As of mid-August, it's easier to take Bagby Beer home with you.
A good beer is never hard to find in San Diego, but recent developments have made it easier to stock your fridge with a few of the city’s most highly sought brews.
Sore Eye Cup winner Treevana IPA soon to be available year-round in cans.
Photo courtesy Burgeon Beer Company / Jimmy Gekas Photography
Burgeoning year-round cans
Last month, the Burgeon Beer Company IPA, Treevana, won the coveted Sore Eye Cup, an annual contest organized by Indie Beer Show podcaster Brian Beagle. Fans vote for their favoarrelrite regularly produced San Diego beers, then a judging panel assesses the top ten to identify the current best beer in the city.
The Carlsbad brewery has elected to make the beer its first year-round core release in cans. Helping it do so will be a new, state of the art canning line and the addition of a 60-barrel fermenting tank.
Burgeon has steadily grown its local footprint since opening in late 2016, aided by a mobile canning operation and fast-selling, limited runs of Treevana and other, similarly well-received IPAs. Consequently, a waiting list of beer retailers want Burgeon cans, and cofounder Matthew Zirpolo notes the new equipment will allow Burgeon to double its retail production, for starters.
Several other local breweries have recently added canning lines to their operations, allowing their own core favorites to regularly stocked local retail shops. Council Brewing Company got one when they purchased a second-hand brewhouse in Santee — look for its Bully Pulpit IPA.
In Vista, Bear Roots Brewing Company recently purchased its own equipment, and will introduce three core beers, beginning with Bear Cookie chocolate peanut butter stout. Cans will be in taprooms to start, in retailers as the very small brewery’s capacity grows.
Miramar’s Duck Foot Brewing Company also graduated from mobile canning to its own equipment this spring, and has ramped up distribution of several of its gluten-reduced beers, including Duckzilla IIPA and the honey ale, Drink This or the Bees Die.
Good crowler news
Mobile canning or otherwise, the vast majority of San Diego breweries package their beers in 16-ounce cans these days. But two of our very best have notably chosen not to, preferring to serve beers from the tap to ensure freshness.
So this summer has provided great news for fans of Societe Brewing Company and Bagby Beer Company. Both have introduced crowler fills, allowing guests to take home on-demand, 32-ounce cans of their favorite beers without having to tote around a growler.
I find the 32-ounce format ideal for easy-drinking Societe lager The Baroness, but most visitors to the Kearny Mesa brewery will probably relish the chance to take home county-favorite Pupil IPA. Meanwhile, Oceanside's Bagby celebrated the move with a new, crowler-friendly beer release: Copycat, a hoppy ale created in homage to everybody’s first favorite microbrew: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.
Societe recommends consuming crowler fills within 48 hours, while Bagby suggests doing so “as soon as possible.”
Smaller barrel bottles
Miramar brewer AleSmith has won countless awards for big, bourbon barrel-aged beers, and long sold 750ml bottles of them. However, being relatively expensive bottles (over $30) of particularly potent beer (over 12-percent), to justify opening a large format bottle requires a small gathering. In other words, “This size was ideal for cellaring beer and sharing with friends but could be intimidating for single serve use.” So said AleSmith owner Peter Zien in announcing the new release of small format barrel aged beers.
The brewery has started offering less-intimidating 11.2-ounce bottles of a Barrel-Aged Cinnamon Vanilla Speedway Stout and the 2018 Barrel-Aged Old Numbskull. Weighing in at 13- and 12-percent respectively, the large beers in smaller bottles are being offered in packs of two at the brewery’s Miramar tasting room, priced at $27 per mix and match pair.