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Several North County craft breweries were invited to Collabapalooza on Oct. 19 in North Park, a festival focused on beers brewed as collaborations between breweries. Photo by Bill Vanderburgh
ColumnsCraft Beer in North County

Craft Beer in North County: 11th annual San Diego Beer Week approaching

This week’s column comes in two parts: A preview of the biggest annual event in San Diego beer, the San Diego Brewers Guild’s Beer Week; and news about breweries and tasting rooms coming soon to North County.

San Diego Beer Week (SDBW)

The San Diego Brewers Guild’s 11th annual celebration of our amazing craft beer scene will run Nov. 1 to Nov. 10. The signature events are the Guild Fest from 2 to 5 p.m. Nov. 2 at Embarcadero Marina Park North in Downtown San Diego, and the Beer Garden at The Lodge at Torrey Pines, Nov. 10, noon to 3 p.m. Both of those are large beer festivals with many participating breweries, showcasing the best of the county.

Collabapalooza, hosted by Karl Strauss Brewing, was a preview of San Diego Beer Week. Photo by Bill Vanderburgh

As a warm-up, this past weekend Karl Strauss Brewing hosted Collabapalooza in North Park, an annual event for which 40 breweries paired up to brew one-off collaboration beers that you can’t find anywhere else. Once again, it was a wonderful event — worthy of having won West Coaster Magazine’s “Best Beer Fest” in the reader’s poll the last two years running.

At 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 1, a San Diego Beer Week “County-Wide Kick-Off Toast” will be live streamed to officially launch the festivities. You can participate at any of a large number of bars and breweries.

Two events that stand out in this year’s SDBW line-up are:

• Nov. 7, 5:30 to 10 p.m. The Pink Boots Society’s Ladies Arm Wrestling Benefit Event at Kairoa Brewing Company, University Heights. If you’ve seen the Netflix show “GLOW,” or WWE, or lucha libre, or campy roller derby, well, this looks like it is going to be all of that. The Pink Boots Society is an international nonprofit that supports women working in the brewing industry.

• Nov. 3, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Modern Times’ Point Loma brewery will host the fourth annual “Danksauce and Dogs” dog show, where prizes will be awarded for Best Smile, Best Dressed, Can Do a Trick, Celebrity Look Alike, and Best Strut. Up to 50 dogs can enter online. Humans get in for free.

There are a huge number of other official and unofficial SDBW events happening, far too many to list all of them here. See the San Diego Brewers Guild events page for more: Note that some events are ticketed and that some of those will sell out.

Here are a few of the more unusual events being hosted during SDBW 2019:

• Nov. 2: Guadalupe Brewery Taphouse, Vista, “Día de los Muertos Reception and Art Exhibition,” 3 to 9 p.m.

• Nov. 5: Home Brewing Co., North Park, “Off-Flavors Workshop,” 6 to 8 p.m.

• Nov. 6 Stone Brewing Oceanside Tap Room, “Meet and Greet with founder Greg Koch,” 6 to 8 p.m.

• Nov 6-7: Abnormal Beer Co. in Rancho Bernardo, “Cellar Bottle Pours” rare beer tastings, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

• Nov. 8: Stone Brewing’s World Bistro and Gardens will again host its celebration of stouts, porters and their variants at “DRK Fest,” 7 to 11 p.m.

• Nov 9-10 Legacy Brewing, Oceanside, “Punk Rock Food Drive,” 1pm-midnight

• Nov 9: Til Two Club, Mid-City, “Brewery Drag Show,” a charity benefit for the LGBTQ protest/performance group Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, plus music. Starts 7 p.m. and goes late.

• Nov. 10: Second Chance Beer Co., Carmel Mountain Ranch, “Hands-On Sauerkraut Workshop and Beer Pairing,” noon to 2 p.m.

Update on North County breweries, tasting rooms

They don’t call Highway 78 “The Hops Highway” for nothing. Currently, there are 54 breweries and 11 satellite tasting rooms in the Coast News coverage area. But North County is about to experience a boom in craft beer like never before.

Eight breweries and eight tasting rooms have publicly announced plans to open in North County. My best guess based on the information available at the moment is that about ten of those will open within the next seven months.

If all 16 come to fruition, that will be a 25% increase over the current the number of North County craft beer locations.

So far in 2019, North County has already seen the openings of seven locations: Carlsbad Brewing Company (Bressi Ranch), Kilowatt Brewery and Provisions (Oceanside), Stave & Nail Brewing Co. (San Marcos), Guadalupe Brewing’s Taphouse (Vista), My Yard Live (San Marcos), Little Miss (Escondido), and Eppig Beer Co. (Vista).

Two breweries so far have closed in 2019: Midnight Jack in Oceanside, and the Mason Ale Works/URGE location in Oceanside.

Opening in the next few weeks will be Lost Abbey’s San Elijo tasting room and Dogleg Brewing in Vista.

By spring 2020, Pure Project will open a tasting room in Carlsbad; Booze Brothers will open an event space in Vista and a tasting room in Oceanside; and Karl Strauss is planning a small, experimental brewery in San Marcos. When the SkyDeck project opens in Del Mar, probably in spring 2020, two breweries, Northern Pine and Rough Draft, are slated to be part of it. Plus, commercial real estate company H.G. Fenton is currently building another Brewery Igniter in Oceanside that will house two breweries that have not yet been named.