Bottle (re)Cap: San Diego Beer News for June
June was a great month for beer celebrations, and July is shaping up to be as well
Guests at Council's three-year anniversary party had more than 50 beers to choose from.
Feast or famine: Last month’s roundup didn’t actually happen due to lack of generally interesting things to report… This month, however: Feast! (Literally: See Societe's event below.) June was a great month for celebrations and fests, and July promises to be filled with a bunch of cool beer releases and events, as well. So, start your celebration with the Fourth of July, and just keep the party going all through the month. That’s how we do it in SD!
Council Brewing Turns 3
A Special Fest Featured 50 Sour and Barrel-Aged Beauties
When they first opened their doors, Brewer Liz Chism was making good beer. As good as it was, it became more amazing when I found out she was doing it all in white plastic buckets on a super tiny system.
Three years have gone by and Council has not only continued to get better and better, they’ve also gotten bigger and bigger. Today, they work on a bigger brew system, have a significant barrel-aging program, and have dedicated a large portion of their production to various forms of sour beers, most of which are excellent. Their Beatitude line of tart saisons—offered in a wide variety of fruity flavors, including apricot, cranberry, grapefruit, black currant, plum, strawberry, and the strikingly colored prickly pear—has become a standard bearer for that style of beer in San Diego. Recently, Council won Best of Show at the 2016 Los Angeles International Beer Competition with their Gaderian Barrel-Aged Old Ale. That honor was followed by a gold medal and Best in Show win at the 2017 San Diego International Beer Competition for Lickable Staves, a Sour Red Ale aged in Cabernet Sauvignon barrels with Balaton Cherries.
On June 10, to celebrate their third anniversary, Council rolled out an impressive display of their talents by offering up 50+ beers that included 30 barrel-aged selections as well as many sours and big-boned IPAs. Their Biere de Miel, a delicious golden hybrid ale that combines styles of honey beer with Biere de Champagne techniques, provided a delicious and unique toasting beverage with which to recognize and celebrate Council’s well-deserved success.
Societe Turns 5
A Fest Followed by a Feast
On Saturday, June 24, the parking lot at Societe was filled with friends, family, and fans from all over—everyone gathered to wish one of San Diego’s most beloved breweries a Happy Fifth Birthday. People under pop-ups were pouring a selection of Societe classics, and an impressive group of local chefs and restaurants were serving up special dishes that paired with specific brews. After the outdoor fest was done, the celebration moved inside, where five local chefs presented a five-course feast that featured awesome ingredients and some of Societe’s coolest and rarest beers. The feast chefs formed an impressive group of local culinary talent: Nate Soroko and Dylan Dalley from Toronado, Karen Barnett from Small Bar, Rich Sweeney from Waypoint Public, Anthony Sinsay from Jsix, and Tyson Blake from O’Brien’s Pub. Together with Societe’s beers, these chefs created a truly wonderful and memorable menu to commemorate the fifth anniversary of a brewery that has endeared itself to so many.
Oggi’s New Coffee Cream Ale
Oggi’s Sports|Brewhouse|Pizza has recently released their newest seasonal beer, a coffee-infused cream ale called The Daily Grind. At 4.7% ABV, this easy-to-drink brew has rich roasted coffee aromas and a nice light body that delivers good coffee flavor without filling you up.
The beer was developed as part of the Beer To The Rescue campaign, which raises money for the SoCal Lupus Foundation (part of the proceeds from the sale of the beer will be donated). To create this recipe, the Oggi’s brewing team added fresh ground Guatemala Antigua Kapeu coffee from Stache Coffee Company in San Clemente after fermentation. The result is a tasty light poolside sipper with a crisp, java finish. Daily Grind is available on tap at Oggi’s restaurants and Oggi’s Pizza Express locations for a limited time.
A Truly Sublime Beer
AleSmith Releases Sublime Mexican Lager
I’ll admit it: AleSmith’s getting cooler by the day. The brewery just announced the upcoming release of their Sublime Mexican Lager, which is a collab they did with punk-reggae legends Sublime. The beer was created to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the original release of Sublime’s debut album, 40oz. to Freedom, and will be introduced in Southern California on Saturday, July 15.
The initial SoCal release will be in limited-edition 40-oz. bottles and on draft. The 40-oz. bottles ($9.99) will be available for pre-order beginning July 8 at Eventbrite and can be claimed at AleSmith’s Miramar brewery beginning July 15. Six-packs of 12-oz. cans are slated to hit shelves in numerous states mid-August.
To coincide with the launch, AleSmith will host a release party featuring a keg-tapping ceremony, poster signing by drummer Bud Gaugh, food trucks, live graffiti artists, and music from DJ PRODUCT 1969c, who worked on Sublime’s album Robbin’ The Hood.
The Brew Scene Is Bubbling
Two new breweries just opened in Miramar, and they join a growing enclave of artisan beverage producers at 8680 Miralani. In fact, this address is becoming quite the little fermentation station: Not only is it now home to three craft breweries (2Kids, Align, and Protector) it is also home to a sake brewing company (Setting Sun) and a winery (Charlie & Echo, which was formerly Vinavanti). If you can’t get your fill of fermentation at 8680, you can always hop across the street to Thunderhawk Alements (8675 Miralani) and its soon-to-be-almost-next-door-neighbor Serpentine Cidery (8665 Miralani) for additional libations.
Align Brewing (Miramar)
Same space, new name (and half the original brew team); that’s some of the story behind Align Brewing.
This simple tasting room and equipment used to belong to Pacific Brewing, which was founded by two guys, one of which was Andrew Heino. The new brewery that currently inhabits the space, Align Brewing, bears a striking resemblance to Pacific; that’s because it’s Andrew Heino brewing on the same equipment in the same space.
Heino says that, while Pacific Brewing focused mostly on “traditional” American styles, Align’s focus is going to cover a wider variety of beer styles and will be a little more “creative.” Despite that goal, the initial lineup of beers on tap included a pale ale, an IPA, a brown, and two stouts (which were both weakest links on the menu). The pale ale and the brown were both well made, and the IPA—with its bright aromas and flavors of pine, lemon, and honey—was the leader of the pack.
Protector Brewery (Miramar)
Well, we’ve got a gluten-free brewery (Duck Foot), a brewery that’s also a sake brewer (Kuracali), even a brewery that’s also a bowling alley (Urge Common House), but now San Diego has its first organic brewery: Protector.
Whether or not “organic” turns out to be a motivating force for craft beer drinkers, the ultimate test (as it always is) will be how the beer tastes. Founder, president, and brewer Sean Haggerty is betting on the fact that he can utilize all-organic ingredients to create beers that are every bit as satisfying as the non-organic options, and also do it at competitive prices.
The spacious tasting room, dominated by a large hop-filled graphic on the wall, features a medium-sized bar along with a prominent stand-up tasting ledge and a few tables.
The brewery’s opening lineup highlights the lighter, hoppier side of things with two IPAs, a hoppy pale, and a Hefeweizen.
Battlemage Brewing, Carlsbad
If you’re not into gaming, you might have no idea what the name of this brewery means. That’s okay; I didn’t. Despite its gamer-geek vibe and its cozy fantasy-laden tasting room (a whole wall is covered in gaming cards) the actual quality of the beer is what matters, and that’s obviously no game for the brewers and owners here.
Tucked into yet another light industrial space in Vista—an area that now boasts about a dozen breweries—this tiny production brewery is a delightful surprise.
Founders and brewers Ryan Sather and Chris Barry obviously know their stuff, and the impressive lineup of beers they created for their grand opening is a testament to what they can do on small-scale equipment. Their Verses of Victory brown ale with coconut and cocoa is particularly well balanced and tasty, but the hoppy offerings shine above the rest. Most notable were the Shroud of Mist Hazy IPA, with big, bright citrus aromas and flavors and an impressively velvety mouthfeel; and Summon Ifrit Hoppy Amber, which had a light, crisp mouthfeel and an excellent balance of caramel, toffee, coffee, and chocolate aromas and flavors.
Wow! A Trio of Events on July 8!
Modern Times 4th Anniversary Jamboree, July 8
They’re one of San Diego’s most innovative breweries, and their unique take on many classic styles will be on full display at Modern Times’ anniversary celebration in their Point Loma barrel facility, Fortress of Raditude. Among the most creative and interesting releases available will be the School of Certain Victory (white-wine-barrel-aged sour blonde with apricots); BBA Devil’s Teeth (with BBA maple syrup); and Symmetric Orchestra-Mojito Edition (mint, lime, and rum-soaked oak).
There will be two ticketed sessions: 11 a.m.– 3 p.m. and 4–8 p.m., Tickets: $45
San Diego Beer and Music Festival, Liberty Station
National event promoters, Rock Star Beer Festivals, will bring a rockin’ combination of bands and brews to Liberty Station with the San Diego Beer and Music Festival. SoCal breweries of all varieties will be pouring and attendees will have access to unlimited samples of more than 100 beers. Live music will include Linkin Park tribute Linkedin Park and indie modern rock cover band The Huntsman (who play everything from Chainsmokers to Mumford & Sons).
Saturday, July 8, from 7–10 p.m.
Duck Foot 2nd Anniversary, Miramar
Another July 8 celebration! Duck Foot Brewing is turning two! To celebrate, they’re releasing their biggest IPA yet: Mega-Duckzilla Triple IPA, which will be available on tap, on cask, and poured straight off the fermenter!
Tickets are $35 and include: One bottle of Mega-Duckzilla Triple IPA, a commemorative taster glass, and ten 4-oz. tasters (40 beers to choose from).
There will be two ticketed sessions.
And This Just In:
The brewery trio at 3052 El Cajon Boulevard (San Diego Brewing Co., Pariah Brewing Co., and Eppig Brewing) are hosting their first joint events on July 21, 22, and 23. Friday, the 21st, from 5-9 p.m., will be a 3-course Progressive Pairing Dinner that will feature a pairing at each brewery ($21 per person, which includes a 5-oz. pour with each pairing). Saturday and Sunday will be a “Summer Block Party” that will include a Local Maker’s Market, exclusive merchandise, and a bunch of cool food trucks.
Tickets for the Progressive Pairing will be sold on the day of the event (50 tickets available) at $21 for three plates and three tasters.