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Posts Tagged craftbeer

Beer of the Week: Belching Beaver Peaches Be Crazy

Jul 1
Belching Beaver Brewery Tavern & Grill's Peaches Be Crazy pale ale

Belching Beaver Brewery Tavern & Grill’s Peaches Be Crazy pale ale

From the Beer Writer: It took me a while to get up to Belching Beaver Brewery Tavern & Grill, but the delay served me well in that, by the time I came in, a good number of beers from Thomas Peters (BB’s director of quality assurance and master of the brewpub’s 10-barrel system) were up for grabs. Peters’ goal is to brew one-offs that are both traditional and unique. On the to-style front, a Helles is everything one would want from that refreshing Germanic lager. But I was most taken with Belching Beaver Peaches Be Crazy, a 5.2% alcohol-by-volume pale ale brewed with copious amounts of peach purée and Galaxy hops. After coming in from our current heat-wave, this beer welcomed me and downed my core-temp in the most refreshing and delicious manner possible. It also did a nice job washing down the Tavern’s fair-like fried squash and andouille corn-dog appetizers. Next up on Peters’ brew schedule are an Ameican IPA brewed for the Deftones, a sour Belgian-style wit with hibiscus, rose-hips and chamomile, and the Pilsner recipe from West Coaster columnist Ryan Reschan that just took gold at this year’s National Homebrew Competition.

From the Brewer: “Peaches Be Crazy is an easy-drinking pale ale brewed for the hot summer months. The goal was to complement the big stone fruit qualities of Australian Galaxy hops with the bright flavors of puréed peaches. I used a very soft water profile to keep the beer clean with a crisp finish. The peach flavor is enough to balance the flavor of the hops and does not overwhelm, making this beer very drinkable and a perfect sipper for our outdoor patio at the Tavern.”—Thomas Peters, Director of Quality Assurance, Belching Beaver Brewery

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July Events Sampler Flight

Jun 30

hopconWhen the summer-sun and temperatures are both high, the time is right for quenching one’s thirst for both beer and good times. There’s no shortage of either to partake in this month, so take a gander at some of these premier events, then search our full events page for even more sudsy fun in the sun.

July 20 | Hop-Con 4.0: It’s a bird, it’s a plane…no, it’s nerds of all types (but mostly the comic, sci-fi and beer variety) will descend on the outdoor portion of Stone Brewing’s Liberty Station brewpub. Some will don capes, tights, masks and other Comic-Con-esque regalia, but all will indulge in special beers (including this year’s high-ABV w00tstout), food pairings, retro-arcade games and orations from celebrity guests. | Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station, 2816 Historic Decatur Road, #116, Point Loma, 8 p.m.

July 23 | Christmas in July: The monastic theme of San Marcos’ The Lost Abbey extends to the generosity of the souls within. Each year, the brewery releases bourbon barrel-aged versions of its imperial stout, Santa’s Little Helper, pitch a “giving-tree” and hold a toy-drive benefiting underprivileged kids. Stock up on nice-insurance then visit the on-site Santa with your wish-list. | The Lost Abbey, 155 Mata Way, Suite 104, San Marcos, 11 a.m.

July 23 | Heroes Brew Craft Beer Festival: Apparently, dressing up like comic-book and blockbuster movie characters is the thing to do come July, because this is the second beer-festival (see Hop-Con above) where it’s part of the game-plan. Come ready to rid the festival site of ales and lagers from more than 40 different breweries. Then consult the true heroes—Uber drivers.  | Waterfront Park; 1600 Pacific Highway; Downtown; 2:30 p.m., General Admission: 3:30 p.m.

July 23 | San Diego Brew Fest: Six years in and this fest is still Cushing it. Forgive and (hopefully) forget this terrible pun based on the street upon which this event will take place, and head out to yet another Liberty Station-based suds rally featuring dozens of beers ranging in origin from ultra-local to international. A variety of food-trucks will be on hand to lend extra locavorian appeal. | Ingram Plaza at Liberty Station, 2640 Cushing Rd., Point Loma, 12 p.m.

July 30 | Hess Fest: Mike Hess of—you guessed it—Mike Hess Brewing Company has lots of friends in the beer-biz. Rather than horde them and their wares to himself, every year he invites them to set up tents and pour for his patrons at an epic block-party that doesn’t disappoint. Make a day of it and enjoy brews spanning from SoCal out to the Arizona Wilderness. (Get it?) | Mike Hess Brewing Company, 3812 Grim Avenue, North Park; VIP: 12:30 p.m., General Admission: 1 p.m.

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Julian Brewing Company’s restaurant property closed

Jun 29

julianbcThe parent-business of the brewery that officially incorporated the unincorporated town of Julian into San Diego County’s craft-beer scene has closed its doors. Although Julian Brewing Company is still in operation and brewing beer, the entity taking up the vast majority of the property it’s located on, The Bailey Wood-Pit Barbecue (2307 Main Street, Julian) closed immediately following Memorial Day weekend. Originally, the business was scheduled to close prior to the holiday, but the decision was made to provide employees a three-day weekend to help cushion their job losses.

The Bailey and JBC started as a joint-venture between Pizza Port owners Vince and Gina Marsaglia and O’Brien’s Pub owners Tom and Lindsey Nickel. The quartet pooled their resources and elbow-grease to open in 2012. Later that year, the Nickels sold their stake in the businesses to the Marsaglias. The following year, the couple opened Nickel Beer Company on the opposite end of Julian’s hospitality- and retail-driven core. Brewing at JBC was sporadic at times following that parting-of-ways, yet The Bailey soldiered on, but without as much fanfare as it enjoyed at its inception.

Following original publication of this article, Vince Marsaglia reached out to clarify that JBC is still brewing and indicate there is no tasting room at present. He also confirmed that the restaurant component is being remodeled and that the menu will be changed prior to a reopening. No indications have been provided as to what that concept might be as of yet.

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North Park Beer Co. open for business

Jun 24

npbc_01This article has been more than three years coming, but finally—after much work from founder and (former) homebrewer-extraordinaire Kelsey McNair and his team—North Park Beer Co. (3038 University Avenue, North Park) is open to the public. Installed in the much-renovated shell of a former mixed-martial-arts gymnasium, it offers a great deal of space. The 9,000-square-foot, two-story tasting room can handle 130 visitors on the first-floor and an additional 80 or so via an upstairs mezzanine. It’s a good thing, because NPBC has been the most buzzed about upcoming brewery project in San Diego for quite some time. It’s a sure bet it’ll be rather packed for the foreseeable future.

npbc_02McNair is most known for his award-winning Hop Fu! India pale ale (IPA), which is currently fermenting away in one of NPBC’s tanks, but the first-draft beer-board currently consists of four offerings, none of which are all that hop-forward. In that sense, they are indicative of what patrons can expect from the operation. McNair’s goal is to brew to-style beers rather than envelope- and palate-pushing oddities. On tap now is a balanced Red called Ray Street featuring plenty of malty toffee and caramely appeal, a Scottish ale that doesn’t rely on wee heaviness to deliver nice flavors (at under 4% alcohol-by-volume it comes in at the 70-schilling classification), a bittersweet and abundantly roasty stout called Beaufort Black, and a crisp and a citrusy pale ale. All four are well-made and what one would expect from such styles. Such straightforward traditionalism is refreshing in a day and age when so many are going against the grain (which, for the record, I have absolutely nothing against).

In addition to Hop Fu!, McNair will soon debut a cream ale, rye-infused Pilsner, double IPA and imperial porter with Baltic characteristics (but no lagering). This will put more of the tasting-room’s 32 taps to use, but only six-to-eight of them will dispense house-beers at any one time. The rest of the taps will be hooked up to kegs of guest-beers and wine once Mastiff Sausage Company installs its on-site kitchen in a space with a walk-up order window located directly beneath the mezzanine. Their license will make it possible to serve beverages from outside entities and further enhance the come-one-come-all feel NPBC already features.

npbc_04A sign above the front-door reads Ales & Lagers, Friends & Neighbors and the floor-plan of the craftsman-inspired, wood-paneled first-floor features seating geared toward the making of new acquaintances over a pint. Wooden chairs line windows looking out onto University, giving way to communal high-tables followed by table-seating like one would expect from a restaurant. Seating options include 100-year-old chairs brought in from an ancient library. A long-bar resembling (to this casual observer) a judge’s bench is furnished with the largest, cushiest bar-stools anywhere. This is the sort of place where guests will feel encouraged to stick around, which seems important in North Park, the craft-beer crawl capital of San Diego. It takes a lot to extinguish an urbanite’s urge to move on, but tasty beer and the polished design of Basile Studio, which includes cool lamppost lighting with globe-like fixtures, just might do the trick.

npbc_03The upstairs area is currently unfurnished and nondescript, but offers plenty of space for stand-up imbibing. The entire downstairs is visible from the mezzanine, which also features a crow’s-nest with a clear view of the 15-barrel brewhouse and cellar below. Very soon, a four-tap bar will be installed up there along with furnishings that will deliver a “North Park residential feel”. Once complete, the area will be leasable for private events. On the official NPBC events front, classes of sorts revolving around certain types of beers (English, German, Belgian, etc.) will be offered. They will be an extension of the considerable beer-education program disseminated to NPBC staff. Emphasis is placed on beer-knowledge here. Every NPBC employee has already earned Beer Server status care of the Cicerone Certification Program, and three of them are fully certified Cicerones (the beer-industry equivalent of the wine world’s sommeliers).

NPBC is open seven days a week, closing at 10 p.m., Sunday through Thursday, and midnight Fridays and Saturdays. Mastiff’s estimated time of arrival has yet to be finalized, but the mezzanine area should be completed in late-summer or early-autumn. Still, there is plenty in place to put NPBC within the upper-echelon of North Park beer tasting spaces, which is saying something for a business that’s just a day into its lifespan in such a vibrant, suds-geared community.

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Beer of the Week: Novo Brazil Karina’s Lager

Jun 24
Karina's Lager by Novo Brazil Brewing Company

Karina’s Lager by Novo Brazil Brewing Company

From the Beer Writer: I received an email a few months back from a friend of mine who was working with Mexican-seafood stalwart Karina’s Restaurant Group. An institution preparing to celebrate its 35th year in business, it was looking to go beyond typical offerings and embrace local craft-beer. In doing so, ownership wanted to challenge a quintet of San Diego breweries to come up with a beer meeting their exacting flavor and body specifications. I made some recommendations for some brewers that might be interested and, shortly thereafter, they had willing combatants for Karina’s Cerveza Showdown—Aztec Brewery, Bay Bridge Brewing, Coronado Brewing, Mission Brewery and Novo Brazil Brewing. Their goal was to create an easygoing lager that would appeal to the Dos Equis crowd while simultaneously exposing that demographic to the fact that quality beer is being made right in their backyards. Fan’s blind-judged Novo Brazil’s entrant the champion, and that beer, Karina’s Lager, is now on tap at all six of Karina’s locations. I tasted it earlier this week and it reminded me of a trip to Cancun beating the heat with Bohemia after my supply of smuggled craft-beer ran out. It is crisp, clear and carries with it a bit of the limestone-ish lager yeast flavor one expects plus a spike of bitterness that hangs out in the finish. Definitely a beer to please newcomers’ palates, but a pretty good one that makes for a nice first-step for a quality San Diego family of eateries.

From the Restaurant: “We were very pleased by the top brewers who chose to compete in our Cerveza Showdown. We especially like that the association with Novo Brazil not only allows us to serve our guests a unique, ours-alone beer, but puts us together with a fellow South Bay enterprise. It proves how dynamic Chula Vista, our home-base, has become.”—Arnulfo Contreras-Curiel, Principal, Karina’s Group

From the Brewery: “Events like Karina’s Cerveza Showdown are the kind of stuff we pay lots of attention to. First, it’s real-time, real-life feedback, without any prejudice, pre-established brand popularity or opinion. The beer gets to speak. Social media is out there, and can distort views, both positively and negatively, so we like situations when final-result is objective, when the beer gets speaks for itself on a neutral field without any pre-established preferences. Secondly, we were up against other great local breweries, it could have been anybody’s game. To me, that elevates it even further. We have to celebrate each and every victory in this competitive beers business. What a better way to celebrate than to come up with their own beer! So, we listened to Karina’s group very closely, we ate some of their great ceviches and decided to create Karina’s Lager. We captured the ‘Mexican Lager’ character, but we kept it with it’s own personality; very drinkable and smooth. Perfect to complement their food style. We also have it in our tasting room, and it’s selling fast.”—Morise Gusmao, Brewer/General Manager, Novo Brazil Brewing Company

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