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Posts Tagged Green Flash

Parting Words: Cosimo Sorrentino

Nov 3

Earlier this week, news broke about popular local brewer Cosimo Sorrentino resigning from his dual-head brewer post at Monkey Paw Pub and Brewery and South Park Brewing Co. A fixture in the community who made a point to communicate and collaborate with nearly every brewery within the county, it was surprising to here he was stepping down, but even more confounding to discover he would absolutely be leaving San Diego come the New Year. More information was in order, so we went to the source to appease readers’ logical queries and concern.

Monkey Paw’s Cosimo Sorrentino checking out the hops yesterday with Nopalito Farm’s Jordan Brownwood; via Facebook

Monkey Paw’s Cosimo Sorrentino (left) checking out hops with Nopalito Farm’s Jordan Brownwood in July; via Nopalito Farms Facebook

West Coaster: What led you to depart your position heading Monkey Paw and South Park Brewing?
Cosimo Sorrentino: A combination of factors, the biggest of which is a necessity for personal growth. I was lucky to learn my craft in the community I grew up in and under an owner that has so much passion, but I feel that I have reached a point where to progress I need a little less comfort and a new environment.

WC: Though your next step has yet to be determined, you are certain you will leave San Diego. Why is that?
CS: I feel San Diego has crossed over to a new era in brewing. The community spirit is being fractured; too many breweries fighting over the same styles, following trends for profit, not enough quality staff to provide front-of-house service…and let’s not get into the distributor issues. This was inevitable and will not necessarily be a bad thing for those making or drinking beer. San Diego beer will get better and those that succeed will benefit from the competition! For myself, I hope that finding a location where the scene is a bit younger will allow me to help foster the same type of conscious collaborative growth that has led to San Diego’s emergence as the beer capitol of the world. It might be selfish, but I have really enjoyed the journey so far and want to keep making new beers with and for new people.

WC: After being such a peacemaker and heavy collaborator within the San Diego industry, is it difficult for you to move on?
CS: Not to be cliché, but this is truly the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. It means stepping away from, not only the coolest brewing job I’ve seen, but leaving family, friends and, potentially even my dog. I am bummed that I will not have the chance to collaborate with some guys and gals in town—especially some of the new breweries—and that I will not be part of Monkey Paw’s next step as a business, whatever that may be.

WC: What will you miss the most about the San Diego brewing and beer scenes?
CS: One word: HOPS! No, but seriously, I will miss the universal nature of the love for beer and brewers in this city. It will be weird to walk into three-or-four bars in an evening and not run into a fellow brewer or maybe even an educated beer-drinker. I’ve never felt the camaraderie and respect that I have experienced in San Diego with brewers and consumers alike.

WC: What are some of your finest memories of your time brewing professionally in San Diego?
CS: Wow. Hardest question…I’ll never forget the first week I got the job at Paw. I had every brewer that I had looked up to either drop in or hit me up on the phone to help me get dialed in. It was a whirlwind, and I did not fully appreciate it at the time, but this foundation paid off and I will be forever grateful. Those memories were revisited last year when I got to sit in on a collab at Karl Strauss on Columbia Street. Not only did we have (KS brewmaster) Paul Segura, (Gordon Biersch head brewer) Doug Hasker and (Monkey Paw/South Park Brewing owner) Scot Blair brewing that day, (Ballast Point Brewing VP) Colby Chandler dropped in to open some bottles as a farewell to (former Green Flash Brewing Co. brewmaster and current Silva Brewing owner/brewmaster) Chuck Silva on his last day in San Diego. This was only made better by the fact that I had invited (North Park Beer Co. assistant brewer) Joaquin Basauri to drop in. This was early on in Joaquin and I’s friendship and the look on his face as we drank barleywine and talked shop with these godfathers brought me back to that feeling of awe.

WC: What were your goals for the semi-controversial public-forum you held to discuss the changing landscape of San Diego beer?
CS: While the forum never became a series, I hope that the discussion was opened and people are more likely to speak honestly and in an informed manner about the evolution of our city and the industry. I am glad there is a reduced amount of animosity because that energy can be redirected towards progression instead of hate and fear.

WC: Any parting words for our readers?
CS: Thank you for absolutely everything. I hope I’ve returned 10% of the happiness and joy you have given me.

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SD shows up at LA International Beer Competition

Apr 18
Council Brewing Company's winning entries from the Los Angeles International Beer Competition

Council Brewing Company’s winning entries from the Los Angeles International Beer Competition

After the opening series at Petco Park, wherein this native San Diegan’s beloved Friars failed to score a single run against the Dodgers, it’s hard to even type the letters LA. But fortunately, I have a very positive reason to do so thanks to the Los Angeles International Beer Competition, the results of which were recently posted. Numerous San Diego breweries garnered awards, proving that, while we still can’t get a hit off Clayton Kershaw, SD has plenty going for it where brewing is concerned.

San Diego County-based breweries brought home 43 medals in 96 diverse beer categories. Certain breweries just plain cleaned up. And they’re not the larger, better-known interests you might have expected. For instance, the brewery to win the most medals was Miramar’s small (but expanding) Intergalactic Brewing Company. That space-themed operation amassed 10 medals (two of which were gold), while Mike Hess Brewing Company took five, Sorrento Valley’s New English Brewing Company nabbed four and San Marcos-based Rip Current Brewing Company further solidified its reputation for quality beer across many styles with five medals, including a gold for its Breakline Bock, which won that same award at last year’s Great American Beer Festival.

Among all of the hundreds of beers submitted, Council Brewing Company’s Gaderian, a Brettanomyces-spiked, barrel-aged English-style old ale, took Best of Show honors. The Kearny Mesa nanobrewery also won two of the three spots—silver and bronze—in the American-style Brett Ale category for its newly released Les Saisons and Nicene, respectively, and notched another silver with the cherry version of its Beatitude Tart Saison. A full list of the winners from this year’s competition is included below.

Best of Show

  • Gaderian, Council Brewing Co. (Old Ale or Strong Ale)

Gold Medals

  • Breakline Bock, Rip Current Brewing Co. (Bock)
  • Brewers Special Brown Ale, New English Brewing Co. (English-style Brown Ale)
  • Gaderian, Council Brewing Co. (Old Ale or Strong Ale)
  • Horchata Golden Stout, Border X Brewing Co. (Experimental Beer)
  • Kona Storm, Rip Current Brewing Co. (Coffee Beer)
  • Maiden Voyage, Mission Brewery (German-style Sour Ale)
  • Mosaic Session IPA, Karl Strauss Brewing Co. (Session Beer)
  • Mighty Joe Young, Monkey Paw Pub & Brewery (American-style Stout)
  • Passion Fruit Kicker, Green Flash Brewing Co. (Fruit Wheat Beer)
  • Red Shirt #30 English Pale Ale, Intergalactic Brewing Co. (Ordinary or Special Bitter)
  • Red Trolley Ale, Karl Strauss Brewing Co. (Irish-style Red Ale)
  • Shut Up Wesley Wheat, Intergalactic Brewing Co. (American-style Wheat Beer)
  • Umbrix, Mike Hess Brewing Co. (Imperial Stout)

Silver Medals

  • Astro Amber Ale, Intergalactic Brewing Co. (Scottish-style Ale)
  • Barrel-Aged Zumbar, New English Brewing Co. (Wood- & Barrel-aged Strong Stout)
  • Beatitude Cherry Tart Saison, Council Brewing Co. (Belgian-style Fruit Beer)
  • Black Lagoon Scottish Strong, Rip Current Brewing Co. (Scotch Ale)
  • Body Surfing Blonde, Rip Current Brewing Co. (Belgian- & French-style Ale)
  • Galactober Fest, Intergalactic Brewing Co. (German-style Marzen)
  • Good News Everyone!, Intergalactic Brewing Co. (
  • Grapefruit Solis IPA, Mike Hess Brewing Co., (American-style Fruit Beer)
  • Les Saisons (Spring), Council Brewing Co. (American-style Brett Ale)
  • Main St, Mother Earth Brew Co. (English-style Summer Ale)
  • My Other Vice, Mike Hess Brewing Co. (German-style Sour Ale)
  • Orion’s Stout, Intergalactic Brewing Co. (Oatmeal Stout)
  • Pepper Magna Cucurbita, Mike Hess Brewing Co. (Chili Pepper Beer)
  • Poppycock! ESB, 2Kids Brewing Co. (Extra Special Bitter) – no gold medal awarded
  • Red Shirt #44 Imperial Oatmeal Stout, Intergalactic Brewing Co. (Chocolate Beer)
  • Space Oasis Coconut Porter, Intergalactic Brewing Co. (Field Beer)
  • The Peach Around, Legacy Brewing Co.

Bronze Medals

  • Buckshot Biere de Garde, BNS Brewing & Distilling Co. (Belgian- & French-style Ale)
  • Dia de los Serranos, Green Flash Brewing Co. (Chili Pepper Beer)
  • Dragoon, New English Brewing Co. (Double Red Ale)
  • Frontside Foreign Extra Stout, Rip Current Brewing Co. (Foreign-style Stout)
  • Gatling Gun, BNS Brewing & Distilling Co. (Imperial Stout)
  • Habitus IPA, Mike Hess Brewing Co., (Rye Beer)
  • Helles, Lightning Brewery (Mnich-style Helles)
  • Krystal Weizen, Mission Brewery (German-style Wheat Ale)
  • Nicene, Council Brewing Co. (American-style Brett Ale)
  • Red Shirt #38 Cucumber Grapefruit White IPA, Intergalactic Brewing Co. (Fruit Beer)
  • Scripps Pier Stout, Monkey Paw Pub & Brewery (Oatmeal Stout)
  • Shock Bock, Intergalactic Brewing Co. (Bock)
  • Why Not Wheat, New English Brewing Co. (American-style Wheat Beer)

Honorable Mention

  • Ashes from the Grave, Monkey Paw Pub & Brewery./AleSmith Brewing Co. (Smoke Beer)

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Green Flash’s new Barrelmaster’s Reserve Series

Apr 13
A bottle from Green Flash's upcoming Barrelmaster's Reserve Series spied on the production line several weeks ago

A bottle from Green Flash’s upcoming Barrelmaster’s Reserve Series spied on the production line several weeks ago

When Green Flash Brewing Company opened its barrel-aging facility-slash-tasting room, Cellar 3 (12260 Crosthwaite Circle, Poway), it ushered in a new age of reliable wood-matured, tart and wild yeast-stoked product from the country’s 41st largest brewery. Utilization of Brettanomyces, wine and spirit barrels is next-level to be sure, but Green Flash Barrelmaster Pat Korn promises to go even further care of beers from the company’s soon-to-debut Barrelmaster’s Reserve Series.

Billed as a line of experimental, limited-release brews, the Barrelmaster Reserve Series beers will be produced in quantities that are extremely small by comparison to Green Flash’s nationally distributed core and seasonal beers. Between 600 and 1,800 bottles of each offering will be sold per release. Those beers will be available on a first-come-first-served basis for just one day, and exclusively to those who venture to Cellar 3.

While artistically swank, stocked with good beer and in possession of an oasis-like outdoor seating area smack-dab in the heart of businesspark land, Cellar 3 has proven a challenge due to its location. While businesses that plunk down in hot-spots such as North Park, Vista or even the suddenly sudsy Rancho Bernardo, easily draw in droves of beer fans, having such a beer-nerd-centric locale in Poway’s industrial expanses has led to less-than-preferred attendance numbers. This would seem a solid effort to expose an exceptional beer haven to the types of customers who would most appreciate it.

The first Barelmaster’s Reserve Series releases will be Lustrous Frumento with Coffee, a 13.1% alcohol-by-volume, 100% bourbon barrel-aged black ale (Green Flash’s retired Double Stout?) matured in Old Forester whiskey cooperage for a whopping two-and-a-half years before being dosed with a cold-brew blend of Brazilian and Sumatran java from local roaster, Mostra Coffee. The “micro-release” for Lustrous Frumento will be May 21 and each 750-milliliter bottle will go for $24.

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Beer of the Week: Green Flash Passion Fruit Kicker

Jan 29
Green Flash Passion Fruit Kicker

Green Flash Passion Fruit Kicker

From the Beer Writer: I saw the name come through the online trademark database—Green Flash Passion Fruit Kicker. No way, I thought. How could San Diego’s third-largest craft brewery be planning to package a beer that complex? For those who’ve never heard of Passion Fruit Kicker, that name was developed when former Green Flash brewmaster Chuck Silva and director of beer education Dave Adams worked with yours truly to develop a recipe to brew for the Beer to the Rescue anti-lupus campaign. The most complex of the 30-plus beers the fundraising effort birthed, PFK was a wheat India pale ale (IPA) with Brettanomyces and passion fruit procured from Stone Farms that was dry-hopped with experimental hops and blended with a wine barrel-aged IPA. While it was delicious and even thought-provoking in its unique character, going national with something like that hardly seemed feasible. Then I read the approved label and discovered the name was applied to a low-alcohol wheat ale brewed with passion fruit concentrate and passion fruit tea. While almost totally different, it’s also quite nice. Based on the base recipe for Alpine Beer Co.’s wheat ale, Willy (Green Flash Brewing Company acquired Green Flash in 2014), it has a subtle creaminess that gives way to restrained fruit tartness in the finish. A mineral quality similar to Sauvignon Blanc wine is also present. This 5.5% alcohol-by-volume session ale has a lot going for it…and is a heck of a lot easier to explain than its namesake.

From the Brewer: “Passion Fruit Kicker has a pretty unique origin story. It came about when two different ideas from two different sources merged. The brewers had been experimenting with teas in casks and single-keg one-off beers. Our favorite tea to use was a passion fruit tea (from local company, Tea Gallerie). It has an amazing aroma and flavor like a ripe passion fruit. At the time we were playing around with that tea in different beers, the idea for a tart, fruity wheat beer emerged. So naturally we tried making that beer with the passion fruit tea. It was a perfect match! We combined passion fruit concentrate with the tea to make a uniquely pungent, aromatic, tart and refreshing wheat beer. It actually smells and tastes like you’re drinking it out of a hollowed-out passion fruit gourd! The background of a very clean, crisp, lightly bittered wheat beer lets the passion fruit shine for a truly great fruit beer experience.”—Kevin Barnes, Lead Brewer, Green Flash Brewing Company

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Alpine Beer’s original location born anew

Jan 28

alpine_02It once went by the name and persona of McGuffey’s Ice Cream Parlor, the smallish left-most unit in the family of storefronts off Alpine Boulevard which eventually became the town’s craft-beer Mecca. That status came via many hoppy returns provided by Alpine Beer Company (2351 Alpine Boulevard, Alpine), who took over the space nearly a decade ago, converting it to a bar-and-restaurant serving up bodacious beers and barbecue to match. It was far from perfect—it couldn’t seat nearly enough people to meet demand for those lupulin-laced ales and service was spotty—but the beer made up for any shortcomings. Nowadays, the venue and the new logic behind it makes the pilgrimage to Alpine much more worth the time and gas thanks to an overhaul issued by parent interest Green Flash Brewing Company.

alpine_01

Service with a smile seems more common now that Alpine Beer’s service system is more streamlined

Director of beer education Dave Adams took the lead in the remodel after successfully completing other high-profile Green Flash projects including its Cellar 3 tasting room in Poway and the spacious Alpine Beer Company Pub less than a mile west of ABC’s original digs. Nowadays, that’s where the business’ fans go for ‘cue and other beer-friendly sustenance, while growler-toting voyagers united in their beery single-mindedness venture to Adams’ latest triumph. Gone is the checkerboard-tile flooring, red duct-work lining the ceiling and perhaps the county’s smallest kitchen. The whole place was gutted, torn down to be built up into something befitting Alpine’s deep-country thematic.

Turn up the bar-stools at Alpine Beer's new tasting room and memories abound

Turn up the bar-stools at Alpine Beer’s new tasting room and memories abound

Instead of walking into what looks and feels like an old-time diner, visitors now find themselves in a scarcely populated log cabin. The non-existent furniture isn’t an accident. The lack of indoor seating leaves lots of room for the lines that regularly form at the tasting bar, where samplers and full pours are both available. The bar and stools from the original restaurant have been pushed up against the windowed east wall and there’s a smattering of new stools on an alcove facing the street, but al fresco’s the way to go here thanks to Adams’ work to greatly expand the outdoor seating behind the tasting room. The entire “back yard” has been tiered and offers multiple picnic tables for prolonged suds sessions. Back indoors, the space remains bright thanks to plenty of windows plus skylights and dangling twentieth-century milk lights. Adams had considered going with trendy exposed Edison bulbs, but keeping things a bit more subdued works better in this case.

Overall, it’s a simple yet thoughtful project that makes a once loveable yet sadly deficient venue far more utilitarian and service-oriented. The staff have the means to succeed and that seems to translate to the overall attitude behind the bar. In the past, bartenders had a tendency to be edgy or outright rude, but service with a smile is the name of the game now, and that’s as important a face-lift as the one afforded this must-visit San Diego brew-scene gem.

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