Being a regular library user, I would welcome the chance to check out both the physical and on-line collections regarding craft beer.

The California State University, San Marcos (CSUSM) has been collecting “beer paraphernalia tracing the history of craft breweries in San Diego.”

Dubbed the Brewchive, it “is a new project from the university’s library. According to CSUSM Special Collections and History Librarian Judith Downie, the collection dates back to the late 1980s, about the time that the craft brewing scene first started to gain steam in the San Diego area. Around 30 years ago there were maybe five or six craft breweries in the county; today there are 156.”

Now that L.A. has a nice amount of breweries and a little bit of history behind it, the CalState system might want to look into expanding north and to Central Coast and Bay Area too. It will be much easier to find documents, coasters, recipes and the like

High Societe

It is hard to single out one brewery in San Diego but whenever my next trip takes me south from L.A., Societe Brewing will be at the top of the list to visit. One reason could be to try their take on “Feral” ales and to check out some of the newer beers that they have produced like….

The Fiddler San Diego-style IPA – “Playing off lyrics from Alabama’s “If You’re Gonna Play in Texas”, brewmaster Travis Smith says, “If you’re gonna brew in San Diego, you gotta have an IPA!” Societe is highly regarded for its lengthy lineage of IPAs, and its latest harnesses the attributes of a trio of hops—Simcoe, Eureka and Idaho 7—to bring something newBeer Styles and unique to its Out West family of hop-driven beers. Those hops were selected through Societe’s single-hop IPA program.”

The Statesman Pale Ale – “Crafted to bring forth a distinctly West Coast hop profile balanced by substantial yet subtle malt character, this beer is a modern interpretation of an American pale ale and Societe’s first foray into this venerable beer style.”

The Bachelor with Cashmere hops Single-Hop IPA – “The latest in Societe’s rotating line of IPAs exploring the world’s hop varietals, this beer exclusively utilizes Cashmere hops, a recently developed, en vogue cross between the Cascade and Northern Brewer cultivars.”

The Damsel Belgian-style Table Beer – “This New World take on the lowest-alcohol variety of monastic, European “abbey ales” is crafted to be highly drinkable and light in body, but big on floral and spice character imparted by our house Belgian yeast strain.”

The Thief Feral Beer with Locally Grown Grenache Blanc – “Grenache Blanc grapes harvested from North San Diego County’s Vesper Vineyards lend a brilliant vinous essence to this effervescent, layered and award-winning specialty ale, which is available in bottles for the first time.”

The first four on the list are draft only while The Thief is also on-sale in corked, caged, 500-millileter bottles (available only at the brewery).

Break Out the Pink Boots

I am quite picky about beer festivals but when I saw that the Pink Boots Society was going to have a 10th Anniversary Craft Beer Festival at Liberty Station in the temperate clime of San Diego, I clicked on the link and read on.

They have secured a nice roster of breweries with an emphasis on locals from SD and there will be music and food and most importantly beers brewed by PBS members.

The event is on Saturday, June 3rd from 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm with tickets ranging from $45 in advance and $60 for Day of Sales

All proceeds from Festival will benefit the Pink Boots Society Scholarship program that helps women in the brewing industry advance their careers.


In a counterprogramming move, Ryan Brooks (formerly of Coronado Brewing Co.) will be opening a brewery that strides the brewing styles of Southern California and Northern Mexico. With the well-suited to branding name of SouthNorte, let’s hope that they can fuse the tastes of two countries.

Ignited Brewery # 3 – Wiseguy Brewing

Our final stop is Wise Guy Brewing. Conjures up old-timey gangster movies which is an interesting choice for San Diego. Adding to the dissonance is the fact that founder and brewer Brett Gent will be focusing on classic German styles. Don’t get me wrong, we need to see more German and English style breweries so I would jump at the chance to try something from the 2(ish) taps dedicated to those beers, could be a Pilsner, Doppelbock, Altbier, Schwarzbier, Helles Lager, Dunkelweizen, Oktoberfest.

You might also find Brown Ales, Porters, Stouts, ESB’s and a Vienna Lager. Gent has won numerous awards for his home-brewed ales and lagers.

Lest hop heads be scared away Wiseguy will also use their 10-barrel brewhouse and five 20-barrel fermenters to make IPA’s as well.

Ignited Brewery # 2 – Rouleur Brewing

Our second ignited stop is in Carlsbad for the European cycling themed Rouleur Brewing. Here are the San Diego beers with a Belgian twist that I would check out….

The Domestique Blonde Ale – “This beer is designed to be approachable yet memorable with a soft malt backbone and delicate Noble hop bitterness, keeping it from being too heavy or sweet. The aroma is slightly grainy, yet not astringent, and the forward palate is reminiscent of malted milkshake, grain and honey. The finish is dry and crisp with just the slightest hop bitterness. Well rounded, smooth and reliable.”

The Sprinteur Red Ale – “displays a rich and brilliant ruby red hue. The flavor and mouthfeel offer a chewy malt complexity reminiscent of dark caramel and dark fruits. The body forward beer is balanced with a dose of fresh fruity-citrusy hops. Visually pleasing, full-bodied and inspirational.”

The Puncheur Pale Ale – “This is the go-to beer of the pack, offering something for everyone. This beer has a brilliant gold color with warm hints of red in its hue. The malt and hop bills, as well as yeast character, lend it an overall fruity character. This beer is a perfect balance of malt and hops in both aroma and flavor. Resilient, fruity, and reliable.”

The Clydesdale India Pale Ale – “Rouleur takes the “Italian cooking” approach to IPAs: Few ingredients that are of high-quality yet not necessarily uncommon; balanced perfectly with a twist. ROULEUR’s India Pale Ale is “hoppy” in flavor and aroma, but not bracingly bitter, sessionable-ish in terms of alcohol content, and different enough to be memorable and go the full distance. Clean, purposeful and without pretense.”

The Grimpeur Dark Ale – “is very dark…nearly black. This beer is malt heavy yet balanced with a chocolatey and dark-caramelly flavor and aroma with a very faint roast character. With just enough hop character for balance, this is an all dark-malt-forward beer with a Belgian finish. Thick, creamy and focused on reaching the top.”

Be Logical

If I had been given the following True/False question, I would have gotten it wrong.

Have AleSmith and Pizza Port collaborated on a beer?

Now they have, which means that trick questions are now more logical. And of course it is hoppy, we aren’t living in a bizarro world.

Ignited Brewery # 1 – Pariah Brewing

Our first “Ignited” stop is at Pariah Brewing. Helmed by Brian Mitchell who most recently was at Stone in their R&D section.

Mitchell, another home brewer gone pro, has six core beers for Pariah….
Off White Wit – a Belgian wheat inspired by boba tea. Brewed with honey, green tea, lemongrass, orange slices, and ginger
Uni Stout – a milk stout featuring sea urchin and fresh sea urchin gonads.
Dorcha – a stout brewed with molasses, cacao nibs and a proprietary blend of coffee from local Bird Rock Coffee Roasters
Dank Drank IPA – a West Coast IPA fortified with Amarillo and Mosaic hops
Drupe – a fruit IPA interpretation, made with hemp oil, peach, and mango
Erotic City – a beer brewed with Muscat grapes, honey and grains of paradise.

Now that I have your interest heightened, you can read more about the H.G. Fenton brewery igniter where Pariah has started brewing, right HERE.

…and a Bottle of Rum

I recently selected a Rum accented barleywine for a “hypothetical” taster tray from Le Castor and now, one a little closer to home is on the horizon from AleSmith. I love seeing anything barrel-aged that isn’t whiskey or bourbon. + love the pun name.

Bill is Wild

A second large departure from Stone Brewing will leave an ambassador sized hole as “Dr.” Bill Sysak has left to prepare a new brewery in San Marcos, California.

2017 will see the debut of the Wild Barrel Brewing Company The 15 barrel brewhouse “will be known for its “San Diego Weisse” sours implementing a variety of fruit additions, along with a constantly rotating selection of San Diego style IPA’s to satisfy the most extreme lupo-maniacs. Rounding out the core lineup is an American stout with coffee additions changing seasonally from local roasters, and a “crushable” Belgian Wit.”

A couple of points ring weird to me from that paragraph. One would think with the years at Stone that more marketing panache would have gone into the name and logo. Wild Barrel is a rather pedestrian name in my book. And the certainty in which they declare that they “will be known for” their San Diego Weisse and that their Wit will be “crushable” is a little cart ahead of the horse. Flagships aren’t declared. The people buying will make it so.

Time will tell how Wild Barrel fares in a tough San Diego market.