this month's issue free!

Posts Tagged craftbeer

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.”

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Beer of the Week: Amplified Ale Works L3 Wit

Jun 26
Amplified Ale Works L3 (Lavender, Lime, Lupus) Wit

Amplified Ale Works L3 (Lavender, Lime, Lupus) Wit

From the Beer Writer: I love my wife. More surprisingly, she somehow finds the wherewithal to love me. She puts up with a lot—me having a full-time job and writing hundreds of articles per year, which requires lots of time spent away from home. Truth be told, if she hadn’t had faith in my writing abilities, I’d never have attempted to do anything with my passion for the written word. I owe her a lot—my entire life, in fact. Hopefully, a beer will suffice at this juncture. My wife’s favorite colors are lavender and lime, and her favorite beer style is the Belgian witbier, a wheat ale traditionally spiced with coriander and orange peel. For a long while, I’ve kicked around the idea of homebrewing a wit brewed with actual lavender and lime peel, but when my Beer to the Rescue lupus campaign took off, with San Diego County brewers crafting specialty ales to raise money for the Lupus Foundation of Southern California, I saw it as an opportunity to have someone much more qualified than me do this beer concept justice. Thanks to the willingness of the brew crew at Amplified Ale Works (4150 Mission Boulevard, #208, Pacific Beach), this liquid love letter has come to life as L3 (lavender, lime, lupus) and is currently on tap at the coastal brewery-slash-kebabery.

From the Brewer: “L3 is a Belgian-inspired wit-based beer using 50% wheat. It has a medium body and subtle Belgian yeast character. Instead of the traditional coriander and orange additions, we added lavender extract we discovered at Specialty Produce as well as copious amounts of Mexican lime juice to accentuate the beer’s flavor profile. I think the floral element balances well with the highly drinkable base beer. The lime gives a great tart kick that hits the back of the palate. All in all, I would say it’s a great sunny day beach beer. The aroma from this beer keeps your imagination jumping to conclusions while you figure out what it is you’re trying to identify.” —Cy Henley, Brewmaster, Amplified Ale Works

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Alpine opens The Home of Pure Hoppiness

Jun 25

alpinepub_01It’s possible the far-flung town of Alpine has never had an eatery that qualifies as a “destination restaurant,” but that’s about to change with the arrival of the new Alpine Beer Company Pub (1347 Tavern Road, Alpine). After all, the business the new venue belongs to, Alpine Beer Company, has been inspiring fans of exceptional hoppy beers to pack up their friends and their growlers, and truck to the county’s unincorporated eastern territory for years. For the past four years, the majority of these beer travelers have tacked on a meal of finger-lickin’ barbecue from Alpine Beer’s much smaller, diner-like, tasting room-adjacent resto, but that venue was recently closed to be replaced by the aforementioned pub.

Much larger than its predecessor (which was almost always at capacity and far too busy for efficiency’s sake), the new pub was installed at the former site of the Alpine Bread Basket restaurant. Last year, Alpine Beer owner and brewmaster Pat McIlhenney conducted a poll of the company’s fan-base via its electronic newsletter, asking them to reply back with their feedback on the project so he could gauge if there was enough interest in the project to move forward with it. Apparently there was. And whereas this would have been a rather difficult undertaking for Alpine Beer in its smallish state a year ago, it has since been purchased by Green Flash Brewing Company, the country’s 48th largest craft brewery, providing more resources to make the Alpine Beer Company Pub a reality.

Good looking beer board on opening day; photo by Tim Stahl

Good looking beer board on opening day; photo by Tim Stahl

Key among those resources was Green Flash’s director of beer education, Dave Adams. A certified Cicerone with beer-centric restaurant experience, he took the lead on installation of a 25-tap bar that currently features 10 Alpine beers as well as various Green Flash offerings and rotating guest beers. Beers are available in full pours, with Alpine’s brews offered up in flights and bottles as well. Those looking for growler fills will need to venture to the tasting room at Alpine’s brewery (2351 Alpine Boulevard, Alpine).

The pub seats roughly 200 people via an open layout with several booths, high-tops, tables and a light-up bar that glows a yellowish hue. Eventually, an outdoor bar will be built, but for now there is plenty of al fresco seating. Back inside, reclaimed wood provides a modern aesthetic, while streaming music, mounted TVs and a window into the kitchen provide different forms of entertainment.

On the food front, the culinary team worked to keep the menu reminiscent of Alpine’s original restaurant while adding on some new and exciting items. Adams cites entrees of pan-seared lemon-caper salmon, and braised pork belly with bacon and a poached egg as prime examples of the latter. Appetizers punctuated by a charcuterie and cheese board, shrimp and grits, and beer fried cheese curds, assorted salads (all of which can be converted to wraps) and sandwiches, and desserts including vanilla-salted cheesecake and peanut butter-stuffed chocolate lava cake fill out the bill of fare.

Alpine Beer Company Pub (which the company refers to as “The Home of Pure Hoppiness”) is open from 11 a.m. to midnight daily and is both dog- and beer-hound-friendly. Its official grand opening will take place Friday, June 26.

Alpine Beer Company

Alpine Beer Company

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Patio in Leftfield brings unique beers to Petco Park

Jun 24
The Patio Group Cicerone Kelly Legan lists daily draft offerings at Petco Park

The Patio Group Cicerone Kelly Legan lists daily draft offerings at Petco Park

Nowadays, it’s common to find craft beer at Petco Park. (And let’s face it, this season the Padres are giving us—and Friars GM A.J. Preller—plenty of cause to resort to the consumption of adult beverages.) Even with beer-specific kiosks set up to offer a wide array of ales and lagers from multiple breweries spanning San Diego County, most of the smaller companies are still unrepresented. But there is one local entity that, in scoring a storefront at Petco Park, has made it their mission to bring along some of their lesser-known friends in the beer biz with them.

This season, The Patio Group installed a sized-down version of its full-scale restaurant concepts in Pacific Beach (The Patio on Lamont) and Mission Hills (The Patio on Goldfinch) called The Patio in Leftfield in Section 128, mere steps from the Padres’ bullpen. For those who venture beyond the main service counter and over to The Point, a small, living wall-equipped bar area bordering the Western Metal Building, a trio of beers from three craft breweries that aren’t available anywhere else in the stadium await.

Procured by Kelly Legan, The Patio Group’s resident Cicerone, that trio currently consists of Loudspeaker IPA, a rye India pale ale from North Park’s Fall Brewing Company, Up The Hill Backwards, a dry-hopped pale ale from nearby Monkey Paw Pub and Brewery in the East Village (the name references the drive from Monkey Paw to its sister brewpub, South Park Brewing Company) and Benchmark Brewing Company’s Table Beer. Because of the unpredictability of the ballpark crowd, it’s impossible to say when that line-up will change, but eventually, Fall will switch out Loudspeaker for its Spirit of 77 IPA and Monkey Paw will trade in its pale ale for Prima Donna Table Beer. (Who ever thought there’d be a day when Petco Park featured two Belgian singels?)

And for those whose brew preferences veer toward the java realm, cold-brewed coffee from Mission Beach’s Swell Coffee Roasting Company is also on tap, though that tap will eventually be switched out for beer from Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits as an extension of that company’s relationship with The Patio in Leftfield, which prepares all the food for BP’s Beer Garden in Section 228.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Next Page »