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Posts by Ryan Lamb

Early-Bird Deadline for SDSU Beer Camp: Friday

Apr 12

Now in its second year, SDSU’s Craft Beer Education Camp is back this summer after drawing students from all over the world in its inaugural edition.

Early-bird tuition is available through April 14 at $1500, jumping to $1750 after that.

Two different programs are available, including the Craft Beer Connoisseur Camp, which is intensive preparation for industry exams such as Cicerone® and BJCP and runs July 26 – August 3, or the Brewery Startup Camp, which covers everything you need to know to launch a brewery, from August 4 – 12. Check out sample itineraries and more information at CES.SDSU.EDU/CraftBeerCamp

Ten Years for TapRoom

Feb 25

Kyle and Kevin Conover

Brothers Kyle and Kevin Conover have run Pacific Beach’s TapRoom for ten years. Today and tomorrow they’re hosting a big celebration complete with Pliny the Younger tappings, a massive specialty beer list with more than 100 offerings, Swell and Mostra coffee pouring stations, plus sales of a one-off canned AleSmith Speedway Stout variation called “Boxcar.”

Can you tell us about some beers you’ve been proud to pour?
We’ve had some previous anniversary beers go on to be successful, which is cool. Belching Beaver’s Mexican chocolate peanut butter stout, made for our eighth anniversary, became Viva La Beaver; Modern Times’ TapRoom 7 Deadly Sins evolved into Monsters’ Park; and brewer Kevin Buckley, while he was at Latitude 33, brewed Coconuts on Rye for our sixth anniversary. That beer is now The Patsy at his new spot Barley Forge in Costa Mesa. Also, for a time we had a house pale ale brewed by Coronado, and before that, Alpine.

The one-off AleSmith/TapRoom Boxcar Speedway Stout

Why open in PB?
10 years ago we wanted to give people the opportunity to drink craft beer who might not normally be drinking it. Back then it was us and Liar’s Club in Mission Beach selling craft beer. We get a lot of tourists and it’s great to show them a part of San Diego’s culture and community. We are proud that we were one of the first affiliate members of the San Diego Brewers Guild.

How did Boxcar come about?
We approached AleSmith about a year ago as one of their long-standing local accounts. Their Anvil ESB was one of the first beers to get us into craft beer, and for 10 years now we’ve had an average of five AleSmith beers on tap at all times. It was fun collaborating with Peter and their brewers on the recipe.

What we ended up with was an imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels for about a year with Madagascar vanilla beans, Brazil Forastero cocoa nibs, hatch and mulato chilis, and a blend of Columbian and Burundi coffee locally roasted by Swell Coffee. We’re excited to have enough to put on tap for about two years straight, and we’ll be selling individual cans in small cardboard “boxcars.”

As a side note, we actually got into beer through homebrewing and using AleSmith beers as examples of beers we’d like to make. We used to brew with Peter Perrecone, who’s now at Belching Beaver.

10+ years ago the brothers at work on the TapRoom

What’s next?
We’re actually working on a second location, this one in University Heights at the intersection of Florida St. and El Cajon Blvd. That project is a couple years down the line, but we’re really looking forward to it.



Workers report layoffs at Green Flash

Jan 16

Numerous current employees of Green Flash, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told West Coaster that there have been layoffs at the nearly fifteen-year-old company, mainly in the administrative and marketing departments.

While we could not independently verify the number of employees let go, according to CEO Mike Hinkley, “We do not make statements about specific personnel changes.  Green Flash is not reducing the number of employees. In fact we will continue to increase the number of employees.”

Green Flash’s new Virginia Beach facility opened to the public in November. Prior estimates set the number of local employees at 40 when fully-staffed. Production capacity will mirror San Diego’s operation at 100,000 barrels per year.

Paying It Forward

Dec 7

Back in November we wrote about events where you could drink local beer for a good cause. There are still a few relevant ones from that list, like Sore Eye Sudsmas at Societe this Saturday, Barons Market beer pairings for SD Food Bank on December 14, and Societe’s ongoing food drive.

Here’s another to have on your radar during the giving season: “Every Child Counts San Diego – Holiday Toy Drive”

Organized by civic activist Omar Passons, this drive accepts gently used toys for Voices for Children, which supports foster children in our county. Donations for #EveryChildCountsSD are being accepted through December 18.

Drop-off locations:
Bay Park/Clairemont – Coronado Brewing Company
Downtown/East Village – Monkey Paw Pub & Brewery
Kearny Mesa – Council Brewing
Liberty Station/Pt. Loma – 32 North Brewing
Mira Mesa – AleSmith Brewing Company
North Park – North Park Beer Co. and Eppig Brewing Company
Ocean Beach – Mike Hess Brewing
South Park/Golden Hill – South Park Brewing Company

2016: A Year in Review

Dec 6

Below you will find the Brewers Association’s takes on 2016 as released yesterday, plus WC commentary for local readers.

Brewery Count: Five thousand strong and growing, there are now 5,005 breweries in the U.S. compared to 10,000 wineries. Almost all (99%) are small and independent craft brewers.
— Local Take: San Diego is now home to more than 130 breweries. When West Coaster got started just over six years ago, there were around 30.

Continued Growth for the Segment: By mid-year, small and independent breweries grew by eight percent, reflecting dynamism and a bright spot for the domestic beer market.
— Local Take: Companies like Belching Beaver keep expanding; since 2012 they have opened 5 locations and are hoping to add 3 more in 2017. Production-wise, the company has grown from 1,200 barrels produced in year one to a projection of 30-40k in 2017.

Never Go Out of Styles: IPAs continue to hop up, now accounting for roughly one-quarter of craft volume. More sessionable styles, including golden ales, pilseners and pale lagers, are up 33 percent, totaling nearly five percent of craft.
— Local Take: SD County is home to more than a dozen hop farms, while San Diego Beer Week saw more than two dozen events geared specifically to hop heads.

Freedom of Choice: As the world’s two largest brewers merged into a multinational conglomerate two and a half times the size of the U.S. beer market, the BA was at the center of the discussion, advocating for fair competition for the nation’s small and independent craft brewers and access to market ensuring beer enthusiasts get to continue to choose from a vast variety of options. Approximately 65 percent of craft beer lovers said they are drinking more craft specifically because it offers more variety.
— Local Take: 2016’s reader poll – open until December 31 – already shows more than 150 different beers for the category Best San Diego Beer. Meanwhile, ABI-owned 10 Barrel is planning to open its East Village brewpub in early 2017.


July 2016 Cover Story

Homebrewing Impact: The National Homebrew Competition continues to be the world’s largest beer competition with 7,962 entries. A recent measurement of homebrewing found that its 1.2 million participants created over 11,000 jobs, resulting in more than $1 billion in spending and over $700 million in revenues.
— Local Take: Look no further than QUAFF’s winning of Homebrew Club of the Year at June’s Homebrew Con, and club member Nick Corona’s taking home the title of Homebrewer of the Year.

Beer Destinations: Recognizing a rising interest in beer tourism, Travelocity enlisted the expertise of the BA to find the country’s best beer destinations and create the very first Beer Tourism Index. Additionally, the American Homebrewers Association (AHA)—the leading community for homebrewers—unveiled a list of cities across the U.S. where homebrewing is on the rise.
— Local Take: Left off both lists, San Diegans are petulantly shutting down their breweries and quitting homebrewing altogether.

American Craft Beer Abounds Abroad: Craft beer export volume increased by 16.3 percent, totaling 446,151 barrels and worth $116 million. More than 100 small and independent craft brewers export their beer internationally, spreading the culture and community of craft beer and a growing recognition and respect for American brewers.
— Local Take: Rough Draft recently won $35,000 from MetroConnect, an export assistance program that’s part of the World Trade Center San Diego. The money will go toward future international market expansion.

Bipartisan Beer Support: With a craft brewery in nearly every congressional district in the country, more than half of the U.S. Congress now supports the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act. The BA has been a key player in moving forward this bipartisan legislation that seeks to recalibrate the current federal excise tax structure for the nation’s brewers and reform burdensome laws regulating America’s brewing industry.
— Local Take: California Senator Barbara Boxer is a co-sponsor of S. 1562, but Sen. Feinstein is not; in the House, H.R. 2903 is co-sponsored by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-49th), Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-50th), Rep. Juan Vargas (D-51st), Rep. Scott Peters (D-52nd), but not Susan Davis (R-53rd).

History Has Its Eyes on Beer: With support from the Brewers Association, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History announced that it will launch a three-year initiative to collect, document and preserve the history of brewing, craft brewers and the beer industry in America. The job posting for a Historian to study brewing history was one of the most viral beer stories of the year, an indicator of how much people care about this vital industry.
— Local Take: BEERology, San Diego Museum of Man’s exhibit on beer civilization “from hunter-gatherers to hipsters” is open until August 2017.

Perfect Pair: Beer and food continue to find harmony on plates and palates. Seventy-three percent of craft beer purchasers gave “complements my meal”as a very or somewhat important selection criteria in their beer choice when dining out. Sixty-three percent select beer based on the food item or meal they are planning to enjoy.
— Local Take: Creative chefs and talented brewers are teaming up for beer pairing events all over town, including Toronado’s acclaimed brunches. Upcoming: January 28 w/ AleSmith, February 19 w/ El Segundo, and March 5 w/ Cellarmaker.

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