By July, beer lovers have been living with the heat long enough to truly crave the most crushable craft. And brewers share that craving as well. Maybe that's why this month is chock full of great, refreshing summer beer releases. Whether you’re a fan of light and crisp, big and hoppy, sour, fruity, or funky, you’ll find something new and exciting available around town during the next few weeks.
Coronado Brewing Rides a Wave
IPAs, Partnerships, and Parties
Lots going on lately with this iconic San Diego brewery: Not only did it recently announce plans to greatly expand its footprint in Imperial Beach, it also announced its partnership in the upcoming Baja-inspired brewery venture SouthNorte Brewing Company. But that’s not all! Just last week, Coronado announced its partnership with Monkey Paw Brewing, which will enable one of San Diego’s most creative little breweries to get a lot bigger. I guess Coronado is just feeling its oats; the company just turned 21 and is celebrating its coming of age this Saturday, July 29, from 2-7 p.m. at its Knoxville location. $10 tickets include admission, beer ticket, raffle ticket, live music, and a photo booth.
Karl Strauss Arts & Amps
More Fun in the Beer Garden
Also on July 29: The third installment of the popular Karl Strauss summertime event series, this time featuring the music of The Schizophonics and Creature Canyon. The PB beer garden will fill with families, friends, and fans who come to enjoy live music, a great lineup of beers on tap, and the creation of live mural art. Creature Canyon is scheduled to take the stage at 5:30 followed by The Schizophonics at 6:45. Admission is free.
San Diego’s First "Destination Beer"
SDTA Partners with Bay City
As part of its continuing effort to showcase and promote San Diego beer, the San Diego Tourism Authority has partnered with Bay City Brewing to create 72 and Hoppy, a session IPA. At 4.2% ABV, this light, crisp, and quenching brew has plenty of fresh, citrusy hop aroma and enough bite to keep it refreshing on the palate. 72 and Hoppy will be available at the Bay City tasting room and on draft at select locations. A bottle release is also planned for late summer.
Amplified Turns Up the Volume
Black Hole Saison
Nice to see these folks doing more packaging lately. Their super-popular Electrocution IPA was recently released in cans, and now Amplified is releasing Black Hole Saison in bottles. This intriguing brew (7.1% ABV) is a black saison aged in gin barrels that has been augmented with fresh rosemary, juniper berries, spruce tips, and coriander. Bottles are available at Amplified locations in Pacific Beach and Miramar.
Societe Gives Us a High 5
Five New Releases, All at Once
This beloved Clairemont Mesa brewery recently celebrated its fifth birthday by hosting a beer festival and then hosting a five-course dinner with five great chefs and five great beers. Staying with that penta-tastic theme, Societe decided to release five new beers to the public for July. The collection runs the gamut from SD-style IPA (The Fiddler/6.9% ABV) to a single-hopped IPA (The Bachelor/6.5%), a pale ale (The Statesman/5.2%), a Belgian-style table beer (The Damsel/3.7%), and a "feral" ale (The Thief/6.3%). The Thief is the only beer currently available in bottles, while the other selections are exclusively draft. Select bars and pubs around town will be tapping these beers, and all are available while supplies last at the Societe tasting room.
Lost Abbey Gets Peachy
Genesis of Shame Oak-Aged Brett Ale with Peaches
It’s true—when it comes to brett and barrels—no one does it better than Lost Abbey. The brewery’s newest seasonal release, Genesis of Shame (6% ABV), uses a blonde sour ale that’s been sitting in Foeders with peaches for 18 months and then blends it with fresh Belgian-style blonde ale to complete the mix. Genesis of Shame is available at both Lost Abbey tasting rooms (San Marcos and Cardiff) and will also have limited bottle distribution at select retailers around the county.
Stone Nails It
Ghost Hammer IPA
The brew team at Stone, like most brewers, is always looking to find the next great hop variety—and they’ve consistently introduced and utilized dozens of new and interesting hops in their beers, whether brewed in Escondido or at Liberty Station. Ghost Hammer IPA (6.7%) is particularly interesting because it not only features a new hop variety called Loral, but it also produces an IPA that’s distinctly different from many Stone has produced previously. Loral offers an intriguing mix of intense lemon and floral aromas and provides a mellow bitterness that allows just a touch of honey and spice character to poke through. Refreshing and relatively light, this IPA makes a great hoppy summer sipper. Ghost Hammer is available nationwide in six-packs and draft.
Coronado’s Birthday Beer
21 Imperial IPA
This year, as it usually does, Coronado celebrates its birthday with a quintessential nod to its humble roots: The San Diego-style IPA. This big, bold, but surprisingly mellow beer (8% ABV) bursts with aromas of stone fruit and citrus and balances hoppy bitterness perfectly with a round, malty backbone. 21 Imperial IPA is currently available on draft and also in six-packs and 22-oz. bottles for a limited time.
Viewpoint Brewing Co.
Believe it or not, up to this point, Del Mar did not have a brewery. But that’s now a problem of the past: Viewpoint Brewing just opened its doors on a scenic plot overlooking the San Dieguito Lagoon, right across from the Del Mar Fairgrounds.
Spacious, modern, and open to the air, this new location is a welcome addition to the local beer scene for a few reasons. First of all, it’s got plenty of space with seating options of many kinds. There’s room for families, dogs, large groups—there are even Skeeball machines and some playground equipment on a grassy patch for the youngins. Secondly, there’s not only a full menu available, it’s also a menu with creative, innovative, and very beer-friendly food (oxtail frites, anyone?). Third, needless to say, is the fact that the beer is very good. Right out of the gate, Viewpoint opened with 6 house-brewed beers, in addition to an admirable selection of other (smaller) San Diego producers on tap, such as Eppig, Societe, Second Chance, and New English. A variety of hoppy brews are on offer from Viewpoint—all quite good—but the Experiment A (Chinook-hopped Kölsch style) and the SMASH (Single Malt and Single Hop) French Saison were especially impressive for their depth of flavor, balance, and rich, umami mouthfeel.
2201 San Dieguito Dr, Del Mar, CA 92014
Escondido Brewing Company
Just as Del Mar kicked its brewery scene into higher gear this month, so did Escondido, which has also been lagging noticeably behind its neighbors (San Marcos and Vista) in the brewery department. It’s super tiny, only outdoors, and it’s limited to brewing batches in 3-keg increments, but Escondido Brewing does count as the city’s fourth actual brewing location (I’m counting Plan 9 Alehouse as one as well). The vibe outside is relaxed, friendly, and distinctly "local" feeling—almost as if you stopped by a friend’s house to have a few beers in their backyard. Co-founders Evan Smith and Ketchen Smith (not related) are attempting to hit the ground running with a variety of easy-to-access styles, including a pale ale, a few IPAs, a cream ale, a stout, and a nicely balanced amber, which stands out as the winner in the initial lineup.
649 Rock Springs Rd Suite B, Escondido, CA 92025
Black Plague Brewing
Welcome to the Oceanside brewery boom. The latest entrant is a 14th-Century-inspired brewery located just over the line from Vista, in a light industrial office park that features larger-than-average interiors. Black Plague inhabits a big, black airplane-hangar-like space that offers plenty of room for groups and families to spread out. There’s a long bar, numerous large tables, and even a few cozier private areas. The initial beer lineup includes a very satisfying and well-balanced imperial red called Atra Mors; a light, crisp pale ale (Why So Pale?); and many flavor variations of 1347, their signature West-Coast IPA. Though the menu includes 1347 with blueberry, pineapple, habanero, grapefruit, mango, chai, and blood orange, my favorite was the plain old hop-flavored original, which had an impressive burst of citrus and grapefruit hoppiness on the nose balanced by a round, mellow bitterness and a mouthfeel that was satisfyingly rich.
2550 Jason Ct, Oceanside, CA 92056
New Eppig Tasting Room in Point Loma! I have it on good authority that Eppig Brewing will be opening a satellite tasting room (late 2017) in Point Loma. The new space, which will be about 1,000 sq. feet inside and 2,000 sq. feet outside, will have great views of the water and the marina (as well as Point Loma Seafood, which is just across the way). More to come as information becomes available.
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