Homebrew Summer: San Diego Estate Beers

Winners of a first-time indigenous-ingredient beer competition share their recipes

Earlier this year, a consortium headed by representatives of the San Diego Brewers Guild and Slow Food Urban San Diego put out a call to homebrewers to enter recipes for beers with a distinct local bent as part of the San Diego Estate Beer Project (SDEBP). Established to encourage development of ales, lagers and wild beers with a sense of place through utilization of indigenous and locally harvested ingredients, the SDEBP competition was run through local homebrew-club QUAFF (Quality Ale and Fermentation Fraternity).

Last week, winners of the first round of the competition were announced during QUAFF’s general meeting, which was held at AleSmith Brewing in Miramar. A quartet of beers made the cut, one in each of four broad stylistic categories. Those entries were judged on beer quality, flavor profile and locality. “Beer quality” considered the creativity employed in recipe development as well as a beer’s potential as a commercial product, while “locality” was based on narratives submitted by contestants explaining what “local” means to them and how that applied to the beer they submitted.

Beer judges and representatives from SDEBP partner organizations gather at White Labs in Miramar to assess local beers submitted by homebrewers

The following are the beers that made it through the first round…

  • Cherry & Kumquat San Diego Weisse (Spice/Herb/Vegetable Beer Category), Billy Lambert & Theresa Wilks: A Berliner-style Weisse brewed with homegrown cherries and kumquats plus a self-isolated wild yeast strain from Valley Center. Pro-Am Brewing Partner: Thorn Brewing (Barrio Logan)

  • Don Prickles (Fruit Beer Category), Eli Palma: A kölsch-style ale brewed with locally harvested prickly pears and water harvested from a Japatul Valley well. Pro-Am Brewing Partner: Viewpoint Brewing (Del Mar)

  • Bay Bridge Wit (Gruit or Farmhouse Beer Category), Patrick & Andrea Colchin: A Belgian-style witbier (wheat ale) brewed with locally grown whole juniper berries, black pepper and lemon zest. Pro-Am Brewing Partner: White Labs Brewing (Miramar)

  • San Diego Farmhouse “Twist” (Specialty Beer Category), Billy Lambert & Theresa Wilks: A saison brewed with homegrown Saaz hops, pink lemon zest, Makrut lime leaves and the aforementioned Valley Center wild yeast strain. Pro-Am Brewing Partner: Pure Project Brewing (Vista)

The winning beer in each category will be scaled up so that it can be brewed at the commercial brewery of each winners’ pro-am partner. Those beers will then be offered to attendees at Guild Fest. One of San Diego Beer Week’s largest annual events, it will be held on Saturday, November 5 at San Diego Surf Cup Sports Park in Del Mar.

This will be the second time one of those beers, Don Prickles, is brewed on a professional level. Its creator, Eli Palma, teamed with Miramar’s Embolden Beer Co. to brew a full-scale batch as part of 2021’s inaugural Homebrew Summer program.

As part this year’s Homebrew Summer and San Diego Beer News’ partnership with the SDEBP, we have worked with our sponsors at Home Brew Mart to convert the hombrew recipes for all of the first-round winners so that homebrewers can craft them at home.

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