Though a nanobrewery, Council Brewing Company is big from a popularity standpoint. Just over a year after opening, marrieds Liz and Curtis Chism’s baby was getting too big for its britches from a capacity standpoint. Their answer: the Council Beatitude Magic Factory, an 1,800-square-foot industrial suite located in the same business park complex as Council’s brewery and tasting room.
The Chisms signed their lease on the property in February. After several tenant improvements, they began using it in April. It is currently home to six 45-barrel plastic tanks. Three of those are fermenters, with two being utilized for fruiting and the last one for blending. The space also contains a ten- and three-barrel fermenter. Overall, Council is up to 15 fermenters with seven being used for clean beer and the other eight for sours. Adding their secondary facility should allow them to up production more than 400% from Year One and as much 567% more than the initial 12 months once the space is maxed out.
The Beatitude Magic Factory is named after the company’s popular tart saison, because this is where it will be fermented, fruited, blended and packaged. The day I stopped by was their initial bottling of the beer, which will soon be sold at Council’s tasting room (with a one-case limit). It will also be lightly distributed to some bars and utilized for special events. The Chisms state lack of visibility as being one of the larger challenges of being a nanobrewery and hope that some placement of their beer outside the brewery will help them overcome that.
When asked why lead with a tart saison, Liz says it’s because the beer is well suited for San Diego’s mostly-sunny year-round weather. On top of that, the beer is a hit among Council’s fans, and the Chisms aren’t interested in competing in the local IPA arms race (even though their Bully Pulpit IPA took bronze in the American-style India Pale Ale category at last month’s San Diego International Beer Festival).
The Chisms also have their eyes on a 4,000-square-foot suite within their park that, if acquired, will house a quality-control laboratory and be used mostly for storage as well as administrative space. Of course, the couple has plans that go beyond their current digs. They would like Council to grow into a larger brewery with a 30-barrel brewhouse; stainless steel, glycol-jacketed fermenters; larger barrel-aging program including a foudre farm. This is what they are working toward and, given their early success, the odds seem favorable that they’ll get there someday.
More than 20 of our local craft breweries plan to brew a beer in support of lupus research and awareness in 2015, thanks to an initiative established by journalist Brandon Hernández.
On January 31, the Beer to the Rescue campaign kicks off at Benchmark Brewing with the release of Hildegard, a triple IPA.
“Most people have heard of lupus or know someone suffering from it, but few know anything beyond the name of this autoimmune disease — what it is, its effect on those who have it or the fact that it is severely under-researched. This needs to change,” says Hernández, who was diagnosed with lupus in 2014 after years of suffering. Proceeds from Beer to the Rescue benefit the Lupus Foundation of Southern California (LFSC).
In a press release, Hernández noted that in San Diego, Imperial and Riverside Counties alone, more than 20,000 people are suffering from lupus. That number is even considered a low estimate, because most people with lupus are never diagnosed with this autoimmune disease, which negatively impacts victims via myriad painful symptoms, causes irreparable damage to vital organs and can be fatal.
“The LFSC has been in operation for 20 years, and because no one really talks about lupus — even people who have lupus — it’s hard to get people involved with our organization,” says LFSC Executive Director Hollaine Hopkins. “The Beer to the Rescue campaign will tap into the very large and passionate craft beer fan base that already exists in San Diego and help raise awareness for lupus and our organization.”
In addition to the Benchmark beer mentioned above, other Beer to the Rescue brews include a Belgian-style quadrupel from Nickel Beer Co., a dry-hopped Belgian- style single brewed with rhubarb from Monkey Paw Pub & Brewery, an imperial milk stout infused with chocolate, orange and spicy chilies from Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits, a sour ale brewed with blueberries and fermented using wild yeast from Toolbox Brewing Company, a black saison brewed with dried currants and orange peel from Lightning Brewery, and an experimentally dry-hopped wheat and passion fruit-infused Brett IPA from Green Flash Brewing Company.
More San Diego breweries plan to participate, although not all of them will be creating beers for the campaign. Some, due to brewing capacity restraints, will instead donate to the cause, host special events, and/or make LFSC a featured charity at their venues. Those breweries include 32 North, AleSmith, Amplified Ale Works, Aztec, Bagby Beer, Bolt, Coronado, Council, Intergalactic, Iron Fist, Mike Hess, Mother Earth, New English, Pizza Port Solana Beach, Port/The Lost Abbey/The Hop Concept, Rip Current, Societe, Stone (Escondido), Stone (Liberty Station), Toolbox, and URBN St.