The approach of All Hallow’s Eve certainly isn’t scaring local breweries away from holding a freakishly large number of events throughout San Diego County in the coming months. There are far too many to illustrate the full breadth in a short-list of four, so start with the hand-picked happenings below, then proceed to the full list on our events page.
October 8 | Oktoberfest Celebration: At this point, you’ve likely indulged in multiple O-festivities, and there’s no reason not to stop now. Hit Green Flash Brewing Company’s German-themed celebration to taste three special beers, including In der Mitte Märzenfestbier and a zwickel version of Sea to Sea Lager. | Green Flash Brewing Company, 6550 Mira Mesa Boulevard, Mira Mesa, 12 p.m.
October 13 | Blahktoberfest: Don’t pack those lederhosen up just yet. Blind Lady Ale House is having the eighth annual running of its Oktoberfest celebration with keeper pints (that you can fill with their Autobefest beer) and a unique house-made offering—bratwurst pizza. | Blind Lady Ale House, 3416 Adams Avenue, Normal Heights, 11 a.m.
October 21 | BagbyFest II: Even one of the most award-winning brewers of all times knows there’s more to the beverage world than just beer. Bagby Beer Company will section its expansive brewpub into zones celebrating wine, spirits, cocktails (and, yes, beer) from numerous regions of the world along with foods to go with them. | Bagby Beer Company, 601 South Coast Highway, Oceanside, 12 p.m.
October 21 | Anniversary Events: It seems October’s a fertile month. Three breweries are celebrating birthdays on the same day: Belching Beaver Brewing (5 years, special beers galore), Iron Fist Brewing Company (7 years, special beer and live music) and Legacy Brewing Company (4 years, Oktoberfest shindig). | Belching Beaver Brewery, 1334 Rocky Point Drive, Oceanside, 3 p.m.; Iron Fist Brewing Company, 1305 Hot Springs Way, Suite 101, Vista, 12 p.m.; Legacy Brewing Company, 363 Airport Road, Oceanside, 1 p.m.
October 21 | Ye Scallywag: Kickass beer and kickass punk rock will share space on the San Diego Bayfront when 100 beers are tapped against the backdrop of live performances from Pennywise and a motley crew of musical acts including The Vandals, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes and more). | Waterfront Park, 1 Park Boulevard, Downtown San Diego, 12 p.m.
From the Beer Writer: There are few breweries as downright lovely as North Park Beer Co. Outfitted in beautiful woods, from furniture to facings, it’s a sight to behold and the kind of place that is easy to spend a great deal of time enjoying tasty beers. As if this expansive, two-story newcomer weren’t enough on its own, it recently welcomed the addition of an on-site food-dispensary when local foodtruck standout Mastiff Sausage Company‘s brick-and-mortar went live on the base floor at the beginning of October. To celebrate that meaty addition, North Park Beer held its official grand-opening, a soiree that included in-house food, an insane list of guest beers (the presence of which, both at that event and on the everyday tap-list, are made possible by Mastiff’s license) and a house beer brewed specifically for the event, North Park Darkness Refined. Despite being a whopping 10% alcohol-by-volume, this imperial stout drinks easy, coming across smooth and velvety on the palate. And it’s big on chocolatiness, but not in a bittersweet way. At some point, trendiness started to dictate the misconception that any residual sweetness in a beer is a bad thing, a sign of poor craftsmanship, but that’s incorrect. This beer proves that such sweetness can be a beautiful thing. The mild sugars of Darkness Refined make it more of a milk or semisweet chocolate experience rather than the dry, nearly ashy (and not all that pleasant) profile common with imperial stouts that strive for intense dryness. North Park Beer founder Kelsey McNair consulted Mastiff’s tagline, “Manliness Refined” when naming this gentle giant. In the case of the beer and the restaurant, it’s an apt moniker. Look for more on Mastiff, including a Thanksgiving recipe and info on a special holiday sausage that will soon be available in conjunction with it in the November issue of West Coaster.
From the Brewer: “I had planned to brew 30 barrels of my dry-stout recipe for no particular reason (aside from the fact that I quite like the beer), but instead opted to make something fun for our grand-opening. So, I took said dry-stout grist and condensed it down to a 10-barrel batch. I also added an extra long boil to further develop the malt flavors, a bit of Black Patent malt to push some of the roast intensity, and a couple bags of dextrose to give the gravity an extra boost. I remember on brew-day the wort smelled intense and very much like black-strap molasses going into the fermenter. The result is a rich and velvety beer expressing big chocolate cake-like flavors and roasty highlights that mingle with dark dried fruits such as raisins and prunes, and some cola-like nuances in the background, plus a hint of espresso. The body is full and drinks very smooth, finishing with some pleasant, boozy warmth balanced by just enough sweetness to not be too heavy or cloying. The beer is jet-black and has a thick dark brown sugar-colored head. This is Darkness Refined.”—Kelsey McNair, Owner & Brewmaster, North Park Beer Co.
San Diego County is home to more than 130 operating brewhouses, but even with that level of saturation, a first is about to be achieved out in Valley Center—establishment of the first local brewery owned by an Indian tribe. The Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians’ on-reservation economic development corporation is overseeing installation of a brewery called SR76 Beer Works within Harrah’s Southern California Resort (777 Harrah’s Rincon Way, Valley Center).
The individual in charge of the brewhouse and fermentation is Brian Scott, a long-time local brewer whose résumé includes experience at Karl Strauss Brewing Company, Mission Brewery and long-gone Firehouse Brewing Company. He also served as president of the San Diego Brewers Guild in 2012. Despite having operated in the heart of San Diego during his entire career, he is adjusting quickly to life on the fringe. One of his goals with SR76 is to take advantage of ultra-local ingredients, using them when brewing beers he says will lean toward the lighter-side of the spectrum—a Kölsch, wheat beers, pale ales and hop-forward varieties.
Those beers will be brewed on a custom-built 15-barrel Marks Design and Metal Works system. SR76 will have a quartet of 30-barrel fermenters and two 30-barrel finishing tanks, with annual production estimated at 1,200 barrels. SR76 will have limited distribution kept within the immediate area, but the majority of the beer will be sold in SR76’s spacious tasting-room inside the resort. Oversized lounge chairs and sofas will be available in addition to seating at a 25-foot concrete bar giving way to windows lending a southward mountain view.
Previous to SR76, the only other Native American-owned brewery in San Diego County was Indian Joe Brewing, which opened in Vista in 2012, but closed due to issues with its facility’s landlord in 2015. That business aims to reopen in a new, larger location in Vista just off State Route 78 by year’s end. But for now, SR76 represents the only American Indian-controlled interest in the county. The business has set its grand-opening date as Saturday, November 5.
There’s no shortage of fermentable fun to be had during the month bridging Oktoberfest and All Hallow’s Eve, and we’ve culled through the plethora of beery affairs to highlight a few standouts. But there’s a lot more taking place in October, so be sure to peruse (and bookmark) our Events Page for even more good-time options.
October 1 | Oktoberfest Celebrations: It lasts around two weeks, but most places choose to honor Oktoberfest on October 1. Hit up Germanic-driven Lightning Brewery, celebrate the grand opening of North Park Beer Co.’s aptly sausage-centric Mastiff Kitchen, enjoy JacktoberFest at Midnight Jack Brewing, lift a stein of lager at Societe Brewing’s beer hall or head to Santee for its oktOVERfest over-the-line tournament. | Various Locations, Times Vary
October 1-10 | CRAFToberfest: Have plans October 1st? Not to worry—Liberty Public Market is stretching its festing over a ten-day span, and its tenants are pooling their resources. Bottlecraft will hold a German tap takeover while market purveyors will offer $5 bites such as pork schnitzel, cheese, sausages and ice cream to pair with those ales and lagers. A variety of activities will be offered on the market’s patio and the celebration will close out with an October 10 beer dinner at Mess Hall featuring the beers of Germany’s Mahrs-Bräu. | Liberty Public Market, 2820 Historic Decatur Road, Point Loma, Times Vary
October 16 | Pour It Black: Rare are the opportunities to indulge in a gallery of incredible dark beers in warm, sunny San Diego. So Stone Brewing waits until the temperature reaches a chilly 80-degrees to hold a festival focused on the browner, blacker side of beer. But it’s not all brawny stouts; black IPAs and sours are also on the menu at this indulgent grand-scale annual event! | Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens, 1999 Citracado Parkway, Escondido, 10 a.m.
October 28 | Allagash Night: Maine is known for its beer scene, but before its recent popularity, brewmaster Rob Todd made a name for The Pine Tree State’s Allagash Brewing, which specializes in Belgian ales and now includes a coolship-equipped center of funk and barrel-aging. Meet the man and his rarities as he helps Hamilton’s Tavern celebrate its 10th anniversary. | Hamilton’s Tavern, 1521 30th Street, South Park, 3 p.m.
October 30 | Celebrate the Craft: The Lodge at Torrey Pines was one of the first high-end spots in San Diego to back local craft-beer in a big way, and it started here, with executive chef Jeff Jackson inviting SD brewers to be part of this farm-to-table celebration of local crafters of food and beverage. Get to know your local purveyors over tasters of homegrown ales and lagers. | The Lodge at Torrey Pines, 11480 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, 11:30 a.m.
Fall 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 & Spirits, Green 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.