The epic ten-day span linked together by hundreds of beer-centric events that is San Diego Beer Week will kick off this Friday, November 1. It will be the eleventh annual iteration of this grand-scale initiative devised by the San Diego Brewers Guild (SDBG) to celebrate local ales, lagers and the people who craft, package, sell, market, deliver and serve them. And, as has been the case since 2017, it will have an official beverage: Capital of Craft IPA.
While this is the third straight year Capital of Craft IPA has been produced, things are a little different this time around. This year’s edition was brewed at Second Chance Beer Co., comes in at 7.3% alcohol-by-volume, and utilizes Cashmere, Chinook, Nugget, Centennial and Amarillo hops donated (along with the grain bill) by BSG CraftBrewing as well as California Ale Yeast donated by Miramar’s White Labs. But there’s yet another difference. For the first time ever, Capital of Craft IPA will be sold in cans.
Beginning 7:30 p.m. on November 1, four-packs of 16-ounce cans will be available at Second Chance Beer’s tasting rooms in Carmel Mountain Ranch and North Park, as well as retail accounts throughout San Diego. A percentage of the beer was also kegged off, so it will be for sale on draft throughout the county, as well.
From the start, Capital of Craft IPA has been a collaboration beer. As is customary, the breweries invited to participate were switched up for 2019. This year’s slate of SDBG member breweries that took part included Chula Vista’s Thr3e Punk Ales Brewing, Miramar-based Amplified Ale Works, Oceanside’s Bagby Beer Co., Carlsbad’s Burgeon Beer Co., Sorrento Valley’s Gravity Heights, Julian’s Nickel Beer Co. and North Park Beer Co.
“One of the best parts of the San Diego craft beer scene has always been the camaraderie,” says Kris Anacleto, CEO of Vista’s Booze Brothers Brewing and SDBG vice president. “This beer highlights and celebrates how our Guild members can get together and keep pushing the envelope by making a new version every year while still creating quality craft beer in our own backyard.”
Anacleto (who will assume the role of SDBG president in 2020) wasn’t the only one who had thoughts to share on Capital of Craft IPA. Lead representatives from some of the collaborating breweries took a moment to opine on this feel-good effort and what it meant to them.
“We enjoy doing collaborations for many reasons. First, it is always nice to get to know each other a little bit better and hang out. But it also is great to learn about different brewing ideas because no one brews beer exactly alike. We always get some little nugget of inspiration after meeting and brewing with colleagues. For the Capital of Craft IPA, all the brewers mentioned wanting a more bracing IPA, with a hop bitterness to make you notice and enough dry hops to round it out and give it a pronounced hoppy aroma. We achieved this with some old-school Chinook and Amarillo, kept the malt light and dry, and finished it with a bit of Cashmere to keep it smooth and clean. We are very happy with the results!”—Marty Mendiola, Brewmaster, Second Chance Beer Co. & Former SDBG President
“The Capital of Craft IPA and efforts from all participating breweries allows us to reflect on how much camaraderie and innovation has been developed throughout our industry. Through conversations, willingness to share knowledge and personal brewing influences, we were able to collectively craft something that resonates San Diego!”—Anthony Tallman, Head Brewer, Burgeon Beer Co.
“Collaborating with other San Diego brewers allows us to deepen relationships with brewers we know and get to know brewers who are new to us. The social aspect of spending time with other brewers is great, and all of us approach brewing and recipe development differently, so it’s a chance to learn from others and develop new techniques and methods. San Diego’s craft beer community has always been close knit and collaboration brewing strengthens our community further.”—Skip Virgilio, Brewmaster, Gravity Heights
“Typically, when we brew a collaboration beer at North Park Beer Co., we want to make sure that everyone involved is learning something. Whether it be using their processes in my brewhouse or vice versa, or trying a new hop variety, a yeast strain or new ingredients that neither of us have used, or doing something just for fun, the result should be something that is thoughtful and definitely a true collaborative process. With regards to Capital of Craft IPA, I think we all put our perspectives together to build a new-school West Coast-type IPA that is deeply rooted in the traditions that made San Diego the IPA town that it was and continues to be. I am super stoked to taste the final beer!”—Kelsey McNair, Brewmaster, North Park Beer Co.
“It was great to get together with some of my old and new brewer friends to make this beer. The collaborative spirit has always been strong among San Diego brewers and it was great to see and be a part of that once again with this brew.”—Jeff Bagby, Brewmaster, Bagby Beer Co.