JUN/JUL 2006 | REGIONAL | WEST
||Suds Surfin' In San Diego
By Rich Link
This past April, many of San Diego’s brewers attended
the Craft Brewers Conference and World Beer Cup festivities
in Seattle. I hope they packed light, because they brought
home some extra hardware in the form of World Beer Cup medals.
Officially, eight awards were won by six different San Diego
County breweries. Both counts increase by one if we include
Pizza Port San Clemente’s silver medal
in the English-Style Mild Ale category.
The Pizza Port breweries led the way, with a total of four
medals. Dawn Patrol Dark took a silver medal for the aforementioned
San Clemente location. Port Solana Beach
struck gold with Shark Attack in the Imperial or Double Red
Ale category. And Port Carlsbad took two
medals: silver for Night Rider Imperial Stout and gold for
Sharkbite Red Ale. Port brewers Tomme Arthur, Jeff Bagby and
Josh Miner continue to produce some of the best beers in the
world, and these awards are testament to that statement.
Green Flash Brewing Company of Vista took
home two medals. In the English-Style Summer Ale category
(is there really a summer in England?), Green Flash Extra
Pale Ale won a silver medal. Green Flash Nut Brown Ale won
a silver medal in the English-Style Brown Ale category. Brewer
Chuck Silva has been garnering a number of awards since he
took over the brewer’s paddle nearly two years ago.
Stone Brewing Company’s Ruination
IPA (my favorite of the Stone brews) took the bronze medal
in the American-Style IPA category. Alpine Beer Company
took the silver medal in the Imperial or Double IPA category
with Pure Hoppiness — in my opinion, one of the best
beers ever made in San Diego County. Dorado Double IPA took
bronze in the same category for Ballast Point Brewing
Company. Three out of six medals in the two American IPA categories
is pretty impressive. Yet, the lupulin king has been crowned,
and he is former San Diego County resident Vinnie Cilurzo.
Vinnie’s Russian River Brewing Company
took the gold medal in the Imperial or Double IPA category
with Pliny the Elder, and another gold medal in the American-Style
IPA category with the very triumphant return of Blind Pig
Back Street Brewery in Vista celebrated
its second anniversary with a big bash on April 22. There
were free raffles, 14 beers on tap and two casks, and all
Back Street brewers from four locations were in attendance.
Vista’s brewer, David Lusk, was a great host, as was
Back Street’s corporate brewmaster Ryan Aikens. I endeavored
to “sample” all 14 beers. The good news is that
there were no clinkers in the bunch. The great news is that
there were some fantastic beers being served. The regular
Back Street beers were there: Heritage Hefeweizen, Pacific
Pale Ale, Jagged Little Pilsner and Rita Red. There were also
some wonderful beers such as AnniversaRyeIPA, Arnold Stoutzenegger
on Nitro, and Hopfather Double IPA (my favorite). Other beers
included a very nice ESB that would be fantastic on cask,
Maddix Brown, which was a perfect English Brown Ale, and a
cask barley wine brewed by guest brewer Kirk McHale, former
brewer at Pizza Port Carlsbad.
Back Street Brewery is part of the Lamppost Pizza chain established
in 1976 by brothers Dan and Tom Barrow. There are now 40 Lamppost
locations, mostly in Southern California. Eight locations
are in the Sacramento Valley, and there’s one in Texas
that is run by Dan and Tom’s younger brother. In addition
to the Vista location, there are three other Back Street Breweries
in Southern California. Jeff Williams is the brewer at Ladera
Ranch, Dave Moody brews in Irvine, and Ron Gordon is the brewer
at the La Quinta location.
Belgian beer fans got more than their fill at the 12-hour
Belgian Beer Party at Pizza Port Carlsbad on March 25. More
than 90 different beers from Belgium, the United States, Canada
and The Netherlands were offered in four-ounce samples. Organizers
Tomme Arthur, Jeff Bagby and Tom Nickel really went all out
and put together a great party. The list of bottled beers
included eight Trappist brews, six from Cantillon, four from
Drie Fonteinen and four from St. Bernardus. The draft list
was equally impressive, with 19 beers, including Chimay Cinq
Cents, Ballast Point Hout, Maredsous 10 and De Koninck. A
couple of Dutch beers that made the list were IJ Columbus
and Jopen Koyt Gruit Beer.
Speaking of festivals, if you plan now, you can make it to
the ninth annual San Diego Real Ale Festival on June 9–10
at Pizza Port Carlsbad. Expect more than 50 firkins of real
ale served via hand-pump or gravity — no CO2 required
or wanted. Cost is $25, which includes a commemorative logo
glass and eight taster tickets. Additional tickets for the
five-ounce samples will be sold for $1 each.
Longtime Stone Brewing Company brewer Lee Chase has left
the company and now is working with yeast provider White Labs.
We wish Lee all the best in his new position.
Rich Link is an associate editor of the Celebrator
Beer News. He lives in Santee, Calif., and has been brewing
beer at home since 1980. He can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.