probably frequent the most. Soda Bar has an extensive list as well, and honestly it seems that every venue is stepping their game up recently. I’ve loved seeing more local options available inside the Observatory too.

4. Can you give us an update on the Pathways collab?
We actually just had our 2018 planning meeting for Pathway Ale, and to date we have raised more than $14,000 in the two years since we started our partnership with beautifulPB and Karl Strauss to create pedestrian, bike, and skate-friendly paths around the neighborhood. We’ve got some fun recipes in store for next year, and you may also be seeing some of the previous favorites coming back for an appearance. We’re also hoping to have several new retailers commit to selling the beer on tap, so that we can better communicate to our neighbors where exactly they can drink it while supporting community improvement projects and the development of PB’s EcoDistrict.

5. Can you discuss both recent & upcoming collabs?
Our Western Settings collaboration, DIYPA, was our most recent can release, and it was a lot of fun given the timing with them playing their largest show at 91x’s Scallywag, and leading into Beer Week. We also released our second beer with Motorhead, Live to Win, for our 5 year anniversary party at the Lafayette Hotel in early November. We previously did collaborations with The Sure Fire Soul Ensemble and Reel Big Fish earlier this year that were a lot of fun. We’re actively working on several future band collaborations, including one we’ll be brewing up north at Fieldwork Brewing in early 2018. Stay tuned for that and a few other exciting music collabs in store for next year!

SDBW Highlights: Editor’s Edition

Oct 31

Tomorrow, Brandon Hernández breaks down his best bets for SD Beer Week. Today, I wanted to point out some events that caught my eye. For more than 260 SDBW events, check out our web calendar.

Friday 11/3
Farm to Fermenter Day @ Duck Foot Brewing:
Local ingredients were used in multiple beers, including honey from Meljess Bees in Temecula, coriander from San Diego Seed Co, passion fruit from Carmel Mountain Preschool Community Garden, plus lemongrass, lavender, pomegranate, and kumquat from the farm of Chief Fermentation Officer Brett Goldstock.

Honorable Mention: 
SDBW Boulevard Ale Trail @ 5 Participating Breweries

Saturday 11/4
Dark Side Day @ Intergalactic Brewing:
Intergalactic’s coconut porter has medaled in the last four editions of LA’s International Beer Competition (1x gold, 2x silver, 1x bronze). Expect a variety of twists on Space Oasis, as well as the base beer Robotic Porter.

Honorable Mention: $3 San Diego Can Celebration @ Urge Rancho Bernardo

Sunday 11/5
Chai Porter Release @ Kilowatt Brewing:
Kilowatt’s worked with six local coffee roasters on releases throughout Beer Week. On Sunday, the OB Beans-infused creation graces taps at both Kearny Mesa and Ocean Beach locations. On Saturday 11/11, all six beers will be on and available in flight form.

Honorable Mention: Guided Flight w/ Council Brewing @ The Brewers Tap Room

Monday 11/6
Melvin Brewing Night w/ 91X @ O’Brien’s Pub
SDBW attracts great breweries from all over. Fresh off winning Brewery Group and Brewmaster of the Year at GABF 2017, Wyoming’s Melvin Brewing visits O’Brien’s to take over ~10 taps. Local station 91X will be broadcasting live from 3 – 7 p.m. on the patio.

Honorable Mention: Miramar Breweries @ Bottlecraft North Park

Tuesday 11/7
The Full Table @ Benchmark Brewing
For one day out of the year, Benchmark’s “beer flavored beer” motto gets twisted, with twelve versions of the Belgian-style Table Beer available in three themes: lactic, regional hops, and tea time.

Honorable Mention: Mini IPA Fest @ Pizza Port Ocean Beach

Wednesday 11/8
Two Collaborations @ Eppig Brewing
Beer makers are known for a collaborative spirit that surpasses most other industries. Celebrate the camaraderie as Eppig Brewing taps two new beers: West Coast Pale Ale made with Resident Brewing, and Brown Ale made with Port/The Lost Abbey.

Honorable Mention: Cicerone Certification Program Off-Flavor Course @ White Labs

Thursday 11/9
Barrel-Aged Tasting @ Second Chance Beer Co.

Head Brewer Craig Gregovics and Barrel Geek Jesse Smith will lead attendees through a two-hour educational program that includes the opportunity to taste six small-batch beers with sensory guidance.

Honorable Mention: Lost Abbey & Modern Times Showcase @ TapRoom PB

Friday 11/10
15th Anniversary Celebration @ Green Flash Mira Mesa
Be one of the first 200 to drink the anniversary beer and you’ll get a commemorative pint glass. There’s also live music, live screen printing, food pairings, birthday cake, archive bottle tastings (and sales), plus one-off tappings and a preview of a new beer.

Honorable Mention: Day 3/3 of Speedway Grand Prix 2017 @ AleSmith Brewing

Saturday 11/11
Collaboration Release + Fundraiser @ Protector Brewery
San Diego’s all-organic brewery Protector teamed up with local nonprofits The Public Good and Workshops for Warriors to create TPG Pale Ale. Proceeds from the event will go to assisting veterans working towards manufacturing careers.

Honorable Mention: Beer Geek Olympics @ The Homebrewer

Sunday 11/12
Fermented Pairings Series Vol. 21 @ White Labs
White Labs and Biersal Food Truck present four courses and five beers (well, four beers and one welcome beermosa). The “hangover brunch” theme includes a sauerkraut pancake, brisket hash, sourdough beignets, and more.

Honorable Mention: Pizza & Beer w/ The Bruery & Port Brewing @ Brothers Provisions

Coffee & Beer Event Tomorrow @ Bay City

Oct 21

West Coaster is helping promote a cross-industry event taking place tomorrow, Sunday the 22nd, from 2-6 p.m. at Bay City Brewing (3760 Hancock Street).

Three San Diego roasters — Ryan Bros, Swell, and OB Beans — worked with Bay City’s head brewer Chris West on unique collaboration beers that will be served at the event.

Each roaster will be on hand to pour specialty coffee samples as well.

Tickets are just $15 at this link, including a welcome drink, 3 x 8oz tasters of the coffee beers, coffee pours, and three varieties of Darling Gourmet Biscotti.

San Diegans Fundraise for Northern California

Oct 16

Given many local brewers’ ties to Northern California, the ongoing fires have galvanized fundraising efforts.

Second Chance Beer’s Marty Mendiola and Virginia Morrison were planning to spend their fifth wedding anniversary this past weekend in the area. “Marty and I used to visit Northern California at least three times a year when he was still with Rock Bottom, as he managed the brewery at the RB Campbell location, and I have family up that way,” said Morrison. “Thus, it holds a very special place in our hearts.”

This Saturday they’re hosting a fundraiser in tandem with a celebration of their GABF medals. Pints of winners Legally Red and Tabula Rasa are $4 from 1 to 3 p.m. 20% of beer sales during that time, plus 10% from the rest of the day, will be donated to relief efforts.

Some fundraisers took place over the weekend:
O’Brien’s Pub’s Wet Hop Fest benefited the United Way of Wine Country.
– 10% of Small Bar’s sales were donated to King Ridge Foundation.
Toronado donated $1,000 to the Santa Rosa chapter of the Red Cross, in addition to $1 from every pour of Russian River beer. Russian River’s Vince and Natalie Cilurzo have strong connections to San Diego’s professional brewing and homebrewing communities.

More fundraisers are in the works:
– Starting Friday October 13th until the end of November, Fathom Bistro Bait & Tackle on the Shelter Island Pier will donate $1 from every Russian River beer, including Pliny the Elder and Blind Pig IPA, to victims’ charities.
– Tomorrow, Blind Lady Ale House will donate $5 per glass from each $10 (.5L) pour of Russian River beer to King Ridge Foundation.
Eppig Brewing will release one of their beers under the Sonoma Pride label this week in the tasting room. 100% of proceeds will go to King Ridge Foundation.
Craft Beerd will donate 50% of the sales from their Russian River-inspired pin (up to the first 50 pins) to the United Way of Wine Country.
Mikkeller San Diego is planning a fundraiser (TBD).
– Russian River (Santa Rosa) and Bear Republic (Healdsburg) are planning special releases of Sonoma Pride. Check out the website for three ways to contribute.
Stone Distributing Co. will donate a portion of sales throughout the month of October to Direct Relief. Retroactive to October 1, for every case of Bear Republic and Russian River beer sold, the company will donate $0.25; Stone will further donate $0.25 for every case of Stone Brewing beer sold in Southern California; and Stone Brewing will donate $0.15 for every case of Stone beer sold via its wholesale distribution partners throughout the rest of California. Also, the following list of brands distributed by Stone Distributing Co. have committed to splitting a donation of $0.25 per case for the entire month: Avery Brewing Co., Boochcraft, Eel River Brewing, Kern River Brewing Company, MadeWest Brewing Company, Mason Ale Works, Maui Brewing Co., Mikkeller Brewing, Modern Times Beer, Oskar Blues Brewery, Smog City Brewing Company, The Bruery, The Lost Abbey, Victory Brewing Company, and Wandering Aengus Ciderworks.
Update: Societe Brewing will donate a portion of proceeds from Halloween, October 31.
Update: 100% of proceeds from this coming Saturday’s BagbyFest in Oceanside will go to King Ridge Foundation.

Know of more fundraising efforts? Please leave a comment below.

Upcoming Events: Friday to Friday

Oct 13

There’s lots happening over the next week in beer, with plenty of opportunities to try Great American Beer Festival (GABF) winners.

Friday, October 13
Keep the spirit of Oktoberfest alive at Normal Heights’ Blind Lady Ale House, with specials on food and stein refills through the weekend.

Saturday, October 14
They say it takes a lot of beer to make whiskey, so why not check out the SD Distillers Guild’s first large-scale festival, Spirits by the Bay, this Saturday. Brewery The Lost Abbey will be pouring too, alongside more than fifteen Southern California distilleries, plus local cider operation Newtopia. More information is available at our affiliate

If you really want just beer, Hamiltons Tavern is hosting this year’s Great American Beer Festival (GABF) Brewery Group and Brewmaster of the Year winner Melvin Brewing for the South Park bar’s monthly Second Saturday event. And because food is complimentary, expect a packed house.

Sunday, October 15
Improve your succulent skills at Culture Brewing’s Solana Beach tasting room during a fall-themed workshop. Two beers are included in your ticket; maybe recent GABF winner Blonde will be on tap.

Monday, October 16
Traveling yoga group The Beer Yogis visits GABF winner AleSmith again, so come start off the week with some Savasana.

Tuesday, October 17
North Park Beer Company invites Burning Beard Brewery, Nomad Donuts, for a collaborative beer dinner. In-house kitchen Mastiff Kitchen will help produce the five-course menu.

Wednesday, October 18
Regents Pizzeria welcomes GABF winning brewery Beachwood (Seal Beach/Long Beach) to take over some of their taps, plus pour a one-off cask.

Thursday, October 19
Another cask night featuring a GABF winner, but here it’s Second Chance Beer Co. at O’Brien’s Pub. Clever Hoppy Name IPA is on cask, with gold medal winner Tabula Rasa Porter definitely on the menu.

Friday, October 20
The weekly Hops on the Harbor Dinner Cruise features Green Flash Brewing Co. through the month of October, offering unique views of the city skyline.

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