Take it from the Tap

By Brandon Hernández

DO ME A FLAVOR
New beers to cheers and brews to peruse

Deep Crimson Red Rye Imperial IPA: Although theirs is a commercial brewery, the founders of Rip Current Brewing Co. approach their craft with the wonder and bravado of recreational homebrewers, tackling a wealth of interesting styles including this crimson-hued double India pale ale. A motherlode of hops brings in brilliant botanical aromas and sturdy bitterness while a touch of rye in the malt bill introduces a zing of peppery spice to drive all that hoppiness home. Rip Current Brewing Co., 1325 Grand Ave., Ste. 100, San Marcos; 4101 30th St., North Park, ripcurrentbrewing.com

Stone Enjoy 11.27.15 Black IPA: Brewed to hammer home the importance of drinking as-fresh-as-possible hoppy beers, Stone Brewing Co.'s "Enjoy By" IPA was a game-changer for the beer industry that educated the public while invigorating the manner and speed by which distributors get hop-driven ales to market. Brewed with dark-roasted malts to provide a dark yin to the hoppy Enjoy By yang, this brand new offering reinforces that message while offering something a little more robust and dark yet enlightening. Stone Brewing Co., multiple locations., enjoyby.stonebrewing.com

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COMING TO A HEAD
What's new in brew or coming soon

Helix Brewing Company: A year ago, there were no breweries in La Mesa, but the City deemed it legal to brew last year, and, just like that, the East County berg now sports a pair of suds factories. Run by a lifelong La Mesan, Helix is the new kid on the block (literally, they are right down the street from the city's other brewery, Bolt), paying homage to its stomping grounds with a variety of smallbatch creations of the hoppy and low-alcohol ilks, all of which can be enjoyed indoors with a view of the brewery (and soon an outdoor beer garden). 8101 Commercial St., La Mesa, drinkhelix.com

Guadalupe Brewery: After three years of driving from San Diego to Mexico's Valle de Guadalupe nearly every weekend to brew beer, a former brewer without borders has built his own facility within his mom-and-pop North County homebrew supply store. Proving you can take the brewer out of Baja but you can't take Baja out of the brewer, he's using Mexican chocolate, honey and vanilla to craft a variety of beers that go beyond standard blonde, golden, red and brown, in an effort to both sate visitors' thirsts and spark their interest in the brewing arts. 5674 El Camino Real (at Carlsbad Brew Supply), Carlsbad, guadalupebrewery.com

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LET'S GO TO THE HOPS
October beer events

Pour it Black: When people think dark beer, they think stouts, but there is so much more at the ebony end of the ale-and-lager spectrum, namely sour beers, IPAs, saisons, porters and barrel-aged beauties, more than 100 of which will be on-tap at this annual outdoor festival. Oct. 18, 10 a.m., Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens, 1999 Citracado Pkwy., Escondido, stoneworldbistro.com

Woodship 10: A long-standing annual tradition will celebrate a decade of fine beer sampling via an expertly procured tap list, cask beer and a massive bottle share when Downtown Johnny Brown's closes to the public for one enchanted evening of craft beer debauchery. Oct. 3, 10 a.m., Downtown Johnny Brown's, 1220 Third Ave., Downtown, downtownjohnnybrowns.com

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MEET YOUR MAKER
Brewmaster Q&A

Adam Jester - Head Brewer, Pizza Port Solana Beach

No single brewery has developed such a vast lineage of standout brewers as Pizza Port's Solana Beach brewpub. That spot recently bid adieu to head brewer Devon Randall (see "Take it from the Tap," in PacificSD's August 2014 issue), who left to open a new brewery in Los Angeles' Arts District, leaving a spot open for new blood. Ever the internal promoters, the powers that be at the Port tapped Adam Jester, a hop-obsessed, light-hearted beer guy determined to live up to a self-imposed play on his name: A dam(n) jester.

Brandon Hernández: How did you become part of the Pizza Port family?
Adam Jester: I was an early beer nerd who'd been frequenting Pizza Port since 1992. When I learned there was a brewery in Solana Beach, I had to try their beers. Lucky for me, Pizza Port soon opened a brewpub in my hometown of Carlsbad. Years later, I met brewers Ignacio "Nacho" Cervantes and Mike Aubuchon. We would talk about beer, and sometimes I'd bring in some of my homebrew for them to try. I told them to let me know if they ever needed a hand. Mike called me one time when he was short-staffed, and I helped. Three weeks later, he called again, this time to ask me if I wanted a job. I said yes and started out as a driver, delivering supplies to the other Pizza Port locations and delivering beer to accounts around San Diego while also helping in the brewery.

Did you feel pressure when stepping into a position vacated by a brewer who is locally well known and respected?
AJ: I don't really feel pressured; I feel honored. This location has produced some of the best brewers in the business. Tomme Arthur [Port Brewing/The Lost Abbey], Jeff Bagby [Bagby Beer Co.], Yiga Miyashiro [Saint Archer Brewery], Devon Randall [Arts District Brewing] and Nacho [Pizza Port Ocean Beach] all started here.

How will you infuse your personal brewing style at the brewpub?
AJ: I'm a bit of a hophead, so I think, first and foremost, I will experiment with some hoppy beers. Honestly, though, I think that my style has yet to be fully honed. That is something that will come with more time in this brewery.

What is the most challenging aspect of your new position?
AJ: Solana Beach is the oldest location in the Pizza Port family, so there are inherent challenges that come with that. The brewery can be temperamental at times. Other than that, I would say that scheduling and logistics are some of my personal challenges, as I didn't have a lot of prior experience with that part of the brewing process. But it is going pretty smooth so far, knock on wood. Right now, one of the biggest challenges is keeping beer on tap, but that's a good problem to have.

Cite a special Pizza Port memory.
AJ: I can remember sitting in Pizza Port Carlsbad with my wife when a stranger bought each of us a pint of Poor Man's IPA. He said, "You guys like IPAs? Try this. My son brewed it, and it won a Great American Beer Festival medal last week." That stranger was Jeff Bagby's dad, and the beer blew us away.

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Brandon Hernández is a native San Diegan with a fervent passion for craft beer and the talented individuals who produce it. He is the author of Complete Guide to San Diego Breweries, Senior Communications Specialist for Stone Brewing Co. and contributes beer-centric content to national and San Diego-based publications. The first publication for which he ever wrote about beer was PacificSD. Follow him on Twitter: @sdbeernews and @offdutyfoodie.

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