The approach of All Hallow’s Eve certainly isn’t scaring local breweries away from holding a freakishly large number of events throughout San Diego County in the coming months. There are far too many to illustrate the full breadth in a short-list of four, so start with the hand-picked happenings below, then proceed to the full list on our events page.
October 8 | Oktoberfest Celebration: At this point, you’ve likely indulged in multiple O-festivities, and there’s no reason not to stop now. Hit Green Flash Brewing Company’s German-themed celebration to taste three special beers, including In der Mitte Märzenfestbier and a zwickel version of Sea to Sea Lager. | Green Flash Brewing Company, 6550 Mira Mesa Boulevard, Mira Mesa, 12 p.m.
October 13 | Blahktoberfest: Don’t pack those lederhosen up just yet. Blind Lady Ale House is having the eighth annual running of its Oktoberfest celebration with keeper pints (that you can fill with their Autobefest beer) and a unique house-made offering—bratwurst pizza. | Blind Lady Ale House, 3416 Adams Avenue, Normal Heights, 11 a.m.
October 21 | BagbyFest II: Even one of the most award-winning brewers of all times knows there’s more to the beverage world than just beer. Bagby Beer Company will section its expansive brewpub into zones celebrating wine, spirits, cocktails (and, yes, beer) from numerous regions of the world along with foods to go with them. | Bagby Beer Company, 601 South Coast Highway, Oceanside, 12 p.m.
October 21 | Anniversary Events: It seems October’s a fertile month. Three breweries are celebrating birthdays on the same day: Belching Beaver Brewing (5 years, special beers galore), Iron Fist Brewing Company (7 years, special beer and live music) and Legacy Brewing Company (4 years, Oktoberfest shindig). | Belching Beaver Brewery, 1334 Rocky Point Drive, Oceanside, 3 p.m.; Iron Fist Brewing Company, 1305 Hot Springs Way, Suite 101, Vista, 12 p.m.; Legacy Brewing Company, 363 Airport Road, Oceanside, 1 p.m.
October 21 | Ye Scallywag: Kickass beer and kickass punk rock will share space on the San Diego Bayfront when 100 beers are tapped against the backdrop of live performances from Pennywise and a motley crew of musical acts including The Vandals, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes and more). | Waterfront Park, 1 Park Boulevard, Downtown San Diego, 12 p.m.
March 28th was a near perfect day in North County, San Diego, and there was a clear excitement in the air at Bagby Beer Company in Oceanside. Brewers and volunteers were busy running back and forth setting up for the event at Bagby Beer’s “campus,” an expansive location replete with four different draft service areas, a full kitchen, and plenty of spacious viewpoints and settings where it is easy to get lost in a glass of perfectly crafted San Diego beer.
Normal bar service is fantastic at Bagby Beer Company, but this day would be different. This day was BagbyFest, the Grand Opening celebration for what has arguably been the most successful new brewing operation to open in San Diego County within the past few years. Bagby Beer Company is the personification of the people who are behind the company, in this case, namely Jeff Bagby and his wife, Dande. Together, with a supporting cast of kitchen, hospitality, service, and brewing staff, they have built a beer destination unlike anything else. And folks recognize that this has been no small accomplishment.
“This might be the first beer festival that I have ever actually participated in,” said Tom Nickel, brewer and owner of Nickel Beer Company in Julian, California. “I have organized maybe 55 festivals, but it’s cool that this [BagbyFest] is my first festival where I am pouring Nickel beer.” And Tom Nickel was not the only well-known brewer to show up in support of Jeff Bagby, and to acknowledge what it means to have the former head brewer and director of brewing operations for Pizza Port back brewing again in San Diego. Colby Chandler of Ballast Point, Chuck Silva from Green Flash, and Tomme Arthur of Port Brewing Company and The Lost Abbey were all there. Pat and Val McIlhenney were there, pouring Alpine Beer. Adam Avery from Avery Brewing Company came all the way from Boulder, Colorado, and Matt Van Wyk from Oakshire Brewing came all the way from Eugene, Oregon. Bill Batten, brewer at AleSmith, Ignacio “Nacho” Cervantes from Pizza Port Ocean Beach, Arne Johnson from Marin Brewing Company, Kyle Smith from Kern River, and Dustin Kral, the head brewer at Firestone Walker, as well.
All these incredible brewers were on hand at the festival, both to represent their respective breweries and to share some special beers with the folks who attended BagbyFest. But, more importantly, these brewers were all at Bagby Beer Company to pay testament to a brewer who paved the way for San Diego beer in so many ways. From his GABF medals and recognition, to the Alpha King awards, to the now infamous “Who the F#CK is Jeff Bagby?” tee-shirts, to the party pants…Jeff Bagby epitomizes what is means to brew clean, awesome beers across a diverse range of styles in an absolute professional manner, all while having a great time doing it. Without Jeff, and without everything that he has accomplished, the brewing community in San Diego would not be the same. Everyone in this industry here should never forget what he, in part, has helped to create. It was incredibly humbling and exciting to be a part of BagbyFest, recognizing what Jeff and Dande have done to elevate beer in San Diego, and working hard every day to not mess that up.