Posts Tagged ‘San Diego’

West Coast Breweries Clean up at World Beer Cup

OK, so maybe this is old news to some of you, but for those of you who didn’t have the pleasure of attending the 2o12 World Beer Cup in sunny San Diego last weekend, here’s a recap of the West Coast winners. And extra super special shout out to super young breweries Sound Brewing (WA), Columbia River Brewing (OR), The Commons Brewery (OR), Breakside Brewing (OR), and Logsdon Farmhouse Ales (OR) for their first WBC medals.

According to The Weekly Pint: “This year there were 211 judges from 27 countries tasting blind; 2/3 of the judges were non-U.S. to balance results in the age of American craft brew—and macro brew—dominance, with gold, silver, and bronze medals awarded in 95 distinct beer styles. The average number of entries per style: 41. And how about this for a tap list: there were 3,921 beers judged from 799 breweries in 54 countries (and 45 U.S. states). In addition, honors for best brewery and brewmaster combo were awarded as usual, a highly coveted honor reserved for the end of festivities.”

What to do with this (in no particular order list)? Seek and find the beers! Have fun!

Brewery Winners:

Brewers Association World Beer Cup 2012 Champion Brewery and Brewmaster

Mid-size Brewing Company
Firestone Walker Brewing Company
Paso Robles, CA
Matthew Brynildson

Brewers Association World Beer Cup 2012 Champion Brewery and Brewmaster

Large Brewpub
Pelican Pub & Brewery, Pacific City, OR
Darron R S Welch

Washington winners

Fish Brewing/Leavenworth, Dunkelweizen

Elysian, Great Pumpkin

BJ’s-Tacoma, Got Beer

Fremont Brewing, Bourbon Abominable Winter Ale

Black Raven Brewing, Great Grandfather Raven

Silver City, Winter Bock

Redhook Ale Brewery, Nut Brown Ale

Sound Brewery, Poundage Porter

Silver City Brewing, Old Scrooge

Pike Brewing, Pike XXXXX Extra Stout

Silver City Brewery, Imperial Stout

Oregon winners

Hop Valley, DD Blonde

Columbia River Brewing, Drunken Elf Stout

Upright Brewing, Oyster Stout

Bend Brewing, Ching Ching

Columbia River Brewing, Stumblers Stout

Pelican Pub & Brewery, Stormwatcher’s Winterfest

Logsdon Farmhouse Ales, Peche ‘n Brett

The Commons Brewery, Urban Farmhouse Ale

Laurelwood Brewing, Mother Lode Golden Ale

Pelican Pub & Brewery, MacPelican’s Scottish Style Ale

Caldera Brewing, Caldera Ashland Amber

Breakside Brewing, Breakside Dry Stout

California winners

Rock Bottom-La Jolla, Longboard Brown Ale

Bayhawk Ales, Chocolate Porter

21st Amendment, Hqt

AleSmith Brewing, AleSmith Decadence 2010 Old Ale

AleSmith Brewing, AleSmith Old Numbskull

Alpine, Odin’s Raven

Third Street Aleworks, Blarney Sisters Dry Irish Stout

Left Coast Brewing Co., Voo Doo

Island Brewing, Starry Night Stout

Mad River Brewing, Steelhead Extra Pale

Beachwood BBQ & Brewing, Foam Top

Firestone Walker, Mission Street Pale

Firestone Walker, Pale 31

Green Flash, Palate Wrecker

Pizza Port Carlsbad, Poor Man’s IPA

Half Moon Bay Brewing, Mavericks Amber Ale

Sierra Nevada, Bigfoot

Pizza Port Carlsbad, Great American Brown

Pizza Port Ocean Beach, Tarantulas 2.0

Bear Republic, Black Racer

Pizza Port Ocean Beach, Achievement Beyond Life’s Experiences American Stout Brit Antrim Benefit Beer

Pizza Port San Clemente, Nerf Herder

Pizza Port San Clemente, Way Heavy

Oggi’s Pizza & Brewery, Alyssa’s Attitude

The Bruery, Melange #1

Mammoth Brewing, Double Nut Brown

Pizza Port San Clemente, Pier Rat Porter

Feather Falls Casino Brewing Co., Blackjack Stout

The Lost Abbey, Carnevale

The Lost Abbey, Gift of the Magi

The Bruery, Oude Tart

Sierra Nevada, Ovila Dubbel

Karl Strauss, Two Tortugas Belgian Quad

Karl Strauss, Red Trolley Ale

Telegraph Brewing, Rhinoceros

Rock Bottom-Long Beach, Rocktoberfest

Lucky Hand Beer, Cali Common

Third Street Aleworks, Annadel Pale Ale

Firestone Walker, 805 IPA

Mammoth Brewing Co, Real McCoy Amber

The Bruery, Hottenroth Berliner Weisse

Pizza Port Ocean Beach, Bacon and Eggs Breakfast Coffee Imperial Porter

FiftyFifty Brewing, Donner Party Porter

Hangar 24 Craft Brewery, Hangar 24 Winter Warmer

Sierra Nevada, Kellerweis

Marin Brewing, Star Brew

Manzanita Brewing, Where There’s Smoke…

Telegraph Brewing, Petit Obscura

Green Flash, Green Flash Brewing Co.

Russian River, Supplication

Whew, that’s quite a list, and a lot of beers to sample. For the complete list of 2012 World Beer Cup winners, click here.

An Interview with a San Diego Craft Beer Renaissance Man

By Brandon Hernández

Scot Blair is one of the most notorious characters in San Diego’s vibrant craft beer scene. Since opening Hamilton’s Tavern in 2007, he’s devoted his life to raising the bar—the craft beer bar, that is. His venues have helped to revitalize some of San Diego County’s most formerly lackluster neighborhoods, providing plenty of innovative ideas for other business owners along the way. Today, Blair’s beery empire totals four unique spots—the iconic Hamilton’s Tavern, a beer and spirit den called Small Bar, an epicenter for quality taps and live music dubbed Eleven and, his newest project, a brewpub by the name of Monkey Paw. We caught up with this trend-setting bar impresario to seek out his impressions about the thriving San Diego scene, then and now, and his part in helping make it all it’s become.

What inspired you to go into the beer bar biz?

I always wanted to own a bar. I traveled all around the world spending a lot of time in pubs and had always talked about the monumental importance of a good tavern in a community. It wasn’t until I spent time in San Diego’s O’Brien’s Pub and Liar’s Club (now closed) when I decided I wanted my offerings to be as important as my atmosphere. The area I lived in was an absolute desert and it was a shock anytime you could get something decent or surprising. I felt a desperate need to do it for our community and the men like myself who wanted better beer in a better environment.

You were notoriously highly confident going in—what inspired that?

Probably my naivety and youthful dreaming!

I figured if I came at it from my heart and created an atmosphere that I liked and served products I liked, folks would dig it. I had to commit to my concept and say, hey, the customer isn’t always right if they don’t have all the data to know right from wrong. I said to myself, if it fails, I will feel comfortable I did my best. The only thing I had to lose was money and money doesn’t control my soul or my motivations…my cause does.

How you see the evolution San Diego’s beer bar scene and your role in it.

I see our footprint on many levels all over this city during this mini craft beer renaissance, with installed beer brunches that never existed before Small Bar and the mass craze on the mega beer events that Hamilton’s is known for like our 2nd Saturdays. I’ve seen niche market bars expand their beer offerings because of what we’ve done in a certain area or district. I’ve been here and I remember how desolate it was and, now, each week something new is popping up and even the simple pizzeria now has craft beer options. That was sort of the goal.

Who are other San Diego bar owners who’ve also been influential in advancing the scene?

Jim O’Brien, the original owner of O’Brien’s Pub, and present owner Tom Nickel [who also owns and operates Julian Brewing Company, Bailey’s Wood-Pit BBQ and West Coast BBQ and Brew]; Scott Stamp and Lee Doxtader of Callahan’s and San Diego Brewing Company; Ivan Derezin of Churchill’s Pub; Vince and Gina Marsaglia from Pizza Port and Louis Mello of the defunct Liar’s Club.

What would you say are some big contributors to San Diego’s success story?

Karl Strauss Brewing Company, Stone Brewing Co. and Home Brew Mart opening—I think, without those three, San Diego would still be far behind. Clearly Pizza Port and all the other notable breweries winning awards the last several years has shined a Batman-like spotlight onto our city. Definitely all of our wonderful and increasingly knowledgeable consumers who finally made a conscious decision to demand better beer and are becoming more excited about beer, festivals, San Diego Beer Week and the like. All of these are having the impact that makes me proud to be a part of this scene.

Do you see any negative developments associated with San Diego’s high profile craft beer city status?

The only bad thing I see coming out of the boom has been with retail.  Now is the time all these entrepreneurs come out with smoke and mirrors, the large distributors start tailoring tap houses and you start seeing all these Disneyland beer bars. But the real craft beer fans will know the authentic places to go. At the root of it all, it’s all about the liquid. I hope to see you soon for a great pint of ale in our wonderful city!

On that note, tell us about your newest spot—Monkey Paw Pub & Brewery.

We have a new pub and small manufacturing brewery with a five-barrel brewhouse and five 10-barrel fermenters. Brewer Derek Freese, a good friend and a well-recognized homebrewer, took over the reins and has been working hard on creating styles he likes and things I’ve asked him to work on. Try our Oatmeal Pale Ale on cask with cacao.

Brandon Hernández is a San Diego-based freelance beer and food journalist. He has been featured numerous times on Food Network, is the San Diego correspondent for Celebrator Beer News and has contributed articles to various national and local magazines, newspapers and Web sites, including Wine Enthusiast, The Beer Connoisseur, Beer Magazine, West Coaster, San Diego Magazine, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The San Diego Reader, Riviera, Pacific San Diego and Edible San Diego. Follow him on Twitter or drop him a line at

Holiday Giveaway Day 5

Today’s winner gets a copy of San Diego’s Top Brewers, Inside America’s Craft Beer Capital. With 42 breweries in San Diego County, you’ll want this book’s lineup of 18 award-winning breweries, noteworthy beer bars, and beer-inspired recipes to get you started in the city.

And the winner is… Leta Soza (@LetaSoza)!

Thanks for following us on Twitter, Leta. Email by December 31, 2011 to claim your new book.

To win the other prizes in our holiday giveaway, be sure to “like” us on our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our e-newsletter.  We’ll post the winner here on our BeerLog.

Winter Ale Festivals

Beer West will be bundling up all weekend long in downtown Portland’s Pioneer Square at the Holiday Ale Fest. And we’ll be representing at the Seattle Winter Beer Fest at Hale’s Ales. It’s gonna be a big weekend.

Photo courtesy Beeriety Blog.

Cold weather means welcoming a new batch of strong winter ales. Here are a few festivals and events in the West that you shouldn’t miss this season:

Portland Holiday Ale Festival // Pioneer Square // Portland, OR
November 30 – December 4

Winter BeerFest // Hales Ales // Seattle, WA
December 2-3

San Diego Strong Ale Festival // Pizza Port // San Diego, CA
December 2-3

15th Annual San Diego Strong Ale Tasting Challenge // Beer Co // San Diego, CA
December 3

Winter Wonderland CoLAboration Beer Garden // Golden Road Brewing // Los Angeles, CA
December 3

Parade of Darks
// Wynkoop Brewing Company // Denver, CO
December 3

Sono Park Holiday Fest and Chilipalooza // 32nd and Thorn // San Diego, CA
December 4

Meet the Brewer Monday with Ballast Point Brewing // The Pearl Hotel // San Diego, CA
December 5

Jingle Bell Jubilee // Blue Palms Brewhouse // Los Angeles, CA
December 10

8 Malty Nights Release // New Old Lompoc // Portland, OR
December 14

Kerstbier Fest 2011 // The Trappist // Oakland, CA
December 16

Chanukah Vs. Christmas: The Battle Royale of Beers // The Green Dragon // Portland, OR
December 17

Strong Ale Holiday Festival // Library Ale House // Santa Monica, CA
December 19

You know that warm, toasty feeling you get after your first (or maybe second) pint? We like to think of that as a beer blanket. So wrap yourself up, and get out this holiday season for some strong seasonal brews. Got more winter beer events to go to? Write us a comment, post on our Facebook page, or find us on Twitter @BeerWestMag. Cheers!

Breakfast of Champions

Good Morning Sunshine!

You’ve never hair-of-the-dogged it more stylishly. Or diversely.

Wake up to weekend brunch at Karl Strauss Brewery Gardens where live musicians serenade you in hangover slumber, and the hospitable staff adorn your table with breakfast flights. This flight was created in honor of San Diego Beer Week.

Endless pairing options present themselves when you make it to the buffet -we’re talking bacon and eggs, a pasta bar, a salad bar, fish n’ chips and a shrimp cocktail bar, a fruit bar, a make-your-own omelette station and a pastry spread, among many other options.

Hefmosa: Windansea Wheat Hef + orange juice

pair with // Woodie Gold-cured Bacon and cantaloupe

Hop Hound: Tower 10 IPA + grapefruit juice

pair with // fresh strawberries

Beer Mary: Heavy Petti DIPA + spicy bloody mary mix

pair with // Make-your-own omelette, or the pasta bar

Suit Up: Fullsuit Belgian Brown + espresso

pair with // anything from the DIY pancake and waffle stand

Amazing Assembly

Usually I go into a beer pairing dinner expecting to come out more than satisfied. Especially in San Diego, there are exceptional chefs and brewmasters who will surprise and impress your palette. This dinner, though, completely blew me out of the water.

Enter Sea Rocket Bistro in North Park – where rustic design meets dim orange light that will warm you up even before your first beer. Curious three-dimensional newspaper fish hang from the ceiling. The owners, whose kind greeting makes me feel as if I’ve known them for years, tell me that these fish are even anatomically correct. These folks know their fish- Sea Rocket specialized in wild, sustainable seafood.

There’s no seafood on the menu tonight, though. Chef Chad White from Washington has the challenge of creating a completely vegan meal, inspired by the founders of Love Like Beer, a local organization that puts on craft beer-paired vegan dinners to support local charities. A percentage of tonight’s proceeds will go to San Diego’s Engineers Without Borders chapter.

We dive into pear salad with aged cashew cheese and clove agave nectar. It’s paired with Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales fall seasonal, Fuego Del Otono. All of the courses tonight are paired with Jolly Pumpkin vegan beers (brewed by vegan Ron Jeffries); in fact, this is the greatest number of Jolly Pumpkin Ales on tap in one place on the West Coast.

Next up is pumpkin gnocchi with cured black olive puree, fennel confit and nutmeg-roasted pepitas, and paired with La Percela. The third course is smoked seitan sausage with spiced apple chai tea and saurkraut with Bam Biere -I’m still craving that one.

We finish with coffee-malted chocolate cake with ganache, beer-macerated cherries, and curry gastric, paired with Bam Noire. We are so impressed, satiated, even galvanized by tonight’s unique menu items. The craftiness that went into making this food parallels the thoughtfulness that goes into making great beers, we conclude. The table is buzzing, and not just because we’re four beers deep. We participated in something out of the ordinary, and we supported a good cause. AND no animals were harmed in the process. Not a bad way to eat every now and again.

Inspired? Check out Chickpea Magazine‘s article about Love Like Beer.

Photos courtesy of Ryan Lamb of West Coaster.

Master Pairings Preview

“Dr.” Bill Sysak, the Certified Cicerone at Stone Brewing is facing off against craft beer critic and author Stephen Beaumont tonight at the Stone Master Pairings Dinner. They will match six courses with six beers, and the guests will decide who’s pairings are more palatable -though, guests can likely expect to be wowed by both competitor’s craft beer and culinary combos.

I had the privilege of sitting in on Dr. Bill’s preliminary tasting yesterday, and what a marvel it was to get inside the master’s head. He says that to truly have success with your pairings, you should make the food first, and then pair the beer with it, and not the other way around. He also says that while many wine and food pairings often feature contrasting flavors, beer and food pairings should usually be more complimentary. Though, after a few hours at the table with him, I learned that there really are no rules when it comes to beer and food. Just follow your five senses- they’ll tell you what works best.

Tonight’s menu is the creation of Stone executive chef Alex Carballo. Here’s’ what guests can expect:

First Course: Seared Mano de Leon Scallops with persimmon compote

Second Course: Seared Iberico de Belotta Pork with salad of arugula and sorrel, pecan-crusted goat cheese and poached pears

Third Course: Turducken with green tomato chutney and butternut squash croquets

Fourth Course: Brut Cocoa-dusted Beef Cheek with mashed potatoes and Stone Farm greens

Fifth Course: Artisanal Cheese Plate

Dessert: Passion fruit gateaux with pomegranate reduction

San Diego Beer Week- Part One

Greetings from America’s Finest City

I’ve arrived in San Diego from Portland, Oregon for the 2011 Beer Week (Nov. 4-13) and I’m feeling like I expect many beer connoisseurs feel when they arrive in Portland–Where do I even start?

This city is brimming with craft beer. It’s home to ­­­­38 breweries, and countless pubs and bottle shops that all serve local microbrews. Much like Portland, San Diego is comprised of many smaller neighborhoods that make up the city at large, with beer places on just about every corner of every hood. And then there’s the plenitude of local, seasonal food –now I really don’t know where to begin.

Lucky for me and the thousands of other San Diego Beer Week attendees, the huge community of brewers, chefs, bartenders, and restaurateurs has put together a 10-day lineup of tastings, pairings, and special events to showcase all of the artisan beer and food that this fine city has to offer.

Beer Week kicked off at the annual Brewer’s Guild Festival at Liberty Station, where members of the San Diego Brewer’s Guild sampled their beers and paired them with appetizers prepared by local chefs. O’Briens made Sour Wench-braised duck with Ballast Point Sour Wench Ale, and Slaters 50/50 Restaurant made peanut butter and jelly burgers to go with the Ballast Point Sculpin. My favorite pairing was the Alpine Brewery’s Mcllhenny’s Irish Red Ale with chipotle mac n’ cheese from Toronado Restaurant. By the end of the festival, I was bronzed from San Diego sunshine (even in November!), full of delicious gastro-bites, and a little buzzed off of high quality ales and lagers. I figured out why they call it “America’s Finest City” pretty darn quickly.

So where do you start in San Diego? Just dive in. You wont be disappointed.

Stay tuned to Beer West’s BeerLog for more news about the week’s shenanigans, and check out our Facebook and Twitter feeds for live updates.

For more information about Beer Week and its hundreds of events, visit


-Em Hutto