Readers will know that I am suffering from Beer Fest Fatigue (BFF). So when I recommend heading to one and spending money on it. It means I think you will gain something from it. On January 19th, the third version of BagbyFest will be held in Oceanside.
Jeff Bagby, the brewmaster at his eponymous brewery, gathers together beer, wine, spirits, cocktails, food throughout their impressive two story space. With his curation, you are bound to get a great sampling of beer.
There are plenty of interesting nuggets when reading about new nano brewery Horus Aged Ales. First and foremost is in the names from Kyle Harrop’s Oceanside brewery will be barrel-aged. Also the Southwestern logo.
What struck me though was the width and breadth of Harrop’s collaborations. Here is the list of past and future collaborators:
Courtyard Brewery of New Orleans
Homage Brewing of Pomona
Abnormal Beer Company of Rancho Bernardo
Alvarado Street Brewery of Monterey
El Segundo Brewing of (obviously) El Segundo)
Wren House Brewing of Phoenix
J. Wakefield Brewing of Miami
Great Notion Brewing of Portland
The Answer Brewpub of Richmond
White Fence Brewing of Vista
And finally… Rip Current Brewing of San Marcos
That will be quite the event if they can get all of those under one roof.
This long list led me to think about the possibility of a brewery just doing collaborations. Would that be feasible? Would you even need a brewery of your own? Would you package or have a tap room? What location would be prime for travel to and fro?
After some truly gnarly traffic (to use surf slang), My wife and I arrived in Oceanside and the home of Bagby Beer. I have heard nothing but good things about the beer and was excited to try their beer for the first time. Food was also on the agenda. Splitting a burger and ice cream sandwiches. I ordered up a sampler tray with a brown ale, a Kellerbier, honey ale and a hoppy weisse. All were high quality. With Worker Bee taking the top spot for me. Then I ordered a taster of Dinkus, their “big” IPA. It was the winner. Suitably strong but very fragrant with huge fruit notes in the taste. The balance was just spot on.
I was also very impressed with the look. Lovel green walls. One TV only that the bar could see and boy is this place huge and very well decorated with unique chairs and tables plus very in the San Diego way with chairs aligned to view the street style. High praise from my wife includes the saying, “Very Portland”. This spot gets that nod. Many different seating areas and options.
Believe the hype. You get so many beer choices. I would have been easily occupied by just their beers but they had a large grouping of guest taps too.
One of the most hotly awaited brewery openings is coming so close….
Bagby Beer Company has a massive space in Oceanside that was once a car dealership. You can check out some great photos HERE from Jay Brooks. Keep following their Facebook page for details. This will be a popular place and not just because of the ocean.
One of the hardest things to do in opening a brewery isn’t brewing the beer or designing the logo or hiring staff. Nope, one of the hardest things to do is find a suitable location. One that doesn’t require breaking through mile after mile of red tape and that can fit into your vision for now and the future.
And in California, what with prices still being higher than in other parts of the country that problem is exacerbated. Even for someone like Jeff Bagby who has Great American Beer Festival medals galore.
But now the good news. The Bagby Beer Company has taken that step and found a place to call home in Oceanside. They have taken over an old car dealership space. If all goes well, construction will begin in 2013 and maybe if the process goes according to plan beer will be made.
The San Diego scene shows no sign of flagging.