San Diego’s brewing scene is booming these days, and we in North County are lucky enough to experience the best of the boom right here in our own communities. Craft breweries, also known as microbreweries, are independently owned and produce small amounts of beer, allowing for higher quality and greater individualization than traditional breweries. Perhaps nowhere is this industry growing faster than in San Diego, which has become a beer-drinker’s dream destination – and not just for the beaches any more. Local breweries have been stepping into the international spotlight with their award-winning beers. The industry’s exhilarating growth shows no sign of slowing down. In celebration of the 6th Annual San Diego Beer Week last month, we’re excited to offer an insider’s look at the best breweries North County has to offer. The craft brewers we speak to have a huge variety of differences in technique and taste, but they all share a deep-rooted passion for their products. We invite you to read along and see what the buzz is all about.
IN THIS FEATURE:
• Local Beer Tasting Cheat Sheet
• Brewery Profiles
• San Diego Beer Industry Facts
• North County Brewery & Tap Room Directory
Left Coast Brewing Co.
Left Coast Brewing Co. takes pride in brewing their quality award-winning beer. The company is a family-run business, currently spanning three generations, that values quality, stellar customer service, and taste. “We do whatever we can to take care of our customers/partners. We treat our customers like friends and part of our extended family,” shared Director of Operations Shawn Hadjis. Left Coast has been enthusiastic about community involvement and charity work since they first planted roots in Southern California. The independent brewing company began its craft in San Diego in 1995 and relocated to San Clemente about 10 years ago. The company has expanded significantly, producing beer that’s in 30 states and three countries, and brewing about 25 beers a year. “Our Left Coast beers are in Albertsons, bars, BevMo!, liquor stores, restaurants, Sprouts, Total Wine, Whole Foods, and more,” said Hadjis.
The brewing company’s commitment to excellence has definitely been noticed. Hadjis shared, “Left Coast has won many awards, from local beer festivals to the Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup.” Recent awards include Asylum Triple Belgian, Gold Medal L.A. County Fair 2013 and Silver Medal L.A. County Fair 2012, FestivalHop Juice Double IPA, Bronze Medal Winner L.A. County Fair 2013 Del Mar Street, Dortmunder Export Lager, Gold Medal L.A. County Fair 2014, and more.
Looking to the future, Left Coast Brewing hopes to produce over 15,000 barrels of beer in 2015, and will be sure to deliver the quality and style their customers expect. “We always fulfill the needs our customers crave and desire,” stated Hadjis. “We deliver trust and a promise.” Left Coast Brewing is located at 1245 and 1251 Puerta Del Sol, San Clemente, CA 92673. Visit www.leftcoastbrewing.com for more information.
The Cork & Craft
Have you ever been intimidated while beer or wine tasting because you’re surrounded by snooty “experts” who make you feel inferior? 92127’s Abnormal Company has built their business around dismantling that attitude. Co-Owners Matthew DeLoach, James Malone, and Elvin Lai, friends and fellow Poway High School graduates, have made their urban brew and wine industry business – which now includes a new beer brewery, restaurant, and expanded winery – approachable, friendly, and fun!
The owners are especially excited about their newly opened restaurant, The Cork & Craft. James shared, “We all love good food, and there’s nothing quite like a delicious meal paired with a glass of wine or craft beer. We are so excited that this adventure has now led us into the action-packed craft beer and restaurant worlds!”
Abnormal Company is also proud to soon bring its customers in-house produced beers focused on drinkability in addition to the extensive tap and bottle list they currently have. Their glass-enclosed brewery is expected to be up and running by the end of the year. Abnormal Company intends to brew during restaurant hours to provide customers with a sense of artistry and display of their craft. According to Co-Owner Matthew, the company’s beer will be “gluten-reduced, flavorful enough to sit gently on the palate, and will pair perfectly with fare offered by The Cork & Craft.” As The Cork & Craft’s mission is to elevate the concept of comfort food to a gourmet experience, this new brewery will encourage customers to think a little more about what they are drinking, try out new beer and food pairings, and dare to step out into the abnormal.
Learn more at www.thecorkandcraft.com.
DID YOU KNOW?
In 2011, brewers and brewpubs generated a $299.5 million direct economic impact in San Diego County.
The economic contribution of craft brewers is more than 1 ½ times greater than the economic impact of Comic-Con International,
San Diego’s largest annual convention.
Since 2011, the total number of craft breweries in the region has more than doubled.
The largest craft brewing event in the region is San Diego Beer Week, which features more than 500 events and lasts from early to mid-November. Beer Week brings more than 20,000 participants to San Diego County.
Sources: National University System Institute for Policy Research and the Brewers Association