This May is packed with beery events covering everything from local brews and grooves to sours and Belgian beers to the age-old question, “Mother may I…drink beer!” Check out some of these highlighted happenings, then consult our full list of local beer events here.
May 9 | O’Brien’s Loves Craft Beer Mamas: No offense, ma, but Mother’s Day has been known to drive me to drink. Turn the tables and drive mom to drink by driving her to O’Brien’s Pub to toast motherhood with roughly a dozen female parental powerhouses from San Diego’s brewing industry, all of which will tap and toast some of their favorite beers. | O’Brien’s Pub, 4646 Convoy Street, Kearny Mesa, 5 p.m.
May 14 | Rhythm & Brews Festival: This one might sound familiar. The San Diego Brewers Guild‘s beer-and-music festival was originally scheduled for last month, but (the threat of) rain washed it clean into may. Let’s hope April showers yield May flowers in the form of a bouquet of awesome local beers paired with a variety of high-powered musical acts. | Vista Village District, Vista, VIP: 12 p.m., General Admission: 1 p.m.
May 14 | Amps & Ales: The #SouthBayUprising is real and a great chance to experience it will be during this festival from Chula Vista’s Third Avenue Village Association, which has assembled dozens of San Diego breweries, including the South Bay’s own Border X Brewing, Bay Bridge Brewing, Novo Brazil Brewing and Thr3e Punk Ales Brewing for one enchanted afternoon. | 353 Third Avenue, Chula Vista, 12 p.m.
May 15 | Stone Belgian Fest: Being San Diego County’s largest brewing company and running the city’s largest restaurant makes for a lot of pull, and on this day, Stone Brewing will pull Trappist beers, strong ales, wits, sours and more all the way from Belgium to Liberty Station for a festival of epic, international proportions. | Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station, 2816 Historic Decatur Road, #116, Point Loma, 12 p.m.
May 26 | Toolbox Beer Dinner: Surprisingly many are the chefs who claim sour beers aren’t good for pairing with food. This is nonsense, but it can be challenging to compose a multi-course feast using only sours. Churchill’s Pub exec chef A.G. Warfield has the gastro goods to go with Toolbox Brewing Company’s variety of Brett-borne and fruited-sour delights. | Churchill’s Pub & Grlle, 887 West San Marcos Boulevard, San Marcos, 7 p.m.
Mark Schultz is the bar manager at the bacon-inspired burger and beer joint Slater’s 50/50 located in Liberty Station. With 100 taps at the indoor bar and an additional 11 – all local – featured on the outdoor patio, Schultz has his work cut out for him. I was able to pry him away from his duties on a busy Thursday afternoon for five quick questions.
When a bar has a large amount of taps, there’s always a concern that the lines aren’t regularly serviced. What do you say to that?
Maintaining clean tap lines is a big priority for us; every two weeks they’re ripped apart and put back together, so to speak. And if there’s a keg coming on that’s radically different than the one before it, I’ll clean that line myself. Also, no long draw system here.
Right now, Ommegang Seduction and Avery Maharaja are tasting really good. We also have Three Sheets Barleywine and Fathom IPL from locals Ballast Point. Next week we’re getting the new Ruthless Rye IPA from Sierra Nevada. Then on Super Bowl Sunday we’ll be the first in San Diego to tap Pyramid‘s Outburst Imperial IPA and their new smoked cherry lager. I’m really excited to try those out.
You maintain constant contact with all the local breweries. Who are you excited to see more from in 2012?
Even though they don’t brew in San Diego, I love the guys at Airdale. They have an office on Miramar Road and I’m hoping they get set up down here where they belong. Lightning is another brewery to watch. Their Fulminator Doppelbock is amazing and it’s great that they were recently picked up by Stone for distribution. Speaking of Stone, their Liberty Station location can’t open fast enough. They’ll have great beer, and sharing a parking lot with them is something I’m looking forward to.
What’d you do before Slater’s?
I was opening bars for the past eight or nine years. I’ve worked in Florida, Mexico, West Virginia and lots of other places. Slater’s is the second craft beer bar I’ve worked at after The Harp in OB.
Toughest part of the job? Best part?
To be honest, keeping our beer list updated is my biggest challenge. I printed the current list this morning and one of my kegs just blew. That said, at any given time it’s 99% accurate and we put all the local beers in red. Ordering the beers is the fun part; I’m lucky enough to have complete control over our tap selection, and I’m proud of what we pour.
Thanks for sticking with us while we took a little holiday break. Give us a few weeks to repopulate our calendar with events and to get this blog back on its regular schedule. Here is some beer news gathered over the holidays. Only four days in, it’s apparent that 2012 is going to be a MASSIVE YEAR for San Diego beer!
The Sun Also Rises
Our good friend, culinary wizard, and fellow Toronado barfly Brandon Brooks is leaving his roost at Ritual Tavern to pursue a new venture: SOL Markets (SOL = Seasonal, Organic, Local). He’ll partner up with a small team and the market will open in Liberty Station in the coming months. And yes, there will be beer in the form of a tasting bar. We’ll keep you posted once things develop. More info from our beer and food writer Brandon Hernandez can be found here.
Speaking of Liberty Station: Slaters 50/50, Oggi’s, Tender Greens, and Sammy’s are already open and serving craft beer. SOL and Stone are set to open this year. Bear witness to the birth of a formidable craft beer destination.
The smokey sandwich chain from Arizona opened a franchise location near SDSU last year. Now, they have taps. I’m heading over to check this place out in the next few days, but serving local beer to college students is brilliant. If I owned a brewery, I would be very interested in serving my product to this demographic. Get ’em hooked early!
From Riches to Raglan
From the proprietors of the successful and classy New Zealand-themed Bareback Bar and Grill restaurants comes the Raglan Public House. Named after an iconic Kiwi beach town, this restaurant is set to open in around three weeks on the corner of Niagara and Bacon in Ocean Beach. We actually got scooped by Kiwi publication The Marlborough Express (the owners of Raglan requested back issues to adorn the walls). Read more, here.
Also in Ocean Beach, Sea Trader is vying for craft beer customers. The small liquor store has been working diligently to beef up their bottle selection over the past few months. If you’re wondering what that means: I just picked up a bottle of Alpine Duet, St. Feuillien/Green Flash Brewing’s Biere de L’amitié, and Port Brewing/De Proefbrouwerij Signature Ale. If you’re in the area looking for bottled brew, we suggest you check them out. Sea Trader is also right around the corner from staunch local craft beer supporters Olive Tree Market & Tasting Room. Between those two shops you can really do some damage. Please be sure to tell them West Coaster sent you!
Barrels of Fun
Karl Strauss is hosting their 23rd Anniversary party on February 2nd dubbed Changing of the Barrels. We went to last years and it was AWESOME. Great industry mixer with Karl’s finest brews alongside munchies. See pictures from last years event here, and buy tickets here.
February will be our 12 in ’12 issue, and March will be our Ladies of Local Beer issue. These are monster issues that were wildly successful and popular (PDF) last year. Feel free to whisper in our ears with recommendations! Leave a comment below or email me firstname.lastname@example.org.
That’s all for now. Welcome to 2012
In each issue we publish a news-y section called “Brews in the News” where we talk about beer releases, event highlights and more. For the Dec/Jan issue (which hit the streets Dec. 1st), we discuss more tasting room space at two popular Miramar spots, Jeff Bagby leaving Pizza Port (+ updates), 11 businesses that made headlines in 2011, and some SDBW fallout. Enjoy:
MORE BAR IN MIRAMAR —
Who doesn’t like more bar space? Both AleSmith and Ballast Point are renovating their tasting rooms for your beer-drinking enjoyment. The AleSmith tasting room will begin its transformation in January, and will include a new, larger bar with a built-in beer engine, additional restroom, and a display area for both AleSmith awards and its growing barrel program. Stay tuned to their newsletter or West Coaster’s website for information regarding temporary tasting room closure, and look forward to the grand re-opening party in the first quarter of 2012. Some of the tasting room changes at Ballast Point are already underway, and upon completion will include more floor space, a new look, and more taps. The tasting room will tentatively be closed right after the New Year, giving you a bit of time to get over that hangover before jumping back in the saddle.
AND IN PIZZA PORT NEWS —
Jeff Bagby, Director of Brewpub Operations for Pizza Port and head brewer at Pizza Port Carlsbad, who led the Pizza Port family to thirteen medals at the 2011 Great American Beer Festival, will be leaving the company at the end of the year to pursue his own venture. Stay tuned for more information as it comes via our website and future issues. Updates 12/7: follow-up coverage of this story is available on San Diego Beer Blog, TheFullPint.com, Brewery Rowe and BeerNews.org. According to a post by Jeff Hammett at San Diego Beer Blog, Bagby’s assistant at Pizza Port Carlsbad, Ignacio “Nacho” Cervantes will be continuing to brew as he and other members of the team fill most of Bagby’s duties. TheFullPint.com reports that the ideal location for Bagby’s new brewery will be in North County San Diego, but that nothing is set yet. A bit more commentary and quotes available at Brewery Rowe, too. Also, it looks like San Clemente head brewer Noah Regnery is on his way out as well. In other Pizza Port news, Barbara Henry at the North County Times then reported that Pizza Port has plans to build a new two-story, 37,050-square-foot facility in Carlsbad at Palomar Airport Rd and Gateway Rd that would serve as a production and distribution facility as well as Pizza Port’s fifth brewery restaurant location. Henry also reports that it will also house a canning facility. Pizza Port’s proposal goes before the Carlsbad’s Planning Commission tonight at 6 p.m. and a copy of the report to the Planning Commission can be seen here.