TR Robertson ….. Saturday in Downtown Historic Vista was once again the scene of The San Diego Brewers Guild annual North County beer festival known as the Rhythm and Brews Festival. Cloudy skies and a little misty rain did not stop hundreds attendees from enjoying tastes from over 50 different San Diego County craft brewers. This year’s event was set-up a little differently than last year with the entrance next to the Belching Beaver on Broadway and the event also using the new parking lot recently opened in Downtown Vista. A large stage set-up in the parking lot featured music throughout the festival. Many of the attendees entered at noon with VIP passes costing a little more for early entrance. The remaining people would begin entering at 1 pm with the festival lasting until 4 pm.
Music on the stage was provided by Ashley Hollander from 12:30 until 1:30, followed by Tighten Ups from 2 to 2:30 and ending with POD from 3 until 4 pm. All of the groups are local musicians with Grammy nominated POD playing for events for over two decades. As festival attendees wandered through the streets, over 50 craft brewers offered a variety of tastings served into two ounce plastic tasting glasses. Many of the breweries in attendance are located along the Hops Highway of Highway 78, but many came from as far away as Chula Vista. One of the interesting things to do at the festival is to not only taste the samples, but to look at the unique names given to the various beers. Beers of every style and design were offered ranging from IPA’s to Stouts to Ales to Browns to Creams to Wheats and Belgians. All kinds of fruit combinations were in some of the beers as well as coffees, vanilla, and rice. Anything you can imagine is being used in the production of new beer tastes for the craft beer business.
Photos by Philippe Carre www.bountyphotographie.com
The following is a sample of some of the craft beer breweries at the festival and some of the names of the beer selections they were serving. A complete list of the breweries in attendance and what they were serving is available on line at the San Diego Rhythm & Brews web site.
- Amplified Ale works – Electrocution IPA
- Backstreet Brewing – Wiretapped DIPA
- Belching Beaver – Beavers Milk Stout
- Benchmark Brewing – Here’s Your Damn Stout
- Booze Brothers Brewing Company – SunUp Stout w/coffee & vanilla
- Burning Beard – Get Thee to a Monastery – Belgian Dubbel
- Culver Beer Company – fish Face – Berliner Weiss
- Dos Desperados – Most Wanted Citra IPA
- Eppig Brewing – Glitz and Glam Berliner Weiss w/Raspberry Cherry
- Bear Roots Brewing – Chocolate Peanut Butter Stout & Bear Heart Scotch Ale
- Fallbrook Brewing – Pretty Fly for No Rye
- Indian Joe Brewing – Berries n’ Burbs
- Intergalactic Brewing – Your Worshipfulness Peach Krystal Weizen
- Latitude 33 – Lifted Embargo IPA
- Legacy Brewing – The Chesty Irish Red on Nitro
- Mother Earth Brewing – Power of Love and Barrel Aged Quit Stalin
- NOVO Brazile Brewing – Corvo Negro Imperial Stout
- Oggi’s Pizza & Brewing – Hoppily Ever After IPA
- Pure Project – Sensei – Kolsch Style w/rice
- Resident Brewing – Walk of Shame
- San Marcos Brewing – Pompous Ass
- Second Chance Beer Company – Seize the Coffee IPA
- Thorn Street Brewery – Far Far Away IPA
- Midnight Jack Brewing – Catalina Coconut Porter
- Rock Bottom La Jolla – Surfer’s Solitude Red Ale
- San Diego Brewing Company – Lemon Lavender Kombucha
- White Labs – White Labs Amber Lager w/WLP860 Old Bavarian Lager Yeast
- Wiseguy Brewing – Smooth Operator German Pilsner
Photos by Chris Robertson
At each of the brewers tents, owners and servers were more than enthusiastic to explain what went into their beers, the brewing process and would answer any questions they were asked. In speaking with the brewers we received updates on some of the changes going on with the various brewers. For example, Green Flash and Alpine Brewing have now merged, but will keep the Alpine Brewing name and logo. Several of the breweries sell products to the public for those interested in brewing beer at their homes. Vista’s Bear Roots sells everything needed for starting the beer brewing process and also gives classes in the process. White Labs off of Miramar Road sells some of the products needed in the beer producing process, such as yeast. Many of the breweries are completing their first year of existence, such as Midnight Jack from Oceanside and many have been around for quite some time, such as Stone Brewing and San Marcos Brewery. San Marcos Brewery produces Great Goats, in existence for over 24 years and was the 5th micro-brewery to start in San Diego County.
A number of other businesses and food vendors were at the festival. The San Diego State University College of Extended Studies had a tent and handouts explaining their Craft Beer Professional Certification program. Many of the local brewers are on the Advisory Board. One very interesting and tasty company in attendance was So Rich Chocolates and owner Johna Nilson offering artisan handmade chocolates that are paired with various types of beers. These can also be paired with wine and the company offers chocolates which can be used for weddings, bridal and baby showers and other events.
There was no shortage of food selections available. Up Skewerz sold pork, chicken and steak on a stick with a variety of sauces available. Best Nachos Ever offered nachos with a multitude of sauces and other items. The Food trucks available included Cousins Maine Lobster with lobster in anything from soup to sandwiches; the Original German Food Truck with brats and other German food selections, and Criscito Pizza with a variety of pizza selections. We tried a delicious pizza from Scugnizzi Neapolitan Pizza made by Chef Augusto Folliero, from Naples, Italy, who has been making pizza in the U.S. for the last 4 years. Our pesto pizza covered in arugula and shaved parm was very tasty.
Two other companies in attendance were Sonic Tonic Drink Company and Kabir Gambhir specializing in craft cascara tonics infused with ginger who have combined with Global Coffee Trading and Dave Bacon. Go to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or email@example.com .Global Coffee provides the coffee products used by many of the brewers who add coffee to their beer selections. Another company at the festival was CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) a farm fresh to you delivery service used by many people in San Diego County. For more information on this group go to www.farmfreshtoyou.com .
Proceeds from the festival benefit the San Diego Brewers Guild, the nonprofit that works to support the county’s innovative brewing community as well as the Brazilian Institute for Arts and Culture, an organization whose mission is to facilitate the education of Brazilian arts and culture to the community. There are numerous Silver, Bronze and Media sponsors for the event. All of these can be found at the Rhythm & Brews web site.
SD Brewers Guild sponsors several brew festivals in San Diego County. Brew Festivals is a great way to experience a variety of breweries offerings and to find out about what makes their beers different from other breweries. It is also a great chance to try different beer styles and find out more about the process. The Rhythm & Brew Festival is the largest beer festival in North County and those attending continue to rave about the event and the breweries involved.