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Posts by Ryan Lamb

CityBeat’s Best of SD

Oct 14

Today San Diego CityBeat released its annual Best of San Diego issue, with the redesigned Tom Ham’s Lighthouse receiving a mini-feature. Then in the Readers Poll sections, several San Diego beer businesses were recognized.

For Best Craft Beer Bar — see the whole bars & booze category here — Hamilton’s Tavern was top pick. Honorable mentions included Tiger! Tiger!, Toronado, High Dive, and Common Theory Public House.

Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 2.20.29 PMFor Best Craft Beer Store, Bottlecraft led the list. Honorable mentions included Clem’s Bottle House & Deli, KnB Wine Cellars, Krisp, and The Boulevard Wine & Spirits.

Ballast Point took both Best Brewery Category, as well as Best Local Craft Beer for Sculpin IPA. The other top breweries were Mike Hess Brewing, Stone Brewing Co., Coronado Brewing Company, and Green Flash Brewing Co. The other top local beers were AleSmith .394 Pale Ale, Coronado Mermaid’s Red, Mike Hess Habitus Rye IPA, and Hillcrest Perle Necklace Pale Ale.

The High Dive also topped two lists: Best Neighborhood Bar and Best Dive Bar. Honorable mentions for those categories were Live Wire, Whistle Stop, Bluefoot Bar & Lounge, The Silver Fox Lounge; and The Waterfront, Live Wire, Aero Club Bar, and Bub’s Dive Bar.

The title of Best New Bar (open since Oct. 2014) went to Panama 66, which was also an honorable mention in the Outdoor Dining category. Best New Bar honorable mentions were Park & Rec, Backyard Kitchen & Tap, Home & Away, and Quad AleHouse.

11950239_665543060248303_8627565800050495071_oIn the over-arching Best Bar in SD County category, The Waterfront Bar & Grill came out on top, above Shakespeare Pub & Grille, Neighborhood, High Dive, and Urban Mo’s Bar & Grill.

Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Escondido was noted as the Best Outdoor Dining venue, just above Panama 66, C Level, The Prado at Balboa Park, and The Patio on Lamont Street.

The Best Brewery Tasting Room award went to Green Flash Brewing Co., ahead of Modern Times, Fall Brewing Company, Ballast Point Brewing Company, and Hillcrest Brewing Company.

We all know beer is big business in San Diego, so it was fun to see Karl Strauss’ Brewery Gardens in Sorrento Mesa win for Best Business Lunch Spot, followed by Bully’s East, Bread & Cie, The Patio on Lamont Street, and Lucky’s Lunch Counter.

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Hamiltons 9th Anniversary Continues

Oct 10

There aren’t many beer drinkers in San Diego who haven’t heard of Hamiltons Tavern. Its vocal publican Scot Blair — an instructor in SDSU’s Business of Craft Beer program — has helped push the local craft brewing scene forward in ways few others have; you can read his recent manifesto here. This month, Blair & co celebrate nine years in South Park with a flurry of thoughtful events. Already, they were the first to tap the Juli Goldenberg/Monkey Paw/Stone 24 Carrot Golden Ale on October 2, before hosting an Oktoberfest pub crawl along with Small Bar and Monkey Paw that featured more than 55 German and German-inspired beers on October 4.

Chuck Silva (tie-dye) w/ Scot Blair behind, taste-testing 8 barrels of Silva Stout

Chuck Silva (tie-dye) w/ Scot Blair behind and Pat Korn on the right, taste-testing 8 barrels of Silva Stout with Hamiltons managers

Yesterday, beertenders tapped a one-off barrel-aged stout, Ourboros, created in tandem with Green Flash’s Pat Korn and former brewmaster Chuck Silva; the brewery has created a special beer for each of Hamiltons’ nine anniversaries. Another night with Green Flash on October 21 will feature fundraiser beer Treasure Chest and a limited-edition keeper glass. This event coincides with DrinkAbout, a free shuttle to multiple neighborhood bars sponsored by Brewery Tours of San Diego.

Today at 5 p.m., The Lost Abbey takes over more than 20 taps for the tavern’s monthly “Second Saturday” event; several of the beers are considered quite rare, demonstrating Blair’s respect within the industry. The Spanish missionary-themed food menu is impressive, and free, so show up early.

Monday Night Football aficionados will appreciate the keep-the-glass specials on the schedule: Thorn Street Brewery (Oct 12), Boulevard Brewing (Oct 19), and Firestone Walker (Oct 26).

On Friday, October 16, beer from another local legend — Tom Nickel at Nickel Beer Co. — graces the cask. An English-style best bitter brewed as a “pseudo-experiment” with Blair in Julian, there were no hops in the boil, but plenty of fresh local hops added afterwards, leading to a mildly bitter, malty finish.

AleSmith-Evil-Dead-Red-Ale-logoTwo other “Firkin Friday” events are planned. On October 23, Hamilton’s welcomes New English Brewing and a cask of their Adams Ave Imperial Porter, a collaboration celebrating bottleshop Bine & Vine’s 4th Anniversary. Seven more New English beers are expected, including the GABF gold medal-winning Zumbar Chocolate Coffee Imperial Stout (both Nitro & CO2 versions). A week later on October 30, a cask of AleSmith seasonal beer Evil Dead Red duels with Monkey Paw/Bill Batten (AleSmith) Ashes from the Grave Smoked Brown.

November’s no slouch, either, with San Diego Beer Week coming November 6-15. Check out details on all the events here.

Disclosure: Hamiltons is an advertising supporter of West Coaster, but this post was unsolicited. 

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Beer & Coffee Bash @ Ballast Point Little Italy

Sep 29

LittleItaly_CoffeeDay_Poster_11x17-01-01For a local beer fan, what better way to celebrate National Coffee Day than with a beer dinner featuring three local coffee roasters: Bird Rock, James Coffee, and Caffe Calabria.

Check out this beer dinner happening tonight at Ballast Point’s Little Italy location from 5:30 – 9 p.m.

The roasters themselves will be on hand to talk with guests.

E-mail for reservations.

Sour Taps Unveiling @ The Ugly Dog Pub

Sep 14

This Thursday at 6 p.m., College Area pub The Ugly Dog will commission their new 12-tap sour tower, dedicated to sour, Brett, funky, strong, or barrel-aged beers, as well as meads. These additional lines will bring the pub’s total tap count to 42.

Publican Larry Stein, also who serves as president of local homebrew club QUAFF, has shared the beer list (subject to change) with West Coaster: 

Council Brewing — Beautitude Mango Tart Saison
Almanac — Golden Gate Gose
Brouwerij Van Steenberge — Monk’s Cafe
Bockor Brewery — Cuvée Des Jacobins Rouge
Boulevard — Saison Brett
Lost Abbey — Angel’s Share (Barrel-Aged)
Lost Abbey — Carnevale
Lost Abbey — Judgement Day
Lost Abbey — Ten Commandments
Port Brewing — Older Viscosity
Redstone Mead — Nectar of the Hops
Redstone Mead — Passion Fruit

Also available on Thursday evening:
Lost Abbey — Avant Guard
Lost Abbey — Devotion
Port Brewing — Hop 15

Edmund Piffard

New tap tower on the left, with Ninkasi, the ancient Sumerian Goddess of Brewing and Beer. Mural by Edmund Piffard

Meatless Monday w/ Modern Times @ Cueva Bar

Sep 12

Although University Heights date spot Cueva Bar is usually closed on Mondays, their kitchen will be in full swing for a Meatless Monday beer dinner with Modern Times from 5 – 10 p.m. on September 14. Chef Oz and guest chef Jenny have put together four pairings for $37.22 (Brown Paper Tickets). The dishes are available a la carte without the beers, if that’s your thing.

1st Course – Chef Oz:
Bruschetta trio
Paired with Oneida Pale Ale 

2nd Course – Chef Jenny:
Beet risotto, with Manchego cheese, pea tendril & seared mushroom “scallop”
Paired with Aurora (red rye IPA)

3rd Course – Chef Oz:
Not-so-crab cake (made with hearts of palm)
Paired with Fortunate Islands

4th Course – Chef Jenny:
Passion fruit panna cotta, with pistachio dust, vanilla foam & summer fruit coulis
Paired with Fruit Lands (sour cherry gose)


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