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.


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)


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!


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.



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)


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).


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.


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


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.”


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



Cork and Craft, Part 1 of 4 (Matt)


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.


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.


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.


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


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!

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


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..


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.


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


“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.”


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)

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


Hate to burst your bubble…


The craft beer bubble.

It seems to be a topic of conversation that will not go away.

In case you’re unsure or unaware of what “the craft beer bubble” is, here is a quick primer on the economic theory of a bubble economy.

An economic bubble, as defined by the good folks at Nasdaq is a “market phenomenon characterized by surges in asset prices to levels significantly above the fundamental value of that asset. Bubbles are often hard to detect in real time because there is disagreement over the fundamental value of the asset.”

In terms of craft beer, especially in San Diego, the asset is usually discussed as the value placed on 90+ active breweries and whether the quality of their wares and the amount of product in the market can feasibly maintain a long lasting economy. As mentioned in the definition bubbles are sometimes thought to be invisible because there are value disagreements.

A clear and recent example of a bubble bursting is the housing market. Sure there were nefarious lending practices, over valued properties, and under-earning investors. Though these factors cannot be denied, it should be noted that greed and hope mixed in a way that kept many people blind to the impending burst of the bubble in which they lived.

I think the invisibility of the housing bubble, and in turn the craft beer bubble, is more due to the ostrich effect (keeping your head in the sand) as opposed to paying attention to market trends, sales reports, and other indicators. Hope and greed. You hope to do well, you hope business will continue going just as good. Greed, in terms of residents of the bubble is a desire to succeed that doesn’t take market realities into account.

This past weekend at Beer-Con the discussion of a craft beer bubble came up not once, but twice in two different sessions at the craft beercentric educational event.


"Dr." Bill in action!

The keynote speaker, “Dr.” Bill Sysak of Stone Brewing Company spoke of the bubble or “speed bump” as he called it. Dr. Bill asserted that there are over 90 breweries in existence and, he believes, there shouldn’t be that many. Why? Because the quality of some of the beers from those 90 plus breweries is poor, and that’s bad for craft beer. Why is it bad for craft beer as a whole? If someone who has never tried craft beer in their life tries one of the poor quality beers for the first craft beer experience, they will leave it with the impression that that is craft beer and may be turned off and never have another.

I had a chance to ask “Dr.” to ask a question that popped into my mind after hearing his assertions on the bubble.

Craft Beer Tasters:
“How do you fix the bubble, how do you fix the problem of bad beer?”

“Dr.” Bill:
You go to your friend and say I know you like your “Hi-Life” and have tried craft beers before… and here’s where you use the “bad restaurant” metaphor. If you tried a bad restaurant before that shouldn’t turn you off to all restaurants. Maybe this restaurant changed some recipes, changed management, give it another chance. Craft beer brewing and the business of craft beer is a process not a club we keep people in or kick people out of. Give it and me another chance. Find out what foods your friend may like. Equate food to beer, beer is food. Get in their wheelhouse. Buy your friend a few beers based on that, do some food pairings, of they don’t like it, that’s fine, at least they gave it a real chance.


I also got a chance to hear Mike Hess, founder of Mike Hess Brewing Company which just celebrated it’s.4 year anniversary. His take on the bubble and market penetration of craft beer is positive in that the current state of the market allows many people to realize the entrepreneurial dream of opening their own business. Always the realist, Mr. Hess asserted that if you’re not making quality beer, don’t get in the business, but if you really want it, hire a good brewer to make your beers.

I caught up with Mike Hess and had a  follow-up question regarding quality control.

Craft Beer Tasters: How do we manage quality with such great market penetration taking place?

Mike Hess: Manage quality and consistency. Brewing is indeed art, but it is definitely a science. We, for example, yeast count all of our beers. Lots of times bad beers are not resulting from a bad recipe, but from a bad process that causes flaws. I’ve been home brewing since 1995 and every batch of beer I’ve brewed I have been a rigorous note taker. This continues to this day. We have a lot of data that helps us be consistent within tolerance to ourselves, and the consumer, batch to batch.

There is something very telling in where the conversation of the craft beer bubble went. It wasn’t a discussion of market analysis, sales reports, or.dividends. It was a discussion of quality, quality control, conversation, controlling the conversation. A brewer was asking breweries to be accountable for the quality of their beers. A craft beer ambassador was asking other advocates to take the initiative and share craft beer in a meaningful way to the unindoctrinated.

Can these kind of efforts, in conjunction with San Diego brands seeking shelf space in other cities, states and countries (as many are already doing) prevent the bubble from bursting? Who’s to say. Adaptation, however, leads to growth, not stagnation.

Cheers Tasters!
Doctor Q


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Posted by on August 26, 2014 in Craftbeer, Dymystify, Hess, Stone


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These are the words of the conventions producers. Beer-Con, now in it’s 4th year, is this weekend!

Today Friday, August 22, 2014 at 7:00PM is the KICK-OFF PARTY at Draft in Mission Beach followed tomorrow morning, Saturday, August 23, 2014, at 9am with the “Main Event” which will once again be held at Marina Village Conference Center.

The event schedule is as follows…


I had the pleasure of sitting on the “Beer Journalism” panel last year as well as co-producing the panel about Baja’s craft beer scene. This year Angel Miron of “Let’s Go Clandestino” will be producer and moderator of “Beer In Baja: What You Need To Know” which promises real in-depth analysis and insight into the scene south of the border.

There is no journalism panel this year, per se, but our fellow panelist from last year’s con, and good friend, Cody Thompson Three B Zine will be upstairs producing, recording, and hosting Three B Zine at Beer-Con! I’ll be there alongside other notable bloggers such as Hoptology SD as well as Beer-Con presenters.

Aside from the awesome panels and amazing educational opportunities, lets be honest, what’s a con without swag?!

Attendees will receive a Custom Bag, Taster Glass & a very Limited Edition Shirt designed by CRAFT BEERD (as seen below).

Hungry for more than just beer knowledge? They have got you covered. Mishmash Gourmet San Diego Lunch Pairing featuring Aztec Brewery will be there to satisfy all of your needs.

Unlimited tasters throughout the day & a “Tap Haven” to end the day!


The event organizers will be selling tickets on-site for $109, but you can still get tickets until the day of the conference for $99 by Clicking Here.

Make sure to use these hashtags throughout the day…
#‎beercon2014‬ ‪
#‎sdbeer‬ ‪

See you there!
Cheers Tasters :)
Doctor Q

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Posted by on August 22, 2014 in Uncategorized


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