Local brewers team up to create one-of-a-kind beers, and we get to try them all
Kicking off its third year of camaraderie and celebration, Karl Strauss Collabapalooza joins over 60 breweries together in a beer making extravaganza. Tapping brews on Saturday, Oct. 19 behind the North Park Observatory, Collabapalooza benefits the San Diego Brewers Guild and North Park Main Street Association.
The ticketed event includes unlimited tasters of collaboration beers featuring many beloved San Diego county breweries including Alpine, Bagby, Mike Hess, Mikkeller, Pizza Port, Pure Project, Rip Current, Second Chance, Societe, Wild Barrel and so many more. The host, Karl Strauss, made eight collab brews, teaming up with AleSmith, Stone, Thorn, Helix, Belching Beaver, Alta, Mission, and Beer Night in San Diego/Three B Zine to create a mouthwatering lineup of brews.
PACIFIC spoke with veteran brewmaster Paul Segura of Karl Strauss to find out more about this community-building event and a few must-try collabs for this year:
What was the inspiration for starting Collabapalooza?
You know, the idea came about organically. We saw an opportunity to bring the community together with a unique festival, with a beer list filled with one-off brews that fans had never tried before. Everyone knows San Diego breweries make great beer on their own, but we wanted the chance to show fans that we could also all make even better beer together.
Is there an interesting ingredient or particular beer style you are seeing a lot of this year?
It’s the year of Kveik! We’re definitely expecting to see some beers brewed with Kveik yeasts, including a couple of our own collabs. They are traditional Norwegian yeast strains that a lot of brewers are eagerly experimenting with. They ferment incredibly quickly, and can even ferment at really high temperatures compared to your average yeast strains. Kveik yeasts produce a lot of really awesome, fruity esters, so they are cool strains to use across a wide variety of beer styles.
What are a few of your favorite or “must-try” collabs this year?
I haven’t really tasted any of the collabs yet, aside from the handful that I was lucky enough to help brew. However, I’ve seen the posts on social media and a lot of them look really fun and interesting. A few of the many I’m looking forward to tasting are: Amplified Ale Works with OB Brewing & Half Door, Resident Brewing and Helia, Automatic Brewing and New English ... there are SO many! It’s tough to keep track. My advice is, make sure you show up thirsty.
What’s it like participating in collaborations with other brewers?
The camaraderie is very cool. Just getting to know other brewers in a more personal way is always a lot of fun. I’m talking specifically about guys that I previously didn’t know very well, Cameron at Helix Brewing, Troy at Belching Beaver, Chris at Alta, Doug at Thorn, and Tucker at Bitter Bros. ALL good dudes! They’re just genuinely cool, on top of being great brewers. We made some interesting beers together and had a blast.
Collaborations have always been such a strong aspect of San Diego brewing. With the rise in brewery numbers, do you think that will change as the competition for taps and shelf space gets tighter? Or will it strengthen collabs?
Nah, collaborations are here to stay. The culture of camaraderie is really strong. Collabapalooza is one awesome example, for sure, but since its creation we’ve seen an increase in collaborations beyond just this event. We hope Collabapalooza has helped inspire this, and given breweries an added excuse to collaborate. Collabapalooza has been voted “Best Beer Event” by the readers of West Coaster both years so far, and maybe that’s why! Collabs are part of what makes this industry so incredible. It’s all about bringing people together over beer.
The Karl Strauss lineup of collaborations:
With AleSmith: Blink of an IPA (Kveik IPA)
With Thorn: Countess Sparkula (Imperial Breakfast Stout)
With Helix: Calculated NonCents (Kveik IPA)
With Belching Beaver: Peace Pipe Pils (Pilsner)
With Stone: Hug It Out Mate, Part Three: A Return to Oz (IPA)
With Mission: Later Alligator (Hazy Kveik IPA)
With Alta: Norwegian Hood (DIPA)
With Beer Night San Diego/Three B Zine: Stargazer 2.0 (IPA)
When: 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19
Where: Behind The Observatory, 2891 University Ave., North Park
Tickets: General admission is $40, VIP: $60. All tickets include unlimited 2-oz pours and a commemorative taster glass. VIP tickets include early festival access and festival t-shirt. Tickets are available for purchase here.