By Brandon Hernández
Do Me a Flavor
New beers to cheers and brews to peruse
L3 Wit: When developing the recipe for this beer, the minds behind this second-story brewpub-slash-kebobery imagined a beer that would be perfectly suited for summer - something refreshing that would pair well with al fresco views of the Pacific. They've created just that in L3 Wit, a Belgian-style wheat ale brewed with lavender and lime peel versus the traditional add-ins: coriander and orange peel. Debuting on Father's Day, the beer will benefit the Beer to the Rescue (beertotherescue.org) lupus research and awareness charity campaign. Amplified Ale Works, 4150 Mission Blvd., Ste. 408, Pacific Beach, amplifiedales.com
Passion Fruit Kicker: Despite being well known throughout the world for making great hoppy beers, the Lupulin-obsessed brewers at Green Flash feel the need to keep pushing the envelope rather than resting on their green, leafy laurels. Enter Passion Fruit Kicker, an India pale ale brewed with wheat malt and dry-hopped with experimental hop cultivars so even the brewers aren't sure how it'll turn out. And here's the kicker: the beer will be aged in oak barrels and have tart, tangy passion fruit added to the mix for an even more adventurous IPA unlike any other. Green Flash Brewing Company, 6550 Mira Mesa Blvd., Mira Mesa, greenflashbrew.com
Meet Your Maker
Mike Rodriguez, Brewmaster
Mason Ale Works at Urge Gastropub, Oceanside
He has brewed for reputable if not renowned brewing operations - Port Brewing Company, The Lost Abbey and Boulevard Brewing Company. Now, after a couple of years on hiatus, he's making his much-anticipated return to the San Diego brewing scene as the brewmaster at Mason Ale Works at Urge Gastropub in Oceanside, a Highway 101 brewpub from the folks behind Rancho Bernardo's original Urge and bottleshop Brothers Provisions.
Brandon Hernández: Which are your favorite San Diego County breweries?
MIKE RODRIGUEZ: I knew you'd ask me that and I really just can't come up with an answer. There are so many good ones. But I live in Oceanside, and Bagby Beer Company is my local goto... and not a bad one at that.
Well, that's convenient since your new brewpub will be in Oceanside, too.
I think the growing beer scene in Oceanside is great. In addition to Bagby Beer, there's fellow brewpub Breakside Brewing Company, the just-over-a-year-old Legacy Brewing Company and long-time community staple Oceanside Ale Works. We're looking forward to bringing our own unique beers and brewing angle into the fold.
What surprises do you have planned?
We've just started to gather some oak cooperage that we'll begin filling with beer in the near future, so barrel-aged brews will be available sooner than later. And I'm definitely looking forward to sharing those with beer fans... myself included.
What are you most looking forward to with this new venture?
I can't wait to see it all come together. It's been a long time coming, and I'm excited to put the lessons I've learned at The Lost Abbey and Boulevard to work for Urge. Bottom line, I just want to make beer.
Mason Ale Works at Urge Gastropub
2002 S. Coast Hwy., Oceanside
Coming to a Head
What's new in brew or coming soon
Duck Foot Brewing Company: Gluten-reduced beers are an emerging segment within the American brewing industry. Thanks to gluten-neutralizing enzymes, they allow people with mild to moderate gluten intolerance to enjoy something that was heretofore off-limits: craft beer. This newcomer to the "Beeramar" area will exclusively brew gluten-reduced beers. But don't expect anything bland. They plan on tackling myriad styles. And since lowering gluten has zero effect on beer's flavor, this operation figures to be all it's quacked up to be. 8920 Kenamar Dr., Ste. 210, Miramar, duckfootbeer.com
The Confessional: What do you get when you take one of inland San Diego's most renowned breweries and make their fine liquid wares available on the coast? We're about to find out when the triple-tiered production arm of the Pizza Port empire (Port Brewing Co., The Lost Abbey and The Hop Concept) touch down in an indoor-outdoor tasting room in the same shopping center as Cardiff's popular Seaside Market. Whether you're in search of hop bombs, stouts, Belgian-style refreshers or barrel-aged wonders, you'll find it on tap within walking distance of the iconic Kook. 2007 San Elijo Ave., Cardiff by the Sea, lostabbey.com
Let's Go to the Hops
June beer events
San Diego Beer Fest: For the fifth straight year, this fête featuring ales and lagers from local brewing interests as well as other national and international brands will descend on the grassy expanses of Liberty Station. More on the entry-level side of the beer fest equation, it's a perfect opportunity for less fussy fermented beverage enjoyment, made even better thanks to the presence of various food trucks and perfect weather that, at the onset of summer, is pretty much guaranteed. June 20, 1 p.m., Liberty Station, Point Loma, sandiegobeerfest.com
Sour Fest: Pack your Tums and a sense of adventure. Stone Brewing Co.'s annual tart tour de force will be in full effect with more than 100 varieties of sour beer on tap and uncorked for connoisseurs of the brewing industry's most avant-garde style category. Everything from gueuze blends of one-, two- and three-year-old Belgian lambic ales to woody, fruity Flemish-style red and brown ales to the mind- and palate-bending oddities that are sour stouts will be ripe for the tasting from the comfort of Stone's lush outdoor gardens. June 28, 11 a.m., Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens, 1999 Citracado Pkwy., Escondido, stoneworldbistro.com
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 content to national and San Diego-based magazines including The Beer Connoisseur, Imbibe, Wine Enthusiast, The San Diego Reader and more. The first publication for which he ever wrote about beer was PacificSD. Follow him on Twitter: @sdbeernews and @offdutyfoodie.