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Craft Beer in North County: Carlsbad breweries team up for beer festival batch

In anticipation of the 6th annual Carlsbad Brewfest in Holiday Park on Sept. 7, all seven craft breweries with tasting rooms in Carlsbad collaborated to create a beer called Carlsbad Collective IPA (India Pale Ale).

The beer festival, organized by the Carlsbad Hi Noon Rotary Club, raises money for regional charities. This year, the focus is on Bikes for the Barrio. The beer fest will feature more than 40 breweries serving more than 80 beers, ciders, and kombuchas. Music, entertainment, games, and food venders will round out the event.

The collaborating breweries are Arcana Brewing Co., Burgeon Beer Company, Culver Beer Co., Karl Strauss Brewing Carlsbad, Para Marce’s Cerveceria, Pizza Port Carlsbad Village and Rouleur Brewing Company.

Mike Stevenson, co-owner and head brewer at Culver, remarked that everyone was eager to be involved. “The Carlsbad Beer Festival is in our hometown and is run by one of the Rotary Clubs. It’s mostly North County locals showing up. We see a lot of regulars and we also get to introduce ourselves to people who may not have heard of us.”

The brewers gathered at Rouleur in mid-August to brew. This is an unusually large collaboration. While it might seem having seven brewers could lead to a “too many cooks” problem, there was clear consensus to do an IPA. Recipe design was hashed out over email.

Collaboration is a key to the success of San Diego brewing in general. That spirit of mutual support and cooperation is a big reason the San Diego brewing scene is what it is today.

Karl Strauss Brewing Co., which started the craft beer movement in San Diego in 1989, believes in collaboration so much that they host an annual Collabapalooza beer festival, for which over 50 breweries pair up to brew one-off “collabs.”

Collaboration helps breweries in several ways. Not only do the brewers get to hang out with their friends, they also learn from each other. And, Stevenson notes, the cross-marketing helps bring attention to all the breweries.

Brewers informally working together is even more common than formal collaborations: Brewers are usually very willing to share knowledge and even to help each other when immediate needs for equipment and ingredients come up. You also find this collective spirit in local homebrewing clubs, where everyone helps make everyone better. The good of each is the good of all.

People coming together for the common good is one of Rotary’s guiding ideas, too. Rotary is an international service organization devoted to promoting prosperity and peace.

Carlsbad Collective IPA was brewed with malts from an environmentally aware malting company, Proximity Malts, and hopped with Citra, Mosaic, Nelson and Strata hops. The result will be a West Coast IPA that will be full-bodied, complex, not overly bitter, and featuring fruity, floral, and piney flavors and aromas. It will be 6.7% ABV in honor of Carlsbad’s 67th anniversary.

Carlsbad Collective IPA will be released at the Carlsbad Brewfest and will be on tap at a few bars around Carlsbad. They brewed a 10-barrel batch — that’s less than 2,500 pints, so it won’t last long.


What: Carlsbad Brewfest

When: Saturday, Sept. 7, noon to 4:30 p.m., rain or shine.

Where: Holiday Park, 3400 Pio Pico, Carlsbad, CA 92008.

Parking: Very limited. Get dropped off, carpool, or take Lyft. Valet bicycle parking available.

Cost: $75 VIP Admission for noon entry, $55 General Admission for 1 p.m. entry.

Other: No pets, no one under 21 admitted (sorry, no kids).