Many were those who felt for Tom Garcia when he announced he was closing his business, Offbeat Brewing Company, last March. The Escondido shuttered following one last hurrah on St. Patrick’s Day after five years of presenting mostly English-inspired ales along with art from local creators. A former employee at nearby Stone Brewing before going out on his own, Garcia has been absent from the brewing scene since closing Offbeat, but he is making his return. Today, Iron Fist Brewing announced they have hired Garcia to serve as brewing production manager at its Vista headquarters.
“I’m very excited to have been given the opportunity to work with Iron Fist,” said Garcia in a press release. “We have great beer with a high potential for growth and innovation. I’m looking forward to helping push the boundaries of deliciousness with [the company].”
This addition comes nine months after Iron Fist brought on a new investor with ties to San Diego Padres ownership. This infusion of capital has allowed the company to look forward rather than tread water. It has also provided added visibility in the marketplace, most notably at Petco Park, where Iron Fist’s beers are readily available via multiple venues and dedicated, branded carts.
From the Beer Writer: There are a number of fruits I have always thought to be perfectly suited as flavor-enhancers for sour beers: pineapple, apricot, Meyer lemon (a sweeter variety of this citrus fruit). But my hands-down pick for the most pucker-ready produce is passion fruit. With sometimes bracing, citric tartness, just a touch of earthy sweetness and even a bit of natural funk, the flesh of the fruit tastes like a sour ale all on its own. In fact, I find myself describing a number of sours as tasting like passion fruit. It would seem the brew-crew at Mission Brewery agrees. Their current limited-edition seasonal release is Mission Passion Fruit Gose, a salted, kettle-soured ale of Germanic descent given added fruitiness by passion fruit added during primary fermentation. The result is an intensely tropical beer that comes on strong with a burst of salinity that gives way to flavors of passion fruit with a touch of lemongrass and the aforementioned mild-funk in the finish. Logical and lacking complication, it’s a beer that tastes good and goes down easy in large quantities.
From the Brewer: “In spring of 2016 we started brewing one-off kettle sours fairly frequently for the tasting room. In doing so, we experimented with a couple different fruit purées and really enjoyed how the subtle fruit character played off the ‘sour’ flavors we were getting from the lactobacillus. After finding a limited supply of passion fruit purée, we knew it would be a winner in one of these kettle sours. Passion fruit has a certain funk to its flavor-profile, and certainly meshed well in this beer.”—John Egan, Head Brewer, Mission Brewery
Throughout the month of August, Mission Brewery (1441 L Street, East Village) is offering patrons a chance to thrust a proverbial boot up a deadly disease’s posterior. It’s the company’s mission (pun intended) to raise money for children with cancer to attend a camp put on by local non-profit, The Seany Foundation. Though small in many senses, this organization makes a big impact in the families it touches, something Mission marketing manager Melissa Hill has seen first-hand through a personal connection with the founding family. And thanks to time spent at Camp Reach for the Sky last week, multiple Mission staff are excited to do all they can.
The primary means of fundraising will be a Pilsner malt-based session India pale ale (IPA) hop-bursted with four pounds per barrel of Simcoe, Citra and Mosaic. Hop bursting refers to massive hop-additions in the very-late stages of the brewing process. This beer, which was developed by Mission lead brewer Bobby Oliver and brewer Cody Morris, is called F@!* Cancer IPA. It’s on-tap right now, but will have something of an official coming-out party tomorrow during a charity kickoff event taking place from 5 to 9 p.m. In addition to the beer, there will be board and camp-style games, a prize-wheel and live t-shirt screen-printing by Shirts On Tap. Admission is free, but a donation of five dollars is kindly suggested.
Fundraising efforts will continue the entire month. Ways in which customers can donate are by purchasing the beer ($7), buying a beer for the kids ($3, and they, of course, will not actually be giving any underage drinkers any adult beverages), checking out a board-game from the tasting room ($1) or by depositing money in an old-school donation-jar (any amount). Since being founded in 2006, The Seany Foundation has raised more than 3.8 million dollars. It’s primary goals are to bring relief and happiness to children with cancer as well as the families who care for them. Mission hopes to raise $13,500 this month; the cost to send 25 kids to Camp Reach for the Sky.
They say it takes a lot of good beer to make good wine. The tons of empty bottles and cans littering vintners’ trash cans in wine-country is testament to that. Soon, those grape-driven artisans will have even more ales to fuel their endeavors—and seriously hoppy ales at that—courtesy of Stone Brewing. Today, the company announced that it will begin renovations to a space in Napa, California’s historic Borreo building to convert it into a venue that will go by the name Stone Brewing Tap Room – Napa
Located on the corner of Third Street and Soscol Avenue in downtown Napa, the 10,000-square-foot spot will include many of the same components as the Stone Brewing Tap Room abutting Petco Park in downtown San Diego’s East Village—a bar, on-site kitchen and merchandise availability. Unlike its local predecessor, the Napa iteration will bring outdoor-seating into the fold and be equipped with its very own 10-barrel pilot-brewery.
Beers produced in Napa will include riffs on core offerings as well as beers incorporating indigenous ingredients. Local edibles will also be folded into the food menu, which will take cues from its sister Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens restaurants. Much of that will be sourced from small, local, organic farms in and around Napa.
This announcement comes in the midst of construction on two of the company’s high-profile projects, Stone Brewing Richmond and Stone Brewing Berlin, both of which have experienced significant delays, but are on-track to open before the close of 2016. Stone Brewing Tap Room – Napa is scheduled to open sometime in 2017.
Since opening for business in 2007, Mission Brewery (1441 L Street, East Village) had never executed an official launch-event for one of its beers, until this week when it held a coming-out party for its latest India pale ale, Plunder IPA. Taster-glasses, plastic doubloons, finger-foods and branded party favors were everywhere, along with posters and other visual elements displaying the beer’s skull and stacked gold-coin logo. It was an effort both complete and entertaining, and it coincided with something else owner Dan Selis and company wanted to show off, The Cellar and Loft by Mission Brewery—a brand-new, 4,500-square-foot, two-story public area that’s ready to receive.
Mission Brewery’s headquarters is built within the historic red-brick building that once housed a Wonder Bread factory. Sited across the street from Petco Park’s Tailgate Lot, it’s in a prime location (unless the Chargers’ recently unveiled downtown stadium plan is executed, which would seem to make Mission’s future in its current facility a bit cloudier). And now it has even more to offer thanks to the new addition, which is accessible from 14th Street as well as a segue at the merchandise store on the southern end of the main tasting room.
The ground-level is equipped with a bar with a dozen taps (bringing the total tap-count at Mission to 66) dispensing various Mission beers, including Plunder, which came across to me as a modern IPA (not over-aggressive in its bitterness, with flavors and aromas of mango and peach) with old-school East-Coast appeal (touches of caramel and toasty malt in the finish). There are a few high-top tables and chairs near the bar, plus two raised round booths bathed in natural light from a pair of skylights on the second floor.
The top-story’s footprint matches the downstairs in area, minus the two circular cut-outs letting the sunshine filter from the skylights. Outfitted in diagonally affixed reclaimed-wood on one wall and historic red-brick on the other, with floor-to-ceiling glass on the west wall giving way to an unobstructed view of Petco Park, it is quite an event space, and can be rented out for private soirees of all kinds.
All I all, the new space is well thought-out and nicely executed. It’s good to see a company that’s been around awhile and quietly gone about its business make some waves. Next up, a portfolio-wide packaging re-brand that will clarify the brand and bring a lot more color into the mix. Look for new bottles to hit shelves over the course of the next few months.