“Spanning North County to bring you the constant variety of beer… the thrill of consuming… and the agony of finding true brew… the human drama of brewing competition… This is Escondido Grapevine’s Wide World of Foam!”
Welcome to a tale of two local craft brewing companies, one large and in charge of Escondido and the other smaller, but trying harder at Rancho Bernardo. We’re talking Abnormal Beer and Stone Brewing on today’s edition of Wide World of Foam.
Abnormal Beer Co. goes to the Fair (and then some)
Rancho Bernardo craft brewer Abnormal Beer Co. may have opened only 15 months ago, but has grown enough to make it at The San Diego County Fair.
Its brand-new signature brew, California Commons, came out this month, and is being served around the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Ground Zero for beer tasting purposes is the Steampunk Ale Pavilion at the San Diego International Beer Festival.
“The California Common originated on the west coast in the steam-powered industrial age, when ice and cold water weren’t accessible to brewers. Brewers had to use warm water and would cool down batches in large vats that gave off a lot of steam,” said Abnormal Beer Co.’s Head Brewer, Derek Gallanosa,
“Although this technique originated from necessity,” Gallanosa said, “now it is a novelty. So, just as the beer was brewed in the 19th Century, we brewed this beer using warmer water and lager yeast, which give it ale and lager qualities.”
More fun facts about Steampunk Ale and Abnormal Beer Co.
About Steampunk Ale:
· Rancho Bernardo’s Abnormal Beer Co. brewed an ale/lager hybrid, a play on the California Common style beer, made exclusively for the “Mad About the Fair” 2016 San Diego County Fair
· Steampunk Ale is crisp and medium-bodied with bready malt and earthy, minty hops
· Will be served at 17 Hands Restaurant and Cantina and the Ballast Point Bar near the Exhibit Hall – all 26 days of the fair
o Also available at Abnormal Beer Co. / The Cork & Craft, 16990 Via Tazon, San Diego, CA 92127 (Rancho Bernardo)
· Additionally, this beer will be poured at the Steampunk Ale Pavilion at the San Diego International Beer Festival, June 17-19 at the Del Mar Arena
o Abnormal Beer Co. is the only microbrewery asked to brew a beer especially for the fair in honor of the festival’s 10th anniversary
· This year’s fair is a fusion of Alice in Wonderland, old world machinery and steampunk themes – even down to this 19th century style beer
· This beer’s authentic brewing technique recaptures the original brewing methods of brewers in the 1800’s, using warmer temperatures and lager yeast to brew this ale/lager hybrid
About Abnormal Beer Co.:
· First pint poured in April 2015
· Brewing Facility and Tasting Room in Rancho Bernardo
· 41 beers on tap – house made and guest taps & extensive bottle list
· Along with their most popular beers, always an assortment of limited releases and collaborations
· Abnormal Beer Co.’s hopes their beers will not only satisfy customers, but intrigue them about the process, components and aroma they encounter
· The brewing facility is in the process of expanding from 80 bbl to 440 bbl brewing capacity
· In the past year –
o Best New Brewery of 2015, Thrillist
o Best Brewpub of 2015, West Coaster
o Bronze medal for Year One IIPA, Imperial IPA Competition at the SD International Beer Festival 2016.
Stone Brewing expands at Napa; Richmond, Virginia
Stone Brewing continued this month with its ambitious expansion, announcing Napa and Richmond expansion plans.
The Escondido craft brewing legend announced plans to expand its taproom footprint in California, adding a 10,000 sq. ft. pilot brewery and tasting room in downtown Napa.
The taproom is slated to open in 2017 and will accompany two other Stone Brewing expansion projects in Richmond, N.C. and Berlin, Germany, which will be operational this summer, the company said.
Stone officials said the company soon would begin renovations on the 139-year-old Borreo building, which at one time was home to the grain and feed department of grocer Thompson Beard and Sons.
“The historic Borreo building is the perfect space for us to put down our roots in Napa,” Stone Brewing CEO and co-founder Greg Koch said in press release. “Not only is it literally made of stone, it’s one of downtown’s most iconic links to the 19th century and a landmark that’s been vacant for the past 15 years.”
The company plans to install a 10-barrel pilot brew system, which will be used to produce unique small-batch creations and will complement the company’s core beer lineup.
“We recognize the high quality of wine that comes from the region and the appreciation that Napa Valley locals and visitors have for fresh, well-crafted drink. We are elated to become a contributing part of such an artisanal town,” Koch added.
As for Richmond, the excitement was palpable as Stone leaders briefed the locals about what was about to go down in their fair city.
Steve Wagner, one of Stone’s co-founder; Pat Tiernan, Stone’s chief operating officer; and Steve Robbins, Stone Bistro’s director of hospitality, recently met with a group from central Virginia with the Richmond ChamberRVA InterCity who came to Escondido to see the flagship efforts here.
Plans to open what it has been described as a “destination restaurant” are several years off, but Stone’s Richmond brewery already is open, and beer brewed in the facility is expected to be ready for sale by midsummer, Tiernan, said.
The chamber group toured the Escondido facility, which a guide noted actually is significantly smaller than the facility the company is building in Richmond.
After the tour, the group drank Stone beers in a lush garden patio outside the bistro while discussing the operation with the company’s leaders.
Among the first questions fielded was “When can we drink Richmond beer?”
Before the midsummer date, the company will have to run several pilot batches of beer through their new system that won’t be salable, Tiernan said.
“If you want to drink it, send me an email; we’ll put some taps outside the window,” he said.
Wagner said Richmond’s beer scene already is thriving. He said the city should expect that trend to continue — aided, of course, by Stone.
“I think it’s encouraging more guys to set up shop,” he said.