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Posts Tagged beer

Beer of the Week: Booze Brothers Lights Out, Lupus

Jul 3
Booze Brothers Lights Out Lupus (LOL) Black Biere de Garde

Booze Brothers Lights Out Lupus (LOL) Black Biere de Garde

From the Beer Writer: Much like saisons, I enjoy biere de garde because there’s a good amount of leeway, stylistically, meaning few taste exactly alike. The unpredictability of this more free-form French beer style is what gets me excited whenever I see one available at a local brewery. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen all that often, so when Booze Brothers Brewing Company (2545 Progress Street, Vista) asked what type of beer I might like to see them brew for my Beer to the Rescue charity campaign, I not only went in this direction, but took a detour, asking if they might be able to create a version that was deep brown or black in color, yet not overly roasty. This was what they came up with. Given its dark appearance and the fact a portion of proceeds will go toward fighting lupus, I felt the name Lights Out, Lupus was appropriate. Ditto the fact it produces the acronym, LOL, as I like the thought of guffawing at this auto-immune disease as I help to hopefully put a nail in its eventual coffin.

From the Brewer: “All of us at Booze Brothers think lupus is pretty lame, so we thought we’d brew a beer to combat it. Lights Out Lupus is a 7.7% alcohol-by-volume, funky, black biere de garde spiked with Brettanomyces. The idea was to brew a dark but not roasty, tart but not sour, fruity and malty yet dry, French-style ale without the douchery. We used dark roasted wheat late in the mash to make it dark, and the Brett with a touch if acidulated malt for acidity and complexity. We’re quite happy with the result. In the light, the beer shines a deep, ruby red from its variety of dark, caramelized malts; otherwise the beer looks black. The esters from the yeast remind me of raisins, blackberries, dried plums, guava and perhaps a touch of banana. The beer has a wine-like consistency and the flavor flows uninterrupted from start to finish in a way where the malt and fruit are almost indistinguishable from one another.”—Donny Firth, Co-owner & Brewer, Booze Brothers Brewing Company

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Iron Fist to open Barrio Logan tasting room

Jul 2
Barrio Logan's Mercado del Barrio will be home to Iron Fist Brewing Company's satellite tasting room

Barrio Logan’s Mercado del Barrio will be home to Iron Fist Brewing Company’s satellite tasting room

The satellite tasting room model continues to thrive in San Diego County, providing brewing companies greater geographical reach than ever before. The next business to go this route will be Iron Fist Brewing Company. The Vista-based, hop and Belgian ale enthusiasts are close to opening the doors to a tasting room in Barrio Logan that will be a sudsy cornerstone of the neighborhood’s new Mercado del Barrio mixed-use development.

Located at 1985 National Avenue, with apartment units directly above it and retail spaces below, the tasting room will offer 3,000 square feet of interior space as well as an additional 800 square feet on an outdoor patio. More than 30 taps will dispense Iron Fist’s core beers plus as many specialties and one-offs as the Vista brewery can brew. Those offerings figure to rotate regularly to keep the tasting experience interesting for patrons.

Outfitted with an industrial thematic punched up by textured treatments applied by Iron Fist co-owner Greg Sieminski (a painter by trade), the tasting room will be equipped with a large bar, plentiful seating and a room that can be rented out for special events. That unit has a ceiling built from reclaimed barrel wood and will remain accessible to the public whenever it is not being rented out. The kid- and dog-friendly space will also be used to host art shows and fundraisers and, though Iron Fist can’t book live entertainment during its first year of operation, The Mercado’s nearby outdoor stage can and will offer music.

ironfist_barriologan_03The opportunity to snag this space came when Shea Properties approached Iron Fist. Knowing little about Barrio Logan, the brewery’s owners had initial reservations, but as they studied the area, they say they recognized the opportunity this venture presents, both for their company and the community. Key among the space’s plusses are the fact there is ample public parking and transportation, and it is only a few blocks from Petco Park, the San Diego Convention Center and the Gaslamp Quarter. Also close by is Mishmash Gourmet, a mobile culinary operation that will be installing a brick-and-mortar restaurant next door to Iron Fist.

The Barrio Logan tasting room’s grand opening is scheduled for July 17. Also in the works for Iron Fist is a venue at the all-artisanal, farm-to-table North 40 development in Carlsbad. A long-contemplated tasting room in Santaluz is still in the company’s plans but admittedly on the back-burner. On the beer side, 2016 will see the launch of Iron Fist’s Velvet Glove Series, which will see brewmaster Brandon Sieminski infusing the company’s oatmeal imperial stout with different ingredients to produce vanilla-and-ghost-chile and coffee crème brûlée versions. Also on deck are more releases from the Ken Schmidt Aloha Brews Series based on beers from the local homebrewer of the same name. Up next will be his very popular coconut, macadamia nut and coffee imperial porter, which was first professionally brewed by Stone Brewing Co. in 2009.

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July Events Sampler Flight

Jul 1

sf0715July is a time to celebrate our independence, but the fun times shouldn’t be relegated to the first weekend of the month. Especially not in San Diego County where dozens of top-notch local beer events lay sprawled out over the course of the month. Check out some of these all-‘Murican brewhahas then refer to our full list of local beer events.

July 8 | Hop-Con 3.0, The w00tstout Festival: Celebrating the annual release of a massive wheat, pecan, oak and bourbon fortified imperial stout collaboratively brewed at Stone Brewing Co. with Wil Wheaton and Drew Curtis, this event will feature that duo plus a slew of specialty beers and an on-site arcade bringing together geeks of the beer and traditional ilk. | Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station, 2816 Historic Decatur Road, Point Loma, 8 p.m.

July 11 | Heroes Brew Craft Beer Festival: Ever wanted the thrill of sharing a pale with Punisher, dark ale with Darth Vader or witbier with Wonder Woman. Holy barley wine, Batman, at this festival, these sudsy scenarios can jump straight from the pages of your favorite comic books and into the real world when costume-clad imbibers blend childhood heroes with adult beverages. | The Loma Club, 2960 Truxton Road, Point Loma, 3 p.m.

July 11 & 12 | 2nd Anniversary Party: Even if you’re not a fan of a made-up vernacular including terms like cockstaggering (at least make it a hyphenate), there’s bound to be a brew that jibes with your sensibilities at Modern Times Beer’s two-year, two-day fiesta, which will include tappings of new, rare and one-off creations as well as (unlimited servings of) cold-brewed coffee. | Modern Times Beer, 3725 Greenwood Street, Lomaland, Times Vary

July 25 | Mike Hess Fest: There’s nothing like a block party, especially when it’s thrown by a brewery with five years of fermentation fete experience. For one fun-filled day, Mike Hess Brewing Company will take over a full block in North Park, inviting over brewing industry friends not only from San Diego County, but Arizona as well to celebrate a half-decade in the beer biz. | Mike Hess Brewing Company, 3812 Grim Avenue, North Park, 12:30 p.m.

July 25 | San Diego Craft Beer Fest: Win, place, show, trifectas, quinellas…these can be complicated to grasp, but thanks to the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club’s dedication to the local brewery scene, getting a grasp of ales and lagers from throughout San Diego County will be easy during this fest featuring more than 100 beers plus food trucks, DJs and, oh yeah, horses. | Del Mar Racetrack, 2260 Jimmy Durante Boulevard, Del Mar, 2 p.m.

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Rip Current honors influential homebrewer with What Would Dave Drink?

Jun 30
Rip Current's What Would Dave Drink? Belgian-style dark strong ale honors QUAFF homebrewer Dave Levonian

Rip Current’s What Would Dave Drink? Belgian-style dark strong ale honors QUAFF homebrewer Dave Levonian

It happened in a most apt environment, a beer festival teeming with recreational fermentationists the day before the start of the American Homebrewers Association’s National Homebrewers Conference (NHC). It was there, on Broadway Pier, that I bumped into Rip Current Brewing Company co-owner and brewmaster Paul Sangster, who escorted me back to his San Marcos-based brewery’s table to sample a beer very close to his heart. Dubbed What Would Dave Drink?, it was a Belgian-style strong ale referencing QUAFF (Quality Ale and Fermentation Fraterninty) legend Dave Levonian.

Dave’s last name may sound familiar to those in the local beer know as both Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits and The Lost Abbey brewed farmhouse ales called Brother Levonian Saison to honor the homebrewer, who sadly lost his battle with cancer back in 2008. Gone but far from forgotten, Dave’s legacy and spirit for crafting quality beer in domestic environs lives on in the many he touched, including Sangster, who offers up the following explanation of this very special beer.

“The AHA approached Rip Current and a few other reputable San Diego County breweries to brew commemorative beers for the NHC. They asked for 1,000 bombers to give to attendees. Having won the Ninkasi Award when the NHC was held in San Diego in 2011, I was happy to participate, but there was one sticking point—we don’t bottle our beer at Rip Current. So we had to get creative. I asked QUAFF if we could do a collaboration where the homebrew club would provide the recipe and manpower to help with bottling, and they agreed.

Dave Levonian's sister, Andra Fromme holding a bottle of her brother's tribute beer

Dave Levonian’s sister, Andra Fromme holding a bottle of her brother’s tribute beer

“A few of QUAFF’s leaders got together and decided to make a beer straight out of Dave’s recipe book. Since Brother Levonian was a saison, we wanted to do something different. Dave was particularly well known for his expertise with Belgian and English beer styles, and we found his recipe for a Belgian-style dark strong ale we thought would be great to make in his memory. We brewed the beer based closely on Dave’s recipe but with a couple of modernizations. As planned, Dave’s sister, Andra Levonian Fromme, and members of QUAFF attended the brew day to mill the grains, ceremoniously add in hops and drink several bottles of Dave’s homebrew that his friends had cellared. Three weeks later, we set up bottling stations and hand-filled all 1,000 22-ounce bottles with the help of a bunch of QUAFFers using eight homebrew-style, single-shot bottle fillers (i.e., beer guns). It was an incredibly fun day.

“Dave was known as both a beer expert and a foodie. Because of this, friends would often ask him for food and beer suggestions. This prompted the posthumous creation of a t-shirt that read: What Would Dave Order? And that’s where the name for this beer came from. Also popular was a shirt mimicking the logo aesthetic of Duvel, but altered to read “Davel,” referencing the name of a Belgian-style golden strong ale he created using notes from a conversation he had with Duvel’s brewmaster.

“What Would Dave Drink? is 9.8% alcohol-by-volume and recently went into distribution. During NHC, we gave out the bottles and poured the beer at associated conference events. All the feedback has been amazing so far, so we’re pleased to share the remaining barrels with San Diego accounts and visitors to our tasting rooms. But more than anything, we’re excited to hear friends of Dave’s who’ve tasted this beer say it’s very similar to what he brewed.”

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Amplified Ale Works to brew in Miramar

Jun 27

amplifiedEven with limited capacity, Amplified Ale Works has built a solid fan base brewing out of California Kebab on the second floor of Pacific Beach’s beach-adjacent Pacific Promenade shopping center. In the business’ early days, it was common to see the beer board completely devoid of head brewer Cy Henley’s creations. There was only so much to go around and, whenever they went on tap, the beers were quickly drained by fans of hoppy brews like Electrocution IPA and Pig Nose Pale Ale as well as numerous Belgian-inspired ales. Increasing fermentation capacity helped improve the situation to a degree, but availability is still nowhere near where Henley and Amplified co-owner Alex Pierson want it to be. So, they’re doing something about it.

Recently, Pierson and company signed a deal with H.G. Fenton Company to utilize a ready-made brewing facility, available as part of its Brewery Igniter program, to significantly increase Amplified’s production capacity. Located at 9030 Kenamar Drive—right behind Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits’ newest and largest facility—the industrial park suite comes in at 1,625 square feet and is equipped with a seven-barrel Premier Stainless brewhouse plus four 15-barrel fermenters and a quartet of 15-barrel bright tanks. Amplified hopes this will result in the production of an additional 1,000 barrels of beer in the first full year brewing in Miramar.

The exterior of Amplified Ale Works' upcoming Miramar brewery

The exterior of Amplified Ale Works’ upcoming Miramar brewery

Last year, Amplified produced 400 barrels of beer, a significant increase from a mere 275 the previous 12 months. So, adding an extra thousand barrels represents a 250% jump in production. And that’s not even figuring in the full potential of the Miramar facility. Maxing out the space would equal anywhere from 1,800 to 2,000 barrels, annually. Pierson selected H.G. Fenton’s brewery igniter location because of its unique floorplan and brewery build-out, feeling it offered Amplified a good short-to-medium-term solution to its supply-and-demand disparities.

Initially, Amplified will limit production in Miramar to its best-known core offerings: Electrocution, Pig Nose, Leggy Blonde Belgian singel and Bearded Guard biere de garde. Distribution of those beers will be split between California Kebab, several beer bar accounts and the Miramar brewery’s on-site tasting room. The latter will likely take up 300 or so square feet and, hopefully, be supplemented post-opening with an outdoor sampling space. Moving primary production to Miramar will allow Henley to have some fun back in PB. He is currently preparing to brew one-off beers with experimental hops as part of a project with the working title “Distorted Hop Series.”

In addition to kegging, mobile canning or bottling options will be utilized to package core beers, one-offs and barrel-aged ales. As far as a packaged oak-matured Amplified beer that will be available much sooner, bottles of its Rare Form Belgian-style quad that has been resting in bourbon barrels for four months will go on sale at California Kebab on July 9. Each wax-dipped, 12-ounce bottle will cost $10 while (rather limited) supplies last.

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