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Tacos and Tarros in Otay Ranch

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Otay Ranch San Diego, also known as East Chula Vista, is one of South San Diego’s newest communities. It’s a town that is perfectly manicured, crisp, clean, and makes you feel like you need to pay HOA fees just to get in. It is, in a word  “modern-suburbia” as we know it. Built upon master planned streets, roads, green belts, and central business districts, Otay Ranch still has that new-car smell and is practically perfect in every way. Chula Vista, however, is one of San Diego’s oldest communities and its “town square” could be argued to be 3rd Ave. in downtown “west” Chula Vista. There is, however, no argument that the town square of Otay Ranch is Otay Ranch Mall. There’s an AMC movie theater, an R.E.I., and a Cheesecake factory, all the markings of a high-end suburban mall. Near the main entrance to this outdoor mall, however, is something that you might not expect. An authentic Tijuana style taqueria: Tacos and Tarros.

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Tacos translates to tacos. Tarros translates to mugs (Of beer? Who’s to say?). Tacos and Tarros is not a fast food taco shop, nor a small taco stand. On the contrary. Tacos and Tarros is a sit down casual dining restaurant that offers the tastes of Tijuana in the comforts of Otay Ranch mall. Voted “the best tacos” in Chula Vista, the Landeros brothers are new owners of what could be considered an institute in the young town of Otay Ranch’s history. Craft Beer Tasters spoke with brothers Eduardo and Roberto Landeros, owners of Tacos and Tarros, about the restaurant, its legacy, as well as what they hope for for the restaurant’s future.

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ROBERTO LANDEROS

Brother Roberto Landeros asserts “I am a big believer in supporting the local economy. It may seem impossible to overcome the power and influence of corporations, but I, we, support the local economy best we can. We are doing that here at Tacos and Tarros by introducing San Diego craft beers on draft and in the bottle!

Tacos and Tarros has been a part of Otay Ranch for nearly 5 years, we took ownership about a 3 months ago, and in that time we have increased our presence by providing great customer service. Part of that customer service means listening to customers. That means we have made some changes to our food menu, our beer menu, which has resulted in a new craft beer program. We want to give the customers what they want. Maybe we will make existing customers happy with a new product, but we also want to let people in Eastlake and Otay Ranch know that they have a really great Mexican restaurant nearby that has San Diego craft beer as well. I love the satisfaction that comes with making customers happy. My passion is producing great food. When I see customers happy, that instant gratification, the smile on their face when they eat and drink something we gave them, that really drives me.”

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Co-owner and Landeros Brother Eduardo Landeros added “I want to attract people that want craft beer, local beers, San Diego beer. I am trying to offer something different to the area. A lot of businesses were struggling during the recession, but our neighbors in the mall are doing well, we see more people working, earning, and spending money again. This is a very TJ/Mexican type of bar. Not the tourist conception of Tijuana, but the local TJ experience. We are seeing a lot of growth, but I am trying to bring in new people and the craft beer crowd.

We want to make something clear, we aren’t your typical “taco shop” we offer high end food made with high end ingredients. Some very unique styles like Marlin, or our New York taco that is made with shrimp and arrachera (flat steak) are some items that set us apart. We grew up in the Southbay, graduated from Montgomery High School, I went to and taught at Southwestern college and are a part of a hidden demographic. We grew up in Tijuana as well as in San Diego. We are people of two worlds, a hidden demographic that actually consists of a lot of people, just like us. That is what has made us successful. Now, we want to share our restaurant with the rest of Otay Ranch, East Lake, Chula Vista, and San Diego. We offer quality food, a cool ambiance, and excellent service. That’s what we want for ourselves and expect for our customers. We are now offering amazing San Diego craft beers, but, we also want to share our extensive list of Mexican beers with our customers, new and old.”

Starting in October Tacos and Tarros will feature San Diego based Green Flash Brewing Company as their “Craft Brewery of the Month” with $6 pint and $15 pitcher specials all month long.

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I will be joining Tacos and Tarros on Wednesday 10/22/14 for a special Green Flash Beer and Taco Tasting with Dave Adams of Green Flash. It will be an evening filled with food, folks, and fun …and something Never done before in Otay Ranch!

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Won’t you join us?

Cheers Tasters!
Doctor Q

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Posted by on October 1, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Xocoveza Gets Abnormal

Xocoveza Gets Abnormal

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On Wednesday October 8, 2014 Stone Brewing Company’s latest collaboration “Xocoveza Mocha Stout” will get Abnormal. Craft Beer Tasters is proud to announce our co-production of the first-ever “meet the brewer” event at Rancho Bernardo’s newest fine dining restaurant: The Cork and Craft. Special appearances will be made by Mike Richman, Cellar Tech at Stone Brewing Company San Diego as well as The Morales Brothers, co-founders of  Cerveceria Insurgente de Tijuana who will join the beer’s creator, and Award-winning home brewer, Chris Banker.

These craft beer brewing geniuses will be on hand to taste and talk about the stellar craft beer that is “Xocoveza.” Before we get into the event details, however, let’s talk about this innovative beer and some of the people who brewed it.

What follows is the commercial description of “Xocoveza,”brain-child of the aforementioned perennial home brewer Chris Banker, as asserted by Stone Brewing Company. “The impact of home brewers on the American craft beer industry has been immense. The comfort level and lack of inhibitors provided by a domestic brewing environment fosters a near limitless brand of experimentation, allowing home brewers to push the beer envelope to its breaking point.

Many of the professional brewing world’s best recipes – from West Coast IPAs to imperial stouts and even sours – began as homespun standouts so spectacular they had to be unleashed on the world in order to improve it.

With this in mind, each year we hold an American Home brewers Association sanctioned home brewing competition, the champion of which gets their recipe brewed and distributed nationwide by Stone. This year’s winner, Chris Banker, helped keep us grounded to our home brewing roots by introducing flavors consistent with our regional palate. His chocolate, cinnamon, nutmeg, chile pepper, and coffee-infused milk stout was built to mimic the flavors of Mexican hot chocolate, a beloved specialty from our neighbors to the south, as our collaborators from Baja California, Cervezeria Insurgente, will attest.

Layered with tiers of earthiness, spice, and roast, this creamy, semisweet blue ribbon beer confirms that the spirit of the American home brewer is not only alive and kicking but thriving at an all-time high.”

Those “collaborators from Baja California” mentioned in the above description are brothers, and brewers, Ivan and Damian Morales co-founders of Cerveceria Insurgente in Tijuana, BC Mexico, established in 2011. Craft Beer Tasters first had the pleasure of meeting The Morales Bros. in Tijuana when on assignment for West Coaster San Diego magazine back in the summer of 2012 at the Tijuana Craft Beer Festival held in the bustling streets of TJ on Avenida Revolucion.

So, just what exactly will make “Xocoveza Mocha Stout” get abnormal? For those unaware, The Cork and Craft houses one of San Diego’s newest craft beer breweries: The Abnormal Beer Company. Abnormal’s Head Brewer/Beer Curator Derek Gallanosa sahred his thoughts on why he chose to celebrate this beer as the first meet the brewer event at The Cork and Craft “I chose this event as my first to celebrate the close knit craft beer community we have here in San Diego. “Xocoveza” was a collaborative effort that gives home brewers a chance to fulfill their dream of brewing on a commercial scale. Having my roots in homebrewing, this beer means a little more to me than all the rest. Also, I am a big proponent on incorporating other local business into the Craft Beer Community. With the addition of coffee from Mostra Coffee Roasters (whose Head Roaster is also our restaurant’s Executive Chef), this beer exemplifies the notion that putting together separate but related products can result in one beautiful piece of art. I look forward to pairing this beer with food from The Cork and Craft as well as celebrating with the local communities of craft beer and beyond.”

Derek went on to add “Not only will “Xoxovexa” be on draft that night, but it will poured alongside some specialty beers from Stone Brewing as well!. Also, anyone in attendance will be lucky enough to try some very unique food pairings including The Cork and Craft’s house-made French-style beignets. If that wasn’t enough a special version of the coffee brewed for “Xocoveza Mocha Stout” will be cold brewed and served on nitro by Mostra Coffee Company’s head roaster Mike Arquines who will be on hand to discuss the cold-brewing process and the role their coffee had in the beer!”

THE DETAILS

Who: Meet The Brewers

What: A Craft Beer Tasting Event

When: Wednesday October 8, 2014 at 5:00pm

Where: The Cork and Craft

Located at 16990 Via Tazon San Diego, CA 92127 just off of The 15 in Rancho Bernardo

See you there, Tasters!

Doctor Q

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2014 in Craftbeer, Stone

 

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Do they sell beer at Disneyland?

Disneyland. The name needs no explanation. Just hearing it, you likely get whisked away to a sweet memory in your mind. Perhaps you recall the summers spent driving to Anaheim with your mom, dad, and siblings – packed in like sardines amongst the luggage and road trip snacks like boxes of raisins and pb&j sandwiches. You barely slept a wink the night before, and were still far too excited to doze off during the drive there. You were headed to the happiest place on Earth, after all, a place where Mickey Mouse and his friends would meet you between rides on The Jungle Cruise, Space Mountain, and Pirates of The Carribean. Over the years, perhaps you became less interested in frolicking on Tom Sawyer Island as life got in the way, as it tends to do, and you grew up. Now you’re an adult, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have adult fun at “the happiest place on earth” – on the contrary. The happiest place is even happier because California Craft Beer has infiltrated Disneyland Resort at Disney California Adventure.

Now, it is true that beer, wine, and spirits have previously been available at Disneyland, but that was only through the very exclusive “Club 33” experience. A $10,000 annual membership fee plus other monetary obligations probably make Club 33 an unattainable experience for most. I’m sure there are people who have beaten the system and used various methods to smuggle adult beverage in to the park and for that I both condemn and commend. However, there is no reason to risk getting caught, losing your park ticket, and face possible arrest and even deportation! Just visit my top picks for adult beverage consumption at Disney’s California Adventure.

CARTHAY CIRCLE: Located about one hundred yards from the park entrance, Carthay Circle is quite an experience in and of itself. It is, without a doubt, the truest fine dining restaurant experience in either park. Inspired by The Golden Age of Hollywood the stunning architecture and beautiful decor transport you to another time and place. It’s beauty and attention to detail that set this venue apart from anything in most any them park, the world over. You can enjoy craft beer with your meal, to be certain, but, for my time and money I enjoy visiting the bar just off to the right of the building’s entrance.According to the good folks at Disenyland Resort “The dimly lit, elegantly appointed Carthay Circle Lounge is found on the first floor, serving swanky signature cocktails, craft beer, California wines, seltzer sodas and a full bar… Elegant bar bites and snacks inspired by Southern California’s diversity play a strong supporting role and include the Vietnamese twice-cooked beef taco, warm Spanish pimentos with imported chorizo, Santa Monica deviled eggs with smoked salmon and lemon crème fraiche, and the ebi shrimp roll with red jalapeño and soy. Darling finger desserts, including trios of cake pops and mini mousse cones, are likely to draw a standing ovation.” My wife and I shared a Fort Bragg, CA brewed beer “Brother Thelonious” from North Coast Brewing Co. According to the good folks at NCBC they are “proud to partner with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz in support of Jazz education. The Brewery makes a donation to the Institute for every bottle of Brother Thelonious Belgian Style Abbey Ale sold.” It was served in clean and proper glassware at the proper temperature poured by the waitress from the bottle at the table. It was quite a swanky experience at a swanky place.

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Photo by Doctor Q

Karl Strauss Beer Truck (AKA Pacific Wharf Distribution Co.): Founded in 1989 this San Diego, California based craft beer brewery has been an industry pioneer for nearly over a quarter century. The ingenious design of using a delivery truck as a cold room gives it that touch of Disney Magic and shows that Karl Strauss pioneering spirit. The disguised cold room from which Karl Strauss beers are poured via a direct draw system add to the magic with the beautify graphics adorning the truck. This casual walk up beer station is a craft beer oasis nestled between Cars Land and Paradise Pier in the food court area known as “Pacific Wharf.” I enjoyed a fresh and hoppy Tower 10 IPA for $8! That’s a great deal anywhere, especially a theme park. Yes, it was poured on draft into a plastic cup, which is not ideal, the fact I could walk around the park with a beer in my hands was quite priceless.

Wine Country Trattoria: Sitting al fresco at this Napa inspired restaurant is the only way to go. Starting with the quality of the food, coupled with the service as well as its design and layout, you would not believe you were not having a meal at a northern California winery. As shared by the good folks at DCA you can “Experience the Napa Valley’s passion for wine and fresh seasonal fare in an idyllic Mediterranean garden setting. A hand-carved limestone fountain welcomes you to a rustic retreat where elegantly prepared Italian specialties await. Fresco-painted plaster walls, tiled floors and wood-beam accents reminiscent of a Tuscan villa create a tranquil setting for relaxing afternoons and romantic evenings alike.” I enjoyed a plate of Broccolini Aglio Olio which was “lightly tossed with Spinach, Arugula, Tomatoes, Garlic, Chili Flakes, and Olive Oil” which I paired with a butter bomb that was a California Chardonnay which I ordered by the glass.

There are other places that offer California Craft Beer, California Wines, as well as spirits scattered throughout the park, but you’ll have to find those hidden Mickeys on your own. Do yourself a favor. Take a day off, get some friends together, split a hotel room (you’re going to need it) and get some day drinking done in between rides on “California Screaming” at the craftiest place on earth – Disney’s California Adventure.

Cheers Tasters,
Doctor Q

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2014 in Disneyland

 

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Cork and Craft, Part 4 of 4 (Photo Friday)

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Posted by on September 12, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Cork and Craft, Part 3 of 4 (Jelynn and Mike)

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I recently visited Mostra Coffe Company which you may remember from this post . I caught up with Co-founders Jelynn Malone and Chef Mike Arquines about their latest venture: Cork and Craft, soon to be Rancho Bernardo’s crown jewel in the realms of fine dining, wine vinification, and craft beer brewing.

How did Cork and Craft Come to be?

Mike: The Abnormal Wine Company (AWC) has been around for a couple of years now. An urban winery, customers kept asking us to add food to the venue. I did an event with my other project “The Lab Dining” at Jelynn’s request to do an intimate 30 person event at AWC.

Jelynn: My fiance James Malone, cofounder of AWC, reacted really positively. ‘We want food!’ We love wine, that’s where AWC started, but we love craft beer and food too. We wanted to satisfy our wants, and the desire of community, it is what guests were clamoring for.

Mike: It started with small bites and pairings with cheese and charcuterie. Really, Cork and Craft grew out of this idea. It’s a melange of different parties coming together with different skills and similar passions.

What are you looking forward to the most?

Mike: I am looking forward to providing North County residents with what they deserve. A fine dining, urban winery, with fresh craft beer that is close to home.

Jelynn: We will be one of the only places where beer is brewed, wine is vinted, and meat cured all on premise. The colors, the lighting, the decor, this is all a part of the experience. It is a performance. The brewhouse is exposed. The winery on display. The kitchen is open. The experience is our goal.

Mike: It is a unique product having all three entities simultaneously working in one space towards a unified goal. It will be lively, interactive, intimate, and energetic.

Jelynn: Something people asked for in the days of AWC were tours. It was never our intent to display the fermentors, or product except in the bottle, but people really want to see the process and learn about it. It is a complete 180 from then to now. We are literally being 100% transparent!

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Mike: This level of actual transparency, being on display, it will be a performance literally every night. That’s what will be interesting. We will get to interact and show our process. People will be able to see everything, nothing is hidden. This is why creating the right team of people in the kitchen, who will be able to work in this environment, is key. Another key will be education. Education will be a huge part of our brand. Obviously it will be a constant with our staff, but classes for the community will be a part of what we do as well. Classes on beer, on wine, on butchering. We want to give back to the community that supports us in this way.

What do you want people to feel when they visit?

Jelynn: I want people to leave more excited than when they came in. I want our guests to leave knowing more about beer, wine, and foods that they ate. I want to expand minds, share education, all while in this fun and energetic environment.
Mike: I want people to feel like they had a great experience. We want to be able to provide a place where you’re pampered. You’re excited from the moment you’re greeted by the hostess, until the end of your meal. It has got to go beyond satisfaction. I want people to feel total immersion, as if they got away from the real world while they were with us.

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Cheers Tasters!
Doctor Q

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Cork and Craft, Part 2 of 4 (Derek and Rusti)

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Cork and Craft in Rancho Bernardo promises to be many things. A fine dining establishment. An urban winery. A craft beer oasis. Given its location, a business park in Ranch Bernardo, “oasis” is definitely a good descriptor. It will have many handles of craft beers from around the world, to be certain, but it is their house beers that this observer is most excited about. Former Karl Strauss brewer Derek Gallanosa is back where he wants to be: in the brew house. I first met Derek at a “Meet The Brewer” event I helped produce a few years back. It has turned into an inside joke amongst he and I as Derek, technically speaking, was no longer brewing at Karl Strauss when he showed up for their meet the brewer event… posing as a brewer. He had moved out of the brewhouse and into the sales side of the operation. Having no one able to attend on the brewery’s behalf, Derek stepped up to the plate, stretched the truth a bit, and really represented Karl well. We hit it off at that event, mostly because I had done some research and had an encyclopedic knowledge of him before he showed up. Essentially, I had found an obscure blog that Derek had once participated in, and it had his likes, dislikes, and life story. Let that be a lesson to you out there, the internet is forever!

Since then, I must say, Derek and I have been San Diego Beer Friends. From bottle shares, to beer brunches. Trips to Ensenada’s Baja Beer Fest, and many a festival in-between. I am objective in my writing, but I freely admit, I am proud of Derek’s newest task at hand. Derek has a passion for life. Most of what he does, he does at the highest level. When he saw he was gaining weight he educated himself and became his own nutritionist. His golf game has the handicap and trophies to back up the smack talk. His home brew is award-winning. Though multi-talented, his passion for beer is most evident when discussing brewing. You definitely tried some Pintail or Red Trolley brewed under his tenure at Karl Strauss, but maybe you have also had his award-winning home-brew “Peaches & Cream” which lead him to brew a small batch at Ballast Point that was on draft at their Little Italy location, and throw the opening pitch at a San Diego Padres game (it was the grand-prize).

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I recently was invited by Derek to take a tour of his new home away from home. I was greeted upon my arrival by Derek who explained that he also serves as Beer Curator for Cork & Craft, in addition to his role as Head Brewer for The Abnormal Beer Company. As Beer Curator he is responsible for the beer program, from draft to bottle, the beers on hand were secured with food pairings with the house menu in mind. Derek was excited to take me to the 29 foot long bar, nestled just in front of his brew house. Excited to tell me about the beers he will be opening with on 9/18/2014 I was dizzied by the details of the bar. The detail literally stopped me in my tracks as I had to go in for a closer inspection. The look of the bar, with its sturdy wood, ornate library lamps, hefty stools, these were beautiful details, but it was the design of the power outlets that really grabbed me. I asked Derek about the outlets’ design. “The outlets are also coupled with USB ports, and are placed every few feet. Aside from people being able to charge their phones, and other personal devices, we realize that we will attract a professional crowd as we are in the middle of many office parks.” Matt DeLoach, cofounder of Abnormal Wine, Cork and Craft, and Abnormal Beer Co. commented on the issue of “detail” as it were when he thoughtfully sighed “That, unfortunately, is the curse. We live in the details.”

As we snaked around the bar, through the dining room and kitchen, and into the brewhouse, the attention to detail continued to show through. The level of detail in the kitchen was dense. Lit up naturally by a large skylight, the kitchen at Cork & Craft is where the old world feeling of brick, mortar and wood meet new world sophistication of top tier state of the art equipment laid against stainless steel, bright white subway tiles, LED lighting and a mirror finish of most every surface. The design shows a kitchen that begs for invasive eyeing. You can eat off the floor, or any other surface in all honesty, and that’s how it should be. Derek shared that the staff jokes that the kitchen is a fishbowl. Pretty exciting to see a kitchen that welcomes transparency and openness, perhaps this will be a start to a local trend.

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If the kitchen is the fish bowl, than the brewhouse is the fish tank. When I use the phrase fish tank, I mean that almost quite literally as the brewhouse, nestled betwixt the kitchen and the 29 foot bar, is a floor to ceiling glass enclosure where Head Brewer Derek Gallanosa will be on display as he works in the 10 barrel brewhouse filling four x 20 barrel uniting fermentors day in, and day out with Abnormal Beer Company beers. That’s how he wants, that’s how the Abnormal team at Cork and Craft want it to be. Look at us perform our craft at the highest level. Look at the attention to detail and effort given to everything we do. All of this openness, and honesty, and high caliber humanity will be what sets this place apart. With hundred of restaurants in San Diego that offer fine dining, world class wines, and highly coveted craft beers, it is the humanity that will literally be displayed that sets Cork & Craft a part. Derek Gallanosa is as genuine a person you could ever meet. I look forward to him pouring me an Abnormal Beer Co. beer from the brewhouse he built, from the draft system that he cleans, and the beer program he curates – his fingerprints will be everywhere.

Rusti Gilbert, General Manager x Cork and Craft

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Coleville, California (population 400) once had the future General Manager of Cork and Craft serving as a dishwasher at its local watering hole “The Country Bear Café.”

“I liked nothing about it!” Exclaimed Ms. Gilbert, flashing her winning smile. “I was only 15 when I started in the industry as a dishwasher. I worked my butt off though, and moved up to server, which I did, all throughout high school.”

Right after graduating from high school Rusti moved to the big city: San Diego! Well, San Diego county. She found herself living in the city of Oceanside serving at a well known chain casual eatery in her early years. “I worked there to pay for college while I figured out what it was that I wanted to do with my life. Working there, well not specifically there, but in the service industry, is what made me realize that that was what I wanted to do with my life.”

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Ms. Gilbert’s quest for education didn’t stop there. A Certified Sommelier recognized by both The Court of Master Sommeliers and The International Sommelier Guild. This quest for education has fueled her desire as well as ability to advance personally and professionally. Whether being a Captain at Addison, Grand Del Mar, or teaching wine education for “Pro Wait Staff” alongside Robert Barger, education, coupled with skill and ability, has set Ms. Gilbert apart.

Now serving as GM for Cork and Craft, Rusti seeks to deliver refined service in a relaxed atmosphere. “I want the details to be so fine, the service so perfect, that it almost goes unacknowledged, practically unnoticed, because it appears so effortless. I want people to feel as if they cannot wait to come back. Why? Because they will feel as comfortable as if they were leaving from visiting their family’s home.”

Home is where the heart is and these two leaders wear theirs on their sleeves. The candor displayed by Derek and Rusti set the example for all those with whom they serve beside.

Cheers Tasters!
Doctor Q

Cheers Tasters,

Doctor Q

 
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Posted by on September 10, 2014 in Craftbeer, San Diego

 

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Cork and Craft, Part 1 of 4 (Matt)

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Rancho Bernardo, San Diego, CA
Article Originally published on 7/16/2014

“Reviving the age old trade of the wine negociant, Abnormal Wine Company carefully selects, sources, vints and bottles the most sought after wines from around the world. Influenced by tradition, Abnormal Wine Company has developed new, and sometimes one of a kind, methods of bringing fabulous wine to its North County community.”

This is how Rancho Bernardo urban winery AWC describes itself. Officially. AWC is “a small artisan winery where each and every bottle is vinted, bottled and labeled by hand.” However, in the community which it has served, AWC has been not only “a small artisan winery” but a tasting room, gathering spot, laboratory, and classroom.

I recently had a chance to chat with Matt DeLoach, cofounder, AWC, about the past, present, and future of the RB winery which is soon to launch its Winery, Brewery and Restaurant “Cork and Craft” in Rancho Bernardo.

Dr. Q: What is Abnormal about your company? What was it’s inception?

Matt: Its co-founders are pretty abnormal guys. The culture from the start has been to deviate from the norm. Traditionally, wine is regarded as a very snobby industry; one that looks down on those who aren’t properly educated to “truly appreciate a good wine”. While we appreciate the history behind wine, in the end, it is just fermented grape juice. To most people, that is good enough. Just like any other beverage or food they consume, they want it to be approachable and flavorful. We decided to focus on that concept rather than following suit with most of the other wine companies that are chasing the wine “experts”. We prefer to craft our products with a more general audience in mind.

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Dr. Q: What are some of your company’s past successes?

Matt: Our biggest success to date has been proving our business model: that the general public wants a wine brand that is approachable, dependable, and doesn’t maintain the traditional status quo.

Dr. Q: How did you decide to expand into the cosmopolitan eatery that will be Cork and Craft?

Matt: Food was initially an intimidating path for us to take. We deliberately avoided it until we felt we were really ready. After gathering feedback for 2 years from our customers, the addition of quality food is the next natural step for us. It opens up the doors for us to experiment with pairings and provide a more engaging environment that enables our patrons to spend more time with us.

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Work in progress.

Dr. Q:How did you decide to expand into beer production?

Matt: Wine was never our only passion; we are big lovers of craft beer. We saw a great opportunity to do something different with wine and wanted to focus on that in the beginning. It’s been over two years now and we are excited to start exploring what we can do with beer. We aren’t going to let the boring wine/beer dichotomy stop us. The same mentality that allows us to innovate on great wine drives us to try fresh ideas in the craft brew world.

Dr. Q: What can people expect from the new iteration of Cork and Craft? How will wine, fine dining, and craft beer come together to make a new experience?

Matt: A complete experience. We have focused our energies into creating a space that enables our customers to be involved in all facets of our business; winemaking, brewing, and culinary arts. Our expanded location now lends itself to a much more dynamic atmosphere where everyone can see what’s going on at all times. The winemaking, brewing and food is front and center. A constant show.

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A blank slate

Dr. Q: Anything else you would like people to know?

Matt: In the months to come. we will be making a large push into providing education about wine, beer and food. We have put together a great team and set of resources to present our culture and methods to the public. We would love to hear from everyone on what they feel any of these industries are lacking. We are striving to engage people by being as open as possible.  From our online tools to our open air kitchen, brewery and winery, Cork and Craft is dedicated to providing a rich experience for your mind and your palate.

Cheers Tasters!
Doctor Q

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Posted by on September 9, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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West Coaster San Diego, September 2014

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In this month’s issue of West Coaster San Diego, Dr. Q travels to Balboa Park to chat with one of the proprietors of San Diego’s newest craft beer bar: Panama 66.

Click here to download this month’s issue for free!

Cheers!
Dr. Q

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Beer & A Movie: Robocop (1987) x Cigar City Happening Now

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Beer & A Movie is back! Along with Cody at Three B Zine and Eugene at Reviews Galore we bring you our latest movie pairings! Continuing our review of the amazing talkies of the 1900’s directed by Paul Verhoeven this week we bring you 1987’s ROBOCOP.

“In a dystopic and crime-ridden Detroit, a terminally wounded cop returns to the force as a powerful cyborg haunted by submerged memories.”

This is what IMDB wants you to think Paul Verhoeven’s subversive 1987 masterpiece is about, but, in actuality, it’s about how escalating violence will desensitize our society to the point where a militarized police for isn’t just commonplace, but necessary, and no one bats an eye, because they’re too distracted by over-sexualized imagery.complimented by ultraviolent entertainmentbut. It’s just a movie, right… that’d never happen, right?

Verhoeven is the Nostradomus of his generation. However, some would make the chicken and egg debate about his work, but more on that later..

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Happening Now is a Session IPA brewed by Cigar City Brewing, Kyle Hollingsworth and Rock Brothers Brewing. According to the good folks at Cigar City Brewing this beer was brewed to celebrate the release of Kyle’s new album “Speed of Life” which was released Tuesday, August 19, 2014. Happening Now Session IPA is an easy-drinking take on an IPA at 4.5% ABV, brewed with copious amounts of experimental hops selected by CCB brewmaster Wayne Wambles. Happening Now Session IPA just so happened to have hit store shelves and CCB’s tasting room on Thursday, August 7th, which is also known as National IPA Day!

I chose this beer for a variety of reasons, but mostly because the name “Happening Now” works on so many levels. For instance, session IPAs are so “in” right now, Stone’s “Go To” session IPA, Karl Strauss with their “Mosaic” and “NZ Pacifica” session IPAs, even Modern Times got in the mix by not designating “Oneida” as a session IPA out of principle.

The society shown in Verhoeven’s Robocop is not that far off from the world we live in. What’s with Verhoeven, is he anticipating trends or causing them? A bit of both? Maybe. The point is Omnicorps, a mega-corporation that’s really into grey suits for some reason, is running the show in future Detroit. In the 1980’s vision of future Detroit the city is run down, depleted, over run with poverty and crime while only corporations, seemingly, having rights and powers that were once inalienable… sound familiar? Yes, yes it does. Why? Because that’s what’s happening right now.Corporations have been granted personhood meaning that corporations are seen as entities with civil liberties and rights, whereas a real-life human being that is too poor to afford water is unable to get access to it outside of paying a premium. Ironic that the corporation that bottles and sells water has more rights than the impoverished consumer.

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Anywho, Omnicorps is trying to develop a robotic peace officer. The tank with legs ED-209 freaks out during a board meeting at Omnicorps and shoots an executive about 100 times. This leads them back to the drawing board where it’s implied that there’s a human element missing from the program, enter Officer Murphy. Man this Cigar City Session IPA is hella fresh.

There’s about 2 hours of over the top acting, gruesome special effects, ultra violence, and a social commentary on extreme violence in society that is perpetuated by the film itself. Again the chicken and the egg. Sure, Verhoeven is using the metaphor for violence in media and entertainment by showing violence in faux media and entertainment, however, this film really raised the bar on what it meant to be a violent movie. The metaphor and irony was lost on much of the audience who actually just liked the gore and violence. Looking back on the Starship Troopers review, this seems to be Verhoeven’s curse – gaining an audience he had no intention of creating. I guess sarcasm doesn’t translate well to celluloid.

Verhoeven is like Omnicorps, he made Robocop in his likeness to bend to his will and share his views on society, but Robocop was bigger than the idea behind it, it took on a life of its own, it fueld the flames of violence and unrest. Once made, there was no turning back. Audiences loved the ultra violence, attended movie theaters in droves, which in turn lead to an entirely new genre of ultra violent action films that influenced a generation of people that control many mediums of communication from news to arts. Am I talking about Robocop the film, or Robocop the character? Am I talking about the impact Robocop had on the real world, as well as the impact on theoretical Future Detroit. The answer is yes. This movie was a game changer in so many ways it’s mind-boggling. I’m going to crush another, might as well, it’s so sessionable.

If I try really hard I can ignore all of the metaphors and the ironic appeal of the film and concentrate on the fact that it’s a pretty bizarre and ultra-violent entertainment that is nothing more than comic-book action and adventure, but there’s not enough beer in the world to make me believe that.

The Good: The bizarre commercials that are also social commentary that are dismissed as silly violence, but, once again, are social commentary.

The Bad: For the future, it really feels like 1987 when you watch this film.

The Ugly: It makes me sad that this film did little more than create a whole new genre of escalated ultra violent films as opposed to being the wake up call the world deserved. A bit grandiose of a task? Perhaps. That’s Verhoeven for you.

Overall: Robocop was the last great action film in that it was trying to be more than an entertaining flick, but I will admit it, Robocop is a hell of a fun ride and is still relevant now. Also, about Happening Now, I’m sad I crushed 2 cans of this brewery only release because it was crisp, balanced, and refreshing, perfect for pairing with artsy crime dramas.

Cheers Tasters!
Doctor Q

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Education Brewed by SDSU

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“SDSU College of Extended Studies created the Business of Craft Beer certificate to foster an overall appreciation of craft beer through interactive, hands-on learning. The program provides a well-rounded experience of craft beer through the exploration of its past and present, current trends, styles, best business practices, and what the future holds for this booming industry.”

The above mission and vision of the the SDSU Professional Certificate in the Business of Craft Beer program was written well before the first student signed up for classes. As with any assertion of its kind, these words are hopes and dreams that those toiling behind the scenes hope to come true. Recently some very positive statistics were released by program leaders, stats that show some tangible results. What follows are hard facts showing the impact of the program thus far.

369 students enrolled since 2013
27 graduates
30 projected to complete in January
30+ community events that SDSU as either attended or sponsored
9 courses developed

Giana Rodriguez, Program Director
at SDSU’s College Of Extended Studies shared some very compelling facts from the program completion survey which showed that 75% of those that graduate said that the certificate “helped them get a job, make connections, or advance in their current job.”

This is in step with the clear goals of the SDSU Certificate program which are defined as follows “provides skills necessary to enter the budding craft beer industry, an interactive, hands-on learning experience with tastings and more, brings top leaders and industry experts together in the classroom, uncovers an overall appreciation of craft beer, explores craft beer’s past and present history, and current trends, promotes craft beer literacy for consumers and employees, educates future craft beer ambassador, offers industry connections and networking opportunities within the San Diego beer community, and provides professional development and increases craft beer knowledge for current hospitality industry employees.”

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These program aspirations are all well and good, but are they realistic?

According to program student Thomas Pritchard (@Hoptologysd) the short answer is yes. This is what the program means to him, in his own words. “When I first enrolled in the program I was unsure what to expect. I thought I knew a lot about craft beer, but what I knew was fractional compared to the knowledge that I gained. Through the impressive coursework of SDSU’s Craft Beer program my knowledge of the history of craft beer, the marketing strategies of breweries and the inner workings of a craft brewery have increased exponentially. Along with classes designed to help you earn your Ciccerone certification as a master of beer tasting, you will find no shortage of opportunities to consistently better your understanding of our growing craft beer community. On a personal level, the knowledge I have gained has helped turn me into a better writer. Not only can I now more accurately describe the taste and texture of a great craft beer, I now understand how it was done and can pass that information on to my readers. I’m excited to continue learning from SDSU’s craft beer program and cannot recommend it highly enough to the everyone from the craft beer newbie to the most passionate of craft beer geeks, you will learn and you will have a great time doing it.”

Student and now industry professional Travis Hudson (@craftbeerluv619) shared his experiences as a student and the impact this program has had on his career. “When I started the program at the end of last year, it was a tough sell to my wife.  I had been struggling with finding full time work, and the added cost of the classes was not particularly in the budget.  However, with daily posts all over the internet about the San Diego craft beer scene, many of which she emailed me links to without prompting, the potential this type of education could bring became more apparent.  With one more course to complete before graduating, I have found an additional job in the craft beer world, thus adding to the value of the program.  Also, many of the students in the program who have graduated have landed industry jobs, adding more legitimacy to the courses.  With the local scene continuing to grow, having a strong knowledge base from my work in retail and distribution on the craft beer side, I see potential in landing a career very soon.”

With the business of craft beer growing at an exponential rate, and demand for jobs in the industry growing at the same pace, breweries are now looking for employees with not only passion but those with a formal beer education. Program advisor and instructor Scot Blair has hired students and program graduates for his craft beer businesses, while other students have found employment at Bagby Beer Co. as well as seen increased responsibility in their roles at Stone Brewing Company.

This is the way of the future. The importance of formal education in the business of craft beer is already having impact in hiring. If a person applies for a job and has passion, that’s great, but if they have passion and a formal education this will make a person stand out among their peers. Look at most every profession, and most every industry over the last 20 years in these united states and you’ll notice a push for formal education in the workforce. With craft beer proving to be big business you can bet there will be more of a focus on education placed by owners of breweries, bars, and restaurants. Luckily SDSU is well ahead of the trend and is training tomorrow’s industry professionals today.

Cheers Tasters!
Gonzalo J. Quintero, Ed.D.
(SDSU ’05, ’08, ’11)

Disclosure:
Dr. Q is an alumnus of SDSU as well as an Advisor and Instructor for SDSU Professional Certificate in the Business of Craft Beer program.

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2014 in Uncategorized

 
 
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