The season of good-will and merriment is upon us…also, holiday beers and celebrating. Submitted for your enjoyment are several local events taking place this December. Salt-and-pepper (cinnamon-and-nutmeg?) them into your holiday plans, and refer to the West Coaster events page for a comprehensive list of goings-on throughout San Diego County.
December 3 | West Coaster Party: Your favorite local craft-beer publication doesn’t throw a ton of events, but when we do, we try to make it count. In that spirit, we’re teaming with 32 North Brewing Company to offer a four-pronged fete focusing on beer, meat, coffee and chocolate, San Diego-made iterations of which will be on-hand for mixing, matching, meshing and massacring. | 32 North Brewing Company, 8655 Production Avenue, Miramar, 12 p.m.
December 4 | SoNo Fest & Chili Cook-Off: It’s a merging of neighborhoods, a feast for the senses and a telling test of one’s ability to withstand extreme heat all wrapped up into one enchanted afternoon, when North Parkers and South Parkers come together to throw down with multiple takes on America’s spicy, stewed national dish and temper all that inherent incendiary heat with quality craft ales and lagers. | 32nd & Thorn Street, North & South Park, 11 a.m.
December 10 | Sore Eye Sudsmas: The co-host of San Diego BeerTalk Radio is holding a holiday party where attendees are encouraged to bring in food donations to a food drive being held by host-site, Societe Brewing Company. Prizes will be awarded to those who bring the most edibles and if a total of 2,000 pounds comes in, Societe will tap the only keg of cranberry sour, The Urchin, in existence. | Societe Brewing Company, 8262 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, Kearny Mesa, 5 p.m.
December 15-17 | Ugly Sweater Events: ‘Tis the weekend for events celebrating ironic yuletide-wear. Start early on Thursday with an ugly sweater Christmas party at OB’s Raglan Public House, then roll up on the Ales ‘n’ Rails beer-tasting at the San Diego Model Railroad Museum before taking in a Saturday suds-and-sweaters soiree at Tap That in Oceanside. | Multiple Locations, Times Vary
Editor’s Note: In addition to his role as Editor at Large for West Coaster, the author is also employed by Societe Brewing Company.
Though small and not widely known just yet, 32 North Brewing Company (8655 Production Avenue, Miramar) is looking to push above its below-the-radar position in the San Diego brewing scene. The company has steadily upped its draft accounts over the past several months and, in May, debuted a satellite tasting-bar inside Liberty Station’s new Moniker General collective. But owner Steve Peterson wasn’t done there. In the past week, he picked up two known industry vets like an NBA GM sifting through the free-agent market.
First came Mike Mellow, a long-time local beer-sales force who recently left his post at North Park’s Fall Brewing Company. A mutual friend reached out to Peterson to tell him of Mellow’s availability. Over a four-day span, the pair hammered out an employment agreement. During those negotiations, Mellow shared with Peterson that Fall’s head brewer, Nick Ceniceros, was on the lookout for new opportunities as well. A meeting was scheduled and now Ceniceros will be in charge of 32 North’s brewing program.
Mellow is a San Diego veteran who held lead sales roles for Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits, Mission Brewery, Saint Archer Brewery and Mike Hess Brewing Company prior to Fall. Prior to Fall, Ceniceros worked as an assistant brewer with Green Flash Brewing Company after getting his start on the bottling line at Ballast Point. He will step onto a brew-deck vacated by former head-brewer Will Gallaspy, who took over for original 32 North brewer John Hunter, who is now with Bay Ho’s Bitter Brothers Brewing Company.
Additional fermentation tanks are currently on order as 32 North poises itself for increased production. Peterson is also readying for the introduction of three beers in 12-ounce cans. Those aluminum receptacles will be filled via a recently purchased in-house canning line.
From the Beer Writer: What’s 23 plus 32? I’ve always been horrible at math, so it shouldn’t surprise you that my answer isn’t 55. That’s OK, because the solution to this equation isn’t a number at all. The answer is maibock, because in this case I’m talking about the sum (or product, in this case) of Division 23 Brewing Company and 32 North Brewing Company. Both operations are based in Miramar and each of their head brewers recently put their heads together for a collaboration beer that will debut when Division 23 celebrates its one-year anniversary today starting at 3 p.m. Six-and-a-half percent alcohol-by-volume, it’s light in body, bright with mineral-like expressions of lager yeast and easy to love. Making its name Playor Hator Maibock a tad ironic, but still pretty darn funny. For more on that handle, I’ll defer to one of the individuals responsible for it…
From the Brewer: “This strong, pale lager was brewed to celebrate both the change of seasons and Division 23’s one-year anniversary. It was our first collaboration brew with our friends and neighbors at 32 North Brewing Company. (32 North head brewery) Will Gallaspy and I both share a love for traditional German lagers, so a maibock was a natural choice. This beer is light and easy drinking, with a mellow bitterness and slight honey aroma. We chose to follow the German tradition of naming bocks with the -ator suffix, and so the name Playor Hator was born. It will be available on tap at both of our tasting rooms for a limited time, starting with our two-day anniversary on June 10 and 11, where we’ll be releasing our first barrel-aged beer—a bourbon barrel-aged version of our Night Shift imperial stout—as well as a new barley-wine and our Sour Superintendent Berliner weisse served with a quintet of special syrups such as chipotle, Sichuan-spice and lemongrass.”—Kevin Daugherty, Head Brewer, Division 23 Brewing Company
Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station is the undisputed big-kid-on-the-block when it comes to beer in Point Loma’s Liberty Station development (it’s also San Diego’s largest restaurant). But it’s far from the only game in town. There are now a lot more ale-and-lager options, and they’re surrounding the gargoyle clan’s brewery-equipped resto. Slater’s 50/50 is on the same block, the recently opened Liberty Public Market brought with it the third iteration of popular bar and beer-shop hybrid Bottlecraft next-door, and last Friday, retail collective Moniker General soft-opened across a small side-street featuring a tasting-bar stocked with beers from Miramar’s 32 North Brewing Company.
Moniker General is 4,200-square-feet and also plays home to Moniker Coffee bar and various retailers managed by Other Sons. But getting back to the beer, 32 North owner Steve Peterson is excited to gain exposure beyond his Beeramar headquarters, and actually sees the proximity to Stone as a plus as that venue attracts numerous beer-fans looking for something new and interesting. This, despite the fact that a contractual clause instituted by Stone limits the number of beer taps 32 North can have to eight.
The bar is equipped with ten taps, so the remaining two will dispense kombucha and cold-brew coffee. The remainder are initially pouring Landfill Berliner weisse, Nautical Mile India pale ale, Pennant pale ale, Shelter Island blonde, Fly By Night nitro milk stout, Orange is the New Black porter, The Olde Ship Irish-style red ale and Common Theory hoppy wheat aale Ale. Those beers will be available on-site and to-go in growlers.
Moniker General is open Mondays and Tuesdays, 4 to 9 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sundays from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
From the Beer Writer: As brewers keep pushing the envelope, it gets harder and harder to find something truly unique in this bold new craft-beer world. But undiscovered territory is out there. All you have to do is go out there and find it. I recently came across a rare first-time beer style last week on a visit to 32 North Brewing Company. I was there to check in on head brewer Will Gallaspy, who has been at the Miramar-based brewery for nine months and now completely responsible for everything on the beer-board. It’s a wide-ranging assortment of traditional and edible-enhanced ales, plus an oddity of sorts called Rum Runner that’s billed as a “rye wine.” The wine descriptor comes from the alcoholic strength of beverages such as the common English-style barley wine and its less-common wheat wine cousin. This is the first rye wine I’ve ever heard of, and it’s not surprising considering how infamous rye malt is for causing stuck mashes. Gallaspy encountered that very problem and isn’t sure if he’ll ever produce this outlandish creation again, but I’d attest it was worth all the extra elbow-grease he slathered on it. A healthy infusion of rum-soaked grated ginger from local distilling outfit Malahat Spirit Co. (they make the best rum in San Diego, in my opinion) and a high but not over-imposing level of alcohol (8.2% by volume) makes this taste like a floral cocktail with an equally botanic and earthy spiciness from both the rye and ginger. No beer I’ve ever had has tasted like this. It’s definitely worth a taste for those chasing the high of something new, but get that taste soon, because it’s not expected to last long.
From the Brewer: “Nothing beats good neighbors. The guys across the street at Malahat aren’t just masters of hand-crafting world-class spirits, they are also class acts. When they knocked on our door asking if we might possibly have any use for hundreds of pounds of freshly grated rum-soaked ginger, we quickly found a home for it in this rye wine, a strong ale brewed with a high percentage of rye. This unique spring seasonal beer has a nose of roses and lilac, picked up from its meeting with Malahat’s reliably floral spirits. Expect a malty sweetness counter-balanced by the spicy synergy of ginger and rye.”—Will Gallaspy, Head Brewer, 32 North Brewing Co.