Saturday, October 8, 2016

San Diegan Brewers Earn 18 Medals at the 2016 Great American Beer Festival

San Diego brewers delivered a strong performance at the 2016 GABF, with winning 18 medals. Most of the winners were industry veterans, but there were a few surprises. 
Karl Strauss outshined its compatriots in this year's medals, taking two gold and two silver. Alesmith took a respectable gold medal for its Old Numskull barleywine. New English, Rip Current, Societe, and BNS made encore appearances.
There were a few new kids on the block, with Pure Project taking a bronze and Duckfoot taking a silver.
Notably absent were Lost Abbey and Pizza Port, which usually make a strong showing at the GABF, but with competition increasing exponentially every year, the big guys will inevitably have to make room for the new.
In past years, San Diego has made a similarly great showing, with 19 medals in 2015, 14 in 2014, 14 in 2013, 15 in 2012, and 20 in 2011.

Here is the list of winners:
Gold Medals
Category 24, American-Style Sour Ale: Queen of Tarts by Karl Strauss Brewing Company
Category 41, Bohemian-Style Pilsener: Sweet Ride by Bagby Beer
Category 48, Bock: Breakline Bock by Rip Current Brewing
Category 61, American-Style Amber/Red Ale: Prospector Red Ale by BNS Brewing & Distilling Co.
Category 70, American-Style Brown Ale: Brown by Culture Brewing Co- Solana Beach.
Category 74, South German-Style Hefeweizen: Windansea Wheat by Karl Strauss Brewing Company.
Category 87, Robust Porter: Tabula Rasa Toasted Porter by Second Chance Beer Company.
Category 96, Barley Wine-Style Ale: Old Numskull by AleSmith Brewing Company.
Silver Medals
Category 8, Chili Beer: The Contender by Duck Foot Brewing Company.
Category 16, Session Beer: Oatmeal Stout by Benchmark Brewing Company.
Category 93, Imperial Stout: Gatling Gun Imperial Stout by BNS Brewing & Distilling Co..
Bronze Medals
Category 12, Coffee Beer: Zumbar Chocolate Coffee Imperial Stout by New English Brewing.
Category 17, Session India Pale Ale: Mosaic Session IPA by Karl Strauss Brewing Company.
Category 53, English-Style Summer Ale: Liquid AC by Karl Strauss Brewing Company.
Category 58, American-Style Strong Pale Ale: HFS by Alpine Beer Company.
Category 66, Extra Special Bitter: Mother Earth ESB by Mother Earth Brew Co.
Category 81, Belgian-Style Lambic or Sour Ale: Roses Red by Pure Project
Category 90, American-Style Stout: The Volcanist by Societe Brewing Company.

Here is a list of the last (2015) year's winners:
Very Small Brewery of the Year: Rip Current Brewing Co., San Marcos

Gold Medals
Coffee Beer: Zumbar Chocolate Coffee Imperial Stout, New English Brewing Co., Sorrento Valley
India Pale Ale: Revolver IPA, BNS Brewing & Distilling Co., Santee
Session India Pale Ale: The Coachman, Societe Brewing Co., Kearny Mesa
Wood & Barrel-Aged Sour Beer: Veritas 015, The Lost Abbey, San Marcos
American-Belgo-Style Ale: Le Freak, Green Flash Brewing Co., Mira Mesa
Bock: Break Line Bock, Rip Current Brewing Co., San Marcos

Silver Medals
Scotch Ale: Black Lagoon Scottish Strong, Rip Current Brewing Co., San Marcos
Oatmeal Stout: Scripps Pier Stout, South Park Brewing Co., South Park

Bronze Medals
Coffee Beer: Bacon & Eggs, Pizza Port, Ocean Beach
Session Beer: Guillaume, Pizza Port, Ocean Beach
International-Style Pale Ale: San Diego-style IPA, Karl Strauss Brewing Co., La Jolla
Imperial India Pale Ale: Teahupo’o, Breakwater Brewing Co., Oceanside
American-Style Amber/Red Ale: Shark Bite Red, Pizza Port Bressi Ranch, Carlsbad
Double Red Ale: GRAMBO, Pizza Port, Solana Beach
French- & Belgian-Style Saison: Saison, URBN St. Brewing Co., El Cajon
Other Belgian-Style Ale: Witty Moron, Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens, Liberty Station
Export Stout: Z-Man Stout, Pizza Port, Carlsbad
South German-Style Hefeweizen: Windansea Wheat, Karl Strauss Brewing Co., Pacific Beach
Chile Beer: Serrano Pale Ale, Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits, Scripps Ranch

Monday, February 1, 2016

Breweries That Closed

With the thriving San Diego beer community, it is easy to forget that success in the beer world is not always easy. Many breweries struggled before breaking out, like Alesmith, but other craft beer pioneers did not make it. Here are some of them:

Valley Center Brewing Company (11/2014-8/2016)

Pacific Brewing (3/2014-7/2016)

Twisted Manzanita (2010-3/6/2016)

URBN St. Brewing Co. (Summer 2014 to 2/1/2016)
110 S Magnolia Ave, El Cajon, CA 92020 (former site of the El Cajon Brewing Company)
“It wasn’t the beer,” said Jon Younger, acting general manager. “It was the investment, the continual investment it was going to take.”“In order to [distribute the beer to other accounts] you have to put out a lot of free beer,” Younger said, “you have to travel, you have to keep branding and branding. I think we just hit a wall.”“It’s amazing beer,” Younger said. “It’s just a shame.” to URBN Restaurant Group representatives, a primary investor was not aware how capital-intensive it would be to open a brewery. Because of this, the brewery opened lacking adequate funding. Selling beer became problematic because the beer could not be sold at a price that would sustain the operation.
Beer Brewing Company (6/6/2014 - 1/21/2015)
1813 S Coast Hwy Oceanside, California

KnB Wine Cellars (still open but stopped brewing in ~2015)
6380 Del Cerro Blvd, San Diego, CA 92120

Julian Brewing Co. (3/9/2012 ~ 12/2014)
2315 Main St Julian, California, 92036

La Jolla Brew House (1/2007 ~ 1/2014)
7536 Fay Ave La Jolla, CA 92037

401 G St San Diego, CA 92101 (Gaslamp)

Mad Lab Brewing (7/12/2012 - 6/28/2013)
6120 Business Center Ct #700, San Diego, CA 92154

El Cajon Brewing Company (10/2011 to 4/1/2013)
110 N Magnolia Ave
[In addition to being unable to fulfill rent obligations] Meadows also struggled to pay back a lid (the outstanding loan amount of $601,000he received from the City of El Cajon’s Redevelopment Agency.
Fisher and the City of El Cajon will now begin the hunt for a replacement brewery/restaurant business to fill the venue, located in the heart of Downtown El Cajon. City officials said the new tenant will assume the outstanding loan on the property located at 110 N Magnolia Ave.

The Brew House at Eastlake (1/2008 ~ 10/2012)
871 Showroom Pl Ste 102 Chula Vista, CA 91914

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Beer Glassware Guide


The most versatile glass - along with a goblet - and my favorite glass all around. This one is great for showcasing beers with big flavor, full body, and sniff-worthy aroma.
  • for Double IPA and Double/Imperial Stout, Strong Ale, Tripel, and BarleyWine, and Scotch Ale.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

San Diego Wins 19 Medals at the 2015 GABF

San Diego County breweries won 19 medals at the 2015 Great American Beer Festival (GABF), an increase of five over 2014: six gold medals, two silvers, 11 bronzes.

The following is a list of all of the 19 San Diego County winners from the 2015 GABF competition.

Very Small Brewery of the Year: Rip Current Brewing Co., San Marcos
Coffee Beer: Gold—Zumbar Chocolate Coffee Imperial Stout, New English Brewing Co., Sorrento Valley; Bronze—Bacon & Eggs, Pizza Port, Ocean Beach
India Pale Ale: Gold—Revolver IPA, BNS Brewing & Distilling Co., Santee
Session India Pale Ale: Gold—The Coachman, Societe Brewing Co., Kearny Mesa
Wood & Barrel-Aged Sour Beer: Gold—Veritas 015, The Lost Abbey, San Marcos
American-Belgo-Style Ale: Gold—Le Freak, Green Flash Brewing Co., Mira Mesa
Bock: Gold—Break Line Bock, Rip Current Brewing Co., San Marcos
Scotch Ale: Silver—Black Lagoon Scottish Strong, Rip Current Brewing Co., San Marcos
Oatmeal Stout: Silver—Scripps Pier Stout, South Park Brewing Co., South Park
Session Beer: Bronze—Guillaume, Pizza Port, Ocean Beach
International-Style Pale Ale: Bronze—Karl Strauss Brewing Co., La Jolla
Imperial India Pale Ale: Bronze—Teahupo’o, Breakwater Brewing Co., Oceanside
American-Style Amber/Red Ale: Bronze—Shark Bite Red, Pizza Port Bressi Ranch, Carlsbad
Double Red Ale: Bronze—GRAMBO, Pizza Port, Solana Beach
French- & Belgian-Style Saison: Bronze—Saison, URBN St. Brewing Co., El Cajon
Other Belgian-Style Ale: Bronze—Witty Moron, Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens, Liberty Station
Export Stout: Bronze—Z-Man Stout, Pizza Port, Carlsbad
South German-Style Hefeweizen: Bronze—Windansea Wheat, Karl Strauss Brewing Co., Pacific Beach
Chile Beer: Bronze—Serrano Pale Ale, Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits, Scripps Ranch

A full list of every winner can be found on the Brewers Association‘s website.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

When Did Each San Diego Brewery Open

As of June 2015, San Diego county had 109 craft breweries and brewpubs

16 breweries opened in 2012, 25 in 2013, 17 in 2014, and 12 in 2015 (as of June 2015)
This equates to about two new breweries per month 

Source: West Coaster June 2015 issue

Largest Craft Breweries 2015

Four San Diego breweries rank among the 50 largest craft breweries in the U.S. (based on the metric of 2014 beer sales volume)

9. Stone Brewing Co. (2014  production: 287,075 barrels, a 35% increase from 2013 and 62% from 2012) (10th in 2013)

31. Ballast Point (2014  production: 123,435 barrels, a 74% increase from 2013 and 260% from 2012) (45th in 2013)

45. Karl Strauss Brewing Co. (2014 production: 67,920,  an 11% increase from 2013 and 16% from 2012) (38th in 2013)

48. Green Flash (2014 production: 2014 production: 64,640, a 16% increase over 2013)

Sources: West Coaster

To put that into some perspective, the top craft brewer on the list
1. D.G. Yuengling and Son Inc sold 2,917,992 barrels in 2014
2. Boston Beer Co - 2,550,000
3. Sierra Nevada - 1,069,694
6. Lagunitas - 601,420 (50% more than in 2013)

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Sample Beer Tours

Here are three San Diego areas with highly concentrated breweries - all within 7 miles of each other - so that you can do a walking tour. You may choose to visit all indicated on the map or just a few. Click on the name to see the route.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

How to Homebrew

My friend is an award-winning homebrewer. I also tried his beers, which are excellent. This is his advice on how to get started: what equipment you will need and the process, with my own additions.

There are different pieces of equipment that you will need depending on what type of brewing that you choose to do. I'll go from easiest to most difficult. All methods assume you'll be making 5 gallon batches. First, here are the basic steps to the brewing process:
  1. Mashing (only for all grain)
  2. Boiling of wort (unfermented beer) and addition of hops
  3. Cooling of wort
  4. Fermentation
  5. Packaging (bottling or keging)
  6. Drinking!!


1) Boil Extract

With this method, you use a malt extract (which comes in either a syrupy liquid or dry, powdered form), make a strong solution with it, boil it while adding hops, and then add back water at the end to make the full beer volume. You can also steep actual crushed barley grains in a muslin bag in the boil to add complexity. This is a partial volume boil extract, but you can also boil your full wort volume, a process called full volume boil extract; but instead of a 5 gallon pot, you'd need a 10 gallon pot. Equipment needed:
  • 5 gallon aluminum or stainless steel pot
  • Muslin bags
  • Fermenter. This can be a 6 gallon food grade plastic bucketglass carboy, or Better Bottle. I use glass carboys for fermentation because they don't scratch, which can provide a nice little nestling place for bacteria. I bought my carboys on craigslist. Plastic buckets are okay as long as they're relatively new and you're gentle with cleaning, i.e. don't use abrasive sponges. 
  • Method for chilling the wort. The most rudimentary method (which I still use) is ice bath immersion. For this, you can use a sink or a container that is large enough to contain both the pot and ~20 lbs. of ice. If you want to get more fancy, you can chill via coiled convective heat exchanger or plate geometry heat exchanger (this requires a small pump and a pot with a valve and barbed fitting at the bottom).
2) All Grain

The full volume boil all grain is the method that I employ. Instead of an extract, you use raw, crushed, malted barley grains to create the wort in the mash. It creates an arguably better product, you have more parameters of freedom for recipe formulation, and to me it's more rewarding. However it is much more complicated than extract brewing and requires more equipment and time per batch. In addition to the previously mentioned equipment, you'll need:
  • 10 gallon aluminum or stainless steel pot
  • Mash tun. I use a modified 10 gallon water cooler. The process for making one can be found here
  • A large enough pot or enough pots to hold ~4 gallons of liquid
Other Equipment:

For packaging the beer, you'll need the same equipment regardless of brewing method. You'll need:
  • Bottling bucket. This is a food grade plastic bucket with a hole and spout at the bottom. 
  • Capper
  • Bottles and caps
The following are optional but HIGHLY recommended. They make the bottling process much easier. The substitute for these would be a clean dishwasher rack and a container with sanitizer that you would dunk the bottles in.
Other miscellaneous items that you will need:
These items can be procured at your local home brew store, online, or craigslist.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

San Diego Takes Home 14 Medals at the 2014 Great American Beer Festival

Here is the list of decorated San Diego beers that was announced this morning at the Great American Beer Festival (GABF). This year San Diego took away the same number of medals as in 2013, despite the competition being more fierce, with breweries having a limit of 5 submissions, down from 10 last year. California continued to lead the medal count with 46 medals, followed by Colorado, with 39. Note that San Diego is the first city ever to dominate an entire category!

Category: 14 Session Beer – 94 Entries 
Gold: Oatmeal Stout, Benchmark Brewing Co., San Diego, CA
Silver: Guillaume, Pizza Port Ocean Beach, Ocean Beach, CA
Bronze: Mosaic Session Ale, Karl Strauss Brewing Co. – La Jolla, La Jolla, CA

Category: 21 American-Belgo-Style Ale – 69 Entries 
Bronze: Le Freak, Green Flash Brewing Co., San Diego, CA

Category: 51 International-Style Pale Ale – 88 Entries 
Bronze: The Pupil, Societe Brewing Co., San Diego, CA

Category: 52 American-Style Pale Ale – 145 Entries 
Gold: Grunion, Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits – Scripps Ranch, San Diego, CA

Category: 55 Imperial India Pale Ale – 135 Entries 
Silver: Hop 15, Port Brewing Co., San Marcos, CA

Category: 57 Imperial Red Ale – 62 Entries 
Bronze: Shark Attack, Port Brewing Co., San Marcos, CA

Category: 62 Irish-Style Red Ale – 60 Entries 
Silver: Piper Down, Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits – Scripps Ranch, San Diego, CA

Category: 71 Belgian-Style Witbier – 65 Entries 
Gold: White Ale, Saint Archer Brewing Co., San Diego, CA

Category: 76 Belgian-Style Tripel – 58 Entries 
Bronze: La Flama Dorada, Pizza Port Ocean Beach, Ocean Beach, CA

Category: 78 Other Belgian-Style Ale – 26 Entries 
Gold: Witty Moron, Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station, San Diego, CA

Category: 81 Classic Irish-Style Dry Stout – 26 Entries 
Bronze: Asphalt Jungle, Bagby Beer Co., Oceanside, CA

Category: 89 Barley Wine-Style Ale – 51 Entries 
Gold: AleSmith Old Numbskull, AleSmith Brewing Co., San Diego, CA

Friday, July 11, 2014

How to Review a Beer

Image by Robby Davis

You don't need to be a beer snob to review beer. Below are simple guidelines to get started, along with a sample review:

Stone's Arrogant Bastard Ale
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4 (on a 5-point scale)

Appearance - Note the beer's color, carbonation, head and its retention. Is it clear or cloudy? Does it look lackluster and dull or alive and inviting?
Pours a brilliant deep copper-red with a frothy, dense quarter inch khaki head that won't dissipate.
Smell - Bring the beer to your nose. Note the beer's aromatic qualities. Malts: sweet, roasty, smoky, toasty, chocolaty, nutty, caramelly, biscuity? Hops: dank / resiny, herbal, perfumy, spicy, leafy, grassy, floral, piney, citrusy? Yeast will also create aromas. You might get fruity or flowery aromas (esters) from ales and very clean aromas from lagers, which will allow the malt and hop subtleties to pull through.
Floral, fruity hops, resin, pine, fresh cut grass leap from the glass. There's a subtle caramel malt sweetness in the background that hints of dark fruit.
Taste - Take a deep sip of the beer. Note any flavors, or interpretations of flavors, that you might discover. The descriptions will be similar to what you smell. Is the beer built-well? Is there a balance between the ingredients? Was the beer brewed with a specific dominance of character in mind? How does it fit the style?
Dank hops dominate the initial flavor, with sweet caramel malt coming in and fading mid palate, bowing to resinous bitterness that lingers through the finish. Grapefruit, catty hops, and pine emerge in subsequent sips, but the balance is decidedly resiny and bitter. The malt sweetness provides nice respite in later sips, along with dark fruit.
Mouthfeel - Take another sip and let it wander. Note how the beer feels on the palate and its body. Light, heavy, chewy, thin / watery, smooth or coarse? Was the beer flat, over-carbonated?
Body is on the full side, with moderate carbonation and slight alcohol warmth, with a big resiny bite.
Overall - Your overall impression of the beer.
Decidedly bitter, but balanced in extremes, to an extent. A glutton for punishment, the promise of sweet malt draws me back in for the bitter hop beating.

Here are beer judging sheets you can use:

Want to learn more? 

Listen to Peter Zien give some advice. Zien is the AleSmith's owner and a BJCP Grand Master level 1 beer judge, the only one in the San Diego County.

How to Plan a Beer Tasting

A Tourist Destination

Few people know that San Diego is the America's craft beer capital. This is because the beer culture hasn't yet caught up to the young beer scene, which started in mid-90's and exploded in the late 2000's, producing 90 breweries. For this reason a brewery tour is the perfect activity for visitors and locals alike.

It's Like Winetasting

Most breweries offer 4oz tasters (usually $1-$2 each), so ordering a flights of 4 will let you appraise the brewery's merit while only consuming one pint of beer (16oz). 

Planing Tips

  • Pick 3-4 Breweries within 5-10 minutes of each other. Check brewery hours on each brewery's website (Yelp and Google often list wrong hours)
  • Bring water and food (like supermarket sushi, beef jerky, cheese, crackers, pretzels, etc.) to cleans your palate and stay hydrated 
  • Take a guided tour of one of the breweries to learn about the brewing process: check a brewery's website for tour times and days
  • Bring a designated driver who can still take a few sips of your beer but won't drink a lot. 

Sample Tour (Miramar Road)

  1. Green Flash
  2. White Labs
  3. Alesmith 
  4. Ballast Point

Sample Tour (San Marcos)

  1. Stone
  2. Lost Abbey
  3. Belching Beaver
  4. Aztec

Sample Tour (Kearny Mesa)

  1. Societe
  2. Helm
  3. Quantum
  4. Council

      Wednesday, June 4, 2014

      Largest Craft Breweries in San Diego 2013

      Explore this map at MAPPING THE RISE OF CRAFT BEER.

      As of 2013, the United States was home to over 2,800 craft breweries. As of April 2014, San Diego county had 87 craft breweries and brewpubs.

      Three San Diego breweries rank among the 50 largest craft breweries in the US:
      10. Stone Brewing Co. (2012 production: 177,199 barrels)
      38. Karl Strauss Brewing Co. (2012 production: 58,700 barrels)
      45. Ballast Point (2012 production: 47,503 barrels)

      Sources: SD Brewing Industry Watch

      Tuesday, June 3, 2014

      Why Drinking Budweiser Hurts the Craft Beer Community

      To me it's pretty obvious.

      When you chose to buy InBev/MillerCoors, who own 4/5 of the U.S. beer market, you are funding their lawyers and lobbyists who in turn work to pass laws against the craft beer community, such as the three-tier distribution law.

      In addition, you are not spending this money on a local craft brew, which does nothing to help a local craft brewer grow and create new great beers.

      But why should we even support craft beer? Here are just a few of the reasons: craft beers are good for health, have a great variety, taste great, made with better and fresher ingredients, provide jobs (craft brewers provide over 110,000 jobs), and create community. You won't need much convincing after you step into a local craft brewery and witness the dozens of people socializing, learning about the ingredients, the process, and the various styles.

      Besides Budweiser and Coors, don't be fooled by "crafty" beers, such as Blue Moon, Shock Top, and Goose Island - examples of brews that are not made by independent companies—their parent companies are MillerCoors and Anheuser-Busch InBev—yet which market themselves as craft beers.

      What business can be defined as an American craft brewer? The Colorado-based Brewers Association has three criteria: It must be small, independent, and traditional. More specifically, the brewer must produce no more than 6 million barrels of beer annually, less than one-quarter of the business can be owned or controlled by a company that’s not a craft brewer, and the products must be made with traditional ingredients such as malted barley.

      Facts about craft beer in the US:
      The craft brewing sales share in 2013 was 7.8% by volume and 14.3% by dollars (a 15% increase over 2012)

      2,822 total breweries operated in 2013, the highest total since 1887 (with 2,011 breweries)

      Craft beer shipments are now exceeding the shipments of Budweiser, the brewery’s flagship lager, and proclaimed “King of Beers.”

      The good news is that craft beer is becoming ubiquitous. However, this is leading AB InBev to go on a craft beer acquisition spree, infiltrating from within and creating an identity crisis for the craft beer community.

      That Craft Beer You’re Drinking Isn’t Craft Beer. Do You Care? 

      Monday, June 2, 2014

      Santee Street Fair & Craft Beer Festival

      Name: 6th Annual Santee Street Fair & Craft Beer Festival
      Location: Riverview Parkway & Town Center Parkway
      Time: Saturday May 31, 2014 10am-7pm and Sunday June 1, 2014 10am-6pm
      Price: $23 for 10 tasters, $13 for 5 (presale: $20 for 10, $10 for 5)
      Review: 2 out of 5
        Event Description:

        Join FM 94/9 at the Santee Street Fair & Craft Beer Festival!
        • Twisted Manzanita
        • BNS Brewing & Distilling Co.
        • Butcher's Brewing
        • Oggi's Pizza and Brewing Co. - California Gold Ale
        • Helm's Brewing Co. (not from Santee)
        • Chuck Alek Independent Brewers
        • Pacific Islander Brewing
        • White Labs (not from Santee)
        The Santee Street Fair is free and open to all-ages.


        Saturday May 31 – Enjoy beers from as many as 40 taps
        Sunday June 1 – the 5 brewers from Santee will offer both tasters and one pint pours with 10 taps to choose from.

        Order online before Wednesday May 28 and get 10 – 4oz. tasters and some pizza from Dang Brother Pizza for only $20. 5 taster wristbands are $10 online. At the door, wristbands are $23 for 10 tasters and $13 for 5. 

        Dang Brother Pizza was selling pizza for $2 per slice.

        Tuesday, May 20, 2014

        Brew Rendezvous

        Name: 2nd Annual Brew Rendezvous - A food, farm and craft beer pairing event
        Location: SILO Makers Quarter, Downtown
        Time: Sunday, May 18, 2014 1:00-4:00pm
        Price: $55; $25 Designated Driver
        Review: 4 out of 5

        • Representatives from most breweries were present, unlike at the International Beer Festival in the Del Mar Fair, where everyone serving beer is a volunteer who is usually clueless about the beer.
        • Unlimited tastings of 11 great local breweries offering 19 brews: 6 offering one beer, 3 offering two, one offering 3, and one offering 4. I tried 13 of them (about 32oz, or 2 pints, assuming they poured 2.5oz each). This was enough for the 3 hours I was there, but I also did not pour any of the beer out - I drank it all.
        • About 9 food stations to match with beer was a plus. One of them was the Robusta grilled mountain meadow mushrooms.
        • 8 food tents with gourmet food.
        • Unlimited food and beer sampling.
        • A souvenir 4oz engraved glass taster.
        • Designated Driver tickets were $25, and included food.
        • The event space was the perfect size for the number of attendees, I estimate 150 people (mostly mid 30s, about even men and women). I did not have to wait in line for more then one minute at each station.
        • They had three tables with iced water, lemonade, and bottled flavored water.

        • Most breweries (6 out of 11) only offered one beer.
        • Few sweets, cheeses, fruits, and berries. One booth gave out goat cheese ice cream on a stick, but I can't stand goat cheese. Only one booth was serving sausage and strawberries. But there were no cheeses or chocolates.
        • Very few rare beers offered: neither AleSmith, Lost Abbey, Ballast Point, or Stone offer any barrel-age, limited release, collaboration, or seasonal beers. This makes me think the breweries were not tailoring toward craft beer connoisseurs but toward the general population.
        • The music was very mellow, folk/country style. I did not enjoy it.

        Beers offered by brewery:

        The Lost Abbey - Lost and Found, Judgement Day, Avant Garde
        Latitude 33 - Carolina honey hips blonde
        Monkey Paw - Low and slow rauchbier
        Black market - Deception coconut lime blonde, Aftermath Pale ale, 1945 sour wheat ale, Hefeweizen Bavarian style wheat ale
        Coronado Brewing Co. - Sock Knocker IIPA
        Stone Brewing - Oaked Arrogant Bastard, Stochasticity Project IPA
        Rip Current - In the Curd IIPA, Barrier Reef Nut Brown
        Mother Earth - 2014 Four Seasons: "Spring" Belgium Tripel (Collaboration w/Brasserie du Pays Flammand)
        AleSmith - Nut Brown
        Lightning - Thunderweizen, Electrostatic Ale
        Ballast Point - Sculpin IPA

        Science on the Rocks: Love, Lust & Libido - The Chemistry of Sex

        Name: Science on the Rocks: Love, Lust & Libido - The Chemistry of Sex
        Location: Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, Balboa Park
        Time: Thursday, May 15, 2014 6:30pm - 9:30pm
        Price: $20 members; $30 non-members
        Rating: 2 out of 5

        I love the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center - both the idea of spreading the love of science to kids and its creative exhibits, as well as it's legendary IMAX dome theater. So when I heard they had an event catered to the 21+ crowd that combined science with both sex and beer, I had to go. I even missed my dance class because I thought this event would be worth it.

        The description of the event cleverly started with the lyrics of the Midnight in Paris' song, Let's Do It, Let's Fall in Love, "Birds do it. Bees do it. Even educated fleas do it ..." Simply irresistible.

        Walking in, people were arriving in jeans and t-shirts. A formally-dressed attendant was checking ID's. Inside, an expressionless DJ in his late-40's playing Bruno Mars' Grenade, followed by a series of LMFAO songs.

        The program showed five breweries: Lost Abbey/Port, Manzanita, Helm, and Aztec, who did not even show up. Four food booths included: seafood, ham sliders, and veggie wraps -- all the stuff I dislike. Everyone was given a ticket with he image of each booth, which were marked upon redeeming. So you could only try each table once, including only one beer per brewery. Beer was served in small disposable plastic cups, an offense to San Diego's craft brewing. I expected a 4oz sturdy glass or plastic cup with an engraving. A sorry bar was also included with yellow fizzy beer for sale and cocktails for up to $8.

        The crowd ranged from people in their late twenties to mid forties. No conversations made.

        There were three 15-minute sessions in the dome theater. The line was unorganized, so everybody tried to get in from all direction. They mumbled something unintelligible on the speakers with terrible sound quality, like "don't bring food", and they started 10 minutes late. The people sitting behind me kept talking loudly during the lecture, which was very distracting.

        The first presentation was by a graduate student (maybe the museum did not want to try hard enough to get a professor) on the chemistry of love, which was far off from his specialty - autism. Not surprisingly, he was not apt at answering the questions, but surprisingly he lacked even the basic critical thinking skills to interpret a question, "how did the research influence your own life in the bedroom", as "what practical applications can everyone here take away from this research," and instead answering, "I did not do this research, and my experience of it is purely academic," correcting himself, "well I do have experience with it, just not with the research" which was unintentionally hilarious.

        The second speaker was a comedian, whom I skipped, and the third one - a guy from Understand Men - was someone the museum must have gotten out of desperation to find speakers, because he kept going on about how men don't see a sock on the floor when they come home because their attention is always fixed on only a singular thing, whereas women do notice it because their attention is diffused. He was tangential, unorganized, and sexist. So I left. There were three "hands on" exhibits that were laughable and were only peripherally relevant to sex (including a balloon dropped on a "bed" of nails without being popped).

        The goodie bad was a disappointment as well.

        Photos from the event
        Facebook page for Science On The Rocks

        Event description (from the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center website):

        Love, Lust and Libido: The Chemistry of Sex

        Birds do it. Bees do it. Even educated fleas do it ...
        And we're going to do it, too, on Thursday, May 15, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Peep into the science of sex by exploring the laws of attraction, tinkering with sex toys and finding answers to questions surrounding the hot topic of sex. As always, your ticket will include complimentary food and drink samples, fascinating presentations and intriguing activities. Don't be uptight. Join the fun! 
        • Be tempted by sinful sips by Helm's Brewing Company, The Lost Abbey and Port Brewing Company, Aztec Brewing Company, Twisted Manzanita Ales and California Fruit Wines. [Aztec cannot attend due to the fires.]
        • Sample bites courtesy of Lil' Piggy's BBQ, West Coast Tavern, Feast On This and Carriage Trade Catering.
        • Let our scientists show you the dangerous side of a midnight rendezvous with a bed of nails and the science behind morning breath.
        • Take it slow and make your own fun Super Slo-Mo Video, thanks to A Little Scene. [Canceled due to the fires.]
        • Do you like it hot or do you prefer it cool? Experiment with chemistry and learn how temperature-sensitive lubricants work.
        • Find out what the buzz is about—take apart adult toys to see how they function.
        • Delve into the mechanics of the mind during a chat about the chemical reactions that occur in the brain when lust or love take over. 
        • Practice your sexy laugh during a sassy comedy show by Robert Timothy.
        • Discover the primal urges that still drive us today, and find out how understanding the laws of attraction can help you create a successful relationship.
        • Shake your groove thing while our DJ spins tunes.
        • And be among the first to see our mind-bending new exhibition, ILLUSION: Nothing Is As It Seems.