San Diego

San Diego Brewers Collaborate on ‘Capital of Craft' IPA

Founding members of the San Diego Brewers Guild gathered Friday to brew a new beer, which will be introduced to enthusiasts in about a month

Some of San Diego’s biggest names in craft beer gathered Friday to do what they do best: brew a brew – a special collaborative IPA honoring the rich beer history of America’s Finest City.

Founding members of the San Diego Brewers Guild (SDBG) – including Coronado Brewing Co., Karl Strauss, Pizza Port, Stone Brewing, San Diego Brewing Co., AleSmith and San Marcos Brewery and Grill – met at Coronado Brewing Co. to partake in the creation of a San Diego-style IPA dubbed “Capital of Craft.”

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The brew will be introduced to craft beer enthusiasts, on tap, throughout San Diego County, beginning Nov. 3 – the first day of San Diego Beer Week 2017.

The IPA aims to celebrate the camaraderie of San Diego’s thriving craft beer community and the 20th anniversary of the founding of the SDBG, which currently boasts more than 140 member breweries.

Developer H.G. Fenton Company’s program, Brewery Igniter, leases fully equipped “turnkey breweries” to local microbrewers that come with everything needed to open a small beer business. NBC 7’s Monica Garske takes a look at two brewhouses, Pure Project and Amplified Ale Works, who have tapped into the program.

Joined by other members of the guild, the founding brewers got to work around 10 a.m. brewing the 60-barrel batch of Capital of Craft. The 7 percent BAC recipe was made with ingredients donated by SDBG members White Labs, BSG Craft Brewing and Star B Ranch and Hop Farm.

The brewers began by creating the mash, combining crushed malts with hot water in a mash tun. A few hours later, the hops were added to the kettle. Soon enough, the suds will be ready for a toast.

Rick Chapman, president and co-founder of Coronado Brewing Co., said that when he started his company with his brother in 1996, they had no idea San Diego’s craft beer industry would grow the way it has.

“It just boomed,” he told NBC 7.

But, Chapman admitted, it’s never been an easy business – especially at the beginning.

“For the first 10 years it was harder than heck to get anyone to try a craft beer,” he explained. “But we kept pounding the pavement and getting more consumers and retailers on board with it and it just kind of snowballed.”

Chapman said there have been slower times over the course of Coronado Brewing Co.’s 21-year life, but the last five years have been very busy as more people recognize San Diego as a capital of craft beer.

He said that today, it’s easier to start a successful brewery in San Diego because original craft brewers have broken, so many barriers and city is very supportive of the robust industry.

Jill Davidson, president of the SDBG, said San Diego’s craft brewing industry began with a collaborative spirit – and it’s that same spirit that keeps it developing today.

Though the industry boasts more brewers and competition than ever, Davidson said, at its core, craft brewing is about raising a glass with your friends and trying new things.

“We’re in the business of drinking beer with our friends, so it’s more of friendly competition,” said Davidson. “And you can only drink so much of your own beer.”

With San Diego on the map as a “brand for beer,” Davidson said all brewers must work hard to elevate their quality of suds – and keep it up there – to represent America’s Finest City well.

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To learn more about the SDBG and the spirit of San Diego’s growing beer scene, click here.

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