Category Archive: Beer Ramblings

  1. SD Homebrew Fest 2017: Winners

    SD Homebrew Fest 2017
    Recap & Winners

    The 2nd San Diego Homebrew Fest was another success for many reasons. Most notably, we raised funds for a great local cause that is vital to the future success of our neighborhood – extra curricular activities for a local elementary school. Friends of Jefferson Elementary, the event organizers, raise funds help teachers cover the costs of valuable supplies and learning experiences that are not funded otherwise (other than the teacher’s pocket, of course).

    The event also gave 40+ homebrewers, cider makers, and craft breweries the opportunity to connect with community and spread their passion. This is perhaps our favorite example of how the hobby of homebrewing can bring people and communities closer together.

    Homebrewers attended with their friends and family to share their wares, and talk about their beloved hobby with attendees. All guests were allowed to vote for their favorite homebrew/cider.

    For a complete list of the participating brewers, read below, but first, allow us to announce the winners of the 2017 San Diego Homebrew Fest:

    Official Judging Session Results:

    This session was judged/coordinated by members of the Beer Judge Certification Program, as well as esteemed members of the brewing community. Entries were grouped into similar categories when necessary. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place awards were granted to the top three of the entire competition. These entries were selected from the top 2-3 beers from each group. We also awarded ribbons to the beer with the most points in each group.


    Darrel Brown, Doug Brown, Sean Thompson.

    1st Place:

    Darrel Brown – Exquisite Blonde – American Blonde Ale – 18A

    2nd Place:
    Sean Thompson – Aperplop – Apricot Cider – Cider w/ Other Fruit – C2B

    3rd Place:
    Doug Brown – Suppermolly (Don’t Haze Me Bro) – American IPA – 21A





    Group Leaders:

    People's Choice Winner: Ben Elson

    People’s Choice Winner: Ben Elson

    The following brewers came out on top of their groups, and advanced to the overall Best of Show (BOS).

    Pale Ale/IPA:
    Doug Brown – Suppermolly (Don’t Haze Me Bro) – American IPA – 21A

    Darrel Brown – Exquisite Blonde – American Blonde Ale – 18A

    Spice/Fruit/Specialty Beers:
    Ben Elson – Rope Swing: Dry Hopped Farmhouse Ale (NZ hops) – 28A – Brett Beer

    Belgian/Sour Beers:
    Ben Elson – Rope Swing: Dry Hopped Farmhouse Ale (NZ hops) – 28A – Brett Beer

    People’s Choice Awards:

    This award is granted to the crowd favorite. Each attendee placed a ballot for their top pick. The winner this year, by a sizeable margin, was Ben Elson for his Rope Swing: Dry Hopped Farmhouse Ale (NZ hops) – in the Brett Beer category 28A.

    Other Participants/Thanks Yous:

    We have several people/groups to be grateful for:

    Waypoint Public, The Homebrewer, Barons MarketCommunity Real Estate Co, Observatory North Park, A7D Creative Group Inc, Green Beans PreSchool North Park Beer Co, Pariah Brewing Co, Coronado Brewing Co, Thorn St Brewery, Fall Brewing Co, Mike Hess Brewing, Home Brewing CoBeer Can Soap, SD Beer Talk Podcast, Woo Bars, Original Grain Watches

    Many thanks to all of our participating homebrewers:

    Hayden Charter, Roy Leyrer, Josiah Vivona, Ralph Carrasquillo, Doug Brown, Jeremiah Trammel, Edgar Regis, Joseph Herrmann, Mark Bolczak, Gloria Pratt, Nicholas Schoch, Mark Vacha, Ben Elson, Michael Lettieri, Edgar Regis, Joe Pastry, Ben Elson, Sarah Schoch, Doug VomSteeg, Daniel Huffman, Chris Sullivan, Darrel Brown, Daniel Huffman, Tricia Gallant, Nicholas Schoch, Sean Thompson, Jesse Valle, Charles Pulley, Andrea Cerda, Anthony Espinoza, Jeremiah Trammel, Michael Zimbric


  2. Now Hiring: Assistant Homebrewers

    We are now hiring in order to add to our amazing crew of friendly & knowledgeable Assistant Homebrewers. This position is for retail division, and will NOT involve brewing, but will include hours in the tasting room.

    You’re primary objective will be to provide the most outstanding customer experience humanly possible. This will include:

    Greeting customers, helping new & experienced homebrewers with a non-know-it-all-attitude, treating every single person that walks through our doors with the utmost respect (including customers & team members), treating yourself with dignity & respect, striving to learn as much as possible about the coolest hobby of all time, receiving & stocking inventory, keeping our dojo clean & tidy, answering phone calls, packaging & labeling supplies, LOTS of dusting & sweeping, attending team meetings, having fun, being punctual, making our neighborhood a better place, and more.

    We offer competitive pay & benefits w/ the opportunity to grow within the company.

    The position will consist of 20-30 hours per week to start. We are flexible, but you need to be willing to work weekends.

    If all of those things interest you, please email a CV and Cover Letter to by August 31, 2016.

  3. A Toast to Tradition

    Picture me. On a roof top. Drinking a porter. Arms hugging my ears. A toast to tradition. So that was a terrible attempt at making a reference, but how American of me. My fellow cohorts and I are studying for the Cicerone exam, which we will take in a few weeks. This has lead me back through the classic styles, and examples, yet again. Revisiting these beers just gets better and better.

    Tonight brings me to Garret Oliver’s Brewmaster’s Table. A fine book, indeed. I was reading through the sections on English Porters and Stouts, and could not resist the temptation to drink one of our calibration beers for tomorrow’s study group: Samuel Smith Taddy Porter. I made my way through the Samuel Smith Lineup when I was 21, simply because they were something different to try, and I think I got distracted, or simply took them for granted.

    This beer is smooth and rich and light on the palate, yet offers a complexity of lingering character in the finished, which is marked by nutty, sugar-plum, caramel, and a just-perfectly-browned toast. In addition, I detect a slight brininess that helps me understand why this would be a great choice with oysters, or other sweet seafoods, such as shrimp or lobster. The aforementioned dark flavors would snuggle with a medium rare steak, or roasted lamb like it was nobody’s business. But this is all old news.

    The "author's" cluttered desk. "Photo" taken by "author."

    The “author’s” cluttered desk. “Photo” taken by “author.”

    I think the true meaning of this post, is that there are still countless pleasures to be had in reviewing the classics that have brought us to where we are today. I love these visits to the past, because they remind me that the point of making beer is to brew a concoction that accompanies our daily existence, and food is an integral part of that. The classics tend to do a better job at this, and I think it is because they have the clear vision of hindsight. They did not invent the wheel, they simply respect it for what it is. In other words: they were founded on the traditions of their place and time. In America, our tradition is to constantly reinvent and make new, which is beautiful. But let’s not forget our number one goal as brewers ought to be to make a delicious beverage that will accompany our daily lives of friendship, hardship, family, work, and love. The consumer deserves a beer that is complex and subtle as their every inner-thought.

    Reading between the lines: I’m rarely impressed by the hard-to-find rare beers. Rarely. Maybe that’s where the word stems from… as in rarely truly that innovative, rarely subtle, rarely a match to my lifestyle, rarely as good as this Samuel Smith Taddy Porter. Shout out to Bine and Vine for supplying my beer learning beverages since before they were in uptown.