To Say The Yeast

By Brandon Hernández / Photos by Sara Norris (unless noted)

It's no easy task keeping up with more than 90 breweries in a region considered by most as the epicenter of craft-brewing creativity and quality, but our thirst is as insatiable as our desire to bring you the best and beeriest news that's fit to print. Belly up to this monthly column for the latest and greatest on San Diego County's robust beer scene.

Do Me A Flavor
New brews to peruse

Green Flash Road Warrior IPA: Big-hop, low-alcohol "session" beers are de rigueur these days among hopheads who want to go big without going home due to excess inebriation, but this Mira Mesa-based brewery is bucking that trend, introducing this heavy hitting "un-sessionable" rye India pale ale coming in at a bruising 9% ABV. Spiciness from the infusion of rye matches up nicely with piney, zesty notes from Columbus and Mosaic hops. 6550 Mira Mesa Boulevard, Mira Mesa, greenflashbrew.com

Fallbrook Coffee & Cream: Thinking of coffee beers evokes images of porters and stouts that look as much like java as they taste. But this nanobrewery in the heart of its namesake North County township is exploring the lighter side with this blonde-hued, easy-drinking, 6% ABV English-style brew. Fallbrook Coffee & Cream is served from a nitro tap to bring on a velvety texture that goes remarkably well with light notes of earthy roastiness from locally roasted coffee beans. 136 N. Main Avenue, Fallbrook, fallbrookbrewing.com

On-Tap
More breweries coming soon

Council Brewing Company: The family that brews together, stays together. Just ask Curtis and Liz Chism, a couple so in love with each other and the art of fermentation that they're opening a nanobrewery (the smallest class of brewing companies, from a production standpoint) in the burgeoning beerscape of Kearny Mesa. Straight out of the gate, expect pro spins on award-winning dark beers including an imperial oatmeal porter and a rotating stock of sour beers. 7705 Convoy Court, Kearny Mesa, councilbrew.com

URBN St. Brewery: What happens when an executive chef, a senior brewer and a seasoned barman from Stone Brewing Co. team up with a Connecticut coalurBn st. Brewery: What happens when an executive chef, a senior brewer and a seasoned barman from Stone Brewing Co. team up with a Connecticut coal-fired pie mogul? East County residents will find out when this brewpub - the latest link in a chain that includes BASIC and two URBN pizza spots - opens on El Cajon 's main drag. Beers figure to be approachable and food-friendly, as is the case with a brown ale that tastes almost exactly like a Bavarian pretzel. 110 N. Magnolia Avenue, El Cajon, urbnpizza.com

Beerly Beloved
Something old, something new, something borrowed, something brew

Alesmith Expansion: Considered by many to be the best brewing company in the world, this award-winning operation has remained smallish despite tripling its capacity over the past half-decade. Now, having signed a lease on a 100,000-plus-square-foot building just south of his current Miramar facility, owner Peter Zien is ready to go next level. The move will quintuple the company's space and up annual production tenfold, allowing Zien and his crew finally to sate thousands of thirsty fans. 9990 Empire Street, Miramar, alesmith.com

South Park Brewing Co.: Already owners of acclaimed brewpub Monkey Paw as well as hotspots Small Bar and Hamilton's Tavern, Scot and Karen Blair announced they are taking over a former bike shop south of the latter to build South Park Brewing Company. Beers will include reliably good IPAs, red and dark ales, and numerous experimental and collaboratively produced brews. The food menu will be seafood-centric and include sandwiches, fusion cuisine and a to-go fish counter. 1517 30th Street, South Park, southparkbrewing.com

Hops To It
Upcoming beer events

San Diego International Beer Festival: "Five sessions, 400 beers, one glass." It's the tagline for the San Diego County Fair's annual fermentation fête, which shows off local breweries alongside storied operations from nearly 200 countries. Throw in a VIP session where guests can rub elbows with San Diego brewers and take seminars on brewing and food pairings, and it's enough to make fairgoers forget all about all the fried food, tilt-a-whirls and Jacuzzi shows. June 20- 22, San Diego County Fair, Del Mar, sandiegobeerfestival.com

Stone Sour Fest: Sour beers represent the furthest extent to which the brewing envelope can be pushed. Tart, fruity, barnyard and downright funky in some cases, they require great expertise to produce. As such, they are hard to come by and, when found, often cost a pretty penny, making this annual event - featuring arguably the most extensive and special arrays of sour ales and lagers - one of the most highly anticipated days of the year for beer enthusiasts. June 22, 10 a.m., Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens, Escondido, stonebrewing.com

Brandon Hernández is a native San Diegan with a fervent passion for craft beer and the talented individuals who produce it. He is a Senior Communications Specialist for Stone Brewing Co., an editor for Zagat, has served as a consultant to Food Network and contributes to national and San Diego-based magazines including The Beer Connoisseur, Imbibe, Wine Enthusiast, West Coaster and more. The first publication for which he ever wrote about beer was PacificSD. Follow him on Twitter: @sdbeernews and @offdutyfoodie.

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