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VOL . 8 ISSUE 11





GRAND RE-OPENING! November 2–10

N O V 1-10

Come meet the new owners and taste some of our home brew! 10% OFF everything in the store as well as other great discounts! Now stocking wine and cider kits along with our store created and packed beer extract kits. We wish Jim Nunnally a happy retirement as we plan to continue the relationships he created!






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Erica G ladman as Heidi the Hop Har vester, promoting the Pink B oots S ociet y 's Ladies A rm Wrestling event during SD B eer Week . More info on page 12 . Photo by Jenny M ann Photography @jennymannphotos

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San Diegans Bring Home 18 Medals from GABF REP ORTING BY B R AND ON HERNÁND EZ


he Great American Beer Festival (GABF) is both the largest, most respected annual beer fest and professional brewing competition in the country. Held each fall in Denver, Colorado, it is organized by national trade organization, the Brewers Association. This year’s edition—the 38th in the event’s history—was held in early October. According to the BA, this year’s competition included 9,497 entries from 2,295 U.S. breweries located in all 50 states. There was a total of 107 different style categories, with an average of 80 entries per category. It took a total of 322 judges to go through and rank all of those beers. In the end, San Diego County breweries brought home a total of 18 medals—eight gold, five silver and five bronze. Sister companies Coronado Brewing and SouthNorte Brewing earned two medals each; the latter took gold in the American-Style Cream Ale category for its Sea Señor Mex Lager and silver in Specialty Beer for the second time with its Agavamente, while Coronado took silver for its Freebooter Barleywine and bronze for its Weekend Vibes IPA. That last medal was in the category with the second-most entries (342): American-Style India Pale Ale. Pizza Port’s family of breweries also accounted for three medals, including golds in the Ordinary or Special Bitter category for Chronic Amber Ale (at the company’s production brewery in Bressi Ranch) and

Ryan Brooks of SouthNorte Beer Co.

8 November 2019

Classic Irish-Style Dry Stout for Solana Stout (from its Solana Beach brewpub) plus another gold in Aged Beer for A Creator’s Calling (from associated brand, The Lost Abbey). “The San Diego Brewers Guild is extremely proud of San Diego’s consistently strong showing at GABF,” says Kris Anacleto, vice president of the guild and CEO of Booze Brothers Brewing Co. in Vista. “It is because of our craft beer community’s pioneering spirt and innovation that San Diego’s craft beer legacy continues to thrive in today’s hyper-competitive national landscape. Congratulations to all of this year’s winners.” Bill Vanderburgh of The Coast News calculated that “San Diego breweries won 26.5% of the 68 medals won by California, despite having only about 15.5% of California’s breweries.” Further, “no other state won more medals than California. Colorado was second with 40. In fact, Colorado was the only state that beat San Diego County’s 2019 GABF medal count […] This means that San Diego was easily the winningest county in the country at the 2019 GABF.” San Diego has a long history of showing well at the Great American Beer Festival. In recent years, local operations have earned 16 (2018), 14 (2017), 18 (2016) and 19 (2015) at the annual competition.

Mark Theisen of Coronado Brewing Co.

The following is a full list of local winners… GOLD MEDALS: • AleSmith (Miramar): Old or Strong Ale – Private Stock Ale • Breakwater (Oceanside): Rye Beer – Rye Dawn • Pizza Port (Carlsbad): Ordinary or Special Bitter – Chronic Amber Ale • Pizza Port (Solana Beach): Classic Irish-Style Dry Stout – Solana Stout • Second Chance (Carmel Mountain Ranch): Robust Porter – Tabula Rasa • SouthNorte (Bay Park): American-Style Cream Ale – Sea Señor Mex Lager • The Lost Abbey (San Marcos): Aged Beer – A Creator’s Calling • Two Roots Brewing (Kearny Mesa): Non-Alcohol Beer – Enough Said N/A S I LV E R M E D A L S : • Coronado Brewing (Coronado): Barley Wine-Style Ale – Freebooter Barleywine • Saint Archer (Miramar; owned by MillerCoors): Contemporary American-Style Pilsener – Citra Pils • SouthNorte (Bay Park): Specialty Beer – Agavamente • Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station (Point Loma): American-Style Stout – Cimmerian Portal • Thunderhawk Alements (Miramar): American-style Black Ale – Bowie Knife BRONZE MEDALS: • Coronado (Bay Park): American-Style IPA – Weekend Vibes IPA • Chula Vista Brewery (Chula Vista): American-style Brown Ale – Browner Than Ivan • Kilowatt (Kearny Mesa): Belgian-Style Dubbel – OB Bubble Dubbel • Resident (Downtown): Belgian- and French-Style Ale – Industrial Gris • Rip Current (San Marcos): Imperial Stout – Rescue Buoy Imperial Stout

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P I N K B O OT S Promo shots for the Pink Boots Society "Ladies Arm Wrestling" event taking place Thursday, November 7 at Kairoa Brewing. Proceeds benefit scholarships for the San Diego chapter (find the tickets on Eventbrite).

Fiorella Rossel as Little Grain Gusher.

Kristine Baker of Women's Craft Beer Collective as Knuckle Bustin’ KB. Teresa Pominville from Latchkey as The Ginger Snap.

Erica Gladman as Heidi the Hop Harvester.

Event hosts Beth Demmon as Wee Heavy and Jen Lewis Mann as Strong Blonde. Photos by Jenny Mann Photography.

12 November 2019

Amanda Tussing as Amandacrombie & Bitch.



November 1-10 – Friday-Sunday



11th Annual San Diego Beer Week

November 1 – Friday Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ

Small Batch Series Can Release & SDBW Kick Off Toast at 7:30pm @ AleSmith Brewing 7th Anniversary Party + Rare Form & StrataBlaster IPA Release @ Amplified Ale Works Pacific Beach Forbidden Cove's Grand Opening @ Kilowatt Kearny Mesa Forbidden Cove Elixirs @ Kilowatt Ocean Beach Forbidden Cove Elixirs @ Kilowatt Oceanside Limited Edition Golden Growler Release @ Original 40 Brewing SDBW Countywide Kick-Off Toast @ Second Chance (Both Locations) Baker's Man Dessert Stout Variants @ North Park Beer Co. Enchilada & Beer Flight w/ Good Seed Food Co @ Savagewood Brewing Hops on the Harbor Beer Pairing Dinner Cruise w/ Stone Brewing Back Country Night w/ Nickel, Alpine & Burning Beard & O'Brien's Pub Hard Kombucha Release: Velvet Stars @ Pure Project at Balboa Park

November 2 – Saturday Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ

SD Beer Week: Guild Fest 2019 @ South Embarcadero Beer Geek Brunch w/ Mikkeller @ TapRoom Pacific Beach Oud Bruin Framboise Barrel-Aged Bottle Release & Learn to Homebrew Day @ AleSmith Brewing Super Sour Saturday @ Kilowatt Kearny Mesa/Oceanside/ Ocean Beach Frankenstout Bottle Release @ White Labs Brewing Co. Dankness Visible IPA Can Release & 4th Annual Sabado De Los Muertos @ Burning Beard El Cajon 2 Year Anniversary @ Protector Brewery Beer Brunch & 1/2 Off Shirts @ Original 40 Brewing Double Bottle Release Day & 2nd Annual Darts Tourney @ North Park Beer Co. Pumpkulents @ Green Flash Brewing Co. Mikkeller Running Club #44 @ Mikkeller Brewing Intro to Homebrewing Classes @ The Homebrewer 2nd Anniversary Party @ Thorn Brewing Barrio Logan Cuvee Classic @ Second Chance (Both Locations)


Dia de Los Muertos Art Reception & Exhibit @ Guadalupe Brewery Pucker Up! 20 Sour Beers On Tap @ O'Brien's Pub Barrel Aged Beers & So Rich Chocolate Pairings @ Black Market Brewing SDSU Unsafe At Any Speed IPA 4 Pack Can Release & Art Show @ Fall Brewing

November 3 – Sunday Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ

Barrel-aged Cellar-bration Day @ AleSmith Brewing Official Cicerone & BJCP Mixer + Annual Beer Nerd Trivia Showdown @ North Park Beer Co. Abnormal Ales w/ Venissimo @ The Cork and Craft "Dunk A Brewer For Charity" Event @ Original 40 Brewing Sour Brunch & Firestone Barrelworks Dinner @ O'Brien's Pub Dankness & Dogs @ Modern Times Beer Point Loma Squats & Hops Fitness Class @ Coronado Brewing Bay Park DixiePops & Beer Pairing @ Thorn Brewing Mission Hills SDBW Sour Sunday @ Pure Project at Balboa Park

November 4 – Monday Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ

Alpine & Modern Times Tap Takeover @ TapRoom Pacific Beach CheeseSmith & AleSmith Beer & Cheese Pairing @ AleSmith Brewing 6th Annual Brews, Views and Chews @ Tom Ham's Lighthouse Rockin' Tins Bartender Beer Cocktail Battle @ Amplified Ale Works East Village Fishing with the Brewers VII @ Fathom Bistro Bait & Tackle Save Water Drink Beer w/ Water4Life Global @ Second Chance North Park Industry Appreciation Night @ Original 40 Brewing Marketing Craft Beer Class Begins @ SDSU (Online) QUAFF 'Homebrewers Turned Pro' Meet-Up @ North Park Beer Co. Wild Barrel Beer Dinner @ The Cork and Craft Firestone Walker Tap Takeover @ O'Brien's Pub

November 5 – Tuesday Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ

North Park & Coronado Tap Takeover @ TapRoom Pacific Beach Meet the Brewers + Tacos & Trivia Night @ AleSmith Brewing Baja Beers & TJ Tacos Flight @ Amplified Ale Works Beer Ed w/ UCSD & SDSU @ Societe Brewing

WestCoasterSD.com 13

November 5 – Tuesday (cont.) Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ

Lumpia & Beer Pairing @ North Park Beer Co. OG Yoga @ Thorn Brewing Barrio Logan Venissimo Cheese & Beer Pairing @ Thorn Brewing North Park Off Flavors Workshop @ The Homebrewer Wear Your Original 40 Tee, Get 50% Off @ Original 40 Brewing Beer & Food Pairing w/ Good Seed Food Co @ Pariah Brewing

November 6 – Wednesday Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ

Societe & Abnormal Tap Takeover @ TapRoom Pacific Beach 7th Annual Speedway Grand Prix @ AleSmith Brewing (Day 1) Know Your Hazies? Blind Tasting Flight Night @ Amplified Ale Works Pink Boots Society Meeting @ Societe Brewing Keep The Pint Night @ Original 40 Brewing Tiki Haze 2X IIPA Collab w/ Division 23 Release @ Kilowatt Ocean Beach/Oceanside/Kearny Mesa Beer & Burger Pairing w/ Baby's Burgers @ Second Chance Carmel Mountain Beer & Donut Pairing w/ Nomad Donuts @ Second Chance North Park Papusa Pairing w/ Good Seed Food Co @ Longship Brewery Return of Flight Club @ North Park Beer Co. Moksa Mashup w/ Head Brewer Derek Gallanosa @ O'Brien's Pub Beer Infused Ice Cream & Beer Pairing @ Pure Project at Balboa Park

November 7 – Thursday Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ

Karl Strauss & Pizza Port Tap Takeover @ TapRoom Pacific Beach 7th Annual Speedway Grand Prix @ AleSmith Brewing (Day 2) Beer Dinner w/ Chef Luke Johnson @ Original 40 Brewing Sour Beers versus Natural Wine Flights @ Amplified Ale Works Allstar Flight Contest Battle @ Longship Brewery Axe Throwdown Thursdays @ Goodbar Point Loma Pink Boots Society Arm Wrestling @ Kairoa Brewing The Animal Pad Rescue Group Meetup @ Bay City Brewing Pineapple Coconut Blonde Release @ Kilowatt Kearny Mesa/Oceanside/Ocean Beach Dog Costume Contest w/ Second Chance Dog Rescue @ Second Chance North Park Blues & Brews w/ Trio Gadjo @ North Park Beer Co. Fieldwork Brewing Night @ O'Brien's Pub Chocolate & Beer Pairing @ Duck Foot Miramar Chocolate & Beer Pairing @ Duck Foot East Village 6-Course Beer Dinner @ Ketch Brewing

November 8 – Friday Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ

Rip Current & Pure Project Tap Takeover @ TapRoom Pacific Beach 7th Annual Speedway Grand Prix @ AleSmith Brewing (Day 3) Hops on the Harbor Beer Pairing Dinner Cruise w/ Stone Brewing

14 November 2019


Big Barrels & Bands @ Amplified Ale Works Backstage & Acid Vault Stone DRK Festival @ Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens - Escondido Beer & Cupcake Pairing w/ Daniela's Kitchen @ Thorn Brewing Mission Hills 350 kWh IIIPA Release @ Kilowatt Kearny Mesa/Oceanside/ Ocean Beach Humble Sea Collaboration Night @ North Park Beer Co. Tyson's Big Ass Barrel Aged Night @ O'Brien's Pub Log Cabin BA Breakfast Blend Release @ Pure Project at Balboa Park Beer & Seafood Boil ($20 for Plate & Pint) @ Coronado Brewing Bay Park

November 9 – Saturday Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ

Best of Beer Week Beers (Plus Outdoor Beer Garden) @ TapRoom Pacific Beach 11th Annual SDBW Fling @ Morley Field Disc Golf Course/Hamilton's Sublime Mexican Lager 40oz Release Party @ AleSmith Brewing 2019 Grand Wine & Beer Tasting @ Holiday Wine Cellar 1st Anniversary Concert @ Creative Creature El Cajon Make Your Own Pumpkulent Workshop @ Kilowatt Brewing Dessert & Beer Pairing w/ Good Seed Food Co @ Societe Brewing Nomad Donuts & Beer Pairing @ Thorn Brewing North Park Cleveland Style Christmas Ale Release @ Kilowatt Kearny Mesa/Oceanside/Ocean Beach Pumpkulents w/ Stemtations San Diego @ Kilowatt Brewing Oceanside Bottle Share for Charity & 25th Anniversary Beer Showcase @ O'Brien's Pub Coffee Cupping w/ James Coffee @ Pure Project at the Park

November 10 – Sunday



December 3 – Tuesday


AleSmith Grand Prix Victory Lap (Plus Outdoor Beer Garden) @ TapRoom Pacific Beach Hair of the Dog Brunch & Specialty Growler Fills @ AleSmith Brewing Hands on Sauerkraut Workshop & Beer Pairing w/ Second Chance Carmel Mountain Paint Your Own Hat Workshop @ Kilowatt Ocean Beach SDBW Kick the Kegs All Day Event @ North Park Beer Co.

November 14 – Thursday Ƚ

Axe Throwdown Thursdays @ Goodbar Point Loma

November 15 – Friday Ƚ

Hops on the Harbor Beer Pairing Dinner Cruise w/ Stone Brewing

November 16 – Saturday Ƚ Ƚ Ƚ

6 Year Anniversary Party @ Booze Brothers Brewing Co. Bikes and Beers 2019 @ Societe Brewing Seize the Moment to Be Creative @ Second Chance North Park


December 6 – Friday Ƚ Ƚ

Fall Bubbles Brunch w/ Good Seed Food Co @ Charlie & Echo Abnormal Wine Dinner Series: Spain @ The Cork and Craft

November 18 – Monday Ƚ

Introduction to Fermentation-Derived Off-Flavors @ White Labs Brewing Co.

November 21 – Thursday Ƚ Ƚ

Axe Throwdown Thursdays @ Goodbar Point Loma Craft Beer Attorney Webinar: California Legal Updates for Craft Breweries


Food & Wine Pairing w/ Good Seed Food Co @ Pamo Winery Hops on the Harbor Beer Pairing Dinner Cruise w/ Stone Brewing


5th Anniversary (Jalapeño Cucumber Cerveza Release) @ Culture Brewing Ocean Beach

November 28 – Thursday Ƚ



Hops on the Harbor Beer Pairing Dinner Cruise w/ Stone Brewing

November 30 – Saturday Ƚ

Walkabout: Thanksgiving Theme @ Miralani Makers District

Suds & Science: Studying Heart Disease in Men and Women w/ RH Fleet @ Stone Liberty Station

December 13 – Friday Ƚ Ƚ

Try The Pine IPA Release @ Culture Brewing Tasting Rooms Hops on the Harbor Beer Pairing Dinner Cruise w/ AleSmith Brewing

December 17 – Tuesday Ƚ

Intro to Homebrewing Classes @ The Homebrewer

December 20 – Friday Ƚ

Hops on the Harbor Beer Pairing Dinner Cruise w/ AleSmith Brewing

December 21 – Saturday Ƚ

Seize the Moment to Be Creative @ Second Chance North Park

December 27 – Friday Ƚ Ƚ

Axe Throwdown Thursdays @ Goodbar Point Loma

November 29 – Friday

Truck Pull Fundraiser @ AleSmith Brewing

December 9 – Monday

November 23 – Saturday Ƚ

12 Bell's of Christmas w/ Bell's Brewery @ Hamilton's Tavern Intro to Homebrewing Classes @ The Homebrewer

December 8 – Sunday

November 22 – Friday Ƚ Ƚ

Enchilada & Beer Flight w/ Good Seed Food Co @ Savagewood Brewing Hops on the Harbor Beer Pairing Dinner Cruise w/ AleSmith Brewing

December 7 – Saturday

November 17 – Sunday Ƚ Ƚ

OG Yoga @ Thorn Brewing Barrio Logan

Food & Wine Pairing w/ Good Seed Food Co @ Pamo Winery Hops on the Harbor Beer Pairing Dinner Cruise w/ AleSmith Brewing

December 28 – Saturday Ƚ

Walkabout: Coffee Theme @ Miralani Makers District


WestCoasterSD.com 15



Gina Marsaglia of Pizza Port Brewing Company BY B E TH D EM MO N Meeting a celebrity in real life is fraught with uncertainty. Will my mental picture match reality, or are they actually a pompous airhead? I’ve had mixed success; Donald Faison was as charming as his character Turk on the show Scrubs, but Mark Wahlberg (excuse me, Marky Mark) was kind of a butt, although admittedly a funky one. Win some, lose some. Local celebrities are a different breed. Some eternally chase more widespread recognition. Others, like Gina Marsaglia, are content to ignore the legendary aura that surrounds their name, focusing solely on the work yet to be done. She’s the CEO, president, and co-founder of Pizza Port Brewing Company—an unpretentious giant among giants completely unashamed of her extreme devotion for all-you-can-drink party buses. “People that know me know that is right up my alley,” laughs Marsaglia. “I just love it.”

A Brew Is Born Pizza Port was established in 1987 as a hole-in-the-wall pizza shopslash-crash pad for her and her brother Vince. Stories from those early days read like any startup: work, eat, sleep, repeat. “It got a little crazy,” she admits, but Vince still managed to find time to nurse a burgeoning homebrew hobby. With some unused square footage in the original Solana Beach location, the duo added a small homebrew setup and even a DIY surfboard repair station.

Gina Marsaglia at the company's newest location.

“It got a little out of control,” grins Marsaglia. “The health department came in and they're like, ‘What is this? You cannot be doing this!’”

her organized. “I didn't have time to work on it later, because I had other things that I was doing or other commitments with the kids. So [parenting] really did help me with time management more and [how to] delegate.”

For a long time, Vince’s brewing hobby was just that: a hobby. But when the Marsaglias tried to get financing for their second location in Carlsbad in order to officially launch a brewing component to their business, the Small Business Association said they had to prove themselves as brewers before they’d give them additional funds. “So that’s what we did,” says Marsaglia. In 1992, Pizza Port became one of the first official breweries/brewpubs in San Diego.

Any parent who has started their own business knows their kids are going to be a part of it. Marsaglia’s are no exception, tagging along every step of the way. Sometimes they even unwittingly participated in beer history; she recounts the time the legendary beer writer Michael Jackson attended a tasting at Pizza Port Solana Beach. “I have a cool picture with Michael Jackson and [my daughter] is on my lap. He’s holding her finger and I’m just like, ‘You don’t even know how cool that is.’”

Marsaglia’s success is part right place, right time, part early to market, and part absolute drive. “When I do something, I try not to just half ass it,” she says. She also credits having three children in four years—all while expanding Pizza Port into the empire it is today—with keeping

I’m not sure how she navigates business ownership, parenting her actual children as well as their pet mini pig (!), and the beer world like such a pro. If it’s drinking Swami’s IPA (Marsaglia’s favorite), then clearly I need to up my intake. And maybe get a mini pig.

18 November 2019

Stop, Collaborate and Listen Being a trailblazer in what’s now one of the best beer scenes in the world positioned Pizza Port to take advantage of the uniquely collaborative industry. Marsaglia admits there have been too many collaborations to pick a favorite, but she chuckles when she recalls some of the early ones with other pioneers like Stone Brewing. “We did BFF: Beer Friends Forever… Greg [Koch, Executive Chairman and co-founder of Stone Brewing] was so funny. He was like, ‘We look really good on the can, but we should probably put Vince and Steve [Wagner, co-founder of Stone] somewhere’. And I said ‘No, that’s my brother and I on the can—you and Steve are in the background!’” She laughs again. “I’ve known Greg for so long that we can just give each other a hard time. That’s when it gets fun, when it gets past the point of the business relationship.”

Under-construction bar in Solana Beach.

Gina and Vince Marsaglia, Pizza Port co-founders.

Koch is one of the few people with a moniker bestowed upon him by the beer community: the Beer Jesus. Marsaglia is another, often referred to as the Godmother of San Diego Craft Beer. I ask her how the unofficial, but pervasive title makes her feel. “Oh my gosh, it makes me feel old,” she says, laughing. (Side note: we laughed a lot during the interview. It’s awesome when beer royalty has a sense of humor.) “But I’m honored, to be honest. It’s an honor.”

The early days of Pizza Port Solana Beach.

WestCoasterSD.com 19

Pizza Port 2020: The Future Pizza Port now has five locations across Southern California, as well as partnerships with Petco Park and Pechanga Arena San Diego (a.k.a. Sports Arena). Brewpub number six is coming soon to Imperial Beach, and while Marsaglia doesn’t discount the possibility of more after that, she asserts they’ll never stray far from San Diego. “Expanding into new markets doesn’t really make sense, because people want local… and I just love the sleepy little beach towns,” she muses.

Tomme Arthur with Gina.

Gina and Vince at Pizza Port Carlsbad.

Tom Nickel with Vince and Gina.

Gina at a garlic shop.

Today, Marsaglia makes more top-level decisions than day-to-day operations. But she’s always game to get her hands dirty. “My favorite thing is still making pizzas,” she says. Sounds like a pretty cool mom to me. c Know someone who deserves to be featured in an upcoming column? Nominate them by emailing beth@bethdemmon.com.

Mike Campbell, Gina, Melody Campbell, and Rory Carey.

20 November 2019



INTRODUCTION TO MEAD MAKING Learn the basics of mead making and explore dozens of mead varieties from around the world!

BARREL AGING Discover how to use barrel aging to take artisan brewing to a distinctive level of complexity and refinement.

MARKETING AND DISTRIBUTION FOR BREWERIES Learn how to create a strategic marketing plan to get the word out about your brewing business.


Beverage Briefs  S TO N E XO C OV E Z A RETURNS

When first introduced as a limited special collaboration release with Cerveceria Insurgente and San Diego homebrewer Chris Banker (after his recipe won the brewery’s annual homebrew competition in 2014), Stone Brewing Xocoveza was an instant hit and fans began Stone Xocoveza started as clamoring for its return. Its a local homebrew recipe. flavor profile is evocative of Mexican hot chocolate, featuring coffee, pasilla peppers, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a generous amount of chocolate. “We are always looking for great partners for ingredients in our beers and we found two excellent ones here in artisan chocolate from Belyzium Craft Chocolate in Germany and custom-roasted coffee from Mostra Coffee in San Diego,” said Jeremy Moynier, Stone Brewing senior manager of brewing & innovation. “The quality of these ingredients is amazing and paired with the high-quality spices, peppers, and vanilla, really elevate this beer to unparalleled heights.” Speaking of Mostra’s piece of the puzzle, Moynier said, “Their customroasted Brazil Oberon features notes of dark chocolate, caramel, and dark fruit that perfectly complement the warming spices and decadent nuances that are prevalent in the beer.”

 SPEAKING OF MOSTR A COFFEE ... The Carmel Mountain Ranch-based roaster was recently named the 2020 Micro Roaster of the Year by Roast Magazine. The company, which roasts about 65,000 pounds of coffee beans annually and employees 19 people, beat out two other finalists for the recognition. In the article announcing their win, Emily Puro at Roast says, “Mostra’s goal—literally, in some senses—is to put Philippine coffee on the map.” “There are plenty of published coffee belt maps that have surrounding areas like Sumatra, Java, Papua New Guinea and other countries around there highlighted as growing coffee, but the Philippines is completely blank,” Ryan Sullivan, Mostra’s coffee education and quality control manager, told Roast. “For us, a lot of it is about championing this coffee that can hold its own with any other coffee in the world.”

22 November 2019

Owners and Filipino-Americans Beverly Magtanong, Sam Magtanong, Jelynn Malone, and Mike Arquines scheduled a coffee origin trip to the Philippines for the team in 2015, another this year, and more are planned in the future. And even if you’re not a coffee aficionado, you may have seen their name attached to local beers, as the company has collaborated with more than 100 breweries around the country on 400+ beers.

 S P E A K I N G O F LO C A L C O F F E E … Karl Strauss Brewing just teamed up with Bird Rock Coffee Roasters, Micro Roaster of the Year for Roast Magazine in 2012. Their collaboration golden stout, released just in time for San Diego Beer Week, looks more like a blonde ale or an IPA, deriving its roasty flavor from locally roasted beans. “In our Wreck Alley Imperial Stout, we use a medium- to dark-roast bean that complements the roasted barley and adds another dimension to the thick, dark beer,” said Lyndon Walker, head brewer at Karl Strauss. “When putting together a recipe for this golden stout, we needed to up the amount of coffee significantly. The golden stout has six times the amount of coffee that Wreck Alley has! We realized a darker roast would come through too harsh, so a lighter roast was just right. We chose the Ethiopia Gera Limu organic beans because they are perfect as a light roast. The coffee is bright, fruity, and has aromas of berry and chocolate. The addition of cacao nibs and vanilla beans to the beer adds another level of depth and complexity that makes this more than just a coffee beer.”

 SPEAKING OF BIRD ROCK ... Locally grown geisha coffee, a rare varietal crafted by two-time Grammy-winning musician Jason Mraz at his farm in Oceanside, was recently sold at Bird Rock Coffee Roasters for $35 per cup. (Mraz joked to Ian Anderson at The Reader, “I call it the million dollar cup of coffee. That includes the cost of the land, building wells, adding nutrition, adding staff, putting in the infrastructure that we need to be a high quality grow facility.”) The coffee sold out in less than a week. Bird Rock will also be an attendance at Cold Brew City Fest, taking place November 16 from 1-5 p.m. at Parq West in Bankers Hill. They’ll be joined by many other roasters from San Diego, Riverside, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Tijuana, and Ensenada. A competition portion includes categories for best signature cold brew, best original cold brew, and best cold brew design. No word yet on if Bird Rock will serve Jason Mraz’s geisha as a cold brew.

 6 1 9 S P I R I T S N A M E D TO P VO D K A D I S T I L L E RY North Park-based 619 Spirits won top honors in the USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice awards for “Best Craft Vodka Distillery.” A panel of experts and editors picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. 619 Spirits was founded by San Diego local Nick Apostolopoulos in 2012, and the 4,200 square foot distillery and tasting room opened in the summer of 2018. Their vodkas are hand-infused with local San Diego ingredients including scorpion peppers, rose petals, coffee, and pickle and cucumber infusions.


San Marcos-based brewing company The Lost Abbey has been working on a satellite tasting room in its home municipality’s San Elijo community. Now, there’s an opening date for the 2,200-square-foot, indooroutdoor space: 11 a.m. on Friday, November 1. That’s The Lost Abbey Sanctuary. right—the first day of San Photo by Tim Stahl. Diego Beer Week. Located at 1215 San Elijo Road, the spinoff venue will go by the name “The Sanctuary” following the name of its sister satellite tasting room in Cardiff by the Sea “The Confessional.” Jumping into the new space with both cycling-shoe-clad feet, The Lost Abbey will hold its first-ever cycling event with a route beginning and ending at The Sanctuary on Saturday, November 2.

 M AT T A K I N J O I N S D U C K FO OT B R E W I N G In 2013, Matt and Rachael Akin opened Benchmark Brewing in Grantville, pulling from experience earned during the former’s eight years at AleSmith Brewing. Positive public response was instantaneous and the operation became known for brewing unembellished “beerflavored beer” of exceptional quality. High-profile awards followed, most notably a pair of Great American Beer Festival medals for Benchmark’s Oatmeal Stout. Despite making good beer that was appreciated by a solid core of die-hard fans, the business proved unsustainable and the Akins shuttered it in June. Many wondered where Matt would end up. That question was answered last month with Miramar-based Duck Foot Brewing announcing it brought the veteran fermentationist on board as its new head brewer. In this role, he will direct the company’s production team, which consists of two brewers and three cellar workers, and oversee all

aspects of brewing, capacity planning, quality, and distribution, while contributing to recipe development. “We selected Matt mostly for his extensive experience in taking AleSmith from a 300-barrel-per-year brewery up to a 4,000-barrelper-year brewery. That kind of growth experience is hard to find and it’s exactly what Duck Foot needs right now,” says co-owner and chief fermentation officer Brett Goldstock. “But we also recognized Matt’s all-around experience with running his own brewery for so many years and, of course, he comes with a plethora of awards and a sterling reputation, so we know that there’s a lot of potential for him to help us up our game.” This hiring will allow Goldstock to take a step back from brewery operations and focus on strategic projects. This is a time of growth for Duck Foot, which also operates an East Village tasting room Goldstock reports did quite well during Padres season. Another summertime development for Duck Foot was signing a distribution agreement with Karl Strauss Brewing that covers San Diego, Los Angeles, and Orange Counties, as well as the Inland Empire. Duck Foot produced 2,500 barrels of beer last year and is on pace to hit 3,000 barrels come the close of 2019. With increased distribution—which may expand to include importers in Japan and Mexico (the company’s beer is already regularly shipped to Mexico City)—annual barrelage figures to increase, making Matt’s experience in that area (as well as shipping beer to Japan as he did with AleSmith) a valuable company asset.

 BENEFICIAL BREWS The #SDBeer Food Drive, organized by Brian Beagle and The Indie Beer Show, runs from November 9 through the end of the year. Once again, Societe Brewing Co. is the “home” of the drive and the main collection location, while SD Food Bank is the beneficiary. On December 7, Societe hosts a party with prizes and holiday shenanigans. Many additional locations are setting up collection bins starting November 9, for items such as canned meats, dry or canned beans, rice, peanut butter, canned soup, canned soup, canned vegetables, powdered milk, pasta, and infant formula (no glass containers, home-canned or baked items accepted). Here’s a list of #SDBeer Food Drive locations at time of press; check out https://Indie.Beer for more information: • • • • • • • • •

Barrio Logan: Border X Brewing Bay Park: Deft Brewing Carmel Mountain Ranch: Second Chance Beer Co. El Cajon: Burning Beard Brewing Co. Encinitas: The Brewers Taproom Escondido: Plan 9 Alehouse Kearny Mesa: Circle 9 Brewing, Societe Brewing Co. Lemon Grove: 13 Point Brewing Co. Miramar: Setting Sun Sake Brewing Co., TapCraft Draft, The Good Seed Food Company / Serpentine Cider / Lost Cause Meadery

WestCoasterSD.com 23

• • • • • • • • • • •

Mira Mesa: Longship Brewery Normal Heights: Blind Lady Ale House, The Rabbit Hole North Park: Eppig Brewing, North Park Beer Co., Original 40 Brewing Co., Second Chance Beer Lounge Oceanside: Bagby Beer Co., Black Plague Brewing Ocean Beach: Belching Beaver Taproom Pacific Beach: Bayside Landing Rancho Bernardo: Abnormal Beer Co. San Marcos: My Yard Live, Churchill's Pub and Grille, Wild Barrel Brewing Co. Scripps Ranch: Savagewood Brewing Co. Sorrento Valley: California Wild Ales Vista: Belching Beaver Pub980, Booze Brothers Brewing Co., Indian Joe Brewing, Mother Earth Tap House


W I N S M E DA L S A N D P L A N S A PA R T Y To celebrate the rising popularity of the beverage, the National Honey Board hosted its first Mead Crafters Competition recognizing the top professional mead makers in the United States. Response to the competition was overwhelming, with more than 340 meads submitted to be judged in 25 categories Lost Cause’s Heavy Meadow. ranging from dry metheglin to sweet traditional. After judging finished, the Miralani Makers District’s Lost Cause Meadery took home the bronze in Best of Show for its Heavy Meadow melomel. Made with meadowfoam blossom honey, blackberries, and petite syrah grapes, this unique twist on the fruit-forward mead style lets the honey varietal shine, while contrasting with the added fruit. The local meadery also took home gold medals in the sweet melomel and semisweet metheglin categories. And while the company continues work on its second location, they’ll host a second anniversary party in Miramar on December 7, including the release of Making Bones, a 20% ABV fortified cherry mead with caramelized honey and almonds that’s been aged on American oak. “Worker Bee” Billy Beltz describes it as “a complex and delicious sipping mead made in the style of our favorite port wines and Polish meads.”

 G O O D O M E N M E A D FO R G E S A N E W PAT H In June, we shared news that one of San Diego’s most decorated homebrewers was teaming with several businesses to open a collective in downtown Escondido that would include his foray into professional

24 November 2019

brewing. That combined interest would go by the name 141, with brewery Five Suits Brewing sharing a 14,000-square-foot, two-story space with Carlsbad-based Notorious Burgers, Good Omen Mead and Stoke Distilling. But last month, Five Suits co-founder Nick Corona officially shared that he and two would-be partner companies have pulled out of the project. “Five Suits identified several areas of concern that contributed to our decision. The first being centered around the restaurant entity, Notorious Burgers,” says Corona. “Due to tied-house laws, Notorious Burgers’ involvement in the project became uncertain. Soon thereafter, Stoke Distilling shared that they would not be moving forward with the project, basing their decision on serving limitations. Five Suits also recognized that projected expenses continued to increase as a large portion of the upgrades and renovations required to the multi-level building were centered around their involvement.” Corona and his team are continuing to scour North County for a project site that will work for them. He says they are still committed to bringing the Five Suits experience to the public in a brewpub setting, meaning having food prepared and available on-site. The tied-house laws that spelled Notorious Burgers’ withdrawal are those which state a licensed alcohol manufacturer may not sublet to a restaurateur that also holds an ABC (California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control) license. So, the three options Corona and company are entertaining include running their own brewpub (so long as the main focus remains making beer), finding a restaurateur who doesn’t hold an ABC license to sublet to, or allowing a restaurateur to hold interest in Five Suits. “While Five Suits will no longer be involved in this project, Good Omen Mead will continue to move forward with the location in downtown Escondido,” says Corona. “Five Suits is confident that Good Omen Mead will see success in their new location and wishes them the best of luck.” Good Omen co-owner Brian LaMere harbors no ill will toward Five Suits, Notorious Burgers or Stoke Distilling, saying the situation is unfortunate because they were “great guys” and he was looking forward to going into business with them. That said, he is excited about the new direction of the project, which will see a winery and meadery operating under the same roof. LaMere is also in talks with a brewery that may split his portion of the space with him, as he does not have sufficient funds to go it alone at present, though he is in talks with a business entity that has expressed interest in backing him. If a brewery partner does come on board, he says he may look for someone to head a kitchen operation, or have Good Omen take that on. Time will tell, but he has a vision for the large space. “There will be craft tacos. There will be live music and comedy upstairs. There will be a speakeasy-style lounge downstairs on occasion where we push production out of the way and make room for jazz or whatever sorts of entertainment we find fitting downstairs,” says LaMere. “We think highly of Nick [and our former project partners] and know they’ll

all be successful in their ventures. I have a great team still with me, even if it no longer includes Stoke and Five Suits, and I am really looking forward to changing the face of downtown Escondido."

 DOGLEG OPENS THIS MONTH In October, Eppig Brewing celebrated the soft opening of its new headquarters in Vista. While there, many who visited took a moment to sneak a peek at the soon-to-arrive Dogleg Brewing, a brand-new entrant into San Diego’s fermentation industry that is housed in the very same building as Eppig. The team behind that golf-themed operation have been hard at work on their beer and a tasting room that, even in a county replete with such venues, is unique to the scene. That effort will pay off the weekend of November 8-10, when Dogleg embarks on its softopen period. Head brewer Jim McCaskey, a long-time homebrewer with numerous awards to his name, began brewing on October 7 and continued for four days straight to fill fermenters in time to have five beers ready during the first weekend. That quintet figures to include a pale ale and Scotch ale that both come in at 5.5% alcohol-by-volume, as well as a 6.8% India pale ale and 7.3% American strong ale. All were produced on the company’s seven-barrel system, which was christened by an ESB (extra special bitter). But a great deal of elbow grease was expended before they could get to beer-making. “Balancing the budget with the timeline before opening was one of the biggest challenges getting to this point. It was a trade-off between doing tasks ourselves to stay within budget and hiring help to get it done quickly to the point where we could start brewing beer,” says co-owner Christina Lumsden, who is responsible for marketing and comes to brewing from the golf industry. “So we really had to roll up our sleeves to stain floors, clean construction debris, construct the cold box, and more. It was a grind, but also a great way to experience exactly what it takes to get a business off the ground and fully understand every step involved.” Dogleg’s public space will include golf features, namely a putting green area and state-of-the-art golf simulator that will be utilized for contests in addition to everyday use. Those value-addeds—which will be fully operational when Dogleg opens—are situated along the north end of the tasting room, which provides views of the canyon just beyond the parking lot, which extends all the way to Palomar Airport Road. While some would be put off by having competitors so close by—in addition to Eppig, Helia Brewing is located a block from Dogleg—Lumsden sees it as an opportunity and enjoys the welcome she and her team have received from others in the local brewing industry. “Both breweries are so supportive of our startup and have always been helpful when we have a question,” says Lumsden. “Being in such close proximity with two other breweries will benefit all of us and create opportunities to do interesting events and turn Keystone Way into a cool craft beer destination.”

Dogleg Brewing’s hours of operation during its soft-open weekend will be 4 to 9 p.m. on Friday, and noon to 9 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. Putting and simulated closest-to-the-pin competitions will be part of the festivities, and food trucks will be scheduled to provide sustenance over the three-day span. Lumsden predicts the company’s grand opening will occur sometime in January of next year. Dogleg Brewing is located at 1347 Keystone Way.

 E S C O N D I D O B R E W I N G ’ S P I N T S FO R PAT R I OT S In April, Escondido Brewing‘s flagship Hopcondido IPA was named the winner of Green Flash Brewing’s first-ever Brew Down Beer Festival. That competition included 22 entries from San Diego County breweries. The Escondido Brewing team was awarded $5,000 to donate to Wounded Warrior Homes, but even more came out of the win. Last month, Green Flash brewmaster Erik Jensen visited Escondido Brewing to collaboratively brew a West Coast IPA with highly-coveted Strata and Galaxy hops. Dubbed Brew Down IPA, it was brewed on Green Flash’s five-barrel pilot system the following week. Both versions will debut during San Diego Beer Week, with Escondido Brewing’s release folded into its Pints for Patriots event on November 9, which will incorporate Wounded Warrior Homes. A limited quantity of cans of Hopcondido IPA will also be available for purchase.

 C A P I TA L O F C R A F T I PA The epic ten-day span linked together by hundreds of beer-centric events that is San Diego Beer Week will kick off Friday, November 1. As has been the case since 2017, it will have an official beverage: Capital of Craft IPA. This year's edition was brewed at Second Chance Beer Co., comes in at 7.3% alcohol-by-volume, and utilizes Cashmere, Chinook, Nugget, Centennial, and Amarillo hops donated (along with the grain bill) by BSG CraftBrewing, as well as California Ale Yeast donated by Miramar's White Labs. But there’s yet another difference. For the first time ever, Capital of Craft IPA will be sold in cans. Beginning 7:30 p.m. on November 1, four-packs of 16-ounce cans will be available at Second Chance Beer’s tasting rooms in Carmel Mountain Ranch and North Park, as well as retail accounts throughout San Diego. A percentage of the beer was also kegged off, so it will be for sale on draft throughout the county, as well. From the start, Capital of Craft IPA has been a collaboration beer. As is customary, the breweries invited to participate were switched up for 2019. This year’s slate of SDBG member breweries that took part included Chula Vista’s Thr3e Punk Ales Brewing, Miramar-based Amplified Ale Works, Oceanside’s Bagby Beer Co., Carlsbad’s Burgeon Beer Co., Sorrento Valley’s Gravity Heights, Julian’s Nickel Beer Co., North Park Beer Co., and host brewery Second Chance. c

WestCoasterSD.com 25

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The appeal of the Tiki lifestyle is hardly mysterious. In a world that incessantly flogs us for productivity, the embrace of Island Time and soothing pastels is a potent counterpoint. It’s understandable why so many people gravitate toward it during leisure time. And that’s why Tiki is not to be trusted. The reality is that Tiki doesn’t merely offer respite from the chaos of reality, it seduces you away from it. It starts with the odd cocktail that favors a marginally sweeter coconut rum just to mix things up. Shortly thereafter you start to believe that a boxy, floral-print shirt is a viable option for Casual Friday at the office. It does have a collar, after all. Next thing you know you’re enjoying Jimmy Buffet without any sense of irony, stringing lights with kitchy parrotbulbs around your patio, and wearing sandals. For the love of God, SANDALS, people!* Needless to say I have a reflexive disdain for most things Tiki. I don’t have the energy for all that brightness and exuberance. So when I heard that the folks at

Kilowatt Brewing, arguably the brightest and most exuberant in the SD beer game, were opening a Tiki-themed speakeasy called Forbidden Cove, I was naturally skeptical. I would have ignored it entirely, but a speakeasy implies exclusivity, and I can’t resist the allure of having access to something that others may not get. “Whale” culture dies hard, y’all. The interior of Forbidden Cove resembles the contents of a lei’s fever dream, as every surface explodes with the vibrancy of blacklight luminescence. Goth up your wardrobe as much as you like, this joint will still find a way to make some sliver of you shimmer. From the infinity mirrors installation, to massive globe lights, to the looming shrine for an angry Tiki god, every fixture of Forbidden Cove is purpose-built to immerse you. It is Tiki amplified to the realm of psychedelia. And like any other shroom-fueled misadventure, attempting to resist is only going to result in a bad trip. You have no choice – succumb to Forbidden Cove. Despite all the figurative and literal shine I’ve ascribed to the surroundings, the crowning achievement of this experience is a fully realized Tiki drink menu in a context where actual booze is, like coves, forbidden. While existing Kilowatt Brewing beers like Wilson the Coconut (an IPA with toasted coconut) are prêt-à-porter in Tiki environs, the real potential of this space is revealed by its exclusive offerings. Many of the signature drinks in Forbidden Cove are thoughtfully fruited and spiced versions of existing beers, such as the Pineapple Coconut

WestCoasterSD.com 27

Blonde. Their sour Berliner Weiss base similarly finds suitable company with guava, mango, and ginger in Enchanted Garden. Selections like these are all reasonable approximations for Tiki fare, but their beer-y roots are unmistakable on the palate. The real triumphs on the menu use Kilowatt Brewing’s fruited hard seltzers and signature undistilled spirits. Hard seltzer, for better or worse, needs no introduction these days. However, the borderline oxymoronic ”undistilled spirit” probably warrants a bit more exposition. It is simply a harder-than-hard seltzer, a sugar water that’s been whipped into fighting shape by R. Lee Ermeytier yeasts capable of driving the ABV north of 16 percent. It’s not much to speak of on its own, tasting vaguely of rice paper with an indistinct fruitiness and a bone-dry, warming finish. However, it is a powerhouse addition to the Tiki drink menu, providing a neutral, boozy backbone to heap flavor upon. Future iterations will play with molasses-based fermentations to hopefully offer a more rum-tinged flavor profile. The best way to experience this creation is a side-by-side comparison of Lono’s Delight, a fruited hard seltzer, and it’s far more spirited 15.3% ABV brother, Lono’s Extra Delight. Despite the shared DNA in their fruit profiles (orange, pineapple, lime, passionfruit, lime, and cherry), these siblings only bear a passing resemblance to each other. The “Extra” version somehow drums the cherry out of existence, while the pineapple emerges as vibrant and juicier. My favorite of the hardened options was Washed Out To Sea. Its bright passionfruit and guava notes are countered by the subtle nip of ginger

28 November 2019

and the “spirit” lending it a sparing heat. It feels the most like a cocktail to me, versus a beer-based facsimile of the same. However, those that prefer a bit more chew to their Tiki drinks will likely enjoy the coconut cream-laden Lava Flow. While there are many mysterious elements of Forbidden Cove, from its semi-cloaked entry point to the secret ordering window within, perhaps the most exciting aspect of it is its ephemeral nature. This speakeasy, along with the brewery proper, are due for demolition in roughly 15 months. Brewery operations will migrate elsewhere, but Forbidden Cove will sadly be sacrificed to the gods. Unlike the beer columnist presently drafting this article, Forbidden Cove will never have a chance to fade into obscurity. If this diverting collision of craft beer and Tiki piques your curiosity, I’d recommend you get a reservation at ForbiddenCoveSD.com before a wellplaced wrecking ball takes the last one. Anything that can convince someone like me to begrudgingly don an aloha shirt is probably worth investigating further. *It may not be fair to shame everyone that makes their leg-hands visible, but I just think it’s reasonable to posit that, on aggregate, the calories people exert on personal maintenance drop off exponentially the farther south they get. Sandals are a fashion statement that screams to the world, “You’re gonna love my feet!” That assertion falls short more often than not. I believe we, as a species, can do better. c



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Waiter, There’s a Bug in My Food! Pariah Brewing teams with The Good Seed Food Co. for a spooktacular pairing of beer with insect-laden delicacies. BY B R AND ON HERNAND EZ

For most, discovering a winged or multi-legged crawler in their food would be a problem, but for a pair of adventurous culinarians entrenched in the local beer scene, a dung beetle in a pile of mashed potatoes doesn’t equate to a fly-in-the-ointment situation. It’s exactly what they’re going for.

The duo met up at Pariah’s tasting room in North Park’s Brewery Igniter facility, pens and notepads in-hand, to work their way through the assortment and record their impressions. Tastes ranged from woody and earthy to toasty and herbaceous. It wasn’t all that different from the range of flavors present in edible flora, vegetables, or mushrooms.

Earlier this year, The Good Seed Food Co. chef and owner Jesus “Chuy” de la Torre and Cicerone and brewery vet Jesse Smith hatched an idea to take beer-and-food pairing to relatively unexplored, creepycrawly territory, by incorporating insects into an array of dishes. It was so outlandish that finding the right time frame and setting for such adventurous eating proved difficult. The impending arrival of All Hallow’s Eve and the openness of Pariah Brewing eventually provided the perfect buggy backdrop.

In the end, only one or two flavor profiles disqualified particular insects; what nixed most from contention was texture. The protective exoskeletons of many of the bugs they sampled were difficult to eat in some cases, leading Chuy and Jesse to select species that were easier to get down the hatch. The last-bugs-standing quartet included crickets, giant worms, dung beetles and weaver ants.

With details settled—four courses paired with four Pariah beers presented the Tuesday before Halloween—they marched like determined army ants into the unknown.

With an admittedly fearsome foursome in place, it was time to see how this exotic fare would fare with Pariah’s beers. The majority of owner and brewmaster Brian Mitchell’s beers are flavored with spices, herbs, and often-exotic adjuncts. This was advantageous in that they provided a wealth of supplementary flavors to raise up the somewhat bland bugs. After about an hour of flexing their palates, the following menu materialized:

Working the Bugs Out The first thing Chuy and Jesse had to do was find and sample a variety of bugs. A mail-order service allowed them to get their pincers into a varied stash of crawling, squirming, hopping, flying creatures, none of which they had ever tasted.

A Swarm of Options


Cricket Taco with Mole Salsa and Epazote paired with Dank Drank IPA Giant Worm and Cucumber Nigiri paired with Passion of the Kiwi Berliner Weisse Dung Beetle Mashed Potatoes and Gravy paired with Off White Wit Weaver Ant Ice Cream with All the Bootleg Snacks Imperial Stout

WestCoasterSD.com 35

Flavor compatibility wasn’t the only thing considered when developing pairings. Smith devoted a great deal of attention to creating contrast for three of the four dishes. He deemed Off White Wit, a Belgian-style wheat ale brewed with honey, green tea, lemongrass, orange, and ginger, a nice medium-low-bodied counter to the rich mashed potatoes. And while Dank Drank, a Mosaicstocked American IPA, featured piney, “dank” flavors that synced with the corn tortilla and epazote (a lemony, bitter herb popular in Mexican cookery), it also helped cut through the accompanying, viscous, molelike sauce. But in the case of dessert, vanilla ice cream dusted with a top-layer of weaver ants, he went with the flow, marrying it with a pastry stout brewed with coffee, vanilla, coconut, and numerous generic versions of popular childhood sweet treats.

But How Does It Taste? As it turns out, despite widely different appearances and biological structures, insects can taste relatively similar. It’s not like beef, chicken and pork; the range of flavors is much narrower. Crickets are particularly neutral, making them a nice protein source that adds crunchy texture. Knowing this, Chuy introduced bold flavor with his salsa, like one might when working with another tamer star ingredient. The IPA beer pairing works well and makes for a quintessentially San Diego tandem. The giant worms served sushi-style tied atop a finger of sticky rice with a thin strand of cucumber aren’t as gargantuan as their name implied. They are actually skinny, enough that it took two to take up substantial real estate atop its glutinous foundation. But they probably have the most flavor of the four, coming across as nutty with a mushroom-like, funky earthiness and a toasty aftertaste. The nigiri is served on its own, but some soy, yuzu Kewpie mayo, or even sriracha could be a nice accouterment. Next, they probably serve Chuy’s buttery mashed potatoes in heaven. Whether they come with a dung beetle floating in the gravy gracing them is something to be answered on the other side. Here on Earth, the beetle adds a touch of charred meatiness and substantial crunch. It works well enough that, like a teen from the sixties, it pretty much begs for more beetles. While the witbier does cut the richness of the dish, its lack of body makes it the least appealing pairing. Then there’s the ice cream and pastry stout combo. It sounds ideal— especially if you’re an aardvark—and it tastes divine. Even the ants, the insides of which have an unexpected, faint lemony tartness, only detract as one tries to swallow them. They stick in the back of the throat, but thankfully there’s plenty of beer to help wash them down.

Chef Jesus "Chuy" de la Torre.

36 November 2019

Could this event scare up a trend? Probably not, but there’s something to be said for their willingness to explore the territory. And even more to be said for doing it as well as these pioneers did. c

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