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As I keep reminding readers, though prevalent in San Diego, craft beer as an industry is still in its infancy. There is still a large percentage of consumers that have yet to even taste their first craft beer, and an even larger percentage of the populous that, though having had a Ballast Point, Karl Strauss, or Stone beer, still don’t understand the difference between craft and macro.

Truth is, the majority of Americans—even San Diegans—have no idea there’s a movement going on regarding the manufacture of beer backed by heart and marked by quality. But, over the past few years, there has been one local who not only took notice of the rise of craft suds in America’s Finest City, but took steps to help champion it at a high level—Jerry Sanders.

Last night at Monkey Paw Pub & Brewery (805 16th Street, East Village), the San Diego craft beer community celebrated his contributions to their cause, throwing a going away party for the outgoing mayor. The event was as warm as the beer was cold. The compliments and well wishes flowed as freely as Jerry’s Farewell, a special beer Sanders helped brew with Monkey Paw brewer Derek Freese. That beer was infused with vanilla beans as well as cacao nibs and coffee procured from local businesses Eclipse and Caffé Calabria.

Rolling up his sleeves to assist in bringing Jerry’s Farewell to life marked Sanders' introduction to brewing, however, after receiving a gift from the folks at Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits’ Home Brew Mart (5401 Linda Vista Road, Linda Vista)—a homebrewing kit complete with the recipe and all of the ingredients he’ll need to craft up his own five-gallon batch of Jerry’s Farewell—that all might change (despite Sanders’ comment that he’ll probably screw it up).

In accepting this present, Sanders, who is making the move from the mayor’s office to his new post with the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, reminded the brewers he’s been supportive of during his tenure that there are still people at the City who believe in the job- and revenue-generating power of local brewing companies and will continue to assist commercial brewers in getting facilities open in a timely manner.

But will they show up to tap casks at brewery openings and San Diego Beer Week’s annual San Diego Brewers Guild Festival, as Sanders has? Filner, these are the types of opportunities you won’t want to pass up (just sayin’)! Highlight of last night’s festivities—being able to not only take, but publish a photo of Sanders drinking a beer. Drink in that imagery, or drink in Jerry’s Farewell, which will remain on-tap while supplies last.

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