Abnormal Beer Dinners > Stovetop


Rancho Bernardo · San Diego · CA

Remember those Stovetop™ commercials from the 1990’s? You know the type. Where resourceful friends mooched off of each other? They made it seem like Stovetop™ brand stuffing meals were the second coming of Christ. While that may be true to some I’m here to share the fact that THE FIRST (yes 1st) Abnormal Beer Dinner at The Cork & Craft was the best beer dinner this observer has ever been to. Yes. Even better than Stovetop™ brand dinner.

How can I qualify that? Well, I’ve been to tens (if not hundreds) of beer breakfasts, lunches, brunches, and dinners in several different countries and when I’m not at beer dinners I’m busy raising my own chickens, harvesting my own eggs, and buying artisinal soap. What I’m saying is it’s a lifestyle and this past Monday’s Abnormal Beer Company x The Cork and Craft x Firestone Walker beer dinner blew the doors off of the hinges of my minds eyes 1985 Mustang 5.0, know what I mean?

No?! Let some people more important than myself qualify that assertion for you.


Derek Gallanosa

According to Abnormal Beer Company’s Derek Gallanosa (Head Brewer) “It was a pleasure having one of the most respected people in the industry. Jeffers Richardson (Barrel Master for Firestone Walker Brewing Company and Barrelworks) is a very awesome guy, very down to earth and he showed his appreciation for what we do.”

What follows is an actual quote from Jeffers… “This dinner was orgasmic, it gave me a sense of well-being.”

I must admit. My wife and I purchased tickets to this event to sample Firestone Walker Barrel Works Agrestic. As previously asserted, I’ve been to many a beer dinner and it’s always one or the other ‘The beer was superior to the food.’ OR ‘The food was superior to the beer.’ In any case (or in actuality every case) you’re there to experience the event, but one item tends to outshine the other. That was not the case with the first Abnormal Beer Dinner event.

Executive Chef Phillip Ian Esteban and his team took the time to explain each selection alongside Derek and Jeffers who, in turn explained their pairing selection. It was a true collaboration. Well thought out. Seamlessly executed. Was it the food? Was it the beers? Was it the way they paired together? Yes. All of the above.

It was elegant and sophisticated, yet warm snd inviting. It was fine dining in approachable atmosphere. World-class beers described on such a way as to take away their mystique and present their flavors.


There’s no way to experience the first dinner again, but you can pick up where they left off.

Monday May 18th, 2015 at 6pm The Cork and Craft and Abnormal Beer Company will team up with local superstars, AleSmith Brewing Company and Mostra Coffee Roasters for a beer dinner experience you will also find to be org… anzied to give you a sense of well being ;)


Each of the 8 courses will be paired with a carefully selected beer from either Abnormal Beer Co or AleSmith. The special guest for the evening will be Peter Zien, Owner and Brewmaster of AleSmith. In addition; the Mostra crew (who have designed special one off beers specifically for this dinner) will be on hand to discuss their wares. Below is the menu for your viewing pleasure…

Hamachi Crudo
Binchotan | Yuzu Koshu | Citrus | Elder Flower Vinegar 
Paired with Abnormal Beer Co. 5pm Session

Liquid Nitrogen Foie Gras
Almond Milk | Fuji Apples | Pepitas
Paired with AleSmith Coffee Nut Brown.

Grilled Octopus
Pancetta | Lemon Zest | Basil Pistou
Paired with AleSmith IPA Cask: Brewer’s Blend

Merguez Sausage
Braised Kale | Green Lentils | Roast Garlic
Pairee AleSmith Summer Yulesmith IIPA

Cheese Intermezzo
Salted Caramel Goats Milk (Pasteurized)
Paired with AleSmith JBM Vanilla Speedway on Nitro!

“Porchetta” Chop
Cumin Verde Creme Fraiche | Cilantro 
Paired with Abnormal Beer Co. Mostra Mocha Stout

Palette Cleanser
Preserved Meyer Lemon Sorbet

Sous Vide Wagyu Beef Belly
Smoked Sunchokes | Icicle Carrots | Pearl Onions | Piquillo Pepper | Abnormal Wine No. 35 Demi
Paired with AleSmith Beer Geek Speedway

To close?
A dessert Course some deliciousness TBD to be paired with AleSmith Barrel Aged Wee Heavy.

There you have it Tasters. The second best beer dinner of all time. You can purchase your tickets now!

Gonzalo J. Quintero, Ed.D.
Doctor Q

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Posted by on April 23, 2015 in Uncategorized


Taco Party Tonight with Stone Brewing


Otay Ranch · Chula Vista, CA

Tacos and Tarros (2015 Birch Rd, Chula Vista, CA 91915 (619) 482-8555) will be hosting the team from Stone for a meet and greet at their bar tonight from 6 to 9PM. There will be $6 pints and $15 pitchers of the featured beer; as well as samples of various Stone craft beers.

The beer that will be featured on draft is the perennial classic STONE IPA. First released in August 1997 this is one of San Diego’s original IPAs. According to the good folks at Stone “By definition, an India Pale Ale is hoppier and higher in alcohol than its little brother, pale ale-and we deliver in spades. Now one of the most well respected and best-selling IPAs in the country, this golden beauty explodes with citrusy flavor and hop aromas, all perfectly balanced by a subtle malt character. This crisp, extra hoppy brew is hugely refreshing on a hot day, but will always deliver no matter when you choose to drink it.”


Suggested pairings for tonight, according to this observer should include some of Tacos and Tarros’ Mexican seafood classics like aguachile, shrimp cocktails, and fish tacos.

Hope to see you at the taco party!
Cheers Tasters!
Dr. Q

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Posted by on April 22, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Firestone Walker gets “Abnormal”


Firestone Walker Gets Abnormal
Rancho Bernardo, San Diego County, CA
By. Gonzalo J. Quintero, Ed.D.

Starting tonight at 5PM (Monday April 20th, 2015) The Cork and Craft and Abnormal Beer Company will feature Firestone Walker for an 8 course dinner paired with a “carefully selected beer from either Abnormal Beer Co or Firestone.”

According to Derek Gallanosa, Head Brewer at Abnormal Beer Company tickets are still available online.

Special guest Jeffers Richardson, Director of Firestone Walker Barrelworks, will be on hand to discuss the pairings alongside Abnormal Beer Co.’s Derek Gallanosa. Of the many world-class beers featured in today’s event, this craft beer taster is most intrigued to sample Agrestic.


According to the good folks at Firestone Walker Agrestic is an American wild red ale that “begins its journey as DBA then continues through a “chrysalis” process involving 87% French and 13% American Oak barrels, and our proprietary collection of micro flora.  To blend, we selected beer matured eight to 24 months in barrels, creating a synergistic beer. Immediately, toasted oak and lemon pith swirl on the nose and palate, followed by an amazing harmony of vanilla, coconut, Earl Grey tea and spice. The finish is crisp, with mouth-watering acidity and chewy tannins. Since we age, blend and bottle these beers once a year, there will be slight variation with each release.”

This beer was only vailable in draft and bottles in September 2014, and was extremely limited at debut, and is only more so now.

What follows is the menu for the very first, of I’m sure many, Abnormal Beer Company Dinners…

First Course:
Compressed Watermelon
Pistachio | Balsamic Vinegar
(Firestone Walker Easy Jack)

Second Course:
Poached Lobster
Brown Butter Emulsion | Basil | Hedgehog Mushrooms | Hazelnut Powder
(Firestone Walker Pivo)

Third Course:
Manila Clams
Fingerling Potatoes | Preserved Meyer Lemons | Miso Dashi
(Abnormal Beer Co Debut IPA)

Fourth Course:
Braised Pork Belly
Apple Sauerkraut | Pickled Shallots | Apple Cider Vinaigrette
(Abnormal Beer Co Mostra Mocha Stout)

Fifth Course:
Loup de Mer
Braised Leeks | Fingerling | Wild Mushrooms | Genevoise
(Firestone Walker Opal)

Sixth Course:
Hamachi Crudo
Binchoton | Lychee Gelee | Citrus | Elder Flower
(Firestone Walker Agrestic)

Seventh Course:
Sous Vide Wagyu Beef
Mostra Coffee dry rub | Vanilla Parsnip Puree | Leeks | Bourdalise
(Firestone Walker Parabola)

Eighth Course:
Meyer Lemon Cake
Almond Cocoa Streusel

I’ll be getting Abnormal with Firestone Walker this evening, won’t you join me?

Cheers Tasters!
Gonzalo J. Quintero, Ed.D.
Doctor Q

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Posted by on April 20, 2015 in Abnormal, Uncategorized


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#SouthbayUprising · (Post 5 of 5) · MACHETE, NATIONAL CITY


Birth of a Hashtag
By. Gonzalo J. Quintero,Ed.D.
Doctor Q
National City, CA

All week I have asserted that #SouthbayUprising is more than a marketing tool, or a social media device. Where did it come from, how are hashtags born?

I asked the originators Eddie Trejo and Joann Cornejo of National City’s MACHETE BEER HOUSE where the hashtag came from

Eddie Trejo: The hashtag #SouthBayUprising originates from our brainstorming for names for Machete Beer House. Our buddy Phil from modern times threw out the idea of South Bay Rising. Although it would not become our namesake, I knew it would be the base for something interesting.

The hashtag’s evolution into #SouthBayUprising happened because I didn’t want it to be just “rising,” since that may be misinterpreted to imply that the community is lower or less-than others and needs to “rise”. Instead, I felt that uprising was a perfect fit, as it not only implies a change but also that the communities we are a part of are tired of the lack of options and are ready to rise up against the old norm. I meant it to apply to beer, food and everything else that may apply.

Another extremely important element is that it implies unity and strength. To me that was the most appealing aspect of it. Like in any revolution, the unity and strength of it’s members determines the ultimate outcome, and our craft beer revolution is no different. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s slightly edgy and fits perfectly with our edgy revolutionary theme at Machete.  Little did we know it would become the flag that leads this movement in the South Bay but we are thrilled and honored that it has.

There you have it.

Cheers Tasters!
Dr. Gonzalo J. Quintero


Posted by on April 17, 2015 in Uncategorized


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#SouthbayUprising · (Post 4 of 5) · Biere Cafe Southbay


Alipne, CA by way of Chula Vista.

Tune in to “The Happy Hour” tonight on Mountain F.M. tonight at 7:00PM by Clicking Here. Host Rich Singley and company welcome Tony Raso III owner/operator of Biere Cafe Southbay; a world-class beer bar coming to 3rd Ave. in historic downtown Chula Vista in the Fall 2015. Listen in, and find out what the buzz is all about.


Cheers Tasters!
Gonzalo J. Quintero, Ed.D.
Doctor Q

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Posted by on April 16, 2015 in Uncategorized


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#SouthbayUprising · (Post 3 of 5) · Chula Vista: The Manhattan


Broadway – Chula Vista, CA

How long has THE MANHATTAN been in Chula Vista?

The Manhattan has been around since 1957.  It was originally a piano bar.  My wife Vanessa and I took it over at the beginning of the year (2015).

Have you noticed a change in demographics since March?

Since revamping the beer program in February the response has been great!  We have had a ton of curious regulars from the neighborhood trying all the new beer and a lot of new support from the craft beer community.  The place has gotten a lot younger in the evenings, especially.

What are your customers looking for?

We have a pretty diverse clientele right now.  There is an extremely loyal customer base that we inherited when we took over as well as a lot of new customers.  For the most part, everyone is looking for a place in the South Bay, close to home, that is fun, safe and comfortable where they can get the drinks they love.  For some that is a bottle of domestic beer or a bloody mary at 10am.  For others it is the latest craft beer to come out. We try to carry as much of the interesting and hard to find new craft beer as possible (sours, bba beer, seasonals and one off’s) plus some of the staples like Swami’s, Sculpin and 805. We have a lot of people that are stoked to find beer that typically they would have to drive to North Park to get now in Chula Vista.

Tell me about your Tax Day Event? What are you hoping for?

Since Tax Day seems to be a joyless day for most we thought we could brighten it up a bit with a really cool beer event.  Tax Day, April 15th, we have a flight of Goose Island beer on tap starting at 10am and going, hopefully, all day. Three of the four beers are Bourbon County variants (dat Nilla!) as well as Muddy, an amazing Imp. Stout.  We want to stoke out all of our loyal customers that have been supporting our new beer program as well as give people a great reason to come down to Chula Vista and check us out!


What can we expect this year from you and The Manhattan?

Going forward this year we want to expand our draft capacity and double our handles as well as continue to bring the best craft beer to South Bay.  We hope to continue to do some interesting beer events and give people a reason to stay south and support San Diego craft beer in their own neighborhood.

This observer is excited to see what has been accomplished in a relatively short time period and looks forward to the rising tide.

Cheers Tasters,
Gonzalo J. Quintero, Ed.D.
Doctor Q

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Posted by on April 15, 2015 in Uncategorized


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#SouthbayUprising · (Post 2 of 5) · Westcoaster San Diego · March 2015


This article originally was published in the March issue of West Coaster San Diego; available online.


Southbay Uprising #Southbayuprising

By. Gonzalo J. Quintero, Ed.D.

National City, Chula Vista, and Imperial Beach. For years these towns along the shores of San Diego’s Southbay have been mostly devoid of craft beer options. With a population of over 300,000 people that is (according to SANDAG) predominantly young, increasingly educated, and upwardly mobile as well as Latino and Filipino, it would appear that this region has an emerging consumer demographic that is to be desired. With misconceptions of a landscape filled with taco shops selling macro Mexican lagers shaping perceptions it would seem that a new group of visionaries is taking a leap of faith and changing the craft beer scene in the Southbay through actualizing craft beer breweries, bars, and restaurants in a renaissance that some are dubbing #southbayuprising. West Coaster spoke to Morise Gusmao, General Partner at a massive brewery in planning NOVO Brazil Brewing Company located in Eastlake – East Chula Vista as well as Ron Chapman cofounder of Coronado brewing company which recently opened a brewery restaurant in Imperial Beach which houses 16 taps serving Coronado’s locally brewed beer. In addition to these brewery owners we also spoke to publicans Eddie Trejo at National City’s first craft beer bar “Machete” located on Highland Ave. as well as Matt Cieslak new owner of a revamped Chula Vista mainstay “The Manhattan” located on Broadway and Tony Raso III who is building out Biere Cafe Southbay on 3rd Ave. in historic downtown Chula Vista.

Why is this Southbay craft beer renaissance happening now?

Eddie (Machete):
The revolution of the beer industry has played a major role in the economic progress of San Diego. Residents and governments of the county have taken notice, and see it not only as an opportunity to revitalize an economy, but also to revitalize the community. The craft beer community tends to pay attention to the origins and quality of what they consume, such as food, beer and culture and it fosters collaborative efforts to build and work for the community. The Southbay Uprising has been a long time coming. With such amazing things brewing in the surrounding areas, such as the multiple award-winning breweries directly to the North (San Diego and North County) and South (Baja California), it was only a matter of time until the beer revolution made its way into the southern communities in such a strong way. The craft beer community also serves as a platform to further bridge cultures, as it offers a welcoming convention of minds and taste buds. After all, isn’t beer a universal language?

Matt (The Manhattan):
There are a lot of people that come from the Southbay or live in the Southbay that are so passionate about craft beer. I have no idea why craft beer didn’t come to the Southbay sooner, but I think you are seeing a group of individuals now who are not only passionate, but have the confidence and desire to go out on their own and take the risk of being “the first” and debunk the myths about Chula and National City: too poor, too Mexican whatever it may have been. I also think that there is a strong desire by people who love craft beer to share that love with their community. For us, that community is the Southbay and the opportunity to develop a strong craft beer culture where we live outweighs whatever risks are associated with being on the front lines.

Morise (NOVO):

In looking for a location for our brewery we found that Eastlake in Chula Vista has a lot of craft beer enthusiasts, but not many options. Our collective group has a great deal of expertise with recipes that have already been proven on the world stage, now we are happy to integrate them with traditional American craft beer recipes and integrating with the well-respected and award-winning breweries of San Diego. That’s what the Southbay was missing. We can tell by the vibe of the people looking into the brewery that they are thirsty. This will be good for Eastlake, the City of Chula vista, the Southbay community.

Ron (Coronado):

The interest in craft beer by Southbay residents has been there for a while. Places like La Bella’s were really in Chula Vista were the only ones serving craft beer in an underserved market. I had been looking for a place for myself to go to in the Southbay, particularly Imperial Beach where there is almost no presence of craft beer, and we found an ideal spot. The Coronado IB location, I love, I’m there every day. There’s a lot of room for growth in this community. We didn’t roll the dice, this was a calculated decision based on demographics and the lack of craft beer. We started with 16 handles and I wish we had more. the growler refills alone clearly show excellent sales, support, and growth .

Tony (Biere Cafe):

I don’t know if I would call the new craft beer focused bars, and my current project, a Southbay renaissance quite yet. I am very excited about the opportunity to run my own place, and I hope other beer drinkers will also enjoy the space. I’m just not convinced that three or four different craft beer concepts can turn around the reputation of multiple neighboring communities, although it is a great start. I believe there is space within the communities of Imperial Beach and South San Diego as well. The Southbay really is a huge area geographically, and the population is huge. Hopefully, by the time that my partners and I get Biere Cafe Southbay open, there will be other concepts that have a passion for craft beer operating as well, nearby us, or even right next to us in the village of downtown Chula Vista. I go to East Village, Little Italy, South Park, North Park and other communities usually because of all of the great places within close proximity to each other, so I believe clustering works. Chula Vista, National City, Imperial Beach and other communities have a long way to go before we get overly saturated, if that is even possible. Is there a renaissance in the Southbay right now? I am not sure, some may call it that eventually, but it is definitely heating up.

What will your business bring to the Southbay, and the craft beer community at large?

Morise (MOVO): We are Brazilian. Brazilians are a fun, festive, and passionate bunch. we want to bring that attitude and atmosphere to the U.S. and stay true to that culture. At the same time, however, we want to stay true to the existing craft beer culture in San Diego by integrating into the community. NOVO is comprised of a group of industry professionals from Brazil with years of experience and success in brewing, managing restaurants, as well as bars, brewpubs, and distribution. Our recipes all have a Brazilian spin. Our equipment is state of the art and made to the highest international standard by Brazilian based manufacturer Egisa, but we definitely recognize the relevance and caliber of San Diego beer and the many award-winning breweries who brew them. We want to take traditional American styles and give it our Brazilian touch by using Brazilian techniques and ingredients while pleasing and integrating with the existing craft beer community.

Tony (Biere Cafe):
I have grown up working in the service industry. My entire life, my job has been to make people happy. Although that is probably the key to success with any business, it is going to be especially true for Biere Cafe Southbay. The service will need to be perfect. The entire community needs to feel welcome. I know that my beer and wine programs are going to be very different than what people are used to in San Diego. If the service is off even a little, people just won’t get it. Since it’s my bar, I’m going to be pouring what I love to drink. If I don’t feel it’s world-class, I won’t buy it. It just wouldn’t be fair to the craft beer drinkers that demand exceptional quality, and it wouldn’t be fair to the brewers that are consistently taking care of business. When you are rotating kegs and cleaning lines every day, people tend to get a little lost with some of the rapidly appearing choices. Especially when some of those beers are not local. We are going to be devoting much of our time to educating the guests about the beer. We might be discussing the flavors they are experiencing, or describing the history behind the beer – possibly even describing the process that created those flavors. Our job will be to tell the story behind the brew really. I have always felt that welcoming service and education are the two biggest tools in growing craft beer within the community.

Eddie (Machete):

Craft beer went from a hobby to something I became truly passionate about. I worked with Brewery Tours of San Diego, and later in sales and distribution with California Craft Distributors. With Brewery Tours of San Diego I worked with all types of people, even those that were not fans of beer. I made it my purpose to challenge myself to find a craft beer for every person to enjoy. Later, this spirit of service served me well in my duties of sales and distribution. As for Machete, I grew up watching my dad run his own business and had that entrepreneurial spirit engrained in me. That desire couple with my experience in craft beer sales and distribution this was a natural progression. My partner of 13 years JoAnn Cornejo was born and raised in National City and has strong ties to the community. Though these cultural and emotional attachments were factors involved when choosing this as the location for Machete, it was clear that National City was lacking in craft beer. I truly feel that this project is for the community. Machete will change the dynamics of the community by focusing on a unique craft experience.

Matt (The Manhattan):

I have nearly a decade of operations experience of corporate America coupled with years of managing grass roots craft beer organizations Pizza Port and Blind Lady Ale House which lead me to this opportunity in the Southbay. I have always had a love affair with dive bars. They have so much character and history. When my wife Vanessa and I decided that we wanted to open a spot in Chula Vista, we knew that we wanted to marry everything that is awesome about the neighborhood bar with our love for craft beer and the San Diego craft beer community. We were lucky enough to find a bar for sale that is the perfect blend of old dive with great bones for a craft beer bar namely direct draw and a large cold box. With the Manhattan we want to give people a comfortable spot to get the absolute best craft beer they can find. Light and sessionable, hop bombs, rare and limited beers on draft and in bottle as well as a great spirits selection in an environment where there is always something going on…live music, pool, console games etc. We are the neighborhood “dive” bar with a surprisingly good beer selection. I want to debunk the myths, misconceptions, and really the unawareness about the Southbay. This isn’t a gimmick, we are serious about this and we hope to be taken seriously.

Ron (Coronado):

There was, and still is, a need for more family-friendly craft beer restaurants in the Southbay. Even with the proximity of our Coronado and Imperial Beach locations the demographics of our fans are different. It is clear that the Imperial beach location is attracting people from throughout the Southbay. That’s the future, the Southbay will grow by leaps and bounds. In fact, Coronado is looking for more spots in the Southbay and I am personally encouraging other brewery, brewpub, and restaurant owners to do the same. The Southbay has unlimited, untapped potential.

Gonzalo J. Quintero, Ed.D.
Doctor Q

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Posted by on April 14, 2015 in SOUTHBAY


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#SouthbayUprising (Post 1 of 5) National City: Craft Beer Inbound

This article was originally published in the May 2014 issue of West Coaster San Diego.

You can download West Coaster Magazine for FREE by Clicking Here

San Diego County may be the craft beer capital of the world, but there is a city within the county lines that is almost completely devoid of craft beer. It’s not a city hidden in the mountains, or at the edge of the desert. The city that I am referring to is National City. A city that is home to nearly 60,000 residents, located 5 miles south of downtown San Diego, on San Diego Bay in southern San Diego County, and 10 miles north of Baja California, Mexico. The City is bordered by San Diego to the north and east, Chula Vista to the south, the unincorporated areas of Lincoln Acres and Bonita to the south and southeast, and San Diego Bay to the west. The City is centrally located, within 20 minutes travel time of over 1.4 million people. This accessibility is comparable to Downtown San Diego’s.” Recently, city leaders have taken the initiative and made a call to arms “Bring craft beer to National City!” What does that mean for the future of San Diego’s second oldest city? I recently had a chance to visit city hall in the City of National City to discuss the future of craft beer in the community with the Honorable Ron Morrison, Mayor of National City.

Why craft beer, and why now?

“The timing is just about perfect. Our city is on an upswing. It is revitalizing. It’s not only revitalizing, but reenergizing. A lot of reenergizing with new and returning citizens with new outlooks. Young people, young families, artisans, people looking for a good clean night life, these are the people reenergizing the city. For a long time we had a bad reputation for having a seedy nightlife along National City Blvd. “the mile of bars” it was called. That’s a thing of the past and something is no longer a part of our community. The thing about craft beer, is that it is a contagious type of thing. It excites people, brings diverse crowds, and a kind of customer that expects more. In our downtown area (8th St./National City Blvd.) we are starting to see physical redevelopment of the streets, sidewalks, and landscaping. We are also seeing our residents, such as “Big Ben’s Market” offering craft beer and other items and cornering the market as it develops. Also, our close relationship with the Navy. There are tens of thousands of Navy personnel right at our doorstep every day at 32nd St. Naval Base. This is a new Navy, one composed of a bunch of young and sophisticated people. They are looking for craft beer, organic food, and a night life. Craft beer can be a part of that.”

What are the competitive advantages of the city?

“National City is an open market. We are a very accepting community. We have a base of customers with very few options to get craft beer. Additionally, National City leaders, and the local government as a whole, are actively encouraging business development to revitalize our downtown area. Also, geographically, there is easy access to National city. The I-5 borders us on the Wast, the 805 borders us on the East, and we have 2 trolley stops, one at 8th St. and one at 24th St. There is a huge audience passing by on the freeways, passing through on the trolley. We are improving the walkability of our streets to attract this huge audience into our easily accessible city.”

Can craft beer be family oriented?

“I have been to a number of breweries here in San Diego that you could mistake for a family restaurant. Not to mention brewpubs, and craft beer-centric restaurants. These types of places attract people from far and wide. They can be a great destination point. It’s a very special niche in people’s minds, they meet a great need – which is good wholesome adult and family-oriented entertainment. Families should be able to do more at night than watch television. What form would you personally want to see craft beer take in National City? “If we have people from within our city that have the expertise and ability to do it, that would be great. Adding that local flavor and niche, in any business, would make it easier. It would also be easier for existing businesses to make that change. We would encourage this.”

How do you think the citizens of National City would react to an influx of craft beer businesses?

“National City is a very unique community. It is just that, community. There is a huge sense of identity. Whether you live here, lived here, or are from here, once you have you will always be from National City. There is a real sense of place, of community, of ownership. Knowing history and being a part of it can lead some to wanting to maintain it, but here you find an openness and acceptance to change. Involvement is huge here. People love to be involved, informed, and be a part of the process as well as solutions. an attitude of acceptance comes from realizing we have a great city, a great history, and a great future because of the community here.”

National City isn’t tackling the issue of community revitalization and business development alone. Recently, the city partnered with San Diego State University (SDSU) and the Sage Project. I spoke with Dr. Jessica Barlow, professor at SDSU and Director of the Sage Project, to learn more about how SDSU and National City developed this new and unique partnership.

What is The Sage Project?

“The Sage Project is a partnership between San Diego State University and a city. Faculty and students tackle projects identified by the city partner that address their smart growth, quality of life, and sustainability goals through their coursework. The Sage Project is modeled after the University of Oregon’s Sustainable City Year Program. The success of this model is that students participate in high-impact educational activities that allow them to develop creative designs, solutions, and ideas for existing projects in their own community. The students also engage in community service with the city partner. In this way, the students see that their work is valued and can make a real contribution to their community. The city also benefits from the large number of students investing thousands of hours in these projects. Our current city partner for this, our pilot year, and for next academic year (2014-15) is National City. In the future, we hope to partner with other cities throughout the county.”

How did SDSU and National City decide to partner?

“In February 2013, Geoff Chase, Dean of Undergraduate Studies and Director of the Center for Regional Sustainability, invited Marc Schlossberg from the University of Oregon to SDSU’s campus for a presentation of the model to faculty, administrators, and city staff and elected officials from throughout San Diego County. Two representatives from National City attended, and from that day forward, National City showed the greatest interest in and dedication to getting a partnership going. In April, two of us from SDSU and Brad Raulston, Executive Director of Development for the City of National City, attended a workshop at University of Oregon to learn more about the model and how to implement the program at SDSU. We started brainstorming what projects to tackle, which disciplines would be appropriate, and what faculty members we thought best matched with those projects. This put us on the fast track to get the program up and running by Fall 2013.”

What classes are a part of the Sage/National City project?

“In Fall 2013, we had 14 classes (14 faculty members, approximately 500 students) participating from a range of disciplines: anthropology, city planning, engineering, geography, graphic design, international securities and conflict resolution, homeland security, and public administration. This Spring, we have 15 classes (19 faculty members, approximately 500 students) from audiology, city planning, communication, engineering, graphic design, international securities and conflict resolution, marketing, political science, public health, real estate and finance, speech-language-hearing sciences, and, most relevant to this interview, the business of craft beer certificate program. To give you just a small example of the impact we have, one class alone has provided over 400 hours of community service to the senior and nutrition centers in National City.”

I know National City is trying to attract craft beer to its community. The Professional Certificate in The Business of Craft Beer is a part of this, what are they doing to help the city reach their goal?

“We’re so glad the certificate program is involved with this! Students in a few of the courses from the certificate program are involved in determining the best approach for bringing the industry down to National City. The marketing class is identifying specifically what would be the best approach for increasing interest in craft beer by considering such factors as increasing the number of craft beer handles at local restaurants, planning a beer-focused event such as a festival, opening up some tasting rooms, or establishing a microbrewery. As well, they are considering how to make National City a destination for craft beer in the South Bay, perhaps along the lines of what North Park is for the City of San Diego. The brewery start-up class will be evaluating specific locations throughout National City that might be best suited for such venues.”

The prospects are already popping up. In fact, one venue has already taken the initiative to bring Craft Beer. Recently remodeled market “Big Ben’s” has been a part of the city for many years. Over the last 13 years it has been under the ownership of local businessman Nick Salem. I had a chance to speak to Mr. Salem on the outdoor patio of the grill restaurant attached to the market.

“I have owned liquor stores, grocery stores, and gas stations in San Diego since 1992. During that time I have seen the rise of craft beer in San Diego. Seeing how craft has grown, how customers desires have changed I had the idea that National City better. Craft Beer. Biodynamic wines. Better looking stores. Better ideas. So, we took charge and started this.” (Gesturing to the newly remodeled market) Bad luck hit the Salem family in July of 2013 when a fire engulfed the store. “I had a choice.” Said Mr. Salem, who continued. “We could rebuild or we could grow. Instead of rebuilding we decided to go first class. We have been in business long enough to know the concept would work, so, we put our money where our mouth is. The concept, aside from having craft beer and biodynamic wines, is to have a place in National City where people can buy organic produce, groceries, dairy, grass fed beef, healthy products. It is a one stop shop for people who want natural and organic products, the first of its kind in National City. We learned the value of these products, we teach our staff about the value of these products, and our customers learn the value of the products. We believe that if we accomplish this we will help people to learn and understand how what we are doing is good for them.”

The final question I had for Mr. Salem was simple ‘Why put craft beer on the shelves?’

“Having craft beer on the shelf helps get people in. They get excited about the beer, have access to it, come in for it, and then they look around and see what else we have. I’m excited because I’m my own customer. I want organic food, craft beer, healthy options. I want people to have access to what I would expect for myself and my family.” With an open minded community, supportive leadership, the interest of a world class educational institute, and initiative being taken by local business people National City is on the verge of a renaissance. What shape will it take? It is too soon to know. What is known, however, is that it is an untapped resource where opportunities abound. Given the emerging trends the real question, at this point in time, is this: who will take that leap of faith and bring craft beer to National City in a big way?


Cheers Tasters!
Gonzalo J. Quintero, Ed.D.
Columnist – West Coaster San Diego
©2014 West Coaster San Diego

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Posted by on April 13, 2015 in Craftbeer, IN PRINT, Westcoaster


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New Beer Alert: Danger Ranger


Santee, CA (East County · San Diego)

“Danger Ranger”
Hoppy Imperial Red brewed with the 4 “Cs” Chinook, Centennial, Citra… and Chicory (root)

Perhaps “New Beer Alert” isn’t the proper category for this beer. After all, East County staple Twisted Manzanita has been brewing this seasonal chicory root concoction for years now. On the other hand. Perhaps “New Beer Alert” is the proper category for this beer as new Head Brewer Daniel Cady have painstakingly crafted this beer (brewed twice annually) and released only 10 & 1/2 bbls and 60 cases to the wild.


Cady (L) with Original Danger Ranger Nathan Lang (R)

I write “only” as that is about 20.5 kegs outside of the brewery’s room. However, that amount dwarfs the numbers of their original release. According to Mr. Cady “Originally this beer was only available in the tasting room on draft, with take away only in bottles. Crest, our distributor, has it now and it should be available at your favorite bottle shops and tasting rooms soon.” Twisted Manzanita has seen much growth from their roots, a small brewery now in the shadow of their large production facility and distillery in Santee. With distribution behemoth Crest peddling their wares Twisted Manzanita no longer has to rely on this beer’s namesake to deliver the goods.

Yes “Danger Ranger” was named in homage to the brewery’s first delivery truck, a truck that’s turned into a defacto mascot for those in the know, and still makes public appearances at events, and the occasional self-distribution run.


According to the good folks at Manzanita the Danger Ranger played a significant role in the formation of the brewery. “For our first two years we personally delivered all of our beers with the help of a little truck dubbed “the Danger Ranger.” We’re excited to have grown a bit – now we can focus on brewing beer rather than delivering it – and we’re paying homage to many hours spent redlining around San Diego with this big red beer. Our high octane brew pairs the tangy citrus of Chinook, Centennial and Citra hops with the honey-roasted flavor of chicory root. Unconventional, but that’s how we roll.”

Daniel Cady has been with Twisted Manzanita for quite some time, but took the healm of Head Brewer in winter of 2014 and, along with the rest of the team, he has been dialing in the core line recipes and perfecting signature selections such as Danger Ranger. Grab a bomber of this ridiculously easy to drink Imperial Red from East County’s premier brewery at their Santee Brewery or Pacific Beach tasting room, there’s nothing quite like it, and it won’t be available for long.

Cheers Tasters!
Gonzalo J. Quintero, Ed.D.
Dr. Q

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Posted by on April 7, 2015 in Uncategorized


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West Coaster San Diego, April 2015

Craft Beer Underground.

There are taste makers in the craft beer community that may be somewhat invisible to the community at large. In this month’s West Coaster San Diego I speak with the people behind such underground craft beer groups as SD Beer Friends, SD Beer Reddit, and Hop Heads.

Click here to download the entire April issue of West Coaster San Diego.

Gonzalo J. Quintero, Ed.D.
Dr. Q




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Posted by on April 2, 2015 in Uncategorized


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