It's easy to get your homebrew on at this year's National Homebrewers Conference: It's right here in San Diego, from June 11-13 at the Town and Country Resort & Convention Center in Mission Valley.
The 37th annual National Homebrewers Conference boasts a whopping 56 events and 92 speakers from around the United States. The keynote speaker is San Diego's own brewmaster Tomme Arthur of The Lost Abbey. Also in the speaker lineup are local favorites Peter Zien of Alesmith Brewing Co., who was recently featured in our "Interview with a Brewmaster Series; Mitch Steele of Stone Brewing Co.; Jacob McKean and Amy Krone of Modern Times Beer; Kelsey McNair, medal-winning homebrewing extraordinaire of QUAFF and North Park Beer Co.; Chris White and Kara Taylor of White Labs; and George Thornton of The Homebrewer SD.
Each day of the conference is packed with seminars, meetings, social clubs, and receptions. Seminar topics include selecting yeast, blending, variations of India Pale Ale, brewing with coffee, fermenting mead, brewing lagers, wild and spontaneous fermentations, and women in the industry. Here's a sampling of events happening around town during the conference week:
Modern Times California Sour Jamboree, Tuesday, June 9: Tickets include 10 four-ounce pours from some of the best sour beer producers out there, including The Lost Abbey, The Bruery, Almanac Beer Co., and yes, Modern Times. Mike Tonsmeire will be on hand to sign his new book "American Sour Beers," and guests even get "oak chips inoculated with our house Brett strains to take home." Not to be missed!
Taste of North Park, Tuesday, June 9: This popular event returns in time for the conference. For $20 per person, attendees can visit 10 neighborhood restaurants for samples and try a variety of craft beers from five local breweries.
Ballast Point Dinner at Waypoint Public, Wednesday, June 10: Don't miss this three-course pairing dinner led by Waypoint partner Brian Jensen and Ballast Point Executive Director/Specialty Brewer Colby Chandler. Priced at $65 per person, the dinner will focus on Ballast Point's progression from home brewing to its present fame. There are two seating times, and tickets can be purchased through the American Homebrewers Association website.
Karl Strauss Home Brewer Happy Hour, Wednesday June 10: Hosted by San Diego's oldest continually operating craft brewer at its Pacific Beach brewery, tasting room and beer garden this afternoon event includes bus transportation, tours, cheese and chocolate beer pairings, and more.
North Park Mobile Brew Hop, Wednesday, June 10: Park the car and "hop" on board this complimentary shuttle to top San Diego destinations. Shuttles depart from the conference hotel in Mission Valley, and will run from noon to midnight, taking riders into the heart of North Park. Can't-miss drop-off spots include Waypoint Public (for the Ballast Point Dinner above), Hess Brewery, Fall Brewing Co., Rip Current/Ritual Tavern/Toronado, Bluefoot, Home Brewing Co., URBN, Bottlecraft, Belching Beaver, and Tiger! Tiger! For additional information and times, visit North Park Main Street's website.
Commemorative AHA Beers, throughout the conference: Attendees will get to take home two randomly selected bottles to create a massive countrywide bottle share. Some of the brews made locally include Lemon Yellow Sun by Port and The Lost Abbey, Golden Naked Promise by Green Flash, Karl Strauss "Home" Brew, and What Would Dave Drink? by Rip Current.
Local Book Signings, Thursday, June 11, and Friday, June 12: Head to Booth 328 to see local beer industry stars Mitch Steele of Stone Brewing Co. signing "IPA: Brewing Techniques, Recipes and the Evolution of India Pale Ale," and Chris White of White Labs signing "Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation." Also signing are Charlie Papazian, with his seminal text "Complete Joy of Homebrewing, Fourth Edition" and Randy Mosher signing multiple books, including his notable "Tasting Beer."
National Homebrewers Association Grand Banquet and Award Ceremony, Saturday June 13: More than 8,000 entries for the National Homebrew Competition were received from across the country. The winner will be announced at the closing event, which starts at 6 p.m.
If you love craft beer, brewing, or both, this is your week. Be safe: Take the shuttle buses, taxis or Uber. Cheers!