We officially entered the orange tier this month, but what does that mean? It means breweries can reopen indoors at 25% capacity or to 100 people, whichever is fewer. Bars that do not serve food can open outdoor patios, and restaurants are able to reopen at 50% capacity or 200 people, whichever is fewer. And they can host live entertainment.
So, in this moment things feel a bit more normal. Right? Just kidding. No one knows what is normal anymore, and that is okay. One thing that is always normal in North County is that we’ve got so much good beer here!
There is also a lot of beer news, and so much gets missed every week. Today I’m cleaning out my beer notes folder with some updates from around the region that just couldn’t find a home in another column.
- The much-acclaimed Mission Valley Craft Beer and Food Festival has announced a return for 2021. Having started in 2010, the festival has grown over the years, even adding bacon and distilling components. In my opinion, this was always one of the best-run festivals that felt like a true celebration of beer as opposed to an all-day drink-a-thon. Due to COVID-19 and a new location, this year’s event will be limited to 350 tickets. You can sign up at mvcbf.com to RSVP, and get notified when tickets are released, which is rumored to be this week.
- Bear Roots Brewing in Downtown Vista is bringing trivia back on Wednesdays starting this week and adding a comedy night in May. They aren’t the only ones. Trivia, comedy and live music events are filling calendars all over North County. Follow your favorite breweries on Instagram for updates.
- Rouleur Brewing Company recently hosted an installation ceremony and the unveiling of a new bench honoring their friend Kevin Lentz. Lentz was tragically killed in 2019 while riding his bicycle in Escondido. The bench can be found in nearby Rancho La Costa. #LentzIsMore
- For as many beer drinkers who have gotten a vaccine and driven right to the brewery for an in-person pint, there are still plenty who are a little wary of on-site drinking or events as we’re still in the shadow of COVID-19. Eppig Brewing has developed a new event just for them. They are hosting private virtual tastings with their brewers. They talk you through at least four of their beers. A cool way to engage with the award-winning brewery while staying socially distant. In real life, Eppig is hosting Frühlingsfest 2021 on Saturday, May 1, at the Vista location. The Munich beer festival-inspired event wouldn’t be complete without Eppig’s Fest Bier, which is available in giant mugs or cans to take home.
- Pure Project is also offering virtual tastings hosted by a Certified Cicerone, and the virtual can be customized with a chocolate pairing or even a virtual brewery tour, and oh yeah, their Vista location is now open!
- Congratulations to the new Saint Archer Directory of Brewery Operations, Judd Weeden. Weeden has been with the brewery since 2014, pre-dating the brewery’s acquisition by MillerCoors, and has been working his way up the ladder, most recently as head brewer. This a deserved promotion, and he fills the spot previously held Yiga Miyashiro.
- May is Brain Cancer Awareness month. Colin Gerner and his brother GJ started StacheStrong, a nonprofit charity devoted to raising funds and awareness for brain cancer research. GJ battled glioblastoma (GBM), a form of brain cancer, for 25 months, before passing at age 30 just over a year ago. This year, StacheStrong has launched its #BrewStacheStrong beer collaboration in solidarity with nearly 200 craft breweries nationwide, including San Diego’s Align Brewing. The goal of the campaign is to raise funds and much-needed awareness for brain cancer research. Over the past three years, the charity has already raised over $1,000,000 for brain cancer research. They hope to serve as a beacon of hope and support for families facing brain cancer across the globe. Check out stachestrong.org to learn more, and to see the full list of participating breweries.
- It’s already been a month since the announcement, but there is big news out of Bagby Beer in Oceanside. For the first time, they are canning beer for retail sales. They launched the new canned beer program with four beers, including three core beers: Absolutely Amber, Sweet Ride Pilsner and Worker Bee Golden Ale. The fourth offering is a re-brew of What a Time to Be Alive IPA. A fitting beer for the moment.
If you like craft beer, you probably also love a good cup of coffee. Pour a mug and check out the most recent episodes of the Roast! West Coast coffee podcast featuring interviews and coffee education with great local coffee professionals. Stream it now on The Coast News online or search for it on your favorite podcast platforms including Apple Podcasts and Spotify. Thanks for listening, and for following Cheers! North County on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.