“Every week in San Diego is San Diego Beer Week.” It’s a popular saying among local imbibers seeing how there are so many beer festivals within the county throughout the year (sometimes two or three in the same weekend). With fermentation fetes occurring with such regularity, many can seem passé or standard-issue in nature, making those that are a cut-above worth inking on the calendar. Of all the festivals I’ve been to, few offer as much in the way of unique beers, a happy atmosphere, and personal gratification as Brewbies, an annual event benefiting the Keep A Breast Foundation.
Drawing brewing companies from throughout Southern California — a number of which don’t distribute or barely distribute their beers to San Diego County — Brewbies offers a field that goes beyond many local festivals. Additionally, many of the breweries pour specialty ales designed specifically for the festival. Without Brewbies we wouldn’t have tongue-in-cheek numbers like bOOb Check (Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits), Hakuna Ma Tatas (Pizza Port Carlsbad), or Meaty Beety Big N’ Bouncy (Monkey Paw Pub & Brewery). Yes, the names are clever, but more importantly, the beers are usually delicious and typically go beyond traditional style guidelines, incorporating hibiscus, berries, beets, and more in an effort to produce a pink hue.
I caught up with Devon Randall, the head brewer at Pizza Port’s Solana Beach brewpub, after she’d closed out a brew day for her contribution to this year’s Brewbies, Bon-gose. Brewed with pomegranates and given gose’s trademark earthiness and salinity courtesy of salt and coriander, the beer was a collaboration by Randall, Eagle Rock Brewery’s Ting Su, Ladyface Ale Companie’s Cyrena Nouzille, and Keep A Breast’s Melanie Pierce. The latter is the energetic organizational juggernaut behind Brewbies. Randall chose to give the beer tartness via acidulated malt versus a sour mash and utilized Kölsch yeast from Miramar’s White Labs. In addition to general female brewing camaraderie, highlights from the brew included spit-balling beer names like "Poms Poms Gose" and “Gose in My Bra,” and making the most of Su’s pregnancy by feasting on artisanal meats and cheeses, pizza, and ice cream throughout the day.
601 South Coast Highway, Oceanside
This year’s Brewbies will take place from 12 to 4 p.m., February 14 (yes, Valentine’s Day) at Bagby Beer Co. Beer-service stations will be setup throughout the two-level, indoor-outdoor brewpub, making full use of a venue that was designed with the idea of hosting beer festivals (including this one) in mind. This is one hot (pink) ticket.