Southwest Brewing News April/May 2013 : Page 1
ILLUSTRATION BY: HANS GRANHEIM t's hard to believe that less than 25 years ago there were virtually no craft breweries or brewpubs in Southern California. Today there are over 125. Looking to the roots, Karl Strauss Brewing Company was one of the first. In February of 1989, after being inspired by a brewpub Chris Cramer visited in Australia, he and Matt Rattner set their sites on opening a brewpub in San Diego. With technical support from Cramer’s cousin, veteran master brewer Karl Strauss, they opened Karl Strauss‚ Old Columbia Brewery and Grill. Their focus on providing well-See Growth page 5 From the Editor .................................. 2 Event Calendar ....................................4 Best of Show ......................................6 Directories & Maps .........................12-15 Nevada ..........................7 Arkansas .......................8 Oklahoma ......................9 New Mexico ................. 10 Southern California ..... 16 San Diego .................... 17 S/C/E Texas ................. 18 Austin ......................... 19 N & W Texas ................ 21 C Arizona ....................22 N Arizona ....................22 S Arizona .....................23 an Diego has its share of shining stars in the craft beer industry. And this pillar of the brewing community e deserves to be mong mentioned among them. Having recently celebrated its 10th anniversary, Green Flash Brewing Company sets a high standard for a wide array of beers, especially those of the hoppy variety. The craft beer scene has grown a lot in the last decade, and Green Flash has grown along with it. Succeeding in this market is not all sunshine, however. It takes a highly skilled staff and a distinctive, quality product to really shine. Green Flash lights it up in both aspects. 1998. This U.S. Navy veteran first became interested in brewing while working in the defense industry in Washington, D.C. He began homebrewing and realized his dream of becoming a professional brewer. Despite making a very comfortable living in defense, The Flash Mob Brewmaster Chuck Silva joined Green Flash in 2004, although he has brewed professionally in San Diego since Silva left to attend the prestigious American Brewers Guild in Davis, Calif. He earned his certificate and moved to San Diego. Silva started at Hang Ten Brewing, then worked at one of the Hops brewpubs before moving on to Karl Strauss. This gave him experience using the smaller systems typically found in brewpubs, as See Green Flash page 3
The Growth And Future Of Southern California Brewing
It's hard to believe that less than 25 years ago there were virtually no craft breweries or brewpubs in Southern California. Today there are over 125.
Looking to the roots, Karl Strauss Brewing Company was one of the first. In February of 1989, after being inspired by a brewpub Chris Cramer visited in Australia, he and Matt Rattner set their sites on opening a brewpub in San Diego. With technical support from Cramer’s cousin, veteran master brewer Karl Strauss, they opened Karl Strauss‚ Old Columbia Brewery and Grill.
Their focus on providing well- appointed marketable beers in the classic style has contributed to their longevity and expansion. Karl Strauss now has seven restaurant breweries plus a large production brewery in Pacific Beach. As the market has matured, the Karl Strauss line has expanded to include varying specialty and barrel-aged brews.
Many other breweries/brewers have also been instrumental in the growth in Southern California brewing. Three notable ones are discussed here.
In 1992 Pizza Port Solana Beach began brewing beer. Co-owner Vince Marsaglia was the first brewer, soon passing the paddle on to Tomme Arthur. Arthur was responsible for some of Southern California’s first barrel aging, and for starting what would morph into training and developing brewers possessed (awards-wise) with the Midas touch, for this growing chain of pizza brewpubs and brewery. Arthur, along with Pizza Port veteran brewers Tom Nickel and Jeff Bagby, also organized the first area beer festivals. Pizza Port’s Real Ale and Strong Ale Festivals became annual events that brought Southern California brewers and breweries together, fostering change, collaboration and advancement of beer styles and flavor profiles.
Highly decorated former Pizza Port Carlsbad brewer, Jeff Bagby, expressed his healthy outlook for craft brewing in San Diego County - something he embraces as he builds Bagby Beer Company in Oceanside.
Bagby shared some thoughts about craft beer’s unceasing growth in San Diego County. “I think the addition of so many new breweries so fast may or may not be cause for some competition. Either way, this growth rate is proving to be great. It is resulting in more and more people seeking out and drinking local craft beer. It is really a win for all of us in the craft beer industry in San Diego,” he stated.
In February of 1996 two visionaries, Steve Wagner and Greg Koch opened Stone Brewing Company in San Marcos. Spouting their creed, “Fizzy yellow beer is for wussies,” they were here to cultivate change. In 1997 their anti-beer, Arrogant Bastard Ale, slapped you in the face and woke you up to new taste. Stone became instrumental in the advancement of many craft breweries in Southern California after starting their own distribution company. The big guys wouldn’t distribute their beer, so they did it themselves, and helped many other small brewers in the process.
Referencing Stone’s growth, the industry and its future, Greg Koch shared, “I see a positive future… Craft beer has been doing very well in San Diego because craft brewers in San Diego make some pretty awesome beers.” Koch continued, “If we could get credit for anything, it’s that we showed early on that you could have a successful business model by going your own way, not worrying about what flavor of the month the public was thinking that they might want… As a brewing community San Diego broke out of that mold a little earlier. It was a time of forging new territory.”
Matthew Brynildson moved to California from Chicago in 2000, “…to be in the big leagues of craft brewing,” he said. Brynildson, a graduate of the Siebel Institute of Brewing Technology, and previously head brewer at Goose Island Beer Company, went to work for San Luis Obispo Brewing Company in Paso Robles. “I was drawn to the West Coast craft brewing scene because it has been a focal point of progressive brewing.” Brynildson credits Sierra Nevada’s Ken Grossman with leading the way in establishing the West Coast's craft brewing position, setting the standard breweries reach for and demonstrating what can happen when you focus on quality and continue investing passion and capital. He recognizes West Coast beer drinkers for their open minds and palates that helped to push the flavor envelope and expand the product of what we know as beer today. He added, “The combination of great brewers and great beer fans has made the West Coast a strong market in which breweries have thrived.”
In 2001, Firestone Walker Brewing Company purchased SLO Brewing’s Paso Robles production facility. They made a wise decision in keeping Brynildson on as brewmaster. The brewery has experienced phenomenal growth and numerous awards since. Per Brynildson, developing your core market is key. “We are shipping beer to a number of other regions, but we always are thinking about how we can better support our fans at home. It's a big part of a sustainable brewing business that can't be overlooked.I think that this is a key to our success and another good model to follow when starting or growing a brewery. Focus on quality and win the loyalty of your home market… Consumers understand and support local breweries.” In looking to the future, Brynildson informed, “If craft brewers as a whole can continue to focus on quality and maintain the loyalty of beer drinkers within their respective regions, I believe there are many more good years for us all. It's an amazing time to be a brewer!”
Tony Yanow is one of the industry’s newer movers and shakers working to advance Los Angeles area craft brewing. Yanow was a stimulated homebrewer with aspirations of opening his own brewery. In order to realize this goal, he first saw a need to provide the L. A. market with destinations one could enjoy great beer; places in short supply in the L.A. area when he opened Tony’s Darts Away, in Burbank, followed some months later by Mohawk Bend, in Los Angeles.
Yanow described the explosion experienced over the past three years: “Craftsman Brewing Company and Eagle Rock Brewery were the only two breweries in the area at the time. Now, from what I understand, there are 35 breweries or breweries-in-planning in Los Angeles County.” Yanow wants his third venture, Golden Road Brewing, to be “L.A.’s Brewery.” Commenting about growth prospects, he shared, “Craft beer has about six to seven percent penetration within the L.A. market. San Francisco has penetration in the 20% range… Even if we get halfway there, we still have a huge amount of growth potential.” Yanow’s strategy for Golden Road is to identify opportunities to expand the market. “We need to understand that it’s a business. We want to make delicious, world-class, consistent beer, but, at the end of the day, if no one is buying it, then it’s a hobby and not a business… We dedicated our first year to making beers that we thought would be impactful in a broader market. It doesn’t mean they are less complex or less interesting or anything like that. We also didn’t have a local brewery making great, interesting and fun beer that you can just pick up at the grocery store.” Yanow is looking to fill this void and informed, “I still feel very strongly that what this city needs is a defining beer like Anchor Steam, or Sam Adams Boston Lager or Shiner Bock… You can say what you want about those beers, but, each one is the beer that almost defines the city as much as the city defines them. That is what we want to be here in L.A.”
Passion is definitely the name of the game these days. It seems that as long as craft beer is of good quality and taste, with varied flavor profiles, the saturation point of Southern California brewing may be endless. Great examples of passionate brewing are everywhere today. Brewers like Jonathan Porter, of Tustin Brewing Company and Smog City Brewing, and Julian Shrago, of Beachwood BBQ & Brewing are fervently driven. The results of their passion, hard work and dedication come through every day in the brews they put forth. Seeing what the next 25 years brings should be even more exciting.
Due to space constraints, not all of SoCal’s best and brightest brewers/ breweries are discussed here. Please see the cover feature on Green Flash Brewing Company to learn about one more. –Ed.
A Brilliant [Green] Flash
San Diego has its share of shining stars in the craft beer industry. And this pillar of the brewing community deserves to be mentioned among them. Having recently celebrated its 10th anniversary, Green Flash Brewing Company sets a high standard for a wide array of beers, especially those of the hoppy variety.
The craft beer scene has grown a lot in the last decade, and Green Flash has grown along with it. Succeeding in this market is not all sunshine, however. It takes a highly skilled staff and a distinctive, quality product to really shine. Green Flash lights it up in both aspects.
The Flash Mob
Brewmaster Chuck Silva joined Green Flash in 2004, although he has brewed professionally in San Diego since 1998. This U.S. Navy veteran first became interested in brewing while working in the defense industry in Washington, D.C. He began homebrewing and realized his dream of becoming a professional brewer. Despite making a very comfortable living Davis, Calif. He earned his certificate and moved to San Diego.
Silva started at Hang Ten Brewing, then worked at one of the Hops brewpubs before moving on to Karl Strauss. This gave him experience using the smaller systems typically found in brewpubs, as well as manning a larger, production brewery. Silva won his first medal, a gold, for his kölsch at the World Beer Cup in 2000. That was followed by a bronze for his alt bier in 2002 and his first GABF medal for his IPA, also a bronze. His background made it an easy decision for Green Flash founder Mike Hinkley to bring Silva on board.
Green Flash was a different animal when Silva was first hired. “Before I got here, the focus was on session beers,” Silva observed. Then Hinkley approached him with an idea. “He came to me and asked me to brew a benchmark IPA,” Silva recalls. “We wanted to redefine the West Coast IPA.” From this came the hoppy beers Green Flash is best known for.
Erik Jensen became head brewer in February of 2012, after leaving Pacific Beach Ale House as its brewmaster. Another American Brewers Guild graduate, Jensen has been professionally brewing since 1994 with stints at Golden Pacific, Karl Strauss and La Jolla Brewhouse. The Green Flash brewing team now consists of 16 brewers
So why the name Green Flash? The label provides a hint. “It’s a reference to the sunset phenomenon,” Silva explained. “The elusive green flash can be seen at sunrise as well, but the conditions have to be just right. That’s why we chose the name, because Green Flash beers are brewed under just the right conditions.” Fans of the late Floridian author John D. MacDonald
may recall his references to it, even titling a book “A Flash of Green.” MacDonald noted that a brief green flash would appear as the sun set over the ocean, although spectators could spend years before finally witnessing it.
The Green Flash label now adorns their eight flagship beers: Double Stout, Hop Head Red, West Coast IPA, Barleywine, Tripel, Le Freak, Imperial IPA and Rayon Vert. The latter, a Belgian-style pale ale, is the newest addition, which translates to “Green Flash” in French. “If we were a pre-war brewery in Belgium, this is what we would brew,” Silva noted. “Floral, but also funky, it is a continuously evolving brew.”
Their three seasonal beers are each available for about four months. At the beginning of the year, the shelves of your local beer store strain under the weight of the incredibly hoppy Palate Wrecker, an IPA that truly lives up to its name. It is followed by Saison Diego into the warmer months. The third seasonal, Green Bullet Triple IPA, is brewed with Green Bullet hops from New Zealand and delivers a hop bite that lingers until the last sip in the glass. All three seasonals are packaged in four-packs and 22-ounce bombers.
Three “local only” beers are brewed by Green Flash as well, which can only be found on draft in the San Diego area and in bottles at their tasting room. Park West Porter, East Village Pilsner and 30th Street Pale Ale are all worth seeking out.
A Bright Future
Green Flash began building its new facility in 2010, having moved from its Vista location that first opened in 2002. Their new tasting room opened in June of 2011. The building, which covers 44,000 square feet, houses a 50-bbl brewing system. The tasting room boasts 30 taps.
“It’s really fast,” Silva observed of his system. “We can brew eight beers a day.”
The next project from Green Flash involves a new variety of draft-only hoppy beers known as Hop Odyssey. “These are beers that will get back to our roots by showcasing the diversity and range of flavor using different hops in different ways,” commented Silva. “They will run from Citra Session IPA to our Symposium IPA.”
Hopefully beer enthusiasts had the opportunity to sample the first addition, Black IPA, which came on-line during February and March and had been brewed with Warrior, Citra and Cascade hops. Look for Imperial Red Rye in April and May, Citra Session IPA in June and July, Symposium IPA in August and September, Cedar Plank Pale Ale in October and November, and Double Columbus IPA in December and January. Each of these beers will be available throughout the 35 states in which Green Flash distributes.
The barrel program at Green Flash expects to grow as well. At already approximately 80 barrels, Silva hopes to expand on this side project of his in the future. The best-known brew from this program is Silva Stout (10% ABV), which he ages for a minimum of 16 months in Heaven Hill barrels. “Mike [Hinkley] surprised me with the name,” admitted Silva.
This is a forward-thinking company. “I’m not looking back,” Silva acknowledged. Clearly, Green Flash has a bright future in the brewing industry.
Green Flash Brewing Company
6550 Mira Mesa Blvd.
San Diego, CA
Located at the corner of Mira Mesa and Flanders Drive, east of the 805
Tasting Room Hours:
3-9 p.m. Tues-Thurs
3-10 p.m. Fri
12-9 p.m. Sat
12-6 p.m. Sun
Read the full article at http://swbnonline.brewingnews.com/article/A+Brilliant+%5BGreen%5D+Flash/1376861/155250/article.html.