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Posts Tagged Green Flash

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

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Beer of the Week: Green Flash Passion Fruit Kicker IPA

Jun 19
Green Flash Brewing Co.'s Beer to the Rescue offering, Passion Fruit Kicker

Green Flash Brewing Co.’s Beer to the Rescue offering, Passion Fruit Kicker

From the Beer Writer: When volunteering to brew a beer for my Beer to the Rescue campaign, Green Flash Brewing Company Brewmaster Chuck Silva and Director of Beer Education Dave Adams couldn’t have been more gracious. Not only did they squeeze a pilot brew into their rapidly expanding brewery’s schedule, but when brainstorming, they said nothing was off limits. Brettanomyces, barrels and experimental hops were all on the table. So, we worked up a recipe that would incorporate all of that…and more. The more in this case was fresh passion fruit procured from Stone Farms in Escondido, which were blended in post-fermentation to add a bit of tartness. But there’s much more to this truly unique, multi-layered, 7.7% alcohol-by-volume beer, which debuts today at Green Flash’s Mira Mesa brewery tasting room as part of a Beer to the Rescue event benefiting the Lupus Foundation of Southern California.

From the Beer Educator: We were trying to brew a low IBU (international bittering unit) white IPA, if you will, with the intention of adding passion fruit purée, post-fermentation. We wanted to utilize an experimental hop that would complement the passion fruit that we’d use later. We added mostly late additions of this experimental hop varietal in order to provide a nice tropical fruit aroma while keeping the IBUs in the 40-ish range. Then we headed to Stone Farms to source some passion fruit. The passion fruit we found there was mind-blowing in all aspects. After cutting open the fresh fruit and tasting the beautiful, bright orange seed-peppered juice we all had ear-to-ear smiles and knew this would be perfect for the beer. We juiced the fruit and headed to the brewery to make up some different blends. We also added some Protégé Savauge, our White IPA aged in Chardonnay barrels with Brettanomyces. The result was a beer that had an amazing orange yellow color with a touch of tartness and an incredible amount of complexity. We’re very excited to offer this beer in the tasting room for a limited time, kicking off the initial tapping for our Beer to the Rescue fundraiser. —Dave Adams, Director of Beer Education, Green Flash Brewing Company

From the Brewer: When the three of us met to develop the beer concept, we discussed going in the direction of a saison or white IPA for the base.  Other suggestions included using our house Brettanomyces, barrel-aging all or part of the beer, utilizing an experimental hop and, finally, giving the beer a “passion fruit kicker,” which became the name for our beer. As it came together, we chose a grist of 15% wheat and 85% two-row for a simple wort up front, but on our brew day we selected Hopsteiner experimental hop 05256 for its unique fruity qualities and to build some flavor throughout the boil. We fermented with White Labs California Ale Yeast and, later, dry-hopped the moderately bitter brew with a modest amount of 05256. I like this hop and it was my first time using it. It’s delightful with some restraint in hop rate. This beer has mild Brett funk with some Chardonnay oak barrel notes, slight tartness, just a bit of hop bitterness, and an exotic but funky tropical fruit flavor kicker to wash it all down. —Chuck Silva, Brewmaster, Green Flash Brewing Company

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Beer Touring: Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival

Jun 2

fwibf_04In San Diego, there are more than 100 operating brewhouses putting out hundreds of award-winning beers, and each month features a plethora of quality beer fests. Given this, what would make San Diego craft enthusiasts sit at their computers, hitting refresh like heroine-charged rats at a feeder bar, trying feverishly to get tickets to a beer festival roughly 350 miles away? Why go to so much trouble with so much beery goodness here at home on a daily basis? All it takes is one visit to the Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival (FWIBF) to figure it out.

Fans line up at the entrance of the Paso Robles Event Center for the 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival

Fans line up at the entrance of the Paso Robles Event Center for the 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival

Last weekend marked the fourth annual edition of this event, which always sells out mere minutes after tickets become available. Hosted by Firestone Walker Brewing Company at the Paso Robles Event Center, a short drive from its brewery headquarters, this was the first year I was able to attend. It required going through the narcotic-fueled vermin scenario, but it was worth it for a number of reasons—first and foremost, the beer. The 53 breweries that participated in this year’s FWIBF didn’t just bring their A-game, they scored A-pluses with college credit; the stuff 5.0s are made of.

fwibf_06Upon entering the event area, the first booth I encountered belonged to beer geek heroes 3 Floyds Brewing Company, an interest that doesn’t distribute its wares to Southern California, making the chance to try the various versions of its vaunted Dark Lord barrel-aged imperial stout, Zombie Dust pale ale and a Flemish sour playfully dubbed Big Tiddy Assassin, all the more exciting. Firestone Walker co-founder David Walker echoed that when stating a big motivation of the FWIBF—a mammoth undertaking that causes a great deal of thrash for the company’s employees—is attracting the breweries and beers he and his colleagues want to have around.

fwibf_05Among the far-off producers on-hand in Paso Robles this go-round were Vermont’s Alchemist, North Carolina’s Wicked Weed Brewing, Florida’s Cigar City Brewing, Colorado’s Funkwerks, Texas’ Jester King Brewery, New Mexico’s Marble Brewery, Missouri’s Side Project Brewing, Indiana’s Sun King Brewing, Germany’s Braufactum, Australia’s Bridge Road Brewers, Italian outfits Birrificio Del Ducato and Birrificio Italiano, and New Zealand’s 8 Wired Brewing Company and Garage Project. They joined the likes of darlings both enduring—Russian River Brewing Company, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery—and youthful—The Rare Barrel, FiftyFifty Brewing Company, Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project. It was all killer no filler, and that extended to the beers.

fwibf_03Whereas most festivals are a chance for companies to acquaint themselves with potential customers, many of which may be new to craft beer, this event is for nth-level ale and lager fans looking for rarer, more out-there offerings. As such, there were sours galore, a wide variety of barrel-aged beers, vintage library selections, one-offs and prototype brews. This extended to the San Diego breweries at the FWIBF. Green Flash Brewing Company busted out the barrel-aged ales of its newly debuted Cellar 3 facility, The Lost Abbey uncorked bottles of its Track 8 barrel-aged “oatmeal cookie” quadrupel, Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits poured an apricot and raspberry stoked version of Sour Wench, and Stone Brewing Co. treated attendees to archived cult fave collab Chris Banker/Stone/Insurgente Xocoveza Mocha Stout.

fwibf_02What makes these breweries go all out? Aside from being a part of something extraordinary and helping raise funds for Paso Robles Pioneer Day and the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, Firestone Walker makes it well worth their while. Brewers are granted accommodations that include meals and fun events including a brewers-only barbecue and a morning-after “wine down” at a local winery, complete with food, drink and games (competitive team-structured corn-hole, anyone?). It’s an event that’s every bit, if not more fun for the brewers as it is the people who come from far and wide to sample their suds. The latter receive unlimited beer samples and food from an assortment of Central Coast restaurants plus live music. Because the event isn’t oversold, there is enough room to move about the fairgrounds, and though there are some very long lines (the Alchemist line went more than 60 people deep most of the day), it’s never tough to get not only a beer, but a very good beer.

Even for someone living in the beer wonderland that is San Diego County, the FWIBF provides unique flavors and prized offerings in a multitude no local beer festival can match. It’s difficult to get in on, but most truly special things require a little extra work. Rest assured, effort expended on this endeavor will not be in vain.

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Green Flash’s Cellar 3 debuting in Poway

May 15

cellar3_BGreen Flash Brewing Company’s beer-aging started off as a fun side project with a single barrel in 2006. Nearly a decade later, the Mira Mesa-based business has grown its oak program to the point where it now has a facility all its own. Dubbed Cellar 3 to match the barrel-aged line of beers that will spring forth from it, the Poway-based tasting room is manned by barrelmaster Pat Korn. A local brewing industry veteran who has been with Green Flash since 2010, Korn is ecstatic over the opportunity to go from working on wood-aged beers with little more than a mobile cart and whatever space he could manage at Green Flash’s production brewery, to having 12,000 square feet of space devoted to his artisanal bailiwick.

Green Flash's Liz Bradshaw and Dave Adams toast the debut of Cellar 3 from behind the bar.

Green Flash’s Liz Bradshaw and Dave Adams toast the debut of Cellar 3 from behind the bar.

Korn and company opened the doors to Cellar 3 for a sneak preview event last night, offering visitors the opportunity to sample nearly 20 oak-tinged beers, many of which had never before seen the light of day. Among the rookie class was Blanc Tarte Barrique, a sour blond ale aged in red wine barrels, part of the Le Freak Barrique family of beers taking Green Flash’s Belgian-style IPA in interesting directions by incorporating extra character care of black currants, apricots and Brettanomyces. Also new is a slew of Brett beers including a white IPA aged in Chardonnay barrels called Protege Sauvage and a trippel aged in red wine barrels called Divine Sauvage.

cellar3_CMaking triumphant returns from the company’s more storied barrel-aging annals are Flemish-style red ale Flanders Drive (a cherry-infused version of which is also offered) and bourbon barrel-aged black ale, Silva Stout. A dosing of beans from Rancho Bernardo-based roasters, Mostra Coffee, is also on tap, and was well received by pre-open attendees. Also back on a regular basis is last year’s annual breast cancer charity beer, Treasure Chest, a plum-infused saison aged in red wine barrels that now goes by the name Natura Morta with Plum, and has a trio of siblings infused with blueberries, strawberries and cranberries respectively.

Right now, Cellar 3’s offerings consist exclusively of existing Green Flash beers that have been aged in different types of barrels. Some are rested on fruit, others are inoculated with Brett, but all have familiar bases such as Double Stout, Le Freak or Linchpin White IPA. Part of Korn’s excitement about having a facility devoted to barrels and foudres is that he will be able to develop beers crafted specifically for siphoning into oak. It represents the next level within this beery medium and, given how well he has done utilizing beers produced for everyday enjoyment, it should be interesting to see what he’s able to accomplish when he’s calling all the shots.

cellar3_DThough bourbon and wine barrels were used to house Cellar 3’s initial offerings, Korn also has a variety of spirit barrels at his disposal including brandy and tequila. In all, Green Flash’s barrel stock comes in at well over 1,000, and that’s not counting four 50-barrel foudres. Much of that oaken inventory is visible from the 2,500-square-foot tasting room, which is low lit in order to show off a brilliant art deco starburst design behind the bar as well as a thoughtfully curated collection of local art, much of which is available for purchase. Adding visual appeal is a collection of multi-colored Cellar 3 bottles hanging from the south wall, which offer previews of some beers that will eventually be corked, caged and made available for off-site consumption.

Cellar 3 is located at 12260 Crosthwaite Circle and its hours of operation are 12 to 8 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday. The tasting room will officially open to the public at 12 p.m. on Saturday, May 16 during a celebratory event that will include brewery tours and live music by Dead Feather Moon and The Midnight Pine. Food will also be available via the venue’s full-time, on-site food truck.

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“Beer to the Rescue” Campaign for Lupus Research Begins January 31

Jan 12

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.

Keep up with the campaign by subscribing to Beer to the Rescue social channels: (Facebook | Twitter)

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