The third annual San Diego Beer Week gets underway in just a couple of days, and I have to say, the amount of events is nearly overwhelming. As of this writing there are 391 events posted on the official site, with at least a handful of other events that I know of not posted to the site for one reason or another.
This list is meant as a mini-guide to help navigate through the events, it’s far from comprehensive and just serves to highlight some of the events that jumped out at me while looking through the full list. I’m calling this the “Beer Geek Guide” because it’s the events that I think will stand out to the hardcore beer geeks that are most interested in the beer. I’ll be posting another list, with some of the standout beer dinners later this week. [Here's that list]
My friends/colleagues over at West Coaster also have a similar guide posted, there’s some overlap between events there and here, but not much. Be sure to check out their take on the things going on during SDBW as well.
As you can probably tell, the Events page here at San Diego Beer Blog isn’t being updated with San Diego Beer Week info, it’s just too much work to duplicate the info on the official site. So if you want to know all of the events going on, head on over to the SDBW events page.
One final note, as far as I know there isn’t an official smartphone app for SDBW, but there is an unofficial SDBW Planner web app. I’ve tested it out a bit and it seems to work well, you can browse events, add them to your schedule and if your Facebook or Twitter friends are using the app you can see which events they have added to their schedule. Now, on to the list!
Thursday, Nov 3rd:
SDBW doesn’t officially start until Friday, but Blind Lady Ale House and Tiger!Tiger! are getting a head start on the action. They’ll have Tomme Arthur of Port Brewing and the Lost Abbey at Blind Lady Ale House leading a flight tasting of six of his beers starting at 5pm.
Over at Tiger!Tiger! they’re showcasing beers from new LA brewery Golden Road. Golden Road was founded by Tony Yanow (proprietor of the LA beer bar/restaurants Tony’s Darts Away and Mohawk Bend) and Meg Gill (formerly of Speakeasy and Oskar Blues) and the beers are brewed by Jon Carpenter (formerly of Dogfish Head). There’s a lot of potential for this new LA brewery, and as far as I can tell this is their first time in San Diego.
Friday, Nov 4th:
Hamilton’s Tavern kicks off SDBW with a solid lineup from Karl Strauss for Firkin Friday. They’ll have the GABF Bronze medal winning Two Tortugas Belgian Quad on draft as well as on cask with bourbon soaked oak in addition to other treats like Heavy Petti DIPA, Off the Rails and plenty of other Karl Strauss beers.
Down at Downtown Johnny Brown’s they’re doing their third annual Barrel Aged Night. Last year I was shocked with the number of great beers on tap and how relatively un-crowded it was. Check the event page for the beer list (which is still growing).
Saturday, Nov 5th:
The Brewery’s Guild Festival at Liberty Station might be the one don’t-miss-event of San Diego Beer Week. Nearly every San Diego brewery is in attendance with some of their best beers. There’s a VIP session with the really good stuff starting at 11am with General Admission from 1-5pm. Buy tickets in advance here.
Sunday, Nov 6th:
There will be a few chances to try Dogfish Head’s much sought after 120 Minute IPA during San Diego Beer Week but the first (that I know of) will be at Hamilton’s Tavern. (The others are at O’Brien’s Pub on Monday and Neighborhood on Tuesday). They’ll have other DFH beers as well.
Bison Brewing’s Organic Chocolate Stout is a long time favorite, and during SDBW they’ll be unveiling Bison Bourbon-Aged Chocolate Stout for the first time. Starting at 6pm at Bottlecraft they’ll have both the barrel aged and regular versions on draft to taste side by site. I’m told the event is being organized by a group of female beer bloggers from around the country and there will be some homemade treats to pair with the beer as well.
Monday, Nov 7th:
Blind Lady will be featuring some of the beers from Durango’s Ska Brewing Company (an old favorite of mine) as well as showing the movie Dance Craze, a documentary from 1981 about ska music in England. BLAH’s kitchen will be closed by MIHO Gastrotruck will be outside serving food.
Stone is hosting special SDBW edition of their Beer U series entitled, Beer U: Intro to San Diego Craft Beer which will feature beers from some of the newer San Diego breweries. Buy tickets in advance as the Beer U classes often sell out.
Tuesday, Nov 8th:
Wish you could get more Silva Stout? Now’s your chance, no Green Flash isn’t releasing a new batch of Silva Stout but they’re pulling some bottles out of the cellar for one night only. $45 tickets include a 4-pack of Silva Stout to take home, four barrel-aged beer tasters, commemorative glass and a food pairing.
Wednesday, Nov 9th:
At the National Homebrewer’s Conference in June I got to taste a a handful of beers all made with the exact same recipe and then split into different carboys and fermented with different yeast strains. This is a great way to see just how much the type of yeast determines the flavor of the beer. Lucky for you White Labs is doing the same thing and holding a demonstration at Sea Rocket Bistro. They’ll have three beers all with the exact same recipe fermented with three very different yeast strains. Neva Parker Head of Laboratory Operations will be on hand to discuss the variations in the beers. Hors d’oeuvres will be served throughout the evening.
Oskar Blues is known for being the first craft brewer to put their beer in cans. For whatever reason their beer doesn’t make it out here on draft too often, but at The Tipsy Crow they’ll have a handful of Oskar Blues beers, most of which don’t get canned at all. Many of them are variations on their regular line up, the one I’m most looking forward to being Barrel Aged 2010 Sour Cherry Ten Fidy.
Thursday, Nov 10th:
I haven’t yet had Four Calling Birds, the latest in The Bruery’s annual Twelve Days of Christmas series, but early reports are that it’s really good. Local Habit will be tapping a cask of it at 4:30pm and they’ll have other beers from The Bruery on tap as well.
I was tempted to not post this next event out of selfishness, I mean, Small Bar’s name is pretty literal and this event is already flying under the radar it seems, but journalistic integrity won out. Celbrated Ales is a local distributor that brings us some very awesome beers from some smaller and less well known breweries. They’ll be showcasing some beers at Small Bar including Gueuze Tilquin on draft (I believe Tilquin is the first new Gueuze blender to open in Belgium in the last fifteen years) along with bottles of Midnight Sun Treat, some barrel-aged offerings from Stillwater and more.
Friday, Nov 11th:
Barrel aged beer nights are always a ton of fun. Most of these a beers that can be aged, so bars typically stockpile some of the best for their showcase night. Just like Downtown Johnny Brown’s the previous Friday, Roll out the Barrels at O’Briens shouldn’t disappoint. They’ll have beers from local breweries and all over the country, aged in a variety of different types of barrels (nine different types as of this writing).
Blind Lady Ale House is doing a handful of “Meet the Brewer” guided flight tastings, where the brewer is on hand to guide a tasting of the beers. (And if you can’t be there when the brewer is on hand, you can always get the flight afterwards). On Friday at 12:30pm they’ll have Patrick Rue of The Bruery with six of beers, a few of which won’t show up around town too often. They’ll have Burly Gourd, Oude Tart, Loakal Red, Birra Basta, Snicklefritz and Four Calling Birds.
Saturday, Nov 12th:
Night of a Million Zillion Speedways at O’Briens might just be the most anticipated event during all of SDBW. Last year it was crowded, lines ran down there street and parking was scarce. Once they got through the initial rush things slowed down and many of the Alesmith Speedway Stout varieties were still available. This year the fun starts at 5pm and they’ll have twelve different varieties including Kopi Luwak Speedway, Morita and Chipotle Pepper Speedway, a Mole (the Mexican sauce, not the animal) variety and more.
Saison’s are one of my favorite styles, so I was excited to see Saison Saturday at Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens. There will be tons of different takes on the style with local Saison’s from the likes of Ballast Point and Lost Abbey as well as classics from Dupont and the always good newcomer Stillwater.
I’ll admit that until last year I wasn’t too familiar with Mad River’s beers. Sure I’d seen Jamaica Red and the Steelhead line of beers around, but didn’t know much about them. Last year I stumbled into The Linkery and met head brewer Dylan Schatz and sampled some of their lesser known beers. All were well made and creative beers that we don’t see too often down here. There were big barrel-aged beers along with lower ABV more classic styles. The Linkery will have some food pairings as well. More info.
Sunday, Nov 13th:
Stone throws great festivals. From their long running anniversary festival to the newer Sour Fest and Oakquinox, they’re well organized and have amazing beer lineups. This newcomer to their festival lineup is Pour it Black, featuring some of the best stouts, porters and Black IPAs available. If you’re planning on going buy tickets in advance, these things usually sell out.