The 6th Annual San Diego International Beer Festival starts this weekend Friday, June 22nd and ends Sunday June 24th. A festival within the San Diego County Fair (aka Del Mar Fair), the general admission has two sessions Friday 6/22 at 12-4PM & 5-9PM, and Saturday 6/23 at 11A-3PM & 4-8PM. There is also one session on Sunday from 1-5PM. The general admission ticket is $48 with Fair entrance included. Inspired by the Great American Beer Festival and organized by Tom Nickel (of O’Brien’s, Julian Brewing Co., and West Coast BBQ & Brew), the festival will serve unlimited 1oz tasters of over 300 beers from nearly 140 breweries from around the world.
At the VIP Brewers Lounge, beer drinkers can taste unlimited, larger 6-oz pours not only from the 300+ beers being tapped, but also from extra brews located only in the Lounge area. VIP ticket-holders also enjoy half-hour early admission to the Festival, food stations with unlimited grazing for the first two hours of the session, and a special souvenir tasting glass. VIP admission is $90 with Fair admission, and has sessions on Friday 6/22 from 4:30-9PM, Saturday 6/23 from 10:30AM-3:00PM & 3:30-8PM, and Sunday 12:30-5:30PM
Click here for tickets! (Enter passcode BARLEY on Ticketmaster and save $10 for the Friday 4:30-9PM session or for the Saturday 10:30AM-3PM session. Use passcode MALT for $10 off the Sunday VIP session)
This post sponsored by the San Diego International Beer Festival
Post updated 4:37PM on 6/19 with corrected passcode info & extra Sunday VIP session
Today two San Diego brewing operations will tap their first beers. Rough Draft Brewing Company in Mira Mesa is hosting an invite-only soft opening tonight and a sold-out grand opening event tomorrow, while Julian Brewing Company, operating out of The Bailey Wood Pit Barbecue, is tapping their inaugural “Bailey Pale Ale” at 5 pm. A dry-hopped cask of the beer goes on tomorrow just before the live music at 8 pm.
While it may be unusual for two spots to start serving suds on the same day, it’s indicative of the rapid growth in San Diego’s brewing industry. To give you more perspective on that, yesterday we counted up all the active and planned brew houses in San Diego County — currently there are 48 licensed and operational, with
15 16 more in-the-works. In 2012 alone, five have opened their doors (including today’s debutants). We can only wonder what heights our beer will reach come 2013, with the Craft Brewers Conference coming up this May and San Diego Beer Week right around the corner in November.
See the full spread in our February 2012 issue. Here we predict who is going to make news in 2012. An eclectic collection, the twelve mentioned in this feature are united in their involvement in the local beer community. This list includes a bustling commercial district; a vegan beer pairing troupe that fundraises for charities; an enterprising publishing company; a portfolio of righteous beer bars (plus a brewpub); an outstanding yeast laboratory; a brewhouse equipment manufacturer; a feature film focusing on SD beer; the prestigious World Beer Cup; and several brewing companies poised to offer something unique to our city. Created as a reference point, we’ll reflect back on these selections throughout the year. For now, the 12 in ‘12 is a snapshot of our county’s beer industry as of January 2012, with a focus on a huge year ahead.
Why you should watch: Back when Stone announced their plans for a Liberty Station brewpub in May of 2011, Slater’s 50/50 and SOL Markets weren’t even on our radar. Who knows what else will pop up over the coming year in the developing district, which also houses Oggi’s Pizza, Sammy’s Pizza and Tender Greens locations.
Coming up: SOL — standing for “seasonal, organic, local” — Markets is currently under construction. 24 taps (correction: 12 taps) and cooking classes are just the tip of the iceberg. They hope to have their doors open by April 1st.
Fun fact: When Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station opens (estimated late Spring 2012), they’ll share Slater’s 50/50 current parking lot. The ACE hardware next door should be so lucky.
Why you should watch: Founders Derek Humbard and Kory Stetina dedicate themselves to putting together creative vegan cuisine and craft beer events that support local charities, including SD Animal Rescue and the SD Chapter of Engineers Without Borders. All four of their 2011 events were well-attended and highly-praised, with the donation amount per night often reaching their goal of $1,200-$2,000.
Coming up: A Valentine’s Day multi-course vegan dessert and beer pairing at Tiger!Tiger! Tavern benefiting Jeans4Justice, a local non-profit geared to ending sexual violence.
Fun fact: LOVELIKEBEER’s San Diego Beer Week event at Sea Rocket Bistro also showcased vegan beers by a vegan brewer, Ron Jeffries of Dexter, Michigan’s Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales. All those photos @ facebook.com/westcoastersd
Why you should watch: The book San Diego’s Top Brewers, which mixes brewery stories with pairing recipes, has been a hit in the local beer industry since its November release, and a new beer cookbook is already in the works. President & CEO Bruce Glassman says the company is shooting for a San Diego Beer Week 2012 release of the new project which will feature more local brewers, chefs, personalities and establishments than before.
Coming up: Chefs Press will begin shooting images for the book in February, and we plan on tagging along for some new web content.
Fun fact: On the Top Brewers website there are nearly twenty “Have a Beer with the Brewer” videos you can watch.
The Blair Empire
Why you should watch: Scot and Karen Blair opened some of San Diego’s most beloved pubs– Hamilton’s Tavern, Small Bar, Bar Eleven, and Monkey Paw Pub & Brewery – in under ten years. Beers from their newest venture, Monkey Paw, have started popping up at various locations around town.
Coming up: “Second Saturday” featuring Karl Strauss at Hamilton’s. If you haven’t been to a Second Saturday event, you’re missing out. 17 Karl draught beers and two “dueling” casks complement complimentary Cajun food on February 11th.
Fun fact: It is highly appropriate to refer to the couple as “Blairen” when you see them together.
Coronado Brewing Co.
Why you should watch: Coronado’s beers make it to several countries outside the US, including Japan and England. Stateside, the company has a new national sales director, Jeff Hansson, who has brought the brewery he was planning with friend Anthony Levas under the Coronado Brewing Company umbrella. “Tusk & Grain Brewing Co.” will begin with Stone Distribution in mid-2012, and Coronado is currently interviewing candidates to launch the new brand.
Coming up: A new brewery/tasting room just east of Fiesta Island, scheduled to open in the spring, is expected to double production to 15,000 barrels by the end of 2012. Long-term capacity at the new brewery will be 60,000 barrels.
Fun fact: Director of Brewing Operations Sean DeWitt has spent the past seven years as the San Diego Brewers Guild Vice President, and will take over Marty Mendiola’s role as President for a one-year term beginning in summer, 2012.
Why you should watch: The local yeast production company has settled in to their newer, bigger facility off the I-15 at Miramar Road, and business is booming. Their educational program is in constant development, with an all-day seminar on yeast essentials for homebrewers and local pros set for March 24th.
Coming up: An experimental tasting room featuring beers brewed on-site. Some day’s beers will share the same ingredients except for the yeast, while other days showing the impact of varying fermentation temperatures as the theme.
Fun fact: Last year, Mayor Jerry Sanders declared June 15th White Labs Day in San Diego, the day before the start of the National Homebrewers Conference in Mission Valley.
Julian Brewing Company
Why you should watch: Vince Marsaglia, owner of Pizza Port and Tom Nickel, owner of O’Brien’s, teamed up to revamp the Bailey BBQ property in Julian. Marsaglia is handling the BBQ side of the operation, while Nickel’s creative ideas for the brewery include an active guest brewer program.
Coming up: A grand opening party with live music and dancing once a few house-brewed beers line the taps. The first three are Bailey Pale Ale, which will be brewed with locally grown hops from Star B Ranch in Santa Ysabel, an American stout collaboration with Marsaglia that will be dispensed on nitrogen, and something hoppy in the IPA range. More details on that event when it hits our inboxes.
Fun fact: Nickel has some New Zealand hops that he wants to do single varietal beers with, and this summer he’ll craft some smoked beers with house-smoked malt in the wood pit smoker.
Premier Stainless Systems
Why you should watch: President Rob Soltys has been in the beer business for more than 20 years, and the Escondido-based company he founded in 2000 pushes out an average of one brewhouse per week, ranging from 3 to 30 barrels. Forecasts for growth in 2012 look good, with Premier’s impressive international client list making for a solid reputation in the industry. Local breweries with full systems by Premier Stainless include AleSmith Brewing Company, Iron Fist Brewing Co., Mission Brewery, El Cajon Brewing Company, Mother Earth Brew Co., as well as Pizza Port Solana Beach, Ocean Beach and San Clemente.
Coming up: Premier Stainless will build the brewing systems for Rampage Brewing, scheduled to open in San Diego before May, Coronado Brewing Co.’s upcoming expansion off Morena Boulevard, and Temecula’s under-construction Ironfire Brewing Company, led by former Ballast Point brewers John Maino and Gregory Webb.
Fun fact: Soltys helped build the first brewery system at Pizza Port Solana Beach and plans on wearing the original T-shirt to the party celebrating the 20th anniversary of beers first being served in 1992.
Why you should watch: The Carlsbad and Ocean Beach brewpubs are riding a wave of success after 2011 Great American Beer Festival Brewpub of the Year awards, and two key staff members in director of brewing operations Jeff Bagby and San Clemente head brewer Noah Regnery have recently moved on to other ventures.
Coming up: Pizza Port is looking to break ground on a two-story fifth location in Carlsbad around April 1st. The facility will house a canning line and brewery-restaurant, acting as a hub for production, distribution and employee training.
Fun fact: Live cams on the Pizza Port website show you what’s currently on tap at each location.
Societe Brewing Company
Why you should watch: Societe’s brewers are Travis Smith and Doug Constantiner, who both hail from the deliciously creative, Orange County-based brewery, The Bruery. Before that, Smith was brewing for Russian River. During a short stint at La Jolla Brew House in 2010, West Coaster staff got to try a few of Smith’s beers and they were outstanding. Smith and Constantiner plan to be unique from other San Diego breweries by focusing on sour beers.
Coming up: The opening of Societe will take place in the spring. The soon-to-be Kearny Mesa brewery just finished laying down their floor late in January 2012.
Fun fact: The guys at Societe recognize the importance of updating beer fans on the brewery’s progress, and are active on their blog, Twitter, and Facebook pages.
Suds County, USA
Why you should watch: Well, it’s a film about San Diego beer, to start, and director/producer Sheldon Kaplan has been hard at work for the last few years piecing together the most comprehensive look at local beer history to date.
Coming up: The film’s release. Kaplan is planning to premiere the film during the Craft Brewers Conference in May, followed by screenings at local breweries.
Fun fact: The narration for the film is being performed by Kevin Murphy, best known as the voice and puppeteer of Tom Servo on the comedy series Mystery Science Theater 3000.
World Beer Cup and Craft Brewers Conference
Why you should watch: The World Beer Cup, a highly-prestigious international beer competition held every two years since 1996, returns to sunny San Diego for the third time (2004, 2008) this May. Entries to this year’s World Beer Cup from outside the U.S. increased by 28 percent over 2010, making up 32 percent of the close to 4,000 total entries. The judging and awards dinner book-end the Craft Brewers Conference and BrewExpo Trade Show, a huge draw for brewers from all over the world. Unfortunately, these are not open to the public, but there will be a plethora of beer events going on around town.
Coming up: Local brewers will be pulling out all the stops to brew great beers to enter at the World Beer Cup, and we’ll track down some of their brew days for web content.
Fun fact: San Diego brewers won 21 medals at the 2010 World Beer Cup in Chicago, and Ballast Point took home the Champion Brewery and Brewmaster award in the small brewing company category.
This installment of The Friday Five is with Tom Nickel, proprietor of venerable local beer bar O’Brien’s Pub in Kearny Mesa and co-owner of the The Bailey BBQ (and soon to be Bailey BBQ/Julian Brewing Company) out east off the 78. Tom is going to be the brewer for Bailey/Julian; he has brewed for Oggi’s, Pizza Port, and collaborated with Alpine (to create O’Brien’s IPA).
What’s the beer situation out at Bailey BBQ?
We have 16 awesome beers on tap including Blind Pig and Alpine New Millennium right now. We have AleSmith, Coronado, Stone, Mission, Port, Ballast Point, Julian Hard Cider, Alpine and Green Flash pretty much full time. We also have a full bar and use the Ballast Point bloody mary mix and we also carry the Old Grove Gin. I plan to build up a nice collection of beer spirits and schnapps. At the moment, I have a bottle the Aecht Schlenkerla spirit – distilled Bamberg smoke beer.
And you’ll be brewing there, too?
Yes, brewing equipment is on order and should be here soon. We are going to start with a 3.5 barrel pilot system while we make plans to add a building to the property. We have over 2 acres up here with free parking behind the restaurant.
What are the hours?
Right now we are open Thursday 5-10 pm, Friday 11:30 am to 11 pm, Saturday 11:30 am to Midnight, Sunday 11:30 am to 9 pm and Monday 4-9 pm (with $13 pitchers of all draft beers).
Is there live music?
We are doing live music every Saturday night from 8 pm to Midnight.
What’s new at O’Brien’s?
The pub is hosting the wet hop fest this weekend with 31 different beers. It is by far the most we have ever had – and usually we are the biggest in the country.
UPDATE JULY 1 , 2011
Staunch SD Beer supporter Charles Leask has discovered more details
“Here’s an interesting update. On June 30th the California ABC recorded an application to transfer the existing Bailey BBQ Type 47 “On-sale General Eating Place” license to a corporation named “Julian Brewery and BBQ, Inc.” The DBA on the now-pending license is listed as “BAILEY BBQ”. It appears a Brewery or Brewpub license at this location has not yet been applied for. Also, the officers of Julian Brewery and BBQ are listed as:
President: Tom Nickel
Vice President: Gina Marsaglia
Chief Financial Officer: Lindsey Nickel
Secretary: Vince Marsaglia”
After a six year hiatus, former Pizza Port Carlsbad head brewer and current proprietor of O’Brien’s Tom Nickel will return to brewing professionally “ideally by November.” For the project, Nickel has teamed up with Vince Marsaglia, co-founder of the venerated Pizza Port brewpub chain. The asthetics of the historic 1910 building that now houses Bailey’s BBQ will remain intact, and within it Nickel is acquiring the license to open Julian Brewing Company, which will be in Bailey’s BBQ. Many things are up in the air at this time. The fare will have a farm-to-table lean that will source heavily from the area’s surrounding farms. The initial beer production will focus on providing a reliable staple beer, such as a pale ale. Nickel hopes to open the doors by November of 2011.