Brazil’s Wäls Brewing first landed on our radar at the 2014 World Beer Cup in Denver. There, Tiago Carneiro and José Felipe Carneiro were two of the more rambunctious award winners, jumping onto the stage with zeal, hooting and hollering in their native Portuguese. Fast forward to late February 2015, and news broke that Wäls had been acquired by AmBev, a subsidiary of Belgium-based Anheuser-Busch InBev.
Now, Wäls’ “satellite brewery” (according to a DRAFT Magazine article) is opening in Chula Vista under the name NOVO Brazil Brewing Co. Representatives told WC that the two businesses have some shared business partners, but that they should be viewed as two distinct breweries. In mid-March, NOVO began producing the first of its 14 planned beer styles. So far, they’ve made Session Cacau IPA, Rio IPA with Simcoe hops, and a Trippel. Their tasting room is set to open this month (their Facebook page reports potentially the 18th).
Connections between San Diego and Brazil go back even further.
In 1995, San Diego and Campinas (two hours northwest of São Paulo) became sister cities, poised to engage culturally and commercially. In Campinas, the creator of Brazil’s RateBeer equivalent opened Bar Brejas, serving beers from all over the world.
Back in San Diego, censuses show nearly 4,000 Brazilians reside in the county. “Brazilian Day” is a popular and growing event, returning to Pacific Beach in September.
Locals Green Flash have an especially cool connection to Brazil. During SDBW 2013, Green Flash packaging supervisor Chris Weber (whose wife is Brazilian), hosted employees from Porto Alegre’s Seasons Craft Brewing. Earlier in the year, Weber had travelled to Brazil and collaborated on a hop-heavy IPA.
Seasons’ Founder Leo Sewald told us they visited plenty of spots here in SD: Green Flash, Stone, Alesmith, Ballast Point Home Brew Mart, Port/Lost Abbey, Belching Beaver, Amplified Ale Works, Pacific Beach Ale House, Neighborhood, White Labs, The Tap Room, Crazee Burger, Keg and Bottle, The Homebrewer, and Latitude 32 Pub.
As for beers, the group took to Stone Ruination IPA, Green Flash Green Bullet, Ballast Point Sculpin IPA, and AleSmith Double Hammerhead. They also got their hands on a barrel-aged Rare Form from Amplified Ale Works thanks to brewer Cy Henley.
On Wednesday, Mike Hess Brewing released their creation; yesterday, URBN St. released their Belgian-inspired Unite Red Ale; and today, Culture Brewing’s two locations will tap kegs at noon and Mosaic-hopped casks at 5 p.m.
More participating locations include AleSmith, Ballast Point Little Italy, ChuckAlek, Intergalactic, Monkey Paw, Karl Strauss Downtown, and Rock Bottom La Jolla. Employees from Green Flash, 2Kids, White Labs and Stone participated as well. Be on the lookout for those releases; let us know and we’ll update this post.
A few local breweries have begun taking advantage of a new law allowing them to sell packaged beer at farmers’ markets. Sampling directly is not yet allowed, but another bill changing that will hopefully get passed.
Mike Hess Brewing brand ambassador Neal Brosnan was at the North Park Farmers’ Market yesterday. Word from the brewery is that they’ll continue posting up every Thursday. Update: According to Cody Thompson of ThreeBZine, Ramona’s ChuckAlek Independent Brewers sells at this market as well.
Also, Modern Times’ party ambassador Derek Freese was spotted at the Pacific Beach Farmers’ Market a few Tuesdays back; they’ll continue their presence weekly.
If you know of more breweries doing the same, let us know in the comments.
Here’s the website for SD’s weekly markets; support local food and local beer!
3/26 Saison Persuasion (Beer to the Rescue) @ Pizza Port Solana Beach
3/26 Lost Abbey Rare Beer Dinner @ Waypoint Public
3/27 Lupulin Against Lupus (Beer to the Rescue) @ Aztec Brewery
3/28 Stone Tap Takeover @ URGE Gastropub
3/28 BagbyFest @ Bagby Beer
3/28 AHA Homebrew Competition & Rally @ Stone Liberty Station
3/28 Local Habit Grand Re-Opening
3/28 BeerNerdz March Madness Blind Tasting @ The Brew Project
3/29 Ballast Point Brewery Tour Bus
3/29 Advanced Brew Class @ Home Brew Mart
4/1 First Beer Dinner Ever @ Ballast Point Miramar
4/1 Silva Stout Release Tap+Cask @ Iron Pig Alehouse
4/2 Pint Night w/ Drakes @ High Dive
4/2 Oompa Lupus (Beer To The Rescue) @ Ballast Point Little Italy
4/3 Firkin Friday w/ Ironfire Brewing Co. @ Hamilton’s Tavern
4/4 5th Annual Mission Valley Craft Beer Festival
First, some news on what’s happening today, Friday, January 23:
— According to their Facebook page, Half Door Brewing Company in the East Village opens for the first time today at 5 p.m. That will make them the 99th brewery in San Diego County, right on the heels of Wavelength and Kuracali.
– Close to Half Door, Mission Brewery releases their “Don’t Act Like You’re Not Impressed” collaboration with Alpine Beer Co. at 4 p.m. The beer is, of course, an IPA, with 9 hop varieties. Dueling casks of the 7.5% beer — one dry-hopped with Mosaic, the other dry-hopped with Citra — will be tapped at the same time. Alpine will release the beer next Tuesday at their tap room, as will a few lucky SD accounts.
— Today is also the last day of the 59th Annual American Hop Convention, hosted by Hop Growers of America and held at Rancho Bernardo Inn & Stone Brewing Co. There, Douglas MacKinnon (CEO of 47 Hops and former executive director of Hop Growers of America) provided some interesting insight: yields were down in 2014 and prices continue to rise as growers attempt to keep up with the increased demand for hops.
Hop growers last year planted an additional 3,600 acres of hops for a total of 38,011 acres — the most since 39,726 in 2009 — but yields dropped by 4.79 percent because of an unseasonably hot July in the Pacific Northwest, where 98 percent of all commercially-grown hops were harvested.
“In 2015 there’s no margin for error for hops growers,” MacKinnon said. “The hop acreage increased by 10 percent in 2014, but the craft beer industry grew by 20 percent.”
More interesting tidbits: 1) CTZ made up 23 percent of the hops planted, with Cascade second at 16.6 percent. 2) Germany is the world’s top alpha producer, owning 44 percent of the market. The U.S. is second at 39 percent; less than a decade ago these roles were reversed. 3) The top countries from which the U.S. imported hops: Germany, UK, and Australia.
– And for those who like to plan ahead, here’s a short list of events coming up in Febrewary: