In economic terms, this liquid asset is equal to two San Diego Zoos.
The fiscal power of the local craft beer industry was lauded in two upbeat reports issued Wednesday by the San Diego North Economic Development Council.
One paper, from veteran beer analyst Vince Vasquez from National University, examined North County's 53 breweries and brewpubs. Although many are small, in the last three years they scored large gains in these areas:
- Total economic impact. Up 46 percent to $185.2 million.
- Sales. Up 53 percent to $220.3 million.
- Workforce. The current 1,236 direct jobs 45 percent higher.
- Agriculture. Local hop farms have climbed from four to 13, and now employ 32 farmers
Not all of the numbers are encouraging. The average annual wage in North County breweries and brewpubs is $39,260, about $2,000 less than the average in 2013.
In his report, Cal State San Marcos's Ed Ashley took a countywide view. He found that brewers:
- Had an economic impact of $870 million, the equivalent of two San Diego Zoos.
- Had revenues of $638 million, or four and a half Comic-Cons.
- Paid $100 million-plus in taxes.
- Made philanthropic contributions worth $4.5 million.
Beer fans across the nation know about North County's Hops Highway; Beeramar in Miramar; and Mid-City's 30th Street Beer Corridor.
Now welcome our latest neighbeerhood: Ale Avenue, aka Adams Avenue. Here, you can indulge in a six-stop, one-mile pub crawl.
1. Clem's Tap House, 4108 Adams Ave., has the county's best selection of draft Belgian beers. Feeling financially flush? Visit neighboring Clem's Bottle House, for rare, pricey beers.
2. Just 300 feet west is Kensington Brewing's new tasting room, 4067 Adams Ave.. On Sundays, the place overflows with couples, singles, families and dogs, many watching NFL games. Your team may not be a consistent winner, but Palisades Porter is.
3. Properly fortified, amble a half mile west to Little Miss Brewing's Normal Heights outpost, 3514 Adams Ave. The World War II theme extends from period posters to Hoperation Overlord, an imperial IPA.
4. At Blind Lady Ale House, 3416 Adams Ave., order a pizza or vegan salad, then peruse the beer list. Don't miss the in-house ales of Automatic, co-owner Lee Chase's nanobrewery.
5. Corner Liquor, 3355 Adams Ave., holds a better-than-average selection of bottled and canned beer, plus a superb fish counter, the Alaskan Seafood Connection. Still hungry after Blind Lady? Try the salmon sandwich.
6. End at Bine & Vine, 3334 Adams Ave.. Tap into owner Geoi Bachoua's encyclopedic knowledge to find beers to suit your taste and table.
Dan Jachimowicz, owner of Longship Brewery, isn't descended from vikings. Yet his Mira Mesa brewery is inspired by those freebooting Scandinavians.
"Longships were the vikings' vessel to explore the world," he said. "We made it our vessel to explore beer."
Exploration will hit high tide Nov. 8, when beers brewed by four beer-savvy social media teams will be poured at Longship's tasting room, 10320 Camino Santa Fe, Suite C. The #SDBeer All-Stars competition will feature #Craftbeerray's cucumber gose; #SDBeertalk's single malt and single hop (SMASH) IPA with Vienna malts and Chinook hops; #HoppyBeerHoppyLife's hoppy table beer; and #CraftbeermeSD's Belgian saison with orange, ginger and pomegranate.
Sampling, and voting, begins at 5 p.m.
Kings of beer
With so many terrific India Pale Ales available to West Coast beer fans, it's easy to ignore other styles. Still, even in my hop-happy haze, I was dazzled by the noir-ish label of The Tattered Prince (7.3 percent alcohol by volume), a spiced saison from Bottle Logic.
Part of the Anaheim brewery's "Cold Classics" series, Prince blends lemon and orange peel flavors with undercurrents of ginger and coriander. The medium is buoyed by plenty of carbonation.
The Prince is this week's King, thanks to its sensual pleasures - it's a joy to drink and a treat to read. "His rivals worked for the present," the label, "but the future belonged to... The Tattered Prince." That's a reference to Nikola Tesla, the Serbian-American inventor, shown here with a pigeon and a "smart" lightbulb. He fed flocks of the former and tinkered with the latter.
I'm not sure if Tesla was a beer fan, but the Prince is a tasty tribute to a great inventor. Unable to shake your IPA habit? Last week's King, Treevana (7 percent) from Carlsbad's Burgeon, is a winning West Coast version with a touch of East Coast fruitiness.
Words to drink by
" 'It would break my heart to be sending out such stuff as that all my life,' he said to himself, as he watched the muddy stream run out of the shallow coolers. He had resolved that he would brew good beer." - Luke Rowan sets out to rescue the Bungall and Tappitt brewery in Anthony Trollope's "Rachel Ray" (1863).