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SAN DIEGO BEER WEEK: Ingrid's One In Eight

Twelve-point-five percent. No, that’s not my blood alcohol content going into the seventh straight night of San Diego Beer Week. It’s the staggeringly high percentage of women afflicted by breast cancer in the US. For folks as anti-arithmetic as I am, that’s one out of every eight women. This stat was driven home during the month of October, a.k.a Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but it’s something everyone (yes, guys, even us) needs to remain vigilant about 365 days out of the year.

Helping to spread awareness into November’s San Diego Beer Week was a special event held on Wednesday night at The High Dive in Bay Park. The focal point of the evening was a new collaborative beer from Ballast Point Brewing Co. and Coronado Brewing Co. The name of that beer is Ingrid’s One In Eight and it was brewed in honor of the co-owner of The High Dive, Ingrid Qua, who was diagnosed with breast cancer two months ago and has since undergone a mastectomy and the first phase of her chemotherapy treatment.




San Diego Beer Week 2010: Ingrid's One In Eight.

Photo by Brandon Hernandez



I first wrote about Qua a few weeks ago in my FOODfare column. I was publicizing an event Qua’s Chicks for Beer group was holding at The High Dive to raise money for breast cancer charities; A party of epic proportions, that event raised a total of $7,000; a thousand-and-one dollars of which was offered up by the winner of a raffle set up by Qua to have a member of the audience clip her ponytail. Shortly after her procedure, Qua shared with me that most women are understandably distraught over losing a breast to a mastectomy, but that she was actually not that heartbroken about it. What had her most upset was the fact chemotherapy would make her lose her hair (another predominant concern for cancer patients). So, in typical fashion, she extracted the most goodness she could from the predicament by taking the situation into her own hands (or the hands of the winning patron) and using it to garner some cash for her cause.

It’s this indomitable spirit (and the fact that she’s just a tremendously nice person) that led brewers Colby Chandler of Ballast Point and Coronado’s Shawn DeWitt and Sean Farrell to put their heads and their skilled hands together to create One In Eight, a Belgian amber ale that Chandler was inspired to brew while attending New York City Beer Week a few months back. Packed with the floral, yeasty character that only a Belgian yeast strain can bring, this 8 percent ABV (what else?) beer pours a hazy brown and comes through with an enveloping citric twang that’s balanced by blunt spice from the addition of fresh ginger and further subdued by an underlying chocolate-iness courtesy of cocoa nibs.

Different from any beer being poured in San Diego (and that’s saying something considering the breadth of brews on-tap for San Diego Beer Week), One In Eight will be available at a number of venues while supplies last. Coronado Brewing Co. has it available at their brewery-restaurant and shipped out a number of kegs to notable establishments within the community. 100% of proceeds earned from sales of the beer at Coronado Brewing Co. will go directly to the Susan G. Komen Foundation and they’ve requested that other accounts who pick it up donate at least 20% of proceeds to the organization. The majority have promised to donate far more than that.

Entering The High Dive, I had many beer journalist/geek questions, but one big query took precedent. I needed to see how Qua was feeling. “Really good,” she replied, adding that, aside from the fact that she feels physically well an estimated 90% of the time and is getting positive feedback from her doctors, there are other reasons she’s in such a positive frame of mind. Since her story has gotten out, many new people—women who’ve gone through the same thing that she has—have made pilgrimages to the bar to meet her, offer her encouragement and support. Likewise, she’s made tons of new friends and allies through social media outlets and that has surely fueled her recovery. Then there’s the outpouring of affection from her regular patrons and, of course, the brewing community, which was out in force for Wednesday’s event. It was a veritable who’s who of San Diego’s suds scene.

“I’d never say that having cancer is a blessing,” said Qua, “but most people don’t receive this sort of caring and support until after they’re dead. It’s been amazing.”

Be on the lookout for more sudsy Samaritanism from Chicks For Beer. What was once a purely recreational group of gals most appreciatively guzzling top notch brews will soon be a full-fledged not-for-profit organization earning money to benefit a number of local charities. If those shindigs are anywhere near as enjoyable rewarding as these first forays, these chicks are bound to make a big impact on our region, something Qua has already done courtesy of her resilience and ability to convert a negative diagnosis into an unfathomably positive and steadily building aftermath.

As one patron at last night’s festivities summed up, “She’s a very positive person…and one tough broad!” I’ll drink to that…and I hope you will, too.


San Diego Beer Week highlights for Thursday (November 11):

Brewmaster’s Lunch, 12:30-2 p.m.

Join brewmasters Steve Wagner of Stone Brewing Co. and Tomme Arthur of Port Brewing/The Lost Abbey for a mid-day meal where each course is paired with beers from both their breweries.

1999 Citracado Parkway, Escondido, 760-471-4999

Brewery Tours

Two of San Diego’s most popular breweries are offering behind-the-scenes tours of their brewhouses. Join Ballast Point owner Jack White at his Scripps Ranch facility at 2 p.m. then head to Karl Strauss’ Columbia Street location for a 4 p.m. look-see.

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

Karl Strauss: 1157 Columbia Street, Downtown, 858-234-2739

Hang Loose with Maui Brewing, 4 p.m.

Known for their coconut porter and cans (the metal type vs. those found in coconut bras), Maui Brewing and founder Garret Marrero will be on-hand for a night of Hawaiian shirts, Polynesian cuisine and beers from the big island at Small Bar.

4628 Park Blvd, University Heights, 619-795-7998

30th Street Progressive Dinner, 5 p.m.

A foursome of restaurants along San Diego’s beeriest thoroughfare (including Sea Rocket Bistro and The Ritual Tavern) will offer special dish apiece, each of which will be paired with a beer from Green Flash Brewing Co. for this night of on-the-go noshing.

Various Locations, North Park

Sacrifice Dinner, 6 p.m.

Sample edible fare crafted using every last bit of several whole animals while perusing an expansive dining room done up art gallery style with the original pieces made popular as label art adorning The Lost Abbey’s line of high-end brews.

616 J Street, Downtown, 619-531-8744