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Letter from the Editor

SD Brews in the News

2 AleSmith owner Peter Zien in the new expansion 3 Beer and Now 4

Hamilton’s, Small Bar, Eleven 6 & 7

Into the Brew 8 Guest Tap

9 PubCakes

The Nameless Beermaid

Churchill’s Directory 9 10 10 11 Branching Out

Olive Tree Marketplace’s tasting room converts neighborhood to craft beer By Mike Shess

idden in plain sight inside the Olive Tree Marketplace off Sunset Cliffs Boulevard in Ocean Beach is a very small room. General Manager of the Market, Mike Blanchfield, has recently opened a tiny and elegant tasting room that is preaching the gospel of fine beer to loyal customers of the Olive Tree. With capacity hovering around 16 people, the wee rectangular room is well-designed. A bar sits on the southwest corner; the west end has the register and sink with a large mirror and stereo hovering above. The south side of the bar has shelves for glassware, one tap built into a counter, and a fridge that houses the night’s beer offer- ings. The décor boasts warm earthy colors with dark stained artisan wood tops and lines the bar, ceiling beams, and the large mission-style door that serves as a portal between the Market and the tasting room. Abstract artwork by OB artist Rich Walker is tastefully splashed on the walls. Plain in concept and tasteful in ex- ecution, it’s a tasting room that tries to be nothing more. The menu is updated weekly, with three flights of three tasters offered. A menu groups the flights into light, medium, or intense, and also has


The small tasting room adds to OB’s craft beer pedigree

great descriptions of each beer. Flight prices range from $3.50 to $7.00 (slight variation on price depending on what is offered). “The light beer flight is the most challenging to keep interesting on a week- ly basis.” On a recent visit, I enjoyed tast- ers of Engels by De Molen, Noble Pils by Samuel Adams, and Renegade Blonde by Iron Fist. Mike enjoys playing the role of beer missionary, acknowledging that most people come in to try something new. He’s happy to oblige. “It’s very rewarding to serve someone their first sour beer, or turning a wine drinker into a sophisticated beer drinker. The menu is put together to satisfy any level of beer drinking. From the stinkiest gueze to the lightest of lagers,

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AleSmith 4.0 P

By Ryan Lamb

eter Zien, owner of AleSmith Brew- ing Company, took West Coaster on a tour around his brewery’s newest expansion into the adjacent industrial suite on Cabot Dr. off Miramar Road. Zien calls it “AleSmith 4.0” in line with 3.0, which was the previous expansion in 2008, 2.0 being when Peter bought the brewery from

original founder and brewmaster Skip Virgilio and 1.0 being when AleSmith’s doors originally opened in 1995. “It was a major chess game at first,” Peter admit- ted, “and I can remember exactly how many cases of each beer we had at the time - eleven of Speedway, two of Horny Devil, and two of Wee Heavy. It took

Barrel-Aged Wee Heavy gets released January 26th

awhile until AleSmith became financial- ly healthy. 2009 was our turnaround and then 2010 was really the breakout year.” Now in 2011, the 4,300-square-foot expansion is “just what we needed. We were like a goldfish that kept outgrowing its tank. We’d lose all kinds of time just moving things around so we could work every day.” Now with a lease signed at the location until 2016, expect major growth in production and capacity. It was only eight years ago that AleSmith’s barrel production was capped at 700; the two expansions since will allow for upwards of 4,000 barrels per year. “We’ll always have a minimum of 500 cases of all labels,” Peter added. Another new addition will be a state-of-the-art Monobloc bottling line imported from Italy. The Ferrari of bottlers? “Sure, you could say that.”

One of the biggest reasons for Ale-

Smith’s success has been the dedication to “maximizing the deliciousness fac- tor,” as Peter puts it. “I made beers that I wanted to drink.” Now, the BJCP Grand Master level 1 beer judge (the only one in San Diego County) has been slowly stepping away from brewing to become the face of AleSmith. “I have an incred- ible team; all my employees are home- brewers, and we work hard to create an effortless shift between styles.” Expect AleSmith style to continue influencing the craft beer scene for years to come.

Storm Brewing

What’s In Store for NHC 2011

By Mike Shess L

ike a looming storm front, the American Homebrewers Association’s (AHA) Na- tional Homebrewers Conference (NHC) is edging closer to its June date. Like a bid to the Olympic Committee, San Diego’s bid to the AHA was prepared by QUAFF, the Quality Ale & Fermentation Fraternity. All but three of the San Diego-residing NHC organizers are QUAFF members, and nearly all professional brewers in the San Diego area were once homebrew- ers with the organization. I was fortunate enough to get a sit-down with the coordinators of the event, and I asked what we can expect from the conference that is only four months away. So what’s coming? Jonathan Shufelt, technical wizard of QUAFF and the SD NHC, is busy at work with a special Android smartphone application that will work with TapHunter, allowing users to navigate the plethora of special events (an iPhone applica- tion may also be in the works).

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