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Posts Tagged the linkery

Beer of the Week: North Park Bird Park Bohemian Pilsner

Jul 7

From the Beer Writer: One of the things I enjoy most about North Park Beer Co. is that it’s a place for people who genuinely enjoy a variety of styles made to style. Sure, the house IPA has plenty of punch, but even it exhibits the great balance that is the trademark of owner and brewmaster Kelsey McNair‘s ales and lagers. It’s beers like these—session and mid-level strength brews that are flavorful and easy-drinking—that will convert more people to the glories of finely crafted brews. Primed for accomplishing that on the Pilsner front is North Park Bird Park, a Bohemian-style Pils that goes down easier than most local takes on the style, which often end with a sharp, almost biting sensation. While classic Czech Pilsner flavors of herb and earth are all present, newcomers to craft will not be challenged by a slap-in-the-throat finish, making Bird Park a fine candidate to become many future craft-beer drinkers’ “breakthrough beer”. Of course, if you’re already into craft, as well as Pilsners, you will be able to appreciate it for its light body, cohesive layers of flavor and the great deal of thought that went into its composition. For that, I’ll turn it over to its creator.

From the Brewer: “To me, there’s nothing like a well made Bohemian-style Pilsner. Moonlight Brewing‘s Reality Czech is my favorite version and easily one of my top-ten beers. Anytime I travel to the Bay Area, I make it a point to drink a lot of that beer. Several years ago, owner and brewer Brian Hunt of Moonlight was at The Linkery for an event where several of his beers were featured. I happened upon a seat next to him at the bar and struck up a conversation. As a then-avid homebrewer, I hoped to get some recipe nuggets from him so that I could take a stab at making my own version of the style. He went into this long rant: ‘In order to brew this style, first you need to go to Prague and drink as much Pilsner as you can. You have to understand it that way.’ I walked away from this conversation without any new knowledge about his recipe or procedures. I generally never aimed to clone beers as a homebrewer, I would just get inspired by commercial beers and make my own recipes. Some Internet sleuthing told me that Reality Czech used Perle hops, so I figured I’d include them in my pils, too, as an homage to this superb Pilsner. But, I never made it to Prague and I never actually ended up brewing a Bohemian Pilsner as a homebrewer. Fast forward to now, I finally put the recipe together and just went for it. For our version, we used German Pilsner malt and some Melanoidin Malt to add some malt richness and body. We kept the water profile balanced and very soft. We hopped it with the classic Czech Saaz and also German Perle. We borrowed some lager yeast from the local lager master in town, Doug Hasker of Gordon Biersch, and fermented it low and slow to make sure the beer turned out as clean as possible. The result? An impeccably clean Pilsner with lovely nuances of bready malts and spicy, floral hops that has a firm, well-integrated bitterness. The body is medium-full and the finish is snappy, dry and refreshing. With the temperature on the rise, Bird Park is the perfect beer for your backyard barbecue or a day at the park.”—Kelsey McNair, Owner & Brewmaster, North Park Beer Company

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The Friday Five: 5Q w/ Kory Stetina

Mar 1
LOVELIKEBEER's Derek Humbard (left) and Kory Stetina, courtesy of

LOVELIKEBEER’s Derek Humbard (left) and Kory Stetina, courtesy of

Kory Stetina is co-founder of LOVELIKEBEER, a local organization that puts on vegan pop-up beer dinners for charity. He and Derek Humbard also have a special beer and food pairing available at Sea Rocket Bistro in North Park that benefits Seeds @ City Urban Farm on the campus of San Diego City College.

Menus from past events hosted by Stetina and Humbard have paired almond brown sugar-glazed doughnuts with St. Louise Framboise at Tiger!Tiger!, roasted garlic and almond ravioli with The Bruery’s Loakal Red at Local Habit, and herb-pressed tofu with English peas, smoked tempeh and truffle vinaigrette with Stone Ruination IPA at Sea Rocket Bistro.


The menu for CORNUCOPIA – April 3 @ The Linkery

Coming up on April 3 they’re hosting “CORNUCOPIA” at The Linkery, showcasing vegan dishes inspired by Meso-American cuisine from Chefs Keith Adams (The Linkery) and Max Bonacci (El Take It Easy), plus custom cask ales from AleSmith Brewing Company. This is a one-night only event with an a la carte menu and no cover. And in keeping with the LOVELIKEBEER spirit, 15% of proceeds will benefit Engineers Without Borders – San Diego. Check out the menu scoop, left.

Why The Linkery?
The Linkery has long been a pioneer of San Diego’s farm-to-table and craft beer movements. They’re an important anchor on the 30th Street corridor for both, and from the beginning, embraced a wide variety of culinary directions and diets. They’ve had incredible vegan options on their menu and we’ve been long-time personal fans of the restaurant and what it stands for. They’ve been on our radar for a potential collaboration for quite some time so we finally were able to circle back and make it happen.

Why Meso-American cuisine and why the focus on corn?
photo-2The team at The Linkery holds steadfastly towards local, hand-crafted, non-processed foods, and the LOVELIKEBEER concept holds equally true to filling, artful, and most importantly, protein-rich vegan cuisine. In exploring our conceptual direction, Jay Porter and I realized that the two married quite nicely when looking south of our border. We also discovered going back in time to pre-Columbian (i.e. pre-Columbus) eras would actually take us to a time and place when the indigenous cuisine was almost 100% vegan naturally since meat, including fish, were rare. With the chefs at the Linkery and El Take It Easy having recently perfected their house made masa, ideas quickly turned to incorporating this in a few of the dishes,  and from there sparked the idea to actually base the menu’s entire direction on a historically-infused reclamation of corn, an often demonized food based on the fact that we rarely actually consume it as a food (see fuel, glue, and the infamous sugar substitute).

After the conceptual foundation was laid, ideas got momentum, including our excitement to have Josh Higgins, our graphic designer, run wild with the art direction. We’ll actually be giving limited, hand signed and numbered screen printed menus with poster art to the first few dozen CORNUCOPIA-goers, as well as screen printing apparel on the spot and pressing a new glassware series incorporating his event artwork.


Cinnamon meets its Speedway Stout home

Why AleSmith?
We were actually a bit star-struck when Peter Zien and his fiancee Vicky showed up at our very first event to check out what we were doing. They’re both fans of vegetarian-cuisine and they’ve made it to most of our events since. AleSmith is probably at the top of our list in terms of San Diego breweries, and we have a large respect for their commitment to both the past and future of brewing. In addition to chatting with Peter at our events, Bill Batten collaborated in the brewing process for event #2′s Automatic Coconut Coffee Wheat Beer served at Blind Lady Ale House. So, we had been chatting for a while, and when I sat next to Peter by chance on the flight back from GABF 2012 we solidified plans to put something together (he had no choice but to listen to my ideas). I went back to Peter when CORNUCOPIA really started coming together and shared the idea of placing some of the culinary flavors of the dishes in the actual casks of beer, and both Bill and he were excited to join.

We’ve met a few times with the AleSmith team since and crafted a showing of four custom cask ales, only available at this event. We’re particular excited about the Mexican-chocolate-inspired version of Speedway Stout with cinnamon sticks and cocoa nibs, which we actually just placed in the casks today to mature for a few weeks before the event. This will be the first time ever this beer – arguably the best in the world – will have cinnamon flavors incorporated.


Cocoa nibs being readied for addition to the cask

Any updates on the second menu series idea?
Menu Series Dish #2 is in the womb and starting to kick. What we can share at this point though is that it will be a collaboration with Scot and Karen Blair, and it will pop-up on the menu full time at one, perhaps two of their infamous locations, probably within the next month or two. It’s been in the works for quite some time and we’re perfecting the recipe at the moment, and sticking to the comfort-style pub-grub their spots are known for. Vegans can be decadent too you, know!

What breweries are you looking forward to trying this year?
Without a doubt, we are most looking forward to the tall cans scheduled for release this year from San Diego’s Modern Times Beer. Jacob McKean is a good friend and has impeccable taste in all things beer-related, so we’re certain his brewery is going to take the city by storm and we cannot wait to taste the first batches. Jacob is vegan too but I promise this was not considered in the aforementioned statement.

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Great Eight: The Linkery

Feb 20

The Linkery opened its doors the last weekend of February eight years ago

North Park’s original craft beer bar and restaurant, The Linkery, is hosting eighth anniversary celebrations this weekend, starting Thursday night with an Avery Brewing beer dinner kickoff at 6:45 p.m.

Founder Adam Avery has shipped out some rarities from his personal cellar to match up with cuisine from Chef Keith. Admission is $88.50 including food, beer and gratuity; view the entire pairing menu here.

Starting on Friday lots of great IPAs, or variations on the style, will go on tap. Depending on when you come in over the weekend, the list will include eight of the following: AleSmith X, Avery IPA, Avery The Maharaja IIPA, Ballast Point Dorado IIPA, Coronado Idiot IIPA, Green Flash Black IPA (cask), Green Flash Green Bullet IIIPA, Green Flash Hop Head Red, Green Flash LeFreak, Port Brewing Mongo IIPA, Societe The Pupil, and Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale (cask).

Special menu items from the past, such as Baja octopus wrapped in house-cured bacon, glazed, braised and grilled Santa Margarita pork belly, and Catalina Offshore-sourced parchment-steamed best catch will also be available.

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Ladies of Local Beer: March 2012

Mar 5

This article appears on pages 10 and 11 of our March “Ladies of Local Beer” issue, viewable here

Laurie Delk. Photo by Tim Stahl,

Laurie Delk is the beverage director for the Lumberyard Tavern and Grill in Encinitas, and founder of the popular blog 100 beers 30 days. Here, Delk chronicles her quest to taste the world’s best beers while raising money for charities through beer dinners and other events. She compared porters and stouts for her first project in November 2009, and is set to tackle barrel and oak-influenced beers from April 20th to May 19th of this year; luckily, Stone’s Oakquinox festival is on April 22nd, so there should be plenty of material to review. Delk also plans on hosting a benefit beer dinner in May at Toronado. Her answer to palate fatigue? Acai bowls and smoothies. Delk also has an extensive background in wine, and has served as the go-to girl for a winery in Italy run by the great-grandson of a former Italian president, and she was also the general manager at a popular wine and beer shop in New Orleans twice-over. In addition to hosting beer classes the last Tuesday of every month at the Lumberyard, Delk is excited that the bar is considering an additional 10 taps, which would increase her ability to pair beer with food for loyal patrons and newcomers alike. A curious person by nature, Delk enjoys when someone asks her a question about alcohol that she doesn’t know the answer to, and loves taking the time to gauge peoples’ taste buds. Learn more about Delk, and see her popular “Beer Minute” reviews online at

Virginia Morrison. Photo by Kristina Yamamoto,

Virginia Morrison, in addition to being the fiancee of San Diego Brewers Guild President Marty Mendiola, is the leading lady for the Taste of San Diego Craft Brews event that’s been held at the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park for the past three years. Morrison estimates that the annual event raised more than $35,000 for the SDHC K-12 education outreach program in its first two years, and that more than $27,000 in donated goods (auction items, beer and food) made up 2012’s event on February 18th, which took more than four months of planning. Morrison says that plans are in the works for an exhibit featuring San Diego craft beer history and memorabilia to become part of the San Diego History Center’s collection in time for Balboa Park’s Centennial Celebration in 2015.  Photo by Kristina Yamamoto,

Barbara Harnish

Barbara Harnish is the bar manager at both Local Habit restaurant in Hillcrest and downtown’s Mission Brewery, and she was part of the team that opened (and then re-opened) Main Tap Tavern in El Cajon. “Beer has shaped my entire adult life,” said Harnish, who decided to leave the automotive industry to pursue beer after drinking a Wasatch Polygamy Porter in Salt Lake City’s airport. “I liked seeing a locally-brewed beer on tap at the airport, and I wanted to get involved in the San Diego scene.” Now Harnish is very much in the mix, coordinating the beer dinners at Local Habit for example, with a Slow Food event featuring local farmers and local beer coming up on March 13th. Down at Mission, Harnish is excited that the brewery will soon be packaging their first pilsner, tentatively scheduled for release by St. Patrick’s Day. More developments include the newly-functional grain silo and cold storage, Mission glassware and growlers in the works, the upcoming retrofitting of their bottling line, and nine more 90 barrel fermentors coming in the next few months to keep up with production demands. Group tours of the Mission Brewery facility, which used to house the Wonder Bread factory, are available Fridays and Saturdays hourly from 12-8pm with advance notice.

Rachelle Smith with Clint Wilkerson

Rachelle Smith co-founded Steadfast Hop Farm with her boyfriend Clint Wilkerson in March 2011. The farm lies on a quarter acre lot in Valley Center, and has an 18-foot trellis system with around 500 plants spanning eight varieties: Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, Columbus, Glacier, Nugget, Magnum and Willamette, all of which are tested for alpha-acid percentage by the Organic Chemistry Department at CSU San Marcos. Steadfast’s hops are available for homebrewers at Mother Earth Brew Co. and Smokin Beaver in 2 oz. vacuum-sealed packages they call “hop grenades.” Never one to shy away from experimentation, Smith is currently refining a dry-hopped Belgian-wit recipe for a friend’s wedding in May, and she was one of the brewers that processed sixty pounds of Pasilla Negra peppers over four hours for Deschutes Black Butte XXIII.

Elena Rivellino

Elena Rivellino says it’s the people that keep her going. As a co-owner and Jill-of-all-trades behind Sea Rocket Bistro, she’s referring to the numerous local vendors that provide food for the North Park sustainable seafood restaurant and the customers who support the fight for better ingredients with each meal. Aside from feeding patrons high quality fare, the 30th Street restaurant is known for hosting stellar craft beer events. So far, the ‘Rocket has hosted events like LoveLikeBeer’s Assembly during San Diego Beer Week, and the Stone Ages Blackout Dinner. If you missed those two events, Sea Rocket’s food will be dished out at the Mission Valley Craft Beer and Food Festival on April 1st. On April 5th, a three-course Urban Agriculture beer pairing dinner will benefit the urban farming program at San Diego City College while featuring seasonal, spring-time brews. Two of Sea Rocket’s delectable jams, including the bacon jam and the tomato jalapeño varieties, will be available at the new SOL Markets in Liberty Station starting March 1st.

Claudia Faulk

Claudia Faulk is one member of the small team that makes up Vista’s Aztec Brewing Company and Seven Nations Brewing Company. A homebrewer and web developer, Faulk is responsible for Aztec’s popular Chipotle IPA recipe, accounting, and the coding of the ABC website, a joint effort with her graphic designer husband John Webster (also involved with ABC / 7N). An artist, she believes that brewing should be both creative and imaginative, and has enjoyed reinventing the Aztec brand. Recently, an art show in the brewery called “Paints and Pints” highlighted an eclectic selection of artists, including a live painting by local artist David Lozeau; Faulk hopes to host art shows quarterly to start, but ideally on a  monthly basis. Currently, Faulk is completing her Masters in Educational Technology and working on developing a website for the newly-founded Vista Brewers Guild; Webster will design the guild’s logo. Look for changes to the tasting room when the bar moves to the next-door suite they purchased in October where a new tap system will debut.

Joelle Khannakhjavani and Errin Love

Errin Love, a career teacher, mother to Kamron Khannakhjavani and wife to Dan Love, watched a home brewing hobby snowball into a professional obsession. Kamron was the first to get bitten by the brewing bug, and soon he infected his step-father, Dan. The duo started off innocently enough with a few pieces of equipment, but brewing paraphernalia began to take over the family home soon thereafter. Dan and Kamron convinced Errin that opening a brewery would be a viable business. After an unsuccessful attempt to license the family home with Alcoholic Beverage Control, Mother Earth Brew Co. was born as a homebrew shop and tasting room for contract-brewed beers in 2010, and in 2011 they purchased their own brewhouse. Although initially skeptical of the idea, Errin is now fully committed to the operation and serves as business accountant, cashier, bartender and loving mother. Joelle Khannakhjavani recalls the first date she ever had with Kamron. “He told me that he’d be quitting his job in two weeks to start working on a brewery.” Impressed with his drive to chase a dream, the couple have been together ever since and were married in September of 2011. Khannakhjavani is slated to work full time to help keep Mother Earth’s growing line of apparel and merchandise stocked, along with working the register and serving suds. Coming up for the crew is the arrival of a new 22 oz bottling line, and the possibility of a satellite tasting room and homebrew supply store in downtown Vista.

Diane Hennelly (right) and Kate McDevitt

Diane Hennelly represents the group of beer lovers that push the industry forward: the creative homebrewer. One of her more recent creations, a “Mounds Bar Porter” with toasted coconut and cocoa nibs, was brewed with the help of friend Kate McDevitt (pictured left); she can take credit for getting Hennelly hooked on the hobby at a Slow Food “Green Drinks” event they both attended where she won a free homebrewing class at Home Brews & Gardens in North Park. Since then, she’s brewed more than 15 different beers, including a habanero IPA, a “Kitchen Sink” IPA with a variety of hops, a “Midlife Pliny” IPA, a chocolate amaretto stout, an oakey, smokey bourbon stout using barrels from a local furniture maker, and beer made with prickly pears from the canyons near UCSD. She’s even crafted a strawberry, ginger and lavender mead sourced from her home garden.

Staci Wilkins

Staci Wilkins of Ritual Tavern has watched North Park bloom perched on the corner of Polk and 30th, a place she says was “no man’s land” just a few years back. Now, the neighborhood has changed, and so has the pub, growing from four taps to the current 11. Wilkins still remembers the first four beers she and husband Mike Flores had on tap in 2007: AleSmith Lil’ Devil and Speedway Stout, Ballast Point Pale Ale, and Stone Smoked Porter. A native San Diegan, Wilkins has strong ties with the local beer industry – her older brother played in a band with Sam Chammas, Live Wire publican, and it was at the legendary El Cajon Boulevard bar that she and Flores, kitchen manager at The Linkery for their opening, had their first date. Coming up, Wilkins plans to expand the music program in the back beer garden where hops are sprouting, with Miss Erika Davies the next scheduled artist on March 11th. A few days later on everyone’s favorite Irish holiday, Wilkins plans to continue the tavern’s tradition of cooking up corned beef and hash, cabbage, potatoes and soda bread.

Melissa Dombo

Melissa Dombo is the Creative Project Manager for Karl Strauss Brewing Company. She has been with the team for 10 years and works in all things creative. Dombo has many roles, from building the website to hand-sketching the beer labels and designing the brewery restaurant interiors. She’s currently designing and managing the company’s new tourable facility project and working in conjunction with Public Architecture and Planning to oversee a $1 million renovation to the main brewery that will be open to the public for tours, onsite beer tastings, group events/meetings, and merchandise/beer purchases. Some of her favorite, new features include the semi-private “Growler Room” made entirely of amber glass to let partial light in, a custom bar made by Public Architecture with a 20-tap system, outdoor beer garden, private “Barrel-Aging Room” with views of the bottling line at work, and a bocce ball court. Dombo describes the space as “edgy but comfortable,” utilizing a lot of brick, open-beam ceilings, and stainless steel to create a metro, loft vibe. “We’re also incorporating a lot of concrete and wood, and Public Architecture is handcrafting several pieces of furniture from reclaimed and found materials. We want this space to be warm, inviting, and somewhere you’ll want to stay and have a few pints at,” says Dombo. The facility is scheduled for completion in September 2012.

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Dispatch From the Front: March Deadline Megamix

Feb 22

March Madness
We are busy like bees on meth putting out this March issue. Get excited, because it’s going to be our best yet.

Suds for Surgeries
The 2nd Annual Mission Valley Craft Beer Festival AKA Suds for Surgeries is taking place March 27 Noon-6PM at the Handlery. Local beer (30 San Diego breweries), local chefs (15 chefs from around town), and local music combined with unlimited tasters with the proceeds of a $35 presale ticket going to a local charity? Sign us up. Need a deal sweetener? Tap Hunter is doing a Straight From the Tap for the event.

The Linkery turns 6 this weekend
Kudos to the restaurant that makes me proud to be a North Parker.  I remember Jay Porter back when he had a normal haircut. Setting up shop on 30th Street in 2005 was a risky move, and opening a farm-to-table, local-centric restaurant on the same street was considered insane by many at the time. In hindsight, he  defined what is now the trendiest beer circuit in the country. This weekend’s itinerary was just announced, and you’ll find us somewhere in the crowd of well-wishers during the festivities.

Cervecería Academia: La Gran Terraza hits the craft beer books
Attending USD now comes with added perks: great beer on campus. La Gran Terraza, home of student/teacher pub O’Toole’s as well as the classy adjoining Grand Dining & Terrace venues, has started a craft beer program. They recently hosted a Beer & Chocolate Dinner with Stone. Unbeknownst to us,  it’s also the best deal in town. $21.95 + tax and tip for 5-Course pairings, such as Double Bastard w/ Braised Short Rib in Chocolate Rosemary Sauce & Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous & Pork Spare Rib w/ Chocolate Hoisin Sauce. They don’t skimp on pours, and the view of the sunset over Tecolote canyon is best enjoyed with some of San Diego’s finest paired with the best collegiate cuisine we’ve ever tasted (full disclosure: both WC Publishers attended California public universities.) For more information on upcoming events, check out their website.

Press Box plots
Located at the eastern end of the 94 freeway, The Press Box Sports Lounge is designed from the ground up to be a cool sports bar. Slick interior, private VIP room, great seating, and flatscreens galore teamed with a notable draft and bottle line up that includes San Diego Beer means they have a cornered the craft beer market in the area. They’re also rolling out craft beer events on a monthly basis (next up is a Samuel Adams tasting, but we have it on good authority that a San Diegan-emphasis will be placed on future events.)  The owner, Dan Kniffin, also has his hand in planning what is gearing up to be the largest craft beer festival in town with over 100 local and regional (California only) breweries in attendance. Details developing. West Coaster will keep you updated.

The Tenderest of Greens
Liberty Station is a cool spot. Aside from East Coast infiltration, there’s a bustling little craft beer circuit. Luca Banfi (formerly of The Grill @ Torrey Pines fame) informed us that TenderGreens, his current gig, recently secured Pizza Port’s California Honey Ale as well as Lightning’s Thunderweizen on their modestly sized, excellent draft lineup.

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