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Second Chance Beer Co. celebrates second anniversary

OG San Diego brewers dig up proven recipes for three-day party

AleSmith owner Peter Zien adds hops to a collaboration beer with Second Chance head brewer Marty Mendiola (right) and assistant brewer Craig Gregovics.
AleSmith owner Peter Zien adds hops to a collaboration beer with Second Chance head brewer Marty Mendiola (right) and assistant brewer Craig Gregovics.

This Labor Day weekend, Second Chance Beer Co. will celebrate a busy first two years in business with a three-day party at its Carmel Mountain brewery. Second Chance already distributes six varieties of beer in cans, and its founders are working to open a North Park tasting room in October. According to head brewer and cofounder Marty Mendiola, the biggest struggle has been keeping up with demand.

Place

Second Chance Beer Co.

15378 Avenue of Science #222, San Diego

"We are so maximum capacity," he says. Despite routinely putting in 12-hour days, he won't rush his beer and can only watch as the number of cans and kegs in the brewery's cold box dwindle to zero while he waits for a new batch to finish.

Mendiola recognizes it's a good problem to have but says that last week's arrival of two new, 90-barrel fermenters will help Second Chance keep up. But it's prevented him from pursuing beer collaborations. Until now.

Second Chance will release four collaboration beers during its holiday weekend party. And because the veteran brewer has deep ties to San Diego's brewing history, these collaborations feature a who's who of San Diego brewing talent — esteemed friends and industry colleagues who, like Mendiola, helped establish the city's craft-beer reputation.

Participating in Second Chance's anniversary beers are Stone Brewing's Laura Ulrich, Paul Segura from Karl Strauss, Bagby Beer founder and Pizza Port alum Jeff Bagby, and AleSmith owner Peter Zien.

In keeping with his brand's spirit of renewal, Mendiola asked his friends to revive old recipes for the collaborations. "The idea was to pick their brains on beers they haven't brewed in a long time," he explains, "and give those recipes a second chance." They gave him a recipe, and he helped adapt it to a one-barrel pilot system — only making enough beer to serve two kegs apiece at the anniversary celebration.

While there wasn't any plan to focus on Belgian styles, that's been the case. Ulrich brought a recipe she'd first produced on Stone's small batch system: a Belgian witbier seasoned with lemongrass and coriander.

Segura revived the Belgian Stranger, a Abbey-yeast-fermented West Coast IPA that Karl Strauss last produced seven years ago. This rendition was finished with Cascade hops, then dry-hopped with Amarillo.

"Jeff Bagby's was a Belgian dubbel, which had, like, 13 malts in it," says Mendiola. Since he didn't have all the necessary ingredients for Bagby's recipes, he explains, "I had to go around to the home-brew shops" to find them.

When Zien heard everyone was doing Belgian styles, he went digging for an Abbey ale he made with Belgian candi syrup. "I pulled it out of my homebrew digest from the ’90s," he says, describing the style as a low ABV, carbonated red ale: "The contradiction of a dry finish, yet still sweet."

Zien and Mendiola have been friends since the mid- '90s, and Zien literally delayed his arrival to AleSmith's own anniversary party to brew with his old pal at Second Chance. "It's fun collaborating with Marty," Zien says, adding that brewing in tandem works best when the brewers know and trust each other. "Collaborations, when they go wrong, I call them ‘compromise beers.’ And when they go right they're fantastic.”

Second Chance will also release canned two-packs of a barrel-aged Scotch ale for its anniversary.

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AleSmith owner Peter Zien adds hops to a collaboration beer with Second Chance head brewer Marty Mendiola (right) and assistant brewer Craig Gregovics.
AleSmith owner Peter Zien adds hops to a collaboration beer with Second Chance head brewer Marty Mendiola (right) and assistant brewer Craig Gregovics.

This Labor Day weekend, Second Chance Beer Co. will celebrate a busy first two years in business with a three-day party at its Carmel Mountain brewery. Second Chance already distributes six varieties of beer in cans, and its founders are working to open a North Park tasting room in October. According to head brewer and cofounder Marty Mendiola, the biggest struggle has been keeping up with demand.

Place

Second Chance Beer Co.

15378 Avenue of Science #222, San Diego

"We are so maximum capacity," he says. Despite routinely putting in 12-hour days, he won't rush his beer and can only watch as the number of cans and kegs in the brewery's cold box dwindle to zero while he waits for a new batch to finish.

Mendiola recognizes it's a good problem to have but says that last week's arrival of two new, 90-barrel fermenters will help Second Chance keep up. But it's prevented him from pursuing beer collaborations. Until now.

Second Chance will release four collaboration beers during its holiday weekend party. And because the veteran brewer has deep ties to San Diego's brewing history, these collaborations feature a who's who of San Diego brewing talent — esteemed friends and industry colleagues who, like Mendiola, helped establish the city's craft-beer reputation.

Participating in Second Chance's anniversary beers are Stone Brewing's Laura Ulrich, Paul Segura from Karl Strauss, Bagby Beer founder and Pizza Port alum Jeff Bagby, and AleSmith owner Peter Zien.

In keeping with his brand's spirit of renewal, Mendiola asked his friends to revive old recipes for the collaborations. "The idea was to pick their brains on beers they haven't brewed in a long time," he explains, "and give those recipes a second chance." They gave him a recipe, and he helped adapt it to a one-barrel pilot system — only making enough beer to serve two kegs apiece at the anniversary celebration.

While there wasn't any plan to focus on Belgian styles, that's been the case. Ulrich brought a recipe she'd first produced on Stone's small batch system: a Belgian witbier seasoned with lemongrass and coriander.

Segura revived the Belgian Stranger, a Abbey-yeast-fermented West Coast IPA that Karl Strauss last produced seven years ago. This rendition was finished with Cascade hops, then dry-hopped with Amarillo.

"Jeff Bagby's was a Belgian dubbel, which had, like, 13 malts in it," says Mendiola. Since he didn't have all the necessary ingredients for Bagby's recipes, he explains, "I had to go around to the home-brew shops" to find them.

When Zien heard everyone was doing Belgian styles, he went digging for an Abbey ale he made with Belgian candi syrup. "I pulled it out of my homebrew digest from the ’90s," he says, describing the style as a low ABV, carbonated red ale: "The contradiction of a dry finish, yet still sweet."

Zien and Mendiola have been friends since the mid- '90s, and Zien literally delayed his arrival to AleSmith's own anniversary party to brew with his old pal at Second Chance. "It's fun collaborating with Marty," Zien says, adding that brewing in tandem works best when the brewers know and trust each other. "Collaborations, when they go wrong, I call them ‘compromise beers.’ And when they go right they're fantastic.”

Second Chance will also release canned two-packs of a barrel-aged Scotch ale for its anniversary.

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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
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