One of the reasons San Diego brewers enjoy the camaraderie and success they do is the 1997 establishment of the San Diego Brewers Guild (SDBG). Back then, there were far fewer brewing companies in San Diego County, but visionaries from some of those veteran operations realized that strength in numbers would be key for development and promotion of the local industry. This year, the SDBG will celebrate its 20th year of collective success. In doing so, it will gather its longest-tenured while drawing off the innovation of all of its 100-plus members.
Later this month, Coronado Brewing Company will host a collaboration brew day during which brewers from SDBG member breweries will be invited to participate in the brewing of a special beer to commemorate the big two-zero. The recipe for that beer, a fittingly San Diego-style India pale ale (IPA), was developed by brewers at Coronado, Karl Strauss Brewing Company, Pizza Port, Stone Brewing, San Diego Brewing Company, AleSmith Brewing Company and San Marcos Brewery and Grill.
The beer will come in around 7% alcohol-by-volume and be double-dry-hopped with Idaho 7, Motueka and Vic Secret hops. Additional hops will be donated by Fallbrook’s Star B Ranch and Hop Farm. Yeast was donated by Miramar-based White Labs while remaining ingredients were provided by BSG CraftBrewing. Additionally, El Cajon’s Taylor Guitars is partnering to provide old ebony fret boards from its African mill. That reclaimed wood will be fashioned into tap handles branded with the SDBG logo for this celebratory IPA.
Kegs from the 60-barrel batch will debut during San Diego Beer Week, which will take place from November 3 to 12. Coronado will also take the lead getting the beer out via its distribution partner, Crest Beverage. The beer will be available at retail accounts throughout the county, and make its official debut on November 3 during Guild Fest’s VIP Brewer Takeover at the Port Pavilion on downtown’s Broadway Pier. Proceeds from the beer will be donated to the Guild by Coronado once the beer sells through.
While Coronado is the hub this time around, the SDBG hopes to create collaboration beers on an annual basis and rotate the brewery at which they are produced each time. To get everyone involved during this inaugural brew, SDBG members were asked to submit suggested names for the beer, a short-list of which will be voted on by the membership this month.
From the Beer Writer: There was a time when pretty much the only way I was going to get my hands on prime Pizza Port beers like Swami’s, Chronic or Kook, was by going to one of that storied chain’s brewpubs. Having lived my entire life in inland San Diego, that constituted a special (and always well-worth-it) trip. So, it was a good day, indeed, when Pizza Port’s Bressi Ranch started canning those beers and distributing them all over San Diego County. More recently, the company has started developing new beers specifically for canning, and the latest is perhaps my new favorite canned offering—Pizza Port Graveyard’s Pale Ale. A “strong pale ale,” it comes in at 6.2% alcohol-by-volume and comes on strong up-front fruitiness from Mosaic, Ella, Vic Secret, Super Pride and Amarillo hops. But for me, Graveyard’s real beauty and differentiating factor is its balancing and complex maltiness, the product of a blend of Munich and CaraRed—which presents itself courtesy of toasty, biscuit undertones. Each sip smacks not only of San Diego brewing sensibilities, but Pizza Port’s specific and unmistakable trademark combination of flavor and drinkability. It’s the kind of pale ale I could spend the day drinking pint after pint of at an indoor picnic bench while consuming a basket of Beer Buddies…were I not gratefully able to do all that sipping from the comfort of my own (inland) backyard.
From the Brewer: “Graveyard’s is the first limited-release can to come out of our Bressi Ranch brewery. We decided to go with a stronger pale ale, a style that we all drink a lot of in the pubs and was currently missing from our portfolio. This year, we were lucky to get a healthy amount of Mosaic and Australian hops on contract, and those hops are a perfect fit with each other and for that style of beer. When fermenting it, we blended California Ale yeast with our house La Cruda straing. The Cal-Ale accentuates the hops, while La Cruda showcases the malt. We had also been talking with long-time regular and distinguished surf photographer Steve Sherman on using his photography on a can. All these things came together at the right time for Graveyard’s to get done. The name and label comes from Steve’s shot of the Oceanside break with the same name. It was an empty lot where surfers used to bury their broken boards in the ground, making it look like a graveyard. The photo is from October 2001, during a once-in-a-lifetime south swell.”—Sean Farrell, Director of Brewing, Pizza Port Brewing Company