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Posts Tagged Green Flash

Q&A: Marty Mendiola

Aug 26

Owner & Brewmaster, Second Chance Beer Companysecondchance_01

He’s been a fixture in the San Diego brewing scene for more than a decade-and-a-half, won countless national and international awards for his to-style beers and even served a term as the president of the San Diego Brewers Guild. Quiet, pleasant and completely uncontroversial, Marty Mendiola has done all of this under the radar for the most part. Nowadays, the former Rock Bottom standout finds himself in a rare place—under the microscope—as he prepares to open the passion project he left his longtime digs to open, Second Chance Beer Co. We caught up with him during one of his first brew days to pelt him with questions about one of San Diego County’s most exciting soon-to-debut breweries.

With 15 years of good work and great status in the Rock Bottom family, you were in a good spot. Why did you stake out on your own?
I really enjoyed working for Rock Bottom. The confidence and freedom they give the brewers really allowed me to explore my creativity and, ultimately, make better beer. Two things drove me to go out on my own. First, I always liked the idea of getting my beer out to a wider audience, so I am looking forward to seeing it poured at the great bars and restaurants around town and, eventually, our cans and bottles being bought at stores and beer shops. Second was the physical demands of brewing on a small, completely manual system. Carrying every bag of grain in one-at-a-time and pulling the spent grain out in heavy trash cans is tiring. With Second Chance being much bigger, we have the forklift and pallet jacks to help with the lifting. I feel like we can build this into something we are proud of!

What are some things you love most about having your own brewery?
The best thing about Second Chance is that we’ve created it ourselves from the ground up. I collaborated with my wife, Virginia Morrison, whose motivation and help has been ineffable, and my business partner, Curtis Hawes, to customize the brewery and tap room to our liking, and do whatever we wanted from the start. My mom Hilda, my brother Anthony, and our friend Robin have also pitched in on weekends to help us get ready. In the brewery, we have a 30-barrel system from Escondido’s Premier Stainless Systems. It is really sweet. I feel I can take the beer styles and ideas I have done in the past and make them just as good, but probably better, on this setup. We have to expand, and will do so as it feels comfortable, but there’s no rush.

secondchance_02What beers can people expect when you open and how would you describe your personal brewing style?
Our first beers will be a Kölsch-style ale called Luminous Blonde, red IPA, a black porter called Tabula Rasa (Spanish for “blank slate”) and…are you ready for this…an IPA! Seize the IPA! I have dozens of beer styles I want to brew, but need to find the patience to grow the lineup over time. I have been told that my brewing style is “smooth,” which basically tells me the flavors blend well together with a clean aftertaste. I’ll take that as a compliment! I have a similar preference for English- and Belgian-style ales that my friends at AleSmith and Benchmark Brewing brew. This can range from low-alcohol, balanced session beers to bold, flavorful, sometimes hoppy, big beers. I also love working with whisky and rum barrels.

Are you brewing alone or do you have a team?
I have reunited with Craig Gregovics, my assistant brewer from Rock Bottom! We work great together and he is a Midwesterner like myself, so we tend to work ourselves to the point of exhaustion, which can be good and bad.

What will the tasting room be like and how did you select your location?
Not only do we believe that Second Chance is a fortunate opportunity, something we are lucky to get and must make the most of, but we also embrace the repurposing and reusing aspect. In that spirit, we have reused gas pipes from the demolition, whiskey barrels from the good people at The Lost Abbey, fence wood from my childhood home and many other cool, personal touches. There is also an open view of the brewery. As for the location, as soon as we walked into the building, we knew it was our spot. We are excited to meet our neighbors in our tap room. We have major industry around us: tech, construction, computers, concrete, aircraft, medical, etc., and they are already excited for us to open. Also, we are right off the freeway—technically in Carmel Mountain Ranch—and there are not that many options to grab a beer here. Rancho Bernardo has Urge Gastropub and Abnormal Beer Co. Poway has Cellar 3 and Lightning Brewery. So we are happy to be so close and fill this space in between.

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Green Flash’s Treasure Chest beer and fest return

Jul 28

treasurechest_00Over the past half-decade, what started as one woman’s battle has grown to include the support of a diverse militia spanning from one side of this great country to the other. Green Flash Brewing Company co-founder and vice president of marketing, Lisa Hinkley, is a breast cancer survivor who is passionate about aiding others afflicted with this widespread disease and, with any luck, eradicating it from the face of the earth. Five years ago, she and her work colleagues banded together to debut a special beer called Treasure Chest to raise money for the local chapter of the Susan G. Komen Foundation. That succinct initial offering has sprouted numerous follow-up beers, a pair of large fundraising festivals and, most importantly, a great deal of support for breast cancer charities and sufferers.

Each year since the release of the first Treasure Chest (Brettanomyces-spiked Belgian-style pale ale that has since become an annual offering under the name Rayon Vert), Green Flash’s has upped its efforts to support Susan G. Komen, most notably where its Treasure Chest Fest. The beer festival is held at the company’s Mira Mesa facility, taking over everything from the outdoor beer garden to the brewery itself, but numerous local restaurants also show up to prepare dishes specifically paired with Green Flash specialty and one-off brews, including Treasure Chest, which changes each year. This year’s Treasure Chest Fest will take place August 29 and once again include guest chefs. The iteration of Treasure Chest that one of those culinarians will be pairing their food with will be a pink, 100% Mosaic-hopped IPA brewed with hibiscus flowers and the juice of prickly pears and grapefruits.

treasurechest_01For the first year since the initial Treasure Chest came out, the beer will be bottled. Look for the IPA in 22-ounce bottles and on draft nationwide as well as the fest beside rare Green Flash beers and unique cask creations. Tickets for the event are available online. And on the 11th of October (Breast Cancer Awareness Month), Green Flash will hold its second annual Treasure Chest Fest on a parcel of land adjacent to its upcoming brewery in Virginia Beach, Virginia (scheduled to open 2016), proceeds from which will go to Susan G. Komen Tidewater.

Over the past five years, Green Flash’s Treasure Chest initiatives have raised more than $150,000. In addition to the beer release and festivals, the company will set up various events across the country (tap takeovers, beer dinners, etc.) to garner additional funds from September through November.

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Urge’s over-the-top anniversary festivities

Jul 20

urge_anniversary5Each year over the past half-decade, Urge Gastropub (16761 Bernardo Center Drive, Rancho Bernardo) co-owner Grant Tondro has made a point to try and top himself when it comes to his beer-centric restaurant’s anniversary celebration. There have been epic, over-the-top burgers as well as on-site, design-your-own, commemorative shirt screen-printing. But the biggest thing people look forward to are the custom beers brewed for them. This year, there will be five such beers to honor all five years Urge has stood as a beacon for craft for Rancho Bernardo.

The Urge crew was involved in the brewing of these beers at each company’s facility from January through April. These are not your everyday beers. The frequent Urge collaborators at Vista’s Mother Earth Brew Co. have conjured up a bourbon barrel-aged pomegranate-infused Belgian-style quaduprel called Johnny Law. Anaheim’s Noble Ale Works brewed a sea salt and chocolate imperial Gose dubbed Stranger Danger. Dogfish Head out of Delaware soured a Cabernet Sauvignon barrel-aged version of its Black and Blue Belgian-style blackberry and blueberry golden strong ale. Whole-cone hop powerhouse Sierra Nevada Brewing Company brewed a 7% alcohol-by-volume (ABV) farmhouse ale called Maison Saison.

But one of the most highly awaited beers has to be Velvet Speedway. AleSmith Brewing Company’s 12% ABV Speedway Stout aged in Evan Williams 23-year old whiskey barrels, thenblended with barrel-aged Jamaica Blue Mountain cold-brew from Mostra Coffee and a rye whiskey and vanilla bean tincture, it will be sold in bottles online starting at 11 a.m. today.

Urge’s fifth anniversary festivities will take place from July 24 to 26. In addition to the aforementioned features, many rare and special beers will be on tap, including The Bruery White Chocolate, Green Flash Natura Morta, Goose Island Bourbon County Stout (2014 vintage), Deschutes The Abyss (2012) and Coronado German Chocolate Cake. Also available will be another Urge anniversary staple, hot wings coated in ghost pepper sauce, keeper glasses for the first 100 guests and live music for all.

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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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