Look for more about Constantiner, Smith and Societe Brewing Company in the February issue of West Coaster.
Yesterday I mentioned that Travis Smith has left La Jolla Brew House just a few months after he began brewing there with plans to open a new production brewery in San Diego with an as-of-now anonymous, but experienced brewer, partner. There’s been quite a bit of chatter about Smith, La Jolla Brew House and Societe Brewing Co. In addition to the blog post I put up yesterday, Brewery Rowe and Brookston Beer Bulletin both blogged about Smith.
The full story of happened between Smith and the La Jolla Brew House is unclear. According to Smith he left because the La Jolla Brew House did not honor his employment contract because they stopped buying brewing ingredients. Claudette Mannix owner of the La Jolla Brew House cited a conflict of interest with Smith opening his own brewery for the reason they parted ways. In addition to the above reasons given by each party I’ve heard a few more stories from reputable sources that lead me to believe it wasn’t a pretty break up. So La Jolla Brew House will be hiring a new brewer, they’re already accepting resumes, and Travis Smith is moving forward with Societe Brewing Company.
According to Smith, Societe is actively looking for equipment and space with hopes to start construction this summer and to be brewing in 2012. Smith tells Brookston Beer Bulletin that they have the money to start, and are working on raising more capital. Smith tells me they’ll be brewing “sour beers and IPAs, but no sour IPAs.”
Smith knows a thing or two about both sour beers and IPAs, not only was Pariah IPA, one of the first beers he brewed at La Jolla Brew House fantastic, he has also spent time brewing at both Russian River Brewing Co. and The Bruery.
While Societe Brewing Company is still a long ways out, the prospect of another brewery in San Diego is promising.
Think you know who Smith’s currently anonymous partner in Societe Brewing Company is? Leave a comment below.
Posts were slow here over the past few weeks, it’s not that nothing happened in the world of craft beer, I just got busy with Christmas, New Year’s and everything else that comes along around this time of year. Below are a few tidbits and little beer related news items that did happen recently.
- Travis Smith became the brewmaster at the La Jolla Brew House just this past fall but as of last Friday he has left. Smith, formerly of The Bruery and Russian River Brewing Co. has plans to open a new production brewery and tasting room in San Diego. Societe Brewing Company is currently in the planning stages and hopes to be brewing by 2012. Smith is partnering with an experienced brewer who at this time is anonymous. A few of Smith’s beers and various guest beers are still on tap at the La Jolla Brew House while they look for a new brewer. I’ll post an update with any new news on La Jolla Brew House or Societe Brewing Company as I get more info.
- Good news for those of you in East County, Main Tap Tavern in El Cajon recently reopened their doors. Main Tap Tavern is one of the better craft beer bars in East County and they rather abruptly shut down a few months ago. Hopefully they have solved whatever problems caused them to close in September and can continue serving up craft beer.
- Most people didn’t know about a strange side effect in the California law preventing breweries from providing marketing help to retailers. Often referred to as “tied-house” laws, this is the reason that many breweries were unable to promote events at bars and restaurants when their beers were on tap. If you ever saw a post by a brewery on Facebook or Twitter with obscure information about a location you could find their beer, this law is what was to blame. I don’t have all the info on the changes to the law, but according to The Bruery’s Facebook Page, this law has been changed and they can now advertise various events going on outside of their own brewery tasting rooms and restaurants. Expect to see more info about special beer releases and beer dinners put out by the breweries. If I can find out more specifics on the law, and more details about what breweries can and cannot do I’ll post an update.
10-10-10 vertical epic, craft beer with the expert, Crossbreed Blonde Ale, Double Dry Hopped 14th Anniversary Ale, festivus, firkin friday, Fleabite English Pale Ale, great divide fresh hop pale ale, Imperial Russian Belgo Stout, Imperial Russian Stout 10th Anniversary Special Blend, lee chase park 2 park, oak aged yeti, oktoberhess, pariah ipa, park2park, san diego beer events, san diego oktoberfest, sd park 2 park, Sighthound Stout, Smoked Porter with Vanilla Beans, travis smith
Since most beer events happen on the weekends, we thought we would post weekly beer event roundups on Thursdays. But we’re not just focusing on the weekends, listings will highlight beer events throughout the week. Make sure to see the full calendar below or click over to our Events page to see more beer events.
Got an event coming up you would like to see listed? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, Oct 21:
Friday, Oct 22:
Celebration of Change at La Jolla Brew House – La Jolla Brewhouse has hired a new brewmaster, Travis Smith previously with The Bruery and Russian River Brewing Company and is putting a focus back on beer. They’ll be sampling the new house brews, Sighthound Stout, Fleabite English Pale Ale, Crossbreed Blonde Ale and Pariah IPA.
Firkin Friday with Stone Brewing Co. at Hamilton’s Tavern – They’ll have the new 10-10-10 Vertical Epic on cask as well as Double Dry Hopped 14th Anniversary Ale, Imperial Russian Stout 10th Anniversary Special Blend, Imperial Russian Belgo Stout and Smoked Porter with Vanilla Beans on draft.
Saturday, Oct 23:
Craft Beer with the Expert – Park2Park Shuttle will pick you up at one of their designated stops and take you to Blind Lady Ale House for a guided beer tasting with Blind Lady co-owner and Automatic Brewing Co. brewer Lee Chase. Pizza will be served and then it’s back on the bus to Home Brews and Gardens for a homebrew demonstration.
Sunday, Oct 24:
The O’Brien’s Pub Wet Hop Festival has been going on all weekend and Tom Nickel of O’Brien’s expects most if not all of the kegged beers to still be on tap when they open Sunday morning. Throughout the weekend they’ll have over 15 different wet hopped beers on tap.
Monday, Oct 25:
Toronado Local Pint Night – Every Monday night is local night at Toronado. All San Diego County beers are just $3.
Tuesday, Oct 26 and Wednesday Oct 27
We couldn’t find any notable beer events, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any happening. If you know of anything going on, email us at email@example.com
7 grain saison, cocao nib black marlin porter, fathom india pale lager, Fathom IPL, habanero sculpin ipa, pariah ipa, san salvador saison, schooner wet hop ale, sculpin ipa, Sour Wench, travis smith, velvet merlin
The Ballast Point Brewing Company 14th Anniversary party this past Saturday was a big hit. Held at Liberty Station in Point Loma and only $20 for 10 tasters it was quite the deal. Ballast Point had at least 40 beers on tap and there were plenty of guest breweries on hand as well. The festival was pretty full but not overly crowded and the only real complaint I heard all day was the lack of water. There were no water stations as far as I could tell and not even any drinking fountains inside the festival. (Sure, some people were complaining about the lines for the bathrooms, but it’s a beer festival, a bathroom line should be expected).
Below are some notes on the beers we tasted as well as a few pictures from the event.
- Ballast Point San Salvador Saison – Brewed using local ingredients (including pine nuts, agave, elder flower, white sage, manzanita berries, curacao and local sage honey) and described by Ballast Point as tasting like the San Diego countryside, this was the beer I was most looking forward to. It smelled and tasted of sage but wasn’t over powering. It was fairly malty and it was obvious there were more exotic ingredients than just the sage but I couldn’t identify anything else. Not much of this beer was made, but I’m hoping it will show up either at one of the Ballast Point tasting rooms or a bar or restaurant again before it’s gone.
- Ballast Point Habanero Sculpin IPA – Ballast Point’s extremely popular Sculpin IPA with a bit of a habanero kick. This was another one I was looking forward to. I was at the Ballast Point tasting room about five years ago and tried a sample of what they were simply calling “Habanero beer” at the time. I don’t remember all the details, but it certainly wasn’t Sculpin with Habanero. Habanero Sculpin was hoppy, with hardly any habanero flavor coming through over all those hops, but it had a nice spicy aftertaste. Not too much heat came through, just enough to let you know it’s there. I probably wouldn’t take a pint of this over a pint of regular Sculpin, but it’s a nice little variation.
- Ballast Point Sour Wench 2010 – I had never had this before so I decided to go with the 2010 instead of the 2009 which they also had on tap so I could see how it was fresh. It smelled a bit like Parmesan cheese but tasted like blackberries, sweet and tart.
- Ballast Point Cocao Nib Black Marlin Porter – It’s been a while since I’ve had Black Marlin Porter, so I can’t compare this to the regular version but this one both smelled and tasted strongly of chocolate. The four ounce taster was good, but I’m not sure I could drink a full pint of it.
- The Bruery 7 Grain Saison – A fairly straight forward saison. Good earthy yeast smell and maybe even some cereal malts. A good representation of the style.
- Ballast Point Fathom India Pale Lager on cask – Hoppy but not over the top. It’s enjoyable but I wouldn’t see myself drinking this over Sculpin if both were available.
- Ballast Point Schooner Wet Hop Ale – I was a bit disappointed in this one. Maybe it’s because I tried it right after Fathom, but it seemed far less hoppy than I expected and I didn’t get many of the fresh hop flavors that typically stand out in wet hopped beers. I’m hoping to try this one again soon with a clean palate.
- La Jolla Brewhouse Pariah IPA – A good standard IPA. It’s not over the top with the hops, but has plenty of flavor. This is one of the new beers from La Jolla Brewhouse’s new Brew Master Travis Smith. I’m looking forward to try more of this and his other beers soon.
- Firestone Walker Velvet Merlin on cask – This beer is partially aged in bourbon barrels, but I didn’t get much of that in the small taster I had (I’ll be sampling more soon though!). It was rich and creamy, oatmeal and chocolate stood out.
This time next week La Jolla Brew House will be celebrating their 7 year anniversary. They’ll be hosting a beer dinner and have paired up with Ballast Point Brewing Co. to pair four courses with their own house beers and those from Ballast Point.
This all happens Wednesday, May 26th at 7pm. The four course meal is $30 + tax and gratuity. Reservations are necessary, email: firstname.lastname@example.org