Your Guide to San Diego Beer

Ian Anderson, a correspondent for Paste magazine, insists that San Diego, not Portland, is America’s craft beer capital. To make his case, he’s assembled a comprehensive guide to his city’s flourishing beer culture. The article leads off with the top breweries (San Diego has 75, so one has to draw the line somewhere), and segues from there into the brewpubs, beer bars, and bottle shops worth a visit.

If your travel plans include “America’s Finest City,” consider this required reading.

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Beer…By the Numbers

  • Breweries that will enter a beer in this year’s Great American Beer Festival competition: 1,360.
  • Increase over last year’s competition: 610 (81 percent).
  • Breweries that asked to pour beer at this year’s GABF: 822.
  • Number of breweries that can be accommodated at the GABF venue: 726 (including 96 tables for sponsors).
  • Craft beer’s share of the U.S. market in 1988: 2.6 percent.
  • Its share of the U.S. market in 2013: 8 percent.
  • Imported beer’s share of the U.S. market in 1988: 8.4 percent.
  • Its share of the U.S. market in 2013: 14 percent.
  • Corona Extra’s U.S. sales in 2013: 7.26 million barrels.
  • Modelo Especial’s U.S. sales in 2013: 3.6 million barrels.
  • U.S. annual per capita spending on beer: $356.20.
  • Canada’s annual per capita spending on beer: $351.89.
  • Australia’s annual per capita spending on beer: $747.90.
  • Percent of American men who say they can’t go an entire week without beer: 27.
  • Percent who say they can’t go an entire week without pizza: 31.
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    Celebrate Belgian Independence Day

    On this day in 1831, Leopold of Saxe-Coburg swore allegiance to the Belgian constitution and ascended to the throne, marking the beginning of an independent Belgium. Chris Van Orden, Co-Editor of DCBeer.com, can help you celebrate Belgian Independence Day with—what else?—a food and beer pairing.

    Selected by Van Order’s friends, the pairings range from Moroccan chicken tagine and New Belgium Snapshot to blue cheese bacon mussels with Palm pale ale. Bon appetit!

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    The Friday Mash (Intel Inside Edition)

    On this day in 1968, Intel Corporation—Intel is short for “Integrated Electronics”—was founded in Mountain View, California. Today, it is one of the world’s largest and emiconductor chip manufacturers. Chances are, your personal computer has “Intel inside.”

    And now….The Mash!

    Appropriately, we begin in California’s Silicon Valley. Levi’s Stadium, the new home of the San Francisco 49ers, will offer fans a wide selection of local micros to choose from.

    Cigar City Brewing Company has signed an agreement to pour its beers aboard Carnival Cruise Lines’ ships. Carnival also offers its own private label draft beer, ThirstyFrog Red.

    This was bound to happen. Oregon’s Full Sail Brewery has sued Atlanta-based Sessions Law Firm, alleging that the law firm copied its trademark for Session Premium Lager.

    Kirin, once the undisputed number-one brand in Japan, has dropped to second place behind Asahi. The chief reason for Kirin’s downfall was not entering the fast-growing premium beer market.

    Grand Rapids’ Founders Brewing Company made BrandInnovators.com’s list of Top 10 American-Made Brands to Watch. Founders is joined on that list by Sonoma Cider Company.

    Rumor has it that Anheuser-Busch InBev will merge with SABMiller. The combined company would own 80 percent of the world’s leading brands and control 30 percent of the world’s beer market.

    Finally, Brasserie Cantillon is aging its beers inside a bomb shelter. No, the brewery isn’t expecting another invasion. It simply ran out of space; and fortunately, the city of Brussels found them a new subterranean location.

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    The British Invasion…In Reverse

    Earlier this month Will Hawkes, an award-winning British beer journalist, wrote about an American invasion of Britain in All About Beer magazine. These Yankees don’t carry weapons (unless boots and tap handles count), but they are taking on British institutions, including big breweries’ control of pubs and even the Campaign for Real Ale’s insistence that beer be served from casks rather than kegs.

    One of the “invaders” is Ryan Witter-Merithew, who brews at Siren in Finchampstead. He isn’t the only one. Hawkes continues, “If there’s nothing from Siren, there’ll be a beer from Moor, the Somerset brewery where Californian Justin Hawke holds sway, or Lovibond’s, the Henley brewery run by Wisconsin’s Jeff Rosenmeier. Then there might be something from Wild Beer Co., the West-Country stronghold of another Californian, the aptly-named Brett Ellis.” All have interesting stories to tell.

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    Hangover Cure? Scientists Are Working on It

    Did you know that scientists have formed an Alcohol Hangover Research Group? A few weeks ago, Olga Khazan of The Atlantic sat down with Richard Stephens, a member of the group and a professor of psychology at Keele University in the U.K.

    Professor Stephens had a number of interesting observations. Alcoholics, who ought to have the most experience warding off hangovers, actually suffer the worst ones. One big contributor to hangovers is the production of formaldehyde and formic acid, which happens about ten hours after drinking—which is why the proverbial “hair of the dog” can make hangovers less painful. There’s no cure for hangovers—yet—but a big fried breakfast can help because it’s rich in carbohydrates, which replace depleted sugar levels. And finally, more than 20 percent of drinkers aren’t susceptible to hangovers. Lucky them.

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    The Friday Mash (Sultan of Swat Edition)

    A century ago today, George Herman “Babe” Ruth made his major-league debut. Starting on the mound for the Boston Red Sox, he defeated Cleveland, 4-3. By 1919, Ruth was moved to the outfield so he—and his potent bat—could be in the lineup every day. And the rest, as they say, is history.

    And now….The Mash!

    We begin in Lewes, Delaware, where Dogfish Head Artisan Ales has opened a beer-themed motel. The Dogfish Inn offers beer-infused soaps, logo glassware, and pickles for snacking.

    Fans attending next Tuesday’s All-Star Game in Minneapolis can buy self-serve beer. New Draft-Serv machines will offer a choice not only of brands but also the number of ounces in a pour.

    Moody Tongue Brewing, a brand-new micro in Chicago, offers a beer made with rare black truffles. A 22-ounce bottle of the 5-percent lager carries a hefty retail price of $120.

    Fast Company magazine caught up with Jill Vaughn, head brewmaster at Anheuser-Busch’s Research Pilot Brewery. She’s experimented with offbeat ingredients ranging from pretzels to ghost peppers.

    Entrepreneur Steve Young has developed beer’s answer to Keurig. His Synek draft system uses cartridges of concentrated beer which, when refrigerated, keep for 30 days.

    Brewbound magazine caught up with Russian River Brewing Company’s owner Vinnie Cilurzo, who talked about Pliny the Elder, quality control, and possible future expansion of the brewery.

    Finally, cue up the “final gravity” puns. Amateur rocketeers in Portland, Oregon, will launch a full keg of beer to an altitude of 20,000 feet. Their beer of choice? A pale ale from Portland’s Burnside Brewery.

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    Light Demand for Light Beer

    The craft beer community is—excuse the pun—all atwitter—over a Bloomberg Businessweek article, “The Slow, Watery Death of Light Beer in America”. Devin Leonard, who wrote it, observed that with national-brand beers like Budweiser “in terminal decline” in America, light beers from the same brewers will inevitably follow them.

    That’s not only happening, Leonard says, but it’s happening even faster than expected. Light-beer sales in the U.S. fell by 3.5 percent in 2013, and it’s expected that sales will fall to a ten-year low next year. The last year light-beer sales increased was 2009, thanks to the introduction of Bud Light Platinum—which itself suffered a steep drop in sales afterward.

    An Anheuser-Busch InBev spokesman, quoted in Leonard’s article, believes his company will weather the storm by rolling out—and aggressively promoting—products such as Bud Light Lime Straw-Ber-Rita. Whether they can compete with craft beer, imports, and newcomers such as cider, remains to be seen.

    Hops Shortage Looming?

    Jeff Alworth, who blogs at Beervana, passed along what he called “an alarming report” from 47 Hops about the supply and cost of hops in the near future.

    Given 10-20 percent annual growth in craft-beer production, 47 Hops estimates that the hops industry needs to invest between $500 million and $1 billion in new capacity over the next five years. However, the price of hops would have to double to give hop growers an incentive to add the needed capacity.

    Alworth points out that 47 Hops is a hop dealer, and “they seem inevitably to come to a conclusion that supports their business model–get a contract now!” Nevertheless, he thinks its warning should be taken seriously.

    The Friday Mash (Long Gray Line Edition)

    On this day in 1802, the U.S. Military Academy opened at West Point, New York. Its alumni include two U.S. Presidents, U.S. Grant and Dwight D. Eisenhower; Confederate President Jefferson Davis, numerous famous generals, and 74 Medal of Honor recipients.

    And now….The Mash!

    We begin in South Africa, where Garagista Beer Company has declared war on hipsters, which it accuses of giving craft beer a bad image. The brewery’s slogan is “All Beer. No Bullshit.”

    Narragansett Brewing Company is bringing back the can from the scene in Jaws where Captain Quint tried to intimidate Matt Hooper by crushing a can of ‘Gansett he’d just finished.

    Brennan Gleason, a designer from British Columbia, put his resume on a 4-pack of his home-brewed blonde beer, which he called “Resum-Ale.” And yes, it got him hired.

    Radler, the German word for bicyclist, is a popular summer drink in Germany. It’s a mixture of beer and lemonade, and it’s becoming more popular in America.

    Don’t expect MolsonCoors to acquire any American craft breweries. Peter Swinburn, the company’s CEO, says they’re “massively overvalued” and predicts a shakeout in the sector.

    Before you hit the road this summer, check out Thrillist’s America’s 33 best beer bars. To whet your appetite, there’s a photo and a description of each establishment.

    Finally, historian William Hogeland explains “brewer-patriot” Samuel Adams’s role in making the Declaration of Independence a reality. Adams hasn’t gotten much credit because he burned his papers lest people find out what he’d been up to.

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