San Diegans love beer. It’s a fact. It’s science. It’s irrefutable. Yes, we realize we’re already spoiled by the weather, and the beaches, and the laid-back vibe San Diego offers, but when you think about it, what goes better with all three of those things than a cold one?? Luckily for us, we happen to live in a city where the beer flows as surely as the sun shines, and there’s plenty of both for everyone to go around.
Sun, sand, surf, & suds
In San Diego County alone, there are over 100 fully-functional breweries cranking out their craft goodness every day. Sure, you’ve probably already heard of some of the big boys in town that have achieved national (and in some cases international) notoriety for their groundbreaking brews such as Stone, Ballast Point, Karl Strauss, Green Flash, and AleSmith, but don’t sleep on the smaller operations or up-and-comers like Amplified Ale Works, Modern Times, Belching Beaver, Kilowatt, and Bagby Beer Company. With so many options, you never really have to go too far to find your next new favorite IPA, sour, or stout.
But if for some reason you can’t make it to one of the many brewery-run tasting rooms, there are also countless taverns, gastropubs, festivals, and specialty shops offering a plethora of sudsy selections from both local and other-regional beer artisans. Given the ready availability of so many great beers in this city, it comes as no surprise that San Diego was named the second-best beer town in the US (behind only Portland, ahem) just a couple years back. Which also brings me back to my original point; San Diegans love beer. After all, this level of supply and demand doesn’t happen by accident.
Foam is where the heart is
Here at gap intelligence it’s no different. We love beer. The fact that our office is located within a “stone’s” throw of Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens is purely coincidental (or is it?), but what isn’t a coincidence is the fact that we’ve had multiple brewery-hopping company events, or that our float entry in a holiday parade last year was called “Come Peer and Cheer at Our Pier of Peers Sneaking Beers,” or that we actually have a framed photo of a half-full (hey, I’m an optimist) beer in a pint glass hanging from one of our conference room walls. Heck, if you’re reading this blog right now it means you’re on our website, right? Do me a favor and shoot over to the ‘About’ section and scroll all the way down to ‘Careers.’ Do you see the last icon and what it says next to it? Yup, we literally use craft beer as a recruitment tool.
Alright stop what you’re doin’, cuz I’m about the brewin’…
So in observance of the recent National Beer Day holiday (yes, it is a thing), what did us gappers do to celebrate, you ask? Well, I can tell you that we didn’t just go out somewhere to drink beers. I mean, it happened, but that’s not all we did. No, we also went out somewhere to make beers. That’s right, in honor of the holiday, a group of gappers headed to San Diego’s own Citizen Brewers, which is essentially a warehouse-sized laboratory dedicated to brewing one’s own beer. CB provides all of the equipment, ingredients, and expertise necessary to guide both casual fans and full-blown beer enthusiasts alike through the brewing process.
We reserved two kettles (one for each pre-determined team) in which we brewed two distinct beer types, an India Pale Ale and an Irish Stout. For many of us, it was our first time dabbling in the art of brewing, but Judd, the mad scientist behind the lab that is Citizen Brewers, walked us through the entire process. From measuring and milling grains to steeping ingredients to adding hops to the boil and, finally, reducing and extracting the resulting mixture, we were guided through each step of the way, and without ever once feeling like we weren’t actually brewing our own beer.
Once the mixtures were moved from their kettles to barrels, the final (and most ceremonial) step before sealing them up was the addition of yeast to each barrel to get the fermentation process going and, eventually, turn the batches into actual beer. The entire process took several hours, and it will be about a month until the finished products are ready for bottling. For the IPA team, the end result they are hoping for is a citrus-heavy flavor profile with well-balanced hoppiness, while team Irish Stout is going for a roasted finish with equal notes of chocolate and caramel. Only time will tell.
All in all, the experience was a ton of fun, and a great way to celebrate National Beer Day. Although things did end up getting a little competitive between teams IPA and Irish Stout (and will probably continue to be until it’s tasting time), it was actually really great to spend the day with other gappers who have an affinity for beer, and collaborate with them to make our very own. We already work together towards common goals on a daily basis anyway, so that part came easy. The only difference is that we’ll get to drink these results. Needless to say, we’re all really excited to host our own little “gappy” hour in a month from now and sample the finished products, so stay tuned for the final results! I would extend you a personal invitation to swing by and try them for yourself, but I don’t think there will be enough to go around. Like I said before, we love beer.