Vote San Diego Best Beer Town

SanDiegoBannerMedWe live in the Craft Beer Capital and are always surprised when a poll or article doesn’t put San Diego at the top of their beer town list. We all know we’re head and shoulders above the cities that end up on top of these things and we can do something about this one. USA Today’s 10 Best Reader’s Choice Beer Town contest is live and we’re getting our ass handed to us by Grand Rapids in the voting right now. I’m not saying Grand Rapids is a sucky beer destination but it doesn’t stand up to San Diego at all, we’re talking about Michigan after all. Let’s change that, you can vote every day until October 13th. Show your support for America’s Craftest City and vote!

4th Annual Treasure Chest Fest

Last Saturday, those that attended the Treasure Chest Fest at Green Flash were treated to a truly successful and marvelous event. In its fourth year, benefiting breast cancer charities, a small beer fest has grown into a national campaign including actual festivals here and on the site of their future Virginia Beach brewery.

Tres1As this is Green Flash’s flagship rare beer event, 19 barrel aged and one off cask beers awaited us. One of the many reasons this event stands out from a typical beer fest, 11 phenomenal San Diego restaurants made pairing dishes; expertly matching the flavor strength of this brewery’s craft beer. Intermixed with the serving stations, many local vendors were present for your shopping pleasure. Continue reading

Nelson Wins The 2nd Annual Sore Eye Cup

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Cup1Nelson from Alpine Beer Company wins the 2nd Annual Sore Eye Cup! We had over 50 nominated beers from more than 25 amazing San Diego breweries. You, the greatest followers on earth, voted those down to ten finalist beers that were judged by my panel. Nelson came out the clear winner with an average score of 46 out of 50! Thank you to everyone that nominated SD craft beers, voted, judged or came out to the awards party! I completely enjoy recognizing the excellent craft beer our city has to offer. Check out how happy Pat, the owner of Alpine, is with a heavy pour of Nelson sitting in the Sore Eye Cup. I you were not there you missed tapping and draining one of the freshest kegs I’ve ever tasted. What an amazing night!

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Nelson is crowned the best, regularly produced craft beer in San Diego for 2014! Seek it out and the reward will be in your glass!

The 2nd Annual Sore Eye Cup Finalists!

Alesmith wins the 2013 Sore Eye Cup!

Alesmith wins the 2013 Sore Eye Cup!

You, the greatest followers on Earth have spoken and selected the 10 finalist San Diego craft beers for the 2nd Annual Sore Eye Cup! These are the beers we will judge on August 14th to determine the winner that will be announced at the awards party on August 22nd. Make sure to check into the Facebook event if you’re coming out to celebrate the amazing craft beer we have here in San Diego. Everyone is invited, including you, come out and enjoy some $4 pints and $5 burgers!

Alright, let’s get to it. Ladies and gentleman, the 2014 Sore Eye Cup finalists:


Nelson from Alpine Beer Company
Duet from Alpine
Oatmeal Stout from Benchmark Brewing Company
PB Milk Stout from Belching Beaver Brewery
Pupil from Societe Brewing Company
Blazing World from Modern Times Beer
Lupulin Lust from Rip Current Brewing Co. 
Brewer’s Special Brown from New English Brewing Co.
Apprentice for Societe
Zumbar from New English

Congratulations to Alpine, Benchmark, Belching Beaver, Societe, Modern Times, Rip Current, and New English for making it to the final round! Emails will be sent to each brewery today! Thank you to everyone that voted, this would not have been possible without you and remember to come out to the 2nd Annual Sore Eye Cup awards party on August 22nd!

Beer Camp San Diego – One Festival To Rule Them All

Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Across America is the official title of the craft beer festival that took over North Embarcadero last Sunday, July 20th. The name of the event was easily shortened to Beer Camp by everyone attending, but what can’t be ignored is how amazing this festival was planned, managed, and operated. I have only experienced a staff as prepared for a festival a few times in my life and only at the extinct MVCBFF (please reincarnate this event!). The event layout, the detailed information provided to all attendees, the great (actual glass) sampler snifter, the amount of water stations, the simplicity of finding the breweries you wanted to because they were in alphabetical order, and the large areas left undisturbed by booths to hang out and enjoy the beauty that we so often take for granted in this town are just some of the examples why I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

BeerCamp15 Continue reading

Hess Fest – Mike Hess Brewing’s 4th Anniversary

HessFest15On Saturday, July 19th, the 4th anniversary party for Mike Hess Brewing, Hess Fest happened right outside the brewery. They closed down Grim St., invited a dozen breweries, 8 food vendors and 1000 of their closest friends to help them celebrate. With collaboration casks for VIPs, unlimited beer samples, 4 food dishes, and a 4th canniversary glass for everyone, this was a fun way to spend an afternoon. For a break down of the breweries and food vendors in attendance, check out the event page.

Walking into the festival area you were greeted by a T shaped space lined with the standard booths serving delicious San Diego craft beer and excellent food from local establishments. The event featured several Sore Eye Cup nominated breweries (including Hess, nominated for Grazias and Habitus), and a number of offerings from the birthday brewery itself. If you’re a craft aficionado, you definitely wanted to be inside the brewery with the VIPs. 12 one off cask collaborations of Hess beer awaited those with the vision to step up to premiere ticket level. I was really happy with wait times for beer, many booths had 2 servers and handled pouring quickly. Most lines were less than 10 people deep until more than 3 hours into the festival, which is impressive. Continue reading

San Diego Beer Camp Festival Guide

BeerCamp12I hope everyone is coming to the Beer Camp Across America Festival this Sunday in Embarcadero. This event is going to be huge! Sierra Nevada just sent me this awesome festival guide covering everything you need to know from parking to what breweries will be attending.

They don’t mention me personally but I’ll be there anyways! Download the guide and surf through the waves of lost people like Kelly Slater. No reason to be one of the people walking around like a zombie wondering what to do next. With over 100 breweries expected you need to get in the game, study some film (read the guide), get a plan together, and be ready to take down your opponents (the dazed and confused) like a Team 6 Navy Seal.

Let me know if you’re coming; let’s hang out and have a beer(s)!

SouthwestBeerCampAcrossAmericaAttendeeGuide

Here’s a video to get you hyped!

The 2nd Annual Sore Eye Cup Vote Down – The Search for San Diego’s Best Craft Beer

The Prestigious Sore Eye Cup

The Prestigious Sore Eye Cup

Welcome to the vote down of The 2nd Annual Sore Eye Cup, an award for the best regularly produced craft beer in San Diego! Last year was a resounding success, Speedway Stout from the mighty Alesmith dominated the competition with an average score of 47 out of 50 and is the only beer not eligible for this year’s award. We will honor the winning craft beer with an actual cup (over 64oz capacity) they can lord over all other breweries in town, drink their amazing suds out of, smash in total victory, or all the above!

Let’s get to it! Below is a list of the 51 nominated San Diego craft beers. You can vote for up to 3 beers, once per day. Don’t see your favorite beer on the list? It’s not too late, simply email me and nominate your favorite, regularly produced, suds. Voting will run for one month establishing our ten finalist beers that will be judged by our panel and awarded the Sore Eye Cup!

Voting has closed, please click here to see who made the finals!

Click here to get details on the award party, August 22nd at the Handlery Hotel!

The 2nd Annual Sore Eye Cup – San Diego’s Best Craft Beer

The Prestigious Sore Eye Cup

The Prestigious Sore Eye Cup

Welcome to the launch of The 2nd Annual Sore Eye Cup, an award for the best regularly produced craft beer in San Diego! Last year was a resounding success, Speedway Stout from the mighty Alesmith dominated the competition with an average score of 47 out of 50 and is the only beer not eligible for this year’s award. We will honor the winning craft beer with an actual cup (over 64oz capacity) they can lord over all other breweries in town, drink their amazing suds out of, smash in total victory, or all the above!

Here are the rules: Beers nominated must be brewed here in San Diego County by a recognized brewery (If you’re a homebrewer I’m more than willing to try your beer, anytime, maybe even trade for some of mine). They must be regular beers the brewery makes year round; seasonal, special versions, one offs and casks are not allowed. We’re looking for beers that are available to everyone in SD.

Nominate your favorite beer(s) by emailing me at SoreEyeCup@gmail.com, tweet me (@mkbain) or tag your nomination #SoreEyeCup in Twitter or Facebook. Nominations are open until the end of June, and then we will move into the voting round. The top ten beers (at least), as voted by you, the best followers on earth, will be blind tasted/judged by our panel of 10. The judges range from craft beer enthusiasts to certified beer judges. We are truly looking for the best regularly produced craft beer San Diego has to offer. The best craft beer, as chosen by us, will be awarded the esteemed Sore Eye Cup and receive all the prestige and glory one blog can bestow upon a brewery!

Current Nominated Beers:

– Oatmeal Stout from Benchmark Brewing Co.
– The Apprentice, The Pupil & The Butcher from Societe Brewing Company
– Lupulin Lust & Vanilla Storm from Rip Current
– Beeruccino, Hop The RIPA & Wicked As Sin from Helm’s Brewing Co.
– Nelson & Duet from Alpine Beer Company
– Sculpin & Big Eye from Ballast Point Brewing
– Go To IPA & Levitation from Stone Brewing Co.
– West Coast IPA from Green Flash Brewing Company
– Nut Brown, X-Extra Pale Ale & Wee Heavy from Alesmith Brewing Company
– Dark Seas & Shipwrecked from Mission Brewery
– Ponto from Pizza Port Brewing Co.
– Voyager English Ale from Arcana Brewing Company
– American Strong Ale from Culture Brewing Co.
– Gavel Drop from Council Brewing Company
– Habitus & Grazias from Mike Hess Brewing
– Riverwalk Blonde & Gillespie Brown from Twisted Manzanita Ales
– Cali’ Creamin’ & Kismet from Mother Earth Brew Co.
– Shake Your Money Maker from Acoustic Ales
– Peanut Butter Milk Stout from Belching Beaver
– Gatling Gun from BNS Brewing
– IPA from St. Archer Brewing Co.
– Zumbar & Brewer’s Special Brown from New English Brewing Co.
– Blue Bridge Coffee Stout & Islander IPA from Coronado Brewing Company
– Marzen from Gordon Biersch
– Tower 10 IPA from Karl Strauss
– Vanilla’s Porter & Camel Corps IPA from Latitude 33 Brewing
– Elemental Pilsner & Thunderweizen Ale from Lightning Brewery