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MARCH 2020

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SAN DIEGO BEVERAGE NEWS

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Vodka's Calling at 619 THE ABNORMAL DINING EXPERIENCE LOCAL BEVERAGE EVENTS

VOL . 9 ISSUE 3

F R E E M A G A Z I N E BY @W E S T C O A S T E R S D


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A large crowd for an event at Toronado San Diego in North Park. The famed beer bar will close this month. Photo by Tim Stahl.

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Beverage Briefs  3 R B R E W E RY N OW O P E N

Rincon Reservation Road Brewery, the new iteration and rebrand of a former beer concept SR76 Beerworks, opened in late January. The brewery is operated today by the Rincon Economic Development Corporation (REDCO) that is now responsible for all brewery operations; REDCO is the economic development arm of the Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians. Their brewer is Shawn Steele, who has previously worked at Karl Strauss and Coronado Brewing. He's crafted four core offerings, the details of which you can see below: Oasis Blonde Ale – 4.2% ABV The Oasis is a sanctuary of hidden beauty on Rincon Reservation. This light in color Blonde Ale celebrates that beauty with its low hoppy bitterness that balances well with slight fruit flavors that is dry, medium bodied and a malty sweetness. Rez Dog- Hefeweizen – 5% ABV It’s not an easy road for the Rez Dog but this one is unstoppable!

Singers from the Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians at the grand opening ceremony for the Rincon Reservation Road Brewery adjacent to Harrah’s Resort Southern California.

6 March 2020

In honor of the many reservation dogs, our Hefeweizen is a crisp, refreshing brew, taking the road less traveled. Made of 55% wheat malt, 45% two-row malt and German Hefeweizen yeast, Rez Dog has a medium mouth feel with large amounts of fruity banana aroma and flavor with a hint of clove. Red Rattler-Amber Ale – 5% ABV The Red Diamond Rattle Snake has made its home on Rincon Reservation for 14,000 years. Our Red Rattler-Amber Ale symbolizes the balance and respect needed to pay homage to San Diego’s largest snake species. Beautiful and powerful, this Amber Ale uses Caramel Malts that lend a toasted toffee and caramel flavor, while the toasted aroma with slight fruity and pine hop bitterness balances the sweetness. Chief-IPA – 6% ABV There can only be one chief! Our Chief IPA embodies what it means to be number one. We brew our IPA with two- row, wheat and oats to give it a dry, crisp, clean low malt flavor made with Zappa, CTZ, and Chinook hops to create a medium hop bitterness of spice and citrus with loads of tropical flavors and pine aromas.


looking for a permanent home. Having teamed up with more than 20 local breweries for events and pairings, Harbison envisions a partnership like North Park Beer/Mastiff and Serpentine/Lost Cause/ Good Seed. Interested? Contact AngryPetesPizza@gmail.com and see his Instagram @AngryPetesPizza

 M E LV I N C LO S E S I N E A S T V I L L AG E

In November of 2018, Wyoming-based Melvin Brewing opened a brewpub in downtown San Diego’s East Village area. Outfitted in Melvin’s kung-fu movie meets Wu Tang Clan meets stainless steel motif, the venue offered the interest’s largely hoppy family of beers augmented by diverse, often-creative styles devised by on-site brewer Bobby Oliver. On February 17, Oliver and his coworkers were informed that Melvin is closing its East Village brewpub effective immediately.

 B U SY B AY C I T Y

Bay City Brewing Co., having just been named Small Business of the Year in the Midway District, is poised to finally open their East Village expansion on Monday, March 16. “We are very excited to open the new Bay City Brewing Company and Pizza Kitchen in East Village,” said co-owner Chad Robley. “Just a few blocks away from Petco Park, the San Diego Convention Center and Gaslamp District, it’s a great place for people to grab a craft beer, eat some great pizza and enjoy the city.” Located at 627 Eighth Avenue between G and Market Streets, Bay City’s new spot is two stories and equipped with 4,735 square feet of indoor-outdoor rooftop space, which includes fire pits, a video wall and a private rooftop area with capacity for 175 guests. The bottom level houses the main dining room as well as a kid- and dog-friendly patio, both of which will be serviced by a kitchen putting out pizzas, salads and an array appetizers including wings and breadsticks. “We opened in Point Loma in 2015 and have been amazed at the brewery’s rapid growth,” said co-owner Greg Anderson. In 2017, beer industry trade organization the Brewers Association listed Bay City as the 28th fastest-growing independent craft brewing company in the nation. “This new location is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our team over the last few years.”

 T R I P L E I PA T H R OW D OW N

The 4th Annual Triple IPA Throwdown, hosted by Hamilton’s Tavern, saw 18 high-octane brews vying for top spot in a blind tasting last month. A post announcing results said that the top five vote-getters “were incredibly close, just 19 votes separated number five from number 1.” In the end, it was Thorn Brewing’s Brother Scotty which ranked #1, followed by Burning Beard’s Dr. Gonzo, Mission Brewery’s Socks & Sandals, Russian River’s Pliny the Younger (the famed inspiration for this event), and South Park Brewing Co.’s For Duty & Humanity.

 T E A M U P W I T H A N G RY P E T E

Detroit-style pizza purveyor Pete “Angry Pete’s Pizza”Harbison is

From the get-go, the East Village outpost faced unique challenges. As staff readied the venue for its debut, Melvin was coming off a publicrelations crisis sparked by sexual-misconduct allegations levied against a former employee. Other non-controversial challenges included nearly invisible signage obscured by trees protected by the City of San Diego and a high level of competition likely unexpected when Melvin founder Jeremy Tofte and company selected their project site. Located at the corner of 14th and Market Streets, Melvin’s East Village brewpub was part of the boom that saw numerous brewery-owned venues—Duck Foot Brewing, Little Miss Brewing, Amplified Ale Works— open in that emerging neighborhood in less than a year. Such a rapid increase in competitive ventures coupled with a slow baseball season and other factors have made it difficult for those businesses to maintain the level of profitability necessary to wait out East Village’s long-lead emergence into a full-blown epicenter for locally backed commerce. In addition to the aforementioned breweries, East Village is also home to numerous bars (including Quartyard across the street from Melvin) and restaurants serving craft beer and other competing beverages.

 A L E S M I T H ’ S H I G H R AT I N G

Once again, Miramar’s AleSmith Brewing Co. has ranked in the top 10 in the annual RateBeer Awards. Performance from the beer rating website for the year 2019 was highly weighted, while the four previous years were also considered. "It is a special honor to be recognized as the sixth Best Brewery in the World, since the RateBeer Awards are generated from actual consumer reviews," AleSmith CEO Peter Zien told 10News. "To be one of the oldest breweries in San Diego, celebrating our 25th year in business, and to receive a ‘Top 10’ designation for the 19th consecutive year, is a real testament to the team we have working at AleSmith." While AleSmith lined up in sixth place, they were joined by local beer makers Port Brewing Company/The Lost Abbey (13th), Modern Times Beer (21st), Mikkeller San Diego (27th), Alpine Beer Company (30th), Stone Brewing (36th), and Ballast Point Brewing Company (69th). AleSmith was also ranked as the top brewer in California for 2019, while their IPA was ranked number 1 in the category.

WestCoasterSD.com 7


Kegs of Pliny the Younger make their way into Toronado SD as crowds await. Photo by Tim Stahl.

8 March 2020


 TO RO N A D O PR E PA R E S TO C LO S E A F TE R 1 2 Y E A R S After 12 years of showcasing some of the best beer that the country, and the world, have to offer, Toronado in North Park is set to close this month. A variety of factors, including a dramatic increase in beer-focused bars and brewery tasting rooms in the neighborhood, declining revenue, plus minimum wage increases were cited in the decision. “I can’t do it anymore. 2019 was down 20% from 2018. We're only busy now because we're going out of business,” owner Ian Black, who worked at the original Toronado bar in San Francisco, told San Diego Magazine. Black also told the magazine that negotiations are underway with a buyer, and “that it will likely become a tasting room for a San Diego brewery.”

 M O R E N O R T H PA R K TA S T I N G R O O M S

Speaking of brewery tasting rooms, news broke this year of two more that will soon call the North Park neighborhood home. Black Plague Brewing, an Oceanside-based brewery, has signed a lease at 2855 El Cajon Boulevard, in the former Sleep Bedder mattress store space that shares a parking lot with The Heart and Trotter Butchery. “The design aspects will highlight a time capsule of the Black Plague era, with a museum of oddities and plague-doctor décor, a heavy black colorway with industrial steel finishings and live-wood accents,” says Black Plague co-founder Jordan Hoffart. “We’ll be incorporating a lot of art pieces on the walls, with a large wall projector for video premieres and special events.” Also opening in North Park is a tasting room for JuneShine, a now Scripps Ranch-based hard kombucha maker that got up and running just a few blocks away, at the Brewery Igniter location on El Cajon Boulevard. The space will be part of a mixed-use development set to open in late spring 2020.

Papa Marce’s opened its doors in August 2018. Shortly after, Heuer departed the business to take on a new opportunity out of state. Unable to find a head brewer to replace Heuer, Amador took on beer manufacturing while attempting unsuccessfully to secure additional funding to keep the business going.

 TA P R O O M O P E N S I N N O R T H PA R K

It was May 2017 when we reported SD TapRoom owners Kevin and Kyle Conover planned to build a brewpub at the corner of El Cajon Boulevard and Florida Street in North Park. Armed with years of proven craft devotion and veteran brewer Bill Batten (AleSmith Brewing, Mikkeller Brewing San Diego), they had the goods to captivate the hopes and hearts of San Diego beer fans. Interest has been high, but progress has been slow. The project has faced plenty of challenges, but the Conovers have overcome them and entered the soft open phase in February. “When we signed our lease back in 2017, it was just a dirt lot, so we knew the project would take time, but, of course, we didn’t expect a 2020 opening. It turns out it’s not that easy to build a brewery at the foot of a residential building,” says Kevin. “We started with a shell, so there was a lot of designing and planning that went into it. Then, as we started building, a lot of redesigning was needed as ideas met reality.” Over the past three years, the project’s price tag has ballooned from $1 million (Conover admits that may have been unrealistic) to $2.5 million. First batch kegs ready.

 PA PA M A R C E ’ S C LO S E S I N C A R L S B A D

In late February, Papa Marce’s Cerveceria owner Mark Amador announced on the company’s social media that the company would be closing, citing “underfunding” and the loss of its lease as reasons for the abrupt shuttering. The business remained open through Tuesday, February 25. “We want to thank you all for the support and love you’ve shown in attempting to make this dream come true,” wrote Amador. “We appreciate and love you all and hope to see you over the weekend to raise a glass to this wonderful adventure we have had and to the many adventures ahead of us in the future.” Papa Marce’s opened as a collaborative effort between Amador and former head brewer Grant Heuer. The two worked together at Vista’s Indian Joe Brewing, with Amador serving in a sales capacity. The two developed the idea for Papa Marce’s and left Indian Joe en masse to open the new business as lease-to-brew Brewery Igniter suite in Carlsbad formerly occupied by Wiseguy Brewing and next door to Rouleur Brewing.

WestCoasterSD.com 9


This was due, in part, to some mistakes made along the way, including pouring the concrete for the brewpub’s mezzanine too high, making it impossible to fit in fermentation tanks. The contractor who poured it then departed the country, leaving them to figure out a solution. While discouraged by that contractor’s performance, Conover has many good things to say about the other members of his project team, including Hauck Architecture and CLTVT. “In the end, we think the project came out looking pretty awesome. It’s a unique and dynamic space, especially the brewery portion, which touches all three levels,” says Conover. “We mill in the basement, then transfer the milled grain to the brewhouse on the main floor, and then pump wort up to the fermenters on the mezzanine. Putting the fermenters on the mezzanine was definitely a challenge, but we wanted to utilize the vaulted ceilings and also put everything on display to our guests. The idea was to make this a display brewery, expose all the piping and the process. We didn’t want to hide anything, including Bill, who you’ll be able to see working his magic on the brew deck.” When conceiving TapRoom Beer Co., Batten was the Conovers’ first choice to be in charge of brewing its house beers. The brothers approached him, doubtful he would accept their job offer, but he did and has patiently bided his time, assisting local breweries such as Oceanside’s Black Plague Brewing and downtown’s Resident Brewing in the interim. He also spent a great deal of time designing his new brewery to his preferred specifications. “We wanted someone that had the technical ability, but also had the passion; someone that cared about what they were brewing,” says Conover. “If you know Bill, that’s exactly what we got. He’s opinionated for sure, but we regard that as a good thing.” TapRoom Beer Co. will be equipped with 50 taps. Conover estimates roughly half of them will dispense house beers, which will be made up of styles both traditional and modern. The latter won’t necessarily include the next trendy ale or lager. While they will stay up on popular beer culture, they vow not to spend time keeping up with the Joneses. They are more excited to brew less mainstream styles even if that equates to “bad business.” The brewpub’s kitchen will be the domain of executive chef A.G. Warfield, who is best known by beer fans for his work at Churchill’s Pub and Grille in San Marcos and Kearny Mesa’s Common Theory Public House. The menu is a work-in-progress, but one thing that’s for sure is that brunch service will take place on Saturdays and Sundays, making full use of the brewpub’s outdoor patio. “Our ultimate goal was to build a world-class neighborhood brewpub; a space that the neighborhood could be proud of with personality, soul, and authenticity,” says Conover. “You’ll be able to feel it when you walk in, from the people that we hire, the music we play and, of course, the beer we brew.” c

10 March 2020

Beer by brewer Bill Batten.

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MARCH MARCH 2020 2020

March 1 – Sunday •

Macrame Wall Hanging Workshop @ Societe Brewing Co.

March 4, Wednesday – March 5, Thursday •

Brew Battles Flights (Round 1, Week 1: Abnormal vs. Alpine) @ Common Theory Public House

Pet Photo Shoot Fundraiser for SD Humane Society @ Green Flash Brewing Co.

March 9 – Monday • •

Pink Boots Society SD Chapter Meeting @ Second Chance Carmel Mountain Suds & Science: How the Body Uses Force to Function @ Thorn St. Brewery

March 4 – Wednesday

March 11, Wednesday – March 12, Thursday

Duck Foot (Cask & Featured Beers) @ Regents Pizzeria

March 5 – Thursday • • •

Salty Crew Movie Premiere (Thrill Seekers & Risk Takers) @ Coronado Brewing Bay Park Brewery Project X: Passion Fruit Sparkling Sour Release @ Charlie & Echo Wine Hoppy Beans Running Club w/ Parabola Coffee @ Second Chance North Park

March 6, Friday – March 8, Sunday •

Renaissance Weekend 2020 @ Churchill's Pub and Grille

March 6 – Friday • • • • •

6-Course Beer Dinner w/ Brigantine Executive Chef Jacob McBride @ Ketch Brewing Comedy Heights Night @ Bay Bridge Brewing Artist of the Month Gallery Debut (Derek Delacroix) @ Culture Brewing Ocean Beach Stroll the Boulevard w/ 20+ Businesses on El Cajon Blvd. "Hops on the Harbor" Beer Pairing Dinner Cruise w/ Rouleur Brewing

Brew Battles Flights (Round 1, Week 2: Mikkeller vs. Pariah) @ Common Theory Public House

March 11 – Wednesday •

Second Chance (Cask & Featured Beers) @ Regents Pizzeria

March 12 – Thursday • •

Project X: Blackberry Almond Sparkling Sour Release @ Charlie & Echo Wine Two Scientists Walk Into a Bar @ 25 Locations

March 13 – Friday • •

Comedy Heights Night @ Bay Bridge Brewing "Hops on the Harbor" Beer Pairing Dinner Cruise w/ Rouleur Brewing

March 14 – Saturday •

2nd Annual Luck O' Loma (Presented by Goodbar, Surf Side Deli & Point Loma Association) w/ Live Music, Games & Beer Garden Benefiting The Animal Pad @ Goodbar/Surf Side Deli Parking Lot Abnormal Beer Co. Fifth Anniversary Event @ Bottlecraft Sorrento Valley Kimchi Fermentation Workshop ft. Boochcraft @ Wild Willow Farm

March 7 – Saturday

• • •

March 16 – Monday

Half-toberfest @ North Park Beer Co. Starkbierfest @ Eppig Brewing Vista Pet Photo Shoot Fundraiser for SD Humane Society @ Green Flash Brewing Co. Intro to Homebrewing Class @ The Homebrewer

March 8 – Sunday • •

International Women's Collaboration Brew Day w/ Pink Boots Society @ Home Brewing Co. Open House 2020 (Wedding Venue) @ Milagro Winery

12 March 2020

Gravity Heights Beer Dinner @ Abnormal Beer Company

March 17 – Tuesday • • •

St. Patrick's Day Celebration @ Dan Diegos Euro Cafe and Pub North Park Beer Co. (Cask & Featured Beers) @ Regents Pizzeria St. Patrick's Day Beer & Food Special with Zoe's Place Food Truck @ Societe Brewing


Home Brewing Co in North Park will the Pink Boots Society for a brew day on March 8. Photo by Juan Martinez.

March 18, Wednesday – March 19, Thursday •

Brew Battles Flights (Round 1, Week 3: El Segundo vs. Pizza Port) @ Common Theory Public House

March 19 – Thursday • •

Project X: Blueberry Honey Sparkling Sour Release @ Charlie & Echo Wine The Rites of Spring Art Show w/ Kyler Suchey @ Burning Beard Brewing

March 20 – Friday • • •

Comedy Heights Night @ Bay Bridge Brewing Jenga Tournament @ Alpine Beer Company "Hops on the Harbor" Beer Pairing Dinner Cruise w/ Rouleur Brewing

March 21 – Saturday • • •

Best Coast Beer Fest (Benefitting Cuck Fancer) @ Embarcadero Park North Orval Day @ Dan Diegos Euro Cafe and Pub Societe Brewing Running Club 5K @ Societe Brewing to Road Runner Sports & Back

• •

3rd Annual Pucks & Pints w/ Thorn & Societe @ Phil's BBQ & Pechanga Arena Vinyl Junkies Pop-Up Shop w/ Amplified Ale Works @ Casbah San Diego

March 23 – Monday •

Team Jigsaw Puzzle Competition w/ Pacific Puzzlers @ AleSmith Brewing

March 25, Wednesday – March 26, Thursday •

Brew Battles Flights (Round 1, Week 4: Melvin vs. Modern Times) @ Common Theory Public House

March 25 – Wednesday • •

Sierra Nevada (Cask & Featured Beers) @ Regents Pizzeria San DiFUEGO Club Meeting @ The Homebrewer

March 26 – Thursday • •

Project X: Orange Vanilla Sparkling Sour Release @ Charlie & Echo Wine Loosely Bound Book Club Meeting @ South Park Brewing

CONTINUED ON PAGE 32

WestCoasterSD.com 13


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BEER IN THE HEADLIGHTS

Vodka Calling:

A TRIP TO 619 SPIRITS BY IAN CHEES M AN

I remember the first time I heard the term “localvore.” More specifically, I remember how I laughed at it. Not that I have any specific bias against those that wish to support a regional economy or minimize the carbon footprint of their food -- that’s all good stuff. I just happen to love etymology more than progressive dining principles, and that portmanteau just as reliably translates as “to devour locals.” I appreciate an ecologically-minded cannibal as much as the next guy, but I probably wouldn’t trumpet allegiance to it.

are owed to an increasingly embraced dimension of the ABC Type 74 license, which waives most of the serving limitations on a craft distiller if they supply consumers with a “bona fide eating place.” Were it not for the industrial stills tucked into the adjoining production space, it would feel every bit as much a bar as those found on the neighboring 30th Street.

Usage of the term has mercifully diminished since then, but the sensibility remains. People understandably gravitate to goods and services that feel personalized and connected to their community. Few encourage that sentiment more transparently than 619 Spirits, who have been repping the OG area code in their name since 2012. But fear not, denizens of 858 and 760, I’ve personally confirmed outlanders can enter the premises without any sort of initiation process or surcharge.

While many distilleries populate their tasting menu with personal spins on multiple spirits, owner and head distiller Nick Apostolopoulos has focused on refining a single vodka recipe. Variety is borne through the many fruit, spice, and botanical infusions he subjects it to, and the cocktail menu that coalesces around them. It’s a little unusual for craft beer-oriented sorts that are accustomed to an experience of sampling multiple archetypical styles, but for Apostolopoulos building flavors off the neutral spirit is more interesting. “It’s a blank palette that we can do a lot of stuff with,” he shared.

Those accustomed to the typical craft distillery experience will find 619 Spirits somewhat befuddling. The bar not only offers their own product line, but presents them adjacent to spirits from other producers as well as beer taps. There is nary a whisper of the stringent 1.5 oz serving cap that their distilling brethren are beholden to. These unsubtle shifts

Despite the allure of pairing a spicy Bloody Mary with my Fork and Knife Grilled Cheese (a savory and hearty sandwich rendered all the more decadent with a runny fried egg and chive crema atop it), I adhered to column policy and relegated myself to the offerings of the 619 Spirits Flight. Obviously this is something of a misnomer, since it’s technically

WestCoasterSD.com 15


one spirit delivered five times, which is exactly the sort of pedantic outlook that makes me so much fun to talk with at parties. The truth is that the unfettered 619 Vodka doesn’t need much gussying up. It may be a fool’s errand trying to excavate overly specific traits in a clean spirit, but I can’t help but notice hints of rice pudding in the flavor with the merest complementary sweetness. There’s startlingly little alcohol burn or astringency to the finish, making for a surprisingly pleasant sipper on its own. The suite of infused vodkas are as varied in flavor as they are capable of being a standalone offering. Inasmuch as one can use the words "intense" and "cucumber" in the same breath, the Cucumber Vodka is intensely so. The cucumber is unmistakable aromatically, and even more resonant on the palate. Unless you’re a cuke superfan, this infusion will live its Best Life in a cocktail (hardly the cruelest fate for vodka). It’s much the same story for the Pickle Vodka, which leads with a nose of dry erase marker, followed by vinegar and a green, herbal tone. The intensely briny flavor is no less jarring than the aroma. It reminds more of a distilled pickle than an infusion and isn’t one I’d recommend a la carte. I’ve seen enough hot sauce-based follies on YouTube to have an instinctual fear of the Scorpion Pepper Vodka, which was further reinforced by the heavy-handed flavors of its predecessors.

However, my fears were a hindrance here, because nothing about this spirit demands to be cocktail-bound. It noses with a vague fruitiness and hint of heat, but nothing that would sear the average nostril. It also produced pleasant flavors of light pear and citrus sweetness before delivering a moderate spice payload. Of course, calling something “spicy” is wildly subjective, but I feel confident in saying it was manageable relative to the pepper flavor you reap from it. And it still paired beautifully with my grilled cheese absent the Bloody Mary accoutrements. I finished with the Coffee Vodka, the nose of which evoked a blunt, drip coffee along with a soft earthiness. It doesn’t have quite the richness of a cold brew coffee on the palate, but the sparing sweetness of the vodka actually elevates the flavors somewhat. Its flavors blended harmoniously with the balsamic dressing on my salad, which would make for the ultimate in low-carb business lunch options. If anything, it tastes less boozy than how I normally make my coffee, which is less a tasting note and more a red flag for my life decisions. Speaking of pairings, historically I’ve found little pairs better with vodka than more vodka. Given that, I succumbed to my baser instincts and perused the cocktail menu in search of dessert. It was there I

16 March 2020


was introduced to the 619 Boozy Slushie, a placeholder for whatever Slushie du jour is tumbling about in the machine at the rear of the bar. The iteration I tried was a blend of Scorpion Pepper Vodka, Cucumber Vodka, mango purée, and simple syrup. It wasn’t an ideal selection for a breezy 60-degree evening, but it was a surprisingly layered and refreshing confection to cap my meal.

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I may not be a vodkavore in the ordinary run of things, but the 619 Spirits experience is far more than that. You can not only explore their offerings, but sample some great craft beers and spirits from all around San Diego, all under one roof. I would happily drag my most chronically indecisive friends here as either a stopover or destination. And if no one was watching... I’d probably order another Slushie. c


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A S S I R A L C S N I A EXPL L L A IT BY B E T H D E M M O N

Compliance Specialist Clarissa Patterson of The Lost Abbey 20 March 2020


Clarissa Patterson loves following the rules. “I'm the person who says no all the time,” she laughs. As the Compliance Specialist at The Lost Abbey and its adjacent brands Port Brewing Company, The Hop Concept, and soon-to-be-launched Tiny Bubbles, Patterson is responsible for ensuring all business operations adhere to the proper legal regulations. That ranges from filing COLAs with the TTB (a.k.a. sending new beer labels to be approved by the Alcohol and Tobacco Trade and Tax Bureau) to researching tax structures in different states for distribution expansions, applying for permits for new locations, as well as inventory control, customer service, paying taxes… basically, a ton of research and paperwork. “Nobody likes the rules. Nobody likes compliance,” explains Patterson. “But I don't mind. I love the research making something new.”

FROM CONSTRUCTION TO CRAFT BEER Despite her fairly specialized role within the beer industry—she can only name a small handful of people with a similar dedicated position— Patterson’s journey to beer is fairly recent. She moved to San Diego six years ago with a strong predilection for tiki-centric cocktails, but after working in the construction industry for ten years (an industry she calls “super cutthroat”), she was ready “to get a fun job.” She happened to see that The Lost Abbey was hiring for an administrative assistant. She applied, got the job, and has been there ever since. It took her awhile to get used to the close-knit band of craft beer. “Everyone's a friend. No one's a stranger… When I came down here, I was just like, ‘Wait, you mean, we're just going to give these people a bag of grain? Because they ran out? But they’re our competitors!’ And they're like, ‘No, they're not.’ That is amazing, and I love it.”

IT STARTED WITH A SILO As Patterson dove into the world of San Diego beer, she had to learn how to balance the pleasure of community with the procedure of business operations. When an inspector unexpectedly asked to see a permit for The Lost Abbey’s grain silo—one they’d inherited with the property from Stone Brewing—Patterson realized there wasn’t one individual whose position gave them obvious ownership of the missing permit problem. “So I stepped forward. I talked to the people, and I went back and I did all the research, filled out all the paperwork, got the signatures, filed, and we got a permit. It just kept being a little piece by piece,” says Patterson. “I started learning about all this stuff that nobody thinks about, nobody knows about. Anytime something would happen or come up, I'd be like, ‘I got that. I'll learn about that. I'll take care of that.’” That was the beginning of her evolution into the more regulatory role she now focuses on, slaying state statutes and crushing compliance.

“MAKE YOURSELF AS INVALUABLE AS POSSIBLE” Although there aren’t many people working solely in beer compliance, Patterson sees it as an absolutely necessary role that’s often misunderstood. “Even the really boring stuff isn’t really boring. I love to read,” going on to say that she reviews the business code of ethics on a regular basis. She recalls a story of a conversation when she tried to explain what she does, which she describes as “a lot of research, but anybody can do that.” They immediately stopped her from discounting herself.

“They said, ‘No, because what you do is you get asked a question, you go online, you have all the world of information at your feet, and you're able to go down that rabbit hole, find the nugget that you need, and bring it back to us. You do it quickly and concisely and from good sources. That's a skill. That's a thing that not everybody can have.’” After years of learning the ins and outs of The Lost Abbey, Patterson now has a stronger sense of confidence in her problem-solving abilities. At The Lost Abbey's Cardiff-by-the-Sea Confessional tasting room, Patterson says that “even here, they joke ‘if you have a question, start with Clarissa. She'll either know the answer, she'll find the answer, or she'll know who to send you to for the answer.’”

WestCoasterSD.com 21


PATTERSON PREDICTS THE FUTURE Currently, she’s gearing up to start pulling permits and licenses for the upcoming East Village location, but Patterson is open about her ambition beyond The Lost Abbey. “I've been toying with the idea of doing consulting on the side,” she muses, citing the “craft beer attorney” Candace Moon as an inspiration. “I've got six years of experience. I've taken a lot of classes [and] a lot of training. I think it's something I might eventually do… I think that would be a nice resource to have.” No matter what, she’s adamant about continuing to work in San Diego beer. “It's a giant family, [and] I don't have any family anywhere near me. These people are it.” In the meantime, she hopes to impart some advice for anyone hoping to work in craft beer. “Just get your foot in the door. I was basically hired to do goodness-knows-what… and I've managed to grab the things that interest me. I'm at a job that didn't really exist until I made it exist for me. So just get in there, learn everything you can, and be willing to be the guy who's mopping up at the end of the day.” c Know someone who deserves to be featured in an upcoming column? Nominate them by emailing beth@bethdemmon.com.

22 March 2020


Sports! Participate, spectate, or simply judge/enjoy at a plethora of events C O M P I L E D B Y R YA N L A M B

The big news in SOCCER—or football—this year is that Stone Brewing Co. is the official kit sponsor for SD Loyal’s debut season at USD Torero Stadium. Stone beer (alongside other craft curations) will be available at each home match, the first of which is March 7. Here are more home dates: Saturday, March 14; a friendly against Xolos de Tijuana on Saturday, March 28; Saturday, April 4; Saturday, April 18, plus several more through the beginning of October. Our local RUGBY club, Legion, also plays at USD, and while you can’t always expect local beer at the games, there is at least one brewery that hosts watch parties. Kairoa Brewing in University Heights, with its New Zealand roots, loves rugby and offers discounts to guests wearing Legion gear. Find more watch party details at SDLegion.com/pages/whereto-watch. Did you know that San Diego has a LACROSSE team? The Seals LAX play at Pechanga Arena (or “Sports Arena” for natives) and their official craft beer partner is Coronado Brewing Co. The home game “party pack” includes two tickets and four beers (rotating between either Orange Ave. Wit or Salty Crew Blonde Ale). You can find the party packs through Coronado’s website event calendar, or SealsLAX.com. Here are the Seals’ upcoming home games: Saturday, March 7; Friday, March 20; Saturday, April 4; and Saturday, April 25. On game days, Coronado offers fans who wear Seals gear 15% off their tab. Additionally, the brewery hosts watch parties for select away games, the next of which is March 28.

24 March 2020

San Diego Gulls HOCKEY also play at Pechanga, where there’s generally a good selection of local beer. To pre-game, consider Bay City Brewing Co. across the street, which usually has food trucks on-site (you can check their website for the upcoming food truck schedule). One particular Gulls event this month will be special: The 3rd Annual “Pucks & Pints” event on Saturday, March 21. $50 tickets, available through Eventbrite.com, include a brewery hockey game at 1 p.m., food from Phil's BBQ and craft beer from local breweries such as Thorn, Stone, and Societe from 3-6 p.m., and admission to the Gulls game at 7 p.m. Proceeds benefit a few local non-profits including the SD Brewers Guild. To loosely coincide with a certain collegiate BASKETBALL tournament, Kearny Mesa’s Common Theory Public House is firing up another year of “Brew Battles” this month. Guests purchase a flight of four tasters (two from two breweries) and blindly rank them from most to least favorable. Voting commences on Wednesdays (and continues on Thursdays while supplies last) with week 1 contestants Abnormal versus Alpine on March 4. March 11: Mikkeller vs. Pariah; March 18: El Segundo vs. Pizza Port; March 25: Melvin vs. Modern Times; April 1: Burgeon vs. Belching Beaver; April 8: Amplified vs. Societe; April 15: Fall vs. Pure Project; and April 22: Bells vs. Thorn. Round one winners move on to round two, which begins on May 6. The championship will be held on July 1; the winning brewery earns a dedicated tap handle for the next year, plus bragging rights.


February and March mean spring training for Major League BASEBALL, so on February 21 Bitter Brothers Brewing Co. released a collaboration beer with legendary Padres closer Heath Bell called, fittingly, The Closer. Bitter Brothers’ head brewer Tyler Tucker tells the story: “Our contract designer, Kory Maine, helped redesign the cans for Heath Bell’s company, Seven Cold Brew. Kory was in the brewery and we were chatting about the Bitter Brothers can design, when he said he had developed Heath’s brand. I asked if Kory thought Heath would want to do a beer with us. About a week later, we had a meeting with Heath and we came up with the idea it should be an IPA first, keeping it light, clean, and around 6% ABV. Everybody had ideas. We went back and forth, then settled on this IPA recipe. The beer has big, tropical notes of papaya, guava, and pineapple. It also has citrus, grapefruit, and mango notes from the hops. The Closer is an easy-to-drink IPA with a light body and dry finish, and has a slight bitterness that hangs on. The Kveik Hornindal was a wonderful yeast strain because of its tropical notes that play well with the Citra and Mosaic hops.” Speaking of the Padres, here are the 2020 Beer Fest dates held before these Friday games at Petco Park: April 10, May 1, May 15, June 26, August 21, and September 4. And while technically not baseball, our local over-the-line organizers OMBAC will host a beer festival at Mariner’s Point on Saturday, May 16 to coincide with the first day of their 2020 bat-and-ball sport tournament. Details including a brewery, cidery, and distillery list, can be found at OMBAC.org/BeerFestOTL. Do you like your YOGA with a side of beer (or wine)? You have a variety of options throughout San Diego County: Saturdays with Evolve at Culture Brewing Encinitas; Saturdays with Movement Lab at Culture

Brewing Solana Beach; Sundays with Hoppy Yoga at Culture Brewing Ocean Beach; fourth Sunday of the month with Hoppy Yoga at Green Flash; Rooftop Yoga at Kairoa Brewing on Saturday, March 7; Vine-yasa at Orfila Vineyards on Saturday, March 14; and the Waterfront Social Run + Yoga at Eppig Brewing Point Loma Sundays March 29 and May 17. Not extreme enough for you? San Diego Metal Yoga takes place at Societe Brewing on Saturdays March 21, April 25, May 30, and June 27. For the decidedly outdoorsy, look into BOULDERING with Pure Project Brewing team members on Saturday, April 4 in Santee. The event is free, with climbing guides from Grotto Climbing and Chillino Rock Climbing assisting those of all skill levels; if you’re a beginner, consider attending the indoor bouldering event at Grotto on Thursday, March 26. Attendees will receive discounts on pints and flights at Pure Project’s new Balboa Park tasting room after April’s event. Get that heart rate up by joining a local RUNNING club. On the third Saturday of every month, the Societe Brewing Running Club assembles for a guided, free 5K en route to Road Runner Sports (where there’s a hydration station) and back. All runners get $1 off all beers purchased that day. For the weekday warriors, look into the Hoppy Beans Running Club that meets every Thursday at Second Chance Beer Lounge in North Park at 6 p.m. Local roasters Parabola will serve up coffee before the three-mile run, and special beer deals greet finishers afterwards. c Did we miss your event? Let us know via info@westcoastersd.com so we can include those details on our website’s event calendar and future round-ups like this.

WestCoasterSD.com 25


PL ATES & PINTS

An Abnormal Dining Experience The Cork & Craft utilizes house beer to create an nth-degree, customizable private-dining offering BY B R AND ON HERNÁND EZ

Imagine, if you will, a private-dining experience wherein the orchestration and actions of the kitchen are in full view as its culinary practitioners work up a wealth of off-menu delights. It shouldn’t be too tough to envision. Such dining experiences are rather common at eateries in San Diego and beyond. What differentiates executive chef Scott Cannon’s aptly named Abnormal Experience at The Cork and Craft are its level of customization and pairing aspect. A form on the Rancho Bernardo restaurant’s website (TheCorkAndCraft.com) allows anyone and everyone to sign-up to have Cannon cook up a customized, kitchen-side meal on the day of their choosing. The menu can range anywhere from four to ten courses made up of one-and-done, beverage-paired dishes. “I never want to repeat a dish or a technique. It’s a fun challenge,” says Cannon, who cut his teeth at popular L’Auberge Del Mar’s white linen Kitchen 1540 before taking the reins at The Cork and Craft. “Admittedly, doing the Abnormal Experience does give the kitchen a little added

28 March 2020

stress on top of a normal dining service, however, that is part of the reason I like to do them. We make it work by trying to book these events as far in advance as possible so I can have the menu done and prepped before the start of service. And I’ll usually plate a few of the courses in our prep area so that the line cooks can focus on the dining room.” Such nimble incorporation of such a specialty experience shows off a chef’s versatility and drive. Where others would nix the notion of adding laborious ripples to the flow of service, Cannon relishes the opportunity to showcase fine-dining-level culinary techniques that elevate service beyond The Cork and Craft’s everyday offerings. That elevation extends beyond the kitchen. Once Cannon completes a menu for the Abnormal Experience, sommelier and GM Ginny Mitchell takes the bill of fare and runs with it. In addition to wines from around the world and vintages from sister-operation Abnormal Wine Co., she also has a broad array of house beers to choose from when crafting the perfect food-and-beverage pairing. Those ales and lagers are the work of


Abnormal Beer Co. head brewer Nyle Molina and his staff, who produce one of the most extensive and varied lists of house beers of any brewpub in San Diego County. Mitchell does more than pick out beers and wines. When considering pairings, she often comes back to Cannon with insights, such as notes in the beer that could further be accentuated by the addition of sweetness, acidity, or perhaps a specialty ingredient on the dish he has developed. Working together, they come up with pairings that are truly collaborative and, as a result, far more successful. To date, the Abnormal Experience dishes Cannon has been most pleased with include crusted ahi tuna and seaweed salad, plated as a visual work of art with rolled-up ribbons of cucumber serving as vases for edible flowers. The pairing? Abnormal Beer’s Tiki Life For Me, a kettle-sour riff on the rummy tiki-bar tipples Molina enthusiastically enjoys. Raw oysters are an ever-present menu mainstay (unless diners are allergic or averse to those bivalves), and are served amid a dry-ice mist with different creative ingredient combinations and beers. Even a twicebaked potato gets epicurean treatment with the addition of beef-fat powder and chive oil. Nothing is off limits and it all depends on the type of dishes the night’s diners prefer. Working on the whims of a perpetually individualistic clientele is a daunting task, but Cannon embraces that. The Abnormal Experience has become a research-and-development tool for him over the past nearly two years, while expanding his knowledge of beer. “Being able to taste beers throughout the fermentation process is fascinating,” says Cannon. “The kitchen knows what beers we have in the works ahead of time, which allows us to think of unique dishes that may go well with them. Abnormal goes beyond IPAs and stouts. We often create beers with fun flavor profiles—like candy cane ice cream cake or chocolate-covered cherries—that make being a chef and pairing with them exciting. I am also partial to the triple IPA they named after me: Young Gunna.” Cannon takes pride in that nickname, constantly challenging himself to push the envelope. “The most rewarding part of the Abnormal Experience is seeing guest’s reactions to the dishes,” he says. “I also love delivering the level of service and fine dining to give the guest the full experience from our staff to the pairings to the food.” c

WestCoasterSD.com 29


LOCAL events

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 13

March 27 – Friday

April 5 – Sunday

• • •

Michael Jackson Day @ Dan Diegos Euro Cafe and Pub Comedy Heights Night @ Bay Bridge Brewing "Hops on the Harbor" Beer Pairing Dinner Cruise w/ Rouleur Brewing

March 28 – Saturday • • • •

Bay Park Headquarters Grand Opening @ Lost Cause Meadery Beginner Hands On Mead Making Workshop w/ Frank Golbeck @ Golden Coast Mead Walkabout: Citrus Theme @ Miralani Makers District Bay Park Headquarters Grand Opening @ Lost Cause Meadery

March 29 – Sunday • • •

Brew with Chuck (Coffee IPA) @ Longship Brewery Advanced Brew Class @ Home Brew Mart Trashy Hour Cleanup & Discount Pints @ The Homebrewer

APRIL APRIL 2020 2020

April 1, Wednesday – April 2, Thursday •

Brew Battles Flights (Round 1, Week 5: Burgeon vs. Belching Beaver) @ Common Theory Public House

April 1 – Thursday •

BNS Brewing (Cask & Featured Beers) @ Regents Pizzeria

April 2 – Wednesday •

Project X: Peach Salsa Sparkling Sour Release @ Charlie & Echo Wine

April 3 – Friday • • • • •

Comedy Heights Night @ Bay Bridge Brewing Artist of the Month Gallery Debut (Caitlin Carney) @ Culture Brewing Ocean Beach Artist of the Month Gallery Debut (Vincent Darmohusodo) @ Culture Brewing Solana Beach Artist of the Month Gallery Debut (Myles McGuinness) @ Culture Brewing Encinitas "Hops on the Harbor" Beer Pairing Dinner Cruise w/ Pizza Port Brewing Co.

April 4 – Saturday • • • •

13th Annual North Park Festival of Beers @ (In Front of) Lafayette Hotel 6th Annual Meading in the Garden @ Alta Vista Botanical Gardens Intro to Homebrewing Class @ The Homebrewer Homebrew Kombucha Hands on Workshop @ The Homebrewer

April 6 – Monday •

Team Jigsaw Puzzle Competition w/ Pacific Puzzlers @ Kairoa Brewing

April 8, Wednesday – April 9, Thursday •

Brew Battles Flights (Round 1, Week 6: Amplified vs. Societe) @ Common Theory Public House

April 8 – Wednesday • •

32 North Brewing (Cask & Featured Beers) @ Regents Pizzeria Pink Boots Society SD Chapter Meeting @ North Park Beer Co.

April 9 – Thursday •

Project X: Kumquat Sparkling Sour Release @ Charlie & Echo Wine

April 10 – Friday • •

Comedy Heights Night @ Bay Bridge Brewing "Hops on the Harbor" Beer Pairing Dinner Cruise w/ Pizza Port Brewing Co.

April 14 – Tuesday •

The Brewery Comedy Tour @ Green Flash Brewing Co.

April 15, Wednesday – April 16, Thursday •

Brew Battles Flights (Round 1, Week 7: Fall vs. Pure Project) @ Common Theory Public House

April 15 – Wednesday •

Societe Brewing Pint Night @ Regents Pizzeria

April 16 – Thursday •

Project X: Strawberry Mint Sparkling Sour Release @ Charlie & Echo Wine

April 17 – Friday • • •

Comedy Heights Night @ Bay Bridge Brewing Jenga Tournament @ Alpine Beer Company "Hops on the Harbor" Beer Pairing Dinner Cruise w/ Pizza Port Brewing Co.

April 18 – Friday •

Societe Brewing Running Club 5K @ Societe Brewing to Road Runner Sports & Back

April 22, Wednesday – April 23, Thursday •

32 March 2020

Keeping It Local Pairing w/ Good Seed Food Co. (Details TBD) @ Pariah Brewing

Brew Battles Flights (Round 1, Week 2: Bells vs. Thorn) @ Common Theory Public House


Common Theory’s Brew Battles commence this month, beginning Wednesday and Thursday (March 4 and 5) between breweries Abnormal and Alpine. Photo by Juan Martinez.

WestCoasterSD.com 33


Celeste Spina of Little Hurricane performs at last year’s Arts and Amps presented by Karl Strauss. Save the dates for this year’s editions: Saturday, May 16 and Saturday, July 18.

April 22 – Wednesday

April 29 – Wednesday

• •

Burning Beard Brewing (Cask & Featured Beers) @ Regents Pizzeria

Abnormal (Cask & Featured Beers) @ Regents Pizzeria San DiFUEGO Club Meeting @ The Homebrewer

April 23 – Thursday

April 30 – Thursday

Project X: Cherry Black Pepper Sparkling Sour Release @ Charlie & Echo Wine

April 24 – Friday • •

Comedy Heights Night @ Bay Bridge Brewing "Hops on the Harbor" Beer Pairing Dinner Cruise w/ Pizza Port Brewing Co.

April 25 – Saturday •

La Jolla Golden Triangle Rotary Club's 7th Annual Quintessential Festival @ Nobel Athletic Fields and Recreation Center

Project X: Mango Caramel Sparkling Sour Release @ Charlie & Echo Wine Loosely Bound Book Club Meeting @ South Park Brewing

MAY MAY 2020 2020

May 1 – Thursday • • •

Comedy Heights Night @ Bay Bridge Brewing Artist of the Month Gallery Debut (Alex Krowiak) @ Culture Brewing Ocean Beach "Hops on the Harbor" Beer Pairing Dinner Cruise w/ Mike Hess Brewing

April 26 – Saturday

May 2 – Saturday

• •

Brew with Chuck (Maibock) @ Longship Brewery Trashy Hour Cleanup & Discount Pints @ The Homebrewer

34 March 2020

9th Annual SD Brewers Guild Rhythm & Brews Festival @ Historic Vista Village Intro to Homebrewing Class @ The Homebrewer


A crowd shot from Arts and Amps at Karl Strauss’ Pacific Beach headquarters in 2019.

May 3 – Sunday

May 15 – Friday

• •

San Diego Fermentation Festival

May 6, Wednesday – May 7, Thursday •

Brew Battles Flights (Round 2, Week 1: Breweries TBD) @ Common Theory Public House

May 16 – Saturday

May 8 – Friday

• •

• •

Comedy Heights Night @ Bay Bridge Brewing "Hops on the Harbor" Beer Pairing Dinner Cruise w/ Mike Hess Brewing

Comedy Heights Night @ Bay Bridge Brewing "Hops on the Harbor" Beer Pairing Dinner Cruise w/ Mike Hess Brewing

Arts & Amps @ Karl Strauss HQ Pacific Beach 4th Annual OMBAC Over the Line Craft Beerfest & OTL Tournament @ Mariners Point Societe Brewing Running Club 5K @ Societe Brewing to Road Runner Sports & Back

May 11 – Monday

May 17 – Sunday

Pink Boots Society SD Chapter Meeting @ AleSmith Brewing Co.

May 13, Wednesday – May 14, Thursday •

Brew Battles Flights (Round 2, Week 2: Breweries TBD) @ Common Theory Public House

Liquid City: Cheese Expo 2020 @ Brick Liberty Station

May 20, Wednesday – May 21, Thursday •

Brew Battles Flights (Round 2, Week 3: Breweries TBD) @ Common Theory Public House

WestCoasterSD.com 35


May 20 – Wednesday •

Backroom Beer Pairings w/ AleSmith (Proceeds Benefit Various Animal Rescue Organizations) @ All Barons Market Locations

May 22 – Friday • • •

Comedy Heights Night @ Bay Bridge Brewing Jenga Tournament @ Alpine Beer Company "Hops on the Harbor" Beer Pairing Dinner Cruise w/ Mike Hess Brewing

May 27, Wednesday – May 28, Thursday •

Brew Battles Flights (Round 2, Week 4: Breweries TBD) @ Common Theory Public House

May 27 – Wednesday •

San DiFUEGO Club Meeting @ The Homebrewer

• •

June 6 – Saturday •

Loosely Bound Book Club Meeting @ South Park Brewing

May 29 – Friday • • •

Fifth Friday: Hazy Days of May @ Hamiltons Tavern Comedy Heights Night @ Bay Bridge Brewing "Hops on the Harbor" Beer Pairing Dinner Cruise w/ Mike Hess Brewing

May 31 – Sunday •

Trashy Hour Cleanup & Discount Pints @ The Homebrewer

JUNE JUNE 2020 2020

June 5 – Friday • •

Comedy Heights Night @ Bay Bridge Brewing Artist of the Month Gallery Debut (Megan Napoletano) @ Culture Brewing Ocean Beach

Intro to Homebrewing Class @ The Homebrewer

June 9 – Tuesday •

The Brewery Comedy Tour @ Green Flash Brewing Co.

June 12 – Friday • •

Comedy Heights Night @ Bay Bridge Brewing "Hops on the Harbor" Pairing Dinner Cruise w/ JuneShine Hard Kombucha

June 16 – Tuesday •

May 28 – Thursday •

Artist of the Month Gallery Debut (Todd Teetzle) @ Culture Brewing Solana Beach "Hops on the Harbor" Pairing Dinner Cruise w/ JuneShine Hard Kombucha

Pink Boots Society SD Chapter Meeting @ Modern Times Lomaland

June 17, Wednesday – June 18, Thursday •

Brew Battles Flights (Final Four Week 1: Breweries TBD) @ Common Theory Public House

June 18 – Thursday •

Two Scientists Walk Into a Bar @ 25 Locations

June 19, Friday – June 21, Sunday •

SD International Beer Festival @ Del Mar Fairgrounds

June 19 – Friday • • •

Comedy Heights Night @ Bay Bridge Brewing "Hops on the Harbor" Pairing Dinner Cruise w/ JuneShine Hard Kombucha Jenga Tournament @ Alpine Beer Company

June 20 – Saturday • •

Societe Brewing Running Club 5K @ Societe Brewing to Road Runner Sports & Back Brew Game Plus III @ Aztec Brewery

June 24, Wednesday – June 25, Thursday •

Brew Battles Flights (Final Four Week 2: Breweries TBD) @ Common Theory Public House

June 24 – Wednesday •

San DiFUEGO Club Meeting @ The Homebrewer

INCLUDE YOUR EVENTS IN NEXT MONTH’S CALENDAR FOR FREE! EMAIL: info@westcoastersd.com


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