A grand finale: Which beer will reign as San Diego’s greatest IPA?

The Pupil by Societe vs. Swami’s by Pizza Port

Down to the Wire

After an exhausting (and delicious) tournament, we’re down to the championship round. Which will emerge as San Diego’s best IPA?

In the beginning, 32 local India Pale Ales entered our March Mash Tun Madness. As of today, readers have narrowed the field down to two stellar brews: Societe's The Pupil and Swami’s from Pizza Port.

For one last time, the polls are open. From 10 a.m. today through midnight Sunday, April 8, you can vote for the champion IPA at the Union-Tribune’s Twitter site, @sdut, or via email at

Because democracy depends on informed voters, it’s your civic duty to visit the competing breweries for some, er, research.

Best of the Week, Local

The 11th annual CityBeat Festival of Beer — Saturday, 1 to 4 p.m. outside the Lafayette Hotel, 2223 El Cajon Blvd., San Diego — promises to be bigger, better and less controversial. Absent from this year’s lineup of 50 breweries is 10 Barrel, the Anheuser-Busch-owned chain of brewpubs whose appearance at last year’s CityBeat Festival angered some craft beer fans.

This year, I’m interested in new breweries like 3 Punk, Absolution, Circle 9 and the not-quite-open Bulror. A trio of live musical acts — Mittens, The Bassics and The Shenanigans — looks intriguing and the food selection, from Gaglione Brothers and Ranchwood Catering & Barbecue, delicious to a carnivore like myself. (While the music is free, the food costs extra.)

Admission is $50, or $60 if you want VIP entry at noon. Tickets are at

Meanwhile, Up in Alpine

Last week’s cascade of catastrophic news out of Green Flash has some wondering: What about the Flash’s much-admired division, Alpine Beer?

On Tuesday, when it was announced that Green Flash’s assets had been sold to an investment group, the new group insisted that Alpine’s beers were part of the deal.

At the same time, though, Alpine’s founders — Pal and Val McIlhenny — were pushed out. (Their son, the talented brewer Shawn McIlhenney, is still under contract to Green Flash.)

Watching Green Flash this past week has been like watching a tipsy fellow fall down a staircase — the hits keep coming and the damage gets worse and worse. It’d be a real tragedy if the casualties included Nelson, Duet, Pure Hoppiness and other Alpine classics.

Got Beer?

It’s official: Beer is healthier than milk!

Or so maintains People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. PETA marked National Beer Day — Saturday, the 85th anniversary of Prohibition’s repeal — by issuing a press release that gives a cold, frosty shoulder to dairy farmers.

“Alcohol in moderation can be good for you,” the release maintained, “but cow’s milk is bad for both your health and billions of calves and their mothers.”

As a confirmed imbiber of both beverages, I don’t agree with all the arguments PETA trotted out (beer is better for your bones? really?). The group made similar arguments in 18 years ago, in “Got Beer?” TV ads that were quickly yanked off the air after Mothers Against Drunk Drivers argued they encouraged underage drinking.

Twitter: @peterroweut