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Local Brewers Discuss Latest Trends In Craft Beer

Local Brewers Discuss Latest Trends In Craft Beer
What's your favorite kind of craft beer? Why are IPAs so popular right now? What are sour beers? And, how did San Diego become the premiere craft beer town in the nation? We'll answer your questions, and discuss the latest trends in the craft beer world with some of the top breweries in town.

What's your favorite craft beer? Why are IPAs so popular right now? What are sour beers? And, how did San Diego become the premiere craft beer town in the nation? We'll answer your questions, and discuss the latest trends in the craft beer world with some of the top breweries in town.


Paul Segura, brewmaster for Karl Strauss Brewing Company.


Colby Chandler, specialty brewer for Ballast Point Brewing Company, general manager of Home Brew Mart, and past president of the San Diego Brewers Guild.

Shawn DeWitt, one of the founding partners and original brewmaster for Coronado Brewing Company. Shawn is also the vice president of the San Diego Brewer's Guild.

Tony Zuniga, KPBS Official Beer Taste Tester.

Ron Stein, KPBS Official Beer Taste Tester.

Read Transcript

This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

I'm Maureen Cavanaugh, and you're listening to These Days on KPBS. After water and tea, beer is the most consumed beverage on the planet. It's also one of the oldest being the drink of choice among the builders of the pyramids upon right now here in San Diego, this ancient beverage is finding new life, San Diego brewers are leading the way, winning awards, setting new standards and experimenting with different ingredients to produce truly exceptional craft beers, this morning we'll be talking about what you need to know about the new brews, what kind of variety you can find at local breweries and how it expand your beer taste buds and we're also asking you to tell us about your favorite craft beer. I'd like to introduce my guest, Paul Segura is brew master for Carl Strauss brewing company.


PAUL SEGURA: Good morning. And thank you for having us.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Colby Chandler is specialty brewer for Ballast Point Brewing company, general manager of home brew mart, and past president of the San Diego brewer's guild. Colby, good morning.

COLBY CHANDLER: Great to be here. Thanks.

SHAWN DEWITT: And Shawn DeWitt one of the founding partners and original brew master for Coronado Brewing Company. Shawn is also the vice president of the San Diego brewer's guild. Welcome to These Days.

SHAWN DEWITT: Thank you.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Now we invite our listeners to join the conversation. Have you made the switch to craft beers? Tell us why, and which are your favorites? Give us a call with your questions and your comments. Our number is 1-888-895-5727. Paul, let me start off by kind of asking a kind of leveling question for all of us. For people who don't know much about craft beers, what's the difference between the kind of beers that all three of you guys are brewing and the kind that you go in and buy a national brand at the super market.

PAUL SEGURA: I would say a lot more flavor, a lot more character, those are the main points. The beers that we make of course are all made here in San Diego, and so they're very fresh, a lot more fresher than most of those brands you're gonna get too.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And Colby, let me get your take on that. What is somebody gonna taste in your craft beer that they're never gonna get from a super market brand.

COLBY CHANDLER: Well, super market brands are so limited and so focused on one particular flavor, I think the three big brands that we're kind of alluding to. In San Diego, we're so diverse, the flavor spectrum is all over the board. So I'm always intrigued by a person that says, oh, I'm not a big beer fan.


COLBY CHANDLER: Each one is very specific in their flavors, and like I said, they can just go all different directions, anything from an obvious San Diego hop forward beer, to something with sage in it or aged in a wine barrel.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Right. Shawn, I said at the beginning, that San Diego brewers are experimenting with different ingredients and tastes. Tell us about the experiments you've been doing.

SHAWN DEWITT: At Coronado brewing company, we've basically come up with a few different styles of beers or actually not styles of beers, but different flavors in the beers, and the idea that craft beer the way it is, we wanted to continue with that, and be unique, and so we did come up with a beer that we used to produce once a year, and it was actually our independence day ale, now we call it orange avenue wit. And it's a year round offering, and basically in that beer we have orange zest, orange honey, and coriander. So flavors you're definitely not gonna get in domestic style beers.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: That's the one I promised to try later on.


MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Colby, tell me how Ballast Point got its start.

COLBY CHANDLER: Well, 1992, actually we started as Home brew Mart. So coming up on 20 years of brewing in San Diego. And then 96. We opened up a small microbrewery behind the home brew mart. We were up to quite bit. Almost up to about 6000 barrels when we expanded to another location in the county. That is our production facility, a lot of the bottling gets done up there, and that's also where we have the first distillery in San Diego since prohibition. So we're also distilling at that as well.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And what got you into this?

COLBY CHANDLER: Like most brewers in San Diego, we were all home brewers at one time. I was a craft beer aficionado, I guess, kind of, when it was first coming around. My parents lived in the Seattle area so I was familiar with that kind of boom and explosion up there. When I came to San Diego, I started home brewing, it was an easy extension. I loved cooking so it was just a great extension from that. And I realized that not only did I love the product but I kind of had a knack at making it, so I just kind of made the jump.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Shawn, tell us how you guys got started.

SHAWN DEWITT: Coronado brewing company, we basically started off as a local brew pub restaurant in Coronado so we didn't sit down and discuss bottling, distribution, kegging, anything like that, it was basically four guys who graduated from Coronado , and we were gonna start a business in Coronado, and we started off in 96 with a brew pub, and before we knew it, 22-ounce bottles were coming, and 12-ounce bottles and distribution just in San Diego, and now we're distributing beer coast to coast. And never would have thought. Never would have thought. 15 years later that that's what we're doing. We were just a sleepy little brew pub. And we still are a small little brew pub, but somehow we're able to produce enough beer to get it out this coast to coast.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Now, Paul, Carl Strauss is the grabbed daddy in the room. It's the oldest brewery that's still in operation. Are you surprised by the amount of growth that the craft beer has experienced over the last decade.

PAUL SEGURA: I am, there really has been an explosion particularly here in San Diego. Carl Strauss opened in 89, I think at that time it was the second or the first brewery to open up since prohibition in the city of San Diego. There was another brewery, the bolt brewery which opened up in fall brook, which is San Diego County. But we started with a single brew pub in Columbia and B down down, then we added another downtown. And people were saying I'd love to get kegs of that beer. So we opened up a small production facility, and then we had to open up a larger production facility and then more brewery restaurants, then the same story with Ballast Point and Coronado, the demand just kept coming and coming.. and I think people got turned on to the flavors that we're talking about in craft beer and they just couldn't go back to the drinking the mass produced beer. Once they got turned on to those flavors, it's like Starbucks coffee, you can't go back to Folgers. You know?

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: That's very true. I mean it's difficult. You can tell that's a whole range of tastes and aromas and sensations that you haven't experienced before in buying some of the national brands.

PAUL SEGURA: Right, yeah.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Now, let me ask you, first of all, I want to tell everybody that I'm speaking with Paul Segura, he's brew master for Carl Strauss brewing company. Also here is Colby Chandler, he's specialty brewer for Ballast Point brewing company, and Shawn DeWitt is one of the founding partners of Coronado Brewing Company. We're taking your call us at 1-888-895-5727. If you have a question about craft beers or you'd like to share with us what some of your favorites are, once again, that's 1-888-895-5727. So Paul, what are some of the most popular kinds of craft beers that are around right now?

PAUL SEGURA: We're seeing a huge spike in the IPAs, the big hope peers here in San Diego. India appeal ale and double IPAs now are very very popular here in Southern California. And I'm not sure exactly why. But San Diego has become the hub, the birthplace of these great hope beers.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Tell us a little bit -- yeah, Colby, I want you to tell us what is an India appeal ale?

COLBY CHANDLER: Basically it's an old world style, when Britain was occupying India, they had to ship beer around for the troops there. And they were finding that the lower alcohol, lower hops beers were spoiling. So hopping being a natural preservative, the more hops and alcohol you put into it, the better it would survive the journey. So that's kind of how the style came around. Those tradition IPAs are very low hop compared to the ones we're making in San Diego here today. We always hike to take things to the next level.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And Shawn, what's a double IPA.

SHAWN DEWITT: It's basically -- a lot of people ask me that at the brewery, and for the most part, they think it's double the 407s and double the malt. Of and that's not show. But basically it's just more of a balanced, hope, malty, big beer. So generally our IPA comes in a seven percent, 7.2, and our double IPA, comes in at like 8.5. So you can see, double, technically, you would think it's 14 percent but that's not so.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: So are you talking about percentage of alcohol.


MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: We're taking your calls at 1-888-895-5727. Ron is calling from Tierra Santa. Good morning, Ron and welcome to These Days.

NEW SPEAKER: Yes, good morning, and thank you, first I'd like to say that there are some awfully good beer being brewed in this area. And I have a question for the gentleman from Carl Strauss.


NEW SPEAKER: There's only two light beers I know that I can drink, and one is Sam Adams and one is your endless summer. Which you only make in the summer. And I can only get one case out of Costco, and then it's gone. Why don't you brew it year-round, and please do.

PAUL SEGURA: Well, first of all, thank you. We're flattered that you like our beer. We actually do brew that beer year-round but Costco only wants to take it during the summer months. So it is available at grocery stores. It's also available at our own brewery restaurants and what not. I encourage you if you like that beer to look at the grocery stores and our own brewery restaurants.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Sorry, go ahead.

PAUL SEGURA: No, I'm done.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Okay. I wanted to ask a little bit more about IPAs because you mention the fact that we like to take it to the next level here in the west coast. San Diego is becoming really known for these IPAs, and the double IPAs. Why is that?

COLBY CHANDLER: Well, originally, I think it's just the amount of wards that we're wins at the competitions. We've really been dominating over the past decade in that competition. So when people want to judge where the best beers are coming, they usually look to those contests and it's painfully obvious that it's San Diego where it's getting done.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: What kind of experience have you had with international or national beer contests?

COLBY CHANDLER: We've all done really well actually at one time or another, both Paul and I have gotten double golds this year with a couple beers that we brewed. World beer cup, I think San Diego won more meddles than every other country except for the United States.


COLBY CHANDLER: So as a county we're really dominating in the world scene. And it's a little painful for us to get the accolades from all our compatriots from around the world, and beer drinkers and we're kind of missing the boat a little bit with the local taste buds and the locals trying to get into it.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Right, right and Shawn, what kind of beer contests have you been in.

SHAWN DEWITT: Basically in the last few years, CBC has gotten a little more serious about entering beer contests. In the early days I would say we didn't enter the contests because we didn't really understand the process. I know that sounds odd, but it was more or less we're doing fine, what reason is there to enter these contests. And again, we weren't distributing beer at that time.


SHAWN DEWITT: So we just didn't feel that we needed to do so. And now of course that we do distribute beer, it's necessary that we do put our beer out. And we haven't been lucky enough to win any gold medals the GABF, but this past year we didn't finish 4th in the national IPA championship. Got to the final four. So a 128 IPAs were entered nationwide and we got to the final four, and lost to the eventual winner. So slowly the success is coming in the beer contests.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Gotcha. We're talking about beer, San Diego craft beer, and we're taking your calls at 1-888-895-5727. Let's take a call from don in Carlsbad. Good morning don, welcome to These Days.

NEW SPEAKER: Good morning. I'm looking for a reality check. A week or so ago I was invited it a party, and the only beer available was Budweiser in cans. So I woke up the next morning with a major hang over headache, and I wondered what is that all about? I did an Internet research and it turns out there's a lot of stuff on the Internet about Budweiser headache. And the reason that I recall was that it's because it's it is brewed with rice rather than barley. So any comment or elaboration you could give on that, I'd appreciate. Because I don't want to repeat that evening.


PAUL SEGURA: Well, boy, I've heard my fair share of people who've said that also about Budweiser. I think maybe -- I can't speak to the rice thing. And I can't speak to anything else bud wiser would do that might be propriety. But I would say hang overs in general are caused from dehydration, and beer being a diuretic will dehydrate you, if you drink some water before you go to bed, you'll be okay in the morning.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: It's not so much the rice as the beer.

SHAWN DEWITT: I've never heard it was the rice.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Let's take a short break, and when we return we'll continue to talk about craft beers in San Diego. And maybe actually sample 1 or 2. And take your phone calls at 1-888-895-5727. You're listening to These Days on KPBS.

I'm Maureen Cavanaugh and you're listening to These Days on KPBS. And we are talking about San Diego craft beers. My guests are Shawn DeWitt, he's one of the founding partners of the Coronado Brewing Company, Colby Chandler is specialty brewer for Ballast Point Brewing Company, and Paul Segura is brew master for Carl Strauss brewing company. And we are taking your calls at 1-888-895-5727. During the break, tops have been taken off beer cans -- beer bottles and we are ready for a couple of tastings. But before I get to that. Let me just ask about the different ideas that you have for actually incorporating flavors and tastes into various beers. Of and I want to talk about the idea of putting beers -- in wooden barrels, aging them a little bit. Because I don't think a lot of people are really aware that that's going on, or how long -- have you been doing that a long time Paul.

PAUL SEGURA: Not a long time, we've been doing that for a few years now.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: What does that do for the beer.

PAUL SEGURA: Well, there are certain beers that have wine like strength and wine like flavors and so when you put those into oak barrels, either wine oak barrels or bourbon or whiskey oak barrels, they age nicely. The flavors mellow out a lot bit, some of the caramel malts start to oxidize, and they take on nice fruit flavors, raisins, dates, plums. Then the oak character comes in, and adds I nice dimension with vanilla, oak or whatever beverage was in the barrel prior to that. Those flavors will be imparted into the beers so you get a lot of nice complexity and flavors and aromas that come from aging beers in oak.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Let me give this a try. This is the 21st anniversary ale brewed with zinfandel grape juice from Carl Strauss brewery. And -- oh.

PAUL SEGURA: Are you a wine drinker?

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Yes, that's very nice.

PAUL SEGURA: Oh, thank you.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Yes, that is very nice. A very different taste. You can taste that sort of winy edge to it.

PAUL SEGURA: Right. Yeah. It sort of starts out like a wine and finishes like a beer.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Yes, very much so. We're gonna have people in here a little bit later on, who have much much more fine palettes than me. So they'll be able to express it a little bit more. But that's nice.

PAUL SEGURA: Thank you.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: When it comes to -- I think there's something about beer 101, that I think perhaps we didn't get it. Let me ask you, Colby, when people think of wine, they think of red wines and white wines. What's the line of demarcation when it comes to beer?

COLBY CHANDLER: There's two different yeasts that's you make beer with. There's either a lager yeast which is cold fermented usually done around 50 degrees, or there's ale yeast, it's usually generally around 70-degree. That's the two defining definitions of beer, basically. There can be dark, strong lagers, there can be very light, low alcohol ales. So the color doesn't matter whether it's a lager or an ale, and the strength doesn't matter if it's a lager or ale. The color doesn't really matter either. Just the defining two styles are lagers cold fermented and ales which are warm fermented. Which we all do.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Shawn, do you have -- is there a kind of thing that you're gonna drink ales with a certain kind of food or a lager with a certain kind of food or --

SHAWN DEWITT: Absolutely, yeah, in the last few years, beer pairings with food have been a big hit. So basically like an IPA, a little more on the spicy side, generally it goes well with spicy food, and of course like a nice sweet stout is also nice to go with something such as a desert, an ice cream, cake. Something like that. So absolutely there's a lot of fun to pairing food with beer.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: When people come in, do you guide them?

SHAWN DEWITT: We don't guide them as well as we probably should. Being on the beer side, I'm not really in the front of the house, the restaurant side. So it's refining our menus, and I do -- I have been to other breweries where they actually say they recommend this beer with this food item. But for the most part, we change our beer so often, so it would be a lot of work for our managers to constantly update the menus, and the beer wee recommending.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: We're taking your calls at 1-888-895-5727. Mary Joe is calling us from pow way.

NEW SPEAKER: Good morning and thank you for taking my call. We are very curious about the master brewer's certificate at UC Davis. It's the only one we're aware of in California, but I'm wondering if you could tell me, do you have any experience with the folks that have had that kind of training and what would you recommend if you were a young person trying to get into this art?


PAUL SEGURA: Well, UC Davis does have a very nice fermentation science program. And that's where a lot of great brew masters go to get their education and training. Nowadays there are a number of sources, the Siebel Institute in Chicago is also a great place, and you can also get -- you could do it all on line via correspondence if you'd like. The American brewer's guild is out there, are the institute of brewing and distilling is out there. So you can do it now on line if you don't want to go away to school. But UC Davis is a fine place. And that's where a lot of brew masters go. Of and if it's not too late to switch your major, I'd recommend it highly.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And Ruben is calling from Encinitas. He has a similar question. Good morning Ruben welcome to These Days. Of.

NEW SPEAKER: Good morning and thank you for taking my call. What a great subject you guys have. People who do home brewing like myself, I've done a few batches and I want to get more into it, and learn more about it. Are there any resources in San Diego where I can go and just take some classes or just -- do each of your businesses provide guidance for one who wants to enter and learn about it?


COLBY CHANDLER: Congratulations on being a home brewer first of all. That's kind of why we're so strong here in San Diego. We started with Home Brew Mart down on Linda Vista right below USD. We have a tasting room there, we have all the ingredients and equipment to help you brew. San Diego beer week is coming up soon. And we'll probably be offering anything from 3 to 4 home brewing classes. And also to help promote beer week. There's also multiple other home brew stores around the county too. We're up to about five right now. So I'm not sure on their brew classes or their brew schedules, but a quick search on Google on San Diego from home brewing will get you there.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Is there anything dangerous about home brewing? I mean can you start a fire?

COLBY CHANDLER: Is it dangerous to make soup? That's about the danger to it.


COLBY CHANDLER: If you're good at following directions and you're good at following a recipe, then you should have no problem of it's the people that are impatient that make it dangerous. Sometimes you could have bottles that get a little overcarbonated and the -- I don't know. They have a mind of their own?


COLBY CHANDLER: I was trying not to say that. But like I said, that's kind of the horror story, usually that's 'cause people are a little bit more anxious than they should be to get into their home brewed beer.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Now, I know all of you guys are in one sense competitors, but I also know there's an awful lot of collaboration that goes on among craft beer makers in San Diego. And Colby, and Shawn, I know you two are working on a collaboration right now. What's the reason for the collaboration.

SHAWN DEWITT: The main reason was San Diego beer week, our sales guy came to me and asked if we would like to do a collaboration brew. And if so, could you get a hold of Colby, he actually named you. So the idea, was to promote San Diego beer week.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And what actually happens with a collaboration were you? Who brings what to it?

SHAWN DEWITT: If in our situation we're getting the ingredients -- but in regards to the collaboration, it's just throwing out ideas. When this idea came about, I texted Colby, he was in no, doing no, beer week, and he responded that the idea sounded great, let's make sure it's a go, and it was a go. And before I knew it, it was well, what do we want to do, and he responded with a very interesting brew, and it's basically going to be a Belgian amber ale, that is gonna come in at eight percent, it's gonna have cocoa nips, it's gonna have a little bit of ginger and orange.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And the name of it is?

COLBY CHANDLER: We haven't figured out a name. As the idea came around, we also through around the idea of donating all the proceeds to breast cancer. Once we started throwing that around, we started contacting our wholesalers and honestly, the question came about, what great product do you have that you want us to play with? And cocoa nips came up. So cocoa nips was kind of the inspiration for the beer. And then with the cocoa nibs, I kind of wanted to go for a candy bar. That's why the little bit of ginger and orange peel and everything. Then there's a local bartender slash owner of Highdive, Ingrid, she just got diagnosed with breast cancer, just went through a double mastectomy, so she's gonna come today and brew the beer with us. We'll probably work on the name with her somehow or another. All the proceeds we donate to breast cancer, she'll come in and help us, and you'll see the beer around during San Diego beer week.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: So it's all for a good cause.

SHAWN DEWITT: It was a grew collaboration between Ingrid, ourselves, went all the way around.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: You mentioned orange, and I just recalled I have another orange beer. Orange avenue wit, this is from the Coronado Brewing company. Let me give this a taste so if I can really taste any orange in it.

SHAWN DEWITT: I hope so.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Oh, yeah. Oh, and that's much lighter than the other one. Okay. See, I mean I have no palette, but at least I can tell that.

PAUL SEGURA: You're better than you think.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: That's lovely. Go ahead.

SHAWN DEWITT: We all have the correct tool with us, it's just the matter of learning the vocabulary.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: The taste buds, you mean.

SHAWN DEWITT: Yeah, learning what you're tasting, one of my favorite things is giving adults a new taste. And introducing them to something that's different than they expected. ))

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Larry is calling from San Diego, good morning Larry, welcome to These Days.

NEW SPEAKER: Hello, long time listener, first time caller. I have a question about alcohol content. I see much ale has a higher alcohol content than your beers like Budweiser and doors light. Why is that? Does it affect the flavor? Is it just an extra boost?

SHAWN DEWITT: Basically the higher alcohol content is coming from the malts. We're adding more malt, and that's basically where you're deriving your alcohol content.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And you're doing that for taste.

SHAWN DEWITT: Yeah, taste. Absolutely. You betcha.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: When we return, we will not only continue talking about craft beers but we will have our selfless, brave KPBS official taste testers to give us their take on some of the wonderful craft brews these gentlemen have brought into our studios today. And we'll continue to take your calls at 1-888-895-5727.

I'm Maureen Cavanaugh. You're listening to These Days on KPBS. My guests are Paul Segura, brew master for Carl Strauss brewing company. Colby Chandler is specialty brewer for Ballast Point brewing company. And Shawn DeWitt, original brew master for Coronado Brewing company. We are talking about San Diego's craft beers. And there are two more guests now in the studio. Tony Zeniga and Ron Stein, both KPBS official beer taste testers thank you both for coming in.

NEW SPEAKER: It's a pleasure.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Ron, what are your qualifications for this?

NEW SPEAKER: Well, I tend to go every Friday after work to the San Diego brewing company and drink their beers and many of the beers that we're gonna have here tonight. They specialize in crafts beers and they also make a very good IPA, the Hopnotic, which is an excellent beer. It's won some beer Congress awards.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: He sounds like he knows what he's talking about am Tony how about you?

NEW SPEAKER: Not quite there. But I tend to -- I tend to go do that. So that's very good.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: So you got in under the wire.

NEW SPEAKER: Under the wires yes.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: So gentlemen, do you have any beers to taste there?

NEW SPEAKER: Yes we do.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: So I would say, start.

NEW SPEAKER: Okay. The first will be the islander IPA from Coronado.

SHAWN DEWITT: We started you guys off with the hope beers, maybe that wasn't the best on our behalf.

NEW SPEAKER: It pleases me.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: So describe. Describe.

NEW SPEAKER: Well, it's an IPA, so you have a lot of hops. It's a little strong. It's a pretty good big beer. And it has a nice, little bitter after taste of it's just delicious. I love IPAs, so anything with an IPA in it is gonna be pretty popular with me.


NEW SPEAKER: Very rich, I like it. I was telling some of my friends earlier, how I first started, I started off with Budweiser, and nope, I did not like beer at all. And eventually as the years went on, you know what? I got a taste for this. But my early beer taste wasn't a good one. But this is a good beer. I like it.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: When people taste wine, they go into these rapturous comments about how it's flirty and it's this and that. What kinds of descriptions really resonate with you guys after people take a sip of your beer?

PAUL SEGURA: Well, you know it's funny I've met a lot of people over the years who've said I don't like the flavor of beer. And I say, no, that can't be, you just haven't had the right beer for you yet. Beer is so much more diverse than wine. The flavors can range from, you know, bananas, it could taste like Kool-Aid, it could taste like chocolate and coffee, nutty. With the type of beer that they're tasting now, by the way, we pureed three different IPAs, this beer is very dry, so it lacks the residual sweetness and the finish. It could be very pine like, it should be grapefruit like as an IPA. So we use a lot of the same terms that the wine makers use. And I think in wine, a lot of people start with your white Zinfandel, then maybe graduate up to the heartier reds.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Right. Start out with pino grigio and go into the fuller tastes after that. Let me ask you, have you tried the second selection Ron.

NEW SPEAKER: Not yet. But that's the Sculpin which is one of my favorite beers, a salute to Ballast Point.

COLBY CHANDLER: This beer is kind of fun, because I think the hop flavors are kind of different, they're more toward the tropical side you. You kinda got a peachy, mango, apricot flavor. You still have the grapefruit and the pine, but they're subdued over all the other flavors.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Okay, guys are you tasting all this? The orange, the pine?

NEW SPEAKER: Well, to an extent. I try to be as sophisticated as I can. But I'm pretty much -- I pick up the grapefruit quite a bit. And that's always pretty evident in IPAs.

PAUL SEGURA: Citrus. Yeah.

NEW SPEAKER: But it is good.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Let's take a call, Pat's calling us Mira Mesa. Good morning pat and welcome to These Days.

NEW SPEAKER: The comment I was gonna make or the question I was gonna ask, maybe was just answered but one, you haven't mentioned pilsners. So I guess I'm wondering exactly what a pilsner is. And the other is that the craft brewers seem to be prejudiced against lagers. And I was wondering why. 'Cause, you know, if you go to a lot of these places and you ask for a lager, you kind the kind of curled lip, you know?

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Get the fish eye, huh? Let's find out, pat, thank you. Any prejudice against lagers.

PAUL SEGURA: Absolutely not.

SHAWN DEWITT: Our thought process is it just takes a little bit longer to make those lagers, thus the beer that's ahead of it that would be replaced by the lager is usually between before the lager is ready. And thus keeping the yeast strain going too is tough, if you're not brewing lagers on a regular bases. We have done lagers at CBC.

PAUL SEGURA: One of our flagship beers is an amber lager, and as Shaw said, it does take longer to produce than ales. They ferment slower at a colder temperature, and subsequently lagers are usually a little crisper and cleaner tasting than ales. They don't have the fruitiness we're talking about right now. To talk about the pilsner, pilsner is one of the beers within the family of lagers, and they're usually characterized by a lower alcohol content, lower color, lower hop rating and they're usually more crisp, clean lighter beers.

COLBY CHANDLER: If you would like to take some pilsners, you can go to O'Brian's on Friday night on congress street. We don't produce them year-round but we definitely make them. And especially around October it's night to have them on tap.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Ron, Tony, how you doing?

NEW SPEAKER: I'm fine.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: That's very good to know.

NEW SPEAKER: I'm gonna proceed, I think to the Carl Strauss.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: All right then. There we go.

PAUL SEGURA: This is a double IPA, so it's gonna have more alcohol I think than the previous two. I think like Colby said, the flavors are gonna have a lot of grapefruit but there's also going to be maybe some mango and tropical fruit there.

NEW SPEAKER: Very true.


NEW SPEAKER: Definitely taste, yeah, the fruits and everything. Actively definitely like it.

SHAWN DEWITT: A little more body too. A little more residual sweetness.

NEW SPEAKER: Yep, totally. I totally agree.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Good for you, Tony. Thank you for that. Of I want to ask you guys about what I've heard is a trend about sour beers. What are sour beers? Paul?

PAUL SEGURA: Well, sour beers are made using beer spoilage bacteria. Lactobacillus, you introduce those, and what they do is like brewing yeast, they'll feed on the sugars but they'll produce lactic acid or what not. And those will sour the beer. That's basically the same way they make vinegar or malt vinegar. Sour beers have been in Belgium for a lock time, they're very popular there, and they're just starting to become popular here in America. And we're flirting with that right now as well. We have a sour beer in the fermenter that we have coming along as well.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Is it what you would call an acquired taste.


Q. Yes. Thank you for saying that because some people will taste it and just not like it. It's an acquired taste maybe like IPAs are?

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: I see because IPAs are really sort of too much for some people; is that right.


MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: We had a caller on the line who wanted to know about a good introduction craft beer, a good craft beer to start with. Let me ask all of you, Shawn, to start, with that, any ideas? This orange avenue right.

SHAWN DEWITT: Yeah, well, definitely the orange avenue is a good start. The pilsners, are the lighter style brews, I would think are definitely an easier way to start. I think that's how it sounds like most kind of beers are, beer drinkers, they start light then they evolve. Most of us make a light beer, endless summer, yellow tale, and we brew a Coronado golden. Light type beers at our place being a brew pub we do see that the light beers do sell more so still, even though the IPAs have definitely caught up.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Interesting. And Colby?

COLBY CHANDLER: Our Ballast Point pale ale has been our biggest seller. [CHECK AUDIO] it's an ale but it tastes a lot like a Pilsner. Kind of along that lines. And yeah, we're just on a roll with that beer basically. And it is a great bridge beer in the craft brewing. The color doesn't scare you away. It's a light color. But I always say it has a jet ingredient in it. And you're like, really, what is it? It's flavor. It states like something. We're not trying to have it so cold that it's deading your taste buds.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Yes, right I understand that. You can drink these beers at a warmer temperature actually than you can some of the super market brands that we were talking about because they have some real flavor to them actually.

COLBY CHANDLER: They actually open up as they get remember warmer. The flavors might come out more that way.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Ron and Tony, let me just pass these beers over to you that I tried a while ago. Judith is calling us from San Diego.

NEW SPEAKER: Hi, I had a question. Are there any breweries in San Diego making gluten free beer?

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Gluten free beer.

PAUL SEGURA: We are in the process right now of creating a gluten free beer. We're going to do a pilot batch some time soon, and the materials for these beers are finally to the point where they're available at a price, you you know, that's reasonable for us to do be able to do this. ? We realize that's a market for it, so now that the prices have come down on the raw materials to be able to do this, we're gonna play with it and see how it comes out. Achieving the amount of flavor with a gluten free beer as you're tasting in some of these beers is gonna be tricky.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Right. Because one of them is a wheat beer, right? The orange wit. Chad is calling from Phil's barbecue. Good morning, Chad, and welcome to These Days.

NEW SPEAKER: Hey, all you brewer guys, thanks for being awesome.

PAUL SEGURA: Thanks Chad.

NEW SPEAKER: Most of you know me, I probably imagine. Hey, I got a question about barrel aged beers, and it looks like there's a big trend, and more barrel aged beers are coming around. And the other day I actually tried a beer that had rum soaked wood chips in it, which sounds pretty wacky. Are you guys doing more of these or less of these? Do you think people like them? Or is this kind of a little specialty niche thing that you do every now and then?

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Who'd like to take that? Colby?

COLBY CHANDLER: I think we're still so young as an industry. It was only legal to actually make beer and serve it on the same property in 1983. So we're still kind of a juvenile industry. And we're taking inspiration from all these old world beer asks brewers, that used oak barrels that made sour beers because they weren't able to control their yeast. Absolutely the trends are gonna continue. We're gonna start to see even more beers that we're not familiar with. Of the smoke beers, Berliner vice beers with fruit in it.


PAUL: Yeah, with the distillery that we're doing, we're actually aging rum in oak beers so I'm starting to get a trickle down from the distillery into the brewery and actually aging a barley line in our soaked barrels. So there are all these flavors that you can get from either sour or barrel aged and what we're gonna be continuing to go to and what experiments we're gonna do in the future. It's kind of a wide open canvas for us especially here in Southern California without any history of brewing at all.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: What did you think of that ron?

NEW SPEAKER: Surprisingly good. I was kind of surprised how delicious it is, because I'm a big IPA snob. So this is really fine for something that's based on wine grapes. I was really amazed.

NEW SPEAKER: The smell, you smell it right away, before you even drink it. And right away, you taste it, oh, wow, berries and everything. It's very good.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And have you had the orange wit.

NEW SPEAKER: Yes, I have. And I enjoyed that. I'm not a big wheat fan. It's excellent, for nice. Good for the morning.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Okay. And Tony you agree?

NEW SPEAKER: Totally agree. Yeah, I'm trying to find a favorite. But I can't even find a favorite. All of them are excellent.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Let's hear from Lee calling us from normal heights.

NEW SPEAKER: Good morning, thanks great show. I love it. I heard you guys talking about the collaboration beer and doing one for breast cancer awareness and it being national breast cancer awareness month I thought I would chime in. And I'm actually we're releasing a beer here on our automatic brewing company brew house system, it's a pink beer that's brewed for breast cancer awareness of it's gonna be a wit beer so I was stocked to hear you guys and thought issue, hey, we're both doing the same thing. How cool.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Lee, thanks for calling in. Now I know --

SHAWN DEWITT: Ours is a very simple -- we call it CBC winter brew, that we spice with nutmeg and cinnamon. And when make one batch, and when it's gone it's gone.


COLBY CHANDLER: We started doing the winter warmer, a few years back, it's victory at sea, it's an imperial porter made with local coffee beans from coffeeicalabria on 30th street.


COLBY CHANDLER: It's rolled into not just a one batch. So we should be able to get a couple batches out. But not a specific Christmas beer at this point.

PAUL SEGURA: This year we're doing a Baltic porter which is a rich, hearty beer, and we're sort of collaborating with a winery here in San Diego, and we obtained a bunch of their oak, tawny port barrels, so this beer currently is aging in oak and will be available at Christmas time.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Now I heard that actually you can, like, set -- what do they call it? Lay down, set down a bottle of dark beer and let it age in your cellar like you would a bottle of wine is that right.

PAUL SEGURA: Yeah, the beer you tasted earlier our 21st anniversary beer has now been in that bottle for two years.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Ah. I see. And is that only with the dark beers.

PAUL SEGURA: They don't all have to be dark. Like Colby said, if they have higher hopping rates, and the alcohol cob tent is wine like. Sure they'll age as well as wines will.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Do you guys want to taste another one?



NEW SPEAKER: It's a tough job but somebody has to do it.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And you're doing it very well, ron.

NEW SPEAKER: Thank you.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: It's not difficult.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: I want to talk about San Diego beer week because I know that's coming up, and I know that's a really big event for you guys. Shawn, tell us when it is and what's gonna be going on.

SHAWN DEWITT: All right, San Diego beer week, 2010 is Friday November 5th through Sunday November 14th, and basically, it's ten days of a lot of beer events, beer tastings, beer dinners, it starts off with the San Diego brewers' guild festival which we've moved this year to a new location, liberty station, it'll be able to hold a few more people. And it ends with a great food pairing event at the Torrey pines lodge. The name of that is -- what's the name of that event?

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: That would be the beer food pairing event.

SHAWN DEWITT: That's correct. The food beer pairing event at the tory pines lodge in coordination with the chef's celebration. So it's pretty cool. I believe as of now, I think there's 12 breweries, and each beer gets paired up with two chefs and two different beers and we sit down and try to figure out what beer goes best with what they want to do.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And Paul, how popular is San Diego beer week.

PAUL SEGURA: It's very popular, it brings in a lot of tourism to the city, beer who are beer aficionados around the world. And they come, and there's a lot, a lot of events going on around downtown that week.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Colby, I want you to tell us, you've actually arranged a special prize for KPBS listeners who might want to attend and I don't want to leave without you telling us with that.

COLBY CHANDLER: Yeah, Viejas, we're doing a Ballast Point beer dinner, it's basically a five course dinner, Sculpin will be there. With sauteed harcote -- I don't even know what that is.


COLBY CHANDLER: With beer, yeah. But if you go into the Viejas ticket center this and you enter the word Viejas, you get the ticket for 35 bucks instead of 50. So.

PAUL SEGURA: Can we plug the websites?

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And I just want to let everybody know that we're week starts November 5th and lasts through the fourteenth here in San Diego. Name name name nays, thank you all so much thank you for telling us so much and bringing in so much beer. And Tony Zeniga and Ron Stein, you behaved yourselves very well. I must say.

NEW SPEAKER: I was trying.


NEW SPEAKER: We're honored. Thank you.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: No, really good. Really good. Thank you for telling us what these beers taste like because I wasn't very good at it. And if you'd like to post a comment, please go on-line,