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SAN DIEGO2 BEVERAGE SD Beverage Times • Volume Issue 2









Serpentine Cider, The Good Seed Food Co. & Lost Cause Meadery Team Up For A Craft Collaboration Unlike Anything In San Diego Join Us At Our Shared Tasting Room & Kitchen - Open For Lunch & Dinner 8665 Miralani Dr. #100 • San Diego, CA 92126 • Part of the Miralani Makers’ District


Welcome back to the sixth issue of San Diego Beverage Times. In this edition we talk with Arielle Meads, a native San Diegan blogging about fashion and wine, plus there’s a profile on Seven Caves Spirits, a distillery among the local award winners at the Distilled San Diego competition. Make sure to give us a follow on Instagram @SDBevTimes and check out our website for more frequent glimpses into San Diego’s diverse beverage culture.

Cocktail provisions • Vintage and new bartending supplies for the enthusiast and the professional 2876 el cajon boulevard • (619) 727-4971 •

For beer coverage, check out our monthly print affiliate @WestCoasterSD; soon, WestCoasterSD. com will be getting a much needed upgrade. And when you’re feeling thirsty, please consider visiting the advertisers who make this magazine possible. Salud!

4, 16-17

Arielle Meads Interview


No Chaser: Seven Caves


@SDBevTimes Instagram


TEAM Editor Ryan Lamb Publisher Mike Shess Media Advisor Tom Shess

Contributors Diana Sciacca Ian Cheesman Jarnard Sutton Jeff Fancy Jon Bagalso Art Director Kristin Hardy

Cover Photo Kristina Yamamoto

craft soda works


up in oceanside

Sips of SD Bev News

ginger & Root brews


San Diego Beverage Times is a product of West Coaster Publishing Co. © 2018

SD Beverage Times • Volume 2 Issue 2



SD Beverage Times • Volume 2 Issue 2

TOP SECRET SPICED SOUR MEAD Crafted by Golden Coast Mead



H 2 O


Wa n t t o t a k e a s i p ? w w w. g o l d e n c o a s t m e a d . c o m

SD Beverage Times • Volume 2 Issue 2


NEWS SIPS Janelle Rodriguez, Gabbi Rodriguez, and Tiyana Quidachay at the Mostra café. Photo by Jon Bagalso (@jonthemonsterr). In February, Carmel Mountain Ranch-based roaster Mostra Coffee opened a café and retail shop at 12045 Carmel Mountain Road, suite 302, featuring San Diego’s only Mavam espresso machine. A majority of Mostra’s owners grew up in the area and graduated from Rancho Bernardo High School. The company is now four years old, and during that time they’ve collaborated on beers with more than 200 craft breweries across the nation.

Boochcraft — Chula Vista’s high-alcohol kombucha maker — is working on an expansion to bring their capacity to an eventual 40,000 barrels per year. Currently the company is working at a pace of 6,000 barrels per year inside 5,000 square feet, but a recently-acquired space just across from their current facility will add around 18,000 square feet of potential production space. Boochcraft, two years old in April, is getting around town via locals Stone Distributing Company, an offshoot of the Escondido-based brewery.

Ocean Beach-based TapShack, a kombucha and cold brew-focused bar serving local products, is in the process of adding a second location, at 927 Hornblend Street in Pacific Beach. The original spot, at 2232 Sunset Cliffs Boulevard, opened in November 2017. Owners Amanda Matson and Chris Bourgeois sell kombucha from breweries Babe, Bambucha, Bootstrap, Vida, and others; coffee from Red Hat and 7 Cold Brew; ginger beer and root beer from Moonglade Brews; and nitrogen-infused tea from Mad Monk.

Continued on page 16. 4

SD Beverage Times • Volume 2 Issue 2

SD Beverage Times • Volume 2 Issue 2


23rd Annual

WINE San Diego County Vintner’s Association


Sunday, April 29 1- 4 pm Bernardo Winery 13330 Paseo del Verano Norte, San Diego

$55 General Admission $25 Designated Driver

For tickets find SDCVA Wine & Food Festival on or visit


SD Beverage Times • Volume 2 Issue 2

Must be 21 or older to attend

Meet San Diego Wine & Fashion Blogger

Interview by Jeff Fancy Photos by Kristina Yamamoto at LJ Crafted Wines SD Beverage Times • Volume 2 Issue 2


It’s the middle of January in Bird Rock and the breeze blowing in from the Pacific is almost chilly. Sitting at a table in the sun outside La Jolla Crafted Wine is Arielle Meads—local ballerina, actress, singer, artist, Disney character performer, fashionista—and sommelier candidate. She is wearing a stylish brown jacket, black beret, and sipping a Chardonnay crafted by the innovative urban winery. Arielle has a lot on her mind. She has spent the last ten years dancing with San Diego Ballet, acting at OB Playhouse, appearing in TV commercials, and portraying Disney characters with Royal Entertainers. Now an uncertain future is stretched out in front of her. The physically grueling years being a ballerina and crazy hours as a performer have caught up with her. Ballet was a passion for Arielle for most of her life, and so was fashion. Unbeknownst to her until recently, so was fine wine. What will the future bring by merging these passions?

In this interview the San Diego native shares how growing up in a wine-loving, fashion-forward family inspired her to take the path from artistic performer to wine-fashion blogger and aspiring . Arielle’s wine-fashion blog, POURSTYLES, follows her journey and is refreshingly free of pretentiousness. Her blog pairs wine with fashion like other bloggers pair wine with food. Arielle says that’s because wine and fashion are both perfect art forms. When did you first discover the pleasure of drinking wine? I have always loved wine. I grew up with artistic parents who loved to travel and who taught me European culture. They loved lengthy dinners with food, friends, and wine. My mother taught me from a young age how to drink fine wines and appreciate them. When I turned 18 I became a professional ballet dancer, which I still am. Among my theatre friends the joke is I always have wine with me when we get together. I still perform, but now it’s 10 years later and I’m looking for stability and digging down to find the passions in my life. Last year I watched the documentary, Somm, and was completely inspired to pursue being a sommelier. Tell us about your blog. I’m an artist on a budget, but I have found ways to have a great lifestyle and live a fabulous life. My blog, POURSTYLES, is about wine and style for those of us on a tight budget, like me. The blog is mainly about 8

SD Beverage Times • Volume 2 Issue 2

wine, with a splash of style. I know how intimidating wine and fashion can be, especially when you’re on a budget. So that’s why I created POURSTYLES, a blog about drinking wine and dressing up for ‘pour’ people. How did you become obsessed with fashion? My mother is the one who got me into fashion. She has always been fashion-forward and influenced by style. When she was in high school she designed and made her own clothes—hand-sewn, high-fashion, eclectic outfits. No one else in San Diego looked like her. Before I was born she had a career in fashion, working for Robinson’s. From my mother’s influence I created my own sense of style. She let me have my own artistic freedom when it came to what I wore, and she has been my inspiration to this day. Both my mom’s and my favorite place to shop in San Diego is Le Belage Boutique in Mission Hills. Explain why fashion and wine go together so well. Wine and fashion are both forms of art. Every single wine you taste expresses itself in a different way. In wine you can taste the fruit, the climate it was raised in—and fashion is the same way. It expresses itself. You can see where fashion was made. French fashion, for example, has a look. Italian shoes, are extravagant.

If you care about , care about , care about , then you care about . They all go together because they are all forms of art. Tell us about the wines you drink and how you go about selecting them for review. At first my selections were label-based. My favorites at that time were Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot. I really liked how they tasted. And since I was on a budget, those bottles would always be under $15.00. So, I picked either a Sauvignon Blanc or Merlot, under $15.00, with a cute label. That’s how it started. Then after drinking more wines, I found that I loved French wines. Now, I’m looking for years. The 2013 and 2014 years were really great for Napa Valley white wines. Oregon wines are also among my favorites right now. I recently blogged about Prosecco. It’s a sparkling white wine from Italy. It has to be Italian grapes to be a Prosecco. It has citrus, grapefruit, pineapple, and tropical fruit flavors as opposed to a French Champagne, which is almond, toast, honey, brioche— that kind of sweetness. I prefer Champagne, but it is very expensive for my budget. Prosecco, on the other hand, is $6.99 a bottle at Trader Joe’s. And it’s actually pretty good as a replacement for Champagne.

SD Beverage Times • Volume 2 Issue 2


My new favorite wine is Viognier. The Viognier at La Jolla Craft is amazing. It is like flowers in my mouth and reminds me of roses. It is a beautiful locally-made wine—floral, light, and nice. You recently attended SommCon. How was that? I was nervous about going. I wasn’t sure how I would be accepted. I met a lot of people, tasted nice wines, and learned a lot. The best part about it was everyone was so accepting of me. It was a shock. I think some people are intimidated by wine and they never really open themselves up to it.

But if you are passionate about something and people see you are trying, they will accept you for that because they, too, are about wine. SommCon made me jump into the wine industry feet first. Everyone was wonderful. People were kind and jazzed to have me there as a wine blogger. I made new friends and many contacts. SommCon opened my eyes to wanting to be in the field. It was a great experience and a super refreshing change from ballet. What are some local San Diego wines you enjoy? As I said earlier, the Viognier made by La Jolla Crafted is a lovely wine that I love. I enjoy drinking their other wines, too. Their wines come right from the barrel. I recently tasted their 2013 Cabernet and loved it. I plan to start visiting other San Diego urban wineries, such as Carruth, Vino Carta, Blue Door, and the others. Do you have a favorite go-to wine? My favorite wines are from France, but I love Oregon and Napa Valley wines. My favorite French wines are Chardonnays, white Burgundies like Bourgogne Blanc,


SD Beverage Times • Volume 2 Issue 2

and Chablis. When the weather is cold I like to drink local reds like Cabernet and Pinot Noir. What are your favorite appetizers and wines for a small party? Wine and cheese are the perfect match. A cheese plate with three different cheeses and selected wines to pair with them makes for the ideal menu. For example, Brie, being a creamy, full-bodied cheese, pairs well with fruity reds, like Pinots, Merlots, or even Chardonnays. Blue cheese, being pungent and salty, pairs well with Riesling. The wine’s sweetness cuts the bitterness. Blue would also go well with Prosecco or Champagne because the bubbles tend to soothe the tang of the cheese. And light-bodied Gouda goes well with Vionier Sauvignon Blanc, or even Merlot to complement the body of the cheese. Caprese salad is another one of my favorite appetizers. It’s simple. I like to pair it with Sauvignon Blanc, which is lean and crisp and goes well with the mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, and olive oil in the dish. How does someone become a Sommelier? The Court of Masters Sommeliers has four levels of Sommelier status. Levels one, two, and three grow in depth and complexity and lead up to the fourth level which is Master Sommelier.

There are only 229 Master Sommeliers in the whole world right now, so it is extremely . You have to be invited to take the exam to be one. In the documentary Somms the men are already level three and preparing for the Master exam. My goal is to be a Master Sommelier some day. I’m looking forward to the journey ahead.

To read Arielle’s wine reviews and learn more about wine paired with fashion and food, check out her blog at and follow @pourstyles on Instagram. SD Beverage Times • Volume 2 Issue 2



SD Beverage Times • Volume 2 Issue 2



SEVEN CAVES By Ian Cheesman

Photo by Jarnard “Nardcast” Sutton

There are many things that I typically do to prepare for an interview. I’ll arm myself with a list of essential questions to cover on a notepad. I’ll test my recording equipment, rudimentary as it is, to minimize technical mishaps.

But I can say with all confidence that this interview marks the first time I’ve considered bringing my waffle iron along. That’s obviously an unconventional tool for most journalistic tasks, but then Seven Caves Distillery is an unconventional business. Rather than opt for the expediency of a vodka or moonshine, their first consumer product was an aged rum. Further, the follow-up to that rum wasn’t news of another aged spirit to expand the portfolio, but a maple syrup that slumbered in the very same barrels. And that’s only the tip of the idiosyncratic iceberg. So, as much as I’d like to dive headlong into some rum-tastic waffles, I should probably profile what this Miramar distillery is about. Always finish drinking your dinner before dessert, right? There isn’t really an archetypical distiller at this point in the evolution of San Diego craft spirits, but Geoff Longenecker still feels like an unusual entrant to the scene. He had no professional distilling experience prior to opening his own concern. There were certainly far more lucrative employment opportunities available

to Longenecker with his law degree. In fact, he would have probably agreed it was an unlikely outcome, at least prior to the family vacation in Kentucky that inadvertently stoked his passion. That trip included a jaunt to craft distiller Corsair Distillery, where he encountered folks willing to spend hours unpacking the methods they used to make the spirits he so cherished. Before he knew it he was silently ogling their “gorgeous” Vendome still and knew he was hooked. Though Seven Caves Distillery officially began operating in mid-2016, in some ways its creation dates back several decades. Growing up in the culture of Louisiana where, as Longenecker puts it, “food is religion”, he’s spent a considerable chunk of his life pondering how to create flavors. That avid culinary interest has permeated his cooking, 20 years of homebrewing experience, and lives on today in his approach to distilled spirits. The story of this distillery came full circle in late 2016 with the release of Seven Caves Distillery rum, which was built on a base of raw cane sugar and molasses sourced from farms a mere 30 minutes away from Longenecker’s childhood home. Those selections weren’t driven by nostalgia—he believes these products to be the best in the world. This isn’t to say that the sugar is free from inconsistencies though. Some batches favor vanillin compounds redolent of caramel, while others present an oddly floral and bright character. That might be problematic for SD Beverage Times • Volume 2 Issue 2


Many adjectives leap to mind when sampling this rum and “different” is certainly among them. It has assertive aromatics of cola and honey offset by the merest floral finish. The flavor is a wallop of brown sugar up front with butterscotch in the finish (minus the sticky sweetness you might expect to accompany those flavors). The oak does imbue more wood character to the rum than is typical, but there’s no tannic nip to it whatsoever. In the final analysis, it’s an elegant, flavorforward sipping rum that tries to put as little between you and that Louisiana cane field as possible. Photo by Jarnard Nardcast Sutton someone bent on producing a uniform flagship product, but Longenecker views it as an opportunity to tweak the yeast profile to match the nuances of his ingredients. Flavor is his partner, not his subordinate. Longenecker’s shifting yeast blend is only one of many unusual steps in his quest to cultivate the distinct character of his rum. For example, he ferments in an open, unjacketed container, subjecting the yeast to a temperature range that encourages the formation of fruity ester compounds resident in Caribbean rum.

He refuses to sweeten the rum post-distillation, a practice commonplace in most consumer rums. The move that really sets him apart, however, is his insistence on using fresh cooperage for his rum (as opposed to the traditional use of spent bourbon barrels for aging). It’s a curious decision, especially when he expresses it’s driven by a love of bourbon itself. He wanted nothing less than the depth bourbon acquires from newly-charred American oak for his rum. “I just thought it gave it really interesting character,” he said. “It’s very different from anything else out there.”

While Longenecker’s devotion to elevating the cane spirit is palpable, he’s no purist. He’s more than willing to expand the flavor profile of his rum with a brief finishing rest in another barrel. His bourbon barrelfinished rum definitely brings more light brown sugar and woodiness to the nose, but the flavor is what takes the hardest pivot. Caramel now leaps out of the spirit with a smidgen more complementary sweetness as well. The rye whiskey-finished rum develops a more nectary nose with a pronounced woody root beer note. This augments the butterscotch flavor in the rum with a muted peppery spice.

I’d wager the rye barrel finish is the crowdpleaser of the bunch, but never count out the potential of rum currently slumbering in the depths of a 30-gallon Madeira barrel. I am not alone in my praise this unusual approach to rum. The American Distilling Institute awarded it the bronze medal in the aged rum category just last year. His beverage industry peers have likewise taken notice, as Longenecker has already received multiple inquiries for potential collaborations. However, just because his barrels are single-use doesn’t mean that his affection for them wanes upon emptying. “I care about where they go,” he said. “I don’t just throw them out on the open market - I give them to people that I really respect.” As it happens, Seven Caves Distillery found a worthy collaborator was residing in its own backyard. Setting Sun Sake Brewing Co. has been using the barrels in boundary-blurring efforts that feel like a nod to Longenecker’s foodie proclivities. Their arrival quickly prompted head of brewery operations Josh Hembree to create both a rum runner-inspired fruited sake and a forthcoming “pastry sake” aging on cocoa nibs, coffee, coconut, and caramelized honey. ”Rum wasn’t on my plan,” said Hembree.

Photo by Diana Sciacca 14

SD Beverage Times • Volume 2 Issue 2

Photo by Diana Sciacca

“[The barrels] just happened to be so goddamn good that I had to snatch them up and just make magic with them.” For Longenecker, Seven Caves Rum is as much a quest as it is a consumer product. It represents his opportunity nudge and refine the cane spirit to its most evolved state. However, the new Seven Caves Gin is built with a slightly different goal. At its highest aspiration, his gin program is best described as a culinary time capsule. The gins will be released in multiple series throughout the year, with each iteration highlighting different seasonal ingredients at the peak of their freshness. Much like the model pioneered by Stone Brewing in their “Enjoy By” IPA series, Longenecker will produce a modestly-sized batch and price it to encourage consuming fresh. For example, the first iteration featured two lemon varieties, ample clippings from his mint plants, and wild foraged juniper for a massively botanical, yet strangely refreshing spirit. I suppose I’ve put it off long enough. I opened with the promise of reviewing rum-laden breakfast fare and it’s time to deliver. Still, this transition is less abrupt than it may seem. I would argue that the gin is more closely related to syrup than the rum, at least conceptually. Despite the barrels this elixir rested in, the maple syrup endeavor was driven by a desire to explore flavors at their highest potential. “Much like the gin program, if I come across what I believe to be truly exceptional ingredients, I’ll do something with it,” said Longenecker.

Longenecker once remarked to me that his specialty maple syrup is “like crack”. I honestly find that characterization a bit juvenile and, worse, a woefully underpowered description. I’ve tried this syrup on pancakes from a boxed mix and found myself apologizing to the syrup for the substandard matrix I unleashed it upon. This stuff is sublime.

It’s like somehow dipping your French toast in the nectary essence of losing your virginity on prom night. Crack dealers should coax potential clients with “Seriously, this crack is like rum barrel-aged maple syrup”. It’s simply not to be missed. The future of Seven Caves Distillery looks to be no less free-wheeling than the present. There’s talk of a rauchbier-inspired whiskey, agave spirits, a bourbon, and even a whiskey-style digestif with amaranth (that includes six different malts as well as honey). I’d love to provide the projected dates for their availability, but the truth is that not even Longenecker truly knows that. The best he can offer is that they’ll be released whenever the flavors pay proper tribute to the spirit and its ingredients. And that suits him just fine. More information about Seven Caves Distillery can be found at While they offer regular tasting hours, I strongly recommend making an appointment to enjoy a fully curated and interactive spirit tasting experience. Just be prepared to talk about molasses - he’s really into that stuff. SD Beverage Times • Volume 2 Issue 2


Continued from page 4. The results for the Distilled San Diego competition were released in March. During a blind session, judges awarded 133 medals, of which 22 went to San Diego County operators. For the first time, entries were judged on merit and not “Olympic style,” offering opportunities for multiple gold, silver, and bronze awards in each class.

Malahat Spirits

Many of the local winners below will be available at the Distilled San Diego Spirit & Cocktail Festival, held Saturday, June 23 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. There, the Best of Show winner will be announced.

Copper Collar • •

Bronze - Distillery Artisan Vodka (Other Vodka – Unflavored) Bronze - Silver Rum (White Rum – Unflavored)

Cutwater Spirits • • • • • • •

Gold - Bali Hai Tiki Gold Rum (Spiced Rum; Best of Class) Gold - Black Skimmer Bourbon (Bourbon) Gold - Devil’s Share Bourbon Whiskey (Straight Bourbon 2-5 years; Best of Class; 2017’s Best of Show Winner) Gold - Spicy Bloody Mary Mix (Non-Alcoholic Mixers) Silver - Devil’s Share Single Malt Whiskey (American Whiskey – Single Malt [Non-Peated]) Silver - Fugu Vodka Mule (Pre-Mixed Cocktails) Bronze - Fugu Vodka Spicy Bloody Mary (Pre-Mixed Cocktails)

Silver - Bourbon (Straight Bourbon 2-5 years)

Misadventure & Co. •

Bronze - Vodka (Other Vodka – Unflavored)

Old Harbor Distilling

• •

Silver - Barrelflag Navy Strength Rum (White Rum – Unflavored) Bronze - Ampersand Cold Pressed Coffee Liqueur (Coffee Liqueur) Bronze - San Miguel Southwestern Gin (Regional Terroir Gin)

Perfect Soul •

Silver - Whiskey (American Whiskey – Multi Grain)

San Diego Distillery • •

Gold - Peated Cask Strength Whisky (American Whiskey – Single Malt [Peated]; Best of Class) Bronze - Bourbon (Bourbon)

Seven Caves Spirits • •

Gold - Gin ‘One’ (Regional Terroir Gin; Best of Class) Gold - Barrel Aged Rum (Aged Rum; Best of Class, Best of Division)

The California Spirits Company

Gold - Pier View Gin (Traditional Gin)

Liberty Call Distilling • •

Silver - SD County Aged Rum (Aged Rum) Bronze - Barrel Rested Gin (Regional Terroir Gin)

Design & Install Maintenance System Overhaul Line Cleaning Parts/Equipment


SD Beverage Times • Volume 2 Issue 2

TapCraft is a beverage services company specializing in dispensed beverage systems. These systems include the following: Draught beer, wine, coffee, tea, kombucha, cold pressed juices, craft soda, cocktails and much more. Peacock 619-402-1029

In the world of mead, the most prestigious competition is the Bloomfield, Colorado-based Mazer Cup, which is an international competition for home and commercial mead makers. In March, local operation Lost Cause Meadery earned a silver medal for its Devilish Grin mead, becoming the first commercial Southern California mead makers to medal. “Devilish Grin was made for our grand opening party. Since then, it’s been one of the top sellers in the tasting rooms,” said Billy Beltz, co-founder and mead maker. Currently on tap and also available in bottles, Devilish Grin was entered in the competitive “open category”

of semi-sweet wares. “It’s basically a catch-all for a lot of different meads that don’t fit into other specific categories,” he said. Lost Cause is located in San Diego’s Miralani Makers District. This commercial mead, made with tart cherries and black pepper, is a twist on one that Beltz used to make as an amateur; that mead also medalled in the Mazer Cup’s home competition. Three more of Lost Cause’s current meads, Zydeco Buzz with coffee and chickory; FresYes with Fresno, Chipotle, and Ancho peppers; and the oak-aged Buck It All all received medals as home-made meads, and they all utilize locally-sourced buckwheat blossom honey.

In late January, 16 members of the San Diego County Vintners Association (SDCVA) took home awards from the 2018 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, known as the largest competition of American wines. Carruth Cellars, Fallbrook Winery, Gianni Buonomo Vintners, and San Pasqual Winery all earned prestigious “double gold” medals. “San Diego County is producing world class wines and these medals affirm the wine making talent throughout our region,” said SDCVA President and Fallbrook Winery General Manager Izaac Villalobos. “It’s also interesting to see the diversity in varietals among the medal winners. San Diego County has many micro-climates that enable a range of grape varieties to flourish – making our region an exciting place to grow fruit and make interesting wines.” For the full list of winners, visit

SD Beverage Times • Volume 2 Issue 2




Newtopia Cider

Kombucha Culture

Modern Times Cafe

California Spirits

Charlie & Echo Winery

Nektar Juice Bar

Twisted Horn Mead

Moonglade Brews

Raging Cider & Mead Co.

SD Beverage Times • Volume 2 Issue 2

Malahat Spirits

Rough Draft Brewing

Industrial Grind

SD Brewing


J Brix Wine

SD Beverage Times • Volume 2 Issue 2




Hungry Hawk Vineyards

Manzanita Roasting

Living Tea Kombucha

Serpentine Cider

Vesper Vineyards

Cutwater Spirits

Collins & Coupe

Vom Fass Hillcrest

Hamiltons Tavern

SD Beverage Times • Volume 2 Issue 2

SD Beverage Times • Volume 2 Issue 2



SD Beverage Times • Volume 2 Issue 2

Profile for Advanced Web Offset

San Diego Beverage Times Spring 2018  

San Diego Beverage Times Spring 2018