History lessons with a side of suds

Longship Brewery's lectures on beer-drinking Vikings and beer topics

Vikings and beer promo photo
  • Vikings and beer promo photo
  • photo courtesy of Longship Brewery

Longship Brewery opened in 2016 with two specific areas of interest: Vikings and beer. Thanks to a new lecture series Longship is hosting in its Mira Mesa tasting room, beer fans are getting an opportunity to learn about both, while drinking the latter.

Longship Brewery

10320 Camino Santa Fe, Sorrento Valley

Dubbed Pint-Sized Lectures, the 30-minute presentations take place every other Thursday at 7 p.m. Cal State San Marcos history professor Antonio Saldivar kicked off the series January 25th with a brief lesson in Viking history. He returned two weeks later for a talk on Vikings' relationship to beer, his four-lecture engagement culminating March 8th with a discussion of Viking mythology.

Next up will be a four-part lecture series on a subject that hits closer to home: beer history. These 30-minute talks will be given by Judith Downie, the historian responsible for maintaining the Brewchive, a special collection of the Cal State San Marcos library documenting San Diego brewing history.

Downie's series begins March 22nd with a lesson on San Diego's beer history, beginning with the city's first commercial brewery, all the way back in 1868. "Of course home brewing was likely before then," she notes, "but I haven't found any evidence to prove that."

She'll return April 5th with a talk on craft beer's "hidden women," taking a look at the contributions women have made to local brewing history and culture, including Audrey Eckblom, the owner of Beer and Wine Crafts in El Cajon, who Downie reports was instrumental in founding the QUAFF homebrewers club.

Next (April 19th), Downie will offer a talk on what she terms the Third Wave of local beer, looking at the 1987–1997 time frame. She'll finish up May 3rd by dispelling a few San Diego beer fables and myths, including one about the number of breweries that operated locally prior to Prohibition. "According to some scholars, there were seven breweries," she points out, "but that is not true. A lot of businesses called themselves breweries but were actually only bottlers."

Longship founder and brewer Dan Jachimowicz sees the lecture series as a way to bring people to his tasting room, and make learning fun. "We wanted to share our love of history," he says. "It's a chance to come in, have a beer, and learn something you wouldn't normally have access to, from people you wouldn't normally have access to."

Label artwork for Longship Brewery's first canned beer release, Wildlife Guardian

Label artwork for Longship Brewery's first canned beer release, Wildlife Guardian

From day one, he says, he's watched his tasting-room crowds become quiet and attentive as they were drawn in to Saldivar's lectures. He's already planning future topics — next will likely be a series on the history of beer styles.

In other Longship news, the brewery aims to release its first packaged beer on March 24th. Available in four-packs of 16-ounce cans, Wildlife Guardian kölsch was brewed as a fundraiser beer to benefit Global Conservation Force, a nonprofit devoted to protecting endangered species from poachers, such as African rhinos and elephants.

Jachimowicz developed this 5.25 percent ABV beer to be crisp and refreshing, with tangerine flavors stemming from the use of Mandarina Bavaria hops. He deems it something the conservationists would enjoy drinking "after a long day out in the sun doing their work protecting wildlife."

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