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Posts Tagged intergalactic brewing

Collabs a-plenty fuel Intergalactic Brewing anniversary

Apr 13

In its nearly four years of existence, Intergalactic Brewing Company (9715 Carroll Centre Road, Miramar) has stayed under the radar within the local suds solar system while also racking up an impressive fleet of devout followers. Many of those fans come back with great regularity due to the plethora of beers owner and brewmaster Alex Van Horne pumps out. His is a great and varied portfolio further fueled by a Red Shirt series of experimental and one-off brews. As one would expect from such a prolific brewing operation, Van Horne’s has numerous new beers slated for debut at Intergalactic’s four-year anniversary on the weekend of April 21-23.

There are four to be exact, all of which are collaborative projects. Van Horne was inspired by Sierra Nevada Brewing Company’s Beer Camp, which has seen the country’s third-largest craft brewing interest brew nationally released collaboration beers with dozens of notable contemporaries across the country. In keeping with his brewery’s sci-fi motif, Van Horne calls his smaller-scale homage “Space Camp”. Three of the four beers it yielded were created with San Diego brewers while the fourth is a tandem undertaking of Van Horne and Detroit’s River Rouge Brewing Company. Van Horne befriended the owner of the latter, helping them get their Michigan nanobrewery (which is about to celebrate two years in operation) off the ground, and each year they brew special beers for each other’s anniversary.

The following are notes on Intergalactic’s quartet of anniversary collaborations.

  • Breakfast Before Impact of Giant Hurtling Space Rock of Doom Imperial Coffee Porter: Brazilian coffee from Bird Rock Coffee Roasters gives a caffeinated kick to this robust brew designed with the head brewer from La Jolla’s Rock Bottom pub.
  • Monocles & Elbow Patches Required Imperial ESB: A higher-alcohol version of an English-style extra special bitter conceived with Hillcrest Brewing Company gets its boozy boost from Golden Promis and traditional flavor from English specialty malts.
  • Star Date 4.2 The Answer to Life, the Universe & Everything Divided by 10 Double IPA: Not surprisingly, the out-of-towners at River Rouge went the hoppy route with this San Diego collab, which is hopped with Azacca and Falconer’s Flight.
  • We Want to Punch You in the Face for Liking this Hazy IPA [It’s Not An IPA]: Created with fellow Miramar nanobrewery, 2kids Brewing Company, this Mosaic, Citra and Vermont yeast strain-infused Northeast-style offering pokes fun at the current “it-style” among American beer nerds.

In addition to being available on-tap starting Friday, April 21, the beers will packaged in 16-ounce cans and be sold as part of variety four-packs. Those will go on sale on Saturday, April 22 as part of the “Four Beers for Four Years” festivities, which will wrap up on Sunday, April 23.

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November Events Sampler Flight: Best of Beer Week

Nov 1

sdbw_logoIf ever there were a month made for craft-beer revelry, November is it. San Diego Beer Week takes place from November 4-13 and includes literally hundreds of events throughout the county. They range from pint-nights to full-on festivals. It’s a choose-your-own-adventure of sorts, allowing beer-fans to tailor these ten days to their personal tastes. I urge everyone to have it your way, but in an effort to guide those looking for a good time as I see it, I’ve listed my dream Beer Week scenario below. Enjoy the hoppiest time of the year, but don’t forget there are plenty of other awesome events taking place before and after Beer Week. For the most comprehensive list of local events around, consult the constantly updated West Coaster events calendar.

Friday, November 4

  • Rare Beer Breakfast, Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens, Escondido
  • 4-Year Anniversary & Barrel-Aged Bottle Release, Amplified Ale Works, Pacific Beach
  • VIP Brewer’s Takeover, Port Pavilion at Broadway Pier, Downtown

Saturday, November 5

  • Beer for Breakfast with Abnormal Beer Co., Small Bar, University Heights
  • San Diego Brewers Guild Festival, Port Pavilion at Broadway Pier, Downtown
  • Fall Brewing 2nd Anniversary with The Creepy Creeps, Casbah San Diego, Little Italy

Sunday, November 6

  • Modern Times Vegan Brunch, Churchill’s Pub & Grille, San Marcos
  • Barrel-Aged Vanilla Storm Bottle Release, Rip Current Brewing Company, North Park
  • The Bruery Beer Dinner, George’s at the Cove, La Jolla

Monday, November 7

  • Fishing with the Brewers; Fathom Bistro, Bail & Tackle; Shelter Island
  • Pink Boots Society Special Release, Rock Bottom, La Jolla
  • Brew, Views & Chews, Tom Ham’s Lighthouse, Harbor Island

Tuesday, November 8

  • Table Beer Tap Takeover, Benchmark Brewing Company, Grantville
  • Beer to the Rescue Bad Hombre Release, White Labs, Miramar
  • Chicks for Beer with Laura Ulrich, The High Dive, Bay Park

Wednesday, November 9

  • Sour Beer Fest, Intergalactic Brewing Company, Miramar
  • Speedway Grand Prix, AleSmith Brewing Company, Miramar
  • Tyson’s Big Ass Barrel Night, O’Brien’s Pub, Kearny Mesa

Thursday, November 10

  • San Diego County Beer Week Frisbee Golf Tourney, Morley Field & Hamilton’s Tavern, South Park
  • The New Kids Brewing & Distilling Festival, Marina Village, Mission Bay
  • Paradox Beer Dinner, The Bellows, San Marcos

Friday, November 11

  • We Got the Funk, Pizza Port, Ocean Beach
  • Battle of the Guilds, Toronado, North Park
  • Roll Out the Barrels, North Park Beer Co., North Park

Saturday, November 12

  • Stone AHA Rally, Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens, Liberty Station
  • Carnitas’ Snack Shack Beer Brunch Buffet, Thorn St. Brewery, North Park
  • 2nd Anniversary Celebration, O’Sullivan Bros. Brewing Company, Scripps Ranch

Sunday, November 13

  • Danksauce & Dog Show, The Quartyard, East Village
  • Garage Sale with Garage Project, Sessions Public, Ocean Beach
  • Beer Garden, The Lodge at Torrey Pines, La Jolla

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Meet Downbeat Brewing Company

Oct 6

logo_downbeat1It’s never too early to report on a work-in-progress brewing company. Even when such budding interests have no location, the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and, as a journalist, I’ve always enjoyed tapping into aspiring business-peoples’ concepts before masons break out the brick and mortar. Today, I’m providing a very early look at Downbeat Brewing Company, the brainchild of James Ruane, who has been working on this project for nearly a year.

Originally, Ruane envisioned himself opening a café or restaurant, but after catching the homebrewing bug, he shifted his focus to the ale-game. At this point, it’s looking like his operation will become a reality and debut to the public between spring and autumn of next year. First, he needs to find just the right spot, and he has been scouting locations in Rancho Bernardo and the areas around Mission Gorge Road. The opportunity to pull good after-work crowds from surrounding businesses is big to Ruane and his team, which consists of his father, Jim Ruane (a homebrewer and BJCP-certified beer judge), and creative director Natalie Cruz.

Once it’s time to get to producing beer, James will handle the brewing duties. His goal is to make hop-forward, aromatic brews that are very drinkable, while producing a number of easy-going, non-hoppy styles so there’s enough variety to appeal to most potential customers’ palates. As one might expect, beers will have musically themed names like a Mosaic and Citra-hopped Allegro IPA (a tempo reference), Sonata Honey Ginger Blonde, Prelude Oatmeal Coffee Stout and C-Chord Session IPA.

Downbeat will be a relatively small brewery, producing around 500 barrels per-year to start, using a seven-barrel Premier Stainless brewhouse, and double-batching into 15-barrel fermentation tanks. The business-plan has the business bottling within the first six months and distributing 22-ounce bottles and four-packs of 16-ounce cans by Year Three. Of course, quaffing of those ales will also be possible at Downbeat’s tasting room, which will be outfitted with a casual, early-1900s piano-bar feel. Of course, they’d like live-music to be in the cards, City of San Diego willing.

Even this early on, Ruane and company have already received a good amount of help from members of San Diego’s brewing scene, including the owners of Benchmark Brewing Company and Intergalactic Brewing Company, two businesses well-known for consistently lending helping hands to aspiring industry entrants.

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Urge rolling out unique anniversary beers

Jul 28
AleSmith/Urge Velvet Echo, Toolbox Pinkies Up and Mother Earth Very Bad Things will be served during Urge Gastropub's anniversary weekend, July 29-31 in Rancho Bernardo

AleSmith/Urge Velvet Echo, Toolbox Pinkies Up and Mother Earth Very Bad Things will be served during Urge Gastropub’s anniversary weekend, July 29-31 in Rancho Bernardo

There’s something that happens when a beer-centric business owner and their suds devotee staffers not only order beer, but forge relationships with the individuals who brew them. And not just in a handshake-and-a-chat way. I’m talking cramming a bunch of key personnel into an RV and driving around the country to visit breweries and secure some of their finest wares for special tappings back home. That is the level of nth-degree beer-geekism that makes it possible for attendees of Urge Gastropub’s (16761 Bernardo Center Drive, Rancho Bernardo) annual anniversary weekends to choose from such a varied list of next-level specialty beers, some of the best of which are concoctions brewed especially for the North County establishment by members of the local brewing community.

This year’s festivities will take place tomorrow through Sunday, July 31, and feature over a half-dozen venue-specific beers from AleSmith Brewing Company, Mother Earth Brew Co., Pure Project Brewing, Rip Current Brewing Company, Saint Archer Brewery (in collaboration with Urge-owned Mason Ale Works in Oceanside) and Toolbox Brewing Company. They are as follows:

  • AleSmith/Urge Pappy Speedway Barrel-Aged Coffee Imperial Stout
  • AleSmith/Urge Velvet Echo Barrel-Aged Coffee Imperial Stout
  • Mother Earth Very Bad Things Bourbon Barrel-Aged Scotch Ale served on Nitro
  • Pure Project Oni Triple IPA
  • Rip Current sURGEing Currents Session IPA
  • Saint Archer/Mason Your Goat Tart Saison with Peaches
  • Toolbox Pinkies Up Sour Saison with Plum, Lemongrass & Kaffir Lime Leaves

A pre-anniversary tasting of some of the above beers proved a no-brainer, AleSmith/Urge Velvet Speedway and its new variants still taste exquisite. Velvet Speedway was originally brewed for Urge last year. Building off AleSmith’s venerable Speedway Stout, it was brewed with coffee and aged in 23-year-old Evan Williams bourbon barrels, then dosed with a rye whiskey-infused Madagascar vanilla bean tincture and given extra java punch care of bourbon barrel-aged Jamaican Blue Mountain cold-brew from local roasters, Mostra Coffee. This year’s Velvet Echo (the same recipe aged in the same barrels used for the original Velvet Speedway) and Pappy Speedway (aged 15 months in a 20-year Pappy Van Winkle barrel from Kentucky’s Buffalo Trace Distillery, then dosed with Kona coffee) offer new riffs on this complicated but not convoluted concept. But reveler cannot live on 12% sippers alone. To that end, there are a number of more sessionable and normal-strength beers on this list, which was built by Urge manager Bri Kling.

Going back to personal relationships, hers helped her score a number of harder-to-procure treats such as a milk chocolate porter from Stone Brewing aged in a combination of reposado tequila, red wine and bourbon barrels; and Knotty Sparkles, a double IPA from Three Weavers Brewing Company made extra glam with the addition of edible gold sparkles. It’s a lily-gilding technique Kling first saw Three Weavers head brewer Alexandra Nowell employ at a Brewbies festival. After forming a friendship with Nowell over several beers, Kling pleaded for the sparkle-treatment and, as a result, this is the “first and last time” one of Three Weavers’ beer will feature this form of bling outside of the breast-cancer festival arena.

Then there’s Pinkies Up, which Kling had a big hand in. A drinking buddy of Toolbox owner Spencer Peters and friend of the company’s head brewer Ehren Schmidt, she approached them about brewing a beer for Urge’s anniversary. Through many a conversation over many a beer, they decided to brew a pair of rustic saisons and oak age them with wild yeast starins dosed in at different percentages over four- and six-month periods, respectively. Kling helped dispatch 350 pounds of plums for this recipe, which also extracted flavor from lemongrass and Kaffir lime leaves. The result is a bracingly sour, yet highly drinkable beer that smells like a verdant Life-Saver and tastes like some electrified version of pink lemonade.

There will be 51 total beers on-tap over the weekend, with a few being subbed out on different days. When asked about some of the more interesting selections on the list, Kling points to a version of Intergalactic Brewing Company’s coffee cream ale, The Cake is a Lie, brewed with a twist to bring forth a peanut-brittle character; Knotty Sparkles; and a key lime-flavored Kolsch called Killbox from Washougal, Washington-based Doomsday Brewing Company. You know, your everyday types of beers…at least for one enchanted weekend.

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Beer of the Week: Hillcrest / Karl Strauss All You Need Is Love (& Co.)

Jul 15
The version of All You Need Is Love crafted collaboratively by Hillcrest Brewing Company and Karl Strauss Brewing Company

The version of All You Need Is Love crafted collaboratively by Hillcrest Brewing Company and Karl Strauss Brewing Company

From the Beer Writer: I’m going to be frank. I am sickened by the rise of senseless violence plaguing our country. Gays, blacks, Muslims, cops and the homeless have all been recent targets for the world’s most pathetic type of people—those who lack regard for human-life. Whether bigots drunk with power, zealots driven by warped piousness or scrambled-brain lunatics, perpetrators of the recent murders filling our news-feeds are making it hard to see all the good that exists in our world. That’s why this week’s featured beer, Hillcrest / Karl Strauss All You Need Is Love is so important. Conceived by members of LGBTQ-run entity Hillcrest Brewing Company and brewed with Karl Strauss Brewing Company brewmaster Paul Segura, this hoppy session red ale shows support for victims of the Pulse Nightclub shootings that took place in Orlando, Florida last month, raising money for survivors and the families of the lost. When news of this collaboration came out, a large number of other San Diego County breweries joined in this project, brewing up beers under the same name to start a full-fledged movement to raise more money and counteract the hatred behind that massacre (a full list of participating operations is included below). The beers are available at each brewery’s tasting room, but will be showcased en masse Thursday, July 21 at Monkey Paw Pub and Brewery in the East Village during a special keep-the-pint-night featuring a commemorative glass decorated with the All You Need Is Love logo. It is efforts like these that help us to remember the immense love, understanding and goodness that is not only present in our society, but rules it. Yes, racism, hate and stupid people will always exist, but it’s important to remember that the majority of us accept everyone, regardless of their gender, race, social-status, political affiliation or sexual orientation. That’s something that can’t be silenced no matter how many gun-toting hatemongers channel their frustration into homicidal endeavors. As evidenced by All You Need Is Love, such hideous acts only serve to galvanize the populace in support of our brothers and sisters of all walks of life, and remind us of how precious life—every life—is. And how precious love—all love—is. That’s something I will toast with every sip of this very special, rainbow-colored family of beers.

From the Brewers: “The beer is a hoppy session red ale, one that we were fortunate enough to brew with a few different breweries. We immediately reached out to Paul at Karl Strauss. He’s an incredible brewer and an even better guy. His input, ideas on how to proceed and reputation brought this project to a whole new level. Adding our friends at Gordon Biersch was another huge honor, as brewmaster Doug Hasker is a legend in his own right. As someone who is relatively new to the San Diego beer scene, it was a great experience to be able to sit down for a pint with those two guys at the same table and hear them talk about beer. The more we reached out to people, the more we realized that this entire community was stoked on the idea. Initially, we wanted to be physically involved with each beer, but it grew to a point where we just didn’t have enough hours in a week to be able to directly brew these beers with everyone. One day, I helped mash out at three different breweries. It’s been a humbling experience and during a time where my faith in humanity has been severely shaken, it’s truly been a large breath of fresh air.”—Clinton Shaver, Assistant Brewer, Hillcrest Brewing Company

Participating Breweries: 2Kids Brewing Company, AleSmith Brewing Company, Amplified Ale Works, Bagby Beer Company, Belching Beaver Brewery, Border X Brewing Company, ChuckAlek Independent Brewers, Duck Foot Brewing Company, Gordon Biersch, Hillcrest Brewing Company, Intergalactic Brewing Company, Karl Strauss Brewing Company, Mission Brewery, Second Chance Beer Company, South Park Brewing Company, Wavelength Brewing Company

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