San Diego has a new year-round weather forecast: sunny, wet and refreshing.
On Tuesday, San Diego acquired an official beer - a first for the city and, some maintained, the nation.
“This is a unique approach to introducing visitors to our craft beer culture,” said Kerri Kapich, chief operating officer of the San Diego Tourism Authority, which commissioned the beer. “This is our official destination beer. No city has ever done that before.”
A session IPA from Bay City Brewing, “72 and Hoppy” takes its name from two reliable local characteristics: warm, pleasant temperatures and flavorful, hoppy beers.
But not too hoppy.
“It’s nice and light and refreshing,” Kapich said. “And very accessible, which is very San Diego as well.”
72 and Hoppy is intended as a San Diego-style liquid aloha lei, a tasty signal to visitors that a.) they’re not in Kansas anymore, and b.) this area is chest-thumpingly proud of its climate, natural beauty, arts, culture and craft beer. The county’s many craft breweries - 148 at last count - includes some of the nation’s largest and most popular. Local beers win national and international awards with the same regularity that the Padres’ late Tony Gwynn won batting titles.
“This beer is a marker,” said Candace Eley, the tourism authority’s director of communications. ""It shows how much we are trying to promote San Diego as a beer destination.”
The region is “the Capital of Craft,” bragged Jill Davidson, president of the San Diego Brewers Guild.
“It is our quality beer, supportive and vibrant communities, and the incredible stories and dynamic personalities of our member breweries that truly set us apart,” she said.
72 and Hoppy is offered as an introduction to this vibrant scene, Kapich said, and the beer was designed to reflect San Diego’s personality in a pint glass. This ale is bright and clean, with fruity and herbal layers that are obvious without being obnoxious.
The tourism authority first broached the idea of an official beer about two years ago. While several breweries expressed interest, there was little tangible progress until this spring when Bay City took on the task.
Brewer Chris West tweaked the recipe for Bay City’s session IPA, a low alcohol beer with pronounced hop aromas and flavors. The result was a beer with tropical notes, thanks to Mosaic, El Dorado and Ekaunot hops, and remarkably low alcohol content - just 4.2 percent by volume. By comparison, Budweiser is 5 percent, while Corona Extra is 4.6 percent.
“The hop profile is interesting,” said Dande Bagby of Oceanside’s Bagby Beer, who attended Tuesday’s 72 and Hoppy launch party. “I’m getting some lemon peel.”
One of the area’s smaller local breweries, Bay City made fewer than 2,000 barrels of beer last year. But it, like every other member of the San Diego Brewers Guild, is now a full-fledged member of the San Diego Tourism Authority.
72 and Hoppy is now available at Bay City, 3760 Hancock St., in Loma Portal. By week’s end, the brewery plans to have the beer on tap in 20 local venues, ranging from the Grant Grill downtown, to the Omni, Pendry and Westin hotels in the Gaslamp, as well as the Shore Club and Woodstock’s Pizza in Pacific Beach, and Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens in Escondido.
Bay City plans to issue cans of 72 and Hoppy before Labor Day.
“We couldn’t be prouder to represent San Diego craft beer,” Greg Anderson, co-owner of Bay City, told a crowd of beer and tourism professionals. “Our goal is to make you look good.”