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Posts Tagged beer

Q&A: Will Galaspy

Sep 2

qa_32northHead Brewer, 32 North Brewing Co.

It wasn’t all that long after Miramar’s 32 North Brewing Company opened that the business’ head brewer hit the road to pursue other projects. Recently, owner Steve Peterson hired an East Coast transplant to take the reins of his 32 North’s brewhouse. I could work to eloquently introduce this rather unique individual, but feel his personal flair for storytelling is such that I’ll cut to the chase and allow him to do so.

How did you get into the brewing field?
From an early age, it was clear that I was not like other kids. If my parents left anything fermentable lying around like grain, grapes, apples or honey, it would be transformed into delicious alcohol nearly immediately. Unsure of how to raise a child with my unique abilities, they swaddled me in Liefman’s wrappers and left me on the doorstep of Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. The school started to have way better parties. I am not at liberty to discuss much of the events that followed, but some years later, an owl dropped a letter down my chimney notifying me that my skills were needed in the private sector, and I began to travel the country aiding and abetting the activities of such elite units as Rock Bottom, Boscos, Parish Brewing Co. and Heartland Brewery in their collective mission to drench this great nation in delicious craft beer.

What led you to San Diego?
I was working in a little beverage-backwater known as New York City, where I was routinely forced to choke down IPAs of lesser than 100 IBUS and darker than 0.5 SRM. The situation was untenable. But I knew in my heart that on a far-off coast there was a land where the sun is always shining, the beer is bracing, the surf is stunning, the tacos are tantalizing, the punk rock is punishing and the weather is basically perfect. I kept the faith and have been delivered through the desert to the Promised Land. A choice assignment, indeed!

What has been the most challenging part about joining 32 North?
Catching up. This summer, I walked into a brewery with a lot of empty tanks, some cranky equipment and no instruction manual, but we’re getting it into shape and I’m starting to see a point where I have time to really put myself into new product development.

How will you alter the beer lineup?
As I understand it, the lineup at 32 North has been shifting since opening. Moving forward, you can expect to see us hone in our focus on putting out a solid and consistent lineup of ales available year-round as well as continuing to experiment with our Lactobacillus and wild yeast-fermented Berliner weisse. We also hope to get our barrel program off the ground in the coming months. I’d also like to add that anyone who hasn’t come by the taproom in a while will find several light, dry session beers, something that seemed to be absent when I arrived.

How does it feel to be in such a brewery-dense section of San Diego and have you had a chance to get to know some of your “Beeramar” neighbors?
It’s wonderful. I once swore I’d never work in another industrial park, but I made an exception here because it seems everyone around here makes something awesome. I can walk to some of the best breweries in the country, and if I walk to too many I can just sleep in my office. We’ve been swamped, so I haven’t gotten to bring brownies around to everyone like I hoped to, so if anybody reads this, come say “hi.”

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September Event Sampler Flight

Sep 1

sdfob15Summer is fast coming to a close (but not before some record-breaking mercury spikes). Soon, session ales and lighter golden liquid fare will give way to pumpkin- and spice-laced concoctions of a more amberish hue, but not before local beer interests send another wet hot American summer out in style. Check out some of these premier happenings then refer to our full list of local craft beer events.

September 4 | Padres Beerfest: Much as the great-on-paper San Diego Padres have yet to demonstrate mastery of the diamond, this fest isn’t perfect (tasters are 12 ounces, essentially a full-pour), but stocked with local MVPs, the brewery roster is star-studded. And by the time this game rolls around, the Friars may be in the midst of a playoff run. (A lifelong fan can dream.) | Petco Park, 100 Park Boulevard, East Village, 5 p.m.

September 12 | Carlsbad Brewfest: Rotary clubs aren’t what many people look to for a hoppin’ good time, but it appears two such groups in Carlsbad definitely know how to party, and will be proving it via this second annual suds gathering, featuring more than 30 craft breweries including local interests, Arcana Brewing Co., Guadalupe Brewery and Pizza Port. | Holiday Park, 3400 Pio Pico Drive, Carlsbad, 12 p.m.

September 12 | Peter Reeves Memorial Sour Fest: Any day at Churchill’s Pub and Grille promises a solid array of 50-plus beers, but one weekend each year they break out a tap list dealing exclusively in the tart arts. It’s a six-year tradition honoring a fallen friend celebrated with rarities from the likes of Cascade Brewery, The Lost Abbey and Russian River Brewing Co. | Churchill’s Pub & Grille, 887 West San Marcos Boulevard, San Marcos, 11 a.m.

September 18 | San Diego Festival of Beer: San Diego County’s longest-running beer festival is now old enough to drink. And like a headstrong young-yet-legal 21-year-old, it’s going as strong as ever. One-hundred-percent volunteer-driven and fortified by plenty of ales and lagers plus numerous live music acts, it’s the fest that inspired the many, many others that sprouted up after it. | Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier, 1000 North Harbor Drive, Downtown, 6 p.m.

September 26 | Tour de Fat: It’s almost that time of year again, when New Belgium Brewing comes rolling into town in all its outlandish, traveling-circus glory, all in the name of beer-fueled (responsible) biking and support of a smaller carbon footprint. A costumed bike parade through South Park will close out in Golden Hill with entertainment, games and, of course, beer! | Golden Hill Park, 2590-2596 Golden Hill Drive, Golden Hill, 10 a.m.

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Beer of the Week: New English Two Legit Double IPA

Aug 28
New English Two Legit Double IPA

New English Two Legit Double IPA

From the Beer Writer: Since meeting New English Brewing Co. owner Simon Lacey, I’ve admired his devotion to crafting high quality versions of the beers of his homeland. In a day and age where most locally produced versions of U.K. beer styles are given West Coast or imperial treatment, for the most part, New English’s beers are brewed to style. Early on, Lacey stuck exclusively to a line-up that included a brown ale, extra special bitter (ESB) and decidedly British India pale ale (IPA). He’s since expanded his repertoire to include West Coast IPAs, and they’ve turned out fantastic. When we talked about the type of beer he’d produce for my lupus fundraising campaign, Beer to the Rescue, he grinned and said he thought we should play off the word lupus’ resemblance to Humulus lupulus, the compound in hops that brings so much bitterness to beers. For him, that meant brewing New English’s first-ever double IPA. I’m glad he decided to go outside the IBU and ABV box, and honored he did so in conjunction with this passion project.

From the Brewer: “After brewing two American IPAs—a West Coast-style rye IPA called Humbly Legit, and an IPA heavily dry-hopped with Citra and Mosaic called Pure and Simple—we decided that a double IPA might fit into our balanced beer philosophy after all. One Saturday I was drinking a Drake’s Brewing Co. flight at Blind Lady Ale House, when I came to the Hopocalypse IIPA. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it as much as the other beers in the flight, but it turned out to be a revelation! Beautifully bitter but bright and balanced, I decided right there that we would also make a double IPA. We started working on the recipe immediately and, soon after, we produced Two Legit IIPA. It’s not a double version of Humbly Legit. It’s a completely new recipe with no rye malt, but we liked the name. It’s based on U.S. two-row base malt with some German Munich plus wheat malt for body and head retention. Hopped with copious quantities of CTZ, Nugget and Summit in the kettle, and Summit and Centennial dry hops, the alcohol content is 9.2% and the IBUs register a solid 90-plus.”—Simon Lacey, Owner & Brewmaster, New English Brewing Co.

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Q&A: Marty Mendiola

Aug 26

Owner & Brewmaster, Second Chance Beer Companysecondchance_01

He’s been a fixture in the San Diego brewing scene for more than a decade-and-a-half, won countless national and international awards for his to-style beers and even served a term as the president of the San Diego Brewers Guild. Quiet, pleasant and completely uncontroversial, Marty Mendiola has done all of this under the radar for the most part. Nowadays, the former Rock Bottom standout finds himself in a rare place—under the microscope—as he prepares to open the passion project he left his longtime digs to open, Second Chance Beer Co. We caught up with him during one of his first brew days to pelt him with questions about one of San Diego County’s most exciting soon-to-debut breweries.

With 15 years of good work and great status in the Rock Bottom family, you were in a good spot. Why did you stake out on your own?
I really enjoyed working for Rock Bottom. The confidence and freedom they give the brewers really allowed me to explore my creativity and, ultimately, make better beer. Two things drove me to go out on my own. First, I always liked the idea of getting my beer out to a wider audience, so I am looking forward to seeing it poured at the great bars and restaurants around town and, eventually, our cans and bottles being bought at stores and beer shops. Second was the physical demands of brewing on a small, completely manual system. Carrying every bag of grain in one-at-a-time and pulling the spent grain out in heavy trash cans is tiring. With Second Chance being much bigger, we have the forklift and pallet jacks to help with the lifting. I feel like we can build this into something we are proud of!

What are some things you love most about having your own brewery?
The best thing about Second Chance is that we’ve created it ourselves from the ground up. I collaborated with my wife, Virginia Morrison, whose motivation and help has been ineffable, and my business partner, Curtis Hawes, to customize the brewery and tap room to our liking, and do whatever we wanted from the start. My mom Hilda, my brother Anthony, and our friend Robin have also pitched in on weekends to help us get ready. In the brewery, we have a 30-barrel system from Escondido’s Premier Stainless Systems. It is really sweet. I feel I can take the beer styles and ideas I have done in the past and make them just as good, but probably better, on this setup. We have to expand, and will do so as it feels comfortable, but there’s no rush.

secondchance_02What beers can people expect when you open and how would you describe your personal brewing style?
Our first beers will be a Kölsch-style ale called Luminous Blonde, red IPA, a black porter called Tabula Rasa (Spanish for “blank slate”) and…are you ready for this…an IPA! Seize the IPA! I have dozens of beer styles I want to brew, but need to find the patience to grow the lineup over time. I have been told that my brewing style is “smooth,” which basically tells me the flavors blend well together with a clean aftertaste. I’ll take that as a compliment! I have a similar preference for English- and Belgian-style ales that my friends at AleSmith and Benchmark Brewing brew. This can range from low-alcohol, balanced session beers to bold, flavorful, sometimes hoppy, big beers. I also love working with whisky and rum barrels.

Are you brewing alone or do you have a team?
I have reunited with Craig Gregovics, my assistant brewer from Rock Bottom! We work great together and he is a Midwesterner like myself, so we tend to work ourselves to the point of exhaustion, which can be good and bad.

What will the tasting room be like and how did you select your location?
Not only do we believe that Second Chance is a fortunate opportunity, something we are lucky to get and must make the most of, but we also embrace the repurposing and reusing aspect. In that spirit, we have reused gas pipes from the demolition, whiskey barrels from the good people at The Lost Abbey, fence wood from my childhood home and many other cool, personal touches. There is also an open view of the brewery. As for the location, as soon as we walked into the building, we knew it was our spot. We are excited to meet our neighbors in our tap room. We have major industry around us: tech, construction, computers, concrete, aircraft, medical, etc., and they are already excited for us to open. Also, we are right off the freeway—technically in Carmel Mountain Ranch—and there are not that many options to grab a beer here. Rancho Bernardo has Urge Gastropub and Abnormal Beer Co. Poway has Cellar 3 and Lightning Brewery. So we are happy to be so close and fill this space in between.

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Helix Brewing Co. coming soon to La Mesa

Aug 24

helix_00It won’t be La Mesa’s first brewing company (Bolt Brewery nabbed those bragging rights, opening last year after the municipal government removed restrictions on breweries within its geographic confines), but Helix Brewing Company (8101 Commercial Street, La Mesa) will be the first paying direct homage to the East County city. Owner and brewer Cameron Ball grew up in La Mesa at a house located on the Mount for which his soon-to-open interest is named.

A civil engineer by trade, Ball will single-handedly craft every beer brewed on his 10-barrel system from Oregon’s Portland Kettle Works. He hopes to brew many styles in small batches, but wants to focus on making exceptional hoppy beers, rye-infused beers and session beers. When Helix begins its soft-open period, eight beers will be on tap: an eponymous pale ale, hoppy red ale, session India pale ale (IPA), rye IPA, black rye IPA, chocolate rye porter, oatmeal stout and Bavarian weizen called Acid Drop. All come in under 7% alcohol-by-volume. Starting in autumn, Ball will brew one-time, rotating, seasonal double IPAs. Sour beers are also on the planned horizon.

Helix Brewing owner and brewer Cameron Ball (and co.)

Helix Brewing owner and brewer Cameron Ball (and co.)

Helix’s cellar will consist of four 10-barrel fermenter tanks and four 10-barrel brights, with four of the tasting room’s dozen taps hooked up to serve directly from the latter for ultimate freshness. Of the 2,000 total square feet within Helix’s Interstate 8 and Bolt Brewery neighboring facility, half will be devoted to production and cold storage with the rest left for people to enjoy both the beer and the brewing process. Ball says the only walls are in the restrooms, as he wanted visitors to be able to easily see into the brewery. When asked what led him to select his space, he replies simply that it’s “rad,” citing its brick composition, exposed wood trusses and 1,600 square feet of available outdoor space for a future beer garden.

Ball is aiming to produce 350 barrels of beer in his first year of operation, and says that his current footprint can support a maximum of 3,500 barrels annually. Piping for planned future tanks has been put in place for ease of installation should the need for additional fermentation and conditioning space arise. Eventually, Helix will can, but in the beginning, self-distributed kegs will be doled out selectively to bars of Ball’s choosing.

Helix’s soft-open is currently slated to start Saturday, August 29, with a debut event that will include food trucks, live music, and a variety of games to help project a planned family-friendly vibe. The tasting room will be dog-friendly (Ball says they are family, too) and patrons will be able to view a sped-up GoPro time-lapse video of the brewery’s entire build-out.

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