The Coast News Group
Facing off in a beer trivia contest at My Yard Live to launch the 2019 #SDBeer Holiday Food Drive are, from left, Justin Stambaugh, owner of Stave & Nail; David Dixon, tasting room manager at Lost Abbey’s brewery tasting room; and Judith Downey, CSUSM archivist who founded the Brewchive. Photo by Bill Vanderburgh
ColumnsCraft Beer in North County

Craft Beer in North County: Breweries benefiting food bank with holiday drive

Brian Beagle, the driving force behind popular San Diego beer podcast, The Indie Beer Show, is a general contractor for a living but a craft beer lover for life. And, just like the local brewing industry, Beagle is interested not only in having a good time, but also in doing good.

That’s why, for the last six years, Beagle has supported Societe Brewing’s holiday food drive for the San Diego Food Bank. In the first five years of the drive it has collected 56,237 pounds of food. Last year’s record collection was 13,112 pounds with Beagle’s efforts bringing in 7,852 pounds of the total. The partnership has been so successful that this year Societe and Beagle officially joined forces and renamed their joint food drive the #SDBeer Holiday Food Drive, after a popular social media tag for local craft breweries.

This year’s goal is 15,000 pounds of food donated.

Beagle says, “My charitable work has always been based in feeding people. I grew up poor, often fed by programs like Share. We were a Cub/Boy Scout family so volunteering to help others became second nature to me from childhood. Currently, I have family members that are fed by Mama’s Kitchen daily, so I support them with another food drive in the summer, too.”

The #SDBeer Holiday Food Drive launched on November 13, 2019, with a game-show-style event at My Yard Live in San Marcos. Nine members of the San Diego craft beer scene (including this writer) answered trivia questions about beer and brewing, with the winner of each of three heats playing off in the final round. Proving once again that home field advantage is a real thing, My Yard Live’s own head brewer, Benjamin “Shaggy” Blaney, was the overall winner. You can hear all the fun on this week’s episode of The Indie Beer Show.

Local company Quiz Show Mania provided the game show podiums, buzzers, sound, and scoreboards. Their setup made the event feel a lot more special than a traditional bar trivia night. I can see why they are popular for company events, team building, parties and celebrations of all sorts. They can customize their game for any kind of event, including for a wide range of ages.

Well over 100 pounds of food was donated at the My Yard Live launch event, so the drive is off to a roaring start.

With 36 local breweries and bars around the county participating in 2019, it is now easier than ever to support the #SDBeer Holiday Food Drive, which runs until Dec. 31. The North County drop-off locations are:

• Encinitas: The Brewers Tap Room

• Escondido: Plan 9 Alehouse

• San Marcos: Wild Barrel Brewing, My Yard Live, Churchill’s Pub

• Oceanside: Bagby Beer Co., Black Plague Brewing

• Vista: Mother Earth Tap House (downtown Vista), Indian Joe Brewing, Belching Beaver Pub 980, Booze Brothers Brewing Co.

Some of the most needed items include canned chicken and tuna, dry and canned beans, cereal, rice, nuts and seeds, peanut butter, canned soup, canned and dried fruit, canned vegetables, powdered milk and infant formula.

In fact, Beagle points out, it is even more effective to donate cash: Every dollar donated enables the food bank to buy five healthy meals. You can make a tax-deductible cash donation to the food drive through a link on


Speaking of breweries and charities, cycling-themed Rouleur Brewing of Carlsbad (see the March beer column on them) was the beer sponsor at the seventh annual Padres Pedal the Cause on Saturday, Nov. 16. Rouleur’s session IPA called Pedaleur, brewed specifically for the event, was offered to all finishers as a perk. The community of cancer fighters including survivors, families, children, doctors and researchers participated in a one-day cycling, running, and stationary bike event starting and ending at Petco Park to raise funds for local cancer research. It was a “choose your own adventure” sort of event, with options from a 5 km run-walk, to a 25-mile cycling loop around South Bay, to 88- and 100-mile routes for experienced long-distance cyclists.


Great results for San Diego breweries at two major competitions

Results were announced on Oct. 13 for the sixth European Beer Star Competition. Two thousand four hundred and eighty-three beers were entered from a total of 47 different countries. Unsurprisingly given the venue and the focus on European beer styles, Germany dominated, with almost half the entries and 78 medals. Italy won 20, Belgium 14, and the USA brought home 26. One of the U.S. medals was a silver in the Fruit and Sour category for Eppig Brewing’s Glitz & Glam, a Berliner Weisse with cherries and raspberries, beating Germany at their own game.

San Marcos’s The Lost Abbey won a gold in the Sour Beer with Fruit category and runner-up for best-in-show for a beer called Peach Afternoon at North America’s largest and most prestigious barrel-aged beer festival and competition, The Festival of Wood- and Barrel-Aged Beer (FoBAB), held in Chicago, Nov. 8 and Nov. 9. Lost Abbey and its sub-brand Port Brewing have won at FoBAB before, including best-in-show in 2010 and 2014 and runner-up for best-in-show in 2012, plus additional medals in 2015 (silver), 2013 (bronze), 2012 (bronze), 2011 (gold), 2010 (silver), and 2009 (bronze).