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“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).

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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)

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San Diego Beer Week 2014 – Publisher’s Picks

Nov 5

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Kegs have been hoarded, tap lines cleaned, and lineups finalized. It’s go time in the San Diego beer world. Lots of hard work has gone into this 6th incarnation of the 10 day confederation of beer events that is San Diego Beer Week. With 20+ events on the first day alone, tough decisions must be made as to which events will be attended.

As much as my soul wishes to taste all of the beers at all of the places during SDBW, my liver is the one that has to deal with all the alcohol. Plus, drunk driving sucks. I’m limiting myself to three events a day max, with an emphasis on trying tasty, new things. Here’s what I came up with:

From 2012's Rare Beer Breakfast at Stone. Pictured L-R: Colby Chandler (Ballast Point), Shawn DeWitt (Coronado), Dr. Bill (Stone), Ryan Glenn (Ballast Point), and Greg Koch (Stone)

From 2012’s Rare Beer Breakfast at Stone. Pictured L-R: Colby Chandler (Ballast Point), Shawn DeWitt (Coronado), Dr. Bill (Stone), Ryan Glenn (Ballast Point), and Greg Koch (Stone)

11/7 Friday

Stone Rare Beer Breakfast @ Stone Brewing Co. Escondido
Whale hunters will be pleased with the offerings from Crooked Stave, Russian River, Firestone Walker and much more. $65 gets you fifteen 3oz tasters, an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet, a cool taster glass and more.

Urge Beer Run: Day 2
The guys from Urge road tripped from San Diego to Seattle, packing the RV with treats from breweries along the West Coast. With beers you just don’t see coming on tap from Oregon & Washington, this is a good stop for beer tickers looking to try something new.

Guild Fest: VIP Brewer Takeover
One of the three official Brewers Guild events for SDBW, the VIP Brewer Takeover on Saturday evening is not to be missed. There’s a good chance you’ll get to say hello to your favorite brewer and the tap list is pretty solid. I’m going to taste Queen of Tarts by Karl Strauss, Green Flash’s Hammie’s 8th Anniversary Wheat Wine & the 12th Anniversary Sour Pale Ale, Twisted Manzanita’s Serenity, Rip Current’s IIIIPA, and New English’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Brown.  I’m also looking forward to checking out all the newer breweries as they’re anxious to show off on their 1st Beer Week. Tickets are $75 for unlimited tasting of food and beer.

December / January 2012-13’s cover of the 2012 Guild Fest

11/8 Saturday

San Diego Brewers Guild Festival
The largest of the three official San Diego Brewers Guild events of SDBW, this will be a snapshot for the current state of San Diego Beer with unlimited tastings from over 50 SD-county breweries. My personal favorites on the list include Electrocution by Amplified Ales and Stone Liberty Station’s Witty Moron. I’ll be looking to try beer from newcomers 32 North, Bagby, Dos Desperados, Fallbrook, Prodigy, Toolbox and Urbn St.

NorCal Beer Night @ Hamilton’s Tavern
Hammies is orchestrating a massive taplist with lots of Northern California beers you just don’t see much of down South. Marin Brewing, CellarMaker, Social Kitchen, Magnolia, Moonlight, Moylan’s, Iron Springs and many more will be on tap.

Chef Calvin Hanis of Carnitas Snack Shack with his pet pig, Carnitas

11/9 Sunday

Green Flash Smokeout @ Carnitas Snack Shack
The realm of tasty that is Carnitas Snack Shack is hosting the 6th Annual Green Flash Smokeout. Green Flash will have Chuck Silva & Dave Adams curating on hand to talk about Green Flash happenings and any of the beers on tap. The food will be killer. This one will put you in the right place for our next event pick:

The World’s Biggest Bottle Share on 30th Street
I love DrinkAbout and I love bottleshares. This is a hybrid of those two things taking place in the greater North Park area. A bus will connect Polite Provisions, Ritual Kitchen & Beer Garden, Waypoint Public, Bluefoot, Brabant, Station Tavern, Alchemy, and Hamilton’s. $20 gets you a t-shirt, bus access from 12P-6P and a commemorative taster glass. Bring a few bottles to share with friends new and old while enjoying discounts at each of the stops. Cool new concept from the South Park Business Association.

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Fishing with the Brewers @ Fathom Bistro
The pub on the pier is getting together some friends and going fishin’. For $70, you get a fishing pole with hooks, weights and bait that are yours to keep. You also get breakfast, lunch and a t-shirt, too. Cast lines and hang out with Adam Avery of Avery Brewing, Chuck Silva of Green Flash, Jamie Floyd from Ninkasi, Bear Republic’s Richard Norgrove, AleSmith’s Bill Batten and Yuseff Cherney of Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits. Beers from each of the respective brewery will be on tap, and the view is awesome.

Brews, Views and Chews @ Tom Ham’s Lighthouse
Across the bay, the iconic Tom Ham’s Lighthouse is hosting a mini-festival including another fantastic view of San Diego. $40 gets you tasters from Ballast Point, Lost Abbey, New English, Ironfire and Acoustic Ales with food from Hanis Calivn (Carnitas Snack Shack), Lance Repp (Tom Ham’s), Chad White (Comun Kitchen) and Don Morales (Bali Hai). There will be live music and a silent action also.

Modern Times Tasting @ SD TapRoom
TapRoom is arguably the most San Diego proud bar with a well curated local-centric taplist to boot. Modern Times is one of my favorite breweries at the moment, and their newer beers like Universal Friend and Aurora have been bold and delicious – complimenting their sessionable core lineup nicely. Starts at 8PM.

May 2013’s cover of West Coaster featuring Benchmark Brewing

11/11 Tuesday

Full Table by Benchmark Brewing Co.
We’re big fans of Matt Akin and Benchmark Brewing. Their subtle but skillfully brewing style is no better explained than by a sip of their core offering Table Beer. For this event, there will be a dozen different variants of Table Beer. This is a great way to taste how things like switching the yeast or barrel aging affect a beer. Flights of 6 are $12 and individual tasters are $2. Benchmark is very close to Groundswell Brewing and San Diego Brewing Company, both worthy of a visit afterwards.

Ice Cream Float Night @ Tap That Tap Room
Tap That will have a full selection of beers ready to be augmented with a scoop of ice cream. You can’t go wrong with beer floats with Karl Strauss’ Peanut Butter Porter and Belching Beaver’s Peanut Butter Stout. Tap That also has bottles and kegs to go, so if your fridge or kegerator needs a SDBW-reload you can do that, too.

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Ignacio “Nacho” Cervantes at Pizza Port Carlsbad, mid 2011

11/12 Wednesday

Crushed & Karl’d Brunch
Pacific Beach’s Karl Strauss is bringing beer for brunch at the new Crushed on Garnett Avenue. Making great use of the old Ciro’s draft system right out of the gate, this new spot is a promising addition to the rapidly expanding Pacific Beach Better Beer Circuit. Brewmaster Paul Segura will be in attendance. Crushed is an easy walk to Tap Room, Barrel Republic, Iron Pig and Amplified, also.

Pizza Port Showdown @ Sublime Ale House
Sublime is putting beers from all SD-county Pizza Ports on tap and pitting them against one another. Taste beers from Nacho Cervantes (Ocean Beach), Devon Randall (Solana Beach), Sean Farrell (Bressi Ranch) and Mike Abuchon (Carlsbad) and vote for your favorites. The winner gets a trophy and beers the beers organized into four categories: Hoppy, Belgian, Dark and Brewers Choice. Beers on tap include: Bacon & Eggs, May the Port Be With You, Barrel Aged Export Stout and Fresh Hop Grapefruit Tap.

August 2011’s cover featuring Mexico’s Insurgente Brewing

11/13 Thursday

Nickel Beer Night @ West Coast BBQ
Nickel Beer Co. owner and West Coast BBQ co-owner Tom Nickel makes some quality beer out of Julian. This is a great way to taste a few of his beers and eat some BBQ from West Coast’s huge smoker. Smoked Beer Cheese plates and Hot Links available for munching.

No Border: Craft Beer & Tacos with Insurgente Brewing @ Tacos Perla
From Tijuana to North Park, Cerveceria Insurgente will be on tap at Tacos Perla. The two brothers Ivan and Damien Morales have been very busy since we featured them in our August 2011 issue of West Coaster (check out our archives: http://westcoastersd.com/editorial). Baja beer has been growing at an incredible pace, and this is one of the breweries we’re most excited about south of the border.

Love Your Mother Earth Brewer @ Ritual Kitchen & Tavern
Farm to table pub Ritual will host Vista’s Mother Earth Brew Co.’s Kamron Khannakhjavani for a beer pairing dinner. Mother Earth’s beer has been tasting really good lately, and Ritual Tavern is the perfect setting for a low key beer dinner.

11/14 Friday

Ballast Point Tap Takeover 2011 at The High Dive

Ballast Point Tap Takeover 2011 at The High Dive

Ballast Point Tap Takeover @ The High Dive
The friendly neighborhood pub High Dive has for years been Ballast Point Home Brew Mart’s break room. Owner Ingrid also recently married BP’s brewmaster Yuseff Cherney. Both of these things mean that you can expect the best from Ballast Point’s beers and spirits to be available: check out a list: http://www.highdivesd.com/events/sdbw-ballast/

Council Brewing Progressive Tart Saison Night @ Council Brewing Co.
One of San Diego’s newest and most promising breweries will be rotating on kegs of their low-ABV, high flavor Tart Saison. Variants include Mango, Pomegranate and Nelson-hopped.

Meeting of the Guilds @ Toronado
Featuring beers from the San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco Guilds, this is a great chance to taste beer from our Northern friends. Ladyface, Strand, El Segundo, Eagle Rock and more will be representing Los Angeles. San Francisco will be represented by Magnolia, Thirsty Bear, Almanac along with several others. Plenty of San Diego beer, too, but for this one I’ll be trying to tick off new beers on Untappd.

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Team BNS

11/15 Saturday

The Bruery Secret Stash @ The Joint
There’s lots of good beer in Ocean Beach these days. Plan to spend some time in the neighborhood and start with The Joint, a funky Spanish / Japanese restaurant that will be serving up rare beers from The Bruery on Saturday. Afterwards, check out the new Culture Brewing Co. tasting room and don’t forget to see what neighbors Raglan, OB Noodlehouse II, and Pizza Port are serving. After your OB beer day, take a unsober selfie on the pier and send it in to us.

East County Hop On, Hop Off Brew Bus
This is a great way to easily check out what East County’s brewing scene is all about. Organized by Urbn Street Brewing Co., a bus will run from 5-10PM and visit BNS Brewing & Distilling, Twisted Manzanita Ales, Main Tap Tavern in addition to Urbn St. The bus is free.

Barrel Republic 1st Year Anniversary
The one-of-a-kind, pour-it-yourself beer bar is going insane all SDBW, but on the final Saturday of Beer Week Barrel Republic is celebrating their 1st Anniversary. The concept is cool and there will be more good beer available then you can shake a Willi Becher at. With loads of proper glassware, you can taste beer at your own pace and in whatever quantity you prefer. Beers on tap will include Telegraph Brewing Co. Rhinoceros 2012, Firestone Walker Brewing Co. Velvet Merkin aged in Tequila Barrels, Hangar 24 Craft Brewery Pugachev’s Cobra 2013 and more.

11/16 Sunday

Beer lovers taking in the sights at the 2010 Beer Garden at the Lodge at Torrey Pines

Beer lovers taking in the sights at the 2010 Beer Garden at the Lodge at Torrey Pines

The Beer Garden @ The Lodge at Torrey Pines
In years past, the official closing event of San Diego Beer Week has been a one-stop shop for the finest in SD beer and food in an absolutley stunning setting. With 24 breweries and 12 restaurants being showcased on the edge of Torrey Pines Golf Course, this is a worthy finishing act for the previous 10 days. https://www.sdbw.org/event-info/10-the-beer-garden

 

November is also our 4th Anniversary at West Coaster. We launched during Beer Week 2010, and this post has photos and covers from the past four years. Don’t forget to check out our November 2014 issue online or in print. Thank you very much for reading!

The 1st issue of West Coaster awaiting delivery - November 2010

The 1st issue of West Coaster awaiting delivery – November 2010

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San Diegan Brewers Earn 14 Medals at the 2013 Great American Beer Festival

Oct 12
Team Monkey Paw

Team Monkey Paw

San Diegan brewers earned fourteen medals at the 2013 Great American Beer Festival; 5 gold medals, 3 silver medals and 6 bronze medals overall.

Category 12 (Session Beer)
Gold: Beer Hunter, Pizza Port Ocean Beach, San Diego

Category 19 (American Style Sour ale)
Bronze: Red Poppy, The Lost Abbey, San Marcos

Category 51 (American-Style Strong Pale Ale)
Gold: Bonobos, Monkey Paw Pub & Brewery, San Diego
Bronze: Kung Fu Elvis,  Pizza Port Ocean Beach, San Diego

Category 55 (Imperial Red Ale)
Silver: Rhino Chaser, Pizza Port Ocean Beach, San Diego

Category 60 (Irish-Style Red Ale)
Gold: Red Trolley, Karl Strauss Brewing Co., San Diego
Bronze: Ragtop Red, Rock Bottom La Jolla

Category 61 (English-Style Brown Ale)
Bronze: Longboard Brown, Rock Bottom La Jolla, La Jolla

Category 63 (American-Style Black Ale)
Silver: Black Sails, Coronado Brewing Co., Coronado
Bronze: Oxymoron, Oceanside Ale Works, Oceanside

Category 72 (Belgian-Style Abbey Ale)
Silver: Decadence 2012 Quadrupel, AleSmith Brewing Co., Miramar

Category 75 (Robust Porter)
Gold: Moonlight Porter, Rock Bottom La Jolla, La Jolla

Category 80 (Oatmeal Stout)
Bronze: Oats., Pizza Port Solana Beach, Solana Beach

Category 84 (Barley Wine-Style Ale)
Gold: Old Numbskull, AleSmith Brewing Co.,  Miramar

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The Friday Five: 5Q w/ Dan Love

Jul 12
Dan Love, via Mother Earth's Facebook page

Dan Love, via Mother Earth’s Facebook page

Dan Love is co-owner of Mother Earth Brew Co. in Vista.

Mother Earth and Pizza Port Solana Beach head brewer Devon Randall are introducing a collaboration IPA today at Pizza Port Bressi Ranch. What brought you together?
We were at the Bressi Ranch soft launch and (Mother Earth co-owner) Kamron (Khannakhjavani) mentioned to Vince (Marsaglia) that we’d love to do a collaboration to help them produce beer as they get up and running. It’s called The Cru — named for the two crews who brewed it and Pizza Port’s yeast, which is called La Cruda. We used a combination of Columbus, Cascade, Amarillo and Chinook. On the nose it’s like a punch in the mouth full of grapefruit, but it’s very refined. It doesn’t have a harsh bite to it. It’s smooth. And the wheat malt gives it body and nice lacing on the glass.

Vista is now the largest beer city per capita in the U.S. What is it about this North County city that is so appealing to brewers?
We have a great relationship with the city and its willingness to reach out to brewery business and say, “You’re welcome here.” They support us in their planning department, in their permitting department, they do it in a lot of different ways. Now, if we could just eliminate some of the red tape from the ABC (California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control), we would be able to do a lot more creative things to introduce people to craft beer.

There isn’t much love lost between many breweries and the ABC? What’s your beef?
The ABC is so antiquated in dealing with laws that are so old that they just can’t get out of their own way. When you get your license to open a brewery, the ABC doesn’t tell you anything that’s related to the law. When you ask for a manual of do’s and don’ts, they say they will never provide one because they’re worried that someone will interpret it differently than the way it should be interpreted and they might get sued. It’s ridiculous. They should be getting on board with this great industry that has generated $22 billion in revenue for California and 20,000 employees. Stop slowing it down.

Mother Earth is known for its hop-forward beers such as Kismet IPA and Hop Diggity DIPA, but Cali’ Creamin’, a vanilla cream ale, is your second-best selling beer. What do your customers love about it?
It’s very approachable. It’s light, refreshing and low in alcohol. Plus it has a friendly name and the bottle has a classic surf logo. You won’t taste this beer and make a face.

Love, on a brew day with Urge Gastropub

Love, on a brew day with Urge Gastropub

You are planning to produce 5,000 barrels this year, a far cry from when Mother Earth first started back in 2010. What’s in your future?
I remember when my wife, Errin, asked what my vision was when we first started, and I couldn’t answer her because I didn’t know where we were going. But the help we received from Lee Chase, Tomme Arthur and so many other people made us realize where we fit in in this industry. And once we started bottling and the great feedback we received, the light bulb went off and we realized this wasn’t just a hobby anymore. We have a 20-barrel system now and we’ll do 5,000 barrels this year and next year will be at 11,000. In 2015 we’re planning on 16,000. We’re also considering a canning line to go along with our bottling line. All of this was unfathomable when we first started. But the bus is moving fast right now and we have everyone in the right seat.

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Top Of Her Class: Devon Randall’s journey to becoming a head brewer

Mar 6

Words and photos by Dr. Q and Jerry from CraftBeerTasters.com 

Google the phrase “women in beer” and it will autocomplete to “women in beer commercials.” Dig deeper and you will see that the women in these commercials are either used as props to entice male fans in an effort to relate beers to sex, or as comic relief, oftentimes showing traditional male/female role reversals done so for the sake of comedy. In either case, it is clear that women are not the intended customer, nor are they to be taken seriously in regard to beer. These ideas of women in beer, however, are quite out of touch with the reality of women’s taste. A 2012 Gallup Poll asserted that 23% of women preferred beer over liquor or wine. Moreover, the misconceptions and marginalized depictions of women’s role in beer is disjointed from the social and economic position of women in the United States. The gains women have made in terms of educational attainment have significantly outpaced those of men over the last 40 years. Because of this increase in educational attainment, the participation of women in the workforce has risen dramatically from the early 1970’s through today.

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Randall’s boots at Pizza Port Ocean Beach

Yet in the beer industry, where there are 100,000+ jobs in the U.S., women account for only 10%.

The lack of women in brewing has not always been the case though. Once upon a time the role of brewing and selling beer was that of a woman. But as time went on commerce overtook the art, taxes took their share, and women were excluded. Over the years, memories of the past faded and the perception of beer brewing and drinking became more and more tightly bound to masculinity.

When researching women in San Diego’s craft beer scene, for example, it took several industry insiders quite a while to list more than 10 women who play pivotal roles in the San Diego craft beer brewing community, four of which are brewers. Only four women brewers in a county with 60+ breweries boasting literally hundreds of brewers? There is something inherently wrong with that picture. I pressed further and asked if any of these four women brewers were brewmasters or head brewers. Only one: Devon Randall. Randall was recently named Head Brewer of Pizza Port Solana Beach, which is where we caught up with her over a pint of Ponto Pale Ale.

At age 10 brewing wasn’t even a thought in young Randall’s mind. She had her sights set on veterinary school. Many years later, while attending UC Berkeley, Randall found herself in need of work. Raleigh’s, a staple in the Berkeley craft beer scene, was a fortunate part of her path. It was at this bar at age 21 that Randall got her first exposure to craft beer. The beer? Moose Drool. Why this beer? The logo on the bottle and the name enticed her, but the flavor led her to become a fan of brown ales. The flavors intrigued her; prior to this, she’d only bought the cheap, macro stuff. But at Raleigh’s she was working with 20 solid handles hosting the likes of Anchor, Sierra Nevada, and Russian River. Moreover, the management was keen on the idea of teaching staff about the beer brewing process and the history of beer styles. The more she learned, the more she loved the stories behind the beers. Randall reveled in this job until she graduated with her Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication.

With a mother and grandmother who were both career real estate moguls, Randall returned to her hometown of L.A. with a freshly minted B.A. and a job in real estate marketing. Finding the job to be lacking in challenges or creativity, with a leadership lacking in these categories as well, Randall got bored and continued her education in an effort to become a real estate agent. Though this path was in her blood, it just wasn’t the right fit for her personality.

Luckily she found an outlet for her creative energy at Pacific Gravity, a Los Angeles-based homebrew club. Here she learned more about the process of brewing and created an amber ale which she viewed, at the time and even now, as boring, but drinkable. This boring beer, however, was the catalyst for change in her life. After the first batch Randall began to brew more and more, to the point where every week she was either brewing or packaging. This lasted for a solid three or four months when, on a fateful friday night, her girlfriends asked her to go out on the town. Shunning the fun-filled promises of a Friday night in L.A. Randall chose to stay home and bottle her beers. That’s when it clicked. She was in a job she didn’t like and in an apartment she couldn’t afford, but she had a passion inside of her. A passion for beer. It was at this time when Randall first approached different breweries she had become familiar with in the hope of landing any role that would allow her to learn more about brewing. Randall was given many “no” responses for various reasons. It was at this time that Randall realized a change of scenery was likely in order.

DEVON RANDALL INTERVIEW

Devon Randall at Pizza Port Solana Beach

Randall, relying on the kindness of a good friend in San Diego, began looking for real estate jobs in America’s Finest City. She knew the real estate industry here was promising, but she also knew that the craft beer industry was flourishing. Again, Randall visited many breweries in the hope of finding something, anything. She eventually arrived at The Lost Abbey in heels, a skirt, and a blouse: formal real estate business attire. She made her pitch to volunteer her time and help in any way that she could. They told her to come back at 6 a.m. the next day in steel toe boots. She immediately went to Wal-Mart and bought her boots, and called her friend with the hope of securing a place on her couch. She spent several months on that couch while volunteering at The Lost Abbey and tending bar part time at Pizza Port Solana Beach.

“Day 1 I took out the trash and swept the floor because I knew I could do that,” said Randall. The job may sound menial and the gesture may seem simple, but the initiative shown displayed to those in the brewery that this person was here to work. Slowly but surely brewery workers, cellarmen, and brewers taught her more and more skills, eventually leading Randall to transition from volunteer to employee. She worked in the warehouse where, in time, she began bottling and labeling.

Though appreciative of the role, Randall felt far away from brewing and soon saw her days in the warehouse growing from a 9-5 job to being a 9-5 and then a 6-12 midnight gig. This was all in an effort to work under the tutelage of The Lost Abbey’s night shift brewer. In fact, Randall even slept in the brewery on bags of grain from time to time, purely out of necessity. It was her can-do spirit that, fittingly, led to a pivotal Labor Day in her life. At the time The Lost Abbey didn’t have paid holidays, and Labor Day was no exception; however, the powers that be said anyone that wanted to work on Labor Day could. Randall was the only “grunt” who came in on that day, and it paid off.

“They taught us how to clean a brite tank properly, so, from that day on I had the opportunity to step up and utilize my newfound skills whenever needed,” Randall stated. This led to her being involved more and more in all aspects of production until one day she was entrusted with The Lost Abbey’s barrel program. She had her chance to be challenged, utilize her creativity, implement an organizational structure of her own design and partake in tastings with Tomme Arthur and Gwen Conley, the Director of Brewery Operations and Quality Assurance Director, respectively.

But, despite this opportunity, she still wanted to be by the brewhouse. “How could I properly do my job managing the barrel program if I had not mastered how to brew what goes into those barrels?” she asked herself. It was then that Yiga Miyashiro, former Pizza Port OB Head Brewer who is now heading up their upcoming Bressi Ranch location, tipped Randall off that Pizza Port Solana Beach, the first of the bunch, was looking for a new Head Brewer and that she might fit the bill.

DEVON RANDALL INTERVIEW

Randall speaks with Dr. Q at Pizza Port Solana Beach

Randall understood the implications. “As a Head Brewer you get to see the birth of the beer and watch it grow into its full potential. In the case of Pizza Port, you are allowed to be exponentially creative. Whether barrel aging beers, using coffees, spices, the brewers are trusted to be innovative.”

That innovation is not just on the brewing side. “Brewers take great pride in their beers, but you have to try them in various settings to see how they stand up. Fresh. Weeks later. From growlers. To get a true sense of the beer, how it really is, you have to drink it how others might drink it.”

I remind Randall that by virtue of being a female brewer, let alone Head Brewer, she is, by nature, an innovation in this day and age. When asked about being a woman brewer in San Diego she confidently shared this thought: “I have never had the feeling of someone trying to prevent me from entering the brewing industry, but I certainly had to work hard for it.”

Randall is an example of what can be accomplished with hard work and effort. Yet she recognizes that there are few female industry professionals and no overt outreach in our community. When asked what she’d tell a woman that is scared to brew professionally, Randall asserted, “If women are intimidated about getting into the brewing industry, they shouldn’t be.”

For a more in-depth analysis of women in the industry please visit CraftBeerTasters.com

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