this month's issue free!

Posts Tagged Lightning

October Events Sampler Flight

Oct 1

sf_1015Fall arrives with the promise of brats and lederhosen, but there’s more to October than its namesake festing period. Don’t believe us, then read on and see for yourself the plethora of ale- and lager-fueled events that so admirably fill the period in-between Oktoberfest and next month’s San Diego Beer Week. Still not enough for you? Consult our events page for even more fun.

October | Oktoberfest Celebrations: Everyone is embracing German culture (and beer) to varying degrees, from ‘hoods like Carlsbad, El Cajon, La Jolla, La Mesa and Ocean Beach, to local breweries including AleSmith Brewing Co.Ballast Point Brewing & SpiritsGreen Flash Brewing Co. and 24-7-365 Germanic Lightning Brewery. Consult our events page and brewery websites for more deets. | Various Locations, Dates & Times Vary

October | Beer to the Rescue Releases: It’s another big month of one-time-only beer releases for this charity effort benefiting the Lupus Foundation of Southern California. Half Door Brewing Co. will debut its extra special bitter (Oct. 12, East Village), followed by 32 North Brewing Co.‘s dry-hopped Irish-American red ale (Oct. 22 in Miramar) and Rip Current Brewing Co.’s red rye imperial IPA (Oct. 28 in North Park). | Various Locations, Times Vary

October 10 | Birdies & Beers: It’s the official unofficial sporting pastime enjoyed by just about every pro brewery in the Greater San Diego area. That’s right…disc golf? Go figure, but the only thing San Diego’s fermentation specialists seem to love more than ales and lagers is a good fling. Get in on a great day on the greens that includes beer, food, music and helping out a good cause. | Sun Valley Golf Course, 5080 Memorial Drive, La Mesa, 11 a.m.

October 18 | Pour It Black: As autumn sets in and the temperature “falls” from 85 degrees to a chilly 82, the time for darker, heartier beers presents itself and Stone Brewing Co. is more than prepared. With more than 100 different brown-to-onyx hued sour ales, porters, stouts, IPAs and barrel-aged brews, quantity, quality and variety are all well represented at this annual fest. | Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens, 1999 Citracado Parkway, Escondido, 10 a.m.

October 21 | Drinkabout!: Yes, this event happens every month, but having the fun and value of taking part in free transport to a handful of standout imbibing strongholds offering special deals and beers within San Diego’s sudsier neighborhoods can’t be understated. Get on the bus and get in on a good time. | Various Locations; Normal Heights, North Park, South Park, University Heights; 7 p.m.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“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)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Triple Play: Great Beer & Cuisine at a Legendary Location

Oct 15

In front of me I was staring at a glorious en plein air painting that is the sunset west of San Diego’s prime Torrey Pines Mesa.  I was inside The Lodge at Torrey Pines, a 5-star craftsman-style hotel next to a golf course that hosted the U.S. Open a couple of years ago. All that was the hors d’oeuvres. I came for the main course: a cuisine and beer pairing featuring top chefs from The Lodge’s impressive Grill restaurant and the best from local brewer AleSmith.

The sunset at Torrey Pines (staff photo)

Arriving early,  I took a seat at the concise yet elegant bar tucked away behind the cozy dining room of The Grill. AleSmith X was on tap – always a treat.  With full glass in hand I made my way to mingle with the other patrons on the patio.

I introduced myself to Loren Miraglia, Co-Organizer of the National Homebrewers Conference & Encinitas resident. I asked why the NHC decided to set up shop in our hometown this year.  He pointed to the sunset and then added, “the economy made hotel and venue prices much more affordable, so a San Diegan NHC was a no-brainer.” When pressed for more info, he simply smiled and referred me to the NHC website.

Waiters politely hovered through the crowd, their elegant trays offering the House Made Mini Pork Corn Dogs with a tomato confit as well as fresh glasses of X to accompany. Soon, the announcement was made that dinner was imminent.  We took to our assigned seats on the two long tables that were set to accompany the 40 or so people present.

Upon settling in, Head Chef and mastermind behind The Grill’s beer pairing, Kyle Bergman gave an introduction and told us what to expect:

The first dish was to be a Smokey Pork Belly Salad with various fresh leafy greens and a dressing called “Green Goddess.” AleSmith’s Nautical Nut Brown Ale was the pairing choice.
For the second course was the Roasted Day Boat Baja Scallops with Beer Tempura Eggplant and Okra “Creamed Corn.” Evil Dead Red Ale was the choice for this dish.

Photo courtesy of The Grill at Torrey Pines

The third course, a slow-roasted New York Strip with Fennel, Horseradish Potatoe Gratin, Roast Cauliflower, & Bordelaise Sauce, was paired with Decadance 2010.

After Kyle’s friendly introduction, AleSmith’s Peter Zien greeted us and elaborated briefly on the beers that would be coming with the dishes. Immediately after Peter took his seat, large plates were then placed in unison on the tables. Family style, the plates were passed around, and we began to dig in.

As one of few 5 Star locations in San Diego, Torrey Pines holds itself to a high standard of quality. Having dined at The Grill & stayed at The Lodge, as well as tasted all of the AleSmith offerings previously, I thought I knew what to expect.  The pairings were flawless, and I was happily blown away. Specifically, the robust carmel/coffee notes from the Decadence 2010 formed a delicious duet of flavor with the New York Strip dish. This beer pairing was out of this world. As craft beer lovers, we are so fortunate that one of the most gorgeous hotels in the world is on board with beer pairings.  It’s the talk of the region.

Photo courtesy of The Grill at Torrey Pines

Luckily, The Grill chefs Luca Banfi (now at Tender Greens in Point Loma) and Kyle Bergman are both fellow North Parkers, so I caught a ride with them.  I was in no position to operate a motor vehicle, not only because of the ABV, but also because I was in a sort of food-coma that can only come from a really great meal. Keep this in mind if you choose to attend in the future, and I recommend you do. For October, the Lodge brew and cuisine crew are offering a Lightning-themed beer pairing dinner on the 27th.  Of course, they are going to be hosting the closing ceremonies for SDBW. See for more information.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,