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BEER WEEK: Learn The Trade At "Beer U."

Mature "students" buckle down for Beer U.
Photo by Heather Hernandez

As a product, industry and topic of discussion, craft brew is deep and rich. Exploring its history, complexities and seemingly infinite details—and putting that information into a digestible instructional format—is no easy task. Yet, self-proclaimed “beer geek” and “blabbermouth” Ken Wright of Stone Brewing Company has developed a sure-fire way to do just that.

Get ready to matriculate into Beer U.

It’s an educational event where Wright tackles brew-based subjects via a seminar/beer-tasting-session format. In light of San Diego Beer Week, an event established chiefly to promote craft beer to people who are unfamiliar with the industry, the topic of Wednesday’s Beer U was “Craft Beer Appreciation.”

Translated using Stone’s notoriously unapologetic vernacular, the objective of the class was to convert fizzy yellow beer drinkers to the ranks of “worthy” craft brew fans.

“I don’t like to hit people over the head with a big bag of facts,” says Wright. “I prefer to interject personality first and foremost, and let the information ride on the back of that.”

Over the course of last week’s two-hour Beer U, Wright explains the basics of the brewing process, and the differences between ales and lagers, malt- and hop-driven beers and bottle-conditioned and ready-to-drink beers.

He also examines the development of the world’s most popular beer styles, the history of San Diego’s brewing scene, the rise of macro-brewing operations and the current craft brewing renaissance.

“A lot of people have just scraped the surface of the craft brew culture,” says Wright. “When you see the diversity and culture behind it, it’s hard to resist.”

The same can be said for the impressive and hard-to-come-by beers offered throughout the evening. The list includs local stars like AleSmith, Speedway Stout, The Lost Abbey, The Angel’s Share and a collaborative Kona Coffee Macadamia Nut Porter produced by Stone, Maui Brewing and San Diego home-brewer Ken Schmidt. There are also out-of-town gems like Russian River Temptation, Jolly Pumpkin Bam Biere and 2 Turtledoves, the recently released winter seasonal from Orange County upstart The Bruery.

Most craft beer fans would flock to a bar for a taste of one, much less several of the aforementioned beers, making this chance to sample all of them while feasting on an array of exotic cheeses for just $20 all the more extraordinary. The next Beer U, a for-women-only session titled “We Can Brew It”—conducted by Stone’s “lady beer geek” Kathryn Bouscaren—will take place at Escondido’s Stone World Bistro & Gardens at 7 p.m. on November 23. Tickets are available at: Beer U.

Details »
  • City: Escondido
  • Phone: 760-294-7866
  • Name: Stone World Bistro & Gardens
  • Address: 1999 Citracado Parkway