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Kylie from Pure Project offers a beer at this year's San Diego Beer Guild Fest. Photo by Ryan Woldt
Kylie from Pure Project offers a beer at this year's San Diego Beer Guild Fest. Photo by Ryan Woldt
Cheers! North County Columns Food & Wine

San Diego Beer Week kicks off in Del Mar

There is also a lot of local beverage news, and so much gets missed every week. Here is your monthly round-up of updates from around the region, but first, a thought: San Diego Beer Week kicked off this past weekend with the San Diego Beer Guild Fest at the Del Mar Surf Sports Park.

I decided to attend this year’s event — not a decision I made lightly. I haven’t been to a beer festival since before the pandemic, and frankly, I’ve been to enough beer festivals to last a lifetime. However, something tugged at me just enough to commit.

Then Saturday morning, I scrolled through a mental Rolodex of excuses I could use not to attend. Nothing rang true. I gave my word.

The weather was perfect, breezy but not windy, sunny but not hot. I was cool enough for sweatshirts but not cold. The space was pretty great, too. It was wide open with plenty of room for distancing between rows with plenty of picnic tables for lounging between beer samples or eating lunch from one of the many food trucks parked just outside the entrance.

Tasting beer at quantum Brewing's stand at this year's SD Beer Guild Fest in Del Mar. Photo by Ryan Woldt
Visitors try Quantum Brewing’s Singularity Stout at this year’s SD Beer Guild Fest in Del Mar. Photo by Ryan Woldt

We arrived early for the VIP session. I strongly recommend paying the extra money, if possible, to attend beer festival VIP sessions. Not only will you get to try beers that may be gone early in the day, but you’ll also enjoy never waiting in a line and having an opportunity to talk with those pouring the beers to learn more.

Kylie from Pure Project poured my first beer, a Kolsch. It was excellent. Martin and Brett from Quantum Brewing poured my wife a pint of Singularity Stout. We cheered our glasses for the first time in a long time and began to make the rounds. I lean towards lighter beers and lagers. My wife goes for bourbon-barrel stouts and hard kombuchas.

The beers were mostly excellent. I was surprised that my day’s favorite was an IPA–the White Sage IPA from Blue Fire Brewing.

I’m already planning to visit Blue Fire in hopes that there will be more! I made sure to end the day with a Fest-astic from Bagby Brewing.

The vibes were high. We ran into old beer friends. They introduced us to new beer friends. We drank more good beer. We tried new-to-us breweries. We laughed at good jokes and bad ones.

The biggest compliment I can give the SD Beer Guild is that when we hit that threshold where we planned to leave for another Saturday event, we stayed. This may be a little weird, but like Pam Beasley at a Chili’s, we felt the love at that beer festival.

San Marcos-based Blue Fire Brewing at the 2022 SD Beer Guild Fest. Photo by Ryan Woldt
San Marcos-based Blue Fire Brewing at the 2022 SD Beer Guild Fest. Photo by Ryan Woldt

Congrats to the San Diego Beer Guild for putting on a well-run event and to the guild’s brewers for making delicious beer and helping create perfect memories.

For more Beer Week events, head to SDBeer.com and click on the events tab. The calendar is full of fun beer events, including pairings, anniversary parties, spicy hot wings panels, special beer releases, and even a Rock! Paper! Scissors contest.

The weekends at the Beer Garden with another SD Beer Guild get-together featuring 28 craft breweries and 14 chefs at the Arroyo Terrace of The Lodge at Torrey Pines. It looks like a premium end to a celebration of San Diego Beer. Tickets are available on sdbeer.com.

  • Ketch Brewing has partnered with Urban Surf 4 Kids to release a new beer to raise funds to support their mission. US4K engages with youth who’ve “experienced complex trauma to become independent adults, leaders in the community, and champions for the environment.” Learn more at urbansurf4kids.org.
  • Congrats to Vista’s Dogleg Brewing Company, which will celebrate its third anniversary on Saturday, Nov. 12, with live music, golf contests, beer releases, and BBQ.

Bagby Beer’s Low & Slow Lagerfest is November 19th. This is the event’s second year and a true showcase for the lager. The list of participating brewers is a who’s who of lager brewers, and beyond some incredible SD brewers, it includes lager specialists from outside the region that you’ll likely not be able to try anywhere.

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