The Coast News Group
Guests of the Rhythm & Brews Festival received a 2-oz. glass for tasting. PHOTO SULLIVAN
Guests of the Rhythm & Brews Festival received a 2-oz. glass for tasting. PHOTO SULLIVAN

SD Brewers Guild brings rhythm, brews to Vista

VISTA —  Craft beer is big business, and it’s bigger in San Diego than anywhere else in the world. The 78 corridor in particular has affectionately been renamed “The Hop Highway,” due to the proliferation of the craft beer industry throughout Oceanside, Vista and San Marcos.  So it’s no surprise that downtown Vista was transformed last week, into the sixth annual Rhythm & Brews Festival.

The festival is one of many events put on by the San Diego Brewers Guild, and proceeds go to fund both the guild itself as well as a new nonprofit each year. This year, the recipient organization was the Brazilian Institute for Arts and Culture, in San Diego.

Hundreds of people came out to enjoy the Rhythm & Brews Festival. Photo: Adam Sullivan
Hundreds of people came out to enjoy the Rhythm & Brews Festival. Photo: Adam Sullivan

“As the San Diego Brewers Guild’s spring bookend event, Rhythm & Brews is part of its mission to promote awareness and visibility of San Diego’s growing craft beer industry and unite breweries through events,” an unnamed representative from the San Diego Brewer’s Guild, said. “The fall bookend event is San Diego Beer Week, which is an unparalleled 10-day celebration that features over 500 brewery sponsored events and kicks off with the VIP Brewer Takeover and Guild Fest at the Broadway Pier. Both events provide craft beer enthusiasts with unprecedented access to brewers, tastes of specialty beers and education.”

This year, San Diego Beer Week will run from Nov. 3 through Nov. 12.

More than 50 breweries both local and faraway set up booths, tents and marketing stations to talk shop; and in this industry, that means “tasting.” Visitors were fitted with wristbands, given two-ounce tasting glasses and encouraged to hop booth to booth, sampling the latest and greatest from breweries both big and small.

Washing stations were positioned throughout the event for tasters to rinse their glasses as they imbibed.

Looming clouds and inclement weather didn’t dissuade hundreds of people from enjoying the event. Jen Delapa has been attending North County beer festivals for a decade. “We look forward to events like this every year,” she said. “It’s a great way to find your new favorite beer, and to see who’s brewing in your own back yard.”

Allen Park attended both as a fan, and as a freelance beer reviewer: “The fest is a great showcase of some of the best craft beer that North County has to offer. With something like a 100-plus breweries in this county, a lot of really great breweries fall through the cracks; festivals like this give them the attention and opportunities they deserve.”

One of the brands new to the backyard is Black Plague Brewing (the brand officially launched the night before Rhythm & Brews). Brand Director Jordan Hoffart said the event was a positive experience. “The reaction for us has been overwhelmingly positive,” he said. “We went on Yelp right away and we got 13 reviews, and we were already rated 4.12 on Untapped. “

Terry Little is the owner of Vista’s Bear Roots Brewing. “It was great,” he said. “It’s the only North County event that is a representation of all the North County breweries — it really shows the unity we have up here.” Little brought his Bear Cookie and Scotch Ale brews to the event.

“We had a really good showing,” he said. “Lots of vendor support.” The weather didn’t seem to bother Little, either. If anything, he said it brought an advantage. “When it’s a little murky, it gives people time to tone it down, talk to each other. People don’t seem to be in such a rush.”

In addition to the tasting, three local bands were tapped to provide some entertainment: Up-and-coming musician Ashley Hollander, the Tighten-Ups and POD played back-to-back sets on the stage provided by FM94-9 radio. And of course, no worthy beer festival is without food. Popular food trucks dotted the perimeter to offer snacks and meals, including Currywurst Frankfurters, Cousins Maine Lobster and more.

Asked if Black Plague would attend in 2018, Hoffart said: “Absolutely. We’d do it just to support the guild — it’s a no-brainer.”

  1. 2Kids Brewing (Miramar)
  2. 32 North Brewing Company (Miramar)
  3. Alesmith Brewing Company (Miramar)
  4. Amplified Aleworks (Pacific Beach)
  5. Arcana Brewing (Carlsbad)
  6. Aztec Brewing Company (Vista)
  7. Backstreet Brewing (Vista)
  8. Barrel Harbor Brewing (Vista)
  9. Bear Republic Brewing (Cloverdale)
  10. Bear Roots Brewing (Vista)
  11. Belching Beaver (Vista)
  12. Benchmark Brewing (San Diego)
  13. Black Plague Brewing (Oceanside)
  14. Boochcraft (Chula Vista)
  15. Booze Brothers Brewing Company (Vista)
  16. Burgeon Beer Company (Carlsbad)
  17. Burning Beard (El Cajon)
  18. Coronado IPA (Coronado)
  19. Council Brewing (San Diego)
  20. Culture Brewing Company (Solana Beach)
  21. Culver Beer Company (Carlsbad)
  22. Dos Desperados Brewery (San Marcos)
  23. Ebullition Brew Works (Vista)
  24. Eppig Brewing (San Diego)
  25. Fallbrook Brewing Company (Fallbrook)
  26. Firestone Walker Brewing Company (Paso Robles)
  27. Golden State (Santa Clara)
  28. Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant (Palo Alto)
  29. Green Flash and Alpine Beer Company (Miramar)
  30. Groundswell Brewing Company (Santee)
  31. Guadalupe Brewing (Carlsbad)
  32. Indian Joe Brewing (Vista)
  33. Intergalactic Brewing Company (San Diego)
  34. Karl Strauss Brewing Company (San Diego)
  35. Latitude 33 (Vista)
  36. Legacy Brewing (Oceanside)
  37. Lost Coast Brewing (Eureka)
  38. Mason Ale Works (San Marcos)
  39. Midnight Jack Brewing Company (Oceanside)
  40. Mike Hess Brewing (Miramar)
  41. Mission Brewery (San Diego)
  42. Modern Times (San Diego)
  43. Mother Earth Brewing Company (Vista)
  44. NOVO Brazil Brewing Co. (Chula Vista)
  45. Oggi’s Pizza & Brewing Co (Encinitas)
  46. Pizza Port Brewing Company (Solana Beach)
  47. Prohibition Brewing Company (Vista)
  48. Pure Project (Miramar)
  49. Resident Brewing Company (San Diego)
  50. Rock Bottom La Jolla (La Jolla)
  51. Rouleur Brewing Company (Carlsbad)
  52. San Diego Brewing Company (San Diego)
  53. San Marcos Brewing Company (San Marcos)
  54. Second Chance Beer Company (San Diego)
  55. Sierra Nevada Brewing Company (Chico)
  56. Stone Brewing (Escondido)
  57. The Lost Abbey (Cardiff)
  58. Thorn Street Brewery (San Diego)
  59. Toolbox Brewing Company (Vista)
  60. Wavelength Brewing Company (Vista)
  61. White Labs (Miramar)
  62. Wiseguy Brewing Company (Carlsbad)