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Posts Tagged nanobrewery

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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Quantum Brewing’s grand RE-opening week

Mar 8

When a brewery sells, it’s usually big news—especially when it’s for a billion dollars—but when a nanobrewery sells, it’s a pretty quiet affair. Most people didn’t even know that Quantum Brewing (5375 Kearny Villa Road, #116, Kearny Mesa) was for-sale last year, but then-homebrewer Martin Beaulieu took notice and acquired the business in August. Since then, he’s kept a low-profile while working on improving a handful of holdover brands from the old Quantum while adding new staples of his own devising. Beer-quality is up from the original operation, as is the state of the tasting room, which now sports two large high-definition TVs, more comfortable seating options and an assortment of games.

It took a while for Beaulieu to get to the point where he was ready for an official coming-out party for Quantum 2.0, but that time is nigh. Starting on March 15—Beaulieu’s birthday—the business will hold an eight-day stretch of events and promotions to celebrate Quantum’s official “re-opening”. The schedule is as follows…

  • Wed., March 15 | Brewer’s Birthday Special: Pale’s Constant Pale Ale will be $3 per pint
  • Thu., March 16 | Giant Game Night: Jenga and Connect Four tournament with prizes
  • Fri., March 17 | St. Patrick’s Day: Special green beer and wearing shamrocks get first pint for $3
  • Sat., March 18 | March Madness: NCAA on TV and wearing college-gear gets first pint for $3
  • Sun., March 19 | Growler-Fill Special: $9.99 for 64-ounce growler fills beginning at noon
  • Mon., March 20 | Cheese & Food Pairing: Le Bistro de Louisa chef will lead 6 p.m. pairing
  • Tue., March 21 | Trivia Night: A tournament with prizes for top performers starts at 7 p.m.
  • Wed., March 22 | Cask Tapping: A first-ever cask of Pale’s Constant will be tapped at 6 p.m.

There are numerous improvements, but not everything has changed at Quantum. Beaulieu kept some of the best features, most notable of all, a chalkboard running along the east wall that’s prime for tagging. He liked that as well as the business’ science-theme, having made the shift to brewery-owner after spending 20 years in the biotech industry. His plan is to keep brewing and eventually expand the business by taking over the storefront just south of his. That would allow him to double Quantum’s capacity by installing a larger brewhouse in the new space, while expand the existing tasting room. If all goes as planned, the expansion would take place next year.

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Beer of the Week: Bear Roots Bear Cookie

Feb 24

Bear Cookie Chocolate Peanut Butter Stout seved on nitro at Vista’s Bear Roots Brewing

From the Beer Writer: Peanut-butter beers enjoyed a brief boom two or three years ago, but even at the height of their popularity, they were polarizing. Adventurous drinkers and fans of the flavor of peanut-butter embraced them with open arms while “beer purists” denounced them as nutty bastardizations of their beloved beverage of choice. While there are few I’ve enjoyed, I’ve never had anything against these brews. Made with various (in the best cases, all-natural) peanut additives, they are usually dark beers that are brewed with deeply-kilned malts, and sometimes cacao or chocolate, to bring on a dessert-like flavor-profile. I approach these beers the same way I approach the last course of a meal, in search of a luscious, sweet sensation. But because it’s beer versus a hibernation-inducing slab of cake, drinkability is important. It can’t be overly sugary and has to balance that peanut-butter essence. Most breweries’ attempts at this come up short, but this is not so at Vista’s Bear Roots Brewing. This one-year-old nano’s Bear Cookie chocolate peanut butter stout is like a well-made truffle filled with nut-infused nougat. These flavors are presented in just the right proportions in a 6.4% alcohol-by-volume beer that has a gently satisfying presence on the palate that’s soft and velvety when dispensed on nitrogen. It is hands-down the best peanut-butter beer being made in San Diego County right now.

From the Brewer: “When I first started home-brewing and dreaming of the idea of opening a brewery, I made a lot of beer around the styles my wife and I enjoyed drinking. Bear Cookie was one that was brewed for my wife and inspired by other great versions on this style. When we first opened our doors, we had not planned on coming to market with this style, as North County had a few already, but given this was my wife’s favorite of my home-brews, it was hard not to eventually put it on tap. Originally, we poked fun at ourselves by calling it ‘We Made One Too”. One thing we love about the craft industry is that you can run a serious business but have a lot of fun doing it along the way! After all, we make beer for a living. Eventually, we realized that coming up with actual names for our beer would be important as we grew, so we turned to our most trusted source for some naming advicec…our then three-year-old. Anytime I would work late nights at the brewery, he would ask if I was going to the Bear Cookie store. Given our name, Bear Roots, our sons’s love for cookies, and the fact that our beer has cookie elements in it, my wife and I thought “Bear Cookie” was very fitting. We use eight different malts, including chocolate, roasted barley, Munich, oats and a few more. The base of the beer is bready, but has a lighter body and crisp finish. On nitro, I think the flavors really blend nicely and it’s one of my go to beers when enjoying a pint at the brewery. Given the fact we are attached to a homebrew store, we have been able to experiment and refine this recipe over the last year, making it one of our most popular beers. I love that we have a completely different take on the style, yet it is enjoyed by many craft-beer fans who dabble in chocolate peanut butter goodness!”Terry Little, Owner & Brewmaster, Bear Roots Brewing Company

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Littles going big bear route with Bear Roots Brewing

Aug 16

bearroots_AWhen we first met Terry and Page Little, they were installing a nano-brewery into their business, Vista’s Home Brew Supply. They weren’t the first to do so (ever heard of a wee operation called Home Brew Mart which spawned the fairly sizeable billion-dollar Ballast Point Brewery & Spirits?), but of the recent crop of suppliers-turned-manufacturers—including The Home Brewer’s Home Brewing Company and Carlsbad Brew Supply’s Guadalupe Brewery—their Bear Roots Brewing Company has gained the most and fastest traction with customers. As previously reported, it’s inspired the Littles to think bigger, enough that they have made the concrete decision to expand their brewery. Now, all they have to do is decide how they want to go about doing that.

The Littles are mulling two options. The first would see them assembling a three-barrel system in their current building on Santa Fe Avenue near Vista’s Old Town area. It would also entail implementation of a program called “brewing success and changing the culture”, which would involve corporate and small-business teams coming to Bear Roots for private brewing sessions. A team-building exercise of sorts, with participants being taught about brewing; everything from logistics to ingredients to processes and even marketing of the finished product. The Littles foresee release-parties for beers produced via this program, wherein program participants reassemble with friends and family to taste the fruits of their brew-day. While there is a brew-it-yourself operation called Citizen Brewers in Grantville, this would be the only local production operation offering such an experience.

Option-number-two would involve the Littles moving the brewery off-site to a larger production-geared facility that would house a 10- or 15-barrel brewhouse. This would include construction of a small tasting room and the ability to distribute Bear Roots beers into the market. The homebrew store would continue to operate as it currently does were this plan to be enacted. Should they go this route and the operation prove successful, the Littles would aim to open a larger tasting room and brewery “training center” in adjacent business suites that would include a “very interactive” homebrew store.

Aside from production, the Littles site a strong desire to share their passion for craft-beer with as many people as possible, hence the team-building and educational endeavors built into both of their plans. Terry has professional background in business and team management from the day-job he will be walking away from to go all-in with Bear Roots. The Littles estimate having their expansion plans completed by October. Timing on debut of the next phase of their business will depend on which direction they go at this meaningful fork in the road.

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Meet Little Miss Brewing

May 9

littlemisslogo2Recently, word trickled to my neck of the social-sphere that long-time Green Flash Brewing Company brewer Joe Liscia had a new gig as the head fermentation specialist for a start-up venture. He’d spent the past five years working for San Diego County’s third-largest craft-brewery (preceded by four years at Oggi’s in Carmel Mountain Ranch and a prior stint helping out Green Flash’s bottling line in 2007), but like many brewers, had dreams of heading his own operation. That opportunity was presented to him in the form of Little Miss Brewing (7949 Stromesa Court, Suite Y, Miramar).

Located a skootch north of Mikkeller Brewing San Diego, AleSmith Brewing Company and Mike Hess Brewing Company’s original nanobrewery, Little Miss has secured a 4,700-square-foot facility. But despite it being somewhere geographically advantageous from a beer-touring perspective, don’t plan on stopping by. This will be a production-only site. Eventually, the familial owners (who own multiple bars), Valerie Fuller, Greg and Jade Malkin, hope to open the brewery to visitors, but their immediate plan is to set up tasting rooms throughout San Diego proper. Those sampling venues are projected to be between 800 and 1,500 square feet and equipped with fun activities (think projector-screen Nintendo, life-size kid’s classics, card and board games).

Liscia plans to begin brewing in five weeks and says a significant portion of his portfolio will be “transitional beers”; the type that non-craft people can get their heads around while developing a taste for something more complex. There will also be an India pale ale (of course) as well as some barrel-aged offerings scheduled for release down the road. These beers will be produced on a 15-barrel steam system and cellared in seven 15-barrel fermenters plus a single 20-barrel tank. Liscia projects Little Miss to produce roughly 1,500 barrels in its first full year, then aim for steady, gradual increases each following year. But the intention with this miss is to stay little (no more than 20 employees).

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