San Diego’s reputation for craft brewing quality stretches world-wide, including Washington’s Yakima Valley. A premier hop-growing region, it is home to Yakima Chief Hops (YCH), a global supplier of hops and hop-based products. Recently, as part of a team-building exercise, YCH’s Pacific regional sales manager, Kelly Lohrmeyer, invited her colleagues from around the country to convene in San Diego so she could show them, first-hand, the passion, innovation and talent driving the quality of the region’s ales and lagers. For her, the best way to do that was to set up collaboration brew days with a septet of local breweries.
Dubbed “IPA Pop-Up,” that initiative took place in February and yielded seven beers embodying the tastes, methodologies and preferences of the brewers who produced them. It all stemmed, as one might expect, from the hops they selected. YCH made its entire portfolio available to participating breweries, making for an elative kid-in-a-candy-store scenario. Even though all but one of the breweries produced IPAs, their characteristics are wildly diverse because of the hops they chose and the manner in which they incorporated them.
- Abnormal Beer Co.: Abnormally Pink (Double IPA, 8.5%) with Nugget, Cryo Cascade, Mosaic and the first use of the 2020 Pink Boots Hop Blend
- Ballast Point Brewing: Definitely Not A Seltzer (Hoppy Pilsner, 5.8%) with HBC 692, Cashmere and Mosaic
- Gravity Heights: Yakima Gem (Hazy Double IPA, 8.5%) with Sabro and Idaho Gem
- Pizza Port Solana Beach: Yakima Beach (IPA, 7.4%) with Cryo Ekuanot, Cryo Sabro, Cryo Citra and Idaho Gem
- Second Chance Beer Co.: Destination Double Dank (Double IPA, 8.8%) with Ekuanot, Idaho 7, Cashmere, Columbus, Cryo Ekuanot and Cryo Idaho7
- Societe Brewing: The Cultivator (IPA, 7.3%) with HBC 522, Idaho Gem and Cryo Simcoe
- Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station: Ellipsis Chief (IPA, 7%) with HBC 630, Mosaic, Cryo Simcoe and Cryo Chinook
All seven beers are currently available via the breweries’ home venues and distribution chains, but all of them will be on tap, en masse, at a special event taking place from 4 to 7 p.m., Friday, March 13 at TapRoom Beer Co. in North Park. Brewers who took part in the IPA Pop-Up initiative will be on-hand to chat with attendees about the initiative and their approach to it.
“Working with San Diego’s brewers on a daily basis, I know their passion for hops matches ours and how incredibly advanced and special the San Diego beer scene is,” says Lohrmeyer. “The IPA Pop-Up was a great opportunity to bring my colleagues here to meet some of the area’s best brewers and expose them to what makes this area and its beers so special.”