Beer Name: Strawberry Blonde
Brewery: Viewpoint Brewing
Offering stellar views, a full dining menu, and a variety-filled lineup of beers, from lighter options like kolsch and IPL (India Pale Lager) to heftier choices, including a golden strong and bourbon barrel aged abbey stout, Viewpoint Brewery is a lively and engaging space to enjoy coastal weather and scenery. Nestled in a spot overlooking the San Dieguito Lagoon, Viewpoint is Del Mar’s first brewery, and is conveniently located near the Del Mar Fairgrounds, and features a bar and restaurant, complete with fire tables, communal spaces, games, and swings for plenty of outdoor enjoyment.
PACIFIC recently sat down with head brewer Moe Katomski over a strawberry blonde to find out more about the Beer of the Week.
PACIFIC: What’s the story behind the strawberry blonde?
MOE KATOMSKI: It’s an annual release, done each year in collaboration with Chino Farms. We also buy their produce to put on our menu.
We’ve heard there is a story and video about last year’s version?
(laughs) Yeah, last year’s version exploded. It started shooting and geysering out, all over myself, and everyone at the low bar got a nice beer shower at 5 p.m. on a Friday. But the beer came out great and everyone loved it.
It may seem obvious to some, but what’s the story behind the brewery name?
It was initially Vigilante Brewing Company, but the name was taken in the midwest with an IPA, so Charles Koll (the owner) decided on Viewpoint because of the bridge and viewpoint just off this path here.
But it’s also about perspective. When you see our logo, Viewpoint Brewing, and you turn it over, it says “Good beer for all.” We have a semi-annual series that we do in the same double perspective, the first one was sad guy and grumpy guy, then angel and devil, and there are two more to be released.
What’s in Strawberry Blonde?
It’s built like a kolsch this year. We used a European ale yeast strain, 011, from the White Labs vault, based on a pilsner malt, white wheat and whole hops. We use 200 pounds of fresh strawberries that chef cooked down and made a puree, we froze and then thawed, pulling out the water, and just leaving the natural juices.
What’s the perfect pairing?
At the fair this year, we paired it with grilled eggplant involtini with ricotta, lemon, and pink peppercorn and a Champagne vinaigrette. On the menu, try the charred broccoli with caramelized shallots, parmesan cheese, and cured lemon vinaigrette, beer-battered shrimp with spicy ponzu mayo, and the three-way beet salad with pickled golden beets, roasted pink beets, red beet puree and a balsamic reduction.
This beer gal’s take: With friends around a fire, yummy nibbles, and a strawberry blonde in hand, life in San Diego feels pretty good. Not only is it a perfect place to hit before or after races, concerts, or festivals at the Del Mar Racetrack, they also serve up brunch on the weekends. I’m pairing my strawberry blonde with the Del Mar Parfait, an açai bowl with goji berries, banana crisp, bee pollen, and granola, and the churro french toast, with brioche, cinnamon, and Mexican chocolate sauce.
Where to get it and for how long: Get it while you can, the Strawberry Blonde will only be available through mid- to late-July. There will be a second round at the end of the season, or a peach or apricot version with a Belgian yeast strain.
Extra juicy tidbit?
Make sure to head to Viewpoint in the next few weeks to catch their newest and first time addition to the list. Under the tutelage of Paul Deras, lead brewer at Mike Hess Brewing, a fruited Berliner Weiss is next up, with the as-of-yet decided fruit to again come from a local source, either Calypso Farms or Chino Farms.
2201 San Dieguito Dr., Del Mar, 858.356.9346, viewpointbrewing.com