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Posts Tagged beer

Beer of the Week: Fallbrook Homegrown Pale Ale

Sep 30
Fallbrook Brewing Company's Homegrown wet-hop pale ale

Fallbrook Brewing Company’s Homegrown wet-hop pale ale

From the Beer Writer: It’s that time of year again—the time when brewmasters’ Instagram posts clog our feeds with shot after shot of vibrant green hop-buds, fields and good-times had visiting the Pacific Northwest for the purpose of hop-selection. Yes, it’s hop-harvest, and with that annual tradition comes a bounty of wet-hop beers. What are wet-hop beer? They are beers given extra hop aroma and oomph thanks to the addition of freshly harvested (or “wet”) whole hops. It’s a magical time of year both for brewers and drinkers, but not all of the hops come from the upper-left corner of the country. Some come from within our county. Case in point, the Cascade and Galena hops used to create Fallbrook Homegrown Pale Ale. Coming in at 5.6% alcohol-by-volume, the beer’s malt bill lends a touch of toastiness in the finish, but is dialed back enough to let the newly reaped botanicals from SD Golden Hop Farm shine. That operation is based in the same community as the business that nurtured this beer into thirst-quenching reality, Fallbrook Brewing Company. In its three years of existence, that brewery has made a point of sourcing as many ingredients as possible from in and around its namesake berg, while also pulling in brewing talent with roots in Fallbrook to help on collaboration beers.

From the Brewer: “Every year we invite a few individuals from the industry to participate in brewing our anniversary beer. The common-denominator between these individuals is a tie to Fallbrook itself. Some have lived here, some have family here and a few have graduated from Fallbrook High School. Each year the group gets bigger and the beer gets better. This year, we decided to brew a wet-hop beer using locally grown hops from SD Golden Hop Farm. It’s a pale ale that has a very distinctive wet-hop aroma giving way to a  candied-orange flavor that’s more sweet than bitter and ending with a nice clean finish. A big thanks to all that participated in this beer. We hope you enjoy it.”—Chuck McLaughlin, Owner/Brewmaster, Fallbrook Brewing Company

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October Events Sampler Flight

Sep 29

libertymarketThere’s no shortage of fermentable fun to be had during the month bridging Oktoberfest and All Hallow’s Eve, and we’ve culled through the plethora of beery affairs to highlight a few standouts. But there’s a lot more taking place in October, so be sure to peruse (and bookmark) our Events Page for even more good-time options.

October 1 | Oktoberfest Celebrations: It lasts around two weeks, but most places choose to honor Oktoberfest on October 1. Hit up Germanic-driven Lightning Brewery, celebrate the grand opening of North Park Beer Co.’s aptly sausage-centric Mastiff Kitchen, enjoy JacktoberFest at Midnight Jack Brewing, lift a stein of lager at Societe Brewing’s beer hall or head to Santee for its oktOVERfest over-the-line tournament. | Various Locations, Times Vary

October 1-10 | CRAFToberfest: Have plans October 1st? Not to worry—Liberty Public Market is stretching its festing over a ten-day span, and its tenants are pooling their resources. Bottlecraft will hold a German tap takeover while market purveyors will offer $5 bites such as pork schnitzel, cheese, sausages and ice cream to pair with those ales and lagers. A variety of activities will be offered on the market’s patio and the celebration will close out with an October 10 beer dinner at Mess Hall featuring the beers of Germany’s Mahrs-Bräu. | Liberty Public Market, 2820 Historic Decatur Road, Point Loma, Times Vary

October 16 | Pour It Black: Rare are the opportunities to indulge in a gallery of incredible dark beers in warm, sunny San Diego. So Stone Brewing waits until the temperature reaches a chilly 80-degrees to hold a festival focused on the browner, blacker side of beer. But it’s not all brawny stouts; black IPAs and sours are also on the menu at this indulgent grand-scale annual event! | Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens, 1999 Citracado Parkway, Escondido, 10 a.m.

October 28 | Allagash Night: Maine is known for its beer scene, but before its recent popularity, brewmaster Rob Todd made a name for The Pine Tree State’s Allagash Brewing, which specializes in Belgian ales and now includes a coolship-equipped center of funk and barrel-aging. Meet the man and his rarities as he helps Hamilton’s Tavern celebrate its 10th anniversary. | Hamilton’s Tavern, 1521 30th Street, South Park, 3 p.m.

October 30 | Celebrate the Craft: The Lodge at Torrey Pines was one of the first high-end spots in San Diego to back local craft-beer in a big way, and it started here, with executive chef Jeff Jackson inviting SD brewers to be part of this farm-to-table celebration of local crafters of food and beverage. Get to know your local purveyors over tasters of homegrown ales and lagers. | The Lodge at Torrey Pines, 11480 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, 11:30 a.m.

 

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Meet Escondido Brewing Company

Sep 26
escondidobrewing

Ketchen (left) and Evan Smith at the site of their upcoming Escondido Brewing Company

Though they’re not related by blood, Ketchen Smith and Evan Smith are bound by their love of craft-beer and their shared project for getting into the business of producing it, Escondido Brewing Company (649 Rock Springs Road, Suite B, Escondido). Longtime Escondido residents, Evan owns and operates his 38-year-old family-business, Escondido Feed and Pet Supply. That is where the new business will be sited, with the 1.5-barrel brewing system installed in a small space in front of the store. Escondido Brewing will epitomize the term nano-brewery…and that’s just the way the non-fraternal Smiths like it.

“We will be one of, if not the smallest brewery in San Diego. This will be both in physical size as well as production quantity,” says Ketchen, who will serve as president and head brewer. (Evan will manage business operations). “The interior space will be almost completely occupied by the brewery and seating will be on an outside patio.”

Ketchen is an engineering manager for a company specializing in spinal-implants. He has been homebrewering for a dozen years, racking up awards at the San Diego County Fair, Southern California Fair and National Homebrewers Conference. His most notable achievement, and one that bled into the realm of professional brewing, was having an American ale he brewed 40 barrels of with Coachella Valley Brewing Company entered into the pro-am competition at Denver’s Great American Beer Festival.

The majority of Ketchen’s awards were garnered by hop-driven beers, but he hopes to have variety that goes beyond lupulin-rich ales. In addition to multiple IPAs, he will brew blondes, ambers and stouts, with a wheat or Belgian-style beer mixed in every now and then. Each offering’s name will bear some form of tie to the community (e.g., Hopcondido IPA, 1888 Stout). Escondido’s tagline illustrates the company’s intended approach—small batch beers from the heart of the Hidden City. The “Hidden City” (which is already home to Stone Brewing, Offbeat Brewing Company and Plan 9 Alehouse) can expect its newest resident to open to the public in early-2017.

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Beer of the Week: PB AleHouse Slomo Saison

Sep 23
Pacific Beach AleHouse SlowMo Saison

Pacific Beach AleHouse SlowMo Saison

From the Beer Writer: In spite of strides being made where craft-beer selection and availability is concerned, Pacific Beach is not one of the first places I think about when I’m thirsty for local ales. The fact I just turned 40 is probably another reason it’s not on the short-list of communities I frequent. But every now and then the allure of sun, sand and good old-fashioned beach-bar fun inspires a visit. During my most recent return to the area, I made a point to do something that was far overdue—visit Pacific Beach AleHouse. A fire caused the venue to close down in 2015. During the down-time, management decided to renovate the venue and, on the brewery-side, their brewer left to pursue another project, making way for local Jonathon Reilly to take the reins. After taking a seat on the shaded second-story sky-deck, I made my way through tasters of the five house-beers. As is wise for a place like PB AleHouse that caters mostly to less craft-enthused imbibers, there was a mild lager, blonde and red ale, but I was most impressed by PB AleHouse Slomo Saison. It had nice bubble-gum and floral notes on the nose followed by good orange-like citrus character on the palate. And at 4.5% alcohol-by-volume, it’s just right for waiting out a sunset over the Pacific Ocean…or making it through four quarters of football if you’re a Bills fan. The night I was there, the place was packed with wing-eating, jersey-clad fans who, even though their team lost that night, still had to be elated to be beach-adjacent rather than preparing for another punishing Buffalo winter.

From the Brewer: “Brewing the saison here at the beach, I was following a common idea of having a light and approachable beer in the sun. Knowing wit, wheats and hefeweizens rounded out this idea as well. I wanted to create something that could run between those characteristics. Using local White Labs Belgium Saison III yeast and a simple base-malt gave me the ability to maintain a light and bright beer, and still get some interesting phenolics. The inclusion of wildflower honey and Hersbrucker hops provided a nice, spicy and floral aroma. This beer is notably named after our local hero Slomo. To make a long story short, he was a well-to-do doctor, who gave up his job and lifestyle to pursue a happier and simpler one. He is most commonly known locally for his unique ‘slow-motion’ stance while rollerskating down the boardwalk, just steps from PB Alehouse.  And I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention that my fiancé came up with the name.”—Jonathan Reilly, Brewer, Pacific Beach AleHouse

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Beer Touring: Little Miss Brewing

Sep 21
The taster paddle at Little Miss Brewing is the bomb...literally!

The taster paddle at Little Miss Brewing is the bomb…literally!

Back in May, I broke the news that a business by the name of Little Miss Brewing (7949 Stromesa Court, Miramar) was building its brewery in Miramar. It was exciting news for me, as it was going to be located right down the street from my office at AleSmith Brewing Company, and headed by Joe Liscia, an ex- Green Flash Brewing Company brewer and part-time pint-slinger at (my new employer) Societe Brewing Company. There was just one hitch—Little Miss’ owners weren’t going to install a tasting room at the brewery. Fortunately, Liscia was able to effectively communicate how important an on-site sampling component is to a brewery, particularly one located in a heavily toured part of San Diego County.

When I visited Little Miss a couple of weeks ago, it looked put-together and unique. A cinder-block, L-shaped bar with the wing of an ancient flying-machine hanging above conveys a bunker-like motif. On the opposite side of the room, keg seats are situated around long tabletops that cleverly lift up to the wall, Murphy bed-style, during brewing hours. I was surprised when Liscia told me he had to throw the whole thing together, scouring eBay for World War II memorabilia and other items to fill the place out. It’s pretty commendable, considering he had to simultaneously get first-draft beers ready. The fact that those beers are quite enjoyable makes it more impressive, still.

littlemiss_02Little Miss’ tasting room is equipped with 10 taps, but when I stopped by, only half were hooked up to kegs. I started with a pair of SMASH pale ales. SMASH stands for single-malt and single-hop, describing the ingredients used to make such beers. While single-hop beers have been popular for years now, SMASH recipes are mostly the domain of homebrewers currently, so it was nice to have a couple in a pro-setting. SMASH beers provide a fine opportunity for drinkers to get to know individual ingredients. Liscia’s SMASH pales were hopped with Cascade and Galaxy, respectively. The former’s citrus character presented most closely as grapefruit, while the latter offered more complex flavors of lemon and passionfruit plus a slightly more assertive bitterness on the finish.

littlemiss_03Another pale, New Deal, was perhaps the least-satisfying of the bunch. It tasted nice enough, but could benefit from more hop-presence. It was simply too mild from a botanical standpoint and came across a tad sweet on the malt-side as a result. But the hop-malt balance on Little Miss’ Helldiver IPA was right-on. Maybe it’s the Sazerac kick I’ve been on since a recent trip to New Orleans, but the aroma reminded me of Peychaud’s bitters. Zesty and citric, it was probably a romantic interpretation anybody else would have described as “lemony”, but work with me here. The beer is 6.5% alcohol-by-volume and hopped with Zythos, Centennial and El Dorado. That last one is all-lemon and complemented nicely by the earthiness and stone fruit-esque elements of its partner-hops.

littlemiss_01I finished with a freshly tapped, light-bodied porter that was big on cola notes with a roasted almond nuttiness to it. Brewed with chocolate and cacao nibs, it even had a faint hint of herbal tea essence. At 4.7% ABV, it’s in the low range, just like all of Little Miss’ current beers. Liscia expects to brew higher-ABV offerings relatively soon, but recently debuted a sessionable Belgian-style witbier brewed with ginger and orange-peel, and has a Berliner weisse on-deck. He’s also been working with the roasters at Swell Coffee Co. to make a java-infused version of the porter.

Little Miss’ ultimate goal is to open multiple tasting rooms throughout San Diego. It was a snag with the first of those in Normal Heights that prompted ownership to go ahead with the brewery tasting room. Though done out of necessity, it was done well, and a visit there is a pleasant introduction to Miramar’s newest brewery. Oh, wait…Thunderhawk Alements opened over the weekend. Make that Miramar’s second-youngest new brewery.

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