Although this weekend is a relatively quiet one in the beer world, I submit this handful of events for your consideration.
Urge 2nd Anniversary
Rancho Bernardo’s beer powerhouse is celebrating their 2nd year in business. For the occasion, Urge has commissioned Mother Earth Brew Co. to create two beers: an Imperial Saison brewed with agave nectar, orange blossom honey, and coriander; and a Pale Ale brewed with orange blossom honey, coriander, and lemon grass. First 100 guests get an anniversary pint glass. There’s also an anniversary burger being crafted, and a free t-shirt to the first 50 people who order it. In Urge’s words, “This. Is. Going. To. Be. Awesome.” I agree. More info on their website.
Coronado Jasmine Ginger Orange Avenue Wit cask @ The Coaster Saloon
The Coaster is located right by the beach. Orange Avenue Wit is a perfect beach day beer. ‘Nuff said. Down a few beers and watch Zonies try to surf at Wavehouse.
A fun beerfest last year, you can read our recap in the archives. The first incarnation of this festival served great beer and food with minimal lines and drama – we expect the 2nd BrewFest Encinitas to be excellent. New for this year: VIP area featuring special guest Jeff Bagby along with some crazy beers (try Karl’s Tart of Darkness). Tickets are $40 and VIP is $65. Click for tickets, participating breweries, VIP beer list.
2nd Annual SD Craft Beer & Cocktail Showcase @ El Dorado
This is going to be cool. $25 scores you 10 craft beer/cocktail tasters from San Diego’s finest brewers and bartenders. In addition, there’s live music, art, and more. Info and tickets, here.
Urge 2nd Anniversary
Day two. This session probably won’t be as rowdy as Friday, but it will still be packed. More info on their website.
Urge 2nd Anniversary
Day three. This will probably be the most low-key session. More info.
Photo: Ryan Lamb
A big welcome to May from us at West Coaster. Right along with the entire San Diego beer industry, we’ve been working hard to put our best foot forward for the Craft Brewers Conference / World Beer Cup. This month, we printed 13,000 issues and distributed them to nearly 200 locations across the county – please pick up an issue if you’re heading to grab a beer after work!
As for our role during this exciting week, we’re going to attend the conference and try and talk to as many out-of-town industry folk to see where they’re from and what they think about our beer. From there, we’ll of course also cover anything cool or newsworthy we encounter during the conference.
Unfortunately, the conference is closed to the public and that’s why we put tons of effort into finding events for our Event Calendar. There’s plenty to do for the craft beer drinker this week.
The Craft Brewers Conference is in town this week, and even though it’s not open to the public, there are plenty of events going on as industry professionals from near and far celebrate the world’s best beverage in San Diego. The conference culminates with the announcement of the World Beer Cup winners on Saturday night, and the following day the number of local events drops to just one — but it’s a sure-fire winner.
The Artisan Food & Craft Beer Festival from 12-3pm at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens promises to be one of the best food & beer events of the year, for a variety of reasons. First, you’ll get to try the creations of ten local chefs who’ve each been expertly paired with beers from two different breweries by “Dr.” Bill Sysak, Stone Beverage Coordinator and Certified Cicerone. Also, the event is a fundraiser for Chefs Celebration and twelve local students planning to attend courses at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley; it is fitting then that two previous scholarship recipients are current Stone employees. And the venue itself, the scenic garden area of Stone’s property in Escondido, is ideal.
Here’s the list of chefs and breweries set to feature on Sunday: Sea Rocket Bistro’s Tommy Fraioli is making a peach bread pudding with lemon chantilly cream and blueberry sauce, paired with Beachwood Brewing 3rd Dimension Tripel & Iron Fist Golden Age. Leah Delyte Di Bernardo of E.A.T. Marketplace is making a quesadilla with wild mushroom, caramelized sweet Temecula onion, smoked gruyere cheese and crème fraîche alongside shredded heirloom beets and micro cilantro salad, hand-scored tortilla chips, hot zucchini relish and pickled smokin’ jalapeños. These are paired with Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale & Green Flash Barleywine Style Ale. Greg Frey Jr. of BlueFire Grill will make a Mesquite-Smoked Shelton Farms Chicken with ruby crescent potato salad, lovage, and spicy Persian lime, paired with The Lost Abbey Avant Garde Ale and Black Market Rye IPA. Dawn Parks of The Wild Thyme Company will contribute a dulce de leche Tiramisu with banana mascarpone and caramel corn, paired with AleSmith Wee Heavy and North Coast Brother TheloniusBelgian Style Abbey Ale. Ricardo Heredia of Alchemy is making braised Paso Prime beef tongue, achiote, house made tortillas, red onion and micro cilantro, paired with Port Brewing Wipeout IPA and Green Flash Hop Head Red Ale. Kyle Bergman of The Lodge at Torrey Pines will prepare head cheese with pickled spring vegetables, paired with Ballast Point Wahoo Wheat Ale and Firestone Walker Double Barrel Ale. Scot Blair of Monkey Paw Pub & Brewery is making an open-faced steak and garlic Baguette with pesto and Manchego cheese, a skewer of mozzarella, olives, and marinated peppers and a balsamic and basil drizzle, paired with Stone Smoked Porter and Lightning Fulminator Lager. Alex Carballo of Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens is making Espresso and Cocoa-Dusted Venison Carpaccio with herb salad and shaved Manchego cheese, paired with Ballast Point Abandon Ship Smoked Lager and Monkey Paw Mighty Joe Young. Lance Repp of La Valencia Hotel will serve Moroccan Spiced Lamb Sliders with citrus olive tapenade and pickled slaw, paired with AleSmith Nautical Nut Brown Ale and Iron Fist Dubbel Fisted. Daniel Barron of Evolve Cuisine Forward is making Stone IPA deconstructed s’mores, paired with The Lost Abbey 10 Commandments and Stone Imperial Russian Stout. Also, The Aniata Cheese Company and Debra Katz and Naomi Couse of Sadie Rose Baking Co. will be on hand providing treats.
Tickets are $65, and are available here.
Last Wednesday Eric Barajas from tasting event planning company BeerNerdz met with Cueva Bar‘s Oz Blackaller to finalize the cheese selections for this Sunday’s Artisan Cheese and Craft Beer Pairing, featuring cheese from local shop Venissimo and beers procured only from San Diego breweries. The first seating is sold out, but there’s another from 6:00 – 7:30pm.
Barajas, who’s put on several blind beer tasting challenges at The Beer Co. downtown, as well as a beer and truffle pairing at Eclipse Chocolat, had always thought it’d be fun to bring local beer and unique cheeses together but lacked a proper venue to host the event. That was, until he visited the Adams Avenue restaurant a few months back. “I came in with my wife and really enjoyed the atmosphere. We met Oz and his wife, and they were really nice. I thought, for beer and cheese, the setting just felt right.”
Barajas isn’t alone: Blackaller says that three couples have recently gotten engaged after becoming regulars at his bar. One proposal happened right after a Valentine’s Day dinner, while another couple who’d just been friends finally had their first date there. They, along with a restaurant staffer who was brought in by her boyfriend while Blackaller was looking to fill positions, will all tie the knot in the near future. “It’s amazing to be connected with these couples in that way,” Blackaller said.
Who knows exactly what magic lies in store for Sunday, but it will center around some great beer and cheese pairings. First up is Humboldt Fog, a soft and creamy cave-aged goat cheese that’s a little tangy, just right for the lively carbonation and earthy flavors of Green Flash‘s Saison Diego, brewed with Seville orange peels, Chinese ginger and grains of paradise.
The second beer on the list is Gouden Vallei, a collaboration beer by Alpine Beer Co. and Colorado’s New Belgium Brewing Company. Its pairing with a house-made cheese promises to be the night’s highlight; Alpine’s Pat McIlhenney recently claimed that “this could be one of the best beers ever created.” Blackaller agreed: “I’d never tasted anything like it,” and in order to complement the ample use of pink peppercorns in the beer, which give it sweet and herbal flavors, he infused lavender and coriander in his queso fresco, so it’s hard to tell where the beer ends and the cheese begins.
If the last pairing was a lesson in complementary flavors, then the third highlights contrast. Barbers Cheddar isn’t too sharp to overpower Ballast Point‘s Sculpin IPA, but it gets close, before bringing the mango and citrusy notes in the beer back to the fore. The Hooks 10-year aged cheddar Barajas also brought to try with the beer was too sharp and creamy, essentially masking Sculpin’s lighter body. “I’ve learned more about beer and cheese than I ever thought possible,” said Barajas, who’d been back and forth to Venissimo for weeks discussing flavor profiles and filling his home fridge with samples.
The pairing of Bruder Basil, a soft and smoky cheese originally created by Trappist monks — not the beer-producing ones though — with The Beer Co.‘s Scotch Ale is fourth on the list. The sweet, malty and smoky aspects of the beer match up well with the cheese, leaving no room for debate over other choices.
The last beer, AleSmith Old Numbskull Barleywine, is strong and complex, so Barajas brought four different types of blue and stilton cheeses to see which paired best with it. Rochefort, a sheep milk blue cheese, was the winner, with its gritty texture providing an interesting cap to proceedings.
Speaking of which, Barajas is offering a $5 discount for one ticket (regular $40), or $10 off for two, for West Coaster readers; apply WestCoaster or WestCoaster1 respectively at checkout. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: Both Cueva Bar and BeerNerdz are advertisers in April’s West Coaster.
YES, THEY CAN! — Scot Blair, owner of the East Village brewery and pub Monkey Paw, announced in an e-mail yesterday that three of brewer Derek Freese’s beers will soon be going into 16 oz. cans, a first for any San Diego brewery. Bay Area-based mobile canning operation The Can Van will come down the week of the Craft Brewers Conference (May 2-5) to package 100 cases each of Oatmeal Pale Ale, Sweet Georgia Brown and Rich Man’s IIPA. Blair noted that a conversation with Firestone Walker’s David Walker was key to the move: “I was chewing on this from before we broke ground on the space in 2012 but it wasn’t til I remember speaking to Mr. David Walker from FSW about the new small pub and canning and he was very encouraging of the concept and idea and how I could do it on a small scale.” Plans for the future (a canning line, expansion) are still undecided, but Blair added, “I don’t want it to be a one hit wonder so I will continue to push forward with my original plans as we look at our predefined goal but suffice to say “Brewed and Canned in San Diego, CA” will be a fact that we will have the privilege to say in a couple weeks.”
MOVIN’ ON UP, NORTH — Karl Strauss Brewing Company, one of the top three fastest growing craft breweries in the Western region according to the Brewers Association, will begin distributing its beers to Northern California in the summer of 2012 after years of customer demand. This move comes along with a host of other announcements from San Diego’s oldest operating craft brewer, including the new “Imperial Collection” that’s available in 22 oz. bombers year-round and features Off the Rails Imperial Red, Tower 20 IIPA (“amped up” versions of Red Trolley Ale and Tower 10 IPA, respectively), and newcomer Wreck Alley Imperial Stout. Also, the seventh KARL brewery restaurant is set to open at 10448 Reserve Drive in 4S Ranch in July of this year with a 7-barrel brew house, 1 fermentor and 2 bright tanks. Big changes are coming to the Pacific Beach brewery too, including more tanks and a revamp of the facility, estimated for completion late summer 2012.
HOW EVENTFUL — Our event calendar is bursting at the seams. Tonight you have your choice between Hess Brewing’s Friday Afternoon Club, Bitter and Sour Night at Downtown Johnny Brown’s, plus Lagunitas Brewing Company casks available at either Hamilton’s Tavern in South Park or Main Tap Tavern in El Cajon. Also, Lagunitas’ Waldos’ Special Ale will be tapped at four places today at 4:20 p.m. — Hamilton’s Tavern, The Regal Beagle, Newport Pizza & Alehouse and Breakwater Brewing Co. Tomorrow, choose between a Ballast Point Maple Porter breakfast cask at Small Bar, a double beer release at The Lost Abbey, or five food trucks at Iron Fist (yes, five: SD Street Eats, Mr. Pig BBQ, Cole’s Sandwiches, Casanova Fish Tacos and Epic Eatz) from 12 – 6 p.m. On Sunday, Oakquinox is back at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens, featuring more than 100 barrel-aged and wood-infused beers. There’s also a beginner brew class at Home Brew Mart starting at 2 p.m. CBC: With the Craft Brewers Conference coming into town, we’ve added a bunch of events starting on Monday the 30th through May 5th that will feature lots of non-SD breweries. Click on each to see if it’s a “meet the brewer” event, and if you know of something we don’t, submit it here. Salud!