4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Ken Schmidt & Iron Fist’s ono pia

Respected homebrewer and Vista brewery team-up to provide plenty of Aloha.

Long-time homebrewer Ken Schmidt poses with his mint chocolate imperial stout, brewed and bottled at Vista's Iron Fist Brewing Company - Image by @sdbeernews
Long-time homebrewer Ken Schmidt poses with his mint chocolate imperial stout, brewed and bottled at Vista's Iron Fist Brewing Company

In a county flush with domestic fermentation talent, Ken Schmidt is kind of a big deal. A homebrewer since 1966, he’s concocted inventive beer recipes for decades. Many are laced with flavorful adjuncts evocative of his favorite place, the Hawaiian islands. Though San Diegan and proud of it, Schmidt’s been to the isles roughly 50 times, drawn by a love of the water (he’s both a diver and a fisher), the fertility of the land and unique geographic features (he enjoys growing things and gazing down on landscapes from the pilot’s seat of a helicopter), and the Hawaiian peoples’ deep sense of family. It was respect for familial closeness and commitment that also keeps him coming back to another favorite place—Iron Fist Brewing Company (1305 Hot Springs Way, Vista).

Sponsored
Sponsored

Schmidt was first introduced to the Sieminski family before they opened their Vista brewery. After tasting early drafts he was impressed. That positivity leapt to a new level when he found out the brewer who’d produced them, Brandon Sieminski, was barely of legal drinking age. Schmidt began brewing when he was 18 — before it was even legal to cook up beers on the home front — and instantly sized Sieminski up as one to watch. Subsequent Iron Fist beer offerings confirmed his beliefs, to the point where, when Schmidt won Stone’s annual homebrewing competition in 2012 and was awarded the chance to brew his champion recipe on the company’s big brewing system, he brought Sieminski in as a third collaborator on what became known as Ken Schmidt/Iron Fist/Stone Mint Chocolate Imperial Stout. Two years later, the duo reunited to bring that recipe back to life along with five more of Schmidt’s Hawaiian-inspired brews, all of which will be available during an “Aloha Party” this Saturday, September 27 at Iron Fist’s tasting room.

I met with Schmidt earlier this week to taste through some of the beers. It wasn’t the first time I’d sampled his handiwork, having been impressed in the past by that mint-infused stout and “Aloha Plenty,” a Kona coffee, coconut, and macadamia nut porter. The latter also won the blue ribbon and was brewed at Stone back in 2010, and is one of the other recipes he and Sieminski brewed on the company’s one-barrel system. Schmidt says this is closer to the homebrew version than the Stone iteration. An initial sniff brings on assertive coffee notes. Go back in for another whiff and you get coconuty essence of German chocolate cake, which is delightful. On the palate, it’s only lightly sweet, bringing on plenty of coffee and coconut upfront, leaving a lingering nuttiness on the back palate.

Similarly, capsaicin heat dominates the finish of Pele’s Breath (Pele being the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes), an American wheat ale brewed with serrano peppers, which provide a pleasantly vegetal aroma and clean heat that sticks around about 30 seconds before almost dropping off completely. Cooler on the taste buds and even more flavorful is Maui Sunset, a 5.2% alcohol-by-volume Belgian-style witbier brewed with hibiscus, chamomile, and tangerine. That last one comes through in spades while the tartness and spice from the other two come together like intertwined fingers.

All of these beers will be available along with two Russian imperial stouts, the straightforward Black Sand Beach and Big Kahuna, a RIS brewed with a blend of Kona, Ethiopian, French, and New Guinean coffee beans. Traditional Hawaiian slack key music (a favorite of Schmidt, who plays this and other styles of music...quite the renaissance man) will provide a sonic backdrop for some seriously ono pia (delicious beer in Hawaiian).

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

A fairytale sci-fi concept EP full of Nefarious Creatures

“I play a lot of Dungeons and Dragons and I like twisting stories”
Long-time homebrewer Ken Schmidt poses with his mint chocolate imperial stout, brewed and bottled at Vista's Iron Fist Brewing Company - Image by @sdbeernews
Long-time homebrewer Ken Schmidt poses with his mint chocolate imperial stout, brewed and bottled at Vista's Iron Fist Brewing Company

In a county flush with domestic fermentation talent, Ken Schmidt is kind of a big deal. A homebrewer since 1966, he’s concocted inventive beer recipes for decades. Many are laced with flavorful adjuncts evocative of his favorite place, the Hawaiian islands. Though San Diegan and proud of it, Schmidt’s been to the isles roughly 50 times, drawn by a love of the water (he’s both a diver and a fisher), the fertility of the land and unique geographic features (he enjoys growing things and gazing down on landscapes from the pilot’s seat of a helicopter), and the Hawaiian peoples’ deep sense of family. It was respect for familial closeness and commitment that also keeps him coming back to another favorite place—Iron Fist Brewing Company (1305 Hot Springs Way, Vista).

Sponsored
Sponsored

Schmidt was first introduced to the Sieminski family before they opened their Vista brewery. After tasting early drafts he was impressed. That positivity leapt to a new level when he found out the brewer who’d produced them, Brandon Sieminski, was barely of legal drinking age. Schmidt began brewing when he was 18 — before it was even legal to cook up beers on the home front — and instantly sized Sieminski up as one to watch. Subsequent Iron Fist beer offerings confirmed his beliefs, to the point where, when Schmidt won Stone’s annual homebrewing competition in 2012 and was awarded the chance to brew his champion recipe on the company’s big brewing system, he brought Sieminski in as a third collaborator on what became known as Ken Schmidt/Iron Fist/Stone Mint Chocolate Imperial Stout. Two years later, the duo reunited to bring that recipe back to life along with five more of Schmidt’s Hawaiian-inspired brews, all of which will be available during an “Aloha Party” this Saturday, September 27 at Iron Fist’s tasting room.

I met with Schmidt earlier this week to taste through some of the beers. It wasn’t the first time I’d sampled his handiwork, having been impressed in the past by that mint-infused stout and “Aloha Plenty,” a Kona coffee, coconut, and macadamia nut porter. The latter also won the blue ribbon and was brewed at Stone back in 2010, and is one of the other recipes he and Sieminski brewed on the company’s one-barrel system. Schmidt says this is closer to the homebrew version than the Stone iteration. An initial sniff brings on assertive coffee notes. Go back in for another whiff and you get coconuty essence of German chocolate cake, which is delightful. On the palate, it’s only lightly sweet, bringing on plenty of coffee and coconut upfront, leaving a lingering nuttiness on the back palate.

Similarly, capsaicin heat dominates the finish of Pele’s Breath (Pele being the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes), an American wheat ale brewed with serrano peppers, which provide a pleasantly vegetal aroma and clean heat that sticks around about 30 seconds before almost dropping off completely. Cooler on the taste buds and even more flavorful is Maui Sunset, a 5.2% alcohol-by-volume Belgian-style witbier brewed with hibiscus, chamomile, and tangerine. That last one comes through in spades while the tartness and spice from the other two come together like intertwined fingers.

All of these beers will be available along with two Russian imperial stouts, the straightforward Black Sand Beach and Big Kahuna, a RIS brewed with a blend of Kona, Ethiopian, French, and New Guinean coffee beans. Traditional Hawaiian slack key music (a favorite of Schmidt, who plays this and other styles of music...quite the renaissance man) will provide a sonic backdrop for some seriously ono pia (delicious beer in Hawaiian).

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

The discreet charms of Secret Sister

The South Park sourdough bakery dabbles in the unfamiliar
Next Article

Brake checking on San Diego freeways

The predictable response to tailgating
Comments
Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town The Gonzo Report — Making the musical scene, or at least reporting from it Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Theater — On stage in San Diego this week Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close