“We’re getting the band back together,” says Ray Astamendi, owner and brewmaster of Fall Brewing Co. Ray and his team of merry misfits fell on the northern end of 30th Street on the northern edge of North Park, opening the brewery late 2014. During his time at Mission Brewery, Ray won two GABF medals in 2007 for El Camino IPA (Bronze: Category 44, India Style Pale Ale) and El Amigo Light (Gold: Category 23 Münchner (Munich) Style Helles). Ray has worked for several other breweries in town, including Saint Archer. After leaving St. Archer, Ray scoured SD looking for a location to start his own brewery. His departures from previous breweries has not always been smooth. “In life, we fall from grace many times. No matter how many times we fall, we must get back up.” Fall Brewing is the first time Ray is completely in control. “I’ve never had the ability to play and experiment. We’re answering to no-one nor any conventional wisdom. We’re into beer, and we’re making what we like.” Ray is working to impress the discerning beer drinker.
He’s not alone. The other bandmates? Dave Lively and Mike Mellow.
Dave Lively, a talented graphic designer, has created album covers for local bands The Heartaches + Rocket From the Crypt to National acts such as Jack Johnson + G. Love and Special Sauce. In the local beer world, he’s responsible for the cool visual stylings of Livewire, The Casbah, The Station and Starlight – and has designed for both with Mission Brewery + Saint Archer. He’s now the “Creative Bad Ass” at Fall.
Mike Mellow is a skilled beer salesman that has worked for Ballast Point, Mission Brewery, Saint Archer and Mike Hess. Armed with years of beer slinging experience for some of the best in the local beer business, Mike’s excited to be part of the small, 7-human strong Fall.
As a trio, Astamendi, Lively and Mellow worked together at both Mission and Saint Archer. Hence, “getting the band back together.”
After signing the lease in January 2013, build out commenced that May and lasted until 15 minutes after the City of San Diego code inspector left the building in just before November 2014’s Beer Week. “We took the tape off the windows and people started trickling in,” Ray recalls. Their first beers have been well received, with standouts including Plenty for All Pilsner, 2AM Bike Ride Stout and Spirit of ‘77 IPA. Making good beer right out of the gate is tough for a new brewery, and Fall’s beers have started out great. They’re also improving.
The aesthetics are cool, too. The bar area is being slowly taken over by SoCal punk band posters, including many from Dave Lively’s stash. “We created a space we wanted to exist in,” he explains. “In creating the brand, I wanted a classic, positive theme: the harder you fall, the better you get.”
Plans are in the works to begin packaging in the future. For now, the focus is on developing the beer while modestly earning tap handles at bars. “We have over 52 draft accounts,” says Mellow. “We want to keep the level low and manageable at first, so we’re being picky.” Fall has enjoyed huge support from the Uptown beer community, with handles at Small Bar, Tiger!Tiger!, Blind Lady, Live Wire, Hamilton’s and Monkey Paw.
Events are going to be a focus as well for the new brewery. Already, a hot-dog competition was held between Fathom Bistro and Carnitas Snack Shack. Keep an eye on their events page for more info.
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.
Scot Blair and co. have once again put together an amazing beer list for the annual Santa’s Secret Stash event on Thursday, December 19. There are close to 70 small pours to choose from, with a bus running between Hamiltons, Small Bar, and Monkey Paw.
$3.75 – 5oz:
Huvila Arctic Circle
Mahrs Xmas Bock
JW Lees Harvest 25th Anniversary
Struise St. Amatus
Hangar 24 Pugachevs Cobra 2012
Evil Twin Lil B
Russian River Supplication
Dieu Du Ciel Peche Mortel
Lagunitas Cap. Stout Rye BA
To Ol Udder Means
Stone Imperial Stout ’04
Rogue Big Ass Braggot
Avery The Beast
Bear Republic Old Baba Yaga Cognac BA
Green Flash Silva Stout
Struise “Blackberry” Black Damnation
$3.75 – 5oz
Affligem Noel 2012
Affligem Noel 2013
Petrus Winter #9
Stift Engelszell Gregorious
Midnight Sun Treat
The Bruery Sour in the Rye
Russian River Consecration
CASK: Great Divide Death By Barleywine
Port Santa’s Lil Helper Brandy BA
Beer Here Morke Pumpernickel
Firestone Walker Parabola
Deschutes XXV Porter
New Belgium La Terroir
Anderson Valley Wild Turkey Stout
Lost Abbey Deliverance
Hangar 24 5th Annie Slow Roll
Bear Republic Olde Scoutters ’08
Green Flash Candela
Mikkeller Santa’s Little Helper
$4.75 – 5oz
Struisse Tjeese reserva 2012
Dansk Mjod Vikings Blood
The Bruery Bois
$3.75 – 5oz
St. Bernardus Xmas
Geants Noel Geants
To Ol Jule Maelk Super Stout
50/50 Totality Stout
Midnight Sun BA Berserker
Firestone Walker Sucaba
Oskar Blues Ten Fidy 4 Roses BA
Avery Mephistopheles Stout
Lost Abbey Cuvee de Tomme
The Bruery Tart of Darkness
Port Santas Lil Helper Bourbon BA
Stone Double Bastard ’06
Green Flash Bourbon BA Barleywine
Monkey Paw Kong 2012
Monkey Paw Kong 2013
Monkey Paw Santas Pet Monkey
Monkey Paw Santas Pet Monkey 4 Roses BA
Monkey Paw Valentines Ale
$4.75 – 5oz
The Bruery Melange
Comic-Con conventioneers and San Diego craft beer enthusiasts have more than one thing in common this summer. The first annual Heroes Brew Craft Beer Festival will take place July 20 at the Embarcadero Marina Park North, adjacent to the San Diego Convention Center. Local breweries will be well represented with beer pouring from Lost Abbey / Port, Karl Strauss, Coronado, Aztec, Ballast Point, Iron Fist, Stone Brewing Co., Butcher’s Brewing, Mission Brewery, Monkey Paw, Green Flash, Culture Brewing and more.
Festival goers are encouraged (but not required) to attend in costume, and there will be a “Costumed Crusader Contest” with multiple prizes. In addition, live music will be provided via a 100% solar-powered stage blasting the music of Saftey Orange, Metalhead and DJ G-Roy.
No Comic-Con badge is needed for admission. General Admission takes from 1-5PM and costs $40 for two wrist tags and a 4oz tasting mug good for 20 tasters (additional 10 tasters wrist tags may be purchased for $5). The VIP Session starts with and unlimited brewers special selection tasting from 12-1PM, but also includes the same 20 4oz tasters during the general session plus access to the VIP area with unlimited tasting of VIP brewery sponsor beer.
A portion of the ticket sales will be donated to San Diego Coast Keeper. For tickets and more information, visit heroesbrewfest.com. Use promo code “WestCoaster” at checkout for $4 off your ticket! Code expires on July 5th.
This post is sponsored by Heroes Brew Fest.
Brewers from overseas obviously enjoy San Diego beer. Just last week, Sebastian Sauer from Germany’s Freigeist Bierkultur visited Coronado’s brewpub to collaborate on a hoppy hefeweizen with brewer Ryan Brooks.
This week, Australian brewers Steve Brockman and Steph Cope will release the beer they created with Monkey Paw’s Cosimo Sorrentino and Chris West. The idea for Anzac, the “Aussie Pale Ale,” was born after the TwoBrewersAbroad.com bloggers/brewers met Monkey Paw’s owner Scot Blair at Societe Brewing Company’s tasting room.
Anzac, which debuts this Friday, has several Australian attributes: an Australian yeast strain from White Labs, Lyle’s golden syrup, hand-toasted coconut, and a malt bill with golden oats typically used in war-time staple, the Anzac biscuit (cookie) staple.
Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that is equivalent to our Memorial Day in the U.S. Anzac Day is honored on April 25, but there were no big celebrations in San Diego. “We felt that we and our fellow expatriates deserve to celebrate our own fallen soldiers,” said Cope, “and what better way than a beer.”