by: Peter Rowe
From Beer, With Love
It all started with — duh — beer.
San Diego Beer Week reaches double digits when the fest kicks off Friday. This will be the 10th time our region has embarked on the annual 10-day fest, and this time there will be more than 500 official events hosted by San Diego Brewers Guild members.
This vast carnival remains beer-centric, of course, but now it incorporates other themes: tamales and movies, history and tradition, sustainability and creativity.
Beer knows no limits. Between now and Nov. 11, explore this beverage’s endless range of flavors, aromas and moods. Cheers!
Random Questions from My Editor
Q. As a newcomer to craft beer with limited time and money, how can I best enjoy San Diego Beer Week?
A. First, relax. Beer Week is like spring break — your roommate may dash from event to event, terminally ill with FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), but you don’t have behave in similar coked-up-werewolf fashion. Accept the simple fact that you cannot attend every beer dinner, tap takeover or rare brew release.
Second, check the offerings at sdbeer.com. Pick a few that fit your budget and interests.
Third, consider the Week’s tent pole events. Saturday’s Guild Fest, 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Embarcadero Marina Park South, highlights the beers of 60-plus breweries; Collabapalooza, Nov. 10, 1 p.m. (for VIP entry) or 2 (general admission) to 5 in the North Park Observatory parking lot, has 30 unique beers, each created by two or more breweries; and the Beer Garden, Nov. 11, noon to 3 p.m. at the Lodge at Torrey Pines, pairs beers from 28 breweries with dishes from 14 chefs.
Check your watch. The Official San Diego Beer Week Toast takes place at 7:30 p.m. Raise whatever’s in your glass — may I suggest Capital of Craft IPA (see today’s review)? — and congratulate yourself for being here for another Week.
Live it up at 32 North’s Day of the Dead party, noon to 10 p.m. in the brewery’s taproom, 8655 Production Ave., Suite A, San Diego. Look for several versions of Death of a Brewer, a bourbon barrel-aged Russian imperial stout, plus all the makings for micheladas.
Bar Sin Nombre doesn’t need a name, not with its taps dispensing such sterling brews — rareties from Michigan’s Jolly Pumpkin, Oregon’s De Garde and other cult breweries, plus great locals. Why not celebrate its first birthday, 2 p.m. until closing? Bar Sin Nombre, 253 Third Ave, Suite 100, Chula Vista.
At the 4th annual Escondido Tamale Festival, the stuffed pillows of masa can be accompanied by fresh brews from Ballast Point, Dos Desperados, Jacked Up, Stone and Wild Barrel. The party is 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free admission, but you’ll need some of the ready for food and drink. Grape Day Park, 321 N. Broadway. Escondido.
“The Beer Jesus from America,” a documentary about Stone’s Berlin brewery and Greg Koch — dubbed “Der Beer Jesus” by a Berlin tabloid — premieres at 5 p.m. Beer tasting precedes the show at 4 p.m. Tickets, $10-15. California Center for the Arts, 340 N. Escondido Blvd., Escondido.
Looking for easy-drinking yet expertly crafted beers? Crush Fest is your ticket to those brews, $5 a pour, each one weighing in at less than 6 percent alcohol by volume. Noon until closing at The Ugly Dog: 6344 El Cajon Blvd., San Diego.
This is election day, so flash your "I VOTED” sticker for discounted beers at The Homebrewer, 2911 El Cajon Blvd., Suite 2, San Diego, and 32 North’s taproom, 8655 Production Ave., Suite A, San Diego. Or pop into Pariah, 3052 El Cajon Blvd, Suite B, San Diego, to vote on your favorite jerky-and-beer pairing.
“The Full Table” showcases a dozen different takes on Benchmark’s popular and low-alcohol Belgian-style table beer, 3 to 9 p.m. Pours start at $5. Benchmark’s taproom is at 6190 Fairmount Ave., San Diego.
Wave the green flag! The three-day Speedway Grand Prix begins at AleSmith, 9990 AleSmith Court, San Diego. A dozen unique versions of Speedway Stout will be poured each day, in four-beer flights ($11 to $17).
Imperfect Produce, a company that specializes in blemished but delicious fruits and vegetables, provided “ugly” lemons and pears for Modern Times’ saisons. At the brewery’s Lomaland Fermentorium, 3725 Greenwood St., sample the fruit and the beers, 5 to 8 p.m. RSVPs can be made at https://bit.ly/2CQvILo.
Kings of Beer
Capital of Craft IPA (6.5 percent alcohol by volume) is only available on draft and only for a limited time. It’s well worth seeking out, though, as an up-to-date take on the San Diego-style India Pale Ale.
Released Friday, this is a beer-by-committee — brewers came from Benchmark, The Lost Abbey/Port, Mother Earth, Pure Project, Second Chance, Societe and Thorn, while the brewing took place at Karl Strauss’ Pacific Beach plant.
Burnished gold with a whipped-cream head, Capital of Craft is a filtered beer, so don’t expect the milkshake fruitiness of a hazy IPA. Instead, you’ll be treated to a light bodied ale with some sweetness — Bazooka bubblegum, apricot tart, honeyed grapefruit, buttered English muffin — floating over a palate-cleansing herbal bitterness.
Garrett Oliver, the Brooklyn brewmaster, says the test of a good beer is whether you’d like another. Yes, please.