SDBW 2015: San Diego Brewers Guild Festival

San Diego Beer Week the SD Brewers Guild Festival

Event Information

When: Saturday November 7, 2015

Where: Broadway Pier, San Diego

About Event

The San Diego Brewers Guild Festival signals the beginning of San Diego Beer Week. Here’s their official event announcement:

Join us for the 13th Annual San Diego Brewers Guild Festival at the Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier in downtown San Diego. This two day event is the official kickoff of San Diego Beer Week. Enjoy samples from more than 50 San Diego County breweries! The event raises funds for local charities and the San Diego Brewers Guild.

View the San Diego Brewers Guild Festival Beer Menu

San Diego Brewers Guild Festival Recap

This was our first time attending the San Diego Brewers Guild Festival, and we weren’t sure what to expect. No three factors can kill a craft beer event faster: overcrowding/long lines, pricey tickets, and poor beer selection. By our count, there were over 180 quality local beers on tap, so there was nothing to worry about there.

The $40 admission was more than fair for unlimited pours, and as soon as we saw how well managed the event was, the tickets instantly became bargain priced. Before doors opened at 2PM, the line spanned from Broadway Pier, all the way to down to the next port. But in a matter of minutes the Guild Fest staff had the whole crowd pumped through the gates, wristbanded, and provided with commemorative taster cups.

Not only did the river of people flow into the event effortlessly, but there was plenty of room to maneuver around without being jam-packed once inside. Again, the Brewers Guild executed a perfect plan to spread the attendees out, and we never waited in a beer line more than 3 people deep all day.

A majority of beer tents were up front near the entrance where the live music was, with the remainder of the breweries stationed inside the cruise terminal. Food trucks and table seating were at the back of the pier, and on that note, the New English Brewing Co Adams Avenue Imperial Porter paired great with our Kamikaze Poke Nachos we grabbed for a snack.

Thanks to their positively amazing new IPA, Hop Boxed, we made more than a few trips to the Alpine Beer Company booth for refills. The whole “Alpine beer brewed at Green Flash not being as good” thing has been beaten like a dead horse. With some of the Alpine guys there, we couldn’t help but ask them how production was going now, after the Duet and Nelson bomber releases last month, and their Pure Hoppiness 6 packs (brewed at Alpine).

Green Flash initially brewed the core Alpine recipes, and as everyone complained, they were not quite as good. As Brandon explained, it didn’t matter who tried to brew on the larger Green Flash system, it wouldn’t have turned out 100% either. There were issues getting the recipes scaled properly, but everyone can rejoice, since the Alpine crew has gotten everything back to where it should be.

Here’s some other quick notes and happenings from the SDBW Brewers Guild Festival:

  • We ran into San Diego Padres writer, Corey Brock, and ended up talking some sports, kids, and beer. Luckily we were parked right next to Benchmark and Mother Earth Brewing for quick and easy refills.
  • Mike Hess Brewing was pouring beer from their new “Open Mike” pull-top cans. Unfortunately they didn’t invent this patented technology, but feel more breweries should be using it. After seeing how they work, we couldn’t agree more! Look for 6 packs (now boxed) of these new technologically advanced pint cans on shelves real soon.
  • Our dog loves spent grain treats, and lucky for her the Doggie Beer Bones company was in attendance, selling bags of Stone Bones.
  • Karl Strauss Brewmaster Paul Segura came over to the BNS booth to check out their award winning Revolver IPA. We weren’t able to snap a pic in time, but he was smiling, nodding, and smacking his lips, so he must have really enjoyed their work. Cool to see…

This was an awesome event, and so well done, it’s a no-brainer to give  one of the Brewers Guild’s other two official San Diego Beer Week events a shot next year — either the VIP Fest, or the Beer Garden with food pairings.

Exclusives on Tap

Without a doubt San Diego is an IPA town, so we wanted to be sure and review some India Pale Ales that were completely new to us at Guild Fest:

  • Revolver IPA: 5/5

    5 Stars

    So glad we got to try this GABF 2015 Gold Medal winner! It’s called revolver, since the beer was always brewed with an unset rotation of hops. BNS sent it to GABF with Citra and Simcoe, but they won’t be changing the recipe ever again. A crisp, light bodied IPA with huge hop flavor.

  • Hop Boxed IPA: 5/5

    5 Stars

    The best beer of the day — a 5+. Alpine brews it with the same malt bill as Duet, and replaces Amarillo and Simcoe with Mosaic and Citra. This ale was about as West Coast IPA as you can get, with a crystal clear body, tropical fruitiness up front, and intense tongue stinging hop bitterness in the end. Our kind of IPA…

  • Ipanema Double IPA: 4/5

    4 Stars

    Novo Brazil is one of the newer SD breweries, and this was our first beer of theirs. This fruit forward DIPA made a solid impression with its lightweight body, and clean drying finish. Although it was getting to the end of the day, it seemed to hide its 8.3% ABV fairly well.

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