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Posts Tagged beer

Green Flash’s Hop Odyssey continues

Nov 24

gf_pacificgemBusiness as usual—it’s more than the ubiquitous and fundamentally false battle cry of former craft breweries that have been acquired by Big Beer giants. In the case of current craft breweries like Green Flash Brewing Company (6550 Mira Mesa Boulevard, Mira Mesa), it’s actually true. This, despite having recently and gracefully accepted the resignation of its long-time brewmaster and subsequently promoting former lead brewer Erik Jensen to head of fermentation. The show will go on, and that includes the company’s alpha acid-driven Hop Odyssey series of beers.

Established in 2013 as a manner of exploring the flavors and aromas of cutting edge hop varietals, the 2015 series will come to the close with the impending release of Green Flash’s Segal Ranch Session IPA, featuring a blend of Cascade, Centennial and Tomahawk hops plucked from the Yakima, Washington hop farm of the same name. That beer will be available in six-packs, 22-ounce bottles and on draft nationwide.

The focus of the 2015 Hop Odyssey lineup was on session IPAs; India pale ales coming in at a lower alcohol-by-volume percentages for prolonged enjoyment. In a similar trend-conscious manner, the 2016 series will be all about single-hop beers, starting with the release of Pacific Gem Pale Ale in January. Styrian Golding Pale Ale will follow in May and Nugget Pale Ale in September. Each beer is named after the hops they will exclusively depend on for their unique sensory qualities, and incorporate classic UK pale malt Simpsons Golden Promise in the grain bill. The latter component advances on the successful use of that Golden Promise in Jensen’s recipe for a beer called Golden Naked Promise, which was brewed for the National Homebrewers Conference, which was held in San Diego this May.

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Beer of the Week: Bay City Coffee Pale Ale

Nov 20
Bay City Coffee Pale Ale (on nitro)

Bay City Coffee Pale Ale (on nitro)

From the Beer Writer: When people think of coffee beers, they naturally gravitate toward stouts and porters. Roasted malts with a touch of hop bitterness is the closest thing to a bitter, roasty cup of Joe. So adding coffee makes a great deal of sense when one is looking to add depth of flavor and extra oomph to a dark beer. However, brewers looking to display the flavor of the coffee itself within a beer are beginning to experiment with lighter-colored beers devoid of dark-roasted malts. Cream ales, pale ales and the occasional India pale ale are the most popular styles when it comes to this method. In the case of the latter two, brewers look to select coffee and hop varieties that have similar flavors, which typically come in the form of citrus, berry or earthy nuances. That’s what Chris West, head brewer at newly opened Bay City Brewing Company did when devising the recipe for his Coffee Pale Ale, an extremely flavorful yet balanced beer that delivers hop sensations worthy of a San Diegan’s lupulin-craving palate plus a caffeinated java jolt. The 6% alcohol-by-volume beer is currently on tap, both on CO2 and nitrogen, at Bay City’s tasting room just north of Valley View Casino Center.

From the Brewer: “The inspiration for the Coffee Pale Ale started with our neighborhood. There are now two breweries and multiple coffee roasters in this unique corner of town and we’re excited to see what else develops here. We worked with Swell Coffee Co. and their roaster, John Hermann, to select a bean and roasting profile that created a fruity yet still earthy coffee. Once the bean was selected, we decided to go with a pale ale as the base beer for two reasons. We didn’t want dark roasted grains to interfere with the coffee’s profile, which we all loved during cuppings. Additionally, Swell had recently begun experimenting with dry-hopped, cold-brewed coffee, so the conversation inevitably led to a coffee pale ale as our final product. The beer pours a golden-pale color with a dense white head that lasts. The aroma is coffee-forward with a floral earthiness from Simcoe hops. The taste begins slightly sweet, then finishes with mild bitterness. We hope you enjoy it and help us benefit Beer to the Rescue and the campaign’s goal to fund lupus research.”—Chris West, Head Brewer, Bay City Brewing Co.

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32 North opening tap room in Liberty Station collective

Nov 19

32n_03Miramar’s 32 North Brewing Company recently celebrated its one-year anniversary, and it’s looking like Years Two and Three will be big ones for the young interest. Owner Steve Peterson has accepted the invitation of the Moniker Group to be a tenant business at a collective retail establishment being installed at 2860 Sims Road in Liberty Station later this year. Moniker currently runs an East Village warehouse housing roughly 20 brands manufacturing apparel, furniture, bicycles and a variety of other local products. The new location will be similarly eclectic, serving as home to a lifestyle retail shop curated by Del Mar’s Lone Flag Supply Company, a coffee concept dubbed Moniker Coffee and the 32 North Taproom. The total interior space comes in at 4,200 square feet with 1,200 additional square feet available via an outdoor patio.

32BNo brewing will take place at the Taproom, but in order to sufficiently supply that space with beer, more fermentation vessels will need to be purchased and utilized at 32 North’s brewery. The company is already having trouble fulfilling demand for three of its beers—Landfall Berliner Weisse, Nautical Mile IPA and Pennant Pale Ale. Peterson is excited to increase exposure for 32 North’s beers in general and cites Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens – Liberty Station and Modern Times Beer as businesses that has gotten people used to visiting Point Loma for beer. The soon-to-open Liberty Public Market next to the aforementioned Stone also figures to be a great draw among diverse demographic sects.

Peterson expresses zero concerns when asked if he has reservations about having high-profile competition so near (in addition to Stone, an iteration of popular craft beer outlet, Bottlecraft, will be installed within the Liberty Public Market project). 32 North’s brewery is in the heart of Miramar, one of the most brewery-saturated areas of San Diego with major players such as Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits, Green Flash Brewing Company and AleSmith Brewing Company. Peterson says those businesses help to bring in business, as do recommendations from employees of those businesses to their patrons.

Because it fits the model of a collective, Moniker Warehouse will not allow 32 North to maximize its individual branding, but Peterson is enthusiastic about being a productive member of this communal operation, which is currently set to open in January 2016.

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Q&A: Ed O’Sullivan

Nov 18

edosullivanOwner & Brewmaster, O’Sullivan Bros. Brewing Co.

Having seen the undeniable impact and growth of the local brewing industry, local colleges have developed craft beer curriculums covering the science and business of opening a brewery. The first to do so was the University of California, San Diego with the UCSD Extension Brewing Certificate program, and the first graduate to open his own brewery was Ed O’Sullivan with the 2014 debut of O’Sullivan Bros. Brewing Company in Scripps Ranch. A year into the business of brewing, O’Sullivan has put much of his instructors’ teachings to use and even joined the faculty fold. We dropped in on him to find out more about the program and what it—and his brewery—have to offer the beer curious masses.

How was the UCSD program helpful in founding and operating your brewery?
Ed O’Sullivan: I think we’re the ultimate experiment because we studied under the masters of the craft and implemented what was taught in the program. I mean, I was a sponge for knowledge and we were quite literal in putting things in place that they recommended. I didn’t have commercial brewing experience coming into the program, so it was extremely helpful to have the advice and counsel of experts who could assist me in the planning, construction and operational start-up phases of the brewery. As a molecular biologist, I was able to understand a lot of science behind brewing and fermentation, but I had no experience with HVAC, filtration, PLC controls, tanks and pressures, CIP, cleaning chemicals and so on. But the feedback I got was very relevant and succinct. I put everything I learned into practice from the layout of the brewery to our brewing fermentation equipment to our lab, quality control program and more. Our beer is being well received and, after just nine months of operation, we were awarded two silver medals at this summer’s San Diego International Beer Competition. I owe a lot of our success to what the instructors passed on.

Who were some of the instructors you learned from?
EOS: The cool thing is that the instructors I learned from were Mitch Steele (brewmaster, Stone Brewing Co.), Lee Chase (brewmaster, Automatic Brewing Co.), Chris White (owner, White Labs), Gwen Conley (QA director, Port Brewing/The Lost Abbey/The Hop Concept), Peter Zien (brewmaster, AleSmith Brewing Co.), Yuseff Cherney (brewmaster, Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits), Arlan Arnsten (former sales VP, Stone), Tomme Arthur (director of brewery operations, Port/Lost Abbey/Hop Concept), Patrick Rue (brewmaster, The Bruery), Matt Brynildson (brewmaster, Firestone Walker Brewing Co.) and a host of other great instructors. I remember Yuseff telling me, “It’s not fair. It took me 20 years to figure some of this stuff out and you guys are getting it all in a few months.” I bristle with pride whenever I get a visit from one of the instructors.

And now you’re one of those instructors, right?
EOS: After I got the brewery up and running, the folks at UCSD asked me if I might be interested in teaching a class based on my experiences building a new brewery. Now I teach a class called The Brewery Start Up, which is one segment of a three-part class called The Business of Craft Beer. Peter Zien and Candace Moon (the Craft Beer Attorney) teach the other two segments. It seems like the program has now gone full-circle.

Who are some other graduates of note from the program?
EOS: You’ll see a lot of UCSD brewing graduates at many of the larger local breweries. Ballast Point, Stone and The Lost Abbey scooped up a lot of my classmates. O’Sullivan Bros. has also been fortunate to attract a number of graduates of the program. Currently, four out of six of us either graduated or are in the process of completing their Professional Brewers Certificate at the brewery today. We’ve been hosting interns from the program as well. We are on our third at the moment. I think our brewery tends to be attractive to graduates, especially if they are technical or science-oriented (aka, beer nerds). We not only have the brewery, but the lab with a bunch of equipment for testing and experimenting. We also have seven fermenters, so we can make a lot of different beers and keep everyone’s interest piqued for new brews, so there’s something for everyone.

What’s new with O’Sullivan Bros. and what’s next for the business?
EOS: We just finished our first year. It was a heck of a year and the result was 16 new beers, two silver medals, 60-plus retailers and a bunch of great tasting room customers. We just released our first lager, a nice California common called Steady Lad, that’s about to be followed by a new Bohemian Pilsner called Tooraloo (Irish lullaby). The brewery is nearing its maximum capacity and at our current size we’re only able to supply a select few. So, we are seriously looking at ways we can expand to keep up with growing demand.

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Fallbrook Brewing partnering to open bar and restaurant

Nov 16

fbcr01While roaming Broadway Pier’s Port Pavilion during San Diego Beer Week’s inaugural VIP Brewer Takeover, I came across Fallbrook Brewing Company’s table and walked away with even more than the pair of tasty saisons owner Chuck McLaughlin was serving. Namely, a tasty informational tidbit. FBC as applied for a Type 23 duplicate license for use at a building roughly a mile south of the company’s brewery and tasting room with the intention to team with another Fallbrook interest, The Rib Shack, to open a bar and restaurant.

Texas-style barbecue—brisket, pulled pork, ribs, chicken and stick-to-your-ribs sides—will be provided by The Rib Shack, and FBC will provide the majority of the suds. In addition to their hometown ales, McLaughlin will work to procure beers from brewers with ties to Fallbrook. That list is surprisingly large and includes Bolt Brewery, Coronado Brewing Company, Ironfire Brewing Co., Duck Foot Brewing Co., Iron Fist Brewing Co., Mission Brewery and even Paso Robles-based Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

The 2,200-square-foot building that will house this collaborative business formerly housed a welding shop that doubled as the muster location for the Fallbrook bucket brigade, adding local lore to the mix along with a decorative fire truck out front. In addition to the ribs, brisket, pulled pork, chicken and stick-to-your-ribs sides The Rib Shack is known for, the restaurant’s staff is working on a bar menu that figures to include beer-battered onion rings and “dirty fries” topped with pulled pork and other toppings. The new business, which includes a pair of separate outdoor patios, is located at 1019 South Main Avenue and McLaughlin hopes to have it up and running by year’s end, licensing willing.

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