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Range of brews

Beer, cider, mead, and sake producers hybridize

A glass of New Thunder Cyderweiss, a collaboration between cider maker Newtopia Cyder and beer producer Thunderhawk Alements.
A glass of New Thunder Cyderweiss, a collaboration between cider maker Newtopia Cyder and beer producer Thunderhawk Alements.

With alternative craft beverages such as cider, mead, and sake gathering momentum in San Diego, local beer producers have taken note, and in recent months brewers of all kinds have gotten together to experiment with cross-brew collaborations.

Place

Second Chance Beer Co.

15378 Avenue of Science #222, San Diego

Second Chance Beer Co. and Newtopia Cyder kicked off the recent trend, brewing an apple-beer collaboration this spring. Dubbed Hoppily Apple Grafter, the brew was billed as a graf: a cider-and-beer hybrid that apparently sprung from the imagination of author Stephen King, as a fermented drink that didn't exist in reality but was enjoyed by characters in his Dark Tower series.

That was brewed on Second Chance's license at its Carmel Mountain brewery, meaning it was required by law to be fermented with at least 51 percent grain. Second Chance brewer Marty Mendiola added Newtopia's proprietary five-apple blend to a pale ale wort, then dry-hopped it to produce a tropically fruity beer with a juicy finish.

Place

Newtopia Cyder

10045 Carroll Canyon Road, San Diego

The playful collaboration happened to be Second Chance's first — it has yet to release a more traditional co-branded beer with another brewery. The graf was Newtopia's first collaboration as well, but the two companies have already applied the lessons they learned to a second apple-beer: Red-y-Set-Graf, made with Second Chance's Legally Red red-ale base and flavored with cinnamon and vanilla.

This time, Newtopia cofounder Rick Moreno answered with a cider version of the collaboration, blending 75 percent cider with 25 percent Legally Red and adding cranberry and red rose petals to a beer-cider blend he's calling Red Velvet.

Place

Thunderhawk Alements

8675 Miralani Drive #100, San Diego

Miramar nanobrewery Thunderhawk Alements has also gotten involved. Moreno got together with Thunderhawk founders Jonathan Barbarin and Bill Lindsay to blend what they call New Thunder Cyderweiss. Barbarin and Lindsay started with a half-wheat, half-pilsner recipe from their homebrewing days, then blended Newtopia cider and pomegranate to achieve a ratio of 20 percent juice, 80 percent grain, finished with an Abbey ale yeast to produce a crisp Belgian wheat with a tart finish.

Moreno's cider version is called Thunderheist Abbey Ale Cyder, also incorporating 25 percent of base beer, provided by Thunderhawk.

The cross-brew concept seems to have taken hold. Newtopia's already working on a third Second Chance collaboration, and another with both Maui Brewing Company and Mason Ale Works. Thunderhawk's got a beer in the works with sake brewer Josh Hembree and his Setting Sun Sake.

Meanwhile, startup Escondido mead producer Meadiocrity has teamed with Ballast Point's R&D brewery in Little Italy to produce a traditional mead-and-beer hybrid called a "braggot."

Founder Mark Oberle contributed Meadicrity's alfalfa honey to the brew called Seaside Braggot, added just after the boil so the honey would retain its characteristic esters, then flavored with ginger, lime, and thyme.

Oberle notes, "The honey with the grain gives it additional texture you don't get anywhere else." He says Meadicrity has collaborations in the works with other large local breweries. He says he hopes the exposure created by cross-brew experiments will inspire beer fans to further explore beverage alternatives. "Mead is a great product," he says, "but people don’t really seek it out if they’ve never had it before."

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A glass of New Thunder Cyderweiss, a collaboration between cider maker Newtopia Cyder and beer producer Thunderhawk Alements.
A glass of New Thunder Cyderweiss, a collaboration between cider maker Newtopia Cyder and beer producer Thunderhawk Alements.

With alternative craft beverages such as cider, mead, and sake gathering momentum in San Diego, local beer producers have taken note, and in recent months brewers of all kinds have gotten together to experiment with cross-brew collaborations.

Place

Second Chance Beer Co.

15378 Avenue of Science #222, San Diego

Second Chance Beer Co. and Newtopia Cyder kicked off the recent trend, brewing an apple-beer collaboration this spring. Dubbed Hoppily Apple Grafter, the brew was billed as a graf: a cider-and-beer hybrid that apparently sprung from the imagination of author Stephen King, as a fermented drink that didn't exist in reality but was enjoyed by characters in his Dark Tower series.

That was brewed on Second Chance's license at its Carmel Mountain brewery, meaning it was required by law to be fermented with at least 51 percent grain. Second Chance brewer Marty Mendiola added Newtopia's proprietary five-apple blend to a pale ale wort, then dry-hopped it to produce a tropically fruity beer with a juicy finish.

Place

Newtopia Cyder

10045 Carroll Canyon Road, San Diego

The playful collaboration happened to be Second Chance's first — it has yet to release a more traditional co-branded beer with another brewery. The graf was Newtopia's first collaboration as well, but the two companies have already applied the lessons they learned to a second apple-beer: Red-y-Set-Graf, made with Second Chance's Legally Red red-ale base and flavored with cinnamon and vanilla.

This time, Newtopia cofounder Rick Moreno answered with a cider version of the collaboration, blending 75 percent cider with 25 percent Legally Red and adding cranberry and red rose petals to a beer-cider blend he's calling Red Velvet.

Place

Thunderhawk Alements

8675 Miralani Drive #100, San Diego

Miramar nanobrewery Thunderhawk Alements has also gotten involved. Moreno got together with Thunderhawk founders Jonathan Barbarin and Bill Lindsay to blend what they call New Thunder Cyderweiss. Barbarin and Lindsay started with a half-wheat, half-pilsner recipe from their homebrewing days, then blended Newtopia cider and pomegranate to achieve a ratio of 20 percent juice, 80 percent grain, finished with an Abbey ale yeast to produce a crisp Belgian wheat with a tart finish.

Moreno's cider version is called Thunderheist Abbey Ale Cyder, also incorporating 25 percent of base beer, provided by Thunderhawk.

The cross-brew concept seems to have taken hold. Newtopia's already working on a third Second Chance collaboration, and another with both Maui Brewing Company and Mason Ale Works. Thunderhawk's got a beer in the works with sake brewer Josh Hembree and his Setting Sun Sake.

Meanwhile, startup Escondido mead producer Meadiocrity has teamed with Ballast Point's R&D brewery in Little Italy to produce a traditional mead-and-beer hybrid called a "braggot."

Founder Mark Oberle contributed Meadicrity's alfalfa honey to the brew called Seaside Braggot, added just after the boil so the honey would retain its characteristic esters, then flavored with ginger, lime, and thyme.

Oberle notes, "The honey with the grain gives it additional texture you don't get anywhere else." He says Meadicrity has collaborations in the works with other large local breweries. He says he hopes the exposure created by cross-brew experiments will inspire beer fans to further explore beverage alternatives. "Mead is a great product," he says, "but people don’t really seek it out if they’ve never had it before."

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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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