By Brandon Hernández
Do Me A Flavor
New beers to cheers and brews to peruse
Amplified Ale Works Rare Form
It can be tough to get a taste of the beers flying from the taps at this nanobrewpub. They go so quickly because they're that damn good. And now, brewmaster Cy Henley is taking "rare" to a whole new place with the release of a Bourbon barrel-aged version of Rare Form, a malty Belgian-style quadrupel given extra richness from whiskey and wood. The first in Amplified's new Barrel Works line of barrel-aged beers, it will debut at a special event during San Diego Beer Week on November 6. 4150 Mission Boulevard, #208, Pacific Beach , amplifiedales.com
Bourbon Barrel-Aged Arrogant Bastard Ale
It's been 16 years since the burly, opinionated, self-assured SOB that is Arrogant Bastard used a stony gargoyle talon to draw a line in the brewing industry sand, declaring itself the true king of beer (craft, not that fizzy, yellow stuff ) and the average beer drinker "not worthy" or capable of handling its bold, brawny personae. Layers of forcefulness and refinement grace a spirit-tinged version that takes an already remarkable, venerably buzz-worthy beer to new heights. arrogantbastard.com
Brian Scott - President, San Diego Brewers Guild, sandiegobrewersguild.org
Putting in a full day in the brewery is a lot of work, enough to drive one to drink. (Working amidst the sultry scents of the brewhouse with beer within easy reach all day makes that second part a snap.) But in addition to serving as an integral cog in the machine that is Karl Strauss Brewing Company, Brian Scott moonlights as President of the San Diego Brewers Guild (SDBG), an organization for brewers by brewers whose myriad initiatives to elevate the local brewing scene include organizing San Diego Beer Week (SDBW). Scott says he looks forward to the 10-day ale and lager marathon, which takes place from November 7-16, and shares insight into what craft beer fans will be foaming at the mouth for during SDBW 2014.
Brandon Hernández: Why is SDBW so important to San Diego?
BRIAN SCOTT: It's important to our brewers because it showcases all we do as an industry. San Diego has roughly 100 breweries, with more on the way, and SDBW is our chance to set our region apart as the premier beer destination in the country. Events during SDBW focus on giving fans experiences they would most likely not have outside of Beer Week - beer and food pairings, special release beers, collaborations between local breweries and much more. People from all over the country, and really all over the world, come to San Diego to experience what we have to offer.
How has SDBW has evolved over the years?
When SDBW first started six years ago, craft beer was still flying under the radar. While we still have a lot of work to do to grow our market share, it's amazing to see how San Diegans have embraced craft beer and this 10-day celebration. Every year, we attract more tourists from around the world, and the quality of our events keeps getting better.
What new SDBW highlights can beer fans look forward to?
This is our sixth year, and a lot has changed. One of the most exciting changes is the launch of our new website, sdbw.org, which features a newly formatted calendar to make it easier to navigate the awesome list of events planned. This year, we are also hosting several new events as well as some old favorites like the Guild Fest and Beer Garden at The Lodge at Torrey Pines.
In what ways do San Diego brewers band together to make SDBW all it can be?
This is the beauty of SDBW and the spirit of community that makes San Diego's brewing industry so strong. Everything from helping each other unload kegs and tents at festivals, to holding events centered around bringing awareness to our industry as a whole - the goal of Beer Week is to set ourselves apart as the nation's ultimate craft beer destination. I think we've reached the tipping point where we are achieving this mission.
How many events does the SDBG expect SDBW will feature?
I would expect to see around 100 events throughout the week, but who knows? I wouldn't be shocked to see twice that. You're president of the SDBG.
What are you most excited about during SDBW?
I think it's hard to beat Guild Fest. There is little that rivals being able to enjoy a beer from more than 50 San Diego breweries right on the bay. As the Guild president, it's amazing to see all the hard work and effort put forth by our brewing community to make this week happen.
What's new or coming soon
Twisted Manzanita Ales Tasting Room
Looking to introduce their inland ales to the coastal sect's mishmash of surfers, beach bums, skate rats, tourists and, yes, drinkers, Santee's largest brewery has installed a tasting room built to bring the brewery experience to PB. Twenty-four taps (including nitro and beer engines) dispense staples like Chaotic Double IPA and Riverwalk Blonde Ale as well as seasonal beers and rarities, including single-keg batches of beer designed exclusively for this stainless steel-outfitted satellite space. 4652 Mission Blvd., Pacific Beach, twistedmanzanita.com
32 North Brewing Company
"Reclaimed-chic" best describes the motif of the latest entrant into Miramar's vibrant brewing scene. Former Karl Strauss brewer John Hunter will command a 10- barrel brewhouse, pushing out beers that range from traditional - pale ale, stout and, of course, an IPA to divining culinary inspiration. The latter will include toasted coconut mild, smoked imperial stout and a version of a Peanut Butter Cup Porter he won raves for during his days as part of Uncle Karl's regime. 8655 Production Ave., Ste. A, Miramar, 32northbrew.com
Let's Go to The Hops
November beer events
A commemorative taster glass and the ability to receive unlimited samples from every member of the San Diego Brewers Guild - there is no better way to experience the San Diego craft beer scene. That's why this event kicks off the region's 10-day fermentation free-for-all. Spend a Saturday swilling suds by the bay or start early with a Friday evening session featuring rare and specialty beers as well as the chance to chat up local brewers. Or commit to the craft and go all-in with the two-day pass. November 7-8, Port Pavilion at Broadway Pier, 1000 North Harbor Dr., Downtown, sdbw.org
The Beer Garden
Chefs and brewers have a lot in common. Both use skillful hands and creative minds to craft delicious, crave-able consumables. This was the first annual event built to bring these masters of the kitchen and brewery together to collaborate on beers and dishes that pair perfectly with each other. Sip and sup au natural while spying views of the Pacific Ocean from The Lodge at Torrey Pines' Arroyo Terrace. This is a must for foodies and beerophiles alike. But plan ahead - tickets are limited, and the event sells out every year. November 16, The Lodge at Torrey Pines, 10440 North Torrey Pines Rd., La Jolla, sdbw.org
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, San Diego Reader and more. The first publication for which he ever wrote about beer was PacificSD. Follow him on Twitter @sdbeernews and @offdutyfoodie.