2014, the most recent year to end! Sore Eye Sports had an amazing year full of fun and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. I attended a ton of events, hosted some myself and more importantly, made a lot of new beer friends along the way. I’m truly grateful for all the support from you guys and hope 2015 is the best year this planet has ever seen!
Let’s get into the stuff I seriously enjoyed and will stick with me as we move ever faster into the future. No data, polls or any other outside information source was used or considered when making this list; I’m just writing down what I remember as being awesome!
Last year started with big news for my buddy Albert Mercado. After years of dedication and amazing BMX skills he got bumped up to the pro teams for both Shadow and Kink! Al’s a genuinely epic human on and off the bike. Here’s his most recent edit from New Year’s:
In March I wrote a coming soon article about a small new brewery owned by Liz and Curtis Chism, Council Brewing. Wow, did these two hit the ground running! The best small brewery to open in 2014, hands down. Liz (brewmaster) has done extremely well brewing clean, balanced beers and maintaining a great variety of beers are available at the brewery. Personally, I’m a big fan of every tart saison variety, Chizzam! and Gavel Drop. A great place to hang out, terrific people doing what they love and a beer selection that’s way deeper than anyone could have expected for such a young brewery. If you haven’t been I highly advise you change that right away!
In May, Tony Hawk released a new doubles video part. After a lifetime idolizing the best vert skater of all time I was/am completely stoked to see what he and Andy Macdonald can do after 20 years of skating together. Throw in a few randoms at the end and you have the best doubles vert edit ever released.
In July, the greatest craft beer festival this city saw in ‘014 happened, Sierra Nevada’s Beer Camp. This event rocked the Embarcadero and went off without a hitch. I had a blast and was really impressed with all aspects of the biggest celebration of craft beer the world has ever seen.
In August we crowned Nelson the winner of the 2nd Annual Sore Eye Cup! What a great night and the freshest keg I’ve ever tasted was drained! Alpine Brewing had an amazing year. After beginning a new partnership with Green Flash, they were eventually purchased by them. They get to maintain their independence, provide benefits to their employees, and now have the financial and logistical backing of one of the biggest breweries in San Diego. Our selection of Nelson was also (much later) backed up by Westcoaster fans.
Our hometown brought home 14 medals (again) from the Great American Beer Fest! It’s nice to see our over the top beers starting to get the recognition I feel they deserve.
San Diego Beer Week was a grueling 12 days (yes, 10 officially) but I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Amazing events all around! I’m very proud to have been part of the group that brought you the World’s Biggest Bottle Share. What a day of amazing craft beer that was only eclipsed by the magnificent people sharing it! I’ll let you know for sure in a few months if we’re going to do it again but it seems like we are.
Sore Eye Sportmas was upgraded to an actual, real event this year and it could not have gone better! Societe Brewing was nice enough to let me hold the event there and it was a great time. Grill Fellas made us some phenomenal food, there were some great ugly sweaters worn, and most importantly we donated over 300 pounds of food to the San Diego Food Bank. Our event brought in half of the food from Societe’s month long food drive and I’m very proud of that! Thank you, seriously, for being the awesome people you are. We were a big part of Societe having to release a keg of the Highbinder (on my wedding anniversary btw, thanks!). Finally drinking a real sour from these guys was one of my favorite beer moments of the year.
I went on an epic 5 day beercation with my wife and 6 seriously wonderful friends starting the day after Christmas. We drove 1378 miles, hit 9 breweries, had amazing food everywhere we went and I tried 58 new beers. More details about that soon!
Some other random thoughts swirling around in my head about 2014 that I feel I need to immortalize include:
- Bagby Beer Company gets my nod as brewery of the year. The facility is shockingly huge, the beers are just as good as you would expect from one of the most award winning brewers San Diego has produced, the food is great, service is on point and they have a full liquor license so you can take your non craft beer friends with you.
- This was definitely the year of the session beer. Even a company that used to brag about not making session beers released 3 this year. Ponto from Pizza Port is the best of them this year for me, just barely beating Benchmark’s Oatmeal Stout.
- Societe Brewing continues its just barely under the radar dominance of the San Diego Craft Beer scene. No gimmicks, no hooks, just consistently amazing beer every day for you to drink. I cannot wait for the actual release of their sours.
- Normal Heights Tavern (or True North North as we called it) was completely ignored by Normal Heights and closed down after less than 6 months. It was reincarnated as the Rabbit Hole with upgrades to all aspects of the place; it seems much more like an establishment that belongs in my neighborhood and I wish them success.
- The people behind Blind Lady Ale House and Tiger! Tiger! opened Panama 66 in Balboa Park. I live so close to BLAH and T!T! I haven’t even been there but it’s significant that a local craft beer establishment is in this location. I will get there soon.
- The San Diego craft beer community is teaming with excellent humans! This year really showed me the strength of the community supporting the craft boom in our city. Having a blast drinking and sharing the amazing beer SD has to offer with even better people is what I’m all about. Cheers to each and every one of you!
- Fall Brewing opened its doors very recently in my neighborhood as well. Their initial beers are tasty, I totally dig the brewery, and am stoked to see the owners get their shot to do their own thing. I expect to spend a lot of time there this year.
There you have it, another end of the year recap post. Hopefully I reminded you of a few cools things that happened. You can expect a few more events from me in 2015. I’m going to focus on more collaborations, community strengthening evenings, and fun. Cheers to this year!