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Posts Tagged craftbeer

Beer of the Week: Cellar 3 Natura Morta Boysenberry

Jul 22
Green Flash Cellar 3 Natura Morta with Boysenberries

Green Flash Cellar 3 Natura Morta with Boysenberries

From the Beer Writer: If you’ve never been to Cellar 3, Green Flash Brewing Company’s Poway-based tasting room-equipped barrel-aging facility, then you are missing out. Even with barrel-aged and soured beers on the rise throughout the county and the world, one would be challenged to find as much of it in as much variety at as good of a price-point as what Cellar 3 is offering. Were it in North Park or even Oceanside, it would be flooded with customers, but being out in “the city in the country”, it’s not all that convenient (unless you’re making a Costco or Home Depot run). The current Beer of the Week, Cellar 3 Natura Morta Boysenberry is worth a special-trip all on its own. The latest riff on a series of fruited red wine barrel-aged saisons that debuted during the 2014 edition of Green Flash’s annual Treasure Chest Fest (proceeds of which benefit the Susan G. Komen San Diego) incorporates boysenberries, which boost the tartness of the base-beer. It’s so berry-like you’ll feel like you need to pick seeds out of your teeth after enjoying a positively bone-dry finish. The 5.5% alcohol-by-volume beer is available in bottles or on tap, along with more than a dozen other barrel-aged creations. Don’t venture very far just for beer and need an excuse? Stop by on your next hiking trip to Mt. Woodson or deep East County trek.

From the Brewer: “After over a year at Cellar 3, Natura Morta Boysenberry is our first release that has been completely fermented, aged and blended under the Cellar 3 roof. For all beers released prior to this, we had started the long process back in our Mira Mesa location. The environment at Cellar 3 is controlled to our specifications and thoroughly geared to barrel aging beers. This beer is really outstanding in part because of this elevated level of environmental control. The process we use to make this, and the other Natura Morta beers, has been developed over a four-year period. We ferment our Saison in oak foudres with our house strain of Brettanomyces. This strain comes from the first wine barrel we ever used—a red wine barrel from a San Diego winery—that has been isolated and introduced to our program over the past several years. This house yeast strain is now in everything we do. After doing a 100% Brett fermentation, the beer is transferred into barrels where boysenberry purée is added. The house Brett then ferments out the sugars from the fruit and is allowed to age for between 6 and 18 months. The sugars that are fermented are from not only malt, but also from fruit, resulting in completely different flavors than you would find in a regular beer. What I am trying to do with these Natura Morta beers is utilize the yeast, malt and fruit to make a ‘beer’ that has not only the flavor of beer and fruit but the essence of the fruit.”—Pat Korn, Barrelmaster, Green Flash Brewing Company

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Meet Finest Made Ales

Jul 21

finestmadealesHe went from his own butchery to his own brewery, and now Rey Knight is shining up his stainless steel armor with a revised operation that fuses his culinary and fermentation passions. That business will go by the name Finest Made Ales (9962 Prospect Ave., Suite E, Santee), and aim to produce beers that are ideally suited for beer-and-food pairing.

Work is currently underway to revamp the tasting room of Knight’s former interest, Butchers Brewing Company, to a state befitting its new identity. That space will debut to the public next month during a grand opening launch party. Eventually, charcuterie plates featuring Knight’s handiwork will be available in that sampling space. Prior to delving into brewing, he founded Knight’s Salumi. It was a cult favorite among local foodies that fizzled out far before its time.

Finest Made Ales’ launch party will take place on Friday, August 19 from 4 p.m. until closing. Ten taps’ worth of beer will be available along with food (that’s pairable, one would presume) from a variety of food trucks.

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Meet Northern Pine Brewing Company

Jul 20
The future home of Northern Pine Brewing Company in Oceanside

The future home of Northern Pine Brewing Company in Oceanside

In April, I named Northern Pine Brewing Company (326 North Horne Street, Oceanside) as one of the North County work-in-progress breweries I was most greatly anticipating. At the time, I had to admit that there really wasn’t much to go by, but a commitment to helping out charities via their business seemed a good reason for added faith. Recently I had the opportunity to learn more about this operation and am able to provide more detail—of which there’s quite a bit.

The owners of the business, Bobby Parsons, Aaron and Anne Ortega recently signed a lease on a 6,100-square-foot building located on the corner of Horne Street and Civic Center Drive, several blocks east of Oceanside Pier and close to Interstate 5’s Mission Avenue exit. They are currently filling out applications for permits and licenses, but still hope to be up-and-running before the end of 2016. Their newly acquired one-story digs are fairly non-descript, but will be designed to convey a “modern-farmhouse vibe” through natural elements that help to convey the trio’s love of the outdoors.

But Northern Pine won’t be the only business occupying that farmhouse. That Boy Good Southern BBQ Joint, a downtown Oceanside business fostering a downhome Southern motif, will share space with the brewery. This will be a satellite space to the original location, go by the name That Good Boy Po’ Boy Shoppe, and serve menu items that differ from the flagship eatery. Northern Pine plans on brewing beers to pair specifically with that cuisine, and the team’s interior designer will work to incorporate the themes of both businesses for a north-meets-south rusticity.

Location_2Bobby and Aaron will handle the brewing for Northern Pine. Both are former Marines, and their devotion to the Corps fueled a noteworthy endeavor in 2012 when they brewed a beer to honor seven fallen Marines. The project was supported by Mother Earth Brew Co., which allowed the duo to brew the beer on their system in Vista. At Northern Pine, they will preside over a six-barrel brewhouse that was built on the Discovery Channel program, Monster Garage featuring former Stone Brewing brewer Lee Chase (now the owner of Automatic Brewing Company and its pair of restaurants, Blind Lady Ale House and Tiger! Tiger! Tavern).

That unique apparatus will be used to produce a 30-deep catalog of beers, spanning traditional and newer American beer-styles. Some initial beers that will be brewed include a cream ale, saison, Czech-style Pilsner, a pineapple dry-hopped India pale ale (IPA) and series of SMaSH beers (single malt and single hop). A bourbon whiskey barrel-aged porter will also find its way into the mix. Currently, annual production is estimated at 600 barrels. Though all early product will be kegged, Northern Pine plans to “aggressively pursue bottling and canning.”

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32 North adds Fall Brewing talent

Jul 19

32-North-Logo1Though small and not widely known just yet, 32 North Brewing Company (8655 Production Avenue, Miramar) is looking to push above its below-the-radar position in the San Diego brewing scene. The company has steadily upped its draft accounts over the past several months and, in May, debuted a satellite tasting-bar inside Liberty Station’s new Moniker General collective. But owner Steve Peterson wasn’t done there. In the past week, he picked up two known industry vets like an NBA GM sifting through the free-agent market.

First came Mike Mellow, a long-time local beer-sales force who recently left his post at North Park’s Fall Brewing Company. A mutual friend reached out to Peterson to tell him of Mellow’s availability. Over a four-day span, the pair hammered out an employment agreement. During those negotiations, Mellow shared with Peterson that Fall’s head brewer, Nick Ceniceros, was on the lookout for new opportunities as well. A meeting was scheduled and now Ceniceros will be in charge of 32 North’s brewing program.

Mellow is a San Diego veteran who held lead sales roles for Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits, Mission Brewery, Saint Archer Brewery and Mike Hess Brewing Company prior to Fall. Prior to Fall, Ceniceros worked as an assistant brewer with Green Flash Brewing Company after getting his start on the bottling line at Ballast Point. He will step onto a brew-deck vacated by former head-brewer Will Gallaspy, who took over for original 32 North brewer John Hunter, who is now with Bay Ho’s Bitter Brothers Brewing Company.

Additional fermentation tanks are currently on order as 32 North poises itself for increased production. Peterson is also readying for the introduction of three beers in 12-ounce cans. Those aluminum receptacles will be filled via a recently purchased in-house canning line.

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Q&A: Jill Davidson

Jul 19

jill_croppedWestern Regional Sales Manager, Pizza Port & President, San Diego Brewers Guild

Former San Diego Brewers Guild president Mike Sardina (formerly of Kearny Mesa’s Societe Brewing Company) is headed to Vermont to take a job at cult-fave brewery Hill Farmstead Brewery. This left a sudden and significant vacancy to be expeditiously filled by the Guild. Fortunately, an able-bodied and passionate industry professional known for her seemingly unlimited energy and outgoing compatriotism in and beyond San Diego County has stepped up. Meet Jill Davidson, the western regional sales manager for Pizza Port and new president of the San Diego Brewers Guild.

How did you get into the industry and what led you to where you are today?
When I was 18, I walked into Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant in Newark, Delaware, and got a hostess job. I worked there all four years of college, became a server and went through their beer education. When I moved to San Diego in fall of 2006, there weren’t a whole lot of beer jobs around, so I did bartending and restaurant management. When Pizza Port Ocean Beach opened in 2010, I started there as bartender, and when the Bressi Ranch production brewery was built in 2013, I realized I wanted to get more serious about my position and recognize the growth potential. It was exciting to be part of the expansion of an old-school pioneer of San Diego craft-beer. I became a sales and brand ambassador and ran a brewery-tour program, which pretty much entailed me calling on accounts and being their only point-of-contact. It was pretty overwhelming but now we have a great sales team and I’m the regional manager.

What inspired you to get in line for the Guild presidency?
Mike called me and said there was a vice-president officer seat opening up on the Guild Board. He thought I would be great in that role and that we could do a lot of great things for the San Diego beer community.

How does the president role fit in with the rest of the components of the Guild?
The Board is really the Guild’s governing body and it is spearheaded by executive director Paige McWey Acers. She is a permanent fixture that keeps the fish afloat and steering in the right direction. The Board is then divided into committees that cover lots of different issues—planning, San Diego Beer Week, membership, bylaws. The work of the Guild is divided amongst members of the Board who in turn incorporate members at-large to be part of these committees. Officers change regularly, every year you get different personalities and different breweries represented—everybody has something different to bring to the table. As president, I’m more the face and voice of the Guild and its members. It’s definitely a team effort. We have a strong Board and it’s amazing to be surrounded with people who have so much experience and insight into what’s important.

What are some initiatives you are excited to introduce and work on?
Technically I’m in an interim position [until next year when I will start the term I would have served if Mike had stayed], so I’m mostly following up on his initiatives—development of committees so the Guild can be more efficient with time and energy in getting things accomplished. Also, our relationship with the San Diego Tourism and Marketing District, San Diego Tourism Authority, and San Diego Hotel and Motel Association; getting our seat at the table as an important part of local economy. Those are things that are very important to me, as well as establishing an Outreach Committee to be in contact with new breweries as they are developed. A lot of what the Guild does is legislative, so making sure those breweries-in-progress are in tune with ABC laws and being a resource for questions will be helpful.

What are some opportunities for success for local brewers that the Guild can help with?
Networking and resources are such a huge thing that [brewery business-owners and brewers] don’t realize they have. If they have a question about a beer-recipe, they can phone-a-friend. If they don’t have contact info, we’ll put people in touch. We’ll guide through what they need with legislative questions, and the stronger the Guild’s relationship gets with the aforementioned associations, the more our members will benefit. And of course there’s our maps [showing where every member-brewery is located throughout San Diego County]. There are 90,000 of those in circulation throughout the year. Then there’s San Diego Beer Week, which provides an international platform now. “San Diego-style” beer is a real thing now and, as San Diego beer grows, our members will grow with it.

What are some of the biggest problems currently plaguing San Diego brewers?
Quality is always a concern, especially with breweries growing and having different processes than when they were smaller operations. As we develop the “San Diego Beer” brand as a whole, quality is more important than ever. Each sip represents all of San Diego beer, not just the individual breweries. Luckily, there are a lot of resources to connect people in order to elevate the quality of everyone’s beer.

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