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SAN DIEGO BEER WEEK: Green Flash Bash

Since establishing their company in an inauspicious business park eight years ago, Green Flash Brewing Company has churned out some of San Diego’s best brews and, in the process, endeared themselves to citizens of their home community of Vista. Given this, yesterday’s annual anniversary beer festival, like their brand new Silva Stout, was a tad bittersweet.

Later this year, Green Flash will move their operation to a spot on Mira Mesa Boulevard (nearest cross-street will be Flanders…wonder what kind of beer that might spawn?) that will house their primary production brewhouse and administrative offices. Their new neighbors will be giants like AleSmith and Ballast Point Brewing Co. as well as San Diego’s smallest brewery (defined as a nano-brewery), Hess Brewing and their exit will likely translate to added market share among emerging Vista breweries like Mother Earth Beer Co., Backstreet Brewery and the five-week old Iron Fist Brewing Co. (not to mention close-by operations including Port Brewing/The Lost Abbey, San Marcos Brewery, Oceanside Ale Works and Breakwater Brewing).

San-Diego-Beer-Week-2010

The party at Green Flash Brewing Company.

Photo by Brandon Hernandez

But they will still have a presence in the North County. Instead of abandoning their original facility, they will use it as a place to create specialty brews and house beer. But, fans looking to take in next year’s anniversary festival will need to venture south to Mira Mesa to do so.

Brewmaster Chuck Silva, for one, is elated about the move. “Well, I live in North Park, so personally I’m stoked about not having to drive so far,” he said. “Plus the scope of the place is larger and we’ll have state of the art brewing equipment, so I’m excited about that.”

As a Scripps Ranch resident, I am among the contingent of beer fans that are happy about the transition. Getting up to Vista was certainly more challenging, but always worth it. That was never more true than yesterday, when my festival experience was greatly enhanced thanks to members of the San Diego Beer Club, particularly Vicky Davis, a homebrewer of 17 years who plays a major role in the group.

“We’ve been around for over four years and have about 1,000 members,” said Davis, while shielding me from the sun with her trademark black umbrella which fellow club-members know to look out for when trying to locate her at massive events like this highly-attended festival. “We go to lots of events like festivals and also hold lots of events like happy hours, educational events and beer and food pairings.”

Thanks to Davis, I had the honor of having some San Diego Beer Club Members at a beer and food dinner that I had at La Jolla’s Trattoria Acqua earlier this year. It was nice having my own kind there, not just for the moral support, but because they were able to share their knowledge about craft beer, brewing recipes and beer pairability with the communal diners at their table. Given that there were many a beer and food first-timer in attendance, the club members’ enthusiasm and wisdom really enhanced the first-timers’ experience and, like so many a beer event, many new friendships were forged.

This is how the club has managed to gain such a hefty membership in such a relatively short amount of time. “We get together and share our passion and knowledge and over the years, our [collective] knowledge has grown. That’s exciting,” says Davis. “We to bring new customers to craft beer establishments and, in exchange, they give us discounts or specials. It’s nice to give them business while getting a membership benefit for club members.”

Now, I know a lot of people in the craft beer community, but even I was introduced to several people I’d never met courtesy of Davis, who is extremely connected and extremely liked by brewing professionals, homebrewers and beer fans alike. To spend a day with she and her colleagues at a beer event is to position yourself to enjoy that occasion to the utmost.

Take it from me, I’m not just an advocator—I’m also a member.

If you like good beer and meeting people who share that affinity, click here or email Davis at vicky@sandiegobeerclub.com.

My picks for great San Diego Beer Week events on Sunday (November 14--the last day…drink up!)

Meet the Man Behind the Artwork, 11 a.m.- 3 p.m.

Paul Elder, the mind behind all of the art work on Ballast Point Brewing Company’s beer as well as their award-winning line of spirits, will be on-site signing t-shirts, signs and other items adorned with his works.

10051 Old Grove Road, Suite B, Scripps Ranch, 858-695-2739

Beer Garden, 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m.

It’s sold out, but if you have tickets, enjoy this elaborate food and beer pairing event featuring 10 breweries, even more top name San Diego chefs and the grandest backdrop you could ever hope for via The Lodge at Torrey Pines’ open-air Arroyo Terrace.

11480 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, 858-453-4420

Backyard BBQ, 1-4 p.m.

San Diego Music Award winners Dottie and the Diamonds will perform in the garden half of the Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens amidst the wafting aromas of barbecue and folks helping exhaust the last remains from many a keg of great beer.

1999 Citracado Parkway, Escondido, 760-471-4999

Lost Abbey Found, 6:30 p.m.

O’Brien’s will play host to Tomme Arthur, the world famous, highly decorated directory of brewery operations for The Lost Abbey, who will be sharing some of the rarest brews in his extensive collection in duo with tapas-style dishes from the pub’s kitchen.

4646 Convoy Street, Kearny Mesa, 858-715-1745

Allagash Food & Beer Pairing, 7 p.m.

Allagash owner and brewer Rob Tod will finish his whirlwind tour of San Diego by heading to Churchill’s Pub in the North County for one last food and drink extravaganza. Not a bad way to close things out (for him or for you).

887 West San Marcos Boulevard, San Marcos, 760-471-8773